Tuesday, January 31, 2012

What Do I Need In Order To Survive An Economic Collapse Or a Natural Disaster? Living Off Grid # 2 Part 1

What would happen if you woke up tomorrow to a home with no electricity? No lights. No running water. No heat or A/C. No stove to cook breakfast on. No coffee maker. No toaster. No microwave. Nothing. How inconvenienced would you be?
What if this lasted for a week? Two weeks. Months. And for whatever reason staying at somebody else’s place wasn’t an option. What if everyone lost power.
Would you be able to survive? Sure, you’d learn to improvise. You’d figure out how to cook in an empty aluminum can over an open flame. But wouldn’t it be better to begin preparing for this possibility before it happens?
Oh, that’s right. It’ll never happen to you. This is America, after all, not some third-world country. We might lose power for a couple of days at most, but the utility company will have it back on again in no time… right?
If that’s your thinking then you can go ahead and keep believing we are invincible, and above calamity. I’ll choose to live in the real world, and begin preparing now. Just in case. I prefer the “better safe, than sorry” approach. Especially when it comes to the well-being of my kids.
So, what do you need in order to live comfortably without electricity? I’m so glad you asked. (And I’ll assume you aren’t rigged with solar or wind.)
1. Heat SourceIf you live in a region where winters are cold, you’ll need to think about this. Since it’s going to be 7* F tonight for us, right now especially we realize that a source of heat for our home is extremely important. If we lost power for a long stretch of time, it wouldn’t take long for our house to get really, really cold. A non-electric source of heat is something that we are working on getting in place.
A generator would work for a while, but once you are out of fuel it won’t be any good to you. The same goes for kerosene and propane heaters.I know a lot of people with pellets stoves but they also need electricity to run plus you have to a have a source of pellets.
Installing a wood burning stove is probably your best option, if at all possible. That’s what we have. Outdoor boilers, or water stoves as they are called, are great for heating your home without using the furnace, but they still require a small amount of electricity. If you do opt for the wood stove, try to get one that you could cook on as well.
If you do not install a wood stove (and even if you do), you’d be wise to at least have some warm clothing and blankets on hand. Long underwear, thick socks, gloves, hats (something comfortable enough to sleep in), warm outer clothing, and good sleeping bags and/or blankets for every member of the family are a must. I’d consider co-sleeping as a family during the coldest of nights as well. Nothing like body heat to warm you up!
2. Clean Water
We all know how vital it is to have a source of clean water available to us at all times. But when the power goes out, how can we access it?
A well with a hand pump would be ideal. Unfortunately, not all people live on land with a well we are relying on a few other sources for water. Since we are fortunate enough to have running water on our property, that’s gonna be our main source. I am wanting to build this homemade water filtration system, so if we do have to drink from the creek, at least we will know it’ll be safe. You can also buy water purification tablets to have on hand.
We have a large water tank that we want to hook up to a gutter system to catch rain water. Then we can use it to water the garden, and to use in the house for toilets and washing but it would be good for drinking and bathing water as well. If you can get at least one rain barrel installed, it’ll be a good start.
3. Cooking
Without the use of a stove, microwave, how do you plan on cooking when the power goes out? Even if your stove runs on propane, if you have no way of accessing more fuel when you run out it’ll be of no use to you.
A good thing to have in place is a way of cooking food using wood for fuel. I realize that not everybody has wood readily available to them. If this is the case, it might be a good idea to start piling up whatever wood you can get your hands on now. Or you could store up a good supply of charcoal. If used wisely, a little can last a very long time. Remember, in an emergency situation, you can burn a lot of other stuff in place of wood, too. It’s just important to have somewhere outdoors or in a well ventilated area to burn an open flame.
Here are a few ideas to think about:
Build a fire pit. Even if you only have a patio or balcony, you could have a small steel fire pit to burn in.
Burn wood in a charcoal grill.
Cook in an open fireplace.
Cook on your wood stove.
Purchase a wood cookstove.
Make a solar cooker with only cardboard, duct tape, aluminum foil, and glue!
Build an outdoor oven.
Don’t forget that you’ll need cast iron cookware for cooking over an open flame. Frying pans, a bread pan, and a camp dutch oven are a must.
Also remember to have a good stash of matches and lighters kept in a waterproof container! I also keep sterno and fire starter on hand.
4. Bathing
Without running water, bathing will take a little more effort. Hopefully you’ve set up a rain barrel or something to collect water in. If you have a way to heat your water, you’ll be able to boil enough to take a shallow hot bath in a tub. A nice large enamel pot would be good to have on hand for boiling large amounts of water in. Make sure you have a good bathtub plug too!
If you don’t have a bathtub, you might want to keep your eyes out for a large galvanized washtub that you could fit in comfortably.
You could also build an outdoor solar shower. You can buy a solar shower for around $10-$30, or make one similar. Whatever method you choose, plan on bathing a lot less frequently, and instead simply wiping down with a washcloth most days. Make sure you have a good supply of soap on hand!
5. Lighting
Obviously, lots of candles would be extremely useful. You can often find used ones for free at yard sales. If you have bees you can make your own Save the wax from old candles and broken crayons to make new candles from.
Oil lamps are great to have too. I’ve been picking these up at yard sales for really cheap as well. The larger, outdoor style oil lanterns would be handy as well as the more decorative indoor lamps. That lamp oil is expensive; kerosene is cheaper and works just as well, although it may produce a little smoke. I’ve also read that you can burn olive oil in lamps… something I want to experiment with.
We plan on picking up some solar flashlights on top of these other things.
Use your daylight wisely. Go to bed soon after the sun goes down, and rise with the dawn. This way you won’t use up your resources “burning the midnight oil”.
Keep a supply of lamp and candle wicks, oil, and matches on hand.
6. Washing & Drying clothes.
Of course, if you have a creek nearby you can always wash your clothes in it, right? But what if you live in town?
You can make a “washing machine” out of a plunger and a 5-gallon bucket. Though all you really need is a wash basin, scrub brush or scrub board, and a bar of soap!
You might also think about what you’d need to hang some stuff up indoors if the weather was bad. I got an expandable drying rack to put in my bathtub or in front of the wood stove for hanging clothes on. Don’t forget to stock up on clothes pins. They break pretty easily.
7. Refrigeration
I am trying to get away from using the freezer as much and canning and drying my foods instead.
If you leave the fridge and freezer doors closed, the food inside will stay good for about 3-4 days. But once frozen stuff starts to thaw out, you’ll need to either can it, dry it in a solar dehydrator, or eat it quickly.
Though most of us can live without it, a good refrigeration method would be nice to have to keep food and drinks cool through the hot months.
This is an option how you can make a Zeer Pot to keep your foods cooler and fresher for up to three weeks.
Again, if you have a nearby source for running water, you can use the cool stream to keep your foods from spoiling as quickly by submerging them until ready to use.
8. Sanitation
Unless you have a composting toilet, power outtages mean no flushing potties. If you are fortunate enough to live in a wooded area, then going to the bathroom won’t really be any trouble for you. But, if you live in the city or in town and can’t just dig a hole in your back yard, the build-up of sewage can become a very serious problem.
If going outdoors is not an option for you, I’d highly recommend that you stock up on trash bags. You can use smaller ones to line your toilet with, or you can use a 5-gallon bucket lined with a larger trash bag for very effective waste disposal. This will at least keep things from spilling over and stinking up the place, and creating major health hazards. I read of one lady who lives in the city and has a backyard she built an outhouse in her back yard and built a potting shed around it and no one is the wiser.
9. Communications
If some major catastrophe has occurred, and lights are out all over town, it would be of some comfort, I think, to have some means of communication with the outside world. A good solar/hand-crank emergency radio is important to have on hand.
You might also consider some good quality walkie-talkies. If you and your family members have to separate over a fairly short distance for any particular reason having a way of communicating with each other could be life-saving.
10. Books
When the internet is down, and your phone-a-friend lifeline is no longer available, you’ll really be glad to have life saving “how to” guides on hand. Look, I don’t know if we’ll ever need to use these suggestions or not. I pray, I PRAY we don’t. But like I said before, doesn’t it seem so much wiser to be prepared, just in case? What harm could come of having a back up plan? I am reminded of two quotes,
“By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.”
-Benjamin Franklin
“The time to repair the roof is when the sun is shining.”
- John F. Kennedy
Although I’m not sure in which context these phrases were being used, I do believe it easily applies to survival preparedness. The more of us who are ready to take care of ourselves in a crisis, the less strain there will be on those who come to help. We all remember what happened when Katrina hit. It was a long time before any help did arrive, and those who depended upon it suffered horribly. I don’t want to see my children suffering, I don’t want to suffer… and I don’t want you and your family to suffer either.
Get prepared.
I’ve talked about if there is no power at all next I will talk about cutting our cost because the power may be there but we may not be able to afford much of it, power cost are rising sharply and if money is tight you will have to cut back. Tomorrow I will discuss ways to cut the back on power usage.

Monday, January 30, 2012

What are some things I Need to do In Order To Survive An Economic Collapse Or a Natural Disaster? # 1 Food Storage Part 2

When People talk about food storage most people think only of food but there are other things that you also need.

Personal Hygiene Products- Shampoo, Conditioner ,Bath soap,(learn to make your own) shaving cream ( or you can use soap) razors ( I have a recipe for sugar wax which I will post at a latter date) Toothpaste, Deodorant, ( both of which you can also make )and lotion My Teenager also says Hairspray is vitally important haha (use your own judgment) Contact supplies if you wear contacts and a good pair of glasses.
Feminine products- You don’t want to forget these you can buy the reusable But myself I really don’t want to have to do that ( But if I have to I will sigh ) Also if you have preteen girls plan ahead for them. Be sure to store them so mice cannot get to them.
Paper products-Toilet Tissue, garbage bags, Aluminum foil, Baggies,
Cleaning supplies - again you can make your own
Laundry soap
Canning Supplies-Canner ( pressure and water bath ), Jars, Lids, Jar lifter,Rings
Extra Bedding-enough to keep every one warm if no other heating source,
Sewing supplies- Needles, thread, Fabric, patches, patterns, Buttons,
Fuel for cooking- Wood ,Starter fluid, Matches, charcoal,
Lighting- Candles, flashlights, Batteries, Oil Lamps and Oil or Kerosene, Solar lights.
First Aid Supplies- I will go in to that more later
Cast Iron cookware- If you are having to cook over an open fire you will need the correct cookware.
Garden Seeds-Enough for one year.
Equipment-Tools, Grinders, Manual can opener, Sewing Machine, Radio ( Battery-powered ) Gardening supplies Batteries Solar oven.
Water- I will go it that more later
Books- You may not have access to the internet or to some one who knows these things so have some books on hand with the information that you will need. Here are some ideas of the type of books you may want to get. Soap making, Gardening, (If your gardening book does not cover how to save seeds, you should get a book which covers this specific topic), Homesteading/Living Off The Land, Wild Foraging, The American Red Cross First Aid & Safety Handbook ,Herbal Remedies (When conventional medicines are no longer within arms reach, you may be scrambling to find something to alleviate whatever ails you.)
Canning/Preserving Food (It’s important to have good canning recipes on hand, and with these books you’ll be able to can just about anything you can imagine. They also cover how to dehydrate foods, another great way to preserve the harvest.. ) Cookbooks (Not just any cookbooks though. In a survival situation, you probably not going to have gourmet spices and cheeses on hand. You need to have a few good cookbooks which use the most basic of ingredients to make delicious, wholesome meals your whole family will enjoy. Make sure you have a good collection of recipes for food storage items as well! )Wilderness Survival (Because you never know what life will throw at you. It’s good to know how to build your own shelter, and make traps for catching wild game.),And a book on local plants and there uses.

I’m sure there are other things, if you see I’ve missed something please feel free to comment

Friday, January 27, 2012

Food Storage What to Store

What are some things I Need to do In Order To Survive An Economic Collapse Or a Natural Disaster  ?

# 1 Food Storage Part 1

Those of you who aren’t too caught up in the trivialities of life or Hollywood, and are actually paying attention to what is going on in our economy (and no, mainstream news and Associated Press articles do NOT count) are hopefully coming to the realization that we are on a one way course into disaster with no U-turns in sight.

More and more people are beginning to wake up and realize that things could get really ugly, really quickly, and they are starting to think about what they can do now to get prepared. I have found myself answering a lot of questions and lending a lot of advice to those considering food storage, and I am encouraged to know that so many others are getting their houses in order. The more people who can feed themselves, the better off we’ll all be.

In my last post regarding the state of our country, I wrote about the need for us to start preparing for troubled times ahead. One of my recommendations was that you begin building a food storage, if you haven’t already. I even went on to say that, in these times, I strongly believe that it is wiser to have food stored up than to have money in a savings account. If hyperinflation sets in, what good will your money be? None. It will take a wheelbarrow full of your paper money to buy one loaf of bread. And if you are to lose your job? Then, groceries would be one less thing you’d have to worry about paying for! Food storage is just a good idea.
You may not believe that hyperinflation could be a reality here in the United States, but let me share something with you. I have keep a list of prices for the things that I buy some things have doubled in the last two years. I see inflation subtly creeping in. Keep your own records, watch how our prices are rising, see for yourself.
This is why we are feeling such a strong urge to prepare. This is why we are building up our food storage. We want to have what we need while we can still afford it. We want our dollar to buy the most it can while it still has buying power.
But having a food storage isn’t only wise in preparing for the possible collapse of our economy. What if for whatever reason trucks can no longer bring food into your local grocery store, and the shelves are suddenly wiped clean? What if your town is quarantined, or a natural disaster strikes? Do you want to have to rely on somebody else to feed your children? Not us. We don’t want to have to *hope* that we would be taken care of. We choose to prepare. We choose to survive.
But how much food should you store up? What all do you need? Well, the girls over at Food Storage Made Easy have some great tools to help you figure all of this out, including a Long Term Food Storage Calculator, which helps you estimate how much of something you’ll need for “X” amount of time.
I think it’s important to get other people thinking about being prepared as well.
We cannot simply hope that everything would work out for the best.
As you look through the list there is some of the things that you can make yourself with some of the basic storage I have made a notation behind some of the things you can make yourself . And don’t forget store what you eat and eat what you store in a time of crises you don’t want to be introducing new food to you family that they are not use to.

What do I need in order to survive an economic collapse or a Natural Disaster ?
A Year’s Supply of Food. This means enough shelf stable food to sustain every member of your family for an entire year. And it can’t be just rice and beans. You’ll need, and appreciate, a nice variety!
Here are some things you’ll want to stockpile:

Wheat (Wheat Berries)- Flour will go rancid after a few months; ( I do have flour stored but I rotate it and when I store it I put spearmint gum in the buckets with it and store it in the shed where it freezes in the winter months the freezing helps prolong the shelf life) wheat berries store for decades My Dad has wheat that has been stored for 40 years he checked it a while back and it is still good.. You will need a wheat grinder to turn these into flour; I’d recommend a hand grinder in case you are without electricity. ( Start using wheat flour now so the family can get use to it. I stated a little at a time in all my recipes and have gradually added more ( I made brownies the other day and used all white flour the kids wanted to know what was wrong with them they didn’t taste right so they do get use to the wheat flour )

Beans and Lentils- Cheap and very nutritious! An important source of fiber, protein, carbs, iron, and vitamin B. Store a variety: Pintos, Black Beans, White Beans, Navy Beans, etc.

Rice- Although Brown Rice is better for you, it will go rancid quickly. White Rice will store for 30+ years, and makes a great filler in many recipes.

Rolled Oats- Not only for oatmeal, but also for cookies, breads, meatloaf, etc. Store Quick Oats and/or Old Fashioned Oats, depending on which recipes you plan on using.

Dried Corn- For grinding into cornmeal. If you don’t use cornmeal normally though, this isn’t really a necessity. .

Sugar- A major staple!! Especially if you want to be canning jellies, jams and preserves, and stuff like that when they come into season. Also, you should store some sort of drink mix or tea bags, just to break up the monotony, and you’ll definitely want a sweetener for those. (Plus, you do not want live with me when I’ve been without sweets for too long.)

 Pasta- Another cheap and filling staple. Store Macaroni, Spaghetti, Lasagna, ABC shapes for the kids, etc. Cheese is expensive, but if you can store up some cheese powder and/or dehydrated cheeses, that would be nice in pasta dishes. Don’t forget spaghetti sauce! You can make your own from canned tomatoes and spices. Find a good recipe to plan on using. Ingredients to make Stroganoff and Alfredo sauce would also be a nice way to mix it up. ( Learn how to make you own pasta invest in a pasta maker fresh is so much better and your not having to make room to store the pasta as far as sauce learn to make you own )

Powdered Milk- For drinking and for using in recipes.( If you have the room consider a milk goat or cow then you can have butter, milk, Ice cream, and cheese and the extras milk can be used to feed the chickens and the pigs )

Honey- For recipes. Also good for sore throats and coughs.( If you are in an area that you could have bees I recommend bees for the honey then you don’t need as much sugar stored and the wax you can use for candles in soap making , lotion and herbal salves)

Vegetable and Olive Oil- For baking breads, homemade salad dressing, frying foods, etc. If you prefer a different type of cooking oil, then substitute that instead.

Salt- Not only for flavoring foods. It is important to store Iodized salt, along with any other type of salt your family uses (ie: Kosher, Sea Salt, Canning salt). Iodized salt contains Iodine, which is an essential trace mineral our bodies need to stay in good health. It can also be used for preserving meat.

Yeast- Don’t forget to store this for baking breads. This needs to be stored in the freezer (I will post a recipe for everlasting yeast in a later post)

Baking Powder ( you can make your own )

Baking Soda- not only for cooking, but cleaning and you can make toothpaste ,deodorant, and washing soda (I buy my sodium bicarbonate in 25 lb bags at the feed store the same thing but much cheaper )

Spices and Condiments- Look through the recipes you plan on cooking from your food storage to see what spices you’ll need. Learn how to make your own Ketchup, Mayonnaise, Salad Dressings, etc from these spices and other ingredients, or stock up on your favorite condiments.

Canned fruits and vegetables- Even if you plan on having a garden, you can’t depend on it giving you enough food to last an entire year. Store up foods your family normally eats. We eat a lot of green beans. Corn and potatoes so that’s mostly what we’ve got stored. I’ve also got tomato sauce, paste, whole and diced tomatoes for using in recipes. The same goes for fruits; applesauce, mandarin oranges, peach slices, pineapple bits, and fruit cocktail are among our cans. Don’t forget the jams and jellies, and pie fillings!
You can also get fruits and vegetables freeze dried or dehydrated.

Canned Meats- Although we have our own chickens and other animals to butcher, along with hunting for wild game, we know we won’t be able to depend on these options always being available. Buy chicken, beef (you can even can ground beef!), and other meats you eat a lot of and can them yourself, or buy already canned meats. Tuna is another good thing to store, if your family likes it. ( Again if you have the room raise your own meat and know how to process it.)

Dried Potatoes- Could come in the form of instant potatoes, freeze dried, potato flakes, etc.
or dry your own.

Dried or canned Onions- Dehydrated slices, diced, minced, whatever. again you can dry or can your own.
Vinegar- White and Apple Cider; for cooking, medicinal remedies, and disinfecting/cleaning.

Shortening or Lard- for baking.

Chocolate Chips- for sanity.

Molasses- for baking, making brown sugar, etc.

Lemon Juice- for cooking, dehydrating and canning.

Peanut Butter- if you like it. We eat a LOT of peanut butter around here.


Cocoa Powder


Cream Soups- Cream of Chicken, Cream of Celery, Cream of Mushroom; for recipes. ( Learn to make your own )

Evaporated Milk ( when you can get a good deal on milk buy a lot and can it )

Cheese Powder- or dehydrated cheeses; for recipes ( Be sure to try some before you buy a large amount some cheese powders are nasty )

Powdered Eggs- Even if you have laying hens, it wouldn’t hurt to have some of this stored up. You’ll need eggs in a lot of recipes. ( You can freeze or dry your own eggs )

Popcorn Kernels- just for fun.

Powdered Drink Mix or Tea Bags- You can order different flavors of powdered drink mix in bulk, . My family drinks a lot of sweet tea, so we have tea bags stored up.( I drink herb tea from herbs that I grow )

Coffee- If you are a coffee drinker, and even if you’re not, this would be good to have on hand. You might need that extra boost of caffeine. I’d suggest storing coffee beans instead of already ground coffee. Again, a good hand cranked wheat mill will do a great job of grinding coffee beans.

Pectin- For canning you can make your own.

Once you have enough of these basic staples stocked up, you can think about other treats for your food storage. Some people like having dessert mixes, hot chocolate, pancake mix (like Bisquick), and other convenience foods on hand. I’d say definitely spend your money on more substantial foods before splurging on these things.

How much of all of this food do I need?
How do I store all of these foods?You can go to Foodguys.com for  food storage calculator to know how much you need to store.
It is extremely important that you store your foods properly. Nothing would be worse than to open a bucket of grains to find it crawling with Weevils, or to find that a mouse has been enjoying your stockpiles before you could! Take a few extra steps to ensure that your food will still be good when you are ready for it. Many of these things can store practically indefinitely if well protected.

Buckets- When looking for a bucket to store your grains in, you need to make sure that you use a food grade plastic bucket. You can’t just run to the hardware store and buy buckets. On the bottom of a food grade bucket will be an HDPE, with a number two within a triangle of arrows. I’ve read that the colored buckets, even if they have the #2 on them, are not safe. If you wanna be safe, get white buckets.
You can find these for free, or sometimes for a small price, at your local bakery. Just ask for icing buckets with a lid. Size doesn’t really matter. Gratefully take any and all they offer you! You can also order them online, but they are pricey. Gamma Seal lids are awesome, but again, are pretty expensive.

#10 cans- You can buy some food items already packed in #10 cans, which are about 3/4 gallon; these will already be prepared for long term storage. If you have a cannery in your area you can buy bulk foods and can them yourself using their equipment. Packing #10 cans yourself is definitely the cheaper of the two options.

Mylar Bags- Some people seal their food in mylar bags before putting them in a bucket. Although it isn’t necessary, it is an added protective measure. Personally, I feel safe enough with just a well sealed bucket. You can buy these online and at survival stores.

Oxygen Absorbers- You’ll need to put these absorbers in your buckets, and #10 cans if you are filling them yourself, along with the food you’ll be storing. They will absorb all of the oxygen in your container, killing any bug eggs that might be ready to hatch out in your foods. Make sure that the container you will be putting these in is airtight.
As soon as you open the sealed bag of absorbers, they will begin working. You have about 10 minutes to get them into a bucket and sealed before they start losing their potency. If you will not be using them all, store the extra oxygen absorbers in a small glass jar tightly sealed until ready to use again. They will lose a little bit of strength since they will have absorbed the oxygen in the jar, but not much.

Diatomaceous Earth (DE)- A naturally occurring substance, safe for consumption as long as it is “food grade” DE, and not what you will find in swimming pool supplies. Mix one cup of DE into every 40 lbs of grains and legumes; approx. 1 cup per 5 gallon bucket. Do this in small batches to ensure that every kernel is covered in the powder. Use a mask when mixing to avoid inhaling this product. You might want to protect your eyes as well. You can order this online, some garden centers and feed stores also carry DE. Read the ingredients on the bag before buying to make sure that other chemical insecticides have not been added.
Iodized Salt- Add 1 cup of salt to a container of pasta to keep weevils out. You won’t be wasting the salt, ’cause it will still be usable when the pasta is gone.

It all looks overwhelming but start a little at a time as much as you can do get the main basics first ( wheat, sugar, Baking soda, Baking powder, Powder milk, Salt, Beans Meat, Oils or shortening, Vinegar, fruits and vegetables.) then add the other things
I live in an area that is cold so I store my flour , grain, sugar ect. in a shed outside the, winter months keep it froze so the bugs don’t grow and they keep through the couple hot months of summer after having been froze all winter.
You do want to make sure the caned goods do not freeze.

Where do I store all of this food?
Consider converting a large closet into a storage pantry

Build more shelves in existing closets, as high as it will go. Clean out unnecessary accessories, gadgets, and kitchen tools you never use from your cabinets, and use that space for food storage.

Raise every bed in your home to accommodate small buckets or boxes.

Stack large buckets in every corner of every closet, as much as possible. If you have a garage, basement, or root cellar, you are very fortunate!! Use this space to the best of its capacity! Make sure you take preventative measures in protecting your food from water damage in flood prone areas. Just keep in mind that the food needs to stay relatively cool. Hot, humid places should be avoided.
Make sure that you are using the more perishable items in rotation, paying attention to expiration dates. Some things will only last for a year no matter how well they are stored. Use these foods in your every day cooking, and replace them as you go.
Phew! Well, I think that covers that. Did I miss anything? Obviously, water needs to be stored, but that will have to be an entirely different post.

Hopefully that will help you get started, or motivate you to finish storing up your year’s supply. If you have any questions, I will do my best to answer them for you.
Also if you can think of something else please feel free to comment. I will do a separate post on dry goods ( T.P. soap ect.) and medical supplies

Thursday, January 26, 2012


I had looked all over for Mullein last summer but never could find any in our area so I ordered some right and then after I ordered some I found a couple of places where it grows but it was too late to harvest. So next year I know where to find it and plan to pick a good amount.

I started getting sick Monday presser in my head with a sinus headache my lymph glands were swollen. And it was moving down in to my lungs so I got out the mullein and I made some tea.

I took half cup of crushed dried mullein to one quart of water. I also added about ¾ teaspoon of white willow bark for the headache. Heat it to just before it boils. Then take it off the burner and let it steep until cool enough to drink. I added a little steava to help it go down but it really doesn’t taste to bad. . Within 2 cups of this tea, my lymph glands were normal size, no more of that presser in my head just as if I had taken Sudafed. And it didn’t fell as if it was trying to move down in to my lungs I was well on the upside of over it. I had to go to town yesterday and didn‘t take the time to drink any more and I should have, I wasn‘t completely over it and so today I not as good as I could be so back on the tea I go.
Here's the action (what it does) of mullein:

1) Demulcent -- it thins mucous and makes it slippery
2) Diuretic -- gets rid of water (not as big a diuretic as dandelion)
3) Expectorant -- helps your cough (gets things up)
4) Anti-spasmatic -- helps with that harsh dry cough

Monday, January 23, 2012

MYO Brownie Mix

This Brownie mix is so handy I use half cocoa and half carob there is not much taste difference but the Carob powder and is cheaper then cocoa powder. I also use half wheat flour. I added another brownie mix I haven’t tried it but it uses applesauce instead of butter.
MYO Brownie Mix
10 Cups Sugar
8 Cups Flour or ( 4 cups Wheat Flour & 4 cups White Flour )
4 ½ Cups Cocoa powder or ( 2 ½ cups cocoa powder & 2 ½ cups Carob powder )
3 Tea. Baking Powder
1 ½ Tea. Salt
Optional 4 ½ cups chopped nuts
Mix in a large bowl makes 6 batches
Store in airtight container at room temperature
To 3 ¾ cup of mix add
¾ cup melted butter
2 TBL. Water
2 Large eggs
2 tsp Vanilla
Mix well pour in a 9x13 well greased pan
Bake at 350 for 18 to 25 minutes
MYO Brownie Mix
5-1/2 cups granulated sugar**
4 cups all purpose flour
2-1/2 cups unsweetened cocoa powder
2 Tbsp. baking powder
1-1/2 Tbsp. salt
Yield: 10 cups brownie mix (5 batches of brownies)
Directions for Mix:
Stir dry ingredients together; Store in airtight container at room temperature
To Make Brownies from mix

2 large eggs, beaten
1-1/2 cups unsweetened applesauce (this is your oil/shortening substitute)***
1/4 cup water
1 tsp. vanilla
2 cups Brownie Mix
1/2 cup chopped nuts (optional)
1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips (optional)
Directions for Brownies:
Add Brownie Mix to large bowl, mix in applesauce and water; add egg and vanilla. Stir until smooth. Add optional ingredients if desired. Spread in a greased 8x8 x2" pan that has been sprayed with non-stick cooking spray. Bake at 350*F for 25-30 minutes, until brownies start to pull away from sides of pan (middle should be slightly firm, but unlike cake, when a toothpick is inserted, it will not come out clean, just not uncooked). Cool before cutting into 9 squares.
Rachael's Recipe Notes:
** - use a combination of Splenda and sugar (1/2 and 1/2 ratio works pretty well).
*** - you can use 1-1/2 cups of sugar-free, non-fat vanilla yogurt. This replaces the oil needed and cuts calories and fat.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Pancake Syrup (MYO)

This is the only pancake syrup that we use I make a large batch and keep it in the fridge the family loves it.

Pancake Syrup (MYO)

1 cup granulated white sugar
1 cup brown sugar, firmly packed
1/8 tsp. salt
1 cup water
1/2 tsp. maple flavoring or extract

Combine white and brown sugar in a saucepan. Add salt and water.
Bring mixture to a boil. Remove from heat. Add maple flavoring or extract, stirring to mix in.
Cool and serve. Keeps in the refrigerator in a tightly closed container for up to 6 months.
Recipe Notes:
If you don't want maple flavor, use pure vanilla or almond extract, or don't use any extract at all.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

BisQuick Baking Mix (MYO)

I love this stuff so much cheaper then bisquick (and has none of the added stuff that is so bad for you) and it has so many uses. I have included at the bottom a recipe for Hamburger pie using the bisquick.

BisQwick Baking Mix (MYO)
8 cups all-purpose flour ( or 4 cups wheat flour and 4 cups white flour )

1-1/4 cups nonfat dry milk powder
1/4 cup baking powder
1 Tbsp. salt
2 cups solid vegetable shortening
In a large bowl, combine flour, milk, baking powder, and salt. With a pastry blender or two knives, ( I use the food processer ) cut in shortening until the mixture looks like coarse cornmeal and the shortening is evenly distributed. Store in tightly closed covered container in a dark, cool place. Will keep about 3 to 4 months. Use in place of 'Bisquick' or 'Baking Mix' in any recipe (such as pancakes, waffles, biscuits).

Impossible Cheeseburger Pie
1 LB ground beef
1 cup chopped onion ½ tsp salt
1 cup shredded cheese
1 cup milk
½ c bisquick
2 eggs

Cook ground beef & onion add salt spread in a greased 9” pie plate sprinkle with cheese

Stir remaining ingredants until well blended pour in pan on top of beef mix.
Bake at 400 for 25 min

Monday, January 16, 2012

How to make Homemade Dough Enhancer:

I make bread twice a week and this dough enhancer really makes a difference in my bread I use half whole wheat and half white flour so I use 2 Tbl. Enhancer (My goal is to use all wheat flour that I grind myself )
Dough enhancer is just what you need to make whole grain homemade bread light and wonderful, just like white bread, only better. You can buy dough enhancer, but it’s cheaper to make your own.

What goes into a dough enhancer? I use a combination of wheat gluten, lecithin, ascorbic acid crystals, pectin, gelatin, nonfat dry milk, and ginger. Wheat gluten improves the texture and rise of bread. Lecithin teams up with the gluten to make bread lighter. Ascorbic acid (Vitamin C) helps the yeast work better. Pectin adds moisture, as does the gelatin. The dry milk helps the dough relax and the ginger is another yeast booster (you won’t taste it in the finished product). Most of these are also preservatives, so they help keep your bread fresh longer, and they are all natural.

How to make Homemade Dough Enhancer:
1 cup wheat gluten
2 tablespoons lecithin granules
1 teaspoon ascorbic acid crystals ( you can use a 500 mg. Vit C )
2 tablespoons powdered pectin ( Sure-Jell )
2 tablespoons unflavored gelatin
1/2 cup nonfat dry milk
1 teaspoon powdered ginger

Mix together and store in an airtight container in the refrigerator. For 100% whole grain breads, use 3 tablespoons per loaf. Add to your recipe along with the flour.

While it’s not necessary to use dough enhancer in white bread recipes, you can. I haven't used it in plain white bread but I think 1 tablespoon would work. You’ll have higher loaves, and loaves that stay fresh longer. Especially in summer months, if you don’t use air conditioning, dough enhancer will help you keep your bread fresh longer.

I love dough enhancer so much I make it in triple batches and keep it in a quart-size jar.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

What to do to prepare

I got some of this from the economic collapse blog you can read the complete 
Article here
  . In the coming months I am going to focus on how to achieve some of these things that we need to do to be more prepared for what is coming.

How should people prepare for the difficult years that are coming? I get asked about that a lot. Once people really examine the facts, it is not too hard to convince them that an economic collapse is coming. But once they accept that reality, most of them want to know what they can do to prepare themselves and their families for the hard times that are ahead. Well, the truth is that it does not have to be complicated. Many of the things discussed throughout this article are things that most of us should be doing anyway. Now is not the time to be splurging on luxuries or expensive vacations. Now is not the time to be going into large amounts of debt. Instead, we all need to get back to the basics and we all need to do what we can to become more independent of the system. Just remember what happened back in 2008. Millions of Americans lost their jobs and millions of Americans lost their homes. Now experts all over the globe are warning that another great financial crisis that could be just as bad as 2008 (or even worse) is coming. Those that don't take the time to prepare this time are not going to have any excuse.
But there is also a lot of sensationalism out there. There are some people out there that claim that the economy is going to collapse all at once and that we are going to go from where we are now to some type of a post-apocalyptic "Mad Max" society almost overnight.
Well, that is just not going to happen. We are not going to wake up next week in a world where we are all fighting each other with sharp pointed sticks.
Just like anything else, an economic collapse takes time. I like to describe what is happening using an analogy from the beach. When you build a mighty sand castle, it is not totally destroyed by the first wave that comes along, right?
Well, it is the same thing with the U.S. economy. It was the greatest economic machine that the world has ever seen, and it is most definitely in decline. But there are stages to that decline.
The "wave" that came along in 2008 did a huge amount of damage. Our economy has not recovered from that.
Now another wave is coming. But that will not be the end. There will be other waves after that.
Eventually, this thing is coming all the way down. Someday America will be such a horror show that it will be hard to believe that it is the same place that many of us grew up in.
But in the short-term, we are going to be facing a major league recession and millions of Americans will lose their jobs. It won't be the end of the world, but for some people it may feel like it.
So when you are talking about "how to prepare", the truth is that it depends on what kind of time frame you are talking about.
In the long-term, a lot of the things that even the hardcore survivalists are doing will not be nearly enough.
In the short-term, there are things that all of us can do to weather the coming storm....
Get Out Of Debt
The global financial system is headed for a massive crisis. Just like in 2008, a lot of people are going to lose their jobs and a lot of people are going to lose their homes.
In such an environment, it makes sense to travel as "lightly" as possible.
That means getting rid of debt.
Some forms of debt are worse than others. Mortgage debt is not that bad. We all need somewhere to live, and not all of us can run out and immediately pay off our mortgages.
But there are other forms of debt that are absolutely toxic. A good example of this is credit card debt. There are very few things that are as good at bleeding your finances as credit card debt is. For example, according to the credit card repayment calculator, if you have a $6000 balance on a credit card with a 20 percent interest rate and only pay the minimum payment each time, it will take you 54 years to pay off that credit card.
During those 54 years you will pay $26,168 in interest rate charges on that credit card balance in addition to the $6000 in principal that you are required to pay back. That is before any fees or penalties are even calculated.
But a lot of Americans still have not learned to stay away from credit card debt. In fact, one out of every seven Americans has at least 10 credit cards.
The truth is that in future years there is a good chance that you may be facing a situation where you are not making as much income, so you want to try to start reducing your expenses right now. Getting out of debt will help you to do this.
Save Money
A shockingly high number of American families are operating without any kind of financial cushion whatsoever....
-According to a Harris Interactive survey taken in 2010, 77 percent of all Americans are living paycheck to paycheck.
-According to one recent survey, one out of every three Americans would not be able to make a mortgage or rent payment next month if they suddenly lost their current job.
This is one reason why so many Americans have lost their homes and why so many Americans have fallen below the poverty level in recent years. They simply had no cushion.
Last year, 2.6 million more Americans dropped into poverty. That was the largest increase that we have seen since the U.S. government began keeping statistics on this back in 1959.
Don't let this happen to you. At a minimum, everyone out there should have a cushion that will cover at least 6 months worth of expenses. Preferably, you should have a cushion that will last you at least a year.
Yes, I know that is a tall order. But you would be amazed at how much money the average American family wastes in a typical month. Almost all of us have areas where we can cut back.
Trust me, in the middle of a major recession you will be really glad that you are sitting on a pile of savings.
Get Independent Of The System
What would you do if you lost your job tomorrow?
Would you have any other income?
How long would it be before you lost your home?
Those are very important questions.
The truth is that the system is failing and so we all need to work hard to become more independent of the system.
So what does that mean?
Well, instead of relying on someone else to employ you indefinitely, you can start up a business in your spare time. Yes, it will cut into your television time, but if someday you lose your job you will be extremely happy that you still have some income coming in.
Another way of becoming more independent is to start a garden.
Yes, you can run down the street and buy giant piles of cheap food right now, but that will not be the case forever.
Store Food And Focus On The Essentials
When hard times come, you will be glad that you have food stored up. Plus, food is never going to be cheaper than it is today. Having food stored up is a great hedge against the rising food prices that we will see in the future.

We live in a world that is becoming more unstable with each passing month. You never know when the next natural disaster, pandemic, war or national emergency will strike.
It only makes sense to store food and other basic essentials that you will need in the future.
Once again, a lot of these things are not going to be needed right away. The economy is going to go through a lot more ups and downs before it totally dies.
In the short-term, keep an eye on the European debt crisis, the Japanese debt crisis and the U.S. debt crisis. There are a lot of similarities between what happened back in 2008 and what is happening now.
And what happened following the crisis of 2008?
Unemployment shot through the roof.
So be prepared for that.
Make a plan for how you and your family will survive if you end up unemployed.
Also, when it comes to "how to prepare", there is one aspect that is often overlooked.
During the difficult years ahead, we are all going to have to be mentally and spiritually tough.
It won't matter how good your physical and financial preparations are if you are cowardly and paralyzed by fear.
The times that are coming are going to test all of our hearts.
Some people are going to make it and some people aren't.
Some people will become so consumed with fear that they will give up completely.
Don't let that happen to you.
Prepare your heart, soul, mind and body right now for what is coming. For those that are cowardly the years ahead will be a total nightmare, but for those that overcome the fear the years ahead have the potential to be a great adventure.