Sunday, January 31, 2010

Mystery Of Power

I have a confession.  I truly have a desire to learn about alternative energy and how to actually make it happen. I have tried and tried to read and learn about it but nothing seems to sink in. I needed an offgrid  Power For Dummies lesson.  I was talking about this in the APN chat (aka Wolfe's Den) with a friend who is quite savy about the subject.  Imagine my surprise and delight when I read this!  I think I actually "get" it so far but will have to wait for part two to see if I am just delusional or what!  Thanks Kronic!

Mystery of power

So you need power? Lets go over a few things to help you decide if living off the grid can work for you. First things like your electric clothes dryer are not going to be possible unless you have a very large bank account to work with.
With any solar or wind driven system it works basically like this. The sun on a solar charger and the wind in a wind driven system charges a battery rack. That’s all it does, it does not power your house. Only very large system can do that and its far out of most peoples reach cost wise. So why do we want this and can I make it work? The answer is yes we can make it work.
Step one is decide to make a commitment to live a different life style, you don’t have access to the power company so your on a fixed amount of power. I’ll try arrange the steps to make it simple and easy to understand, I do tend to get a tad geeky so ask questions.
Step #2
Ok you have made a decision so lets go. First look at your location to see which form of power better suits you. Do you live in a desert like humble, if so then solar is a better choice as most days are sunny and bright. In other areas wind may be a better option as there may be wind many days out of the year. Basically we are trapping the energy the sun or wind provides and converting it to electricity for our needs. If possible its always better to have both sources, so if its cloudy and stormy the solar wont work but more than likely the wind will compensate.
Lets decide how much power you really need, note I said need not want. It can take up to 20 Killo watts to power a complete household, that would cost you a years wages at best. So we will look at ways to cheat, yes cheating is ok in power conversion. Lets look at lighting, its simple, turn switch and bulb comes on, but how much power do we need for a bulb? The answer is too much, we can not afford to waste what we have so lets cut our needs. Cutting our needs does not mean doing without. Our systems are designed to collect and store 12 volts. The reason is it’s a standard its easy to fabricate and easy to adapt to our needs. Since we have 12 volts lets think about this, the items like lights and tv’s and microwave use 110 not 12. So if we want to use them we need to convert our power to 110 or convert our appliances to 12 volts. Things like lights are easy we can get 12 volt lights and even 12 volt LED’S so we don’t need to convert for them. Don’t forget LED uses a lot less power than a filament bulb and that’s good. Oh LED stands for light emitting diode. The primary reason we want to use as much 12 volt items as we can is because converting 12 volts to 110 is very ineffective, we will waste a lot of power doing so.
There are refrigerators and microwaves that use 12 volts, any thing we can get in 12 volts we want. But even at 12 volts the consumption still needs to be watched, we don’t have unlimited power. Now we move on to the geeky stuff, I hope your eyes don’t glaze over.
Ok a battery is rated two ways, one is CCA or cold cranking amps the other is APH or amperes per hour. We are not concerned with CCA as we will be slowly pulling power over an extended time, so we want the greatest APH that we can get. There’s many types and styles of batteries but in truth there’s only 4 manufactures that make lead acid batteries. There’s also nickel cadmium and a host of new batteries you could choose. But we want simple, effective and , most of all we want longevity. On my system I chose a battery called an Odyssey, even though they are very expensive you will need fewer of them and they have a twelve year military design. No car or marine battery can offer this.
I chose the Odyssey PC2250, now it does have an incredible CCA of 2250 amps but as stated above we are not interested in that capability, we are how ever very interested in fact its reserve capacity is 240 minutes at 25 amps. That means without being charged it can deliver 25 amps for 240 minutes. Now 240 minutes may not seem suitable to power stuff as there’s 24 hours in a day. But if we use our heads we will never need that much amperage. A LED in every room to light your house would use depending on LED you chose as little as one amp for the whole house. Now that 240 minutes just went way up as we wont be using the whole 25 amps. And if you use multiple batteries you add 240 minutes for each extra battery you use. But we cant just use 6 batteries which would be great but an average solar panel cant charge that many at one time. So we use less batteries or we use more solar panels and bigger wind mills. There’s a fine balancing act we need to get to, so that we have what we need but also can afford to build the system. Remember the converter I spoke of? it’s a transforming system , it takes 12 volts and converts it to 110, now this is great as some things can not run on 12 volts. But there’s a down side, in creating the 110 volts we generate a lot of heat, you need to know why heat is bad. We want to work with electrical energy not thermal (heat). So as we convert to 110 a lot of our free power is wasted creating heat, that cant be helped, it’s a side effect of the conversion. So we only want to convert as a last resort. Ok on to more geekness (sorry sfc).
Lets talk about a converter for a bit there are two kinds one is a pure sine converter and other is a modified. SFC don’t blink and scream its really easy. We often don’t realize there’s what’s jokingly referred to as clean and dirty power. Most things we use like toasters or skil saws don’t care, dirty is fine, in other words the modified is perfect for them. But there are a few critical things we need that cant operate with out clean power of pure sine, and your using one now. Yep you guessed our computers need a pure sine or very clean power. As do televisions and most stereos. So if you ever want to use a computer or other electronics we need that pure sine if it cant run on 12 volts. Now the difference is pure sine converters are about 50% more money so we only want exactly what we need. Lets say computer uses 300 watts (most electronics are watt rated not amps) just different kind of measure. And our television uses 300 and stereo also 300, we know if we use all 3 at once we need a 900 watt inverter. Oh its fine to use two inverters, we will use the dirty modified inverter to power things that don’t care if powers clean. A lot of things like drills and saws are rated in amps, so we need convert amps to watts, why you ask? Because inverters are rated in watts so we need to know how many watts we need. Lets say under normal use, you add up the things you need to get total number of amps you need, every thing has a amp rating on it. Look at your trusty black and decker drill , it will state how many amps it uses. Ok go wonder around your house and look at things , now remember we can run them at different times so we don’t need a maximum of them all added up. I take the highest one which is a refrigerator and double it, that’s my wattage I need. Things like hot water heaters and clothes driers we wont be running as the power requirements are way beyond practical for us. Unless they are gas. Oh yea to convert amps to watts we use the equation, watts =amps x volts as an example 1 amp at 110 volts is 110 watts.
Ok that’s enough for now, go look around at things you need to power, write them down so you can get a idea of what we can do. We will go over the generators later, solar or wind, even gas operated 12 volt generators are easy to make and work well in a pinch. If we have gas to run them.
SFC you can wake up, class is over hon.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Free Kids and Stinky Feet

I saw this sign outside a video store and got a good chuckle out of it. So many implications!  LOL

We got out of the house the other night and went to see a movie.  A rare treat for us.   Mars just felt like getting out for a bit and we haven't been to the movies in ages.  So after a quick look at the listings we decided to go see The Book Of Eli.  It is a great movie and I highly recommend it.

We went to the late showing on a Monday night.  It's a really large theater and has 100+ seating.  The place was empty.  Just the two of us with the whole place to ourselves. Cool!  About 10 minutes later a young couple comes in.  They look around at all the available seats and make a bee-line to the seats right behind us.  Who the hell does something like that?  Well,ok, lets just watch the movie.  A few minutes later the guy puts his feet up on the back of the chair next to Mars.  Thing is....the guy was barefoot.  Stinky feet not even 18 inches from his face. Who does that sort of thing?  He's lucky he still has that foot attached!  

As Riverwalker would say...

Got Bible??

Wednesday, January 27, 2010


I had ice cream for breakfast! And it was GOOD!  We are still working on "eating down" the freezer.  Trying to use as much as we can before we move.   Which this morning is just an excuse to have ice cream for breakfast!

We had a pretty interesting weekend. We showed the RV four times.  And I'm 99% sure we have the trailer sold.  Of course until the money is in our hands nothing is 100%.  But I'm feeling pretty good about it.   Let me explain why.  I received an email late Friday night from a lady who was interested and had a few questions. I figured I would email her back Saturday morning. I never got a chance to!  She called the next morning and asked a million questions. Man, this lady can talk. And talk and talk....  She lives in Rockport now and is moving up here to Austin. She has been looking for an RV to live in since the first part of December.(which ironically is when we first started trying to sell ours) She told me she was sick of looking at trailers that didn't fit her needs and that ours looked like something she could live in. She came, she saw, she liked!  She is coming this weekend to trade $$ for a title. YEAH!!!

I thought it was pretty interesting when I found out why she wanted to move to Austin.  She has a friend who has a few acres in the country.  They have put in 5 RV pads  on big lots and Monica (the talker) will be moving there.  They are building their own small community! The plans include a large greenhouse, a garden, and some chickens. Of course, being a prepper, I really wanted to talk with her about it but she was pretty tight-lipped and I have to respect that. But how cool is it to know that our old home will now be retired to such a cool place??

We pretty much have everything packed up and in storage now.  Of course we are going to have to rearrange it all again before we head out of here.  We still have to pack up the rest of the kitchen and odds and ends but it can be easily done in just a few hours.  And so, the adventure begins. 
We are still looking for a camper shell for the truck so we can haul the dog and various things under cover.  I guess you could call it her new dog house!  LOL
I'm also still scouring Craigslist for a small RV but until we actually have the money I suppose I am really just window-shopping.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Cabbage Rolls Made Easy

  I love cabbage rolls. I really do.  What I hate is all the work involved in making them.  To say the least, they are time-consuming.  Well I found a great substitute last year from allrecipes and I thought I would share it with you.  What I love about this recipe is that its all the flavor without the hassle!
I am posting the recipe as written but I cook flying by the seat of my pants and this recipe really does need more seasoning. Lots more in my opinion. So don't be afraid to season  it up.  I use garlic, oregano, basil, and some red pepper flakes.  I also don't use canned tomato sauce. I substitute two pints of homemade diced tomato and green chile.  (Rotel works too)  This is also one of those recipes that you could add some of that  shredded zuccini you have in the freezer too.  It's also pretty food storage friendly as well.

  • 2 pounds ground beef
  • 1 cup chopped onion    (I added some dried bell pepper and dried celery  too)
  • 1 (29 ounce) can tomato sauce   (Here's where I substitute 2 pints of home made diced tomato & green chili)
  • 3 1/2 pounds chopped cabbage
  • 1 cup uncooked white rice
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 (14 ounce) cans beef broth
  • (Toss in extras here-  Garlic, basil, oregano and red pepper flakes are what I added)

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
  • In a large skillet, brown beef in oil over medium high heat until redness is gone. Drain off fat.
  • In a large mixing bowl combine the onion, tomato sauce, cabbage, rice and salt. Add meat and mix all together. Pour mixture into a 9x13 inch baking dish. Pour broth over meat mixture and bake in the preheated oven, covered, for 1 hour. Stir, replace cover and bake for another 30 minutes. 
 Ok that is the original recipe.  Now let me tell you first of all that this makes a TON of food.  No way it will fit in a 9x13 pan. A roasting pan or a second 9x13 pan will be needed.

I opted for an easier way.  I do it on top of the stove.  It doesn't take nearly as long (when the rice is done its ready) to make.
I've made this 3 times and it has come out great.  It is even better the next day.  It also freezes well.  I've frozen smaller packages for quick lunches too.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Seeds Of Change

The weather has been picture perfect here today.  Lows in mid fifties this morning.  The sun shining.  Topped out at 73. Same forecast for tomorrow.Winter here is on its last legs.  I know... it's only the end of January and we still have several weeks before it's official. But it's coming!  
I have been getting the itch to start seeds. To plant, to get my hands in the soil. That time in between putting the seeds into the soil and the wonderful morning when you wake up to see a tiny little sprout sticking its head out to see the world it has been brought into. To watch seedlings push out their green leaves towards the sun. To become tall and strong and live the life that nature has mapped out for them. To bear fruit and to nourish the earth.  This year there will be no spring garden for us. Not in the normal sense of it all. When I actually realized that I have to tell you that that one was a hard truth to swallow! No seed sewing? No digging in the dirt. No weeding out the old and inviting new growth.

Until I thought about it a little bit. 

Maybe....just maybe.. we, on this new path in our lives, are the seeds of spring.  On a journey to find the proper "soil" balance.  To weed out the old and find joy in new growth. The place to plant ourselves. To establish strong roots and stand tall and proud. To find just the right fit. To reach for the stars and bring the fruits of our labor to a reality. I know it won't be easy.  Things like this seldom are.  But I am sure, that given proper care and attention, this spring will see new changes and new blossoms that have never grown here between us before.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Coyotes, Possums and Crows

After my last rant,  I thought we might lighten it up just a bit.  After all, it IS Sunday!  So here are a few recipes I thought  you might enjoy. 

Printed from COOKS.COM

□   1 doz. coyotes, lg. & wily in nature
□   25 gal. Acme instant coyote broth
□   50 lb. carrots, diced
□   50 lb. potatoes, diced
□   Salt & pepper to taste
Simmer coyote in broth until tender. This takes about 1 week. Season to taste. Add vegetables in last hour of cooking. Serves 250 people. If unexpected guests arrive. 1 rabbit may be added, but do this only in an emergency, as most people do not like to find a hare in their stew.

Printed from COOKS.COM

□   1 fat possum
□   Salt &pepper
□   2 cloves garlic
□   2 c. water
□   5 strips bacon
□   2 lg. onions
□   1 tbsp. celery leaves
□   1 lg. can mushrooms
□   5 lg. sweet taters, cut in halves
□   3 tbsp. lard
□   1 tbsp. chopped parsley
Nail head of possum to a board, just a little larger than the possum. Skin it. Make paste of lard, salt, pepper and rub over entire possum. Fill cavity with onions, garlic, chopped parsley and celery leaves. Place possum and board on rack in roasting pan. Lay 5 strips of bacon across breast. Add water and mushrooms. Add water as needed. Surround the possum with sweet taters. Leave uncovered.Bake in oven (300 to 350 degrees) until tender. Baste every 15 minutes. To determine when done, pull leg away from body. When done, throw away the possum and taters and eat the board.

Printed from COOKS.COM

□   Crow breasts
□   Sauerkraut
□   Bacon strips
□   Onion
Remove crow breasts. Soak overnight in salt water. Parboil for 1/2 hour. Brown in butter. Place on a bed of 1 1/2 inches of sauerkraut in a casserole. Cover each breast with bacon strips. Cover with slice of onions and more sauerkraut. Pour sauerkraut juice over the whole thing. Bake for 2 hours at 350 degrees. If it still tastes like crow, you did something wrong, serve to obnoxious neighbors.

Friday, January 15, 2010

The State of the Union

It's raining.  I love to hear the rain hitting the roof.  It's quite soothing.   Unless of course its been hitting it for days on end!  That's not the case tonight. A gentle rain with no wind to speak of .  So why can't I sleep?  I tossed and turned and finally gave up trying for a bit.
There are some bad things happening out there in our country and around the world.  The tension for me is palatable.  I can almost reach out and touch it.  The world is spiraling out of control.
I have been once again thinking back to that horrendous car wreck.  How "they" all said it was a miracle that I was still here among the living.  I believe that all of us have a purpose ( or a reason ) for living the lives we lead.  I think that for whatever reason, I was ment to live in these times.  Maybe just to be a witness to history in the making. Maybe to make a stand where others are afraid to speak.  Maybe to bear witness to what was once good and just.  And maybe, just maybe, to help recover what is still left of this once magnificent country we call America.  Or maybe I am just full of shit and am trying to read more into things than are actually there.  The last maybe is wishful  thinking on my part I am sure.
We have lost touch with our roots.  We have allowed the government to take control of our lives.  To take our children and "educate" them.  To tell us what is good for us.  As if we can no longer make those decisions on  our own.  The TV spews vile things at us daily.  Just today I found at least 3 references to watching American Idol.  TV has dumbed down most American's to the point of no return. We sit on the couch, remote in one hand and a bag of chemically laced potato chips in the other, just waiting for Fox TV to entertain us with more drivel. The networks all seem hellbent on destroying the last brain cell of everyone on the planet.  I read people spouting off about folks like O'Reilly and Beck.  Oh they are going to do some sort of  broadcast or tour or ever it is. And the people are excited. Excited? Ohh you just have to watch????  Apparently propaganda with just a dash of truth seems to placate the masses.
We have become so politically correct that we have PC'd ourselves out of the right to free speech.  We apparently can no longer be trusted to think for ourselves. They want to take our 2nd amendment right to bear arms from us because we cannot be trusted. Think about that.

  The Constitution apparently means nothing to the people we have entrusted to lead our nation. And year after year we vote them back in, as if to say "Good Job keep it up".  We have told our elected officials we don't want or need Health Care, but did they listen? We told them we did not want the stimulus package. They sure didn't listen to that.That we were against the bailout of  the "To Big To Fail" companies. We said let them fail.  Did they listen?
When they attacked the citizens of America in Philly during the G20 with weapons of war for exercising their right to freedom of speech and the right to assemble peacefully, did our governmental officials stand and say NO MORE?
Do they listen when we tell them that we want our troops back home from this trumped up propaganda they call a "War on Terror" ?   Yet they are STILL sending troops to fight phantom "terrorists".
Folks, the war on terror should start with those people in office who blindly follow the money.  When was the last time anyone can remember that they actually listened to our concerns?  This election year may very well be our last chance to make a stand. Time is running out. and if we do not make a stand we will be forever known as the generation that saw the Fall of the Greatest Republic in the history of the world.  And we will have only ourselves to blame.  We let them get this far.  We allowed them to continue to destroy the very fabric of this great country.

September 12, 2009 over a million people marched on Washington expressing their anger against this government. People from all walks of life coming together saying that we have had ENOUGH!  Did they listen?  How is it possible that that many people gathered together to protest the state of affairs in America and it only got 2 minutes on the news for ONE day?  I watched proudly that day, wishing I could have been there with them.  And I shed tears of pride for those who took up the fight.

  The Million Man March got a full week of TV coverage.  Before, during, and after.  You don't see the injustice of that?  They hide the will of the people through media manipulation and call us terrorists for speaking out against tyranny.
The time has come for things to take a turn.  I only hope there are enough of us out there enraged enough by the actions of our government to stand tall and say


Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Tick Tock

It seems that selling the trailer is taking longer than we had hoped.  I know some of  this due to being anxious to get on with things... to seek a new "life" as it were.  I had really really wanted to find a buyer before my birthday.  Unless it sells today that won't happen. (sigh)       
I know I patient. Things can and do happen in their own time.  I just wish they would hurry up!

I have been posting ads all over our area on Craigslist and have had a couple of prospects. Neither have ended up working out for one reason or another. We can't afford to put an ad in print so Craigslist and our local online papers are being utilized.  I didn't realize how creative you have to be to post on Craigslist.  You can't post the same ad in different cities.  So with a little manipulation of the title and a bit of cut and paste it CAN be done!  And since you can only post one ad every 30 days I had to find a way around it.  I want to keep at least 2 ads in the top 100 postings at all times.  It's almost like a game to outwit them and continue posting.

We have been discussing what we are going to do with the dog and cat while traveling. The answer we came up with is a camper shell for the truck. B.B the dog is just too much to handle in the front of the truck.  It would also allow for more room for "stuff".  We have rented a storage unit for now. But it will have to be emptied eventually.  I found a small trailer on Craigslist that would work for our purpose.  Of course all this will have to wait until after the sale of this place. 

I apologize for rambling but am feeling a little at odds today.  Probably brought on by the fact that I will be 50 tomorrow. I'm not freaked out by it. I thought maybe I might be.  Heck I am surprised I made it to see 50. The thing I don't get is how did 50 years speed by so fast?  Things that happened 15-20 years ago seem like it was just the other day.  I sure hope the next few years don't go nearly as fast!
Ok... enough of this meandering.

Keep your fingers crossed for me about the trailer?

Monday, January 11, 2010

Hey...I'm Just Sayin....

I have been reading different forums for awhile now.  Most recently I have become involved in the "new and improved" American Preppers Forums.  It is quite interesting to see how  people look at the same subject in a multitude of ways.  I am going to choose the subject of food storage here just because it is a subject I have a real interest in.
I choose to store food for the future. I don't do it because I think the world is going to end tomorrow. Although who knows what might happen.  Heck if it all came to an end tomorrow I wouldn't need to store food right? There are those who only see the gloom and doom of what "may" come sooner or later .  That the only way to survive is to have hundreds and hundreds  of dollars invested in  MRE's and other long term food storage.  That is all well and good.  If you can do that and are comfortable in your preps then all the better for you.

I prefer to think of food storage as an ongoing investment in my family's future.  While we might be on the brink of TEOTWAWKI it hasn't happened yet. For all we know it could take weeks, months, or years. Shouldn't we be working on the everyday living?  On getting a one week, 3 month, one years supply built?  When I first started prepping the pantry it was really just because I could see how I could save money.  Insurance, as it were, against layoffs and bad weather. Mars works outdoors so when the weather is bad he doesn't get much work.  So when things "happen" we have some wiggle room ya know? 
So it came as a bit of a surprise when I reposted the DIY Powdered Eggs over on the forums and  this was one response.
"are really not necessary for survival in survival conditions........if you have chickens, that's great, and the protein is great BUT, the proteint doesn't store well UNLESS you have VERY cool to cold conditions....I suggest you buy more grains(seeds), even condiments for flavoring..processed protein doesn't store well of ANY kind"

Did I miss something?

If I can store eggs for baking and omelets and such, shouldn't I be doing just that?   I'm thinking that my peanut butter that might have a one year shelf life would still be a viable means of protein. That my tuna needs to be used and replenished.  I understand the idea that food deteriorates in storage....that you loose the nutritional values along the way.  That is what rotation of your stores is all about.  If I need some "insert food here"  I can just go to the pantry and pull it out.  No running to the store because I don't have that ONE item. 
I guess the thing  I don't understand is how you can prepare for the long term if you can't even get past the short term issues. 

Hey... I'm just sayin.....

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Freezer Finds

What can you do with bratwurst?  I mean other than boiling it in beer and grilling it?  I found at least 3 packages deep within the freezer.  All were bought on sale at one time or another this past year. While we are waiting for the trailer to sell we are trying to use up what we can.  The freezer is still half full so there's a chance that I may have to bring the canner back from storage.

We had a huge pork loin in there that Mars smoked on the pit a few days ago.  It came out sooo nice!  Needless to say we have been eating pork dishes for a few days. Of course, we have had sliced pork loin with a variety of vegetables.  Chopped pork and egg tacos too.  It's made a few really good sandwiches as well.  Tomorrow I plan on using the last of it for Carne Guisada .(with pork of course)
Now back to the question.  What can you actually DO with bratwurst?  I love They have a cool ingredient search engine.  Put in some of the ingredients you want and/or the ones you don't.  I came up with a Bratwurst soup that sounded ok and had some good reviews. I thought I would share it as it turned out really good.  Mind you I almost always just wing following a recipe depending on what I have on hand.

                 Bratwurst, Potato, Cabbage Soup
  • 16 ounces bratwurst, casings removed
  • 2 potatoes, peeled and cubed
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 medium head cabbage, chopped
  • 3 cups milk, divided
  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 4 ounces Swiss cheese, diced


  1. In a large skillet over medium high heat, saute the sausage for 10 minutes, or until browned and crumbled. Drain well and discard the fat.
  2. In a large pot over high heat, combine the browned sausage, potatoes, onion and water. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to low and simmer for 20 minutes. Add the cabbage, return to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for another 20 minutes. Add 2 1/2 cups of the milk and heat slowly to just under a boil. (Note: Don't try to do this too fast, or the milk will burn on the bottom of the pot.)
  3. In a separate small bowl, mix the flour with the remaining milk, and add to the pot slowly, stirring constantly, so that the flour does not clump. (Note: Make sure you get out all the lumps because they will not cook out on their own.)
  4. When the mixture in the pot thickens, add the cheese and stir off and on until the cheese has melted.
 After reading some of the reviews, I added some garlic, Tonys,  fresh cracked black pepper.  I didn't have swiss cheese so I used cheddar instead. I also was out of onions and so I used some of my dried ones.  I have to say it turned out really good.  I will definitely make this one again!

I have been trying to pull out all the stuff that wasn't sealed with the FoodSaver first.

I wonder what else is down at the bottom of that freezer?  I found two packages of venison I didn't realize we still had. There's some fake crab meat in there too.  I found that we have way more blackeyed peas than I first thought.  It's almost like a treasure hunt!!


Thursday, January 7, 2010

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

DIY Powdered Egg Update

    The American Preppers Network has launched a brand new look and a brand new forum.  The forum has really taken off and is a wonderful source for preparedness information.  Check them out if you get the chance!  The following is a post I did over there.  It is also an update on my Powdered Egg experiment.
    I was checking out powdered egg prices from places like Honeyville a few months ago, and thought they seemed a little pricey. I'm "Frugal" remember! Eggs are a great source of protein. As we don't have the capability to raise chickens where we are (no room) I got to thinking about how much I would miss them in a SHTF situation.
    I have read about different ways to dehydrate them at home. Most all of them tell you to make scrambled eggs and then dry the cooked eggs and store. I am sure there must be a reason for cooking them first but I don't know why.    So I figured what the heck. I will do some experimenting myself.
     So I beat up a dozen eggs and poured them into my fruit roll-up trays. I found with my dryer the trays will hold 6 beaten eggs. Trial and error told me to set the temperature at 165 degrees. (That is as high as my dehydrator goes) Let them dry until they are brittle. It takes about 24 hours in my machine.    When they are done they will be hard and just a little oily to the touch. I then put them in the blender and turned them into powder. Then I put them in a jar ,vacuum sealed them, and stored them in a cool dark place. The first batch I did was in the second week of September of this year. I have checked them each month since then. They are still holding up great!
    The first thing I had to try was rehydrating them for making scrambled eggs. I placed one teaspoon of powdered egg and 2 teaspoons warm water in a bowl and let them sit for about half an hour. One teaspoon is about the same as one egg. Stirred them up really good, ( they will be just a little "grainy") put some butter in a pan and cooked them up. Tasted great! Nothing like the powdered eggs I have tried in the past.
    The next month I broke out the jar and used them to make pancakes. They still smelled good and tasted fine.
    In November I used them to dredge my chicken in before frying. Again, everything looked, smelled, and tasted fine.
   A few days ago I had my heart set on breakfast tacos. Of course I was out of eggs. So I pulled out that jar of powdered eggs and used them. They turned out excellent!
    I do want to make one thing clear. I CHOSE to do this experiment. You might not want to try this at home kids! I can't tell you how safe the process is but I have personally had great results. It has been four months since the first batch was done. They still look, smell, and taste fine. I have about 3 more eggs in that batch and so I will check them again for the next two months. That would be six months storage time for a dozen eggs. Not bad if I say so myself!!
I have put up a few  dozen more  since then and we shall see how it all works out.

The experiment continues!!

Sunday, January 3, 2010

You Don't Have Beans?

  Well, things are moving right along here.  We're making forward progress, which is always a good thing.  It seems like it took forever to get to this point.
   You just don't realize how much "crap" you can acquire in 9 years.  What's even more amazing is the amount you can accumulate in  a 40' RV!  But the trailer is now listed as FOR SALE.  It's taken a month to do, but the trailer is finally ready.  Most everything is in storage except for basics we need to hang out until we sell the place.  We could be out of here in a day's notice! We have been going through everything we own with a "new eye" as it were.  Gleaning.  If it doesn't have a purpose for the direction we are headed  or a sentimental value - its out of here.  Craigslist is my new best friend! 

  One thing that has kind of been strange for me though is not working on our food storage. I hadn't realized how much I would miss it.  Prepping I mean.  Most everyone knows what a nerd I am about snagging good deals.  You can imagine how I must have felt when I saw that potato's were on sale this week @ $.069 for 5 lbs!!
And all my handy dandy kitchen "tools" now reside in storage. The one that I made absolutely sure I kept where I can get to it is the pressure canner , lids, canning tools and jars.  We still have a fair amount of meat in the freezer and I sure don't wanna lose it. 
  I have to confess a serious prepper error.  When putting all the food preps in storage... I did not think far enough out.  I should have been thinking 6-8 weeks here and really didn't think ahead.  Case in point, Mars and I were talking last nite about dinner.  We both thought some beans and rice would be good.  Well I went to look in the pantry and we had rice....but no beans!   I thought Mars was gonna dies laughing at me.  I've probably got a hundred and fifty pounds of beans put up and not a single one in the house!  I had to run to the store today as we were out of bread (STOP LAUGHING AT ME) so while I there I picked up another 5 lbs of beans.  Now I realize we didn't NEED 5 lbs.... but I got me a little "prepper fix" and I feel better now!  

Don't tell anyone ok?

Friday, January 1, 2010

New Year New Start

What a year 2009 has been. I have made some amazing new friends this year and in doing so  I've learned a whole new set of skills.  For that I am grateful.
We grew a great garden.  I learned to can this year.  It's cool that I can do more than just put up tomato's!  I became a dehydrating fool. (thanks for the Nesco Mom) I made my first jellies and apple butter too. I put up some really good Bread n Butter pickles.  Pickled okra and pickled peppers too!  Oh and I started making my own laundry soap. I started making my own bread.
  The point is that I learned skills I didn't have before.  Now I know that I'm not a pro or anything, but its good to work on skills that will be useful in the future. Anything I can learn to become more self-reliant is what I strive for.

Who knows what 2010 will bring?  For just this once I won't say a word about the country going down the crapper. LOL I just found myself having to delete a good paragraph rant!! I figure I can leave that for the new year.

Mars and I will be starting on a new journey this year.  We have decided to start over again.  Pretty much like we did when we made the decision to move into the RV.  Only this time, it is all about finding a place to lay down roots.  It's time for us to move on.  Why not?  We aren't getting any younger and we sure aren't getting anywhere here.  We are going to sell our version of the "McMansion" and buy a small trailer and hit the road.  Find some land and just DO it. We have been busy with getting things packed, sold, sorted out and culled. I am excited!  I don't know were this will end up but it ought to interesting!
  So stay tuned,  there are bound to be at least some good stories to come out of all this!