If you've landed on this blog by mistake, please follow this link:


Please update your bookmarks and the links on your sites.

Join our forum at:

Monday, November 30, 2009

Use and Re-Use - Mason Jars

I think most of us have heard of mason jars. They are mainly used for canning to preserve food.

Here are a few uses for empty jars sitting on the shelf waiting to be used for next years harvest:

* My favorite, Store emergency water, you can never have too much emergency water.

* Use them for leftovers.

* Use as drinking glasses. We have been doing this for years. I think most of my friends think that we can’t afford drinking glasses.

* Useful when making homemade sour cream. (Recipe on our Chuckwagon Chow Page )

* Useful when making homemade butter.

* ½ pint wide jars can be used to start your vegetable seeds indoors then transplant your plants into the garden after the last frost.

* They make a great country vase for fresh cut flowers out of the garden.

* We store dried goods in them as well, dried herbs, dried onions, dried leaks, and dried tomatoes to name a few.

* In regards to the mason jar lids, don’t throw them away after only one use. You can use them more 2 or 3 times while canning and they will seal just fine. The seals and rings should last for years to come when storing water or dry goods in.

Use and Re-Use - Plastic Milk, Water, Juice Bottles

How many plastic jugs and bottles do you throw away every year? I didn’t know the answer to this question either. Until I started re-using them. Now I can answer, almost none.

Here are some re-use ideas for all this plastic:

* My favorite again, Storing Emergency Water. After you have consumed what was in your plastic jug or bottle simply wash, rinse with hot water and fill with water. You never know when the extra water will be needed.

* Re-use your personal size plastic water bottles. Don’t keep buying more. How long do you think a plastic bottle will last? I have read that they last a pretty long time in the landfills.

* Carefully cut plastic milk jugs, plastic water bottles, juice bottles in half to start your seeds indoors for transplanting the seedlings in the garden after the first frost.

* Use the tops you cut off of gallon milk jugs as a portable greenhouse for your delicate seedlings after transplanting into the garden. Just to keep them warm at night until they have established themselves.

* Freeze water in smaller plastic bottles to use in your ice chest. Do not drink the water that has been frozen in the bottles as there have been studies suggesting it is not safe to drink the water once frozen in the plastic.

* Use the larger clean jugs/bottles for storing chicken, rabbit, goat, and duck feed to prevent rodents from eating the feed out of the open sacks in the feed barn. Storing the feed this way also makes it easy when it comes feeding time for the animals.

* Use the bottom half of plastic gallon milk/water jugs as feeders for your small farm animals. (These work well for chickens and ducks, however, in our experience rabbits and goats tend to start eating the plastic once they have finished their meal.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Old-Time Remedies

Old-Time Remedies

Repellents are often very effective in deterring pests, thereby protecting crops without having to resort to poisons. Now many gardeners will add a few drops of liquid detergent or 1/3 cup of soap flakes per gallon of any spray to increase the spray’s sticking power and effectiveness. You can also get quite inventive by using house hold items like tar paper which repels cutworms and maggots by its odor. Use 4-inch squares of tar paper laid on the ground, with holes in the centers for the stems to pass through, to protect seedlings from these pests. Aluminum foil laid on the ground has been found to be effective against aphids and squash-vine borers. Copper strips placed around a garden is effective against slugs, and crushed egg shells as well.

Countering The Common Insect Pests

Pest and control:

Aphid: Spray with a diluted solution of soapy water.

Cabbage Worm: Dust plant with a mixture of ½ cup salt to 1 cup flour.

Potato Beetle: Dust plants with wheat bran while they are wet.

Codling Moth: Spray with fish oil, or soapy water.

Corn Earworm: Apply mineral oil to the silk just inside the tip of each ear-use a eye dropper. This will repel this worm.

Flea Beetle: Dust with wood ashes to repel.

Mexican Bean Beetle: Spray with garlic or cedar extract to repel.

Thrips: Spray with oil-water mixture.

Home-Made Formulas You Can Make At Home

Soap Spray: Mix ½ cup of Laundry soap to 1 gallon of hot water

This will kill non furry caterpillars on contact as well as aphids. If used on non-woody plants, rinse off with clear water within 1 minute after applying.

Quassia Spray: Boil ¼ pound of quassia chips in 1 gallon of water for two hours, strain the liquid, and mix with three to five parts water. The spray will kill the aphids and caterpillars but is harmless to our good friends the ladybug and bees.
Garlic and Hot Pepper: Steep ½ teaspoon of crushed garlic and crushed hot peppers in 1 gallon of hot water and let sit for 24 hours. Use at full strength on wood plants, this will also repel mosquitoes; dilute 25 percent for annuals and vegetables. Spray repels many chewing and sucking insects.

Glue Mixture: Dissolve ¼ pound of glue in 1 gallon of warm water. Spray trees and bushes to trap and kill aphids, spider, mites, and scale insects.

Cedar Extract: Boil ¼ pound of cedar chips in 1 gallon of water for 2 hours; strain and dilute the liquid with three parts water; spray on plants to repel beetles.

Buttermilk and Flour: Mix ½ cup buttermilk and 4 cups wheat flour with 5 gallons of water. This will kill mites by suffocation.

Note: Homemade sprays tend to be a lot safer than synthetic substances nevertheless, they should be treated with respect. Always wash fruits and vegetables before eating them.

Natural pest control is just part of the balance for the garden or orchard to be healthy. Do not try to eliminate pests completely, since in so doing you would eliminate the food supply of many beneficial insects as well. Try just keeping the number of pests at a minimum so that they do not do serious damage, while at the same time maintaining the predator population that feeds on the pests.

All predators that feed on insect pests should be encouraged in your garden, like garden spiders, lacewing fly, praying mantis, ladybugs, non poisonous snakes, toads, and bats.
Ladybugs and praying mantis eggs are sold by many garden suppliers; both of these insects prey on a variety of common pests.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Organic Soil Prep

In the fall you might think your done for the year and now that the harvest is over you can relax. Wrong! Fall is a very important time to get ready for next years garden.

First, you need to plow under any remaining plant and add a good amount of manure. One pound per square foot is a good start. Note: If you live in an area with heavy winter rains it might be better to add manure in early spring.

Second, till in any nutrients your garden is lacking like bone meal or wood ash. Soil improvement involves a steady ongoing process like a compost pile, mulch, manure, and any other needs.

Your soil always needs-Nitrogen, Phosphorus, and Potassium as well as: Calcium, Magnesium, Sulfur, Iron, Boron, Manganese, Chlorine, Copper, Zinc, Molybdenum, and Carbon just to name a few.

Note: To improve clay soil add gypsum or fresh green manure.


This can be a multitude of materials, humus, hay, straw, moss, leaves, or any similar materials. Mulch can encourage worm production which is a must, and it will also condition the soil.


This will add Nitrogen, Phosphorus, and Potassium. Blood, Fish scraps, Bone meal will also help.

Wood ash

This will add alkalinity and calcium as well as phosphorus and potassium.


This will add acidity, boron, and zinc.


This will add acidity as well as nitrogen, calcium, boron, magnesium, and zinc.

Basic Soil Formula in the fall.

1 Pound of manure per sq foot.

¼ pound of leaves per sq foot.

5 pounds of wood ash per sq foot.

1 pound of sawdust per 100 sq feet.

1 pound of compost per sq foot.

Hay or straw can also be added at this time 1 to 2 inches over the area and let it sit until the spring.

The best way is to let Mother Natures helpers do the work for you during the off-season. You will spread organic matter on your garden, allow chickens and animals to browse on your garden, or add manure and wood ash as well as leaves, compost, grass clipping, and any other trimmings. Let this sit on your garden area until spring.

After the winter has settled the soil, till in at 6-12 inches deep and recheck nutrients with a soil test kit.

If you still need nutrients at this time add very carefully a small amount or you can make a fast supplement by mixing 1 handful of an organic nitrogen source, 1 handful of an organic phosphorus source, and 2 handfuls of an organic potassium source, with 2 gallons of water. Let this sit for 24 hours and mix two to three times.

This will be adequate for about 2400 sq foot of garden space. Just spray or add this nutrient broth to your garden with your regular watering cycle.

Note: You can also do the same for adjusting your ph as well but, only before your planting is started.

re-posted by: www.pioneerliving.net

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Did you prep

In this era of obesity and epidemics, it seems a little strange to talk about potential food scarcity. But here's the hard truth: the abundance we enjoy is utterly dependent on a complex infrastructure of producers and distributors that has multiple stress points. If the trucks stop or can't get through, the shelves of most food stores will empty in less than a week. Government sources estimate that most homes have enough food on hand to get by for three to four days, but this is just sketchy enough that the same folks recommend that you have a three-day emergency supply. Our government was required to stock up on enough food for every person in the United States for three years. Well, gee they don’t have it anymore. So stock it up yourself! And at least 1 years worth…..

It is up to YOU! Not our government to help YOU!

Lord knows, many of us could lose a few pounds, so lower intakes for the short term wouldn't be so bad. Just be sure to keep essentials like vitamins and minerals in your diet. Actually, having to set aside food for a emergency is a great way to get an idea about just how much food -- by weight and volume -- most of us consume.

You are responsible for yourself and your family. I do not think any government in the world can take care of every person in their country. So, I will say again, do not depend on your government for what you are responsible for. Take care of yourself, rely on your- self and in the end only blame your-self if you did not prepare.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Root Cellar Part 2

Part 2

Understand that by adding plenty of nitrogen to the soil apart from adding plenty of leaves, grass, food scraps, vines, etc., you're doing more harm than good. The soil's nitrogen content is required by the bacteria feeding on organic matter, and, if you're going to give these bacteria a nitrogen feast, it would be very desirable if there's an organic target in the soil other than the roots of your vegetables!

As organic scraps (compost) in the soil are broken down by bacteria, heat is released, which happens to be the magic pill that makes plants grow (or the overdose causing root burn). For, as the heat expands in the soil, it forces its way into roots. As it does so, it pushes along all the soil’s chemicals dissolved in ground water, and, if the root system can accept the molecules, they will be forced further up by the same heat energy, into the stems and leaves.

The more heat in the soil, the more that water and chemical nutrients enter the root system and pass through the stems, and the larger and more-succulent the plants will tend to grow. Of course, heat may be added to the soil in other ways aside from nitrogen-consuming bacteria. Remember this key for your greenhouse, and keep the soil warm. Elevated tables, off the cold floor, are ideal. If there is not enough nitrogen in the soil, nor enough organic matter, heat production will be stunted, and plant growth will suffer accordingly.

If plants take in too much water in relation to nutrients, they will not last as long in the cellar, stressing the importance of a garden soil that drains well. Don't over-water. Clearly, aside from root-cellaring information, you must get a book which discusses soil preparation. Many books on vegetable gardening will include a section on preparing soil, but this section is sometimes too elementary.

Cold storage decreases the natural metabolism of fresh food so that it doesn't age itself into mush. But, of course! For, if adding heat causes plants to grow, removing heat causes growth (all chemical reactions) to be suspended. Aside from infections, fruits and vegetables can be destroyed by their natural respiration process, as the addition of oxygen changes their chemical states into something we don't care to eat. Darn oxygen! It’s great for life, but also has this thorny tendency to oxidize everything into ruin.

In some cases, vitamins are also lost with the said respiration process. Blanching (dipping in hot water), or other treatments, will retard/stop aging. Peas only require one minute in boiling water to stop the aging process, but corn on the cob needs 10 minutes. Most other vegetables fall between these two extremes. Blanching is a good way to save foods that are about to go bad, when no other preservation method is available to save them. However, if you like fresh carrots and apples as opposed to cooked, or partially cooked, ones, build yourself an excellent root cellar.

Cold weather at the garden site at harvest time is a positive factor because vegetables are prone to store more sugars and starch and less water in these periods. Having a lower water content, they are also have more stuff, and this keeps their water content from evaporating as easily on the shelf. Mike and Nancy suggest leaving the vegetables in the soil as long as possible by covering them with 12 to 18 inches of mulch (dried leaves, grass, straw, etc.) to keep them from freezing. As they can be kept in the ground for two to four weeks longer by this method, not only are they skirting deterioration all the while, as would be the case on a cellar shelf, but they are storing up more sugars and starch so that they last longer on that shelf when ultimately placed there.

Freezing is fine for some fresh vegetables and destructive to others (e.g. potatoes). However, you'll want to avoid completely, with all vegetables, the repeated freezing and thawing that can take place in root cellars from warm spell to cold spell and back to warm. You’ll solve that problem if you build a section of your root cellar that never freezes during these wavering spells on either side of the winter deep-freeze (i.e. on either side of January/February).

With so much time on our hands in the tribulation, there's no reason why we couldn't reap additional benefits by replanting some vegetables in the cellar, after the winter temperatures become too hazardous for their outdoor existence. Of course, don't replant them in the hardened soil floor, but in cases filled with sand or loose soil. This will keep some rooted vegetables for up to one month longer. Or, you can simply heap the vegetables on the cellar floor and cover them with damp, loose soil. Mike and Nancy bury some vegetables in moist saw dust. When needed, they also drape moist cloths over-top of the bushels or crates of food.

Bring most vegetables and fruits into the root cellar immediately after harvesting. Some vegetables, however, such as onions and garlic, need to be dried in the sun for a week before dry-cellar storage. Squash and pumpkins need two weeks in the sun to develop a hard rind, and they need a warm cellar. Sweet potatoes also need to be cured. If you didn't know these basic things, then you need an appropriate book before you spoil your first harvest learning the hard way. Go to http://www.amazon.com, and search for Mike and Nancy Bubel.

Do not clean the vegetables before storage as this will risk bruising. Leave them covered in a layer of dirt if that is how they arrive. Shake off large clumps of dirt, of course, but be gentle. To reduce the clumps, harvest in dry weather. Do not cut the tips of roots off or slice any parts of perfect vegetables as this will invite bacteria to form colonies. Cut off most of the leafy stems of root vegetables to inhibit the escape of water, but leave an inch to keep bacteria from getting into the tops of roots. The tops of beets and parsnips are themselves edible, so take advantage.

If 33% or more of the cellar food is spoiling, something is very wrong. The culprit is likely humidity, temperature, or ventilation. A small percentage of waste is expected so that we should plan on it by growing more to offset. As there will likely be a lack of food in the tribulation, eat the foods that are spoiling first. Cut out the bad parts and discard, or cook them if they are merely bruised. You can even make a nice syrup, sauce, or juice by squeezing any fruit/vegetable that is just beginning to go bad. There are fewer cases of food poisoning from vegetable-based bacteria, though dangerous toxins can be produced from some molds. Beware the deadly botulism. 65% who get it don't live through it. This micro-organism grows where oxygen is absent, and that means there's a chance that every vacuum-packed jar or plastic wrap might contain it. If the can or lid is bloated, don't eat it. If it smells bad, don't eat it. If you're going to die with glorifying God, try to die peacefully.

Make your cellar 12 x 12 feet if you have the gumption. You might make two of them that large, side by side, one drier than the other. Plan on storing enough preserved foods for two years, and view the fresh produce as a bonus. Initially, consider all "strange" Christians who comes knocking for food and shelter as your friends and fellow-laborers. If they won't work and be helpful, however, and all they do is eye lustfully at all that you have, why should you feed them? But if they work, then remember that God did not command Israel to care for widows and the fatherless only, but also aliens. Therefore, a "stranger" that is a sheep is your brother or sister that you must care for; it is the foolish virgins that can be sent away.

The following are root-cellar products that are best stored in cold and very moist conditions (32-40 degrees F and 90-95% relative humidity):

Beets, collards, broccoli, Chinese cabbage, carrots, turnips, radishes, rutabagas, parsnips, Jerusalem artichokes, celery, salsify, celeriac, parsley, Brussels sprouts, leeks, and kohlrabi.

The following products do best in the same temperatures but at a slightly reduced humidity (80-90%):

Potatoes, endive, escarole, cabbage, cauliflower, quince, apples, pears, oranges, grapefruit, and grapes.

The following do best in 40-45-degree cellars with a relative humidity of 85-90%:

Cucumbers, cantaloupe, eggplant, tomatoes, watermelon, and sweet peppers.

Reduce the temperature and humidity of the following vegetables (35-40 degrees and 60-70%):

Garlic, onions and green soybeans in the pod.

The following need high temperatures and lower humidity (50-60 degrees and 60-70%):

Hot peppers, sweet potatoes, pumpkins, winter squash, and green tomatoes.

You're not going to have a separate root cellar for every different category, but you can work around the less-than-ideal conditions in a number of ways. If the temperature is too cold for some foods, take them out and put them in the attic or an enclosed porch. You can also section off the pantry to have two different temperature conditions. Use your wit to create different places around your house which provide the best possible endurance conditions for various crops, and don't forget you'll have prayer-power at God's disposal when all else fails, so long as you make reasonable efforts of your own.

The following list provides the near upper limits of preservation times for vegetables kept in their ideal conditions, so long as they are kept in air-tight wraps or covered with a damp material (saw dust, towel, dirt, etc.). If you know temperature and/or humidity conditions will not be ideal, reduce their shelf life accordingly. Remember that they will often remain edible longer than the times given. Although every case will not be exactly the same, use this list as a guide for determining how many vegetables of certain kinds you will plant.

For example, the guide makes it plain that you should plant lots of potatoes and carrots as they might last 4-6 months, while you wouldn't plant too much broccoli since it keeps in a good condition only for weeks. Where specific times were not available, I have entered "long keeper" or "good keeper," and you can plan on growing lots of these with confidence. Leafy vegetables are not included as they are generally not good keepers in their fresh states, not at all meaning that you shouldn't plant any (you can always preserve them in other ways). Remember also that you can extend the upper limits by keeping them in the garden longer while protecting them from freezes, or by replanting them on the cellar shelf/floor.

Don't be fooled by writers who give carrots, for example, a mere 7-14 days in the refrigerator, even when wrapped in plastic bags. If your not the queen, you can handle eating carrots after months in a cool spot, and if they are rubbery after a certain time, you can boil or fry them up to gather in their vitamins. You can preserve them as relishes in vinegar at any time if you don't like how they have come to taste in the fresh state, or cook them in broths/stews.

* Beets 4-5 months
* Broccoli 1-2 weeks
* Brussels Sprouts 3-5 weeks
* Cabbage (long keeper)
* Chinese Cabbage 1-2 months
* Carrots 4-6 months
* Cauliflower 2-4 weeks
* Celery (long keeper)
* Chives (not a root-cellar crop)
* Collards 1-2 weeks
* Cucumbers 2-3 weeks
* Eggplant 1-2 weeks
* Horse Radish (long keeper)
* Jerusalem Artichokes 1-2 months
* Kohlrabi (long keeper)
* Leeks N/A
* Onions (good keeper)
* Parsnips 1-2 months
* Pepper (good keeper)
* Sweet Potatoes (long keeper)
* Potatoes 4-6 months
* Pumpkin (good keeper)
* Radishes 2-3 months
* Rutabagas 2-4 months
* Salsify (good keeper)
* Soybeans (long keepers)
* Squash 4-6 months
* Tomatoes 1-2 months
* Turnips (long keepers)

The following lists give you an inkling as to how long certain vegetables can keep in the garden soil before the cold weather demands their removal indoors. You'll need a good book on gardening to tell you what their maximum outdoor stays should be. Generally, the less susceptible they are to frost, the longer you can keep the veggies in the ground past their maximums using a 12-18-inch covering of mulch. You might consider building a two-to-three foot wall all around the garden to keep the cold winds off the plants during this period that you are stretching their garden life. This will also keep all your mulch from blowing away, and the wall can even act as a solid foundation for a temporary greenhouse frame that you could quickly erect and drape with inexpensive plastic film, to keep the plants in their garden soils even longer.

Very Susceptible to Frost:

Cucumbers, Eggplant, Lettuce, Squash, Sweet Peppers, Sweet Potatoes, Tomatoes, Pumpkins.

Moderately Susceptible to Frost:

Beets, Broccoli, Cabbage (young), Carrots, Cauliflower, Escarole, Garlic, Onions, Celery, Spinach, Parsley, Peas, Radishes.

Least Susceptible to Frost:

Brussels Sprouts, Cabbage (mature), Collards, Kale, Kohlrabi, Parsnips, Salsify, Turnips

John (the) Christian


Thursday, November 19, 2009

Root Cellar Part 1

A root cellar for fall and winter storage is a must for any latitude, even in the far south where cold-season temperatures may not reach a cellar’s ideal levels between 32 and 40 degrees F. But, the simple fact is, the cooler one keeps any food (with few exceptions), the longer it will last. And let us suppose that one has a working windmill, which, as is most often the case, barely provides the very basic electrical needs of a home. Wouldn't it be highly advantageous to place a refrigerator and freezer in the root cellar’s 55-degree winter environment rather than in the 68-degree environment of the house? A 13-degree difference (or more) would translate into a substantial reduction in required electrical output!

You may manage to equip your trib’ home with refrigerators and freezers, but what if the electrical source(s) you plan to use will not hold out? Therefore, for bulk storage under such unreliable tribulation circumstances, a large root cellar or two is a very wise choice, especially when they are not much more than glorified holes in the ground (i.e. not very expensive). If cellars can keep fresh foods edible for even a month longer than the case would be without them, while also providing better summer temperatures for canned and dried foods, cellars will be indispensable additions to all our efforts. But in mid-to-northern latitudes, you’ll get a lot more than a month in fall and winter, for many foods.

A root cellar and cold cellar are the same thing. It calls for high humidity of 80-90% in order to keep fresh vegetables from losing their moisture and shriveling up. A damp soil floor provides this condition best. A concrete floor will provide lower humidity, but this is a better condition for some fresh foods, not to mention dry goods. Some root cellars wisely include two rooms, one with, and one without, a concrete floor.

In cold climates, why not include four rooms: 1) for fresh foods that must not freeze: consider using insulated walls and soil floor; 2) for fresh foods that may safely freeze, and requiring high humidity in the warmer fall and spring seasons: consider soil floors and no wall insulation; 3) for fresh foods in well-sealed containers, and for dry foods: consider painted/sealed concrete floors and walls, with no insulation; 4) for fresh foods requiring some, but not high, humidity: consider an unpainted concrete floor. Having these different options will allow you to shift foods from one environment to another at any one time of the year, to achieve better conditions.

Although fresh foods won't go as far in arid lands, extending the life of dried foods will more than make up for the trouble and expense of building a root cellar there. And since arid regions are ideal for drying foods in the sun, there will be plenty of dried foods to store. Moreover, if you don’s mind wetting the cellar’s floor (and/or walls) from time to time, the cellar can attain some decent humidity levels for fresh foods. Gravel floors provide the best "humidifiers" in such circumstances, especially if the gravel is several inches deep so as to hold a pool of water at the bottom (you walk on a "dry" or unsoaked surface). You won't have to water as often with the deep-gravel method.

While the ideal root-cellar combination for fresh foods is low temperature and high humidity, the worst situation is not, as we might at first expect, high temperatures and low humidity. The worst would be high temperatures and high humidity because this combination is best for nurturing bacteria, mold and yeast. Therefore, ideal cellar conditions calls for high humidity only for its ability to maintain freshness. Low temperatures (above freezing) are then needed to counter the bacteria/mould problems created by high humidity.

If we arrange to lower the humidity level somewhat and sacrifice some freshness in the process, rot would be reduced also, perhaps creating a better survival situation. Indeed, the best combination for dealing with rot becomes low temperatures and low humidity, exactly what’s desired for dry goods not needing any humidity. But so what if an apple shrinks some? If rot doesn't set in while it shrinks, thanks be to the cold temperatures, the only thing it will lose is water. The nutrients will still be in that apple! When we are hungry, safe-to-eat shriveled foods will taste mighty awesome! And any dry food can be made wet again by wetting and/or boiling.

Having no lining in the cellar at all (i.e. just soil walls) would net higher humidity than, say, stone walls. But beware. A mere hole in the ground to act as a root cellar will allow rodents to get in and seize your treasures. If you could properly drape chicken wire on the soil walls, that would likely keep varmints out, but not the insects. And you definitely don't want to use insecticide in your cellar!! Stone, mortared walls are best, I think. Just make sure the walls lean a little outward so that they won't cave into the cellar during the wet season.

Understand that there is a difference between infected and shriveled. Moreover, there is a third condition wherein the fresh food will deteriorate under its own metabolism, rot or no rot, if not blanched/boiled. This is why foods going into cans or jars must first be boiled, even when going into vinegar, salt or sugar solutions where bacteria are killed without boiling.

For a dry cellar housing dried foods, a cheaper and easier alternative to stone or concrete walls is tongue-and-groove plywood and wood studding. To keep rodents with sharp teeth out, metal screening tacked to the plywood, and overlapped a good distance at the joints, would work fine. To keep the plywood from rotting, it should be sealed with an exterior-grade sealer, preferably the black-tar product used on the basements of homes (driveway sealer might work too). This tar should also keep out the ants and termites, but I'm no authority on that one. Take precautions with the toxic chemicals in pressure-treated plywood/studs; you should keep all dried foods in air-tight containers, anyway, and this will also add protection against mice and ants.

By using the studding method, you can easily insulate between some, or all, studs. If it becomes necessary to altar humidity/temperature. You might buy the insulation and install it anyway, whether you think you'll need it or not, as you can always take it out at will. But you won't likely be able to buy it in the tribulation.

The only drawback to the wood-wall method is that water may get in through the joints of the plywood, especially at ground level (near the cellar’s ceiling). But if you build a structure/pantry above the cellar, this threat is much reduced, and even eliminated if that structure is large enough to extend a few feet past the cellar walls. Otherwise, caulk the studs at the plywood joints before applying the plywood to them. Then caulk directly over the joints after screwing the plywood on. Finally, adhere a 4-inch wood strap to each joint using the caulk as a glue, and you should be as water-tight as Noah for the few years that you'll need the cellar. Frost and humidity in the outer soil can do a lot of damage, so screw everything, rather than nail.

Building a pantry over a root cellar intended for fresh foods will protect from freezing; the more northerly the location, the further out from all cellar walls this pantry (or garage) should span. But if you go too far, soil humidity won't be able to reach the walls. I would say that pantry walls three feet maximum from the cellar walls ought to be sufficient for the northern US. That is, if your cellar is 8 x 8 feet, make the pantry 14 x 14 (or 14 x 11 if it’s attached to a house). Keep in mind that this building, acting as the cellar’s roof, is an exceptional sun screen as well as a convenient storage area, in cool seasons, for dried, canned, and even some fresh foods.

Create a perfectly smooth ceiling in the cellar. The more protrusions there are in building materials (i.e. joists and beams), the more area there will be for condensation to form. This means more drips and puddles on your shelves and in your food baskets. You want humidity for fresh vegetables, yes, but in the air, not pools in the containers. If your ceiling structure consists of wood beams or rafters, nail unfinished plywood (definitely not pressure-treated) to form the smooth ceiling. Indeed, leave the plywood natural, and clean it now and then, by spraying a bleach and water solution, so that whatever drips do form won't transport unwanted molds to your foods.

The root cellar needs temperature-control pipes, which are a simple matter to install during the cellar’s construction (not so easy later). Because warm(er) air rises, put an exhaust pipe (6 inches in diameter) at the top of the room, going straight out the ceiling and into the pantry. Or, if that upper room will be heated, run the pipe outside and then upward to avoid the breeze. Screen the top opening of the pipe to keep pests out, and add a solid cover two inches above the opening/screen to keep out bird droppings and rain.

A second air pipe for intake, through a wall near the floor, will allow cold air to enter the cellar as warmer air rises out the exhaust pipe. But as the location of this pipe's exit through the cellar wall will be underground, the pipe will need to rise through the soil and into the atmosphere.

Of course, this intake pipe must reach the atmosphere outside the pantry, where it can catch cold breezes. Put an elbow on the upper end of this pipe, therefore, so that horizontal breezes come straight into the elbow’s opening. But don't glue, screw or tape the elbow on; leave it loose so that it can be turned. Point it north to receive the coldest air currents when you need them. Turn the elbow away from the north if you need to warm things up in the cellar, or if you need winds from other directions for cooling. If you position the intake pipe against the south pantry wall so that access to north winds is unavailable, it'll be your loss.

While in extremely cold or warm spells you can cap this pipe opening (e.g. with plastic film), don't forget to uncap it in due time because you need the constant air circulation in the cellar to remove air-borne molds. When you build shelving, do not let the rears of shelves contact the cellar walls, as this restricts air circulation around shelves and promotes molds on foods. Leave a 3-inch gap between shelf and wall.

When cold wind is blowing directly into the intake pipe, it will also force cellar air into the pantry if the exhaust pipe terminates there. The pantry will also cool, therefore, which may or may not be what you want so that it would be a good idea to provide a removable cap for the exhaust pipe as well. Or, even better, provide a permanent cap that is an adjustable vent so that you can dictate at any time how much it will be opened or closed. If this exhaust pipe can double as a water drain, for the times that you need higher humidity in the cellar, that’s using your noggin. No need to carry a large bucket of water down the stairs, just pour into the pipe from the pantry--but make sure the water pours onto the cellar floor directly, not first on the foods. Or just run a garden hose permanently into the cellar [duh].

Some root cellars are built into hills and buried on three sides with a normal, walk-in door on the unburied side. Others are completely buried and must be entered by stairs (often) accessed through a door in the ceiling. If maximum coolness is a priority, as it will be in the south, then bury the cellar completely. As an alternative to a ceiling entrance, a stairwell can be dug just outside a cellar wall with a landing at the bottom, where an insulated door can be installed leading into the cellar. Keep that door out of the sun, of course, and away from the hot summer breeze.

Much of the information I am using here is from the book, "ROOT CELLARING" (Mike and Nancy Bubel, Rodale Press). Their latest books can be obtained from http://www.amazon.com. Though not intended for tribulation survival, I have been able to get a good bit of pertinent information. The authors claim that with proper management and air conditions, the following foods (in the upper latitudes of the US) can be enjoyed in the following months:

"fresh endive in December, tender, savory Chinese cabbage in January; juicy apples in February, crisp, fresh carrots in March; and sturdy unsprayed potatoes in April--all without boiling a jar, blanching a vegetable, or filling a freezer bag" (page xvii).

For tribulation survival, it is not necessary that we have "tender," "savory," and "crisp" vegetables. Therefore, under the same climatic circumstances, we could have the above-named vegetables one or two months later and still be bouncy-pleased. And if this is the sort of success story that Mike and Nancy got with exposed plants, imagine what we could do with plastic containers, plastic bags, and dried foods in the same cool conditions. We should easily be able to sustain ourselves with crops alone until the next harvest. Yet, we could plan to store foods that last much longer than vegetables in the first place. In all, the authors say that they could keep 33 different vegetables in open storage, and that spells variety on top of survival.


It is important to harvest vegetables at their peak, "neither underdeveloped nor past their prime," for best longevity results in cold storage. It is also important to treat them all with special care because the slightest bruising invites molds and bacteria, and these then spread to others vegetables. As soon as you see a rotting or molding section of any vegetable, get rid of it. Slice off the bad part and eat the rest, or throw it into the compost heap. Inspect cellar foods often.

For trib' survivalists, the longer into the winter or spring we can eat our produce, the better. Therefore, it is important to time the final harvest for the latest possible date. As well as planting vegetables as early as possible in the spring to be able to eat them as soon as possible in late spring or early summer, plant a sizable crop later than usual so that their peak arrives only in the nick of time before the killing frost. This late crop will represent your fresh supply of food in winter, so don't skimp.

Plant lots of cool-weather crops in this later phase, not just because they can survive some frost and thereby last longer in the soil than other vegetables, but because, as any good gardener knows, many cool-weather crops taste better after frost has nipped them. Among these are parsnips, salsify (also called "oyster plant"), kale, Brussels sprouts, collards, and Chinese cabbage.

Moreover, rooted vegetables (e.g. potatoes, carrots) can safely stay in the ground past the first frosts too. Every vegetable has its unique period of growth, and you'll need a good book on gardening to know the lengths of each one in order to time their harvests as late as you can. Take into consideration that vegetables planted later than normal will grow slower in the cooler months of fall than the books indicate. Have a garden expert with you in the tribulation!!! Take him on board for free. (All you Christian gardeners without money of your own to buy and build a tribulation refuge, others who are without your skills might give you a room in exchange.)

Some factors in the gardening department add to storage life. For example, potatoes grown in sandy soils last longer in storage than those grown in heavy soils. According to studies, both fruits and vegetables grown in soil with high potash levels store better and longer than others. Wood ashes, which should be in abundant supply for most trib' survivors, are a good source of potash. Manure is also a good source of potassium. So store the ashes all winter long where the wind won't blow them away, and any manure your animals provide can be collected at the first thaw, but don't over-dose your garden soil. You might think that adding fertilizer generously is good, but while you get larger yields, high levels of nitrogen will increase the rate at which some vegetables age, even after they've been picked, thus reducing their cellar shelf life.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Pemmican Indian food

The North American Indians invented pemmican as a condensed food for long over land journeys and winters.The lean meat of animals such as buffalo, elk and deer, was cut in thin slices and dried over a slow fire, or by the hot sun. Then it was pounded to shreds between two stones. The pounded meat was mixed with an equal quantity of boiling fat from the suet (inside fat), and packed in bags or baskets. Eaten cold, it is nearly tasteless at first but the flavor develops as it is chewed.

Some Indians added berries or wild cherries. Admiral Peary and his men ate it cold - one-half pound twice a day. He wrote that it was the only food for Eskimo dogs on a long Polar journey and: "Of all foods I am acquainted with, pemmican is the only one that a man can eat twice a day for 365 days and have the last mouthful taste as good as the first."

Men forced to live solely on salted meats, bread and cereals, suffered and died from scurvy: a disease which results from the lack of Vitamin C. Men who live on pemmican have no scurvy. It is unequaled for compactness, lightness, wholesomeness, palatability and sustaining power.

Home-Made Pemmican

Pemmican may be one of the world's perfect food. It is pure protein,fat, and carbohydrate in perfect ratio. It gives the body the densest nutritional value in a simple, hand-feeding manner. Its high energy ingredients keeps one from being hungry yet feeds the body everything it needs.

Meatless Pemmican

1/2 cup raisins

1/2 cup dried pumpkin or squash

1/2 cup peanuts

1/2 cup acorn or cornmeal

1/2 cup hickory nuts

1/3 cup honey or maple syrup

1/2 cup dried apples

In order to make sure that the acorn or cornmeal is bone-dry,spread it in a thin layer on a cookie sheet and place it in a warm oven(on the lowest setting) for 15-30 minutes. Then combine the dry ingredients and either chop them with a knife or grind them coarsely through a food grinder. Add the honey or maple syrup and blend thoroughly. Divide the mixture into 1/4-cup portions, press into cakes, and store in the refrigerator.

Suet-Less Pemmican

1 cup beef

1 cup dried berries

1 cup crushed nuts of any kind

2 tea-spoons honey

1/4 cup peanut butter

Grind (or pound) the dried meat to a mealy powder. Add the dried berries or nuts. Heat the honey and peanut butter until softened. Blend.When cooled, store in a plastic bag in a cool, dry place.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Citizens Emergency Preparedness Group of Oklahoma

Members of the Oklahoma Survivalist Network have formed a meetup group and named it the Citizens Emergency Preparedness Group of Oklahoma. They will meet monthly offering face to face training and invite guest speakers. We are all excited about advancing our education potential to this higher level.

Due to the diversity of our, now over 100, members adds much to our online discussion. This week we all when shopping for emergency generators. Reviewing brands, prices, and exploring how to estimate our serge watt needs. With several already owning generators and able to answer questions with their own experiences helped the rest make better decisions.

No matter where you live, you can benefit from the online sharing of the yahoo group Oklahoma survivalist network. We plan to rotate the face to face meetings of our new meetup group around the state. We are beginning in the Tulsa area as quite a few members live within easy driving distance to that area.

Gloria Youngdeer
Group Organizer

Monday, November 16, 2009

Solar Electric Hybrid Vehicles for TEOTWAWKI

Guest Post sent to us from Pete Montgomery

Solar Electric Vehicles for TEOTWAWKI, by Pete Montgomery
As first appeared on www.survivalblog.com

Having been a “prepper” for more than 25 years, growing up in Florida where you had to be prepared for the inevitable annual hurricane, I have experienced many powerful storms, with the associated loss of power and the joy of waiting in line for gasoline. These experiences have cultivated a growing interest in solar power and how it relates to providing power in an emergency situation. Until recently photovoltaic (PV) power solutions were out of reach and electric transportation was just a pipe dream. I always wished that I could have a motor vehicle that didn’t depend on the “grid” for its power, i.e. gas, diesel, bio-diesel, ethanol, etc. With recent advances in PV technology and electric vehicle technologies, that wish is now a reality.
In the mind of the “prepper”, PV power has always been a viable means of providing power to his or her retreat, dating back as far as the early 1970s. Early visionaries put largely inefficient banks of PV panels on their homes or barns to utilize the sun’s endless power. However, back then, the primary drawback was the enormous price tag and limited power that first generation PV panels produced. Until recently PV options have remained principally out of reach; however, with the advancements in solar technology and falling prices, as well as tremendous increase in quality and efficiency of PV panels, energy directly from the sun is now reliable and affordable for the average consumer.
With never-to-be-seen-again Federal Tax incentives, PVs are certainly worth a closer look. Just think of the uses for solar on the family farm/retreat or even the home in the suburbs. Power the well, produce all the power needed for the home and sell what you don’t need back to the grid for peak prices. The uses are virtually endless around the home but what about getting around on the homestead? Why not take advantage of the sun’s limitless power with the vehicle you drive? I’m not talking about those fancy space-age looking gizmos that you’ve seen gliding along on the Salt Flats someplace in Utah. We have developed something more functional and far more cost effective for the average person or family that wants an alternative means of transportation.
The new PV vehicles that are being produced by several manufacturers in the US are classified by the IRS as Low Speed Vehicles (LSVs), most of which can be used on any road, meaning, any public road that is posted 35 mph or under and allowed by local ordinances. These LSVs are quickly gaining national attention and are completely “Street Legal”. Likewise, there is an “off-road” or ATV classification of the LSV, which can be driven on or off-road while still qualifying as a “Street Legal” LSV. You must be a licensed driver to operate a LSV on any public roadway.
The uses for this type of vehicle on the retreat are endless, not to mention they are a lot of fun to drive. What’s even better is the “fill up” is free; all you have to do is park your LSV in the sun to let it recharge, free of charge. [JWR Adds: Keep in mind, however, that it would take more than two days of full sun to recharge a LSV's batteries that have been deeply discharged. Also, like any other lead-acid deep cycle battery bank, you will need to buy a new set of batteries once every 4 to 7 years, because of inevitable sulfation.]
{PM Adds: to add to what Mr. Rawles stated above, we currently have an LSV test vehicle that has a set of six year olds batteries. These batteries currently test as new. With the solar panel constantly trickle charging, the batteries don’t go into the constant deep cycle discharge, thereby extending the life of the batteries. }
This year I had the opportunity to go to work for Long Drive Solar, LLC a company that markets and sells street legal, PV electric hybrid, low speed vehicles (LSVs) for “on-road” and “off-road” use. As long as you have sunlight, you have reliable transportation.
The product line starts with vehicles that may appear similar to a standard golf cart all the way up to 24-seat trams. These vehicles are powered by strong 5.5 horsepower motors; use Curtis charge controllers and a powerful 48-volt battery bank with eight large 6 VDC batteries, (8-Trojan T-145s, producing 260 amp hours), self-adjusting drum brakes, turn signals, headlights, taillights, brake lights, horn, seat belts, and DOT-approved windshields. The factory installed 210 or 230 watt solar panel is state-of-the-art, giving you higher performance, greater range, and substantially longer operating time between battery charges. Long Drive Solar has a wide range of on and off-road tires for just about any terrain or environment. Every vehicle has a 120 VAC plug-in charger, in case you ever need a conventional charge. However, under normal usage, you’ll find that the sun is all you need to keep your vehicle fully charged and ready to go.
Options include just about anything you can think of including AM/FM radio, CD player, wood grain trim, etc. But the one that I like the best is the 12 VDC to 120 VAC power inverter. This lets you have a 110 power outlet anywhere you can take the vehicle, as the solar panel acts as your own personal portable generator. Most models sold by Long Drive Solar have been certified by the IRS and are GSA approved.
So what’s the difference between a standard golf cart and a Low Speed Vehicle (LSV)? Golf carts are not street legal [in most jurisdictions], and most have a top speed of around 10 mph, whereas the LSVs (by law) must travel between 20 and 25 mph. The golf cart motor is normally just 3 horsepower, while our LSVs are 5.5 horsepower, and up. There are many additional differences, so when you go to buy your LSV, make sure you get the right vehicle for your money.
Long Drive Solar has several models to choose from but the one that works best for a retreat application is unquestionably the Scout. The Scout is designed for on or off-road or trail use. It has 8” ground clearance to the axles, and an unusually-high 19" ground clearance to the bottom of the deck, off-road knobby tires, brush guards/bumper, front basket, and top rack (if you don’t use solar, however, I strongly suggest the solar option). The Scout comes in 2, 4, and 6 seat configurations and can also have a box body on the back for hauling hay, firewood, garden produce, or other items. This is clearly the way to go for a rural retreat.
One of the most frequently asked questions is how far and how fast will these vehicles go. As previously stated, to qualify as an LSV, the vehicle must go between 20 and 25 mph. As to “how far”, most standard golf carts have a range of about 20 miles on a single charge. Our LSVs are constantly charging the batteries through the solar panel and have an average range of 80-100 miles [in a day] on a single charge. That mileage may vary depending on terrain and driving conditions. Either way, you can count on a minimum of at least a 30% increase in performance. I’ve driven the one I have for several months and I have never had to “plug it in”, not once.
Federal and State Tax Credits
With the Federal and State governments pushing to implement “green technologies”, this opportunity is just right for those interested in buying a vehicle that is a self-sustaining, affordable means of transportation. Although a vehicle like this costs between $7,000 to $10,000 dollars (with a solar top), thanks to Uncle Sam and your local State government you get an early Christmas present in the form of huge Tax Credits. Depending on which State you live in, you could get your “dream-come-true” off-road vehicle for a net cost of zero; that’s right, zero. If you happen to live in Oklahoma, you have the ability to capture up to 120% of the actual cost. Yes, you can actually make money by purchasing one of these vehicles. Other states, like Georgia, Hawaii, and Florida benefit in the 70-80% Tax Credit range. Go to www.dsireusa.org and http://www.afdc.energy.gov/afdc/ to find out what your State offers as Tax Credits.

Note that the largest part of the Federal Tax Credits expire on December 31, 2009 and will likely mot be renewed, therefore, all electric vehicles must be purchased no later than December 31, 2009, to take advantage of this tax credit. Individual State Tax Credits vary, some end at the end of this year, while others extend until 2015. Please check with your local State Tax Commission on the time lines.
So where can you buy your LSV?
Here’s where I get to plug our company and some of our competition. If you go to our web site LongDriveSolar.com, you can find a lot of good info and can take a look at some of our products. Long Drive Solar has its corporate offices in Atlanta, Georgia. We also have a large Dealership in Oklahoma City and dealer representatives located throughout the US. Please give us a call or contact us online. Some of the other companies that provide quality products are Tomberlin Vehicles, Eco E ATV, Bad Boy Buggies and several others. Note: Long Drive Solar is the only company in the US that sells a factory installed solar system on most models of their LSVs.
Beware before you buy: When you go to buy your vehicle, make sure that your dealer provides you with certification from the IRS that their vehicle (and specifically the model you are buying) qualifies for the Federal and State Tax Credits. Make sure you check with your tax accountant regarding any paperwork you will need to get from the dealer, so that you can legally take advantage of the tax credits.
One other important note: All electric vehicles are not created equal with respect to the Federal tax credits. The IRS has many different levels of tax credits on the same vehicle. The amount of credit depends on the amp rating of the battery bank; the higher the amp rating, the higher the credit, so make sure you’re getting the most power and the highest available tax credit for your dollar.
For those of you that lean toward the “green movement”, and believe me I’m all for renewable energy, these vehicles can help with your LEEDS certification points as well as helping to offset your personal carbon footprint.
If you have always wanted a reliable means of transportation with a renewable source of energy it would be well worth your time to take a look at the new forms of sustainable transportation on the market today, as well as the once-in-a-lifetime Tax Credits that could make your solar vehicle absolutely free [after you complete your taxes for 2009]. Believe me, my solar LSV was looking mighty fine when gas was pushing $5 per gallon.
From my perspective this type of transportation is something to consider. Just remember, do your homework and buy the best you can afford because one day your life may depend on what you have invested in.
If you would like to learn more about any of the products or technology talked about here please feel free to contact me at: pmontgomery@longdrivesolar.com

Sunday, November 8, 2009

This weeks interests

We Oklahoma Preppers have worked in several areas of interest this week.

We have researched, discussed, and explored the best options about Citizen Band and Ham operators equipment for homesteads, vehicles, & emergency situations. The research continues but it is pretty clear that more than a single type of radio equipment is needed to meet our memberships potential needs.

We then moved on to discuss whether we should join the world of FACEBOOK. The jury is still out on that but we have put up a site. Whether it stays up is yet to be determined. One of our group members designed our new logo and I added it here to replace my picture. Then comes what to say once it is up. We have imported youtube videos showing different local disaster situations: Ice storms, floods, tornado's, and terrorism. That plus a training video on what one needs in their winter car kit is all we have done. But, that seems like enough for now.

Thirdly, many of us are reviewing our stored food situation. What do we need to replace, increase, and take better care of. Mice and Rats are among those wishing to survive and they can be very creative in their efforts. I got lax, and left the top off a plastic container I thought was high enough to be safe from such critters. I was wrong, and now have 7 less 26 oz containers of dry milk and 4 less containers of dried eggs. My own fault but needless to say, changes was made and more aggressive defenses were put in place.

Looking further into problems relating to our food stores, comes up the ongoing viedual needed about expired dates. How far past expiration is food good for human consumption, and then who else can benefit from it after the dates are too far gone?

One of our members came across a forgotten barrel. In it there was rice. Old rice that had even turning dark and it had old dead weasels in it. You can't put rice out for birds to eat for they will eat their fill, then drink water, and swell up and die. Not Good. Since this member had nothing on his property that could benefit from the commodity, he sent it to the buried compost pile.

Another has found Oats that expired in 2001. Is it still usable? The proof is in the taste. They have decided to fix up some in something like nutrition bars, and see. That is what we are doing today. researching Oats. Reminding everyone that a big black bold pen, making dates boldly is good to try and help us rotate our stores. If the oats are too far gone for humans, at least the animals will enjoy a treat. My chickens love for me to cook them a big pot of oatmeal in the winter.

We have also found it easy to keep stockpiled condensed milk too long. I prefer buying my stored goods in small containers and stagger their purchase to hopefully help to reduce these problems in the future.

The coffee is ready, so I'll get out of here. Log into facebook and try to find our Oklahoma-survivalist-network site.

Keep Preparing and improving the chances for your family to survive no matter what tomorrow brings.

Gloria Youngdeer
Moderator for the Oklahoma Survivalist Network yahoo group

Monday, November 2, 2009

New Preppers guidelines

Questions come in from what I consider normal average people
that are now beginning to realizing they need to become better
prepared in other words, New Preppers.

Where would I start?
By educating yourself with a few good informative books.
Discuss what is needed physically and mentally with others
that have been doing this for awhile.

There are lots of different food lists
One that I recommend to cross check your other list ideas is:


As we know, everyone has different likes and dislikes. So common
sense tells us to double what we really like, and leave out what
we hate.

The basics can be reduced to these categories
fats and oils
cooking essentials
dry milk products

Old survival books from the 60's told us to have
250 lbs of assorted grains in our shelter
75 lbs of beans
65 lbs of sweeteners
2 gal. of cooking oils
2 lbs of baking powder
2 lbs of baking soda
10 lbs of salt
2 lbs of yeast

That was what each adult needed to help them survive off the
land for a year. We have become more spoiled or sophisticated
since then.

As I said earlier, we know what we like to cook with or eat
and our stockpile should reflect those likes. For example
I like to cook with cream of mushroom soup. So if I had only
one can of this soup to cook with in a weeks time,
I would need 52 cans of cream of mushroom soup.
Simple calculations. I like to cook with Rotel so there is
another minimum of 52 cans.
How often do you want to eat green beans, or carrots?

Our food calculations branches out if we plan on catching fish
for food. Or hunting deer for food.
Then comes fishing tackle and hunting equipment into our food plans.
You shouldn't calculate that without including your first
aide kits and should you have double the
recommended amount in case something bad happens
or you need to have things to trade
with other survivalists.

Consider those good books and think outside the box
while your options are still all available.
Toilet paper, tooth paste, all the different types of soaps
What are you prepared to do without?
What are you prepared to keep on hand?

How often are you willing to live off your stocked up supplies
and not go to the store for a week? Make your own bread?
Don't wait until you must survive on your skills to work with
your skills and improve your skills. The time is now people.

Thoughts from the Oklahoma Survivalist Network yahoo group

Gloria Youngdeer

Oklahoma Preppers Network Est. Jan 17, 2009 All contributed articles owned and protected by their respective authors and protected by their copyright. Oklahoma 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.