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Thursday, February 5, 2009

Survival & Your Family–Home Schooling Continues to Grow

Perhaps you’ve seen or heard headlines in recent months that home schooling is growing in popularity. J. Michael Smith, president of Home School Legal Defense Association (HSLDA), wrote an op ed piece featured in the Feb. 2, ’09 “Washington Times” which compiles the data concisely and meaningfully.

Smith notes that the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), released a study on home schooling demographics based in information gathered in 2007. About 1.5 million children are home schooled in the U.S., up from 1.1 million in 2003. This is about 2.9% of the school age population. That number seems small, but it’s up 74% over 1999 statistics. I’d say that’s rapid growth.

About 88% of parents say they home school because of concerns over school environment. About 83% of parents are concerned about moral and religious instruction. Some 73% are concerned with academic instruction in schools. Other concerns parents have include family time, finances, travel and distance.

Smith says home schooling will continue to grow as long as there’s no change in the public schools, and favorable change isn’t too likely. It’s well known that academic standards are high with home schoolers performing very well on achievement tests. Home schooling is easier these days with so much material available. Computers, the Internet, and instruction by DVD and satellite has encouraged home schooling, too. Local support groups offer a varying array of extracurricular activities, including drama, band and sports.

The home schooling movement has been around for more than 25 years and has become more diversified. Almost everyone knows at least one home schooling family. In fact, some home schoolers have made names for themselves in recent times. For example, Smith points out that Heisman Trophy winner Tim Tebow was homeschooled until he entered college.

Smith says responsible parents want their children to succeed, and home schooling shows home schooling families are making the right choice. I certainly agree with that assessment.

If you’re considering home schooling or need extra resources for your family’s home schooling efforts, take a look at HSLDA’s web site at hslda.org. You can read Smith’s “Washington Times” article by clicking here. Also, take a look at a articles previously featured on this blog about the benefits of home schooling and a few tips.

Think survival. Break away from the public school system and teach your children at home.

Original: http://destinysurvival.com/2009/02/06/survival-your-family-home-schooling-continues-to-grow/

Inventory Check - Soap

How much soap do you have? Body/bath, hand, dish, laundry, house, etc.... take a look through your home and your stored supplies. Do you have enough if can't buy more for a year? Do you know what you would do if you ran out?

What about if you didn't have running water or electricity to use that soap? Have you figured out an alternative to getting clean? (We're storing baby wipes.) What about cleaning your dishes and clothes - do you have alternative methods for cleaning those? And your house....We recently came across a dishwasher that doesn't use electricity and is mounted to your faucet.... but we couldn't use that if we didn't have well water and enough force to get the water up and through.

For cleaning clothes, we bought a wonder-washer - it's just a small barrell that has a handle to turn it. It doesn't take a lot of clothes at a time, but certainly works very well.

Most things can be cleaned well with vinegar and baking soda. And once you run out of baking soda, vinegar does well by itself. Plant an apple tree now, and as soon as you have apples, experiment with making your own apple cider vinegar. Good for cooking and cleaning.

We have also bought soapwort seeds to sow at our next place. We've discovered it can make shampoo and body soap and even help clean the home and clothes.

Have you come up with alternatives to various soaps?

Original: http://survival-cooking.blogspot.com/2009/02/inventory-check-soap.html

The Hand Ax as a Survival Tool

The Hand Ax as a Survival Tool

I got an e-mail from a cousin of mine asking me what sort of knife I thought would be best for a survivalist to have. She said she had done some research and discovered that there were almost as many opinions about knives as there were guns. That should not have been a surprise.

I e-mailed her part of a letter I had written to a friend about the types of knives I carry for different occasions. I forgot to add something I wanted to tell her and realized it might make a good post, so with TOR permission, here it is.

Besides having a good knife that you feel will do the chores you want done with it, you need a good hand ax. Years ago I read a survival ditty in one of the major outdoor magazines about a guy’s choice for survival being only an ax. He felt you could do everything with an ax that you could do with a knife and more. He felt you could use it to skin a rabbit or deer, build a shelter, cut firewood, and defend yourself from a wild animal.

I thought on that for a long time and started using my hand ax for more and more chores that I might have used a knife for. I found that indeed an ax did a lot of stuff well. Oh, you can’t cut a nice fuzzy stick or make the trigger for a figure four trap well with only an ax, but all in all they are well worth having. Remember, most of my survival/camping/woodsman ship has been done in Michigan. I didn’t miss an ax while on any of my Death Valley treks.

A machete is also considered a good instrument to have with you in the wilds and I think that the southern swamp areas they would prove more useful than an ax. Like all things survival you have to look at your situation and go with what works for you.

At one time I carried what is best described as a half sized double bit axe. In time I stopped using it and went back to the hand ax. The double bit would do a lot when it came to wood gathering, shelter building and heavy chores, but was ungainly to use for smaller task. When space and weight became a bigger factor in what went into the woods with me, the larger axe stayed behind.

A hand ax hanging on your BOB is well worth the weight. It doesn’t have to be a heavy battle axe type either. If you ever find one of those small hand axes that Marble’s used to make they are near perfect for a bug out bag.

I want to add one thing too, when I talk about a hand ax I am talking about the older ones, not the new models. The older axes have smaller heads, stay sharper, and have a different feel to them. I have bought three or four older ones at flea markets and they have all been less than $10, about the cost of a newer model. I also have not tried any of the modern camping axes like the new model from Gerber. They may be fine, I just do not know. The ax I carry now I found stuck in a stump in the woods while I was out treasure hunting one day. I used it ever since and still have it with the BOB.

Oh, and before you write and ask, the knife I settled on to carry almost all the time now is the Air Force survival/pilot’s knife. I use it to gut deer, clean fish, camp work, and about everything else. I know not everyone likes then, but for me for now, it works fine. For detail work I have my EDC pocket knife, and I am never without that unless on a plane or in the courthouse.



Surviving An Earthquake

Even the most prepared person may face a natural disaster that tests their survival know-how. You’ve hopefully take steps to have enough food, water and first aid supplies to get you through a period immediately following a disaster, but have you thought about your game plan during the emergency?

I live in earthquake country, although thankfully I’ve been well away from any major earthquakes that have caused serious damage. Our last major shake was last year and it happened while I was at work. Thankfully I knew where to go, but was dismayed to see a bunch of co-workers clinging to a corner right next to the soda machine. Bad move guys. That thing is on wheels. The shaking only lasted a few seconds, but it did shake us all up and we ended up evacuating the building. I’ve since thought about what I would do next time. I don’t want to rely on my desk since it could collapse easily under the weight of things dropping from the ceiling. I know better than to try and run down the steps during the shaking, so the best option for me is to use my chair and desk to create a triangle of life. Sometimes the best option is to be next to a large bulky item that will collapse slightly, but create a void next to it.

This same principal can work at home also. Let’s say you’re sitting on the couch when an earthquake strikes. If you lay on the floor next to the sofa, falling debris will create a void that could protect you from larger items, like the roof. Of course you want to stay away from obviously dangerous items, like glass, mirrors, appliances and tall furniture that could fall and crush you. You should definitely do a walk through your house and envision where these triangle voids will occur - like if a dresser falls towards your bed, there is a void beside the bed, under the dresser. This area will protect you and prevent other, items from hitting you. Don’t get under the bed as it could collapse and crush you under the weight of the roof.

Also think about what you’ll do if in your car during an earthquake. Of course pull off the road, but you want to be aware of what’s above and beside you that could fall on your car. Trees, power lines and buildings could all cause problems. My biggest fear is I’ll be on a highway overpass during a large quake. It’s a scary thought, but unfortunately we can’t predict when an earthquake will happen - just use your common sense and be aware of your surroundings.

Schedule an earthquake drill every three months at your house. Make the kids go through the motions so they’ll know what to do in the middle of the night if you can’t immediately reach them. Make sure your preparations are accessible and won’t be crushed by falling debris. You might even want to consider keeping items in several places in your house in case one area is unreachable.

Learn how to shut off your gas main and your electric main. Prepare for the aftermath because if the big one does hit, you may need to be self-sufficient for a few weeks. Think about your water storage and where it will be most protected. You don’t want to survive to find out all your water is gone, crushed in its plastic bottles. A “triangle of life” could save your preps as well as your life.

The “triangle of life” is a survival method developed by Doug Copp of the American Rescue Team International.

Original: http://survivallady.com/?p=189

Bloom Where You're Planted, by Gertrude

I write this to encourage everyone to begin preparing right now, whatever your financial situation and physical location in life. We are one of the many families that don’t live in a sparsely populated western state and don’t have a retreat that is fully stocked, off-grid and off-the beaten path. But we are very aware of the precarious situation that our country is in and we are trying as best we can to be prepared. Doing a little bit consistently every day will add up very quickly and you will be better prepared every day as you go along. Doing this will also do wonders for your mental outlook.

To give a little background: our household consists of my mother and myself, along with four cats, three dogs and a flock of chickens. My mother is 79 years old and I’m
a retired 57-year old woman. My sister and brother-in-law live about a half-mile away and our niece and her husband live next door. Both of my parents grew up on farms and we always had a big garden and plenty of fruit trees when I was a child. We live in a semi-rural area about three miles from a small town. There are no interstate highways nearby.

The people here in our community are pretty self-reliant. People still hunt, fish, and grow and preserve their own vegetables and fruits (although not as much as in the past). We have about five acres of land with a small fruit orchard and garden area. We don’t have any mortgages or car payments to worry about, but we also don’t have the financial resources to retreat to another location. Are we fully prepared? Of course not. I don’t think anyone is ever fully prepared, but we are much better prepared than we were last year and we were better prepared last year than we were the year before that. This is because of consistently doing something every day to prepare.

As I sit here typing this, our supper is cooking on the wood stove while my mother is in the living room quilting and our alarm systems--our three dogs--are outside keeping an eye on things. The coffee pot is ready to go on the stove for supper later. The chickens are happily occupied in their area. Our pantry is stocked with wheat, rice, beans, store-canned goods as well as home-canned vegetables, fruits, and meats and various other food and non-food items. We have another separate storage area for paper products, medical supplies, batteries, cleaning supplies, etc.

We didn’t have the wood stove, chickens or bigger-than-average pantry storage a few years ago. Back then I would have said we were above-average in “preparation mentality” but my eyes were opened when I began doing research on the subject of preparedness. It began when I wanted to be prepared to survive a possible flu pandemic. I quickly learned of other things, such as the possibility of EMP strikes, electric grid going down in general, Peak Oil problems, you name it. My first reaction was one of panic, but that subsided as my mother and I began “putting feet on our prayers.” We started small, buying more food each week when grocery shopping. Then we decided to go “whole hog.”

The first thing we did was buy a wood stove. We now have three heating systems: [a heating] oil furnace, gas logs operated on propane and the wood stove. We use the wood stove most of the time in the winter now. Although it’s not a [broad-top] cook stove, we do very well cooking meals on it. We perk the coffee for supper most nights even if we don’t cook the main meal on it. We have lots of wood on our land, but aren’t physically able to cut the wood ourselves so we buy it locally, and my brother-in-law has supplied us with wood (my sister and he have a wood stove too). We have three able-bodied men in the family (brother-in-law, nephew-in-law and nephew) who can and will cut wood if need be.

The next thing we did was install a manual well pump. We’re on well water but we needed a way to get the water if the grid goes down. I began researching manual well pumps and my brother-in-law installed one for us. Last summer, we worked on what has probably been the biggest project of them all: building a chicken house and fenced-in chicken yard. Our chickens are what I suppose you’d call semi-free range. They have a 24x24 foot yard to roam in. My mother was the chief architect. She designed the chicken house herself. We first had to clear the land, then we prepared the foundation for the house. After that came the actual building of the chicken house.

Although we have a pick-up truck, my nephew was using it at the time, so I would go to the local Big Box building center and buy as much wood as I could fit into the car and bring it back. We’re proof that you can pretty much do what you set your mind to do if you’re determined enough. We worked steadily every day except Sundays at building the chicken house and got it done. Then we had to clear the land for the chicken yard, and after doing that we began digging the holes for the fence posts. The only thing we had any outside help with was installing the poultry wire for the fence. We needed my niece and her husband to help us get that pulled tight enough. We finished the entire operation by putting netting over the entire chicken yard to keep out hawks. We now have a great flock of chickens. As I write this, we have about eight dozen eggs in the refrigerator. We share [the eggs] with my sister and husband, my niece and her husband and my nephew and his wife. The dogs also get a scrambled egg dinner about once a week. We haven’t bartered any eggs yet, but we know that’s a possibility down the road if economic conditions warrant it.

Somewhere in the midst of all this preparation, we bought a Country Living grain mill (the manual kind). Mother has done most of the grinding so far. She’s baked whole-wheat rolls and loaves of bread with the wheat we bought and ground ourselves – yummy!

Our garden suffered last summer, because we were so busy getting the chicken flock project set up. Our goal for this summer is to have as big a garden as we can manage. We do have a stock of garden seed laid back. We’ve already stocked up on lots of canning jar lids. We already had a good supply of canning jars and rings but I plan on stocking up on those, as well.

One of the big things we need to do next is prepare in the area of self-defense. We have a rifle and recently bought a S&W 9 mm handgun. We also have my late father’s 38 Special revolver. We have magazines and ammo and plan on stocking more ammo. My brother-in-law (a former Marine) is going to train me on the handguns and rifle. If there is one thing I
regret in life it is that I didn’t take advantage of the fact that my late father, who was a police officer, wanted to train me in the use of firearms, but I was a wimp. I’ve always believed in the right to bear arms, but was actually a little afraid of using guns, mainly because I’m so nearsighted. But I’ve gotten over that now. After one very short session with my brother-in-law going over firearm basics with me, I’m excited about getting proficient in their use because I can actually understand how the darn things work now!

I believe we’re doing pretty good at blooming where we’re planted. We can garden, sew, quilt, cook (don’t laugh – a lot of people don’t know how to do that!), crochet, can and preserve food, and we’ve don pretty well at carpentry. In addition to my retirement pension, I also have a second stream of income doing manuscript typing at home.

To summarize, I encourage anyone who feels paralyzed by current events to get up and get going. Start small: buy a few extra groceries each time you shop; stock up on non-perishables; prepare a first aid kit; and take a first aid course. Pay attention to what’s going on around you. And, most importantly of all, never stop learning. Before you know it,
you’ll be a lot more prepared than you ever knew you could be. - Gertrude

Original: http://www.survivalblog.com/2009/02/bloom_where_youre_planted_by_g.html

Downsizing Your Refrigerator - Or Not

Keggers in Bag

Originally uploaded by nodigio

Downsizing Your Refrigerator

An 18-cubic-foot Energy Star-rated Frigidaire refrigerator uses just over 1 kilowatt-hour a day (380 kilowatt-hours a year) — less than a standard clothes dryer — and costs approximately a dime a day to use ($38.00 a year). Downsizing to a dorm-sized. 3.2 cubic-foot refrigerator only saves about 50 kilowatt hours a year, or $5.00 a year.

Compare that to the additional costs of not having a refrigerator. It’s more onerous on those of us who live in the hotter southern and western regions of the US, where we only have a few days here and there of winter weather, and then only for 2 or 3 months out of the year. We would be spending much more time, energy, and packaging shopping each day to buy only what we needed for that day – or portion of a day – than what we spend on having a refrigerator of any size, especially if you are feeding 2 or more people.

If you use and keep a lot of dairy products, it’s more energy-efficient and economical to have a refrigerator. Consider those who eat meat, save leftovers, safely thaw frozen items, use it as one step in a cooking process involving marinating or slow mingling of flavors (gazpacho, anyone?), as part of the brewing process for homemade beers, sodas, and wines, to hold certain condiments at safe temperatures, or to keep items chilled for comfort (mostly beverages and certain medications, occasionally home made cosmetics). These are all valid uses of a refrigerator, ones that an ice chest just can’t cope with.

But – and there’s always a “but” – we can more efficiently use what refrigeration we have, and there are times when we may not have refrigeration available, perhaps during a power outage. Knowing some basic tips on how to live without refrigeration can help you through those times.

If you live in the wilderness, an RV, a remote rural area, or a house without electricity, then maybe a refrigerator makes no sense for you. For the rest of us, it is more efficient, economical, and environmentally friendly to have a refrigerator than to not have one, especially if we live in an apartment, a city, or a suburb and far enough away from stores we have to drive. Daily or twice daily shopping is inefficient, time-consuming, and a waste of energy. It adds to the pollution and increases the carbon footprint far beyond what a refrigerator would create.

So let’s talk about a more efficient use of our refrigerators.

The first tip is to properly set the temperature. To check your refrigerator temperature, put an appliance thermometer in a glass of water in the middle of your refrigerator; let the thermometer sit in the water overnight and check the temperature in the morning, after at least an 8 hour period. To check the temperature of your freezer compartment (which should be set to about 0° F, put the thermometer in a glass of oil, and follow the same instructions for reading the temperature. If the temperature reading is too high or low, adjust the temperature setting in the unit. Check the temperature again using the same procedure.

The second tip is to properly store food in it. Don’t wash produce before storing them in the refrigerator. Washing them may accelerate the growth of mold on them. The exception is leafy vegetables, which should be washed and stored in plastic bags or containers with a paper towel to absorb excess moisture. If you’re like me, the produce drawer isn’t large enough, so I added extra vegetable bins to my refrigerator. Not all produce should be stored in the refrigerator. There’s a list further down of what should be refrigerated and what shouldn’t be.

Select the smallest, shallowest container you need to hold your food. The less air space, the fresher your food will stay. The shallower it is, the quicker it will cool and stay cool. If you are wrapping your food, wrap it as tightly as possible, squeeze out as much air as you can. A vacuum sealer is a useful tool to use for food storage.

Label your food with expiration dates and use them before that date. Put the freshest foods in back and rotate the foods in back to the front so you use them in the order you purchased them. Keep a magnet chart on the refrigerator that lists how long foods last in the refrigerator or freezer.

Keep your refrigerator and freezer full but with plenty of air circulation room. Too full and the foods won’t cool sufficiently, not full enough and the unit works harder to keep the food cool. Find a good balance.

Completely clean out your refrigerator twice a year. It seems like there’s always something that gets lost in the back and it needs to be tossed before it gains sentience.

During a power outage, food will stay cool up to 2 days. In areas where the summer heat is appalling, I recommend supplementing the coolness with dry ice placed at the top of the refrigerator (the old cold air sinks, warm air rises). Open the door as little as possible. If the outage will last more than 2 days, prepare for living without refrigeration for a while (the next section details this).

You can refreeze partially thawed food. Re-freezing may damage the texture of the food, and may make it watery. Freezing (or re-freezing) does not kill bacteria or parasites, nor will it eliminate microbes already in the food. It will prevent or delay growth, and proper cooking will kill bacteria, parasites, and microbes.

When in doubt, throw it out. Medical bills cost more than replacing the food.

Once a year, unplug the refrigerator and clean the door gaskets and compressor coils; if there are pets in the house, clean the coils every three months.

Buy a refrigerator that has the freezer on top as it is more efficient than a side-by-side refrigerator. Also, choose an Energy Star-rated unit, which is even more efficient.

Don’t place the refrigerator next to the oven or in a spot that receives direct sunlight. The higher the ambient temperature, the more the unit has to work to keep cool. If you cool only one room in your house, let it be the room where your refrigerator is kept. This probably only applies where it gets insanely hot in the summer.

Foods to store at room temperature (around 60ºF to 75ºF):

Eggplant (cooler end, but not less than 50ºF or more than 60ºF)
Sweet potatoes
Winter squashes
Olive oil
Unopened condiments
Unopened canned goods
Unshelled nuts
Unopened beverages
Unopened boxed foods
Cooking oils
Baking powder
Baking soda (except when used as an air freshener in refrigerator or freezer)
Cocoa powder
Chocolate (unless the ambient temperature exceeds 80ºF, in which case, refrigerate to prevent melting)
Breads and cakes (may be frozen, but not refrigerated)
Unopened jams and jellies
Mustard (yes, even opened, up to 2 months, refrigerate if keeping longer)
Dried beans
Oil sprays
Sealed packet toaster pastries

In the fridge:

Top shelf:
Put your vegetable crispers here and store your refrigerator fruits and vegetables in them. Celery and asparagus should be stored upright in an inch of water. Citrus fruits, berries, cherries, pineapple, grapes, lettuces, broccoli, bell peppers, fruits and vegetables that have been sliced or need chilling (like bananas or watermelon) should be stored in the vegetable crispers up top.

Middle shelf:
Cheeses, butter, vegetable or grain leftovers, prepared snacks and lunches. If you have roll-out shelves so you can reach the back easily, so much the better.

Lower shelf:
Eggs, milk, beverages, meat-based left-overs. Keep the eggs in a closed carton to keep out odors. Keep wine on their side to keep the corks moist. If your wine doesn’t have corks, it can be stored upright. Again, slide out shelves are useful.

The very bottom:

Meats. Lunch meats, meats being thawed for later cooking, meats waiting to be portioned out and frozen later, marinating meats. This is the coldest spot in the refrigerator and meats do best here. Slide out shelves are very useful.

The Door:

Opened condiments like mayonnaise and salad dressings, especially reduced salt soy sauces as there’s not enough salt to preserve the soy sauce. Other soy causes can be stored at room temperature. Orange juice and recorked wine may also be stored in the door.

The Freezer:

Ice cream
Long term storage for grains
Pre-plated dinners

Group like items together.

Milk, whipped cream, and soft cheeses do not freeze well. The flavor isn’t a problem, but the fat separates out. They can be frozen to use in cooked recipes. Whipped cream will not whip well after being frozen.

Raw eggs must be separated before being frozen. Cooked eggs should never be frozen, especially boiled eggs.

Original: http://gallimaufree.wordpress.com/2009/02/05/downsizing-your-refrigerator-or-not/

After the Ice (or Snow)

Frozen Lavender

Originally uploaded by nodigio

After an ice storm – or a heavy snow storm – there are things we need to consider in order to continue living comfortably and without sudden disasters.

The home first:

Just because things are melting doesn’t mean you have successfully survived the event. Melting snow and ice bring their own problems.

Clogged gutters can cause the melt to seep under your roof tiles and from there into your home, where you may experience anything from a few annoying drips to serious water damage and even electrical short-outs and fires. Make sure your gutters are unclogged.

Snow can be so heavy it can collapse your flat roof surfaces like carports, sheds, barns, or patio covers, so you need to scoop as much off as you can. Just toss it on the ground – away from drives and walks and doors. Be cautious. If you can scoop the snow off without actually climbing on the roof, that’s good. If you must get up there, be careful and have someone with you in case you slip.

Pipes can still freeze, especially at night, so don’t stop your preventive measures too soon.

Downed tree limbs need to be chopped up and piled up to haul away. Have chainsaws already prepped before the storm – blades sharpened, plenty of chain lube oil, gasoline if it’s gas powered or waterproof outdoor extension cords. Have rope to tie smaller branches into easily transportable bundles.

Know the number of your utility company to report downed or damaged lines so they can fix them as soon as possible.

Service and stock up your generator, if you have one.

Now public areas:

Grocery stores may take a week or three to recover and be sufficiently restocked, so be sure you have plenty in your own stocks. The stores have several levels of difficulty in snow and ice storms. First is the stock runs people make as the storm approaches, which clears their shelves. Then they have the days where delivery trucks can’t get through keeping their shelves depleted. Then they have the after days when people are able to get out and shop again and their delivery trucks are still experiencing back-ups, delays, and may still be snowed or iced-in in other parts of the country. Don’t get mad at the stores for having bare shelves. Trust me; they want their shelves filled, too, because they lose money when they have no inventory to sell.

Buses will only travel along plowed snow routes, so you may not have reliable access to public transportation. Very limited routes will be served so if you have to rely only on public transportation, here’s hoping you are self-employed or have an understanding boss.

Check on your neighbors. Help them shovel walks, clear drives, and make sure they have heat and food.

Original: http://gallimaufree.wordpress.com/2009/02/05/after-the-ice-or-snow/

Recipe: Frumenty (Cracked-Wheat Porridge)

Here's a recipe to use some of those wheat berries you have stored!

Made with cracked wheat, frumenty is a porridge boiled in milk. It's been made since at least the Medieval times, but some people think it's been made since prehistoric days. It is obviously a delicious, hearty breakfast.

1 cup whole wheat berries, cracked
4 cups water
1 cup milk (rehydrated powdered works)
1 tablespoon honey
1 tablespoon raisins
1 tablespoon dried apricots or peaches

Add the water to a large pot and bring to boil. Add the cracked wheat. Simmer until the wheat is cooked and soft enough to eat. Store in a covered bowl in the refrigerator overnight. In the morning, add milk and honey. Warm the porridge in a medium-sized pot for a few minutes, stirring, and add dried fruit. Serve warm.

Copyright (c) 2009 New View Group, LLC


72 Hour Kit Camp - More Info

boyshikinggmtnmar2003-285x215-custom 72 Hour Kit Camp - More InfoKit Camp is definately a work in progress, an idea in active exploration. We’ve never done this before and don’t know of a precedence to go off of so we’re kind of making it up as we go. :) If you missed the earlier post about it and don’t know what I’m talking about, the original Kit Camp post is here.

Here’s the quick gist of what we’re doing: 72 hour Kit Camp is a self test and training event. Everyone is invited, we will meet at a parking location and hike a short distance to our first night’s camp. You are to bring only your 72 hour kit. The next day we will break camp 1 and hike a short distance to our second camp. During the day we will have several training sessions followed by the practical application of getting your camp set up. We will be addressing several topics in training that directly relate to what we are doing in camp. Kids are definitely invited - I’ll have all 8 of mine there. The purpose of Kit Camp is to give you training, experience and most importantly confidence that you can survive off of your 72 hour kit. The most important thing you’ll learn from Kit Camp is how woefully inadequate your 72 hour kit is and what you need to add to it (I fully expect to come away with a whole new 72 hour kit list for myself).

This update is mostly a clarification of some things I’ve seen in the comments and things that have been discussed with some potential campers. Several of you have had some legitimate concerns that I’d like to address.


Several people have asked how much we’re charging to attend Kit Camp. There is absolutely NO FEE. We want everyone to come and learn with us, we aren’t doing this for the money at all! Every author on this blog will learn something from Kit Camp, just as all attendees will. Most of the authors are experienced primitive campers but there is ALWAYS something to be learned. The only thing expected of campers is that they participate, learn and interact with the other campers.

Hiking In

Several people have commented that they really don’t want to hike or that their 72 hour kits are not the ‘hiking’ type. While we strongly suggest that your 72 hour kit be something you can cary on your back so that your hands are free, you will be ok with just carrying a duffel bag on the ‘hike’. We’re not going to go very far, certainly less than a mile. The point of hiking in is to mentally seperate us from the world and to help us live strictly off of what is in our kits. We want to get away from civilization to do this and that means getting away from our cars and trucks.

To help us make sure we’re only living off our kits, we want to hike away from vehicles so we aren’t retrieving anything from them or using them. We’ll probably ‘hike’ (walk really) a quarter to a half mile into the woods for Camp 1 and then hike another short distance for Camp 2.

So in short, the actual hiking won’t be substantial at all and we won’t be in a hurry. If your kit is in a duffel we recommend changing it to a backpack but you don’t have to in order to participate. The hike won’t deter you if you’re not in very good shape either, it’s just a short walk.

Changing Camps

Some people have asked why we want to have 2 camps. It’s for the experience. On Day 1 we’ll get to our camp and have at least one class on primitive shelter building. After that class we’ll build our shelters for the night and gain some valuable experience. Well then examine each shelter as a group and discuss pros and cons of each and how they could be improved. Then you’ll sleep in that shelter. The next day you’ll break down that shelter and move to the next camp where you’ll get further experience in building your shelter and most importantly get an opportunity to practice lessons learned from the previous day. We’ll again visit each shelter as a group and discuss them. Then you get to sleep in your improved shelter and judge the improvements. On the third day we’ll have a group discussion yet again on shelters and share what we’ve learned.

Shelter isn’t the only thing you’ll get two experiences with. We’ll be teaching several other camp preparation techniques and you’ll get two tries at those as well. You will also gain experience and training on setting up a temporary camp while on the move - which may come in very handy in a TEOTWAWKI or SHTF type of scenario.

The main point of this Camp is to give you experience and confidence in yourself. The best way to do that is to do it in real life multiple times.


Some people have commented that they’ll have the expense of replacing their kit food once they’ve consumed it on this camp. My thinking is this - by participating in this camp and by eating the food in your kit, you will quickly realize that the food in your kit is not at all what you want in your kit! After Kit Camp, you’ll surely be wanting to stock your kit with different food supplies and you’ll be GLAD that the food that was in there is gone so you don’t feel bad about replacing it. :)


Several people have commented that they don’t have the right gear in their kit and aren’t sure they can do the Camp because of it. THAT is the whole point of the Camp! After Kit Camp you will KNOW what you want and should have in your Kit! That said, there are some things that you really do want/need to make sure you bring:

  • A Tarp. Your tarp should be large enough that your entire family can comfortably lay down on top of it when it is folded in half. You will need at least one. You will be grateful if you have two.
  • Rope. Every person that comes to camp with you should have at least 50 feet of rope in their kit, much more if possible. By rope I mean twine. Bailing twine or parachute cord (which is much more expensive) will work great, you’ll be cutting and using this to build your shelter and other things.
  • A Knife. At the very least you’ll need a pocket knife, better is a lock blade knife. Best is a pocket, lock blade and hunting knife.
  • Food and Water. You’ll need food and water for 3 days, but you should already have that in your kit.
  • Light. You will be very grateful if you have a flashlight with you
  • Fire Starters. At least some matches, you’ll be learning about lots of other options at camp.
  • Sleeping Gear. You’ll want a sleeping bag or something you can roll up in - a canvas tarp will work just fine.

The only thing on this list that is absolutely neccessary is a knife. But surviving with only a knife is a more advanced experience than what we’re going for here.

You will be learning a lot about what gear you need, want and why. You will be receiving a lot of training on what that gear is used for as well. The most important thing to have at Kit Camp is YOU. We will not let anyone suffer or die - Preppers like your authors here are very into redundancy and over packing - I guarantee you there will be plenty of gear to go around!


We want this to be a fun and exciting time! It will hopefully be very educational for you, even very paradigm changing for you. If you know what you are doing and you have some common sense, it is very easy and fun to survive in the woods.


We haven’t yet selected a location or a date. We’ll nail down the date very soon. The location will probably be up American Fork Canyon on the Alpine Loop where primitive camping is allowed. But there are many many options to select from. We want to be in a well forested area preferably with a water supply nearby.


Your authors here will be doing some of the training. We have been talking to others who are experts in certain areas and have asked them to come up for either the entire camp or just to do a training session. There are two emergency prep vendors whom I’ve talked to about teaching some topics and presenting some of the gear that they sell in their stores. If any campers feel they are proficient enough in an area to teach it to everyone else, let us know and we’ll have you teach!

Future Camps

We want to make this a regular event, both in the spring and the fall. Return Campers will be very welcomed and will hopefully become trainers. We would love to have a HUGE group come out for this on a regular basis! This first Camp will probably be a little rough as we figure out the best way to do it, future camps will hopefully become very refined.

Are there other areas that I’ve left out? We’ll be posting regular updates as we get this thing figured out. If there is anything else you need clarification on, let us know in the comments!

Original: http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/UtahPreppers/~3/Qi8bNInirJQ/

Answering your questions on glow sticks

Glow Sticks:

Somebody asked a question about freezing glow sticks to reactivate them. Glow sticks burn brightest at warm temperatures. Once a glow stick has been activated and you want to prolong the life of it (let’s say you are going to be leaving the house for a bit, but will be coming back and it will be necessary to rely on the glow stick again when you return) you can put the stick in the freezer to prolong the life. You cannot, however, reactivate a used glow stick by placing in the freezer once it has died.

The shelf life for a glow stick is from one to four years. The industrial weight glow sticks last the longest. The smaller size glow sticks, necklaces and bracelets have a shelf life of just one year. The chemicals in your glow stick may change color. This does not mean that they have expired. Try one to be sure before you throw your old glow sticks away.

When purchasing glow sticks remember that white or yellow will burn the brightest.

If you purchase your glow sticks at a dollar store or Wal Mart type store buy one and test it before making a big investment. They may be cheaper, but the quality is different and they may not be up to the standard that you would require in an emergency. The ideal is to have a stick that burns for 10 hours, providing light all night long.

Glow sticks are best stored at room temperature or below. They can be stored at very cold temperature, such as in places like Alaska. If you live in an extremely cold climate the glow sticks you store in your car should be wrapped in a blanket or other insulation to prevent freezing. They will work. They will just need to be warmed up before being activated. You can do this by rubbing them or just bringing them indoors.

Original: http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/TotallyReady/~3/532287084/

Using Shotguns for Defense

Using a shotgun for defensive purposes requires proper skill and training to avoid mistakes that could endanger your safety. There is an excellent series with pictures and comments that will allow you to get a beginning knowledge of fighting with a shotgun and learn some simple techniques for using a shotgun for defensive purposes.

Do you know the proper manner to do a tactical reload? What is the one thing you never want to do with your shotgun? These are just a couple of the questions you can find answers for in this article. The article consists of four pages and I have provided separate links for each page or you can simply click “next page” at the bottom of each page.

Fighting With A Shotgun

Page One

Page Two

Page Three

Page Four

You can also find other articles on a variety of different gun-related topics here:


Hopefully you will find this information useful.

Thanks JH for the link.

Staying above the water line!


Original: http://stealthsurvival.blogspot.com/2009/02/using-shotguns-for-defense.html

Relying on Others

There are times for independence, and there are times to seek for help from others.

Recently, we have been fighting with our wood supply. I know I need more, if not for this year, then for the coming years. I don’t want to use a chainsaw — I am afraid that I would be too clumsy, and chop off a limb. The physical labor that I am now doing, may be giving me biceps (yes, indeed) and may have forced me to lose weight (wowee), but it has not given me the strength or courage to deal with wood.

I do not mind carrying wood, hauling wood, or even stacking wood. These are all things that ate manageable. However, when I attempt to split wood, I end up with a piece of log with many notches across the top. Nothing split, just sweat spilled. Don’t even ask me to consider to chop wood with a chainsaw. I am not going there! I think we have to know our limits.

An Amish man stopped by the other day and asked if I would be willing to hire him to chop wood (and bring in dead wood from our property). Yes, of course! I would gladly hire someone from my community to help with what I am unable to do. I suppose if it was a dire emergency, I could eventually split wood on my own, and my strength and ability would grow. I would gladly allow someone else to do it for me. Yes, I plan on practicing and grow my skills at splitting wood, but I don’t think we should depend on that skill at this time! he is helping me, and I am helping him — as one of his few sources of winter income.

This Amish man has come over a few times with a load of wood, and then split it outside of my door. I have watched and my children (8 y/o and 10 y/o) have participated with their own axes. I have been impressed with the growing skill of my 8 y/o son. His skill has grown, and as he grows, so will his strength.

Independence can be a wonderful way to realize one’s own strength and ability, but it is necessary to understand that we cannot all do everything alone. This is why community is so important for us. We need to be able to turn to one another for help or to hire for those jobs that we are unable to do for ourselves. Perhaps we can barter or trade skills. Working together is what makes us human and makes us into a community.

Original: http://simplicityfirst.wordpress.com/2009/02/05/relying-on-others/

72-hour kit distribution: Who carries what?

A few weeks ago, someone asked us how we determine what goes in each person's 72-hour kit. Who carries the food? Who carries the money? Does everyone need to carry some of everything?

So, Abs and I spent a couple hours last week making sure our kits were complete, and packing them according to what we thought was important. The kits we are putting together here are for 4 people - two adults and 2 small children. This was a bit challenging because obviously kids can't carry much in their packs. So, keep their packs light for two reasons: 1) so that they can carry them as much as possible, and 2) you could carry it easily in a free hand if necessary, without weighing you down too much (assuming you are carrying your own pack on your back).

There are a couple things to consider when you put together 72-hour kits. In our worst case scenario, we figured that we would need to carry our packs and be on foot. So, we only packed the ESSENTIALS in these 72-hour kits (pretty much everything on our list on the blog).

First things first: Abs pulled out everything she needed in her kits. She hadn't been actually filling her backpacks yet because she was waiting to have everything collected.

We dumped all the food on the floor and separated it out. We thought it was important that each person at least had SOME food in their own packs, so we took out the snacks and packed them into little white plastic mugs (the mugs are what they will eat out of for the 3 days). We also put 6 packs of oatmeal (the breakfasts) in each person's pack. Additionally, we added a stack of saltines to each person's pack. As for the rest of the food, we put it all in Abs' pack. She still needs to get the rest of her dinners bought, but there was room left over for that (Abs and Mountain Man each have a large backpacking backpack for their kits).

We put the small entertainment items in the kids' packs. These included some crayons, pens, and coloring books, and a couple decks of cards. We also put the toilet paper and diapers in with the kids' packs, since it's so light and would have taken up valuable space in Abs or Mountain Man's packs.

Everyone carried their own set of clothing, emergency blanket, and a baggie of plastic utensils. Each pack should also have a flashlight, a small hand sanitizer, some water, a garbage bag, and a light stick. Everyone should also carry their own prescription medicines.

Besides food (lunches/dinners/candy), Abs is also carrying the set of scriptures, sewing kit, diaper wipes, candles/matches, feminine products, shampoo, disinfectant, mosquito repellent and sunscreen.

Mountain Man's pack consists mostly of the water (which Abs still needs more of). Yes, it's heavy, but thankfully Mountain Man is a backpacker so he can handle it. He is also carrying the solar powered radio, and camp stove.

A five gallon bucket can be carried and will hold the ax and shovel and the work gloves.

Abs and Mountain Man split the money between them - each has $50 in their packs. This consists of small bills and rolls of quarters. They also each have copies of their important documents.

Of course, you can pack your 72-hour kits differently - this is just how Abs did it for her family. Finally, here are some points to consider when it comes to 72-hour kits:
  • Assume the worst: to us, that is that we will be carrying our packs, and that you will be leaving in a moment's notice.
  • If you ARE carrying your packs, bring a stroller and/or wagon, if you have them! Kids can ride in the strollers for part of the time, or you can load your packs onto them for some relief.
  • Empty out your boxes. We saved a lot of room in the backpacks by taking things out of their original packing (take the bag of crackers out of the bulky box!)
  • Don't worry about the non-essentials. For example, if you DO have the opportunity to bathe in the 72 hours, you don't need to condition your hair - shampoo is fine. In fact, you could even just pack body wash and use that for your hair AND body. That would save even more room. It's an emergency, people!
  • Have a "supplemental" box in case you are able to leave in your car. For us, this includes some extra food, sleeping bags, a heavy dutch oven, extra blankets, more entertainment items, a tent, etc... all the little "luxuries" that don't fit in your backpacks but would be really nice to have.
  • You can also make a little list of things you could grab to take with you if you have time to gather it all. For example, if we were evacuating for a forest fire, hurricane, etc., we would have some time to prepare to leave. Besides our 72-hour kits, I would load my car with family pictures and mementos. I'd also bring my sewing machine, which is about 70 years old and was a gift from my mom. Make a list of where these important things are so you don't waste time searching the house for them, and so you don't forget something.
  • Along those same lines... don't worry about your things. It's just STUFF. Assuming you have homeowners insurance, stuff can be replaced. Don't waste time packing up your plasma TV, all your computers, or your Bosch.
Do you have any other tips for 72-hour kit distribution?

Original: http://safelygatheredin.blogspot.com/2009/02/72-hour-kit-distribution-who-carries.html

Cooking with Basic Food Storage: Flavored Rice Mixes

I often buy rice mixes. My kids love them and I love the ease of preparation involved. Therefore, you can imagine my excitement when I found some recipes which I can make from scratch and save myself time and money!

To make flavored rice mixes:
Combine all ingredients and stir until evenly distributed. Place in airtight container(s). Store in cool, dry place. Use within 6-8 months. Yield: 4 cups.

Chicken Flavored Rice Mix
4 c uncooked long grain rice
4 T instant chicken bouillon
1 tsp salt
2 tsp dried tarragon
2 tsp dried parsley flakes
1/4 tsp white pepper

Dill Lemon Rice Mix
4 c uncooked long-grain rice
5 tsp dried grated lemon peel
4 tsp dill weed or dill seed
2 tsp dried minced chives
2 tsp salt
8 tsp instant chicken bouillon

Onion Flavored Rice Mix
4 c uncooked long grain rice
2 pkgs (1 1/4 oz) onion soup mix
1 T parsley flakes
1 tsp salt

To make rice from mixes:
Use 1 1/3 c rice mix, 2 c cold water and 1 T butter or margarine. Combine all ingredients in medium saucepan. Bring to a boil over high heat. Cover, reduce heat and cook 15 minutes, until liquid is absorbed. Yield: 4-6 servings.

Source: Traverse Mountain 1st Ward Pantry Cookbook

Original: http://preparednessmatters.blogspot.com/2009/02/cooking-with-basic-food-storage.html

SHTF: Post SHTF employment, jobs, skills and work

In light of my past post about surviving layoffs and today's economy. One of the SHTF forums I frequent brought up this topic for discussion.

Let me preface with an explaination what I mean by post-SHTF. I am not talking about the current economic or employment scenario we have today. Loading up a yard cart and going door to door in your neighborhood offering to sharpen saw blades might get you a bunch of odd looks and the possibility of a confrontation with the law.

Rather, post-SHTF employment and jobs means work after the economy has collapsed; i.e. no welfare, no SS, no Medicare, no paycheck or job to go to. The government is gone or limping along at the federal level with few if any employees and only a token head of state hiding in a bunker somewhere. The streets are either deserted and home to looters and thieves.

You and yours are living in a rural or suburban enclave and have to do business or trade with others to items you need.

So, that being the case, here are my list of realistic post-shtf jobs and employment.

- medical and dental work.
No, nothing complex, but basic medical treatment and advice. Doctors, nurses and dentists will have plenty to do, but will have to do their work without benefit of most drugs or electricity. However, having a doctor check a child and determine that indeed the appendix is in danger of rupture and surgery is required, will be a must have skill.
In addition, knowledge and skills with natural remedies will be priceless. But these homemade potions and herbs have to work to some degree, so don't plan on figuring out this skill after the SHTF.
Finally, any sort of related health skill will be useful such as massage therapy, accupuncture, chiropracters, midwife, etc. Those folks will have their "hands" full as hospitals and doctor's offices close.
A reminder, there will be no advanced medicine available or will be severly limited. That means high blood pressure, cholesterol, diabetes, depression, etc will either run their natural course or the patient will have to adjust. Quickly.

- personal care
How often do you get a haircut? Once a month or every six weeks? What happens when Supercuts is a distant memory? Who wants to have head lice or scabies? People with hair skills will have their work "cut" out for them. Sure, Sonny can get a crew cut or butch with the home barber kit, but what about Mom or daughter?

- food production and preparation
Most people have brown thumbs and cannot produce a thing to eat from dirt. Those with gardening know how, or better, the ability to produce extra will have work out the wazzoo. That also applies also to those with canning, preservation, butchering and drying skills.
The hunter will have work, but with 300 million mouths in the US, wild animals will be overhunted and domestics will be the new food source. Take it as you will.
Raising chickens, rabbits and goats will be a cash industry post-shtf.

- labor of all types
Like it or not, most of America is soft and weak and used to having others do for them. Family men who cannot change a lightbulb or mow their own lawn. Mothers who cannot clean their home or do the laundry.
These are opportunities, as basic as they are, for the hardy do it yourselfer to offer services and training to these lost souls.
More advanced skills like sewing will be highly in demand. Basic work like taking in laundry will provide work for families.

- Mechanical, electrical, carpentry
If gasoline runs out, fixing the Escalade will not be in demand. However, keeping a generator or rototiller working will be.
Same with installing a basic power generation system using salvaged solar panels or an excersize bike and car batteries.
How about having those shot out windows fixed or the roof leak repaired?
Yes, having real fix it skills, not some shade tree service, will be in demand from skilled professionals. Having the tools, non-powered to do it, will also be mandatory. So stock up on hand saws and drills.

- security
The soldier of fortune, former police officer or even the black belt, former nightclub bouncer will have plenty of work.
Think of all the folks who are afraid of guns right now. Or have never handled one. Or the number of people who do not know how to defend themselves. Or know how to set up a defensive perimeter around a home, town or farm.
These skills and the mindset which accompany them will be priceless as your town goes to war between the haves and havenots, the raider and producer and the looter and survivor. Remember the TV show Jericho? The neighboring town attacked Jericho for farm land and food. Having a man like the Mayor who had combat experience made the difference when the town was under attack.

- scavenger
The ability to find hard to get products will be.. interesting. And potentially profitable.

Tell me. What skill do you see as needed and worthwhile to pursue after the SHTF? Remember, think what others will pay for, not what your dream job will be.

Original: http://survivalism.blogspot.com/2009/02/shtf-post-shtf-employment-jobs-skills.html

waxing cheese

Last night I attended a local food storage class. They taught us how to bottle chicken, use wheat berries as a meat filler/extender, and how to preserve cheese by dipping it in wax. I was particularly interested in the cheese. Thus far, I have stored cheese for my three-month supply in several forms: a block of cheese in my fridge, grated cheese portioned into bags in my freezer, powdered cheese, and canned cheese. Without refrigeration, I would only have powdered cheese, (which is great for macaroni and cheese but not much else) and my canned cheese (which is very expensive) available. We love cheese and use it in many of our meals. This could be a great way to make cheese available for a three-month supply.

The Process:

1) Purchase "cheese wax." Our instructor said that 3 - 1 lb. bricks (around $6.50 each) will coat 10 lbs of cheese. My initial response was that the cost of the wax made it too expensive. But our instructor went on to explain that this wax is reusable. Just peel it off as you use it, wash it with warm soapy water, and set it aside in a Ziploc bag.
2) Use a double broiler to melt the wax. The wax will ruin any pan that you use. She actually set a stainless steel bowl into her top double broiler pan so that she didn't ruin the pan. Be slow and cautious as you melt the wax since it is flammable.
3) Cut your cheese into meal-sized portions. Cheese surfaces must be dry. Dip half into the wax, and set it to dry on a paper towel. Dip the other half once it has dried (only a few minutes). She does a total of three coats.
4) Store blocks in a food-grade bucket or bin layered with wax or parchment paper. This protects the cheese from gashes and bumps that could compromise the wax.

Cheese preserved this way tastes sharper the longer it is stored. So choose a mild cheese to start with. We sampled some of her cheddar and mozzarella. The cheddar after only three months was already significantly sharper. The mozzarella, on the other hand, didn't seem any different.

If you like the idea of storing waxed cheese, but don't really want to dip your own, you can purchase already dipped blocks of cheese at Costco or at your local market. They are more expensive and you would want to be aware of the size of the block and how fast you would use that amount.

I cannot find a firm estimate of shelf life. Some have indicated that the wax can start to crack after about 6 months. Our instructor said you can redip the wax if it starts to crack. She recommends using the cheese within 18 months. You can also extend the life of unwaxed cheese by coating it with olive oil.

Original: http://iprepared.blogspot.com/2009/02/waxing-cheese.html

Treatment for Eye Burns

From the Comments, thanks to FarmerMechanic:

FarmerMechanic said...
Working on the farm welding all these years there have been several occasions when my father and I have burned our eyes from the flash of the welder. Not when we were wearing our helmet. It was when we were in the area and seeing the flash in the corner of eye or helping holding something and getting a flash. I would warn everyone it does not take much exposure to burn your eyes. The problem is the symptoms do not appear until 6-8 hours later and you are trying to sleep. It feels like you wiped vaseline in your eyes and sprinkled sand in the mix.Over the years we both would end up going to the emergency room to get some anesthetic drops in our eyes. (Here's where the home remedy comes in.)a old welder we met told us that he would cut thin slices of potato and lay the slices on his eyes for a hour or so and take some over the counter pain reliever. The remedy works and it works well.. no more trips to the emergency room. I think this would work with sunburn to the eyes as well. I got caught one time on a long drive through a snowstorm without sunglasses and burned my eyes. I wish I had a potato then! I can see how the onion would work and I will try it next time I have a burn.

Original: http://handmaidenkitchen.blogspot.com/2009/02/treatment-for-eye-burns.html

FEMA Won't Pay for Your Generator

A TV news story the other day noted that some people who have been without electric power due to the winter storms had heard FEMA reimburses people for the cost of generators. The story quoted a FEMA official saying FEMA does not pay for generators. He wanted people to be clear on this, so they wouldn’t go out and make a major purchase and expect to be reimbursed.

I don’t know any more details than that. I assume anyone filing a claim with FEMA for disaster help would be told the details of what FEMA funds will cover and what they don’t, and under what circumstances such funds are available.

If you’ve had experience dealing with FEMA regarding this issue and want to share your thoughts, please leave a comment.

Should a generator be part of your survival strategy? To see a video on generators, including safety tips, click here.


Pizza as poor food

Yes it is.

No, not when you order out and have some stoned, pimply-faced denizen of the World of Warcraft deliver it to your door. Hell, having pizza delivered or made by someone else is a great way to go broke fast.

Pizza was always poor food around our place when we were kids. A little flour, a little cheese, some cheap sausage and you were on your way. A good pizza made at home should cost around $3.00 and feed the family pretty well. Ten bucks and you have a party.

Just remember you have to set up for it the day before. This ain’t no fast food.

The night before

Pizza Dough:

It is:

  • 5 cups of flour
  • 1.75 cups water
  • teaspoon of flour.
  • 2 tablespoons of sugar.
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 2 teaspoons of yeast

Throw everything together and knead the hell out of it for 10-15 minutes. Get a good gluten stretch going and then put it in the fridge and let it rise for 24 hours. I use a #10 can with a snap lid to keep it in the fridge.


Pizza Sauce

Mix equal amounts of tomato sauce and tomato paste. put it on the stove over low heat and heat slowly until everything is hot and mixing well. Toss in some garlic powder, some onion powder, some basil, some oregano, and some beef bouillon powder. Don’t use any salt, the bouillon is plenty salty. Let it cook for about a half hour and put it in the fridge to cool overnight.

You will notice that I didn’t give any specifics here. I would start with a teaspoon of each as a starting point and then adjust your recipe to your taste. Sometimes it works better if you mix everything into the watery tomato sauce first, then add the paste when everything is mixed up

Cooking night

Prepare the crust

You have to pull the pizza dough out of the fridge a couple hours before you want to eat. It should be around double the size of what you started with the day before.


Let it warm up a little and then use a rolling pin to flatten it out as thick as you wish the dough to be. The recipe above make two pizzas. When you have it rolled out, oil it up on one side and put it oil side down onto a cookie sheet and cover it with a towel. Let it sit for an hour or so. It has done most of the raising already so don’t expect to much to happen here. After an hour or so, go turn on the oven to 425 F and let it warm up

After it has sat around for an hour, Oil up the side facing up(you've already done the down side) spoon on a cup or so of the pizza sauce, sprinkle with some Kraft parmesan cheese (My family is Italian an we always buy the Kraft in a can parmesan cheese…so if any of you poseurs use fresh grated, us real Italians mock you) then throw on some toppings. cover with about a half pound of mozzarella and you are off to the races


Total Cost:

Ingredients: Flour: $0.40, Sauce: $0.45, parmesan: $0.20, Mozzarella Cheese: $1.00, Toppings $1.00

Oven: 3kWh for 2 hours at $0.08 kWh = 0.48

Pizza Cost $3.53

Additional benefits, kitchen is quite warm.

Original: http://mightaswellliebackandenjoyit.blogspot.com/2009/02/pizza-as-poor-food.html

Survival Skill #5 Finding Opportunities

A critical skill to survive in any situation is the ability to find opportunities. There are always opportunities around no matter how your personal situation looks this week, no matter how the economy looks this week, and no matter how you perceive your abilities to be this week (or any other time past, present, or future). Just today there was a news story on TV about how many burgeoning opportunities there are because of the current economic situation. Businesses are springing up all over to clean up foreclosed homes that need to get back on the market, to haul away excess stuff that people can't take with them when they leave their foreclosed homes, and to help people who are facing foreclosure.
Have you ever wondered how businesses such as the "cash for gold" companies you see advertised on TV happen to hit the airwaves just as people begin thinking about selling their gold due to the poor economy? Or how Amazon can carry a number of books on the crashing economy that are published about a week after a recession is officially announced? Or how one week you couldn't find a company to help you avoid your foreclosure anywhere and then the next week there are a dozen such companies advertising everywhere you look?
All of these businesses are created because people look at a situation and see an opportunity. They think about how the situation will impact people then determine what the people's needs will be based on the information they have.
When businesses were growing exponentially a decade ago, many people looked at the situation and saw opportunity: the companies would need office space so office space was built, their employees would need to eat lunch so restaurants sprang up near the offices, maybe a particular area of town was a tech/office draw so businesses that catered to these kinds of people sprang up as well (think office supply and computer stores), these employees were making around X amount of salary so homes in the X dollar range were built to accommodate people who wanted to live in communities that fit their needs, demographics showed that the people who populated these growing cities and suburbs had 2.5 children in the mostly 2-15 age bracket so businesses that catered to these kids also developed (think My Gym, movie theaters, skateboard shops, etc). Anyway, you get the idea.
Tomorrow, pay attention to the things you see and hear. Watch the news, check out what's happening on your way to work or on your way to town, ask people how they are doing and listen for what their needs are. When you come back home, list down ten potential opportunities based on your findings. Who knows, you may come up with a business out of this research. If nothing else, you will have practiced the survival skill of finding opportunities where the average person would think none existed.

Original: http://codenameinsight.blogspot.com/2009/02/survival-skill-5-finding-opportunities.html

How to Do Less Laundry

How can you do less laundry? By lowering your standards.

Some people overdo the "cleanliness is next to godliness" thing and use far more water, energy, and cleaning agents than necessary. You can seriously reduce your laundry burden by relaxing your standards of cleanliness. You'll save money on the utility bills and cleaners. You'll save time spent doing the laundry, whether by machine or by hand. You'll save energy you can spend working on the garden or putting up produce. You'll even save your clothes; less washing means less wear and tear.


Despite what your mother told you, your clothes do not need to be washed after a single day's wearing. Last year, Crunchy Chicken admitted she wore her clothes more than once and surveyed her readers to find out their secret habits. Turns out many people wore portions of their wardrobe a few times, although nobody 'fessed up to donning a dirty pair of underwear when the next day dawned.

Unless you are mucking out a stable, kneeling in the garden mud, or working on an engine, chances are your clothes aren't really all that dirty at the end of the day. They may have acquired some dust from the air and your office, dead skin cells that sloughed off your body, and a little perspiration dampness. Why wash clothes that aren't dirty?

Freshen up

If the idea of wearing that top, sweater, skirt, or pair of pants again makes you squeamish, try these tips.
  • Shake the clothes outside to remove the dust and dead skin cells.

  • Hang them up overnight to air out. I think this works better if they're put outside.

  • Place the clothes outside on a sunny day to let ultraviolet light help disinfect them. (Tip from Cody Lundin's book, When All Hell Breaks Loose: Stuff You Need to Survive When Disaster Strikes)

  • Spritz the pits with vodka. Let dry.

Obviously, you won't want to wear the same outfit two days in a row to the office, which is perfect. It gives you enough time to hang, sun, and go boozin' with your clothes.

Cover up

Covering up your clothes before you do something dirty is another way to save them from the laundry basket for another day. Find or sew yourself a nice apron for the kitchen and remember to wear it. Don a pair of coveralls when degreasing your bike chain. Throw on a lab coat before painting the hallway.

In Arizona, hikers are always advised to "wear layers." This is due to rapidly changing weather conditions. It's very easy to remove layers when it gets too hot and add layers when the temperature drops. For everyday clothing, keep in mind that the top layer of your clothes is not getting as dirty as the bottom layer. You might only get two days' of wear out of a blouse but a week's worth out of the sweater or vest. An easy way for women to maintain the odor-free condition of slacks and jeans is to use cloth pads for any days of their cycle when bodily smells are naturally a little more, um, potent.


A nice side effect of showering less often has been that our towels don't need laundering as much. Most days, we simply take a sponge bath using a washcloth and some hot water in the sink. With the arid climate here, I'm practically dry when done. We each shower approximately twice a week, mostly to wash hair. The towels can easily go up to three weeks without developing a ripe smell, especially since we always let them dry out completely between uses. The number of washcloths used does not increase laundry substantially.

Some people feel sheets must be washed weekly but, unless one is going to bed completely filthy or sweaty, I'm not sure why such frequent washing would be needed. It's easy enough to sponge off if dirty and keep the sheets in nice shape. Of course, night time activities for couples may have an impact here so use your own judgment. If the sheets are ready to walk to the washer themselves, perhaps you waited just a little too long.

Blankets, on the other hand, should need laundering far less often than the sheets since they are not coming in contact with your body at night. If your animals like to get on the bed, consider laying a sheet over the blankets or bedspread. A lightweight sheet is easier to clean than a heavy blanket or bedspread.

Give it a try

While writing this up today, I tried the vodka spritz method for the first time on three of my sweetie's work shirts (using a 50% vodka/50% water spray). I hung them out in the sunny breeze and they came out just fine. When he got home, I told him, "I'm tired of doing laundry so I'm not going to wash your shirts every time any more." I made him sniff the pits and he agreed they passed the test. To make sure they do get washed within another wearing or two, we're going to keep them separated from the laundered shirts, though.

If you are accustomed to a regular schedule of frequent laundering, try cutting back a little at a time until you reach your limits. Use your eyes and your nose to let you know when something really does need to be washed.

Do you have any tips for cutting back on laundry?

Original: http://chilechews.blogspot.com/2009/02/how-to-do-less-laundry.html

The Joys of the Container, or Why Lack of Soil Is No Barrier

I’m an avid container gardener. This may seem weird, given that I have literally acres of dirt on my farm, and yet, there are simply things that do better in containers for me than they do in the ground. Containers provide a way of dealing with a host of garden problems, and, IMHO, are useful to all gardeners, whether you’ve got a balcony and stone stoop or a vast farm.

Among the reasons I use containers:

1. To mimic soil conditions I don’t have - for example, I have a tough time growing any long carrots in my heavy soil - so I grow my carrots in containers which have just the perfect carrot soil. This would also work for those who don’t have acidic enough soil to grow blueberries or who need other specific conditions.

2. To heat up my plants more. Where I live, in upstate NY in the hills, overnight temperatures often fall into the 50s (and sometimes 40s) in the summer. Peppers, eggplant and melons just plain don’t like cool nights. Since containers heat up more in general, I find that I get better production from these plants. The heat stress also gives me hotter peppers. For those who don’t need more heat may not find this useful - at least in the summer. On the other hand, a sunny, warm spot might be just what you need to overwinter an especially tender plant.

3. Beause I can put plants in places I couldn’t. That means I can have morning glories twining up my mailbox (surrounded on three sides by concrete) and can pretty up my water barrels with snapdragons. You can take advantage of your best sun exposure, even if there’s no dirt there, or make a place that would be unproductive fertile. I also use containers to bring plants to my kids - putting cherry tomatoes and lambs ears where they play so they can nibble or pet. And scent - well that’s still another reason - really fragrant plants deserve to be where we’re most likely to get the benefit from them. And think about what could be done with all those city rooftops using containers?

4. To extend my season. In pots on a glassed in porch, parsley, arugula, winter lettuce, scallions and bok choy will begin producing in March. Nasturtiums seeded now on a sunny windowsill will start blooming by May, feeding both my need for color and my desire for peppery salads. On the other end, the potted peppers, cherry tomatoes and eggplants I bring in will produce into December. Sage, thyme, basil and mint will last all winter. For those in hot climates, greens can be moved from warm spots to shadier and cooler ones, making the salad season longer.

5. To allow me to plant tender plants. I have figs, bay and citrus trees and am mulling over a dwarf banana. Lemon Verbena, scented geraniums, aloe, gotu kola, bacopa, zaatar, and Vietnamese coriander fill my windowsills. And right now, my albutilon and begonias are flowering, brightening winter gloriously. I’ve promised the boys a garden of carnivorous plants to be overwintered indoors as well.

I also find container gardening psychologically so *manageable* - that is, when the garden is full of weeds and merely facing it seems overwhelming, well, there’s no reason you can’t attend to one pot. Deadheading one pot of flowers or planting herbs in a pot is a garden chore most of us can face, even on the hottest day.

Now what kills a lot of container gardening attempts is the problem of water - and on hot days, a plant might well need to be watered several times. The best solution to this is the self-watering container, also known as an “earthbox.” You can buy them or make them. The definitive book on the subject is Ed Smith’s _Incredible Vegetables From Self-Watering Containers_. It is worth looking at, because there are some specific strategies to be used.

Self-watering containers are essentially a pot within a reservoir pot, arranged so that nothing sits in water. They can be made or purchased, but since my friend Pat Meadows has written a very clear and useful post on the subject here: http://entire-of-itself.blogspot.com/2008/02/growing-vegetables-in-self-watering.html I won’t duplicate the information. The pots are not difficult to make at all, and you can play with the techniques a little.

Pat is one of the most knowledgeable people out there on the subject of container gardening - she used to sell seeds for container gardens, and she now moderates the Edible Container Gardening list, which has almost 2000 people on it. If you are interested in subscribing, you can do so by sending an email to:ediblecontainergardens-subscribe@yahoogroups.com. The group is an amazing resource.

If you live in a cooler place, or are prepared to water often, regular containers are great - in fact, some things do better in regular containers than the SWCs - herbs like thyme and oregano, nasturtiums and hot peppers (Smith says hot peppers do fine, but he doesn’t actually seem to like to eat them - since water stress makes peppers hotter, if you are an actual chile head, you won’t want to use SWCs). You can use anything that hasn’t been used for something toxic as a container - we grow plants in old boots, in cooking pots with holes - after a while, everything is a potential garden pot.

Here are some recipes for potting mixes: http://www.associatedcontent.com/article/207498/homemade_potting_mix_recipes.html?cat=32. If you buy peat, make sure it is harvested from an area that is not under ecological stress. I don’t recommend vermiculite at all - breathing it in isn’t good for you.

For fertility, if you are using regular containers, you should remember that you’ll be washing out a lot more fertility than you would be with other plants, and fertilize often. My own personal fertility plan is to add plenty of worm compost, greensand and a good organic fertilizer mix (make your own or purchase - more on fertilizers later in the class), and to fertilize alternately with compost tea, and human urine diluted 1/10. To be safe, I don’t use urine within a week of harvest - although there’s very little risk unless you have leptospriosis (at which point you’ve got other problems: see my post “Free Nitrogen - Comes With Handy Dispenser!).

What can you grow in containers? Almost anything, if you have a big enough container, up to and including small trees. Realistically, smaller varieties are generally easier to grow. I’m a big fan of “Red Robin” tomatoes, “Fish” hot peppers and “Little Fingers” Eggplant in containers, but really you’d be stunned at what you can grow in a pot. I love to mix herbs and flowers and vegetables together - there is nothing like “bright lights” chard mixed with parsley and dianthus, or an artichoke underplanted with purple vining petunias spilling over the sides. The art of edible container gardening makes it a delight.

I’d encourage everyone to expand their growing space with containers whenever possible. It is easy to think that pots can only grow a little - but that little bit adds up.


Original: http://sharonastyk.com/2009/02/05/the-joys-of-the-container-or-why-lack-of-soil-is-no-barrier/