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Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Survival Sanitation - Part One - Taking Out the Trash

A dumpster full of waste awaiting disposal.Image via Wikipedia
In a survival situation, a buildup of garbage or trash can become a hazard of its own that could lead to a significant health problem, problems with pests or quite possibly a fire. Most short term survival situations can be easily handled by simply bagging your trash or garbage. This may not be a viable solution during a long term crisis. There are several different alternatives that can be used during an extended crisis to avoid potential problems.
One of the quickest and easiest ways to eliminate garbage and waste is by burning. While it is a common practice in rural areas (except when “burn bans” are in place), this may not be an option in more suburban areas. When using the burning method to help control the buildup of garbage a number of safety factors will need to be followed. Avoid burning on windy days, make sure your burn pit, barrel, etc. has sufficient ventilation and make an effort to burn your trash completely. Incompletely burned piles of refuse can become breeding grounds for rodents (rats, mice) and other pests (flies, etc.). If you do plan to burn your trash, make sure to keep your garbage dry as this will allow it to burn more efficiently.
If you can’t burn your trash, the next viable option that can be implemented is burying your garbage. When using this option, it is important to remember that your trash will need to be buried deep enough to prevent animals from digging up the waste materials. It should also be done in a location that will not contaminate any ground or surface water (rivers, lakes, streams, etc.). This will require a great deal of effort on your part to do properly.
Food wastes should be kept separate from dry waste and then added to your compost pile. If you don’t have a compost pile, it will be a good time to start one. If possible, rinse empty containers and cans to prevent rodent and insect problems. This will require an adequate supply of water available for this purpose. If an adequate supply of water isn’t available this step will need to be skipped. Boxes and cans can be flattened to save space and always keep all waste securely stored in bags or buckets that can be securely sealed. Store your trash in an area safe from animals, rodents or insects and away from any living areas until it can be properly disposed of in the necessary manner.
One final item you need to remember. Be careful about the items you throw away. Some things may be able to be used at a later date. Better to have it and not need it, than to need it and realize you buried it with the rest of the trash.

Staying above the water line!

cherry wine

A pair of cherries from the same stalk. Prunus...Image via Wikipedia
The lady's mother has two prolific cherry trees, which is far more than she and her friends are able to use, so i've been doing my part to help. I've been making preserves, cobbler, have a pie planned, and of course there are worse things to do with an excess of fine fruit than a nice wine.

I thought i'd share my basic recipe. it is formulated by the gallon, but of course it can be adjusted, my next batch is going to be larger.


- 3lb ripe cherries. I'm partial to sweet, tart, but not too tart varieties. basically, just enough acid to prevent the need for an acid blend.

- 1.2lb white sugar.

- 2 cloves.

- 1/2 tsp. real vanilla extract.

- 2 Tbs. zest of lemon.

- 3 Tbs. fermiad, or appropriate amount of other yeast nutrient blend, just for good measure. too much will negatively impact the final flavor [tastes like a multivitamin, which in a sense, it is.]

- Yeast culture, or Active dry yeast. I've been using baker's yeast a lot, with fairly good results. the alcohol tolerance is usually over 10% and the off flavors do not generally persist once the yeast settles out. I still recommend a commercial wine yeast.


- Large adjustable burner.

- Large, preferably non-aluminum stock-pot, at least two gallons capacity, with lid.

- Large ladle.

- cheese cloth, or other disposable, clean cloth at least 16" x 16".

- Glass or plastic primary fermentation vessel with lid. you can use the same stock pot you boiled the fruit in if you please, but then you will need to pour the contents through the cheese cloth into a funnel [i've tried it and i don't recommend it].

- Glass secondary fermentation vessel with airlock [i am currently using a large wine jug with lid, a length of aquarium tubing running into a water filled jar in a simple bubbler setup.]

- Funnel.


Prepare primary fermentation vessel by filling half way with hot water, then adding 1/4 cup of household bleach, and filling the rest of the way to capacity with hot water. cover and let stand at least 30 min. in an absolute pinch, you could instead wash and scrub it well, rinse thoroughly, then fill with rapidly boiling water and let stand until cool. the latter method is less reliable.

Rinse cherries, cleaning out any debris such as twigs, stems or leaves, and if necessary, let stand somewhere warm until warmed to room temperature. Place into stock pot.

Add 3 quarts water, 1/2lb of your sugar and heat quickly to a boil. As soon as a gently rolling boil is achieved, turn off heat and let stand until cool enough to touch.

Wash hands well and rinse thoroughly.

When cherries are cool enough to place your hands into the water, manually crush cherries. continue until all cherries are crushed and the stones have fallen to the bottom. you can remove these by hand now, but this is not necessary.

Add cloves and lemon zest, and return to a gentle boil. Gently boil, covered for 60 min, stirring frequently. Add vanilla extract and yeast nutrient, and again, stir well.

Let cool to nearly room temperature. you can expedite this by placing the pot into a clean sink with the drain stopped, and filling it with cold water.

Empty Primary fermenation vessel and drip dry, upside down in a clean place.

Strain cherries through cheese cloth into your Primary fermentation vessel. pull cheese cloth into a bundle and suspend over until it stops dripping. do not squeeze with your hands, as this can introduce contaminate bacteria or yeasts from your hands. discard pulp [good time to start a compost pile?]

cover primary fermentation vessel and be sure to cool completely to room temperature. rehydrate your yeast as per directions and pitch into the fermenter.

Allow to ferment, covered, in a cool place out of direct light for 2 days.

Rapidly boil 1 quart of water and add remaining sugar. Sustain boil for 5 min, covered, and remove from heat. Let cool to room temperature and pour into Primary fermentation vessel, using funnel if necessary. Be sure to pour into the liquid, not down the side of the container. this will introduce more oxygen into the wine, which at this stage is crucial.

Allow to ferment in same conditions for 5 days.

Prepare secondary fermentation vessel as you did the first. Pour wine slowly into secondary fermentation vessel, using funnel if necessary, being sure to pour down the sides of the container so there is no splashing. you do not want to introduce any more oxygen whatsoever at this point.

Fit airlock and ferment in a cool, dark place for at least two weeks. checking visually from time to time. At this time, you may remove airlock carefully and cork.


Be sure all utensils are well sanitized. fresh from a complete cycle in the dishwasher is usually sufficient, but boiling or soaking 30 min in hot bleach water will also do. the same goes for corks.

I recommend synthetic corks. they are easier to sanitize.

Do not open the primary fermenter to check progress. this dramatically increases the chances of contamination, and spoilage of your wine.

Never open your secondary fermentation vessel, unless racking under proper sanitary conditions or bottling under the same.

I may need to edit this, but for the moment, it's game night. Trivial Pursuit awaits.

One Hour French Bread

Even though I don't make it as often as I did a couple years ago, I love to make homemade bread. I ran across a recipe for 1 hour french bread a while back (at this post), and it looked really good. Best of all, it said the entire process from start to hot-from-the-oven could be accomplished in an hour.

So I made two last night, and voila...they were great!

They can be made into an oblong loaf, or smaller baguettes or breadsticks. I went with the oblong loaves this time. One recipe makes one loaf. And aside from water, there are only four ingredients.
NO mixer.
NO difficult instructions.
And easy for anyone who is a little standoffish about kneading...the instructions don't call for it, though when I formed the loaf I gave it 4 or five good turns to get it to hold its shape better. The 20 minute rise is all part of the One Hour.

Aside from raw milk, is there anything more delicious than crisp cold salad greens and crusty, hot homemade bread...or the bread itself, with butter and honey?

Or slices toasted with grated mixed cheeses atop?

I'm going to have to hide this recipe, for the sake of my waist. After one more slice, perhaps :)

Here's Sadge's (at Fireside Farm blog) recipe:

One-Hour French Bread
1½ cups warm water
1 tablespoon honey
1½ teaspoons salt
1½ tablespoons Active Dry Yeast
3 - 4 cups flour (any combination of white and whole wheat)

Preheat oven 450ยบ. Combine water, salt, honey, and yeast in a medium bowl. Let sit 5 - 10 minutes, until bubbling. Add flour, stirring with a wooden spoon, until dough is no longer sticky (I'll sometimes dump the dough out onto the cutting board with what flour is in the bowl and roll it around,adding a bit more flour, until it's not sticky). Roll dough into a 12 - 14" roll (or you can divide it in half and roll it into two long skinny baguettes). Place dough roll(s) on a cookie sheet (this won't work in a bread pan), greased or sprayed with non-stick spray, cover, and let sit 20 minutes. Make diagonal slits, 1/2" deep, on top with a razor blade. (Optional: spray with salt water). Bake 20 minutes.

Devour  :)