To be prepared for a crisis, every Prepper must establish goals and make long-term and short-term plans. In this column, the SurvivalBlog editors review their week’s prep activities and planned prep activities for the coming week. These range from healthcare and gear purchases to gardening, ranch improvements, bug out bag fine-tuning, and food storage. This is something akin to our Retreat Owner Profiles, but written incrementally and in detail, throughout the year. We always welcome you to share your own successes and wisdom in the Comments. Let’s keep busy and be ready!
I took advantage of some rainy weather and touched off a few slash piles that I’d been accumulating since last April. Since I had kept them tarped, the piles were mostly tinder dry. One of them that was primarily fir boughs generated flames that briefly leapt to 25 feet high.
The only time consuming part of the project was burning a large uprooted stump. I did my usual tricks of: 1.) Hosing off any clinging dirt from the roots, and 2.) chainsawing the stump in half, vertically. The latter creates a chimney effect when burning–thus a lot less “tending” time and it minimizes the need to position any other wood, to keep the stump burning.
Avalanche Lily Reports:
This week, for the first time ever, I made and canned 16 pints of mild tomato mango salsa. It is yum! I pressure canned 12 quarts of beef stew, and attempted to make ketchup. I’m so bummed and sad about the ketchup. Everything was going swimmingly well. I thought I had boiled my twenty pounds of tomatoes enough. I added the spices and then simmered for two hours. I kept tasting the ketchup and it was awesome, but not yet thick enough. So, I decided to keep simmering it and went off to do some other things, with a quick stir and taste, every now and then. Jim called me to watch a movie, Minority Report. I had never seen it before. I’m not a big movie watcher, but I heard that I should see it, because of the Predictive Programing, Oy Va Voy! I wish I could tell you what I truly think of that movie and it’s background history/origin, but I cannot, as it would be too controversial. Let’s just say that given who the elite/deep state people are, and what most of them believe, they must tell the populace what they are planning to do before they do it. I believe that this is a wish for redemption of their sins that they will be committing against the people of the nations. Please do a study on the words: “Predictive Programming”.
During the movie I had left the ketchup simmering. After the movie I ran out to the kitchen, stirred the ketchup, it looked lovely and thick, just perfect. I tasted it…. and… IT WAS BITTER! What happened???? I jumped onto the Internet and looked up bitter ketchup and learned that if I had simmered the spices too long, it could turn bitter, or if I had used under-ripe tomatoes, or cooked it in Aluminum it could become bitter. Well, I was guilty on the first two points. I did use some under-ripe tomatoes and I did over-simmer the spices. Bummer! Sad! It’s terribly depressing to lose 20 pounds of my home grown tomatoes. I will know better next time.
Pressure canning has been a learning process. This is the first year, ever, that I have attempted it. Water bath canning is okay with me, but I am a total greenhorn at pressure canning food preservation. I’m not an exacting person and I read directions but don’t always absorb all the steps I should, and I forget steps. There is so much to remember and so much going on with it. I’ve been watching pressure canning videos and see some mistakes that I’ve been making. I’m not sure that I will use the foods that I have pressure canned this year, since I am worried about food safety. Thusfar, I have only processed green beans, carrots, and beef stew.
One major mistake I made was not letting the pressure cooker steam for ten minutes before putting the pressure regulator on it. So therefore I could be having air in the pot which will affect the true pressure in the pot and not the level of pressure that we’re supposed to have. The other problem is that for our elevation, I’m supposed to have the pressure at 12. Well, I can get the gauge to 12, but within five minutes it jumps to 14 and if I lower the flames, just a little bit, it drops to 11. So I put the flame up a just a little bit and it jumps back to 14. So, a question for you experienced pressure canners: Would it be better just to leave it at 14 and not play with the flame, since it will stay there happily for the whole processing time, instead of trying to get it to 12 and keeping it there? Is the food safe if the pressure drops from 14 to 11 for just a few minutes until I get it back up? I’ve just continued with the timing instead of starting over. I wish there were older women in our valley who are experienced pressure canners who would take the time to mentor younger women in this art. When we were attending one church earlier in our marriage, we attend a small home group. I had asked several older ladies in our church if they would call me when they pressure-canned, and it never happened.
The other problem I am having is too much water being siphoned out of the jars. I have learned that if I help the canner depressurize too quickly or take out my jars too soon that they will siphon out water. So I just need to be more patient with the whole process. I feel like a huge failure in this department. Perhaps I should throw out the pressure-canned carrots, beans and maybe the stew, and start over. Because… the fact of the matter is, I probably almost have got the process down, now, and from here on out, I will probably be doing it correctly.
This past week, I also froze a gallon of carrots and chopped onions.
Jim and I set up the grow lights in the guest bedroom. Then, I brought eight dish bussing trays with soil in them in from the greenhouse. I planted seeds in four of them for our indoor winter greens garden. I planted red kale, mixed lettuce, spinach, and beets. I will save the other four for successive planting, in a few weeks.
Keep prepping and praying and witnessing. We are thinking the window for prepping will be closing rapidly in a few months and we’ll be needing the storage foods that we’ve put away.
May you all have a very blessed and safe week.
– Avalanche Lily, Rawles
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As always, please share your own successes and hard-earned wisdom in the Comments.