Constructing My Culvert Cooker – Part 2, by J.P.

(Continued from Part 1. This concludes the article.) Start Cooking! Stage III. Build the deck (Two Days) Since adding a deck to your outdoor kitchen is optional I offer no plan or directives for you to follow. Again there are expert builders – even average builders – who are capable of producing a fine deck for these purposes. Likewise big box stores and most book dealers are a source of good plans for your deck. Here a few things for you to consider: * Craigslist and other on-line postings are likely to turn up trex and other similar used materials …




Constructing My Culvert Cooker – Part 1, by J.P.

Introductory Note: Since posting the article on Wood Fired Coffee Roasting (Dec 8-9) a number of you have asked for some directives on building the counter height cooker. Because I love using my cooker, and I can’t think of a more practical piece of outdoor equipment, here goes with my best attempt to guide you through the construction process. I highly recommend putting together the entire outdoor kitchen, but if you are interested in just the culvert cooker then you’ll find that below – Stage II, Culvert Cooker. First, read through the entire article. — If Wikipedia knew about the …




Wood-Fired Coffee Roasting – Part 2, by J.P.

Preparation for Roasting Besides gathering all your equipment together, two skills need to be developed: 1.) Maintaining just the right amount of fire and 2.) “Nurturing” the beans with masterful strokes of the paddles. First, the fire. If you are blessed to be a master of the wood fire then this part will come easy. Most effective wood cooking fires are long on a good bed of coals and short on actual flame. Flame delivers short-lived heat and then it dies. You don’t want to be rebuilding your fire in the middle of a roast. Now let’s talk about what …




The Art of Meal Stretching – Part 2, by Nurse Michele

(Continued from Part 1. This concludes the article.) I learned a long time ago that when the budget was particularly tight around our house if I stressed over it, I would see that stress reflected in my children. I tried, of course, to take the opportunity to display faith and trust in the Lord. There were times, I confess, that I stood firmer on my faith than at others. I remember one night in particular our car had broken down. There, in the freezing cold, on the side of a major highway in New Jersey, my kids and I stood …




The Art of Meal Stretching – Part 1, by Nurse Michele

Meal stretching is the learned art of taking simple, low-cost ingredients and turning them into not just one appealing meal for your family, but with some careful planning and a few adjustments, several meals to meet your family’s needs. This is a subject I expect that most of us, at least SurvivalBlog readers, have already acquired a fair bit of knowledge. Sometimes it’s easy to assume then, that the ability to make one meal become three is all but ubiquitous. But recently something happened, making me re-think my assumption that folks at large are familiar with ways to help keep …




How to Make Wooden Mason Jar Crates – Part 2, by St. Funogas

(Continued from Part 1. This concludes the article.) Second Jig – Drill-Press Jig  If you have a pneumatic stapler, which greatly speeds up many nailing tasks, you can skip this section. Once you have the first slats cut, you’ll need to drill guide holes for the 4d nails using a 3/16” drill bit. If you try to nail without a pilot hole, not only will many of the slats split, but it’ll slow down your nailing time considerably. This is where jig number two comes in. As seen in Photos 10A  and 10B (inset), this jig positions stacks of five …




How to Make Wooden Mason Jar Crates – Part 1, by St. Funogas

If you’re an average prepper, you no doubt have enough mason jars to sink a small yacht if they were all filled with pickles and tomato sauce and snuck aboard. And if you’ve done a lot of canning, you’ve probably thought there has to be a better way to manage all the jars than those cardboard boxes they come in. I’ve found that homemade wooden crates work great for me and may work for you as well. What I really like about these crates is that you can store empties in them as well as full jars, then stack the …




Low-Tech Off-Grid Living, by Ani

I’m writing this article early in the morning during a power failure. I’ve only lived in this house for six months but this is not the first power failure I’ve experienced here. Previously I house-sat in this town and experienced a long duration power failure complete with four days or so of no cell service either. I got on my phone and looked up the outage map and realized that my town and a couple of adjacent towns have a significant outage, definitely due to the high winds of last night. The electric utility will begin mobilizing the line crews …




Testing 20-Year-Old Mountain House Lasagna, by S.H. in Texas

This article describes my experience with some Mountain House brand freeze-dried lasagna that I taste-tested 13 years beyond it’s “Best By” date. Since I have become a bit of a “prepper”, I have noticed that the years seem to fly by much faster than before! Perhaps it’s just the usual momentum of age, but it seems every time I check on something from my “deep storage”, I find that it has been at least 10 years since it was purchased! Very disturbing. So…the question that plagues us is this: “would this be better-‘n-nothing when the SHTF, or should I just …




Living to 100: The Blue Zone Diet for Survival, by M.E.

“Living well is the best revenge.” – George Herbert. When I was in high school in the late 1960s, we were pretty sure someone was going to drop a bomb on us. We had graduated from duck and cover to emergency preparedness, bomb shelters and all. One day in the auditorium we watched some training on first aid and handling trauma. The films were pretty vivid and some kids left in a hurry to throw up. One thing from this that has stuck with me is: if you are sick or injured, you can’t help anyone else. Anyone who has …




JWR’s Recommendations of the Week:

Here are JWR’s Recommendations of the Week for various media and tools of interest to SurvivalBlog readers. The focus is usually on emergency communications gear, bug out bag gear, books, and movies–often with a tie-in to disaster preparedness, and links to “how-to” self-sufficiency videos. There are also links to sources for both storage food and storage containers. You will also note an emphasis on history books and historical movies. As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases. This week the focus is on some unusual MRE components and MRE replacements. (See the Gear & Grub section.) Books: Edible Wild …




Maximizing the Homestead Apple Orchard, by Eric K.

“Surely the apple is the noblest of fruits” – Henry David Thoreau American homesteaders and gardeners have a high degree of familiarity with eating and growing apples.  Who hasn’t enjoyed biting into a fresh, crunchy apple on a cool fall morning?  Most homesteaders plant an apple tree or two early on in the process of establishing their property.  This makes sense – the apple is deeply connected to American pioneering history and culture.  Johnny Appleseed traveled the Ohio River Valley and parts of Appalachia planting apple seeds.  Oregon Trail settlers carried seeds and seedlings with them when they came west …




Lessons Learned From a Decade of Food Storage, by Sandi

The pandemic lockdown of 2020 has led to a re-evaluation of my family’s food storage. This is  a food storage that began more than ten years ago. We began actively storing food in large quantities in 2009 and have continued intermittently since then. Where we have failed, however, is in not eating what we stored and not rotating our stock. Our experience with what lasted and what did not may be of some benefit to others as they consider what and how much of certain foods they should store. Overall, I have been pleasantly surprised at how long our food …




Large-Batch Canning & Jam Making, by St. Funogas

One of my favorite garden bounties every year is the blackberry jam I get from my beautiful 100’ row of thornless blackberry vines. I love my blackberries for many reasons: they’re one of my few pest-free crops, they’re perennials, and they’re linked to my Swedish grandfather who was a master horticulturist and berry grower for over half a century. I also get a feeling of not only craftsmanship, but companionship with my grandpa when I’m out working with the vines: tying up this year’s growth, propagating new plants from tip runners, harvesting the berries, and cutting out the two-year stems …




Oral History: A Child of the Great Depression – Part 2

(Continued, from Part 1.) The Principal of Dinuba High School, Walter Hellbaum, came up recruiting at UC Berkeley, because Howard Page, his Agriculture and ROTC teacher–who was another Army reserve officer–had been recalled to active duty.  Daddy was a good fit for a position at Dinuba High School because he was qualified to teach both Agriculture and ROTC classes. But then a more experienced Agriculture teacher came along. So my father ended up teaching Math, Science, Spanish, and he led the Junior ROTC program. Daddy moved our family to Dinuba in 1940. We first lived in a modest two-bedroom rental …