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Sunday, March 8, 2009

Sewing- A Practical Skill for Tough Times

This post is brought to you by "YankeePrepper" of the Massachusetts Preppers Network.
Sewing skills are a very useful thing to have, especially during tough economic times. Everyone should know how to make simple repairs such as sewing on a button, replacing a zipper, or fixing the hem on a pair of pants. I have seen many people throw out a pair of good socks because there was a hole in the toe of one of them, or toss out a pair of pants because the zipper broke. Some of my co-workers have had me make on-the-spot repairs for a minor seam rip in a sweater, and act as though I had performed some secret magic ritual!

I learned to sew at age 14, and have been sewing for the last 40 years. This has taken the form of family mending and alterations, and making teddy bears, down vests, wedding dresses, bathing suits, an overstuffed fake-fur chair, and numerous full-size quilts. I have not made many clothing items over the last few years, but considering the shoddy quality of most clothing manufactured overseas, reviving that skill is probably a good idea.

During the Depression, clothing was recycled as hand-me-downs from an older sibling or neighborhood children. Clothes were mended or patched, and when they wore out beyond repair, the remaining fabric was cut up and used to make patches for other garments. Zippers and buttons were saved for future use. Girls wore dresses made out of cotton flour sacks, which came printed in patterns. Many fabric companies today sell reproduction 1930s vintage fabric, which is characterized by small prints and pastel colors.

The Works Progress Administration, founded in 1935, and lasting until 1943, provided jobs and much-needed income to unemployed families during the Depression. Many women worked in WPA-sponsored sewing rooms, and were taught to use sewing machines. They made clothing, bedding, and supplies for orphanages and hospitals.

Sewing skills are used in a number of occupations, including bookbinder, dressmaker, cobbler, milliner, quilter, sail maker, tailor, seamstress, taxidermist, and upholsterer.

I would encourage everyone, male and female, to learn some basic sewing skills to repair their family’s clothing. The days of “disposable” clothing that is worn for one season and discarded are over. Old jeans or flannel shirts can be transformed into quilts, rag rugs, or pillows. Save old zippers, buttons and elastic from clothing that is beyond repair. It is a good idea to gather some basic supplies, such as thread, zippers, extra buttons, scissors, and to store a supply of fabric. A fishing tackle box makes a wonderful sewing box, with plenty of compartments for all those sewing notions. Have a family member or friend teach you how to sew on a button or alter a garment. There are many good books and online resources for learning and supplies.

In my sewing box is a piece of beeswax that was passed down from my maternal grandmother. It is probably 50 years old, and looks like a small chunk of rock with a few threads and pieces of lint embedded in it. It was used to wax a piece of hand-sewing thread to keep it from tangling, long before the days of polyester or synthetic thread. I still use this chunk of beeswax to this day, and in some small way, I am carrying on a long tradition of sewing in my family. My grandmother raised 10 children in northern Vermont, and her husband died in his early 40s. She gardened and canned and raised chickens, and sewed and mended, and made do with what she had to work with. Sewing is a practical skill used to help survive hard times, both during the Depression and the tough economic times today.
Brought to you by "Yankee Prepper". Thank you for this very useful information.

Original: http://americanpreppersnetwork.blogspot.com/2009/03/sewing-practical-skill-for-tough-times.html

Cooking with Basic Food Storage: Rice Recipes

Browned Rice

1 c rice

1/4 c shortening

1/4 c chopped onion, meat, celery, or other vegetables (optional)

1 tsp salt

3 1/2 c water

Heat shortening in skillet. Add rice. Cook, stirring constantly, about 10 minutes or until lightly browned. Add vegetables and continue cooking 2-3 minutes (optional). Add salt and water. Simmer over low heat 20-25 minutes or until rice is tender and excess liquid is evaporated. Makes 6-8 servings.

Rice Risotto

1 large onion, chopped

3 T butter

4 c water

2 c white rice (not instant)

3 T oil

4 tsp chicken bouillon plus 1 tsp salt

Saute onion in oil and butter, then add rice and saute until yellow. Add water, chicken bouillon and salt. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat, cover and simmer until liquid is absorbed (about 20 minutes.)

Spanish Rice Au Gratin

1/2 c uncooked rice

1 c water

1/2 c onion, chopped

1/3 c green pepper, chopped

1/2 c celery, chopped

1/2 tsp Worcestershire

1 1/2 T margarine

1 c tomatoes

1/2 tsp salt

1 tsp sugar

1 tsp chili powder

1 c cheese, grated

Combine rice, water and salt. Bring to a boil, stir, cover, reduce heat and simmer 15 minutes. Meanwhile, saute onions, peppers and celery in margarine. Add tomatoes, sugar, chili powder. Add Worcestershire. Add cooked rice and simmer until thick. Pour into buttered casserole and top with cheese.

Rice Pilaf

2 c rice

4 T butter or margarine

4 c liquid (chicken broth if served with fowl; beef broth if served with beef)

1 c slivered almonds

3/4 c chopped celery

3/4 c chopped green onions

3/4 c chopped carrots

Salt and pepper to taste

Brown rice lightly with butter in skillet. Place in casserole with boiling broth. Cover and bake one half hour at 375 degrees. Take from oven and add vegetables and nuts, stirring and mixing well with fork. Return to oven for one half hour. Makes 8 servings.

Parsley Rice

2 c precooked rice

1 large onion, finely chopped

1 c parsley chopped

1 1/2 c grated sharp cheese

3 eggs

2 1/2 c milk

2 1/2 tsp salt

1/2 c oil

1 T Worcestershire sauce

Beat eggs well. Add oil, onion, parsley and grated cheese. Combine with rice, salt and milk. Bake in 350 degree oven for 45 minutes. Very good served with chicken gravy.

Oven Baked Rice

2 c rice

1/2 c butter

1 medium onion, chopped

2 cans beef consomme

1 can water

1 c mushrooms

1/4 tsp rosemary

1/4 tsp sweet basil

Salt and Pepper to taste

Melt butter and saute rice until lightly browned. Add onion and mushrooms and saute until tender. (If mushrooms are canned, add later.) Put into buttered casserole and pour beef consomme and water over the top of the rice. Cover and bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes. Serves 12.

Brown Rice

1 c rice, unwashed

1 pkg onion soup mix

6 T butter or margarine

1 small can mushrooms

2 c water

Handful of slivered almonds (optional)

Brown rice in melted butter in frying pan. Grease casserole and add browned rice and other ingredients. Cover and cook in 300 degree oven for about one hour. Sprinkle almonds on top.

Broccoli Rice

1/2 c rice (or 1 1/2 c precooked rice)

1/4 c margarine

1 onion, chopped

2 c chopped broccoli, cooked and drained

2/3 c grated cheese

1/2 c milk

Cook rice (or use precooked rice). Saute margarine and onion in a small skillet. Add broccoli, cheese, milk and cooked rice. Bake in covered casserole at 350 degrees for 35 minutes. Serves 4.

Pizza Rice Casserole

2/3 c rice (or 2 c precooked rice)

3/4 lb. ground beef

1 onion, chopped

2 c tomato sauce

1/4 tsp garlic salt

1 tsp sugar

1 tsp salt

Dash pepper

1/4 tsp oregano

1 tsp parsley flakes

1 1/2 c cottage cheese

1/2 c shredded cheese

Cook rice (or use precooked rice). Brown ground beef and onion in a large skillet. Add tomato sauce, garlic salt, sugar, salt, pepper, oregano and parsley flakes. Cover and simmer 15 minutes. Combine cottage cheese and cooked rice. Put 1/3 of rice mixture in a buttered 2 quart casserole. Top with 1/3 of meat-tomato sauce. Continue to alternate layers, ending with tomato sauce. Sprinkle with shredded cheese. Bake at 325 degrees for 30 minutes, or until hot and bubbly. Serves 6.

Fried Rice

3 c cooked rice

3 strip bacon, chopped fine

3 eggs, slightly beaten

1 1/4 c cooked meat, diced fine

2 T green onions, minced

1/2 c sliced mushrooms, sauteed

2 T soy sauce

Salt to taste

Fry bacon until slightly brown. Remove bacon from skillet. Empty grease from pan--set aside. Scramble eggs in skillet used to fry bacon. Remove eggs and set aside. Use bacon drippings to fry cooked rice for approximately 5 minutes, stirring constantly. Add remaining ingredients and combine well. Continue cooking for 10 minutes. Serve hot.

Ham Fried Rice

6 unbeaten eggs

1 onion, diced

4 T butter or margarine

2 c frozen peas, cooked

1 c diced ham

6 c prepared rice

2-3 T soy sauce

Cook rice according to package directions. In a large skillet, melt butter and cook onions until tender, but not brown. Add eggs and scramble. Add rice and soy sauce. Stir in peas and ham. Heat through.

Source: Traverse Mountain 1st Ward Pantry Cookbook

Original: http://preparednessmatters.blogspot.com/2009/03/cooking-with-basic-food-storage-rice.html

Cooking with Basic Food Storage: Homemade Pancake Mix

How many of us use a boxed or bagged pancake mix to make pancakes? I know I do! They're quick and easy to use but the pancakes never taste quite as good as the ones you get from a restaurant. Here's a little secret: Many restaurants make their own dry pancake mix and add the wet ingredients just before baking. So here's a mix developed by a restaurant chef that you can make from scratch and store in an airtight container. Whenever you feel like pancakes, add the wet ingredients and. . .Voila! You have your own delicious restaurant-style pancakes in no time for just a fraction of the cost of a prepared mix from the store!

Homemade Pancake Mix
10 c flour
1/4 c baking powder
1 T salt

Mix flour, baking powder and salt well in a large bowl. Transfer to a four quart plastic container with a tight fitting lid. Store in a cool, dark, dry place until ready to use.

To make pancakes (about 20): Put 3 cups of the pancake mix into a bowl; stir in sugar to taste (from 2 Tablespoons to 1/2 cup). Whisk 4 eggs in a medium bowl; whisk in 2 c milk and 1/4 c melted butter into the eggs. Add the dry ingredients; stir until just incorporated. Heat a griddle or skillet over medium heat. Add 1/2 tsp vegetable oil; swirl to coat. Ladle 1/4 c batter for each pancake into the skillet. cook until bubbles appear, about 2 1/2 minutes. Turn pancakes. Cook 1 1/2 to 2 minutes. Repeat with remaining batter.

Source: Bill Daley and Christopher Prosperi of Connecticut's Metro Bis restaurant, McClatchey Newpapers.

Original: http://preparednessmatters.blogspot.com/2009/03/cooking-with-basic-food-storage.html

Rules to Follow if You're Arrested or You're Premise Searched

We hope that all of our readers are law abiding, respectful citizens of the USA, but if for some reason you find yourself at your home when for whatever reason the police come knocking or kicking down your door, here are some wonderful tips & ideas to keep in mind:
  • Stay calm, cool and collected. Also be quiet and respectful.
  • Stay clear of the door. It is often kicked or knocked in.
  • Watch what you say, it really will be used as evidence.
  • Don't argue, don't make jokes and don't wave your hands about. All of these may go wildly 'wrong' and the situation may escalate.
  • Ask to see their identification and badges. Get the name and number of the official.
  • Police may use all force reasonably necessary (if charge is illegal, person may sue later).
  • You must be informed of the charge promptly so you can prepare your defense.
  • You do not have to talk, simply give your name and address.
  • You are entitled to contact family or a lawyer by phone.
  • You are entitled (in most cases) to the aid of a lawyer. If you can't afford one, the state generally must supply and pay the cost of one.
  • You are allowed to apply for bail (in most instances), so you can be free from jail pending trial. This doesn't apply in cases of capital offenses, such as first degree murder in many states.
  • You are entitled to a speedy, public and fair trial by an impartial jury of your peers.
  • In court you are presumed innocent (and need not prove it) until proved otherwise by the state, via evidence clear and beyond a reasonable doubt.
  • You cannot be forced to take the witness stand to testify for or against yourself.
  • You have the right to confront witnesses against you and have them cross-examined by your lawyer.
  • You have the right to subpoena witnesses in your behalf.
  • You have the right to object to unreasonable search and seizure of you or your home for evidence to be brought to court.
  • You may be tried only once for each offense.
  • You may usually appeal to a higher court.
  • You will not be subjected to cruel and unusual punishment.
  • If detained against your will, you have the right to petition the court for a writ of habeas corpus to determine if detention is lawful and your case must be heard promptly.
  • You may not be subjected to any bills of attainder by act of legislature depriving you of property, if found guilty of felony or treason.
  • You may not be subjected to any ex post facto (after the act) laws.
We found this wonderful information at Survival Links. Please visit the website for a lot of great useful information.

Original: http://theaspiringsurvivalist.blogspot.com/2009/03/rules-to-follow-if-youre-arrested-or.html

What To Do in an Economic Collapse

Survival Links provides some great common sense ideas in the event of a social economic collapse. With the times we find ourselves in, an economic collapse could be looming at any moment, please read the list below so that you will be well prepared;

  • REDUCE YOUR DEBT: Reducing ones debt to as close to zero as possible is essential. That may involve selling off some of your real estate investment, moving to a smaller home, refinancing your home mortgage to a 15-year loan, and eliminating your credit cards. Stop paying interest.
  • Do not be dependent on the government for your well-being. Try an be as independents and self reliant as possible for your income.
  • Take control of your own finances. Read many alternate sources of information. Do your homework. Be careful to understand what is going on. Avoid states of denial. Become as independent as possible.
  • Make yourself save as much as you can. Most people live above their means. Learn to live below your means. If you save a minimum of 10% per month, you can grow your wealth very safely. Some can save 20%-25%.
  • Diversify your investments, include investing in Swiss money instruments,gold, different currencies.
  • Avoid weak financial institutions. Get out of harm's way. Many banks, brokerage house, S& Ls and insurance companies are tottering on the brink of disaster or close to it in the event of a market downturn. And in spite of the perception to the contrary, there is no substantive insurance safety net under these institutions.
  • Avoid popular investment markets. There are few goof opportunities for conservative investors. Stocks are overvalued. If you own stocks have stops in place. Corporate bonds are vulnerable and will drop as U.S. interest rates rise. Be very selective in investment real estate. Commodities are out of favor and at bargain prices. All things are cyclical and go from being under valued to over valued.
  • Find investment safe havens. The three best and most conservative investments to put your money into over the next few years are gold and silver, foreign government bond funds, and U.S Treasury bill money market funds. Don't announce to the world what you are doing; keep a low profile.
  • Legally bulletproof your business and personal matters. America is the most litigious country in the world, with 700,000 lawyers and 187 million new civil lawsuits per year. Every doctor, professional business person or business owner has a nightmare about being sued into ruin.
  • Change your mindset about the news, about investments and about your financial security. To survive the coming hard times, you must change the way you do things, the way you think, and the way you invest. You must read between the lines in today's news reports ... find alternative investments and financial institutions ...and plan for the future.
  • Purchase a one-year food supply and have a large water source. Own tangible assets or commodities that can be bartered or traded.
  • Buy real estate in a small town or rural community that can serve as a retreat or place of refuge.
Original: http://theaspiringsurvivalist.blogspot.com/2009/03/ready-to-post-what-to-do-in-economic.html

How To Prepare for a Wildfire


During a major conflagration, fire protection agencies may not have enough equipment and manpower to be at every home. If a house is already in flames, firefighters may have to pass it by to save others in the fire's path. Law enforcement or fire officials may advise you to evacuate. If you are not notified in time, or decide to stay with your home, the following suggestions will help you defend your property.

  • Evacuate pets and all family members not essential to protecting the home. But don't risk your own life.
  • Dress in natural fibers, not synthetics. Wear long pants and boots.
  • Remove combustible items from around the house.
  • Close outside attic, eave and basement vents, and shutters.
  • Place large plastic trash cans or buckets around the outside of the house and fill them with water. Soak burlap sacks, rugs, and rags to beat out burning embers or small fires. Inside, fill bathtubs and storage containers with water.
  • Locate garden hoses so they will reach any exterior surface of the house. Use a spray gun type of nozzle.
  • Use a portable gasoline-powered pump to take water from a swimming pool or tank.
  • Place a ladder against the roof of the house opposite the side of the advancing fire. Soak the roof.
  • Back cars into the garage and roll up the windows. Disconnect the door opener. Close all garage doors.
  • Place valuable papers and mementos inside a car in the garage in case a quick departure is necessary.

    IF YOU ARE CAUGHT IN THE OPEN: The best temporary shelter is in a sparse fuel area.

  • When in an automobile, move it to the barest possible ground. Close all windows and doors. Lie on the floor and cover yourself with a jacket or blanket. Keep calm and let the fire pass.
  • If a road is nearby, lie face down along the road cut or the ditch on the uphill side. Cover yourself with anything that will shield you from the fire's heat.
  • When hiking in the back country, seek a depression with sparse fuel. Clear fuel from the area while the fire is approaching and then lie face down in the depression and cover yourself.
  • On a steep mountaintop, the back side is safer.


  • Canyons: They form natural chimneys and concentrate heat, gases, and updrafts.
  • Saddles: Vegetation normally ignites first in these wide, natural paths that are ideal for fire storms and winds.

Fire plays a natural role in the ecology of forests and rangelands. Homes located on the fringes of these areas are in danger of wildfire. Reduce the risk of fire destruction, take steps to landscape the grounds properly and fireproof all buildings.

Contact the local fire protection agency for home safety guidelines and information on brush and tree clearance. Before hiking in the back country, consult the public or private agency that manages the area for tips on fire survival.

Original: http://theaspiringsurvivalist.blogspot.com/2009/03/how-to-prepare-for-wildfire.html

The Art of Hiding in Plain Site

Please visit Coffee with the Hermit's Blog covering his Urban Disguise...

Hermit Jim recently posted an excellent article covering his urban disguise. As I reads his post and thought on these things I realized he was on to something. People who wear all that flashy bling, wear it for the attention. From the perspective of survivalism, attention is the last thing many of us want. The ability to blend in and not be seen is normally a highly desired skill.

I remember when I used to work in DC. I was amazed at the people's ability to not see the homeless. They didn't ignore them or pretend that they weren't there. The truly didn't see them. The would walk, talk on their blackberry's, and step right over a homeless, laying on a steam grate in the middle of winter, without ever breaking their stride.

So I thought I'd brainstorm a list of Do's and Don'ts in regards to blending in. Ya'll add to this list and help me finish it.

  • Observe the people in the area your operate in
  • Wear what the locals wear
  • Wear a cheap walmart watch
  • Buy your clothes from the same places the locals buy them
  • Wear clothes the are earth tones
  • Find out who the locals avoid and don't pay attention to. Be like them
  • Eat what the locals eat
  • Wear jewelry
  • Wear Bright colors that stand out
  • Brag about your stuff
  • Dress better than the locals
  • Have the latest, greatest stuff
  • Do anything to stand out in the crowd.

Original: http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/SurviveTheWorst/~3/Byeylhz5XPQ/art-of-hiding-in-plain-site.html

Recognizing the Signs of Gangs in Your Community

I found this list at the following site.

Check out this list of signs of gang activity in your community. Along with all of
your preps you should always maintain a keen interest in what's going on in your
immediate area of operations. Check out this list and then do a recon of your home
town. Approach this situation from the perspective of trying to determine what is
actually going on and make sure your not projecting what you want the results to be.

Lastly, contact your local Police Department. They are always dealing with the
public and would be the first to notice a change in trends. Just ask someone you
trust for their honest opinion. Often, they will tell you if you just ask.

One of the first signs of the presence of a gang in your neighborhood is graffiti.
Graffiti is a clear marking of territorial boundaries which serves as a warning and
challenge to rival gangs. It is also used to communicate messages between gangs.

The graffiti may indicate the gang's name, the member's nickname, a declaration of
loyalty, a memorial to a slain gang member, threats, challenges, and warnings to
rival gangs, or a description of criminal acts which the gang has been involved.
Gang graffiti is most commonly found on neighborhood walls, fences, and mailboxes.

Another type of gang is known as a tagging crew. Tagging crews are individuals
known as "taggers") who initially group together for the sole purpose of placing
their names or slogans in visible locations or having tagging competitions known as
"battles" with other tagging crews when they are challenged. While tagging can be
done by individuals or crews who have no gang affiliation, trends are showing that
more and more tagging crews are being identified (by law enforcement) as another
type of street gang.

Youths Hanging Out
Another sign that gangs may be in your neighborhood is the presence of large numbers
of youths hanging around public parks, high schools, fast food stands, convenience
stores, and other hang-outs for teenagers. You may also notice the frequent use of
public phone booths by people who actually receive phone calls there.

Drug Houses
Drug gangs set up shop in homes, apartments, or hotels. These sites, known as "rock"
or drug houses, are used for the manufacturing, distribution, and sale of illegal
drugs. Drug houses are usually in disrepair and are the site of many parties. The
most identifiable characteristic of a drug house, however, is the heavy traffic of
people coming into the house for short periods and then leaving.

Increase in Crime
Your community may experience an increase in gang-related crimes such as vandalism,
assaults, burglaries, robberies, and even random drive-by shootings.

Having a sense of situational awareness is the best antidote for an ambush. Like I
said, recon your community and then decide if your home is the best place to make
your stand or not. The presence of an organized gang in your neck of the woods
just may limit your chances of surviving the worst.

Additional Info:
The Dangers of Gangs in Your Community
Buggin in... Buggin Out
Gang Threat Rises in America

Original: http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/SurviveTheWorst/~3/fwUqWHrerGI/recognizing-signs-of-gangs-in-your.html

A Can of Heater

By Joseph Parish

We haven’t departed company with ole man winter as of yet. Spring and summer are still several months away and we still need to think in terms of emergency heat during a crisis situation.

There are several ways which a person can deal with this matter. I myself maintain a kerosene heater for home use. During and emergency situation all un-necessary rooms would be blocked off with curtains and the kerosene heater would be employed. It does an admiral job of taking the chill off inside the home and our home is actually very large and poorly insulated.

The particular heater that I am about to describe below can serve as an emergency heater in the home, or as a safety heater to store in your vehicle during the winter months, if you are a camper you can certainly make use of this during those cool evenings in the great outdoors and above all it should be stored in an emergency 72 hour supply kit.

In order to construct this small heater you will need a 1 quart empty paint can which can be readily purchased at hardware stores such as ACE Hardware supply, a bottle of rubbing alcohol, one roll of toilet paper, a Phillips screwdriver and a source of fire such as matches or a lighter.

To get your heater prepared for use remove the toilet paper core and fold the toilet paper in such as manner that it can be stuffed into the quart paint can. Slowly pour one pint of alcohol into the paint can also. When you are ready to use the heater simply light it with a match. When you are finished with it and want to put it away it is very easy to extinguish it with the lid.

If you are merely storing the unit for emergency preparations you would only need to remove the core of the toilet paper and place it into the empty paint can. Next place both the can and all the other items into a large Ziploc bag separately until such time as it is needed.

Use only a 70 percent isopropyl alcohol as any higher percentage and there is a very good possibility that the flame will be too high to control properly. Don’t use any of the scented alcohols or you risk smelling up your automobile in the event it is used within its confines. Four pints of alcohol will maintain a temperature of approximately 60 to 70 degrees for a 24 hour period. These heaters are safe in the respect that there is no carbon monoxide produced.

I would however like to express some warnings on touching the rim of the can. You should be extremely careful as it becomes exceptionally hot to touch during its use and after you are finished using it. Another safety feature that you should include would be some sort of metal pan such as a cocky sheet in which you can sit the heater on when using it. Never attempt to put alcohol into the can while the heater is burning. Always wait for it to be extinguished and cooled before refueling. Although as we have said there is no carbon monoxide produced it never hurts to keep a nearby window slightly open when the heater is in use. Never use the heater for cooking food – it is strictly for heating.

Copyright @ 2009 Joseph Parish

Original: http://survival-training.blogspot.com/2009/03/can-of-heater.html

Oh Fiddleheads

by Joseph Parish

Few people may know what a fiddlehead is however if you do not you should make it a point to find out because you are missing a very delightful treat. Fiddleheads are young fern leaves which grow in a coil. They are approximately one inch in diameter. They originate from the ostrich fern. Keep in mind that all ferns develop fiddleheads however the best and safest are those from the ostrich fern.

During the springtime months of April through May Fiddleheads become a local delicacy in the state of Maine. Generally these tender rolls of fern will be harvested as soon as they start to appear. At this time they are usually small and are merely one or two inches of the ground. When you harvest the little things you should carefully remove the brown scale by brushing it. Then wash and properly cook the “heads” with a small quantity of salted boiling water. Cook for another ten minutes. Perhaps you would want to try them steamed. In that case they would be steamed for 20 minutes. They should be served immediately with a small dab of melted butter. Actually the faster you can eat them when they are cooked the better the flavor of the food. When preparing the Fiddleheads when chilled can be served similar to that of a salad with a slice of onion and a small quantity of vinegar dressing.

Since the Fiddleheads have a very short season most people who consume them like to preserve them for future meals. In order to freeze your fiddleheads you must prepare them in a similar manner as you would for eating them at the table. You should blanch only a small portion for 2 minutes at a time. Next cool and drain them well. Finally pack them into moisture proof containers and place them in your freezer.

If you are thinking of pickling your fiddleheads then you must proceed very carefully or you will lose much of its flavor. I have enclosed a sample recipe that you may find interesting in preparing your Fiddleheads.

Fiddleheads with Shrimp


1 pound of fiddleheads
6 ounces of uncooked linguine

6 cups of water
2 pounds of fresh shrimp
1 teaspoon of butter
2/3 cups of chopped onion
1/2 cup of diced green pepper
1/2 pound of fresh sliced mushrooms
1 teaspoon of thyme
1/8 teaspoon of pepper and salt
1/8 teaspoon of celery seed
2 tablespoons of lemon juice

Start my cutting off the ends of the fiddleheads. Remove the scales and wash very well. Place in a saucepan of water and bring the water to a quick boil. Next add the shrimp and continue to cook for another five minutes. Drain the shrimp well and set them aside. Now cook the fiddleheads in boiling water for approximately ten minutes. Drain these also. Coat a large skillet with one of the popular cooking sprays and add your butter. Continue to heat the butter until it melts at which time you should add the onion and green peppers. Sauté this mixture until it is tender. Finally stir in the fiddleheads. While the fiddleheads are simmering cook the pasta as normal without any oil or salt added. When finished drain them well and set them aside.

Add the mushrooms, pepper, thyme, salt and the celery seeds to your vegetable mix being sure to stir it well. Cook over a medium heat for another four minutes stirring often. Mix in the shrimp and the lemon juice and cook until the combination is heated complete3tly. Stir the mixture often.

Place the pasta on a large platter and spoon the shrimp mixture on the top of the pasta. Serve it immediately.

Copyright @ 2009 Joseph Parish

Original: http://survival-training.blogspot.com/2009/03/oh-fiddleheads.html

Recipe: Pickled Carrots

It's never too early to start canning! If you have a winter crop of carrots going, this is a great recipe to preserve them.

2 pounds baby carrots
1 cup sugar
2 cups vinegar
1 1/2 cups water
1 teaspoon salt
1 cinnamon stick
1 tablespoon pickling spices

Cook the carrots until just tender. Drain and remove skins if you prefer . Slice or use food processor to cut in sticks. In medium saucepan over low heat, combine the sugar, vinegar, water and salt. Take a small cheesecloth bag, add the cinnamon stick and pickling spices, and tie it up. Add to the vinegar mixture in the saucepan, turn up the heat and boil 5 to 8 minutes.

Pack the hot carrots into 3 sterilized pint jars. Remove spice bag from the saucepan, and pour boiling hot syrup over carrots. Be sure to leave 1/2 inch headspace. Clean off lips to get a proper seal. Adjust caps. Process 30 minutes in hot water bath.

Note: vary recipe according to the size of your carrots, and your personal tastes.
Adjust processing time for your own canning product and elevation.

Copyright (c) 2009 VPLW

Original: http://survival-cooking.blogspot.com/2009/03/recipe-pickled-carrots.html

Basics of Underground Housing and Other Options

From: http://www.smart-homeowner.com/ME2/Audiences/dirmod.asp?sid=&nm=&type=Publishing&mod=Publications%3A%3AArticle&mid=8F3A7027421841978F18BE895F87F791&tier=4&id=65CBA1EE3F6142C2ABB71B19F8A0D430&AudID=Better%20Home%2C%20Better%20Planet with minor editing:

Our cave-dwelling ancestors probably developed the basics of the method when they ran out of available caves but still thought of south-facing hillsides as attractive places to live. Today, underground building is far from burrowing deep beneath the lawn. Most underground homes are either concrete (usually), pressure-treated wood (sometimes) or naturally rot-resistant wood (seldom) structures, built in an area excavated from a hillside (usually) or flat land (sometimes). The one-story structure is usually roofed over with a flat, heavily reinforced, waterproofed deck and oriented with windows and doors facing south or in an arch facing southeast, south and southwest. All walls and roof decks are insulated from the exterior with thick, waterproof foam sheets. The excavated material is carefully pushed and tamped back into place up against the walls. On the roof, the material is replaced gingerly and often without tamping, creating an R-value of 50 or more, depending on the soil type and depth. It would be difficult to build a quieter home. Utilities are installed pretty much like an ordinary balloon-framed or concrete structure. The costs of underground construction generally run about 10 to 20 percent higher than standard balloon-framed homes, particularly when using a contractor who has never built underground before. In areas where soil is thin, imported fill can also drive the costs up. Environmentally, underground homes tend to blend in with their surroundings after a few years, although trees must be kept from growing in the way of the southerly exposure and roots from some species of trees overhead can pose problems decades down the road. Once overgrown with native vegetation, the entire structure blends in nicely with its surroundings.

One of the first "survival"-type books we bought is this great book by Mike Oehler entitled "The $50 and Up Underground House Book". It has great info about the very most basics of digging out a shelter that is very liveable. You won't have a lot of space, but if built correctly, could have a LOT of privacy as it could be very well hidden.

Question: Will an underground or earthbermed home be defensible? Yes, if you have cameras installed or if you've designed it well. Also, when drawing up a floor plan for your underground or earth-bermed home, remember in the northern hemisphere, the open part must be south-facing to take advantage of the natural heat in the winter and the cooling in the summer. Will your property support that? If your entrance is on the north, design your driveway to come around to the back or "side" entrance.

Perhaps you'd consider having your underground house with a "fake-out" on top? Just a teeny little cabin with 4-directions for your viewing pleasure (read: defense).

More info about underground housing:

When considering an underground house floor plan, look for the following applications:
  1. The house floor plan should blur the distinction between indoors and outdoors. The purpose is to exist in close harmony with nature.
  2. The windows should be honeycomb style to harness solar energy.
  3. Since the windows for this type of floor plan don't open, an intake vent system with filters should be installed to draw fresh air from outside. The filters help keep out unwanted pests.
  4. Air should be fanned from a solar collector through the home duct work into a rock store beneath the main living space. The store system maintains an efficient heat-exchange which works with the insulating soil to maintain a comfortable temperature year round. A good system would require no additional heating or cooling.

The dome shaped rooms give rise to maximum floor space and minimum wall area. Floor areas do not to conform to traditional housing expectations and and the living spaces are defined with curved walls with no sharp corners. Natural sunlight can be channeled into the house via the use of a skylight lined with natural reflective materials

Here's the last part of our series of alternative housing construction methods:

Other Options
These methods of home construction only begin to hint at all the alternatives out there. If more exotic methods and materials are considered, homes can be built using everything from lightweight, aerated concrete blocks to recycled tires and cordwood. Aluminum cans, reinforced fiberglass, recycled steel and even sawdust have been used as basic building materials. The only ingredient common to all is the devotee who, for one reason or another, sees each method full of obvious advantages and few disadvantages.

But before you decide to create the American dream using methods and materials from someone else's vision of how life should be, consider all potential drawbacks. For instance, most real estate agents agree that selling offbeat homes is a significant challenge. Homebuyers generally shy away from methods and materials they don't understand. So resale of your alternative home may not be as quick, easy or lucrative as you, or your heirs, would like it to be. Additionally, home insurers may look askance at methods and materials with which they've had no experience. Although foam block, timber frames and log homes have gained acceptance, straw-bale and underground homes may be harder to insure at reasonable rates. Likewise, local building codes and inspectors may delay onsite approvals and permit issuance simply because the methods and materials are so new and require extra time to understand. And finding contractors willing to try your methods, which may appear woefully untried to them, is always difficult and usually expensive. So before you try an alternative home-construction method or material, it's best to talk with several people who have used the method and lived in the resulting structure for more than five or six years. It's only after 10 years or more that any home's shortcomings - be it alternative or standard construction - become obvious. Although home construction and ownership always involve compromises of one sort or another, it is best to understand in advance what concessions you will have to make.

Note: This is a blog for people who are looking to provide a long-term place to live and for disaster preparedness. Take all of the information you can gather, from here and elsewhere, and be sure to weigh all pros and cons for your housing decision. Do you intend to live forever in this house you plan to build? Then you probably don't need to worry about resale value. Live in mostly desert terrain? Then the organics method may work for you. Want to live underground? There are many types - earth bermed, hidden entrances and so many other ways to choose from. This is a big decision so be sure to make it wisely. It may be a matter of life or death.

Don't worry - we're not hanging ya out to dry. When we get more info or people want to share their experience of using alternative methods to build their dream survival home, we'll post them. Stay tuned! :)

Original: http://survival-cooking.blogspot.com/2009/03/basics-of-underground-housing-and-other.html