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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 Robert Waldrop

PART THE FIFTEENTH

Return to Preparedness Nuggets Index



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2 liter bottles for water storage

A home-made, improvised grain mill

A thread of messages about changing ax heads

Antibiotic alternatives

Babies and diapers

Baby wipes: make your own

Barrels are beautiful!

Blood meal in compost

Brine

Browned flour: a solution for diaper rash

Buckwheat as a cover crop

Cabbage varieties

Canning spaghetti sauce

Cattails

Comfrey

Compost: cubic foot method

Compost: more basics and some books

Composting: another article

Creosote and chimney fires

Dandelion omelets

Dehydrating canned vegetables

Diaper soakers

Diatomaceous earth

Dried veggie and macaroni casserole

Drying herbs

Emergency diets for diabetics

Emergency heating tips

Energy glow breakfast

Extra can openers are necessary

Fiddlehead ferns

Food grade plastic buckets

Free source for syrup barrels for water storage

Gardener's sun punch

Gathering wood in national forests

Greywater: don't store it!

Herbal flu remedy

How to start a siphon

Jerky: make it without a salty marinade

Kitchen scraps and compost

Land for community gardens

Making butter

Making soap

Mop bucket laundry bucket

More on pest control

Mulching

Newspaper logs

Olive oil and parmesan bread spread

Pests and the garden

Pinecone firestarters

Pitch an inside tent as a heat shelter

Planning: essential to success

Put your propane tank downhill from your house

Recipe using canned hams

Seed saving details (brassicas)

Soil testing

Solar cooking

Sprouting

Sprouting pumpkin seeds

Teach the children first

Tobacco: alternative uses (not for smoking!)

Vienna bread

Warnings on buying rural property

Washing clothes by hand

Witch hazel

Wool: best for soakers







BUCKWHEAT AS A COVER CROP {TOP}

Someone else mentioned this "cover crop" thing too.... ahem... what is a cover crop?

Green manure. Does that help? :-)

The idea is to help replenish the soil between gardening seasons by planting some kind of fast growing green thing, usually a grass, which can be tilled under in the spring. Buckwheat is commonly used around here, primarily because it grows fast & well in cool weather, and generates a lot of green matter. Till under your summer garden refuse, maybe some more manure or compost, then scatter the seed to cover the garden. Till it under a few weeks before planting, so the decaying plant matter doesn't rob your garden seedlings of nitrogen.

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BLOOD MEAL IN COMPOST {TOP}

Square Foot Gardening List - http://www.flinet.com/~gallus/sqft.html

Concerning animal ingredients in compost, I would just like to offer some thoughts:

1)They are not necessary for good compost; alfalfa meal and rock phosphate are good sources of N and P respectively. Phosphorus shouldn't be added to compost unless the soil the compost is destined for is really deficient in P, as shown by a soil test...

2) There are concerns around bonemeal that may have European (and especially British) origins and be carrying prions which are the causal agent of spongioform encephalopathy (e.g. Mad Cow Disease) and which are apparently *not* destroyed in the composting process

3) as mentioned already, blood meal used to excess, especially in an overly moist compost, may be attractive to what are euphemistically referred to as 'vectors'--which range from flies to grizzly bears depending on your location.

Having said all the above, let me admit that I do put small animal mortalities like birds and baby rabbits into large compost piles in the early (hot) phase of composting---maybe half a dozen total in the last three years--but they are always placed deep in the pile out of reach of flies or animals...

I think the usual advice against animal matter in compost piles is basically well founded; if I needed to purchase an N source for composting it would be alfalfa (rabbit pellets, horse feed, alfalfa meal) rather than blood meal--check the feed stores for good prices. I just got a note from a friend in BC saying that horse feed could be had at 6$ per 40 kg (that's 88 pounds for you non-metric types...:-)

Finally, even leaf compost has nutrients in it and when kitchen scraps are added can provide everything your plants need...with clean grass clippings too, yer all set to grow...

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BARRELS ARE BEAUTIFUL {TOP}

Question: Someone wrote about finding -Free- plastic barrels at the Pepsi Plant. Has anyone had any long term experience with growing veggies in this sort of thing? I might be able to go towards this if I could find Cheap or Free barrels that were nice looking enough for my wife to allow...

Answer I: you can do what we did to our 2ft x 1 1/2ft brown planters(catalog ordered but plain and ugly!!)..take some latex craft paint and some stencils and put a nice border around the middle of the planter..we did a wide band in a soft yellow with a seafoam green and copenhagen blue design(sort of a southwest pattern) all around the planters..we also did a few of the smaller pots to make them match. then sealed them with a spray on paint sealer(designed for outdoors)..they have lasted for 5 years and still look great. If the container is ugly all over paint the entire outside..just don't get the paint on the inside!! We have done tomatoes, peppers, lettuce/spinach, onions, broccoli, peas, and lots of flowers in them.

Answer II: Containers like buckets are a staple of urban gardening. For example, consider your roof, or the roofs of commercial buildings. (Commercial buildings often have flat roofs well suited to such gardening.) It is estimated that 40% of the surface area of Havana, Cuba is planted to crops, and a lot of container gardening happens in such situations.

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BABIES AND DIAPERS {TOP}

Just want to add a couple baby diaper washing hints. Yes, this was the way we did it predisposables and it's not hard once you get the hang of it.

When the soiled diaper was removed from baby it was cleaned of any hard soil matter and dropped into a "diaper pail", every bathroom with a baby had one, and left to soak until laundry time. The covered diaper pail was about 10 gallon size and filled with 4 gallon of water and 1 cup bleach, some mothers added a little detergent or a product made special for this. It's really no big deal then to hand wash the diapers and other baby clothes once a day. Washing was done in a medium (5 gallon) size plastic basin. (Some mothers in the past used the bathtub - but, boy that's hard on the back) Boiling water was really unnecessary in most cases, only with a baby which has very sensitive skin or strong urine. The key was to rinse well!

Wool Soakers - Horrible things, cute idea though. My mom knitted a dozen for the new baby, I tried them for three days and then ran to the store for plastic pants. Diaper rash shouldn't be a problem if you change the baby often.

Yes, I did this for two babies, over a three year period. I had a lot of energy then and enjoyed doing it. Hope this helps someone.

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ANTIBIOTIC ALTERNATIVES {TOP}

For things to use as topical antibiotics, (that is, things to put on a cut or scrape), try the old favorites: rubbing alcohol, hydrogen peroxide, or even good old soap-and-water (Ivory soap is something that no bacteria every learned to live through, and the industrial detergents used in Joy dish soap are lethal to 'em, too). Tincture of Green Soap, and Betadine are available for the truly paranoid.

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DRIED VEGGIE AND MACARONI CASSEROLE {TOP}

As I think I've mentioned before, I'm on a prep-diet this week, preparing meals without going to the grocery store, and using as little as possible from the refrigerator. Tonight it was macaroni and sauce made with zucchini and carrots that I had dried earlier, and dried onions that I bought at Sam's.

First I reconstituted the zucchini, carrots, and onions, adding 1-1/2 cups boiling water to 1-1/2 cups of the dried veggies. Then I went and looked at some email, came back, started the macaroni cooking, and put the veggies in the cast iron skillet, together with garlic powder, chili powder, crushed red peppers, tomato sauce, cheese powder, a little olive oil, bouillon and brown gravy mix (which I am buying in large containers at Sam's -- it's actually a good tasting brown gravy, and has no fat). By the time the macaroni was done, the sauce was ready, everything was mixed together, and all the carnivores in my household raved about how good it tasted, even though it had no meat (I used 1/4 cup cheese powder, and about 1/8 cup brown gravy mix, plus three bouillon cubes, 1 can tomato sauce, which made enough to sauce the cooked macaroni (I started with 2 cups dry macaroni).

I made garlic toast from Vienna bread I made yesterday, and had cake for dessert, also made yesterday.

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OLIVE OIL/PARMESAN BREAD SPREAD {TOP}

First I mix some grated parmesan cheese, ground cayenne pepper, garlic and onion powder, and mixed Italian herbs. I add enough olive oil so that it clumps together (this is not very much oil). Then I spread it on crackers, bread, or sprinkle it on top of pasta. Most people kind of sniff at it at first, but once they try it, they don't even want butter. I usually use fat-free parmesan cheese, as I can't particularly tell the difference between regular parmesan and the fat free (this is the only cheese for which this is true).

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MULCHING {TOP}

In my sq ft garden I keep as thick a layer of mulch on it as I can of chopped up leaves and grass clippings. With our dopey soil here in upstate SC weeds grow abundantly, but other things have to be coaxed a bit. I have found that *any* exposed soil is quickly covered with weeds, so I keep my soil covered with at least 3 inches of mulch. There are some side benefits of this also. 1) I have to water much less. 2) I don't have soil splashed up on the plants or fruits on the plants, which helps diminish the spread of disease. And 3) I'm actually "sheet composting" my garden as the organic mulch breaks down. Since sqft gardening is more intensive and uses up more of nutrients in the soil, I'm feeding the soil and saving myself a lot of trouble at the same time. (A lot of this is *kinda* à la Ruth Stout.) As a result of doing this for the 6 summers that I've gardened at this house, I have *wonderful* black topsoil on top of the characteristic red soil that we have here in SC.

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COMPOSTING {TOP}

There are two basic things to worry about in composting: the green/brown balance and the moisture content. Grass clippings are a green which when fresh have a high moisture content (near 90%). When dry they are still a green, but a dry green, like alfalfa meal. Once rained on a few times they become progressively more brown as the nitrogen in them is lost.

What makes fresh grass clippings get slimy is that the high moisture causes the pile to seal itself against air flow; it then goes anaerobic, gets smelly, etc and becomes a curse rather than a blessing.

Grass clippings are my main green in composting, and I have no trouble building hot weed seed-killing piles. The key is to build a pile in the three foot cube size or larger (three foot cube = 27 cubic feet [3x3x3] or a cubic yard) and to turn it during the hot phase two or three times so that all the material is exposed to temps of 130 or more for at least three days...

This is a good workout and I also agree with those who suggest that in a Sq ft system with the loose soil and the close spacing of crops weeds are easy enough to control; an obvious virtue of raised beds is that you have less far to bend down, to exercise your dominion over the weeds...:-)

I collect fall leaves in a storage area and layer grass clippings thinly into my piles during the spring and summer, adding an inch or two of grass followed by 2-3 inches of loose leaves; once the pile is topped off it becomes a 'batch' and gets turned twice more, after which the worms have their way with it for a few months to a year...

It is best to get the clippings as quickly as possible after bagging; clippings that have been sitting in bags for a while can be pretty odoriferous, in my experience...

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PITCH AN INSIDE TENT AS A HEAT SHELTER {TOP}

I have seen discussions about forming a sort of insulated tent inside, using a regular tent or tarp and also mattresses, blankets and drapes as further insulation. This would concentrate the body heat of a few people - but in return would mean very close contact for long hours. And, obviously would not be a sure thing for extremely cold climates (like mine). It would also be dangerous to heat with any type of combustible to any degree of warmth with the enclosed and only slightly ventilated space.

The main thing is to contain the heat available. Heavy curtains and/or blankets over the windows, another blanket over a doorway can help a lot. I have bookcases as much as possible on the outside walls. Not only good reading material but good insulation as well. Good warm slippers help for the cold floor.

There were terrible problems in this area last January with the ice storm. (I am in northern New York) People managed to survive - some in their homes, some in public shelters, some by purchasing alternative heating equipment.

But a warning - many of the deaths associated with the ice storm were from the improper use of generators. The exhaust fumes built up - the generators were not properly ventilated. And the emergency rooms were loaded with people ill from the fumes. READ DIRECTIONS!! Engage mind before starting.

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COMPOST: MORE BASICS AND SOME BOOKS {TOP}

First the compost pile, there are lots of good references: Make Compost in 14 days, a pamphlet by the Rodale folks, will activate your composting imagination; The Rodale Book of Composting, 1991 is more complete; Let it Rot by Stu Campbell is a nice read, and the best picture book on composting is Easy Composting by Jeff Ball and Robert Kourik, an Ortho book (!). (There is only one sentence that even tries to sell you a fungicide and the rest is very good indeed.)

In a nutshell, composting involves bring greens and browns together under moist but not wet conditions where there is air, and letting the microbes work it down into rich dark humus. Greens are the nitrogen (protein) source and browns are the carbon (energy) source for your microherd. Typically greens are wet and browns are dry; examples would be grass clippings and autumn leaves, which if mixed will almost always get you off to a running start. I'd recommend two parts leaves to one part grass clippings by volume, mixed together; Ideally the leaves should be somewhat shredded, and a rearbagging mower is ideal for this shredding and mixing biz...

Kitchen wastes are also welcome in the compost bin, but need to be balanced with browns. Shredded leaves are presently available in large quantities; other options include straw, sawdust, wood chips, and even peat moss, which absorbs odors and aerates well.

Some sort of container for your compost pile, while not strictly necessary, may prove convenient. I use big shipping pallets and have a row of 4 foot composters thirty five feet long along my back fence! But then, I am a certifiable compostaholic...:-)

To aerate the pile, the tool of choice is a piece of rebar 3-4 feet long. Make vertical holes in the pile every six inches to a foot, to let air in and excess heat out, along with the CO2. Your pile will shrink considerably; this is as normal as death and taxes, so don't be surprised.

After the initial hot phase, you may wish to add compost worms (red worms) to your pile; vermicompost is even better than regular compost!

For the Square Foot catechism it is hard to beat Mel's books; one thing to consider if you wish a larger garden is to elongate your beds; you conserve wood this way. For example, if you want 160 sq ft of beds, instead of having 16 4x4 beds you could have two 20x4 beds; this also conserves land, by the way (less lost path space).

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CREOSOTE AND CHIMNEY FIRES {TOP}

Be sure to mention that even triple wall chimney flue can be subject to a flue fire. Creosote can, and will, build up in flue/chimney pipe and creates a really nasty fire if it catches fire. Couple of things to keep in mind.....try to have a damper installed either in the flue or at the top so it can be closed to cut off the outlet and stop the draft. If a creosote fire starts in a flue it creates its own

wind tunnel and really makes an outstanding fire. Looks like a jet engine outlet from the outside, especially at night! When the fire reaches its potential temperature of over 1500 degrees, the flue pipe is liable to either melt, crack or just burn. If it does this in the attic space you then have a fire that spreads rapidly and usually disastrously. Not a bad idea to have fire extinguishing containers in the attic that automatically go off at a set temperature. The answer is to have a really well constructed brick/concrete block chimney surrounding clay flue tiles, with sand/gravel between the clay tiles and the surrounding bricks/blocks-facing. I built mine like this, with a soapstone exterior that I got from a quarry in Virginia.

To get rid of the creosote, there are various chemicals that you can add to the fire, or try shoving in an aluminum drink can or two during the heat of the fire. Don't know what it works, but it seems too. Luck and keep that fire extinguisher and smoke detector

working.

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EMERGENCY WARMTH

Here is a roundup of the ideas thus far about emergency/expedient/improvised thoughts for keeping warm:

+ Buddy Burner http://www.justpeace.org/buddyburner.htm

+ use newspapers over windows for insulation; use strips of cardboard and small nails, duct-tape.

+ newspapers as insulation for beds and floors. They can also be wrapped around legs, arms, and torso underneath clothing for extra insulation (often used by homeless people)

+ bundle the humans, numerous layers of clothing.

+ seek refuge in a basement (in many areas, underground rooms keep a more constant temperature

+ barrels of water painted black in sunny areas during the day, absorb heat from the sun, radiate it at night.

+ use concrete blocks or bricks with propane/kerosene heaters to absorb heat and then radiate it when the heat is turned off. (Note there are many concerns with using propane and kerosene inside, make sure whatever it is you are doing is well ventilated.)

+ close off parts of the house, concentrate the people and whatever heat is available in a smaller areas, but here again, allow for plenty of ventilation -- people have died in cold emergencies from the fumes of improperly vented heaters. NEVER use charcoal inside.

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GREYWATER {TOP}

Greywater use is an excellent conservation method, but it must be used PROMPTLY: not stored.

There is a great "Using Greywater" website at:

http://www.cat.org.uk/information/tipsheets/greywater.html

It would be a good idea to print this up: water-related issues (getting it, pumping it, storing it, conserving it, purifying it, using it, managing it, disposing of it) are among the most important issues for staying healthy and avoiding disease.

There are many good uses for different "grades" of greywater (defined as any water which is not pure enough for drinking--- except for toilet water and diaper-washing water, which is classified as "blackwater.") However, during warm/hot weather especially, water leftover from clothes washing, body washing, or especially dishwashing, can turn quickly into a microbial stew, and therefore should not be stored, not even for a day. Use it immediately (if it is only mildly tainted) for washing the next load of clothes or watering the plants (if they need it). Otherwise, use it for flushing toilets ---if your toilets still work --- or dispose of as you would sewage.

In my opinion, you could store it much longer in the winter, if you store it outside and the temperature stays cold. But if it stays warm--- watch out, it's breeding nasties.

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GARDENING 101

An extensive discussion of the tools and supplies required to successfully grow all of the food you need.

If you want to eat tomorrow, take care of your garden today.

Seeds, glorious seeds, what a gift of nature. We are trusted with these wonderful packages and if we take good care of them they reward us many times over. It is not enough to just throw the seeds on the ground and hope they will provide you with a bountiful harvest. We first have to tend to their needs before they will tend to ours. Gardening these days is integrated into the modern system. We have rototillers, city water, processed fertilizers (even the steer manure comes in a bag). What happens to our garden should this modern supply line go dry?

What items will you need to sustain your garden that is going to sustain you?

Seeds are your first concern, but what are the best kind to use? Hybrid or F1 and F2 are the fancy modern heavy producer, bug resistant, disease resistant varieties. But these seeds have a fatal flaw. They are sometimes sterile. I would like to quote Marc Rogers who has written a definitive book on the topic of saving seeds.

"What About Hybrids?

Home gardeners are generally advised not to save seeds from hybrid crops. The offspring of hybrid plants, especially corn, are sometimes sterile. When they do bear fertile seed, that seed will produce plants unlike the parent plant. The product of a cross between hybrid plants often reverts to resemble one of its ancestors. Since the reason for growing hybrid seed is usually the exceptional vigor to be found in the first generation after the cross, there would be little to gain from breeding hybrids back in the direction of their parent and grand parent plants. There's certainly no harm in saving hybrid seed, though. If you like to experiment, go ahead and plant those seeds. Don't expect great things of this second generation, but keep your eyes open and you might grow something you would enjoy. You shouldn't depend on seed saved from a hybrid crop though, if you want to be sure of harvesting what you need next year." Saving Seeds: The gardener's guide to growing and storing vegetable and flower seeds by Marc Rogers

This is where the over looked open-pollinated seeds come into the picture. These "old-fashioned" seeds have been in planted in garden for hundreds of years. In books dating back to the 1800's you can find references to these plants. These seeds fed our grandparents and great grandparents. They probably saved seeds from their plants and carefully stored them away for the next growing season. I'll bet when a youngin' moved out of the family house they to took some seeds to start their own garden. These open pollinated or non hybrid seeds are the seeds that will feed our families, the seeds we will save for the next growing season. These seeds are our life line. Now, we need to have the supplies and tools necessary to take care of these precious gifts.

In most areas of the county, gardens need some help to continue to produce top quality and large quantities of food. The soil needs nutrients to nourish the plants, the weeds need controlling, the pests need eradicated and the plants need water, and, thank goodness Mother Nature has already provided the sun light. To take care of the basic needs of a garden you will need tools, chemicals; natural or man made, fertilizer; natural or man made, and a strong back. I am an organic grower, the thought of using pesticides on my garden is hard to fathom. Now, if my garden fails me because I didn't control the bugs, I just run to the store and buy some food. In a situation where I am dependent on my garden to feed my family, I may need some extra help, I will need to decide whether or not to hold to my no pesticide principles or keep the garden producing.

I had a situation pop up this year in my garden. I had a population of Harlequin Bugs (squash bugs) show up in the garden on my pumpkins. They moved to my summer squash and my winter squash. They can give the plant a disease that can kill the plant. It would be slim pickin's this winter if I lost all of my winter squash and summer squash to this bug. And the bad part is they will winter over in my garden so I will have these bugs again. I went out every evening and looked for eggs but I missed some and my pumpkins started to die. I had 4 vines and lost 3. I finally broke down and got some Malathion and sprayed the bugs. I have never used a pesticide in my garden before and hope I never have to again but if I hadn't stopped these squash bugs we wouldn't have any squash to pack away this fall. This left me with a very uneasy feeling down deep in the pit of my stomach. If it had been the year 2000 and I couldn't buy any pesticides, I may have starved my children. The Harlequin Bug is only one of the pests that can attack the garden. I will keep some pesticides on hand to use if I have to.

I immediately took the infested pumpkin plants out of the garden and burned them. It is really important to keep the garden and surrounding area free from weeds and piles of vegetation. These piles and weeds are a breeding ground for pests. Also clean up the garden as soon as you can in the fall. This will keep some of the pests from wintering over.

If I need to control a pest, I will start with the mildest organic or home-made pesticide but if I need to gain control to keep the garden producing I will use a few pesticides to get control. With the pest population being controlled with pesticides, the absence of pesticide will create a surge in the pest population for a few years. If the big farms are shut down, there may be more pests for a few years until the population of beneficial insects can catch up. Rodent control is going to be another threat to our stored food. Get the supplies you need incase you are inundated with rodents.

Water

There is a chance that you may not have much water for your garden. Water collection and conservation measures may be needed. I would not rely on city water for my garden. If you are on a private well and can get the water to the surface without electricity, you will probably be fine. If not, here are some ways to get and conserve water. First, get several rain barrels to save the water from your roof. Or you can run the water from your roof into a cistern or tank buried in the ground.

Gray water from the house can be used to water the garden. This includes any water from the house except dirty toilet water and sink and washer machine water with harsh soaps. Bath water and dish water with mild soap residue can be used on the garden.

To conserve water in the garden, water in the cool of the morning or evening to minimize evaporation. Also mulch the ground heavily with hay, straw, sawdust or grass clippings to keep the water from evaporating. A good layer of mulch 2 to 3 inches thick can reduce your watering in half. Also the more organic material you have in the garden the better your soil will hold moisture.

Tools: Essential to the garden without power will be hand tools such as a shovel This I think is the most important tool and you should have two. A spare just in case it breaks but most important, for someone else to use to help with the work. Children need to learn gardening skills. Hands on is the best way. They will watch the plants closely if they help plant and care for them they will be immensely proud when their tomato is served for dinner. e

extra shovel handles -- Grab a few extra handles just incase one breaks

hoes -- A couple of hoes will help you get those weeds that are using up the water and nutrients you plants need. Try to get a regular hoe and a stirrup hoe.

rakes -- You should have a leaf rake and a regular rake.

spade, hand held This is a must for planting seedlings.

hoses Have enough to reach the garden and back to the spigot. Some people will be on well water or gravity feed and will still have water if the power fails.

sprayers -- Two sprayers one for pesticides and one for herbicides. It is very important not to mix you pesticides (to kill bugs) and herbicides (to kill weeds) in the same sprayer. If the pesticides get on the weeds it doesn't turn out to bad but if the herbicides end up on your garden, it is probably the end of your garden!

water can -- If the water system should fail you will need a water can to carry water to the garden. A 2 to 3 gallon can is plenty big enough if you have to carry it any distance. A one gallon can will cause you to make many trips. Use that wagon you got for the kids many years ago. rain barrel Get a big trash can and place it under the rain spout of your house. This will supply you with water for the garden and you, if you need it. If you are going to drink the water it will need to be boiled.

gloves -- A stash of gloves will save you many blisters. Have both leather and cotton gloves. A few extra pairs for the kids will help also. scissors Keep the garden trimmed up. This will keep the pest population down.

pruners -- Use for anything to big for the scissors.

pots-plastic, clay and peat -- Most of you will want to start some of your garden plants in the house. Tomatoes, cabbage, peppers and related plant families will do great in reusable clay or plastic pots. Two or three inch pots will be the best size for seedlings. If you are going to reuse pots, sterilize them first. Scald in boiling water or use a mild Clorox solution. For plants in the squash, melon and cucumber families, these plants can be started indoors but need a biodegradable pot such as peat or newspaper. They have a root system that doesn't tolerate being disturbed. For these plants use a 3 or 4 inch pot, plant 3 to 5 seeds in each pot and plant the whole pot (poke a few holes in it with a pencil). This is called a hill.

potting soil -- Sterile potting soil is critical for some seeds to sprout. Tomatoes and peppers do best in sterile soil. Stock up on some from a nursery, keep it dry to keep the pathogens and diseases out of it. If you have no potting soil you can cook your garden soil to sterilize it. Twenty minutes at 350F will do.

compost -- The garden soil will need to be fed. You can use compost or commercial fertilizer. Stock up on one or the other. Compost can be made on your place from scraps, weeds and grass clippings. Rodale press has a great book on composting it is called: The Rodale Guide To Composting, by Jerry Minnich and Marjorie Hunt. With a good compost heap you can sustain your garden forever. (It reminds me of having a sour dough starter to take care of).

fertilizer: -- organic or chemical There are organic fertilizers and chemical ones. Most of the chemical fertilizers are elements that are mined out of the ground and refined. This throws them out of the natural fertilizer category. The plants can change natural or chemical fertilizers into plant substances so you can pick either product the plants don't really care. Chemical is usually cheaper but is dangerous around little kids and pets. The chemicals fertilizers can destroy kidneys if to much is ingested. Read the bags to figure out how much you will need for the size or garden you are growing. If you use a fertilizer with to high of nitrogen you will get big green plants and no fruit. Read the label to be sure the fertilizer is for gardens. When fertilizing tomatoes, get the fertilizer made specially for tomatoes. This will be good for peppers and strawberries too. If you get a fertilizer that is for ornamental flowers only it may have trace elements like Molybdenum that is toxic to us. Be sure the fertilizer is labeled for gardens. I prefer an organic fertilizer, that comes in bags or use compost. I don't recommend fertilizer straight from the back end of the cow or any other animal until it has been composted. The composting helps to remove the salt that can burn your plants. If you have to use straight fertilizer right out of a critter use one that is pellet shaped, like rabbit or goat, these are not as "hot". Any manure that goes splat is hotter than the kind that rolls.

Epsom salts -- This is the perfect additive for tomato plants. It helps keep the plant blooming and the fruit firm. Use 1/4 cup per tomato plant per season.

pesticides: -- chemical, organic and home made Southern gardeners beware. If the system fails and farmers can't get their usual amount of pest control you might end up with an epidemic proportion of pests for a few years. Have something on hand. I don't like to use it either but it is better than starving. Check with local growers to see which pests are in your area. The local Ag department can help also. Organic and home made pesticides work wonders and are safer and cheaper. See list of home made pesticides at the end of this report.

plastic -- A layer of plastic can extend your growing season and will make any spot under plastic a zone warmer. You need to get the good plastic. Have the local greenhouse get you a greenhouse film with UV inhibitors in it. The UV inhibitors will keep the plastic good for 4 to 5 years. If you have the lumber yard get your plastic, it will more than likely not have UV inhibitors and will last only 1 year. Pay more and get the good stuff.

burlap -- I use burlap to cover the plants when we first bring them out of the house and to the garden. I leave it over the plants for 7 to 10 days until they are hardened off and can handle the wind and sun. Local craft stores have burlap by the yard, it is fairly inexpensive.

alcohol Isopropyl -- Alcohol is a great pesticide and cleaner. Use for aphids, mealybugs, scale, thrips and whitefly control. Mix ½ cup Isopropyl alcohol (70%) with 1 cup water and spray on leaves and pests. Alcohol can burn the leaves of certain plants. African Violets and apple trees are sensitive to alcohol sprays. Test a few leaves on your plant before you spray the whole plant.

salt -- Common table salt can be used for an herbicide, to kill unwanted weeds. Mix 1/4 cup salt with a quart of boiling water and pour over weeds. Don't use this where you are going to grow plants, the salt content of the soil can get to high. Also you can pickle the weeds. Use 1/4 cup vinegar, 2 t salt and 1 quart of water. Mist onto weeds in the heat of the day.

card board -- Earwigs like dark, tight places to hide in during the day. Lay some corrugated cardboard out in the garden where you have had earwig damage. The earwigs will climb into the cardboard to hide during the day. Collect the cardboard and burn it. wire This can be used to make tomato cages and other supports in the garden.

twine -- This can be used to tie up your plants, or keep the dog out. tomato cages Most tomato plants need some kind of support to keep the fruit off of the ground.

blankets/ row cover -- In cold climates it is important to be able to cover the plants when that last late frost come by in the spring or an early frost in the fall. Plastic is a good cover as long as it doesn't touch the plants. Fabric is better. Your local nursery will have row covers and frost blankets made for the garden. The one that we sell at our nursery is called N-Sulate and it is made by DeWitt.

shade cloth -- This can be used to keep the bugs off of your plants in the summer. Get the type with the least amount of shade. They come in 25%, 33% or 50% shade. The higher the % the more shade it makes. Local nurseries can get shade cloth for you.

tires -- I use old tires hold heat in around the plants in the spring. It also stops some of the wind and you can put a board over the top of them at night if it is still freezing.

wall-o-water -- This is another great product for keeping the frost off of your plants. I use them in the spring for the tomatoes and peppers. It is a great way to get an early crop. It will protect your plants down to 17F. Local nurseries carry them . Also get a repair kit, they tend to leak after the 1st year. It is best to take them off the plants when the night temperatures stay up around 50F. Store them out of direct sunlight so they will last longer.

rain barrel -- If the only water you get for the garden is from rain you will want a barrel at each corner of the house.

wood -- Use this to make temporary covers for the plants at night. Also can be used to create shade for the plants when they are first set out. nails For building supports and to feed iron deficient plants.

ammonia -- used for pest control.

newspapers -- Newspapers are great for mulch in the garden and for making

paper pots for your squash transplants.

mouse traps -- To keep down rodent populations and to keep the cat from digging in the garden. Set traps out where you don't want the cat or dog.

Here are some home made recipes that use house hold items to control the garden pests, and some other great garden tips.

Bees or Wasps in the House -- Spray the insect with hair spray. The spray will stiffen their wings and they will plummet to their death.

Black Flies or Gnats -- Water soil with a mix of 1 teaspoon of ammonia and 1 quart of water. Do this every 3 days for 3 weeks.

Alcohol Sprays -- Use for aphids, mealybugs, scale, thrips and whitefly control. Mix ½ cup Isopropyl alcohol (70%) with 1 cup water and spray on leaves and pests. Alcohol can burn the leaves of certain plants. African Violets and Apple trees are sensitive to alcohol sprays. Test a few leaves on your plant before you spray the whole plant.

Caterpillar Deterrent Citrus Spray -- Caterpillars don't like the taste of citrus, it's bitter chemicals run the caterpillars off. To make a citrus spray, grind up the rinds and seeds of any citrus fruit. Soak over night in 2 cups of water. Strain out the pulp, add 2 t liquid soap to mix. Spray on plants.

Garlic Oil Spray -- Use for control over aphids, cabbage loopers, earwigs, June bugs, leafhoppers, squash bugs, and whiteflies. Mince 1 bulb garlic , soak in 2 t mineral oil for 24 hours, mix 1 pint of water with 1 T liquid soap , add garlic mix to water and soap , Mix throughly . Strain out garlic and place into a jar for storage . Use 1 to 2 T garlic oil mix to 2 cups water. Spray plants covering all leaf surfaces.

Fire Place Ashes -- Use wood ashes from your fire place to control any soft bodied bug such as pear slugs and regular slugs. Sprinkle the powder where ever these creatures travel. The powder dehydrates the slugs and they die.

Low-fat milk For Aphids -- To control aphids apply nonfat dried milk, mixed according to the box, onto the leaves of your plants. The aphids get stuck in the milky residue and perish.

Slug Terminator -- Spray slugs with a mix of 1 part vinegar and 1 part water to terminate your slugs. Mix vinegar and water into a trigger sprayer and spray directly onto the slug. They will die almost immediately. Also spray the ground around your plants and any hidden slugs will come out of the sprayed soil and die.

Drunken Slug -- Set a shallow pan of beer (the darker the better) out into the garden where the slugs hang out. They can not resist the taste of beer and crawl in and drown.

Slug trap -- Use a plastic pop bottle to catch slugs. Remove the lid, cut the pop bottle just below the curve of the neck all the way around. Invert the neck piece and staple it inside of the main piece. Throw in some slug bait or some beer and set in the garden where the slugs are doing the damage. The slugs can crawl in but don't crawl out.

Slug Stopper -- Sprinkle a ring of moth crystals around the base of your plants to keep the slugs from eating your plants. The slugs as well as cats, dogs and raccoons will stay away from these plants.

Weather Forecasting Crickets-- You can tell the outside temperature in Fahrenheit by counting the number of chirps made by a cricket in 14 seconds then add 40 to it.

Earwig Catcher -- Earwigs like dark, tight places to hide in during the day. Lay some corrugated cardboard out in the garden where you have had earwig damage. The earwigs will climb into the cardboard to hide during the day. Collect the cardboard and burn it.

Codling Moth Broth -- To catch codling moths, use a mixture of 2 parts vinegar and one part molasses. Place this mixture in a tin can and hang it in the apple tree. Clean out the moths and place more mix in the can when needed.

Fly Catcher -- To catch flies, place a piece of meat in a jar. Using a quart jar, place a small piece of meat and ½ inch of water into the jar. Punch a few holes big enough for the flies to crawl in, into the lid of the jar. Screw on the lid and set in a good fly location. When the fly crawls in, it can't get out. Clean out the jar when the smell gets to strong or it gets full of flies.

Yellow Sticky Traps -- To catch white flies, gnats and aphids use STP motor oil treatment or honey. Smear motor oil treatment or honey onto bright yellow plastic and place it amongst your plants with bugs. When the plastic gets full of bugs, wipe them off and reapply STP motor oil treatment or honey and set the trap out again.

How to Get the Skunk Smell off of Your Dog -- 1 quart 3% Hydrogen Peroxide , 1/4 cup baking soda , 2 teaspoons baby shampoo, Mix up solution. Thoroughly wet dog and shampoo in. Let sit for 5 minutes then rinse. Be sure not to get the solution in the dogs eyes. The percentage of Hydrogen Peroxide is not strong enough to bleach the dogs hair.

Protect Your Grapes from the Birds --,Just before your grapes ripen when the birds start to get into them protect your crop with plastic grocery bags. Punch each bag full of air holes. Slip a bag around each bundle of grapes and staple to hold bag in place.

Spank Your Fruit Trees -- For more fruit production, take a rolled up newspaper and spank the day lights out of the trunk of your fruit trees. This action loosens the cambium layer and more sap will flow up to the tree producing more fruit. This is for more fruit the following year.

Mini Greenhouses -- When you first place your seedlings out you will want to protect them from to much wind, sun or frost. A gallon milk jug with the bottom cut out and the lid off is the perfect mini green house for setting out your plants. If it is going to frost, just put the lid on for the night. If the jug keep blowing off, cut off the top of the handle. Next run a stick through the handle, this will secure the jug to the stick. Push the stick down into the ground to anchor it. The wind will not pick it up now.

Mini Shade House -- When first setting out seedling the can be wind burned or sunburned. To help the acclimate your plants to the great outdoors you can protect them with a mini shade house. Cut out a 18 inch by 24 inch piece of woven fence material, being sure to leave the extra wire that sticks out when you cut it. Bend it into the shape of an arch. Cut a piece of burlap 20 inches by 26 inches. Hook the burlap over the ends of the fence material. Set the whole unit over your transplanted seedlings. Leave this over them for a week to harden off your plants. This is great for working people because you never build up heat under this covering so you don't have to take it off during the day if the sun shines to hot.

Dress up Your Garden --Use old panty hose for tying up your plants. The panty hose are strong and will not cut into the tender stems. Another use for old panty hose is to place them over the heads of your cabbage. As your cabbage grows the panty hose will stretch.

Canned Corn -- To keep birds and squirrels from eating your corn, place aluminum pop or beer cans on your corn ear. Prepare the cans by cutting off the tab end. Next punch air holes all the way around the can. When you see birds or squirrels getting into your corn, slip a can over each ear until it is ripe.

Eggshell Planters --Eggshells make great plant starters. When you crack your egg, just take

off the tip of one end. Rinse out the shell and poke a small drain hole into the bottom of the shell while it is still wet. Fill shell 3/4 full of potting soil and plant seeds. When it is time to plant out just crush the egg shell and plant into the ground. The egg shell adds lime to help feed the soil and plant.

Mildew on Your Peonies -- Sprinkle your peonies with cinnamon to stop molds and fungi. Tokyo researchers have found that fungi will not grow in the presence of cinnamon.

Clothespin for Roses -- To avoid being stuck when working with roses, use a spring type clothes pin to hold the stem instead of your fingers.

Baking Soda Spray -- Use baking soda to control fungal diseases, especially black spot on roses. Dissolve 1 t baking soda in 1 quart of water, add 1 t liquid soap. Spray entire leaf surfaces of plants every 3 days for 21 days. Reapply after every rain.

No Room for a Garden? -- If you want to grow a tomato plant or a cucumber plant and you have no room. Get a bale of straw, poke some holes in it and pour compost into the holes. Plant your vegetables right into the bale. Water when needed. The decomposing bale will feed your vegetables all season.

Soak Your Feet or Feed Your Tomatoes -- Epsom salt is great for getting your tomato plants to produce large crops of tomatoes. It also helps to prevent blossom end rot. Use 1/4 cup around the base of each tomato plant every year. Sowing of Small Seeds

Season salt or spice shakers are great to use to sow small seeds. -- Place your tiny seeds in the shakers with some fine sand and shake away. The sand helps to evenly distribute your seeds so they don't end up in one pile.

Quick Sprout Carrots -- Soak your carrot seeds in a glass of warm water for 24 hours. Drain off water and place carrot seeds evenly on several wet paper towels. About ½ inches apart. Layer the paper towels in a glass baking dish. Place a sheet of plastic wrap between the layers. Cover the whole dish with plastic wrap. Place in a warm location for about a week. When you start to see little white sprout coming out of the end of the carrot seed it is time to plant them. Place the paper towel in the garden row. Cover lightly with soil and water lightly. Your carrots should be up in a few days.

Rid Your Sidewalks of Weeds and Grass -- To kill weeds and grass in unwanted places such as the cracks in your side walks, pour boiling salt water directly onto the weeds or grass for an instant kill.

Hammer Those Tough Weeds -- For those hard to pull weeds, hook them with the claw end of a hammer and pull.

Pickle Those Weeds -- To kill weeds in areas that you don't plan to plant anything you can use a solution of vinegar and salt. 1/4 cup vinegar , 2 t salt , 1 quart water , Spray weed until soaked. Heat of the day is best.

Fizzy Bubbles -- To clean the dirt and stains out of the crevices and cracks of your hands. Drop two denture tables into 2 cups of warm water. Soak your hands for 15 to 20 minutes. It will also remove the dirt from under your nails and will also soften your hands.

I invite you to use this guide as a first step in developing you own garden survival list. Mentally walk through the garden season and list all of the items you use. If any of them are "modern appliances" you will need to think of a man powered replacement or back up system. Contact your local county extension agent and find out what pests lurk in your neck of the woods. Get the supplies you will need to eradicate the pests that will plague your garden. Find a gardener to buddy up with. There should be several experienced gardeners in your area. Go ask them some questions. Find out when they plant, what they plant, what pests they deal with, what kind of fertilizer they use, be sure to take notes. Most gardeners love to talk about their gardens. Go to the library and find some books on gardening. The ones you like have the book store order for you. Fore thought and preparation is the key. It is very possible for us to feed our families from our gardens. Generations before us have done it, so can we!

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LAND FOR COMMUNITY GARDENS {TOP}

As far as land for the gardens, there are options. (1) there may be city or county or other government land available, (2) empty lots that the community garden is allowed to use (the landowner reaps a lot of benefit in terms of not having to mow the lot and thus less worries about the city getting on them), (3) church properties.

A temporary canning kitchen could be set up in many parish and Catholic school kitchens. I'm thinking that my parish's cafeteria would make a great temporary/weekend canning kitchen. It has large workspaces, many burner ovens, large kettles, the one item missing would be large pressure canners, but certainly for the boiling water bath canning procedure, there is already plenty of equipment on hand.

I'm also thinking that large food dryers can actually be constructed very economically. A friend of mine in Utah built one, out of scrounged materials, basically, for not very much money, but it can dry a lot of food at a time (it is a cube about 4 feet on each side, with sliding trays (made from a finely meshed chicken wire, if memory serves me right). This would be a great neighborhood project. I'll try to dig up some plans.

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VIENNA BREAD {TOP}

Vienna bread is an oval loaf, with a chewy crust (plus I sprinkled a lot of sesame seeds on). I found the recipe in the Pillsbury Complete Book of Baking, which I bought in mint condition at a garage sale a few weeks ago for a buck.

Ingredients:

3 tablespoons yeast

1 cup warm water

5-1/2 to 6 cups all purpose flour

3 tablespoons sugar

1 cup milk (I used reconstituted nonfat dried milk)

2 tablespoons oil (I used olive)

2 teaspoons salt (I omitted this and they taste great)

1 egg white, slightly beaten

sesame seeds

I put one of the tablespoons of sugar in the cup of warm water in a large bowl, sprinkle the yeast over the top of the water so the buds moisten and then let this sit for five minutes, so the yeast blooms (bubbles up and gets foamy). Stir in two cups of flour and the rest of the sugar. Cover and let this rise in a warm place for one hour. It rises up and looks a little like a sponge.

In a saucepan, heat the milk and oil until warm (105 to 115 degrees) (note that this is not anywhere near boiling hot). Add the warm liquid to the flour mixture (after it has risen once). Add salt (if desired) and 2-1/2 to 2-3/4 cups flour, a little at a time, stirring it so it mixes, and eventually pulls cleanly away from the sides of the bowl.

Turn this out onto a floured surface, and knead in 1 to 1-1/4 cups flour until the dough is smooth and elastic (8 to 10 minutes, I usually say the Lord's Prayer and the Hail Mary during this, it really is a nice prayer time, the prayers spoken aloud become a rhythm for the kneading). Place this dough in a greased bowl, cover and let rise in a warm place until double in size, 1 to 1-1/4 hours. Punch down the dough. Cover, let rise a second time (actually, this is the third rising if you count the initial sponge rising) until double in size, another 50 to 60 minutes.

Generously grease a large cookie sheet. Punch down the dough several times so that the air bubbles are gone. Divide the dough into two parts, roll them into balls (as I roll, I usually fold the side under, in a maneuver that is kind of like turning it inside out, it's kind of hard to describe in words, but you want a nice round ball of dough, however you get it that way). Place the round balls of dough well apart on the greased cookie sheet, and cut five deep slits on the tops of the loaves. Cover, let rise in a warm place until doubled in size, about 30 to 40 minutes.

Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees. Uncover the dough. Lightly brush the tops and sides of the loaves with beaten egg white, sprinkle generously with sesame seed. Bake 40 to 50 minutes or until the loaves sound hollow when lightly tapped. Immediately remove them from the cookie sheet, cool on wire racks. Always let bread cool at least 20 minutes before slicing. Resist the temptation to immediately tear into it, even though it smells wonderful. High altitude instructions: no change.

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PESTS AND THE GARDEN {TOP}

First time you've put in a garden? . Most fallow land, even next to a house, is prime habitat for small animals. The soil is fairly loose in comparison to the nearby areas, and this means lots of food for the animals. Often this food is of an insect nature.

Eliminate the food supply, eliminate the pest. Keep the weeds down, dig the ground up deeply, and eliminate perennial roots that the rodents might be eating. Excessive pillbugs, beetles and other food sources can be kept to a minimum in this way also. Let the soil freeze over the winter. Then use other insects, in the spring, to battle the food sources of the rodents.

The smell of humans also keeps rodents away, so work in your garden often. Keep large areas of empty yard with short grass between your garden and wooded areas.

Please think twice before you decide to use wolf urea as a rodent repellent. If you have ever dyed cloth you will know how truly obnoxious the smell of urea is, and it doesn't matter if it is coyote, dog, cat, human, or the rodents themselves. You may be run out of your own garden, because the smell must be fairly strong to keep out some rodents.

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KITCHEN SCRAPS AND COMPOST {TOP}

I use a Vitamix (type of super charged blender) that pulverizes almost everything including chicken and fish bones, banana peels, artichoke leaves, corn cobs and melon rinds. I fill the container with kitchen scraps, add water, blend, dig a small depression in the compost pile and pour the blended material in the center and cover with compost. I can also pour this blended material directly around plants (tomatoes and roses, especially), cover with mulch and let it compost directly in the ground. These methods have been successful for me and I never have to use any other fertilizers on my vegetables or roses. (From a southern California gardener)

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MORE ON PEST CONTROL {TOP}

Bay leaves in flour to prevent bugs

Tansy around the house to deter insects

For small rodents - get a cat.

For larger rodents - get a trap.

For larger animals in the garden - get a dog or

put human urine on stones/bricks around the edge of the garden or

hang net/mesh bags of human hair in fruit trees (for deer control)

Stock up on the sticky fly tapes

Do a web search for other natural pesticides.

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MAKING SOAP {TOP}

Some good books are available on this subject However - whenever you see soap on sale (and/or have a good coupon) get it. Take off the wrappers and let it sit out for a few months. Then store it in a cardboard box (or other container) in a cool, dry place. The 'air-hardening' makes the soap last a great deal longer. I have at least a two years supply gathered over about a 5 year period of time.

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COMPOST: CUBIC FOOT METHOD {TOP}

As I finished harvesting a square I would dig it out completely, saving the soil in a bucket. Then over the next few days I would blend up all food scraps and waste in a blender I had set aside for this purpose. And each day I would put down a thin layer of leaves (about an inch), a thin layer of Grass clippings, then pour on the slurried kitchen waste. Then I took enough of the saved aside soil to cover it completely. By the end of the week or so I had more than filled the hole, and when I went back to it in a few weeks (or next season) to till it, everything was decomposed and fully mixed with earthworms. Very handy and took about 5 min a day with no heavy turning.

And, almost everything would blend up just fine, including egg shells, spaghetti squash hulls and other really hard stuff. Now admittedly, that blender started making a loud noise and a scary smell before I retired it, but for $29.95 it lasted about three years of regular duty and three of compost duty. I'm waiting now for the kitchen Garbage Disposer to start getting loud so that I can replace it with a new one and attach the old one to a workbench basin leading to a bucket. I figure weeds and stems can go in that for a couple years maybe.

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SOLAR COOKING {TOP}

>If using *little* fuel is good, using *no* fuel is best.

>Check this out: Numerous plans for solar cookers and water pasteurizers, using cheap handy materials: cardboard boxes, black paint, aluminum foil, glass or plastic film. It is claimed that these will work even in winter, even on overcast days ---although the amount of time taken to heat up, of course, varies with the amount of sunshine and the ambient temperatures.

> http://www.accessone.com/~sbcn

http://www.eden.com/~solar/solarchf.html

http://www-leland.stanford.edu/group/syesp/activities/projects/engineer/physics.html

http://www.bhip.com/news/28solar.htm

http://www.oxygengroup.com/Earthwatch/Kammen/kammen.html

http://www.solarenergie.com/kocher/solarkocher.html

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SOIL TESTING {TOP}

If you have free soil testing services through your County Extension Office you should use them to find out your baseline soil conditions.

If you want to know more about the microbiology of your soil, interesting tests are available at http://www.soilfoodweb.com ; even if you don't want to have the analysis done, there is a wealth of fascinating info there; this is the website of Dr. Elaine Ingam, a soil ecologist.

Having said all that, I should also say that a sq ft garden consisting of 1/3 compost, peat and vermiculite blending into any reasonable soil base will almost never need much adjustment; that's part of the beauty of it.

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DIAPER SOAKERS {TOP}

Finally found the article. It is Mother Earth News #41, September 1976. Soakers are used instead of plastic pants over cloth diapers. Knitted or crocheted from natural wool - with the lanolin still there. If you don't have the natural wool yarn, make them 3 times as big and shrink them down (use wool yarn) called felting Apparently no skin problems when these were used.

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WARNINGS ON BUYING RURAL PROPERTY {TOP}

It is indeed possible to buy rural property for less money than most people think, and on easy terms such as those described in this website. But I would advise the following, and that is never buy a piece of property that you yourself have not actually looked at, smelled, walked upon, examined the dirt, and etc. Considerations, particularly, for mountain property include length of growing season, amount of sunlight (if it is on the shady side of the mountain, you might only get full sun for half a day), access by road, and especially quality of the soil. Also, where and how does the water run, especially in valleys (e.g. is it subject to flash flooding, a special problem in western areas).

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NEWSPAPER LOGS {TOP}

Try rolling them, tie them with binder twine, and then soak them. If you have an old wash tub, place them on end in the tub to dry--which will take a long time, on the order of two or three months is done properly...so start now. Don't worry about toxic gases, if there are any they will go up the flue along with a lot of the heat. If used in a wood stove, no problem, up the flue also. Fireplaces are another story. Make sure the chimney draws properly--and throw in a soft drink can every so often to help keep the creosote out of the flue (make sure it gets thoroughly burned up by the fire).

And if you put just a little nitrogen fertilizer in the water before soaking the rolled papers, they burn even better. There is a handy, dandy device sometimes sold at hardware stores that is made for rolling newspapers. The device has a split shank on a handle that makes it easier to start the roll. Newspapers being what they are, it makes it better if you reverse the folded edge from one side to the other as you roll them. Done it for years...works well.

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PUT YOUR PROPANE TANK DOWNHILL FROM THE HOUSE {TOP}

Check with your local propane supplier about the expenses involved with using a 500 gallon tank which should, (should that is) see one through a long cold spell. If you have the supplier provide the tank, installation, and service the price then becomes more reasonable and definitely safer than storing propane in the house. A very small leak in a tank valve can cause a rather large explosion!!! Inside is disaster, outside is not the problem since the propane dissipates in the outside air. Just make sure the tank is downhill somewhat from your house so that any leaking propane does not flow under a door.

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Pinecone Firestarters {TOP}

Materials

Medium-size pinecones

water

Double boiler

Knife

Paraffin

Old saucepan or large tin can

newspaper

red or green crayon (optional)

old muffin tin

scissors

candle wicking or heavy cord.

1. select cones that will fit in muffin cups, if cones are still partially closed, they can be made to open completely by baking them on a old cookie sheet at 200 degrees for 30 minutes.

2. Put water in bottom of a double boiler and bring to a boil; reduce heat to a simmer. With a knife grate paraffin into a old saucepan and set inside the top of double boiler.

3. When the paraffin has melted, dip each pinecone to coat completely. Remove and cool on paper.

4. melt more paraffin as needed. When all the cones have been dipped, add red or green crayon to the melted wax to tint.

5. Pour melted paraffin ½ inch deep into each of the muffin cups. Cut wicking or cord into 2 inch lengths. Place one wick in each cup, placing it to one side with at least an inch extending above the paraffin.

6. Allow paraffin to partially harden, then press a pinecone into each cup, let harden completely. Run hot water into the sink and dip the bottom of the muffin pan into it to loosen the starters, lift each one out. Use to start a fire in your fire place.

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GATHERING WOOD IN NATIONAL FORESTS {TOP}

For those of you who live in the area of a National Forest, try contacting your local conservation office. Every year we purchase a $10.00 permit to chop wood in designated areas. The only stipulation is that you cut in only the areas designated and that you cut no standing trees. As of this afternoon, we now have approx. 3 ricks of wood - the going rate around here is $35.00 - $45.00 per rick. Granted, you will need a pick-up, chainsaw and a good strong back, but it is certainly worth the $10.00 investment. Next year I'm going to learn how to use the chainsaw, somehow I ended up loading that great big truck - but hubby did have to go it alone today...now we're both sore! Hope this is helpful to any of you "Paul Bunyan" wannabes!

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SPROUTING PUMPKIN SEEDS {TOP}

We sprouted several seeds from our jack-o-lantern pumpkin this year. They were

great!

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SPROUTING {TOP}

<< Those of us who have yet to perfect our garden skills can still provide our families and others with all the nutrition of a garden BUT we will only need the seeds, a few mason jars, some cheese cloth, some strong rubber bands, and water. Especially in the colder climates the added plus is that all this takes place indoors!

>>

This point about sprouting deserves repeating. It is the cheapest nutrition available, plus is fresh whenever you want it, stores easily, easy to prepare --it's almost too good to believe, but TRUE. For those of us who have limited funds and storage space, this one point could make the difference. Seeds take very little space, then bulk up when sprouted. Nutrition is far superior to any canned foods also. It is live food with all the nutrients and enzymes intact.

I find that rubber or plastic screening (not metal) works better than cheesecloth, cleans up with a rinse. We bought a small roll, then cut it into squares to fit mason jars. You can even use the canning jar rings to secure the screen. This will work for years and not wear out. Wheat sprouts very easily -recommended for beginners.

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CATTAILS {TOP}

Now, about cattails -- many of you probably know this already, but I had no clue. In the Reader's Digest Back to Basics book it says plain old cattails can be a year round source of food & fiber. In the spring you can cut the young (18") sprouts close to the rhizome; peel and eat raw, or slice and boil like green beans. Says it has a carrot-like texture and resembles cucumber in taste.

In early summer, cut young flower heads just as they are turning from green to yellow, remove the husk, boil, and eat as you would corn on the cob.

Throughout summer, the flower heads of an acre of cattails produce three times as much flour as an acre of cultivated wheat land. It says to put a plastic bag over the flower head and shake the tasty, yellow, protein-rich pollen into the bag. It needs no grinding or processing; us as is, or mix with wheat or other flour for baking.

>From midfall to midspring starchy rhizomes (underground stems connecting plants) make good potato substitutes or can be dried & ground for flour. To harvest, dig between plants with a hoe or sharp stick and break off section of rhizome. Sever the tiny green sprouts -- known as Russian asparagus -- and boil in salted water. Peel away the rhizome's spongy outer husk and use only the pithy white inner core.

You can also gather the fluffy white seed head in fall & winter to use as tinder. Four different native American species of these wondrous plants (in which I used to play tag and hide & seek) grow in marshes and in the shallows of lakes, rivers, and estuaries throughout the US.

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BRINE {TOP}

Two steps to making brine

1. Fill a glass, plastic, or stoneware container 3/4 full with water. (This allows space for whatever you are going to soak in the brine)

2. Add plain salt and dissolve. Test with a raw egg. If the egg floats, the brine is strong enough. Start with 1 cup salt to 1 gallon water.

That's all there is to it.

Brine (actually the salt) is a strong preservative. Pickles are brined. Smoked salmon is brined before smoking to harden the meat. The salt will prevent the growth of molds and other bacteria, especially for long-term storage. Sauerkraut is nothing but cabbage and salt. Make sure there is plenty of salt in your pantry for preservation and for barter.

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FOOD GRADE PLASTIC BUCKETS {TOP}

Anyone out there still looking for a supplier of the food grade plastic buckets; a supplier that will deliver the goods within a reasonable length of time? Look no more. I just got off the phone with U.S. Plastics (1-800-537-9724). They have plenty of plastic buckets, lids, lid removers, and gamma seals in stock. I was told to expect my order to arrive at my doorstep by Thursday.

Some more good news. This time it is about those "used" lids several of us have been getting with the bakery buckets we've picked up for a song here and there. Even though the lids may have been "cut away", as the expression goes, in order to get them off the bucket to begin with, they can be hammered back down and used again. This is what the sales person with U.S. Plastic told me when I asked. This means that we should not have to worry about replacing these lids with new ones. It might be a good idea to run a little experiment though. Put some water in a bucket, hammer down the used lid with a rubber mallet as shown at the Walton Feed website, and tip the bucket over to see if water starts leaking out. If water does not leak out, then we can assume that we are getting a fairly tight fit with the used lid. Does that make sense?

Mason jars. I had my hubby haul up from the basement the mason jars we've had in storage since the late 70's,...relics of my past canning days. I discovered that I have just about 100 of the quart size and close to 50 of the pint size. I am a pack rat. I figure that as long as I have a basement, why not keep things that are still usable. I kept all the canning jars and my canning equipment, because I thought that one of our children might have a garden one day and want to use these things. I'm in the process of washing out the jars now. I am going to use some of them to store variety grains, dry mixes, and, eventually, dehydrated fruits and veggies. I'll use the small oxygen absorbers I bought from the cannery to create a vacuum with the jars.

I went to an Ace Hardware in my area today and bought some jar lids and rings. They had plenty. While I was there I picked up a Ball Blue Book which is a guide to home canning, freezing, and dehydration. The segment on dehydration is pretty good. It tells you lots of things, like the fresh verses dried weight of various fruits and vegetables. It also explains how to make beef jerky and fruit leather. Some of you might want to pick up this "all-in-one" book.

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HOW TO START A SIPHON {TOP}

If you don't want to suck it to get it started, fill the hose (smaller plastic hose- 1/4 to 3/8 inch. diameter is better than the diameter of a garden hose) with water or the liquid you wanted to siphon. Then hold the two end together and put one end on the container (the other empty container should be lower than the storage container) and lower the other end to the empty container and the liquid you want will be suck by the crude vacuum system. Try it with water first on a 2 -5 gallon containers (1 full and 1 empty). It may take a two or three tries before you master it.

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DANDELION OMELETS {TOP}

If your area has a large number of dandelions, you can make dandelion omelettes. Pick the buds when they are still very hard and have not opened at all (otherwise, they will be bitter). Fry them in oil for about a minute, then add to the omelette. You can also use the very young leaves (see above) for salad. You can also make dandelion wine, but I have no idea how.

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WITCH HAZEL {TOP}

>>Witch hazel water extract can be made by boiling leaves, bark, and twigs of the witch hazel plant (Hamamelis virginiana), and straining the resultant "brew." An alcohol extract can be made by putting leaves and twigs in a glass) bottle of rubbing alcohol.

>>

>>The best time of year to make witch-hazel extract is in the late fall, when the leaves have fallen and the tree is in bloom (obviously, you have to do without leaves at this time of year), but nearly any season should work moderately well. Avoid the spring if you can, since the sap will be rising, and the resultant extracts will be pretty gummy.

My witch hazel tree actually still has leaves on it, though most are withered, some still a supple yellow. Is it the withered leaves I should brew? There are no blooms, but there are tiny three-budded growths - do they and any blooms also get thrown into the pot?

[jw] No problem. I wouldn't use any shriveled up leaves. Next spring, you might gather some new leaves and dry them for later use, but for what you want now, just use the twigs & buds. Blooms are probably OK if they fall in, but if I were doing it, I'd just use twigs in the winter.

>

What is the benefit of the alcohol extract?

[jw] Alcohol extract can be very drying. There are times when you want to make sure that you have a drying and sterilizing effect in addition to an astringent. Seborrhea, for instance, or if you have a weeping sore that you'd like to clean up and dry out. Don't over do it, however. Alcohol can introduce new irritations. In addition, alcohol extracts usually produce a somewhat different (usually stronger, but definitely containing other compounds and in different ratios) medication than water extracts.

>I also got the following from

http://www.deancoleman.com/septoct98.htm#Witch hazel

Boil one teaspoon of powdered leaves or twigs per cup of water for ten minutes. Strain and cool. Apply the solution directly or mix it into an ointment.

>[jw] Dean's recipe sounds pretty good. I tend to be a pretty sloppy cook, so I do things like, "throw a good bit of powdered leaves or twigs into a saucepan of water." His amounts seem right on the money, and if you follow his directions, you won't go very wrong.

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FIDDLEHEAD FERNS {TOP}

Fiddleheads are picked very young while they are still tightly furled, then steamed like any vegetable. Yum.

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MAKING BUTTER {TOP}

Made my first butter yesterday. It is delicious. I just used a large plastic container with a tightly sealed screw on top, put the cream in and we all (8) took turns shaking it! How exciting when it finally turned to butter. I put it in a bowl, used a flat wooden spatula and removed as much whey as possible, added some salt, put it in a crock and it was finished! We enjoyed it on some homemade bread.

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DIATOMACEOUS EARTH {TOP}

There are two articles on diatomaceous earth and one is about its use on fleas and garden pests.

http://members.aol.com/keninga/links2.htm

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RECIPES FOR CANNED HAMS {TOP}

> Just purchased a can of Plumrose Danish Ham. The only instructions on the can are "needs no refrigeration until opened" no "use by" date, nothing. No telephone number or address, just that it is a product of Denmark. They come in a few sizes, the smallest being 1 lb. A small size would make the most sense if refrigeration is a question. Could it be that this has an indefinite shelf life?

They last forever - I always have them on the shelf. Great with eggs for breakfast, sandwiches for lunch ( mash it up add pickle relish & grated cheddar cheese & a dab of Mayo for Great Ham Salad stuff bread or tomato with it).

A great way to use that 1 pound canned ham is in Ham, Noodles & Peas!

1 canned ham cut into cubes

1 T. dried onions rehydrated ( or more to taste)

2 C peas ( rehydrated, canned or frozen) adjust to your taste ( we love peas)

1 pound noodles cooked and drained

1 can cream of mushroom soup+ ½ can milk ( any kind)

In fry pan add a pat of butter, melt and add ham cubes and onions heat thru then add peas and noodles. Stir till heated thru, add soup & milk heat till sauce is bubbly. Serves 4 adults well. We added homemade bread with apple butter.

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DRYING HERBS {TOP}

Dry herbs in any warm place...1) an oven with a pilot light. 2) Tie the herbs into a small bunch, clip a paper bag to them, and hang upside down on the ceiling. 3) Preserve basil in salt.

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EMERGENCY DIETS FOR DIABETICS {TOP}

Stock up on canned tuna and salmon. Start now to can meats of all kinds for diabetic diets. I am hypoglycemic, and must also severely restrict my carbohydrate intake to 60 gm per day or less. For people like us, breads, rice, potatoes, grains and other long-storage foods aren't much of an option. I am canning meats while drying other foods like vegetables and fruits. I would rather have the canning shelves full of jars of chicken, beef, pork, and turkey than cans of Chef Boy-ar-Dee (which my husband can eat very well, so we already have lots of that, as well as other canned foods which I have to avoid). We have ordered a whole hog for later this winter, and will can and render as much of it as we can, and freeze the rest for short-term consumption between now and the big day. We also buy a quarter of beef from our nephew every year, and prepare that, also. I use pint jars because they hold just the right amount for one or two servings.

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FREE SOURCE FOR SYRUP BARRELS FOR WATER STORAGE {TOP}

We went to our local soda bottler and asked for some. I had seen them STACKED up out side and decided to speak with the plant manager. He said they throw them out. Be sure to get the ones that the syrup comes in he also had some 5 gal syrup ones can't beat the price FREE. Also try http://www.usplastic.com We have purchased stuff from them where I work. They have barrels in the catalog or call them 1800537 9724

Make sure all the plastic you use is FOOD GRADE. And tell the soda people you want the barrels for POTABLE water.

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FOOD GRADE SCREENS FOR DEHYDRATORS

In line with that, I have located a source for food grade screening. The link is: http://www.dryit.com/

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MOP BUCKET LAUNDRY BUCKET {TOP}

>Last month when Sam's Club had a rebate special, I bought a big Rubbermaid Brute mop bucket. Cost around $35-$40. Big, bright yellow plastic mop bucket, with an attachment that fits on the side of the bucket for squeezing out a mop head. Finally took the time to try it out today on my laundry.

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WASHING CLOTHES BY HAND {TOP}

I live in a cold climate and the reality is that there will be a need at some point to hang clothing inside but here is what I learned in November with my dry-run (actually wet-run) using my wonder washer. I used the washer only for washing because I found the rinsing directions required 3 rinses and then there was still some soapy residue. I had two tubs of water set up and ready to go for rinsing. When Jim was around it was great to have another person there to help hand wring but there was the day when it came time for sheets and I was alone.

Tools: Wonder washer (pressure tank for clothes) $33 - $55 Three laundry tubs (metal ones I got at an auction cheap) or use two large plastic totes like a 20-30 gallon size. I also cheated and used a laundry stand that we got with the tubs since I am recovering from two very stupid recent accidents, the stand is a sturdy rack that stands about 28 inches off the ground and put the tubs at a perfect height for rinsing. Two brand new plungers mine are short handled and green (so they didn't look like the black ones) and I added a threatening note to the handle when they were stored to warn Jim of my concern that he NEVER use it unless he was doing laundry. Some salt and the cleaning stuff like bleach and soap. Kettle, siphon and barrel of water. Wringing bar attached between trees, with a home made cotton cover to keep the clothes clean. Mine just ties around the 2x4. In the house in the basement I used a study towel rack but so far I've only done light weight clothes.

Procedure: I did this outside through November. I heated water over the fire while separating the clothes and hand scrubbing between my knuckles any bad stains. I dipped out of the pot the hot water recommended for the washer. I filled the one laundry tub with cold water and the other I used ½ cold and ½ boiling water and 4 tsp. of salt. I had the barrel of water with a siphon and long PVC end on it so I could just refill the water on the fire without lifting. The Plastic tip of PVC protected the cheap plastic hose on the $1.99 siphon. You of course could use a garden hose if you have water pressure.

After spinning the clothes so the soap penetrated the clothing, I removed the clothes just lightly squeezing the garment to remove some of the soap. Put it in the first tub (cold water) and continued adding each piece till the washer was empty. While they soaked I cleaned out the washer and prepared the next load. I let the clothes in the washer without the water and with the lid off until I was ready to hang up the first group. I used the plunger to concentrate on one garment at a time in the cold water rinse. I took it out and looped it around the wringing bar and I twisted it with the water recovery tub under it, this kept me out of mud and I later used it to put out the fire and in the summer I could use the cleaner rinse water for the garden.

After twisting it pretty dry I put it in the second tub for the final rinse and let it soak while I washed the next load then twisted each garment from the second rinse. I then used the other plunger for that tub (ladies have two plungers in case a kid or spouse walks by and wants to talk there is no excuse that the plunger was in use to prevent them for plunging for a while). I plunged each garment up and down a bit and then one by one to each item to the wringing bar and twisted them dry (only one item did I have to return to the second rinse because of excess soap).

Before I hung them up I emptied the washer and started that load soaking in the first tub. I checked the cleanliness of the rinse water to decide to fill the tubs [about every 3 loads, except heavily soiled jeans load] but added water as needed between dumping and wiping out the tubs. The salt keeps the clothes from sticking to the clothes line as the temperature hovers around freezing. Near the fire and with the activity level it was comfortable doing the laundry at 28 degrees (very little wind) [on the cold day I did use heavy plastic gloves].

I have 5 clothes lines each 10 feet long and doing jeans socks, underwear, sheets, sweaters and shirts. A total of 8 wonder wash loads (probably 4 regular loads) It took almost all of the 55 gallon drum of water which is why it will be important that you recover the water when you can. The last thing I washed was the cover for the wringing bar and just hand squeezed it since it is light cotton. The total time from the time the water was at a rolling boil until I hung up the cover for the wringing bar was 2 hours and 35 minutes (including Jim helping to dump the recovery water twice and plunger talking with for about a half hour).

I was really happy with the outcome especially the sheets, for the sheets and the underwear I did use a third rinse that included some fabric softener but it isn't necessary the air alone makes things smell good. I noticed I used much less detergent and most of the water consumption was for rinsing. What started out as a way around not having Jim there when I had to wash sheets, worked out very nicely. Necessity is the mother of invention. I was especially happy with the wringing bar: a 2x4 between two pine trees attached to the back of tree so any pulling didn't land me on my behind covered with a spare piece of light cotton fabric tied to the bar, but an old frayed dress shirt or old pillow case would work well too.

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TEACH THE CHILDREN FIRST {TOP}

A fellow in India won a grant because he'd figured out an effective way to introduce energy knowledge and hygiene into households - not by teaching resistant adults, but by training schoolchildren, who brought the technology home with significant success!

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WOOL: BEST FOR SOAKERS {TOP}

Wool has the ability to stay warm even when wet, and it is much more absorbent that acrylic yarns, so for best results in making soakers, be sure to use wool, or at least a wool/acrylic blend.

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JERKY: MADE WITHOUT A SALTY MARINADE {TOP}

Use plain, unseasoned dried meat instead of marinating it in a salty marinade. I dry it plain all the time, and prefer it to any seasoned dried meat I've ever tried. My reasons are that most marinades contain not only salt, but sugar and other chemicals. Drying plain meat concentrates the natural salts already present, and makes a very pleasant tasting treat. Cut across the grain if you plan to make pemmican, and diagonal to the grain if you want to keep your meat in "stick" form.

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HERBAL FLU REMEDY {TOP}

Hi everyone: After one of my children became ill this week-end and "begged" me to make my "anti-flu" medicine, I thought I would pass it along to all of you. It is an herbal remedy that I have been making for at least thirty years and the children all grew up drinking it. (It will take some getting used to). It is a sure winner when you get used to it. Personally, we all have grown to love the taste of this cure and when we are coming down with something, we "crave" this remedy. Remember that this is very strong "stuff". I gave it to my young children - starting them around 2 years old. It is very "hot" going down, but it is a wonder medicine according to my family. You will have everything on hand and the Preparation lasts indefinitely. Anti-Flu Preparation 2 teaspoons cayenne pepper 1 ½ teaspoons sea salt, or common salt 1 cup water 1 cup apple cider vinegar I place the pepper, salt, water, and vinegar in a 1 quart canning jar and shake very well, and heat it in the microwave for approximately 1 minute. If we won't have electricity or a microwave, just heat it over direct heat. Most adults are able to take between a teaspoon to a tablespoon every half hour. We take a tablespoon every 20 minutes for three doses and then every couple of hours after this until we begin to feel better. This works great for a "sore throat gargle". Remember if my measurements are too strong for some of you, you can dilute it with more water. If you have any questions just let me know. "May Jesus Keep You Strong and Your Crosses Light." Bernadette

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BROWNED FLOUR: A SOLUTION FOR DIAPER RASH {TOP}

The Desitin I assume is for diaper rash. My mom had a better remedy for diaper rash. Believe it or not browned flour. Yep. No kidding.

Take a dry skillet. Heat it up pretty warm. Sprinkle a cup or so of flour into the hot skillet. Stir quickly and constantly 'till all the flour is a medium to dark brown. Sprinkle on the rash AFTER IT COOLS . I swear you won't believe how good it works.

A Second Testimony

If you had written this just a month ago, I would have been extremely skeptical, but we've had experience with this in the interim. Just a few weeks ago, my ten year old daughter broke out in the most terrible rash all over her face; red, scabby, oozing sores. We were so concerned that she would have permanent scars. It was unclear what the source was as she hadn't been near poison oak or poison ivy, but it was really terrible! She itched terribly and was so self-conscious. Friends at church were praying for her, and the children kept asking her what had happened to her face. Well, we used homeopathics, herbs, and allopathic meds both internally and externally-- all with very little result.

One morning we were in a local thrift shop and the owner, whom I had never seen before, took a look at her and said, "burnt flour!". I had no idea what she meant and she explained that she was one of twelve children and her mother had always used burned flour for all rashes and skin lesions. I was extremely skeptical as I couldn't imagine what the healing mechanism might be, but I was willing to try it since it certainly seemed as though it couldn't hurt. She instructed us to make it just as you have said, but she said that though her mother used it dry for diaper rash, that we should add enough water to make a smooth paste, be sure it was cool, and then apply it. We followed her instructions, left it on an hour or so, and when it was washed off, my daughter looked better than she had for a week! It was just miraculous! Most of the red was gone, the sores were drying up, and she no longer itched. We left the next dose on all night and by the next morning, she looked almost normal. It's been several weeks now and thank heavens, there are no marks or scars left and we are so thankful that the woman was kind enough to share with us.

So, thanks so much for sharing your information with us. I'll bet it's new info. to most of us and will be a real blessing both now and in teotwaki.

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CABBAGE VARIETIES {TOP}

COPENHAGEN MARKET. 67-72 days. A good variety for the home garden. Heavy yield, convenient size, attractive shape, fine quality. The heads are solid and well rounded, 6-8 inches across. The heads weigh 4 to 4-1/2 pounds. The blue-green heads are tasty fresh or cooked. The flavor is very sweet. The white interiors are good for making kraut.

Cabbage is one of the garden vegetables that will not seed in the first year. If you plan to save seeds, you will need to let some plants go unharvested and collect seeds the second year. That means you will need enough seeds for the first two years at least.

Also if you harvest this cabbage early by cutting the head a little above the lower leaves, it will produce several smaller cabbages from the root left in the ground. kinda like a double crop.

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ENERGY GLOW BREAKFAST {TOP}

This will serve approximately 4.

"Energy Glow Breakfast" 1/4 cup raisins ½ cup diced apples ½ cup diced peaches ½ cup diced bananas 1/4 cup pitted dates 2 tablespoons sunflower seeds 2 tablespoons sesame seeds wheat germ milk Mix fruits and seeds in a medium size bowl. Sprinkle wheat germ over all. Add milk to moisten. Let sit a few minutes before serving.

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GARDENER'S SUN PUNCH {TOP}

mint leaves - lemon balm leaves - bergamot leaves - comfrey leaves - 3 cinnamon sticks, broken into pieces - 4 pods coriander seeds - 1 crushed nutmeg - 6 whole cloves - 8-10 crushed rose hips - hot water - 1 sliced orange - 1 sliced lemon

On a sunny day fill a wide mouth gallon jar with leaves, cinnamon sticks, seeds, nutmeg, cloves and rose hips. Cover with water. Allow to sit in full sun 3 hours. During last hour, add orange and lemon slices. Finally strain liquid. Return fruit slices to it and refrigerate until serving time. - Yields about 1 gallon of drink. I grow the mint, lemon, comfrey, rose hips in my gardens. I purchase the other items from the herbal store. =============

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COMFREY {TOP}

Regarding Comfrey. I have been using this herb for at least 27 years. Whenever one of the children had a cut or sprain we would go out into the garden and harvest the leaves and the root. I make a paste out of the roots and place on sprains or sore muscles and wrap with a towel. Leave in place for 1 hour and/or replace or make more if needed. For poison ivy we have been using the bruised leaves of the comfrey plant. The leaves are "prickly" are the children liked the feel on the itchy poison ivy rash. If you have any questions, let me know. Dear Jesus I trust in You. Bernadette

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EXTRA CAN OPENERS ARE NECESSARY {TOP}

After turning my kitchen upside down looking for a can opener (which turned out to be under the bottom arm of the dishwasher, the first place you tend to look....) it dawned on me that I'm going to purchase several hand operated can openers, both as spares and possibly as trade goods. I know we could open cans with knives, etc., but the cuts you'd be likely to get on your hand wouldn't be worth it. Plus, we might have need for the metal found in the can. My great-granny had a coffee can as part of her stove pipe in the kitchen for years; it sealed up a crack very nicely.

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SEED SAVING DETAILS (BRASSICAS) {TOP}

Hi folks...I just learned this from Susan Ashfords excellent book: "Seed to Seed." According to her, broccoli ( and I would assume other brassicas like cabbage ) will cross with any other Brassica (lots of weeds are in this family, look for the four lobed flower and the pointed seed pods) that is around...._except itself!_ You have to have two (ideally, according to Seeds of Change, 64) broccolis of the same strain, and hope that pollen from A goes to B and vice versa. At least that's what the experts are saying. Tomato seeds, on the other hand, and beans, too, mostly, are pollinated about as soon as the flower opens. I highly recommend that book. Apparently, saving seed from open pollinated varieties is not as easy as just waiting until the last vegetable ripens and taking its seed.

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A THREAD OF MESSAGES ABOUT CHANGING AX HANDLES {TOP}

1. My husband would like to know the correct (and quickest!) way to change an ax handle or other similar handles. He has a sledge with a cracked handle and a splitting maul with a cracked handle. Someone suggested burning out the old handles. What do y'all think?

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2. To change an ax handle, first cut the handle off of the head of the tool. Then find a bolt or punch that is smaller than the opening but fairly large and drive it out with a hammer from the side that you cut off. Drive the new one through from the same side(most are slightly tapered). To drive the new one in, start it by tapping with a hammer, then hold the new handle and hit it on a cement floor or sidewalk until it stops going down. Usually it will go through the other end of the tool an inch or two. Cut the extra off and drive a wedge (probably included, but use a metal wedge available anywhere handles are) into the end. This will make it tight. Occasionally it will take two wedges and don't worry if the wood splits. Handles always come with a slit already cut into them for the wedge. If the handle is too big to get started into the hole, you can file some off the sides with a file to get it started. One more thing, when you cut the original handle off, use a hacksaw or an old saw because running a good saw along the metal head of the tool will damage a good wood saw.

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3. My husband used to split wood by hand for recreation, and he has ruined many maul and axe handles. Take a 1/4" drill and drill down into the head of the handle several times. This will relieve the pressure on the wood, and it will almost "fall" out of the hole. I would think that burning the wood out would destroy whatever temper might be in the metal, plus, after burning, the iron head would be more prone to rust.

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4. If the piece of wood and wedge are not easily removed from the sledge, ax, or maul head, burning is an easy way to get the old pieces out. I prefer a torch instead of throwing the head in a fire because it is neater, cleaner, and does not cause a loss of temper on an axe cutting edge because you concentrate a torch only on the wood in the hole leaving the rest of the head relatively cool.

Getting the piece of the old handle out is only one part of the problem. Where most people mess up is in putting on the new handle. Make sure the new handle is bone dry. A night in the freezer may help here.

Put a piece of duct tape on the opposite end of the handle to protect it and place the new handle into the hole in the axe, maul, or sledge head. Then pound the taped end of the handle onto a stone or other hard surface and the head will drive itself by inertia onto the new handle. After you have done this to your satisfaction that the head is on the handle as far as it is going to go, drive in a new wedge into the top with a hammer and you are done. Take off the duct tape on the other end of the handle where you pounded the pavement, and your tool should look brand new. Some people use epoxy glue also. Epoxy acts as a lubricant to get the head onto the handle better and offers better hold after the epoxy hardens.

Extra handles are good things to have around, especially with the uncertainty of next year. Besides, there will be a lot of people who will be using axes, mauls, etc, that are not yet skilled with them and will be breaking handles. For someone who uses these tools regularly, handles last a long time. Think I better check out how many handles I have on hand......

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A HOME MADE, IMPROVISED GRAIN MILL {TOP}

Was doing some searching today and came up with the following e-mail address for a "build your own grain mill". It doesn't sound very difficult, and may even build up our arms a little. Your can go to: http://www.mercyseat.net/processing.html

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BABY WIPES: MAKE YOUR OWN {TOP}

Group, I ran across this recipe looking for something else and thought that someone on this group might enjoy...we give this recipe out at our CPC. Baby Wipes 1 roll white Bounty towels baby oil baby lotion baby wash 2qt round tupperware bowl. Cut paper towels in half down the middle.(use a serrated knife). Put ½ in bowl. In a measuring cup, add 2 cups hot water. Squeeze baby oil in water for 2 seconds, lotion for 2 seconds, baby wash for 5 seconds. Mix. Pour evenly over towels. Place lid on bowl. Wait 5 minutes. Pull cardboard out of center. It should bring the first "wipe" up, if not, just find the end sheet and pull. Tear at lines. Approx. cost: $.75/roll I do know that it is best to use a good strong paper towel. Some others are not strong enough. Judy

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TOBACCO: ALTERNATIVE USES (NOT FOR SMOKING) {TOP}

I bought 4 canisters of tobacco. You say great she's a chain smoker. NOPE. Okay she is getting ready to barter - Maybe (but I hope not) - Jim said his grandmother used it as a pesticide on potatoes mixed with dish soap.

Here are some details from

http://www.flandrau.org/Uses.html

To many garden and agriculture professionals and enthusiasts, the capabilities of the tobacco plant as a natural pesticide are well known. By drying and mixing tobacco with water and dish-soap, a safe and naturally effective pesticide can be produced. Although it does not represent a solution to the dangers of large-scale commercial pesticide use it does offer a simple, economical means of pesticide production for gardeners with small fields and farmers with smaller plots that is safe for consumption and for the soil. Tobacco can be used for this purpose because of a unique property found in its chemical characteristics. There are very few insects that are capable of digesting or reproducing on the tobacco plant. Tobacco is toxic to most every type of life, including humans, which makes its chemistry so valuable for use in pesticides. Certain species of flies and gnats, and the specialized Mancuda moth are able to breed on the plant, and even fewer are capable of digesting it. This quality makes tobacco a truly unique plant.

Consider it as an organic option

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DEHYDRATING CANNED VEGETABLES {TOP}

I started doing it after I had bought pounds and pounds of vegetables in the large six lb. cans. One day I got thinking about teotwaki and these big cans. I remembered we may not have refrigeration at times and wondered what we were going to do with, i.e. six pounds of corn once it was opened. I knew we wouldn't want to sit and eat it all! So, I decided to see what would happen if I dehydrated it.

Most of my items I no longer time. They are done when they are very, very crispy. We keep a pint jar on the kitchen table of one kind or another to snack on. My husband loves to put a bunch of canned corn in the palm of his hand with a little salt and just eat it. We also love the carrots. They seem sweeter when they are dehydrated.

So far I have done carrots (from fresh stock -- not canned) canned corn, canned pineapple, canned tomato sauce, canned peas and fresh green peppers. The carrots I blanch first and soak them in cornstarch water with salt. I have also done canned diced apples (the kind used for sweet pizza's).

At first I used a Walmart brand dehydrator but graduated to a nine shelf dehydrator. That is one of the most expensive items I have purchased. It was quite a decision for me to spend the $200. But I have never been sorry!

Also, I have rehydrated some of the vegetables and they are good! Right now I am storing them in canning jars. But, I figure if we have to go someplace or find a better place to store them where they can't be found, I will put all the vegetables in freezer bags (which I already have). They are VERY light weight! A lot better than trying to store or carry cans! Two six pound cans of corn will just about fit into one quart canning jar. I also vacuum seal the jars (sometimes) but it doesn't seem necessary.

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2 LITER BOTTLES FOR WATER STORAGE {TOP}

Yes, 2 liter Coke bottles last an amazing long time for storing water. I have some in a plastic greenhouse that are nearing the end of their second year -- they started out as heat mass for the plants, but old forgetful me just left them there over two summers and two winters.

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PLANNING: ESSENTIAL TO SUCCESS {TOP}

Here's a sketch of a planning process.

1. It helps to have a plan. Maybe you'll get everything you need if you just buy a little of this and a little of that, but it is better if you actually plan it out.

2. Your plan should have basic categories/subdivisions, such as:

Food, Water, Shelter, Heating/Cooking/Fuel, Transportation, Lighting, Communication, Medical, or other categories that fit your own unique situation.

3. work on each category, one at a time, think about what you will need for an alternative form of heat.

4. Buy equipment at thrift shops, garage sales, and flea markets.

5. Buy lots of basic foods at the cheapest possible places (shop around, keep your eyes open, for macaroni, tuna, spaghetti sauce, tomato sauce, noodles, rice, flour, grain, beans.

6. get some basic equipment -- look for a pressure and boiling water bath canner, an inexpensive dehydrator. Buy vegetables cheaply from farmers markets when they are in season and try them in your dehydrator.

7. find free information on the internet, print it and file it for future or present reference and learning.

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CANNING SPAGHETTI SAUCE {TOP}

My response to your question about the tomato/spaghetti sauce:

First of all, anytime you have anything in the sauce besides tomatoes, you should be using a pressure cooker.

1. Process according to the _least_ acid vegetable in the mix. In other words, tomato sauce by itself might be one time/pressure, while tomato sauce with peppers and onions might be more time/pressure due to the low acidity of the peppers and onions.

2. I have found, by trial and error, that when the directions tell you to leave a certain amount of headroom, that space at the top of the jar, they really mean it. The denser the food the more important that headroom is.

3. There are new lids on the marketplace: Ball, I think. The package explicitly states that you should tighten the rings only finger tight....which is different than the earlier packages, which wanted just a bit more tightness. You have to leave enough looseness for the air to get out of the jar.

This is the pressure canning process as I understand it: Because you are raising the atmospheric pressure inside the canner, you are raising the boiling point well beyond 212 degrees. This kills any bacteria which might be in the food, like botulism, which is why it is important to follow the time and pressure directions. Furthermore, hot air expands, so the boiling inside the jar drives out the oxygen molecules. When you take the jars out of the canner, and put them together on a towel on the counter top, the remaining air inside the jar begins to cool, and contract, which causes the seal to complete itself, and that's when you hear that "ping."

I also found, during a recent canning session of beef (beef is cheap right now, I think), that any jar that did not continue to boil after I took it out of the canner was not going to seal. If I took that jar and immersed it in cold water, I would get a seal. (I put that one in the refrigerator anyway) But I also found that that was the jar that I had either tightened too tightly, or had not followed the headroom instructions to a T. A really good book is the one put out by BALL....I think even the hardware stores have it. The address is:

Alltrista Corporation Consumer Products

PO Box 2729

Muncie, Indiana 47307 - 0729

Two other books, also quite good are

Putting Food By - Hertzberg, Vaughan, Greene, published by Stephen Green Press

Stocking Up - by the editors of Organic Gardening and Farming

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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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