Monday, November 28, 2011

Uses for a FoodSaver

Some of you who have been reading here already know of my  long standing love affair with the FoodSaver.  These things will pay for themselves in no time at all.  Mars bought mine for me as a Christmas gift one year. Yeah, he's romantic like that!  Truth be told though we both really wanted one and we caught a sweet deal on one.
There are tons of ways to use these wonderful tools. Most people are familiar with using the bags to freeze meats, vegetables and fruits.  It keeps things just as fresh as the day you put them in the freezer.  I've had meat that I have vacuum sealed and put in the freezer for over two years and when I took them out they were just as fresh as the day I sealed them.  No more freezer burn!  That alone would be enough to pay for one of these handy tools. But there is so much more you can do with a vacuum sealer. 
     Our Foodsaver came with two rolls of bags, a vacuum hose, a wide mouth jar sealer and two canisters.  It didn't take me long to figure out just how expensive those bags can be so these days I'm pretty particular about what I use them for. But the use of jars really started getting my attention. They make attachments that will seal canning jars using regular canning lids and they are pretty inexpensive.  Ever wonder what to do with your used canning lids?  Instead of tossing them I use them for vacuum sealing jars of dry foods like my home dehydrated foods, powdered milk, rice, beans etc...  Just think, you can open a new can of coffee, pour it in a jar, seal it up and it will retain its freshness.
     If you look in your fridge right now  I'll bet you probably have an onion. bell pepper, celery or some other vegetable stored in a zip-lock bag or a resealable bowl. Their shelf life isn't very long and I can't tell you just how much food I have tossed in the compost pile over the years because I didn't use it quickly enough.  A good example is bell peppers.  I don't usually use a whole bell pepper at once and used to toss the remaining pepper in a zip-lock bag.  Stored this way they tend to go bad pretty quickly.  I found that if I stored them in a vacuum sealed jar I could extend their shelf life by over twice as long. What used to last maybe a week will now keep for a month or more and retain it's freshness.  The cost of food is rising so quickly that it just makes sense.  I hardly ever toss out vegetables that have gone bad anymore.
   Another great thing to store in vacuum sealed jars is your cheese.  I hate it when my cheese starts to mold in the fridge. Put your cheese in jars and vacuum seal after each use.  You would be amazed at how long cheese will keep stored like this. With no mold either!  I even store my leftovers in jars and seal them.  Again, they just keep longer.
   I use jars to help with my food rotation as well.  I have buckets of things stored and when I need to get into some of them, I don't need the whole bucketful.  So I will fill a jar with powdered milk, rice, sugar, salt or "fill in the blank" and reseal the bucket. Then I just vacuum seal the jars after each use.  The only problem with this is that I was using my canning jars for all these things and you know they are NOT cheap.  Besides I need them for canning!  Eventually you find yourself short on canning jars. So here I was using all my widemouth canning jars for storing dry goods and in the fridge.  I didn't have ( and still don't) have a small mouth jar attachment.  It set me to thinking.  I went surfing the net and finally found a solution.  And not just ANY solution. I not only found a way to seal my small mouth canning jars, but almost any glass jar that has a rubber gasket in the lid. Spaghetti sauce jars, jelly, peanut butter and mayonnaise jars. It doesn't matter what weird size lid it is.  Even Pace picante jars with their weird shape can be recycled.  The secret is... the large tall canister that came with my "package" deal.  You can buy these separately at their site. You fill your recycled jar, put the lid on it and place it in the large canister and vacuum out the air.  As you release the vacuum on the canister the jar lids will suck down and give you a good seal.
     Every so often you will get a jar that didn't seal. Wipe off the rim of the jar and make sure there are no chips in it, wipe the lid and reseal. This works great and I don't have to forfeit my canning jars anymore. Just be sure to check your jars for a good seal every once in awhile when you are doing your "pantry check". I have found that sometimes, even when using regular canning jars, they will sometimes loose their seal.  Therefore, I recommend if you are using canning jars to store them with the band on the lid. You don't want a surprise when you go looking for that jar of dried carrots or something.
I found a decent video of how all this works and have it here.

  There are tons of things you can do with a vacuum sealer.  Not only are they good for storing foods, you can use them to make your own MRE type foods, vacuum seal things in your BOB to keep them airtight and compact and a gazillion other things.  One thing that I would suggest though is to keep your vacuum sealer on the counter. You will be more inclined to use it if it is out where you can see it.  Out of sight out of mind as it were. 

Anyway... if you have a prepper on your Christmas list I would suggest thinking about one.  They can save you so much money on food they can literally pay for themselves over a short amount of time.  And if you don't already have one I'd start dropping hints now about what I wanted under my Christmas tree!!
      ~~~~~~  Hey ... I'm Just Sayin' ...  ~~~~~~

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Our First Thanksgiving

Notice the missing parts? He couldn't wait another minute!
I had good intentions.  I really did!  It's the planning I didn't quite have worked out.  I mean, it's not my first time to cook Thanksgiving Dinner. (although you might question that after today)  I really hadn't even thought much about the dinner itself. I kind of had an idea of what I wanted to do.  Just a simple meal, nothing really fancy since it's just Mars and I here.  And as far as he was concerned I could have made any old meal as long as I called him to dinner.   The one thing I knew I wasn't going to do was to go to town for any of it.  If we didn't already have it here at the house already I wasn't going to make it. Since the oven in the RV is too small to hold a turkey I decided to just bake a whole chicken instead.

On Wednesday, instead of prepping things ahead of time,(yeah, what was I thinking, right?) I decided I should make cookies for the neighbors and for Bob down at the lumber yard. (more about that later)  I made a huge batch of Snickerdoodles, and helped Mars some with the skirting on the trailer. I delivered "Bob the Builder" his cookes. Then "life" just sort of happened and before you know it the day was gone.  I figured what the heck, It's just a simple meal and won't take much time at all to get it done in the morning.  So off to bed I went. And didn't wake up till almost 9:30.  I wasn't too upset though, heck I was just going to bake a chicken and some sweet potato's right?

So while I'm drinking coffee and checking out emails I got to thinking that well... it IS Thanksgiving.  Maybe I should make some dressing (that's southern for stuffing) to go with that bird. I mean what's Thanksgiving without dressing? I ran through the items in my head that I'd need... ok no problem... I think I've got everything.

So as I'm making  breakfast, I realized I only had a half a loaf of bread left and I was going to need it ALL for the stuffing. And if we were going to have chicken and dressing we were going to need something to sop up the gravy wouldn't we?  So I needed to make some bread. I needed to make some anyway... But then I got to thinking... you can't just have bread with a Thanksgiving dinner can you?  I'd need to make some rolls too.  No problem, I'd just whip up a batch of dough before I got started on everything else.
 Wait a second...Did I just say GRAVY? Where did that come from? But you know if you are going to have chicken and dressing you just have to have gravy right? I mean it IS Thanksgiving. And really, it isn't all hard and takes no time at all to whip up...

So now the menu was Chicken and Dressing with giblet gravy, baked sweet potato's ( I'm not crazy about the sweet potato casserole, thanks but no thanks) and homemade rolls.  It sound's simple enough and traditional but then I got to thinking.... Man I would sure love some deviled eggs to go with that!  Ok, easy enough, right?  But wait!!!  We need a desert of some kind don't we I mean it IS Thanksgiving and what would it be without dessert?  I have a bunch of pumpkin spice pudding I got on sale last year that I could make pretty quick and I had some whipped topping in the freezer.  I'd just need to go into the understorage on the trailer to find the pudding.

So I set out to make Thanksgiving Dinner. And apparently, looking back, I was having a "Blonde" day.

Step 1) Mix up the dough. Get hot water ready to "proof" my yeast. Grab the sugar canister.... empty! Go out to storage and fill the sugar up. Put sugar, yeast and water in the bowl and let it start working. Grab the flour cannister.  Two cups left in it, need 6. (Darn, made cookies yesterday and used it all) Go to storage and get more flour. Mix the dough and let it rise for an hour or so.

Step 2) Slice up the half a loaf of bread to let it "air dry" for a bit. Chop celery and onion and set it in the fridge for later. Take the celery ends to the rabbits because they really like them.

Step 3) Put eggs on to boil for the Deviled Eggs.  So far so good.

Step 4) Go out to the understorage to find the pudding. Unload several boxes before I realize what I need is in the BACK. Find the pudding mix and restack the boxes.  Find a can of cranberry sauce. YaY!!  What's dressing without cranberry sauce? This is when I find a can of pumpkin I forgot I had.  Hmmmm.... boy, pumpkin pie sure would be good...  Of course I've never made a pumpkin pie before but how hard could it be? And it IS Thanksgiving....

Step 5) Put cranberry sauce in the fridge. Look up recipe for Pumpkin Pie and realize that it's the same one that's on the can! Calls for evaporated milk. Which is in storage. Go out and unload a few boxes and find the milk. Hmmmm I'm going to need a pie shell.  Look up a recipe for one that sounds simple enough.

Step 6) Dough is ready to form into rolls. Make two pans and a loaf of bread and let rise till doubled.   Put the rolls in the tiny oven to bake. Set the timer (because it is becoming apparent I'm not to be trusted today) Take a break because after all... it IS Thanksgiving.

Step 7) Put the second round of bread in the tiny oven to cook.

Step 8) Make the pie dough and wonder why it's not holding together like it should. Read the recipe and see where it says chill the dough first. Put it in the fridge and start mixing up the pumpkin filling.  I can't find the ground cloves.... I have whole cloves. OK, break out the little spice grinder and try to grind them up. They don't grind up real well but at this point it is going to have to do. Take the pie dough out and it's better now.  Roll out two pie crusts because the recipe says to make one deep dish pie and I don't have a deep dish.

Step 9) Take out the bread, put the pies in the oven and cross my fingers.  Recipe says it should take aproximately an hour. Set the timer (because it's now my best friend)

Step 10) Put celery,onions and butter in pan to sautee for the dressing. Look for the poultry seasoning. There IS no poultry seasoning.  Wonder if there is any in storage. Go out to look, pull out the boxes... nothing... put the boxes back and hit the internet (again) for a homemade poultry seasoning recipe.  I actually have all the spices. I know this because I had just looked through every single one I have looking for the poultry seasoning.  Wash the spice grinder (because it has clove powder stuck in it) Mix up seasoning and add to the celery and onions, cut bread cubes and add them and the other ingredients necessary. Set aside till I'm ready to do the chicken.

Step 11) Check the pie's. They are nowhere near done. Put them back in to cook and set the timer for 30 minutes. Check the clock. Realize that Thanksgiving Dinner is really going to be Thanksgiving Supper.

Step 12) Wash the chicken and am amazed that all the "innards" are in it.  Season chicken and stuff with the dressing. Check the pies.... still not done.  Set timer for another 15 minutes.

Step 13) Make the Deviled Eggs. Nothing went wrong.... weird.

Step 14) Start the "innards" in chicken stock and spices. Check the pies. Almost done. Set timer for 5 more minutes.

Step 15) Take a break cause after all it IS Thanksgiving.

Step 16) Pies are ready!!!  Take out to cool and put chicken in.  Set timer for 1 hour. Put sweet potato's in too.

Step 17) Realize I used all the eggs for deviled eggs and have none for the gravy.  Put on some to boil and start the gravy.

Step 18) Wait for chicken to bake and eat a couple of rolls because I'm starving. Set out plates, etc for dinner. Open the can of cranberry and see its gone bad. At this point I'm no longer worried about it... Give me CHICKEN!  Toss it out in the compost pile.  Finish up the gravy. Check the clock. Almost time.... Check chicken and see that it is nowhere near done. It's going to be another hour. <sigh>

Step 19) Spend some quality time with Mars and hand him another roll. Talk about all the things we are thankful for this year, and how blessed we are to be here.

Step 20) Dinner is finally ready.  Give thanks for all we have been blessed with this past year and eat till I'm about to pop.

In looking back, I realized that all this could have been a whole lot easier with at least SOME planning on my part. But I have to say that if nothing else it was a memorable Thanksgiving Dinner. Everything worked out and that's really all that matters in the end. It was still one of the best Thanksgiving's I've ever had.
      ~~~~~~  Hey ... I'm Just Sayin' ...  ~~~~~~

Sunday, November 20, 2011


Saturday, November 19, 2011

SmallsVille Wins Again!

You know, these days I don't really get out and about all that much. The truth is that I really don't want to. I don't actually like the interaction with dumb**es anymore.  This new found habit is quite a change for me.  There was a time when I couldn't be made to stay at home. I had to be "going and doing" all the time. When Friday night rolled around I couldn't sit still. I would just "itch" to get go somewhere... anywhere but sitting at the house. 

 These days... meh...not so much. (or not at all)  As a matter of fact it almost takes an act of congress (and we all know how well THAT works)  to blast me off of this piece of land. Somewhere along the way I figured out that I really don't have all that much that demands my attention away from home.  I like it here. It's comfortable. I no longer feel the need to hit the street and find something to do. There is more than enough to do here than I can keep up with anyway!

 Yeah, I can hear it now.  Those of you who know what I used to be like are already thinking something is really really wrong with me, with this newfound love of staying close to the homefront. I don't feel like I am going to crawl out of my skin if I sit around the house, drinking tea and watching the clouds roll by these days these days.  Good grief... I know I'm officially getting old.
  Back in the day when Friday rolled around I was "outta here".  No way you could have kept me home. So what the hell happened???  Yeah, I guess I grew up. And grew old. Comfortable in my skin I guess you could say.
These days it takes that "act of congress"  to get me to even go into town for anything. I will sit out here and voulentarily go without some thing that once I might have thought important.  But you can only put these things off for so long.  Eventually you run out of something... toilet paper, paper towels, propane.... fill in the blank.  ( and you can stop laughing at me now!)  

So when payday rolled around this month I had to suck it up, grab my evergrowing  list, and head into town.  Now I can't always get away with just going to Smallsville (although I do try).  We have most of the things we need here. On a smaller scale (think "Smallsville") There's a lumber yard, a Wally World that they call a supercenter (again, Smallsville) a fair sized grocery store,and various mom and pop type businesses. Of course sometimes life just calls for a trip into the big city but I am proud (and oh so happy) that that I haven't had to do that yet this month.   I'll put it off till Monday... or maybe Tuesday.....
      ~~~~~~ Hey ... I'm Just Sayin' ... ~~~~~~

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

New Poll

Check out the new poll over on the right hand side of the page and tell me what YOU think!!  If the Republican Elections were a "Survival" Reality Show, Who would YOU vote off first?? 
If you want to tell me who and why just leave a comment below.
 Personally, I am tired of it all and wish they would all just let it rest for awhile. I mean come on, the elections are almost a year away and I am sick to death of hearing about it already.  As far as I'm concerned its all pandering and preening for public consumption and isn't really doing much more than spending money ( and ticking me off!!! )
      ~~~~~~  Hey ... I'm Just Sayin' ...   ~~~~~~

Monday, November 14, 2011


In Consultation with Stephen Portela

Determining the storage life of foods is at best an inexact science as there are so many variables. These range from the condition your food was in when you first purchased it and many other factors. This page was written with input by Mr. Stephen Portela who has over 30 years of professional food storage experience. This information should be used as a general guide only, and should not be followed "as the gospel truth" because your results may be different.


Factor #1: The Temperature Temperature has more to do with how long well dried foods store than anything else. The USDA states, "Each 5.6oC. (10.08oF) drop in temperature doubles the storage life of the seeds". Obviously, there is a limit as to how far this statement can be taken. However I expect it basically holds true from room temperature down to freezing. No doubt, the inverse could also be considered true. "Each 5.6oC. (10.08oF) rise in temperature halves the storage life of seeds." This theory holds true for non-garden seeds as well.

Storage Life Depending on CONSTANT Temperature
Note: this chart is not for a specific food but shows the relationship between temperature and storage life. Let's look at a couple of real life examples of good and poor food storage practices:

About a year ago we got an unopened paper bag of white flour which had been stored at 70oF, in a dry climate. It had been sitting for 3 years in a closet. It made fine looking bread but had such an 'old' and bad flavor that it was difficult to eat.

For another example, a couple of years ago in the Puget Sound area we were given a 4 gallon can of wheat that had been stored up high in a garage for about 30 years. This part of the country is not as hot as some places, yet in the summers the average garage still gets up into the 90's. Even though wheat will store for 30+ years under good conditions, the bread from this particular wheat was very bad tasting and after a few batches we ended up throwing the wheat away (something I always dislike doing).



Storage Life
in Years
37.6 3.1 40
48.4 9.1 30
59.2 15.1 20
70.0 21.1 10
80.8 27.1 5
91.6 33.1 2.5
102.4 39.1 1.25

Counter these stories with several examples told by Mr. Stephen Portela, Walton Feed's manager: He stores his long term food storage in his basement where the temperature hovers around 60oF. The experts give brown rice a 6 month storage life because of all the oils in it that go rancid. Yet, Mr. Portela has been eating from a supply of brown rice that has been in his basement over 10 years. It is still wholesome! In another example, there is a family living near him who purchased a supply of food in #10 cans 30 years ago. Their basement hovers around 58oF. After 28 years, Mr. Portela took a sample of many of these items to the Benson Institute at BYU to have it tested. The results can be seen at the bottom of Mr. Portela's welcome page. You will see everything tested had a 'good' to 'satisfactory' rating except for the eggs which had a 'minimum passing' rating. After 28 years I think it is most interesting that it passed at all. Mr. Portela tells me as 30 years have now passed, their storage is still in very good condition.

The bottom line is even with the very best packaging methods, if you are planning on storing your food in a warm environment, it will only last a fraction of the time it would last if stored in a cool, dry place. It is important you also find a place where the temperature remains constant. Frequent temperature changes shorten storage life. If you don't have a cool place for your food storage, plan on rotating your storage quickly enough to prevent food loss.

Factor #2: Product Moisture Content

By looking at the USDA nutritional tables, dry beans, grains, and flours contain an average of 10% moisture. Although it is very difficult and unnecessary to remove all moisture from dry foods, it is imperative that any food be stored as dry as possible. Foods with excess moisture can spoil right in their containers. This is an important consideration when packing food with dry ice as moisture condenses and freezes on the outer surface of the dry ice. For long term storage, grains should have a moisture content of 10% or less. It is difficult to accurately measure this without special equipment.

Factor #3: Atmosphere the product is stored in

Foods packed in air don't store as well as in oxygen free gasses. This is because air contains oxygen which oxidizes many of the compounds in food. Food storage companies have a couple of different processes for removing the oxygen:

Displacing the oxygen: This is done by purging out all the air in the product with an inert gas. Nitrogen is almost always used because it is the most inert gas known. People doing their own packing occasionally use dry ice which gives off carbon dioxide gas, and probably works just about as well.

Absorb the oxygen: Oxygen absorber packets do just that. Air contains about 78% nitrogen and 21% oxygen, leaving about 1% for the other gasses. If the oxygen is absorbed, what remains is 99% pure nitrogen in a partial vacuum.

If oxygen absorber packets are used, care must be taken to use a storage container that can stand some vacuum. As air is sucked into your container as the oxygen is absorbed, it reintroduces more oxygen that must be absorbed. Before long, the oxygen absorbers will have absorbed all the oxygen they can. Obviously, your product won't be oxygen free under these circumstances. Walton Feed gets around this problem with their plastic Super Pail buckets by purging the product first with nitrogen before tossing in the two oxygen absorber packets. This way the absorbers have little or no oxygen to absorb and don't create a vacuum within the pail. As cans work well under a partial vacuum, purging them with nitrogen isn't necessary before inserting the oxygen absorber packet and sealing the lid. Large seeds store better in nitrogen. On the other hand, small seeds, like many garden seeds store better in air. For this reason Walton cans their garden seed packs in air.

Factor #4: The container the product is stored in

To get the best storage life out of your product it must have a hermetic (air tight) seal. Containers that do this well are:

  • #10 Cans

  • Sealable food storage buckets

  • Sealable food quality metal or plastic drums

  • Whatever container you use, be sure it is food grade as your product can be tainted with whatever the container is made from. Plastic sacks are not good air tight containers, for even if they are sealed, the relatively thin plastic 'breathes,' allowing air to pass through. Paper sacks are of course even worse.

    There is some concern as to how good a seal is made by the lids on plastic buckets used by food storage companies. Manufacturer studies show an extremely small amount of air transfer. This amount is so small, however, that it can be considered a hermetic seal. It has also been found that the lids can be re-used several times without dramatically degrading the performance of the seal.

    People who purchase products from food storage providers are often concerned about receiving their buckets bulging or with one side collapsed in. Collapsed buckets occasionally occur when ordering from Walton's as the elevation of their packing facility is above 6,000 feet. As the buckets are shipped to a lower elevation, the increased ambient air pressure can sometimes push in one side. If a side is popped in, it is a great indication that the bucket is indeed sealed. And this also holds true for buckets that might be under a slight amount of pressure. If either condition concerns you, crack the lid to equalize the air pressure. You can do this without seriously degrading the storageability of the product within the bucket. Remember to re-seal the lid after doing this.

    Bulging cans: Some bulging cans have been returned to Waltons. In almost every case, these cans held mixes that contained baking powder or soda. These cans were sent off for bacteria analysis and came back negative. It is believed that occasionally the extremely small amount of moisture found in the product interacts over time with the baking powder or soda and creates a small amount of carbon dioxide gas.


    The Soft Grains

  • Barley

  • Hulled or Pearled Oat

  • Groats

  • Rolled Oats

  • Quinoa

  • Rye

  • Soft Grains have softer outer shells which don't protect the seed interior as well as hard shelled seeds and therefore won't store as long. Hermetically sealed in the absence of oxygen, plan on a storage life of 8 years at a stable temperature of 70oF. They should keep proportionately longer if stored at cooler temperatures.

    The Hard Grains

    Corn, Dry
    Durum wheat
    Hard red wheat
    Hard white wheat
    Soft wheat
    Special bake wheat

    The Hard Grains all store well because of their hard outer shell which is nature's near perfect container. Remove that container and the contents rapidly deteriorate. Wheat, probably nature's longest storing seed, has been known to be edible after scores of years when stored in a cool dry place. As a general rule for hard grains, hermetically sealed in the absence of oxygen, plan on a storage life of 10-12 years at a stable temperature of 70oF. They should keep proportionately longer if stored at cooler temperatures.


    Adzuki Beans
    Blackeye Beans
    Black Turtle Beans
    Garbanzo Beans
    Great Northern KidneyBeans
    Lima Beans
    Mung Beans
    Pink Beans
    Pinto Beans
    Small Red Beans
    Soy Beans

    As beans age they lose their oils, resist water absorption and won't swell. Worst case, they must be ground to be used. Storing beans in nitrogen helps prolong the loss of these oils as does cool temperatures. Hermetically sealed in the absence of oxygen, plan on a storage life of 8-10 years at a stable temperature of 70oF. They should keep proportionately longer if stored at cooler temperatures.

    Dehydrated Vegetables

  • Broccoli

  • Cabbage

  • Carrots

  • Celery

    Dehydrated vegetables store well if hermetically sealed in the absence of oxygen. Plan on a storage life of 8-10 years at a stable temperature of 70oF. They should keep proportionately longer if stored at cooler temperatures.

    Dehydrated Dairy Products

    Powder Eggs
    Butter/margarine Powder
    Powder Milk
    Morning Moo Whey Powder

    Dehydrated dairy products generally store very well if stored dry in hermetically sealed containers. Plan on a storage life of 15 years if stored at a stable temperature of 70oF. They should keep proportionately longer if stored at cooler temperatures. One exception is Morning Moo. As a new whey based product, it hasn't been tested for long term storage. Plan on rotating this product after 5 years.

    Flours and Other Products Made From Cracked/Ground Seed

    All Purpose Flour
    Bakers Flour
    Unbleached Flour
    White Flour
    Whole Wheat Flour
    Cornmeal Mixes
    Refried Beans
    Cracked Wheat
    Germade Gluten
    Granola Wheat Flakes

    After seeds are broken open their outer shells can no longer protect the seed contents and seed nutrients start to degrade. Don't try to store unprotected flours longer than a year. Hermetically sealed in the absence of oxygen, plan on a storage life of 5 years at a stable temperature of 70oF. They should keep proportionately longer if stored at cooler temperatures.



    Pasta will store longer than flour if kept dry. Hermetically sealed in the absence of oxygen, plan on a storage life of 8 - 10 years at a stable temperature of 70oF. Pasta should keep proportionately longer if stored at cooler temperatures.

    Dehydrated Fruit

    Fruit doesn't keep as well as many dehydrated items. Hermetically sealed in the absence of oxygen, plan on a storage life of 5 years at a stable temperature of 70oF. They should keep proportionately longer if stored at cooler temperatures.

    Honey, Salt and Sugar

    Honey, salt and sugar should keep indefinitely if stored free of moisture. Watch out for additives in the honey. It is possible to buy honey with water and sugar added. This honey generally doesn't crystallize like pure 100% honey does when stored for a long time. If there are additives, there is no saying how long it will last.

    Peanut Butter Powder

    Peanut butter powder will not store as long as wheat flour. Hermetically sealed in the absence of oxygen, plan on a storage life of 4-5 years at a stable temperature of 70oF. It should keep proportionately longer if stored at cooler temperatures.

    Brown and White Rices

    Brown and white rices store very differently. Brown rice is only expected to store for 6 months under average conditions. This is because of the essential fatty acids in brown rice. These oils quickly go rancid as they oxidize. It will store much longer if refrigerated. White rice has the outer shell removed along with those fats. Because of this, white rice isn't nearly as good for you, but will store longer. Hermetically sealed in the absence of oxygen, plan on a storage life for white rice of 8-10 years at a stable temperature of 70oF. It should keep proportionately longer if stored at cooler temperatures.

    Seeds or Sprouting Seeds

    All viable seeds are hibernating tiny living plants that only need moisture and warmth to sprout. And much like a chick in an egg, all the nutrients this little life needs to spring into existence is contained within it's shell.

    Like boiling an egg, heating a seed will kill that little life within it. However, unlike an egg, a seed can withstand cold temperatures. As seeds usually remain edible after the life within it dies, we must use different criteria when determining sproutable seed storage life. And again the big deciding factor is temperature. The big seed companies freeze their seed between seasons to promote long life. Of course, you can also do the same thing. Plan on a storage life of 4 years at a stable temperature of 70oF. They should keep proportionately longer if stored at cooler temperatures. Rita Bingham's Sprouting Book suggests that "Vacuum sealed or nitrogen treated seeds store longest, with a shelf life of up to 15 years." This is presupposing they are kept very cool or frozen.

    Alfalfa is a unique seed as it actually germinates better if the seed is 2 or 3 years old. Most any sample of alfalfa contains 'hard' seed and 'soft' seed. Soft seed germinates within two days while hard seed germinates in about a week. The problem is, by the time the soft seed sprouts are ready to harvest, the hard seed may not have germinated yet. As storage time draws on, the hard seed turns into soft seed. Older seed germinates closer together. Stored in good conditions, alfalfa seed should have a good percentage of germination up until it is 8 years old.

    Total Vegetable Protein, made from soy beans, has an unusually long storage life. Hermetically sealed in the absence of oxygen, plan on a storage life of 15-20 years at a stable temperature of 70oF. TVP should keep proportionately longer if stored at cooler temperatures.

    Yeast, a living organism, has a relatively short storage life. Keep yeast in the original metal foil storage containers. If the seal remains intact, yeast should last 2 years at 70oF. However it is strongly recommended that you refrigerate it, which should give you a storage life of 5 years. Frozen yeast should store for a long time.

    All contents © 1996-2000, Al Durtschi. All rights reserved. This information may be used by you freely for noncommercial use with my name and E-mail address attached. Revised: 3 Dec 1996
    Al Durtschi, E-mail:
    Home Page:

    Sunday, November 13, 2011

    500 RBI

    I was surprised to see that I have passed the 500th post here on this little blog.  Back when I first started blogging I sure never even thought about it going on this long.  So much has happened since then.    Those of you guys who have been along for the ride the whole way and those who have come along the way, I just want to say thank you.  Ya'll are awesome!

    It's been one heck of a journey and one, when looking back, that has been full of many changes. I've been reading back on old posts and was struck with just how far we have been come.  Many dreams have been realized and life has most certainly changed.  From living in a crowded trailer park, stuck in a big city, to living in this this little trailer in the country on our own land.  Wow!  It is still hard sometimes to believe we are here now. There is still much to be  done but I believe that the hardest things have been overcome. 

    I will have to admit that I was scared when we decided to sell the big trailer and set out to find our "place".  I most certainly never thought we would end up in the beautiful hill country of Oklahoma.  Our initial intent was to find a place in Arkansas.  Heck we spent close to three years looking for land there.  Scouring the internet, making phone calls and even a couple of trips there, looking for "IT".  But life has it's own way of working things out.  Life hardly ever gives you exactly what you thought you were looking for, it takes it's own twists and turns and delivers up what it will. Suddenly you look around and realize that all the things you go through were meant to be lessons.  Some terribly tough, some wonderfully sweet.  It is up to us to  take those lessons and learn from them. I really believe it was God's hand that lead us here to this place at this time. 

    The time we spent working, being taken advantage of and wasting time at the Pioneer Living homestead turned out, in the end, to be a blessing in disguise. If we had not been there, if they had not turned out to be nothing like they portrayed themselves to be and acted as they did, we never would have met the friends that helped change our lives forever for the better.

       I want to give a big ol' hug and much love to Mushroom and Bud.  How many people would open their home and their hearts to someone they had never even seen?  The time spent with them was a life changing experience and I will be forever grateful to them and for having been blessed to know them. All that they asked in return was that we "Pay It Forward".  Beautiful people who I can never thank enough.

    If it weren't for meeting good friends (on the internet no less) I can't imagine how all this could have happened.  Isn't live amazing??? I have met so many wonderful people when I found the Prepping Community and was encouraged to start blogging.  And, oh my, what awesome folks I have met since then! 

    And so I would like to thank each and every one of you who follow this little life of mine written on these pages.  You have given me much support and I have been blessed by knowing you all. Who knows... maybe one day there will be a 1000th post. Heck, I never thought I would go this far!
    Hang on folks.... It ain't over yet!!
          ~~~~~~  Hey ... I'm Just Sayin' ...  ~~~~~~

    Friday, November 11, 2011

                                                         I Will Not Forget

    Wednesday, November 9, 2011

    What A Mess

    Can you believe all of the things that are happening these days in the U.S. and around the world?  Unfortunately most of it does not bear well for us as citizens. 

    In Tennessee the TSA has expanded outside the airports and onto the highways. Random stops are being made with no "reasonable suspicion".  And now the VIPR teams are in place as well at many of the old truck weigh stations.  I guess they figure if they can get away with this in Tennessee with no resistance from its citizens then surely they can expand it to all states.  These stops are unconstitutional to say the least.   We will soon be unable to travel freely across our country.  Random checkpoints and warrentless searches will become the norm. 
    All this in the name of fighting terrorism with a total disregard of our constitutional rights. There are currently 37 VIPR teams in place in other states to begin internal checkpoints expanding into other states. Airport security style checkpoints and inspection procedures are already in place at bus terminals, train stations, and are rapidly expanding to the streets of America.

    By this time next year I am sure we will not recognize this country. We are being enslaved and most people have no idea that it is happening.  Now they are even watching us with cameras going up all over the place.  Those red light cameras that have popped up across the entire nation are just the first in a large attempt to keep track of our every move. There are plans to install cameras in streetlights with the ability not only to watch your day to day movements but to be able to record your conversations as well.  These streetlights are going up already in places like Detroit, Pittsburgh, and Chicago with funding from the Department of Energy.  Yep! We are paying for the government to spy on its citizens!

    Oh.... and of course, since they would NEVER lie to us., the government has finally confirmed that there IS a link between fracking and earthquakes.  "The U.S. natural gas industry pumps a mixture of water and assorted chemicals deep underground to shatter sediment layers containing natural gas, a process called hydraulic fracturing, known more informally as “fracking.” While environmental groups have primarily focused on fracking’s capacity to pollute underground water, a more ominous byproduct emerges from U.S. government studies – that forcing fluids under high pressure deep underground produces increased regional seismic activity."

    Iran has made it quite clear that they WILL fight back if Israel attacks. They have no intentions of backing down and have made it quite clear that there will be dire consequences should it happen. The wheels of war are rumbling in the Middle East.  We will be dragged into a World War, the likes of which the world has never seen before.  Russia and China have stated that they will not condone an Israeli attack. Did you know that Russia has issued a "dire" travel alert for its top officials traveling to the U.S. And if you think oil prices are high now, just wait and see what a war with Iran will do to them.

    There are so many things going on right now that I haven't begun to discuss. I'm not sure many folks could handle the them anyway.Of course we won't "do" anything about it, heck most folks don't have a clue what is happening beyond the next football game. Sometimes I think that if there were to be a eugenics program for "sheeple" we might just have a shot at saving America. 
          ~~~~~~  Hey ... I'm Just Sayin' ... ~~~~~~

    Sunday, November 6, 2011

    Earthquakes in Oklahoma

    In case you haven't already heard, Oklahoma has been having earthquakes over the weekend. As  luck would have it  the first ones were in the early morning hours.  There have been 10-12 quakes  reported over 3.0 since early Saturday morning.  The largest was the one last night, which registered a magnitude of 5.6, really was the first one I actually felt.  I slept through the ones that occurred in the early morning hours but this one I was wide awake for.  Turns out the epicenter was about 40-45 miles from us here.  What an experience! 

    The place shook for about a minute and the sound was like a deep deep thundering.  We didn't sustain any damages and to be honest I was actually glad we are in an RV.  Mars still hasn't got around to putting us up on blocks yet with so many other things that have more importance at the moment, so the tires kind of cushioned us.  No worries about falling plaster or cracks in walls anyway!  I've been through a couple of quakes in the past, so once I got over the initial shock I was like "WOW"  That was a pretty good size one.

    It is being reported in some places that these quakes are happening because of fracking in the area.  If you don't already know about fracking, you might just want to look into it.  Basically, you can say that these were "man-made" quakes.  I'm not going to turn this post into one about it but stay tuned cause there is probably one coming! 

    You know when since we have been here we have experienced quite a few "First time in Recorded History" events.  Last winter we broke old records with the most snowfall in a day, the latest snowfall recorded and a couple of others as well.  And then this summer was one of the hottest on record, the most days above 100, least rainfall,etc.  And now the largest recorded earthquake in recorded history.  I'm beginning to wonder what the heck is next!! 
          ~~~~~~  Hey ... I'm Just Sayin' ... ~~~~~~

    Friday, November 4, 2011

    Run Piggy Run

    WARNING: ANIMALS ARE SHOT AND KILLED. If this could possibly upset you..... DON'T WATCH. That being said....Man, I sure wish I could shoot this well. Recently Texas passed a new law allowing the hunting of feral pigs by helicopter. Feral pigs destroy thousands of acres of farmland every year. And if I could shoot as well as this guy the Zombies surely would never have a chance. ~~~~~~ Hey ... I'm Just Sayin' ... ~~~~~~

    Wednesday, November 2, 2011

    Barn Progress

    I thought I would show you a couple of pictures of the progress on the barn.  This is what we started with.  Not real impressive is it?  Good thing we have vision and some fairly good "bones" (as HossBoss pointed out once).  
    I can't find all the pictures I wanted to show you but I was able to find a couple of work "in progress". 

     It looks like I'll have to try and get a better picture of "the whole thing. To the left is the enclosed part of the barn which will be one 20'x 24' enclosed area. Behind where the truck is parked will eventually be the goat pens. We will have enough room to pull the truck in out of the weather in front of the goat pen. To the right (where that old tin is) is where the chicken coop is being built.  

    There was my clothesline, between those two dead cedar trees. 
     And here is my "new clothesline" where the corner posts for the chicken coop came from! After cutting down the tops of the trees for the posts Mars cut up the bigger branches into firewood for the wood stove that we have moved out into the man-cave barn.  Of course there were all sorts of branches that go to yet another burn pile.  One evening when the wind stops blowing we will have another bonfire.
    The start of the coop here.
    It's really hard to see but that open area on the top has chicken wire on it. Why you ask?  The front of the barn faces south and with our hot summers it will give the chickens some breeze relief.  There will be a removable "storm window" for the winter months.
    And so, work progresses. I didn't have any idea what he had in mind but I knew that whatever it was it would be nice.  Now that this part has been done we can finish up the rest of the outer walls on the barn.  
    Those pallets in the foreground are going to be used to set things that  need to go into storage on since the barn has a dirt floor.  We have been picking up free pallets from our local lumber yard. The "yard guy" there has been saving them for us.  They will also come in handy for several other projects that we have in mind but that's a bit farther down the road.  
    So there ya go!  I'll add more pictures as the work progresses. Of course there are all sorts of other projects going on as well and we were able to pick up the materials for installing electricity and water to the barn, as well as insulation for the well pump and exposed water lines. (Thanks so much Anne <3 )  
          ~~~~~~  Hey ... I'm Just Sayin' ... ~~~~~~