Letter Re: Regarding Maple Syrup

Sarah, Yup, you got that right regarding maple syrup. We keep a gallon or two of maple syrup in our refrigerator/freezer and in our stand-up freezer in the basement. Both of those appliances are part of our core systems powered by 2Kw of solar panels. Backup inverters are stored in galvanized cans for hard times. So barring misfortune we will still have refrigeration during SHTF. Maple syrup is available in a variety of forms, including the favorite liquid (classification based on color) and crystallized candies. I often add it to recipes calling for sugar and highly recommend it be used when cooking a ham in the oven. Use it as an ingredient in your rub (1/4 cup) when prepping the ham. – M.A.

Equestrian Survival For Bugging Out, Recon, Rescue, Projection of Force, or Hunting- Part 1, by R.M.

Assess Your Horse’s Capabilities and Temperament We all love to think of our horses as part of the family. Some might love their horses. Let me begin by saying that before you do an overnight or longer trip away from all the comforts of home, you need to honestly assess your horse’s capabilities and temperament. Temperament is key here. I am careful to choose the horse for the job. I prefer traveling far with my dog as well. He is a great scout, level headed, and loves to ride. He often hunts for himself, but I always bring food for him. Mind you, once horse and dog are out for four or five hours, their temperament smooths. I have made my horse aware of the terrain. He can surf down a steep mountain trail with loose scree or find his way home five hours out, through thick forest on his own, while I relax in the saddle. Trained in the Colorado and California mountains and holding his own in the hunt lands of Virginia, he can practically walk over a four foot fence, loves the hunt, stays placidly tied at the range, and he’s a good old boy, who loves … Continue reading

Letter Re: RS’s Story

Hugh, I read RS’s story with interest in the March 18th entry. It seems like it’s one of those situations that slowly snowballs out of control but thankfully had a happy ending. Personally, I would have called either the police or a tow service from the lodge to get into the “locked” car (although it turned out to be unnecessary), but I am mostly writing to suggest that RS invest in a couple of those FRS radios from the big box store or Amazon. While they don’t get nearly the range advertised, it may have allowed for communication during the separate hikes the two groups took, particularly after his son was injured. I keep a couple in our cars and in the pre-cell phone days. My family and I used them quite often to communicate when we split up at large events or at malls. Even now, although we mostly use our cell phones for such things, I keep them in the car in the event we’re in an area with no service or for those occasions when we’re driving separate cars on a trip together. Particularly when driving I’ve found them to be extremely helpful; it’s much easier to … Continue reading

Recipe of the Week: Sweet Potato / Squash Casserole, by Polly in MO

I have served this on Thanksgiving every year for over 21 years. It is my granddaughter’s favorite, and she comments EVERY year at the start of dinner, “Sweet Potato / Squash Casserole! MY FAVORITE. I ate it as a baby on my first Thanksgiving!” Ingredients: 1 1/2 cups mashed butternut squash 1 1/2 cups mashed sweet potato 1/4 cup sugar 1/4 cup Brown sugar 1/3 cup melted butter (not margarine or spread) 1/2 cup heavy cream 1 tsp vanilla extract Directions: Mix all together. ( I use a hand mixer.) Put in 9×9 baking dish. Sprinkle with topping and bake at 350˚ for 35 minutes Topping: Ingredients: 1 1/2 Tablespoons butter 1/2 cup packed brown sugar 3 Tablespoons flour 1 Tablespoon cinnamon (I use a Tablespoon, but I LOVE cinnamon; you can reduce cinnamon if you like.) 1/4 cup chopped pecans Directions: Mix ingredients together. Sprinkle on top of casserole prior to baking. For my family of 10, I double this. o o o Useful Recipe and Cooking Links: Do you have a favorite recipe that would be of interest to SurvivalBlog readers? Please send it via e-mail. Thanks!

Two Letters Re: Coffee

Hi Sarah, I took great interest in your article about coffee, as I am one who loves a good cup or two of coffee daily. My concerns in a SHFT would also be how do I ensure that coffee would be available. Currently, I keep 10 lbs on hand of whole bean coffee. I do not refrigerate or freeze as I thought that would destroy the flavors. The coffee is in 2.5 lb bags and rotated. I purchased a hand grinder and also bought a French Press, which makes delicious coffee and uses no electricity. My setup is fine for the short term. I don’t know why I never heard of green coffee beans but found your article very interesting for my pursuits of something long term. I’m definitely going to look into this. I’m wondering, however, about the storage for long term. You said you put your green coffee in mason jars and used your sealer. Does the green coffee have oils in it like roasted? It is my understanding that anything with a moisture content could not be sealed and have no oxygen (the idea being that botulism could grow in an environment with no air and moisture … Continue reading

Letter Re: Coffee

Mrs. Latimer, Thank you for your contributions to our survival knowledge. In regard to roasting your own coffee, we have been doing this for years and I thought I might share … Firstly we buy our beans green by the 150 pound (plus) burlap bags from Royal Coffee Co. and have it shipped to us. We have kept our beans in 5 gallon buckets in a cool place and have never had a problem with spoilage. Like you, we have gone through multiple evolutions of roasting techniques from cast iron pan to electric hot air popcorn popper, which I will add needs to be preferably a 1500 watt popper. The smoke from roasting is quite acrid and I have read (though can not verify) is carcinogenic so any thing that one does use to roast the beans in must be dedicated to that sole purpose and obviously should be done in a well ventilated area! (Read that as “outside”!) Now bearing in mind that a hundred-fifty pounds of coffee is a lot of coffee; one might choose to find others to share the purchase with, but we drink one pot of coffee a day. We always eventually have to buy … Continue reading

Surviving Custer, by R.S.

Let’s be honest, how many of you ever expect to find yourself in a survival situation? You’ve probably day dreamed about it, wondering how you’d fare. The fact is, we don’t walk out the door in the morning expecting to find ourselves in a predicament. I certainly never expected to find myself in such a “survival” situation on a summer day in South Dakota’s Custer State Park. Yet, there I was facing such a situation just last summer. We had finally taken our long-awaited family vacation “out West”. We live in the suburbs outside a large Midwestern city. So the lure of loading up the RV and heading west on an adventure had been alive and well with us for some time. As any good tourist would, we planned the route that would take us through the Badlands and eventually to Mt. Rushmore. What could be more American, right? Having grown up in Boy Scouts, being prepared is practically part of my DNA. In the last few years, I’ve ramped things up a bit and have been more diligent about keeping a go-bag in my car along with a variety of other things that would be useful in a pinch. … Continue reading

Letter Re: Coffee

Sarah, I have tried grinding my own coffee and do prefer it. However, buying only a few pounds at a time I found that the beans cost more than buying the ground coffee! That goes for the green coffee beans too. It reminded me of the old Heathkit radios that everyone said you paid for the privilege of putting together. Perhaps they would be cheaper if bought in volumes of 100 or 500 pounds, but I can not afford such a purchase on my own and there is no one in my family, friends or acquaintances who are willing to even try coffee beans; they are happy with their store bought coffee. I finally had to give up, after the price of under 10 lb quantity kept increasing, and I went back to store ground coffee. So, in a TEOTWAWKI situation I guess I will have to live without coffee! – Jim HJL’s Comment: I usually buy 20lbs of green coffee beans at prices ranging from $3 to $7 per pound. While there are numerous places to make such purchases, I have always used Sweet Maria’s and have been very satisfied with the transaction. I typically drink a total of … Continue reading

A Homemade Thermos Cooker, by M.P.

A thermos cooker is an energy saving cooking device. Earlier versions were a vacuum thermos that you placed uncooked food and boiling water into and then sealed it up, and in a few hours you had cooked food. Later versions have a pot that you put your ingredients into and place on your stove; you then bring the contents to a boil and place the pot into an insulated outer pot to hold the heat in and cook the food. Thermos cookers do not speed up cooking times; they only save energy, and in fact cooking times can be significantly longer than other methods. To cook food in the shortest amount of time, use a pressure cooker. Any serious prepper should already have and use a pressure cooker. The theory behind the thermos cooker is to limit the amount of heat that escapes from the cooker and hold that heat inside for a long period of time, therefore cooking the food inside with very little energy expended. Depending on the amount of food and liquid that is inside, a thermos cooker can also keep food warm for a very long time. Thermos cookers can be purchased at many online stores, … Continue reading

Letter Re: 80% Lower Router Problems

Hugh, I wanted to add something here. You should not have to keep retightening a router bit after each cut. Having been a woodworker for 25+ years and having used routers to mill aluminum, here are a few safety tips: When inserting bit in collet make sure bit is not bottomed out all the way. Insert bit until it bottoms out and then slightly raise it up about 1/32 or 1/16″. The easy way to do this is to snug collet enough so you can insert bit into collet, and that bit will stay put when you take your hand off, then bottom bit out. Then while pulling outward, slightly twist bit about 1/8 of a turn to relieve bit from touching bottom, then tighten collet. I have noticed that if a bit is bottomed out, it can work loose even when routing wood. By relieving slightly so bit is not touching, I have never had one come loose. Hope this helps readers stay safe. – William in NC

Selecting An Escape Route, by KyoSa D

Everyone has a plan to “Get Out of Dodge” in an emergency. As I teach my self defense and firearms classes, I ask people and they all say, “I’d head up to my cabin” or “I’ll head out west”. The problem is, have you actually considered how you will leave the immediate area of your home or work? Most of the people I hear begin their plan ambiguously. They say, just simply, “I’d leave town”, but they have never done any reconnaissance or real-life consideration of their route. As humans, we are creatures of habit. If I want to leave my house in Metro Detroit and head to my cabin, I just jump on the freeway two blocks from home and take it most of the way, right? Well, on a normal weekend, without any unrest or an emergency, that’s very simple. These basic plans fall apart once we consider the effects of a large civil disturbance, a disaster, or simply a large-scale long-term blackout. With the increasing trend of protesters blocking the freeways and major streets, these issues must be taken into consideration. As the crisis unfolds, people will take to the streets in many ways. Protesters who may … Continue reading

Letter Re: 80% Firearms

Hugh, I recently completed a Complete AR-15 Rifle Kit with PTAC Upper from 80% Arms with their Easy Jig system, and I would like to share a few things from my experience. 80% Arms shipped the kit within just a few days. There were no missing parts or tools. That was my only experience with their customer service, but based on the rapid shipment I would rate them “excellent”. The instructions were quite complete and understandable, but you do need to read them carefully (preferably twice or more) before cutting and then follow them exactly step by step while cutting. Two points I want to emphasize from the instructions: The Easy Jig system uses a router with a mill bit for much of the cutting. The instructions clearly state to ensure the bit is very tight in the router. They do mean very tight, as mine began to drift at one point in the cut causing a problem I will discuss shortly. Even though I had tightened the bit tight enough that I was worried about breaking my router, I found that I needed to tighten the bit after every cut, until it eventually “seated” in a sense and the … Continue reading