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Preparedness Nuggets

A Cyberbook of Practical Wisdom for Daily Living

gathered from internet discussion groups and edited for web publication by Mrs. Julianne Wiley .

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Part the Thirteenth

Famous Louisiana Beans

Care for those in need

Cellar eggs keep 6 months

Chickens and eggs

Cook brown rice like pasta

Cutting barrells for planters

Diatomaceous earth

Botulism worries

During the blizzard

Famous Puerto Rican beans

Feeding rabbits

Grains for breakfast

Heat-treating storage grains

How many briquets to bake bread?

If your garden has serious bug problems. . .

Instant roux and canned meats

More on cooking rice

List of Mormon canneries

Plastic milk jug mini-dome greenhouses

Practice your prep eating

Pressure cooker pinto beans

Re-using tires safely

Two great SOURDOUGH sites

Sourdough bread baked in a dutch oven

Sourdough starter recipe

Beginning preparedness checklist

Vacuum sealer

Wheat varieties

Whole grains stored in donut buckets







STARTERS' LIST FOR PREPAREDNESS TOP

Maybe this little list will help put things in order. I realize this is very simplistic but to start maybe that's best.

Think in large categories.

1) Pray about everything before, during and after you do it.

2) Water - a source. Possibly storage. May be necessary to invest is a filter.

3) Warmth - depends on your location. Wood, propane, solar.

4) Food - simple, sound nutrition, multi vitamins. Wheat, rice, beans, pasta, bullion, dried milk, powdered drink mix, powdered tomato, powdered cheese, dehydrated veggies, oil, honey, sugar, molasses, salt and other spices etc.

5) equipment - grain grinder, Dutch oven, wind up short wave radio, oil lamps,flash lights and batteries, big tubs for washing bodies and clothes.

6) fuel - your choice - wood, propane, coal, solar, oil for lamps

7) proper clothes

8) spend time learning some basic living skills -- baking bread, gardening, cooking with fire, etc.

9) build a little library of info books.

Its a beginning to build on.

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DURING THE BLIZZARD TOP

A few winters ago we had no heat, electric or water that was safe for a total of 26 days. Part of the problem was the -20 degree temperature (before windchill was figured) and part was overloaded, or broken, non functioning pipes and electric lines. We lived in the city and could not get the 6 blocks to the grocery store!

We lived in the kitchen ( our bathroom was off the kitchen) and the dining room - we nailed blankets over the big doorway to the living room and closed off the bedrooms. On the side porch which was enclosed - we used the camp stoves and BBQ grill! with a bucket filled with water ( melted snow) to douse any stray flames. It was not fun, and ever since we have supplies to make our life a bit more bearable if it ever happens again ( it has but not quite as bad - maybe because we're ready? ;) We wore lots of layers of clothing and we were not toasty - but it was better than walking to a shelter!

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DON'T GET OVER-WORRIED ABOUT BOTULISM TOP

<< Here's the dilemma. I can't get all the warnings about botulism out of my head! If those jars are sealed (the tops don't pop when you push them) is there still a concern of poisoning? How does one know for sure that what's in the jar is good? >>

Don't worry you little head :-) If you followed the directions about time and pressure and the jars sealed you're fine.

About botulism. There are only about 17 cases a year in the U.S., and not all of those resulted in death. This is from tens of millions of jars of homecanned food! Most are on the west coast where the organism is most common: it's found in dirt. Most of the cases are things like pickled beets where the person used a water bath canning method and not enough vinegar.

Botulism isn't a worry if the jars DON'T seal-it's anaerobic. Only grows in a sealed jar. But the toxins are destroyed by heat so if you boil your sauce for several minutes before eating it that eliminates all danger. If you get bacterial growth from a jar that didn't seal well, you'll know it. It will stink or foam or the usual bacterial signs.

One more thing. I have Amish friends who never follow the book and have canned for years using methods that would make the home economists roll over in their graves. My friends have NEVER heard of one case of botulism poisoning among them and it would be all over the communities if it happened. They can meats by water bath boiling for three hours instead of pressure canning. They reuse lids, they use mayonnaise jars. They cold pack then water bath can things I would never attempt. They keep their food clean but don't go to the extremes I do. (I have a degree in a health field and also in home economics.) One of my Amish friends laughed at me one day when I told her how hard it was for me to can something and said, "If I did all that (meaning my complicated sterilization etc) I'd give it up too!"

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MORMON CANNERIES TOP

If you'll call or visit your local Mormon cannery, they have free software that you can use to determine exactly how much of each food item you need for a sensible long-term storage program. To locate the LDS cannery nearest you, call 1-800-453-3860 ext.4164. The following list is a year old and may not be perfectly up-to-date. Note also that some of these ar home phone numbers, so please call at reasonable hours and be very polite. These people are being extraordinarily generous to us.

AB Calgary, Alberta (403)571-3762

AB Lethbridge, AB (403)320-1505 or (403)320-1230

AB Sherwood Park, AB (Edmonton) (403)464-3466 or (403)464-3908

AK Palmer, AK (Anchorage) ((07)745-3617

AZ Mesa, AZ (602)967-8551 or (602)833-1112

AZ Snowflake, AZ (520)536-3458 or (520)739-4562

AZ St. Johns, AZ (520)337-2436

AZ Tucson, AZ (520)745-6452 or (520)749-9275

CA Chico, CA (530)891-0175 or (530)895-0479

CA Colton, CA (909)824-0486 or (909)794-1691

CA Concord, CA (510)686-2224 or (707)452-1488

CA Fountain Valley, CA (714)437-9205 or (714)847-8852

CA Fresno, CA (209)255-7075 or (209)434-3412

CA Los Angeles, CA (213)261-6351 or (909)627-2332

CA Sacramento, CA (916)381-5150 or (209)745-2202

CA San Diego, CA (619)279-2441 or (619)421-8935

CA Santa Clara, CA (408)986-1872 or (408)281-1601

CA Stockton, CA (209)943-1892 or (209)239-2867

CA Sylmar, CA (San Fernando) (818)833-6696 or (805)297-2320

CO Aurora, CO (Denver) (303)371-7650 or (303)841-7786

FL Davie, FL (Fort Lauderdale) (954)581-2165

FL Jacksonville, FL (904)772-8997 or (954)746-3731

FL Plant City,FL (Tampa) (813)754-3845

GA Tucker, GA (Atlanta) (770)908-5782 or(770)279-8178

HI Honolulu, HI (808)841-6311 or (808)488-2955

ID Burley, ID (208)678-0434 or (208)678-9366

ID Garden City, ID (208)375-7893 or (208)895-8623

ID Idaho Falls, ID (208)529-2201 or (208)523-8957

ID Pocatello, ID (208)233-1937 or (208)233-9256

IL Naperville,IL (Chicago) (630)369-1379 or (847)639-7325

IN Indianapolis, IN (317)872-1754

LA Slidell, LA (New Orleans) (504)646-2550

MA Worcester, MA (508)853-6937 or (508)791-0998

MD Upper Marlboro, MD (Washington, DC) (301)735-5439

MI Farmington Hill, MI (Detroit) (248)553-2508 or (248)528-3915

MN Apple Valley, MN (Minneapolis) (612)473-8246

MO Bridgeton, MO (St. Louis) (314)344-0049 or (314)441-7764

MO Kansas City, MO (816) 453-2398

MT Missoula, MT (406)721-6914 or (406)728-2381

NC Greensboro, NC (910)668-2994 or (910)545-1510

NJ Bridgeport, NJ (Philadelphia) (609)467-0031

NJ Piscataway, NJ (908)777-9440

NM Albuqueque, NM (505)877-8620 or (505)293-3320

NM Farmington, NM (505)326-3506

NV Las Vegas, NV (702)649-2852 or (702)565-3062

NV Sparks, NV (Reno) (702)358-8948 or (702)358-8595

NY Canandaigua NY (716)394-4435 or (716)352-6228

OH Groveport, OH (614)836-2627 or (614)870-7664

OH Hiram, OH (Cleveland) (330)569-3113 or (330)274-0220

OK Oklahoma City, OK (405)691-6788 or (405)364-5982

ON Etobicoke, ON (Toronto) (416)255-1777 or (905)796-8507

OR Portland, OR (503)777-5815 or (503)848-0110

OR Springfield, OR (Eugene) (541)746-6217 or (541)688-5878

OR St. Paul, OR (503)633-4433 or (503)922-3851

OR White City, OR (Medford) (541)826-4640 or (541)826-7194

SC Columbia, SC (803)736-0324

TN Hendersonville, TN (Nashville) (615)822-5584

TN Knoxville, TN (423)694-4973 or (423)988-6875

TX Carrollton, TX (Dallas) (972)242-8595 or (972)985-9810

TX El Paso, TX (915)566-1335

TX Houston, TX (281)537-1786 or (281)550-4562

UT Ogden, UT (801)399-3723 or (801)782-9134

UT Welfare Square (Salt Lake, UT) (801)240-7370 or (801)253-1122

VA Chesterfield, VA (Richmond) (804)743-1018 or (804)478-5811

WA Kennewick, WA (509)735-6454 or (541)922-3851

WA Kent, WA (Seattle) (253)852-8552 or (253)582-3528

WA Mount Vernon, WA (360)424-0335 or (360)853-7918

WA Spokane, WA (509)928-2535 or (509)328-5754

WY Green River, WY (307)875-3800

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HEAT-TREATING STORAGE GRAINS TOP

A 25 pound bag of pinto beans cost about $8 or less at our local warehouse store. (Costco) 25 lbs of flour was $3.50 or so, and 23 lbs. of white rice (not as nutritious, but it was there!) was about $12 or less.

With all of these, and oatmeal too, and whole wheat from the feed store, we put them in the oven in fairly large containers and heat them to about 120 degrees Fahrenheit. Keep stirring the stuff from time to time so that the heat penetrates all the way through. What you are trying to do is to kill any eggs of "pests" that have come in with the produce. When everything is really warm to the touch, bag it up into small bags. We used the white paper bags that come in packs of 500, again from the warehouse store, because they were heavier than the brown paper bags.

(Don&AElig;t microwave: the microwave drives all the moisture out of the material, and then it recondenses on the bowl or the bag.) Seal and label the bags. Make up an assortment of various dry goods like this....try cornmeal, oatmeal, grits, salt (don't forget the salt although you don't have to dry it in the oven!) and pack all into a small metal garbage can. A NEW can. Don't do the really big cans. Drop a piece of dry ice into the bottom of the can, or shoot a small spray of nitrogen into the bottom of the can. Nitrogen is an inert gas, available from welder's supply places. When it appears that the air is out of the can (because, in the case of dry ice, the "ice" is smoking out of the can (harmless), seal the can with heavy tape. That gray plumbers tape is good. Then label and date it.

To cook pinto beans, soak overnight. Drain the next morning. Cook on a wood stove, the barbecue, the solar oven, whatever. You can start and stop cooking once or twice, it doesn't hurt them. Rice or Corn is the complementary protein to beans. Pinto beans have almost as much nutrient as soy beans or fava beans. If you are not used to eating beans...ahem....you might grow some epasote, or lay in some beano!

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INSTANT ROUX AND CANNED MEATS TOP

There are several companies that have started making dry or instant roux in the past few years. I prefer to use these as their is less fat in a dry roux. Savoie's Instant Roux and Gravy Thickener is my favorite. The phone number on the jar is 318-942-7241. Kary's Dry Roux is another I have in the pantry but it only lists an address: Kary's Roux Ville Platte, La. 70568

I bought 10 small boxes of Jambalaya mix yesterday at Super one for 1.00 each and plan to empty them into a gallon jar, add a nitro pac, and seal the lid with Gulf Wax to store. I also purchased some canned smoked sausage by Prairie Belt that is packed in beef stock. I haven't opened this to try it yet but it is a 3 lb can for 3.95 and sounds better to me than TVP meats. It is packed out of West Point, Mississippi.

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SOURDOUGH BREAD IN DUTCH OVEN TOP

Step 1: Culture prep

1) Remove culture from refrigerator.

2) Add 1/2 cup of white flour and 1/2 cup warm water to the culture jar and mix briefly. Total mixture =about 2 1/4 cups. It need not be lump free.

3) Proof at 85 deg. F. for about 6 to 12 hours until actively fermenting (as shown by bubbles on the surface). Always use plastic or glass or ceramic utensils and bowls with sourdough---- not metal.

Step 2 The First Proof

1) Mix all of the active culture with 3 cups of white flour and 2 cups of warm water in a 4 quart mixing bowl. It need not be lump free.

2) Proof at 85 deg. for 12 hours.

3) Return 1 cup of culture to the culture jar. Add 1/3 cup of white flour and 1/3 cup of warm water and proof at 85 deg. for one hour. Then refrigerate immediately. This is your new starter for the next batch!

Step 3 The Second Proof

INGREDIENTS

4 cups of culture from the first proof (if there is more use it all)

2 TBLS butter, or oil

1 cup milk (or water)

2 tsp. salt

2 TBLS honey or sugar

6 cups flour (white OR 1/2 white and 1/2 whole wheat)

Melt the butter over moderate heat, add the milk, warm briefly, add salt and sugar, stir until dissolved. Add to the culture and mix well.

2) Add the flour a cup at a time until dough is too stiff to mix by hand. Then turn onto a floured board and knead in remaining flour until the dough is smooth and satiny. (about 15 minutes)

3) divide dough in half. and form two balls. (one slightly larger than the other - read on to see why)

4) flatten ball slightly and place in lightly oiled Dutch Ovens ( one 10" and one 12")

If you use so much dough that it rises above the lip of the Dutch Oven, you have trouble. This takes experience to know how much dough to use. This recipe can make 3 loaves for a 10" oven or one for a 10" and one for a 12". If it isn't quite warm enough, place one or two coals on the lid of the oven to let the bread rise.

5) Put 4 coals on the bottom and 9 on the top of the 10" oven. Cook for about 35 minutes. Put 5 coals on the bottom and 11 on the top of the 12" oven. Same bake time. If it is very cold out it may take more time and your may need more coals.

6) When done just turn the oven over and the bread falls out onto the wire rack for cooling.

Also -- if you decrease the flour in recipe by 1 1/2 cups and add one cup of soy flour instead and 1/3 cup of wheat germ, and one cup of dried milk you have drastically improved the nutritional quality of the bread.

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HOW MANY BRIQUETS TO BAKE BREAD? TOP

We put the dough in the Dutch oven, and calculated the number of briquettes to use by the following formula:

DESIRED TEMP/75 = # briquettes on bottom of Dutch oven ea. 1/2 hour

Double that number is put on top. each 1/2 hour. Round up all fractions.

For instance, if the desired temp is 375 deg., then there should be 5 coals put on the bottom each 1/2 hour, and 10 coals on top each 1/2 hour.

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SOURDOUGH STARTER RECIPE TOP

Starter # 1

2 cups unbleached flour

1 cup water

Mix to make thick batter. Let stand uncovered for 4 or 5 days or until it begins working. (little bubbles rising) This basic recipe requires a carefully scalded container.

Starter # 2

2 cups unbleached flour

1 cup warm milk

Same instructions as above.

Starter # 3

1 x unbleached flour

1 x potato water (left from boiling potatoes - waste not want not!)

Boil some potatoes for supper, save the water, use it lukewarm with enough flour to make a thick batter. This is how farm girls made it in the olden days. Let it stand a day or so until it smells right. Mmmm... Sourdough smell.

Starter # 4

4 cups unbleached flour

2 T sugar

2 T salt

4 cups lukewarm potato water

Put all ingredients in a crock or large and let stand in a warm place uncovered several days.

Starter # 5

1 cup milk

1 cup unbleached flour

Let milk stand for a day or so in an uncovered container at room temperature. Add flour to milk and let stand for another couple of days. When it starts working well and smells right it is ready to use.

Starter #6

1 bottle of beer

1 cup of flour

Mix in scalded container let stand for a few days till it smells right (sourdough) and its working (little bubbles rising). This particular starter separates and a liquid (hooch) rises to the top. Just stir it in with a non-metal, scalded utensil.

I have had the most success with this starter. Could this be the ol' Irish in me? Who knows. I tend to think its because the alcohol in the mixture makes for a very sterile place for the yeast to grow.

In the past I have grown a nasty smelling batch of stuff that went down the sink. If it smells bad it is bad. A good smell is very yeasty, earthy. Anything that smells nauseating is probably a nasty bacteria that has grown instead. This has only happened to me once. It is VERY obvious. In the morning the whole kitchen smelled --- ugh, yucky.

When all works well the fragrance of sourdough bread baking is one of life&AElig;s simple pleasures!!! ENJOY!!!!

******all starters must be prepared in a non-metal container using non-metal utensils and the containers must be scalded or the starter will fail************

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PRESSURE COOKER PINTO BEANS TOP

Soak 1 cup of beans overnight in a pan. Drain; then add the beans and 2 cups of water and 1 tablespoon of oil into a 4 qt. pressure cooker. Put them on the stove, medium heat, for 10 minutes. Result: Perfect and soft. Great way to go, and only 10 minutes of cooking

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FAMOUS PUERTO RICAN PINTO BEANS TOP

To 1 pound soaked & cooked beans - add 1 envelope Sazon (sason) seasoning ( sold at some supermarkets - it&AElig;s a Caribbean dry seasoning), a small can of tomato sauce ( any will work) 1 tablespoon Sofrito ( a wet herb mixture or make your own recipe follows) and there you have basic Puerto Rican Beans to go with rice. Sofrito is a great mixture to have on hand in the fridge - does anyone know if this could be canned?

A quick word about the peppers used in soft, apices ( ah hee says - is the way my Mother in Law taught me to say it) are not hot! they are a small softer pepper with a wonderful earthly taste and a bit more "bite" than a sweet green pepper, never use hot peppers in this as it can really burn your mouth. And I had it explained to me by my in laws "adding heat to the food is done by the person eating it" that's one of the differences between Tex-Mex ( we love it as a change) and Puerto Rican cooking, Equal weight of each - fresh cilantro, ajices ( or hajicito) peppers (ah-HEE-says - is the way my Mother in Law taught me to say it) green peppers garlic and onion. Coarse chop all of the above and put in a food processor (or add water and puree in a blender - you will need to use more as it will be weaker but it works the same) I put my Sofrito in freezer tubs and freeze. Thaw in fridge before using it and it will keep about 2 weeks in fridge.

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AND FAMOUS LOUISIANA BEANS TOP

Instead of pinto beans use red pinto beans and Add 1 tablespoon of roux (you can find powdered instant roux now days), some Tony's Chachere's Creole Seasoning, some tasso and sausage and you've got our famous "Louisiana Red Beans and Rice"!:

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CARE FOR THOSE IN NEED TOP

I am putting aside "care packages" for those in need, I'm using heavy zip lock bags for grains and beans and such, then placing those bags in heavy tight sealing cans. I use tape to label how many it will feed for 3 days. ( got that idea from the hunger center they label 3 day supply in heavy brown bags). I'm hoping churches and agencies will be able to put aside extra. But we (the preparers) have to do it too. I was at an outlet/ discount place (Marcs for those N.E.Ohioans) they have $2.00 canned hams 1 1/2 pounds size - with a April 2001 expiration date so I'm adding those to my stash, along with canned Salmon and the ever present Tuna fish. I've managed to get good prices on beef for dehydrating and have 3 pounds (dried weight) of jerky and plain dried beef on hand here -

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PRACTICE YOUR PREP EATING TOP

Yesterday I made two nice loaves of Vienna bread, oblong loaves with a dense texture and a chewy, chewy crust. Tonight, I took four slices, brushed them with olive oil (which had cayenne pepper, garlic and onion powder added), and then toasted them on top of the stove on my cast iron griddle (which would just as easily have worked on a wood stove or camp fire). Good eating.

This week, as a drill, I am not buying anything at the grocery store, every meal comes out of what is in the kitchen pantry, as if the stores were already closed. So far, haven't missed a meal, and haven't been deprived of anything, particularly, although I am eating a lot less meat and being more creative with it. The one ham hock I put in the big pot of beans added a lot of flavor for tonight's meal, we'll finish those beans in enchiladas for supper tomorrow night, so two big meals from one pot of beans, not too bad: that pot of food probably cost less than a dollar, and the two loaves were about 50 cents maximum, and will provide six adult meal serving ("meal serving" defined as Bob and others eat until they are full), plus additional snacks off the bread.

Regarding pets, my cats seem to love macaroni with any kind of highly spiced tomato sauce on it. So while I am buying extra cat food, if push comes to shove they can supplement their diet of mice and whatever with my macaroni, tomato powder, and spices (grin). (I have always wondered why stores don't sell mouse-flavored cat food.)

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DIATOMACEOUS EARTH TOP

Diatomaceous Earth (D.E.) is made up of the fossilized skeletons of tiny marine animals. It is not good to breathe, so you should be a little careful of that. It does not make the bugs explode. They do not generally ingest it. When they crawl over it, it makes little scratches all over their bodies (exoskeletons) and causes them to dehydrate. It's that same action that makes it dangerous to your lungs. But it's fine to ingest in small quantities, and it's also excellent in your animals' feed. I've heard that it not only keeps the bugs out and helps keep it dry, but it may help reduce internal parasites in your animals. Be sure to use *feed* grade or *food* grade D.E., and not the stuff they put in swimming

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VACUUM SEALER TOP

When you purchase a vacuum sealer, please make sure that it is a PISTON-driven vacuum. The inexpensive ("cheap") ones use a rotary fan for the vacuum. We purchased a cheap one first, and returned it to the store, and then ordered a piston-drive one from Caribou Cry in Canada. Because of the dollar exchange rate, saved big bucks! Garage sales would be the best place. But just make sure you ain't buyin' a "cheap" one!

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COOK BROWN RICE LIKE PASTA TOP

Here is something I learned about cooking brown rice so it's not all gluey and glumpy. Rinse the brown rice in a strainer while your pot is heating on "medium" on the stove. Put the rinsed rice in the pot and stir it over the heat for a couple of minutes, toasting it until most or all of the "hissing" has stopped (i.e. the rice is dry or nearly so). Then add the water (3 times the amt. of rice), bring to a boil, reduce heat, cover, and simmer for 30 minutes. Then drain the "extra" water. Cooking it like this, more like pasta, helps it to stay separate and delicious.....it's the only way the family likes it :-)

It does take about an hour to cook and about 1/4 cup more water per cup of rice. I just quit buying white rice, and now my kids think brown is best! (Same as I did w/ whole wheat bread) BTW, if anyone's interested, I experimented and learned that brown rice cooks in the crock pot on high in 5 hrs. YUM!

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MORE ON COOKING RICE TOP

Put water on to boil - a little more than twice the amount of rice. When it comes to a boil, I stir in the rice (or even just pour), cover the pot tightly, and turn the heat *way* down. Cook for 45 minutes. Nice and fluffy. Never had a problem! Anyone else?

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CELLAR EGGS KEEP 6 MONTHS TOP

My mom sells eggs to friends. They last at least 6 months. Mom tells her customers not to wash them. There is a coating on the eggs that will keep them fresh. Then keep them in the basement, which is a dark cool dry cellar. She said that was theway they did it growing up.

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WHOLE GRAINS IN DOUGHNUT BUCKETS TOP

I have stored rice for several years in the airtight buckets found in delis and doughnut shops. I get the brown rice from Walton's and have never had any trouble with it. I have found all Walton's grains to be clean and bug-free (never used bay leaves). We do keep it in a cool basement, though. The problem of spoilage is much worse for cracked and ground grains than for whole grains, even in an "airtight" bucket. With that in mind, I am changing my habit of ordering rolled and cracked cereals to only whole grains while I invest in a grain roller. Oats are incredibly good fresh-rolled, and I imagine other grains will be as well. Any good grain mill will crack grains for cereal at the "coarse" setting.

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RE-USING TIRES SAFELY TOP

We just bought this place and are discovering the previous owner left several tires of different types. We have several tractor tires, car tires and a couple of tires we coldn&AElig;t identify, about the size of a car tire but much narrower, but bigger that a bike tire.

Some of these tires are cracked about an inch or two from the edge. Right now we are trying to collect them all and stack them in one place: I need to at least cover them after getting any standing water out of them, so they don't provide a breeding ground for mosquitoes. I'm trying to use tires for planters that have not had the ôsealö damaged.

The hermetic seal is actually the normal outside edge of the tire, whether it is the edge that was sealed at the factory by the manufacturing process (inner surface and sides) or the edge that was sealed due to actual friction during road usage (the tread section)

Now, of course, using them as planters you would only be concerned with the inside surface anyway. The outside would not be exposed to water long enough for leaching to EVER become a factor.

If you chip or grind the tires up, as was done for "rubberized asphalt", you are creating much more surface area, most of which is a freshly cut edge.That edge will not be heat sealed, so has a possibility of leaching chemicals into the soil. In our tests, this is STILL virtually undetectable, if at all. But personally, I would not use ground or chipped tire as, say, a soil amendment. That is just a personal opinion though. They ARE used now in septic drainage systems, and work well in that use.

The steel belting and fiber is a different matter altogether. Those DO cause leachates to appear in soil if they are exposed and buried/submerged. Again, they will be harmless on the outside of a tire if you plant stuff inside of it.

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CUTTING BARRELS FOR PLANTERS TOP

Here's what I've learned about cutting 55-gal barrels in half, for used as container planters. (We get these barrels for free from the local Pepsi bottler: they are used to ship flavored syrups for soft drinks.)

First, I decided the way to go is to cut them in half widthwise ("around the equator") because this yields 2 planters, each 17 inches high, which is a nice height for keeping out rabbits, and thus we won't have to fence the container garden. Cutting lengthwise turns out to be the WRONG idea, partly because that way the barrel-halves tip too easily; also the depth of the soil would be very shallow around the edges.

Second, DON'T plan on cutting through them with a sharp knife. I tried, and it produced PLUMES of acrid smoke--- and I'm sure that vaporized plastic isn't the best material for pulmonary health!

Third, you can, however, START your cut with a hot knife. One or two initial strokes. Then, after it's started, you can finish it up with a regular sawblade, provided you have a strong 8-year-old boy to do the job,like I do.

No doubt the best way is to cut it with a circular saw: fast, neat, no sweat, no fumes. But I don't happen to have one (though my neighbor does.) Bottom line: borrow saw from neighbor, or employ Number One Son.

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FEEDING RABBITS TOP

I'm raising a few rabbits for meat. Rabbits can eat almost any vegetable or fruit. Potatoes are absolutely the favorite. Dandelions in the spring and summer are a real treat too. I will still stock up on pellets but give hay, table scraps (not meat though) another thing that is treat is bird seed. I spilled some out by the rabbit accidentally and they loved it.

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IF YOUR GARDEN HAS HAD SERIOUS BUG PROBLEMS... TOP

For the bugs boring into the stems, they may be one of the two types I had. They may be cutworms, which are easily controlled by placing a little sleeve around the plant at ground level, or they may be a bug like a squash borer. Those you can't control from the soil, you have to apply something to the plant itself. The reason is that they fly in, not crawl in.

As far as what to apply...a good mixture of onion, garlic, and marigold blended down to a liquid in water then applied to the plants may well help. It wont kill the bugs, but will make the plants less appealing in the first place.

If you have them available, you can wrap the stems in leek leaves, which fools the bug into thinking it&AElig;s a leek! Of course, a good population of insect-eating birds will help tremendously. too.

If you've been WIPED OUT by bugs, try treating the ground by solarizing the soil in midsummer. Till, wet the ground, cover with clear plastic for a couple of weeks. Kills destructive nematodes and other pests, as well as many diseases. Also, try treating the soil with *beneficial* nematodes to kill larvae of many pests

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WHEAT VARIETIES TOP

Wheat comes in several varieties. The hard wheat is best for yeast breads. Soft wheat is best for pancakes and muffins, things made with baking powder or soda. It refers to the amount of protein. High protein forms gluten, which is great for yeast bread. In fact, without gluten, you'd make a doorstop instead of a nice soft loaf of bread. But high protein in a quick bread or muffin, etc., will make it tough. Most feed stores probably sell high protein. Just make sure it is very clean - no weed seeds or small stones, and no extra stuff added. Wheat sold for milling (human consumption) is usually triple cleaned. At least ours is. That's important if you're using a high speed electric mill. Not quite as important if you're using a hand mill, although the weed seeds will change your bread somewhat.

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GRAINS FOR BREAKFAST TOP

I usually brown all my grains and then bake them in the oven. for instance, amaranth, quinoa, and others. I heat a skillet up and put the dry grains in and "toast/brown" them by moving the skillet around constantly or using a spatula. they will start popping like popcorn too. then I put them and the water in a pan and put in the oven at about 400 until the water is absorbed. This makes a delicious taste to bland things. You can then use them as a base for vegetarian meals or just eat it that way. Great for breakfast in the winter. Use a little honey on the grains or just as they are. I don't add salt and the browning doesn't need salt.

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CHICKENS AND EGGS TOP

Q: If we get chickens, can we have eggs year round? We live in Vermont.

A: Eggs year round is unrealistic for ANY area. We live in FL. Those little chickens need a vacation! They stop laying for about 2 months, when the daylight hours are short. Eggs keep well though, if you don't wash them and keep them in a cool place - above freezing. The commercial places keep their hens laying by using artificial lighting. But their chickens wear out young. We have 4 year old hens still laying - huge eggs! Don't even fit in the cartons. We also have some younger ones. But ours aren't all worn out from laying year round.

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SOURDOUGH ! TWO GREAT SITES! TOP

http://www.ajlc.waterloo.on.ca/Recipies/Sourdough.html

http://members.aol.com/hleelewis/Sourdough.html

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PLASTIC MILK JUG MINI-DOMES TOP

We have bought new plastic milk jugs directly from the Borden milk plant in Austin, TX. We remove the cap and cut off the bottom. In the spring when we transplant our tender garden plant we put these "Mini-domes" over the just planted seedlings and leave them in place until the little plants poke their heads through the top. This will keep them from light frost and shock. The plastic jugs do degrade in the sun but if taken up and stored in a garden shed right after removal they will last for many years (4 to 5 years) Just another use for used milk jugs.:o)

Your Webservant, Julianne Let us all prepare to serve, and not just prepare to survive.

Want something good to read? You can order books directly from Robert Waldrop's Book Store: http://www.justpeace.org/bookindex.htm -- really great books, plus you'll help Robert make a few bucks to support his Poor People's Self-Sufficiency project.

For much greater detail about my plans for adapting my "urban homestead" to meet the looming challenges of peak oil, climate instability, and economic irrationality, see Gatewood Urban Homestead, the permaculture design for my home.







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