Saturday, July 28, 2012

recipes, resources, and information

Here are just some fun recipes, resources, and information.

Soup or Sauce (SOS)

Ingredient Substitutions and Equivalents

Lemon or Lime Curd

Freezer Meal Planning

WATER: Storage and Emergency Use

Food Preservation

The above resources are from Utah State University.   They have a number of wonderful publications available for download.

Painless Preservation

Green Beans are a great candidate for the dehydrator.  They are a low acid so to be home canned they must be pressured canned.  Which is wonderful but a bit more time consuming than I want today.  I have lots to do on my day off so saving time is important to me.

I picked our beans this morning and got about 2 gallons.

Then straight in to the house for a 'bath'.

Then into the steam blanch.  For our altitude 4 minutes did the trick.

From the steam blanch...

... right to the drying trays.

Dry green beans until brittle.

For more information on drying fruits and vegetables go to:

Friday, July 27, 2012

Thrift Store - Fun Find

Okay I need to say right up front, "I really enjoy thrift stores".  I like to wander through looking for a 'fun find'.  Well yesterday I found one.

This Coleman lantern 

We have a Coleman stove and love it.  I have wanted a lantern, but never found a deal - but - yesterday I did.  I need to buy new mantles (it's a two mantle lantern) but those are readily available.  
This is a 220F this model was made from 1964 - 1971.   Ours is dated 1964.   Just a fun find that we will use when camping.


This is a bit disconcerting to say the very least.  And not for young children it would scare them.  As a parent you could share this information by talking and/or role playing.

All of that said this is good information.  I pray none of us ever finds ourselves in a situation that we would need it.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Prices on the Rise?

I am hearing this from everywhere.  Due to the drought... Due to the price of corn... Due to ...  Ad infinitum

I hope you are working on your food storage now so if the food prices do indeed go up you will be prepared.  I'm looking forward to the fall case lot sales.  I missed the spring sales (we were in Michigan visiting family).  So my stores are getting low.  I'm down to my last few cans of evaporated milk.  Coffee just isn't the same without my evaporated milk.  That is spoiled I know but it's the truth.  If there is something you  use a lot of buy it on sale!!  And if you can, buy enough to get you through to the next sale.

 I don't think we need to fret we just need to pay attention and prepare ahead of time.

Proverbs 22:3

A prudent person foresees danger and takes precautions. The simpleton goes blindly on and suffers the consequences.

New Living Translation 

Monday, July 23, 2012


I haven't posted a thing.  I really don't even have any ideas regarding a post.  I guess I'm still getting back into routine.  Saturday morning I picked green beans, probably about 1.5 gallons.  We ate half of them yesterday and will eat the other half with supper tonight.  Yum!!

The cabbage are starting to make nice heads.  DH was worried they were behind.  It is better to make sauerkraut when it's cooler so I think they are right on schedule.

DH is starting to talk about trips to the mountains for wood.  :-)  This is very normal.  In the hottest part of the year he is planning for the cold winter and wants us to be warm and toasty.  That's a good thing!

There must have been a range fire somewhere last night because the air was really smokey last night.  I had to shut the bedroom window it was too much smoke for me...

I better get off and finish getting ready for work but wanted to stop and do a quick up-date.  Have a great day!

Friday, July 20, 2012

Back to Work

I am back to work -  I like my job which is a good thing because I spend a good portion of my wakeful hours there.  :-)

I'm getting back in to routine.  Up early - ready for the day - out the door - 9+ hours - home again - start supper (or dinner depending on your local dialect) - enjoy the evening and early to bed (early to bed is my goal anyway...)

Hope you're having a great week!

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Best Ever Laundry Soap

(this is 2 tablespoons - enough for a large load)

I'm sure you have all seen the 'home made laundry soap' recipes on the web... Well I really enjoy the blog 'A Prudent Homemaker'.  She has a recipe for powdered laundry soap that sounded worth a try.

As is so many times the case I had to change it a bit... :D  Her recipe calls for Oil of Olay bar soap but I bought a large bar of Zout, as it is for laundry.

1 bar Zote, grated (I used my food processor but you could grate it by hand too) This bar grated to 4 cups
4 cups Arm and Hammer Washing Soda
4 cups 20 Mule Team Borax
2 cups Oxiclean

Mix well and store.  I put mine in glass jars it made about  3 1/2 quarts.  I have a front loading HE washer.  2 tablespoons is what I need to use per large load.   Yes, 2 tablespoons is all!!! WOW

I have to say that I will make this from now on.  My husband works hard and his clothes get dirty and yes, smelly.  I ran a load of his laundry and it came out clean, soft and it smelled - clean.  There was no perfume smell it was just clean clothes.  I even had him do the 'smell test', he has a very discerning nose, and he too gave them the stamp of approval. 

So if you too have been wanting to try the home made laundry soap I would highly recommend the above recipe.
a little bird


Advice from a Singer Sewing Manual from 1949:

Prepare yourself mentally for sewing. Think about what you are going to do. . . never approach sewing with a sigh or lackadaisically. Good results are difficult when indifference predominates.

Never try to sew with a sink full of dirty dishes or beds unmade. When there are urgent housekeeping chores, do these first so your mind is free to enjoy your sewing. . .When you sew, make yourself as attractive as possible. Put on a clean dress. Keep a little bag full of French chalk near your sewing machine to dust your fingers at intervals. Have your hair in order, powder and lipstick put on . . .[If] you are constantly fearful that a visitor will drop in or your husband will come home and you will not look neatly put together, you will not enjoy your sewing as you should. .

Canner's Guide Two

Ball Blue Book 1969

Kerr Home Canning Book 1942

I enjoy canning - does it show?
I enjoy old canning books not to follow their process but for the glimpse into the time and era.
Much of the information is still true today "You can supply your family with food of much greater nutritive value at less cost and greater savings, by canning at home. Fresh fruits, vegetables and meats retain the vitamins, minerals and other health-giving properties so essential to your well-being, when canned by modern methods ..."

Canner's Planning Guide

The planning guide both canner's and garden are from the Ball Blue Book copyright 1979.  The canning processes have changed but these two guides remain the same.

I'm sorry that the resolution isn't better.  I hope you will be able to read them well enough to use the information.

These are from my grandmother's Ball Blue Book 1933. 
 I think they are wonderful and although the canning processes have changed GREATLY since 1933 
the above Forward information still holds true today .

Oven Canning is not an excepted method of canning.   For current recommendations go to:

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Winding Down and Ramping Up

My summer is winding down and fall is ramping up!  I have had a lovely summer break my accomplishments...  rest, relaxation, sewing, sorting, organizing, cleaning, canning, family time, girls day out with a dear friend, and the list goes on and on.

I love the lazy-hazy days of summer.  I remember as a child they seemed to go on forever what a pleasure it was to sleep in and not be on a schedule, family reunions, vacations at the lake.  But in the fall there were new shoes and clothes, pencils and notebooks, friends that we hadn't seen in weeks, schedule and organization to our days...  Every time of year has a draw doesn't it.  God is so good.

Ecclesiastes 3
1 There is a time for everything,
and a season for every activity under the heavens:

With going back to work I have to find time slots to can and sew but they are there it's just a bit harder to push it all into the same amount of time.

 My dear husbands schedule starts to slow a bit after I go back to work (isn't that always the way :D).  So he starts to think of the mountains and wood gathering.  He likes to see the wood all split and stacked, knowing it will keep us warm and dry through the winter's cold, just like I like to see the jars of summer's bounty lining my pantry shelves.   I see meals and menus when I look at those jars.  And when he looks at the lines of wood he sees warm evenings by the fire, all snug and cozy, while the winter winds howl outside.

So whether your summer is winding down or still ramping-up I hope you have a GREAT day.
a little bird

Monday, July 9, 2012

Hot - Hot - Hot


This is our weather forecast for the week.  I know everyone else has been having it too.  July is our hot month here and it's July.
What to do to stay cool?

  •  drink lots of fluids,  
  • open the house at night to pull in as much cool night air as we can. 
  • close the house up as soon as it starts to warm to hold the cool air in
  • close the blinds
  • turn the air (AC) on if you have it
  • make dinner in the crock pot or out on the grill
  • if you need to 'bake' do it in the Dutch oven outside or if you have one of those cool sun ovens this would be the perfect day 
  • fill the kiddie pool in a shady spot and dangle your toes or if you're really hot, get in!
  • sit in the shade during the hottest part of the day or stay in the house 
  • drink lots of fluids again
  • if you don't have AC run a fan
  • if you're still hot spritz yourself with water and sit by the fan
Have a great day!!! And stay cool.

Friday, July 6, 2012

Evacuation: The 10 Minute Challenge

Grab and Go Evacuation List

 photo from: American Preppers Network

I read many different blogs - not on a daily bases but once or twice a month I drop in and read the latest .  Well today when going through the blog list that I check on once and awhile I came across a GREAT tip.

If you had to evacuate what would you grab?
If you had 5 minutes, 15 minutes, 30 minutes, one hour?  Valerie correctly states that when we are stressed it's hard to think.

If you have it written down you can just grab and go.
I sat down and printed out my own 'grab and go list'.  It will be a bit different for every one.  Valerie gives a very complete list that you can use to help make your own.

It's always good to keep your gas tank 1/2 full to full.  Keep some cash on hand, cash is king and even if the power is down cash still spends.

Grab and Go Evacuation List

5 minutes
Safe (small fire safe with important docs (birth certs, insurance policy, etc.))
Dog, Dog leash  & Dog 72 hour kit
Cell phone 
72 hour kit (hall closet)
Red back-pack

15 minutes (add these)
Prescription meds  (I would say if  you take prescription meds you should have some in  your 72 hour kit.)
Cell phone charger
Pants, shirts, underwear, socks
Sleeping bags
Radio and extra batteries

30 minutes (add these)
First aid kit
Cooler with snacks
Harmonica (Craig)
Blue water jugs - fill

1 hour (add these)
Camp stove
Sleeping pads
Chain saw 

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Raspberry - Grape Jam

3 cups of crushed raspberries 
2 cups grape juice
(or a mix of the two to equal 5 cups)
1 package powdered pectin
stir together and bring to a full rolling boil
7 cups sugar
stir and bring to a full boil again.
Boil for one minute - stirring constantly
remove from heat
ladle into your clean hot 1/2 pint jars
put your simmered lids and clean rings on to fingertip tight
process for 10 minutes in a water bath canner at sea-level.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Our Own Label

Swenson Hives & Honey Bees

Independence Day

Wishing you a glorious 4th!

While the storm clouds gather far across the sea,
Let us swear allegiance to a land that's free,
Let us all be grateful for a land so fair,
As we raise our voices in a solemn prayer.
God bless America,
Land that I love.
Stand beside her, and guide her
Through the night with a light from above.
From the mountains, to the prairies,
To the oceans, white with foam
God bless America, My home sweet home
God bless America, My home sweet home.

Our plans, after DH gets home from work, farmers or farming communities don't watch the calendar but the fields, we will do some grilling, enjoy a watermelon, watch the granddaughters eyes as they watch the fire works.

Hope your day is blessed.
a little bird

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Summer Break and Clean Carpets

My short summer break is coming to a close but it has been very enjoyable.  I have been able to sleep in until 6:00, have a second cup of coffee, read some favorite blogs, and sew. A little bit of heaven!

Well yesterday I knew I had to break down and clean carpets.  I don't know why I put it off it's not that big of a deal but I do.  Oh well it's done now and looks GREAT.  Of course after moving everything from one side of the room to the other so all the carpet can be cleaned - might as well rearrange the furniture too.  :-)
It looks fresh and clean, new and different.  

No idea yet what's on today's agenda.  But whatever it is I need to get it started.  Have a great day and enjoy your summer!
a little bird

Monday, July 2, 2012


Homemade yogurt is so tasty, healthy, and  fairly inexpensive.

I don't have a yogurt maker so I have had to devise a different way...  Lets face it, people have been making yogurt - or cultured milk of some sort - for ages and they didn't have a yogurt maker either.

This is also a great thing to know if you are living off the grid or your power goes out.

I make my yogurt with powdered milk (rotating my food-storage) you could use regular milk too.  I like to make a large batch.  You can half this if you prefer just 1 quart at a time.

to use powdered milk:
2 quarts water into a large heavy pan
2 3/4 cups non-instant dry milk or 5 cups instant dry milk
Mix well, a wire whisk works great for this.

Or 2 quarts milk to heavy pan (add 1/2 to 3/4 cup dry milk for thicker yogurt and additional milk protein)

Warm on medium heat to 180 degrees (use a candy thermometer)
Now turn the burner off and allow to cool to 110 degrees

When the milk has cooled to 110 degrees
Add 1/2 to 1 cup yogurt starter
(This is plain yogurt from the store with live active cultures.   The yogurt must say live active cultures or it will not work.)

Mix well., put the lid on and set in a warm place to culture.  This can take 6 to 8 hours. The longer the tangier.

In the winter I set my pan out by the wood stove it stays all warm and toasty.  In the summer I set it out in a bright sunny area where it will stay all warm and cozy.  I say warm not hot.  I take a thermometer out and set it next to my pan just to make sure it isn't getting too hot.  Over 120 degrees and it will kill the cultures and you will just have bad milk.....

This makes a thick, almost Greek style yogurt.  You can have for breakfast, put a spoonful on the dogs food, they love it and it is a dairy product they can have and handle, make frozen yogurt, make yogurt cheese, use it as a sour cream replacement.  So many wonderful ways to use yogurt!!

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Preparedness Challenge

Preparedness Challenge #36

Many great link-ups for new information.

Morning at the Farm

We keep some of our hives at a friends farm.
When they found out we have bees they wondered if we needed a place for a few hives.

It has been a real win-win.  Our bees have lots of flowers from the clover, fruit trees, berry bushes etc.  and they are having a bumper year with the bees there pollinating everything.  Here are a few pictures.  They have a beautiful B&B on the river.

these black berries are all along the the bank down to the river

black berries - they have never had so many berries.  They plan to take some to the farmers market to sell.

They also have chickens and goats.

This baby (below) is a doll.  She is used to being loved on and will tap you when you stop petting her because she wants more. :-)


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