This was primarily a learning and buying week on our survival homesteading retreat. I went to the annual library sale in my home county with my mother, like I do every year..and struck gold! We always make an afternoon of the annual event held during a local festival.
You can buy a canvas tote bag for $4 (was only $3 until this year when there were small and large bags offered) and fill it up with as many books that will fit. I am an excellent bargain finder and sack filler. I came home with 209 books, most of them hardbacks, for what amounted to
Only $.11 per book!
Our prepper library has expanded once again! I love digging through the tables filled with gardening books almost as much as I love diving into the children’s book tables.
The flip books on the bottom are awesome for identification, use, and control purposes. They are printed on a thick and coated paper so they should be extremely durable and great quick reference guides for many years to come.
Several years ago Bobby wanted me to try to find a set of almanacs. I not only found a full set at the library sale, but also found a junior set and a science almanac set designed for school library and student use. They kind library ladies who so did not want to pack those sets of heavy books back inside the library and upstairs to the storage area, let me have each set for the cost of one bag of books.
This year I found a car repair manual for Bobby. It was for older vehicles, but we have a lot of those in our survival group. Apparently Chilton’s is a prime mechanic’s manual type. My beloved was very happy with my $.11 purchase!
Here is a glimpse of the book bags I filled this year. Quite a few of the books and one sack were sent next door to our daughter’s cabin. You can’t see one of the sacks in the photo because it is on the bottom back. In all, I bought five large bags and one small bag.
Our new dehydrator arrived. I spent several hours researching and trying to make a decision about what one to buy. My Bobby said to go ahead and order the Excalibur one, but we have really had great luck with the Nesco brand, they are less expensive, and made in America.
I knew I wanted a square tray one this go round. They are easier to fit a lot of different types of food on, as opposed to the round trays. This Nesco dehydrator holds 40 percent more food than our older round tray version. This machine has a 700 watt motor, our last one had a 600 watt motor, so an upgrade on power and enhanced drying time.
Many purchasers also maintained there as no need to rotate trays during the drying process, as often helps the processing of any type of food when using more than four trays – at least in my past experience.
Folks who reviewed it after purchasing raved on an on about its incredible ability to make jerky. We almost always use the smokers to make jerky, but am thrilled to know the new dehydrator can accomplish the task so well, also. The only negative aspects of the machine noted in the 200 or so reviews I read while comparing brands, stated it lacked an on and off button or timer like the Excalibur. Neither of our old dehydrators had these extra features, so that didn’t bother me any.
One reviewer stated her disappointment about dehydrating herbs in the machine. She was drying basil and said the machine just did not get the herb leaves crisp and dry on the recommended setting, which was lower than what she had typically used. Even when she turned the heat up to her typical setting, the woman stated she still had to finish off the herbs in her oven. That review did give me pause, because I dry a lot of herbs when making natural home remedies. I often mix up medicines and turn them into gel capsules using the cool little manual machine Bobby surprised me with. He is such a wonderful hubby – it is our wedding anniversary as I am writing this – work now for both of us then fun with adult beverages while riding our trails in the side-by-side later.
I have not dried any herbs in the new Nesco dehydrator yet, but I plan on doing so over the weekend. I did dry some corn tassels for a wreath homemade gift project and was quite pleased with the results.
My other prepping purchase this week were three sets of indoor-outdoor herb planters. I wanted to expand our indoor medicinal and edible growing over the fall and winter. I typically grow lettuce, onions, and garlic inside. Well, I was careful to read the dimensions of the pots before ordering, but apparently the dimensions noted were for the entire tier (three tiered planters) and not the pots on each tier. They are nice planters, but I think I overpaid for them by about $5 per set.
Our Buckeye chicks are thriving and moved outside today. Which is a very good thing because one little one (I am sure it isa future rooster) is pecking above and below the eyes of all the other chicks. I had to separate him several times and was on the verge of putting him down, but so did not want to do that because they are a threatened heritage breed of chickens.
Buckeye chickens do not do well in confinement, which is why they almost disappeared when factory farms began taking over the agriculture industry in the United States. Now that the chicks are in their permanent home outside and have a lot more space to roam and plenty of boredom busters in their run, everyone is getting along famously.
Ok, Pack, I am only going to pose two questions to you this week. Afterall, it is my anniversary so I would like to put the laptop away and get a shower before my Bobby gets home.
What kind of dehydrator do you have and what are its pros and cons?
Our daughter is going to put a wood burner insert into their fireplace. I think this is a superb idea, fireplaces are pretty, but do not generate or circulate heat the way a wood burner does. But, I have exactly no knowledge about these types of inserts. If any of you do, I would appreciate an opinion.
She has her choices narrowed down to two. A refractory wood burning fireplace insert as shown below, is one of her choices.
Her second possibility is a wood burning fireplace insert with cast iron walls, Both photos used with courtesy of WoodCookStove.com
I am eagerly looking forward to hearing how y’all prepped this week!