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Sep 15, 2021

Preparedness 8.0/ Independence Days Challenge


Dehydrating spinach
Preparedness 8.0-
Autumn is in the air! It was 45 degrees this morning, nice and cool. Days are getting quite a bit shorter. I'm ready for fall after the 100-degree record-setting days that we had this summer. I've been watching quite a few different social media platforms in different areas of the country. Most everybody is seeing slow but steady shortages of foods and rising gas prices. I'm doing a few things here and there steadily. As someone said before "there's no downside to preparedness". I did hear recently that there is probably gong to be a paper shortage (if there isn't already) due to wood pulp material prices, up 50% over the last year. If you need paper supplies you might want to stock up now when prices are lower. 

I've been looking at more simple recipes for in the future. It's good to have foods like beans and rice on hand, they store a long time, and easy to switch up the flavor. Cheap too! One of the things to think about with preparedness is seasonings! I decided to start a spice basket, since I had an empty one. While I have lots of spices in my kitchen I don't really have any extras. I'm really lucky we live right near a WinCo store and they have a huge bulk section. So I decided to start stocking up and it is so cheap it's crazy! I decided to reuse some recycle glass jars with some canning labels-

bulk-  peppercorns, dill, cinnamon and onion powder

Great for meat and fish! 

Big container

I started thinking about what spices I use a lot of and for me it's oregano, thyme, basil, garlic, onion powder, Dill, peppercorns, and salt of course. This will stay near my pantry in the extra bedroom. Buying bulk spices is a really great way to save a lot of money and they're usually fresher!!!
We bought two extra bags of feed for the chickens and two bales of pine shavings for the coop. That should last us for quite a few months ongoing. Luckily our feed is made locally but there's never any guarantee of what their production will be.

Independence Days Challenge-
Here's the recent doings....

1. Plant Something-

Wrong time of the year we are in harvest mode. Too warm for fall crops. I may start growing microgreens indoors this winter.


2. Harvest Something-

We've been getting a nice steady supply of tomatoes, several kinds, eggs, cucumbers, peppers. I also have tons of Basil I'll be making pesto soon to freeze. Ready to freeze more eggs! 

Lovely apples! 

3. Preserve/Store Something-
I have canned pears, we had a smaller harvest, we think someone stole some. I only canned six Qts, since we had to save some jars for the peaches. Luckily we have seven Qts from last year. We like them fresh too, super sweet and juicy-

Fresh on the dining table! 

Froze apples slices too for baking. Will be canning some of the frozen peaches soon. We have several one-gallon bags of frozen rhubarb, I will turn into rhubarb sauce and can. I've frozen extra meats recently, like chicken breasts on sale and breads. I'll be making some fermented Curtido slaw soon. I love that stuff! For dehydrating I bought frozen spinach, frozen broccoli and blueberries. I learned you can save a lot of labor (since I don't grow those) by buying frozen, thaw, then dry. Little to no prep!  


I bought some Auguson Farms pancake mix, $8.00 right now, on Amazon. That will be for more long-term storage (freeze dried). I also bought some local pancake mix for using sooner. I'm hoping if the weather holds and the tomatoes ripen I may have enough to can, fingers crossed. I usually freeze them. 


4. Manage Reserves- Get a Good Deal/Barter/Stock Up/Prep-

I have been buying things I think may be in short supply in the not-too-distant future. I bought some holiday gifts. This is also where it's really good to do just an inventory of what's in your house that you might not be able to find later. What about dental floss? Toothpaste? Pet food? I bought some cheeses to freeze and a bag of Masa to make tortillas. Got to have cheese for the winter on top of soups and tacos. Also bought some mushrooms, dried and canned, those kinds of things are really good to flavor foods. They don't cost a lot of money, 50 cents a can and $4.00 for a bag of dehydrated (Natural Grocers).  Fresh mushrooms have a short shelf life. I had a yearly credit from REI, I bought some water purification tabs, just in case-

Got a big bag of Ricola cough drops at Costco, peanut butter powder, and smart wool socks for me!  I found two gallon buckets with lids (food grade) at Winco for $4.00, a rectangular one for $3.00, bought one of each. They are twice that at Amazon. Sugar will go into one of them-

has gasketed lid


5. Eat the Food- Try New Foods/Recipe-

I'm going to be trying some new bread recipes soon once all of the fruit is done being processed and I can catch my breath. I decided to get back into bread-making, some to save money, but also gain more expertise. Made my fave summer sandwich Sara Moulton Catfish BLT with home grown tomatoes! 

6. Build Community Food Systems-

We've been sharing eggs and pickles with our kids and haven't gone to the farmers market for a while. Might go again soon,  we'd love to get some pumpkins!


7. Recycle/Re-Use-

We use some of my glass jars I saved from some olives last year for my spice basket. Also using some small canning jars for those spices as well. We got several free ornamental grasses (1 gallon) from a local nursery. They were looking a little bit beat up, 75% off. When we decided to add a few more flowers to our front yard the sale person gifted us four grasses! Free, ka-ching! 


8. Skill Up-

Definitely learned a lot about food storage last few months, an interesting process. Do you use Mylar bags? Do you use oxygen absorbers? What do you never want to use oxygen absorbers on, like sugar? Thanks YouTube, now I know.

9. Regenerate What is Lost/Salvage Something-

Fixed up my semi-broken birdhouse I got from the thrift store, came out pretty cute! 

Love the prim stars on both sides

Cute tin roof

Fixed a part of our front driveway area that was pretty beat-up looking with some sick shrubs. More photos coming. 

Sep 8, 2021

Fruit Harvest! Preparedness 7.0/ What I Bought This Week


Fruit Harvest!
Apples and pears! Dave and I spent a good chunk of Sunday afternoon canning apple slices. Usually I do all of it by myself, so it was really helpful to have Dave with me. He was basically in charge of rinsing, slicing, cutting off any bad spots. I was in charge of the syrup, prepping and packing the jars, canning and processing. Worked great that way! And I love my new steam canner! 

It uses so much less water, more efficient than the old one, much nicer experience. My old steam canner used to have a lot more water added after every batch. It took longer to heat it back up. This used a lot less water so the heat up time was much shorter, and great seals on everything! Will be working on processing some of raw apples that are left over by freezing those in vacuum bags. Sadly someone started stealing some of our pears so we went ahead and picked them, and will be canning them also. Fresh and raw is the best though, uber juicy! Out tomatoes are finally turning red and Basil is HUGE, almost time for pesto! 

Preparedness 7.0/ What I Bought This Week-
We went to Target to buy something. Their ENTIRE seasonal section was empty, nothing there but empty racks. More to come I expect. I bought my grandson some gifts for birthday/holidays early, who knows what will be available later? Sshhh- I got books and art stuff. Got Cadbury chocolate bars for $1.50, everywhere else are $2.50! I bought four, for when the zombies come! Found some Wallyworld Keystone beef, chicken and ground beef, $6.00 a can, just cooked meat and sea salt, simple ingredients. This other store now also has zero cashiers. Not fun on my back with the bad ergonomics of the bagging stands.  Bought some Jasmine rice, a 10# can Augason Farms dehydrated potato slices for $8.00. Fresh taters never seem to last too long. I might dry some of my own soon. Got some mixed canned veggies and frozen peas (almost all gone). Got 1/2 gallon apple juice, salt, more plastic canning jar lids. Got some new (free) jeans from Eddie Bauer with a free $10.00 coupon. What a deal, marked $10.00, zero outlay! I bought a nice big bag of Jasmine rice, great flavor, and fast to cook. When I poured it into a 1/2 gallon mason jar some of the rice was floating in the jar. Like on cobwebs, ew. Time to freeze! 

Planting Amaranth? -
I remember seeing this growing a long time ago. This might be perfect in Idaho high desert, will look to finding some seeds. Lots of great info here on how WOMEN saved this species.  Ancient Grain Amaranth  It's amazing how some people don't grow this, think of the water savings and protein! 

Aug 31, 2021

Finally Garden Veggies! Preparedness 6.0 - Calories vs Nutrition, September Is National Preparedness Month!


Finally Garden Veggies!
With our late start (due to crazy weather) and then HOT crazy weather our veggies took a beating. We have finally cooled down into the 80s and so things are settling in. All the watering paid off! I harvested one lemon cucumber a week or so ago. Tonight we got two wonderful tomatoes, two slicing cucumbers, several pickling cukes and a medium sized zucchini! The tomato plants are really loaded and there's some paste tomatoes that are orange, almost ready. Will go out into the garden today and trim back a little bit of the foliage to help the tomatoes get riper faster.  We're still getting eggs, apples are not quite ready for Labor Day weekend I think. I will be doing peaches instead for canning. Because it's been so busy on the weekends so I decided to freeze the peaches until I could can a bunch of them. So that's the plan!

Preparedness 6.0 - Calories vs Nutrition/ What I Bought This Week-
There's lots of preparedness foods, like freeze dried, out there. Some are pre-mixed foods, some are single food, like fruits, veggies and proteins. I started looking at ingredients, reviews and taste tests. Here's a few things I noticed right out of the gate: lots of lots of empty calories, lots of dairy based products, white flour and a lot of salt. Obviously there's a difference between starving to death because you don't have anything to eat versus maintaining your health. If you're in a real emergency situation if you're really active you need plenty of protein/crabs and calories. One of the things I saw was a few different brands that specialize in freeze dried foods that have one ingredient. For instance freeze dried chicken chunks. Big difference between that and a chicken flavored casserole meal with white rice, salt chicken flavoring and dairy. With the chicken chunks you can make all kinds of different meals! So if you're looking for different foods to store for true preparedness, whether freeze-dried, dehydrated, or canned,  check the label and think about what you're buying. Dave and I are pretty allergic to most Dairy. I can eat a small amount with a meal but if I overdo it I really pay for it with major acid reflux. If Dave eats too much Dairy he also has some issues but they're different. So I was good to realize what your options are. There's also taste, good review here-  

Glad I haven't bought  any ReadyWise!

What I Bought This Week-
Two books, used on eBay, both by the same author- 


I used to follow Wendy's old blog (now defunct) wanted to read her books. I found her new blog  Great stuff! Nice interview with her here
A little inspiration-

Went back to Grocery Outlet and bought some more unbleached King Arthur self-rising flour. I also found some other organic unbleached flour. Bought some organic spelt berries for grinding for a different kind of flour, two more containers of crunchy peanut butter to stash and some cocoa powder! I won't survive the apocalypse without chocolate! The great thing about cocoa powder as you can use it for almost anything, baking, hot chocolate, Etc. Bittersweet chocolate chips, great for baking in the winter, a big loaf of a whole grain rustic Artisan 1/2 price. Got a nice box of cans of fat-free refried pinto beans, some more canned sliced carrots. I bought a new steam canner, one with a thermostat. The other one I have worked perfect, but you have to sit and wait for a steam plume to start your time. I thought this would be more efficient. There's quite a few University Extension office's that recommends steam canning. I've also done water bath canning but it's a lot simpler, not so much water with steam canning. There still seems to be quite a few canning jars in stock locally, just zero lids. Also got extra cat food! Anya has a sensitive tummy, has to eat super soft food/pate.  

September Is National Preparedness Month-
With Louisiana being hit by another hurricane, Ida, good reminder you just never know when things can happen. Food, water, meds, basics are really critical, as well as being able to get info. When cell towers go down good to have a hand crank radio! 

Link here and here , there's tons of site online for lots of info, don't forget your pets! 
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