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Friday, October 29, 2010

Welcome New Members

Welcome our new member:


Hello to eveyone! I am lovie (that is the name my grandchildren call me) I am married, mother of 3 adult children and grandmother to 5 young ones. I have always had an interest in prepping but it is only in the last several months that I have gotten serious about it. Right now, I am scared out of my mind after reading "One Second After" the fictionalized account of life after an EMP. I and my daughter are really prepping in earnest now. Unfortunately, my husband doesn't seem to take it seriously. Any advice on this? I am looking forward to learning everything I can here on this site.

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Tuesday, October 19, 2010

About Grain Grinders

There are many different grain grinders to choose from out there and I think it can get really confusing when trying to decide which one to purchase. After all, the good ones are usually $250 and up, so you don't want to enter into the purchase lightly.

First you have to decide if you want an electric grinder or a hand grinder. Each serve their own purpose.

Electric grinders are quick and easy to use - you can leave it on your countertop and therefore be more likely to use it daily. There are even attachments you can purchase to grind grain using your KitchenAid Mixer.

Hand grinders take a bit more to set up and are a bit more work to use, but if you had no electricity or were trying to limit the use of your electricity or generator, then this would be the way to go.

Our opinion is it is good to have both.

I don't make a habit of grinding grain daily for my baking, but I have a friend who freshly grinds her flour for her baking every day. And I can tell you from first-hand experience her baked goods are absolutely fabulous.

Since I wasn't grinding grain daily, I always just used the grain grinding attachment for my Vitamix whenever I needed small amounts ground for baking bread, etc.

But this year as part of my preparedness budget, an electric grain mill made it on the list. I want one that is dedicated to grain grinding that I can leave on the counter so I'll use it more frequently.

Electric Mill

I did my research and decided to go with a WonderMill. WonderMills are similar to the WhisperMills that are no longer made. It is supposed to be very quiet and very efficient. The makers of the mill say it will grind 100 pounds of flour in an hour. It has a 1.75 horsepower motor. It will grind wheat, rice, small grains, legumes and beans as large as garbanzos. It also has a lifetime warranty. Sounded good to me and came highly recommended from several of my friends.

And, as luck would have it, our friends at FunderFarm sell these and have been running them on sale recently from $239.95 (retail $269.95). I placed my order last week and my mill arrived late yesterday afternoon. I will definitely be posting again to let you know how well it works!

Hand Mill

There are just as many different kinds of hand mills out there too. You really have to look at what you want to grind and in what quantities, how much room you have, where you want to set your hand mill up, how fine will it grind the flour, etc.

Many people agree that the king of hand mills is the Country Living Hand Mill. I also have several friends who have this mill and say it is the best one they have ever had. I can't personally say, since I don't own one, but I can say that it is on my list for future preparedness purchases. You'll have to do your research to find a price on these that fits your budget, as you can sometimes find them on sale various places online. The website above for the mill has some good videos on their product as well.

These are the two mills that I've done the most research on and that come most highly recommended by friends of mine who use them on a daily basis. I'd love to hear from other readers who have used different mills that they really love!
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Thursday, October 14, 2010

Hand Operated Washing Machine

My husband found this interesting information about a very nifty hand washing machine device - and it looks like it would be really easy to use. It's a great price it seems at $14.95 at Emergency Essentials website (beprepared.com - mobile washer).

Here's the blog link: Preparedness Pantry - Mobile Washer (Hand Operated Washing Machine)

And the video showing it in action:

Let me know if you've ever used one of these!

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Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Storing Grains

As we've mentioned before, grains will store for a much longer period of time than ground flours, if you store them properly.

There are many ways to store grains, depending on your needs and how you use them.

Many bakers I know keep some of the grain they are using often in their freezer to keep it fresh and to keep the grain at a cooler temperature when they grind it fresh from the freezer.

This works if you aren't storing a lot of grain or if you have a dedicated space in your freezer for keeping your grain.

We keep our grain in a couple of categories: immediate-use, short-term storage and long-term storage. The key is to keep your storage grains so they won't get bugs or rodents in them, and in a relatively temperature-stable condition in order to get a long storage life from your grains.

Our immediate-use grain is in a 5 gallon bucket with a gamma seal lid. I keep this grain handy so I can scoop out of it for use whenever I need it.

Our short-term storage grains are in sealed 5 gallon buckets. We put the grain into mylar bags with oxygen absorbers, sealed the bags (we use a hair straightening-iron for sealing our bags, you can pick one up at any discount retailer in the hair products section), then sealed the buckets. They are stored in an accessible area and are used to replenish my immediate use grain bucket when it gets low or runs out.

Our long-term storage grains are also in sealed 5 gallon buckets. Some we did ourselves using the mylar bag and oxygen absorber method mentioned above and some we purchased already sealed. These are stored in an out-of-the-way area that we only access about twice a year for rotation purposes and these grains are intended as part of our long-term food storage program.

You can purchase grains from many, many different places and it is best to research food co-ops in your local area as a starting point for purchasing your grains.

We have purchased many of our long-term storage buckets of grain from Emergency Preparedness - they will ship the 5 gallon buckets of grain to you with a minimum order of 6 buckets. They come via FedEx on a pallet delivered right to your door. This is one of the best ways we've found to get our long-term storage grains; shipping is only a flat $12.00 for any order over $120.01!!! This is an very cost-effective way to get heavy items like buckets of grain delivered to you.

Another option we have in West TN is a local farmer who places a bulk grain order twice each year for customers who pre-order. He does a spring and fall order and then you pick up your order from him in North Mississippi when it arrives. You can order in sealed food grade pails (not in mylar, but in sealed buckets) or in bags. We've known the Funderburk family for awhile now and they are fantastic to work with: FunderFarm is the link to their website. They also sell grains and mixes already ground and ready to use, as well as different grinders.

In another post we'll talk about the different grain grinders and what we've found that we like best.
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Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Grain Basics

Grains are a basic staple for your preparedness pantry - but many people who aren't used to grinding their own grains get confused by the different types and how they are supposed to be used.

Grains when properly stored will last much, much longer than flour that is already ground. But how do you know which type of wheat you want?

The three most common types of wheat that we use in our home are:

Soft White Wheat, Hard White Wheat, and Hard Red Wheat

It's really not that hard to know how to use the different types.

A basic rule of thumb to remember is this:

If your recipe calls for flour and BAKING POWDER - use SOFT WHITE WHEAT. This would be items like cakes, cookies, muffins - most sweets or dessert type items you want to bake that are supposed to be light and fluffy.

If your recipe calls for flour and YEAST - use HARD WHITE WHEAT. This produces a wheat bread (or pizza dough or the like) that is lighter in texture and closer to what most people are used to from the grocery store when they think of wheat bread.

If you want a artisan-type bread that is heavier - you'll use HARD RED WHEAT. Most times that I've made bread using freshly ground hard red wheat, I mix the flour with a hard white wheat flour so the dough will rise properly and will be a little lighter.

If you have recipes for artisan-type breads that are hard and crusty - hard red wheat will usually work really well for you.

In addition to these wheat grains, I sometimes also mix in a little ground spelt or kamut when making bread just to give it a multi-grain texture.

You can experiment to see what you and your family like best and that is part of the fun of working with different grains - finding what you like!

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Monday, October 11, 2010

Following the Foreclosure Issues

Although most of the posts for this blog are written to help you with your preparedness goals or share how one family or other is doing things to give you ideas; it is never-the-less important to stay abreast of issues going on in our nation that could impact you personally, financially, etc. Issues in the news can also impact the urgency of your preparedness activities or could make you change your focus of priorities for purchases, etc.

If you have not been following the events related to the Foreclosure nightmare that is unfolding, or if you have just been going by the blips of information you have received from the main stream media regarding it, then you really do not have a good picture of the urgency of this situation and how significant the impact could be for all of us financially regarding this mess.

I highly recommend the following blog - The Market Ticker - for putting the information out about this for the past 3 YEARS and telling people that this would all blow up one day - and for keeping it real and letting us know what's going on in terms and definitions we can all understand.

So, if you haven't been keeping up, please go do some reading and educate yourself. My thought is while I can't be an expert about everything myself - I can better prepare for myself and my family if I keep up with important events around me by reading about them from the experts that are out there.

Here is a good place to start - and you can search his blog for Foreclosuregate to see all the past entries that will spell it all out for you in understandable detail.

The Market Ticker on Foreclosuregate


" . . . .These events sure look like black-letter crimes to me. Selling someone crap instead of chocolate, when you tell them it's chocolate, is plain old-fashioned fraud. So is selling someone called a "Mortgage-backed security" without the mortgage backed part. In both cases, if and when this happened, you have people who took someone's money - some $6 trillion of it over the "go-go" years - and sold them crap that was certified as Grade "AAA" chocolate. In each and every case where the sellers lied, they committed a serious crime.

Who got screwed? You. Your pension fund. Your annuity company - an insurance company that might not be able to pay 10 years down the road when you're old, gray and frail.

You are the one who got screwed.

And if these clowns have their way, you'll get screwed again. The Senate knows, and is holding hearings on how to steal your 401ks - your private money - to make up the money the banks stole from Union pension funds. That's right folks - they know, and they're trying to figure out how to make it "more fair" - which is code in Washington DC for taking money from those who didn't get robbed by the banks and giving it to those who did, instead of making the robbers pay back what they stole and unjustly bonused out to their much-vaunted "talent."

Through all this we can't seem to find a prosecutor, perhaps because they're all bought and paid for by those same banks, who threaten "the end of the world" if they would be forced to eat their own cooking - or in this case, their own packaging of the dogcrap they foisted off on you.

What's worse is that we're letting all these people cover it up, even though the game had to go right through the executive suite of these big banks - you simply can't make the argument that which comprises "how one makes their money" wasn't known to the guys at the top.

Everyone talking about this in the mainstream media - with a handful of exceptions like myself on Dylan Ratigan's show, is trying to play this down as a mere technicality.

It's not.

It's a coverup that is now coming unraveled.

Why now?

Because the cash flow - or rather, the lack there - on these defaulted instruments is now becoming a serious problem, and as such you have banks furiously attempting to keep from coming to light the entirety of what happened - and they sure as hell don't want you to look closely at their practices over the last five years!

I said three years ago and have maintained since that in the end the cash flow would kill these games, because while all sorts of lies can be put on a balance sheet, you will never get away with falsifying the deposit ticket.

Guess what? That day has arrived.

Wake up America.

You've been robbed - by the bank."

The Market Ticker

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One Year of Food for Approximately $220

Found this informative blog posting showing the possibility of purchasing a year's worth of food for one person for as little as $220 - and as the writer mentions, that is less than the cost of many technological items we spend money on all the time!

Here's the link:

Modern Stronghold: Societal Collapse: $217 of Survival Food Storage for One Year

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Sunday, October 10, 2010

Dehydrating Foods

Quick post this weekend to let you all know about a good video on YouTube about dehydrating foods.

You don't need a really expensive food dehydrator to start making your own delicious dehydrated foods. You can pick up basic food dehydrators many places; we've found that the ones with the clear trays don't seem to work as well as all the others, but you can experiment on your own.

A family favorite at our house is dehydrated banana chips - we slice ours and let them soak briefly in lemon juice to keep the bananas from turning brown, then lightly pat them with a paper towel before placing them on the dehydrator trays that have been lightly sprayed with no-stick spray.

We dehydrate ours until they are crunchy - the lemon juice seems to bring out the sweetness in the bananas and homemade ones taste delicious compared to the bland ones you buy in the bags in stores.

Of course, the king of dehydrators is the Excalibur and everyone I've talked to who owns one absolutely loves it. We have one on our list of future purchases.

You can dehydrate lots of fruits and veggies - just remember that the more water content in the item the longer it will take to dehydrate. We've done blueberries, bananas, onions, apples and made lots of our own fruit leather.

If you haven't investigate dehydrating foods as part of your preparedness activities - learn more about it through this video and then give it a try!

Video Link:

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