Archives for February 2011

Afraid of Wasting Your Time With Your Preps?

You’re not alone. I mean, just imagine…

You spend money building your survival food and gear stockpiles. You take months, even years to build up your knowledge of survival skills. You may even leave the city for a safer home in the country.

You may be up at 5:00 AM seven days per week, working hard gardening, building, fencing, raising livestock and a hundred other tasks required to become self-reliant on your own land.

You’re doing all that work while balancing the needs of your family and the other things in your normal daily life.

You work. You wait and you wait and… And then something happens…

NOTHING

No disaster. No collapse. No end of the world as we know it. To your surprise, the crap never hits the fan. The starving refugees never show up at your door. 

It feels like you’re just been pissing in the wind all this time, but have you wasted your time if nothing ever happens…

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying there isn’t going to be a major disaster or full-blown collapse sometime in the near future. 

My research and reasoning, strongly suggest that it is going to happen – no, I can’t give you an exact date and I would be careful of anyone claims they can.

The truth is disasters happen all the time, even if they haven’t affected you personally yet, they still happen and you may not be lucky enough to avoid the next one.

Over the past few months, I’ve had at least 25-30 people send emails letting me know that nothing was going to happen and if it did that they would be fine because the government would not let things get “that bad” .

I always respond with a short note, thanking them for their comment and to letting them know, that I hope they’re right, but that I don’t think they are.

I always point out that the U.S. Government has spent billions of dollars to ensure their survival, (see my post “Continuity Of Government“) I ask them why would they (the Federal Government) do this – if they, with all their inside knowledge, facts, scientist, analyst and intelligence did not think a major world-changing event could happen.

Why would they spend billions of dollars preparing for just such an event if we are so safe?

Do they know something we don’t…

I also like to send them this link to the “67 Worst U.S Natural Disasters” that have happened over the last 103 years – I avoid getting into issues involving economics or other such issues, because these are people are already in denial and would only brush such ideas aside, but everyone, even the most dependent, accept the fact and occurrence of natural disasters.

I’m sure most of you reading this already see the common sense of prepping, but let’s get back to the original question – what if nothing ever happens…

What if another major disaster never happens? Have you wasted your time, money and life with all this prepping stuff? I don’t think so – for me there has always been a great sence of accomplishment in knowing, I am as self-reliant as I can be.  

And at least if you are prepared you’ll never have to be one of those people who rush to the grocery store and fight over the last loaf of bread or gallon of milk at the first mention of snow on the news.

If nothing else you will be freer, save money, live healthier, have less stress and leave a smaller footprint on the world – what is wrong with that?

What do you think – are you wasting your time by prepping?

RV Bug Out Vehicle

One man’s solution to the economic situation in LA – what do you think and what advice would you offer to him?

His firsthand account of the economic situation in LA is worth the time required to watch the video.

Wise Food Storage – One Man’s Solution

This is a guest post by KGC. If you like to wrote for The Survivalist Blog, do read How to become a guest author at The Survivalist Blog.

Your browser may not support display of this image. With so many choices of food storage products, I decided to give (Wise Food Storage) a shot because a trusted friend liked and recommended their products and Wise Food Storage boasts a 25-year shelf-life without having to rotate the food. I was skeptical at first, but up to the challenge.

I ordered one of their 56-serving buckets and prepared two of the packets once I received it. I immediately noticed that the packets in the buckets differed from the outdoor meal bags. I believe that this is because the buckets are intended for long-term storage, whereas the outdoor meal packs are designed to promote ultralight backpacking. Fair enough!

I prepared the Stroganoff and Multi-Grain Cereal meals by boiling 4 cups of water for each packet, totaling 8 cups of water. When measuring the water into the pot, I measured in 8.25 cups to allow for evaporation loss.

Stroganoff

After bringing the water for the Stroganoff to a boil, I stirred in the contents from the package.

I didn’t turn off the heat until I had mixed in the contents with the water.

I then turned off the heat, placed the lid on the pan, and set my timer for 15 minutes-my previous experience with outdoor meals has taught me to let the food sit a little longer to allow for optimum re-constitution of the freeze-dried/dehydrated food.

I occasionally stirred the Stroganoff. Once it was evenly textured, I poured it into a bowl and had the Mrs. taste it…and she liked!

Multi-Grain Cereal

After bringing the water to a boil for the Multi-Grain Cereal, I stirred in the contents of the package. I reduced the heat and stirred occasionally for 5 minutes, and this was the result:

I served the Mrs. some of the cereal and we both agreed to add our favorite 100% Maple Syrup just because that’s our preferred flavoring. I didn’t add any salt to the cereal as we cooked it because I wanted to taste the flavor before we added the syrup. It tasted great alone and had the perfect flavor once we added a little milk and 100% maple syrup. I could have eaten it without the syrup and milk, but it’s definitely a treat to eat it when all the comforts are available!

Pros

Wise Food Storage does a great job with the flavor and texture of the food. If they really do deliver on the 25-year shelf-life then it ranks right up there with other freeze-dried & dehydrated meals I’ve eaten over the years. The instructions were easy to follow and the flavor was really good, which indicates to me that I would definitely recommend their product as part of your short & long-term food storage supplies. Often-times, the flavors don’t turn out so well without having to “doctor-it-up” a bit. This was not the case. The meals stood alone without having to improve the flavor.

Another thing I like about this kind of food storage in general, is that it requires you to address two areas: emergency water & emergency food. It’s a latent benefit of getting your food storage in order. You cannot enjoy food storage with such a lengthy lifespan without it being dehydrated and/or freeze-dried. My food storage makes me take really good care of my water storage & purification solutions: primarily my Berkey Water Filters (www.goberkey.com).

The pricing was great as well: less than $1.97 per serving with a shelf-life of 25 years!

Another strong point with the Wise Food Storage is that the meals were in fact filling! I didn’t expect to be satisfied without having to eat the whole 4-meal content of each package, but I was satisfied and had a good “snack” amount left over.

Cons

This product-like every other “emergency food storage” solution out there is designed to be used in a scenario when energy and resources are to be conserved as much as possible. I don’t have a problem with using water to reconstitute food because that quantity of water which I add to cooking it will compose a percentage of my daily hydration maintenance level. I just don’t like having to use pots and pans which will need to be washed after preparing the food. I will have to use extra energy & water: two precious resources. As a remedy to my personal preference, I will invest in their outdoor meal packets because hot water can be easily added to the mylar packet and then the contents can be eaten directly in the pouch.

One other observation is that Wise Food Storage has chosen to not use real meat in the meals, but uses textured vegetable protein (TVP) instead. Now, I understand that meat is ideally eaten when it is fresh and lean, so this is not a big deal to me. I just wanted to point that out because to some people it makes all the difference in the world. Personally, I would just add some rabbit, deer, beef or chicken meat from a fresh hunt if I wanted to enjoy real meat during such a situation.

All-in-all, I recommend Wise Food Storage as part of your short and long-term food storage solutions.

You Don’t Have to Be a Gourmet Chef to Cook With Food Storage

One of the most common food storage questions, readers ask me, is “what do we do with all those grains and beans you suggest we store in our pantry”. This is a good question and one that I’m sure has been asked by many while facing their buckets of grains and wondering what to do next.

To be honest, when I started doing this, I asked the same, but with the help of several  good books, recipes and a bit of trial and error, I can now whip up a tasty meal from what most people, would think was a bucket of horse feed. It’s not at all difficult, so don’t be intimidated (or afraid to throw out a blotched batch of whatever you are making) all you have to do is start.

This is the main reason (aside from saving money) that I stress that you need to use what you store, so you can learn and know how to use what you have when needed. Never stockpile and think you’ll learn what to do with it “when you have to” do it now… You’ll gain confidence and a valuable skill.

Before listing my five favorite recipes here, I would like to suggest three books, that I think will be a great help to you when learning how to use and prepare these basic foods. 

The first book is “How to live on wheat” by John Hill this is a great book that I reviewed here. The other two books are by Peggy Layton Cookin’ With Beans and Rice and Cookin’ with Home Storage, these three books will help answer any questions you have about using basic foods from your pantry and are loaded with recipes that you can use in your kitchen.

Below are five of my favorite recipes  using foods from my food storage…

Cooked Pinto Beans

  • 2 cups of beans
  • 8 cups of water
  • 2 teaspoons of salt
  • 2 teaspoons of pepper
  • 1 tablespoon of lard (you can make your own lard)

Sort beans, wash and soak overnight. Beans can be cooked on the stove top, over an open fire or in a Crock-Pot or pressure cooker. Mix everything in an appropriately sized cooker and cook over heat until soft.
If I am going to be home all day I prefer the open fire, gives the beans a unique taste not found with the other methods. The fastest and most convenient way to cook pinto beans is with a pressure cooker.

Pinto Bean Cakes

  • 2 cups cooked pinto beans
  • 1 small onion, chopped (I like to use wild onions
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons cornmeal
  • 1 tablespoon flour
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder

Press beans into a paste with a fork and add cornmeal, salt, flour and chili powder. Stir well. Add the chopped onion and mix until well blended. If the mixture is too dry, thin it with bean juice or a small amount of water. Heat a skillet and grease it with bacon drippings, lard or cooking oil. When the pan is hot, drop on the bean mixture by the spoonful and press each bean cake flat with a spoon or spatula. Brown and serve.

Corn and Bean Pone

Grind ½ cup of whole corn and ½ cup of pinto beans to the consistency of flour, combine in a bowl mixing well, add one teaspoon of salt and gradually add ¾ cup of boiling water. Melt enough lard to cover the bottom of the pan with a thin layer of grease, after the pan is greased, pour the mixture into the pan and blend with the grease.

The mix shouldn’t stand more than an inch thick in the pan to start, rising very little during preparation. (To make it rise like cornbread add two teaspoons of baking powder.) Bake at 350 degrees until done. The pone will develop a brown crunchy crust when done. This can also be fried on the stove top, like pancakes. I like to chop up a batch of wild onion and mix with the batter before baking this adds flavor and texture. Also makes a makes a good breakfast – for breakfast don’t add the onions and instead cover with maple syrup or add a little honey.

Wheat Sprouts 

Soak wheat in warm water for 24 hours, drain and pour the wheat into a large jar. Cover the mouth of the jar with a thin cloth or screen – sprouting wheat needs oxygen so be sure it can “breathe”.  Flood the jar three or four times a day, draining off any remaining liquid each time.

The wheat will start to sprout in about two-five days depending on the surrounding temperatures – when the sprouts have grown to 1/4 – 1 inch in length they can be used. The sprouts can be eaten raw or dried and ground into a flour then added to recipes and breads. Drying, reduces the vitamin content, so I prefer to eat the sprouts fresh.

With sprouts you can have fresh greens even in winter and they only costs cents per pound. Besides sprouting wheat you can also sprout other seeds and legumes such as sunflower, buckwheat, soy beans, mung beans, alfalfa, clover etcetera.

One of my favorite sprout recipes is from the afore mention “How to live on wheat”  is cooked sprout cereal you’ll need, 4 cups freshly sprouted wheat, cook the sprouts for a few minutes or until they are soft. Add to a large bowl and add salt and honey to taste and cover with warm milk. Makes a nutritious breakfast or midday snack.

Simple Sourdough Bread

To make simple sourdough bread mix the following ingredients in a large bowl:

  • 2 cups whole wheat flour
  • 1 cup sourdough batter
  • ½ cup legume protein complement
  • 1 tsp salt

Knead dough thoroughly and allow to rise to about twice its original height. Bake at 350 degrees for about 45 minutes or until done.

Have you tried preparing food from your food storage? What worked best for you? What did you learn? Let us know in the comments.

You Don’t Have to Be Rich to Have A One Of a Kind Survival Library

Now Available!

Join us and Kick-Start Your Preps and Broaden Your Survival Skills With Our Complete Survival, Emergency Preparedness and Homesteading Library on One Convenient CD.

If you plan to survive TEOTWAWKI but have put off building a survival library because of the cost or time involved – you’re not alone.

It’s The End of the World as We Know It – And I feel Fine, is a massive library of over 112 reference books, reports and manuals designed to help you prepare for any disaster, become self-reliant or build a homestead. This massive CD library will help you survive.

This CD has all the knowledge you will need to survive any disaster:

1. A massive amount of information with thousands of pages all in one covenant location
2. All manuals are complete and include all illustrations, photos and diagrams and were hand-picked by me for content and usefulness.
3. Includes the revised edition of my book “It’s The End of the World as We Know It – And I feel Fine”
4. Easy to Use — All manuals are in PDF Format and can be viewed with Adobe reader. If you don’t have Adobe you can download it for free here.
5. These manuals have been put on CD to save you time and money.
6. Books and manuals can easily be printed from any printer and bound into book form by putting in a binder or folder.
7. This CD will work even if the internet is unavailable or shutdown

Remember the most important survival tool is your knowledge, no matter how much stuff or gear you have, you will not survive without the knowledge to put it to use or make do if your “stuff” is no longer available. The knowledge is here what you do with it is up to you…

What This CD Covers

I’ve designed this CD to be a one stop source for survival, emergency preparedness and homesteading information – when you open the files, you’ll find detailed information covering a vast array subjects, subjects ranging from canning produce, drying, smoking and preserving food, gardening, composting, building a cheap greenhouse, building a root cellar, first-aid, raising chickens, rabbits, ducks and goats, butchering, heating with wood, field-dressing a deer, outdoor survival, trapping, shooting handguns and rifles, plumbing, camo, combat tactics, building a cheap fallout shelter, hand to hand fighting, apple cider production, building a chicken house, pruning fruit trees, tanning hides, boobytraps and more. Much more…

How to Use this CD in your preps

This CD was designed to help you save time and money – it includes the new updated version of my book “It’s The End Of The World As We Know It – And I feel Fine” plus 112 of the best government and university books, reports and manuals, all hand-picked by me for usefulness.

  • A wealth of survival information available even if the internet is no longer available
  • Each book, report and manual is in PDF format with photos and diagrams ready for printing
  • After printing you can bind each in its own folder or binder so it is always available

The great thing about “It’s The End Of The World As We Know It – And I feel Fine” is that you can do it at your own pace and in your own way.

Who is this CD for?

It’s The End Of The World As We Know It – And I feel Fine is for survivalist at different stages of prepping including:

  • those who have just started prepping but who don’t know what to do next
  • those who have been prepping for a while but have stalled
  • anyone wanting to collect information that will help them survive a disaster
  • people with little available space for books and other related materials
  • those wanting to have information available if the internet goes down (or shutdown)

Money-Back Guarantee

If you’re not satisfied with “It’s The End Of The World As We Know It – And I feel Fine” just let me know and I’ll refund your money – that’s how confident I am that this is a resource that will help you plan, prepare and survive. All you have to do is send the CD back and I’ll quickly refund your money.

Get “It’s The End Of The World As We Know It – And I feel Fine” by hitting the following button:


What Did You Do To Prep This Week

It’s been a long week, a week with a lot of stress and more than a few tears, but the funeral and burial are over and it’s time for everyone to begin to healing. My girlfriend has taken the loss of her father better than I anticipated  – I think the nine months she spent taking care of him helped.

While she is sad that he is gone, I think she is relieved that he will not have to suffer anymore. I watched my grandmother die of colon cancer fourteen years ago and in my opinion cancer is one of the worst ways for anyone to die; a bullet to the head would be more merciful.

I’m sorry for only posting guest posts this week, but I’ve been so busy, helping with the funeral and comforting my girlfriend, that I haven’t had the time or mental capacity to write anything useful. I’m just thankful to have had several great guest posts to fall back on.

Everything should be back to normal by Monday (I have a great post planned), thank you for being patient – one thing is sure, and that is that, I have the best readers of any blog. I am blessed.

I would like to thank Mark S, Heather T, Sam S, David T, Jerry L, Tracy M and Michael D for their donations over the past week. Thank you. Unless anyone has objections, I’m going to give the money to my girlfriend to help with the funeral expenses, since the funeral home has already called wanting payment.

On another note; if you have used the “Teotwawki Multi Lens Vision System” from TEOTWAWKI VISION.COM please let me know your thoughts and experiences with the product. This looks like it would be perfect for one of my friends, but I would like to get some feedback from you before suggesting the product to him.

I’ve often nagged at you to do at least one thing each week to increase your chances of surviving a disaster, so admitting that, I’ve done nothing myself,  makes me feel like I’ve failed to meet my own standards. I’ll have to double up on my preps in the next week to make up for it.

I know you guys have done better than I did this week – so what did you do to prep this week? Please let us know in the comments below.

Other uses for Vinegar, Baking Soda, WD40, Coca Cola, Fabric Softener Sheets and Paper Towels

This is a guest post by John M

Vinegar

When it comes to grocery store products, vinegar is liquid gold. People have been using it for ages – and not just for cooking and preserving foods. Vinegar’s versatility is virtually unmatched; there are literally hundreds of potential applications. Aside from its primary applications, here is just a small sample of all the other things vinegar can be used for:

1. Disinfect wood cutting boards.
2. Soothe a sore throat; use 1 tsp of vinegar per glass of water, then gargle.
3. Fight dandruff; after shampooing, rinse hair with vinegar and 2 cups of warm water.
4. Remove warts; apply daily a 50/50 solution of cider vinegar and glycerin until they’re gone.
5. Cure an upset stomach; drink 2 tsp apple cider vinegar in one cup of water.
6. Polish chrome.
7. Keep boiled eggs from cracking; add 2 tbsp to water before boiling.
8. Clean deposits from fish tanks.
9. Remove urine stains from carpet. (Heh. Hopefully, it’s animal urine!)
10. Keep fleas off dogs; add a little vinegar to the dog’s drinking water.
11. Keep car windows from frosting up; use a solution of 3 oz. vinegar to 1 oz. water.
12. Clean dentures; soak overnight in vinegar and then brush.
13. Get rid of lint in clothes; add 0.5 cup vinegar to rinse cycle.
14. Remove grease from suede.
15. Kill grass on sidewalks and driveways.
16. Make wool blankets softer; add 2 cups distilled vinegar to rinse cycle.
17. Remove skunk odor from a dog; rub fur with full strength vinegar and rinse.
18. Freshen wilted vegetables; soak them in 1 tbsp vinegar and a cup of water.
19. Dissolve mineral deposits in drip coffee makers.
20. Deodorize drains; pour a cup down the drain once a week, let sit for 30 minutes, then rinse.
21. Use as a replacement for a lemon; 0.25 tsp vinegar substitutes for 1 tsp of lemon juice.
22. Make rice fluffier; add 1 tsp of vinegar to water when it boils.
23. Prevent grease build-up in ovens; wipe oven with cleaning rag soaked in distilled vinegar and water.
24. Kill germs; mix a 50-50 solution of vinegar and water in a spray bottle.
25. Unclog shower heads; place in a pot with 50-50 solution of vinegar and water, bring it to a boil and then simmer for 5 minutes.
26. Shine patent leather.
27. Make propane lantern wicks burn longer/brighter; soak them in vinegar for 3 hours, let dry.
28. Act as an an air freshener.
29. Soften paint brushes; soak in hot vinegar then rinse with soapy water.
30. Remove bumper stickers and decals; simply cover them with vinegar-soaked cloth for several minutes.
31. Prolong the life of fresh-cut flowers; use 2 tbsp of vinegar and 3 tbsp of sugar per quart of warm water.

All of these vinegar applications, and scores more, can be found at this informative site.

Baking Soda

Aside from its primary use as a baking agent, baking soda is another grocery item with an almost countless number of applications. For example, among other things, baking soda can be used to:

1. Deodorize your refrigerator; put an open box in the fridge.
2. Remove odors from shoes.
3. Keep drains clean and free-flowing; use 4 tbspns of soda and flush with hot water.
4. Keep your underarms smelling fresh.
5. Soften your skin.
6. Relieve diaper rash.
7. Relieve sunburn; apply a paste of soda and water.
8. Extinguish small grease and electrical fires.
9. Polish silverware.
10. Clean your refrigerator. (Or your neighbors, for that matter.)
11. Remove cat box odors; cover the bottom of the box with soda, then top with kitty litter.
12. Clean and remove stale odors from thermos bottles and coolers.
13. Make dried beans more digestible by soaking them in a solution of baking soda and water.
14. Make wild game taste less, well, “gamey.”
15. Remove oil and grease stains from laundry; add baking soda to the wash water.
16. Remove stains from marble, Formica or plastic surfaces; apply a paste of soda and water.
17. Remove grease from garage floors.
18. Clean vegetables and fruit; sprinkle some in water, then soak and rinse.
19. Wash garbage cans.
20. Clean and remove odors from your dishwasher; just run it with soda instead of soap.
21. Inhibit smoldering butts in ashtrays.
22. Clean shower curtains.
23. Keep teeth or dentures clean. (Preferably, yours.)
24. Relieve indigestion and heartburn; drink 0.5 tsp of soda in 4 oz of water
25. Use as a mouthwash and/or relieve canker sore pain; gargle with 0.5 tsp of soda in 4 oz of water
26. Remove baked-on food from pots and pans; soak in soda and water for 15 min.
27. Relieve bee sting pain.
28. Make homemade Play Dough; combine 1.25 cups water, 2 cups soda, 1 cup cornstarch.
29. Remove feathers more easily when scalding a chicken; just add to the water.
30. As a windshield water-repellent.
31. Clean canvas handbags.
32. Shine chrome and stainless steel.

For even more baking soda applications, check out this site.

WD-40

You can’t get a gallon of milk at your local Home Depot, but you can often find WD-40 in a grocery store! WD-40 was originally developed as a water-repellent and corrosion preventer, but today the manufacturer claims the product has over 2000 uses. But, Len, if there are 2000 uses why isn’t this product listed at number 1? Well, the answer is two-fold: 1) because most of those 2000 uses are just variations of the same basic applications; and 2) this is my list and I’ll do as I want. (So there.)

Here are 20 of the more arcane ones which have actually been verified by the manufacturer according to Snopes:

1. Removes road tar and grime from cars.
2. Loosens stuck zippers.
3. Untangles jewelery chains.
4. Keeps pigeons off the balcony. (Apparently, they hate the smell.)
5. Lubricates prosthetic limbs.
6. Protects silver from tarnishing.
7. Keeps ceramic/terracotta garden pots from oxidizing.
8. Keeps scissors working smoothly.
9. Lubricates squeaky home and vehicle door hinges.
10. Lubricates gear shifts and deck levers on riding mowers.
11. Eliminates squeaks from kids’ swings.
12. Makes home windows easier to open. (And it’s safer than a hammer!)
13. Helps stubborn umbrellas to open and close.
14. Restores and cleans vehicle roof racks.
15. Lubricates and stops squeaks in electric fans.
16. Lubricates wheel sprockets on tricycles, wagons, and bicycles.
17. Removes residual duct tape adhesive.
18. Cleans bugs off of grills and bumpers.
19. Displaces the moisture and allows a car to start when sprayed on the distributor cap.
20. Removes black scuff marks from floors.

Coca-Cola

Paul Michael wrote an article for Wisebread that highlighted 51 potential uses for Coke (or any other cola product, for that matter). Here are some of the more interesting ones:

1. Remove grease and blood stains from clothing and fabric.
2. Clean oil stains from a garage floor.
3. Remove rust. (My mom said she used to do this as a kid do get corrosion off her bike – I guess she didn’t have any WD-40!)
4. Loosen a rusty bolt. (Another WD-40 trick. Am I the only one here beginning to think Coke is a main ingredient in that stuff?)
5. Tenderize and add extra flavor to a pot roast. (Okay. Let’s see WD-40 do this!)
6. Kill slugs and snails.
7. Help a lawn become lush and green.
8. Prevent an asthma attack.
9. Defrost a frozen windshield. (I prefer using hot coffee – black – but that’s just me.)
10. Clean burnt pans.
11. Neutralize a jellyfish sting.
12. Clean car battery terminals. (I’ve done this before. It works!)
13. Entertain the kids by creating an exploding fountain. (With the help of a pack of Mentos.)
14. Make your hair curly.
15. Age documents and photos.
16. Clean tile grout.
17. Make better compost. (The the acidity and sugar feeds microorganisms.)
18. Remove gum from hair.
19. Remove stains from vitreous china.
20. Clear up swimming pool water.
21. Deodorize laundry.
22. Remove dye from hair by pouring Diet Coke over it.
23. Remove marker stains from carpet.

Fabric Softener Sheets

Who hasn’t used fabric softener sheet at least once in their life? Most of us though use them to make our clothes soft and remove static cling as they come out of the dryer. But did you know that these versatile sheets can also:

1. Repel mice and ants.
2. Act as a mosquito, bee and yellow jacket repellent; tie one through a belt loop.
3. Prevent dust from settling on computer monitors.
4. Dissolve soap scum from shower doors.
5. Eliminate wastebasket odors; just place them in the bottom.
6. Prevent dust from settling on Venetian blinds; wipe them down and no more dust.
7. Deodorize stinky shoes.
8. Keep stored tents and sleeping bags smelling fresh.
9. Prevent musty suitcases.
10. Collect cat hair. (No word on whether it works on dog hair too.)
11. Act as a car or room air freshener.
12. Prevent thread from tangling; run a threaded needle through a sheet before sewing.
13. Collect sawdust resulting from drilling or sandpapering.
14. Eliminate odors from dirty laundry; place a sheet at the bottom of a hamper.
15. Remove splattered bugs from cars; scrub with a wet sheet.
16. Clean baked-on food from pans; put a sheet in pan, fill with water and let sit overnight. Sponge clean.

Paper Towels

What the heck can you do with a paper towel besides sop up spills? Plenty! Paper towels can also:

1. Act as a quick-and-dirty lumbar pillow. (You’ll need to use the whole roll, of course.)
2. Remove silk from fresh corn; just run a damp paper towel across the ear.
3. Act as a coffee filter. (I’ve done this before in a pinch and it works well.)
4. Keep lettuce fresh longer; wrap around lettuce head to soak up excess moisture. (I’ve done this for years.)
5. Prevent frozen bread from getting soggy as it thaws; simply place a paper towel in the bag before freezing.
6. Provide temporary sunburn relief; lay a damp towel across affected skin.
7. Clean your can opener; close the opener over a paper towel edge and turn the crank.
8. Keep cast iron pots rust-free; placed in clean pots, they’ll absorb moisture.
9. Remove crayon from chalk boards; place a paper towel over wax, then press a warm iron over towel.
10. Remove candle wax from carpet and upholstery. (Use the same method as above.)
11. Sprout seeds; place a few seeds between damp towels, then keep damp for two weeks.
12. Act as a cheap place mat.
13. Strain fat from broth; place a paper towel in colander and pour the broth through it.
14. Protect Christmas tree ornaments during storage.
15. Prevent bacon splatter in a microwave oven.
16. Remove residual grease from sewing machines; run the first few stitches through the towel.

Well, that’s it. Remember, these are only partial lists for each of these products.

If you have any favorite special applications for any of these items, don’t be shy! Share them with the rest of us. Keep Smiling

Hybrid vs. Non-Hybrid Garden Seeds

by Jerry Greenfield

non hybrid garden seed

How does your garden grow?

A lot of conversation has been going on about non hybrid seeds versus hybrid seeds lately , so I thought I would delve into this debate a bit more. Obviously, everything I have to say is based on my own experiences and my own conclusions, but there are definitely some serious scientific facts involved in my conclusions. I encourage all of you to do your own research and experiments to come up with your own views on heirloom versus hybrid.

In my experience, I have had much better results when gardening with non-hybrid seeds. Hybrid seeds, because they have been artificially pollinated to produce certain characteristics, do not save well. The second generation of seeds will not produce a copy of the first generation seed, and most of the time, the seeds are sterile anyways, which means little to nothing will grow.

Because of this, anyone from your simple hobby gardener, all the way up to your professional farmers who have thousands of acres of farmland, must buy new seed every year to plant. In my opinion, it’s a vicious cycle. It just seems like taking one step forward and two steps back: You get one generation of plants with the desired characteristics, but then you cannot save the seeds for the next generation and you have to buy all new seeds to plant the following year.

So, although you may get a higher yield with hybrid seeds (or they may grow faster, or bigger, or whatever), growing with hybrid seeds ends up costing you much more in the long run because you have to keep buying new seed every year. It just seems to make more sense to me to be happy with what nature gives you in the non-hybrid seed (heirloom seed) and to be able to save these seeds year after year.

In addition, let’s also take into account that hybrid seeds are not natural. I am a strong believer that nature is the way it is because it’s supposed to be that way! Heirloom equals natural. Heirloom seeds have been the way of nature since the beginning of time. Why, why, why do we (humans) always insist on messing with nature? Can’t we just be satisfied with what it provides us and leave it at that?

Sorry, I am getting a bit heated! Let me take a deep breath and calm down…better. As I stated above, my views on hybrid seeds are definitely based on my own experiences, but as a survival gardener who has gardened for decades, and always done it naturally, I think I can contribute to the debate with some expertise.

You can agree with me or disagree with me—it’s up to you—but whatever side of the fence you land on, base that decision on your own conclusions. Which means, do your own research, conduct your own experiments, and stick to your seeds!

Safe Survival Canning

This is a guest post by Bonnie of Opportunity Farm Eastern WA

As a long-time Master Food Preserver, I applaud the recent interest in canning for long-term survival. However, I am appalled at the recklessness of those who think that anything that is commercially canned can be safely canned at home.

People who post instructions on-line for the home canning of bacon, butter, milk, lard, pickled eggs, refried beans, pumpkin puree, bread, and cake, without warnings about possible problems, are doing their readers a grave disservice. Home canned food that could make family members ill or even kill them is not a good survival tactic.

Many of those people say their methods are safe because, after all, they’re alive, aren’t they? It’s good to remember this truism: Past performance does not guarantee future results.

But, people ask, why are commercial canners able to safely can these foods but I can’t?

The answer to that is equipment. At home, we can’t do things with the rapidity of the commercial canneries; the food can cool too much. We also can’t get consistently high temperatures for many foods, especially the dense ones. And in spite of the faster processing, even commercially canned foods can still end up contaminated with botulism toxin.

Botulism toxin thrives in moist, airless, low-acid environments. The only way to kill the botulism spores while canning is to heat the contents of the jars to 240 degrees F. Because water boils at 212 degrees F. at sea level, and never gets any hotter, pressure canning with steam is a must. Steam under pressure can bring the temperature of the food in the jar up to 240 degrees.

Thick foods, such as refried beans, pumpkin puree, and even pickled eggs, are too dense to safely can at home. It’s easy to can beans and pumpkin chunks safely. They need only to be mashed when you are ready to use them.

Vegetables that are pickled in the modern way with vinegar, as opposed to fermentation, should be briefly processed in a water bath canner, or stored in the refrigerator. Pickled eggs should always be stored in the refrigerator. Neither water bath nor pressure canning pickled eggs are solutions. There are no tested recipes for canning pickled eggs.

Are modern pickled eggs any different than the pickled eggs that were a feature of old saloons? Not substantially. The main difference is that the saloon patrons usually ate those eggs within a few days. We are so used to the idea of keeping food around at room temperature that we forget how many of those foods are kept “fresh” with chemical food preservatives.

High-fat foods such as bacon, butter, and lard pose a different problem. The fat can protect botulism bacteria from being killed by the high heat of a pressure canner. The bacteria can then be shocked by the heat into producing the botulism toxin.

Canned cakes are perennial favorites of the “anything can be canned” bunch. Not only do they meet the botulism criteria of being moist, low acid, and airless, the center of the cake just doesn’t get hot enough to kill botulism. It doesn’t matter if the oven temperature is 350 degrees; the internal temperature will not get anywhere near 240 degrees.

The same holds true for bread. It’s much better to bake your cakes and breads fresh rather than depend on dubious canned baked goods. (I am not referring to fruit cakes that are sold in decorative tins. Those are preserved with alcohol, not canning.) If you feel you must preserve baked goods for the long term, put them in the freezer.

There are some foods that seem like they should be safe to can, but are not recommended. Milk is one of these. It is not dense, nor is it high in fat, but there are no official guidelines for canning milk at home. It might be perfectly safe, but no one really knows. It is incredibly expensive to test canning recipes and apparently no one has ponied up the money to pay for the testing.

A good rule of thumb is if there are no recipes available in trusted canning guides, then either no tests have been done, or it has been tested and found unsafe. Either way, it is safer to preserve the food some other way, use it fresh, buy a commercially canned product, or do without.

Another common error is to think that if the lid is sealed, that is, being held down by the vacuum in the jar, then all is good. That is true as far as mold and other bacteria go. But remember, botulism likes a vacuum. It is odorless, tasteless, and invisible. Correct canning procedures are the only guarantee that your home canned foods will be safe. Make sure you follow ALL the instructions for canning, including adjusting time or pressure for your elevation.

In spite of being a common bacteria, botulism poisoning is extremely rare. The main danger with the botulism toxin is that it damages nerves. In fact, the military considers it to be a biological weapon. There is no cure. If the anti-toxin is taken soon enough, the damage can be halted, but never reversed. The nerve damage causes severe health problems and can shorten one’s life.

Does this mean that home canned food is teeming with botulism? Not at all. Safely canning food at home is a simple matter. Just follow the instructions and recipes that can be found in canning guides such as the Ball Blue Book and So Easy to Preserve, published by the Cooperative Extension/The University of Georgia. The Extension website – National Center for Home Food Preservation – is www.uga.edu/nchfp. It’s loaded with safe recipes. Handouts from your state Extension office are usually available for free or a small fee.

If you have questions about food preservation, Extension employees can usually get you in touch with a Master Food Preserver.

Note M.D. adds – I reccomend the” Ball Complete Book of Home Preserving“, it’s easy to understand with good illustrations and tasty recipes… 

Agree, disagree have anything to add please do so in the comments below…

It’s a Sad Day

As you know my girlfriends father has battled cancer for the past several months – this afternoon he lost that battle. He is now at rest and will have to suffer no more. He was a good man and will be missed by many – God rest his soul. Thank you all for your prayers.