Let us know how that goes! We intend to make ours out of a styrofoam cooler and heavy aluminum foil.We have the plans. I plan to try cornbread in it first.
(Note: The above video link is not a lecture, but a tribute made by Captain Sheeple to The Automatic Earth.)
We just came back from attending Nicole Foss' "A Century of Challenges" lecture. It was hosted by Transition Laguna Beach and lasted from shortly after 6:00pm to about 9:30pm. The event was free (suggested donation of $10 to cover costs). The previous two nights, Foss was up in Los Angeles County, delivering the same lecture to other Transition Town groups.
Foss, also known as "Stoneleigh" is one of the principals at The Automatic Earth. She believes that these next several years will be a time of great deflation as the credit bubble unwinds and the Fed pushes on a string. Part of her lecture mentioned debt, peak oil, Fukushima. She talked about the disadvantages of nuclear, wind, and solar - especially in terms of EROEI. She didn't mentioned global population pressures, nor farmland or other environmental resources issues.
Other things she shared (her opinion, not necessarily mine):Minimize debt. Be mostly in cash and short-term Treasuries (preserving liquidity and because she believes investors will do a "flight-to-safety" into the dollar as the Euro-zone experiences problems). Be in hard goods. Buy precious metals as insurance only if you've done all the other resiliency things. Build community. Most of us will not live through to see the end of the "century of challenges" except maybe (and she pointed to our babies) two of us.
However, she believed both oil and gold are currently a speculative bubble, and that oil may come down again as it did after the $147/barrel high, while gold may come down to $600/ounce at some time before a potential hyperinflationary situation occurs. Farmland costs was also of concern. She showed a chart of what apopears to be a parabolic rise in Iowa farmland costs.
It wasn't a big crowd. About 40 people or so. Everyone else attending was at least in their 40s or older. It seemed to me that the youngest people in the audience, were me, my wife, our noisy babies, and some young man who probably came with his mom. (He asked a lot of questions, was definitely an inflationista, and thought if the banks collapsed, maybe mortgage-holders and those in debt wouldn't have to pay the loans back. She quickly mentioned how failing banks may sell their debt - to less scrupulous collectors who may try unsavory methods.)
Someone else in the audience asked about owning real estate. Her reply was that owners bear a lot of risk, while it is more of a renters' market right now, as in deflationary periods, the rent that can be charged is limited by what people can pay and that can get lower and lower as the economy becomes more depressed. (I didn't mention also that many people I know have moved in with relatives or parents or siblings, which further reduces demand. Nationwide, there are about a million to two million fewer households than there were before the housing crash - these households have consolidated with others.)
The past month has been brutal (productive) in our garden. I harvested beets, carrots, potaotes, onions, and garlic. Yesterday I picked beans and today prepared dill/pickeled yellow beans. I am currently preparing the ground for fall crops (lettuce and mustard crops). Since we can garden 12 months a year (California), it really has limited my other preps. Less canning = more planting
We got crowder pea (a form of local balck-eyed pea) seeds from a local farmer, with instructions on how to dry them and when to plant them. Picked wild blackberries. Bought re-usable canning lids and more food-safe buckets. Started using our larder, to rotate it. Watered the H*LL out of our garden, especially the new cold-hardy Satsuma orange tree, and weeded the SFG boxes. We harvested more salad greens, radishes, bush green beans and basil. The tomatoes & sunflowers got so tall we had to cage them. Starting to weave the pole green beans on the trellises.
My son who moved in with us a year ago started a new job, finally. I tried some herbal remedies when I had very swollen glands, and they worked.
Next weekend we plan on buying a lot of tomatoes at the local flea market/greenmarket and sun-drying them in our insect-proof drying rack. I want to use up the remaining canned figs and peaches before the new crop hits.
I'd love to hear about your insect-proof drying rack, especially if it is something others like myself could construct. How well does it work?
This weekend I got to deal with "2nd stage" issue in my garden and mini-orchard. Some of my Arkansas Black apple trees are suddenly showing symptoms of some disease (one tree worse than the rest): all the new growth twigs are shorter, ending with a blunt end covered in something bright orangish. I think it is Nectria, after doing a lot of searching on the web. A "minor" disease; you cut off the diseased twigs, burn them, disinfect the clippers, and "forget about it". Easy for the book to say that! I'm watching a Spring's worth of growth get clipped away!
What it did give me an appreciation for is the need to pay more attention to "maintaining plant vigor*" to help them be more disease-resistant, something a gardening novice like me tends to forget. Sticking a plant in the ground is about as far as I'd ventured before...so now the need to learn how to keep the plants healthy so they can fight off disease, is a step into the unknown (more learning curve!).
*Plant Vigor, per http://www.mobot.org/gardeninghelp/plantfinder/IPM.asp?code=145&group=21&level=s , "Keep plants healthy and growing vigorously by using good cultural techniques. These include choosing the appropriate planting site, watering during dry periods, using mulch around the base of the tree or shrub and fertilizing and pruning properly. Pruning is best done in late winter. Avoid pruning in spring when higher moisture can increase risk of infection or in late summer and autumn, which can delay the plant’s natural cold hardiness response. Minimize any wounding due to root pruning, transplanting or lawnmowers to reduce infection sites."
It's pretty easy to make one. You buy some 1" x1" lumber - enough to make two 4-ft by 2.5-ft rectangular frames (any larger and you cannot carry it inside if it rains). Cover them both on one side with window-screening material, sold in rolls at your local hardware or home improvement store. You use a staple gun to attach the screening.
Then, after cutting it to size with tin snips, you put 1/4-inch hardware cloth on the other side of one of the rectangles, also with a staple gun. Attach the two rectangles with the insect screening facing out and the hardware cloth on the top of the bottom rectangle, inside. I used three hinges in the back, and then used a couple of latches on the front. Then, to further discourage insects, I put rubber weather stripping inside between the two halves of the wood. Finally, I added a handle to carry it like a suitcase. Set the thing on a pair of sawhorses or outdoor chairs in full sun, and your fruits and veggies dry in no time. NOTE: cheesecloth or old sheet sections on top of the hardware cloth keep sticky foods from sticking and tiny things from falling through. If dried foods fall through the hardware cloth, just turn it over with the latch shut and shake until the come back out where you can reach them.
It's pretty easy to make one. You buy some 1" x1" lumber - enough to make two 4-ft by 2.5-ft rectangular frames (any larger and you cannot carry it inside if it rains). Cover them both on one side with window-screening material, sold in rolls at your local hardware or home improvement store. You use a staple gun to attach the screening...
I'm interested, too! Would you be willing to share pictures so we can get a better idea of what you're talking about? I think that'd be awesome for understanding.
Thanks Safewrite! I look forward to trying it!
Thanks for the feedback, pinecarr and Poet. here is a photo of our home made solar dehydrator.
I just finished canning salsa and pickled jalapeno peppers. Dinner tonight involved a salad from the garden and home-canned garlic dill pickles. Showers and laundry involved solar hot water. Sun-dried tomatoes are happening in the solar dryer. Spices were stored in our deep larder.
After trimming grass around the SF Garden boxes, on Saturday we will mow what is left of the lawn, which will become an all-food growing zone if the SHTF, like when Cuba lost their Russian dollars - hence the new fence. Sweet potatoes will get planted. We also want to pick up some free, wild blackberries and can some tomatoes.
We will make a trash run, and I will try not to grind my teeth too much at the *ssholes who do not sort out their cardboard, steel, glass, and plastic etc. We have to pay for our trash pick up or have to drop it at the recycling center ourselves. I've tried to explain to friends that even if they do not care about saving the planet, recycling equals lower taxes. They acted all surprised, but they supposed that might be true. (*headdesk*)
Sunday we have a visit laid on for one of our two bug out locations, the one with the pistol range. Target practice should happen.
And I just wrapped up two engineering projects that will net us more cash. Now, I need to invoice those and get the next edition of my magazine ready to publish.
How cool is that, Safewrite? Thanks!
I had tried drying some beans on a screen window alone last summer, which "worked". But if I understand it right, I think this is probably a much nicer solution for drying your fruits and veggies. You close the fruits/veggies inside the 2 screens like a book, yes? I can see where that would work well for preventing them from getting knocked on the ground, or insects getting into them. Do I have the right idea?
Oh, I envy you your longer growing season, Safewrite!:)
The Solar food dehydrator opens and closes like a book. The sun-dried tomatoes came out just fine.
And last weekend we also put in the sweet potatoes as planned. And when we visited the great-grandparent's homestead, my father-in-law finally started asking questions about prepping. That was a relief.
I will be attending meetings this weekend for a civic organization. I will also be going on a quick roadtrip to visit churches with my parents and siblings.
Safewrite, I wanna come and live with ya'll!
The new coop arrives in a few hours. Purchasing it from a local who makes them out of reclaimed lumber and sheet metal.
After a dry-run babysitting a neighbor's chicks this past weekend, my girls and I are ready for our own brood. I've been inspired ever since reading Woodman's WSID post.
Will post pix of the new coop later today.
After a dry-run babysitting a neighbor's chicks this past weekend, my girls and I are ready for our own brood.
Congrats. How will you start, chicks or eggs? Layers I assume?
My son is currently incubating 24 Pekin duck eggs for a home school science project. Not sure of the ages of your girls, but he is 9 and finding it very rewarding. We've always just bought day old chicks, so this is something new for us. If you are interested in hatching them yourself, let me know and I'll give you some links.
As promised, here's a picture of the new coop:
Quite happy with it. Solid construction, good design (made from reclaimed fenceboard). Now to enclose the run and get our chickens!
Ready: thanks for the kind offer. I would be interested in those links you mention. Please send them along via PM.
What a cute coop! How many chooks are you planning on? I have to ask because I have discovered chicken math.
You see, chickens end up being like potato chips! You actually cannot have just one (It will die of loneliness) but you always end up wanting more! Our coop started out that size and now that is our transition/isolation brooding coop.
We started out with three. Four years, or is it five, later we have twenty chickens: 19 hens and one roo, plus five rescued chicks, two hens and three roos I think, which equals two layers and three dinners, and a broody hen sitting on ten eggs. See?! Chicken math.
Chickens can live a very long time, but layers only lay for a fairly short time and then there is attrition due to predation and natural causes....
I recommend the site Backyard Chickens and its sister site backyard herds for anyone raising flocks or herds. It's been mentioned before but merits a repeat.
After watching the History channel report on the infrastructure getting a D grade and needing 3+ trillion $$$$ to upgrade it to a B . I am making my lists and checking them twice as to what we need here at home to make it in the 1890 's .
OH Joy .. not !
I can say that I am heading out to buy that pool on sale too $150 for an $800 pool because people need the money .The temps have been 100 + and the AC running most of the day . Even if I do not need it to cool off in it will hold a lot of water : )
Last week end I had a good sized group of 4-H families come out to learn some gardening and I fell on my arm spraining the tendon to my elbow . I have been worthless for a week ! My gosh it is even a struggle to pull up your britches with one arm ! I now have empathy for your handicap Safewrite. Orthopedic Dr. does not even sound like someone I want to meet but the pain drives me to taking medicine . Maybe by the time I get there it will be healed !
Things are not getting better ... worse infact . Sometimes I just need a boost to stay on the right path.
Yesterday we bought coriander seed at the health food store: they have inexpensive bulk spices. I have years worth now for only $3. We are drying organic dill from our garden for pickle-making. Dill grows wild around here, but almost always near the road and that means it can pick up lead and chemicals - so I grew my own. It wants to take over the zucchini bed, so out it comes. I will put more garlic in there instead.
We are canning jalapenos and tomatoes and salsa, and maybe beets and dill pickles. The garden tomatoes are not yet ripe, but the produce shed at the flea market has an overflowing peck of Roma tomatoes for three bucks and the same volume of gorgeous jalapenos for $4. And how can you beat $2 for five pounds of beets, including the greens? Last time we pickled those with eggs - marvelous; just like my grandmother used to make back in PA. I may can some dill pickles if they have nice Kirby's - our cukes are not ready yet and how can I turn down $4 for enough Kirbys to make seven pints?
Needless to say, I buy cider vinegar by the gallon :-D
There's a cookout at church on Sunday. I'm bringing watermelon again. Last year we cut the rind off and I pickled that, too. Ever have watermelon rind pickles? De-lish.
I spent this weekend in and around Cincinnati with my son and his travel baseball team at a tournament. It's a beautiful city with a wonderful ballpark on the river. Every field the team played on was well tended and in great shape. Some of facilities were remarkable. One complex named Plasco was reportedly built by a rich dad to give his son a place to play. He is apparently still playing. The place is remarkable with amenities such as $.50 hotdogs, $.25 sodas and free Mr. Softies. When I tried to pay for two sodas with a $5 bill, the attendants said "never mind, just take them." I fell in love. The downside was it was beastly hot. Nonetheless, it was a special weekend spent with people who are addicts like me and there was some really good ball being played. Plus, it is a joy to watch your own kid doing something he loves and excels at. If baseball isn't still America's game, it should be.
My point with this little diversion from the normal CM fare is that there is still a lot out there to enjoy that may be downscaled in times of resource depletion. There was a lot of driving to far flung ballparks, not to mention the gas spent by over a hundred teams and fans driving from all over the east to get there. Despite that, it was nourishing to the soul.
My young people (I'm 56 so I think 29 is young - and my son and step daughter are both that age) has fun this weekend. She sews. Last weekend they bought materials for $1 a pound at the Goodwill Clearance Center and all week she worked on really clever costumes related to the new Transformer's movie. Yesterday evening they carpooled to an inexpensive movie house for the movie debut with friends, all dressed up in their costumes and having a grand time.
For fun this weekend my husband is fixing an old computer. The older and harder to fix, the better. He enjoys that more than I can believe.
My fun was buying more canning supplies, canning six quarts of dill pickle chips and ten pints of jalapenos. When I tired of that, I am a writer. I worked on a book in progress for four hours by a sunny window. Writing can be done with a pen or pencil and paper: yesterday it was with my energy efficient laptop, but it is still a sustainable hobby. Some of my writing is practical things, but some is to entertain. I used to discount that part of my writing, but it (as Doug put things) is "nourishing to my soul." And people will need story-tellers and musicians when things get tough.
Do what you love/love what you do. My theory is that our work should be something we are good at and enjoy. We should do something we find satisfying.
big barbecue today....and I have the tomatoes on the dehydrator....and fresh veggies going into a big salad......
We had a nice pool party at a friend's house Saturday. I made us late because I was planting sweet potatoes and doing some general garden maintenance. I also noticed a family of brown thrashers has found my blueberries - we decided to coexist.
Yesterday we planted replacement squash and went to the beach. It is pretty tiring doing nothing all day but we wanted to relax. Air temp on the beach was 98, ocean temp was 68. Thermal confusion reigned.............
It's 87 right now on the way to the low 90s so it's not too bad outside. There is a swamp fire in North Carolina that is blowing our way so there's an not quite unpleasant haze and smell of burnt stuff that may chase us inside sooner than planned. Otherwise, Cat and I are going to cut down a real leggy ornamental bush that has nice long 6 foot limbs. I am going to lash those into a bean tipi and put in our beds for the pole beans and cukes to climb on.
Then we'll scatter a little mulch, do a little spot watering. Pick some blueberries, tomatoes, squash and cukes. My brother in law is orphaned this weekend so we are going to cut up some steak and make some veggie and steak kebabs and ponder the differences between Sierra Nevada Summerfest, Magic Hat #9 and Sam Adams Noble Pils.
Then I am going to try and work up the courage and/or compounded stupidity to eat a bhut naga jolokia ghost pepper. We have friends who successfully grew some this year and they gave me a few. I am saving seeds from one and likely being an idiot with the other two.
Happy 4th to everyone - be safe, have fun, relax a little - the preps can recommence tomorrow.
BBQ'd with friends and family , floated down the river on rafts, and watched fireworks three nights in a row . PLUS watch many people spend a LOT of money on fireworks that went up in smoke . What I really enjoyed was watching the floating lanterns and singing God Bless America .
and thinking *please*
My son is finally putting the gate on the fence. That is a security issue. Speaking of security - I go for my concealed carry tomorrow morning, and a holster in the afternoon.
Gardening: the figs are ripening, and the whole garden needs weeded . Tomorrow we are putting out pans of beer to kill the slugs that are messing up our cabbages: it's not an Octoberfest, it's a Slug-fest. I will be drying dill for pickling - the stuff grows wild here, but I put some in the garden so it would be nowhere near the road (veggies and herbs near the road pick up lead). The dill has to go - it is invasive, and I have enough to make pickles for the next five years. After the dill dries I will make more sun-dried tomatoes, and I need to can more salsa: right now our tomatoes are not ripe but the flea market has 'em for $3 an overflowing peck (1/4 bushel), and jalapenos are similarly cheap. I will buy more canning jars and lids in anticipation of what looks to be a huge crop of green beans coming in (Kentucy Blue - a cross between Kentucky Wonder pole beans and Blue Lake bush green beans - very vigorous!) - the same Ace Hardware that has the holsters (and ammo) has more canning stuff. Also picking up cash in case of a bank holiday with this budget deal impass. Hopefully my last consulting job will send me a check so we can afford an open trailer to haul horse manure from a local farm to the garden (it is NOT going in our Subaru) and more firewood.
Hubby is cleaning the detached shed to make room for gardening suplies. He is doing a tool inventory and making sure he has full sets of everything, and shopping for what he needs. My grown son is working, so he cannot work on the pump house or finish the clothesline, but he has enough time to water everything and help me do a pantry inventory. Gotta use up all the zucchini - might make zucchini bread as a alternative to the squash casseroles. Can't wait until the menfolk hook up the grain grinder to the bicycle so I can use my legs instead of my arms to grind things but that is another project put on hold.
Whatever we all can get done will be more than we started with. Stay positive, people. Just keep heading in the right direction
I had an excess amount of suet from a beef delivery and offered it up on our local freecycle. The lady who picked it up planned to make soap with it and I peppered her with questions. She invited me to come watch her make some this weekend, so I'll be picking up another neat skill to have.
What are your plans this weekend? If you've not been serious about last minute preps, I suggest you get serious.
After losing most of the weekend 2-wks back to getting my concealed carry permit, I did not post but did go to get my holster last weekend. We had to order the kind I need, but at least I know it will fit. Since my consulting work paid, we got that open welded trailer to haul gardening manure and firewood. We waited for a sale and this week Northern Tool again had the 4' x 6' one for $399. ($500 with a spare tire and tax): these trailers go for upwards fo $700 so this is an incredble bargain. The gate went on the fence: the whole yard can now be used to grow food in a pinch. I dried and stored a bunch of Limas last week, and I ordered and received more sustainable seeds and got more canning jars and extra lids. Please note: Southern Exposure Seed Exchange was out of a few things much earlier than the last two years. Couple that with the fact that vegetable (read: food) seeds in the local store sold out much faster than usual and I cannot emphasize enough that you need to save and store your own seeds - do not rely on the store. When things go pear-shaped, in my opinion seeds will be scarce and if you have extra, they will be a valuable trade item.
I made more fig jam and dried parseley and basil. Never did dry that dill: that and buying and canning Roma tomatoes (ours are all beefsteaks) and more pickles and jalapenos from the flea market will happen this weekend. My son will plant the two new blueberry bushes, too.
Window screens are now repaired. With my next consulting check I want to get front and back screen doors. If a crash is averted long enough we need to rip out the old carpet and put in floors that won't go moldy in humid heat. Non-electric-fan ventillation for the windowless bathrooms is also a priority. Gonna start a thread on that.
Next week I have a visit laid on with the local morman cannery - they did not have everything I asked for when I first visited, and I was told I could come back for the few missing items.
How about all of you?
Have at least 6 hours in the gardens to clear out the tomatoes we lost to blight/septoria and the 100+ heat the past 2 weeks. We got plenty of tomatoes and still have a dozen healthy plants so we will still be picking tomatoes in November unless we get another Nor'easter this fall.
The orange habaneros are piling up, may make some nuclear death salsa with the ghost peppers our friend grew and gave us. I tried a tiny sliver of one and it absolutely kicked my butt. It was awesome.
The white and chocolate habs are coming in nicely, probably 2 weeks before they ripen. Lots of blooms on the Trinidad Scorpion Tails - I'm expecting fruit in September.
Will also pick alot of pods from the lettuce we let go to seed.
Will also spend some time at the beach since it is supposed to rain on Sunday.
Sold the Puts I bought last Thursday this morning. Life is good. Charts are setting up nice for a gap close/slingshot trade starting next week, but I'll be trading the evidence and market move, not the expectation or desire. 500 points up or 500 points down - I don't care. Take what the market gives you and move on.
This weekend I'm going to the climbing gym with my son and his friend, and will extend my membership. This is part of my physical fitness plan.
Same son is going off to university this fall, still need to get a few items for thim. Today is swim goggles, tomorrow cloths, Monday some addtional climbing gear for his bag.
23rd anniversary today. Dinner and reflection with my wife. Discussing potental future plans given this big turning point, empty nest in September.
Altogether not to bad this weekend.
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