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Sunday, November 29, 2009

Merry Christmas from Iran???


Iran plans to begin building Uranium plants on five sites starting and will scout five more sites in which to build starting in two months. Here is the BBC article. I heard President Obama called a "deliberator" this morning and all this administration has done for me is give me more flashbacks of Jimmy Carter's presidency in the late seventies. Israel is touting stiffer sanctions right now, but I don't believe they will keep that stance in the near future. But of course we should be ever present in the health care bill not in the security of our country.
Why am I blasting off on this today? Well, depending on how the world responds to this could have a direct impact on oil prices, of course, and when oil goes up food goes up, etc. If this happens during a full swing recession it's not going to be pretty and in light of the administrations policy of sitting and waiting to see what everyone else will bring to the table, it will be yet another long process we will have to wallow through.
If money allows consider beefing up your preps just a little bit more. I'm hoping I'm wrong but I am going to listen to the little nagging voice in the back of my head in any event.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving



I'm posting this early in case I don't get to do it in the morning.

On this Thanksgiving lets think a little bit about the pilgrims. I pulled this off of the Intercollegiate Studies Institute Forum:


Enjoy this brief history:

On August 1, 1620, a ship called the "Mayflower" left England with 102 passengers bound for the New World. The manifest included two groups. The Separatists, led by William Bradford, had fled their homeland and the oppressive Church of England under King James I in search of a home where they could live and worship God according to their own conscience. The Strangers sought the New World for other reasons. Together they formed the Pilgrims.

Their intended crossing to Virginia strayed off course, and they instead landed on Cape Cod -- outside the territory covered by the King's Charter. Thus, the Pilgrims were responsible for their own governance. Following the nine-week journey, the Pilgrims composed an agreement that would establish just and equal laws for all members of the new community. Indeed, the revolutionary ideas expressed in the Mayflower Compact were derived from none other than the Holy Bible.

Only then, on November 11, 1620, did the Pilgrims leave the Mayflower. A cold and barren wilderness awaited them. There were no friends to greet them, no houses to shelter them, nor stores of food to sustain them. That first winter was perilous, as half the Pilgrims died of starvation, sickness, or exposure.

When spring arrived, an Indian named Squanto taught the settlers how to plant corn, fish, use fertilizer, and stalk deer. Bradford wrote that Squanto was "a special instrument sent of God for their good beyond their expectations."

In October, following their first harvest, Governor Bradford set aside a day of thanksgiving. Squanto, his chief Massasoit, and other members of the tribe were invited to the thanksgiving feast. The Indians brought deer and turkeys, while the Pilgrim women cooked vegetables and fruit pies. The purpose of the feast was not to give thanks to the Indians or Mother Earth, as contemporary history textbooks commonly report, but as a devout expression of gratitude to God.

What modern history texts also omit is that the contract the Pilgrims brokered with their merchant-sponsors in London specified that everything they produce go into a common store, with each member entitled to one common share. In addition, all the land they cleared and the structures they built belonged to the community.

William Bradford, Governor of the new colony, realized the futility of collectivism and abandoned the practice. Instead, Bradford assigned a plot of land to each family and permitted them to market their own crops and other products, thereby unleashing the power of free enterprise. What Bradford had wisely realized was that these industrious people had no reason to work any harder than anyone else without the motivation of personal incentive.

Thus, what can only be called the Pilgrims' attempt at socialism ended like all other attempts at socialism -- in failure. What Bradford subsequently wrote about the experiment should be in every American history textbook. The lesson provided therein is invaluable.

"The experience that was had in this common course and condition, tried sundry years and that amongst godly and sober men, may well evince the vanity of that conceit of Plato's and other ancients applauded by some of later times; that the taking away of property and bringing in community into a commonwealth would make them happy and flourishing; as if they were wiser than God. For this community (so far as it was) was found to breed much confusion and discontent and retard much employment that would have been to their benefit and comfort. For the young men, that were most able and fit for labour and service, did repine that they should spend their time and strength to work for other men's wives and children without any recompense."

And what happened after collectivism was replaced by capitalism and the concept of private property?

"This had very good success, for it made all hands very industrious, so as much more corn was planted than otherwise would have been by any means the Governor or any other could use, and saved him a great deal of trouble, and gave far better content."

The Pilgrims soon found they had more food than they could eat, so they set up trading posts and exchanged goods with the Indians. The profits they realized allowed them to pay off their debts to the merchants in London. The success and prosperity of the original Plymouth settlement attracted more European settlers, setting off what came to be known as the "Great Puritan Migration."

Three hundred and eighty-two years later, Americans still set aside the fourth Thursday in November each year as a celebration of thanksgiving. Although this quintessentially American holiday has become more secular than religious, it was originated by devoutly Christian people who were expressing gratitude for the bounty brought forth by their labor and the blessings bestowed upon them by God.

A lot to think about... I hope you all have a great Thanksgiving!

Thanksgiving carcass

Dear Lord, Thank you for this turkey and the carcass it is about to be. Amen.

(No blasphemy intended, seriously.)

The meat you will consume tomorrow is muscle tissue surrounding a skeletal system of a once living critter. I'm no vegan-greenpeace-animal rights activist sort of gal, but I think it is right, especially at Thanksgiving, to take a moment to reflect on the fact that we humans are part of the food-chain network. To be thankful for it. And to recognize our place in it. Just a thought.

On Friday, Sinky Day (the day people eat lunch over the sink), you will probably have turkey sandwiches, no doubt on homemade bread, with homemade mayonnaise... . Pardon me while I prepare for a food comma.

On Saturday, you may have a turkey casserole. Depending on the number of folks picking on this carcass, you may have enough meat to freeze. But at some point... .

When you are finished picking every last bit of muscle tissue worth picking off that carcass... you've made it to the really good part, the skeleton-- the bones. This means the best turkey gumbo you've ever had in your life is just as hop & a skip away. (Lord, thank you for Thanksgiving.)

Basic chicken stock recipe, adjust at will for the turkey carcass. The key is to fully immerse the carcass in water, to have the same proportions of seasonings (celery, carrots, etc.), and to boil it slowly to get the marrow from the bones. (So if it takes more than 5 qts water to immerse the carcass, adjust the quantity of celery, etc., accordingly.) From John's Big Food Manual and Survivalist Flourishing Guide:


CHICKEN STOCK

Makes 4 quarts, but freezes well

5-6 lb hen
1 medium onion, chopped coarse
3 ribs celery, chopped coarse
2 carrots, scraped and chopped coarse
2 bay leaves (preferably fresh)
5 quarts water

Put all ingredients into a large (2 gallon) stock pot. Simmer slowly until hen is tender, about 2 ½ hours. Let stock cool with hen in it. Remove hen and strain.


LEFTOVER TURKEY GUMBO
2 quarts turkey stock, made from leftover turkey carcass
½ C flour
½ C oil (can use bacon fat for real Cajun flavor and calories)
Leftover turkey meat, chopped into bite-sized pieces
½ lb andouille sausage (preferably homemade—see recipes in Meats section)
1 lb shrimp, optional
1 lb ckra, sliced (can use frozen—1 ½ boxes)
1 big onion, chopped
1 bunch green onions, chopped (mostly white parts)
1 bell pepper, chopped
2-3 ribs celery, chopped
3 (or more) cloves garlic, chopped
1 bay leaf
½ bunch parsley, chopped
Creole seasoning, to taste
Tabasco, to taste
Salt and black pepper, to taste
Steaming long-grain rice
File powder

Remove meat from the turkey carcass. Cut up and set aside. Boil the carcass in water to make the turkey stock. Remove carcass from stock and skim stock. Measure out two quarts stock in a large stockpot and have stock simmering slowly, covered. Chop onions, green onions, bell pepper, and celery and have ready in a big bowl while you make your roux.

Make a roux: blend flour and fat, and cook over medium-high heat, stirring constantly. Be careful not to burn the roux—if black flecks appear, it has been burned and must be thrown away. Keep stirring until the roux gets darker and darker. You can stop at chocolate brown if you wish, but I try for the color of coffee. (The darker you get the roux, the darker will be the shade of your gumbo.) As soon as you reach the desired color, turn off the fire and add the chopped veggies immediately. (This stops the roux from cooking further.)

Stir the veggies into the roux thoroughly and keep stirring until the mixture begins to cool a bit. Add the roux to the turkey stock. Chunk the andouille and fry off. Drain fat and add andouille to stock. Add bay leaf and Creole seasoning and stir.

Bring stock to a boil then immediately reduce to simmer. Let stock simmer about 30 minutes uncovered. Taste occasionally and adjust seasonings. Add okra and cook another 30 minutes uncovered (long enough to make sure that the “sliminess” is gone from the gumbo). Add parsley and reserved turkey meat. Simmer for 15 minutes uncovered. Add shrimp if used. Cook for 5-6 minutes, just until shrimp turn pink. Taste. Add salt, pepper, and Tabasco. (This gumbo should not be too spicy hot.)

Let gumbo sit, covered, until ready to serve. If any fat accumulates on gumbo surface, skim it off. To serve, press ½ cup rice into measuring cup and place in a mound in center of gumbo bowl. Ladle gumbo around the rice mound. Sprinkle with file powder (1/4 – ½ tsp.)

Eat hearty—there’s plenty!


Dear Lord, Thank you for bringing John, who knows how to make the best turkey gumbo ever, into my life. Amen.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

A pinch of this and a dash of that....

My thanks to Marica for all of her posts, I'm waiting too on the Christmas ideas and have been working on few of my own here. Between finishing off league football, (finally over yeah!), and being taking down by a URI, I am trying to get back on the ball. I am still working on prepper hookups and I have one person for each person who responded so far so if you are out there and want to check in please do so.
What are your traditions for Thanksgiving if you celebrate? I'd love to hear them even if you have downsized over the years. What's on the menu?
Today I will brine the turkey and bake the pies. Pies vary, this year will be pumpkin and tart cherry. We also will be having yams, mashed potatoes, green beans, stuffing and, of course, cranberries. This year is just my immediate family. In the morning, after Tom is taking care of, usually finds us on the phone with family and friends since we are so far away from them. Then we make our rounds through the neighborhood since our neighbors are out smoking or deep frying their turkeys as well. Some times we bring appetizers over but usually if someone is making something different we all want to try we send out a sample plate and/or receive one as well. I usually send out some homemade canned relish or sweet jalapenos.
For my Dad in NY, they usually have one person in the building cook the bird and everyone brings a side dish in a community Thanksgiving. After the holiday is what to make out of leftovers and get ready for Christmas baking. I am hoping my in laws will be here for Christmas. Of course that means finishing up homemade gifts!! I also have two deer waiting to be brought down. In case you don't know what to do with a deer here are some options:

Well isn't' that just like me! I start off talking turkey and end up with deer on the brain. Just can't beat under a dollar a pound for ground meat though LOL. Hope you all are having a good one today!

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Prepper-inspired Christmas gifts

Stay tuned for a post on prepper-inspired, do-it-yourself (or on the real cheap) Christmas gifts for teachers, co-workers, the mailman (really?), and anyone else you can't afford to buy for, but would like to give something to. Focus on kid involvement. Gathering ideas as I type. (Actually, I posted to APN forum & Pioneer Living asking for ideas. They're coming in.)

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Quote: I am a high income professional but I am battening down hatches as fast as I can

I came across this at Instapundit. I only skimmed the links, which do have good advise. It was the reader's comment to Glenn Reynolds (the blogger "Instapundit" and the "voice" in the post) that got my attention.

LEAD US NOT INTO DEBT: Megan McArdle on Dave Ramsey.

His debt advice sounds good — I don’t really have any debt except a modest mortgage, so I haven’t tried it, since we’ve always favored a sort of Dave Ramsey-lite approach to finances — ...

UPDATE: Some related thoughts from Megan here.

ANOTHER UPDATE: Reader Michael Kennedy writes:
I think we are in for a long and severe period of fiscal bad times. I am a high income professional but I am battening down hatches as fast as I can, including selling things I don’t need to own. Those kinds of links will be popular, not as popular as they should be, but that will change. It is heavy weather ahead and worse than we have seen since the 1930s. The fools running the country have no idea what they are doing.

It does appear that way. But perhaps we’re simply too dull to fathom their cunning plans.
Next time someone pokes fun at your prepping-- tell 'em you're battening down hatches, just like the "high income professionals."

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Holiday baking goods sales & a strategy for getting started

Herbalpagen (Emily) has a nice post up at on American Preppers about taking advantage of holiday sales on baking goods, and comfort foods like chocolate, cocoa, and so on. She also shares her strategy for food storage decisions:
--can I live without it?
--do I want to live without it?
--could I get it if the trucks stopped bringing it to the shelves?
... IF a big emergency came a long, would that item be available locally or would it be hard to get. Sugar can't be grown locally for me, neither can exotic spices and many other baking ingredients. ...
[I like that Emily doesn’t want to live without chocolate! When big stuff happens it’s important to keep things as “normal” as possible. (Aggie has posted about this.)]

Grocery stores are putting baking goods and things like dried fruits on sale, so now is the time to stock up. But if you’re just getting started, you may be wondering how much/many of these items you should be buying and storing? Here’s my strategy. It will take about an hour or so of your time. (Yikes! Not to read it, to do it!) Note that it will work for any category of thing you want to stock up on; I’ll stick to baking goods here.

First, go to the cupboard where you keep your baking supplies and take a peek inside. What’s there? What do you have? Make a list including the item, the size of the container, and amount you have. EX:

flour: 1 1/2 5-lb. bags (one opened, one in reserve)
crisco: 3 1-cup sticks

(This is also a good time to do a little purging of really old stuff.)

Record everything you have, get a cup of coffee, and have a seat at the kitchen table.

Organize your list by making categories: FLOURS (white, whole wheat), SUGARS (cane, brown, kayro), MIXES/MEALS (corn meal, jiffy mix). I do this by transferring the list to a spreadsheet, but you can do it in pencil & paper. At this point, you may see that you’re completely out of somethings. These would be things you’d usually buy just when you need them for a recipe, or things you threw away when you were purging the old stuff. Be sure to add these to the list. They have a quantity = 0.

An added benefit to organizing is that you’re able to see substitutions. Next time you’re baking cookies, substitute dark for light brown sugar if you found an extra box of dark. You may also see that you’re “overstocked” in raisins that are getting stale. Surprise the kiddies with some oatmeal raisin cookies!

Once you have the list in order, you’re going to start evaluating what you need, setting some goals, and making your prepper shopping list. Your first goal is to replace those things that you purged. Bear in mind that not every item on the list is equally important. If you threw away a five-year old plastic container of dried cherries... take dried cherries off the list. Using Emily’s strategy, if you lived without them for this long... . This means that even if you see dried cherries on sale for 20 cents, unless you are planning on making a lot of fruit cake, don’t waste 20 cents. If, on the other hand, you realized you were completely out of yeast... . You get the idea.

My strategy now is to say, “I need at least two of everything, even things we only use occasionally.” That’s my first goal. Remember that there are two overall goals: saving some money by taking advantage of the sales on baking goods, and building up your stores. Anything you have one or fewer (i.e., open packages) goes on the shopping list. It doesn’t mean you’re going to buy it right away-- not every item is equally important-- but it does go on the list, with either “1” or “2” (have one, need one; have none need two) next to it.

If your finances only allow you to achieve this first goal, you’re farther along than you might have been. Just be sure to always have “one on hand, and one in stock” (one back-up, like in your “stock room”). As you use one, replace it with one from stock in your own store, and put one of whatever it is on your normal grocery list. Ideally, buy it on sale.

The next step is to set another goal-- a time goal. One or two months is a good place to start. Go through the list, item by item, and ask, “How much of this do I use in two months?” Here it is critically important to think of some what-if scenarios, based on why you're prepping, and what you are preparing for. “What if I lost my job, had no income, couldn’t go to the store to buy bread, and had to bake my own. THEN how much flour would I use in two months?” That’s your two month set point. Do the calculations-- what do you have? what do you need for two months?-- and add/adjust your prepper shopping list.

Notice I said, "
based on why you're prepping, and what you are preparing for." Job loss might be one thing, unstable economy (inflation?) another, hurricanes... . Just remember that you may not know what may come down the pike. If you are reading this is Ohio, where the threat of hurricanes is low... remember good old Duke Energy & Hurricane Ike.

About that shopping list... . Use discretion. It just isn’t smart to go out and buy everything on the list at one time. You may find better sales. More importantly, you may find you need to tweek your set-point. You may not really need/use 16 boxes of jiffy corn bread mix, even if it is on sale for 50 cents. (Although I admit, I’d find that pretty hard to pass up.) Unless you have unlimited CASH, use discretion. Not all items are equally important. And be flexible. If your set point on flour is 4 5-lb bags, and you are down to 3, and it’s not on sale... do NOT buy one at full price. Flour goes on sale all the time. You know your stores and what things are advertised regularly vs. only occasionally. Use discretion.

About shopping... . This may not work for everyone, but here’s what we're doing now-- in large part because we are seeing a lot of sales on basics and staples. We typically spend about $100-125/week on groceries, including preps. And we go to the store once a week with a list of what we need for this week’s menu, and for staples. We have our set point, we “shop” first in our own “store” to rotate our stock, and then (with discretion) replace those items. This amount includes stuff I’m stocking up on, too, because it’s on sale, because the move wiped out a lot of our preps, and because we have just established a new set point. Things were getting really confusing, especially when we unpacked the groceries: Do we need this this week? Am I replacing this? Is this extra?

To eliminate the confusion-- two shopping trips. One morning we go to the stores (ours and the grocery) to get what we need for the week’s menu. I make note of what’s on sale. John notes what’s on sale in the meat department. We spend far less than $100. Another morning I take our prepper shopping list, and we budget the difference between what we spent and $125 or so, and that’s what we spend on preps (including meat for the deep freezer).

We are odd in that John does the meal planning and most of the cooking, we have his and hers grocery lists, and shop together. So John is totally into prepping. (He keeps his own records of what meat is in the deep freezer, and he uses that to plan the menu.) But this two-part grocery shopping might be a way for those of you with... shall we say... less than enthusiastic spouses to illustrate the value of prepping. Once you’ve gotten your lists together, spend every extra buck you can find on prepper shopping-- only sale items! It won’t be too long before you see a reduction in your regular grocery bill, because you're first shopping from your bargain basement store. Point this out! “Hey honey, I only spent $75 at the store! Want to know why?”

Monday, November 16, 2009

How to get others into the Prepping Mindset



Prepping is great! You can be self-sufficient, grow or stock food, secure your residence, and save a bunch of money in the long run, what's the downside? Everyone should be excited about this or at least consider it, right? WRONG!
Friends and family might be looking into the nearest home or the one thing they might consider to save money is building you your own padded room. Your spouse or significant other might have that eyes glazed over look when you tell them you bought yet another case of beans or ammo was on sale. And what do you mean you want to have a bug out drill and it doesn't include a hotel with a shower?
If you are there, I'm right there with you! Trust me on this. I daydream on the computer looking at pictures of other people's food supplies while my husband says "o.k. whatever we forgot at the store, I'll just pick up on my way home from work". Or a neighbor asks, "why grow it when you can just go buy it on the store?". Statements like this are just like finger nails on a chalkboard, they have the same effect.
Start slow and be prepared, it could take a long while before the light bulb goes off. You can go quicker with things that won't be in the other person's area of your shared life. For example: If your wife has nothing to do with your guns and ammo, there is your big starting point where you can almost go full throttle prepping in that area. If your husband leaves the kitchen entirely up to you..food is where you want to begin.
I leave ideas laying around. Books and articles on things I would like to try to do that I would need his help with. Usually, in the um....library, that's it! Where he will have some undivided attention and doesn't have to listen to my voice. (just so you know why I used the picture above lol). It's pretty effective. I still have a long way to go. He sees overstocking on things as an illness, which is fine but soon he will have to come to terms of why I really had to have more shelves in the storeroom.
Friends and family are different. Most of them are just under the impression that there will always be "more" so why bother. I did have a friend who going through a tough economic crisis with her family, got it, ran with it and it helped her through the rough spots. I had another friend, who just nods when I talk about it, doesn't get it and continues to complain and struggle. Most fall some where inbetween. Again, another slow process.
When it dawns on them that this could be worth the effort one or two things usually happens, they want to learn more and are a bit cautious or they panic because they feel they are far behind and just want to spend, spend, spend, to keep up. This is where they need your help! Reign in the ones who feel the end of the race is here and they are still at the starting gate! Talk them out of cases of freeze dried food they haven't tried yet and super expensive gear they may or may not need, use or can get cheaper. Show them how much they can produce in a garden and can, or save money in other ways so they can stock up on food if they don't have access to a garden. Pawn shops are great for some guns and ammo and some places online are better. People who are slow and cautious will soak up information like a sponge and decide what is best for their situation and will come prepared with questions, give an ear be supportive and offer advice.
Above all else, remember, you are not alone. We are here for you!

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Perfect Prepper Muffins

How cool is this? A muffin batter that saves for six weeks in the fridge. John made these this morning and they were delicious. He said it took 5, maybe 10, minutes to mix up the batter. (approximately the time it takes the coffee to be ready). So already they score +1 with me. But beyond that, once the batter's been put together, we're talking about having homemade muffins any time you want without doing any thing more than preheating the oven and filling up a few cups in the muffin tin. As an added bonus, you'll have an excuse to turn on the oven first thing in the morning to add a little extra heat to the kitchen. And the kiddies will have something warm in their tummies.

All in all the perfect prepper muffin, don't you think?

(John does caution to use a BIG bowl. He only made about 3/4 of the recipe.)


SIX WEEK MUFFINS

15 oz box raisin bran

3 C sugar

5 C flour, sifted

2 tsp salt

2 tsp baking soda

4 eggs, beaten

1 C oil

1 quart buttermilk

Mix together cereal, sugar, flour, salt, and baking soda. Combine eggs, oil, and buttermilk, and mix into dry ingredients. Batter keeps well in covered bowl in refrigerator for six weeks. When ready to bake a batch, preheat oven to 400o. Fill greased or sprayed muffin tins 2/3 full and bake about 20 minutes. May put under broiler a few minutes for golden browning.
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Saturday, November 14, 2009

Prepping in small spaces

I posted this on Ohio Preppers before the move to Mississippi. Hope you all enjoy!

My daughters all live in apartments or condos, so I feel your pain if you don't have a lot of space and are trying to get your prep on.

Worn Out over at Mississippi Preppers has a nice post, with many links, about food storage in small spaces.

And Matt just across the river at Kentucky Preppers has another about apartment homesteading and canning.

I commented on Matt's and I think it's worth repeating: Right. You cannot have an acre garden in a third story 1000 sq.ft. apartment. Unless, of course, you rent space at a community garden. But you can still grow stuff INSIDE. Here's a list of things that come to mind. And even if you do have a huge garden, not that much stuff grows well under snow, so the list applies to you, too! If you want more info, leave a comment and I'll post specifically about what you're interested in.

SPROUTS. The only sprouts that need sunshine to sprout are sunflowers. All the rest can be grown in a mason jar in the dark. Here's a lot more info at my blog about sprouts. (The blog's not about sprouts, the post is!)

MICROGREENS. Microgreen seed mixes are just a bunch of tasty little green & colorful young seedlings, picked when they're about 2-3" tall. All you need is a shallow tray of potting soil (an aluminum baking dish with pin prick holes in the bottom works just fine), and a few hours of sun-- even morning sun is enough. These are excellent salad toppers, and are wonderful on a piece of bread with cream cheese. Here's one source of the seed. A packet lasted me several months-- just sow, harvest, sow... .

HERBS. All you need for these is a couple of pots & some sunshine for 4-6 hours/day (who cares if they get leggy?). Basil works beautifully, and there's pretty much no herb that you can't grow inside. That's basil on the top shelf in my sunroom last November.

CITRUS. If you have space for a houseplant, consider growing dwarf citrus. It will do best if you have a deck or patio you can move it to during the summer. Here's a whole post on citrus.

This list is not complete. One of my kids is growing Alpine strawberries (everbearing) in her apartment. Last winter I grew potatoes in straw in my basement. Lots of folks grow cherry tomatoes inside during the winter.

One added benefit of growing edibles inside-- especially in the winter-- is air-filtration. In addition to the fact that fresh is just better for you, the plants themselves help filter the air & add needed moisture, which is especially good in the winter. Give it a try. Let me know if you need more specifics.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Why did you start?



Some of you have already heard my story on how I started but I will try to post the short version. It started out 20 years ago as a single parent living in Queens, NY in an apartment. I learned to stockpile food and when I moved to Connecticut I branched out until I moved to Mississippi, which was about 10 years ago. That was the first time I had my own yard. I read everything I could get my hands on. I devoured the early editions of Mother Earth News from swap meets and yard sales then moved on from there. Food was the easiest thing for me to start with and at the start I did it for economical reasons rather than self-sufficient/survival reasons but that was to follow shortly. My Dad would take us once or twice a year to do a huge bulk food shop and after putting thing away he would smile and say with all this food I feel rich. That is probably where I get it from. Dad still lives in NY and with coupons and his power scooter he zips off to the market to fill his basket and stock up his supplies.

So, why and how did you start? Or, why do you want to?

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Prepare for the long haul

I was wandering around our farm the other day and discovered that we have a black walnut tree on the property! This is cool.* And of course this discovery got me wandering around the internet... and I came upon something I’d known about and completely forgotten.

The Arbor Day Foundation offers 10 trees for “free.” They are not really free. To get the trees, you must become a 6-month member. Membership is $10. That’s 10 trees for 10 bucks. You can choose from an assortment. Here in northeast Mississippi, the choices are:

10 Flowering Trees
10 Trees Mix
10 Wild Bird Garden
10 Eastern Redcedars
10 Oak Trees
10 Redbuds
10 White Pines
10 Autumn Classics
10 White Dogwoods

The trees are 12-15” tall, and are shipped according to your climate zone. My folks took advantage of this years and years ago. Not all survived, but enough did to make a real difference between their home and their neighbors-- and I mean a difference that goes beyond just lookin’ purdy.

Forgetting about the snow, this nicely illustrates how planting the right tree in the right space can help lower your energy costs throughout the year. Sorry, poor quality pic. The idea is north is to the left and the pines on the north protect from north winds. Deciduous trees on the south provide shade in the summer, and allow for sun in the winter.





From the Arbor Day Foundations web site, here are a few claims about how trees can save us money and make life more pleasant:

"The net cooling effect of a young, healthy tree is equivalent to ten room-size air conditioners operating 20 hours a day."—U.S. Department of Agriculture

"Landscaping can reduce air conditioning costs by up to 50 percent, by shading the windows and walls of a home." — American Public Power Association

"If you plant a tree today on the west side of your home, in 5 years your energy bills should be 3% less. In 15 years the savings will be nearly 12%." —Dr. E. Greg McPherson, Center for Urban Forest Research

"Trees properly placed around buildings can reduce air conditioning needs by 30 percent and can save 20 - 50 percent in energy used for heating."—USDA Forest Service

"In laboratory research, visual exposure to settings with trees has produced significant recovery from stress within five minutes, as indicated by changes in blood pressure and muscle tension."—Dr. Roger S. Ulrich Texas A&M University

Sure, a 15” tree isn’t going to save you any money next summer. But if you’re preparing for the long haul... plant a tree!

*Black walnuts are cool. But do NOT plant a black walnut anywhere near a veggie garden. They are death to nightshades-- tomatoes, peppers, potatoes. From their roots and the decaying nuts, they exude a toxic substance into the soil. So if you have space, they are cool. The nuts are more flavorful than English walnuts, but are really hard to get at. And then there's the oil. But on the other hand, then there's the wood.

Where are you in your Preps??



Right now I am pretty low in my food storage. But that does show that prepping works. After some pretty decent added expenses, our preps saw us through without the added expense of a huge food bill. Some of us are in that boat, a lot of us got hit with adult child expense, myself included. But there were things we just paid off rather than paid on in order not to have another on going expense. I am planning on having our storage built up completely by the begining of January, (Deer meat might be coming next month, YAY!), so I'm knocked down but not knocked out!
Where are you in your prepping? Just getting started? Stocked until the next ice age?
Drop me a line and let me know where you are located, we are still hooking up preppers and I will have more time to devote since football season will be over soon lol.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Bye Bye Ida

The coast did pretty well riding out Ida. We had some flooding in areas around the coast but it is areas that usually flood during a heavy rainstorm. I was surprised we didn't lose power but happy all the same. We are still under tropical storm watch and hopefully it will just all blow over. The kids are starting to feel better and the garden was happy to get rain water.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Ida



Hancock county, your children have an 11 a.m. school day today. I'm sorry I didn't post earlier in the moring but I was running around getting growing trees and projectiles put away. Hopefully this will all blow over by late this afternoon or tonight. Harrison county..this is a normal school and business day. Be on the look out for power outages, gosh it happens here on a clear day lol, and fallen electric lines. We are under a watch for everything from wind to flooding.
Waveland and Bay St. Louis, look out for flooding, though I don't have to tell you that.
Stay safe, stay dry and take care!


Update:

Worst of the storm will be late this afternoon into the evening. Hancock schools:
Elementary Dismissal: 11:30 a.m. Middle and High School: 12:30 p.m. No college classes after 1 p.m. Hancock county, sandbags will be given out, check your fire departments and city yards. If Allstate is your insurance carrier they have set up a special number to expedite claims give your office a call. Thankfully, it's starting to slow down we are having 16 to 22 mph gusts which will pick up, it's not over yet.

1:30 p.m update: Pascagula, Moss Point, Gautier and Ocean Springs, boats will only be allowed in validated harbor slips in Ocean Springs. All three areas will have early school closings and no afterschool programs. Gautier will have a shelter open at their convention center on Library lane. Bring meds, food, change of clothes and something to keep you and/or your children busy. Don't forget sleeping gear.

The wind has picked up a little, again I apologize for not being able to post in a timely manner, I have two at home sick and we just spent a couple of hours at the doctor office.

This will be my last update for the day. The wind has picked up a little more and it's raining. Please be careful tonight in your travels. I've seen a couple of senseless fender benders coming home from the pharmacy so keep your eye out. We could have winds up to 45 mph and on the news earlier it said if you normally flood at a level 2 or 3 keep your eye out for flooding. I am also posting the last bulletin the next one is due out at 6 p.m.

Tropical Storm IDA Public Advisory
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Home Public Adv Fcst/Adv Discussion Wind Probs Maps/Charts Archive

US Watch/Warning Storm Surge
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------



000
WTNT31 KNHC 092054
TCPAT1
BULLETIN
TROPICAL STORM IDA ADVISORY NUMBER 24
NWS TPC/NATIONAL HURRICANE CENTER MIAMI FL AL112009
300 PM CST MON NOV 09 2009

...IDA TURNS NORTHWARD...SHOULD MAKE LANDFALL OVERNIGHT...

A TROPICAL STORM WARNING REMAINS IN EFFECT FROM GRAND ISLE LOUISIANA
EASTWARD TO THE AUCILLA RIVER FLORIDA...INCLUDING NEW ORLEANS AND
LAKE PONTCHARTRAIN. A TROPICAL STORM WARNING MEANS THAT TROPICAL
STORM CONDITIONS ARE EXPECTED SOMEWHERE WITHIN THE WARNING AREA
WITHIN 24 HOURS.

FOR STORM INFORMATION SPECIFIC TO YOUR AREA IN THE UNITED
STATES...INCLUDING POSSIBLE INLAND WATCHES AND WARNINGS...PLEASE
MONITOR PRODUCTS ISSUED BY YOUR LOCAL NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE
FORECAST OFFICE.

AT 300 PM CST...2100 UTC...THE CENTER OF TROPICAL STORM IDA WAS
LOCATED NEAR LATITUDE 28.4 NORTH...LONGITUDE 88.5 WEST OR ABOUT 60
MILES... 95 KM...SOUTHEAST OF THE MOUTH OF THE MISSISSIPPI RIVER AND
ABOUT 165 MILES...265 KM...SOUTH-SOUTHWEST OF PENSACOLA FLORIDA.

IDA IS MOVING TOWARD THE NORTH NEAR 18 MPH...30 KM/HR. A REDUCTION
IN FORWARD SPEED IS EXPECTED OVERNIGHT. ON THE FORECAST TRACK...
THE CENTER OF IDA SHOULD REACH THE NORTHERN GULF COAST TONIGHT.
AFTER LANDFALL...IDA IS EXPECTED TO TURN EASTWARD ON TUESDAY.

MAXIMUM SUSTAINED WINDS ARE NEAR 70 MPH...110 KM/HR...WITH HIGHER
GUSTS. WEAKENING IS EXPECTED THIS EVENING AS IDA MOVES OVER COOLER
WATERS PRIOR TO MAKING LANDFALL...AND IS EXPECTED TO MERGE WITH A
FRONTAL ZONE ON WEDNESDAY.

TROPICAL STORM FORCE WINDS EXTEND OUTWARD UP TO 200 MILES...325 KM
FROM THE CENTER.

THE LATEST MINIMUM CENTRAL PRESSURE REPORTED BY AN AIR FORCE RESERVE
HURRICANE HUNTER AIRCRAFT WAS 991 MB...29.26 INCHES.

RAINS FROM IDA ARE ALREADY MOVING ACROSS THE COAST WITHIN THE
WARNING AREA. TOTAL STORM ACCUMULATIONS OF 3 TO 6 INCHES...WITH
ISOLATED MAXIMUM STORM TOTALS OF 8 INCHES...ARE POSSIBLE THROUGH
WEDNESDAY EVENING FROM THE CENTRAL AND EASTERN GULF COAST ACROSS THE
SOUTHEASTERN UNITED STATES INTO THE SOUTHERN MID-ATLANTIC STATES.

A DANGEROUS STORM TIDE WILL RAISE WATER LEVELS BY AS MUCH AS
3 TO 5 FEET ABOVE GROUND LEVEL ALONG THE COAST NEAR AND TO THE
EAST OF WHERE THE CENTER MAKES LANDFALL...AS WELL AS IN AREAS OF
ONSHORE FLOW IN SOUTHEASTERN LOUISIANA. NEAR THE COAST...THE SURGE
WILL BE ACCOMPANIED BY LARGE AND DESTRUCTIVE WAVES.

...SUMMARY OF 300 PM CST INFORMATION...
LOCATION...28.4N 88.5W
MAXIMUM SUSTAINED WINDS...70 MPH
PRESENT MOVEMENT...NORTH OR 355 DEGREES AT 18 MPH
MINIMUM CENTRAL PRESSURE...991 MB

AN INTERMEDIATE ADVISORY WILL BE ISSUED BY THE NATIONAL HURRICANE
CENTER AT 600 PM CST FOLLOWED BY THE NEXT COMPLETE ADVISORY AT 900
PM CST.

$$
FORECASTER FRANKLIN

Friday, November 6, 2009

Read the bill

Worn out-- Aggie-- is the moderator of this site. Although she gave me as much access to the site as she has, in my mind, she's *the* site administrator, and I follow her rules. As the former moderator of Ohio Preppers Network, I tried to keep politics out of that site, except to post information about legislative issues that might affect the interests of preppers. So no political rants, just links to info that people could evaluate. Aggie does the same. I hope I am not breaking the rules with this post.

Here's a link: Open Congress.

And here's my opinion. I can take care of my own health, thank you very much. (Pardon me while I light up to support local tobacco growers.)

The vote on HR 3200 (socialized health care) or one of its incarnations is coming soon. The link will direct you contact info for your Rep.

There was a discussion a couple of months ago on whether or not prepping = activism. I voted yes. What we do as peppers is not done in a politically void context. Don't get me started on Monsanto.

Prepping for winter, & other things

So I thought I'd spend a few minutes wandering around seeing what my new neighbors are up to. Here's what I've learned.

Prepared in Tennessee (what is it about all of these double-vowel/consonants state names that make me want to hum songs?) has a nice post about preparing for winter, and evaluating where you stand. Lots of good info.

Over in Louisiana, Rhino is experiencing what I'm going to call the mature Preppers' ultimate what-if: what if your grown kid comes back? There's been a lot of discussion on the APN forum about this hypothetical situation. Rhino's post makes it real.

In Alabama, one of the subjects is cheap, fold-up tow-able cabins.

Folded, it is a mere 7 feet wide by 21 feet long, so it can be towed anywhere without special permits, by any pickup truck or SUV. But upon arrival at the desired location, it folds out to a spacious 15 by 21 feet. A couple of people can set it up in a very short time. And once set up, it looks like a cabin, not a trailer. Sounds good? Wait 'til you hear the price: this little wonder can be built in a typical suburban backyard, for about $3000! And that's if you use all new materials. Anything you can scrounge or buy used will reduce the price accordingly. It it not out of the question that it could be built for under 500 bucks.
And here in northeast Mississippi, life goes on unpacking boxes. Remember to reply to Aggie's post about meeting up. Doesn't have to be anything "official"-- just some neighbors getting to know one another.


the long and happy life

I have a penchant for old books. I think we can learn much from them-- much beyond the specific topic matter. Case in point, this quote from "Appendix I: Health in the United States," in Geography: Commercial and Industrial (Jacques W. Redway, 1923).

In the ten years ending 1920 the expectation of life-- particularly its average duration-- has increased from 50.23 years to 53.98 years for males, and from 53.62 years to 56.33 years for females. Every view of mortality statistics shows that the simple life with its necessary activities and temperate pleasures is the long and happy life. [My emphasis]
"... the simple life with its necessary activities and temperate pleasures is the long and happy life."

What a lovely thought. Think of some prepping activities-- planting a garden, kneading bread, stacking firewood. These are hard work. In 1923 they weren't prepping activities, they were necessary activities. Think of some pleasures of prepping-- a fresh salad with a slice of buttered bread savored in front of a cozy fire. In 1923 these weren't prepping pleasures, they were temperate pleasures. They were the pay off for a hard day's work. They still are. And now, as then, they contribute to a long and happy life.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Logo

Back to prepping posts shortly. In the meantime, to go along with Aggie's new logo... . We hummed this through the dog days of moving.

I think I see a wagon rutted road
With the weeds growing tall between the tracks
And along one side runs a rusty barbed wire fence
And beyond that sits an old tar paper shack

Mississippi you're on my mind
Mississippi you're on my mind
Oh, Mississippi you're on my mind

I think I hear a noisy old John Deere
In a field specked with dirty cotton lint
And below the field runs a shady little creek
And there you'll find the cool green leaves of mint

Mississippi you're on my mind
Mississippi you're on my mind
Oh, Mississippi you're on my mind

I think I smell the honeysuckle vine
The heavy sweetness like to make me sick
And the dogs, my God, they're hungry all the time
And the snakes are sleeping where the weeds are thick

Mississippi you're on my mind
Mississippi you're on my mind
Oh, Mississippi you're on my mind

I think I feel an angry oven heat
The Southern Sun just blazes in the sky
In the dusty weeds a fat grasshopper jumps
I want to make it to that creek before I fry

Mississippi you're on my mind
Mississippi you're on my mind
Oh, Mississippi you're on my mind



Sunday, November 1, 2009

Calling all Mississippi Preppers and the Garden is IN



I was wondering if y'all would be interested in meeting up with, by email with other preppers in or about your area. We are a little scattered throughout the state and it would not have to be done publicly on the prepper blog. You can email me your town and I could try to put you in touch with a nearby prepper. This will be through email only and you can decide if you want to meet in person or not. This will only work if you check in with your location and you can do that by dropping me a line at aggie8899@yahoo.com. The only thing that would be exchanged is email not your actual location. I've been getting emails and comments asking about other preppers in the state so I'm offering. I am hoping to eventually have enough interest for a Mississippi Prepper meet up in the future. Again strictly up to you all.

On another note, the fall garden is in. I wanted to plant two beds but I feel lucky I have one in. Next spring we might be getting another large garden to work in on a neighbors lot. That will be nice because it already has a water line put in. We have broccoli, kale, cabbage and lettuce in and I have chives in the windowsill. If I see some promising plants along the way this week I might stick some more in.

I would also like to thank Marica for coming on board and posting so quick when she has enough to do after her move.
Mississippi Preppers Network Est. Jan 17, 2009 All contributed articles owned and protected by their respective authors and protected by their copyright. Mississippi Preppers Network is a trademark protected by American Preppers Network Inc. All rights reserved. No content or articles may be reproduced without explicit written permission.