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Thursday, January 28, 2010

Security Measures

Sorry I've been gone a bit. I've been very busy. As most of you know the economy is improving, yet we have 1,500 men, women, and children homeless in Toledo and Walmart/Sam's club is laying off 11,500 employees. That is some improvement! I hope you are at the very least putting back some food and water, because their seems to be some conflicting data out there on the improving economy.

With the economy deteriorating and crime and break-ins on the increase it would be wise to make security a part of your preps. This is an area we still need to work on and will be completing this in the spring. The biggest thing we will be doing is getting the supplies needed to put up a solar powered cattle fence around our property. We will be securing one acre of our property in this way. If the economy severely deteriorates and social unrest ensues, we will be putting this fence up around the perimeter we want secured. Grass will be overgrown around the fencing (except where the fence is) and hopefully will become a booby trap. Or at the very least make some intruder think twice about moving forward onto our property. We have also thought about putting traps around that area in addition to the fence. These are all things we are mulling over and must say it is depressing to think in this matter, but feel it must be done. If anyone has pros and cons or have installed these yourself, please leave suggestions.

There are many posts out there on securing your property and here's a few to get you started. NM URBAN HOMESTEADER has a post on Urban Suburban Rural Security Landscaping and Lighting-Part 1 and Kentucky Preppers did a post on securing Entry Doors. Last but not least Dan over at The Urban Prepper is doing a series on securing your property.

God Bless,
Shelly

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

"Is George Voinovich going to screw the GOP on health care?"

"Is George Voinovich going to screw the GOP YOU on health care?"


Just popping in to relay something I stumbled across this morning. 
Yeah, yeah. Nothing political here, so look at it this way: whatever YOUR views on health care are, Voinovich represents YOU in the US Senate. He needs to know what YOU think. I don't care if he's retiring, he's still YOUR representative. Call him.


From Michelle Malkin




Sorry, I couldn’t word it any more politely than that. But the very prospect of GOP Sen. George Voinovich of Ohio bailing on his party to cast a swan song 60th vote for the government health care takeover bill makes me want to spit nails. Voinovich is meeting with President Obama at 11:30am Eastern today in the Oval Office.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Rant and Recipe

Well I spent most of last week watching doom and gloom on the History Channel. I've always known that the History Channel portrays specials about 2012 and the Mayan calendar, Nostradamus, and the world coming to an end. But, what really intrigued me last week, was all the shows on survival. It made me think, is someone trying to tell us something? Is there a reason this was on television. The one interesting show I thought was "After Armageddon." It was about life after a major pandemic. The show was researched thoroughly and gave examples on how human behavior will change during an TEOTWAWKI. People will get very ugly folks. The will to survive will turn the nicest people into animals. Your spouse and children will turn to you in panic looking for answers. Will you know what to do? The one thing I learned from the show is all the high tech survival gear is not going to save you. It will be your will to live. I also learned that the most important things to have is guns and ammo, water and food. In that particular order. All the supplies in the world will not help you, if you cannot defend yourself, family and home. Water is the next immediate need because after 3 or 4 days you will have succumbed to dehydration and your food will not matter. Food is a major need, but you will have 30 days until starvation sets in. I hope all of you have at least one firearm and know how to use it and food and water for at least 30 days. Do not wait till the last minute to get these items. You and everyone else will be thinking this at the last minute and you may not make it home, due to crazy people waiting in the parking lot for you to take your stuff and/or your life. I'm on a bit of a rant here and I apologize. I do want to give you an old pioneering recipe called Hardtack.

Hardtack is a very simple type of bread or cracker. Pioneers and sailors had and used this type of bread because it had a long shelf life and cooking on the trails was difficult. Hardtack if stored properly, will last indefinitely. I also think this would be great to put into a BOB.


3 cups flour
1 cup water
2 tsp salt


1. Preheat oven to 375

2. Mix flour, water, and salt together in a bowl

3. Knead the dough and roll it out into a rectangular shape about 1/2 inch thick

4. Cut dough into 2 or 3 even squares. Poke holes 2 or 3 across and down each square

5. Bake in preheated oven, 30 minutes each side

6. Take out of oven when each side is a light golden brown.

7. Let Hardtack cool completely.


Hopefully, your cracker will be very hard when cooled. You will need to store your crackers properly to ensure no bugs can get into them. Make sure cracker is completely cooled before storing so they don't get moldy. Vacuum sealing them is ideal. If you do not have a vacuum sealer, wrap them well in plastic wrap and put into a Ziploc bag for future use. This will be better than nothing.

How to eat Hardtack

Hardtack can be dipped in coffee or any beverage you have on hand to soften. You can also put in soups to thicken and of course to make your belly fuller.


God Bless,

Shelly

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

1st garden: Part 1 Planning


Shelly asked me to pop in and do some posting on gardening. Twist my arm, Shelly! I've written so much at various places that most of what I'll post will be links. But do comment, email, etc. if you have questions.

Where to begin? Let's assume you have a garden site in mind, and it get 6-8 hours of direct sunlight spring through summer. Not sure if it does? Note what's going on at your potential site now-- in January-- and refer to this site to get an idea of how much longer the days will be in June (Ohio ranges from 39* to 41*N).

Experience and mistakes have taught me that there are two critical components to having success: soil quality and a realistic plan. Not much you can do about your soil when it's buried under 17' of snow, so we'll start with the plan. First, assess what fruits, herbs, and veggies your family really does eat. Make a list-- it can be general at this point. Then go to a seed catalog and do some window shopping. (Some of my favorites-- specializing in rare & heirloom seeds-- are here, but here are my thoughts on good, better, best seed sources.) Add to your list items that you would love to try. Caution! If this is your first garden please do be realistic. I'm not trying to rain on your parade but one of the biggest mistakes new gardeners make is buying 157 different seed packets, planting each and every seed, and then being completely overwhelmed come late June and giving up. IMHO far better to start slow & be wildly successful than to bit off more than you can chew (literally & figuratively). If you've been successful in the past, but want to take your garden to the next level, my advise is to throw caution to the wind! :-)

Examine your list. Can you actually grow what's on your list? In Ohio, and in principle, the answer is yes.



The USDA Hardiness Zone Map divides North America into 11 separate zones; each zone is 10°F warmer (or colder) in an average winter than the adjacent zone. If you see a hardiness zone in a catalog or plant description, chances are it refers to the USDA map.

Most of Ohio is between zone 5a and 6b. If you want to double check a veggie's hardiness in your area, refer again to the seed catalogs.

Now the fun really begins. Grab your list, open up those seeds catalogs and pick and choose the specific varieties you want. If your garden site is relatively small you can look for varieties labled "dwarf" or "perfect for containers." If you don't do well with acidic tomatoes, look for less acidic varieties. This can be an all-day project.

CAUTION! Do NOT buy seeds yet. You want to make sure that your space matches up with your crops, so there are two things you need to do/learn. First, item by item you need to know when and where to plant the seeds, and how long it will be between planting and harvest. Do this so you can manage your space and your harvests. More below. Second, you want to know what the recommended spacing is, i.e., how far apart to plant the seeds, which gives you an indication of how large the mature plant will be. Do this so that you can plan your garden out on paper.

One the first point, some seeds are started indoors before your last frost date, others are planted directly in the ground before or after your last frost date. Cabbage, for example, can be started indoors 8 weeks before your last frost date, transplanted outside 3 weeks before last frost, and (at least in southern Ohio) will be harvested about 65-70 days after planting. Sources differ somewhat on last frost dates, but let's say yours is 4/15. This means you'd be harvesting in early May. Your cabbage row will be empty come mid-May, just in time to plant some beans. There's a very useful planting schedule in pdf form at the bottom of this page. I find the easiest way to keep track of all this is by using a spreadsheet, others like the calendar approach.



(Click on it to see the whole thing.)

There may be more information here than you feel you need, but it can all come in handy when planning next year's garden.

Now that you have that information compiled, lay out your garden on paper-- to scale. Use the spacing recommendations from the seed catalogs. (Experienced gardeners know that a lot of spacing recommendations are poppycock, but they're at least a place to start.) Don't forget to leave room for paths! The picture above is for a raised bed garden I designed for a new gardener. You can read more about this aspect of planning the garden here. One thing I always encourage people to do is companion gardening-- putting herbs & veggies that benefit eachother (by deterring pests, etc.) close together. More information and some charts here and here.

You may need two scale plans if you plan to have cool season crops (those that are planted and harvested early) and warm season crops, but the main point is to be sure your list of 137 vegetables actually fits into your garden!

One final caution. For an inexperienced gardener there's really no good informaiton out there on how much to expect to harvest from each individual plant. This is the reason every new gardener has too damned many cucumbers! Folks will say it's because there are just so many factors that come into play. Fair enough, that's why I always advise people to keep their own records. Here's the summary of what I harvested from my first really really big garden. I blew it on some things, but at least I had records and knew better next year not to plant the entire packet of cucumber seeds! Really, who needs 23 pounds of cukes?


(Click to see it all.)

Hope this helps get you all started.

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Friday, January 1, 2010

HAPPY NEW YEAR

For many of us the new year represents new starts, goals and reflection. I have many goals for the coming year and hope you have set some too. The goals I have set are stockpiling more food, mainly dry goods, getting my survival book together, losing some weight and getting in better physical shape, organizing my entire home including all outbuildings, amongst other things.

You may think, yea right, I wonder how many will get accomplished. I will tell you now, they all will, and we will walk through some of it together. You can hold me accountable as I will you if you like. This keeps us on our toes. The reason I am going into this year head first is because the blogs and news reports I have been reading do not sound good. I have this awful feeling in my gut that life may change this year for all of us. I tend to stay optimistic, but optimism is fading. If you are reading this blog and not doing anything, you need to start acting NOW. Time is running out. For many of us Ohioans, work is slow, or you may be unemployed. I am going to do my best to bring you as many deals and tips that I run across to help you become more self sufficient and be more frugally minded.

On that note, when I checked my emails this morning, I was ecstatic to find an email from a blog I subscribe to called Survivalist Blog. There it was, a start to my preparedness book for all to use and enjoy, and pass along. The title of it is "It's The End Of The World As We Know It E-Book. This is a great start to a survivalist book, and in my opinion, put together beautifully.
If you don't have a survivalist handbook started, this is a great beginning. This is in PDF format and can be printed and put into a binder. Thanks MD Creekmore. This was gracious and thoughtful of you.

Also on the left hand side of this blog, is a link to a prepper e-book from the preppers networks. Take advantage of all the knowledge from fellow preppers and get this stuff printed out. If you cannot afford ink and paper, go to the library. Copies are cheap. I believe it's 10 cents a copy. This information is vital to your survival if things continue to deteriorate.

God Bless,

Shelly

A New Year

Just popping in to wish all y'all a Happy New Year.

Thank you once again, Shelly, for all you are doing for OHPN.

If you are new to "prepping" here's a tip: Now is the time to plan your veggie garden. Sure, still a few weeks-- o.k. months-- to go before you can get things in the ground, but now is the time to plan & buy seed.
Ohio Preppers Network Est. Jan 17, 2009 All contributed articles owned and protected by their respective authors and protected by their copyright. Ohio 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.