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Friday, December 25, 2009


Thank you for visiting my blog page, and I hope I can help you learn how to be more self sufficient every day.  If there are any topics you would like to see explored, please let me know.

Let us all enjoy this season and remember Jesus Christ is our Lord and Savior, and that our Heavenly Father lives and loves us.  Let us be worthy of the Holy Spirit in our lives, study the scriptures, and do all things that bring us closer to being like Christ.

Merry Christmas and Happy 2010!

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Honey and Water

I bought two gallons of fresh raw honey from a local beekeeper for only $60, which is about half what I might ordinarily pay.  Here is a photo of the container and the first batch of jars I made after warming so it flowed well into the jars.  Since there is a fair amount of wax inside the honey, I expect I will need to warm it up each time I use it because it will probably solidify very quickly.

Also I poured out old bottles of water and refilled them (it's been since February/April), which I try to do twice a year so the water is always fresh.  I try to have at least 10 bottles of such water for each of us, and put it in a storage bin for protection of the floor.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Frozen Potatoes

I neglected to cover my potato plants (two of the plants are in a container), so they wilted terribly with today's low temperatures.  I harvested the four potatoes under the soil and they are great! Three small ones, one medium large one.  I'm very pleased how well the plants did considering I didn't give it any special treatment.  Next spring when I plant more I will also pay more attention to the fertilizers each plant type needs and see what difference it makes!

In any case, it's unfortunately I didn't realize we'd have that big of a cold snap.

My lettuce and broccoli are covered with a sheet for tomorrow since it's supposed to snow a little.  We harvested some of the lettuce tonight for a salad.  Yum!!

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Broccoli and potatoes

The broccoli plants are doing so very well, so I expect to have some good broccoli heads eventually.  I dug up a single red potato this morning and hope for much more.  This one is very small, and can fit comfortably on a teaspoon.  It was delicious!  I feel very grateful I've been able to grow these Fall/Winter vegetables!

Monday, November 23, 2009

Flaked Wheat Cereal you make yourself!

As many of you know, awhile back I bought a grain flaker.  (look up "flaker" here in my blog).  I used it to flake wheat (as well as groats), as an alternate method of eating wheat.  Wheat can be eaten by boiling it whole, grinding, flaking or using as a method to make gluten "wheat meat".

What I wanted to try was to make my own cold cereal.  (Remember to click on these photos to see them bigger)

I first soaked wheat kernels in water for about an hour the night before.  Then drained it on paper towels all night.  (You can do it much faster than that, however).  This morning I flaked the wheat, then put it on a cookie sheet, sprayed it with sugar water,  and baked it for 12 minutes at 350 degrees. 

When done, it made a satisfying crunchy cereal!

Next time, I'm going to make the hot cereal out of it, then dehydrate it in my dehyrator by pouring it on the solid "fruit leather" sheves, then I'll break it apart and try it that way...or maybe bake it if needed.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Lettuce in the Garden

Ah, the Fall harvest is great.  All of my romaine lettuce plants are growing just fine...and so far I've been able to go out and cut off enough lettuce leaves for two of us to have salad twice a week.  It's awesome.  Never again will I have only a summer garden! Friends of mine have tomatoes still growing this time of next year my  plan is to have the summer vegies still going while I plant my Fall/Winter vegies.

My  potato plant and broccoli also look just great.  More harvesting!

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Acorn Class

Today I went to Stephen Nix's house for an acorn class. There were only five others besides me and Stephen, which was nice because it was a more intimate class. He started off by showing us how to identify common oak trees in the Sacramento region, and we focused on two main ones, Interior Live Oak (Quercus wislizeni) which has the best protein and oil production for oil expelling, but high tannin. The other one is the Valley oak (Quercus lobata), which is the one found most often in the EG area. It has low tannin and so is very edible without long leaching periods, but it doesn't provide good oil.

Stephen had used the oil expeller to make about a 1/4 cup of acorn oil which he used to make us some popcorn. It was GREAT. Then we also made acorn/wheat flour tortillas for lunch.

All in all we learned a good deal, although I'll need to do a bit more studying...also I want to find more acorns as I made the mistake of drying them in too high heat so they were bascially baked, which binds the tannin to the acorn skin. Next time I need to just air dry them or dry them in the dehyrator under really low heat so it's mainly air dried. You dry them for 4-8 hours, crack them open with a hammer or whatever, and then you can grind up the meat and then leach as needed. He's supposed to send the info he's collected also, although I have most of it already.

I still can't use my oil expeller until I figure out what to attach it to. We have the old table in the garage that might work, but we'll see. Hopefully by summer.

Meanwhile, the lettuce in the backyard is growing great, the peas are looking better, the potatoes have me wondering how many potatos are under the soil line now, and the broccoli is doing great. I'm so impressed and wish I had grown fall/winter vegies long ago!

We also learned about the pine nuts, how they are right out there on grey pine trees. Which are found all over the place. Once the cones are dry you can just drop the cone into a bag from waistheight and all the pine nuts will fly out! then just take off the shell and eat. Very very good!!!

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Dry Pack Canning Day

I love the cannery.  How joyful I feel when I can dry pack can those things I need to ensure survival. The following list is what I canned or helped be canned, but does not include everyone's amounts/items.

rice - 7 cans

milk - 19 cans

sugar - 10 cans

white flour - 8 cans

wheat - 13 cans

potato flakes - 3 cans

quick oats - 8 cans

refried beans - 4 cans

The above does not include the items canned by the other four who were there from our ward.  I'm so happy to see this work being done, as it is available to all, and puts us not only in a place of obedience, but faith and trust that we will be guided and helped as we do what we are told.  I personally hate being hungry, so it's wonderful to know that I have sufficient supply.  And how grateful I will feel to be able to share with family and friends.  Of course, it's nice if they also store food of their own too! :)

Friday, November 13, 2009

The Garden Today 11-13-09

Here are photos of the garden today.  There is a gap in the middle of the garden box because the neighborhood cat kept digging up the seeds I planted, but I am still blessed with several lettuce and broccoli plants, and a potato, all doing very well.  The sweet peas aren't doing well at all and I've been too busy to care...but they are probably in need of fertilizer.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Solar Cooked Cake

Yep, you can do it.  You can cook a cake just fine in 2-3 hours in your solar Cookit.

Make cake as usual.  Prepare the dark blue/black roaster pan by spraying it with cooking spray, then putting a layer of wax paper on the bottom and edges (it helps to take the cake out later without any stickiness).  Pour the cake mixture into the pan.  Put in plastic bag, and put out in the solar cooker in the sun. Depending on the hotness of the day, it will cook up just like in an oven within 2-3 hours.  Take inside, let cool a bit, then remove it onto a plate.  Frost and eat!  I do apologize that the frosting doesn't look as good as it should, but I was lazy and whipped it up by hand instead of by hand mixer!

Friday, October 23, 2009

The Garden and How it's Doing

Well it's been about a month since I started my Fall/Winter garden. All that's left now is a very small portion of the zucchini plant that I have allowed to stay because there are flowers on it that may turn into zucchini. I'll give it more time.

Meanwhile, the red potato is doing GREAT. I'm very impressed and if it produces as well as it looks (such a pretty plant too) I'll definitely plant potatoes whenever possible. The sweet peas are starting to "tendril" and "vine" and I plan on guiding them up the tomato cage and up onto the porch. I hope it goes well.

The broccoli is doing well, although I honestly can't tell if any growth has occured. The broccoli seeds I planted have done absolutely nothing. The spinach and red chard are coming up, but very very slowly. I believe I should have stated them indoors and transplanted them. The lettuces and red chard are doing well, altho the local cat is still digging and pooping in the box. I put a bunch of strong onion/garlic/red pepper around them in the hopes that he will go elsewhere. Not sure what else to do...again!

I bought another solar oven, the CookIt, to supplement the one I have. It's a beautiful clear day out today. I should have put something out to cook.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Choose This Day

Choose This Day

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Survival in the Wilderness

Well my husband and I had a great time today. We got to the Magnolia trail up past Folsom Dam where we met the instructor Doug Huffman, who has taught Special Forces all over the world how to survive in the wilderness. There were 10 of us altogether.

We started walking on the trail about 8: 15 a.m. What a beautiful morning and day it was. Clear skies, very quiet wind. First we went past a little stream where he reminded us never to drink the water no matter how pure it looked unless you boil it first, etc, as there is commonly pesticides and worse from up stream in most areas. Then he showed us many plants that thrive in riparian areas (interface between land and a stream), such as black alder, which can be used to induce vomiting if you discover you have eaten something bad, and blackberrie (ONLY the tender young shoots) to help diarrhea (older leaves are actually very toxic, so caution is important). I ate a fresh blackberry next to a small stream and it was very tasty. We discussed Laurels, which are bay leaves. They are very strong, but tiny bits of the leaves can be placed in boiling water as part of the soup making process. You can line your tent and sleeping bag with the leaves as most insects won't walk across them.

I am simplifing many of the stuff he said but he did give us an exellent handout. Thank goodness, as there were so many things discussed there's no way I could absorb them all! The only problem with it is there aren't any photos, but they can be found online and in books.

We also discussed Curly Dock, dandelion (which is one of the most beneficial plants, as you can eat any part of it anytime and be fine), Evening Primrose, which flowers taste delicious. We saw fiddle necks, cedar trees, Oregon grapes, horsetail, mints, mugwort and mullein. Mullein is pretty fasciating, as you can use the soft leaves as toilet paper if you need to, and then the stalk can be used to make excellent arrows for your bow and arrow. You take the seeds and crush them and put them in a bandana, and swirl it into water where fish are located, and the fish will be poisoned and you can then just take them out and eat them (after cooking, as the toxin goes away when you cook them).

Lots of the items could be used as teas for various purposes too, and he made a point of saying that nothing we ingest should be eaten in more than an ounce (a tiny handful) at a time as our bodies aren't used to these things.

There is Willow, which you can chew on to make an aspirin product, or use as a tea for the same reason, and the branches are great for making baskets, arrow shafts, tools, chopsticks, etc.,

Before I forget he also discussed how drinking hot water with honey from the region you live in, along with a tsp of cinnamon can cure allergies. I'm going to try that one!

We also got a lot of basic survival skills, with a list of over 40 items to be sure to take with us at all times...which works out fine because the entire list isonly 1 1/2 pounds! so it's very easy to pack. We learned what trees can be used to make good shelters, how to keep warm in snow, how to track people by their footprints, and more.

There are tons of classes that Doug teaches, and he is also forming groups where for $35 a couple or single you can come up to Placerville and learn about survival in all of it's forms, from home security to personal security to wilderness training, and much more. We are going to do this, even if we don't start until after Christmas.

Here are his absolute essentials:

Shelter, which is to be constructed the moment you arrive in the wilderness for a stay, or the moment you realize you are lost there., then water, which should be purified/boiled, then a method to procure fire, an extra day supply of food/snacks, signal devices, like a whistle and mirror, a good map that you know how to read, GPS whatever, and a good multi tool pocket knife setup. Of course you also need a form of first aid supplies, and a good flashlight or lantern, and then good seasonal clothing, including sunscreen, sunglasses, a good hat, poncho (he recommends black trash bags), and good gloves because some of the stuff, liie wild blackberries, can really hurt your skin!

We got ourselves some walking sticks and I got to say, I doubt I would have done very well today without it.

I recommend Doug without reservation. He is funny, totally professional, and extremely knowledgeable. I wish I could tell you .10% of what he said! We discussed as we walked along these trails for about 4 miles or so. The training dates are available on his webpage

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Dehyrating Food

I went to a wonderful class today given by Dennis Prendergast through the County Extension service. Here are some of my notes plus some notes given to us in the handout. These will not be in any particular order.

He suggested dehyrators that have a thermostat on them to control the temperature. Currently the one I have does not have that, but merely goes on when plugged in. So the temperature is about 120 degrees when it might need to be 140 or more for meats and other such items.

Don't try to dehydrate onions or garlic as they leave the smell throughout the house for a month. At first we had some protests, but he pretty much convinced us to just buy them dry!

Cut all vegies and fruits on the thick side versus thin, as they will have that much more substance when dried.

You can dry ANYTHING, except fats and high fat items. You can dry whole meals, like soup and spaghetti. We tried both of those and also catalope, tomatoes, dried yogurt, applesauce and more! The soup and spaghetti dehydrate wonderfully and reconstitute to the exact same flavor and almost the same texture. Awesome!

Most good dehyrators can dry everything I'm discussing in 8 to 10 hours.

For uniform flavor, cut items using a mandolin, such as the type shown here. Apples can be sliced without being cut up or seeds/skin removed.

You can slice up zucchini and such and dry them and then use as a "chip" for use with dip. I'm excited about that one!

Tomatoes can also be done easily by quartering them (small ones) or quartering and then cutting one more time (bigger ones), and then scoring the skin a couple times, and pushing out the tomato inside out with your thumb to expose as much area as possible. Dry as usual...they are delicious!

Spaghetti: Just make as usual, but don't put in anything more fatty than 7% hamburger. Meat must be well dried and reconstitute easily, so make sure the chunks are very small. Then put dollops of it on your fruit leather trays, start drying. When half way through, use your fingers and move it around a bit more to make sure all areas get a chance to dry. Yum!

Fruit should be pliable to some extent when done, to retain best flavor.

He mentioned persimmons (which I adore!) and cantalope (which we tried), both of which sounds fantastic!

Once the item is dried, you can store it in a vacuum seal bag like Food Saver, or you can "make your own" by putting the food in a regular plastic storage bag and then using a straw to suck out the majority of the air (keeping the rest of it zipped shut). Hard to explain without seeing it, but it might work.

Oh and when you dry stuff, to avoid bugs that might be still there, FREEZE the packaged product for two days. That will kill any bad stuff.

Blend up V-8 juice with other vegies if you want and then make leather from them.

Cut up yams thinly and dry.

Fruit halves, skin side down.

Season whatever you want to dry for a different flavor. Do so while food is still in it's natural form.

There is so much more to it, but it's basically an easy way to preserve food!! Try it!

Friday, October 9, 2009

Witness of the Book of Mormon and Jesus Christ

This talk is from our Church's General Conference by Elder Holland. I add my testimony to his that this church is true. I urge all who read this blog to read his message in it's entirety and pray about it, as it is true.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Lettuce, Broccoli, and more

Today I pulled out the two remaining tomato plants, and put in lots of romaine lettuce. So far for the winter I have planted red potato, sweet peas, chard, romaine lettuce, 3 other lettuce varieties, and broccoli. The zucchini and bell pepper will remain a bit longer, and when I pull them out I will plant more of whatever of the above vegies are doing the best, so that it keeps producing, hopefully. This will be a very exciting test for me to see how well I can grow fall/winter vegetables.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Lettuce and Fall Crops and Farmer's Market

I've planted black seed lettuce and salad bowl lettuce, plus some spinach and potatoes. All are doing well, with sprouts about one to inches out of the ground. I'm excited about the potential for salad throughout the year. We also just came back from the local certified farmer's market, where we got fantastic strawberries that never change in their great quality (and have been there for six months or more), some potatoes, peaches, eggs and more. I'm grateful for the choice to buy local this way instead of from the stores. Everything is sooo much better.

The two remaining tomato plants are barely producing. I was going to pull them out and plant more lettuce but instead forgot and left them at our daughter's in case she wanted to grow something. So now I'm considering going to the local store and buying a plant or two to put there. The bell pepper plant is doing well also, but I think it will have to go, and the zucchini will be allowed to stay probably until it no longer does anything, which I expect will happen in Mid October.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Chinese Tallow Tree

Chinese Tallow Trees have been used anciently to make candle wax, soap and even edible oil. I am working on this to see what I can find out, especially these trees are very common and I have one in my front yard. If I can successfully collect wax/oil from these berries so I can make my own candles/soap, that will be awesome!

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Piteba Oil Expeller

I haven't seen a better video than this for learning how to use the Piteba Oil expeller. I have no particular desire to make hemp oil, but the directions for setting up and cleaning after are invaluable!

Friday, September 11, 2009

Artichokes and New Fall Gdn

Here is another photo of the artichoke flowers now being seen on the wonderful plant! Also a photo of my garden being readied for fall/winter planting. There are lettuce seeds planted on either side of what's left of the zucchini. Next week I'll take out the remainder of the tomato and zucchini and plant peas and chard and spinach too. The potatoes are in the "ground" in two will be very exciting to see how they all do this year.

Cleaning Water Heater for Emergency Water

As usual, my friend Stephen put up an excellent article on his web page...

How and Why to Clean Your Hot Water Heater
by Jim Serre

You may have heard that in case of an emergency, your hot water heater is an excellent source of 40 to 50 gallons of fresh water. However, how many of you know how to get the water out, and is your hot water heater full of clean water?

Why Sediment is a Problem:

Over the years, sediment can form in the bottom of your hot water heater. This sediment consists of any solid material that does not get dissolved in the water. This can include sand or other grit from a well. Additionally, iron, magnesium and calcium may build up in the bottom of your hot water heater, causing discoloration or rust in the hot water taps.

Small accumulations of sediment are not considered a serious problem. However, too much sediment in the bottom of your heater can prevent the drain valve from working properly and even affect the operating efficiency of your hot water heater which costs you money. Also, since hot water can dissolve substances that will not dissolve in cold water, hot water drained from the heater may be overly contaminated with sediment impurities. To maintain the efficiency of your unit and ensure the highest water quality for you and your family you should flush your hot water tank occasionally. Make sure that when you decide to flush your hot water heater, you will not need hot water in your home for at least a couple of hours.

How to Flush Your Hot Water Tank:

There are two main types of water heaters, those powered by gas (natural or propane) and those running on electricity. The instructions below address both types.

1)Electric: If your hot water heater is electric, turn off the electricity to the water heater. You may need to turn off a breaker or remove a fuse in your electrical panel to ensure the unit is deactivated. Turning the electricity off is critical to ensure the electric heating element does not turn on when the heater is drained of water. This could cause the heating element to burn out and potentially require replacement of the entire water heater.

Gas: If your hot water heater is a gas powered unit, note the current temperature setting on the gas dial and then turn the gas dial to the lowest setting or “Pilot.”

2) Turn off the cold water supply valve to the heater which is generally located on top of the hot water heater.

3) Attach a garden hose to the drain valve located at the bottom of the heater. This drain valve typically looks like a regular outdoor hose bib and may be hidden under a removable cover. Run a hose from the drain valve to a convenient drain location. If you don't have a convenient drain available you will need to use a bucket to capture and remove drained water.

4) Open any hot water faucet in the house (generally one closest to the water heater).

5) Open the drain valve on the hot water heater and allow it to completely drain. If the drain valve is made of plastic and the heater is several years old, it may be difficult to open and may break easily if forced, so be gentle when opening the valve. If the drain valve clogs during the draining process, open the cold water supply valve and see if the water pressure will open the clog. If it does, close the cold water supply valve and fully drain the heater.

6) When the hot water heater is empty, close the drain valve and open the cold water supply valve. This may dislodge more sediment in the heater through the churning action of the cold water in the tank. Partially fill the heater with cold water, close the cold water supply valve and drain the heater again following Steps 2 through 5.

7) Look at the water being drained to see if it is clear or is there still some sediment in the drain water. If the water is clear continue to Step 9. If not, flush the hot water heater as described in Step 8.

8) Flush the hot water heater by opening the cold water supply valve while the drain valve is open and let the water run for 5 to 10 minutes. Close the cold water supply valve and repeat Step 7.

9) Close the drain valve, remove the hose and turn on the cold water supply valve and allow the hot water heater to fill with cold water.

10) Open all the hot water faucets in your home one-by-one to until any air in the line is purged and water flows smoothly. Note that the water will not be hot since you haven't turned the heating element on yet.

11) Electric: Turn the electricity to the water heater back on by turning the breaker on or replacing the fuse.

Gas: Turn the gas from “Pilot,” or the lowest setting, back to the current setting as noted in Step 1 above.

Your hot water heater is now clean and ready for continued use. Based on how long it had been since you previously flushed your hot water heater and the severity of the sediment you saw being drained, you can determine how often to flush your hot water heater. Most professionals recommend draining and flushing your hot water heater annually.

Getting Water for Emergency Use:

Should an emergency arise and you need access to the safe drinking water in your hot water heater, simply drain the water as described below.

If you only need a small amount of water, you can open the drain valve slowly and empty hot water into a suitable container. Keep in mind the water will be very hot so a metal or heat resistant glass container would work best. Remember also to protect your hands, arms and face from hot splashing water or the hot container.

Turn the electricity off to the hot water heater or the turn the gas valve to “Pilot” (as described in Step 1 above) if you intend to use all the water in your hot water heater. Also, turn off the cold water supply valve to isolate your hot water heater from potentially contaminated public piping systems (which can occur as the result of an earthquake). Allow several hours to pass before you attempt to drain large quantities of water from the hot water heater. Open any hot water faucet in the house and open the drain valve to capture clean drinking water. Still, the water may be hot so protect yourself accordingly.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Changing Garden Part 2

I pulled out two tomato plants and half of the zucchini today to get room for the lettuce and peas. I may have to go out and pull more but the tomatoes are still producing a little bit as is the zucchini. I’ll try to keep them in the ground for another two weeks before I pull them, which is good because it will stagger the other plants. The wood I put in the box to prevent the cat next door from using it as a litter box seem to have termites or something in them, which is annoying, but just not sure what else to use next time.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Changes in Garden - Beautiful

My artichoke plant is doing great...flowering that is. I allowed them to finish up the year with flowers in the hopes that next year the artichokes will be tender and large.

I also planted some potatoes in containers for the first time, but I won't show them yet until my garden is entirely ready for photos.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Fall and Winter Gardening

The time is almost here to plant for the fall and winter in Sacramento area. I am not an expert my any stretch, as this is the first year I will attempt to do this. My goal is to be as self reliant in vegetables for an entire year, and that will include preserving vegetables and fruits throughout the year for those times when nothing will grow.

I'm excited to try this. So far I have avoided buying tomatoes for several months, although now my plants are unproducing, probably because I haven't fertilized them correctly. I will do better next year and as I go along for the rest of this year until next Spring.

I found a great article that might help


It dawned on me today that there is one method for acquring food that I haven't done since I was with my step dad in 3rd grade. Fishing. Like most people who live in cities, that's a skill I've never acquired. However, I will be looking into it more as time goes by.

The thing I appreciate so much about survival thinking is how much knowledge it takes. On EVERY level, from medical knowledge to baking bread, to gardening to preserving, to making clothing, to understanding propane use. It's never ending. To some that may seem "too much", or too complicated. To me, it's a joy to find myself continually improving my knowledge in things I love to do. It give such an incredible feeling of self reliance. I highly recommend anyone reading this to encourage your own quest for knowledge on how to fend for yourself at all levels. First and foremost, get out of debt as soon as you can. You can't be self sufficient if you can potentially lose important items that can be repossessed.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Survival Group Class

This is from my friend Stephen.

Recently I was introduced to Doug Huffman and his survival school in the Placerville area. Doug is a survival expert who trains organizations like Special Forces, Navy Seals, Homeland Security, Search & Rescue, FBI Special Agents, and Sheriff Departments on how to survive all kinds of precarious scenarios. The demands of those organizations have progressively pushed many of his programs that he does with the public to the background. He has a few classes for the public coming up...neither of which I can make. I spoke with him and he told me that if I put together a group of a minimum of 7 people (myself included) that he would do a class for us. So I am putting together a class that will be on October 17th. We will have no more than 10-12 people in our group.

The class is an 8 hour intense training on skills to survive (from 8am-4pm). We will do one of two is on wilderness survival...and the other is on wild plants. See this to look at the class descriptions. I don't have all the details...but it should be a 4 mile hike on a path through the woods with lots of stops. It requires at least a moderate level of fitness. Tell me which class you would be interested in...and the majority will decide which one we do. These classes are generally $125 a person...but because of the poor economy Doug is trying to help people out by lowering the price to $95. That is a great value. This isn't some abstract...forgettable seminar or book...he is taking us out for 8 HOURS to teach us hands on skills and to have us practice to gain proficiency! It will be awesome!

To reserve your place please contact me at

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Latter Days Preparedness

Check out the food storage article in the Sept. Ensign: Allie Schulte, “Two Cans of Corn! “

Check out these classes through the County of Sacramento Extension Service at 4145 Branch Center Rd! (you can carpool with me if you like)
Basic introduction to safe pressure canning techniques.
September 12, 2009, 10:00 a.m. to noon, FREE

Dehydrating Food
October 10, 2009, 10:00 a.m. to noon, FREE

Basic introduction to safe water bath canning techniques
November 14, 2009
10:00 a.m. to noon, FREE

Visit the Farmer's Market, where you can find fresh fruits and vegetables from local farmers!
8:00 AM – Noon YEAR ROUND
Laguna and Big Horn Blvds.

We all need to build a personal ark, to fortify ourselves against this rising tide of evil, to protect ourselves and our families against the floodwaters of iniquity around us. And we shouldn’t wait until it starts raining, but prepare in advance..(but).Unfortunately we don’t always heed the clear warnings of our prophets. We coast complacently along until calamity .. We need to calmly continue to move ahead and to prepare for what will surely come. We need not panic or fear, for if we are prepared, spiritually and temporally, we and our families will survive any flood. … W. Don Ladd, “‘Make Thee an Ark’,” Ensign, Nov 1994, 28

President Henry B. Eyring, speaking of 2004 Indian Ocean Tsunami
“The giant earthquake, and the tsunamis it sent crashing into the coasts around the Indian Ocean, is just the beginning and a part of what is to come, terrible as it was. You remember the words from the Doctrine and Covenants which now seems so accurate:

…For after your testimony cometh the testimony of earthquakes…And also cometh the testimony of the voice of thunderings, and the voice of lightnings, and the voice of tempests, and the voice of the waves of the sea heaving themselves beyond their bounds.

“…the Lord has prepared places of safety to which He is eager to guide us.
President Eyring, “Raise the Bar” BYU–Idaho Devotional, January 25, 2005
With the end times “just beginning”, how can we be a blessing to our families and others in these adventurous days ahead?

We hold fast to each other in this great Relief Society. We warn our neighbors in the spirit of love and show them our preparedness skills!

Friday, August 28, 2009

Tired Garden

Here is our tired garden. The tomatoes were plentiful until the past few weeks, and the plants all look tired. More tomatoes are on the way, however, so all is not done yet. The zucchini plant is still producing fine, a little slowly, but that's okay for our consumption. The bell pepper is still doing well as are the herbs. The artichoke plant has been left alone to flower, and we hope next year they are much more tender.

My next project is to try to keep veggies growing all the time. I've never done a winter garden before, but if necessary, next year we will get a hot house to try to continue even in the dead of winter, assuming the sun shines enough. :)

Friday, August 21, 2009

August Continues

August continues on with hot weather in the Sacramento area. My tomatoes look tired and stressed from the heat, and no doubt a bit from me pulling off branches early on. I thought I was doing the plants a favor, but with this heat, now I'm not so sure. I also plan on growing heirlooms next year, other than all hybrids.

Meanwhile, tomorrow I will at the farmer's market early to pick up berries to make more berry jam. It turned out so fantastic last time that I am anxious to repeat it for Christmas gifts this year.

Early in September, in a couple weeks, I plan on making room for lettuce and peas for some cold weather crops. I have never done this before, so it will definitely be an experiment. My intention is to always have something planted so I can know what it would be like to live off the land year round.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Plastic Styrene Pellets for Wonder Box Oven

Supposedly you can buy them at Taps Plastic, 4506 Florin Road
Sacramento, CA 95823

Open: Mon-Fri 9 to 6, Sat 9 to 5.

Phone: 916.429.9551
Fax: 916.429.9579

Ihaven't tried there myself...but that's the latest word I have! ;)

My Blog:


I finally had success! I used a shorter pan and made chicken with cream of chicken sauce in a smaller solar oven. I ordered a short squat kettle to use with the one shown in the pix below. I'll use that oven for small meals and side dishes.

Saturday, August 8, 2009


The wonderful looking pot of food shown below actually did not cook very well in the new Cookit design. I think it's because of two reasons: I didn't have a "real lid", so the foil may have allowed steam to escape, and the can was too tall. I plan on trying it again within the next two days, this time using my shorter container, although it is as wide as my usual container. More later.

The small and easy solar cooker

This pattern is the easiest way to make a solar cooker.

Start with an average size box. If it's an exact square it makes it easier, but you can play with it to make almost any box work.

Cut the box diagonally, separating it into two pieces.

Put one of the flaps of the box onto the bottom to reflect up using heavy duty tape. You can use tape or even string to hold up.

Cover completely (inside of it) with foil secured with glue or tape.

Take a number 10 can, like used for dry pack canning. Clean it out. Spray the can thoroughly with cheap black paint (Wal Mart has it for .95 cents), after setting outside on newspapers on a calm day. Let dry for an hour or more. Also spray some foil with the black paint.

See rest of photos. Put in sunny portion of yard.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Crazy Zucchini and Artichokes

My artichoke is doing so well. First year planted, and it's in a corner stuffed inbetween weeds, grape vine and a couple old rose bushes. The artichokes I've cooked have been tasted but tough, and I can only hope that next year they will be larger and even better tasting! The crookneck zucchini was hidden underneath the plant.

Making 3 Berry Jam

I'm so pleased with how the 3-berry jam turned out! Strawberries from the local farmer's market, then blackberries and raspberries. Awesome!

Making 3 Berry Jam

I'm so pleased with how the 3-berry jam turned out! Strawberries from the local farmer's market, then blackberries and raspberries. Awesome!

Friday, July 31, 2009

Planting a Garden Wherever we Can

This is from my friend Stephen's webpage...

Counsel Me Not...

Posted: 30 Jul 2009 11:20 PM PDT

When experienced gardeners come to my home...they are often surprised to see how various food plants are tucked away in less than ideal places. For example...they might see a sun loving tomato plant growing under the partial shade of a tree. Then they either bite their lip for fear of offending...or they say "That really isn't a good place to plant a tomato needs more sun".

What they may not understand is that I operate under the belief that food plants don't have to be placed just in neat little rows in a garden plot...but can...and more than likely should find homes wherever they can grow...even if that means planting in unconventional places. After a garden plot is exhausted of space...the creative gardener can look for space to stash extra plants. While in some of these places the soil types may not be the greatest...or the light may not be ideal for the plant to reach it's full potential...they CAN still grow and feed your family!! And this...on land that may lay barren otherwise...or filled by ornamental plants without food value.

My methods of planting are largely motived by the words of the prophet Spencer W. Kimball who said to...“...grow all the food that you feasibly can on your own property."

Do you think that if harder times are thrust upon us that you are going to wish you had more grass to mow...or do you think you would you prefer fresh vegetables...

Planting a Garden Wherever we Can

The following article is from my friend Stephen's webpage:

Counsel Me Not...

Posted: 30 Jul 2009 11:20 PM PDT

When experienced gardeners come to my home...they are often surprised to see how various food plants are tucked away in less than ideal places. For example...they might see a sun loving tomato plant growing under the partial shade of a tree. Then they either bite their lip for fear of offending...or they say "That really isn't a good place to plant a tomato needs more sun".

What they may not understand is that I operate under the belief that food plants don't have to be placed just in neat little rows in a garden plot...but can...and more than likely should find homes wherever they can grow...even if that means planting in unconventional places. After a garden plot is exhausted of space...the creative gardener can look for space to stash extra plants. While in some of these places the soil types may not be the greatest...or the light may not be ideal for the plant to reach it's full potential...they CAN still grow and feed your family!! And this...on land that may lay barren otherwise...or filled by ornamental plants without food value.

My methods of planting are largely motived by the words of the prophet Spencer W. Kimball who said to...“...grow all the food that you feasibly can on your own property."

Do you think that if harder times are thrust upon us that you are going to wish you had more grass to mow...or do you think you would you prefer fresh vegetables!?

If you are to go down the path of purposefully growing food plants on poor spots of may need to be prepared to defend your actions in conversations akin to that of the master of the vineyard in Jacob chapter 5...

21 And it came to pass that the servant said unto his master: How comest thou hither to plant this tree, or this branch of the tree? For behold, it was the poorest spot in all the land of thy vineyard.
22 And the Lord of the vineyard said unto him: Counsel me not; I knew that it was a poor spot of ground; wherefore, I said unto thee, I have nourished it this long time, and thou beholdest that it hath brought forth much fruit.

Perhaps you could respond with those same words! "Counsel me not!..." One key that is found in verse 22 is that even though the master planted on poor ground...and did reap wasn't done without "Nourishing it this long time". A plant placed in a less than ideal place may need some compost...additional watering...or some other special care to better it's chances of survival. There is also wisdom in only planting as many as you can actually take care of. No use planting if you are unable to tend what you plant!

This next week I will start some flats indoors of various members of the Brassica family (Broccoli, cauliflower, etc.) How many seeds will I plant? I will do a lot more than I think I can use on my property. When they have grown I will be motivated by the sheer number of the seedlings to be creative and find places for them. If by chance I run out of extended family and friends will receive some seedlings to plant! This a great way to maximize ones use of space for gardening...and help out some other people too.

With some care the "poor spot" gardener may bring forth "much fruit"...perhaps more than ever before.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Canning Peaches

I made some fantastic canned peaches out of some given to me by a friend. Awesome!

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Canning Tomatoes

I finally had a bumper crop of tomatoes sufficient to can, so I water bath canned them in my pressure canner (without the lid on it). Haven't tasted them yet, but so look forward to it. Also collected about 14 more this afternoon and plan on seeing how it looks tomorrow. I will try to do another batch on Wed, even if I put them in the freezer (as sauce) versus canning.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Artichokes! Garden Fresh

Here is a lovely photograph of the first artichoke from our garden that I cooked with garlic and olive oil. yum!!! A little tough in the outer leaves, but butter soft inside. Delicious and more are forming fast. I hear it's unusual to harvest this late in the year and in fact had not thought we would have any until next year.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Oil Pressing Seeds

I just ordered a Piteba Oil Press. I can't wait to try it!

Oil Pressing Seeds

I just ordered a Piteba Oil Press. I can't wait to try it!

Monday, July 6, 2009


Our artichokes, coming in soon! Wonderful and can't wait to taste them!

Dry Pack Canning

Here is a photo of the dry pack cannery I go to, showing the area in which we pour the product into the cans before sealing them.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Cooking Oil - Buying and Storing and Making Your Own

I am reprinting excerpts from my friend Stephen Nix's article

A lifetime of pushing our shopping carts by a seemingly endless supply of these oils...available at a relatively low price...could make them seem like an expendable commodity. As if they will always be there for us to purchase and use liberally.

(However) If it is our lot to go through times of scarcity...where oil has gone up in price until the average person cannot purchase it...or circumstances have made it no longer available...we may find as Joni Mitchell sang so wisely..."Don't it always seem to go...that we don't know what we've got till it's gone"!

F. Enzio Busche tells of a time in his life when vegetable oil was very valuable...

"Frequently I am asked, “What were the most valuable items in the days of starvation in Germany?...For what we needed, the food item we relied on most was vegetable oil. With a bottle of vegetable oil, one could acquire nearly every other desirable item. It had such value that with a quart of vegetable oil one could probably trade for three bushels of apples or three hundred pounds of potatoes. Vegetable oil has a high calorie content, is easy to transport, and in cooking can give a tasty flavor to all kinds of food items that one would not normally consider as food—wild flowers, wild plants, and roots from shrubs and trees. For me and my family, a high-quality vegetable oil has the highest priority in our food storage, both in times of daily use and for emergency usage. When vegetable oil is well-packed and stored appropriately, it has a long storage life without the necessity of refrigeration. We found ours to be in very good condition after twenty years of storage, but circumstances may vary in different countries and with different supplies."(F. Enzio Busche, “How Beautiful to Live in These Times and Be Prepared!,” Ensign, Jun 1982, 16)

Wikipedia itemizes the food value this way...

"Many vegetable oils are consumed directly, or used directly as ingredients in food - a role that they share with some animal fats, including butter and ghee. The oils serve a number of purposes in this role:

Shortening - to give pastry a crumbly texture .
Texture - oils can serve to make other ingredients stick together less.
Flavor - while less-flavorful oils command premium prices, oils such as olive oil or almond oil may be chosen specifically for the flavor they impart.
Flavor base - oils can also "carry" flavors of other ingredients, since many flavors are present in chemicals that are soluble in oil.
Secondly, oils can be heated, and used to cook other foods. Oils that are suitable for this purpose must have a high flash point. Such oils include the major cooking oils - canola, sunflower, safflower, peanut etc. Some oils, including rice bran oil, are particularly valued in Asian cultures for high temperature cooking, because of their unusually high flash point."

There are also many other non-food uses of vegetable oil that you may not have considered that can make it a valuable item to have around...especially during hard times. By no means is this a complete list...but here some that I could think of or find...

1. Lamps
2. Lotions. You could even make your own essential oils from herbs and give it a scent. Many oils are quite healing applied directly to your skin without processing.
3. Hair care products
4. Soap
5. Run a generator
6. Run a car
7. It can be used to treat grains for food storage to kill insects.
8. Priesthood blessings (olive oil)
9. Medicine
10. Space Heaters
11. Water Heaters
12. Other uses...

The Church's Counsel

Here are a few quotes cut and pasted from church publications...

"Church members can begin their home storage by storing the basic foods that would be required to keep them alive if they did not have anything else to eat. Depending on where members live, those basics might include water, wheat or other grains, legumes, salt, honey or sugar, powdered milk, and cooking oil."

"You may also want to add other items to your longer-term storage such as sugar, nonfat dry milk, salt, baking soda, and cooking oil. To meet nutritional needs, also store foods containing Vitamin C and other essential nutrients".

"Fats and oils: Some fat and oil can be found in almost all grain and animal food, but additional fats and oils should be stored. Fats are easily digested and provide the most calories for the least amount of weight of any common food. They need to be stored in a cool place and rotated frequently (see Oscar A. Pike, “Storing Fats and Oils,” Ensign, June 1999, 71).

In light of this information...we should look for ways to be prepared to have oil on hand.

Storing Oil

Enzio mentioned that his family had success storing vegetable oil for 20+ years that was still good after that time. If you were to look around for the "experts" to tell you how long you can store an oil will find that it depends on the kind of oil you want to you plan on storing it...and the point of view of the "expert".

For example...some would say that olive oil has a shelf life of a year or two...others for 3-4 years...while others would say that it can be stored indefinitely! I'm not really sure who is right you can find some advice on how to extend the shelf life of your oils.

While the information given by experts regarding shelf lives may vary...they all seem to agree that fresh is better tasting...and better for you. Even a small amount of rancid oil can make your food taste really bad...and even make you quite sick.

Make Your Own Oil

Have you considered that it could be possible to make your own oil? If you were have the tools and skill to make your own oil you would have...

1. the freshest and therefore healthiest oils possible.
2. the possibility of having oil still available to your family...even after your oil storage is expended by a "sustained emergency".
3. the ability to make oils out of a variety of plants you may have never considered...that may not be commercially available.
4. increased self reliance!

Ezra Taft Benson stated...

"One of the important keys of home production and storage is the acquisition of skills. Sometimes we may be able to buy food inexpensively, but the skills and intuitive wisdom gained through gardening and other home production projects are worth more than the time and effort they require. In a sustained emergency, basic gardening, sewing, repair, construction, and production know-how are invaluable. Provident living helps us develop these skills—and build family unity by doing it—before an emergency."

The storing of any food or supply brings a level of self reliance and peace of mind that will last only as long as the food or supply does! Having the ability to produce your own food and supplies brings the possessor of such knowledge into the realm of true self reliance.

The prophets have long spoken the phrase "Home production and storage". While just simply storing may be an "easier" path...learning to produce what you need could prove "invaluable".

So How is Vegetable Oil Made?
Five common methods are used to extract oil (Stephen then says his favorite:)

b) Manual pressing. Oilseeds, usually pre-ground, are pressed in manual screw presses.

Which Seeds and Nuts Are Used For Oil?

It really is remarkable how many seeds and nuts can be processed for their valuable oil. Wikipedia has a wonderful list of various vegetable oils and their uses. On that list you will find many seeds and nuts that you are probably currently tossing in the trash. Seeds that if you simply set them aside to dry could be pressing them for their oils.

You will also see some on the list that can be gathered from wild sources. I first started to research this when I found out how high the oil content is in thistle seed and how it can be pressed for it's valuable oil. This would be a great list to print off a hard copy have on hand to remember what seeds you can use and their applications.

Acorns For Cooking Oil

You may already know that I believe that acorns are one of the most underutilized food cropsavailable in America and much of the world for that matter. There is information out there on how to use the acorns as a meal...but really not a lot of information on how they can be used for their oil. This could lead one to believe that it must not be a feasible option if "everyone isn't doing it"...and yet the information that is available on acorn oil makes it out to be a great oil!

David A. Bainbridge has done some comprehensive studies regarding acorn usage. In his short paper available online he writes...

"Acorns can also be used to make acorn oil by boiling, crushing, or pressing. Acorn oil has been used as a cooking oil in Algeria and Morocco (Loudon, 1844; Hedrick, 1919; Smith, 1950). It was used by the Indians of the eastern U.S. for cooking and as a salve for burns and injuries (Michaux, 1810; Smith, 1950). Some varieties contain more than 30 percent oil, equal or greater than the best oil olives ( Wolf, 1945; Ofcarcik et al., 1971). The quality and flavor of the oil is comparable to olive oil (Wolf, 1945; Smith, 1950; Bainbridge, 1985a). Table 4 presents further information on acorn oil."

Isn't that remarkable! Those little acorns that fill green waste bins to overflowing can be made into an oil that has a "quality and flavor..comparable to olive oil"!! With the long term storage capacity of is conceivable that a person could store enough acorns to eat as a meal...or to produce whatever oil you would need for the season or more.

Although none of the sources I found indicated if it was necessary to leach the acorns first...I communicated with Green Deane who told me that "You get a better tasting oil if you leach it first".

In hard times...acorns may be a primary source of oil for those who can make it. It is my intention even the acorns start falling this make it the primary source of oil for my family.

Choosing a Method of Oil Extraction

The best (in my opinion) oil expeller will be one that is easily transportable...does not require electricity in case there is fairly priced...doesn't wear out or require a lot of cleaning...and can expel a wide variety of seeds and nuts. From my research...the one that fits best into all of these criteria is the Piteba Oil Press.

The cost of olive oil right now is roughly $10 a liter.

The cost of the Piteba oil expeller is approximately $140 shipped. Which is an AWESOME price!! Especially when you compare it with some of the more complicated motorized versions that cost thousands of dollars.

Make 14 liters of oil that you would have purchased and used anyway...and you will have recouped your expense...and the rest is gravy! If due to crop failure...a drastic devaluation of our currency...breakdown of shipping...war...etc...the price of vegetable oil shoots through the may be able to recoup the cost with just one liter made! As I look at it...I am buying the cornucopia of cooking oil...lotion...fuel...medicine...etc...for a small price.

Friday, July 3, 2009

Wonderbox potatoes

The photo is of potatoes I cooked in the Wonderbox oven this morning for potato salad. I brought them to a boil for five minutes, then put the pan with them inside it in the wonderbox and let them sit for 2 hours. Done!

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Tomatoes and Pressure Canner

I have taken two tomatoes off my plants, but this is the day when I got several all at once. They are beautiful and taste great! It has taken them a long time to mature, however. Both the Early Girl and the Better Boy actually matured at the same time... It's been since March 12th, a little less than 90 days.

I also got the pressure canner delivered today! It's still larger than I thought, but I'm happy with it. I don't know when I'll get a chance to use it since I plan on working most of July--but if nothing else perhaps in August when I'm home with hubby.

Flaking wheat

This photo was taken after I rinsed the whole wheat grain once, let it dry, then rinsed it thoroughly a second time, and let it sit out (spread on a paper towel) overnight. The next morning I put it through the flaker, and what a huge difference! Big flakes! And quick!! Within 10 minutes I had two cups, which was more than enough to feed me and a friend breakfast.

I encourage everyone to get one as an alternative way to use wheat storage!

Oh and if you click on the photo it will enlarge and you can see the flakes more clearly.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Solar Cooking in "Cookit" - Roasted Garlic Chicken

Here is my roasted garlic chicken made in the Cookit solar cooker. Fast, fun and easy...and today, when it's 107 degrees, there is no in-house heat to worry about. Served with a side salad and some pinto beans, it's a great feast with very little effort!

Friday, June 26, 2009

Flaking Wheat

For my birthday I only wanted one thing, a grain flaker. I'd never heard of it until talked about it (Thanks Stephen!).

It's fantastic! I took a cup of whole wheat, rinsed it in water in a sieve, patted dry and let sit for about two hours on paper towels. Then I started flaking it using the Flaker.

It looks just like oatmeal!!!

Then this morning I put 1 1/2 cups of water in a saucepan, brought it to boil, added 3/4 cup of the flaked wheat, and there you go! Another fantastic way to use our wheat!

Monday, June 22, 2009


I found an interesting web page that I hope you will enjoy. It's a dynamic page that concerns itself with survival even after a nuclear war...but fascinating to read.


Okay so my zucchini has been growing just fine all along, but it was so very crowded with all the growth that they were buried deep down in the plant. I found three huge zucchini, and I cut back a lot of the growth which was shading the bell pepper and the green bean!

Sunday, June 14, 2009


I went to a fantastic UC Extension class on pressure canning, and while there is too much information to post here, I will put down some of the hightlights soon.

Meanwhile, I have searched for a good place to buy a pressure canner, locally, but to no avail. The phone numbers I received in the pressure canning class didn't get me anywhere, as the places I called no longer sell them. Looks like the Internet will be the way to go!

So I ordered a Presto 16-Quart Pressure Cooker and Canner, which has yet to arrive, but I am so looking forward to it.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Canned Meats

Here is a photograph of the canned meat, butter and cheese I bought. The canned chicken and butter were excellent and I expect the same from the other canned meats. Definitely a good brand to buy unless I start pressure canning my own meats.

These products are found at