Saturday, September 25, 2010

Wild Edibles - Rabbit (Hoppy) Burgers pt. 2

Wild Edibles - Rabbit (Hoppy) Burgers pt. 1

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

County Sues Farmer, Cites Too Many Crops

Can you believe it?  Read the article below:

http://www.wsbtv.com/news/24979774/detail.html

DeKalb County is suing a local farmer for growing too many vegetables, but he said he will fight the charges in the ongoing battle neighbors call “Cabbagegate.”

Fig trees, broccoli and cabbages are among the many greens that line the soil on Steve Miller’s more than two acres in Clarkston, who said he has spent fifteen years growing crops to give away and sell at local farmers markets.

“It's a way of life, like it's something in my blood,” said Miller. In January, Dekalb County code enforcement officers began ticketing him for growing too many crops for the zoning and having unpermitted employees on site.  Miller stopped growing vegetables this summer and the charges were put on hold as he got the property rezoned.

Two weeks after approval, however, his attorney said the county began prosecuting the old charges, saying he was technically in violation before the rezoning.“It should go away. I think it borders on harassment,” said Miller’s attorney Doug Dillard.  Miller faces nearly $5,000 in fines, but he said he plans to fight those citations in recorders court later this month.A county spokesperson said officials can’t discuss the matter while it is in court, but neighbors were quick to come to his defense.“When he moved here and I found out what he was doing I said, ‘Steve, you’re the best thing that ever happened to Cimarron Drive. And I still say that,” said neighbor Britt Fayssoux.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Dehydrating

This is my favorite website about dehydrating. Lots of educational videos and great recipes.  ehydrate2store.com

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Fears grow over global food supply

What in the *world* is going on?  Russia has placed an additional 12-month ban on the export of grain, making the ban a total of 18 months, or until December 2011.  As you may have heard, Russia, world's 4th largest grain exporter, suffered drought and wild fires that destroyed their wheat crops.  After news of the ban extension, riots broke out in the African nation of Mozambique due to the increase in food prices.  Their were over 400 citizens injured in the riots that killed 8 adults and 2 children and caused $3.3 million dollars worth of damage.

United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) announced Saturday it will hold a special meeting in Rome on September 24th to find ways to ease the price fluctuation affecting grain markets

Here are a few places to read about this issue:


I would suggest to those in my prepared household to keep a well-stocked pantry.  Wheat affects us more than you realize.  It is not only in bread, but in many things.  Be prepared.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Solar Dehydrating Fruits and Vegetables

I love dehydrating foods. There is nothing better than a freshly sliced, dehydrated yellow tomato, sprinkled with sea salt.  Yummy!  And if you like the taste of basil, sprinkle a little on your tomatoes as you are dehydrating them.  The smell in your kitchen will be heavenly. 
The only problem I have with my dehydrator is that it is too small and it uses so much energy to operate.  The plan is to reduce my carbon footprint isn't it?  (Not to mention the high cost of electricity.)

Then I stumbled on this: 
Photo courtesy of solarfooddryer.com
I don't know why it hadn't occurred to me sooner that I could make a solar dehydrator. 


My granny and mother used one for years.  Although, theirs was made of a bed sheet and sometimes the back window of the car.  I can still remember the dried green beans and apples.

So...I am going to make a "solar dryer". I think I will do some research on it and see if you could make a dehydrator and cooker combo.  Maybe it could be used to cook meals when you are not dehydrating.  A dual purpose baby. 

If anyone has experience with one of these or a  solar cooker, please give me your input. 

I use an easier method of preparing the apples than the method mentioned in the article.  I wash and rinse the apples well and slice them down the middle. I take a melon baller and remove the seed pocket on both sides of the apple. Then I slice them on a "meat" slicer. Spray with lemon juice and dehydrate. You don't waste the fiber in the peels. The slices are thin, so the peel is fine. Granny Smith apples are great this way, it enhances the tart flavor.

I prepare tomatoes very similar.  I wash them and slice on the same "meat" slicer.  The tomatoes get more intense and sweet with drying and these are better than potato chips. The yellow tomatoes are better than the red tomatoes dehydrated, in my opinion. 


Tuesday, August 17, 2010

The Prepared Household's First Ever Contest

September is National Preparedness Month. So, we are going to kick it off with a our first ever, Prepared Household contest! With the gardening almost over, it is time to have some fun. From now until September 30th, you can enter in one of these ways.

Leave contest entry comments here please.
1. Share with us your best preparedness tips.

2. Blog about us. Share with your fans The Prepared Household. Let them know about this contest. Leave a comment here and let us know you did that. Share the link to your blog.

3. Share The Prepared Household with your Facebook friends. Leave a comment here and let us know you did it. Share the link back.

4. Tell us what topics you like to hear about, and what topics you think don't pertain to The Prepared Household.

5. Twitter about us. Leave a comment here to let us know you did that and share the link back.

6. Tell me what was your favorite blog post and why it was your favorite.

7. Help this page grow. Have your friends join and tell us who referred them for another entry for you. They can turn around and refer others to be entered into the contest. Share with as many people as you wish.

8. Share your blog.

So get to entering. Let's have fun. Check back on October 1, 2010 for the winner. Be sure to leave all comments on the Facebook page only so they will get counted. Contest entry here.  Thanks for being a member of The Prepared Household.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Survival Seeds

What prepared household would be complete without seeds.  I have a friend who buys her seeds a year in advance so that she always has seeds for this year and for the year to come.  I have online friends who save seeds from plants last year.  I believe it would be a good practice to save seeds.  You never know what might happen to cause you to not be able to obtain seeds and seeds are the basis of human life after all. 

Kendra with New Life on a Homestead is hosting a survival seed giveaway.  Contests are always fun, so go on over and learn about survival seeds and join the contest.  Have fun.

http://newlifeonahomestead.com/2010/07/survival-seed-pack-giveaway/

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Please welcome my guest blogger, Anne Marie of Survival Homesteading

While I have been so busy in the garden this summer, and busy putting things up in the kitchen, I wanted to still keep my Prepared Household prepared.  So, please give a Prepared Household welcome to Anne Marie of Survival Homesteading.  Anne Marie is very knowledgeable in survival skills and homesteading, so I will turn it over to Anne Marie.

Thanks MJ.  Today's timely topic is food storage.  I know in the past that MJ of Prepared Household has blogged about how important it is to have a fully stocked pantry.  Who can afford a fully stocked pantry?  Where in the world do you store all that stuff?  Let me show you a couple of photos of my fully stocked pantry.
First of all, I stock my freezer sparingly, because I know that when the storms hit and my power goes out, it might not be in the winter when my food can stay frozen.  But if my local grocery has a clearance on orange juice that is about to go bad, buy it up and throw it in the freezer.  You can get 1/2 gallons of milk or juice for as low as .25 cents this way.  At Easter and Christmas, you will find hams and turkeys on sale cheap.  What doesn't get put in jars, gets put in the freezer.  The bag with the white things in it is onions.  Don't ever let an onion go bad.  Chop it up and put it in the freezer for later use.  Freezers can be a great way to store food if you don't rely on it only.
As you can see by this freezer, we buy meats when they go on sale or clearance.  Great way to get good prices on meat.  Also, the corn was grown on the homestead this year and we have one other freezer full of it.  Under the corn are bags of strawberries we purchased cheaply and froze to eat or make jams with this coming winter.  When the house is cold, that is the perfect time to make jams.  You warm the house up with your efforts, instead of overloading your air conditioner this summer.
Before prices got so high at the grocery store, we stocked up on can foods.  I purchased these when they were .39 cents a can.  According to "Kendra and New Life on a Homestead", these are now .59 cents a can.  Always stock up on the cheaper canned veggies like corn, peas and green beans.  Not only can they feed you, but they are full of water and can supply some of your water needs.

The bottles of All detergent that you see, were purchased for .99 cents a bottle.  A local store had them $2.99 each and there were coupons for $2.00 off a bottle.  I would love to have had tons more of those.  A great deal.  The lamp oil shown, I purchased for our oil lamps, two bottles at a time.  At a local hardware store, they were priced $12.00, at Walmart, $3.97 and by the end of the season, they had clearanced them to $2.00 a bottle.  The sleeping bag is a zero degree weather bag, that will keep you warm.  These were about 1/3rd the price they normally are and were clearanced even cheaper ($19). 

Just stocking up when things are on sale will help build your supply.  The large #10 cans are from the LDS Home Cannery Center.  You can check with members of the LDS or Mormon church about where a cannery is near you.  They will allow you to go in and purchase and can food for yourself.  You don't have to be a member of the LDS church.  They sell basics such as flour, sugar, wheat, oats, macaroni, spaghetti, beans and other things, in bulk, most of the time cheaper than you buy in the store.


Here are my bulk items in plastic buckets.  They are sealed to keep rodents out.
I also store home canned goods that I grew in my garden, in my storage room. 

So, now that you have taken a tour of my pantry, let me assure you that we do eat.  So, this food is on a rotational basis.  You buy your food a little at a time, here and there.  When ketchup is on sale buy 10 bottles.  When eggs are on sale, buy 10 dozen.  When peanut butter is on sale...you get the idea.  If it is only to pick up one extra item each grocery trip and designate it as "food storage", just begin.  You have heard the old saying, "How do you eat an elephant?  One bite at a time."

Where to store it?  Convert a bedroom, store it under your bed, stash it in corners under tables, in closets, just do what you do.  Get creative.  You can do it and it is important, so get prepared.  Thanks for having me at the Prepared Household.  Come over to see my blog sometime:  http://survivalhomesteading.wordpress.com/  and be sure to check out my Facebook page: 





Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Sand Plum Jelly

Nine jars of plum jelly to go on the shelves. All we had to do was pick them up off the ground. Too bad we didn't get to them sooner, could have had a lot more. This was from about twenty small plums about the size of a quarter. And it is yummy!

Monday, July 19, 2010

Garden Update-2

The potato patch is doing nicely.  Old wives tale says that if the tops are doing well, then the roots are not.  This photo is from a couple of weeks ago and the tops are beginning to lay over and die.  An indication that the potatoes are ready.  We dug a bit in row number four and were finding only about one large potato and one small potato per plant.  Row number three had a few extra, but if we get a potato per plant, I suppose that will be a lot of potatoes from our four rows.  There are around six rows showing in the above photo, two of which belong to my brother.

The potatoes we dug were very large, some were bigger than my fist and some were small.  We plan on making a cellar type storage bin by digging a hole and placing a garbage can in it and layering the potatoes with hay.  I hope it works well.  The small ones, we will probably just can. 
Hope you enjoy the photos.  I will update more later.  I can't wait to share the salsa/tomato photos with you.  I am afraid we are eating the salsa as soon as it comes out of the canners.  Tell you more later.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Garden Update-Beans

We have been working really hard trying to get a good harvest and I am fairly pleased.  It has been a lot of hard work, but it is paying off.  Here are some photos.

This is a view of the Indian Corn, onions, beans, tomatoes and cabbage.  We grew eleven varieties of beans:  White Half Runner, Pink Half Runner, Christmas Lima, Gold Rush Yellow Wax, Yard Long, Missouri Wonder, Scarlet Runners, one I can't remember the name, Greasy Beans, Tenderettes, and Roma II, two varieties of corn, a couple different tomatoes.  My favorite bean is still the white Half-Runner, but we wanted to experiment and several people had shared their beans with me. 

The first planting is finished, with the exception of the Limas, the Missouri Wonders and the bean I don't recall the name of.   We planted a second crop about a week ago and with the rains, they are already well on their way.  The second planting is another round of White Half Runners, Greasy Beans, Tenderettes and Roma II.

I decided with all the work of white half runners, I will grow me some to eat and can, but not a lot, because my family doesn't like beans too well.  We will plant a string less, bush variety to cut down on the work.  It was an all day job to pick, string, break and then can the beans. 

Also, we liked Gold Rush Yellow Wax beans.  They had a taste that was as good as the White Half Runner, and we got a bushel out of a five foot row.  They are string less and pretty in the jars.  Here is a photo of some of green beans in the jars with a jar of the Gold Rush in front.  Aren't they pretty?
These were the oddest bean in the garden.  I was given a small bag of seeds and it was very prolific.  I got a bushel and a half of these beans, but because I knew nothing about them, they had mostly dried up before I realized it.  (I was waiting for them to get  a yard long.  LOL)  They seemed to be a bush bean with some runners.  The beans grew on top of the plant like spiders.  The pods were long and dark.  Someone told me these were yard longs, but photos of yard longs online were actually about a yard long.  These only got to be about 8 inches long.  The blossoms came out one day and were a beautiful blue and wilted after that.  The plant smelled very sweet and it was constantly buzzing with flies, bugs and moths.  I don't know what they are, and they didn't really appeal to me either.  I may not know what I missed.  This was the most unusual bean in my garden.

The most beautiful blooms in the garden was on the Scarlet Runner Bean.  It's beautiful red blossoms attracted a lot of attention.  I probably should say too much attention, as I didn't get to eat the first bean.  I don't know if someone picked them, they didn't make (although I found five hidden, hanging at the bottom) or animals got them.  Any way it went-I didn't get to try them.  Probably just as well, the beans that did make had fuzzy pods and didn't appeal to me either.

We are really enjoying the fruits of our labors and I will update about the other good things from the garden tomorrow.



Thursday, July 8, 2010

The Importance of Discretion in Preparedness

I watched a couple of Youtube videos last night.  It was a three part series from "The Twilight Zone".  The Twilight Zone was filmed back in 1959 while our country was first developing nuclear bombs.  It was an age of innocence really.  Rod Sterling, the show's creator stretched the bounds of the human mind at that time.  But the show, "The Shelter", is probably pretty true to what would happen and what has happened in true emergencies.

The show opens with several couples celebrating Doc's birthday at his home.  They toast Doc and tell him how much they hold him in regard.  They tease him about the noise he made while creating his "shelter".  These couples have been friends for years.  Suddenly, the party is interrupted by an announcement telling people to go home and prepare, unidentified objects are heading toward the USA and they think it is bombs. 

The remaining 20 minutes or so of the show, show the uglier, deeper side of human beings with faced with the possibility of death.  Where friends will turn on you.  Watch these three clips at Youtube.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9ei7Gr-0uNU
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OTdDfegVBC0&feature=related
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LLNMZjUf0wk&feature=related

Discretion in your preparedness efforts could be vital to your survival.  In an emergency, others could take what you have so carefully prepared.  So, my prepared household, go about your daily lives and prepare for the worst, but don't share specifics with even close friends, unless you are preparing for them as well.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Preparedness Pro the Ultimate in Preparedness Wisdom

I know I have talked about the Preparedness Pro before, but I wanted to mention them again.  While we are out in the garden (doing our preparedness efforts) and feeding the animals (again-preparedness), and the Prepared Household is empty, I wanted you all to stay informed.  And now I have some incentive.  Preparedness Pro is having a contest right now.  So if you will go to this link:  http://www.preparednesspro.com/ and sign up on their RSS feed or Facebook page and comment telling them that the Prepared Household sent you and I get entered for a prize.  You can turn around and blog about it and send others and be entered for a prize when they join the site.  There are a few other ways you can enter, so please do.  Not only is Kellene Bishop very knowledgeable, I have known her to be right on the pulse of what is going on today in preparedness.

So hop on over to the Preparedness Pro and hopefully we can both win some prizes.  Even if you don't win anything, you can be absolutely sure you will learn a lot about preparedness.  Good luck in all your efforts.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

An herbal first aid kit ~ Introducing "Prepare with Me"

Sorry I have been outside a lot lately and the Prepared Household is a bit empty these days.  I thought I would invite a good friend of mine (a preparedness guru in Georgia) to be a guest blogger.  She graceously gave me permission to share her knowledge from her blog any time.   

One of the skills she possesses that I envy is  that she is VERY knowledgeable in herbs (among many other things).  She recently spoke about an herbal first aid kit and I thought that was very interesting.  I asked her about it and here is her "Alternative First Aid" response.  So please give a warm Prepared Household welcome to a website with wisdom: 

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Our Very First Peas from the Garden

My husband picked peas from the garden today.  Our very first ones ever.  He picked two rows and we still have about a row and a half.  There was 13 pounds of peas.  This is what was left over after he cooked us a big, delicious pot of them.

Since we have so many left over and we still have more to pick, we decided to put them up, but we don't know how.  Does anyone have any advice?  I don't want to waste the shell as it is thick and delicious, but the Cooperative Extension Service for our state recommends freezing if you want to keep the shell.  If you want to can, you need to shell them out.  Anyone have any experience with this?

We also had a few sprigs of broccoli in the Community Garden, probably less than a half of a pound.  We will be trying them out with some cheese soon.  Sounds yummy.  I can't wait until some beans come in and we can have tomatoes, cucumbers, new potatoes...my mouth is watering.  I can hardly wait until the garden starts coming in fully.

Happy Memorial Weekend everyone...be safe and have fun.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Can Someone Help Me Identify These Plants???

Last fall, I planted some things in a raised bed that basically went to seed.  I also traded some seeds with different people and one thing I got was Chinese Cabbage.  I planted a few seedlings and then transplanted them in the raised bed.  I checked the raised bed and found these little guys that were about the size of a golf ball.  Thinking it was the Chinese cabbage, I transplanted them to the garden and they shot up.  The largest is the size of a basket ball.  There are four of them and a large one (pictured above) and a small one (about the size of a cantaloupe) have gone to seed.  (See the yellow blooms.) 

So, I am confused as to what these are?  If it is the Chinese Cabbage, they are biennial and I shouldn't be seeing seeds or flowers this year???  I am new at gardening.  Can someone help me identify these and give me advice on growing and using them. 

Thanks so much.

New Additions to the Farm & Garden Update

I wanted to introduce you to the newest additions to our little farm.  My personal favorite is our new rooster, Dumplins.  I have been told not to name anything you plan on eating, so I decided to name him what he will be...chicken and dumplins.  Sorry to any horrified readers, but this is not a "hobby" farm, it will be a working one.
 
Isn't he beautiful though.  He was dropped of at my husband's brother's house.  He had no use for him, so he gave him to us.  He has his own cage all by himself, well had his cage all by himself.  I discovered one of the Mr. Roos in the community cage ailing.  He was being trampled by the others, so I put him in a smaller cage and placed it in with Dumplins.  

So now Mr. Roo and Dumplins are sharing a cage...sort of.  Dumplins was most disturbed when I first put Mr. Roo in, but Mr. Roo was not disturbed at all.  He was intent on eating, which I think is a good sign.  I hope he pulls through it.  I think the general cage is overcrowded and we are working on a permanent house and a temporary lot.  The chicks just grew so fast. 



This is the Black Astralorpe in the community pen, with a Rhode Island Red or a Buff Orphington in the back.  I can't tell the difference.  My sick little Mr. Roo is in the front of the picture laying down. 
This is the Buff Orphingtons or Rhode Island Reds.  We have 6 Rhode Island Reds and 3 Buff Orphingtons.
This is Carrots. She is a female and will be one of the mothers we will breed. She will not be dinner. We will be getting another doe soon, when we have the chicken house done. The other doe is already named. I will call her Peas. So we will have Peas and Carrots. Ok, I know I am silly, but I am really enjoying my little urban farm.




This is my baby, Daize. Doesn't she look so sweet. She constantly hangs by my side when I am working in the yard, except when I am in the garden. She knows better than to follow me in the garden. Although, I have found evidence of her being there when I am not around.




This is Sweet Pea, running past the push mower. This was the best photo I could get of her as she was running around and wouldn't stop long enough for me to snap a photo. Sweet Pea is an older dog, and very aggressive to other animals and strangers. I think it is fear and she is jealous, but she is very sweet and loving with the family.



So, this is most of the family.  I took some photos of the garden.  I will upload them tomorrow.

Confinement - Day 2

Of course, it would have to be a beautiful sunny day and I am cooped up here on the couch just itching to get out and get my cucumber patch planted.  But no...I had to push myself and so I am confined to the sick bed.  So, I will make use of this and bring everyone in the Prepared Household up to date.

If you are local, Wal-Mart has their oil for lamps on sale $2.00 a bottle, normally $3.97.  The same exact bottle is $11.99 at the Tru Value, so that makes this a great deal.  Check your local Wal-mart for this deal.

Sav-U-More has chicken breast on sale this weekend for .79/lb and the 24oz Hunts Ketchup is .69 each.

So, that clears up the business portion.  I know this is a blog about preparedness, and I firmly believe that being self-sufficient and sustainable goes hand in hand with preparedness.  However, I realize that not everyone is of the same mindset.  Therefore, I split my blog and those things that pertain to self-sufficiency and sustainability, i.e., my farming, I have been blogging about here:  http://therealfarmtown.blogspot.com/.  So feel free to check out that part of my blogging there and this blog will stay more in line with general preparedness.

So, go out and enjoy the sunshine and think of me while you play in the dirt.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Sharpen Your Saw

There once were two woodcutters, working side by side in the forest.  One was busily cutting trees, stacking them, cutting trees and stacking them working as fast and as furious as he could so that he could get the job done quickly.  The faster he worked, the more frustrated he became.  Every time he looked over at his companion across the meadow, he was sitting under the tree in the shade.

"How does he expect to get his work done when all he is doing is sitting under the shade tree!"  The woodcutter would shake his head in anger and get back to the work at hand.  At the end of the day, the woodcutter had put in a hard day's work.  He had chopped down twenty huge trees.  He had nearly accomplished the goals he set out to do, but he was utterly and totally exhausted.  

He turned to his companion who had just joined him and angrily spat, "Well, you don't look like you are tired at all.  Every time I looked at you, you were lazily sitting under the shade tree.  How many trees did you manage to chop down?" 

His companion answered, "I chopped down thirty huge trees.  I surpassed my goal of twenty-five."

The woodcutter was flabbergasted.  "How did you manage to do that!?"  He exclaimed.

His companion replied, "Those times you saw me lazily resting in the shade, I was sharpening my saw."

So...what does it mean to sharpen your saw?  I'll give you a personal example.  For the last several weeks, we at the prepared household have been preparing to be sustainable, at least to some degree.  We have been gardening, preparing animal houses, cleaning, cooking, etc., etc., etc.  But I haven't taken much time to rest and take care of myself, except to sneak in an extra nap on Sunday afternoons after church. 

My allergies started to act up about two weeks ago, so I began taking something to suppress the symptoms.  I awoke this morning feeling terrible, but as you know, when you are an adult you press forward and do what you have to do.  Right?  Wrong!  I began to have difficulty breathing with any type of exercise.  Even walking.  If I would sit down, I was ok.  However, stubborn me, I kept on.  Eventually, I was having a hard time breathing, even while sitting, to the point of almost passing out.  Ok, it was time to head to the ER, because my doctor's office didn't even want to see me.  

After a battery of tests (and the doctor mentioning a possible blood clot to the lung) it was determined that I had a simple case of bronchitis gone rogue.  In other words, I had treated my symptoms, which I had thought were allergies, but the bronchitis was getting worse in my lungs.  So, now I am on complete bed rest because walking around causes breathing issues.  I am on antibiotics and lots of fluids.  I had pushed myself this morning instead of resting, or even sitting here blogging, and I needed to stay out of the rain yesterday.

It is very important to sharpen your saw.  Take time out to rest your body and do something fun.  Also, sharpen the tools you use, whether it is your brain, a hoe, a saw, or whatever.  The simple act of renewal for your body is as important as for the tools you use.  You will get more done and have less downtime. 

So, you may be hearing more from me this week.  My prepared family, please, sharpen your saws.  Enjoy the sunshine this week.

Oh, and by the way, please leave any comments in English and I would be happy to share them.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

The Misadventures of Mr. Roo

Mr. Roo is what I fondly call the three White Leghorn Roosters we have. I can't tell them apart, so they are simply Mr. Roo.  Anyway, we have a beautiful white large breed dog, Daize, that we have been told is a bulldog. She is going on two years old. I have had her since she was a pup.


So, in an attempt to keep my dog and my chickens, we had been letting the roosters roam free and keeping watch.  After an hour, we became complacent and wasn't watching diligently.  I petted Daize and praised her for not attacking Mr. Roo.  I turned and went back to my weeding.  Seconds latter, I heard Mr. Roo squawking and screaming from under the back deck and Daize was no where to be seen.

While yelling at Daize to stop, I ran to the deck and hesitantly peeked under.  There was Daize with what appeared to be Mr. Roo under her paws.  The squawking had ceased, so I feared the worst.  Mr. Roo had gone to the big chicken coop in the sky and he wasn't even big enough to put in the cook pot yet.
My husband looked under the deck and my worst fears were unfounded.  Mr. Roo had mysteriously disappeared without a trace and no noise as to his whereabouts.  Was he dead?   Had Daize packed him off somewhere?   There was no blood on Daize's mouth.

Daize, having been thoroughly scolded, had tucked her tail and ran off to hide and would not come back.  I attempted several times to get her to come to her kennel, but she refused.  I was standing on the deck pointing at the kennel, trying to get Daize to obey when she stopped and looked at the corner of the house in the grass and then ran off again.  I realized Mr. Roo must be there in the tall grass at the corner of the house.  Sure enough, there he was, or at least his body was there.  I could see no head, but I couldn't see any blood either.  He wasn't moving, just deadly still.  I couldn't bear to check, so  I called my husband over and turned my back.  I just knew Mr. Roo was headless. 

However, to our amazement, Mr. Roo was unharmed, just hiding in the tall grass being perfectly still and silent.  I was so relieved.  We will continue to try to acclimate the animals to one another.  Because if one of them has to go, unfortunately, it will be my baby Daize.  That thought breaks my heart.


Thursday, May 13, 2010

Sorry for the Empty House

With gardening season upon us, it looks like the house will be empty somewhat.  But don't jump ship, when things slow down in the garden, we will continue to talk about all things preparedness.  I won't be this preoccupied for long, and I am still preparing and I hope you are too. 

We are planning a preparedness fair for September 11th, in honor of those who died needlessly on that fateful day in 2001.  So I will be sending updates and plans as we get them finalized.  If you aren't local, find a preparedness fair near you to attend. 

Welcome to The Real Farm Town

Hello everyone. With spring out the door and summer on the way, things are beginning to look more like a mini farm around here. But before we go into that, let me tell you a little about my journey to this point.

Both my husband and I used to be employed. I have held a job almost continuously since my teens (for about 25 years now). Until the bottom fell out of the economy and I haven't worked in almost a year. My husband is facing the same problem, he having been out of work a year too. We decided that while we hunted for work, and since the economy looked so bad, that we would prepare ourselves for the worst and hope for the best.

We made plans to build a more self-sufficient life for ourselves and our children. So on a limited income and from blessings from the Lord and wonderful friends, we have slowly turned our 3/4 acre back yard into a mini barnyard.
This post will be about the first project we got involved in - Grow Appalachia. It is a new charity sponsored by Paul Mitchell co-owner and CEO, John Paul DeJoria. Read about it here: http://www.paulmitchell.com/whatsnew/pages/growappalachia.aspx.

It is a garden project, and each family has their own plot to take care of. We are provided with seeds, plants, and those things we need to take care of our garden. All we have to do is care for it and we will be blessed with the harvest.

According to the website, "Some of most pressing regional needs to be addressed by Grow Appalachia are:

Basic diet-related health concerns – obesity, diabetes, heart disease.
Limited availability of high-quality fresh produce.
Generational loss of knowledge of gardening, cooking, and food preservation skills.
Widespread economic dependency and lack of autonomy."

My husband and I both had sedentary jobs. We sat all day and worked. So, needless to say, we are obese with diabetes, high blood pressure and heart related issues. We have been working in our garden for a couple of months now and if it doesn't kill us (literally), it will be the best thing ever. We are getting regular, hard exercise by planting, plowing, hoeing, watering and caring for our plants. My husband has already lost some weight (that's a man for you) as we can tell it in his stomach, even though there's no difference on the scale. Muscle replacing fat, I am sure.

My diabetes is more advanced than my husbands, so in many ways I am a lot weaker. The high blood pressure medication I take masks the signs of low blood glucose, but it is the only thing that helps my tachycardia, so I continue to take it. However, I nearly passed out hilling the potatoes yesterday and we had to run get me something to eat to get my blood glucose levels stabilized. I thought I was going to have to go to the ER, but it finally straightened out. Today, I took ten units less insulin to compensate for being more active! This is great! Just working in the garden is beginning to affect the amount of insulin I need to use. Less insulin will mean less weight my body hangs on to, because being insulin dependent causes my body to hold on to fat more. (Like I really need that!)

So thank you John Paul DeJoria for your Grow Appalachia project. I hope you know what a difference you are already making in my life. Buy Paul Mitchell products and support Grow Appalachia.

More later. I can't wait to tell you about the chickens.  Happy Farming.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

International Sunflower Guerrilla Gardening Day May 1, 2010

According to Wikipedia, "Guerrilla gardening is political gardening, a form of direct action, primarily practiced by environmentalists. It is related to land rights, land reform, and permaculture. Activists take over ("squat") an abandoned piece of land which they do not own to grow crops or plants. Guerrilla gardeners believe in re-considering land ownership in order to reclaim land from perceived neglect or misuse and assign a new purpose to it.

Some guerrilla gardeners carry out their actions at night, in relative secrecy, to sow and tend a new vegetable patch or flower garden. Others work more openly, seeking to engage with members of the local community, as illustrated in the examples that follow. It has grown into a form of proactive activism or pro-activism."



I don't know about all that, I am not a political person, but I think it is a neat idea to grow things in neglected places.  I certainly am non-confrontational, but why not pick a spot and plant a couple of sunflower seeds and tend them to maturity.  Of course, you would need to find a spot where it will not get mowed down.  Perhaps my local fire department? 

In honor of the Fourth Annual International Sunflower Guerrilla Gardening Day, I think I will plant some sunflower seeds in my community.  I also want to plant a couple at my mother's grave.  I think I will plant a few at the community garden and maybe even a few in my yard.  (These aren't guerilla gardening, but why not.)   These flowers will add beauty, as well as food for the bees.

The website is http://www.guerrillagardening.org/ggsunflower.html.

The website says to:

1.  You will first need some seeds.
2.  Leave home with water, seeds and a tool for digging.
3.  Find a sunny patch of neglected, public earth.
4.  Dig a small hole and drop in your seed, cover and water.
5.  Return to keep weeds clear and to water.
6.  You should get blooms by August.
7.  Share your plans, planting and progress in the geurilla gardening community (http://guerrillagardening.org/community/index.php?topic=396.0).

Good luck and here's hoping we see tons of sunflowers, with lots of yummy seeds, this summer.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Happy Earth Day!

How did you celebrate Earth Day?  Did you plant a tree?  Did you begin recycling?  Was a day without electricity?  Or, did you purchase energy saving light bulbs or devices?  I hope you did something in honor of Earth Day.

One of the first commandments God gave was to dress and keep the Garden of Eden.  Genesis 2:15 " And the Lord God took the man, and put him into the garden of Eden to dress it and to keep it."  (No offense, but to those of you who don't believe in the Bible, just consider this a good quote from a great book.)



So, to celebrate Earth Day, I dug in the earth and it was great.  My husband and I started about 7:30 a.m. weeding the garden and putting string up for our peas.  I also planted some peppers and cucumbers, and transplanted some Chinese cabbage.

My brother gave me a large rabbit cage.  We replaced the roof and it is in good condition.  So I washed it up and we put the baby chicks in it today.  The chicks enjoyed the fresh air and their new surroundings, but they are back cooped up in the wash tub tonight.  When the nights get warmer, we will leave them in it at night. 

So, Happy Earth Day, no matter how you celebrated it.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

New Additions to the Prepared Household

With my preparedness efforts focused on the easy fix right now, (gardening) I believe I neglected to introduce you to the newest members of the household, right here on the homestead, our new baby chicks.  

For the past month, we have constantly heard the chirping of twelve little yellow puffs and one little black puff.  I know that thirteen is an unlucky number to some, but hopefully lucky to us.  We have six white leghorns, six reds and one black astralorp.  My daughter wanted a black one.  

When we first brought them home, our Jack Russell, Sweet Pea, wouldn't leave them alone.  She crawled right in the box with them and began mothering them.  It was really sweet to see her adopt them.  She never had puppies and I believe she should have since she had a really strong mothering instinct when she saw the baby chicks.  She would growl at our bull dog, Daize whenever she came near.

As the chicks are growing, we are learning they are pretty resilient, thankfully.  Three of the White Leghorns are looking like they might be roosters, but the others don't.  We shall soon see.  The hens we will keep for eggs.  I understand they lay well and will lay good for 2-3 years.  After that, it will be in the food storage.  The roosters, I am afraid, are doomed to the food storage from the start.  Sorry little guys.  This is tough for me, because I love animals and although I eat chicken, I didn't know them.  However, I know that learning how to raise and care for chickens, as well as learning to prepare them for food is an important skill to acquire.  There may be a day that I can't go to the grocery store and pick up a pack of chicken.  I will need to know how to prepare a chicken for cooking.  Hard fact of life.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Wow-What a Weekend

Since Spring has sprung, I have been so busy taking workshops and going to lectures about sustainability, permaculture, going green, eating local, gardening, gardening, gardening...that I have literally dreamed about it three nights in a row. So much happened thi...s weekend, I don't know how to present it to you. Should I break it up in manageable pieces or just give ya the highlights. Well....here goes.

Friday morning, we planted in the community garden. It was great! I am so sore in so many places, I could barely sleep Friday night. (A welcome reprieve from the gardening dream trilogy.) But we accomplished so much, the pain and sleepless night was worth it. We have rows of potatoes, corn, beans, onions, cabbage, broccoli and cauliflower.  Carrot and radish seeds are lying in beds, sprouting (hopefully) as I speak.  The entire family joined in and we all had a great time. True is the saying that many hands make light the work. The kids (the boys and the girls) even double teamed on "hilling" the twelve rows of potatoes. Great going guys!

Saturday we attended a "Redbud Festival" that had added a Heritage and Folklife program this year. We heard lectures on permaculture, local food systems, heirloom seeds, going green, sheep and goats, and bees. The lecture (or rather discussion) I most enjoyed was Nancy Sleeth's Go Green, $ave Green. Nancy's message is powerful and I hope that one day you will be able to hear it in it's entirety. The message is that the earth is dying and we need to do all we can to replenish the earth and take care of it. For those of you who believe in the Bible, Nancy spoke of Genesis 1:28, "And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it:..." You know I always combined that thought together with being fruitful and multiplying, but there is a separate sentence there that says to "replenish the earth and subdue it." So, we are to replenish the earth and take care of it.

Ironically, as we spoke of the things we could do to be better stewards of the earth, my thoughts drifted to the natural disasters that are happening every day of our lives. Scenes flashed through my mind of news reports of the tsunamis with the waves crashing over cars, buildings and people and washing them away. It almost reminds me of how a cow or horse will whip their tail, trying to get rid of the parasites and flies that are on their backs. I almost feel like we are parasites, sucking the life out of mother earth by our wasteful ways and she is fighting back, trying to rid herself of the infestation...one catastrophe at a time.

What are we leaving for our children and our future generations? We know there is a problem and we are the solution. Make a commitment today to change two bad habits right now.
1. Recycle, reuse, reduce.
2. Plant a garden, donate the excess to help feed the hungry:
http://www.ampleharvest.org or http://www.dinnergarden.org/
3. Plant a fruit or nut tree. Again, feed the hungry. Get your local city government to stop planting ornamental trees and start planting fruit and nut trees to feed the hungry or homeless.
4. Give one thing away to someone who needs it.
5. Wash your clothes in cold water.
6. Brush your teeth or shave with the water off. If you are reading this Nancy, thanks for that suggestion. I had repeatedly asked my husband to turn off the water as he shaves, but he wouldn't, until this workshop.
7. Put your clothes out to air dry instead of using a dryer. We have been doing this for almost a year now and have also saved significantly on our electric bill. And the clothes smell wonderful.
8. Crank your heat down in the winter or your air up in the summer. Only a few degrees will help. Or, you could try to acclimate yourself to no air in the summer. We cover our South facing windows with dark curtains or even blankets during the heat of the day. We circulate the cooler air from our North facing windows that have a porch overhang, to our South facing windows. We were able to tolerate last year without using the air. We did the same thing this winter, by utilizing the heat from our South facing windows and covering all windows with plastic and heavy blankets and all doors with blankets at night. It really made a huge difference and we felt all snuggled in.

I think one of the biggest impacts we made on our electric bill and our lives is the no electricity day we enjoy once a week. We designate a different day each week to not turn on the switches. We don't wash clothes that day, run the microwave or stove, no lights, no TV, no computer (yes, this is hard for me). We enjoy more time together, work in the garden, cook on the grill. Of course, we can't turn off the heat in the winter or the fridge or freezers, but when it gets dark, we use oil lamps or simply go to bed.  It is kind of fun to push ourselves past our comfort zones once a week. Your kids will probably protest, because there won't be any video games, but they get used to it. You can play chess, Monopoly, cards, charades or whatever. It brings you closer. 

Make a game out of it. Be careful when using live fire in your home though, it can be dangerous.    

Nancy Sleeth's book is filled with wonderful suggestions on going green. I suggest you purchase a copy. It is great. http://www.gogreenthebook.com/ Also, check out their website: www.blessedearth.org.

Earth Day is April 22, make a commitment to change two things in your life that will reduce your carbon footprint and help mother earth.

I already wash my clothes in cold water and haven't used my dryer in almost a year, so I will try to:
1. I commit to taking more showers and less baths. (I love a hot bath, so this is a biggie for me.) This will save water and electricity.
2. I am going to try to buy my food locally as much as I possibly can.
3. I am going to go the extra mile here too. I am going to call my county and government officials and petition for more sidewalks so we can walk safely on our roads.
Saving money and having better health will improve my preparedness level.... See More
What are you going to do to reduce your carbon footprint or make better choices in your life?

Learn a new skill. Serve someone. Love your neighbor and yourself.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Welcome Kmart Shoppers

I hope you all have been as busy as I have with my gardening efforts to improve my preparedness level.  I will only get busier as summer approaches.  But I wanted to share with you a couple of great deals from Kmart this week.

According to an email I received from Kmart this morning, they are doubling manufacturer coupons up to $1.00, meaning that they will give a total of $2.00 for a $1.00 coupon.  There is a limit of 5 coupons per day per customer.  Kmart has been using this promotion a lot in the past, but never in a store local to me, until now.  See if your store is participating:

http://www.kmart.com/ue/home/See%20Details%20and%20Participating%20Stores%20Legal_2.pdf?lid=double_coupon&sid=iex20100407xk02008&eml=28880993&rioptype=KC&ruid=1000698

Kmart is at the top of the list for me this morning, because they also have a program called Smart Assist Savings Program.  If you are unemployed, go online to http://www.kmart.com/shc/s/dap_10151_10101_DAP_Unemployment+Program?lid=sa_find_store&sid=iex20100407xk02008&eml=28880993&rioptype=KC&ruid=1000698, fill out the required information and they will email you a card to print.  According to their website:
"20% Off Select Own-Brand Merchandise for Unemployed Customers
Kmart own-brands give you huge savings versus your favorite national brands every day...and now you'll get to increase those savings by an additional 20% off over 1,500 regular-priced grocery and drugstore items for up to six months!"

This is a great opportunity for those of you who are unemployed, to stock up your pantry with food, cleaning supplies, and health and beauty aids.  Take advantage of it.  You only have to show a picture ID and proof of your unemployment.  I will be breaking mine in today.  Happy Preparing.  

Friday, April 2, 2010

Grow Appalachia

We have really been busy working on preparedness this past couple of weeks.  We are trying our hand at growing our own plants from seeds.  We have had some successes and some failures.  But we are learning.
We have become a part of a program called Grow Appalachia.  This is a community garden project.  Check your local areas and see if there are community gardens in which you can participate.  We will be working on a garden for ourselves, to preserve and use.  We will also be working on a community garden to give to others in the community who are less fortunate.  It is a great concept.  Our director is a wonderful man who works with many other programs to help others.  He is the director of the Laurel County African American Heritage Center.  Check out his site:  http://www.africanamericanheritagecenter.com/
Although I am not from African American descent, I do love history.
http://www.berea.edu/appalachiancenter/growappalachia/default.asp

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

CampingSurvival.com Scout Fire Starter Challenge

Sorry about the empty house these past couple of weeks.  I have been recovering from surgery.  I had hoped to post before now, but...it just didn't happen.  Now we will get back to preparedness.

Campingsurvival.com has a great opportunity for anyone involved in scouts.  If you are a scout leader or have a son in scouts, they are giving away a limited amount of various fire starters for your troop to test.  All you have to do is go to their site and follow the simple challenge rules.  http://www.campingsurvival.com/scoutchallenge.html.

Good luck!

Friday, February 26, 2010

Local Sale - Sav-A-Lot

Local Sales - Sav-A-Lot has ground beef on sale .99/lb.  This is a great deal.  Check your local Sav-A-Lot and see if ground beef is on sale where you live.  (Thanks Angie for pointing us to this deal.)

Friday, February 19, 2010

Homestead Blessings - The Art of ...

I wanted to recommend a wonderful DVD set that I would love to own myself.  http://www.homestead-blessings.com/.  The series features a mother and her three daughters.  There are several DVDs in the series:

The Art of Bread Making
The Art of Candle Making
The Art of Soap Making
The Art of Canning
The Art of Gardening
The Art of Herbs
The Art of Dairy Delights
The Art of Cooking

I just viewed The Art of Gardening and it is full of wonderful easy tips to make gardening easier-even a way to grow potatoes without dirt, right on top the ground.  This is the best tip I have ever received.  Our garden is clay.  It is so bad, I have seen seeds push a clot of dirt up as they come up.  I have amended the soil for years without too much success.  It was strip mined at one time, we believe, so the top soil is buried deep below the surface.  But with this wonderful tip, I will have potatoes this year!

Do yourself a favor, check with your library and see if they have these treasures.  If they don't request that they purchase them.  I did and that's why our library has them.  Or, better yet, visit the West Ladies online and purchase your very own set!

What do you recommend to help heavy clay soil besides move?  LOL...

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

2010 Re-Skilling/Food and Gardening Calendars are Now Free!

Sustainable Berea has their calendars free of charge, you only pay shipping.  Follow the link below to get your calendar.  I ordered mine and they are full of tips and hints.  I think you will be happy with your purchase.

http://sustainableberea.org/blog/upcoming-events/2010-re-skilling-calendars-for-sale

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

You can now follow The Prepared Household on Twitter

You can now find us on Twitter.  Just look for PreparedHouse and keep up to date.  Happy Twittering!

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

What is a disaster?

 
What is the first thing you think of when I say the word "DISASTER".  Naturally, you will probably think of recent natural events such as Katrina, or the earthquakes in Haiti.  Those were widespread and devastating occurrences.  However, you may even think more locally, such as the recent  "snowpocalypse" or "snowmageddon that has poured out over the Eastern United States that has left so many without power.  Some cities have been without power and one North Carolina town was placed under curfew due to the snow.  http://news.oldva.org/ (The small article is about halfway down the page.)  

However, let's define disaster.  Websters says that a disaster is "any event that overwhelms existing resources to deal with the event".  That makes sense, and covers a lot of ground.

So, would unemployment be considered a disaster?  Yes, unemployment is a personal disaster if you do not have the resources to deal with it.  Then under the same definition, the sudden death of the breadwinner of the family could be a personal disaster.  A devastating illness that depletes your bank account and throws you into bankruptcy.  A snow storm that prevents you from going to the store for food and supplies or knocks out your heat and electricity.  Anything in your life that is unplanned and unprepared for is a personal disaster.

Please do not rely on help to always show up.  My husband is a volunteer firefighter.  We had another snowstorm last night on top of ice.  Around midnight, the call came.  Fortunately, the call was just a fire alarm going off.  Because, when my hubby went to start his 4-wheel drive truck, it was missing and chattering and he couldn't get out.  We don't know why it suddenly decided not to work, but it did.  As we listened to his fellow firefighters on the roads, we were glad the call turned out to be nothing.  Both firetrucks ended up in the ditch because of terrible road conditions.  Neither truck made it to the scene.  Had it been a real fire or a real emergency, no one could have shown up.

Don't  be dependent on others to help you out.  It won't always happen.  Especially in a personal emergency that isn't planned for. 

Let's take the unemployment scenario for example.  There are a lot of people unemployed today.  No one wants to plan for unemployment, but it is an ugly happening - I should know, my husband lost his job last May and I followed in June.  One thing that helps us is the unemployment insurance.  But with the way our government is throwing money at this and that, (and Heaven only knows what else) I am not sure how long that will last and we know unemployment insurance is temporary...So, this IS my personal disaster.

However, Webster's definition of disaster is "any event that overwhelms existing resources to deal with the event".  Fortunately, while I was working, I woke up one morning to the news screaming about food shortages and I demanded my husband to take me shopping for food.  I purchased over $300 worth of canned foods.  At that time, it filled the bed of our truck.  (I would have purchased more, but my husband wouldn't let me.)  Over the next couple of months, I also squirreled away shampoos, dish liquid, cleaners and anything I could get my hands on free or cheap with coupons.  I knew my job would be ending, so I put back.  Not as much as I should have, but I put back some.

Because of my putting back, we are using our unemployment to pay our bills and supplement the foods we have put up.  If we didn't have this supply of food on hand, the story would be very different.  Being partially prepared for this personal disaster has helped, but if only I had been diligent in my preparations, life would be soooooo much easier right now.

Sit down with your family and assess your preparedness levels.  Think of every possible and plausible scenario that could go on in your life and set goals to prepare for them.  A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step. Lao-tzu.  Begin your journey to preparedness now.  Take those small steps to prepare you and your loved ones in everything.  There WILL come a day when you will be glad you did.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Local Community Garden Opportunity

LOCALS ONLY (sorry)
Community Garden Opportunity
If you are interested in growing your own foods, a grant program is developing for this summer for a community garden in our area. Families needed. This is a community event. FREE, plus you get to keep the food you grow.
1. 10x500 plot to grow produce on; (possibility of more than one)
2. Plot will be plowed for you;
3. You plan what you want to grow and the plants and seeds will be provided;
4. Tools will be provided on a loaner program. If you complete the program successfully, you will be able to keep the tools;
5. If you grow excess you cannot use, the Farmer’s Market has made an agreement with the sponsor to allow those participating in the program to sell their produce at the market for free.
Also, if you have a son in Boy Scouts of America, there is a gardening merit badge. http://www.usscouts.org/usscouts/mb/mb055.asp
If interested, or you know someone who is interested, please REPLY TO THIS POST and I will contact you for further information. This is a wonderful opportunity. I hope a lot of families get involved.

If you are not local, please contact your local extension office to see if someone is sponsoring a community garden or organize one yourself. www.thepreparedhousehold.blogspot.com/

Friday, February 5, 2010

Gardening to Stop Hunger

I recently stumbled across a great site, www.dinnergarden.org.  Their purpose is to stop hunger by promoting gardening and they will send you free seeds to get you started.  Just a few days ago I sent my email to them and they sent me some free seeds.  I got mariana tomatoes, basil, grano onions, fenugreek, kale, spinach and mustard greens hybrid, mustard greens, hybrid red head cabbage, rocket herb, broccoli and dill.  They sent them to me without cost, not even shipping charges.

Along with the seeds came business cards from ampleharvest.org and worldfoodgarden.org.

Ampleharvest.com is place to donate your excess produce.  Their website says:  "The AmpleHarvest.org campaign diminishes hunger in America by helping backyard gardeners share their excess garden produce with neighborhood food pantries."  If you garden and you have extra, please look for pantries in your area that accept produce.

The other website, worldfoodgarden.org says that "Individuals empowering themselves and each other to grow small food gardens worldwide."  It has planting times, how to's, garden books and much more.

So, grow your gardens and share your bounty with your local food pantry through ampleharvest.org.


www.ampleharvest.org