Saturday, March 31, 2012

Candle Making .500 (or what not to do)

I don't like being outside in the dark. Don't like it one bit! Comes from being stalked by a big growlie thing (cougar) for an hour in Missouri once.

So WTSHTF I want light. Sure I've got oil lanterns, kerosene and lamp oil, even have emergency candles. What happens when that stuff runs out? Beth has to face the big growlie things lightless!! No way!

I've never experimented with candle making before and wanted to do it from the ground up so I started with making my own wicking (yes I have extra lantern wicks but ...see above)
You can get alot of candle wicks out of 420 ft of cotton twine. I braided these together 3 strands at a time to come up with this.

All the research I did said to soak the wicking for 12 hours in a mixture of 1 cup water, 1 tbsp salt and 2 tbsp boric acid..I don't know why but who I am to argue?

So this morning after soaking and drying the wicks out, I got out my supplies. Everyone on the net recommends toilet paper or paper towel tubes as inexpensive molds..DON'T DO IT!! What a mess!

I wanted to scent my candle with some calming traditional Native American scents. So I added about 1 cup of combined chopped sweetgrass and white desert sage that I was lucky enough to wildcraft on our trip out west last year. (Mental pic of Beth drying sweetgrass on a unlit bbq grill in a campground in the sun)

After the fiasco with the toilet paper tubes (leaks out from the bottom) I mad dashed all over the house trying to find suitable glass containers.  Here is what I ended up with.

2 candles scented with sweetgrass and desert white sage and while I was at it I made 10 containers of lip balm flavored with hazelnut extract (because I'm wierd like that) The directions for the lip balm are hereLip Balm from PatarusFamilia Blog

The chopsticks I used to keep the wicks upright while drying. I will trim the wicks up later.

Anyone have suggestions on how to do it better?

Friday, March 30, 2012

Mozarella stuffed Meatballs (or Mock Applebees Dinner)

I have a confession, I enjoy eating out too much! But we end up disappointed every time we go out to eat. You would think we were food critics the way we tear apart the meal and talk about how much better we could do it at home and for alot less.

Last month Applebees had a special 2 for 20 on their mozarella stuffed meatballs with spaghetti. The taste was okay but I was disappointed with the meatballs, they just lacked that oozy cheeseyness. Last night I decided to see if I could make them better.

I started with my meatball mix.

Beth's meatloaf mix
2lbs of ground beef
2 healthy tbsp chopped garlic (more like 1/4 cup)
dash of powdered onion
handful  of dried oregano, sage and basil
3 whole eggs
3/4 cup of breadcrumbs.

Mix and leave to set in fridge for an hour or two. I find this enchances the seasonings, don't know why.

To make the mozarella stuffed meatballs, cube mozarella cheese. Start out with a small half meatball, like a mini patty. Press the cheese into the center of it then add another half meatball on top, and press closed.

Heat olive oil in a pan, and saute the meatballs on each side just to brown.

Add drained meatballs to a crock pot of sauce ( I used 2 batches of homemade spaghetti sauce this time) and allow to simmer on medium for 2 hours. This allows the meatballs to finish cooking since all you are doing with the oil is browning them.

Top cooked spaghetti with meatball sauce mixture and voila dinner!
From this batch, we got 2 healthy sized dinners, and 3 boxed lunches for later and enough meatballs leftover to do a meatball sub later on. These freeze well when partial cooked.

You can see the oozy melty cheese escaping from the meatball!

Beth and Bear! Who by the way loved his meatball plain!

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Shamelessly cute animal photos

Well a few have been asking for more pictures of the Bear...

This was on a particularly hot day last week while I was out weeding herb bed #1. I had doused Bear in the shower and he was guarding his water bowl (which is really just a mixing bowl). Bear's favorite activity outside is to have me fill this bowl, then he paws into it, upends it and has a great time chasing the water, repeat repeat repeat. Just like a 2 year old sometimes!

Yesterday as I was catching up housework from my being laid up with my back, I noticed it was awful quiet ...Hmmm another 2 year old reference? If he's quiet, he is into something! I go looking for him and here is what I found....

Hmm? another shower Mom??

Please ignore my shower walls. The house is a old camp house with well water that is so hard I don't have to use mordant for dying anything. It's a monthly chore for me to scrub the walls with Iron Out.

This morning, Bear started barking while outside. I go out half expecting him to be barking at something blowing across the lawn (tumbleweeds and garbage from the main road fear Bear!), and found our spring visitors are back, though startled by Bear!

Bob and Daisy have been regular visitors to our farm for the last 4 years. They are a nesting pair who successfully fought off a terroritial dispute on the roof of the house last year. Next door to us, we have a bog which they nest in along with several pairs of Canadian geese.

Yes, they are the only reason I keep bird seed around the farm. Bob is such a good mate, he watches over Daisy while she eats, then rushes to get something into himself while Daisy squawks at him that she's ready to go home. Once they start nesting, we will see them alone in turns. They have never brought babies with them so I don't know if one of them is shooting blanks.

So here are the shamelessly cute animal pics for this week.
Beth and the zoo around here!

Sunday, March 25, 2012

A Note from Bear (or how my life has changed)

Bear here,

 I tell you my life has sure changed since January (the last 2 months). Before these new owners scooped me up, I had the run of 12 acres. I spent most of my time outside and only came in at night to sleep on the garage floor. I saw the lady owner once a day when she gave me my dry brown stuff she called kibble.

Talk about trauma!! These 2 people showed up and petted me and handed my owner lady some green flat stuff (my owner pays for stuff i want with it, so it must be worth something, but if you ask me its not it doesnt smell good so its not to eat). Then they stuffed me in this grey big thing they call a truck. This truck was very scary, you aren't gonna believe this!! It moves on its own!!!

Once I got to this new place, they call home, they stuffed me in this box and wet stuff came down on me, they put this other stuff on me that doesn't smell like food but smells okay. But the new owner lady said I smelt better.

They gave me lots of pets and hugs and praise. They even took me to this big box that is filled with dog chewing things (they call it the pet store). I get bones to chew on, balls to pop, and these hard chewy things that my new owner lady calls treats.

Now, I hate to be outside. I've decided this thing they call the bed is much better to be on, though they don't like me on it much when I've been outside and its wet. The bad thing is they make me stay outside when they do this thing they call farming. (Bears owner here --Bear hates to be outside now more than a half hour, thinks he's being tortured) Though if I'm out a while, the owner lady gives me this clear stuff she calls ICE which I love to crunch on.

But I've figured out that if I'm good outside , they give me this white stuff they call ice cream, MAN THAT STUFF IS AMAZING!!! Or they take me out for a TRUCK RIDE which is pretty cool now too, since I get this thing they call BURGERS!!!

So all in all, I think I got it pretty good compared to my old life!
Bear your friendly Newfoundland puppy!

Busy busy!

I haven't forgotten about you all just been really busy around the farm. Spring has sprung around here and aside from some colder temperatures the next 2 nights, its been getting to be planting season here. I've held off on putting anything new into the ground so far  for fear of a freeze, but the herbs have all come up and the apple trees are getting green. (So far no flowers yet).

The Grey Knight and I spent yesterday (after our 4th trip to Cabelas to get 1 gun! Talk about a corporate screw up!) building a raised bed in the front of the house. We really haven't done much to the front since it's mostly shaded during the day but the handy dandy internet has provided me with a list of shade herbs that I can put in out there.

The county is also big into Prairie restoration around here and is holding a native plant sale. Alot of what they have is on my wish list but will be picking up wild ginger, wild garlic (onion), anise hyssop, and spicebush and some replacement sweetgrass.

Today will be spent tilling a small section of the main garden so that I can get the sweet peas, beets, radishs, carrots and onions in. Those can stand a freeze if necessary. This weekend has been a push around here, as I lose the Grey Knight for the next 3 weekends due to work.

On a bright note, during our trip to Cabela's I found a gentleman in the area that gives bow lessons. I believe I'm gonna start taking some bow hunting lessons.Silent Death from Afar! I really want to use a traditional bow, even have a box of feathers saved for making arrows. Even have a pattern for a traditional quiver that I have been hoarding for years in the like to do box.  The Grey Knight suggests the next step would be finding out how to put explosive charges on the arrows =P

Stay safe, stay prepping!

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Chive Oil for Kymber

Olive oil, fresh cut chives from garden, mortar and pestle

(No that's not a rug on the floor, thats Bear sticking as close to Mom as possible!)

Kymber asked for this recipe which is simply easy as ...cake?

This works best with fresh cut chives, use scissors to snip them into small sections, then bruise with mortar and pestle to help release the oils.

Add to canning jar (or whatever jar you wish) then add about 1/2 cup of olive oil, we use EEVO.

Shake and place in fridge, this is best made the day before use, will store up to 5 days in fridge (though I believe it will go a bit longer)

This is great on grilled asparagus  and potatoes!! We love it with a bit of chopped garlic, cubed potatoes in a pan with some of this added. Gives it so much flavor!!

Later this week, I will be making a big batch of chive butter for the freezer. We add the chives to softened unsalted butter, roll it in wax paper to form a cyclinder, then slice off as we need it ...I know this sounds like a heart stopper but its excellent on grilled steaks!

A few odd ramblings...

For lack of time today and frankly mentally energy, posting a few odd ramblings here today.

Asking for prayers today for myself- dealing with some issues (if you wanna know more, lol email me I don't air my laundry for all on the web)

Also asking for prayers for our good friend BMCD in Montana who is having a potentially life saving procedure today for his terminal illness.

Have you seen this order? If you actually read it, how much of your stuff is on it that they can take?

Turns out we have an individual in our neighborhood that is taking pictures of ladies in their bedrooms. The upside of it is that I have found 2 preppers in our neighborhood , had my suspision about them before.


Hopefully, not answering the phone to deal with my prayer situation. Cleaning out more stuff from the back shed. Weeding (yes weeding in March) in the herb garden along with making some chive oil to pass on to some neighbors and some of my bartering customers.

May your day be pleasant-- Beth and Bear!

Sunday, March 18, 2012

So you wanna buy a Gun?

So you wanna buy a gun do you?

This weekend the Grey Knight decided that we needed to purchase another gun for our home defense. After much looking around and comparing and of course a quick question and answer session with our good friend BMCD in Montana, He decided on a Remington 870 12 guage.

Cabela's happened to have this on sale but yet is a 2 hour drive from us.
We get there and encounter the biggest wall of red tape I've ever seen.
After showing his FOID card, which he had to fill out a 4 page questionaire for and paying for this purchase, he then had to answer another questionarie for the government.

Questions included...
height..weight (told him to put 3'4 and 450 lbs just for giggles)
had he ever been convicted of anything...(convicted no...)
Had he ever been declared mentally incapicated..(well depends on who did the declaring, his ex wife thinks he's insane)
had you ever renounced your citizenship to the U.s ..seriously?

As you can see, both of us are bit of smart asses...but here are the questions that we both feel really should be on the federal questionarie.

Have you ever screamed cuss words at the tv while the President or any member of congress is speaking?

Has your picture appeared MORE THAN ONCE in the Post Office?

Are you on a first name basis with a secret service agent?

Do you or have you ever been a member of a militia? (does a milita of 2 count?) Have you ever been or are you now a member of any domestic terrorist organizations such as the NRA, the National Republication Party or The Church of Jesus Christ of the Later Day Saints?

Have you ever used the terms CME, SHTF, BUG OUT, PULSE in a conversation?

Have you ever accused anyone of being a zombie? (The Grey Knight qualfies daily on this one!)

Do you believe the nation is headed for a hyper inflation caused economic collapse with a pandemic brought on by a coronal mass ejection following a nuclear pulse which brings on a tsunumi followed by global warming? (yes we have been watching too much Doomsday preppers)

Just saying at least this would be a true depiction of who the government doesn't want to have guns...

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Free Cheese Press Plans Online

Picked up the new copy of Hobby Farm Home at Farm and Fleet today, and they have the plans for a cheese press in it. The online plans aren't as detailed but still work for someone with basic woodworking skills.

Thought I would share this resource.

Typical Preppers Conversation

Persuing the news stories this morning, ran across this gem. The Grey Knight has a rare day off in the middle of the week so he was reading with me. This news story generated the typical preppers conversation.

News Story-Los Angeles man wakes in the night to find 500-pound bear raiding his fridge

Read more:

A Los Angeles man investigating noises coming from his garage in the middle of the night stumbled upon a 500-pound black bear, with food all over its face, raiding his fridge.
Glendale resident Joey Ball said the hungry bear tore through his freezer, eating tuna and Costco meatballs.
"He had steam coming out of his nose, and he had food on his face. It was crazy!" Ball told KTLA on Wednesday.
The bear apparently entered the garage through an outside door that had been left open.
"He had the refrigerator door open," Ball said. "And he had all these drawers laying around and there was food everywhere.
"As soon as I saw him, he looked at me, I thought, 'uh-oh!' So I locked the door on the dead bolt.
"You could hear him eating, slapping his gums."
Ball called police, who arrived with shotguns, but the bear had already made its escape into the surrounding hills.

While reading the story, the following conversation started:
Me: Obviously this guy wasn't a gun owner.
The Grey Knight: Yeah, I would have been calling you telling you to look up on the web how to gut a bear!
The Grey Knight: Does bear meat make good meatballs?
Me: Don't forget to add tuna to the shopping list at Cosco.
The Grey Knight: Where were I can hang the hide where no one will see it?
Me: Wouldn't be cold if TSHTF...

We could have gone on all day like this. Preppers are a rare and sometimes very wierd breed!

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Temps Rise-Maintence Time

With the summer like temperatures this early in spring, it has become a high drive to get maintence done early around the farm.

Right now, I look like I have a bad case of the measles with red paint speckling my arms. The last side of the gargage is getting done as well as the Bear Mansion Dog house (ever wonder what a dog house for a 200 lb dog looks like, you could park a car in it!), well not really but i can sit comfortably in it.

I have such a good man! Grey Knight before he left at o dark thirty in the morning went out and tipped the dog house up on its side so I could fully paint the bottom. All it took was a mention in passing that one evening when he got home, we needed to tip it.

Aldi run tonight (Aldi for those that don't have them) is a discount warehouse type grocery store. They have a ton of produce picks on sale, onions for 49 cents a lb, peppers for 99 a 3 pack, mushrooms for 49c a half lb, red potatoes for 1.29 a 5 lb bag. All of which will be thrown into the dehydrators for veggie flakes to add to soup mixes. Of course, I need to finish drying the 2 dozen eggs left in the frig too. I was impressed by the ease of drying them. 6 fit nicely on my fruit roll sheets and after drying simply grind them up (being careful not to breathe the egg powder in as it is still raw egg) and putting them into a canning jar with a couple 02 absorbers. To use them after simply substitue 1 tbsp for 1 egg in baking mixtures adding additional water to the recipe for liquid.
From what I have seen on survival food sites, unopened will last for 5 years, opened and stored in a cool place (like refrig or root cellar) will last 1-2 years.

Off to finish the painting! Just call me SPECKLED!

Monday, March 12, 2012

Jumble of Ideas

Several upcoming blog ideas rolling around in my head today. Started a giant crock of homemade saurkraut this weekend. Thank you for St. Patricks Day sales (a preppers friend) was able to get 25 lbs of cabbage for $5.10. As the Grey Knight said , thats less than a gallon of gas and will provide more gas than a tank of it! The 5 gallon crock will ferment for 4 weeks and then be canned up to 9 qts. of kraut.

Also started some fermented lemons this weekend to add to homemade mustard. Very simple to ferment them just add able a tsp of pickling salt to each lemon after its been quartered. Squeeze the juice into a mason jar and add the lemon. Continue til the jar is full. Top with a brine (1 qt water to 1 tbsp salt). Let sit for 4 weeks.

Also been thinking about substitues for WSHTF. It's all nice and good to have 12 bottles of shampoo and umpteen bars of soap. But when that runs out, what can you do to keep clean. Gonna do some experiments with planting Soapwort this year and using it as a soap and shampoo.

Pulling on my native american heritage, I'm gonna try the old fashioned way of getting oil from sunflower seeds. We like our food around here and frankly when SHTF, I plan on eating well, just doing alot more work to get the supplies.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Pioneer Handbooks-Free

Disclaimer-I don't work for this site nor receive monies from them.

On browsing for options for candle making supplies the other day, I stumbled on this great site that requires a little song and dance but is completely free.

This site has 60 or so manuals from the late 1800s for pioneers traveling west.

Manuals include 19 cooking manuals including some on preserving over 27 farming manuals, and even some on buildings and bingo for me, medical manuals.

Though some of the info of course is outdated. The Grey Knight and I had a chuckle reading over the medical manual's instructions to keep a fire burning in the house through May since it would drive off the malarial air. That said, there was info to be gleaned from these manuals. The Medical one has several recipes for teas. You, of course, have to figure out measurements as it is in the speech of the day.

Here is the song and dance about the site though. It requires registration along with a physical address and phone number. 1112 Main St Anywhere, Any World works along with the number for information. OPSEC is we don't randomly give out our personal info. The Grey Knight and I even have disposable email accounts registered under internet names..=P. Once you register and put the manuals you want in your basket, simply check out and they send a PDF file to your email account.

Found the manuals to be virus free and safe to open.

If you are looking for how the settlers survived and some thinking outside the box on how to do it, check it out.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Bear or known by his AKC name,Waskii Running Bear, is our 7 month old Newfoundland puppy. He is a new edition to the farm only being here for the last month or so.

Bear started out with a sad story. He is a puppy mill rescue. We thought we were getting him from a reliable breeder but after traveling 10 hours to get him, we found a place in disarray, horrid smells and a puppy who had been sorely mistreated.

Bear was originally bought by the breeder to
 be a stud, so that the breeder could produce more puppies. Unfortunately or fortunately for Bear's sake, his man jewels didn't fully drop making him undesirable for breeding. So since she couldn't breed him, she put him up for sale and stuck him outside on 12 acres of land to run wild with other dogs she has. Bear only saw humans once a day for food.

Newfies are a very social breed with a high drive to please their humans. Bear had none of those opportunies to please his humans before we loaded him up into our truck and vastly changed his world.

Don't get me wrong. Having a 70 lb (at the time) Newfie that had no socialization skills, had never had a car ride, been inside a house, or a crate, wasn't easy. But that said, Bear has intergrated himself well into the farm life here and is fast becoming spoiled rotten.

He will be starting his backpack training shortly. Waiting for the extra large dog harness to come and then constructing it with a set of ATV bags. Finding things big enough for a 90 lb puppy who will grow to be over 200lbs is hard.

You can't see me, right? Right?
Bear has fast become part of our family around here.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

I figure since I'm blogging this
would be a good place to keep track of this year's gardens.

Herb Garden 2012

New this year:
Turkish Poppy
Wild Zaatar Oregano
Lemon Bee Balm
Mammoth Dill
Montana Anise Tea
Self Heal

Existing or Reseeded:
Common Sage
German Chamomile
Clove Basil
Navajo Tea
Greek Oregano
Sweet Basil

Always looking to add more herbs into this garden. Our garden is set up in plots. We also have a dedicated Garlic Patch, Wild Raspberry Patch, and Everbearing Strawberry Patch as well as a Main Garden.
Welcome, this is a brand new blog. Please be patient as we are under construction.