Hello Pack. I am hoping spring is finally going to show up. This constant on and off snow and rain and ever fluctuating temperatures is beyond frustrating – and also perfect cold weather. Days on the calendar keep ticking away toward spring, but warm weather and gardening season seem to still be quite elusive. I have seeds that are thriving and want to be relocated outdoors, but old man winter simply refused to go away.
Usually, spring brings flooding, and it likely will. But, it seems we have been under a flood watch since last October, so bracing for more of the same doesn’t seem as bad this year. We have spent hours graphing out our outdoor prepping plans and survival homestead improvements for the year, and I am just so anxious to get started on them.
On the bright side, the long winter has given us more time for intellectual or educational preps. Catching up on reading and trying out new home remedy mixtures and enhancing our tool skillset even further working on the garage – with salamander heated fueled up and running most days, was time well spent.
Our annual tree tapping has been underway for a while now, and showing good results so far. This year we added these maple tapping pouches to our supplies and really like them. They are far more durable than I thought they would be, which is a huge plus. The pouches attach onto the silver bar style hardware and prevent rain or debris from getting into the sap far better than any store-bought of homemade catchment system we have used in the past. We will definitely be purchasing more of them for next year.
We tap maple trees, but not only maple trees. My favorite non-maple tree to tap is birch. I love the sweet butterscotch taste of the syrup the sap from those trees, make. None of our trees offer as much sap or produce it so quickly as the maple, but they do create some tasty syrup.
I hit a meat sale at the Piggly Wiggly this week and scored some great deals. The Piggly Wiggly replaced another grocery store in the next county about a year ago, and ever since I always make a point of trying to hit their meat sale and stock up.
The pork shoulder roast in my cast weighed about 10 pounds and I only paid about $9 for it. I also went back and got another one that was a little more than double the weight for $20. The big ham was only $7, so that was a great deal too. The cans of chicken were for me to dehydrate and combine them with some other solid ingredients to create a shelf stable soup or casserole mix.
My only other preps this week were working on Waldorf dolls for our youngest granddaughters. I have wanted to make them for two years but was intimidated by the soft sculpture and head making process. Every doll making blog goes on and on about how hard the heads are to make, and I found it not difficult to get them as hard as a rock and shaped properly – it takes an hour per head, but it is not too complicated a process for a novice to complete.
The doll skin fabric that I ordered was way too light, it looked nothing like the shade on the computer screen. But as you can tell from the dark smudges on this doll that is only a head and neck, the girls love them already.
The wig making process, the second intimidating part of these classic all natural dolls that had also scared me off, was not hard – it was actually quite fun. I made the yarn curly by wrapping it around dowels and pencil and soaking it in boiling water and then baking it on low heat in the oven, before turning the strands into a wig.
Auddie (3) and Ariyah (1 ½) helped with the process all the way through so far… except for the dang eyes which is the only part of making a Waldorf doll that has caused me to curse like a sailor so far. Each girl, with varying degrees of help, hand sewed on the wig, helped stitch the mouth, and took an active part in making their own toys.
I love natural toys for a variety of reasons, but chief among them is using the project to help teach the children educational and essential skills, like sewing.
This week’s questions:
1. What is the first or most exciting outdoor prepping project you are going to embark on when spring actually arrives?
2. Do you tap trees to make syrup (or want to) and why? Please share some tips with the rest of the pack if you are an experienced syrup maker.
3. If you were given $200 to spend to stock up on groceries for a SHTF event, what would you buy and why?