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Monday, December 20, 2010

Dehydrating Celery

Dehydrating celery is pretty simple and almost doesn't deserve its own post except that the results are pretty darn amazing, so I'm posting it anyway.  Unfortunately, when I dried this last batch I was in a bit of a hurry and didn't even take the time to take pictures until the end, so really all you get to see is the results.

Celery doesn't need to be blanched or anything, just washed, cut up, and put on the trays.  I used the same V-slicer I used for the carrots so the slices wouldn't be too thin.  I ran a bunch of stalks through at the same time.  Okay, I cheated and didn't even take the stalks off the plant before I started slicing.  That way the whole celery plant was sliced up in a matter of about 30 seconds which was about how much time I had to spend on this project.  Then I put the slices on the dehydrator trays and dried them at 125 until they were crispy.  Overnight worked great although it may not even take that long.  The good thing about drying something until it's crispy is that it's tough to over dry it.  When the celery was all dried, the whole plant of celery fit in half of a pint jar.  Seriously amazing.

Dehydrated celery is perfect for soups and casseroles.  It doesn't re-hydrate well into celery you could make ants-on-a-log out of, but for cooked dishes it is perfect.  So don't let your celery go soggy in the bottom of your fridge--get it on the dehydrator and preserve it for another day's meal.

After the BOV Died

By Joseph Parish

Well folks the balloon has finally gone up and you quickly pack up your bug out vehicle and secured your home the best that you can. You grab up the young ones and you and the wife jump into the car and you are off towards your destination. The goal is now to get safely to the survival retreat where you and your family will be safe.  

As you are traveling along US Route 95 you suddenly develop serious vehicle problems. You stop the car, get out and start to investigate. After a few minutes you conclude that the problem is beyond your ability and given amount of time to repair. You look in the back of your car and wonder how you will get your supplies and family to the retreat now. That is where we come in.

Few survivalists give adequate preparations for scenarios such as those listed above. It is those times when a few pieces of hiking or backpack equipment would come in handy. When selecting and preparing for this possibility you should choose your necessary equipment very carefully. 

When you shop for your backpack or hiking supplies do so with the thought of lightness clearly in mind. Remember in addition to the gear you will be carrying you must also include your food and water, a tent, basic first aid supplies, as well as a means of starting a fire. A footnote on your food and water, few people consider that if they must take cans of food with them they should remember to pack a can opener. Nothing can be worse then getting ready to eat a badly needed meal in the evening and finding you didn’t bring a means of opening a can with you. Select foods which may not necessarily require cooking unless you want to include a small set of camping pots and pans as well. 

You will be on foot so don’t forget a map and a compass so you can track your progress as you advance along. Include some sort of knife in your list of supplies. Since you will likely be traveling during the day include a pair of sunglasses and several containers of sun screen. A windup flashlight will come in handy for both night travel and for use within your tent at night. Add to this some rain gear such as a poncho and clothing and you are just about set to go.

That brings us now to one of the major components that you will need to decide upon and that is your tent. This selection may not be the simplest task you will undertake but you must select a good quality tent. Frequently a tent is designed for use within specific weather environments and seasons. You may discover that the popular all season tents simply is not suitable for winter use as you are hiking towards your mountain retreat. 

Tents are classified according to the season of use. A 3 season tent is suitable for all but the coldest of winter weather. You will find a 4 season tent to be suitable in a wide range of conditions including those of extreme cold weather. Lastly we have the all season tent which is the one most people carry in their automobile.  

Naturally you will require a tent of appropriate size to handy all the people in your party. Many people often purchase larger tents than necessary but keep in mind you will need to carry this item in the event you end up walking to your retreat therefore the weight must be taken into consideration. Purchase a tent that will be easy to set up and take down. The A frame or the dome tents are likely to be the simplest to use. 

Well you have the bare basics listed here so you can take it from here. You will want to add your own personal wants and desires as you build up your kit. No one can say with any certainty that one kit can fit all.

Copyright @2010 Joseph Parish

Winter checklist for your house

Ahhhh, it's a marshmallow world in the winter,
When the snow comes to cover the ground.
It's the time for play, it's a whipped cream day,
I wait for it the whole year round!
- lyrics from Marshmallow World

ConsumerReports.org recommends the following to prepare your house for winter.
  • Clear leaves from your property and gutters and roof
  • Remove piles of leaves, compost, & wood away from house (mice love to nest in debris)
  • Wash windows (you'll appreciate the extra sunlight in winter)
  • Turn off water to hoses and lawn sprinklers (turn off the water from inside the house)
  • Turn off power to outdoor compressor on your central AC
  • Cover outdoor furniture
  • Put away your grill (ours sits outside and rusts)
  • Test your snowblower before you need it
  • Update settings on your programmable thermostat
  • Have a pro service your home heating system
  • Replace furnace filters every month
  • Have your chimney inspected and cleaned
  • Check Fire and CO detectors and fire extinguishers. Smoke detectors should be replaced every 10 years and CO detectors every 5 years.
Bottom Line

I would add
* buy salt or ice melt.
* Check your snow shovels.
* Add mittens, hats and other cold weather gear to your car.
* Put a small shovel and kitty litter for traction in your car trunks.