Survivalism – What to have on hand

You should always be prepared, there are many of natural disasters, and man-made disasters that could happen. If you are not prepared, you might not survive; below I have listed the main things you should always have on hand in case of emergencies.
o   Make sure to have enough food on hand for at least 72 hours, for everyone in your house hold. I recommend having more than that, just in case. Probably a week if you have the space.
o   Canned food is key, if you have a cellar though you might be able to have fresh vegetables.  
o   Don’t forget about meat
                  o   You can never have too much water, as it can be used for drinking, washing, cooking, etc. always have lots on hand
o   If you live in a place with severe weather, make sure to keep appropriate clothing for that weather. For example, I live in a place with extreme winter weather, I always have jackets, mittens, hats etc. on hand. *Layers are the best, be sure you have things you can layer with, you don’t want to be sweating unnecessarily.
Winter Tent
o   If you don’t have a basement or cellar, it could be helpful to have a fold-able shelter. This would be helpful in an extreme winter disaster. Proper winter shelters (I.e. winter tent) help keep warm in, and body heat from your family will be kept in the shelter and won’t escape as easily as it would in a large room. And will help if you are forced to leave your home for whatever reason

o   Again in extreme winter conditions, have a multitude of blankets could mean life or death. You need to keep warm in these situations
     Cooking supplies
o   Be sure to have another way to cook food, camp stoves work well, but BE VERY CAREFUL using these inside. Use OUTSIDE ONLY IF POSSIBLE!
o   Pots, pans, utensils, plates, cutlery etc. are all useful. But don’t be going for non-stick in these situations, cast iron is best, especially if you’re going to be cooking off camp stoves or fires.
o   Keep extra fuel for your camp stove and vehicle, OUTSIDE ONLY, if possible. You will have to rotate these things fairly often, every couple of months or so, I figure. You don’t want to be using old fuel in your vehicle, especially if you can’t take it to a garage to get it fixed, or have the skills to fix it yourself.
o   Be sure to have some of all of the above (if you have a car, remember not to store fuel in your vehicle, fumes can be deadly) in your vehicle. You might not be at home when these things happen, and you might not be able to go back.
         Additional Small Items
o   Fire Extinguisher: in a disaster, you might not always have the ability to call 911, and even if you can they are usually very busy. Fire extinguishers are an important asset
o   Clean water tablets: these purify water, these come in handy if you run out of water, or if it is unreasonable to carry the amount of water that you need
o   Weapons (i.e. Knife, gun, or bow): I am adding this as a survival thing. Things get crazy sometimes in disasters; you don’t want someone stealing your food/water supply or shelter. PLEASE ONLY USE THESE AS NEEDED. They are also an extremely helpful tool if you know how to hunt
o   Fire wood: it’s always good to have a little extra fire wood lying around in your shed

Well I have to get back to work. If anyone has anything they want me to write about or clarify let me know. Let’s all make the day count!

How to Heat a Room Using Just Tea Lights and Flowerpots

Found this great idea on another blog today and just had to share with you. I have included a link to the post at the bottom of this, as there are 4 other DIY ideas for heating your house relatively cheap.

What you will need:
(Please note this will work best for a small room only, add a few more for a larger room)
2 - Ceramic Flower Pots (one smaller and one larger)
4 - Tea light candles
1 - Container for the tea lights

Put the four of the tea lights into the container (the person on the video used a loaf pan), light the candles, and put the smaller flower pot on top of the loaf pan. Cover the hole in the pot with some aluminum foil (just enough to block the hole). The smaller pot will get hot! Then put the larger pot on top of the smaller pot. The heat will move through the "bottom" of the pot (assuming that it is slightly larger then the width of your bread pan), as well as the "top" of the pot, creating warmth in your small room. You may need to add additional candles throughout the day.

Please note that you should never leave this "heater" unattended!

Natural Living Ideas: How to Heat a Room with Tea Lights and Flowerpots

Preserving Food - for Beginners

If you guys are anything like me, you like to save money. Buying food in bulk is my favorite way to save money, but how can you keep all that food fresh? Well below I have listed some common ways, and a little bit about them.
Cold Storage
When most people thing of cold storage, they think about root cellars, but they can also be an unheated porch or pantry, unheated basement space, crawl space, or in ground "clamps" (holes or trenches for food storage) etc. The space just needs to be cool and dry. This is mainly helpful if you don't have electricity (i.e. you don't have a fridge/freezer), but if you do have electricity, you might not have enough space in your fridge/freezer for all the bulk food that you buy.
Most food can be dried using a commercial dehydrator, air dried in a solar dehydrator, on drying sheets, or hang drying. Dried foods are great if  you are low on storage space, but they do lose more nutrients than items stored in a root cellar or items that are canned. They should be stored in your cold storage area in an air tight container to keep freshness. Drying can also be applied to meat (beef jerky anyone?), but also usually involves the salting process. I have never made my own jerky, but one of these days I will.

Canning is the heat processing of food in glass jars, there are two types of canning:
Water Bath Canning: this can be done with any large stockpot or kettle with a lid, as long as you have a way to keep the jars from sitting directly on the bottom of the pot and can over your jars with at least two inches of water. Water bath canning is used to preserve high acid foods such as pickles and tomato sauce, and high sugar foods such as jams and jellies. If you can with a pressure canner, you may use it for water bath canning by leaving the vent open.
Pressure Canning: This requires a pressure canner, which processes foods using high temperatures and hugh pressure steam. PRESSURE CANNING MUST BE USED FOR LOW ACID FOODS, such as beans carrots, corn, soups, broths etc.
This is what most people do even if they are not homesteading, however I recommend that you blanch (briefly immerse in boiling water) all your vegetables before freezing to stop enzyme action and insure best quality. You can use vacuum seal bags to prevent ice crystal formation. This will improve the quality and storage duration for most crops. 

Natural Fermentation
Low acid foods can change to high acid foods via fermentation, which will give them a longer shelf life to store "as is", or allowing them to be canned in a water bath canner instead of a pressure canner. Through the use of salt, whey or specific starter cultures, food is fermented, improving its digestibility and nutrient content. It becomes what is referred to as a "live culture food". Because fermentation involves substances such as lactic acid and specific microbes, the flavor profile and texture of the food does change. Fermentation is responsible for treats such as chocolate, cheese, yogurt, as well as staples like sauerkraut, sourdough bread and vinegar. 

Booze is toxic to microbes, you can submerge small amounts of food completely in the hard liquor of your choice, and they will store almost indefinitely. Best for making flavor extracts or perhaps some highly flavored fruit.

Immersion in Olive Oil
Very common is some parts of Europe apparently, and is not recommended for the inexperienced home food preserver. Basically, food is immersed in oil, locking out the air, to preserve it. The trick is, air pockets can be trapped in side, and if the vegetables are low in acid, they present a serious problems.

Vinegar Pickling
Germs can;t survive in a high acid environment, so vinegar can be used for food preservation without heating/canning. Think old-fashioned pickle barrel.

Using Salt and Sugar to Preserve
More common before modern canning, freezing and dehydrating were available, packing foods in salt or sugar draws liquid out of the food, therefore drying it while the salt and sugar also interfere with germs. These methods significantly impact food texture and flavour.

Please comment if there is something in particular that you would like me to post about. I am rather busy these days with harvesting etc. but I will do my best to get at least one post out per week!

Make the day count!

Homemade Bread

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