Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Do Not Put All Your Eggs In One Food Storage Basket!

When talking to people about food storage, most people are believers in using multiple methods to build up food storage as well as having a variety of foods in their food storage. However, increasingly I have been coming across people who only have one or two things they are stocking up on, one method, or one way to stock up.

Do not rely on just one method - you need to have a well rounded out food storage. Why?

 - You can buy a lot of canned goods, but eventually you run the risk of food expiring or running out.

 - You can buy a lot of freeze-dried foods, but the same problem exists as the canned goods.

 - You can rely solely on what you grow and raise, but what if you have a bad year or disease takes your animals?

 - You can buy a lot of dried or bulk goods, but what if they get damp, contaminated, or spoil?

 - You can can buy tons of rice and beans, but that will get old in a hurry without seasonings or other ingredients.

 - You can have a freezer stocked with meat, frozen vegetables, and frozen fruit, but what if the power fails or your freezer fails?

 - You can rely on what you hunt or forage, but what if the area becomes over hunted or stripped bare?

 - You can take the chance that you don't need food storage, but you could be proven very wrong.

As you can see, choosing one method can be a problem. Food storage is not complicated, but you should think of it in a broad sense. By choosing many different methods, you will survive longer than choosing one.

How many ways are there to build up your food storage? Several ways and methods. I use various ways and methods especially when I get into a rut. I build up my food storage using these ways:
 - commerically canned
 - home canned
 - freeze-dried
 - bulk and dried goods
 - gardening
 - gleaning and foraging
 - freezing
 - chickens for eggs
 - hunting (when I get the appropriate training and permits)

Personally, I don't think there is one right or one wrong way to build up food storage. Just don't put all your eggs in one basket! Choose from many ways/methods:
 - pick a few extras cans or jars of food at the grocery store
 - shop loss leaders in your weekly ads and buy the limit (within the constraints of your budget)
 - buy a flat of cans (I do this a lot at Aldis)
 - start a garden
 - ask for extra produce
 - can everything you can
 - don't waste the food you have
 - dehydrate produce
 - raise chickens for meat and eggs (very easy to do!)
 - join a food coop to make bulk purchases
 - shop online from places like Amazon and Emergency Essentials
 - purchase a quarter or half of beef/pork and can and/or freeze it

How do you like to build up your food storage? Do you believe in one way or choose many ways?

Thanks for reading,

P.S. Don't forget about the All-America Sun Oven Giveaway! This item is wonderful for cooking outdoors which helps cut down your utility bill. A win-win! Enter to win and tell all your friends about this too! Thanks!

Monday, October 20, 2014

All American Sun Oven Giveaway!

Win An All American Sun Oven in this Giveaway!

  The folks at the All American Sun Oven company have teamed up with a large group of bloggers and we are giving away a deluxe Sun Oven! The retail price of this set is $399! But that is only the start of the reasons why you should enter to try and win this oven.

  Sun Oven Giveaway

Using a sun oven can help you be more frugal by cutting your utility bills. Wouldn't it be great to have that bill lowered. Cooking in a sun oven is just as easy as using a conventional oven and really only takes a few minutes longer in the cooking cycle. Prepare your recipe using a little less liquid in casseroles, soups and stews. For baked goods use the same amounts of liquids as the recipe calls for. Find the optimal direction of the sun and get cooking. Of course, using a sun oven does require the sun to be available. However, it is possible to obtain good results even on a partly cloudy day. The All American Sun Oven is manufactured right here in the USA. The company stands behind their product. Globally, Sun Oven has worked to bring this off grid cooking solution to many undeveloped parts of the world, allowing people to eat healthier, cooked foods. I am happy to work with a company that has a giving mission. With all the benefits of lower utility bills, being prepared to cook without fuel or electricity, and supporting a wonderful company, who wouldn't want to own a Sun Oven! So lets get to the giveaway.

The Terms

(otherwise known as the small print)
The All American Sun Oven Giveaway is open to any resident who is 18 years of age or older who lives in one of the 48 US Contiguous States. This giveaway starts on Monday, Oct. 20th at 5:00 am (MDT) and ends on Sunday, Oct. 26th at 5:00 pm (MDT). The winner will be notified by email and will have 24 hours to respond. If we do not hear back from said winner in the designated time period of 24 hours we will choose another winner and they will have 24 hours to respond from the time the notification email is sent. Please check your SPAM email folders. Good luck to everyone! Let's be prepared for the unexpected!

  a Rafflecopter giveaway

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Homemade Nesting Boxes for Chickens

Excuse the mess. The chickens aren't very neat!  

One of the things about my homestead is that I don't have a lot of money to spend. Like none. I have become very good at taking whatever free items come along and putting them aside for future use. I may not know what I am going to be using them for, but at least I have the materials on hand.

Such is the case for these nesting boxes. I am not very good at construction and people around me know it. Rob actually came up with the idea because his neighbor had some big feed tubs that he used for gardening. I had just gotten some free tubs from a coworker about the same time. By using these tubs, I eliminated the need to have to build wooden boxes.

To give the chicken something to fly on to and hold the nesting materials in the tub, I used a 1" x 6" board that I cut half moons with using a jig saw. The board was leftover from the kennel project. I attached the boards to the tub using little screws I had on hand. I used three screws for each board on each tub.

I used a scrap 1" x 2" board I had cut into 1' lengths to use on the inside back of the nesting boxes to give the boxes more stability when I hung them up. I drilled three 2-1/2" screws into each piece of wood to hold them to the wall.

One thing to remember with using plastic tubs or almost any plastic is that you need to drill pilot holes first in order for the plastic not to crack. With these tubs, I didn't have a problem with plastic cracking. The plastic was so thick and tough that screws were not going through.

Excuse the milk jug on top. We use that for getting water for the chickens. It's all about reusing here!

I hung the nesting boxes two on each wall to keep the boxes at an even level and to keep the chickens from fighting. I filled them with sawdust which I fluff for them and keep them clean about once a week.

So far, so good. The ladies loved their new boxes and we have got eggs laid in the one box since I only have one chicken laying so far. Hopefully soon, all four boxes will be used!

Thanks for reading,

PS - Don't forget to enter in the Cox's Honey - Shelley Idaho Giveaway and the Saratoga Jack Thermal Cooker Giveway!!! Both are great items! The honey giveaway will end on October 18th and the thermal cooker giveaway will end on October 19th!

Homestead Blog Hop | The Easy Homestead (.com)

Monday, October 13, 2014

Saratoga Jack Thermal Cooker Giveaway!

Thermal Cooker Giveaway

Thermal Cooker Giveaway Oct. 13th-19th, 2014 cooks like a slow cooker |via www.foodstoragemoms.com We are really excited today about our thermal cooker giveaway! We are a group of bloggers who like to show our readers how to use different preparedness items. This Saratoga Jacks Thermal Cooker works very much like a slow cooker. It comes with two stainless steel pans with one lid that fits right inside the thermal cooker. You can use this for either hot foods or cold foods. Just a note, frozen meat or frozen foods will not work in this, just so you know. The meat must be totally thawed.

1. Bring To A Full Boil

The first thing you do when you decide what you are going to make is decide if you will use one or both of the inside pans. Let's say you are making soup. First, you brown the meat, add the broth, vegetables and bring it to a full rolling boil. You need to make sure the liquid in the cooker is within one inch of the top. If you use both pans you will add enough liquid to be level with the bottom of the upper pan. In order for this thermal cooker to work it must be full.

2. Boil Four Minutes

Next, boil the liquid, vegetables and meat for four full minutes. At the end of four minutes, quickly put the lid on and set the pan with the lid inside the thermal cooker. Put the thermal cooker on the counter top or in your car. These work great for ballgames, sporting events, family reunions or everyday meals. It uses zero electricity after the four minutes of boiling. You can "cook" your meal for 5-6 hours while on the kitchen counter, in your car or on vacation trips.

3. Use It To Keep Salads Cold

Another awesome feature about a thermal cooker is the fact that it will keep foods cold for four to six hours. This is what you do, make your salad the night before you need it. Place the salad inside the stainless steel pan with the lid. Place the pan with the lid in your refrigerator overnight. I would leave the liquid salad dressing off or the salad will be soggy. In the morning, quickly put the pan with the lid inside the thermal cooker. Now it is a refrigerator/cooler. Saratoga Jacks Thermal Cooker (great ideas, recipes and so much information) This Saratoga Jacks Thermal Cooker Giveaway is open to any resident who is 18 years of age or older who lives in one of the 48 US Contiguous States. This giveaway starts on Monday, Oct. 13th at 5:00 am (MDT) and ends on Sunday, Oct. 19th at 5:00 pm (MDT). The winner will be notified by email and will have 24 hours to respond. If we do not hear back from said winner in the designated time period of 24 hours we will choose another winner and they will have 24 hours to respond from the time the notification email is sent. Please check your SPAM email folders. Good luck to everyone! Let's be prepared for the unexpected! a Rafflecopter giveaway

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Coxs Honey-Shelley Idaho Giveaway

Coxs Honey-Shelley Idaho-Giveaway-raw, unfiltered, pure honey | via.www.foodstoragemoms.com 

Are you a fan of using honey in your nightly tea, in baking or in cooking? If so, you don't want to miss todays' post. We're giving away an incredible amount of honey to one lucky reader! We're not just giving away any honey-Cox's Honey is pure, unfiltered, raw honey; so rest assured, you will be receiving a premium product of the highest quality. Cox's Honey has graciously offered to sponsor this group giveaway. If you missed the opportunity to enter our last Cox's Honey giveaway, be sure to enter for your chance to win a total of 30 lbs. of honey: 15 lbs. of liquid honey, and 15 lbs. of creamed honey-perfect for the family that wants the best of both worlds. You will want to check out Cox's Honey Website! Premium Honey! This Cox's Honey Giveaway is open to any resident who is 18 years of age or older who lives in one of the 48 US Contiguous States. This giveaway starts on Saturday, Oct. 11th at 5:00 am (MDT) and ends on Saturday, Oct. 18th at 5:00 pm (MDT). The winner will be notified by email and will have 24 hours to respond. If we do not hear back from said winner in the designated time period of 24 hours we will choose another winner and they will have 24 hours to respond from the time the notification email is sent. Please check your SPAM email folders. Good luck to everyone! Let's be prepared for the unexpected!

  a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Preparedness on the Cheap: Evaluate the Perimeter Of Your Property

(Preparedness on the Cheap is a series of articles for the prepper and everyone else that do not have a lot of money, but needs to take steps to be prepared. A good deal of prepping is learning, planning and organizing. Prepping doesn't have to cost a lot of money, but does involve a lot of doing!)

I take very regular walks around the yard and evaluate the property. I ask myself questions such as:

Do I need more privacy?
Does the yard look taken care of?
Where could someone hide? Where could I hide?
Do I have a clear line of sight of all my property?
Where can I take position at to protect my home and family?
What do I need to trim (trees, bushes, long grass) to reduce places for others to hide?
Do I need to secure anything so it can not be stolen?

You might think these questions are a little out there or sound crazy. But when you are thinking about defending your property and your family, are they? The answer would be no. You have a right and a duty to protect your home and loved ones from anyone wishing to do harm.

Anyone wanting to violate your home and property will do so or try to do so, but that doesn't mean you need to make it easy for them. You should learn your property and look at it through the eyes of someone who wants something you have. I look at my yard from the edge of the property and from the middle of the property.

I personally like the fact I have a lot of trees on the road side and north side of my acreage, but not a lot of trees on the other two sides. From the road, people can see some things in our yard. However, we have a lot of privacy. I want a lot of privacy so I am okay with this. I don't want people to see everything I do or my family does.

While trees and bushes can provide a lot of privacy, they also give a lot of places to hide and obscure the line of sight for me. I also have a few big buildings on my property that will hide others too. I am aware of that and plan to take precautions.

Do you have wide open areas to address? I do, but I consider my wide open areas to also be a benefit to my property. Less areas to hide and more area to maneuver people and vehicles.

In thinking about defending your property and controlling the perimeter of your property, you might want to ask this questions:

Where are good places to set traps or trip wires and alarms?
Where do I need to put motion sensor lights, alarms, spot lights, wireless cameras, trail cameras, etc?
Should I put a few tree stands in to better see what is coming?
Where are good places to make a defensive stand?
Where are good hiding spots for my loved ones and me?
What should I hide or disguise to make my property less attractive to others?

If you live in town, you should also ask yourself these questions:

How well do I know my neighbors? Do I like or trust my neighbors?
Who or what in town would be a threat?
Where exactly is my property lines?
Do I need a privacy fence or some way to mark the property lines?

Again, some of these questions may seem a little out there. I consider defending what is mine to be a high priority so I don't consider these questions outrageous at all. By asking these questions, you can make a plan, set some goals for property defense, and start working on it. You do not have to do everything at once, but do what you can when you can.

Remember, we are evaluating our perimeter. I don't have the answers for what you should do because everyone will have unique needs, land, and beliefs. You have to do what is best for you. I plan on protecting my family the best I can.

Thanks for reading,

Monday, October 6, 2014

Monday Frugal and Homesteading Update

These last few weeks have been exciting, busy, and exhausting! Many exciting things to tell you about!

Jordan turned 18 last week. I have another "adult" in my life. She is my second born and she is so ready to take on the world. She will graduate high school next May and plans to follow Shali to UNI. Since it is proving to be a great school, I am totally good with that.

Jordan's old car is sold! Yeah! I got $500 for it which went to a bill I needed to pay off. I also like that my car insurance went down since I took that car off of insurance. Double yeah!

I also have been taking a harsh look at my budget. Money has definitely gotten tighter at our household which has me looking for more ways to make money. I already work a full-time job, run an eBay store, and maintain this blog so I will be looking for more things to do from home like freelance writing. Jordan works two part-time jobs and is looking at adding a third. She doesn't need to do more while she is in high school.

I got rid of our home phone line (landline). I know many people will argue for keeping it, but we were paying $55-60 a month for something that was not used. The phone bill also kept creeping up every month with fees and taxes. Enough was enough. I will add a non-data cell phone for house use that will only cost me $10 a month. We shouldn't need it, but there is times where Dane could be home by himself for 15-20 minutes and he does not have a cell phone (no 10 year old should!).

I also went off budget with the utility company after my budget payment increased again for the third time this year. My last four months have been $100-$200 under their budget figure and I want to keep a closer eye on it. I don't agree with their figures and I know we can keep the bill down more. My whole house is electric (no gas, no wood). We are already taking a lot of steps to keep the bills down, but will be doing more such as plastic over the windows for winter and shutting off unused rooms.

We did have to turn the furnace on last weekend which did not thrill me at all. I think I will be turning it off this week because daily temperatures look decent. The overnight temps got down in the 30s over the weekend, but the week looks better and we can always pile on more blankets at night.

We are also off Medicaid now. I have mixed feelings about this, but in the end it is a good thing. According to them, I make too much money. I would like to laugh hysterically at that statement, but I didn't miss paying deductibles. Oh well, time to get on in the world.

The garden is still producing a little bit which is helping me procrastinate putting it to sleep for the winter. I still plan to plant garlic and mulch that heavily. However, we are still getting some tomatoes, cucumbers, summer squash, and a few green beans. The acorn squash and zucchini decided they were done. I will be sad when the garden is completely done because I have been loving all the fresh produce.

On the chicken front, we have eggs! On the first day, we got three eggs. Since then, we have been averaging one a day. A little depressing, but I know we have more coming in the next couple of months. Otherwise, the chickens are doing great. I am going to get the heat lamp hung up, clean out the coop again (lightly), and add even more bedding. I also agreed to winter four hens for a friend.

We are working on a few other things around here. I got a lot of tomatoes from a coworker and have been steadily canning them. We have been building up our food storage with a little bit cash I have made from selling a few things and taking cans to the redemption center.

I haven't made any attempts to fix the clothes dryer yet. Quite honestly, I don't think I will. If I have to dry things, the laundromat is a block away from where I work. Otherwise, line drying is working wonderfully.

That is about it for this Monday edition. I hope to get more detailed in the next edition!

Thanks for reading,