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Thursday, April 23, 2009

Drying Foods

Drying food is fairly easy. I wrote about drying garlic here. I have tried to dry nearly everything, and found very little that did not turn out. You do not need fancy equipment to dry foods, although a dehydrator is a nice thing to have. A friend gave me hers as she never uses it, and I bought extra drying racks at a thrift store for 30 cents.

As a person trying to live a simple life(which has made me a prepper:), I save all containers that foods come from. I have a variety of plastic and glass jars to then re-use for my dried foods.

A key point to remember in drying foods is that if the food item browns in the air, you need to soak it(after you slice it) in a bowl of 3 parts water 1 part citrus juice. You can use the store bought items that will retain color, but I have used lime juice for a few years and it has worked wonderful.

These are dried onions. On the right I made a minced onion, and the left, the rings. I use the dehydrator for the rings because they will not fall through the slits on the drying trays. For the minced onions, I use plastic lids, then place them in pocket sleeve that I made(think pillowcase). I have read people using their roof to place items to dry on. I just sit the plastic lids on a bench in front of a window. Now I live in New Mexico, and it is almost always sunny. So other ideas to dry foods are using cookie sheets and use the oven at low heat overnight. If you are not drying onions(because of aroma) you can dry foods on the dashboard of your car. It takes little time using a vehicle as the car heats up rather quickly.

Here are orange slices that I recently dried. You can toss this in a tea drink, orange juice, or like my children just suck on them. They are a wonderful energy boost.

{Sorry about the photo quality}
This is Swiss Chard that I dried. It takes very much like seaweed and is a yummy crunchy snack. I think that I am going to start using this where I use a bay leaf to see how it will taste. Remember dark green vegetables are EXTREMELY healthy for you, yet in the winter, if you grow your own foods, you may lack things like chard-well no more. Just dry some for your family!

This is a jar of dried apple slices. You would pre-soak the slices in the citrus solution to stop the browning. I make a granola breakfast cereal that some of the kids toss apple slices on it. I prefer to grab a handful each morning to start my day. You will never regret drying apples!

Once again the photo quality is a bit off, but this is a photo of dried strawberries. Boy I cannot describe how wonderful a snack is that is made of dried strawberries. You can use this for breakfast foods, add it to a jello, or even ice cream or shakes.

If you do not have a garden, no problem*. The grocery has weekly sales. Buy a large amount of the item of the week and dry some food for your pantry today. (or can it). Learning how to preserve and store foods can make a difference in you and your family's very livelihood, and if I can dry foods so can you!
(c) Double Nickel Farm

cross posted at Alberta Preppers
* I strongly urge you to begin growing some foods for you and your family.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Link for Water Storage and Prep

Here is a great link on Water Storage, Self Reliance and Preparedness:
Down To Earth

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Your Thoughts?

A pre-Census taker just left my house. Her job is to let me know that they are coming. I had wet hair and tossed on clothes as I was just got out of the shower when the she knocked.

I told her my time was limited, and she quickly responded " oh no I am not asking questions" in a rush, like she expected me to he harsh. She then looked over to my fifth wheel, and said, so we' ll call that (my house number) A...

I told her no that is a fifth wheel, and no one lives in it, she nodded and continued writing...

Your thoughts?

Monday, April 13, 2009

Don't Forget the Animals

Living in the desert creates a different scenario for having animals than those of you that have animals in an area where it are not so arid. In southern New Mexico, the Mesquite grows like weeds. The leaves of the Mesquite are just fine for the animals. Feeding the animals is important regardless of any situation. Food storage should include foods for their needs as they will provide you and your family with so much.

In this photo my daughter is harvesting the leaves of the Mesquite. We have several bags and when we go out and about we gather the bags full to supplement the sheep, goats, and birds diets. Planning for the animals is very important, and here it is more time consuming, but solutions are in front of us.

The Mesquite grows a bean that can be dried and given to the animals as feed, or it can be ground into a flour and used to make a flat bread. It can also be ground and made into a coffee.

The Mesquite tree can be used for firewood. It burns so amazing, that my husband only uses this wood in the grill...green. He sends my sons out to cut several branches when he is planning on grilling.

As with most things in the desert, the Mesquite requires some stealth handiwork to take the leaves and gather the beans as the Mesquite has awful thorns. Living here in the desert southwest requires that one has tweezers on hand 24-7...
Since we moved to our farm we have studied intently what can be provided in the case of not being able to run into the local feed store. We have harvested the local grasses for feed, and collected the Mesquite beans, leaves and even the wood. We must not overlook the needs of our animals in prepping. Put together a med kit for each kind of animal, so that you can ensure that you take proper care of your critters.
These are two of the Double Nickel Farm Navajo Churro Sheep. This breed has been in the desert southwest for several hundred years, and are used to forage in this arid land.

We live in harsh times, not because I personally live in a dry arid climate, but because of the economy. One must take into account the needs of your animals when you are prepping. Don't forget that many items can be multi purpose reasons.
(c) double nickel farm
Have a great week!

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Food Storage

I have linked a food storage calculator in a previous post, but decided to explain some more about food storage, and what you should have on hand. This post is going to be about tomato sauce. Often times we think that we need to have food storage that last a long time. I am very simple. I do understand the need to have long lasting foods, but the practicality in me believes that your food storage should be able to compliment all meals and meets the daily food requirements.

Tomato sauce is one of those foods that does just that. And let me mention another key that I use when filling my food storage: the most for the least amount of money. Tomato sauce in my hometown costs anywhere from 5 for a dollar to the best of 8 for a dollar. That is a good deal.

But what can you make with this item?
Spaghetti sauce
pizza sauce
spicy sauce- make like salsa, but add the juice of two limes, and cayenne pepper
tomato juice(see my v- link)
Spanish rice
Albondigas soup
burrito sauce- add spices and boil down with a bit of water
taco sauce- same as burrito

well that list is not inclusive, but one a list of what I make(I am sure I am forgetting some things)...but you see the versatility. If I had say spaghetti sauce, I have a few options: spaghetti sauce, pizza sauce, and I go through the list and show that the base- tomato sauce is the one that has the most options. For me as I began to use a food storage system and cooking more and using meals and food kits less, I discovered how easy it was to have a few items go very far. I will admit I have spaghetti sauce, and I am not against ease foods. I have some in my pantry. I am just sharing for those another way to see the potential in foods that may have not been considered as valuable long term.

The picture is of a portion of my pantry, as Indiana Preppers did such a good job sharing how far they are in their food storage, I realized that we need to be open and share. We are the strength for others! Check out the Canadian circuit of bloggers over the next week or so, and I bet you will be able to have a complete picture of my pantry, as I am going to share my food storage in a like fashion as IP did! Thanks for the good idea.
(c)Double Nickel Farm

~~Don't Forget to Try and visit several preppers today and leave a comment- we are human after all!!

Friday, April 10, 2009

Pros and Cons of City Dwellings

Water is key in any crisis situation.

Here are two articles on water rationing in major cities...Mexico City and LA.

The reality is that control over utilities is NOT yours anywhere, unless you have solar and a well. But in the city you have to compete with the greater good(so to speak). When we lived in Nevada, 100 miles from Las Vegas, our county was losing the battle to ownership to the underground water table to you guessed it: the CITY. But keep this in mind, the casinos had full access to the water, whereas water rationing was in full force in the communities. This is crazy.

City life has everything at one's fingertips...but in a needed situation you could be brought to your knees for a sip of water that is handed out. You cannot ever store enough in an environment that is dependent on the government for distribution.

Just my thoughts...

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Homemade Deodorant

Can it be so easy to make a product at home that is like what you buy at the store? Will the homemade product work? Is it hard to make? Is it really cost effective to make at home? The questions I have written go through my mind every time I research making something at home. In addition I have been researching making things that have limited preservatives or chemicals as I am unsure exactly what side effects they may cause me. I have been amazed at what things are in items that we use on a daily basis, and although I am neither a doctor nor scientist, wonder if the rise in cancer is the result of chemical overload.

I make my own toothpaste, hairspray, shampoo (not sold on its ease so still working on) hair gel, facial cleanser, soap, and as of today deodorant! Yes, I made my own deodorant today. I will confess that not wishing to smell has been the reason I have delayed making deodorant. I ran out of deodorant the other day, so I decided to get over my worries and just make it-pass or fail.

Wow, making deodorant has to be one of the easiest items I have ever made. The process took around 8 minutes, and 4 minutes was spent washing out my old deodorant container.

Empty deodorant container

The ingredients:
1/4cup corn starch
1/4 cup baking soda
1-2 TBSP coconut oil

Mix the dry ingredients first and slowly add the coconut oil mixing with your hands. The coconut oil is the bonding agent and you do not need too much to make the deodorant the same consistency as store bought. Then fill the empty deodorant container.

Here is the finished product! It has no smell and works wonderfully.
The total cost to make this:
coconut oil= around 10 cents
baking soda= around 5 cents
corn starch= around 10 cents
empty deodorant container=free
total= 25 cents! Amazing

And for the record the baking soda is the odor fighter, the corn starch keeping dry, coconut oil bonding agent-3 ingredients safe and simple.
(c)Double Nickel Farm

I wrote this post for my farm blog. You see for me prepping and living simple are the same thing. I am preparing on relying on my brain to make things for my family, if and when I can no longer go to the store anymore. Once I discovered the volume of chemicals and garbage in so many products, I threw myself into this full force. You see even if the world changes and our economy tanks I am still me and wish to maintain some normalcy. In any crisis, comfort items do make all the difference. Having clean clothes, being able to wash up are stabilizers for many of us. If you prep long term it becomes a lifestyle and then making every day items become a snap!

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Quick Tip

A prepper commented that she would make her pantry better when she had more$$...so I thought I would share my secret to building projects on the farm. We have a friend that works construction and he gives us all the leftover lumber from any current sites.

We use the leftover plywood doubled to make the pantry shelves- just a bit of paint and they transform to something that is amazing.

FYI on construction sites, when they are tearing down buildings also are willing to give stuff away. At one site, I stopped by when I saw a cast iron tub just about to be bulldozed. The men stopped loaded the tub in my truck and even went into a small house (with me) and tore a magnificent sink with beautiful fixtures off the wall for me(they date from the mid 1930's).

We also have tin roofing for most of the barns and pens salvaged from construction sites. Trust me, this is a tremendous arena that is often overlooked! I know I have not shared a portion of what we have received. To stucco, construction uses a chicken wire and to date we have not bought ANY chicken wire for our nearly 70 plus birds...we have a turkey pen, two duck pens, two geese pens, and the chicken coops.

Remember preppers have lots of reasons to salvage items, and use their cash for more important things. (come on we are not politicians right?)

SALVAGE reuse and SAVE...$$$$$$$$$


President Obama told bankers this the other day:
“Be careful how you make those statements, gentlemen. The public isn’t buying that.”

“My administration,” the president added, “is the only thing between you and the pitchforks.”
Ironic how this administration is using the pitchfork in this way...
Here's the Double Nickel Farm pitchfork...where I come from folks cling to their guns and bibles too.

Monday, April 6, 2009

What's in your Pantry?

This is a parade of food pantry's to make you think about your food storage methods. I strongly urge you to keep records of your foods in the pantry and rotate your food. I believe that the way the economy is that a well stocked pantry may keep your family fed while you get back to basics and learn how to not only grow your own foods but be able to put the food up(canning, preserving, drying).

Pantry #1 organized
This pantry is quite organized-which is critical to managing your foods and rotating. There is a good number of dried goods(long shelf life) with canned beans, fruit, veggies, and honey. The bottom shelf has a luxury item of sorts- instant potatoes.(which is a quick food to cook) even over a campfire. Notice the canned salmon on the left lower shelf. You need to have some meats canned, or freeze dried, or dehydrated. In the local grocery, you can buy a variety of fish, turkey, chicken, ham, roast beef, spam, and Vienna sausages. One can also buy summer sausage that does not need to be refrigerated until opened, and beef jerky which never needs to be refrigerated.

Pantry #2 Fantastic space used totally incorrectly

How long can this pantry feed anyone? Well not for very long that is for sure. Soda with its empty nutritional value is a waste of space. Mind you, I have enjoyed many an iced filled soda, but to fill a pantry with soda and almost nothing else will lead to the last diet EVER. This pantry also has many prepackaged box meals-whether cereal or the dinner mixes above them. I am always one to look for bargains and time savers, but the older I get the more I realize that these are exactly like the soda. They are filled with excess calories with the least amount of beneficial nutrition.

Pantry #3 This is a photo of a church distribution, but I like the way I can use this in my post, so I am! This pantry looks both organized and full compared to Pantry #2. It has a variety and food to last longer, but it is lacking flour, sugars, legumes, rice, to name a few.

Pantry #4 Obsessive compulsive pantry
Now this is a show home pantry! Water is included in this storage which is a plus, but only for a week or so. This pantry is balanced yet will provide NO nutritional balance. I won't say anything else.

Pantry #5 Holy Toledo...
If you store food like this, you may as well flush a $20.00 bill down the toilet every day. Nothing is organized, it would be impossible to quickly assemble a meal, and it looks like some food is stored on the floor. Kudos to the really cool shelving unit, but that is not what makes a good pantry. I am betting that this pantry has several items opened because they did not realize that one was already open.(notice the two Pam spray cans- one on an upper shelf and one below).

Pantry #6 Finally

This pantry is from an LDS family. Notice the five gallon buckets on the floor...they can be stored on the floor(although it is not recommended to store them on cement floor). In these buckets are grains, oats, sugar, flour, and the likes. Notice the water on the right. There is also a variety of canned goods, box goods, and other items. This pantry continues on either side and holds a years worth of food. Some sits in its case until the old food is used first.

I have a list of suggested items for a pantry to buy in the month of April.
A- apples(applesauce, dried apples, apple butter) apricots, asparagus,
P- peas, peaches, pears, pineapples, peanuts, peanut butter
R-rice, rotini,
I- Italian dressing, Italian seasoning,
L- legumes, lard,

This is something simple to make you build up a variety in the pantry because if you only have 200 lbs of rice life will be tedious. In any situation your emotional health is as important to your health as anything. So begin a simple plan but be diligent.

Now here is my shaking reality- don't begin simple, but ... spend and fill up the pantry. Every time I go to the store the prices are increasing. If something you use is on sale, load up. For example my local store is having a case lot sale and I definitely shopped accordingly.

Many prep sites give sound advice of buying foods that last 20 or so years, etc. If you are starting today, the time to find the deals on those items is going fast. I also suggest being stingy on price as the more you have the better off you will be. Stretch your dollar long and far, as an empty pantry vs. a well stocked one is what will get you through to your garden harvest.
@Double Nickel Farm

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Road Blocks in the US

I am still here, just a bit busy. I am revamping my farm blog so it is closed for a bit to rearrange some things(and go through the nearly 150 comments)...I have a 'friend' that is not too fond of farm wives-farming- self sufficiency-me not being on welfare- not being on foodstamps, and instead of not bothering to comment- leaves me lovely/ nasty comments. If I wasn't in the midst of spring on the farm I would be able to do everything in an afternoon, and go through the comments.

I am a bit humbled by the NWO conspiracy becoming mainstream truth, funny this has been a truth for me(and others) and of course the NWO for a good while. Times are progressing so fast that it is almost hard for me to wrap my mind about it.

I maintain my direction that prepping must be a lifestyle, in addition to planning a bugout scenario, one must have plans to reside where you are with the implementations you have already instituted. I pray that we need not ever relocate, but I have that on my mind, as Hurricane Katrina caused many to move permanently.

Taking inventory of where you are in your prep is a must. I believe real scenarios of this economy are losing many things we consider normal now. I believe that inflation is on its way, and your salary may not change but the price of bread may rise to prices that would make us vomit. I am not one that is an alarmist, but more of a realist that plans far ahead for a zillion possibilities. Things that I believe that many may reduce or eliminate in their lives to make ends meet will be items such as snack foods, DVD's, books, decorative items for the home, vacations, new clothes, jewelry, dental care, bottled drinks, organic anything, and on and on. Do you remember Carter? My older brother remembers wearing the same plaid jeans(it was the 70's) every day for school, and had a pair of play pants for home. One pair of pants for an entire year. My step dad was a professor at a local university, but before the recession, the lifestyle we had was extremely comfortable, and the bills kept coming, while the value of the dollar was reduced.(I blocked out much of this because I had bellbottom pants that were of square floral
nonsense. I hated them, enough said)

Here are some links that I have used and have found extremely beneficial.

Canned butter
Canning anything
glass bottle lamps
Goat milk butter
Pumpkin fruit leather
Making food storage bins for the pantry
Homemade grain mill
Medical remedies
Burn remedy
Shelf life of foods

And this is a must see, and this is from the 1980's...YOU WILL BE AMAZED AND SHOCKED AT HOW EASY IT WAS TO GET US TO THIS POINT...

I will be back in swing soon. I confess that it is hard to stay focused as so many seem to be so blind to what is not coming, but upon us. I mentioned to Tom I had some ideas then have not got back to him, so here is one of my ideas to help the preppers.

~pick five prep sites per day, in a rotation of 10- 13 days you can hit all the preppers and leave a comment. Comments are pivotal to our emotional well being, YOU KNOW THAT THIS IS TRUE, so make the sweep to those like minded. Everyone on the prepper circuit understands the reality of what is happening to our nation and the world...no negotiation is needed, no long winded stories, they are already on board- so challenge yourself in your day to leave a comment, as it is very hard to grasp how fast things have changed. For me, my sadness is monumental, as my father was killed in combat 2 months before I was born, and I ache thinking of where we are today and how very different our nation has changed in the 42 years since his death. So leave a comment, even a smiley face :) to let other preppers know we are there for eachother. You know that many see us a wackos, so the very notion of prepping is incomprehensible to many (we are a small number- but don't forget the NWO was a conspiracy in November, now it is mainstream- so perhaps attitudes towards us may change :?)

I have rambled much- thank you for including me in the Prep Circuit and thank you in advance for your comments.

***Oh and the Title??? It was my way to get you to swing over, and is of no importance to what I wrote(I just wanted you all to swing over to NM for a moment:)
Humble Wife
New Mexico Preppers Network Est. Jan 17, 2009 All contributed articles owned and protected by their respective authors and protected by their copyright. New Mexico 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.