Tag Archive: SHTF


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.

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Why I Like My Springfield Gun…

20130909_32Ask me why I like Springfield firearms…yes, I know they are expensive compared to other firearms but in my opinion, you get what you pay for, even used.

But just this weekend I had an ‘interesting’ experience with a Springfield XD 9 sub-compact 3” barrel 9mm. I had purchased this used from someone local in my area, almost brand new (only 200 rounds put through it) with all original equipment. Looked good, lightweight, the only catch it seemed to me once I got it was that the magazines would not easily go in, had to ‘slam’ or should I say use a tad bit of force to get them to lock in place. No biggie, have had other handguns that did the same thing…I even got lucky and found that rare extra high capacity magazine up at the local sporting goods store (hehehehe..paid pre-Sandyhook price for it) so I am thinking I am good to go…one standard 13 round magazine and 2 high capacity…ammunition not a problem since I was smart enough to ‘stock’ up a few rounds and got lucky there too at the local store…a load of 9mm target rounds had come in…great…good to go…

So my boyfriend and I go out Sunday to put my new ‘toy’ through its paces and see what it does…a little kick, not too bad for a 3” barrel, easy to sight in with…shoots accurately at 20 yards so far (that’s all we did) and did really well with reloads too…put about 50 or so rounds through it…so now for the fun part…had to go get my kids up north, so I took my Springfield with me (yes, I carry concealed)…no biggie there either, however, when I got home late last night (Sunday) and I did my usual routine of taking the magazine out…well, something else came out with it…an EAR PLUG!!! Yep, and definitely not mine (I use orange ones this one was tan and well, lets say someone didn’t clean the wax out of their ears lately).

Seriously, out came an ear plug with the magazine when I took out it out…No wonder the magazine wouldn’t go in easily!!! Duh…but who woulda thought…no issues firing it, fed the rounds quickly and without a hitch…racked correctly… Even with an EAR PLUG in the magazine area it still worked like a charm, just like it was supposed to do…I am willing to bet that a Ruger or Glock would have jammed or misfired. Did learn one other thing…when you buy used, take it apart and clean it first! Maybe I would have found that ear plug jammed up in there, maybe not and at this point it doesn’t matter, but man, really? An ear plug in the magazine slot??? Oh well, this is a story I will tell forever I think…and btw, the magazine now goes in smooth as butter with a dead silent click.

I think I will trust this little firepower to keep me safe up close….wouldn’t you? In a SHTF situation you never know what will happen and now I absolutely trust my Springfield to work properly even when an ear plug is stuffed in it. A little dirt? nawww…not a problem!

Ask me why I like my Springfields…can your gun do that?

I am all about saving money and getting the most bang for my buck, however, I do live by the rule ‘pay now, pay later, but pay you will’… in other words, you can buy the cheapest or mid-grade item right now, because its ‘cheap’, but you wind up having to replace it later on down road because it wears out faster, quits working or doesn’t work properly because its ‘cheap’.
The flip side to that saying is that sometimes you can find great items, expensive ones on ebay, craigslist or yardsales and be cheap but get the ‘expensive’ product. And that is what I usually like to do, find what I what I want at the cheapest price available.

But sometimes, like with pressure cookers, you really don’t want to buy used (too much of a risk and many time pieces are missing and yes, you can buy the replacements, but that just adds to the cost doesn’t it?) so last year, when I went looking to purchase a pressure cooker I turned to Amazon to get one at ‘cheaper’ price. There were two available by Presto and here is my tale of two pressure cookers:

Of course I wanted to save money so I went with the cheaper 6 quart Aluminum pressure cooker (about $25 at the time) by Presto. And this is a direct quote:

• Cooks three to ten times faster than ordinary cooking methods, saving time, energy, and money.
• Pressure regulator maintains the proper cooking pressure automatically.
• Strong, heavy-gauge aluminum for quick, even heating.
• Includes cooking rack and complete 64-page instruction/recipe book.
• 9-3/4 by 16-2/3 by 8-1/2 inches; 12 year limited warranty.
4 and half stars from over 300 people…heck yeah I thought! The other one available was the Presto 6 quart Stainless Steel pressure cooker and at the time was almost twice the cost…nope, I thought, why spend the extra money for something ‘fancier’ and honestly what I thought was just a ‘shinier’ version designed to make Presto extra money?
And of course, I had done my research on pressure cookers and found mixed comments on using them on induction and glass cook tops (I have a glass one). So…I went cheap, ignoring my ‘pay now, pay later, but pay you will’ rule….

Fast forward over the past year…I used this aluminum pressure cooker weekly, not one problem…everything came out perfect, no problems, quick, easy meals…until one day last week…I put in my meat, proper water amount, etc. did everything I was supposed to do, got it wobbling properly and knew I had at least 20 minutes before it would be ready so I jumped in the shower (that one of the pleasures of using a pressure cooker by the way, get it going and move on to something else). When I got out of the shower I smelled the food, which is not usual, but this was really strong…something was a foot. Got dressed quickly and went to check on the cooker and the closer I got the more burn smell I got and then I noticed the whole POT was wobbling along…NOT A GOOD SIGN!!!
Alright, even though the timer said I had at least another 10 minutes to finish cooking I took it off the burner and did my quick cool down, the pot itself definitely no longer sat flatly on the stove, in fact it very rounded at the bottom. Got it open and the meat was burned beyond recognition, 1 inch think burned crap on the bottom of the cooker…lets just say, something went horribly wrong this go around. Warped and burned beyond saving it was…sigh…trash…complete failure on many levels…so much for trying to save money…

So, I bit the bullet and purchased the stainless steel version, a bit more money, but having used stainless steel pots and pans for YEARS I know this one will last forever….it even clearly states:

• Chicken, fish, meat, and vegetables cook to perfection fast; Helps tenderize economical cuts of meat
• Pressure regulator maintains the proper cooking pressure automatically; Complete 64-page instruction/recipe book included
• Ideal for use on regular, smooth-top and induction ranges; Dishwasher safe for easy cleaning
• Cover lock indicator shows when there is pressure inside the cooker and prevents the cover from being opened until pressure is safely reduced
• Helper handle for ease of handling; Extended 12-year limited warranty

You can check the stainless steel one out here:
<a href="Presto 01362 6-Quart Stainless Steel Pressure Cooker

Good news is that now that the old one has died I now have another base plate, weight regulator…threw away the seal as I suspect that the seal also failed since the pot warped on the base…at least I was able to salvage something from ‘trying to save money’…sometimes its just not worth it and in a SHTF situation, or another situation where you might not be able to replace something easily, just keep this little story in mind… cheaper is not necessarily ‘better’.

I have used my stainless steel pressure cooker and to be honest, wow! What difference I notice in the texture and taste of the food and the clean up was so easy (the aluminum was a bit of scrub to clean well)…all over the type of metal used…who woulda thunk it? So ladies and gents, do yourself a favor and spend the extra money if you are wanting to get into pressure cooking…it’s a great way to save time, money (energy bills) and get the slow cook taste in no time…get stainless!!

And be sure to browse the books for pressure cooking for great recipes and a few other favorite things I have found:

woodsLast year was a personal TEOTWAIKI (the end of the world as I knew it)…from the suicide of my youngest daughters father (whom I found only 10 minutes after speaking to him in person, leaving and then feeling something was wrong…oh yeah it was…and going back to find him dead by his own hand), to the SWAT team at my door at 8 am, to a down turn in business, loosing a business and just about every imaginable small shtf that could happen happening. Over the past year and a half I have worked really hard getting to a new normal while still dealing with life changing events…it has been wave after wave, but fortunately, I learned how to surf! It was full of bumps, bruises and backslides and some painful mistakes, but I have finally learned to surf (figuratively) in getting through the crap life throws our way, big and small. That is the hallmark of a survivor by the way…I have truly learned in many ways what Tim Gunn (okay, I admit it! I do sometimes watch Project Runway) “make it work” as he is looking at a hot mess that aspiring designer has made. But somewhere along the line, my world of preparedness and my thinking became so narrowly focused upon my home and my immediate surroundings that a simple day outing in the woods with my friend became a real eye opener in situational preparedness.

Knock, knock…what the (bleep) are you thinking?

The started off well enough, coffee, breakfast, discussion what to do…common everyday talk between people…suggestion…lets go out to the WMA are nearby where he hunts regularly so he can take a look around (hunting season coming up)…okay…so here I am getting dressed for a walk in the woods, no biggie, I live in the woods…I know how to get dressed for going into the ‘woods’, do it everyday after all…so on go jeans, tank top and sturdy trail shoes…I get looked at and he looks at my shoes and says ‘you’re wearing those???’ in that tone of voice that only someone who does something all time can only have talking to someone that has broken some unspoken ‘rule’ of the road. Okayyy…it quickly dawned on me that we weren’t go onto some nature trail…so off the shoes came and on came the ‘real woods’ boots, you know the kind hunters wear? yeah those kind of boots…I was thanking God at that point that I had spent the previous week walking around in them to break them in (much to the dismay of my 15 year old, apparently your mother wearing camo/woodland hunting boots out in public is NOT cool). I at least had the presence of mind at that point to pull my socks up to my knees, after all, ticks love to climb up shoes/boots onto legs. I also changed my shirt to a loose short sleeve one.
Alright, all set and up to snuff approval wise for what to ware…out the door we go…
Its been a long running discussion between us about ammo, where to find it, prices etc…so we’re headed out to the WMA and he decides to show me where he has stopped before to buy ammo before hunting. Of course, me and my big mouth, having lived in my small town for a few years, I begin to explain to him about one side of the highway and the other and how you just don’t cross that line (its like the railroad tracks)…uhhuh…that went over like a lead balloon…dead silence…smack, upside the head I am confronted with a prejudice that is so ingrained in me that I didn’t even realize it until it came out of my mouth and got a strange look…you know the one, the slightly raised eyebrow real quick with no comment. Anyway, we stop at this little hole in the wall (and that is being not an untruth) gas station that has a sign for ‘check-in’ (as in for hunters with deer and turkey)…and lo and behold! walk back into the back and bingo! AMMO!!! no .22 but they had plenty of other including 9mm (haven’t seen that in MONTHS) and .17 and well, you get the idea…and the prices? pre-Sandyhook!! man, did I feel about stupid, again…so I bought what I could afford and on the way back to the car I have to acknowledge about eating crow on this one. Basically something along the lines about getting over my snobbery (yeah, I admitted it) and thank you for showing me someplace new…the answer was something along the lines of ‘well, its always good to have more than one place to get something’ (nuff said on that subject, point well taken)…but of course on the way out of the area I have to defend my position and my line of thinking (just keep on digging Laura)…anyway, at this point I feel absolutely DUMB and shut up. But I swear, I still won’t go there at night…nope…not…

So over the river and through the woods, nice ride, he’s busy scoping out places to go fishing in the area, pointing out upcoming places to look at from the GPS and we are looking for the no trespassing signs or private property signs (which by the way, I learn from him later that even when its posted you can’t restrict access to public water ways within reason).
Fast-forward, we are on WMA land, he’s pointing out the WMA land, private property, where you can and can’t park, etc, etc. up and down gravel roads, being educated about what Bucks do and what to look for, looking at the ‘weeds’ growing trying to figure out what some are and aren’t…Wild passion flower is an intoxicating smell! Wind up on the water, he does some fishing off the public dock…back in the car…down another road to nowhere…he finally pulls into this parking area and we get out…looking at the weeds…and I need to use the restroom but of course…lol, its the woods…not an issue, not the first time with no bathroom or toilet paper (hmm, remember for future, baby wipes, flushable stuff, paper napkins even better as they server more than one purpose or really, do guys worry about it?) but ladies, remember, when out in the woods, find a slight hill…water runs downhill (at least I remember that). But he had to remind me about bug spray (seriously Laura? I mean, really?) He had some thank goodness, I should have sprayed myself down BEFORE leaving the house!! And off we go through the woods down to the water…come up to a rather large tree that had fallen down across the path and up and over…and me, like an idiot, just walks OVER IT…yep, got the look again…never, ever in the woods just walk over a fallen tree, always step up onto it, look down and then step down…snakes like to hang out under dead wood…I shrugged and said, well, I figured you went first and would have found it and I was safe (ha!), got the look again. Point taken. Where I live these little buggers live, cottonmouths, timber rattlers and copperheads…in general they will run from you, but corner them, step on them, forget it, they strike in defense..
Cottonmouth, the only viper snake in the US:
cottonmouth
Timber Rattlesnake:
timber
Copperhead:
timber

copperhead

And just as a side note, I noticed where people had recently camped in the area…what a frickn’ mess. Not good caretaking nor OPSEC…take out what you bring in or burn it out…better yet, don’t leave yourself ‘noticed’ for being in an area (ha, now why I can remember that and not bug spray…)

Yadah, yadah, yadah…mess around for a while at the water, (at least I didn’t embarrass myself by falling on my butt going down a step hilly area to get to it, like I have done before) I explained to him about WHY it wasn’t a good idea to eat the arrownroot from the water where we were at (duh, plants draw up water and act as filters for the water ways and if the area is known to have high levels of mercury and other contaminates…duh..what will you be eating???) not to mention you can’t just pull a water plant out, you really have to dig them out…of course he had to prove me wrong on that point…I won, I managed not to give him a look.
Back to the car we go…and yes, this time I remembered to step up, look and then down, and I learned a little something on that one, I need to go to the gym, I can walk forever, but stepping up two feet onto the top of the dead tree easily…hahaha…crap…not as in shape as I thought I was. Endurance yes, strength no…sigh…another lesson learned…
But the biggest lesson learned with this simple walk in the woods came a bit later…we are out in a clearing looking at the weeds, checking things out and he tells me to stand dead still. So I freeze immediately, nothing happens so I start to think he’s messing with me and move slightly and then BUZZZ, I scream because I thought it was a wasp, turns out it was a horsefly that had landed on me…but all I could think about at that point was ‘crap, it has been a wasp I had nothing with me to stop the anaphylactic reaction I would have if stung and we are MILES from help’ …DUH!!! I am ready to go at this point.
Another side note, that bug spray I used? yeah, okay, kept the suckers off my clothes and exposed skin, but you know what? they found their way to exposed skin UNDER the clothing…bites around the waist band and a few other places…I now understand the use of pyrethin on clothing…screw the bug spray…

Long and short of this tale is that I had become complacent and non-thinking about my potential situation and circumstances simply by going out in the woods…from shoes, to bug spray to the more serious side of nature, snakes, bees, wasps…it was an eye-opener for me…I had isolated and insulated myself so much that the possibilities just didn’t register in my brain and here I sit calling myself a survivor and prepper…really? I can tell you how to prepare yourself to bug in and tough it out at home, but put me in the woods…and I USED to do this quite a bit before, but because I went into protective mode due to circumstances from the past year or so, it all went out of my brain, and honestly, it could have gotten me seriously hurt or even killed and possibly put my partner in jeopardy. NOT GOOD….
And then it got me thinking…I was depending upon someone ELSE to keep me safe out there….trusting your partner is good but what if? I will be the first to admit that I will never be the woodsman he is, after all, he grew up in the woods has spent his whole life out there, tracking animals, camping, hunting, fishing…but me, I am a liability to him and myself simply because I don’t have even a few basic skills and knowledge of being ‘outdoors’. I got off easy this time and am taking steps to not let the same mistakes occur again, but it made me really wake up…If I had to leave my home on foot or get home on foot, I probably wouldn’t make it over some ‘trivial’ mistake or oversight on my part. They say we are given situations to make us grow, the first is slap on the hand, then a knock on the head and then a hammer and then well, the building falls in on you. I got the slap on the hand and have no intention of getting hit on the head.

So, I did buy the pyrethin spray to treat my clothes and boots and socks…
I have a very small kit together for going out that can be put in a pocket for short trips for bug bites/stings with things in it just in case I go into anaphalytic shock…and a small ace bandage too that will fit in my pocket easily since I am NOT known for being graceful.

And I count myself lucky that I have someone who is a good man and knows ALOT more than me who doesn’t put me down but supports me in my learning.
I also count myself lucky that someone is watching out over me from above.
Moral of the story, we get so used to our ‘normal’ in prepping and survival that we forget to look outside of ourselves and see ourselves outside of the normal routine or what we have planned….while I in no way plan on bugging out or leaving, its always good to have some sort of idea of what may happen if you had to abandon your plans and go do something else.

Lessons learned from a simple walk in the woods….and a blessing in disguise…

chicken
Protein is an invaluable source of long term energy in a survival situation or in any situation in which we are called upon to exert more energy than usual (camping, running, etc.) and/or a time when you can’t really cook or want to keep it simple during and emergency…prepackaged dehydrated food is great if you can find it cheaply, but knowing how to properly dehydrate protein NOW, yourself, before something happens is something to learn how to do and after the initial expense of buying a good dehydrator you will wind up saving yourself tons of money, not mention YOU get to control what goes in your food.

Previously I had dehydrated chicken breasts using one of those smaller, cheaper food dehydrators and honestly, after rehydrating and trying to eat it on the go, I thought that perhaps there could be a better, more flavorful way of doing this.

I wound up buying last year an excellent Excalibur Food dehydrator at a good discount from ebay simply because I was becoming frustrated with the limited amount drying space I had with my old round one. It wasn’t very efficient at drying, the middle ring took forever to dry, with the bottom and top ones drying very quickly and uneven drying on all rings so I was constantly moving the food I was drying around and the large slots meant a lot of food fell through as it was drying…nope…I bit the bullet and bought a good, solid Excalibur and I highly recommend that if you are serious about drying foods for storage or use during camping that you get one…well worth the money!

So here we go again on how to dehydrate chicken, while the first article I wrote on dehydrating chicken is a great and simple start to doing so, I have tweaked my technique and have learned a few tips to add to dehydrating your chicken to make your chicken turn out so much more better.

What you will need:
Dehydrator
Chicken (whatever you can lay your hands on cheaply)
Large pot for boiling your chicken
Powdered Seasonings for infusing flavor into the chicken

One thing I have learned since last writing about dehydrating chicken is that DARK MEAT is the best when dehydrating chicken. When you go to rehydrate or eat it like jerky, it rehydrates much more readily which can be important if you are carrying it with you to eat on the run.

I also like to use thigh or leg meat verses the breast…again, just easier to rehydrate. But use what you have, white meat, thigh, breast, leg, whatever, the process drying is the same. My only note on chicken breast is that it rehydrates more slowly and is tougher after rehydrating (not to mention it COSTS more money unless you can get a real deal on it). And don’t forget you can use bone in or bone out.

So, I found on clearance boneless chicken thighs (mostly dark meat) at the local market…spent maybe $2 for the package. If you are using chicken with bones in it, you will just need to spend the time taking the meat off the bone before putting in the dehydrator.

In one large pot I put 12 cups of water, seasonings to taste (I like to use garlic and onion powder with a touch of salt) and put about 1/3 of cup of each into the water. Then in goes the chicken.

At this point I bring the water, seasonings and chicken to a roiling boil and allow it boil itself until done. You will have to gauge for yourself when it is done cooking as boiling/cooking time will depend upon what you are using. To speed up the process of cooking and if you are using chicken breasts, I have found that by cutting up the breast into chunks FIRST (raw) and then cooking saves time and you don’t over cook the thinner chicken.

When the chicken is done cooking you will then need to do one of two things at this point…if you are using chicken that has a bone in it, you will need to get the meat of the bone place the meat on a plate covered with a couple layers of towels.
If you are using boneless meat you may just place the meat on a plate covered with a couple layers of towels.
20130821_13

FYI: That water you just added spices to and boiled your chicken in? Excellent stock/soup base…don’t throw it away! Extend your money! Can it, freeze it, etc. IF you find yourself without power you have ‘instant’ soup base to rehydrate your chicken in!

Next, you will want to take two more towels, lay them over your meat and press the ‘juice’ out of the meat…this helps to speed up the drying time and keeps the meat from becoming too tough from ‘over dehydrating’ which can easily be done since everything you dehydrate is from the outside in and meat likes to retain its moisture! It wouldn’t to ‘burn’ (over cook so to speak) your meat!

Then allow to cool to room temperature, to speed this up you may place in the refrigerator. I am not sure WHY this helps, but by accident and then by design I have found that this really helps with retaining texture, taste and helps prevent the meat from being tough after rehydration (even with chicken breasts).

After your chicken meat cools off you will need to pull or cut into bite size pieces or whatever size you want. I just like bite size because its faster to dry and easier to rehydrate in your mouth if you want to eat it like that and if using in soups or casseroles you require less water/time to rehydrate (which is important especially if using with noodles or dehydrated veggies which rehydrate faster).

Very lightly spray your trays with an oil (not a lot, just a very, very light coat). This will prevent sticking which is very important if you are using one of the dehydrators that cheaper ones with the big slots. Not so important with an Excalibur as the screen is flexible, but I still spray, makes clean up easier!

Now you are ready to put your chicken pieces on the drying racks…
20130821_18

At this point, close up your dehydrator…if you have one that allows you to set a temperature on it, you will use 155 degrees temperature setting, if not, just turn it on.
Leave the dehydrator be for at least 3 hours before opening and checking on the chicken. After 3 hours I found mine almost done. You may or may not have the same experience. But if not almost done at this point (and there are many factors that control this) close back up and check again in a couple of hours.

For those with the smaller, cheap dehydrators you may find yourself having to move trays and chicken around to get more even drying. If I am dehydrating A LOT of meat in my Excalibur I wind up moving the racks around once, the top one and bottom one go into the middle and the middle racks go on the top/bottom. But with only 2 racks in I did not have to do this.

IF almost done, shut it down and allow to cool again. I left mine overnight.
The point being is that you will want to shut the dehydrator off when the meat is almost completely dry and allow to cool off.

After cooling off, restart your dehydrator to finish dehydrating. Be careful at this point to check about every half hour so you do not over dehydrate and potentially burn your chicken.

You will know its completely dehydrated when it is no ‘spongy’. I like to ‘sample’ a piece. It will be ‘dry’ and crunchy but easy to chew. Don’t worry if it’s ‘hard’ that happens, but the more you dehydrate meat the better you will get at gauging when its ‘perfect’.

Allow to cool again before packaging by the method you want to do so. If you will be using within the week, ziplock baggies are great…anything longer than a week and you will want to vacuum seal the chicken some how, in a jar or a food saver, though the old timers never did this! For long term storage you will want to remove all the oxygen for best results and longest shelf life. Will store this way for AT LEAST a year, depending upon storage conditions.

Dehydrated properly, chicken (or any meat) is a great way to save money on food storage, make ‘fast food’ meals with little to no mess (one pot! Ever tried cooking after a hurricane? The less ‘pots’ the better!) or it’s a cheap way to make your own camping/bug out food.

My end result:
About 4 cups of protein and weighs in at just over 2 ounces.

To use:
Pretty simple, you can either just munch on it using your own spit to rehydrate it or you can add to water, soups, and so much more! Put together with veggies and noodles in water for a fast meal. Takes about 15 minutes in boiling water to completely rehydrate and heat depending upon the size you make the ‘bites’.

The Garden of Rain SHTF

Seems to be the only thing this year that is growing well is the grass and the weeds!
Since I have been out in the woods I have had my hand at gardening after many years of not doing so and dang, I don’t remember it being so hard! I grew up gardening the old fashion way out in the Midwest and frankly, we just dug up the earth and in the plants went and things just grew well, no separating crops, no each one having their own ‘place’ or anything of the sort. Yes, we had ‘rows’ but everything grew together (separating the plants as needed, some on one end others on the other if they didn’t play nice together) but we companion planted in a small ¼ acre and always had a LOT of fresh veggies.
So in the name of becoming less dependant (read that not wanting to spend more and more of my hard earned money on food from the store) I have been trying my hand at intensive, companion gardening…

Since I live where there is a lot of tree roots and the soil can become very compact about 6 inches down I have put in raised beds over the past 2 years, tried growing in small containers. Got the soil right (peat moss for now until composting gets going), have learned a few things about what plants do and don’t like…did everything ‘right’…even prepared for hot weather with no rain or little rain! What I didn’t count on was rain, lots and lots of rain!
Got potatoes in old tires and yes, they grew well, died back and when I went to unearth them…well, found mush, tiny potatoes and only a few large ones…the soil at the bottom tire was soaking wet…not good…am thinking I may fill half the first tire this go around with rock and then the dirt and finishing off with straw as the plants grow (yes, I am going to try again this year, there is still enough time for another early crop).

Typically I have had zero issues with growing strawberries and have several different varieties growing together so I get early, mid summer and late summer crops…hahaha…the new plants grew very little until about 2 weeks ago when they decided to take off and grow literally like weeds and now, finally, I have fruit coming on (I did get a small amount at the beginning of May before the rain started in earnest) so fingers crossed there.

Tomatoes anyone? 4 plants and well, they grew fast when the heat finally came to my neck of the woods but then came the RAIN!!! Took forever for the fruit to grow and ripen properly…and then, after that one harvest (not many and small) they decided to die off (too much rain again). Then we had a week of nice weather and they are now perking up and setting fruit again, but I am not expecting too much.

Lettuce? What lettuce? I planted seed and in the past I have had so much lettuce that I couldn’t eat it all….this year…only tiny seedlings and then poof! The rain came and they went away…the ONLY lettuce that I had was what was left from last year in the raised bed and it bolted very quickly this year.
Carrots, never have had a problem with growing carrots either, but they did the same as the lettuce and what did survive…well, lets just say I have about 12 tiny carrots this year, the rest drowned.

Squash…sigh…miserable…the plants did very well, blossomed well, and actually produced well, BUT, once it started raining…the yellow crockneck only got to be about 6 inches long with skins on them that were ¼ inch thick…acorn squash…they are the size of baseballs and ready to be picked, out of planting 4 plants I got one viable squash per plant…now, the zucchini on the other hand did very well this year, a lot of it…that is until the plants started to rot at the soil line from all the rain…

I had also put in an onion bed in early March…can’t mess up growing onions right? They grew great tops, and then the rain came again and next thing I know I go out and the bulbs are on TOP or half way out of the soil…seriously??? Yes, that is how much rain we had day after day with little time in between rainfall…

My hops plants which I have been growing successfully since I moved to my home took off well and then drowned…not sure if they will come back next year…so instead of having fresh hops to pick now I have some straggly looking vines that are trying to come back, but the season is over for this year for them.

Sheesh…last year I struggled with not enough rain and high temps and this year fairly cool weather and rains that drowned everything and before anyone makes the comment that my raised beds are not draining well enough, its not that, they DO drain, very well, but no garden can survive the kind of rain that we have had this year…everything looks like a drowned cat right now, soggy and dying…

Peaches were another interesting thing this year, bloomed early, set fruit slowly, matured slowly to the point where I was wondering if they would every be done, they finally did ripen enough to pick but one tree did no fruit and raccoons or something nailed the two trees in the back before we got other…

And usually by this time of year I have large bed full of lobelia in full bloom…not this year, the plants are just now getting ready to bloom.

Its been a strange year this year for gardening…definitely a learning experience and I am not too sure what I can do in the coming years to defend against too much rain…am playing with some ideas such as tenting the raised beds (like you do to protect against frost) to divert water away from the beds. Drought I can handle, heat I can deal with, but too much water?

I am just happy that at this moment in time I do have time to learn to how to handle too much rain, too little rain, etc.

So how have you done this year with gardening?
Any thoughts on how to deal with too much rain?