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Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Oklahoma Firearms Freedom Act Passed in House and Senate

"Oklahoma Firearms Freedom Act" Passed in House and Senate
The “Oklahoma Firearms Freedom Act", sponsored by Sen. Randy Brogdon and Rep. Charles Keys, recently cleared the State Senate with a 39-3 vote. It now heads to Democratic Gov. Brad Henry for his signature.
The Oklahoma House voted 81-14 on Tuesday for the “Oklahoma Firearms Freedom Act,” sponsored by state Rep. Charles Key and Sen. Randy Brogdon, an Owasso Republican and gubernatorial candidate.
The bill says firearms, gun accessories or ammunition produced in Oklahoma would not be subject to interstate commerce laws and federal regulations if the items remain in the state. The bill does not apply to certain large firearms and exploding ammunition.
Read more at http://adaeveningnews.com/local/x993513987/House-OKs-bill-to-exempt-fire...

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Sunday, April 25, 2010

Before You Go Horse Shopping

Today I am pleased to share with you an excellent primer on things to consider before buying a horse.  My friend WomanWhoRunsWithHorses ( we call her Hoss Boss for short )  over at Hoof n' Barrel is a wonderful source for all things "Horse".  Check out her blog and say hello!

Before You Go Horse Shopping

I ran across an unusually written ad on Craigslist last week. As a long time horse owner myself, I found it humorous and enlightening at the same time. Read it below and then I'll point out some things.

For Sale-1000 lb breakfast sausage (10 yr old bay mare) - $300 (southeast Nebraska) I have for sale a nice bay mare. She is 10 years old and is half Arab and half paint. She is easy to catch and gentle to work with. Lifts all feet for cleaning. Very pretty perky ears. Tame and leads and loads easily. No biting or nipping. Teeth in good shape. Recently wormed. Bucks like a rodeo bronc. Nice disposition. Good with other horses. Bucked off my daughter and will be turned into sausage if she is not sold. I will not sell her to someone who is not an experienced horse person. Would consider selling her to someone with a bad mother in law. She does not just give a couple bunny hops, she gets good height and leg extension. If you know a good rodeo contractor, let me know. Would make a nice pasture pet like a lot of other horses are, just not in my pasture. She might make someone a nice brood mare. Very gentle to handle. Just bucks like a banshee. Get some PETA buddies together and save this horse from the sausage grinder!

The author of that ad sounds like he might know a thing or two about horses, but it's clear that his purchase of that particular horse was a mistake from the get go. His frustration, however humorously he expresses it, is very apparent and scenario he describes is a good illustration of how much can go wrong when the right person buys the wrong horse.

Being human, most of us get stuck on that passage in Genesis that says God gave us dominion over all the beasts of the field. Trouble is, most of the beasts have never read Genesis. That's where our innate intelligence comes in. We are (most of us) smarter than the average beast, but we also lean toward being egotistical and self-impressed. We forget that God's other creatures (in this case, the horse) don't automatically know we are smarter and therefore expect us to prove it.

Learning to ride and handle a horse is not like learning to drive a stick shift or a motorcycle. Horses are living, thinking beings with personalities and dispositions as varied as the people who choose to own them. Since the average full-grown horses weighs around 1000 pounds, it's really important that the horse and the horse owner are a good match on all levels ...riding ability, skills and yes, even personality.

If you have never owned a horse before, there are some things you should know going in. Horses need more than food and water to remain physically healthy. We keep all our horses barefoot (no shoes) but their feet still need to be trimmed by a qualified farrier every 6 to 8 weeks. The cost ranges from $20 to $40 per horse for a trim, depending on where you live. If you put shoes on the horse, $60 and up. But shoes only last 6 to 8 weeks too and they will have to be pulled or reset. There's a old saying, very simple but very true, "No feet, no horse." What good is a lame horse ...to anyone? So plan on taking good care of your horse's feet.

Some people have their horse's teeth tended to by a vet or even an equine dentist once or twice a year. There are several schools of thought on taking care of a horse's teeth. I've known people that think it's down right neglect not to have a horse's teeth tended to at least once a year at a cost of around $100. They argue that we have our own teeth tended to, why shouldn't our horse? I am at the other end of the spectrum. I adhere to the 'if it ain't broke, don't fix it' philosophy. I don't have my dogs and cats teeth cleaned either. If any of my animals have a tooth problem, I get it taken care of. But unless and until there is a problem, I don't see the point.

Just like your cats and dogs, horses need annual vaccinations. Rabies is required in some states and advisable (in my opinion) in every state. It's a $10 shot, but in most places it is required to be administered by a licensed veterinarian so if all you got was Rabies, it would end up about $75 including the barn/office call. We also give our horses VEWT (Venezualan East-West Encephalitis plus Tetanus) and West Nile which cost a total of approximately $35 and can be administered by anyone. So if you order the vaccinations in single-dose syringes, you will have invested approximately $50 including overnight shipping ...which is about half what the vet will charge you. There are other vaccinations out there but you will have to weigh the risks and make your own decisions. As far as I know, all 50 states require an annual Coggins test. Blood is drawn and sent off to a lab to determine if a horse is infected with what the old-timers used to call 'Swamp Fever' ...more properly known as Equine Infectious Anemia. There is no vaccine and no cure for this mosquito-borne disease. Once a horse tests positive, they are allowed to be retested ONE TIME and if there is a second positive, the choices are euthanasia or permanent quarantine. The cost of the Coggins is about $20.

Other than that, a horse's basic needs are simple. Water, food, forage (hay or pasture) and room to move around. A run-in shelter, usually a two-sided or three-sided shelter where the horse(s) can come and go at will is nice. If you have woods in your pasture, you really don't have to have a man-made shelter . A horse just needs a place to get out of the more extreme elements. Our place now consists of an 8-acre pasture that is approximately 1/3 wooded. The woods provide a wind break, relief from a hard driving rain in the winter, and shade in the summer. There is a catch pond (not spring-fed, but collects rain water) that they prefer over the troughs for drinking water and open sandy areas where they can enjoy a good roll. We have a smaller (approximately 1 acre) paddock in the front of the house that we use when we want to school a horse or if we have rookies over to ride. It has a few trees, a tiny pond (spring fed because it has water in it even now) and a round pen set up in it. Between those two areas is what we refer to as the side yard. It's a sacrifice area meaning the horses have eaten it down to nothing because it's only about half an acre in size. But it is where we keep the horses at night in order to give the pasture grass a rest. We keep a round bale in there for them at night and one round bale lasts our six horses two weeks. These are big rounds, 5 x 5, approximately 1100 pounds each. Horses are not called hay burners for no reason. A horse quality round bale is running about $85 these days because of the ongoing drought. In addition to providing forage and round bales, we feed our horses a pelleted feed twice a day. The amount we feed them varies according to their individual needs. But we spend about $100/month feeding six horses.

Now, in summary, you can expect to spend approximately $1000 caring for and maintaining one horse for one year. It's pretty obvious that owning a horse is an expensive undertaking and the term 'horse poor' might have some basis in truth! But even with the expenses and the physical labor involved in their care, the rewards of horse ownership are indescribable. Take the time to work out all the details so you can provide proper care for a horse and arrange your schedule so you will have time to invest in a true relationship with a horse. Then, and only then, should you start shopping for a horse.
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Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Just Do It

What with the  rising cost of food, gas, utilities and more taxes on the horizon what are you doing to prepare for your future?  I'm not even talking about your long term future but the near future.   If you aren't already preparing isn't it time that you started?  For some, just the thought of trying to prepare for the future can be a bit overwhelming. It doesn't have to be.  You don't have to have a year's worth of  MRE's put back.  You don't have to order # 10 cans of food from a mail order store.You don't have to have all the "really cool" stuff you see on websites proclaiming that you simply HAVE to have this product to survive.  All these things do have a place in prepping but it is absolutely NOT necessary to start with these type supplies.  And it doesn't have to be expensive.
With prices going up in the stores everyday I decided to begin my preps by investing in food.  My reason was and is simple. Food prices are going up and they won't be going down. What you invest in your food storage today will save you money in the future.  For example, last year a can of tuna was around $0.59 a can around here.  Today it is around $0.79 a can. Who knows  what it will be next year. You are already ahead of the game if you start now because it WILL be more expensive next year.
You don't have to break the bank either.  If you are going to have tuna this week just pick up an extra can.  One extra "item" at a time may not seem like much at first but it does add up. When I started working on my food storage I approached it in little steps. 

Make a list of meals your family eat regularly and what ingredients it takes to prepare those meals.  This is a great place to start. You really want to remember the motto " Store What You Eat and Eat What You Store".  For example, if your family doesn't or won't eat Spam why would you want a case of the  stuff when there are other things that they will eat instead?  We happen to like pinto beans and rice.  It's a regular meal for us.  So when I pick up a bag of beans or rice I will pick up an extra one for later. This is just an example but I'm sure you understand how this will build up your food storage.  These days, if something is not on sale or I don't have a coupon for it I will rarely buy it. 

Take an inventory of what you have in your pantry. Could you make it 3 days? 5?   If a natural disaster happened and you couldn't get to the store how many days would your food's last?  This is a good place to start.  Let's say you have 3 days stored.  Set your goal at one weeks worth.  If you are at 2 weeks strive for 4. It always helps to have some sort of goal.

Prepping doesn't have to be expensive and it definitely doesn't have to be overwhelming.  You just have to start..... and what better time than now?

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Monday, April 19, 2010

Oklahoma Militia

From the website of  Randy Brogdon for Oklahoma Govenor  (thanks for the h/t Carrie)

There Already is an Oklahoma Militia Recent statements of mine regarding an Oklahoma militia have been misrepresented, taken out of context and are badly misunderstood. I have stated that the formation of and participation in, an Oklahoma militia is legal based on both federal and state law.
However, remarks I made in historical context were inaccurately reported as my personal opinion. Specifically, historical speculation about the frame of mind of the Founding Fathers as they wrote the Constitution was reported as if it were my deeply held belief. Then these misrepresentations were used to distort my true beliefs, while implying that I have violent intentions.
So let me set the facts straight about my beliefs on dealing with the federal government, the role of a militia in Oklahoma, and how best to effect change in government.
Both the First and Second Amendments of the U.S. Constitution protect individual participation in a militia. Membership in such a group is a form of self-expression, so our right to free speech comes into focus. The Second Amendment states, “A well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.” Our Founding Fathers were suspicious of big, centralized government. However, nobody can mistake this statement as some sort of right to insurrection.
The fact is that Oklahoma state law already establishes and provides for, an “unorganized militia” as an officially recognized part of Oklahoma military forces.
           §44-41.  Composition of Militia - Classes.
The Militia of the State of Oklahoma shall be divided into three (3) classes:  The National Guard, the Oklahoma State Guard, and the Unorganized Militia.
   23.  “State military forces” means the National Guard of the state, as defined in Title 32, United States Code, the organized naval militia of the state, and any other military force organized under the Constitution and laws of the state to include the unorganized militia (the state defense force when not in a status subjecting them to exclusive jurisdiction under Chapter 47 of Title 10, United States Code).
These statutes are not part of overlooked or arcane law. The legislature has rewritten this section numerous times over decades, most recently in 2007.
So undeniably, a militia in Oklahoma is not only legal – it already exists as a matter of fact.
No, Oklahoma does not need to activate the unorganized militia. If we ever do, it certainly won’t be to invade Washington, D.C. In fact, Oklahoma’s unorganized militia is prohibited from operating outside the state.
I do plan to fight what I consider to be an over-reaching federal government, but I will do it with the Constitutional tools provided by the framers. For years, I have advocated adherence to the 10th Amendment as a weapon against big government.
As a legislator for much of the last decade I have routinely proposed new law. When enough of my Senate colleagues agree with me laws are changed or enacted, peacefully. Yet, this week, some people seem convinced that I would abandon the democratic process to wage actual war on the federal government which is simply bizarre.
I was saddened that some in the anti-militia crowd can be as irrational and violent as those they condemn. As this story developed over the week, I received as many as a half-dozen death threats, not only directed at me but at my family as well. One unpleasant person said they would only be satisfied when I am swinging from a tree. Hopefully, the thought was fleeting. The threats were forwarded to the OSBI for investigation.

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Saturday, April 17, 2010

Behind the 8 Ball- Prepping against the clock and on a budget

I would like to thank Catman  of Catmans's Litterbox for this great guest post. Check out his site for tons of great information and some super down loadable files as well.  He has a great download section for DIY on lots and lots of subjects. He has put together some great information.  It's never to late to start prepping so lets get to it! 

Behind the 8 Ball: Prepping against the clock and on a budget.

If you're new to the whole "prepper" movement, welcome! I'm glad you decided to take charge of your life and have made the commitment to provide for yourself and your loved ones.

By now, you have been blasted with information, and I'm sure it seems daunting. Everyone has an opinion of what is most needed, most important, and what is a must have for your provisions.

As you watch the world spin out of control, you feel even more pressed for time, and in this economy pressed for money. It can simply be overwhelming.

Before you sit down and throw your hands in the air in frustration, stop and think for a few minutes.

Take a look around you. Take stock of what you have. Take stock of what is easily accessible to you.

Primarily, people will need three things if something goes wrong with society: water, food, shelter.

If you have access to a reliable naturally occurring water source (spring, artesian well, lake, river, stream, etc.) you can move stored water down in priority. Don't forget setting aside a method to purify (if needed) the water you have access to.

If you already are producing food for yourself, you may, depending on what you are growing move food down a few notches.

Most people reading this will already have some form of shelter.

Do you see where I am going with this? Good!

Evaluate what you have at hand before you start trying to fill in the blanks on the lists of "must haves". What you want to do is prioritize items that you will not have easy access to.

One such example is medications. If someone needs a specific medication, lay in an extra supply. "Losing" your prescription and calling your doctor for a refill is always a method, but also looking to reputable mail order foreign sources for medicines is a possibility as well. You should also look to natural plant based alternatives should your supply run out and resupply is impossible. Do the research now and set several copies of the information you find aside just in case. Make sure you have the ability to identify, collect, and prepare for use the correct plant should the need arise. If the plants you need to treat a specific condition are not native to the area in which you live, make provisions to raise your own.

James Duke - Medicinal Plants Of The Bible
Ahmad, Aquil, Owais - Modern Phytomedicine: Turning Medicinal Plants Into Drugs
Cristophe Wiart - Ethnopharmacology Of Medicinal Plants

Other items that you may not have ready access to are certain "comfort foods" such as chocolate. Having foods that make you feel good, and can lend some sense of normalcy during a crisis, especially to young children, is always a good thing. It will go a long way in maintaining your sanity. Easy to prepare foods, such as canned ravioli, that require a minimum of cooking are also excellent for contending with the early stage of a crisis. Canned ravioli and similar foods can be heated with a small alcohol stove or eaten cold as one prefers or situations dictate.

Alcohol Jet Stove

Look for local replacements for comfort foods. Did you know Carob trees have been planted in many urban and suburban locations as landscaping? Carob is an excellent replacement for chocolate.

Carob or Saint John’s Bread
Maximize your investment by looking for products that have multiple uses which enhance their value. Denatured alcohol is one such item. It can be used as a cleaning solvent, a fuel, and an antiseptic. Don't run down to the local drug store and buy it by the pint. Go down to the local hardware, home improvement, or paint store and buy it in one gallon or five gallon containers. Alcohol is extremely flammable, so make sure you have the ability to store and transfer it to smaller containers in a safe manner. Always have a properly rated fire extinguisher on hand when working with alcohol. Properly ground metal containers when working with alcohol to prevent static discharge. Static discharge can ignite alcohol vapors. If possible, perform your transfers outside away from other flammables.

An improvised grounding system can be made by driving a piece of rebar, un-galvanized steel pipe, or copper rod at least 2 feet into the ground. Four feet is preferred. Pour a cup of table salt around the rod and water into the ground with at least one gallon of water. You can then use a set of jumper cables to connect between the grounding rod and each of the metal vessels containing alcohol.

Plain chlorine bleach is another example. It is a must have laundry aid (even when the world ends, you will still need to do laundry) antimicrobial surface cleaner, and a method of water purification. If you have access to ample water, you may choose to buy granulated pool chlorine (sodium hydrochlorite), which is easier to store than liquid bleach. You can make your own liquid bleach as it as needed. Most plain laundry bleaches are 3-6% sodium hydrochlorite, so to make one gallon of bleach, you would need one gallon of water and about 226 mL (7.5 oz or 3/4 of a cup plus 3/4 teaspoon) of granulated pool chlorine.

Warm the water by simply leaving it in the sun (80-90 degrees F) and dissolve the sodium hydrochlorite in the water. Add the requisite amount of pool chlorine, and GENTLY STIR with a wood or plastic spoon or rod. Don't use metal to stir, and do not cap and shake the container to dissolve the sodium hydrochloride! Wear safety goggles, rubber gloves, and an apron to protect yourself from splashes.

So, you've never owned a gun, but are now wondering if you should? Think of a pump action shotgun from a reputable manufacturer such as Remington or Mossberg. It is a good self defense weapon and can also be used for hunting. Again, maximize the value for your dollar. Don't forget a cleaning kit, and lubricants. If you have never owned or used a firearm, PLEASE take a basic hunter safety course that includes range time. You can find information about these courses at nearly any gun store.

We've all been spoiled by the ready availability of paper towels and toilet paper. What are you going to do when it isn't available anymore?

Many people are saving old phone books and similar as a stop gap measure, but even then, those will run out as well. There are recipes for making one's own toilet paper on the web, but you may not have the time.

In the paint section of hardware stores, and home improvement centers are products often going by names like "Bag O' Rags" or something similar. They contain the leftover material that was used in the production of clothing, or cut up clothing that did not pass quality control. Most frequently, it is plain white cotton material like that found in t-shirts.

These can be washed out and reused many times. These rags can replace paper towels that were used to clean up minor spills. They can also be used for bandages, compresses and even toilet paper.These may also replace certain feminine products that may become unavailable.

As you can see, with some thought, you can make your prepping a bit easier. As time and finances permit, you can expand on your preparations beyond just the basics, but always keep an eye to things that have multiple uses in order to save time and money.


Medicinal Plants Of The Bible link: http://www.sendspace.com/file/uj8e38

Modern Phytomedicine link:http://www.sendspace.com/file/5g4tfo

Ethnopharmacology Of Medicinal Plants link:http://www.sendspace.com/file/vktk43

Alcohol Jet Stove link: http://www.homemadealcoholstoves.co.nr/

Carob or Saint John’s Bread link:http://www.hort.purdue.edu/newcrop/morton/carob.html

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Fires and DIY Soulitions - Guest Post

I have a great guest post for you today!  I would like to thank Dan Wolfe for sharing this with us.  Some great information here that we can all use. Check out his site at Wolfe's Blog.

We had a house fire a few years ago,
and as I continue to pack for the move to the farm, I am amazed at
the amount of junk we have managed to gather since then. Prepping is
all about being prepared for disaster, that includes personal
disasters such as a house fire. Making sure you have fire alarms, and
fire extinguishing equipment that meets safety standards is vital to
being prepared. But, if your like me, there are two things that occur
to me in being prepared against a house fire. First, knowing how to
make your stuff, and second, fire proof the hell out of everything.

So, the most common form of fighting a
fire is either water and/or baking soda. It is important to remember,
and to teach your children, that you never put water on a grease or
oil fire, it will make it worse! Baking Soda should be placed beside
the stove in the kitchen at all times, enough to not only put out a
fire, but also more then is needed on top of that for baking, because
you know that someone is going to use it for that.

Fire can be put out by removing one of
three things. Either the fuel the fire is using to spread, Oxygen it
is using for combustion, or heat it uses to maintain the reaction.
Mason Sand mixed with Sodium Bicarbonate (ratio 3:1) will remove
oxygen and cover any fuel, good for the horses' stables.

Did you know that you can fire proof
paper? It's a simple recipe. Take one cup of Ammonium Sulfate
(Mascagnite for you rock hounds out there), six tablespoons of Boric
Acid (the same stuff you use to kill insects), 4 tablespoons of Borax
(that's your grandmothers laundry soap), and three cups of water. Mix
the ingredients, and then either dip the paper into the mix, or brush
it on. It needs several coats, so let each layer dry out first.

If your thinking of doing the same to
your raincoat or something else made out of synthetic fabrics all you
need is Boric Acid. By the way, for you preppers down in Nevada,
Boric Acid can be found in it's natural state (colemanite), and might
be something to stock up on for long distance bartering. For the rest
of us, we'll have to figure out a way of distilling it from fruit. As
for fire proofing synthetic fabrics just mix one cup of Boric Acid (1
US cup = 236.588238 ml) into one gallon of water
(1 gallon = 3.785 liters). Soak the fabric, and wring out,
then hang up to dry. Redo after washing. If you know how many gallons
is in your washing machine during the rinse cycle this might work as

I'm a total classic camper, I use the
old fashion Coleman lamps and stoves, and still have one of those old
canvass tents, something I am likely not going to be packing for the
farm. But I will likely keep my eye out for another one, or better
yet, make one myself. The cotton canvass is a classic textile, it's
been used for almost a hundred years for those world famous 1950's
tents. Sleeping in a tent made of that thick fabric is better then
staying at a holiday inn in my book. If you want to fire proof
classic textiles like this you should get your hands on some Ammonium
Phosphate (phosphoric acid with ammonia, do not try to make at home)
and Ammonium Chloride (KEEP AWAY FROM ZINC!). Get a plastic bucket,
not a zinc coated one, and put in 48 fluid ounces of water, and mix
in half a cup of Ammonium Phosphate, and one cup of Ammonium
Chloride. Soak your tent in the buck for at least ten minutes, then
wring it out and hang up to dry. Retreat after it rains.

Every year, houses burn down during the
Christmas season. Part of the tradition of Christmas in our family is
getting a real Christmas Tree, part of the hazard of that is the risk
of a house fire from the tree. Non-LED lights get hot, to many lights
on the same circuit can cause the electrical wires to over heat, and
then there is the fireplace giving off sparks, and maybe you have to
use a candle or two if the power goes out during an snow storm. You
give yourself a little more safety by fire proofing your Christmas
tree with some basic mixing in the water you use to keep it green.
Get your hands on some Ammonium Sulfate, more of your grandmother's
laundry soap (Borax), and Boric Acid. Mix up a batch in four liters
of water (about a jug of milk), two tablespoons of Borax, half cup of
Boric Acid, and a full cup of Ammonium Sulfate. Mix, and then spray
the tree down with the mix, and the rest to the water reservoir under
the tree in the stand.

If your looking for land like my
family, there is always the option to build your own home. No home is
100% protected from all things that can happen, not even your dream
fallout or bomb shelter, but a little extra added protection is
always welcome. You can add some fire proofing qualities to the beams
of your house yourself by mixing up a batch of chemicals you can get
at any industrial supply. What you will need is Zinc Cloride (same
stuff we used to make smoke bombs as kids), Ferric Cholride (check
electronic supply stores, it's used for etching circuit boards),
Boric Acid (can be bought at some home improvement stores), Borax
(check your local grocery store). Mix in these chemicals directly
into 2 quarts of water, about half a cup of Zinc Cholride, a quarter
cup of Ferris Chloride, 3 tablespoons of Boric Acid, and 3
tablespoons of Ammonium Phosphate. Use the mix like you are painting
the beams, do four coats for best results. Be careful with the Ferris
Cholride, it's slightly toxic so use rubber gloves.

Lastly what would a post about DIY fire
proofing be without home made fire extinguishing liquid? Your going
to need Sodium Carbonate (try to get 'washing soda' rather then
'baking soda' if you can there exactly the same, but the washing soda
is cheaper), Alum (Yes the same stuff your wife gets for cooking that
you steal to trap bugs in), Borax, Potassium Carbonate (commanly
known as Potash), Sodium Silicate (also known as waterglass, you can
make this by baking soda ash and sand in a kiln if your a ceramic
artist). It is important to start with the Sodium Silicate
(waterglass), mix two cups of sodium carbonate into the waterglass,
then add one cup of Alum, three quarter of a cup of Borax, and one
quarter of potash. Mix it evenly, then three cups of the result into
one gallon of water. Pour this into a hand sprayer, like the ones
used for spraying crops with insecticides. It needs a coarse nozzle.
WARNING: Potash is toxic (internally). Waterglass is an irritant,
avoid skin contact.

If you liked this post on DIY Fire
Proofing, you'd love the book I used to discover all these and more.

The Formula Manual by Norman H. Stark [ Third Edition ] Stark Research Company

- Wolfe

Thanks again for some great information!

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Dehydrating Basics (Lets Talk Taters!)

I was asked if I could explain the drying and rehydrating process.  This is my attempt to do so. The question was about potato's but most vegetables use the same process.  Blanching times will vary with different vegetables.         

When dehydrating potato's, there are several ways to do them.  You can slice them for uses like scalloped potato's.  You can dice them in small pieces and use them in many different things.  You can cut them into french fries as well. You can shred them and use them for hashbrowns. This part is up to you.  Peeling your potato's is optional- there are lots of vitamins and minerals in the skins . They look nicer peeled but, again, its up to you.
I will explain the sliced potato's here, but they are all done the same way.
Slice your potato's approximately 1/4" thick. Your pieces should be as uniform as you can make them. This is where a food processor or a slicer comes in handy.  I do mine by hand but that's because I don't have either of them!   While you are cutting your potato's, put on a big pot of lightly salted water and heat to boiling. 

Put your potato slices in a vegetable basket or a French fry basket and drop them in the boiling water. When they start to boil again, let them blanch for for 5-8 minutes.  Have a large bowl ready with ice water. Plunge them in the ice water and let them sit for 15 minutes or so. Then spread the potato slices out on paper towels and daub dry.
Another method you can use (I would suggest doing this with things like hashbrowns) is to steam blanch them.

Spray your racks with some vegetable spray and place the potato's as close as you can get them without having them touch.  They need air circulation around them.  Dry them until the potato's are translucent and brittle.  You should not be able to "bend" them.  Let the potato's cool down, remove them from the racks and store them in jars or baggies.  Try to keep as much air out as you can.  This is where my FoodSaver Vacuum Sealer comes in handy.  I like to put them in jars and vacuum out the air.

To rehydrate them,  place the dried potato's in a bowl or pan and cover with boiling water. Cover the bowl and let them sit for about 20 minutes or until re-hydrated completely.  Drain excess water and they are ready to use.

 You can dry just about anything.  Carrots, peas, sweet corn, green beans, cabbage, spinach, swiss chard etc. I also dry tomato's for use in soups and stews.  I like drying  green peppers, hot peppers, and onions for use later in the year when these things are out of season.
I have had problems with rehydrating green beans in the past and asked a true drying guru for some help.  She suggests blanching and then freezing the green beans before drying.  The freezing breaks down the cells so they will rehydrate better  otherwise, they will take a couple of hours to rehydrate.

Here are a few ideas for using some of your dehydrated vegetables. 

I like to do mixed veggies to use as soup starter.  Diced carrots and peas are good together. You can use dried sweet corn (ground up) and add it to flour when making cornbread.  Scalloped potato's or au gratin ones. Dried diced potato's make a great hash when mixed with leftover beef and dried onions.  Cabbage dices  and fried diced bacon and onions or leeks with bow tie noodles is good.  Sometimes I add dried tomato's as well.  How about cabbage soup with potato slices, carrots, and fried bacon?  Hmm, lets see.... pickled beet slices, gingered diced carrots, green pea and boiled egg salad.
Make white bread and roll it thin. Add rehydrated hamburger, carrots, peas, onions and line the bread and make a pinwheel. Let the bread rise and bake. Slice and cover with gravy made from  the rehydrating water.

The possibilities are endless.  So what are you waiting for? 

(thanks to Gen-IL Homesteader from the Illinois Prepers Network for asking about this- I hope I helped a little bit)

Monday, April 5, 2010


I was blogging about wanting to try dehydrating foods last summer. I am a frugal shopper.( ok I 'm cheap!) I had been looking for a dehydrator at a thrift store and just never found one ( still haven't) Well, my mom apparently reads my blog. I got a package out of the blue last summer. A Nesco American Harvestor Pro. I love my mom!!

I began drying everything I could think of. I made a few mistakes along the way, but that's how you learn! Imagine my surprise this Christmas when the package arrived and there were 8 more trays and 5 more each of fruit roll up trays and mesh net!

Dehydrating is a great way to preserve food for long term storage. And if you have a vacuum sealer they will store even longer, as moisture is the main reason for spoilage. I vacuum my dried food in canning jars.

One of the first mistakes I made was with drying potato's. I now know that they should be cooked first. Most veggies need to be blanched before drying. Dehydrating isn't exact science. Its easy, but you might have to play around a bit to see if you need to dry foods longer. Sometimes you might just need to make thinner slices. Oh, and the higher the water content of your fruits or veggies the larger you can cut them as they will shrink more during the process.

Lots of fruits can be dried easily. With some like apples or bananas they should be "treated" first. Rinsing them in a lemon water mix will help keep them from turning brown. Dried fruit is a nice addition to oatmeal and works well in store bought cereals as well. My niece gives dried apple rings to her baby to help with his teething. Kids LOVE fruit roll-ups and they are easy easy to make.
For those of you lucky enough to have strawberries,raspberries, blue berries and such- they dry well too!

Did you know you can dehydrate spaghetti sauce? And tomato sauce? Just think of the possibilities! Its alot easier to store spaghetti in a small baggie that that big bulky can and it rehydrates just fine.

The easiest fruits and vegetables to dry are apples, bananas, berries, cherries, peaches, apricots, pears, peas, corn, bell peppers, tomatoes, onion, potatoes, mushrooms, green beans and carrots.

Dehydrating is a great way to save money too! I caught a deal on ten pound bags of potato's for $1.89 a bag. That's half price in my neck of the woods! Well, it is really difficult for the two of us to eat that many potato's before they start to go bad. But with my dehydrator I was able to take advantage of the sale and increase my food preps.
We use alot of onions around here so when I caught them on sale for $0.49 lb I jumped all over it. That week I dried 10 pounds of onions. If you have ever seen the sticker price on a jar of chopped dried onions you know why this one makes sense! For $2.00 I ended up with 3 of the larger size containers they come in. You know, the ones that cost about $4.00 each?
One tip about drying onions ( and hot Peppers) DO IT OUTSIDE! The smell is overpowering. As a matter of fact, onions and peppers are the reason I am still looking for a second dehydrator.

One last thing ... this is one of the best sites I have found on dehydrating. http://www.dehydrate2store.com
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