What did you do to prep this week?

Hello, pack!

Before we start today, I would like to give a big shout-out and thank you to Susan B, Jana M, Eric B and Mike L for their generous donations this week via PayPal. Thank you – you all have officially grown from cubs to adults wolves…. 😉

Just in case you missed it – Amazon.com has finally caught up with the flood of orders for my new book “31 Days to Survival: A Complete Plan for Emergency Preparedness” and now have copies in stock and ready for immediate shipping. Please order while they still have the book in stock, because they do sell out rather quickly.

Okay, now let me see what did I do to prep this week?

pic of my chicken coop

Finished my new chicken coop - now all that I need to build the outside run and move my flock to the new coop.


pic out of the window of the chicken coop

This is a view of the screened in window from the inside of the coop.


pic of chicken door when closed

This is a pic of the chicken door when closed.



pic of Glock 19 Gen4

Bought this new Gen4 Glock 19... It's sweet!


pic of Blackhawk Holster

Bought this Blackhawk Serpa Concealment Holster for the Glock 19


pic of survival books

Partially organized my books this is about half of my total collection...


p.s. I hope that no one recognizes the bark on those thees behind the coop – (some of you will know what I’m talking about) :evilgrin:

What did you do to prep this week? Please let us know in the comments below. Thank you…


  1. Homeinsteader says:

    Mother Earth News (MEN) just published a new article on home canning, for those who may be interested:

    Home Canning: Putting Food By the Old-Fashioned Way

    Read more: http://www.motherearthnews.com/real-food/home-canning-putting-food-by-zm0z12jjzkon.aspx#ixzz1xspJuRMm

  2. Encourager says:

    Wolf Pack!!!! We need your help!!!!
    Argggg!!!! We have been trying since early spring to get rid of a woodchuck that has tunneled under our pole barn. It has one huge entry on one side of the barn and now TWO in our chicken run (no chickens there at present but we want to get some soon). We have:
    1. Filled in the holes with wire, rocks, mothballs, etc.
    2. Set off gas bombs in the holes (after filling the main hole in, then covering the other after setting off the gas.) Twice.
    3. Set a trap.
    4. Used a Have-a-heart trap which he gets out of within minutes. (not that we will let him loose somewhere else….38S time….)
    5. Strengthened the HAH trap bottom with steel plate; today he pushed his way out by bending the door and escaping. Of course, ate the bait.
    6. Sat and waited with gun for that stupid bugger who never showed.

    PLEASE! We are open to any and all ideas short of blowing up the barn. My hubby is becoming more and more crazy over this critter as the days go by!!

    • Jarhead 03 says:

      Encourager, reminds me of Caddyshack. May have to go with the traps that are meant for putting animals down or killing them. Maybe bait it with the same bait from the trap and lay in wait with a .22 rifle. Not sure of the surroundings and if you can pop it with a rifle or a heavy duty air rifle if you are concerned with attention.
      I’ve dispatched a few coyotes that have beat traps by baiting them in and a .22 rifle and .22 pellet rifle in and around my sisters neighborhood without no one be the wiser. Only downside is the waiting game.
      If you go with poison just make sure any pets or livestock can’t get into it. Maybe some rat poison in the bait you were using. Leave it where he gets into and see what happens. Good luck.

      • Encourager says:

        We had a friend shoot a groundhog with a 22 from about 20 feet away…and watched the bullet fall off of him. Didn’t penetrate his hide – they are tough critters! So waiting for him with the 38 special a few times but I swear he knows or has spies out. We tried the rat poison, he spread it all out, outside the hole. Thanks for the input, though! Appreciate it!!

        • Encourager says:

          I just realized I called that critter a woodchuck in my original post…sorry! Senior moment! And I had just seen that ad about the woodchucks chucking wood on TV last night…must have stuck in my brain.

          It IS a groundhog.

    • Homeinsteader says:

      Encourager — I know you are asking about woodchucks, and not moles or groundhogs, but here’s a link talking about the efficiency of a “mole plant” on getting rid of the latter; apparently, the roots give off an odor the two critters can’t stand. Wonder if it would repel woodchucks?


      I’ll keep looking, meantime…

    • One of my neighbors has a “windmill” sorta thing, but it vibrates and “clacks”, that she uses in her garden. In fact, I’ve seen several of them around out here. Here’s one on Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Chaser-Windmill-Covers-100ft-Diameter/dp/B0000AXDTQ/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1339813985&sr=8-1&keywords=gopher+windmill

    • Play Nintindo Mario Bros music into the hole. The wood chuck will commit suicide.

  3. Here’s what I would do; put up a sign advertising a wood throwing contest. First prize a 100 pound bag of Purina Woodchuck Chow. Then when they show up for the competition shoot them.

  4. Homeinsteader says:

    I did not know that woodchucks and groundhogs are one and the same! According to Cornell, they are! So, the above plant should work.


  5. Homeinsteader says:

    Here are some trapping tips:

    Wash your traps with plain old dish soap (preferably unscented) before setting them, and use latex rubber gloves to handle the traps. This way you won’t leave the suspicious smell of human behind. Groundhogs and other rodents have very sensitive noses and will be less inclined to wander into a trap if it reeks of human beings.

    Make sure to steady the trap on a flat surface or with weights to prevent it from shaking. Remember that groundhogs can weigh up to ten pounds. That’s a lot of weight for a rodent, and a trap that shakes when a groundhog enters it is more likely to snap shut before the groundhog is all the way in. Either that, or the groundhog will find the shaking suspicious and won’t enter the trap at all. Put a couple of heavy rocks or logs alongside the trap to keep it properly anchored.

    Find out what the groundhog is eating and use that as a bait. If you have a garden-feeder on your hands, make a note of what vegetables they’re really digging into, and use that as the bait for your traps. I’ve heard that groundhogs are partial to fresh alfalfa, peas, and beans.

    from: http://www.getridofthings.com/pests/rodents/get-rid-of-groundhogs.htm

    • Encourager says:

      We have trapped him numerous times, Homeinsteader. He just gets out of the trap by springing the door. Hubby is going to weld some wire ends together to make it stronger. Hopefully the next time he will stay in the trap more than 4 minutes! Either he has a lot of relatives or is confident he can spring the trap door because he keeps coming back. We catch him every few days but by the time we get out there with the gun, he is gone. We have seen him in the trap numerous times! It is 100 feet to the trap, which we place in front of one of the holes under the barn. We used cantaloupe, that was old and slimy. He loved it. So did the possum we caught in the same trap…we helped him to possum heaven. We just wanna help ol’ groundhog to his happy hunting grounds, too!!!!

      • Homeinsteader says:

        That chuck is obviously smart enough he knows that trap by now. Time to build a trap, perhaps? One he will not be familiar with – one that will hold him the first time? Just build it strong and sturdy and camouflage it very well so he thinks it’s natural habitat. More work? Yes. But then you’ll have an effective trap that will last a very long time, just in case his kin show up! Just a thought…

  6. Homeinsteader says:

    More ideas for ehow.com
    Look for an open space away from bushes, tall grass and any buildings when you plan your garden. Woodchucks avoid open spaces because of predators. Frequent the garden often especially in the afternoon, which is a popular time for woodchucks to feast.
    Place garden ornaments, pinwheels, balloons, beach balls, or shopping bags that move with the wind and make noise throughout the garden and around the perimeters. This may scare the woodchuck away.
    Try ammonia-soaked rags hanging from posts, mothballs scattered around the outside, or cayenne pepper spray throughout the garden and perimeter. Of course all of these require upkeep in order to be effective at keeping the woodchuck away.
    Spend $15 to $20 for commercial sprays to deter the woodchuck. Again, these sprays must be continuously used.
    Install a mesh wire fence, 3 to 4 feet high. Do not attach the wire to the very top of the fence posts. Woodchucks do not like unstable fence. Fold 6 to 12 inches onto the ground to discourage the woodchuck from burrowing under the fence. Fences that are 3 to 4 feet high are easy to step over, so don’t bother with a gate.

    Read more: How to Get Rid of Woodchucks in Your Garden | eHow.com http://www.ehow.com/how_2352894_rid-woodchucks-garden.html#ixzz1xun9AdKd

  7. Homeinsteader says:

    and these suggestions from wikihow could provide some serious entertainment! : )

    Harass the woodchucks to get rid of them. For harassment to be an effective means of wildlife control, it must be continuous and concentrated.

    Fillburrow holes and block any spots that give woodchucks access to their holes. You may have to refill the holes several times before woodchucks give up and move on.
    Spread thick molasses or another sticky substance around burrow entrances. Woodchucks will go to great lengths to avoid getting sticky things on their bodies. Reapply the substance after every rain.
    Set up motion-activated sprinklers that blast the groundhogs with water. Move the sprinklers around periodically so they do not learn how to avoid them.


  8. Homeinsteader says:

    This guy (who makes his living removing animals, of course) says the only way to get rid of the critter is to trap and move it)…

    The best way to handle a woodchuck problem is via trapping and removal. If you try to simply fill in their burrows, they will dig their way out. If you attempt to use a repellent, the animals will either ignore it or simply dig elsewhere. There’s really no solution outside of trapping and removal.

    Wondering how to get rid of groundhogs? There is no magic spray or device that you can use to make them go away. Some people try to sell predator urine, such as coyote or fox urine to get rid of woodchucks, but that doesn’t work. They also try to sell ultrasonic sound emitters. These devices are worthless at eliminating groundhogs. Some old wives’ tales recommend the use of mothballs or ammonia-soaked rags to make them leave, but I’ve been to countless homes where these techniques failed – biologists know that these attempts won’t work. The ONE AND ONLY WAY to take care of your problem is with trapping and removal of the animals. If you need to find a professional trapper in your hometown, just click our comprehensive list of hundreds of wildlife removal professionals, and you can have your problem quickly taken care of!

    From: http://www.aaanimalcontrol.com/professional-trapper/howtogetridofgroundhogs.htm

    Or, trap and don’t move it, but, don’t tell us about it…just sayin’

    • Encourager says:

      Oh, if we manage to ‘get rid of it’, I will be shouting from the rooftops. Funny, we have tried all the things you suggested. I think it laughs at us. We need to ask around and get a stronger trap. Will go to the Farm Museum and ask the guys tomorrow. After they are done laughing, maybe one will have one in the barn.

  9. Uncle Charlie says:

    If you want to get rid of woodchucks, eat them, They are quite tasty if cooked correctly. Lots of recipes on the internet. A 22LR or 20 gauge will usually fill the bill. Or if you don’t shoot, try an old fashioned “don’t have a heart” trap. Skinning is easier than plucking (unless you have a machine).

    • Encourager says:

      “Skinning is easier than plucking” ?????????
      Are we talking turkeys or groundhogs???? LOL!!

  10. Homeinsteader says:

    This one gets MY vote! I wonder a a chuck burger would taste? Hmmm…..

  11. Homeinsteader says:

    Sharing a post from blog “My Old Kentucky Homestead” on”

    Locally Raised Chicken

    Posted: 15 Jun 2012 02:00 PM PDT
    In my family’s continuing quest to find meats that are raised naturally and ethically, I am happy to alert fellow Lexingtonians about Clark Family Farm located off of Georgetown Rd! They raise meat chickens the way Joel Salatin (of Food Inc fame) does. That means that the chickens are in large outdoor coops that are moved EVERY DAY to fresh, green pasture for the 3-4 months of their lives. They aren’t given any hormones or antibiotics…ever. The feed they have free access contains non-GMO corn, as well! Also, the birds are processed by Marksbury Farm, a processing plant with a conscience!
    I took my son and Melissa’s son to the farm to pick up some frozen, whole birds and we really enjoyed seeing the operation! Melissa would have been proud too, as her son helped Mr. Clark round up a few escapees! He’s quite the chicken wrangler! It’s very important to me that my children have an understanding of where food comes from and an appreciation for the farmer’s hard work that produces it!

    Give them a call at 859-621-6471 and check out their Facebook page http://www.facebook.com/pages/Clark-Family-Farm/153315548051238! Their prices are very reasonable!!

    I have a 4 lb chicken roasting in the oven as we speak, and it smells delicious!! I can’t express the satisfaction that comes with feeding my family food that I know was raised naturally and with care!!



  12. Homeinsteader says:

    Bumper crop of grapes? Make raisins! Done in Phoenix:

    Raisins are dried grapes, this we know.

    Making raisins from fresh grapes involves only one small step, yet — if you’re like me — few of us have ever tried the process at home.

    This year, since we are experiencing somewhat of a bumper crop of grapes coming from our tiny backyard vineyard, the children and I decided it would be fun to give raisin-making a shot. Talking advantage of our 105+ temperatures here in Phoenix, we set out on this new discovery!

    Making Raisins

    Using a large pizza pan — a small wire cooling rack or window screen are great options too — I placed our bunches of grapes outside and let the sun’s free energy get to work!

    Approximately twice a day I’d go out and turn the bunches of grapes from side-to-side.

    Fresh grapes contain about 80% water and as you can imagine dehydrating them takes a while — like 4-5 days. But the results are so worth it…if you’re patient. These grapes in the picture above are at the end of full day in the sun. You can see that just a couple are starting to turn.

    Here we are at day 5. Now we’re talkin’! Sweet, yummy, and homemade…raisin victory 🙂

    You’ll want to dry them on intact and then remove the stems after drying before storing. I like to store them for the long-term in mylar bags or glass canning jars with an oxygen absorber.

    The quality of dried grapes — as opposed to those that commercially-prepared — is excellent! And certainly one of the best ways to preserve grapes, in my opinion. Not only is the taste AMAZING, but this is a super fun, and cheap, summer project for the children.

    from: Frugally Sustainable: http://frugallysustainable.com/2012/06/how-to-make-raisins-from-fresh-grapes/?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+FrugallySustainable+%28Frugally+Sustainable%29

    Note from Home: I would use the wonderful solar food dryer DH built for me!

  13. Mama J, I didn’t see a reply button so this is in response to your ironing comment, I guess I’m the eleventh person left in the world who still irons! I do my laundry Thursday afternoon after work and iron all of it on Saturday or Sunday. Then I’m ready for the week ahead. When I was a kid, there was no permanent press till I was maybe a teenager or so. And mama didn’t have a clothes dryer until I was nearly a teenager. So she taught us to iron early. Started out by teaching us to iron pillow cases and our everyday play clothes. So, I’m just a throw back to those days when it all had to be ironed. And for a few yars now, it has come full circle where cotton is the thing, and I just can’t wear it unironed! Lol! Can’t help it!

    • Homeinsteader says:

      DJV, I still iron everything, too. Living in the Gulf South, it’s HOT down here…we wear a lot of 100% cotton, high-cotton blends, and NEVER synthetics (too stinkin’ hot!). But all my “friends”, it seems, don’t EVER iron…at least, that’s their story…..but most of them here don’t prep…don’t home can foods…don’t grow a garden….I honestly do not know what they actually DO. Don’t think I care to know.

  14. Uncle Charlie says:

    Encourager: I thought you had chickens. I was merely commenting that it’s easier to skin a woodchuck than pluck a chicken. Woodchuck burgers are delicious by the way.

  15. Homeinsteader says:

    Good morning, Pack! Just checking to see if posts are coming through my email system….have a BLESSED day in Him!

  16. Homeinsteader says:

    Made a Sam’s (discount warehouse) run a couple of days ago; don’t have Costco here, just Sam’s. A couple of observations I’d like to share:

    1. Found the Golden Grill dehydrated hash browns – and, Pack, U R right! They are tasty! A large “carton”, 33 oz., 2.06 lbs., claims 50 one-half cup servings (pfhhht! They’ve obviously never fed MY men! anyways….) was just under $5.00; gonna have to get some small mylar bags and seal up a supply. So much more convenient than solar drying my own. Thanks for tip, all!

    2. Now, I’m not a huge fan of white rice because it has so little nutritional value by itself (most of the nutritional value has been stripped away) but it DOES make a cheap and effective storage food item, in my estimation. Cook you up some beans, throw in favorite flavorings and a little meat, serve it over white rice, and it’s good and much more nutritious! Living in LA for years, white rice is a staple in the Creole-based diet, but, then, they grow their own. White rice also makes a fine long-term SHTF food supply.

    White rice will store longer than brown rice or wild rice, and I have some store of all.

    That said, I was surprised to see that a 50-lb bag of white rice at Sam’s HAS DROPPED IN PRICE by over $2.00 in the past month or so. Don’t know if that’s true in your area, but it’s true in MS. This is AR grown rice; always happy to support a sister state. But – be forewarned – 3 months (or less) from now, I believe the price will be skyrocketed. That will take us into early fall, if takes that long.

    Grab those 50-lb bags of rice while they’re still about $15.00 per 50 lb bag. Won’t be much longer. How do I know? I just know. Don’t wish to go into a prophetic teaching here and now. JUST A HEADS UP ON THE PRICE WHILE YOU CAN.

  17. Homeinsteader says:

    Will Toledo, Ohio Be The First Major American City To Be Owned By China?

    It has been said that there are two ways to conquer and enslave a nation. One way is by using the sword, and the other is by using debt. Fortunately, America is not in danger of being conquered by the sword right now, but America is being conquered by debt. The borrower is the servant of the lender, and today we owe China more than a trillion dollars. By running a gigantic trade deficit with us, China has been able to become incredibly wealthy. We have begged them to lend us back some of the money that we have sent them and this has made them even wealthier. Now China is gobbling up U.S. real estate and U.S. assets at an astounding pace. In fact, some cities are in danger of becoming completely dominated by Chinese ownership. One of those cities is Toledo, Ohio. In many “rust belt” areas, real estate can be had for a song, and the Chinese are taking full advantage of this. America was once the wealthiest nation on earth, but now we are drowning in debt and we are being sold off in chunks to the highest bidder. Is this the legacy that we are going to leave for future generations?

    According to a recent Fortune article, Chinese investors have been very busy purchasing distressed commercial real estate in Toledo lately….

    In March 2011, Chinese investors paid $2.15 million cash for a restaurant complex on the Maumee River in Toledo, Ohio. Soon they put down another $3.8 million on 69 acres of newly decontaminated land in the city’s Marina District, promising to invest $200 million in a new residential-commercial development. That September, another Chinese firm spent $3 million for an aging hotel across a nearby bridge with a view of the minor league ballpark.

    Toledo is being promoted to Chinese investors as a “5-star logistics region”. From Toledo it is very easy to get to Chicago, Detroit, Cleveland, Pittsburgh, Columbus and Indianapolis.

    With a population of 287,000, Toledo is only the fourth largest city in Ohio, but it lies at the junction of two important highways — I-75 and I-80/90. “My vision is to make Toledo a true international city,” Toledo’s Mayor Mike Bell told the Toledo Blade.

    For some reason the Chinese seem to be very interested in that area of the country. Last month, I wrote about how one Chinese group plans to develop a 200 acre “China city” just 40 minutes away from Toledo….

    A Chinese group known as “Sino-Michigan Properties LLC” has bought up 200 acres of land near the town of Milan, Michigan. Their plan is to construct a “China City” with artificial lakes, a Chinese cultural center and hundreds of housing units for Chinese citizens. Essentially, it would be a little slice of communist China dropped right into the heartland of America. This “China City” would be located about 40 minutes from both Detroit and Toledo, and it would be marketed to Chinese business people that want to start businesses in the United States.

    But it is not just the rust belt that is being bought up by the Chinese. A recent Forbes article documented several of the huge real estate deals that the Chinese are doing in New York right now….

    According to a recent report in the New York Times, investors from China are “snapping up luxury apartments” and are planning to spend hundreds of millions of dollars on commercial and residential projects like Atlantic Yards in Brooklyn. Chinese companies also have signed major leases at the Empire State Building and at 1 World Trade Center, the report said.

    In addition to real estate, the Chinese are also buying up businesses and natural resources all over the United States.

    For example, the Dalian Wanda Group recently bought U.S. movie theater chain AMC Entertainment for 2.6 billion dollars.

    Also, the Obama administration has been allowing companies owned by the Chinese government to gobble up U.S. oil and gas deposits worth billions of dollars.

    On top of all that, the Federal Reserve recently announced that it will now allow Chinese banks to start buying up American banks.

    So how in the world did we come to be so completely and totally dominated by China?

    Well, the key to all of this is the trade deficit.

    Most Americans can’t even tell you what a trade deficit is, but it is at the very heart of our economic problems.

    Basically, we buy far, far more from other countries than they buy from us.

    Most Americans don’t realize this, but the truth is that the United States has a trade imbalance that is more than 5 times larger than any other nation on earth has.

    Overall, the U.S. has run a trade deficit of more than 8 trillion dollars with the rest of the globe since 1975.

    If you go into a Wal-Mart of a dollar store today and you start looking at product labels, you will notice that hundreds of products say “made in China” and very few of them say that they were made in this country.

    Every single month, China sends us gigantic mountains of plastic crap to sell in our stores and we send them gigantic mountains of our money.

    The U.S. trade deficit with China during 2011 was $295.4 billion. That was the largest trade deficit that one country has had with another country in the history of the planet.

    Sadly, so far our trade deficit with China in 2012 is about 12 percent larger than it was last year.

    So things are getting even worse.

    To get an idea of how far things have come, let us take a look back at the 1980s for a moment.

    Read the rest of the article here: (you REALLY want to read this!)

  18. Homeinsteader says:

    Dr. Prepper – any way to make a donation without using Paypal? Paypal keeps a % of the funds, AND, they are anti-Christian, which is a problem for me.

  19. Homeinsteader says:

    WWIII on the horizon? I would say, “yes”. (–Home)

    From: Jerry Golden at “The Golden Report”

    For any who may not know, Jerry Golden is a Messianic Jew who has lived in Israel and worked in it (missions field: returning Jews worldwide to the homeland) for many, many years. His son is currently on active duty in the IDF. — Home

    It is my opinion that he absolutely DOES know what’s going on in the world stage of events.
    21 June 2012

    WWIII on the Horizon

    We here in Israel find ourselves caught between several evil forces – all of them Islamic. Our latest threat is now coming from Egypt’s Sinai Desert where Hamas and other Islamic terrorists are pouring out of Gaza into the Sinai and launching missiles into Israel and killing Israelis. Israel does not have peace treaties with either Lebanon or Syria and can therefore retaliate against them with military force. This is not the case with Egypt which has a current peace treaty with Israel. To send the IDF into Egyptian territory would deal a fatal blow to that rapidly chilling agreement.

    When the riots began in Egypt in the so-called Arab Spring the gates flew open between Egypt and Gaza and weapons of all kinds began to flow into Gaza. Al-Qaida and other militant Islamic groups begin to pour in as well. At the same time al-Qaida began building terrorist camps throughout the Sinai Desert with no resistance from the Egyptian military.

    So, if it wasn’t already bad enough with Hamas in Gaza, Hezbollah in Lebanon, and Assad in Syria threatening to unleash missiles with chemical warheads into Israeli cities – now we have the al-Qaida organization building military bases in the Sinai.

    But what really looks like the start of World War Three are the planned war games in Syria along with Russia, Iran and China. For those who are aware of biblical prophecy they would know what this looks like. To read more on this CLICK. here

    This summer is heating up in more ways than just the sunshine, and it seems that the Israeli government is deliberately trying to keep a low profile in its reporting to the Israeli people.

    (see the rest of the article at the link–Home)

  20. Homeinsteader says:



    “A new chart, set to be released later today by the minority office of the Senate Budget Committee, finds that, in the next five years, ‘U.S. Per Person Debt To Increase 7 Times Faster Than Italian Debt,’” reports the Weekly Standard. “According to the chart, which is based on numbers calculated by the International Monetary Fund, U.S. per person debt is currently $52,900, while Italy’s per person debt is $41,200. In five years, America’s is projected to be $67,500, and Italy’s $43,200. The chart stipulates that these figures are based on “General government (federal, state, and local) gross debt per person in nominal U.S. dollars as projected by the IMF. These alarming numbers come at a time when Europe is trying to figure out how to bailout Italy. ‘Rising Italian borrowing costs mean analysts expect the Treasury to continue to skew issuance towards the short end of the curve, while relying heavily on domestic demand,’ Reuters reports.”

    (Go to the link to read the rest; — Home)

  21. Homeinsteader says:

    Dr Prepper: That is one beautiful coop! Love it! Job well done.

  22. Homeinsteader says:


    Appalling Waste Revealed As Obama Spends $9 Billion To Create 910 ‘Green’ Jobs

    The Obama administration distributed $9 billion in economic “stimulus” funds to solar and wind projects in 2009-11 that created, as the end result, 910 “direct” jobs — annual operation and maintenance positions — meaning that it cost about $9.8 million to establish each of those long-term jobs.

  23. Homeinsteader says:

    It’s sun season! Yes, you need 15 minutes a day in direct sunlight in order for your body to produce essential Vitamin D, the most healthy and holistic way possible!

    And then….

    Here’s a recipe and info on natural sunscreen you can make from “Frugally Sustainable”: http://frugallysustainable.com/2012/03/a-recipe-for-natural-homemade-sunscreen/

    I bought PURE, 100% ORGANIC WEST AFRICAN SHEA BUTTER from an Amazon-linked source at a super price. I chose my supplier carefully: daves treasures of san jose ca (amazon.com seller). I was an amazing price, particularly considering what it is, and the price you pay at the local whole foods co-op (about 10x as $$$). I would leave out the essential oils (optional). I like “fragrance free”, personally.

    Ingredients that Naturally Protect Us from the Sun

    There are natural ingredients, some may be found in our kitchens, that work to protect us from over exposure to the sun. Many are oils that contain SPF properties such as:

    Raspberry Seed Oil. The highest of all natural ingredients, contains an estimated SPF of 30-50.
    Shea Butter. An excellent skin protectant with an SPF of approximately 6-10.
    Carrot Seed Oil. Carrot seed oil is an essential oil and has been estimated to contain SPF levels of 30.
    Wheat Germ Oil. While super nourishing for the skin, it too possesses a natural SPF of 20.
    Sesame oil, Coconut Oil, Hemp oil, Avocado oil, Soybean, and Peanut Oil. All contain SPF levels between 4-10.

    However, none of these ingredients are necessarily adequate on their own to provide us protection for an all day experience…say, out on the lake.

    In order to make your own sunscreen you really should add the natural mineral zinc oxide (and possibly titanium oxide) to your recipe. This will give you real power to reflect the sun’s ray, with minimal negative effects.

    The Recipe

    Customize this recipe based on your budget and what you have available.

    -1 ounce oil blend (use any combination of the oils listed above)
    -1 ounce beeswax (adds waterproof properties)
    -1 ounce butter blend (i.e. Shea butter, mango butter, or cocoa butter)
    -1 teaspoon vitamin E oil
    -0.36 ounces zinc oxide powder
    -30 drops essential oils, optional


    1. Gather ingredients and kitchen tools. Note: Many of the oils listed above can be found in the grocery store or health food store. I love the quality and cosmetic properties of the oils, essential oils, and butters available from Mountain Rose Herbs. They are my source for these things. Find beeswax here or search for a local source by clicking here.

    2. In a double boiler, over low heat, melt the oils, beeswax, and butters.

    3. Remove from heat and allow to cool slightly prior to adding the vitamin E oil, zinc oxide powder, and essential oils. Note: Wear a mask when working with zinc oxide. Although it has not been proven harmful when used topically, inhaling the substance can be dangerous.

    4. Stir until zinc oxide is dissolved. Note: Purchase zinc oxide powder here.

    5. Pour into a push-up or roll-up dispenser. This recipe will produce a product similar to a lotion bar or sunscreen stick. You could easily clean out and re-purpose a used deodorant or lip balm container. But, if you want to buy a new one…I love these containers.

    6. Allow to cool and harden on the counter overnight and then you’re good to go! During times of heavy sun and swim exposure be sure to reapply often for the best coverage.


    -This recipe contains zinc oxide at 12% which gives it an SPF of around 10-12 (note: this has not been approved or tested). See this awesome chart to reduce or increase the amount of zinc oxide based on your family’s needs. Have a question about it? Ask it in the comments and we’ll figure it out together 🙂

    -Want to reduce your cost of the products used to make this recipe? Call together a group of like-minded friends, ask them if they are interested in making this recipe with you, and split the costs!

    -Beneficial, sun protecting essential oils include lavender, myrrh, carrot seed oil, and peppermint. Read more here…

    -Want to stick your favorite brand of sunscreen? Don’t feel bad about that! There are a few really good companies out there working hard to provide safe and effective products. Go to EWG’s website to check your commercial sunscreen’s level of chemical contaminants by clicking this link.

    -Don’t shun the sun completely! Our fear of the sun has precipitated a societal vitamin D deficiency that is unfortunately taking us by storm — potentially producing an increase rate of cancers, autism, asthma, heart disease, and mental illness, just to name a few.

    -This is the recipe that I have used for my family here in the Arizona desert for years with great results. However, I can not guarantee that yours will be the same experience because it has not been tested in an FDA approved lab. In other words, by sharing this recipe with you, I hope you understand that I will not be held responsible for any adverse reactions, sunburns, or skin cancers.

    -Looking for products mentioned in this post? Mountain Rose Herbs is my go-to for all my oil, moisturizing butters, and essential oil needs! Find beeswax here.

  24. Homeinsteader says:

    FULL fat dressings are better for us than low fat dressings? NOW they tell us! (And butter is healthier than margarine, in case you didn’t get that memo, either!)


    Full-Fat Salad Dressing Better for You

    Thursday, June 21, 2012 7:13 AM

    A new study suggests that choosing a fat-free dressing for your salad may not be the healthiest option after all.

    While vinaigrettes may be the better option when it comes to reducing caloric intake, researchers from Purdue University in Indiana have found that lighter dressings may limit the health benefits of vitamins and nutrients from the salad, particularly carotenoids. Plant-based carotenoids have been shown to reduce the risk of chronic illnesses like cancer and cardiovascular disease and act as antioxidants.

    The reason? A dressing’s fat content.

    “Overall, pairing with fat matters. You can absorb significant amounts of carotenoids with saturated or polyunsaturated fats at low levels, but you would see more carotenoid absorption as you increase the amounts of those fats on a salad,” said co-author Mario Ferruzzi in a statement.

    For their study, published in the journal Molecular Nutrition & Food Research, scientists fed 29 people salads topped with three types of dressings: a butter-based dressing full of saturated fats; a dressing made with canola oil, or monounsaturated fat; and corn oil with polyunsaturated fats.

    What they found was that the absorption rate of carotenoids was most dependent on the fat content of the dressing, particularly with the polyunsaturated sauce: the more fat on the salad, the more carotenoids subjects absorbed.

    If you want to maximize the health benefits and vitamin absorption of your veggies, scientists suggest opting for canola and olive oil-based dressings which allowed participants to absorb carotenoids at both low and high fat levels.

    A 2004 study from Iowa State University also found that people absorb more carotenoids from vegetables when paired with full-fat dressings compared to low-fat or fat-free versions.

  25. Homeinsteader says:

    CHART OF THE DAY: The Philly Fed Collapse

    Read more: http://www.businessinsider.com/chart-of-the-day-philly-fed-manufacturing-index-2012-6#ixzz1ySx5fAEp


    Ratings agency Moody’s has begun its much anticipated downgrade of the U.S., Canadian, and European banking sectors.

    Read more: http://www.businessinsider.com/downgrade-watch-five-us-banks-will-be-hit-in-moodys-cuts-2012-6#ixzz1ySxX8QeP


    Greenspan: US Economy Remains ‘Very Sluggish

    BoA’s Harris: Fiscal Cliff Is Closer Than Many Think

    The so-called “fiscal cliff” looming at the start of 2013 with planned tax increases and spending cuts may begin to push the U.S. into a recession as early as the second half of this year, Bank of America’s top U.S. economist Ethan Harris tells Fortune.

    Last month the Congressional Budget Office warned the fiscal cliff could cause GDP to shrink by 1.3 percent in the first half of 2013, even as many economists are betting the politicians in Washington will cut a deal to avert the worst effects of the measures.

    Harris says the fiscal cliff will begin to make itself felt long before it actually takes effect. Corporate earnings will slow in the second half and job growth may drop to nothing by October, pushing the United States towards the brink of another recession.

    The economy is already weakening. GDP growth slowed to 1.9 percent in the first quarter from 3.1 percent in the last three months of 2011, according to recent government data.

  26. Homeinsteader says:

    Hey, Pack! I need some guidance….

    subject: EMP threat to generators

    DH and I are having a “discussion”, and neither of us truly knows the what we’re talking about. We are going to purchase another gen for use with our TT at BOL. I finally convinced DH NOT to bring in electric, even though we could (for several hundred dollars – and then we get to pay a monthly bill – woo-hoo!). Anyways…got him to back down on the electric run-in; we’re going to start with a gen and then work our way into solar.

    After reading, “One Second After”, I’m wondering….if we were to be hit with an EMP (I’m now more concerned about the possibility than I was, for sure!), if the gen is not running, would an EMP still take it out? He says “no”, but, for some reason, I thought it would.

    What say ye all?

  27. Homeinsteader says:

    Foraging: How to Make Your Own Gluten-Free Mesquite Pod Flour
    From: Frugally Sustainable Blog

    This time of year, if you live anywhere in the Southwestern part of the US from Southern Kansas down through Texas and over to Southern California, you may begin to notice your local mesquite trees heavy laden with fruit that strongly resembles a bean pod or some type of legume.
    Not only are these mesquite pods edible, but their deliciously sweet, nutty flavor is a wonderful addition to all sorts of baked goods, smoothies, milks, raw food meals, and gravies. Additionally they are highly nutritious, containing significant amounts of protein, fiber, and minerals — not to mention mesquite flour is gluten-free!
    The pods are usually ready to harvest mid-July through September, however earlier this week we had some very high winds in the desert near my home which knocked many of the pods to the ground.
    I couldn’t just leave them lying there…the creative forager in me was ignited!
    Note: It’s best to harvest from the tree, not the ground, due to potential infestation of the pod by insects. But I felt comfortable harvesting the pods because I knew they had only been there a day or two. And as always when foraging wild edibles be sure to leave plenty for the birds and wildlife, we share it with them too
    History of the Mesquite
    Indigenous peoples to this region of the country used the mesquite tree for everything, not only as a food source! From soothing the digestive system to use as an anti-fungal and antibiotic to making bows, arrows, and sewing needles with the wood from the tree…the mesquite was a primary means for survival.
    Historically the dried pods and seeds were milled (ground into flour) using a stone. This was done prior to mixing with water and forming it into a cake for consumption.
    One of the greatest benefits of foraging, in my opinion, is the reconnection made to the land and it’s history — and to reviving tradition.
    Making Mesquite Flour ~ A Picture Tutorial
    Gather the Supplies
    -Mesquite pods
    -A tool for grinding
    • Vitamix blender
    • Standard blender
    • Cheap electric coffee grinder
    -Fine mesh sieve or sifter
    -Glass jar for storage
    1. The mesquite pods should be completely dehydrated prior to grinding into flour. Mine were still a bit “green” so I set them in the solar oven for a few hours until they were dried and light tan in color. Note: This can also be done in an oven or dehydrator set to a low setting of 110 or 150 degrees Fahrenheit. The sun is also a brilliant option.
    2. Break the pods into small 1-2 inch pieces and place them into a blender (I use my vitamix for this and lots of other raw food processing). Note: You can also use a cheapo coffee grinder. Just be sure that it’s one used only for this purpose and not coffee…otherwise your flour will end up tasting like coffee!
    3. This grinding will produce a flour that quite “chunky” and still contains pieces of whole pod and seed.
    4. Therefore, sifting is necessary to extract the fine flour. Continue to re-blend the pod and seed pieces until all is milled into powder form. Note: Feel free to compost (or use them to make mesquite milk) those pieces that just won’t grind up. I always have some that resist
    5. You should begin to smell the lovely sweet, nutty scent of the mesquite! At this point I recommend that you taste it…ideas about how you can add this power flour to your cooking and baking life are sure to fill the creative spaces of your mind. Be aware, as with most gluten-free flours, a little bit of mesquite goes a long way. Note: I like to start with substituting 1 tablespoon of mesquite flour per 1 cup of regular flour in a variety of recipes. Adding a tablespoon to your green smoothie is also an excellent way to incorporate it into your diet. Beyond that…this has many wonderful uses for the raw foodie.
    6. Keep stored in a glass jar. A cool, dark place is ideal. The flour should stay fresh for up to 6 months.

    See the pictures and/or get more info at the link. http://frugallysustainable.com/2012/06/foraging-how-to-make-your-own-gluten-free-mesquite-pod-flour/?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+FrugallySustainable+%28Frugally+Sustainable%29