Editors’ Prepping Progress

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. Note that as an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. We always welcome you to share your own successes and wisdom in the Comments. Let’s keep busy and be ready!

Jim Reports:

I had a couple of extra trips to the post office last week, mailing out the rush of orders that came in, from our recent sale at Elk Creek Company. Part of the heavy sales volume was attributable to the sale prices, but also the general angst among gun buyers is obvious. They want what they want, now. And since many gun stores have sold out most of their inventory and most gun shows have been canceled, our pre-1899 cartridge guns are much in demand. We’re offering folks some nice guns that are both practical to shoot and highly collectible, delivered right to their doorstep, with no stinking paperwork.  I left the prices reduced on about 20 guns, for folks who might have missed out on the Independence Day weekend sale.

This past I’ve also been very busy chainsawing logs to stove length and splitting wood. The kids have handled all of the wood stacking. I’ll be happy when I have the firewood project done. Only then will feel free to move on to other projects. Haying season is just around the corner!

Avalanche Lily Reports:

Dear Readers,
The weather here has been lovely, but cool, only in the low seventies during the day with some rain showers off and on.  It’s been great for my garden, but not so great for the locals who want to get their hay in.  We’re praying for dry weather for the next two weeks, since we are relying on them for hay for our beasties.

We’re glad Jim is home and that we have gotten back into our very pleasant family routine.

This week time was spent in the Annex garden weeding those horrible thistles out of the squash and corn beds, and laying down mulching straw.

I mowed parts of the orchard and the paths of the Main Garden.

Horses were worked and ridden in a very controlled manner several times. Jim lightly ran our disc attachment their exercise arena, to loosen the sand.

We’ve been playing with the baby chicks and feeding them very well.  They are thriving and are very strong for their young age, nearly already flying. They are hysterically funny to watch.  They fight over watermelon (even though there is plenty for all) which results in much chasing and screaming at each other.

I need to get back out to the hen house to finish cleaning it, so the chicks have a safe place to go to, to grow bigger in. Currently, they are still in the house–in our living room. They will have to grow for about another six weeks before they will be big enough live in the Chicken tractor with their parents.  I’ve been cleaning the Hen house in stages. A few weeks ago, I cleaned out all of the straw and manure.  Last week, (I forgot to mention it), I hosed down it’s interior, the ceiling, walls, floors and nesting boxes, soaking the dried caked manure on the floor and in the nesting boxes. Once it was soaked, I was able to scrape up and remove some of the caked manure and straw.

I now need to get in there, this coming week and finish the removal of all carbon based matter and need to scrub the walls and soak the floors and nesting boxes with diluted bleach and rinse and then allow it to dry out completely, then it will be ready for chicks.  It’s just not a job that I am excited about… I need to get the girls to help me then it will go much faster.  😉  Meanwhile, the Parent Chickens in the Chicken tractor are enjoying their tractor life, eating all kinds of grasses, herbs, and insects as we almost daily “drive” their tractor around the orchard in 10-foot increments.

This week, I cleaned and sterilized the incubator and am preparing it for another batch of eggs from some meat birds that I am acquiring from a friend who would like me to incubate them. If I have success, we will split the hatchlings between us to build up our meat bird flocks.  If all goes well, I will be incubating several batches of eggs for our two families.

We’ve been picking boatloads of strawberries and freezing those as well as eating them. We harvested our first two Zucchinis this week.  The raspberries will be ripening by the end of next week.

I peeled, blanched, and froze some store-bought carrots this week.  I am not going to be freezing everything this year because of concern about a nationwide grid power failure at some point in the future.  But some things such as strawberries, in my opinion, are not so nice dehydrated, and I want them for smoothies.  Well, I will dehydrate a few batches, I guess, this week.

This week I have been spending a lot of time studying the Edible and Medicinal wild plants. I really feel that we need to know what is edible outside and around us, so we won’t starve, if for some reason, we lose access to our food stores. I have always dabbled in studying wild edible plants and am familiar with many but not actually eating too many of them, being somewhat of a Nervous Nelly.  But I feel very strongly that it is time to learn and actually do more of it.

Jim, Miss Violet and I, went for a hike on a high mountain near us and we spent a lot of time photographing and identifying many flowers and plants.

After the hike and looking at the photos I took, I spent time reading Linda Runyon’s “Transcript and Glossary”” that accompany her Wild Food Survival Master Class DVD that we’ve owned for several years.  It had been a long time since I had looked at them. The transcript gave me a taste of the wealth of information she has concerning wild edible plants, so, I asked Jim to order the full-length book that she wrote: The Essential Wild Food Survival Guide.  It came very quickly in the mail.  Therefore, I spent time reading it this week.  It is a gem of a book. I love the way she writes.  I totally understand her heart and her wonder for the great outdoors and all it has to offer.

We are literally surrounded by edible wild foods and we just need to identify them incorporate them into our diets.  Many of them are even more healthy for you, have more vitamins and minerals than store-bought commercially grown vegetables… After reading up on a plant, I would dash outside to see if I had it in my garden or orchard.  We do have many, many edible plants in the garden, orchard and around the ranch. Examples: Lambs Quarter, Chickweed, Shepherd’s Purse, Red Clover, Sheep Sorrel, Curly Dock, Mullein, Violets, Dandelion, Yarrow, etc. Runyon’s book, introduces 50 common edible plants.  She identifies them tells which parts are edible and when in the year and includes amounts and nutritional information and uses in recipes. She preserves many of them through canning, drying, fermenting, and pickling.

I also have been getting onto YouTube and found a few other folks talk about wild edibles with more detail than I have ever seen before.  Two sites of note are MIGardener and Haphazard Homestead.

I have a question for you all: If any of our readers forage and use wild plants for food on a regular basis, would you please share with us what you collect and use — and how you prepare it?

Additionally, if you were gathering plants for medicinal properties, how do you prepare it and how much quantities would you give at any one time. Maybe you all can write in what you use, how you prepare it, quantities?  I am very interested in hearing more about this topic.

Keep prepping we may only have two to five months left to prepare.  Keep reading the Word and repenting daily.  Keep your heart right towards God and pray always.

May you all have a very blessed and safe week.

– Avalanche Lily, Rawles

o o o

As always, please share your own successes and hard-earned wisdom in the Comments.




172 Comments

  1. Mr Rawles
    i appreciate all the things you have taught me but getting older slows me down, i wish we would start loving our country instead of all the hate, I want to say my wife and i would love to move to the area you live in but my wife has been disabled for about 2 years now.it would be hard to handle the cold weather but it is so pretty. with that being said i feel we are stuck in Arizona. i feel this state will be full of California transplants. Thank You
    GOD BLESS

  2. Book entitled “Making Plant Medicine, 4th edition” by Richo Cech has some specific information on medicinal plants and recipes for medicinal use including specifics on the part of the plant to use and method to use for making “medicines”.

    The book “Edible and Medicinal Plants of the Rockies” new edition by Linda Kershaw has color plates of plants for identification, their description and general use (medical and/or edible) and some very general info on plant part to use/eat.

    Both were on Amazon when I bought them. Also, doesn’t the Foxfire series have some sections on medicines?

    Hope this helps.

    1. Good Morning Sea Bass,

      I have Linda Kershaw’s book and study it regularly, but she doesn’t give quantities or how to prepare the plants for medicinal use. For example, how much is too much?

      She doesn’t talk about how she herself has used the plants. I want to hear of first person experiences. It is a great book for identification and to understand how it was used, but not exactly how to use it. 😉 Anyway. I’m researching more and more.

      I will look into Richo Cech’s book. That sounds like the one I’m wanting.

      May you have a blessed day,

      Lily

      1. Dear Lily:
        A rite of spring at my house is nettle with hollandaise sauce. I am always buried in eggs and it is so quick to make. I pick nettles with bare hands. They are young and if you grab at the very base and then snip off with scissors very little sting. We drink olive leaf tea all winter. I never got sick. Even with being in a classroom of sniffly nosed children all day. I dry and powder mulberry leaves to add to breakfast drinks. I have eaten purslane raw in salads and sorrel (not too much because of the oxalic acid). Wine made from alsike clover is fabulous. I’ve made it and had it turn out like champagne by bottling early. Rose hip puree: Grind cleaned rose hips. Add 1/2 as much water as rose hips in a small saucepan. Boil for 20 minutes covered. Seal in jars. This can be used in jam or soup stock. I had rose hip soup in Norway in 1968 and I remember it very fondly. I was on a student study tour and our group asked for seconds so many times they ran out in the kitchen. Rose hip jam:
        8 cups puree, 2 lemons, 3 pounds of sugar. Slice the lemons very thin. Cook in a small amount of water for a short time. Add the puree, lemon juice and pulp and sugar. Cook until thick. Rose hip juice: Remove the bud ends. Cover with water and boil rapidly until soft. Strain in a jelly bag then return the pulpto the pan for a second extraction adding enough water to cover. Use tis in jams and jellies in place of water. I made elderberry syrup last year by de-stemming elderberries and cooking in a small amount of water. I strained the juice and added honey from the bees. I put it in quart jars (the five gallon pail I had collected made two quarts). It has lasted since either September or October and has not spoiled. I also used to make a fireweed honey when I lived in Northern British Columbia. I looked this morning but can’t find the recipe in the recipe box. It was basically fireweed cooked a short time in corn syrup and then allowed to infuse before straining the flowers out. My Aunt Muriel loved it. It was delicious. I bet you could make something similiar by cooking sugar and water until it thickened and infusing fireweed in it.

    2. Lily, few people know you can eat dandelion root. Usually seen as a coffee substitute, it is rich in nutrition. Same goes for burdock root.

      Another nutritionally dense wild green is stinging nettle. I have always read to use gloves when harvesting, which I did. This spring, I was harvesting and eating lamb’s quarter, knotweed, and others before my cultivated greens grew big. One day, I thought since the nettle was young, it wouldn’t sting so much. I was right. I picked it bare-handed. Have continued to do so, just as an experiment. The mature plants do sting, yes. However, the irritation passes in ten or fifteen minutes. YMMV.

      And, the nettle in a pot with other greens and an onion. Yum.

      Carry on in grace.

    1. Possibly the best and most extensive repository of native plants knowledge for Central/South FL is sitting with Mounts Botanical Gardens in West Palm Beach, FL. They love fielding questions from the public and have experts on staff who are always happy to help. I highly recommend calling them and asking what books they recommend for your region. Enjoy!

  3. This past week I continued to sow seeds. It has been mostly herbs and peppers. But I put them in containers so I can bring them inside as they won’t be fully mature at the end of summer. I did find my grow light so I can turn a bedroom into a garden room.

    Harvested some pea seeds. Seed collecting is a favorite hobby of mine.

    The day job keeps me busy from doing much else (70+ hour weeks).

    Lily, I am curious, what do you think will happen in 2-5 months? Obviously there is the election. I also know October tends to be a month were the stock market seems to drop more. Please share more of insight.

    1. smalltown
      expect more prominent celebs business names and politiciams arrested for corruption and epstien/maxwell connections
      expect that lil globalist rat fauci and his cronies to continue to push scampedmic and in fact a newer version
      expect more fake race baiting turned to class violence (marxist orgs)
      expect potential economic pearl harbor. similar to covid.
      expect cyber attack or grid down event foreign or domestic (cells)
      expect riots and supply chain issues regardless of election outcome

  4. Finally got all of my firewood stacked; I buy it and don’t cut/split it myself. Scary to realize how soon it will be getting cold again here though. If I had to cut and split it too………

    The weather continues to be weird and a problem. It’s been unusually hot here which would be ok if it would only rain! We got a light shower last night and today it’s supposed to rain but every other predicted storm hasn’t materialized so I’ll believe it when I see it! I’m hopeful though. Last week every thunderstorm went around my area; could hear the thunder, see the storm clouds, it even got dark and windy but nada. Have pretty much only had one or two light showers in a month and a half now. This is totally not normal for this area.

    The garden is hard to manage with the lack of rain. I’m hand watering to some degree but have basically sacrificed some stuff such as the onions which mostly aren’t any bigger than when they were first planted! Some stuff is coming along though. There should be a few harvestable summer squash and zucchini this week. Green beans are forming. Have picked some sugar snaps and a handful of cherry tomatoes. Some Asian eggplant is sizing up nicely. Winter squash and brassicas look great. I tried a crazy way of protecting the newly seeded leafy greens from the critters(used hoops and fabric store tulle someone gave me). So far it looks promising. I’ve already seeded kale, chard, carrots, spinach etc 3 or 4 times and it all got eaten as soon as the seedlings were an inch or so high. Fencing will be on my must-do list for next year! I never had this level of predation on the farm so was totally unprepared for how bad it is here.

    A woodchuck just materialized so I’ve borrowed a trap. I never saw him before a few days ago so I suspect he was dropped off. Lots of people seem to trap and drive their problem critters “to the country” as they don’t want to kill them and seem to think that this is rural and can absorb them. I know someone who has trapped and relocated dozens of chipmunks so far this summer. I wish people would just be willing to do what is needed and not foist their problems onto others.

    I finally bought a gun; a 20 gauge shotgun. Bought it at a Walmart of all places. Tried to buy a gun at a gun store with a large inventory but the guy said that only a shotgun was appropriate for me as I don’t need to know much or be able to aim! Guess he never heard of practicing! Also he insisted that I needed a youth size gun and they didn’t have any! So I went to Walmart and bought a regular 20 gauge shotgun. Bought the last box of slugs they had and a few boxes of other shells. The ammo stock was very low there. Now to learn how to properly use it and practice. It’s kind of a shame as it would be nice to be able to get good info from an actual gun store but they don’t seem to be real hospitable here, at least to women. A few others in the general area(within an hours drive) are so creepy looking I wouldn’t dream of going in there even.

    Went to do u-pick strawberries and it was pretty bad. Guess they don’t have irrigation either and most of the berries were very small and “nubbin” sorts; sweet though. I only picked 2 lbs as it was not really worth doing. Froze most of them. We really need rain!

    I’ve been looking at my foraging book too; “Northeast Foraging”. Have long been interested in this but have only rarely done any, mostly fiddleheads, ramps etc. I want to learn more about this so am delving into it. At my farm I had made a list of what I knew was growing there that was edible and I had a great deal. I have a lot less here although there are lots of wild raspberries; will see what they’re like when they fruit.

    Finally, noticed at the Walmart how bare the shelves were. This particular store is always poorly stocked but now it’s beyond that. Have been experiencing how hard it is to find stuff. Finally got a replacement splitting maul handle; have tried a bunch of stores, ordered online but it got canceled, etc. The manufacturing and supply chain issues are cropping up for so many items. I keep trying to figure out where the shortages will be and plan for them but I just don’t know. I did score some TP at Walmart though; they actually had plenty!

    Read this post over and realized how negative it is! I think I’m also reacting to the whole Covid thing plus the trashed economy, lack of jobs, my shrinking paid jobs(many were paying with stimulus check money which is running out), the unrest in this country, politics etc. I wish I were more hopeful but I’m not. Also, the “mask wars” are getting to me. Here it’s become another form of virtue signalling.

    1. Ani, don’t let some ole coot determine what type of gun you need. I’ve been to many gun stores and frequently see women judged. I was on a gun range one day and some guy decided I needed a lesson even before I had my gun out of the case. Find a store that caters to women.

      1. agreed they are old fuds that think talking down to the females and others is empowering and that their opinion is the gospel,

        Ani i would add, grab a sling if that shotgun has swing swivels, and maybe a buttsockshell holder all which walmart carries, buy a box of ammo or so each trip great thing about shotgun ammo is you can get a 100 round box for like 22 bucks,

    2. Thats horrible Ani, I’m sorry you had a bad experience at your local gun store. Sadly thats often the case. I shoot a 20 ga. Mossberg, and I’m 6’4″, 250 lbs…. I can handle a 10 ga., but I shoot best with the 20 and a long barrel, so thats what I shoot.
      You’re welcome to practice at my range if you’re ever in EastTN.

      1. The next gun I acquire will probably need to be a 22. I just had to have my neighbor finish off the woodchuck I had just trapped in a trap; no way to reasonably use a shotgun to shoot something in side a Have-a-Heart trap! I don’t want to have to ask people to do my dirty work for me.

        Thanks K in Tenn- you live in a lovely part of the country! And yeah CAL, I wish it were different. Does seem that some guys(not all of course) seem to believe that their manliness is determined by their guns and if even woman use guns then how manly are they? Makes no sense to me. I love it when men cook! And wash the dishes and change diapers! 😉

        1. Hi Ani. I would recommend a Ruger 10/22. They cost a little more but worth every penny. Not sure where you are located, but I’m in upstate NY. Nehemiah 8:10, will be praying for you.

          1. I second the motion on Ruger 10/22 rifles. Try to find a used one in stainless steel, and preferably with a synthetic stock. (Better for your humid Vermont climate.) Watch GunBroker.com for Vermont listings.

          2. @ BWL and JWR-

            What about this one? Any good? Or should I try for a Ruger?

            Savage Model 64FLXP Left Handed Semi Auto Rimfire Rifle .22 LR 21″ Barrel 10 Rounds with 4x15mm Scope Black Synthetic Stock Blued Barrel 40061

          3. Probably a good choice for a left-hander. But the magazines are probably more expensive than 10/22 magazines, and they are limited to 10 rounds. (Ruger magazines are made in 10 or 25-round capacity.)

          4. “Oh no”, said Jim. “Including Rimfires?” Jim said, “You need to move to a free state.” “Or, failing that, buy a large handful of spare 10 round magazines in case you have to press your .22 into self-defense service.”

            Lily 🙂

          1. I don’t have a stock tank here and the trash barrel isn’t deep enough. I always did that with the small traps with chipmunks though. No matter what I do it feels awful…… I do it anyway as it comes down to them or me getting to eat what I grow……..

          2. During the past three weeks a Pack Rat, the size of a smallish teenage skunk, got into the Hen house and was eating the grain. Every time I went into the hen house it would scramble up into the eave of the roof.

            I realized that I could close the sliding door and trap it in the hen house and dehydrate it. We have found dead dehydrated mice in the grain barrels from time to time. For two weeks the rat got thinner and thinner and weaker. Last week I thought it had died up in the eave. When I hosed down the coop, I tossed an empty grain barrel out of the Hen house. For two or three days, it just stood outside of the Hen House. One afternoon, I saw one of our horses knocking the grain barrel around and getting into it and trying to eat the bits grain left inside. I decided to chase her out and away from the barrel. I uprighted the barrel and looked inside it. Inside the barrel was the rat! It was still alive and very weak. I very seldom have killed any animal by direct blows, it’s Jim’s job, I avoid that job like the plague, but I hate Pack Rats. I grabbed the shovel, and again peaked inside to locate the rat.

            I averted my eyes and brought the shovel down very hard onto the rat twice. I peaked in and saw it quiver. Again, without looking brought the shovel down on it once more. Then I carried the bucket over to the woods and dumped the rat under a tree. That is one less breeding Pack Rat around here. They are large. In fact, I think they are actually related to the Norway Rat…

            We had a Chipmunk hanging around a couple of weeks ago, that I was worried would get my strawberries, when they ripened. But thankfully, the Chippy showed itself to our large male cat and got nailed by him. Miss Eloise reported seeing a dead Chippy in the driveway last week. As cute as they are, I was glad to hear of it’s demise. Interestingly, when I moved here, I didn’t think there were chipmunks in our valley because I never saw them on the ranch. Then one day we visited the neighbors and I saw one run across their deck. I was so excited to know that they we here, but realized that we didn’t have them on our ranch because at that time we had eight barn cats…

            We do have a rodent pet that is very much loved by all. But wild rodents that cause disease and eat and damage our food stores must be dispatched of quickly.

          3. On the farm there was one year when the chipmunk population boomed and there were chippies everywhere! I mean everywhere. They were not just eating my strawberries on the ground but climbing onto the roadside sales table and eating them out of the quart containers! So I started trapping(used strawberry for bait obviously) and dropping the trap in a tub of water(swimming lessons with the lifeguard at lunch I called it). So a neighbor came over with her young child for a visit and walked by the tub I was using and there was a chippie in there treading water! I hadn’t put him in there- he just climbed in on his own! guess he was curious about what the other chippies were doing or something!

        2. Hi Ani, I had to make a mammal collection once and needed to dispatch the poor critters without any holes in them or too soggy to skin and mount. So, I’d put the whole trap (with critter inside) into a large garbage bag and then scrunch up the top of the bag to make it just big enough to hold to the tailpipe of the car. The carbon monoxide and other fumes will dispatch them in less than a minute.

          Have you ever tried to skin and mount a deer mouse? Lots of fun!! lol 🙂

    3. Ani- don’t take any (unnecessary) cr*p off of anyone. The whole idea of freedom is to stick up for yourself. And that applies to WOMEN especially in my opinion. Any man who likes to put down women is not a real man anyway, he has a personality disorder or worse. He is guilty of not recognizing and using a valuable asset and ally. No, I do not support ‘feminism’, only common sense. Good for you, Ani !

    4. I am always a little surprised when I hear of this demeaning attitude toward women. That attitude would fall flat in the South. Southerners are notorious for having long lineages as military families. Therefore, Southern fathers have, for generations now, ensured that their daughters are more capable than their feminine exterior belies. Southern girls are expected to know how to both dance gracefully at cotillion in a lovely gown and heels, AND bring down wild game when joining daddy, momma, and brothers for hunting trips! The men in my hometown just expected this was the case with all women, and they would never foolishly assume otherwise, no matter how petite and dainty a lady might be.

      Thank G*d for daddies who teach their girls how to shoot!

      1. I’m a yankee father of a couple pre-teen ladies that shoot- including .30+ cal. Like their momma, they dont take any crap. Shooting is the great equalizer- talk about empowering women.

        1. You are SUCH a good daddy. The world would be a better place if we had more men like you. Thank you for all you do. Your girls will NEVER forget what you have taught them, and you can be assured that your grandchildren will be not only protected by your daughters, but will learn the same skills you taught your own girls. I can think of very few legacies that could compare to that. Definitely something of which to be very proud!

      2. Yes, this is true about the culture of the South! Ladies and gents alike can most assuredly shoot. Owning firearms and being able to shoot them is just as much a part of the culture as the ability to bake an award winning peach pie, and just as much a part of living as attending church. We do so love the Appalachian Redoubt.

        1. I agree, Telesilla!

          My own daughter was taught to shoot firearms of all types, could hit a bullseye using a bow and arrow while riding bareback, rode competitively in both English and Western equestrian shows, and once we moved to MT she learned how to gut an elk and could pack it down the mountain before she turned 18. She learned to apply basic large-animal veterinary care, and could cook a meal in a cast iron skillet over a fire. It would tickle me to no end to watch some fast-talking shiny-toe shoe, film-flam artist try to “teach her a thing or two” in those areas. On the other hand, she can also write a lovely thank you note in calligraphy, read and speak Latin, make an elegant Béchamel sauce, she has been a student of advanced math and science, and was encouraged to develop her natural artistic eye for interior design and painting. She is the next generation of “Southern women” — and she is now a Montanan, to boot. 🙂

          1. GritsInMontana! Loved your post and the story of your daughter… Wonderful indeed! Thank you for sharing this!

            You may enjoy another fun connection between the South and Montana… My husband and I live in the foothills of Appalachia in the South, and he has family in Montana (quite a bit of family, and there for many generations).

      3. Yep- I don’t get it. My neighbor has recommended a gun store up here in the NEK that he likes so I’ll check them out and see what their attitude is like. Hope it’s good!

        I was studying string instrument luthier work years ago and I had an elderly German male teacher for a class that was so sexist that he wouldn’t even directly address a woman in the class if she asked him a question. He would literally address a guy in the class on any question I asked on the instrument I was working on and show him how to do whatever it was and I had to just listen and observe. Bizarre. He was a predator on women when he was younger too and got kicked out of the school he taught at for this. It was interesting as there were only a few of us women in the class and many of the guys didn’t notice or care how he treated us but a few guys did and felt bad thinking about how it would feel to have their daughters or wives treated this way. Still, no one spoke up and demanded a change. I got tired of running into this and stopped studying in this field.

  5. Lilly as I don’t know your grow zone have you done much in permaculture plantings? While you can eat wild foods like cattails and such they regrow at such a slow rate your chances to eat them again is pretty limited. That and E.coli risk in such swamp foods etc. Can I suggest some wild plantings of sun chokes, walking onions, garlic and such? They replant themselves at least here in zone 4 and I use garlic around my fruit trees to keep bugs and deer somewhat at bay.

    You still need to know what your harvesting as their are dangerous plants that look like “safe” food plants. Non-electronic books suggested.

    Anybody care to post books they have read and used? Thus not just ADS for someone’s books please?

    1. This is a great idea, Michael!

      From your post: “Can I suggest some wild plantings of sun chokes, walking onions, garlic and such?”

      Wild plantings may be an excellent strategy along side growing seed-to-seed.

    2. @ Michael

      I like the book I have which is “Northeast Foraging” by Leda Meredith, specific for the northeast US. It has great pics, really good descriptions, info on where/when the plants are found, how to prepare and use them etc. I’d say it would also work for the mid-Atlantic region as well.

  6. We have lots of wild plants in the raw woods on our property and some I grow in a special ‘eatable weed area’; but I only harvest the usual greens, such as dandelions, chickweed, dead nettle, clover, plantain, honeysuckle and wild onions. I use most of them in fresh green salads or as healing herbs for both humans and animals. The dandelions, dead nettle and clover blossoms are also dried and used in in herbal mixtures for teas and animal supplements. The honeysuckle is made in to jelly. I also grow elderberries, which I dry and use in tinctures and syrup. I am waiting for spring to get cottonwood blossoms which I learned are good for heal salves.

    Out of the blue four electrical outlets and the dishwasher stopped working in my kitchen. Checked both circuit breakers, pushed some switches just in case but nothing came back on. One of the fans on the sun porch stopped working and the ceiling fan in one bedroom stopped working. They are on different circuits than the kitchen. Sent the cats up in the attic early in the morning to hunt any critters, but they didn’t bring any back to show off. Then I remembered the GFI switches. The house is over 40 y/o and was not built with them, but when I had the kitchen and bathrooms redone several years back, the contractor had to install them to meet code. The problem is they are not in plain sight, so I had to hunt for them; the GFI for the bedroom fan is controlled by the family bathroom switch. I still haven’t found the GFI for the sun porch.

    Canned pickled squash and cucumbers. Canned more meatloaf, chuck roasts and chicken. Repackaged 25 and 50 pd bags of flour, sugar, cornmeal into 5-gal buckets and a made a few 5 pd vacuum-seal bags for kitchen use. A neighbor brought me a pound of her blueberries and I made muffins and froze the rest. Dehydrated hot peppers, celery and some tomatoes.

    Ordered seeds for next spring and got large cans/bags of chickpeas, flax seed, soba noodles and various types of nuts at the warehouse store. Also beans, rice, pasta, all types of spices, vitamins, laundry, dish and body soaps. Found vacuum-seal bags, trash bags of all sizes, lighters and wood matches at reasonable prices. Always looking for canning supplies.

    I purchase our year’s supply of propane on ‘customer appreciation day’ which gives special lower prices for contract buys. This year the regular price is $1.79/gal but I got our supply for $1.38/gal. I also bought a new 500 gal propane tank and had it filled along with filling up the others.

    My son is still cutting wood to size to refill the wood shed to 5 cords. Early in the year we had a F1 tornado come through our community and while only the out-buildings were damaged, several trees went down. Some of those trees were hard wood which are good for the wood stove.

    Had to take a 12 y/o dog in for dental work; blew my entire dog med budget in one day. Two hours later I got a call from the vet who said dog did not pass the blood clotting test so I had to go get him. $200 later, with no dental work done, vet wants me to bring him back in three weeks, after being on vitamin K supplements, for another blood test and then, maybe, the dog can have dental work done.

    A copperhead snake bit one of my 5-mo old rabbits and killed it. We are going to take apart the cages in that area and rework them to be more snake proof. Worked on some rabbits which needed ear cleaning and toe nail clipping. Saw a vet on TV put flee/tick meds on the rabbits to keep the mites away, so I got some small dog meds and I’m using it on the rabbits; we’ll see how that works.

    This week I have been feeling a bit stressed by the insanity going on in our country. The hypocrisy, lies and total disregard for law and order by many of the elected officials and the inability to do anything about it has left me feeling frustrated. I have tried to step back from the TV and internet news so I could clear my mind and rest my soul.

    May your week be healthy and productive!

    1. Hey Animal House, on GFI switches, you only need one on a circuit and everything downstream from that switch will be protected by the one GFI outlet as long as it’s wired correctly. You should be able to test how many outlets each GFI is protecting by turning off breakers in your main panel and see which outlets stop working.

    2. From your post: “This week I have been feeling a bit stressed by the insanity going on in our country.”

      Animal House, we hear you. We are seeing the effects of stress in many people. It’s indirect as we remain protectively isolated, but the effects are quite clear. You are wise to recognize the stress, and to take steps to relieve it. Many thanks also for the important reminder that we should all be doing this!

      A thought to add… Be watchful of the people around you. People handle and manage stress in different ways, and everyone has their own “maximum capacity”. Remember to check in with people (even if not in person) to ask how they’re doing. Find ways to safely offer a helping hand when you can. Give the gift of an act of kindness. The world needs signs of healthy human hearts and Godly souls now more than ever.

      1. ToA, you are so right that we should check in on others. Several of my family and friends have been complaining of heartburn, stomach pain, and bowel problems. I’m really good at helping others, but I keep my stress bottled up. I’m trying to do more positive meditation; but, once you have taken the ‘red pill’, you can never go back to lala land.

        1. Hello Animal House! A most excellent Matrix reference, and you’re right. Once you’ve taken the “red pill”, and you’ve awakened to the truth, there is no going back. It’s hard because the truth in these times is all too often dark, but remember that the truth is also the light.

          The really tough times come when problems come in waves and challenge our resources (time, physical energy, supplies, money) in significant ways. You are really smart to remove extraneous sources of stress so you can recover and refocus. Prayerful meditation and careful and thoughtful responses to each of these challenges is truly key.

          What works best in terms of stress relief is different for every person, but I can share this (which may be especially helpful to people who are just learning the ropes of preparedness living or have very recently become aware of the challenges before us)… Most effective for us is a steady and proactive action plan. We create lists across timelines (immediate, intermediate, longer term and seasonal). We also prioritize goals. We periodically review, conduct deep cleaning and complete organizational tasks. All of this keeps us forward moving, and on solid foundational ground.

          Prayers lifted up for you, Animal House, and all your family!

      2. Thank you for the excellent reminder. The news is horrific lately. I realistically feel as though my family will not survive long in a total SHTF scenario, despite doing what little we can now to prepare — but before the anxiety totally chokes off my light, I must stop and remember that THIS WORLD IS NOT OUR HOME. My hope is in the saving blood of Jesus Christ and the power of Almighty God. So, if we don’t survive….all our worries are over, for eternity!

      3. Speaking of stress… I drove to my sister’s this week and there were many very aggressive drivers on the freeway. There are always a few but this was a lot. Be extra careful on the roads. A wreck in front of you caused by a driver cutting in and out where there is no room means a probable wreck for you too.

        1. A great point, Chris in Northern California… Be ever so careful on the roads. This is a such a good reminder to all of us.

          Also a thought to add… People behave differently when there is any separation between them and the person on the receiving end of their aggression. In the annals of history…there was a very important study involving the infliction of pain, and the degree to which people would be willing to do so when they did not have to see the person receiving the painful stimulus (not real, but this was not known to those whose behaviors were being studied). Most disturbing was the level at which people were willing to inflict pain on another person. The willingness to engage in a behavior that harms another goes up when there is any separation between them and the recipient of the harm. There is no reason to believe this doesn’t also apply to what people will say to one another over the phone rather than in person, what people will say to one another across the internet (email, text messaging, social media). It’s not a great leap to imagine it applies as well to how people behave being the wheel of a car. In fact, I would suggest that we see evidence all over the place that supports such a conclusion.

    3. In regards to GFI outlets and circuit breakers. They fail, and fail often, they are junk. I almost made a career out of replacing them. They sit there doing little and then will trip for no reason, once tripped they tend to continue tripping often and fail. Basically they are a useless device in a well grounded circuit. There are a lot of redundancies and stupid practices in the National Electric Code. You can thank Sandia Labs in Colorado as they live off making code changes. My advice is to have a few regular outlets on hand as well as switches for future use if you intend to have power after the grid goes down. for about $15 you can buy a box of 10 of each at Lowes or Home Depot or a couple for less than a dollar each. Of course there will be entire houses full of this stuff after the grid goes down if you want to spend time scrounging.

  7. I’ve done some reading on wild edibles but no actual harvesting. My research was focused on cancer fighters and plants that offer health benefits beyond the basics. I was very happy to learn that one can buy seeds for some wild edibles online, such as red clover and dandelions. I suppose if one is finding a lack of wild edibles in their area they can sow their own plots in and around local meadows. You need to be very careful with this as introducing an invasive species can cause a permanent problem. For example, kudzu was brought over from Japan and is somewhat nutritious and offers calcium, magnesium, iron, niacin, thiamine, protein, starch, and it can be eaten by livestock and humans. If you’ve ever been to the south there are areas completely overtaken by the vines and landowners and states try to kill it off.

    My preparedness efforts this week have been centered on accumulating meat for a big canning spree. It was interesting that one of our local grocery stores was selling NY Strip steaks for less than the cost of ground beef. That will make some interesting canned beef stew. We are also doing chicken stew. We’ve been scouring the local stores for canning supplies and stock is sparse.

    I’ve also been organizing and consolidating supplies. Through efficient packing I’ve been able to get three tubs consolidated down to two, etc. plus we are labeling and noting contents of each tub. This will go on for a few weeks as I only have so much time.

    Gold has begun a strong rally and I expect thst to continue until the election. If Trump wins it may take a breather; if Biden wins I wouldn’t be surprised to see gold hit $2500-$2800. There are other conditions driving the price and there are literally books’ worth of commentary published daily. Silver is just now starting to rally but I expect it will catch up especially this fall. As always buy on the dips. I’d like to buy more gold but the premiums on smaller fractional ounce pieces are sky high. I’m buying 90% silver pre-1965 rolls of dimes, quarters and half dollars when I can find lower premiums.

    Well it is time to get outside to work. I just hit middle age (50’s) last year and the heat never bothered me until recently. We’ll be in the upoer 90’s and it is very humid out. It can really sap your energy. I am physically fit with no health issues, and since changing my diet I haven’t been sick for three years. Even then I am lucky to get 3-4 hours of hard work in before I have to come in. If we did lose power as Avalanche Lily has mentioned there would be a significant problem for people in this area.

    Keep preparing. Little incremental preparations add up over time.

  8. Went to an auction on Monday night and purchased a number 1 1/2 coffee/grain grinder. It is cast iron but I don’t think it is very old by the crappy casting marks, probably a Chinese or Indian knock off. They had loosened the set screw on the handle so no one could turn it, the burrs seemed very tight but I could move them a little with my hand so it wasn’t totally frozen and it didn’t have a lot of rust either. I took it apart Wednesday night and cleaned it up and noticed that a spring was in the wrong spot putting too much tension on the burrs. Slapped in on the other side and it works great. I ground up some crack corn I had for the chickens and it came out nice. I’m hoping to crack corn with it in the future. I also purchase two nice (besides some rust) hand operated corn shellers (takes the corn kernels off an ear of corn) I hit all the bolts and nuts with some penetrating oil. Started to take one apart on get the rust off and paint parts that won’t be in contact with the corn. Will have to finish that project next week. Worked on re-leveling the 1500 gallon water tank. I had to lower the gravel about 4 inches. Went to Lowe’s and got a bunch of PVC and black plastic fittings for the tank project. Ironically the rain is keeping me away from the rain catchment project.
    Neighbor came over with 3 bales of hay (I let hey the field for free) that I use in the chickens nesting boxes.
    I was out by the new petro shield and heard a loud hissing, open the door to see my 100 pound propane spewing propane. At first glance I though it was the pressure relief mechanism but it kept going, got a pair of gloves and moved the tank around to see that somehow the bleeder valve had opened. A quarter turn and it stopped. Tank still seems pretty full. Was glad that happened inside the storage shed and not my barn.
    Put a bunch of stuff away (25lbs of nails and over 15 pounds of construction screws), cut up a 6’ length of threaded rod and feed the sections through two pieces of perforated slotted angle iron that hang from the floor joist. I then slid rolls of para-cord, string, webbing and cord onto the pieces of rod. Making a cheap but effective way to store and dispense these materials. Unload a shelving unit that still had compressed wood for the shelf and replaced them with plywood that Was polyurethaned then put everything back. I was glad to finally get the large 6’ in diameter cable spool end out of the barn, it finally made its way onto the patio table whose glass top broke. Nice to have a stout table outside now to work on. Gave away two plastic shelving units to a neighbor, thus gaining more space in the barn.

    Leaving to go to yet another Auction. This one has a chicken plucker, canning jars and an old John Deere 44 plow I’m interested in.

  9. I blab too much so I’ll keep it short,
    While I’m giving y’all my weekly report.

    Took a friend for a colonoscopy,
    (That’s the other side from where you pee.)
    By the time I got home the day was blown,
    But when I checked in the garden, man the beans had grown!
    Twenty pounds of blackberries made it to the freezer,
    Not too bad for such an old geezer.
    Harvested some weeds and put ’em in the compost,
    The garden’s doing great, I’m doing my utmost.
    Thirty two more pints of honey for the larder,
    Maybe I can sell ’em or use ’em for barter.
    I got four nucs put together and painted,
    It was so darn hot I nearly fainted.
    But if TEOTWAWKI hits I’ll be sitting pretty,
    The country’s messed up, really looking %$#@!
    I hope my kids are listening to their dad,
    Stocking food and ammo for when it gets bad.
    Got my solar wax-melter finalized,
    Got my truck fixed, what a surprise.
    Now I can move that compost to the garden,
    And bring some sawdust from the mill for mulch.
    I didn’t rhyme that line so please forgive me,
    And have a GREAT week, with some ice tea and Brie!

    (And I hope it cools off this week!) 🙂

    1. Y’know, I’ve thought in the past that maybe you should be known as St. PUNogas, but this proves that your writing and comedic talents are even more extensive. Brilliant!

  10. There have been numerous current events in The News, that should be understood as advertisements for the Elk Creek Company. Give a gun purchase a thought, especially one with a visible hammer, and pre~1899.
    …. …. There are ~useful tangible investments that will hold its value over time. … +A visible hammer is a safe option, for people that might let a family member [without gun experience] hold the firearm during an emergency.
    *******************************

    “Missouri couple who defended home have rifle seized during police search: report
    There was no immediate indication the McCloskeys were arrested or charged with a crime.” [Fox News 7/10/2020] =
    … … “In the June incident, Patricia McCloskey said, the couple was startled just before dinnertime when “300 to 500 people” entered the gated community where they live.” … “[They said] that they were going to kill us,” = Patricia McCloskey” … [The rest of the story at Fox News]
    ********************************************
    ***

    My opinion, GGHD =
    The rioting and demonstrations are orchestrated. The cops ‘stand by’ while damage and harm is occurring. … The local politicians control the police, the Governors have the authority to activate the National Guard within their state.

    It appears, that much of the damage occurring is just typical ‘gangster extortion’ to obtain money from business owners and the wealthy. … The Mob seems be an accurate description for current political activities in the big cities.

    For political reasons, the police might show up at your house, and confiscate your guns, after The minion Mob is chased off.
    *****************************

    The Mobs seem to have this value: “Eat the Rich.” ~~ There seems to be a special hatred of people, that get out of bed and go to work for a living.
    Many of the people speaking for the Mobs never had a real job [or least one for very long.] … Bernie Sanders never had any real money until he became mayor. [He was known as Bicycle Bernie; now he has >three homes.]
    …. … Joe Biden was a summertime lifeguard for the city. [Now he’s rich and known as Shakedown Joe in political circles.]
    ***

    The Bible teaches us, that we should all be honest. +The Bible contains words of wisdom about envy too.
    “You shall do no injustice in judgment; you shall not be partial to the poor nor defer to the great, but you are to judge your neighbor fairly.” Leviticus 19: 15.

    1. @GGHD

      It blows my mind(but maybe it shouldn’t anymore) that the white couple with the guns, defending themselves and their property, had their rifle seized(and the lawyer has the handgun) but the group of black marchers with guns in Georgia the other day were deemed “peaceful protesters” despite all of their threats. None of them seem to have had their guns taken.

      1. “the group of black marchers with guns in Georgia the other day were deemed ‘peaceful protesters’ despite all of their threats”

        shock troops. black guns matter.

  11. Last Monday, my hubby came around the corner of our house to do some work in the backyard and was startled to see a BEAR. The bear was 10 feet from the house. I had just been in the garden picking basil and was using the food processor to make pesto, so I didn’t hear hubby holler right away. Once I did, I came outside and saw what all the commotion was about. We have lived in the Northwoods for over 40 years and have only seen about a half dozen bears. None this close, though. We made him feel unwelcome. Although it is stirring to see such a beautiful creature, I hope he doesn’t come back.

    This week I picked strawberries and put most of them in the freezer, but will can up a batch of jam shortly. I put more peas in the freezer too. Took peach peels out of the freezer and boiled them for juice to make peach peel jelly when the temperatures cool down. Zero waste.

    We had a couple of rain storms this week. Grateful for the rain.

    I went to the ‘corn lady’ stand yesterday. She arrived at 10 and was almost sold out by 10:30. I heard her say ‘$6’ to a customer and thought, “Oh good, the price hasn’t gone up.” Imagine my surprise to find that $6 was for a HALF dozen. A full dozen was $10.
    Talk about sticker shock!

    My grandfather raised corn specifically to sell to New York City tourists (he lived about 90 miles northwest of the city). My dad and his sibs all picked corn. Gramps sold it for $1 per 100. Yep, back in the ’40’s you could buy a burlap bag of sweet corn for a buck. My, how things have changed. I contacted my cousin, who runs a farm stand in upstate New York. She is selling a dozen ears of corn for $13 wholesale. Wholesale. How are your prices?

    I asked the head of our farm share when chicken would be available again for sale. She said by state law they can only sell chickens that have been processed by a certified butcher. Big meat operations from downstate are keeping our local butchers very busy. In the meantime, the local chicken farmers have had to butcher their own birds, but by law they can not sell them. So they are sitting on freezers full of meat they can’t sell. Another example of how broken our supply chains are.

    I fear there may be another partial shut down. 5/7 grands have birthdays during the last 5 months of the year. I am making a list and hitting the thrift stores to see what I can get for birthdays and Christmas. The thrift stores are being super picky about donations (because everyone was cleaning out their closets during lockdown) so I’m hoping for a good selection of nice things.

    The freezer is full, the shelves are full and so is the fridge. Sourdough and fruit vinegars are bubbling away on the kitchen counters. But I have this nagging feeling that it isn’t enough. You?

    I, too, am curious about your timeline, AL.

    Take care all. Love to hear what you are up to.

    1. @ Wormlady

      Bears have been insane here this year. So many of them. I have my very own who has done some damage already. Evidently the bear population in my state is higher than ever so it may be true where you are as well. The young bears being kicked out by mom have to find their own territory so they are moving into places where they haven’t been. I sure hope my bear plans on sharing the wild raspberries with me given that I have to pay the taxes here and he doesn’t! ‘-)

    1. Sis,

      Good Morning!

      There was literally more than five hundred pounds of thistle that I pulled from the Annex garden, already. That is way too much for my chickens to eat. However, the orchard where the chicken tractor is located has a lot of thistle that they can eat. They are cleaning up parts of the orchard for me. The areas too close to the trees, I mow, but leave the rest to grow for the rotating chickens.

      May you have a blessed week,

      Lily

      1. When I was a kid there was a thistle that you could pull up that had a small bulb on the bottom. Some of us kids would eat the bulb after kind of peeling it. It was supposedly edible, tasted ok and did not make us sick. Don’t remember what the species was.

      2. May be a crazy question… But this conversation recalls an earlier exchange about ways to make sustainably replaceable chick feed. …and then I wondered if there might be a way to dry and store thistle in such a way that it could become a winter supply or supplement much the same way as hay is stored as feed for larger ranch animals. Maybe there is just too much of it!

        1. I suppose if one cut off the thistles on the edge of the leaves, they could dehydrate and chop up into smaller pieces for chick food. Dried thistle hurts when you handle it, if it pricks you. ;-( Anyhow it is a thought worthy of investigation. I think that I should let a large amount of Lamb’s Quarter go to seed and harvest that as some chicken feed?? What do you all think of that?

          Keep the ideas coming. 😉

  12. Been purchasing bullets for reloading. Pretty well stocked but need to purchase more powder and primers.

    Pick up a new Sign M17 for my wife tomorrow.

    Garden is disappointing this year but coming along some. Planting more beets and carrots soon.

    Been working out fairly faithfully and getting some of my old strength back. Was not overweight to much but have dropped about 10 pounds and am back close to my Navy weight. I feel better for it. Not as quick as I was in my 30s for sure but quicker than I was last year. Probably not super ready for a fight but more ready than last year.

    Closed on 20 acres in Idaho yesterday. Mostly in hay and a little in Forest. Been fiddling around about it for about five years and have been dreaming about it for almost 45 years. It has always been my pipe dream since I was in high school there. Eventually I will plan to be out there but I am trying to figure the transition out now. My kids, grandkids and job keep me where I am but I notice that now that I have taken a step, the kids are are fascinated by the land. Maybe it will be an “If you build it, they will come” situation.

    Speaking of dreams, I used to have a recurring dream when I was underway at sea on submarines. It would be approaching dusk and I would be chopping at weeds along a fence line along the boundary of my theoretical property. In the dream, I never saw the road but you could tell the fence line was next to a road which was slightly down a small bank from the fence. There is a portion of my property line that looks just like my dream minus the fence where the dirt road runs along the boundary especially when viewed in a picture. Of course there are thousands of places that look the same but this just struck me as I was reviewing some pictures.

    1. Which end? Willow creek or Chimney creek? I’ll have to look you up next time I’m up. My relatives started the Soldier Mountain ski area back in the late ’40s. Sadly most have died or moved away. Great Grand parents were homesteaders around Manard school at the turn of the century. The part if your dream about chopping weeds is probably still accurate:) jf

    2. One of my neighbors has decided to sell her Ranch… not quite 400 acres, keeping a bit back for herself and heirs. My eyes rolled into the back of my head when I found out it was listed at almost $3M (middle of Idaho here) because I was drooling over the prospect of buying more land. But, that’s not in my budget.

    3. Congratulations on closing! I’ve been dreaming about the same… And that is super cool about your recurring dream “coming true” with your new property. Maybe it was a prophetic dream?

    4. Congratulations, JBH! This is great news, and it’s so good that you’re working toward the next steps in your transition. Prayers for your every success!

    5. So excited you found some land, and similar to your dreams no less! God is so good. Congratulations on such a wonderful blessing. Yes, I think if you build on it, they will come. It is human nature to flee to safety. Consider keeping us posted as you make progress. You are an inspiration to us that follow in your footsteps.

    6. Really liked ” not quicker than I was at 30 but quicker than last year. Not super ready for a fight but more ready than last year. ” That’s all we can hope for . It was really inspiring . We will all keep trying. Same thing for prepping progress as well as the physical aspect as we age. Just keep improving even if it is not as much as we would like.

  13. It’s HOT in my zone right now so we aren’t outside much.

    I set up and started my new composter.

    I order seeds for my fall garden.

    I’m about to pull some tomato plants that are finished producing and wilting.

    I started some more tomato seeds indoors. I stare at them constantly!

    I have the Idiots Guide to Foraging by Merryweather.

    I canned some refrigerator pickles. We eat them so fast that they don’t end up in the food storage pantry.

    I have made lots of salsa.

    Hubby ran out to the store and bought lots of GOYA products yesterday to add to food storage.

    My friend down the road is finally on board with prepping and food storage. They are converting a closet today. We will be a group if needed.

    Propane tank gets filled Monday.

    Hubby needs to build a bigger and stronger chicken coop. I have been looking at ideas online.

    Hubby also needs to build raised garden beds (on legs). The back end of our property floods during crazy rains and hurricanes because we live close to a river. When we bought the property, the area didn’t have a history of flooding like it does now. Hurricane Harvey was random, but sometimes when it rains in North Texas it results in a flooding of our river. Part of the problem is the construction and roadworks in the city. It’s shifting the bayous and creeks. Anyway, I want to grow vegetables on the back acreage but don’t want it to drown if the land does flood. It’s like 2 feet deep water. So far this year it’s been dry. But active hurricane season is still to come. My main garden is around my house up on a big hill.

    I’m about to order new homeschool curriculum.

    Peace!

    1. Love Goya! I have been a fan of their products for years and now am a fan of their brave outspoken stance against all the craziness.

      Another company I think is fabulous is Egard watches. They came out with an absolutely beautiful ad in opposition to Gillette’s stupid “toxic masculinity” ad. I immediately bought my husband a gorgeous masculine Egard watch for his birthday and he loves it!

  14. Busy week canning cucumber pickles, zucchini relish, and peach chutney. We harvested our first acorn squash and that was quite exciting and fun. The Delicata squash are coming in, the spaghetti squash are growing nicely, and the zucchini and cucumbers continue to produce nicely. The tomatoes we cut back in the greenhouse are on the edge of new production, and the eggplants are forming quickly. Visiting deer snacked on some of our corn stocks, but we think we’ll still have at least a few ears (and the problem was resolved with the application of Deer-Be-Gone around the base of the raised bed). We’re already planning for additional raised beds (some with arched cattle panels for vertical growing options), and we’re gearing up for next spring. We’ve decided, my husband and I, that if everyone gardened, the world would be a much happier and healthier place! In addition to traditional stove-top canners, we purchased an electric canner for small batch processing. This has worked extremely well, and has added to our processing capacity.

    Among the more exotic projects… Our banana tree (inside the greenhouse) now has 7 leaves! …and the bay leaf tree is growing nicely in a pot just outside the greenhouse. We will protect it in the greenhouse over the winter, but for now we’re letting it grow in the seasonal warmth and sunlight of the beautiful outdoors. We are somewhere between zones 6 and 7a if this is helpful to anyone else considering these plants.

    In addition to our canning, we are continuing to freeze some meals. We are talking now about “muffin tin” recipes that can be baked, frozen, and placed in Food Saver bags for good quality preservation. It’s an interesting idea, and one that we haven’t yet tried, but think might work — and wanted to share it with SB readers. This can work for family cooking as well as for smaller households of just one or two.

    Muffin Tin Cookbook
    There’s a fun cookbook that might be a good SB sale item…
    https://www.amazon.com/Muffin-Tin-Cookbook-Delicious-Mini-Pies/dp/1440532168

    Muffin Tin Chef
    https://www.amazon.com/Muffin-Tin-Chef-Appetizers-Delicious/dp/161243052X/ref=sr_1_13?crid=7CT2EZJ9UXYH&dchild=1&keywords=muffin+tin+cookbook&qid=1594479220&s=books&sprefix=muffin+tin+cook%2Caps%2C677&sr=1-13

    Also some links to recipe sites…
    https://www.tasteofhome.com/collection/muffin-cup-recipes/

    https://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/articles/50-things-to-make-in-a-muffin-pan

    Our hope and prayer is that everyone remains safe and well. The Chinese virologist who recently escaped to the US is revealing deep concerns about coronavirus based on her work with the virus that causes COVID-19 while she was still in Hong Kong. If you haven’t yet heard this interview clip, it’s worth listening carefully… At one point she says: “This is about whether all the human in the world can survive.”

    Here’s the link to the article via ZeroHedge:
    https://www.zerohedge.com/geopolitical/chinese-virologist-flees-hong-kong-accuses-beijing-covid-19-cover

    Remain steady. Be safe. Stay well everyone!

    1. Hey T of A, thanks for sharing the muffin tin recipe idea. Some of the recipes look pretty awesome. I’m always looking for ways to prepare many meals at one so I’ll have to give some of those a try. Do you make any mixes yourself? I have a corn bread recipe that I make a mix for. Ten batches store in a two-quart mason jar. I scoop out so many grams of the mix, add one egg and some oil, and then cook it four 4 minutes in the microwave. It makes a good quick morning-wake-up meal for two, with coffee.

      1. St. Funogas! What a fun idea… I would love to make a homemade cornbread mix. If you have a recipe easily at hand, I would love to try it!

        The Muffin Tin Chef is one of my favorite cookbooks. I love to make the muffin versions of eggplant parmesan, and think I might try to make the Martha Stewart baked version of eggplant parm in the muffin tin! It may work to incorporate some thinly sliced zucchini “discs” since summer squash is in season.

        https://www.marthastewart.com/313564/baked-eggplant-parmesan

        Muffin tins also work really well for mini quiche recipes (and among our family favorites is a classic onion pie), and for frittatas!

        If you enjoy onion pie, it’s so easy to make… Start with a pie crust, and add the filling made up of eggs (don’t be shy because these will set your filling) and ricotta cheese (beaten together with the eggs), shredded cheese (cheddar or a fiesta style mix works well), and lots of chopped and pre-cooked onions. I have never used a recipe, and work this all from the looks of the filling as I make it in the bowl. Salt and pepper to taste. You might want to add chopped parsley or garlic.

        …and the beauty of it is that you can mix and match your ingredients. Try a ham and swiss verison of the same, or crumbled sausage and onion. These pies are so very tasty in a wonderful savory sort of way!

        The next one I’d really love to try is the recipe for Pork Cakes with Apple Plum Chutney.

        Have you ever tried the crustless impossible pies using Bisquick? Will include the bacon pie link below, but there are also sweet desert options for these!

        http://www.freebisquickrecipes.com/Impossible-Bacon-Pie.html

        Have fun in the kitchen! Can’t wait to hear about the tasty results!

        1. Hey T of A, thanks for all the muffin tin recipes, can’t wait to try them. I have some guests coming so it will be fun to have one when they are visiting too.

          Here’s the cornbread mix recipe to fill a 2-quart jar, I hope you have a scale! 🙂

          550 grams cornmeal
          550 grams flour
          465 grams sugar (or leave it out if you’re a purist!)
          4 T (= 12 t) baking powder
          2½ t salt (I actually use 1 T since I like salt)

          Mix it all very well to be sure the baking powder gets evenly distributed.

          I use a 5 x 7 pyrex “pan” to cook it in, which makes two nice large pieces when cut in half.

          For that size pan mix the following:

          208 grams of mix
          1 egg
          2 T of oil
          124 grams of milk

          Mix well and then microwave for 4 minutes. You may have to play with the time based on your microwave. I love this mix because it’s so quick and easy to have cornbread any time I want without having to heat up the oven and make a full batch with dishes to clean up.

          Enjoy!

          1. Thank you, St. Funogas! Can’t wait to try out the cornbread mix… This is great! Hope you have fun with the recipes, and enjoy in every way the company of your guests too!

  15. Good morning All,

    I too have been dabbling in learning about wild edible/medicinal plants. The problem I have found is that most of the books out there are for the northwestern or northeastern states. Does any one know of a good reference book for south central Texas?

    Also, I am about to attempt planting my first small home orchard. I had read sometime in the comments in the last couple of months where a member recommended a book on growing fruit trees. Could someone recommend a good book on fruit trees?

      1. Thank you! I will definitely check it out. I’ve tried fruit trees before (just purchasing them from big box stores) and they all failed. I’ve actually found a good nursery in Texas and they have recommended good types for my area.

        The only real concern I have now is purchasing them now to be shipped in late October/November. However, it’s a chance I’m willing to take.

  16. Good morning everyone,

    I see from others posts that I am not alone in my stress level of the recent few months. I really try to avoid consuming all of the news but it’s everywhere. I’ve been feeling physically sick lately and I don’t think it’s only from it being soooo hot here for weeks. We finally had a rain shower of about 5 minutes but like you Ani I see the storms coming in but they always seem to purposely zip around my area by a mile! So frustrating.
    My garden seemed to be doing great, tons of flowers on the squashes, cucumber, tomatoes but they dry up and fall off and so far I have ONE squash and THREE green beans, that’s it? Come on plants, let’s go. Maybe I’m being impatient and I just need to chill out and let them do their thing.

    My lilies however have exploded and are so beautiful!! I took photos of them and may print them out and frame them. They also smell so good. (Lily, I was wishing I could send you a bouquet of them! I was thinking of you when I cut some and put them in a vase). So wonderful!

    Now today I have to take my mom to the graduation party at my sisters house. I really don’t want to go because I haven’t been around many people these last few months but mom is insisting on going and got kinda nasty when I told her I don’t want to go and the reasons why she shouldn’t either. Dad refuses to go. I don’t blame him so I will get him some pizza and hot wings and he will chill out and watch Golf.
    Really frustrated with all the crazy rioting people and particularly the reports in my state of crazy suburban housewives going crazy at Home Depot and Costco. They are literally attacking people over the whole mask thing and throwing temper tantrums and throwing merchandise around. Some have their children with them. What’s wrong with everyone? You literally just don’t know anymore who is going to snap and go nuts!
    So grateful to be able to be here with you all and really enjoy hearing about everyone else and what’s going on

    Thinking of you all

    Hope you all have a Rockin great day

    1. @ RKRGRL68

      It is finally raining here today! Nice steady rain, on and off but the most we’ve had in ages. I hope you get some rain too. We so needed this!

      And yeah, everything just feels so tense and out of sync. Now all sorts of events have been cancelled as well so no festivals, fairs, parades, music etc. And lots of squabbling over face masks and finger pointing over who is/isn’t wearing one and which stores aren’t enforcing anything and why don’t the police make people put their masks on etc etc. Have to confess that when people in my state post stuff about why don’t the police make people wear their masks I sometimes email them and suggest they call a social worker to do this as they want to defund the police anyway!

    2. 😉 Thank You for the thought of wanting to send me some of your Lilies RKRGRL68.

      Lilies are amazingly beautiful. May your Lilies help to take your mind off of world events. I also find it upsetting to look at the news, even though, I am constantly checking. Though not so much this past week. The weather has been so nice and I have lots to do to keep me busy outside.

      I was very rarely on the computer this week. Jim took care of the comments most of the time before I could get to them. Plus people were busy, too, since there weren’t as many comments as usual.

      I’m on now, because I’m still trying to relax from our hike and digest a late lunch.

      I hope everything goes well at your sister house. Sometimes mom’s have to get out once in awhile. I pray that all family members and guests are virus free.

      Blessings,

      Lily

    3. Hi RKRGRL68! Concerned for the physical sickness you’re feeling given all the stress of the world, and praying that you will feel better very, very soon. These times have been so tough, but we are all TOUGHER. We will get through this to the other side, and we’ll do it together. We are all blessed by an amazing community through the SB, made possible for all of us by JWR and Avalanche Lily.

      1. Telesilla of Argos

        Thank you so much for your kind words (and everyone else who has commented to me). I so value the friendships that we all have together here and I always feel better (especially Saturday’s) when reading everyone’s progress and struggles and knowing that we are all here for each other through good and bad.

        Hoping you all have a Rockin great week!! 🙂

  17. Hey Lily, here are a few of the edible plants in my area that I take advantage of.

    Lambsquarter. I call all of the chenopodes lambsquarter since the common North American ones are all edible and look like lambsquarter. Quinoa is one of them. Instead of foraging for lambsquarter and never getting enough to be satisfied with, it produces a lot of seed which you can collect and plant in the garden so you have it whenever you want it. From just a few plants that got very large the first year in my garden, I collected over a pound of seed. You can prune off some side branches and eat those while you leave the rest of the plant to mature and produce seed. I have tried the seeds in the rice mixture I use in my rice cooker but they never soften up enough. I need to try soaking them overnight to see if that helps and I know you can also use them as sprouts, which I also need to try. I cook lambsquarter in the microwave. After it has cooked a little and gotten smaller in the dish, I add some butter and salt, then finish microwaving. It you leave it in too long, it makes something like thin potato chips, which are also excellent. I dried and powdered some to put in soups and chili as a nutricious thickener. Lots of oxalates in the leaves so it should be used sparingly to for those with kidney stone potential. Since lambsquarter is so delicious and grows like a weed, I need to finish my research on how to best neutralize or reduce the oxalates.

    Sumac berries. I was in an Iranian restaurant and there was some red stuff in a shaker. I tasted it and discovered it was sumac berries. They have an interesting tart lemony taste and make a good spice for various dishes like salads and meat and they’re good sprinkled on fried eggs before you flip them. (I always flavor my fried eggs, mostly with curry or oregano.) The trees are very small, more like shrubs, and they produce a ton of berry clusters. There are various ways to separate the dried flesh from the large seed each berry contains.

    Elderberries. Lots in my area but they are not very juicy. I’m on a quest to try to find a bush with juicy berries so I can mark it, then come back in very early spring before they leaf out. They are super easy to propagate from stem cuttings. The birds clean the berries up pretty quickly so you have to keep an eye on them to be able to get your fair share. Which is why I’d like to have some bushes close to my house.

    Shaggy manes. I lived in an area not far from you once and shaggy manes were everywhere in the fall. It’s one of the few mushrooms that even a beginner can identify and they are super yummy tasting just fried in butter. I have a related species here that comes up several times a year at the door to my chicken coop, but it’s pretty bland in flavor. They tend to come up in the same spot every year so keep a mental note of the best places you find them. You have to harvest them as soon as you see them and cook them right away. If you don’t they turn to black goo very quickly.

    One that’s on my list to try is Queen Anne’s Lace, which is the exact same species as carrots (Daucus carota) and you can tell by smelling the root. They are probably the second most common weed in my garden so I need to quit procrastinating and cook some up. I’ve tried to eat them raw as I’m weeding but they are pretty woody, and probably more tender in the spring. Even if they are woody, I’m betting I can grate them and cook them to soften them up.

    1. Lamb’s Quarters are the rage it seems. 😉 I have yet to try them. I’ve read that boiling them neutralizes the oxalate crystals and eating them with calcium rich foods also helps to neutralize the crystals, such as cooked in cream, if eating large quantities. Page 203 of Linda Kershaw’s book, “Edible and Medicinal Plants of the Rockies.” As I mentioned in another comment, I think I will save some of their seed for Chicken food this winter. 😉 I have collected Elderberries and am growing some bushes on our Ranch. But you say that you can propagate them from cuttings of branches? Do you soak the branches in water to form roots first? I think I may do that do get more bushes growing here.

      Blessings,

      Lily

      1. Hey Lily, thanks for the oxalate tips.

        On elderberry cuttings, use a cutting about 6 inches long. On any kid of plant cutting, you want the bottom of the cutting to be cut just below a leaf node since in most cases roots will be produced at the nodes. You can use rooting hormone if you have it but it’s not absolutely necessary. Then stick them in some moist potting soil (or I just use regular soil cuz I’m frugal) and keep it wet but not soggy. If you use rooting hormone don’t wash that off when you water so just a little water at a time so it can soak down instead of gushing down. You’ll know you have roots when the buds start to break and leaves appear.

        1. ST Funogas,

          Thank you for the tip. The next time I’m out near a lot of Elderberry bushes, I will be getting some slips to root and plant.

          Blessings,

          Lily

          1. GritsinMontana!

            Thank You for this wonderful practical tip. I will use honey since I do not have rooting hormone and don’t have plans to buy any.

            Blessings,

        2. You can order better varieties of cuttings from online sources. They have been selected to produce more fruit. One source is River Hills Harvest. Scroll down past the products and you will find cuttings. There is also a video under growers that has information.

  18. Went and destroyed the hybrid raspberries this week. The fruit from those was a misshapen mess that didn’t pick well, and tasted like water. We think they were a cross between a blackberry and a raspberry, as the stems were really thick, red, branching, and thorny. Our old raspberries had yellow canes, so it was easy to tell the two apart. The old ones will get transplanted as soon as they’re done fruiting.

    While cutting out the bad raspberries, I noticed something out of place. A white out of state car (no front plate) pulled up to the corner, and sat there for more than 10 minutes. I could only see the silhouette of the driver, but on the passenger side looked like a black man sitting low-rider in the seat. I made it clear that I was watching them, and finally stabbed the shovel in the dirt and went for the house while looking over my shoulder. I grabbed the binoculars and laser and went back out. They had left probably thinking I called the police. Closest black family is about a 1/4 mile away, so these boys are out of place. The out of state car makes me think either drugs or Antifa/BLM. Myself and neighbors are military and armed, but we do have a few widows that would be easy targets in a home invasion, so we keep an eye out.

    The crops in the new raised beds are just exploding! Mom’s never seen her garden so lush. Blueberries have new growth after adding acidifier, and a few ferns have popped up. Carrots are at baby size after a thistle pulled one up. Tomatoes and peppers all have visible fruit. Peas and beans are ready to pick. The new compost pile is so hot it cooked the carp I put in.

    We have 4 new hens with a dozen new puffballs. Had a sphinx moth hatch out, and spend a day by the back door hardening it’s wings. Have to warn parents that bring their kids down to the fire lane to play in the water not to go in. We had a pea soup algae bloom, and what’s still left in the water is dangerous. I got hit by the Anatoxin A produced a while back, and it made any skin not covered by my wetsuit numb for a few days. Wetsuits don’t just keep you warm, but will help protect you from what’s in the water as well.

  19. A word on thistle. I once had a field that produced Canadian Thistle, after getting stuck by it a number of time I went to war against it. First attempt I cut it down at ground level with a machete before the tops had time to ripen. To my surprise a week later the heads had ripened and seeds were blowing everywhere. The heads received enough moisture from the attached stalks to continue to ripen. The following year I tried a different tactic, with my trusty machete in hand I loped off the heads then the stalk.
    That showed the nasty things who was the new boss of the field. It took a couple of years but they were reduced to only an occasional invader upon which I extracted my revenge. Twas sweet.

    1. I’m finding that my thistle species reproduces vegetative-ly, meaning that any little bit of root left sends up new shoots. However, I’m trying to pull most of them up from the depths, and I am definitely not letting them go to flower this year. Last year I left that field fallow because, I didn’t want to deal with the thistle, but I need that field, now, so here we go with our war on thistle.

  20. We are to old and stoved up for gardening so our harvest comes from the grocery store.
    I was told that there will not be any more case lot sales. However we did find great prices on
    canned vegetables at Super One. Corn,green beans, pork n beans,and diced tomatoes all for
    .48 cents per can. We stocked up on boneless/skinless chicken breast at Albertsons for 1.69
    per lb.

    I think that we should all get everything that we can while we can. Time is running out.

  21. Avalanche Lily:

    I have harvested wild plants for fifty years but quantities are usually limited (except for dandelions) even in good years.

    I have found that wild foods are generally an adjunct to your standard recipes ….. such as putting lambs quarter in soups and stews or extending jams with with berries unless you have an exceptional berry year. Sorry, I don’t really have any recipes for you.

    You might also try collecting seeds from your favorite wild plants. I have had limited success planting lambs quarter, miner’s lettuce and similar plants in my garden. The caveat with wild foods is to not wipe out your growing area …. the native people were careful not to overharvest. Some species are delicate and sparse …. I’ve seen fields of wild rice destroyed in a short time.

    A book I like is “Discovery Wild Plants” by Janice J. Scofield. I’m sure it will cover Idaho nicely. The book includes how to identify and use wild plants and herbs.

    1. “The caveat with wild foods is to not wipe out your growing area …. the native people were careful not to over harvest. Some species are delicate and sparse”

      That reminds me of Spring Beauty (Claytonia virginica). I have tons of it in the woods but it’s such a beautiful plant I hate to dig up too many. The roots taste wonderful, like a tiny nutty potato so they’re a real treat. The biggest ones are marble sized and not buried too deeply so easy to collect a lot. There’s also a western species C. lanceolata, which looks and tastes about the same. Miner’s lettuce is also a Claytonia and the leaves and stems on all three of these are edible.

      TominAlaska, I think I’ll try collecting seed and transplanting some of those to the garden is you say you’ve had some success.

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Claytonia_virginica

    2. Yeah, I think that when people were hunter/gatherers they walked and foraged in a large area. Trying to do this on our own properties and gather enough to feed a family any substantial amount is probably tough. Wild apple trees would work. Maybe a large wild berry planting. But other wild plants are mostly just too few in number I think. I’ve mostly just dabbled in wildcrafting and often just identified and noted the presence of the plants on my land but didn’t harvest or eat them. I’d prepared a list of what I’d found back when I had my farm and it was pretty substantial but I would have starved if I needed to depend on just that. Probably the wild apples were the biggest caloric source. I had a lot of wetlands so the cattails were plentiful. And loads of peppermint to make tea! But to supplement what we grow or buy it would work.

  22. Hey all,

    Please keep the comments coming! However if you don’t see yours posted for a while don’t despair, our family is taking a two to three hour break for a family outing, earlier than our usual Saturday outing. Please be patient we’ll be back soon.

    Blessings to all,

    Lily

    1. Hi All,

      We’re back now. Our outing turned out to be a bit longer than we thought. We hiked a bit of the mountain across the Unnamed river that flows through our ranch. It was an awesome bushwhack with wonderful views. We read the Bible and prayed together overlooking our ranch and valley and prayed for all who live in our area. We definitely need to do more of such hikes. Thank you for your patience. Blessings,

      Lily

  23. Happy Saturday Everyone!

    We had company this last week so we spent most of our time prior to their visit finishing the tiling in the tub area of the guest bathroom so they could use the shower. It was nice to forget about the happenings of the world for a couple of days and just enjoy visiting. There is always an air of tension not knowing what is coming next.

    My family that came to visit are particularly interested in preserving food and herbs so we were able to exchange ideas about preservation methods, recipes and foods. We sampled several freeze dried foods we have put up and talked about an overall plan. They live about 4 hours away from us and it is possible to divide and conquer with combined efforts.

    My gardens are teeming with veggies so I have begun canning veggie slaws, spicy radishes, and cherries. The freeze dryer is running with meats so that we can become less dependent on the power grid. The dehydrator is running items I want to powder like celery, garlic, and herbs like dill and onions.

    Our green beans are growing great but we don’t yet have a crop to can. Our farmer’s market is flourishing so I am off to see what items I can supplement our supplies with.

    Regarding wild edibles, there are several books that might be useful including: “Harvesting the Wild, gathering and using food from nature” by Backwoods Home Magazine, “Feasting Free on Wild Edibles” by Bradford Anger, and “Forager’s Harvest” by Samuel Thayer.

    The other place I go to investigate plants is YouTube. I enter edible landscape and it takes me down many paths. I have been working for years to transform our property into an edible landscape with a food forest feel. Because I am also interested in having medicinal plants readily available I have been trying to raise both (food and medicine) at the same time. For instance, planting comfrey under fruit trees feeds the trees with nitrogen and you can harvest the roots to powder and use medicinally, as well as make fertilizer out of the leaves and feed all of my plants. Mountain Rose Herbs and Iherb.com are two sites that give me ideas for alternatives to medicines and then I investigate the plants that will thrive in my planting zone.

    1. @ CAL

      I’ve heard good things about Thayer’s book but have kept myself from ordering it as I already have one foraging book.

      I grow comfrey under fruit trees as well- starting over here at my new place so I only have one comfrey plant that is from old roots I gave to a friend years ago. Will multiply it to make more. It’s a well-behaved strain that doesn’t self-seed everywhere! I also grow yarrow under fruit trees as well as other good pollinator plants such as anise hyssop. Also deeply rooted plants like horseradish and rhubarb. These plants all bring up nutrients from deep in the ground and enrich the soil with their leaves.

  24. Still have 30 healthy chicks. The combination of Barred Rock and Red Comet (sex linked) works well. They get along fine. Red Comets are supposed to really put out the eggs and be easy to handle just like the Barred Rocks, and they are indeed. This combination of a proven breed and a newer hybrid might be a sensible balance if one is open to experimentation. The recent breed of Barred Rock are suppose to have a higher rate of production as well. To estimate egg production of the flock, and average is used. With this 50/50 flock, multiply .7 x the number of birds.

    Having a large flock that is easy to handle in a smaller hen house is an important consideration. These breeds do well when confined. Given the poor soil out here, without critters to produce manure in one spot, these chickens are valuable for not only egg production. Given the need for manure production for a large garden, it appears that 10 chickens would be the minimum needed to sustain food production. This is in addition to the compost. Keeping the hen house clean with so many birds could be chore made easier with saw dust.

    Because of an endless source of free saw dust, the floor is covered in a deep layer 4 inches deep. This allows the floor to be tilled under with a small garden tool and the manure is buried daily. This is quick and easy to do. The saw dust with manure goes into the compost pile. A shelf under where they will roost will also have saw dust, and the droppings collected with a kitty litter scoop and can be used immediately in a tea. The droppings on the floor might also be screened to get most of the chicken manure out, and the rest goes to compost. A large screen on a wooded frame used for sorting debris and stones out easily handles shovels full of saw dust. Only a limited amount of saw dust should be layered in the compost pile, and stirred in well, otherwise there is the risk of adding too much carbon. Saw dust that is not well decompose will rob nitrogen from otherwise productive soil. Weeds and grass clippings ( the highest nitrogen source) mixed with a smaller amount of saw dust (the lowest nitrogen source) that has chicken manure in it, and the additional nitrogen from it, should decompose nicely. Straw would be easier to compost, but does not protect the floor nearly as well as saw dust, and straw cannot be ‘turned’ in place and therefore require frequent additions of straw, or it’s removal. A thick layer of saw dust leaves the floor completely clean. No scraping needed. And straw is harder to remove that saw dust. Saw dust should also reduce the amount of dust of dried manure from becoming air borne, thus reducing the risk of a nasty lung infection. Where a mask when cleaning a coop and wash up afterwards.

    This will be my first winter using saw dust in the coop. So far it is proving to be a superior litter in the bins that contain the chicks. The bin floor can easily be raked or turned daily providing fresher saw dust. Chicks love fresh saw dust.

    (P.S. Got my first commercial radio job from a the largest business in the area. It seems the need for radio is increasing lately.)

    1. Tunnel Rabbit, The last I heard in the news, 50 million Americans had lost their jobs and you just got hired! I knew you were amazing. Am celebrating your wonderful blessing from the Lord. Congratulations, Krissy

  25. Protests made it to our town over the past few weeks. There is a big squeal being made about a stone structure near our county courthouse dedicated to civil war soldiers. I was asked to sign a petition to take it down which I refused. The young man was very polite about it, while another guy started screaming about being oppressed. I asked how he was being oppressed. The answer was incoherent but very loud. I think our town is just kind of amused at the whole thing and I would be very surprised if they took anything down.

    If I broke down on a main road in my town or was loading heavy items into my truck at a store then black, white and hispanic men wouldn’t even ask if I needed help, they would just come over and help. If I was getting robbed at gunpoint all of them would help if they could. We’ve got to realize that most Americans are like this.

    Some of these cities are flashpoints, and then you add in paid agitators and organizers who know EXACTLY what they are doing – things are very differnet there. I have worked in Seattle, Atlanta, DFW, and many others and the mindset is different. While we want to move to a rural area in a bad way and we are running out if time, I like the people in my town for the most part and wouldn’t mind staying here for many years if the social decay wasn’t accelerating.

    1. From your post: “If I broke down on a main road in my town or was loading heavy items into my truck at a store then black, white and hispanic men wouldn’t even ask if I needed help, they would just come over and help. If I was getting robbed at gunpoint all of them would help if they could. We’ve got to realize that most Americans are like this.”

      Exactly! This would also be true in our community. You said it so well.

      We’re concerned that Howdy’s may be right “…soon it will be incoherent and violent”. We hope you and your family remain safe, and that if it is important for you to relocate, that you will succeed in making just the right move.

      1. In my town, which was settled in 1783, we have tons of history. Lately, we have had protestors that state they are staying in our downtown area until their 5 demands are met and the major city historical building in the center of town has been set on fire (sprinkler system worked). Mayor, Sheriff, and “religious” leaders want the building removed. The sad thing about the situation is the building was designed and built in the 1830’s by a free black man. Beautiful building where black people were given space to sell their wares. But no one seems interested in that part of the building’s history.

        We’ve had protestors march through major streets, riot and loot businesses in 2 separate areas, but law enforcement was told to stand down. Several businesses were destroyed by the looting, not to reopen again. A few deputies and city police officers have quit due to the riots as they don’t want to deal with orchestrated violence without being able to defend themselves. If I remember correctly, in June the Nat. Guard was called in and lined a major road in town due to protestors (supposedly shipped in).

        On a side note, I spoke to a 20 something y.o. and he stated that in Chicago, 45 minutes from him, that there were still riots going on. He asked for prayers for the city.

        My spouse and I used to help people on the side of the road, but not knowing what someone is carrying on their person, I don’t want to get arrested because a K9 alerts on the seat where someone I helped was located, so unfortunately no more help is offered in that way.

        Since I do not do social media, I tend to be in the dark about the protests. Watching the news even for the weather has become a thing of the past for me as I am tired of hearing inflated figures on Covid-19 and the how the oppressed want to be equal. I am all for equal, get up and go to work every day like I do. It is empowering and tiring. Equal as in no money for no work or you get money for work, amazing concept.

        My garden is actually so small it doesn’t qualify as a garden, 2 tomato plants and 2 bell peppers. I dislike both. But, tomatoes and peppers have been gained from the plants and eaten. The food pantry is about full, the kids will get their groceries from here when SHTF. For more food storage options I need to rid one closet of non-desired junk that is always given with kind hearted thoughtfulness at the time the birth of Jesus is celebrated. Who needs all the junk? 98% is never used.

        I have been on a work from home order since March 16th except for essentail duties, which was about once a week for 3 months, but has picked up to about 3 times a week now. I am alternating office days with my counterpart. The workload increase will definitely subside if our governor declares schools closed for the fall. The year round session as already been delayed until traditional school takes in at the August date.

        May you all stay safe and alert. If you don’t know Jesus, I would ask that you read Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John of the Holy Bible.

  26. Just going to ramble a bit…
    Harvesting zuccini and kale. Roma tomatoes and Better Boy tomatoes coming in nicely. Green beans climbing well and asparagus ferns are plush…hopefully have lots of spears next spring.
    Picked up additional 9mm brass and 45 brass. Got a great deal at Knob Creek some weeks ago on powder (10 lbs Clays for 106.00) Kenny is closing out the reloading area at KCR.

    A group called “until freedom” has organized an event in regard to Breonna Taylor to happen in Louisville KY on July 14….10am for training and at 12:00 “action”. There was a form to sign up which was closed out on the 10th. Below is from their website.

    If you are prepared to engage in a direct action with potential of arrest, you MUST REGISTER. Please complete the entire form and we will connect with you on details. It is time for us to escalate. Form here. Registration CLOSES Thursday, July 9th 5pm EST. You must sign in using a google account. If you have issues with form, email organizing@untilfreedom.com.

    So, it appears something not so non-violent is planned if they are advising of the “potential of arrest”….and “time for us to escalate”… Louisville has already been trashed (Jefferson Square area and 4th St.Live area. Looks well planned and who knows the roots of this group. In addition, what is not being told in the news about Ms. Taylor is that she lost her job as EMT for selling drugs. But, be that as it may, she was on the receiving end of a “no-knock” warrant…slightly unconstitutional. The whole sad event is of course being exploited.
    Great info in the replies…thanks to all!!

    1. CJ, Thank you for educating us on this. As a side note, I find it interesting that persons’ were/are specifically told,

      “You must sign in using a google account.”

      Since July 5th, my google gmail account, here on my apple laptop only 1.5 yr old, inexplicably was shut down. Why you ask? Good question. I have no idea.
      The last email I sent was one I sent to myself, a copy of this extensive comment from 7/5/20 Survival blog that I wanted to keep:

      jos2915

      The Civil War is quickly approaching…

      ——————-

      My assumption is I was censored.

      I’m not a computer person, and all of my IT department personnel grew up and got
      married. I miss having in-house experts! Just going to add this to my, “Things to get done,” list.

  27. A. L., I just copied this a couple of days ago so I could take cuttings.

    HOW TO GROW ELDERBERRIES FROM CUTTINGS
    If you’re taking your own cuttings, do it when the plants are dormant for the winter.  Make a slanted cut on the “root” side of the cutting so that you plant them in the correct direction.  If you forget, you can still look at the buds on the stick and see which direction they’re pointing before planting, but making a slanted cut during harvest save a lot of time on the potting bench.
    Elderberry cuttings should be about 6 to 8 inches long and include at least 4 buds.
    Whether you’ve ordered elderberry cuttings online or cut them fresh from existing plants, the process is the same once they’re in hand.  Start by soaking the cuttings in water for 24 hours to thoroughly rehydrate them.  Then prepare a tray of pots with moistened potting soil.

    Since the elderberry cuttings have been soaking in water, the “root” end will be wet which is perfect for dipping into a rooting hormone.  I’m using a commercial rooting hormone powder, which is dependable and effective.  It’s a synthetic version of the same hormone plants produce naturally. 
    You can also use willow water as a rooting hormone.  Willows have a lot of natural rooting hormone, and soaking a few willow twigs in water helps to extract it for use with other plants.  I imagine willow bark powder would also work as a natural alternative.
    Dip the slant cut “root” end in the rooting hormone, covering the cutting about an inch up the sides.

    To plant, make a hole in the potting medium with your finger first.  The whole is so the powder doesn’t get knocked off the elderberry cutting during planting, so don’t just slide the cutting into the soil.  Then push the soil back around the cutting and tamp down. 
    You can reasonably plant 3-4 cuttings in a 5 to 6” pot.  They’ll need to be transplanted to their own pot later in the spring, but this saves on space early on when not all the cuttings will survive.

    Once the elderberries are planted, it’s important to keep them cool (but not cold) to encourage root formation.  The ideal is about 40 degrees F, out of direct sunlight and wind.  Direct sunlight and warm temps encourage quick top growth, at the expense of good roots. 
    If you live somewhere with a mild winter, a sheltered outdoor location would work well.  In our case, I think the high this week is a whopping 3 degrees, with high winds.  We won’t see consistent 40-degree temps until April at least.  My elderberry cuttings are going into the basement, which is about 50 degrees, but moist and semi-dark.

    Keep the soil moist but not soggy and wait.  Solid roots and new shoots should be present after 8 to 10 weeks.  At that point, the elderberry cuttings (or tiny plants) can be potted up individually or planted out in the garden in spring.
    When planting elderberries, be sure to give them plenty of space.  They’ll stay small for the first few years, but mature plants can be 8 to 10 feet tall.

    I’m so wishing the garden was as far along as y’all’s who live in the warmer climates. My peppers and tomatoes are just starting to put on wee fruit. The peas are starting to produce, I’ll have peas soon and my strawberries are a week into production. Something ate all but one of my cantaloupe. But most of my cukes came up, I can’t wait to make pickles. I did get my garlic scapes pickled. My herbs of sage, true peppermint, spearmint, thyme, lemon balm, and chives are thriving. I’m planning a much larger herb garden that will have cooking, medicinal, and dying herbs.

    Have a great week!
    Peace and Blessings

    1. You mentioned that “Something ate all but one of my cantaloupe. But most of my cukes came up…” I have a friend in Tennessee that lost all his cantaloupe to something that ate the young plants. He said he never saw any tracks in the garden so I suspect it may have been cutworms that did it. Last year I lost a large portion of the winter squash that I planted to cutworms. They were planted quite late so the cutworms had a head start. This spring I was prepared and planted them much earlier and never lost a single plant to them – quite a difference as last years loss was about 75% and this year was 0% loss. I don’t know if cutworms were your problem or not, but I thought I’d mention it as a possibility to check on. If you ever find a dead plant just dig with your finger in the soil around the plant and see if you find anything. Commonly there will be a small hole in the ground next to the plant as a telltale sign that it was a cutworm. If it was a cutworm they will usually be found within a 3-6 inch radius of the plant and perhaps an inch or so beneath the soil surface. Sometimes they get away and go on to other plants so digging around just one dead plant may not reveal the culprit so keep at it until you discover what your problem is. I’ve heard other gardeners say that placing a toothpick or nail right alongside the young plants and then carefully pressing it into the ground will keep the cutworms from eating the young plants. I haven’t tried this so don’t know how well it works. They also say that sprinkling some Diatomaceous earth around the base of the plants works too. Diatomaceous earth is a natural insecticide that is harmless to humans. One final thought on the cantaloupe would be was it old seed? Did you actually see more cantaloupe plants other than the one? Damping off or some type of bacterial or fungal pathogen might also have been the problem. Hope you have better results next year.

      1. Thanks for the info Dn’G. My seed was new as I was trying a new cultivar. Since moving here I’m trying to find all the cultivars and the strains of those that thrive in my short climate.
        I have raised beds and I didn’t see any tracks. My cukes were in a different bed. We do have those insidious chipmunks and they did eat my first wave of sunflowers. So I’m suspicious of them. But it could be cutworms. We had so much rain I got them out later than I would have liked. I have read about putting cardboard collars around plants that are susceptible to cutworms, I might have to do that as a precaution.
        It wasn’t damping off, I took the hard course of that one year in my seed starting efforts, lol. I have the t-shirt, etc., etc. from that, as they say. : )

    2. Thank You TeresaSue,

      for the great tutorial on rooting Elderberry cuttings. I have copied and pasted it in a file to refer back to later.

      I will probably not wait until late winter to get them since most of them are up on the high mountains around us. I’d rather get them this summer. Actually, I should get them in the Fall once they have formed their buds for next year. Yep that will be the plan. We shall see if it works.

      I already have two bushes but definitely want more.

      Blessings,

      Lily

      1. I think I shall try it this fall as well. The amount of snow we get in the winter might prevent me from getting to those elderberry bushes. We’ll have to compare notes next spring.

  28. This week the garden has been producing a lot and it’s rewarding eating from it.

    I sold a baby bunny and was given 6 more layers… to make up for the ones the coo s ate. Then someone gave me 5 HUGE Leghorn roosters that weighed 10+ pounds EACH. The neighbor thought they were hens and d I didn’t have the heart butcher them. They are only 12 weeks old. They will be butchered and canned. Our goat doe is used to us touching her we start milking her once a day and let her kid have the rest.

    Our friend mentioned a YouTube video by Dana Coverstone and his 3 dreams. I recommend EVERYONE watch this and then pray about it as far as what God would have you do. It reminded me of many of the things Lily has spoken of in the recent past.

    Our new barn finally got the interior concrete poured…. all in God’s timing. Now we need to work on a water line and a holding tank. In his time.

  29. The world has gone mad. I’ve decided that my aversion to people in general is a good thing. LOL. I mean, I love people, but I don’t like stressed out, mean, delusional, over reacting people that stress me out even more. I too believe things may get even crazier this year, so I’m feeling better about stacking it to the rafters and glad I’m stocked up on the defense side of things. If need be, I can avoid most of humanity until either Christ returns or people stop acting so stupid.

    Getting another cord of wood delivered next week, just in case it’s an extra long and cold winter. Planted more seeds etc.

    I was thinking today, this sort of co-op/farm store experiment we’ve done is great because we don’t have to grow everything ourselves. I’m really enjoying the local fruits & veggies, eggs, bakery items… everyone has their specialty. Since all the farmers markets decided to not open, our little co-op has been a godsend. I encourage everyone to try and form co-ops with your neighbors if possible.

    In other news, I got my annual cancer labs done and the results were good in that I’m not going down hill, just holding the line. I will live another year. LOL. It’s a weird cancer… incurable, but a slow moving thing so every few years you get treatment to beat it back. They say, you don’t die from it, you die with it. So here’s to another year without chemo! WOOHOO! Actually, I’m *very* thankful even tho I’m making fun of it. Chemo sucks out loud.

    After my last GSD rescue debacle, yes, I’m crazy, I decided to go to the local rescue to check again and there was another 100lb all black GSD with, you guessed it, aggressive behavior problems. sigh. So, I’ve given up on trying to rescue my favorite breed and I’ll have a gorgeous puppy in a few weeks to raise up in the way he should go so that he never has those issues. I’ve done this a few times over, so I realize what I’m getting into. Best dogs in the world, but you’ve got to train them well.

    Big purchase this past week was medicinal teas in bulk from Frontier Coop because I just can’t get everything planted that needs planting: Marshmallow Root, Goldenrod, Stinging Nettle, Dandelion Root, and I have plenty of Mullein.
    Great job everybody!!

    1. SaraSue! So many thanks for the good news of your test results… Many prayers have been answered, and we are just so thankful for the good news for you, and for your sharing it with all of us!

    2. “So here’s to another year without chemo! WOOHOO!”

      Woooohooooo indeed! Praise God!!!

      P.S. I totally agree with your first two sentences too. This whole ‘isolation’ deal the past few months hasn’t been such a bad setup for an introvert like me……..keeps all those humans away, LOL.

    3. SaraSue, “So here’s to another year without chemo! Woohoo!”

      Amen to that! Your news makes me smile… I’m so happy for you.

      Love your baking and co-op entrepreneurship stories.

      Now I am in love with your favorite dog breed, GSD. I was terrified of the K-9 next door, thinking he would jump the fence and take me down like a criminal. However, I got to meet him, and we both fell in love with each other. Now when I hear him barking at something, my heart is full of warmth instead of fear. That inspired me to look into buying a pre-trained personal protection GSD, but prices went up to $120,000. Not a typo! I look forward to hearing good stories when you get a puppy. Blessings to you, dear SaraSue! Krissy

      1. The breed… my all time favorite, but not for everyone. Generally, they are high drive and high energy, which requires a huge commitment. My other favorite breeds are Brittany Spaniels, Golden Retrievers, and Labradors. I would think one has to decide what the purpose is first. A companion? A first alert system? A protection dog? A lap dog? Protection dogs are in a class of their own and I don’t profess to know how to train one to that level. I can train for obedience. What I appreciate is the fact that many people are actually afraid of a large German Shepherd, even if the shepherd wouldn’t actually do anything other than bark and look scary. For me, the presence of one is a deterrent. They are extremely loyal, like most dogs. An out of control GSD is a huge liability, just like Pit Bulls, Belgian Malinois, Dobermans, Rottweilers, etc. My needs are: companion, and first alert system. For that, I’m willing to put in the time it’s going to take to harness the energy factor. There are plenty of other breeds who can do both without the scare factor. Even little “yippy dogs”, I call them, serve a great purpose because their hearing and sense of smell is generally better than ours.

  30. Well, we had a malfunction of a garden gate and the garden was ravaged by the dreaded chupacabra. It left trail of destruction…. a branch of the wild plum tree was broken, the lemongrass was delicately and neatly nibbled to the ground, Swiss chard plants were pulled up but then apparently then spit back out (too bitter?), and a flat of cabbage and marigold were smashed. I also found what looks curiously similar to a small cow pie… about the size of my favorite little heifer. My husband swears it was my sweet heifer who did all this horrible damage, but I know she would NEVER do anything wrong, so I’m sticking to my “chupacabra” story. 😉

    Got 9 tons of grass hay delivered. I am not a snob about much, but I am a hay snob. This stuff is good quality and will give good nutrition to the critters this winter. Was given some borage plants, which I am thrilled about since mine didn’t come up this year. My evening primrose are blooming now. (Both
    borage and primrose plants have wonderful medicinal properties.)

    One of my favorite books concerning wild plants is “The New Age Herbalist” by Richard Mabey. Not sure why it has that name because it isn’t “new age-y”. It has beautiful full color photos of all parts of a plant to help with identification, provides common and Latin names, details the parts of the plant that are used, lists the chemical constituents, and provides guidance for the main uses of each plant. There is also an amazing glossary, guide to cultivation, sections devoted to edibles versus medicinals, and much more.

    As times grow more troubling, I try to be very conscious of supporting those who share my values. One such company is Egard watches. They produced a beautiful ad portraying men as the brave leaders they are. It was done in response (and in direct opposition to) the stupid ad Gillette ran which portrays men in a negative light. Once I found their company, I bought my husband one of their masculine, gorgeous watches for his birthday. He loves it! Goya foods is another company that needs our support. We have to help keep each other afloat. We need to stay united,
    focus on how our conservative values make us alike, and not allow the Marxists to divide us!

    Saying prayers each night for all SB readership, Jim, AL, and their family, for safety and blessings!

  31. It is so interesting to hear how everyone’s gardens (and other things too of course) are coming along! 🙂
    I didn’t get to post last week as we hadn’t been home very long from celebrating with family before we took a lightning strike WAY close. I didn’t even hear it–just *felt* it. Blew through our whole-house surge protector, plus the UPS/surge-protector (the thing was smoking!) and crisped a pair of computers. Ugh. Thankfully the circuit breakers saved the refrigerators and the electricians said everything else will be okay. Didn’t do any favors for my husband’s brain though–the flashBANG and the smoke and the yelling people were much too reminiscent of the sandbox. PTSD is a b####. So most of the free time (hahaha) in the week was spent on that. Husband was in a foul mood until just this evening when he was able to recover the data off the hard drives. (The repair shop couldn’t.) One child in particular expressed some anxiety about trying to go to sleep when it was raining, ever since the strike… she’s a little better now. I need to be careful how I approach emergency preparedness topics with her because she’s a little sensitive (poor child was carried through, born into, and raised in a virtual pressure cooker up until about a year ago, so I can’t blame her a bit)!

    Beyond that, the great hummus experiment has been a resounding success so far. Have made one batch of plain (just a little garlic), one batch of roasted red pepper, and TWO batches of chocolate because my children devoured the first in one sitting and we didn’t even get any! I think beans are much easier to store than meat, and more economical too, so while I’m not a vegetarian I am trying to move more towards plant proteins than a freezer full of meat that needs electricity. So far I have used canned beans, and I understand that dried are similar but must be soaked first.
    Getting better at pita bread, too…some of them even have good pockets now. I do make regular loaves of bread too, but pita is much faster and a nice, versatile variety. Put butter and cinnamon sugar on a few, and butter and dried oregano on others…. yummy!

    Mentioned to someone that I was interested in trying a dehydrator for preserving things (I had one back in college, and the beef jerky and fruit leathers were just the ticket for a student with three jobs who barely had time to eat, let alone cook). She replied that she hadn’t used hers as much as she’d thought she might, and had been meaning to re-home it, and I was welcome to it. Hooray! Have also been eyeing home freeze driers, but sure don’t have two grand atm.

    Took son to orthopedic surgeon and all is well for now. Whew! Hadn’t been looking forward to the prospect of surgery with pandemic restrictions in place. It’s coming for sure, just not soon. Also got a recommendation for a specific flotation vest from his OT, and various other adaptive items are in the works or already here. Now we just have to decide what to do about his private school opening next month, with covid cases REALLY shooting up in our area … praying hard for wisdom and guidance. I see all the skewed data in both directions, but the Still Small Voice keeps whispering that husband’s prior adventures may have left invisible scars in his lungs, besides the visible ones on his skin. Burn pits were no joke! I just don’t know. Ain’t nothin’ more germaphobic than a special needs mama with just enough courses in immunology and microbio and etc etc to be dangerous. 🙂 But we aren’t to live in fear, either.

    Continued working on water safety with the kids, reminder discussions of family password, and began fire safety discussions. They’re coloring the workbooks they got from the municipal fire department event, and we’re identifying the exits from each room. I really appreciated that 5-part article posted this week about prepping for kiddos!! So much excellent information that I’ll have to go back through and digest and adapt.

    Going to order more cheesecloth and try my hand at making paneer this week. Doesn’t look much harder than yogurt, which I already make all the time.

    Biggest project will be tearing out rusted sink and its mold-saturated vanity in the kids’ bathroom, and replacing. I have all the parts, in about eight different shipping boxes. Husband swears we have all the incidentals and tools out in the garage… yeah this ain’t my first project. Before I touch a crowbar or a pipe wrench, I say, “Show me the putty!” 🙂

    Local pawn shop is advertising ARs in stock. Husband wants me to go in and look around and maybe pick one up. I’d love to, but I have no experience with those, and I’d hate to miss something big. If we do purchase another gun soon, I think we’ll do it in my name (since I’m the one with the carry permit, ugh, but it also waives waiting period and such) and keep his name “clean”…..

    Be well, everyone! May you find peace in the eye of the storm this week.

    1. Bear,

      I read aloud to Jim parts of your post. He is working on something just now. We laughed at this comment: “Biggest project will be tearing out rusted sink and its mold-saturated vanity in the kids’ bathroom, and replacing. I have all the parts, in about eight different shipping boxes. Husband swears we have all the incidentals and tools out in the garage… yeah this ain’t my first project. Before I touch a crowbar or a pipe wrench, I say, “Show me the putty!” ”

      I know all about this….Show me it all before I start, because if I cannot find it, we don’t have it. 😉

      By the way, would you please share your pita recipe with us? Thank You!

      Blessings,

      Lily

      1. “…because if I cannot find it, we don’t have it. ”

        Exactly! Of course, the corollary to this is: you can’t find it, so you buy another, and only THEN do you find it. That dang ol’ Murphy! 😉

        Pita is easy, and forgiving whether you need to rush it and not let it rest as long, or whether you have a thousand interruptions and it’s eight hours between starting and baking. Just soften a packet of yeast (or equivalent 2-and-a-bit tsp, if you buy by the pound like me) in a half cup of warm water with a tsp of sugar. Then mix 3 C. of flour and a couple pinches of salt (optional, to taste) in a bowl, make a well in the center, and pour in the yeast water and another 1 C. lukewarm water. Stir it together, turn it onto floured counter, knead for 10-15 min, then into an oiled/greased bowl to rise. In my climate it doubles in 30min; I think the original recipe said 3 hours! Once doubled, stretch it into a rope and divide into 12 balls, then let them rest about ten min (or don’t wait, if the kids are ravenous and little one is batting at your knees “help! Wanna help!” when she sees the rolling pin…). Roll each one about 1/4″ thick, and about the size of your hand. They’ll shrink back a little when you move them but it’s fine. Put them in a 500° oven for 4 min, then flip over for another 2-4 min. Probably have to bake half at a time, unless you have double ovens. If you want to, rub some butter on them when you flip them, and sprinkle whatever else…mmm mmm! Oh, place the oven rack on the very bottom level, and preheat your baking sheet along with the oven. I’ve had the most success with the shiniest sheets. Enjoy!!

    2. Bear,

      Just a quick note here regarding your “…lightning strike WAY close.” I would probably be inclined to replace the circuit breakers that go to critical things in your house like the refrigerators (or freezers with food items in them) as a precaution. The circuit breakers may seem to be OK, but I’ve had enough first hand experience that when something like that happens I tend to just replace them as there can be hidden damage that you can not see from the outside and they may fail at a very inconvenient time and you may loose hundreds of dollars (perhaps more) of valuable food items. I remember once that I was testing a 15 amp trip breaker (Federal Pacific Brand which are very obsolete) and it would NOT trip, but my test circuit would blow a 20 amp old element fuse. When I replace something like that I generally mark the replacement item with the date that it was done in case I need to go back and replace more items I know what has already been updated. A small piece of electrical tape on the side of the breaker with the date is sufficient.

      Glad no one got hurt in the incident.

      David

      1. David ‘n Goliath! This is a great suggestion about replacing those circuit breakers. Bear and family suffered quite a strike. So glad no one was hurt… Gosh!

        My husband and I were out walking one night when he heard the actual sound of electrical discharge in MY HAIR at the exact time of a strike very close by with the crack of thunder occurring almost instantaneously afterward. That was way too close for comfort!

        Wonder if Bear and family might benefit from added grounding? We had additional grounding added to protect our home. So far, so good. No direct strike or damage since making this improvement (although no way to prove that credit should accrue to this feature either). We went with a Delta pattern to include 3 ground rods which was recommended to us by a couple of people.

        1. Eeeeeeep and YIKES, Telesilla, what a literally hair-raising walk that must’ve been. Definitely too close for comfort and I’m so glad you weren’t struck.
          Thanks for the suggestion about extra grounding. It sure can’t hurt, here in the lightning capital of the country, and I’ll ask the electrician this week how to make it happen.

      2. Thank you for sharing your experience, David. I am extra leery of all questionable things electrical ever since my parents experienced a substantial fire in their home almost fifteen years ago. So, when the gentleman comes back this week to discuss the energy efficiency survey and solar setup, I will ask to have those breakers replaced as well. Better safe!

      1. Thanks for the suggestion, Capt. I’ve already mentioned to my husband that we’ll be putting this on our “change the clocks time” list along with fire alarm batteries/testing.

  32. Ohhhhh, I forgot some things. 🙂 I meant to add…

    The French tarragon in my garden is a perennial treasure. I am pretty sure I could eat worms so long as I can have some tarragon on them. 😉 If you don’t have any, please beg a cutting of this wonderful herb from a gardening friend!

    So, last night I butterflied chicken breasts, dredged them in white flour (almond flour works too), then seared in a cast iron skillet with butter. Removed the chicken from the pan and set is aside, deliberately leaving the sticky flour residue in the pan. To the pan, I added a quarter cup of white wine and reduced it down. Then I added a clove of garlic, one minced onion, juice of half a lemon, a dollop or two of sour cream (heavy cream would be good but I didn’t have any), a dollop of Grey Poupon mustard, and a liberal sprinkling of tarragon leaves. I then added chicken stock to the pan, filling it halfway, and stirred everything over low heat until the sauce thickened. (You can always add some corn starch or more flour for thickening.) I returned the chicken to the pan, added a sprig of fresh tarragon over each chicken breast, and popped the cast iron pan into the oven at 400 degrees F for 20 minutes. It took literally 10 minutes to get it all together and only 20 minutes in the oven, and it was sooo good!

    This past week I also made tarragon butter, dill lemon butter, and roasted garlic butter. The herbal flavors stay nice and fresh when blended with butter and frozen. This week, I am hoping to make salted lemons and use herbs from the garden for chimichurri and pesto. I also want to pick the Thai basil while at its peak, process in the blender with sesame oil, and freeze for later use in Asian food.

    The garden veggies are coming along slowly. The peppers don’t even seem to be growing at all. I have my fingers crossed for some garden bounty by the end of summer.

    1. Grits, You are hilarious. I really think you’ve started something.

      “I am pretty sure I could eat worms so long as I can have some tarragon on them.”

      This is fun for everyone.

      For me, it would be:

      I am pretty sure I could eat worms so long as I can have mustard on them.

      Blessings on your week, Krissy

      1. LOL, Krissy and Grits! Have you ever seen the children’s book “How to Eat Fried Worms” by Thomas Rockwell? It’s about a little boy who makes a bet with his friends that he can eat some number of worms, one per day I think, and their adventures as he tries different things to make them palatable. I haven’t read it in years…might have to find it for my son. Thanks for the cute reminder!

      2. Grits and Krissy! You two are hilarious…

        “I am pretty sure I could eat worms so long as I can have some tarragon on them.”

        I laughed and laughed. Thank you so much!

  33. It has been very hot here for weeks and will continue. My tomatoes are doing really well. It is very unusual, however, that my lettuce and peas are fantastic and are still doing well in the heat. Usually they poop out as soon as the heat comes. My potatoes are getting spotted yellow leaves which are falling off. I’m not sure what I’m going to be digging up due to this problem. The carrots and beets are awesome. Green beans finally coming in. The only thing I cannot grow for some reason is spinach. I never had a problem with it until this year. I had it growing in my basement all winter and it was wonderful. The next batch, inside and outside just bolted and had very tiny leaves. I have one hydroponic cucumber. My hydroponic tomato plant started to really do badly, so I transplanted the 3 foot plant in dirt, and now it is doing well. Going to finally learn how to can this year. I am very worried about the grid. I just wish we were able to move out West, but we just can’t right now. I plead with God for wisdom and also boldness to do His will. This world right now is so incredibly crazy. Blessings.

    1. Deb,

      From your description of:
      “My potatoes are getting spotted yellow leaves which are falling off. I’m not sure what I’m going to be digging up due to this problem.”
      It sounds like there may be two factors involved in this and the first one is the high temperatures as potatoes, even though closely related to tomatoes, like it quite a bit cooler than their cousins. The second is a bit of a “guess” on my part, but since I’ve worked with potatoes so much I have gotten a feel for what to do for them in certain situations to help them out. Drought is the other weather related enemy to successful potato production and even though you did not use that word, hot weather naturally puts moisture related stress on the plants and they in turn start to shut down early even if the tubers are still relatively small and few. This is why the best producing potato areas are states that border Canada – cooler temperatures. I’m not an expert on spinach, but I suspect that the warmer temperatures may have been a factor in them bolting.

      Wishing you success with your garden,

      David

    2. We saw this too… Some of our plants bolted early this year, but they all seem to be settling into the summer growing season now. We have adjusted our hydroponics growing solution (reducing the phosphorous) and this seems to have helped tremendously.

      Enjoy learning to can! Hope you love the fun and great food too!

    3. Thank you so much for the advice. I feel so blessed on this blog and appreciate the responses! I’m in agreement that it may be the hot weather. It is typically in the 70s here, so our heat is very unusual. I specifically planted more cool weather crops due to solar minimum, but where we are situated, we are getting hot temps for some reason. We’ve been watering a lot and getting rain as well, although not a lot. My husband was worried he was watering them too much. We will enjoy our wonderful tomatoes God has blessed us with! And come fall, back to growing spinach in the basement. blessings

  34. My work to takeover our socialist legislature continues. Voles are ravaging my chard and beautiful beets at home while I campaign. Birds got our first cherry crop because my nets are still bagged. I’m doing small speaking engagements, sign waving along busy roads for hours, handing out cards, and let me tell you, don’t be afraid of rejection. Many folks are thanking me for running. Our primary is August 4th. My thanks to the many who honk, wave, and smile. Change is coming, PTL.

  35. My efforts in wild foraging usually consist of trying to figure out what XXX plant is good for, as a way to justify it’s existence around here. It’s more or less impossible to eradicate some of these plants.

    For example: Perilla Mint. Why? It just takes over, but nothing eats it.

    Horse Nettles. The sheep will more or less eat them, so they can stay.

    Pig Thistles. The sheep and goats will more or less eat them, so I don’t worry about them.

    Wide Leaf Plantain. It grows like crazy, but everything eats it, and it is super useful. I dry some every spring.

    Cleavers. I harvest some and dry it every spring.

    Honeysuckle. I harvest some and dry it every spring.

    I hadn’t done much study in how much to use of these things. When I dry them, I put them out in trays and put them in the oven on really low heat with a small fan in there.

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