Self-Sufficiency Series

Monday, September 15, 2014

The Estrogen Messiah speaks.....

Whoa! Go take a look at this link...!

The "Estrogen Messiah" -- hee hee, what a hoot. Thank you very much!

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Canning concerns

If there's one thing I try to express in all my discussions about canning, it's safety. A couple of days ago I received an email that epitomized these concerns. I didn't ask permission to post the email so I won't, but I'll synopsize the contents.

It seems a gentleman and his wife, evidently in a happy and experimental mood, were canning crabapple jelly. They said they were new to canning and were clearly having a good time together, learning how to preserve... which is the wonderful part.

They had lots of crabapple juice left over, so they decided to experiment and add all kinds of different stuff such as peppers and "et cetera" (I don't know what else they added besides peppers).

In a "what the heck" mood, the husband pulled out a pack of bacon to add to the jam, hoping to have bacon-crabapple jam. Taste sensation aside, the plan was to cook the bacon "til just about crispy," keep the bacon fat, pour the bacon fat into the juice, and add a couple of chunks of bacon to the juice, seal it up, and let it set.

I'm very very very glad this gentleman heeded his wife's concerns that such a combination might not work... not because I think bacon-crabapple jam sounds disgusting, but because it's a dangerous thing for novice canners to willy-hilly throw together a bunch of ingredients without considering how those ingredients can drastically affect processing times and requirements.

I emailed the fellow back and said that canning fats isn't recommended, and that ALL meats must be pressure-canned at 10 lbs pressure (adjusted for elevation) for 75 minutes (pints) or 90 minutes (quarts). I also sent him a complimentary copy of my ebook Canning FAQs with particular emphasis on the tips about what NOT to can and how beginning canners should stick with pre-approved canning recipes. I also urged them to get a good canning reference book such as Ball Blue Book or Putting Food By, which gives detailed canning instructions and processing times.

I am relieved this couple sought outside advice before embarking on what could have been a risky canning adventure, since as it turned out they didn't have a pressure canner.

While I urge everyone to give canning a try -- I am convinced it is a second-to-none method of food preservation -- I also urge canners to embrace SAFE canning techniques, and to take the time to learn the proper methods.

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Feminism has slain our protectors

Here's this weekend's WND column entitled Feminism has Slain our Protectors.

It seems to have attracted some interesting attention. I also note how people are interpreting the column through the lens of their own biases, interests, and strengths.

Friday, September 12, 2014

Venturing into podcasts

Guess what -- I'm trying a new venture!

In July I was contacted by Lisa Bedford (The Survival Mom) and asked to join her team of prepper women on Survival Mom Radio Network doing podcasts. She and Don both sweet-talked me into it.

So here I am, venturing into unknown territory.

The podcasts can be found here and will be available every Thursday.

Lisa has assembled a broad team of like-minded women discussing such subjects as preparedness, homesteading, growing and preserving food, home, family, and healthy living. Check out this link to see all the hosts. You can listen to some of the other podcasts these talented women have recorded.

There's also a spiffy "grand giveaway" to celebrate the successful launch of SurvivalMom Radio, so click here to check out specifics.

Wish me luck as I wobble my way into the world of radio!

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Lest we forget...

Writing this "with tears in my eyes"

Here's your chuckle du jour.

As I mentioned before, I get a lot of spam emails. Most of them I delete without reading, but this one caught my attention:

I'm writing this with tears in my eyes, my family and I came down here to Dubai - United Arab Emirates for a short vacation, unfortunately we were mugged at the park of the hotel where we stayed all cash,credit card and mobile phone were stolen from us but luckily we still have our passports with us.

We've been to the Embassy and the Police here but they're not helping issues at all the bad news is our flight will be leaving in less than 8-hrs from now but we're having problems settling the hotel bills and the hotel manager won't let us leave until we settle the bills.

I'll need your help (LOAN) financially of $2,500 USD.I promise to make the refund once we get back home. Please let me know if i can count on you and i need you to keep checking your email because it's the only way i can reach you.
Frederick N. Dyer, Ph.D.
8017 *** Ct.
Columbus GA 31909

It goes without saying that I don't know a Frederick N. Dyer, Ph.D., in Columbus, Georgia.

Sorry, Freddy ol' boy, you're on your own in Dubai. Cry all you want.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Playing hooky at the fair

Yesterday, despite the wacky week of work we're experiencing, the girls and I snuck out and played hooky at the Spokane Fair. We've also concluded that Tuesday afternoons are the best time to go to fairs -- all the fun but none of the crowds. Poor Don stayed home and worked.

Saw this handsome spike buck on the way out.

At the fair, we started by touring the "bling" booths in the exhibit halls. What can I say, we have teenage daughters.

We passed a booth promoting atheism (interestingly, it was located three booths down from a Christian booth). "What I don't understand," noted Younger Daughter, "is Christians try to convert atheists because they believe they're saving them. Why are atheists trying to convert Christians?"

We went into a sort of petting zoo that had, besides the usual assortment of goats and sheep, some impressive longhorns, watusi, and other interesting and exotic breeds cattle.

Those watusi horns are not exaggerated in the photo -- they're massive. (I don't know who the little girl is.)

This youngster was having a fit of giggles as a goat reached for him.

In the livestock barn they had a camel. It's interesting to see one of these close up.

Well-adapted feet!

In one of the agricultural exhibit halls, they had tables with puzzles for those who needed to sit for awhile. I thought this was a splendidly thoughtful idea, and in fact the girls worked on this puzzle for a bit when we were tired of walking.

As evening approached, the food vendors got crowded. Fair food is famous for having "deep fried" everything (I seriously regret not photographing the vendor selling, no kidding, deep-fried lasagna), but this booth stopped me in my tracks. Glazed doughnut cheeseburgers? Seriously? (No, we didn't try one so perhaps we missed out on a spectacular taste experience.)

When the sun set, we walked onto the midway, the best time to admire the lights.

We saw crowds of Japanese schoolgirls wandering around the midway in the evening, having the time of their lives. It was fun to watch them experience this typically American event, chattering among themselves in Japanese but practicing their English with vendors and ride attendants with impeccable politeness. (The kids teased me that I took more photos than they did, though.)

I just love midway lights at dusk.

Older Daughter went on some of the rides. Here she's on the "Ali Baba."

That's her, raising her arms.

But much of what we did was just walk around and gawk, at both the lights and the wild rides.

There was one particularly horrifying ride appropriately called the "Freak Out." I say horrifying because I'm scared to death of zero-gravity sensation -- a serious phobia -- so carnival rides are like the "entertainment from hell" for me. I can't even handle a Ferris wheel because it comes down too fast.

This ride would take sixteen passengers and swing them back and forth (as well as rotate them) terribly high.

I don't think there's enough money on the planet to convince me to step foot on this thing. It was fascinating to watch, though, in a train-wreck sort of way.

We left sated with sights and grateful for the break from work.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Magazine photos

Sorry for the silence of the last couple of days, but we're having an insanely busy week as we battle our busy season as well as handle multiple writing deadlines.

I submitted two articles to Backwoods Home Magazine yesterday and the following are photos that might be suitable for illustration, along with captions. These photos are posted so the editor can choose which ones she wants.

Business Article

Photo 698 -- Production run of wooden tankards

Photo 699 -- Sample tankards (Lisa, I can re-photograph these if you think they're too dark)

Photo 702 -- Specialty tankards (ditto if they're too dark)

Product Review Article

Photo 703 -- Emergency supplies cached in a Big Blok

Photo 704 -- Emergency supplies cached in a Big Blok

Photo 705 -- Emergency supplies cached in a Big Blok

Photo 706 -- Emergency supplies cached in a Big Blok -- still room to spare

Photo 707 -- Big Block (single unit size) -- 10 gallon capacity, packed with emergency supplies for a family of four