Archive for October, 2013


american1Last night was the premier of National Geographic’s ‘American Blackout’. A fictional ‘story’ of what could happen if the power went out across the country for a prolonged time period (in this case 14 days). If you didn’t watch it, do so…it presents some very real incidences and film footage from other disasters, but it also follows along a story plot of several different types of people including a prepper. It is hard to watch in some places, but honestly, I believe it presents a very watered down version of what would happen should the 3 main power grids in this country go down at the sametime. Food supply lines become disrupted, medical care is basically non-existent, fires go unchecked (remember, it takes POWER to MOVE water in the form of pumping stations)…the whole banking system crashes (everything is computerized)…and when people figure out what is going on…well, there is a line in this fictional movie… “man, give me that can of peaches, I don’t want to have to hurt you, but I got kids”…you get the idea there and in following the prepper family, who takes along someone who has no clue about being prepared and why its not such a great idea to operational security, you find out just how people will be when you have something and they have nothing and your kindness…well…not going to spoil that one. american

I am trying really hard to not be a spoiler here, but lets just say…our government is NOT ready for it. Look at Katrina, Super storm Sandy and many other localized or regional events. Now take that and times it by a million, no, make that over 200 million.

Fact is, is that MOST people in this country will have NO IDEA what to do and will be looking for help. We as a society have been taught learned helplessness and this fictional movie glaringly points this fact out. Do you realize that most people don’t even have a simple manual can opener?

Most interestingly enough of all is that there is a real life PLANNED DRILL ‘what if’ scenario coming up on November practicing this very possibility.

Taken from

http://blog.chron.com/fromunderthebridge/2013/10/movie-tonight-coming-drill-american-blackout/

Do not panic–just be prepared! This is just supposed to be a drill.
(my comment, when they tell you not to panic, that is when you do)
“On November 13 – 14, 2013, the United States; Canada; and Mexico, along with more than 150 companies and organizations in all three countries, will take part in the GridEx 2013 Preparedness Drill – one of the largest preparedness drills in our country’s history. They will practice for an event unlike anything this country has ever seen, one experts fear is only a matter of time away from happening.
The U.S. Government is gearing up for a major Preparedness Drill that will simulate a Grid Down Scenario, one that will examine what would happen if the county’s electric grid was taken down by both physical and cyber-attacks.
The threat is very real and is something that we’ve covered in great detail in the past. Our electric grid is extremely vulnerable to an attack that could leave our country in the dark for weeks, maybe even months.
In preparation for this type of attack, our government is going to test the grids vulnerabilities, as thousands of utility workers team up with various government agencies.
The drill will look at how the three governments react to the loss of the power grid, and a crippled supply chain that would inevitably follow the event.

So, my question to you is this…can you take care of you and yours for at least ‘2 weeks’? and can you make the decisions that will be needed to made if you have to when you have to do so?
Look at it this way…what do you have to lose to store extra water, flashlights, food? Watch American Blackout to see why it’s a good idea.
For me, well, I am on the move again, ramping it up…you stay safe and get ready. The feeling of just having some things on hand will help you stay safe and strong when and if anything goes wrong.

Remember the minimum:
1 Gallon of water per day person/per animal
Flashlights, batteries (candles present a HUGE fire risk, last resort)
Battery/hand cranked radio (there are ones that come with hamradio reception by Grundy)
Food that can be eaten without having to cook, especially important in areas where there are a lot of people
A plan to dispose of human waste
Extra medicine/First Aid
Cash on Hand
Extra Gas

This is just the basics folks.

Advertisements

Lately I have been taking stock of my ‘stock’ (read that preps). Admittedly, I have included my children in getting prepared, but I didn’t realize just how much THEY did not understand the importance of organization, labeling and rotating. Yes, two are under 12 but one is a teenager who is into prepping. We talk about how to store things, what and why we keep extra on hand, safety, the value of being able to be less reliant on the ‘just in time system’ and a whole lot of other things. And many times we work together getting things done or they see me doing it with some help from them. Prepping with children as a single mom has brought up some interesting things, but when I started making extra room in my house to include another person, whoa! I just wanted to bug out and not deal with it…but, here I am, learning and hope that in my learning you can learn something too, especially if you are a single parent with children.

First, I realized just how much ‘crap’ is in my house that has really no value to me, but that’s another subject. Next, I realized that things had just been put behind closed doors so to speak to, just get it out of the way, and instructions were just NOT followed. And before someone has something to say about ‘kids being kids’ I am going to tell you that I am old school and believe that when an adult gives specific instructions on what/how to do something YOU DO IT. Not that I am trying to turn my kids into sheeple and not that I am not open to their ideas of how to get things done, but when you are told to pour the salt into a particular container and then label it, I expect it to be done. Put it in and label it and then put it in the spot I have set aside for it.

HAHAHA…I started cleaning/reorganizing and I found things stashed away like a squirrel stashes his nuts for the winter. Some of what I found was big bags of RICE just tucked away in a storage closet (seriously, that is NOT a joke). That was my teenager. Instead repacking the rice safely, he disappeared the containers and then stashed the rice.

Haha factor aside, I did not find this amusing at all and then I began to wonder about other things and sure enough, Mr. I Play Video Games, had not labeled salt containers or sugar containers, had just thrown can goods haphazardly into the pantry…sigh…really? And yes, I stood over him and things got done but really? At almost 16 years old I have to do that to make sure it gets done properly? Lets just say a few things ‘disappeared’ on him and I told him point blank that if he couldn’t follow simple instructions and put things away properly then how was I supposed to trust him with a crossbow or driving a car. Anyway…My 9 year old at least knows how to put green beans with green beans and to put the oldest up front. Sigh…so the past two weeks has been spent back tracking. Oh, I also found empty boxes that were never thrown away (so I assumed we had that in stock). Really? My 3 year old know how to throw things away.

There were quite a few things I found ‘out’ about, mostly just annoying things but if the little things like putting labels on buckets (so you know what it is), or putting the rice into mouse/bug proof containers or just throwing away an empty box of something can’t even be done, ohhhh…man, my mind just goes nuts over that one.

So what’s my point?

Everyone has to be on the same page at all times and understand the reasons behind why certain things get done. And just talking about it isn’t going to work with some people. Written instructions, establishing routines and expectations and then, being ‘the leader’, following up every time until you are dead sure that everyone is doing what they are supposed to be doing. And unfortunately, having worked in the real world, I have seen this same behavior from ‘adults’. Time consuming? Yes. Pain in the rear? Yes. Should you as ‘leader’ have to micro-manage. No. It would be nice to be able to delegate, but most people are used to ‘getting by’ with little to no consequences to themselves. This go around it was just proper food storage. And we can all go to the what ifs, but it got caught in time. So micro-manage I will until I am sure that we are all on the same page on how things will get done.

Ideas for the micro-management/leader that does work well for both children and adults:

Get a whiteboard…the type you can list ‘to do’ items on daily. Save your breath.

Get another whiteboard…this one won’t be daily but will list chores/responsibilities for the week. Unfortunately, even adults need this (ever worked in a restaurant?).

Have a sit down/write down meeting. In this case, with my 3 children I was able to explain WHY it was important about storing food correctly. THEN a notebook came out and the steps were written down. They took turns writing out the steps and reasons why. In my case it was about food storage, but this will work in any type of situation that you see come up or MIGHT come up, including security tasks. And YES, children can help on that end too. At this sit down ask questions instead of lecturing. You’d be surprised at how well this works.

Don’t overlook abilities. Some people are better at something than others. SWAT analysis is a good thing. Unfortunately, you may find yourself (as in my case with my children) that you have to work with what you got. My case, kids  which means I have to work with what I got, including the attitude.

Have a CLEAR system and keep it simple. Chaos is NOT good! For instance, one place I keep proteins, another certain types of canned goods, another place salt, sugar and another for rice. Its in the same place all the time (that is until someone decides to just do it their way). But I do have a system in place. This allows you to know instantly where certain things are (for instance I have ONE place for all batteries and ONE place for all types of lighting except for candles). By having a few things here and a few things there you wind up wasting time and energy ‘looking’ for things.

Speak up…don’t be afraid, as the ‘leader’ to say what you have to say when it needs to be said. I will admit it, when I found things not done correctly they, my kids, were in the middle of doing homework…guess what? They wound up redoing what they were supposed to do instead of the homework and opps! The homework got done when typically they do what they want to do. Seems to make the impression to just get it done right the first time.

Lastly, DO follow up to make sure things are being done correctly. Don’t make it obvious that you are doing so but just check. If done correctly…give praise (yep, that includes adults too), if not done or not done correctly stop right then and there and do what needs to be done. Food storage case I pulled the bags of rice out, put them on the counter top, called my son into the kitchen and stood there until I SAW him doing it. Then said thank you, walked away and then rechecked a bit later. Done right.

Anyway, that’s my rant for today (well, everyday it seems). Discipline and order and a system and being on the same page with everyone when things are ‘normal’ makes it easier when something comes up later on.

Now, back to clearing out the crap!

Once again, my friend over at VaCreepinOutdoors is at it again…comparing two different types of small ‘bug out’ type cooking methods.
Check it out:

Bugging out is NOT a preferred way of getting anywhere, but in an emergency…maybe your get home bag or for just in case, you can see the difference between the two.
Personally I have the small canister stove….just in case.

Btw…the small burner comes from amazon for only $7…sometimes DYI is NOT the best option!!!

remember to like and subscribe VaCreepinOutdoors…tons of great videos on survival and making the best in the worst case…

One thing this shtfmom has given great thought to is how to cook if things go south. Back plans to back up plans…Of course I have your typical electric oven (which I wish was propane, but so it goes). But having gone through a few different times without electricity for long periods of time I have had to address the issue of how to cook without electricity. Yes, there is the rocket stove and you can make those on the cheap…but having a natural abundance of free wood spending that money on a good one (after all I have quite a few people to feed!) and a fire pit and cast iron…well, of course this is appealing to me…not to mention sitting around a good fire and eating great food with great company. There is nothing like an open fire to bring people together. And I don’t about you, but in a situation where you have chickens, alot of the time people avoid the ‘wings’. This is a GREAT way to use the wing and eat well. In any type of situation you may come across in this world, knowing how to cook over an open pit fire will serve well…give it a go and give it a try! Being prepared to cook under various conditions and using different methods is a plus in my book!

My friend over at VaCreepinOutdoors came up a bit ago and he made these awesome Garlic Parmesan chicken wings over the open fire…
Hope you enjoy the video and the inspiration it may give you and maybe next time you decide to ‘grill’ you may think about open pit cooking instead. And by the way…find him on YouTube for more great survival skills…great and informative videos.

Published on Oct 22, 2013

Making wings in a dutch oven. They turned out great.

9 fresh wings. ( total of all wing parts. flats and drumsticks combined)
1 tablespoon olive oil
1teaspoon Italian seasoning
1teaspoon garlic powder
2 tablespoons parmesan cheese
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes

coat wings in olive oil, dredge wings in remaining ingredients. Cook at 425 in preheated oven for 30 minutes on a cookie sheet. You can flip them at 15-20 minutes. I usually don’t. If you like crispier wings, just cook longer. At time of plating you can ad shredded parmesan cheese or the regular granulated works fine. Or just eat as is.

That’s what I go by for fixing in the oven. A dutch oven takes longer and won’t crisp like an oven but they are fall off the bone good. Expect an hour minimum cook time. The longer they cook in a dutch oven the more tender they will be. If concerned about eating under cooked chicken of any kind, the rule is 160 degrees. If chicken exceeds 160, your good. There is actually enough moisture in the pot to cook for an hour and a half to 2 hours. As stated, longer cook time for a dutch oven, the more fall off the bone tender.

Just be careful that your skills doesn’t get you designated as camp cook. LOL

antsDing dong the ants are dead, the ants are dead, the ants are dead….okay, forgive my lapse into the Wizard of Oz, but an infestation of ants, even during good times isn’t funny. I get how important ants are in the grand scheme of things, in making the world go ‘round, but when I leave a pot of green beans on the stove and sit down, eat dinner and come back to clean up and the pot of green beans is being attacked en masse, well, Houston, we have a problem.

I keep a clean kitchen (okay, I have been known to leave dirty dishes in the sink overnight upon occasion) simply because I KNOW from living in low rent apartments how the insect world operates. But these ants, these ants were crazy. No matter how clean I kept things, no matter how fast I got things put away and put up, they came…in droves!

Went the conventional route, you know, bait traps, sprays, and then after 2 years of dealing with these suckers I broke down and went nuclear, calling in the exterminator. What I did not know or understand until a year ago when my wash machine decided to flood my home with water is that these buggers had made a MASSIVE nest in the insulation under my floor and in the walls…yep, you should have seen the guys who came out from Service Master RUN when they started pulling up the flooring that was ruined to remove insulation and such. Yeah, it was THAT BAD. My wash machine room and half of my kitchen (the insulation under the floor) had been turned into ant heaven. So, long and short, I thought removing their ‘nest’ ie the insulation the ants would disappear. (And I never did replace the insulation, why give them more nesting material?). And it worked, for the winter and into the spring and then the invaders came back…this time not only at the stove and kitchen sink, but the ants were literally coming out of the second bathroom bathtub faucet…sigh…yep…seriously…so out came the exterminator AGAIN. And they went away for a while and then came back with a vengeance a few months ago. At this point I am surprised I have hair left on my head trying to keep things clean, killing as needed (they even found the garbage CAN this time). So, knowing that the nice expensive exterminator didn’t work (no wonder why my Pitbull Maggie wanted to eat him and she LIKES everyone) I suffered and did what I could until a few days ago… hehehehehe…now I have NO visible ants and even tested the theory this morning by leaving yummy jelly on the counter top for a few hours…nope, not one ant!

Wanna know the secret?

Homemade ant bait…

20131015_4

See ants are funny, the ones you see, they get the food, take it home, feed it to other ants who then in turn make their ‘food’ and that feeds everyone, including the queen. Bingo! Everyone gets the yummy homicidal boric acid sugar food 🙂
Sorry if I seem a bit gleeful, but, me and these ants have gone round about for years now 🙂

So, what is the miracle for pennies?
Boric Acid (yep, that stuff you have heard that works for roaches)
Sugar
Water
Cotton Balls
Something to put the cotton balls in
Glass Jar

Here we go:
Put 1 cup HOT water into glass jar
Add 2 TBS Boric Acid
Shake WELL
Then add 1 cup of sugar to the boric acid/water mix and shake well again.
20131015_6

Soak the cotton balls in this solution and put the cotton balls on a small piece of wax paper, old soda bottle caps or whatever.

Next place several of these where you see the ants coming and going so they will quickly find it and take it home to mama.
20131015_1320131015_14

Took less than 24hrs for me to make them disappear and the kids had fun watching the hordes get their ‘food’.
20131015_15

beautyberry1Got up way too early this morning to go deer hunting after spending quite a bit of time getting ready to hunt the night before…and well, rain, drizzle, nothing was moving not even a squirrel and then my new neighbor got in on the act around 11 am with his AR-15…enough said, maybe I will head back out towards dusk just to see what’s up, but YAWNNN…

So…what to do? What to do? No fun being damp, standing around waiting for the mythical deer to appear at this point, even they have enough sense to stay put on this dreary day. Back home looking at the laundry and wondering what to eat and lo and behold, there is the bag of Beautyberries that have been collected over the past couple of weeks. My person, had originally collected a bit while I was taking my hunter safety course couple weekends ago and my mother and I collected another 2 lbs when I went out to collect the trail cam.

When it comes down to it, if its FREE its for me 🙂

These purple beauty berries have been hanging out just waiting on me to get around to making jam with them and so, with little else that I really want to do (funny how rainy days make you feel that way!) I set out to make American Purple Beautyberry Jelly. Not difficult at all really unless of course your syrup pot full of sugar boils over (lesson learned…always use a pot twice the size you think you will need when making any jam!).

beautyberry2

Purple Beautyberry Jelly
What you will need:

LOTS of Beautyberries!!
Sugar
Liquid Pectin (this is important, the dry pectin doesn’t produce a good finished product)
Pint Mason Jars
Towels
Pots, Water Bath Canner
Measuring cup
Wooden spoons
Strainer

To begin with, make sure you wash/sterilize your mason jars (I just use the dish water on a light wash, high heat/dry cycle, takes about 1 hr to complete). Also, at the same time get your Water Bath Canner full of water and get it boiling…this too will take about an hour. Then get your mason jar lids and rings into a separate pot and start them on a slow heat up process. You will need to do all of this at LEAST an hour before you start making your jelly…very important!

I borrowed and adapted this recipe from the Eat The Weeds website and it makes approximately 5 pints of Jelly. The website has a lot of good information on how to identify the correct Beautyberry and some other interesting information on this natural DEET plant (crushed up leaves rubbed on your skin is just as effective as DEET apparently for mosquitoes, ticks and fire ants).

American Beautyberry Jelly

1 ½ qts. of American Beautyberries (about 1 lb)
washed and free from stems, leaves and other debris.
20131012_13

2 qts water in large pan/pot
Combine and bring to a roiling boil for 20 minutes.
Strain to make an infusion…after boiling and straining it will look like this…
20131012_19

I just put the used berries into the compost pile.

Next, using 3 cups of the infusion (the purple looking liquid/juice), bring to a boil and add 1 envelope of liquid pectin, stir and then add 4 ½ cups of sugar stirring well to make sure all sugar is dissolved. At this time turn up the heat on your lids and rings to get them to a slow roiling boil.

Bring mixture to a second boil for 2 minutes only…this is where it gets fun…boiling sugar likes to really BOIL and I spent about ½ hour cleaning up a nice sugary mess on the stove and floor as I didn’t move fast enough to get it off the heat.

Best practice is as soon as it starts to boil remove from heat…that will give you 2 minutes of boiling without it boiling over. Allow this to cool until a thin foamy cover is formed (wonderful pinkish/purple foam that you will scrape off and best part, you can eat that right away).

While this is mixture is cooling set up your jars on a large towel, turn the heat up on your water bath to get it almost to a boil.

Next, after scraping off the foam (and eating it, after all the work you deserve the sugar!) pour your liquid jelly into your glass mason jars. I like to leave ¼ inch head space when making jams and jellys. (By the way, Ball now makes a WONDERFUL funnel that not only helps to the lip of the jar clean but has ‘head space’ markings…found it at Walmart).
20131012_1

I personally fill 2 or 3 jars, being careful to wipe the lip of the jar with a hot rag before placing the hot lid and then hand tightening the ring down. The new funnel REALLY made a huge difference in how much ‘clean’ up I had to do on the jars, almost NONE.

Having filled all jars and capping them, carefully place all jars into the canning bath basket (if you have one, if not, be sure you have placed something on the bottom of the large pot to keep the glass jar bottoms from touching the metal). Get back to a roiling boil, place lid on top and boil for 5 minutes. Take the water canner/pot off the heat and then take off the lid. Allow to sit for 10 minutes before carefully removing the mason jars. As you remove the mason jars, place on a doubled over towel in an out of the way place, being sure they are not touching and then cover with another towel to allow them to slowly cool for the next 24 hrs. You will hear pinging and such as they seal themselves, this is normal.

20131012_21

After 24 hrs come back and make sure they have sealed. You do this simply by pushing down on the lid and as long as you have no give, you now have a shelf stable jelly ready to eat whenever ever you want!

Good luck, happy hunting and good, sweet eating!


Green Deane’s “Itemized” Plant Profile

IDENTIFICATION: A small, deciduous shrubs 1 to 2 m in height, leaves opposite, elliptical to ovate, large, with saw-toothed edges. Flowers cluster around stem, funnel-shaped with four clefs. Fruit magenta 2 to 4 seeds, White fruited ones are an escaped cultivar and edibility is unknown.
TIME OF YEAR: Spring and fall in Florida, late summer to fall in northern climes
ENVIRONMENT: Dry,open woods, moist woods, thickets and hammocks, adapted to climates with hot, humid summers and moderate winters
METHOD OF PREPARATION: A few berries can be eaten raw, depending upon your agreeing with the flavor, otherwise makes a great jelly. The berries can be used to make a tea with antioxidants.
HERB BLURB
Native American Indians used the roots and leaves to make a tea to treat fever, dysentery, malaria and rheumatism
The above is also taken from Eattheweeds.com