Stress Effects Your Survivability

Okay, so, things have collapsed and TEOTWAWKI (the end of the world as we know it) has arrived. You are still surviving since you have been preparing for this for quite some time. How is your stress level? What about your family, your children, neighbors and friends? Let’s face it, TEOTWAWKI is going to include more stress than most of us have ever faced.

You can only remain on high alert for so long without some major side effects. Have you prepared some ‘comforts’ for you and yours to decrease the affects of stress and increase the ability to relax a little? If you have the basics tucked away, think about items that will bring comfort and distraction from the daily stress of survival. Find some simple things that don’t require electricity or a great deal of energy or work to accomplish, especially if there are children around.

Children will not understand the gravity of the situation if the SHTF (stuff hits the fan). They will still want to laugh and play and have attention from adults. Make sure you provide things that they will enjoy and learn from. Involve them in ‘helping’ you take care of every day tasks that will increase their ability to become more independent sooner rather than later. Even though there are no children here, we have accumulated a few things that would provide comfort and learning if any arrive sometime along the way.

We have also spent time pondering adult comforts. Our Snickers will run out, probably sooner rather than later. Food is always a good comfort, whether you are sick or down or stressed. But in a survival situation, food can’t always be the fall back. It may even be the cause of additional stress if there isn’t enough to go around. All the more reason to stock up way more than you think you might ever use for years and years if you are able.

Books to read; hand work such as quilting, knitting, mending; the materials and tools needed for keeping everything in good working condition; playing cards; marbles; board games; and the list goes on and on. Take time to discuss and contemplate some simple, effective items you can have on hand. It may mean the difference between managing and going off the deep end.

There are many different remedies for stress that are always at hand. Sleep is critical. You can’t be on duty 24/7. Without sleep your mind does strange things. Talking things out with someone that can listen without passing judgement or trying to ‘fix’ the problem may be the answer for some. Sometimes just talking 
about things makes them easier to bear. A back rub, holding hands, taking a walk (if it is safe to do so), telling jokes and acting silly.

Some of these seem to be overly simple, but a good hard laugh will do much to reduce the stress of  many situations. There will be many people that end up having to do without accustomed medications. That could be a real problem. Many side effects can occur when medications run out, especially if they are taken to help cope with life as it is now.

I’m not exactly sure how, but if this is the case for you or someone you know, try to research these medications. Know their withdrawal times and the symptoms that may result. This knowledge may be absolutely essential to the survival of this person. Unfortunately, suicide or dangerous and erratic behavior is all too common for some when these medications are stopped or changed too quickly. 

We all concentrate on food storage, protection and shelter when we think of collapse scenarios, and rightly so. But beyond the basics, there are other things to consider to increase the survivability of a situation. Stress can also be a major killer, so think through ways to deal with and decrease it in your situation. What can you provide that will decrease stress and provide a source of entertainment and relaxation for you and yours? Or what is a healthy distraction from stressful situations?

How you deal with stress either before or after a collapse situation can make or break you. This is something that is difficult to ‘practice’. But it is something we all need to take into account. There are days that we find to be very depressing and somewhat scary as we read the things that are happening and appear to be coming across the horizon toward us at an ever increasing pace. Then there are other days that aren’t as difficult. We try to analyze and take into account what is happening and why we may be having a down day. It is a practice that serves us well and we hope, in some way, helps us prepare for the day that everything changes permanently. And then every day after that.


Instead of reacting to the events of the day, week or month, step back and try to look at what is happening to cause your stress, and see what you can do to not necessarily eliminate or escape it, but live through it and come out stronger on the other side. It may mean all the difference in the world, to you, and to those depending upon you for strength, courage and guidance. We try to remember that God is our Shepherd, and we hope and pray that all can find relaxation and comfort with their Creator. May God and Peace be with you.

Until next time – Fern

From Rooster to Chicken Salad

When we recently butchered our last extra rooster, we decided to simmer the entire carcass to make chicken stock. The meat we decided to grind and make chicken salad.

Years ago, when we replaced our old laying hens, we decided to butcher  and eat them. Well, they were very, very tough. We tried baking one very slowly, like you would a turkey. Way too tough! We tried simmering one very slowly, again, way too tough! We tried taking the meat off of the carcass raw, grinding it up, then cooking it and using it. This worked okay but was a lot of work and wasted some of the meat.

This time we decided to simmer the entire carcass, make stock, then grind the meat.

 

We used the small grinding blade on our Kitchen Aid. I sure am going to miss electricity! Do you have manual backups for the ‘tools’ you use? Kitchen and otherwise?

Always make sure you are using your equipment in a safe manner. This grinding attachment has the hopper high enough up that if you use your finger to push the meat into it, you cannot reach the auger and injure yourself. In a grid down or collapse situation, injuries will be very dangerous and maybe fatal. Make sure you practice safe procedures now with an eye to how you might be performing these same tasks under more austere conditions.

 

The meat is fairly dry and crumbly. It turned out kind of funny looking.

There was plenty to use and plenty to freeze.

This is a new copy of the old version of Betty Crocker. It has all of the old pictures and shows how things used to be made. It’s a good reference to have on hand.
 


We decided to look up a chicken salad recipe and follow it since we hadn’t made any in a very long time.

The recipe calls for:
2 cups cold cut up chicken chunks
1 cup cut up celery
1 tbsp. lemon juice
Salt and pepper to taste
1/2 cup mayonnaise
2-3 hard cooked eggs 

I like the old-fashioned wording.

I said we followed the recipe. Well, the differences are we ground the chicken instead of cutting it into chunks. And….I didn’t measure how much meat there was.

And…..we didn’t have any fresh celery, so we used a tablespoon of celery seed, or just about this much.

Pepper to taste. I really didn’t think the eggs would taste good in this. Tuna salad, maybe, but not this. And speaking of tuna, we have bought our last canned salmon. We do not trust the radiation levels of the Pacific Ocean and the damage it is doing to all of the sea life, therefore, we will not be buying any more. We really enjoy eating canned salmon. We caught and ate a lot of it when we lived in Alaska, one year even canning up 100 pints ourselves. That was the first time I ever canned anything. It will be sorely missed.

I put more mayo than the recipe called for – measured precisely, of course. Then added one more dollop. I figured if it was still a little dry after everything chilled, I could add more.

I made this in the morning and we ate it at lunch. It was good then, but better the next day. From this tough rooster we will get about six meals, not to mention the eight pints of chicken stock. That is a good amount of nutrition from a bird some would not consider for food. Granted it is much easier and less work to just give away or do away with one bird and there have been many times we have done just that. It is all a matter of self-discipline and determination. Look around and see what opportunities you have that will provide more for your family than you expected. It will be a skill that we will need to have and depend on to thrive and survive.

Until next time – Fern

Soup When You’re Sick

When I was feeling under the weather recently, I thought a good, hearty soup would be good for me. So, I started looking around at what we had that I could use. Here is what I found.

We had cooked some pork spare ribs a few days before and I had frozen some of the meat. That was simple and easy. We also had some of the broth which was a good start for the base. Into to the pot goes the meat and broth. 

Next, I came up with these ingredients:

  • There was plenty of minced garlic in the rib broth, so I didn’t add any more.
  • A jar of carrots we canned in the spring.
  • A can of corn.
  • Salt and fresh ground pepper.
  • A couple of onions from the grocery store.
  • Potatoes we grew this spring. I found quite a few pretty small ones and thought this would be a good meal to use them up in before they get too soft.
  • A handful of green beans, part of our last harvest of the year.
  • And a handful of barley, something I always like to store and have on hand.

Now the soup was starting to look pretty good. Then I realized I had some:

These would also taste good and add some good nutrients. 

I didn’t take very many pictures this day. I just didn’t think of it since I was feeling pretty crummy. The soup turned out great and we ate it for several days. There was also enough to freeze up some. I told Frank when I started I was just going to make a small pot of soup. After we started putting it all together, I changed my mind, well not my mind, but it just wasn’t turning out very small. I have always made a good sized pot of soup or beans, then frozen the extra in quart sized freezer bags. It makes for a great, quick meal on those days that we are busy, or I just don’t feel like cooking. Then we can still have a good, nutritious, home cooked meal.

Lucky for us, I had made bread the day before I got sick. This was a good, healthy meal – easy to make and easy to eat. Think about what things you will need on hand to be able to make meals for your family in a collapse or downturn situation. You may have the chance to practice those skills sooner than you think.

Until next time – Fern

Sweet Potato Harvest, Part 1

Here is our long awaited first real sweet potato harvest. We grew a few last year, but they didn’t amount to much. I even kept a few small ones that had started to sprout and planted them in the herb bed. I wanted to see which type produced the best. I didn’t keep the names of the varieties I planted so they will just be generic for now. We dug and ate a few of these a week or so back and they were good. Here is the growing season in review.

Planted in late April

May – in between the Purple Hull Peas (left) and the Kentucky Wonder green beans

June – the Purple Hulls make the sweet potato vines look small

July – the vines are starting to fill up the area I gave them

August – still growing strong

September – the peas are dying out and the sweet potato vines are still spreading

When I planted these, I read about their vining characteristics. Some people tend to keep the vines cut back so the energy will go into developing the tubers under the original plant. I read that if you let them vine out, you never know where you might find potatoes. They are also apt to be smaller. As the vines spread, they root along the way forming potatoes here and yon. It’s true, they do. So next year, I will keep them trimmed back. It’s a lot of digging for a smaller harvest.

October – harvest time

I thought about mowing the vines down before I started digging, but decided to see if the chickens and goats liked the vines first. We are expecting some rather heavy rain and I wanted to get at least some of the bed dug before
that happened.  It is already rather late in the season to be harvesting, but sometimes that is how things happen. We don’t always get everything done we would like. Sweet potatoes like to be cured in about 80 degree weather. 
Ours will have to make due with about 60 to 70 degrees. So I pulled up a bunch of the vines to clear off a couple of the original hills I planted. As I pulled them up, I could see the roots from the vines breaking off. That’s the area where the small potatoes were found.

  

I took this pile of vines to the chickens to see if they would like a snack. At first it scared them and they all ran back in the chicken house.

It took a few minutes of standing on top of the steps to decide this vine, which could look like a snake, I guess, wasn’t going to hurt them.

Then the rooster led them down the steps and called everyone to come eat. They all started eating until one of them dragged a vine a little ways, then they all scattered again for a minute.

It’s nice to know they will eat the vines. Next summer when I trim back the vines, I will feed them to the chickens.



So, back to work. Here is the first hill I dug and the first potato I found.  I’m sure we won’t find all of them. But according to what I have read, they also won’t survive the 
winter, but will rot. So I’m not really worried about them coming up all over the place. If some do come up I will dig them up and transplant them to the new patch.

This first hill produced this much. The smaller potatoes were found in the areas between hills. They are small and really not worth the
effort of so much more digging.  

The second hill looked like it had a mouse hole in it, but I didn’t see any signs of damage to the potatoes.

I started digging about a foot from the hill and found potatoes in the first spade full of dirt, so I backed up another foot to dig through this hill. I didn’t expect to find any good sized potatoes that far from the hill, but I was pleasantly surprised. 


Harvest from the second hill

This is the area I cleared for the first two hills.

The third and fourth hills were relatively close together so I dug them both up at once. This was going to be all for one day.

I had a pretty good pile of vines to feed the chickens and goats, but by feeding time, we were getting some steady rain.

Harvest from the third and fourth hills. I put a popsicle stick by the largest potato to give a reference for size.

 

Some of the potatoes have cracks in them, so we will need to eat them first. Since the small ones will not keep long, we will try canning them in a few weeks. For now they will spend some time on the west porch away from the rain, but with a chance for some warm afternoon sun as they cure the best they can in our cool, fall weather. We will have to wait for the ground to dry out some after this rainy spell before we can harvest the rest.
Remember, just because everything doesn’t come out perfect or according to plan, doesn’t mean it isn’t worth trying. These potatoes are just one more piece of our overall food storage. The only way we will ever build it up is to keep adding to it a little at a time. 
Until next time – Fern
P.S. We’ve had a nasty flu around here. I had it first and I was nice enough to share it with Frank, so the next radio post will be delayed for a few days. 

Pear Butter, One Great Comfort Food

After we finished canning all of the pears, we were ready – well, kind of – to make pear butter. We made some last summer for the first time and it was very good. The recipe is so simple. All you need is plenty of time to cook down the pears.

I saved the softest pears to use in the butter. When I was almost finished peeling them, Frank started the first half cooking. Jackie Clay has a simple, yummy recipe in her book, Growing and Canning Your Own Food.

The recipe calls for:
1/2 cup water
7 lbs. pears
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. ground cloves
4 cups sugar (we used 2 1/2)
Put everything in the pot and start simmering. We ended up with 11 1/2 pounds of pears so we adjusted the recipe accordingly. 

We let the butter simmer all afternoon, but it still wasn’t cooked down to the desired consistency. This is all a matter of preference. Here it is about half way through the day. So, into the frig it went.

Life got busy and a few days later, Frank started the butter simmering again and let it cook down for another afternoon. It cooked down to a beautiful, rich butter. 

We planned to can it up that evening, but there just weren’t enough hours in that day. So the next morning, after another night in the frig, it finally made it into the jars. We processed it in the water bath for 10 minutes.





Our 11/ 1/2 lbs of pears yielded 7 1/2 pints of butter. We still have some butter left from last year, so here is a comparison. Since we took more time to cook down the butter this year, it is a darker color.

It is hard to tell in a picture, but this year’s butter is also thicker with less liquid surrounding the fruit pulp.

We plan to go and pick more pears if there are any left. Sometimes I wonder at all of these plans we have, but we both feel a sense of urgency about doing all we are able. We will continue to can and preserve our harvest as time allows. Each new jar of food on the shelf adds to our peace of mind. What are you adding to your shelf today?

Until next time – Fern

Wake-y! Wake-y! The Wolf Is At The Door

Hello, Frank here.

Let’s talk. Since my name is not Fern, then this article is going to have a slightly different slant to it. This is going to sound like a rant, because that’s what it is. Rants are not always organized and structured or in a pleasant flow. So, please bear with me.

I read lots of stories, articles or other rants that believe that the collapse that’s coming will be similar in nature to the collapse that occurred during the late 1920’s. Okay, some of my numbers here are not going to be precise, they are going to be rounded off. Maybe up, or maybe down, but you will get the general idea, if you have the ability to think. So, if I say 70% and it was actually 60% or maybe 80%, then please bear with me. Remember, this is a rant.

Back to the late 1920’s. The population of the United States was much smaller than it is today. The majority of the people still lived on a farm, let’s say 80%. Therefore, 20% of the people lived in

larger cities. Now remember, people in rural areas did not have electricity in the 1920’s or 30’s. Most of the people in rural areas raised most of their own food. Summer, winter, spring, fall they ate what came out of the earth. Many, many rural people were what we would call today, dirt poor. My information source here, was my father. He and his brother did not wear shoes for most of the winter and never wore shoes during the summer. So, he is my source of data, along with census data. 

So. Most people lived in the country. Most people raised their own food. Most people didn’t have electricity and everything that is associated with electricity. There were significantly fewer people in the United States. And many current authors tell us that we will get through this next depression or collapse or tyrannical government or whatever you want to call it, just like we got through the 1920’s collapse.

Now let’s look at today. We have a much larger population. That means more mouths to feed. The vast majority of people live in cities or suburbs, which conversely means, that very few people live in rural America, or on  

the farm. Almost everybody has electricity. So, what does this mean? Since the majority of people live in cities, that means that few, if any, raise their own food. Few or none, know how to preserve their own food,and all buy their food at the grocery store. Now those few that live in the country, are not living on a farm. For the benefit of discussion, yes, there are a handful that still live on a farm. But how many of that handful continue to raise all of their own food? Of that small handful, how many know how to preserve their own food? Get the picture here? 

It doesn’t matter what type of shutdown, collapse or apocalyptic event is GOING to occur, there is not going to be enough food to feed the

massive numbers of people, not even remotely close. Even in rural areas, extremely rural areas, most people have no idea how to raise, process and store food. And now, throw into the equation, there won’t be any electricity. So, all that meat you have stored in the freezer on the top of your refrigerator, sitting beside the popsicles and burritos will turn into stinking mush in about three days. 

Ladies and gentlemen. We are in significant trouble. Let me say that again. We are in a situation that we cannot recover from. I know folks that say

that they are going to go live in the forest and live off the land. Wake-y, Wake-y here fool! I know veteran, hard core, experienced hunters that laugh when they hear people say, and pardon me, unbelievably stupid things like that. There are many, many stories about mostly men, that have gone out into bush Alaska and had something to prove. Somebody normally finds them later. Going and living in the woods and hunting and feeding your family is not going to happen. 

Remember those people in the cities? They’re just going to go out and live with somebody in the country. A farmer, right? I hope they like 10,000 acres of soybeans or corn or milo or even wheat. They don’t need a farmer, what they need is a gardener and most farmers don’t raise gardens because they go to the grocery store and buy it. 

Before the shortages of guns and bullets lots of people thought that the idea of survival was who had the most guns and the most bullets. Some of these people watch way too much television. I know people that have never shot a gun that were buying guns and bullets. Like others write, buying a surf board, does not make you a surfer. Buying a gun does not make you a hunter, or give you the ability to pull the trigger when you need to. These are false delusions of illusions. 

Look at some of the facts presented above about population densities, and food production or preservation. Don’t get me wrong. I like guns and I like bullets, but I like shovels, hoes and seeds a whole lot better. I have even known people to buy these cans and five gallon buckets that have these survival seeds packed inside and they

wouldn’t no more know how to raise a garden than they would to fly a space shuttle. Can they learn to garden? Yes. Can they learn to fly a space shuttle? I guess so. I know 80 year old women that still wonder why their tomatoes make one year and the next year they don’t and they’ve been gardening for 65 years. I’m not saying that a bucket full of seeds is a bad thing. That reminds me. Where is my seed catalog? But gardening is an art, a skill, not something to be mastered in one year. The person that thinks they are going to raise a garden and produce food for their family in one year, got off the same bus as the guy that is going to go live in the forest and feed his family.

I hurt for those that can’t see or feel what is coming. There are signs everywhere, just look around. Our economy is in dismal, dismal shape and I live in a part of the world that is in pretty good shape. Look at society. Look at the stuff you do see on television or read in the news. Society is collapsing. The EBT cards shut down for a few hours. Can you imagine

what society will be like when the EBT cards shut down permanently? Our government leaders. Look at what’s happening in state capitals around our country. Look at some of the things that are happening that our parents and grandparents would have never thought possible.  There is a term called ‘normalcy bias’. Basically, this means what we learn to accept over time as normal. Our society is in serious, serious trouble. There are things that I cannot say in this blog that when I was a child, people went to jail for, what today is normal. We have perversion crammed down our throats everyday. This is normal. 

Okay. Let’s see. Our economy cannot be saved. Okay. Next. Society

can’t be saved. Our political arena is unbelievably corrupt and is a massive cesspool. This next statement is only going to be said once, listen carefully. Christianity is under attack worldwide. That means here, in the United Sates, Christianity is under attack also. The future does not look good for it’s survival. Pay attention. We are under attack.

Now, let me go back to the first part of this rant. Many writers will tell you that we survived the Great Depression and we will survive the next one too. And these are the people giving you the bad news. Not to mention those that are telling us that everything is okay and that “things are getting better”. I borrowed that last line from the Postman. Folks, we are in serious, serious trouble and I really don’t know if we are going to survive this. The world is not going to be the same world when this thing happens. Hold your family close. Prepare yourself mentally, physically, spiritually and temporally and with the help of God we will do the best we can.

That’s it for now. Maybe we’ll talk more later. It’s time to wake-y wake-y.

Frank 

The Snares of the World

What things of the world or society hold you? Ensnare you? Tempt you? What draws you away from your duties as a husband, wife, mother, father, daughter or son?

Something happened to Frank and I many years ago that I still ponder. We chose to go our own way instead of being lead by the world. I have a difficult time explaining it and a more difficult time really seeing how important it has been in our development – spiritually, mentally, emotionally, our character and our morals. But I will try.

Sometime back in the 80’s we began limiting the amount of television we watched. We realized that the vast majority of the programming on TV came from Madison Avenue, or commercial enterprises, and were aimed at creating competition among people. This competition entailed purchasing particular items or adopting certain behaviors that would endow us with the dubious honor of being ‘cool’ or somehow accepted into society as normal or special or exceptional. We came to understand that television and movies, and those that control their content, had found a very effective medium for shaping society to accomplish their goals of control and manipulation, that’s why it’s called programming. And it has been very successful at programming generations of people since it’s inception.

Now, fast forward to today. In this day and age, we are truly oddballs. We do not fit into the mold of society at all. Here is a partial list of why.

  • We have not watched TV for over 20 years and do not own a television.
  • We have never played a video game, not one. 
  • We have only watched selected movies for a number of years, and for the past five years, we haven’t watched any.
  • We get all of our news and information from the internet, in a manner of our choosing.
  • We do not have smart phones.
  • We do not, and never will, sign up for and participate in any social media. It is somewhat of a miracle that we are blogging, but we have felt lead to share what we know in an effort to encourage or compel others to prepare.
  • We buy as little food from the store as possible. The foods we do buy are basic. There are many, many prepared foods that we have never heard of. We don’t know and don’t care, because we wouldn’t eat them anyway.
  • We don’t use any chemicals in our garden. We just make do the best we can and try to plant enough for the bugs, varmits and ourselves.
  • We try to learn all we can about producing our own food – goats for milk, meat, cheese and butter; chickens for meat and eggs; gardening means learning what grows here that will sustain us in the most efficient, effective way possible; and an herb garden for spices and medicinal purposes.
  • We don’t follow the fads and popular trends in clothing. We wear what we like and don’t need much. Frank has told me for years he only needs a few pairs of jeans, a few shirts and two pairs of shoes and he is good. We dress in a modest, conservative manner.
  • We don’t have a McMansion or grow things just for looks, simple and functional is our motto. 
  • We live in such a way as to not draw attention to ourselves. We would rather not be noticeable. Rather forgettable, actually, is our preference.
  • We are honest, generous, compassionate, patriotic, courageous, determined people. Many folks find us to be intimidating by the way we live, think and feel. We’re just too different for comfort in most cases.

We have been told by more than one person,”Why do you do all that work? It’s easier to go to the store and buy it!” That’s true. They are exactly right. But that is the whole point. We could counter with, “Why take the easy route and buy everything at the store when you can produce much healthier food for yourself with a little work?”

We try, but are not always successful, at keeping our mouths shut in most situations away from home, because we make people uncomfortable just being who we are. If there is a conversation about something on television or some new food item, we can only give a blank look, because we know nothing about it. That’s odd in today’s world. If there is a conversation about phones and what they can do, we give the same blank look.  We are fairly computer literate and can research and find almost any information we want, which is a true blessing, but we limit our involvement with today’s technology by choice and design.

We find that most people don’t know any news or happenings in the world except what the talking heads on television tell them. That we actually know something of the news beyond what the talking heads say, perplexes most people. They don’t realize how precarious our economy is, or how many executive orders have been signed in the last six years that are infringing upon their freedoms, or how much more precarious life-as-we-know-it gets everyday. They only know what Madison Avenue, Wall Street and the PTB (powers that be) tell them and want them to know. Most of the news is a distraction from what is really happening across the globe and what is soon coming to us all. We wish more people could understand that instead of being engrossed in the latest scores, gadgets, or chemicalized platter full of stuff that some call food.

I guess that’s why we blog. This is our effort to share what we have been blessed to see and do for many years now. We understand how easy it is to be ensnared by the world with it’s glitz and glamour. It is a whole lot more work to try to make it by the sweat of your brow and the ache in your back. It’s also more difficult to be shunned and thought ridiculous for living so far out of the norm. But for us, it is the best place in the world, for God has taken us to this point, and as long as He continues to lead us down this path, we will walk on. Listen. He is calling you.

Until next time – Fern