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Sunday, January 30, 2011

WINTER STORM WARNINGS

I hope this post finds all you warm and doing well. As most of you may know, many areas in the midwest are expected to get the granddaddy of all snowstorms in recent memory. Northwest Ohio is supposed to get anywhere from 10-18 inches of snow or this could possibly turn into an ice storm. It is forecasted to be a dangerous storm that could cause deaths, if this turns out to be an ice event due to power outages and property damage.

Do you have an alternate heat source or can you hunker down with family that has a wood stove or fireplace? If you do have wood heat is the wood covered and do you have easy access to the wood. Ice will freeze the wood together and make it difficult to gather your wood and bring it in. Better yet, do you have a porch to store wood if you need it. Kerosene heater and extra kerosene. Both work together, so make sure the heater is working and the cans are filled. Make sure you know where the heavy blankets are should you need them. I know who wouldn't know where the heavier blankets are, but you never know.

Are the flashlights working and accessible with extra batteries? If the power goes out, it would be a good time to try the oil lamps if you have them. Are the candles out and ready? Do you have a working radio to listen for directions or updates on current conditions? Cell phones anyone! Are they charged?

Kids will get bored quickly if the electricity goes out. Are the games and playing cards handy and accessible. If the weather is as bad as predicted, we may be in for a couple days and this could be a great time to play those games we've been putting off due to busy schedules. Before the storm would be a great time to charge those gameboys if your kids have them.

Cooking! Do you have a way to heat simple foods if you have all electric power. I'm not sure if gas stoves can run without electricity, but make sure you have a simple means to heat food, unless you like to eat cold soup or raviolis.

As preppers, I would like to think we could make it a lot longer than three days without going to the grocery store, but how are you fixed on water. This is an area I have slacked on due to having well water. So for long term storage I try to remember to take a couple of containers to town when I go, but not as often as I should. So check the water as I think this is the one area alot of people take for granted. If the power goes out, so goes the water, unless your fortunate enough to have a manual well. Most of us are not that primitive anymore and have modern updates.

Check on older relatives and see if they want to ride out the storm with you. If not, see if they need anything should this storm turn out to be a doozy.

Do you have animals? Make sure they have enough bedding, food and water so they will not die. Do you have outdoor dogs? Bring them in and put them on an enclosed porch if you have one to keep them out of the elements.

Folks, prepping isn't just about a SHTF scenario, it is about being ready for the unexpected. To give you peace of mind and not have to worry about beating the crowds to the store just to find the store out of supplies. This is what it's all about. If I head to the store before the storm, it will be to pick up some sale items, IF I WANT TO, NOT BECAUSE I HAVE TO.

Be safe, stay warm and think spring,

Shelly



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Friday, January 21, 2011

What Would YOU Say?

A couple times a week, I get emails from readers and I absolutely love it.  It's like getting a late Christmas present or an unexpected package in the mail.  Fun fun.  On Sunday, I got an email from a lovely lady in a neighboring county asking for information on preparedness; how to get started, specifically, and for a while I wasn't sure what to say. 

Preparedness is such a fluid topic, subject to change at a moment's notice depending on where you live and how you live and what you hope to accomplish in life.  Unlike FEMA's one-size-fits-all-3-day-food-supply public service announcement, true preparedness is case-specific and no two person's approaches will be the same.  We're both limited by and supported by our climate, our community, our livelihood, our budgets and what suits me probably wouldn't be a good fit for the California survivalist.

After a few minutes of consideration, I answered this particular email with the suggestion that learning practical skills like gardening and food preservation is a good place to start. I also suggested stocking up on shelf-stable commodities like wheat, pasta, rice, sugar and finding local resources for basic items like eggs, milk and meat.  But those are MY priorities.  My main concern at the moment is the future of our food supply with regard to QE, inflation, poor harvests and supply problems.  Not everyone has those same priorities.

If you received an email from a neighbor asking where to start on the journey to preparedness, what would you say?

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Friday, January 14, 2011

Rual King Sale

Here is a special emailed to me from Getting Started
 
Do You Live in IL, IN, KY, MI, MO, OH, or TN


.. then I have a deal for you.

Rural King has a sell on 5-gallon buckets. These buckets are the thicker .90 mil buckets, they are thicker and stronger then .75 mil buckets. The cost ...

$1.99

Now, I don't know if these are food-grade buckets, so caveat emptor.

Now, the bad news.

The sale ends Sunday; the buckets have a painted Rural King logo; and the $1.49 lids are flimsy.

Let me say this again.

The on sale lids are flimsy. If you plan to stack the buckets, you will need to buy a .75 or .90 mil lid.

Link:
Rural King - Store Locator

Rural King - Weekly Ad

P.S.
Just so you know, I just paid over six bucks for some buckets and two bucks for some lids from my local supplier.

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Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Incorporating: Grains Part 2

To continue with our series on incorporating various foods into both our stores and our everyday diets, corn is the obvious choice.

Why?

Corn is extremely versatile, stores well, appeals to most palates and is nutritious.  Not to mention the fact that Ohio is one of America's prime corn producers and chances are good that there are acres upon acres of corn grown in fields near you.  It's always good to know how to store and use locally produced foods, right?  Corn has been a staple food for Americans (both South and Native) for countless hundreds of years due to it's ease of preparation and  nutritional value.  Corn is chock full of fiber, calcium and folate, while low in sugar and fat.   It's also a very dense source of calories and carbohydrates which is extremely important in a survival situation.

Most corn available for storage purposes will fall into the dent or field corn category.  It's simply mature corn that has dried on the stalk and has hundreds of uses, from commercial cooking oil and ethanol to animal feed and corn meal.  It can be had for under a dollar a pound from sources like Honeyvill Grains, or if you're lucky, you may be able to find it locally at feed stores.  Just be careful what you buy if you go the feed store route; corn intended for animal feed is often treated with chemicals such as chlorine and fungicides to prevent mold and fungus. 

Dent corn can be used in so many different ways...parched into a simple, portable snack, ground for corn meal or cooked whole.  One thing I must mention though is that if we move from a diet of mainly wheat to a diet of mainly corn, it's will be difficult for our bodies to absorb the minerals and vitamins from the corn which can lead to all sorts of health issues.  In order to more readily absorb the nutrients, corn must undergo a process called nixtmalization; here's a link for you to describe the process of cooking corn in alkali water.  In the event that we need to heavily rely on corn as a staple food, nixtmalization will be a crucial skill to ensure good health and good eats. 

So what the heck do you do with this nixtmalized corn?  Cook it whole as hominy with some butter and spices.  Yum-o.  Or grind to make corn bread, hush puppies, rustic pancakes or breading for meats.  Mixed with salt and a little water, fresh ground cornmeal also makes delicious corn tortillas and chips.  Or cook it slow with water and salt to make a thick delicious cornmeal mush.  I know you're cringing right now, but homemade is really pretty good, especially topped with butter and honey.  You can also cool mush, slice it and fry it up to serve as polenta with some tomato sauce, fresh herbs and parmesan cheese.  My kids love polenta as a main course from time to time.  Here are some great recipes to try if you're so inclined.

Other options for your food storage are dried sweet corn and popcorn.  While dried sweet corn can be expensive to buy commercially, it can be made (and grown!) at home for pennies.  Dried sweet corn retains much of it's fresh, sweet flavor and is actually rather crisp, much like fresh corn.  Once it's rehydrated it can be cooked into soups and stews or mashed up a bit to act as a thickener and stretcher in casseroles.

Popcorn is another important option for your stores.  While it's inexpensive to purchase, it can also be grown easily enough in the backyard and harvested to really stretch your prepping dollar.  Don't relegate corn to just a snack food!  Popcorn is so good for you and versatile as well.  Pilgrims ate popped corn for breakfast with cream and sugar much like any other grain.  And did you know that ground popcorn makes the most delicious cornbread ever?  Oh it's true, my friend!  Pop-cornbread is light and fluffy and may be more appealing to people who have texture issues with traditional cornbread.  In addition, popcorn is a healthy, easily stored, easily prepared comfort food that pretty much everyone enjoys.  While we store a variety of popcorn, our favorite is the white hulless Amish varieties that can be found in stores everywhere.

So there's a quick overview of what's available in the corn department and what you can do with it.  I'd love to hear how the rest of you in Corn Country plan to make use of one of Ohio's best resources!

Next up: Oats and Barley

Andrea


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Monday, January 3, 2011

Deals for Week of January 2

Time for another addition of deals that relate to prepping. I haven't noticed too may deals lately, but noticed Meijer's had some great deals on produce and a few canned goods. They are having their 10 for 10 sale with the 11th item free. This is a mix and match event. Below are some of the highlights I noticed this week.


5# white tators 1.00
3# carrots 1.00
mushrooms 1.00
3# yellow onions 1.00
meijer brand crackers 1.00
Hunts Sketti sauce 1.00
Campbells Sketti O's .50 coupon for .40/3 in 12/12 SS insert and 1.00/6 mm coupon makes these only 7 cents this week. Super Duper stock up price. Meijer only lets you double 2 like coupons so I usually go to self checkout and do multiple transactions so I don't have to make another trip to the store.

If you like to dehydrate foods and did not put in a garden over the summer and concerned about rising prices this would be a good deal to cash in on. I cannot recall in recent months ever seeing 3# of carrots or onions for 1.00.

In the next day or two I will do a brief post on how to dehydrate some of these deals.

Blessings,
Shelly

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Saturday, January 1, 2011

Happy New Year

Just a quick post to wish all you Ohioans a Happy and Prosperous New Year. New Years is a great time of reflection and a time to plan out the next year.

This is a great time to plan out your gardens, organize your homes, clean out those closets, go through your food storage and figure out what you need, research on line and print out information you may need if the internet gets shut down, and order those seeds. These are great projects to do when the weather is frigid and cold.

If you will be new to gardening, now is a good time to decide where that garden will be, what you plan on growing, what type of seeds (heirloom or store bought) or if you will buy your starts at your local greenhouse or nursery.

Organizing is a great way to declutter your closets, etc... to make space for more preps-hehe or find or take inventory of what you have. This not only will save you money by not buying duplicates, you will know where your stuff is at, if it is needed in a hurry. While your at it, you could throw unwanted items in a bin to sell in the spring or give away to charity.

This is a great time of year to go through your short and long food storage. Did you skimp on shopping for your short term preps to free up money for the holidays? Or did you buy some longer term staples such as flour that needs to be repackaged for long term sustainability (3-5 year). Winter time is a good time to take care of these things.

The cheapest and in my opinion one of the best ways to prep is learning an old skill of yesteryear. Are you new to gardening and want to learn the art of canning and dehydrating your goods? Always wanted to know how to build a solar oven. Now is the time when the sky is gloomy and the air frigid to get the info you need to put these skills to use come spring and summer.

The month of January I will be going through some basics of food storage and what to store for short and long term and how to store it. As some of you know we are a home schooling family and wanna be homesteaders, so time is always short for us, but this info has been requested by some of you within the past couple of months. I apologize for the delay and will get this info out to you this month.

Best wishes for a great 2011,
Shelly

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