Wednesday, September 14, 2016
Wednesday, December 9, 2015
Many people, myself included, re-use clear plastic juice containers for water storage after sanitizing them with an unscented chlorine bleach solution. Currently I have over 300 gallons of water stored in re-purposed containers and commercially produced bottled water. My preferred bottled water is Deer Park because it is not produced by reverse osmosis simply from another city's municipal water supply. It is advertised, at least, to actually come from natural springs in Pennsylvania.
I have been considering purchasing a 55 gallon blue barrel for additional water storage, however, if we had to leave, I could not take that water supply with us. It is simply too heavy. I decided that I currently have a sufficient quantity of water stored to carry me and my immediate family through the typical unexpected service interruptions. I still wanted something that gave me more quantity than what I have, and it needed to be relatively easily to transport in case we had to leave our home.
I could find five-gallon jugs with blue-tabbed pull-off tops that you removed to access the water, but I had watched a Sheriff's Disaster Preparation video that said it was better to have containers with screw tops on them to use for long term storage. After doing some searching for these screw top containers for a couple of months, I found five-gallon jugs available in a K-Mart retail store for $11.98 each. It did not appear that those tops were sealed on securely at the factory, so I didn't buy them. So I kept searching on and off and came upon some at, you guessed it, Walmart. They had four of the five-gallon jugs on the shelf in the water filter section, which is by the paint and light bulb aisles. I bought them all after reading the label and found that they were "Made in the USA" and were BPA-free! In addition to those great facts, they only cost $6.94 each, had built-in handles, and the tops were shrink-wrapped onto the containers at the factory.That was much better than the $11.98 unsealed K-Mart ones that would have ended up having to be ordered online by me and picked up in the store because the manager wouldn't order them for me.
Now the reason that I wanted those in addition to my stored water is that I am going to sanitize them and keep them stored empty. When a natural event is on the way, such as a winter storm, hurricane, nor'easter or snowstorm, I can fill them and have them ready just in case. When filled, they would sit out on the floor and not on a shelf, because by already having over 300 gallons of water stored, there is really no additional shelf space available. My water is stored on the second floor of our home in areas over top of the bearing walls of the first floor. I bought eleven of these, so now I can easily take the equivalent of a 55 gallon drum of water with us if we have to leave.
Here is a picture of some of the containers and the label information:
I compared the cost and ease of the use of these jugs against "water-boxes" that are available at many online preparedness stores. When comparing cost, they are within a few cents of each other. But when it comes to ease of use and confidence that it won't leak, these Walmart jugs beat the water-boxes hands down! Some of the sellers even say that when filling the containers, to be careful and not get water on the boxes. What does that tell you! When cardboard gets exposed to moisture, it soaks it up like a sponge. But the problem is that if one water box leaks, most of the surrounding water boxes will be exposed to the moisture, and the potential for losing the integrity of the cardboard of all of those boxes is very high. Who would want to have to be constantly wondering about the integrity of their stored water supply? If you have ever tried to pick up a water-soaked cardboard box, you will recall that it turns mushy, almost slimy, and then completely comes apart. Then it would be like trying to pick up a five-gallon water-filled balloon, except the Mylar won't stretch. It will either tear at the points of contact with your fingers or just split at the seams when you end up dropping it. Either way, it isn't a good situation.
In summary, when contemplating storing water for emergencies, it is important to consider all the possibilities of what problems could arise from the choices you make. Think of the possibilities beforehand, and then you will make better decisions. Perhaps these water jugs would be the right thing for your water storage. It's up to you to weigh the facts and then make your decision.
Thanks for visiting, and have a great prepping day!
Saturday, November 21, 2015
For my first acorn flour making experience, I used the boiling water method to leach out the tannin. I thought that turned out to be very labor intensive and I don’t plan to use that method again.
Since that first acorn harvest, I have been searching for a better source of acorns for making the flour needed for breads and muffins. When I went back to that school for this year's acorns, I was surprised to find that none of those large trees bore acorns this year. As I was leaving empty handed, I rode through the school bus driveway in front of the school, and I saw what I thought were gumballs all over the lawn and in the driveway. When I got right up to them, I discovered that they were large acorns. There were probably thousands of them all over the lawn areas beneath the trees! I took a sample leaf and acorn to the local Co-operative Extension Office and they identified the sample for me. These oaks are actually called “saw tooth oaks”. The botanical name is “Quercus Acutissima”. There are eleven of these beautiful acorn trees planted along the entire driveway out in front of the school, and they are spaced apart in a way that seems to promote the growth of the size and quantity of the acorns. Here is what they look like with their caps on:
At first, I picked up enough acorns to fill a five gallon bucket using a modified “Grabber” (as seen on TV) that I fitted with suction cups. I realized that if I wanted more acorns, I needed to obtain a device that would pick them up more productively. Doing it just one-by-one with the Grabber simply wasn't providing a sufficient enough quantity for what I needed to do. So I went to a nearby feed & seed store and bought a nut harvester for a little over $23 including tax.
I wasn't sure if it would do the job for me, but boy did it ever! I ended up with well over one hundred pounds of acorns, but that included ones that needed to be culled out due to defects as well as some empty caps.
I saved all the empty caps and empty acorn shells for starting fires in our fire pit. The acorns that were split, blackened, or had worm exit holes in them were simply discarded after leaving them out for a week for the squirrels in our yard. They wouldn't have any part of them. Maybe the tannin was too strong for them, so into the trash can those culled acorns went.
Before processing these acorns, I searched You Tube thoroughly and came up with recommended guidelines for doing it from a You Tube channel by Arthur Haines. If you are serious about using acorns for a supplemental food source, I highly recommend watching this video. I studied what he was saying and I watched the video three different times before proceeding with my acorns. The part about not using a "recipe" was very accurate. As he stated in the video, "When it's done, it's done!", means just that. I tasted mine as he suggested and your taste buds really let you know when the tannin hasn’t been completely leached out. When the tannin isn’t gone, you will certainly pucker and spit it out!
Here is a link to his channel:
From Tree to Table: Gathering and Processing Acorns
Shelling the acorns was done by simply turning them cap side down on the anvil and giving a slight rap with the hammer on the very point that was sticking up. This produced a clean crack down the side of the shell, and then I just opened them up and the acorn meat fell out in a whole piece most of the time. Sometimes I was too eager and the gentle tap not only split the shell, but split the acorn meat down the center, but there was no harm to the acorn as they would be ground up anyway. After shelling the acorns, I put them back into the same colander to rinse them to get any debris off. You can hardly tell the difference between the volumes of a colander full of acorns in the shell, or a colander full of shelled acorns! That is a substantial amount of food from the wild.
After shelling, I had to reduce them to a fine meal in order to efficiently process the tannin oil out of them. I had an old hand operated meat grinder that my mom used when I was a kid, but I decided against using that. Instead, I used a kitchen blender half filled with water set on grind for a period of three minutes for each load. That was troublesome due to the size of the acorn meats. It was like trying to grind a blender full of marbles. Look at the size of this shelled acorn! After removing an almost paper thin shell, it's all meat!
Even when filled halfway with water, the blender had a very tough time grinding the acorns. I'm sure I have shortened the life of the blender. It would have been far better to run the acorns through the old meat grinder to chop them into a much more manageable size for the blender to grind up. When I make my next batch, I will use the hand cranked meat grinder first. It will make it so much easier!
I wanted to share my acorn cold water processing experience, so I would take pictures of my jars of acorn slurry in various stages as it progressed.
These are the jars during the water change at 9:25 p.m., still on October 22nd. Look at that tannin color that had leached out in only eight hours.
At 11:34 p.m. on the evening of October 22nd, I changed the water again. In just over two hours, look at that tannin color that has leached out. That was surprising!
The next morning, October 23rd at 7:44 a.m., you can see the benefit of not putting too much acorn meal into the jar to leach. The third jar from the left is progressing faster to be ready for use, because there's more water in it. I plan to only fill the containers half-full of ground acorn meal when I make my next batch.
Then I used the following recipe and made Acorn Muffins and Acorn Bread, and I put the rest in the fridge for use in three or four days.
Either the muffins or the bread are delicious warmed in the microwave for 10 seconds or so, then topped with homemade peach preserves, fig preserves. Crab-apple jelly, or even store-bought strawberry jam!
I hope you have enjoyed this information I have shared with you about how to use this abundant and naturally available food resource. Give it a try and see how you like it. Pay attention to your area around where you live and see what wild food resources are available to you!
Have a wonderful prepping day!
P.S. Please forgive the varying sizes of font. Blogger simply will not let it be uniform for ease of reading, even when using Google Chrome.
Tuesday, August 4, 2015
Monday, June 29, 2015
Thursday, March 5, 2015
Using this method accurately identifies the consumption rate of each product, whether it be shampoo, bar soap, laundry soap, catsup, cooking oil or whatever. Doing it this way you can plan your preps without having a glut of one product over another. Your preps will be very much more organized than before.
I hope this benefits you in your efforts to be prepared for life's unexpected challenges. Even though they may be unexpected, we know they're coming our way. It's just a matter of time.
Have a great prepping day!
Saturday, September 13, 2014
I firmly believe in not buying a case of a food where all the cans have the same best-by date. Unless the best-by date is years away where I know our daily use would exhaust that product before the date came, I don't buy large lots of canned foods. I also do not buy Manager's Specials when they are selling cases of a particular canned product. Usually, when they do that, the best-by dates are getting ready to be met. People usually end up giving foods like that away or decide to use it until they can't bear to see another can of it in order to not exceed the best-by date.
Green Giant Sliced Mushrooms - March 2018
Bruce's Candied Yams - December 2017
Polar Sliced Pears - April 2017
Luck's Fried Apples - May 2015
GV Sliced Pears in Extra Light Syrup - March 2017
Dole Tropical Fruit - February 2016
I hope this information is helpful to those folks that realize the importance of being prepared for enduring any interruption in their daily lives, whether it be from a power outage, a snowstorm, hurricane, truckers strike or whatever else may come along.