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Sunday, December 13, 2009

Carrots Anyone?

What great prices we are enjoying on local produce this fall. Over the last 2 weeks we have picked up 45 pounds of carrots (2nds) for 20 cents a pound. That's only $9.00 for months worth of veggies! It would have been even cheaper if our own carrots had germinated. But, unfortunately, 2009 was the summer that wasn't in Nova Scotia. I hope others of you had better luck in your gardens this year.

So, these carrots we purchased should last us the whole winter ... if we store them right.

This is what you do not want to have
happen to your stored produce....

With your indulgence, I'm going to go ahead and share how we tried to be as cheap frugal as possible this year in our winter storage starting with carrots.

You can use Rubbermaid containers to store carrots in, but as I said, we are cheap frugal. So, my husband, Renoman (Ren-o-man), and I went at the end of the season this fall to a local farmer's market that also happens to have an ice-cream counter and asked for what ever they had left for empty 5 gallon ice-cream buckets. They gave us about 16 ... only 5 with covers, but that didn't matter. We weren't going to use the covers anyway.

Next, Renoman went to a local saw mill and bagged 2 feed bags full of free sawdust. It was wet...did I mention we just had the summer that wasn't? Everything is wet this year - even our firewood which has been sitting in the yard since spring.

We tried drying the sawdust outside for a few days...that didn't work, so we brought it into the living room to dry out by the fire.

The last time we stored carrots I had a brain freeze and decided to add a little water to the sawdust to keep the carrots moist thinking, "This is a great idea". Not so! They got soft and limp pretty quickly. Ever tried peeling a limp carrot? It ain't pretty.

So, since that episode I've talked to a few people and learned that carrots have to be kept DRY. You can bury them in sand or peat moss, instead of sawdust if you like, and then work those goodies into your garden in the spring when the carrots have all been used. Or, like us, use FREE sawdust and sprinkle it around the blueberry bushes in the spring. (We don't have blueberry bushes, but my SIL does.) OR, like one of our neighbours, leave the carrots right in the ground under lots and lots of straw for the winter.

The next important step is to remove every possible chance of these little guys trying to fulfill the measure of their creation by sprouting while in storage 'cause that will also make them soft and useless as a human food item.

Some folks chop off the tops - some folks chop off the tips.
We did both.

Next - adding the sawdust and carrots alternately
in layers in the ice-cream buckets.

The idea is to make sure they are totally
covered so no light gets to them.
no moisture + no light = crispy carrots (we hope)
Oh! I almost forgot. They need to be stored in a cool place.
no moisture + no light + no heat = crispy carrots




There are loads of things you can make with carrots.
"Vegetables are a must on a diet. I suggest carrot cake,
zucchini bread, and pumpkin pie." Garfield

I'm sure you can think of a few favourites.

Just use your imagination and a good cook book.

Until next time....

Prepping and DIY

(originally posted at the CPN)

One part of prepping that often gets overlooked is DIY.

We're all stocking our pantries with several months worth of food, we keep adding to our first-aid kits, we are learning how to grow our own food and keep our eyes open for deals on ammo. But in the event of SHTF, natural disaster or an outbreak of a deadly virus - have we prepped enough to become as self-sufficient as possible?

The more DIY projects we start and master now - the better it will be for us all down the road!

Starting up some weekly DIY projects now will help you to prepare for SHTF in the long run but in the short term, DIY can help you save money, learn new and useful skills, re-purpose and re-use items that you may already have (or find in someone else's garbage) AND help you become more self-sufficient. All it takes is a little motivation, eagerness and, well a little help!

The Internet is an excellent source for a variety of DIY sites and projects; however, today I share with you what just might be the absolute best internet site for DIY - Instructables !!!

The site has articles and step-by-step instructions for almost anything you can imagaine! Whether you want to fix your tractor engine, build a new chicken coop or generate your own electricity - this is the place to go! The site is free to join and allows you to tag your favourite DIYs, post instructions for your own DIYs and provides downloadable PDF instructions for all projects - did I remember to mention that it's FREE?

So, to whet your appetites, here are a few of the many DIY projects to be found:

Build a Greenhouse from old windows

Awesome storage containers from Water Bottles

Compost bin from old shipping palettes

A windmill from aluminum flashing and a bicycle wheel

Repairing cordless drill packs

Soldering, soldering and soldering!!!

A lawn mower made from a drill

How to replace an alternator

Pop-bottle herb garden

How to build a rain barrel

How to build a rainwater collector

Build a 60-watt Solar Panel

So need I say more? Well yes - I probably should point out that the site contains a variety of great recipes, arts and crafts projects for your kids, DIY projects for both inside and outside of the home - everything you can imagine!

So check it out - you'll be glad that you did! And then share your favourite DIYs with others on the network!

Homesteading General

Homesteading General

To The Land

People are leaving the cities and moving to a life of self-sufficiency. They are buying small and large parcels (1 to 40) acres. Some can abandon city jobs, while most others commute to work, enjoying a blend of rural life. The rewards can be great with a more independence, family togetherness, lifestyle, and freedom with less stress.

There is nothing better then a year-round garden and greenhouse; keeping chickens, ducks, rabbits, and fruit trees. Going back to mother nature and back to basics is true independence.

Land Hints

Your selection of land is very, very important to your success. Practical characteristics should out weigh esthetics, even though both are important.

The first thing you need is to make a list of your needs; timber, pasture, flood zone, creeks, water quality, availability of water, and neighbors to name a few.
Note: Land further away from populated areas is generally preferred.

Now, you will probably need to make some compromises but this is and or will be a life style change, if you are from the city.

Whatever your needs, check growing seasons and local climate, water availability, soil types, roads, and in some cases required well depth if needed.

Please consider your age and physical condition as well in regard to the amount of work you can handle, do not commit yourself to a larger place then you can keep up and enjoy. Also something else to consider; is this going to be a full time self-sufficiency with a income-producing work or a part time hobby?