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Friday, April 16, 2010

KIDS CAN PREP AND HAVE FUN TOO

Whether you are seasoned or just starting out on the preparedness journey, most novice homesteaders and preppers will tell you in time it eventually becomes a lifestyle. Many of us today did not grow up on farms and have relied on bloggers that have become homesteaders and family members that grew up during the depression to give us tips and info on how to live more frugally and how they survived the hardships of the 1920's and 1930's. The respect and admiration I have of that generation is endless. It is unbelievable how they overcame the obstacles of poverty, what they did to get through it, and the family bonds that happened as a result of hard times. In a lot of ways, I believe this generation of folks were the poorest but ultimately were the happiest. The last 50-60 years have brought about prosperity and wealth that no other country could ever dream to duplicate. Unfortunately, prosperity and wealth have left modern generations no skills to truly survive hard times. The generations surviving today, now depend on grocery stores to replenish their food, schools to raise their children and families are now are so distanced, that familial bonds are not as strong as they used to be. It is no big deal if you have not talked to Auntie Em in six months because you can get the low down on what's happening from parents or someone who keeps in touch and use the excuse I've just been busy. There is no time for one another and times prior to this, we could count on our immediate families, aunts, uncles, and even cousins for support and friendship and you were loved even if you did not have the same beliefs as others in your family. Now this brings us to the reason for this post. How do we get back family values, self sufficiency, and the values and hard work ethic of "The Greatest Generation that many of us admire?"

We start with ourselves and most of all, our children and grandchildren. If we teach our children the lost art of self-sufficiency, ethical behavior, and love of family near and far, there will be hope for the future. You may be wondering how to do that, when you do not have the skills yourself.

Do not despair, you do have the skills and resources. Here are some suggestions to help you teach your children/grandchildren how to become more self sufficient.

* Many people may disagree with this, but do your kids get allowance for their everyday chores around the house? We do not give our children allowance for doing everyday chores because the work of the home is everyone's job equally. We all must pull our weight. We do offer paid jobs above and beyond everyday chores. They can put this money toward something they want. (Our youngest son blows his on bubble gum and candy, but it's his to blow) Do not give an advance on a job not done. Children need to learn to save for a rainy day and if we give them an advance on money not yet earned, we teach them to be borrowers. I believe it's important to teach my children to be earners and givers.

* Do your children know who your long lost Auntie Em is? Tell them about that long lost relative and help your child write and send a letter. Not an email! What a pleasant surprise to Auntie Em when she checks her mail, reads her letter and realizes she's been thought of all these years. Your child/grandchild will now form a relationship with a long lost relative and possibly get to know more extended family. Encourage your child not to keep score. What I mean by that is Auntie Em or the long lost cousin may not respond timely, and your child may have sent the second letter before he/she gets one. I believe this teaches patience and the value of not giving up on one another. Pick one family member per month and sit down and help your child/grandchild write that letter and before you know it, you will have started a family tradition. This will be something you and your child will look forward to and what child (or adult for that matter) does not like to receive mail. This will teach writing skills and will not be as impersonal as an email.

* Most of us have access to Boy and Girl Scout troops. Girl Scouts have a long tradition of teaching young girls moral character, conduct, patriotism, and service to others so they can grow into useful citizens. Girls can join as early as age five and in kindergarten. They start out as daisy's. They can continue their scouting career into high school. Badges are earned for learning new skills. Badges earned can be anything from cooking, sewing, and service projects.
Boy/Cub Scouting is for boys starting in first grade through high school, with the highest rank being the Eagle Scout. The Boy Scout motto is Be Prepared. Boys also earn badges based on learning new skills, service projects, etc... To join your local boy or girl scout troop, contact your child's school or local Boy or Girl Scout council, found in your phone book.

* Another fun way to teach self sufficiency and the preparedness lifestyle to children is through 4-H. The mission of the Ohio 4-H youth Development program is to enable youth to reach their fullest potential as capable, competent, caring, and contributing citizens. The 4-H motto is "To Make the Best Better." You do not have to be living on a farm in the middle of nowhere to join 4-H. There are many activities and projects children can do, not just livestock. In 4-H children can work on flower and gardening skills, raising a bunny, domestic pets such as dogs and cats, creative writing and many other activities. Children living in the city will have plenty of opportunities to make friends that live on farms and learn about farming and livestock all while having a great time. They will be able to showcase their projects at the county fair for all to see. To find a 4-H club near you, look up your counties extension in your local phone book and start attending the meetings and activities with your children. This website will tell you more about joining and to find a club near you.

God Bless,

Shelly

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

BENEFITS OF DEHYDRATING FOOD

Well here we are already into April and spring is into full swing. Temperatures in Northern Ohio have been above average, almost psyching us out thinking it is summer. We have already had 4 days above 80 degrees. Wondering if this year is gonna be a hot one considering the average temperature for this time of year is 55 degrees. Hopefully you have your seeds started and they are growing beautifully. This year will be my first year growing with heirloom seeds and growing some root vegetables. Potatoes will be my biggest learning experience and hopefully they work out. I will keep you posted.

In my opinion, the best part of gardening is watching your plants turn into delicious food. There is nothing like the smell and taste of a fresh onion and green pepper and we cannot forget the taste of home grown tomatoes. I personally like cherry tomatoes right off the plant. There is a sweetness in them that no store can produce.

What will you do with all that produce your harvesting? Since I became a gardener, I have froze and canned many of my vegetables, but this year will venture into dehydrating. I became confident with this, when I dehydrated bananas, and they actually turned out decent. Dehydrating food as a storage option has many benefits. Some of the benefits of dehydrating include:

* longer shelf life of up to 20 years if properly stored.

* dehydrating will save valuable shelf space.

* dehydrating is safer and less time consuming than home canning.

* if freezing your garden bounty, no need to worry if power is out for any length of time.

Home dehydrators can be purchased almost anywhere small appliances are sold. My husband purchased mine at Walmart. It is one of the cheaper models, but nonetheless works great. If dehydrating is something you will just dabble with, do not go out and buy an expensive model. Dehydrators cans run into the hundreds of dollars. I am not sure of the price we have here at home, but believe it was around 40-50 dollars and is good enough for beginners. Here is a recipe for making banana chips to get you started.

Dehydrating Bananas

bananas
lemon juice
cinnamon

Thinly slice bananas and place into small bowl of lemon juice to prevent browning. (lemon juice will not effect taste) Remove from lemon juice and place bananas on dehydrator racks without touching one another so air can circulate through the machine and sprinkle with cinnamon. Turn on your dehydrator and let the machine do the work. (some machines have temperature gauges and basic recipes, so read your manual) My dehydrator does not have a temperature gauge so I just turn it on and let it go for about 24 hours. The bananas are done when you pull one off your tray and it is pliable. Store in air tight container or vacuum seal for longer storage.

If you do not want to or cannot obtain a dehydrator you can follow the directions above and place bananas on a cookie sheet and place in your oven on 250 degrees for 12-18 hours.

NOTE: Bananas will not be crunchy as when you buy them at the store. Store bought banana chips are deep fried before they go through the dehydrating process which is why they are not healthy. The next time you are at the store, look at the fat content on the packages.

Since bananas are not grown in this region, look for sales and check Aldis. I feel a good price for bananas is around 39 cents a pound. Sometimes you can get lucky and find them cheaper.

Enjoy and God Bless,
Shelly
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.