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Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Week One - Thinking

Quick Start:

Turn off your tv and other electronic devices then go for a walk, for at least 30 minutes, 5 days a week, in and around your neighborhood.

No, you don't have to wave to your neighbors, yet, but if they wave, wave back.

Blog Post:

In emergency preparedness, there is a rule. The rule is called the "3 to 5 Rule of Dying." It goes something like this:

You will Die

3 to 5 seconds without Thinking

3 to 5 minutes without Breathing

3 to 5 hours without Shelter

3 to 5 days without Water

3 to 5 weeks without Food

"Thinking" is the first item on the list. It is the most important.
Don't believe me; browse through the Darwin Awards.

Some people have already survived/died in certain situations. Take Steve Irwin, an injury that was survivable killed him because he made the wrong choice. Others, such as Lise Bohannon, made decisions that saved their lives, and we can learn from all of these choices.

Now, there are many, many people expressing their opinions on how to prepare to survive. James M. Dakins, James W. Rawles, Ragnar Benson, Kurt Saxon, and Andrew Zarowny are just a few. They all have their opinions.

Because they have been getting ready longer then you, doesn't mean they are right. This includes me. You have to decide what is going to work for you.

With that said let us get started.

The first thing you want to do is to make a threat analysis. The "Threat Analysis FAQ" helps you focus on the situations that you are going to prepare for; it will also lead you through the process of discovering and documenting the threats to your continued survival.

Basically, you write down all the bad stuff that could happen to you.

To do this, you take a piece of paper and draw a line down the middle. Next, write down every bad thing that could happen to you and your family on the left side. Some things you might write, in no particular order, are a house fire, laid-off, car accident, flood, nuclear war, hurricane, tornado, home invasion, windstorm, violent revolution, earthquake, sewer back-up, fired, sectarian violence... .

Don't get discouraged. Keep listing.

Once you're finished, on the right side of the line, you want to prioritize them, from greatest threat to the least likely to happen to you and your family. That's it for this week.

Before you go, let me tell you a story.

There was a young man and he wanted to go and seek his fortune. He asked his father what he should do.

The father said, "Son, every morning walk in the direction of the rising sun. At noon, eat your lunch and rest for an hour. Then get up and walk in the direction of the setting sun."

The next morning, his mother and father hugged him and bid him farewell. He did as his father had advised, walking all morning and stopping for lunch, even resting under a shady tree. After his rest, the son got up and followed the setting sun, arriving home just in time for dinner.

A little surprised, he was welcomed home by his family.

At the dinner table, he asked his father why he had given him such bad advice.

His dad replied, "Not everyone will give you good advice."

So work on your Threat Analysis, and I'll ...

See you next week!


Darwin Awards

Wikipedia - Steve Irwin
*scroll down the page to "Death"

Nova Online - Escape! Survivor Stories

Threat Analysis FAQ

FEMA - Learn About the Types of Disasters

Canning Peaches

Well, I don't know about you, but canning season was crazy around here. Consequently, I did a lot of canning/freezing/drying and mostly remembered to take pictures, but had no time to post any of it! So this fall and winter, you just never know when a random canning post is going to appear.

Today we'll be canning peaches. Yummy. The first thing you need to do is get some peaches. There are lots of different varieties of peaches, but they come in two types: cling and freestone. If you've got a choice, you want a freestone variety. They are much easier to work with. The cling peaches are called that because the flesh "clings" to the pit, and so has to be freed by a pitting spoon or some such measure requiring a great deal more labor than just starting out with a freestone peach. A freestone peach has a pit or "stone" that comes "free" from the flesh (separates) easily. So if you're looking to plant a peach tree on your property, I'd look for a freestone variety.

After you've got some peaches, get them washed up and pretty. Now we'll skin them.

Skinning a peach is really quite easy. Get some water boiling in a pot. Dip the peaches in the boiling water for a while. The book says 30-60 seconds, but I've left them longer with no ill effects. You can tell when they're ready to come out because the color of the skin changes--the red will dull a bit--you'll see what I'm talking about when you do it.
Then take them out of the boiling water and put them immediately in cold water. I have a really cool metal basket thing (you can see the handles in the above picture) that allows me to put a basket of peaches in the water and then pull them all out and transport them to the sink. Slick. Much better than fishing one peach at a time out of the pot of boiling water, but that works too.
Now the skins should slip off the peaches easily. These are kind of mini peaches, but hey, they were free, so I'm not complaining.
If your skins do not slip off, you might have cling peaches, or your peaches may not be ripe enough. The skin of underripe peaches does not come off easily and causes a great deal of frustration! If you have underripe peaches, just wait a couple of days for them to ripen up a bit before canning and save yourself the trouble of peeling them with a knife.

After they are peeled, use the dent along the side of the peach as a guide to cut the peach in half and remove the pit.
Now you can leave them halved or cut them in slices, whichever you prefer. I like slices, but halves are faster, so I have some of both in the storage.

Put the cut peaches in a bowl containing 2 quarts of water and 2 TB FruitFresh or EverFresh or some similar product to prevent browning.

Meanwhile, get your boiling water canner, pot of lids, and syrup heating up. Syrup is a ratio thing. 1 sugar to 4 water is a light syrup, 1 sugar to 2 water is heavy. I like 1 sugar to 3 water. Use whatever you want to measure the sugar and water as long as you pour it in the pot according to the ratio.
I have a friend that skips the syrup and just puts 1/4 cup sugar in each quart jar after she's filled it with peaches and then pours boiling water over the top of it all to fill the jar. She claims it's less messy than using syrup. Might have to try that next year.

Now, put the peaches in your jars and pour the hot syrup over them to the bottom of the neck. Free the air bubbles. There's a tool for bubble freeing, but I just use a butter knife and poke it in about 4 times around the edge of the peaches and do a little squeeze/wiggle with it to get the air out.
Wipe the rims of the jars clean, screw on your hot lids and rings and process the jars in the canner. 25 minutes for pints, 30 minutes for quarts. Pull your jars out when they're done and put them on a rack to cool. My rack is my way thrifty oven rack upside down, one side supported by an upside down plate.
Enjoy! Especially lovely to look at on the shelf and delicious over vanilla ice cream . . . :)