We All Gotta Eat

Folks, I have a real concern for the food supply of the world, and especially our country and my specific neighborhood. Wherever you are, grow anything you can to decrease your dependency on others. Control of the food supply is one of the most powerful weapons known to man. There may not be enough bullets to kill a lot of people in a given area, but you take away or control their food supply and exponential population decline can happen at a rapid pace, or on a given time table.

Frank had a conversation with a young father recently and said to him, “There are some words you don’t want to hear. Like – Daddy I’m hungry – when you have nothing to feed your children.”

Take that statement and apply it to those you are responsible for, or those you love, or just those that live around you. Really think it over. We have all heard about the golden hordes coming from the cities to take what we have, knowing we would have to defend ourselves against them. Well, folks, if you don’t have anything to eat, you aren’t going to be defending anybody against anything, because you are already dead. I wrote about it a while back in this article – Without Food You Are Dead.

If you are in a situation where you can grow food to replace the supply you are eating, DO IT IN QUANTITIES YOU NEVER DREAMED YOU WOULD NEED. All caps? Yelling at you? Yes, I am. You see, I believe that the sexes have been created to fulfill certain roles in life. Frank’s job is to protect us and keep the homestead running. Today he ran the well pump with the solar panels for an hour on a sunny day, he charged our handheld radios, took care of our finances and made me laugh – all in a days work as a husband and leader of our household. Me? I have cooked two meals, milked the goats, fed the chickens, wormed the cats and dog, watered plants and seedlings in the greenhouse, took care of some communications and now I am writing to you. I have been lead to be the food producer of our family. My days revolve around planning for and preparing meals, tending the animals that all have a job geared towards increasing our food supply. I am the gardener and the milk maid. It’s a wonderful life. No, I am not suppressed, depressed, or less of a person, I am living the life I want to live. I love being a wife and trying to prepare nutritious meals for us.

All of this is leading me to a discussion of garden seeds and the lack thereof in the usual online stores I shop with. Many of them continue to have a number of varieties that are out of stock and have been out of stock since last spring. We shop at Shumway’s for most things. They have been out of some of our choices for almost a year. If you are going to plant a garden and plan to order seeds, I hope you have already received them. If not, I would highly recommend you do so immediately, or day before yesterday. It appears the stores have seeds on the shelf, but I really wonder how long they will last.

Some seeds companies like Johnny’s have shut down ordering. They don’t have the supplies to fill more orders and are way behind on the orders they do have.

This is no joke. How are you going to resupply your food stocks if there are no seeds??? Did you save some of your own seeds from last year? Are they viable? Do you know how to save seeds? I feel like I am still a novice seed saver, but we did save quite a few last year. Saving seeds from what you grow is a good way to reproduce what has grown well for you in the past. There have been many times I have studied a new variety that would appear to grow well here in our zone and climate only to do poorly. I would hate to have to depend on an unproven seed supply for my only source of food. What if it fails? Some years things fail, that’s a fact of life. We have had some things grow great for a year to two then not hardly produce at all.

The solar minimum we are in right now has had a grave impact upon growing seasons everywhere, all over the world. Our garden did very poorly overall last year compared to the past. I can only hope and pray it will produce in abundance this year so I can refill my pantry shelves. What if it doesn’t? Do I have enough on hand to go another year and provide for Frank and I? NO. NO I DON’T. Do you? We wouldn’t starve, but we wouldn’t have the wide variety of nutrients we need either. Our health would decline as a result and that is not a position I want us to be in if all hell breaks loose like it appears it will.

Canning supplies to preserve the crops you grow? Good luck. Most places we have looked recently still have back orders. If you determine you need 500 canning jars to feed your family for a year, double it. Really. Double it. You will need more than you think. That has been reality in our case.

There are countries around the world that have lost their collective minds and turned their productive farm land back to ‘nature’ because of ‘climate change’ caused by man. They think so much of themselves and mankind to think we determine the natural climate shifts of millennia along with the solar activity of the sun. In my humble opinion, they are either crazy or trying to accelerate the starvation of the population. Not to mention the release of bioweapons used to control the world through fear and communistic mandates. I guess you can see where I stand on a few world changing events we are in the midst of.

My message for today is simple. See to your food supply and your ability to resupply if we no longer have the luxury of stores lined with row after row of convenient food at our fingertips. I haven’t even mentioned the inflation in prices and shrinking sizes of packaging portions. This phenomena is and will impact our ability to fill our shelves.

Plan to feed you and yours, because WITHOUT FOOD, YOU ARE DEAD.

Until next time – Fern

Grinding Flax & Other Bread Making Lore

We finally used the ground flax we bought for our sourdough bread and have begun grinding our own. We found a place to buy bulk flax in 50 lb. bags that we pour into five gallon buckets with Gamma seal lids. This is explained in this article with our bread recipe, well what used to be our bread recipe, I have changed it somewhat – again.

We are grinding the flax using the KitchenAid grinding attachment. It is slow, but does the job. When making the last batch of bread, we switched the grind to a coarser setting than what we started out with, so it doesn’t take as long and the texture is good. Some folks may want a finer grind, but we like it this way.


This grind is definitely more coarse than the store bought, and it also is more oily, which shows me that ground flax has some things removed to make it shelf stable, just like whole wheat flour. We are really happy to add our own ground flax to our bread.

The difference in the recipe came when Frank asked me to make biscuits and gravy one day for a treat. I dug out the sourdough biscuit recipe I had used before and realized the only real difference was the addition of two tablespoons of baking soda. I also didn’t knead the dough with the KitchenAid dough hooks like I did for bread. The biscuits turned out really good, they weren’t crumbly from lack of kneading, so now I make regular bread the same way. I stir it in the bowl with a spoon and my hands if needed, but no kneading. That’s it. Doesn’t take as long and reminds me of how I used to make regular whole wheat bread without the assistance of the dough hooks and a machine.

Everyday starter on the left, stored refrigerator starter on the right.


It was time to feed the extra sourdough starter I keep in the frig when I made this batch of bread, so I also put the everyday starter in a clean jar. I pour about half of the stored starter in the everyday jar, refresh what is left with more water and flour, then return it to the frig. It’s then good to go for about a month or so. Did you know that the vertical ridges down the side of a half gallon jar have an indention on the inside of the jar? Me neither, until one time I was washing the sourdough starter jar, which takes more elbow grease than a milk jar. The starter leaves a film on the inside of the jar that needs to be scrubbed well. If anyone had ever asked me, I would have said the inside of the jar is smooth and flat. It’s not, and starter wants to stay in those little grooves. An old toothbrush works well to clean the grooves.


One of our new buckets of hard red winter wheat ended up being white wheat, even though the bucket was labeled red. I knew the berries were almost twice as big as the previous bucket of hard red wheat, but didn’t realize it was white wheat until we made a batch of bread out of it. It’s okay, and some folks probably prefer the taste of white wheat since it is more like a store bought bread flavor, but we prefer the taste of hard red wheat. It is a hardier kind of taste and hard to describe. So we resealed the bucket of white wheat and marked it ‘open’ and ‘white’ so we can skip over it. If we need it someday, it will be there, but for now, we will continue to eat hard red wheat.

Do you know what you do when the squash starts producing? You eat lots of squash, even on your pizza. We use the same sourdough bread recipe for pizza dough that we use for everyday bread. The toppings change from time to time, depending on what we have available. This version has ground pork, frozen peppers from last summer, fresh crookneck squash, tomato sauce we canned last summer and our mozzarella. Well done, just like we like it. But the dough came out thicker than we like, so I’ll leave the baking soda out of the pizza dough next time. Like Frank says, our bread and pizza never taste quite the same from batch to batch.

Enjoy what you have. Learn everyday. Appreciate the opportunities, talents and challenges you’ve been given. It’s what makes life worth living.
Until next time – Fern

Do You Have Enough Jars & Canning Lids?

We are spending some time organizing, discarding, giving away & figuring. This morning I was going through our canning jars, regular canning lids, Tattler lids, and rings. As I did so, I pondered the possibilities. If these were the only jars, lids and rings I would ever have. Do I have enough? Do you?

With that pondering comes these thoughts. How many jars would I need to fill from our garden, chickens, goats and fruit to last a year until the next harvest was available? I really do appreciate the information we can find on the internet, and went on a quest. Here are a few articles I found that discuss how much food to raise or store, for a year.

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How much to plant in your garden to provide a year’s worth of food?

Food Storage Calculator

TheFoodGuys.com – Food Storage Calculator 

Long Term Food Storage Calculator (uses Excel)

The Pantry Primer: How To Build a One Year Food Supply in Three Months

Peek Inside My Pantry – Use This Tool To Help Plan A Year’s Worth of Food and Supplies

How Much to Plant Per Person in the Vegetable Garden

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Okay. That’s enough for now. But, you see what I mean. We have been homesteading and gardening for years, but now we are getting very serious about trying to have on hand what we may need if the SHTF or TEOTWAWKI happens. Permanently. We’ve had many conversations

about how many jars of this or that we may need to last a year in ‘normal’ circumstances. But what if the electricity is off and we have no freezer, refrigeration, instant hot water, or anything that runs off of the grid? We depend on the freezer to preserve our meat, some cheese and some fruits and vegetables for now. If we didn’t have that luxury, and it really is a luxury that many people don’t enjoy, even in this day and age. So, if we didn’t have that luxury, and instead canned all of our meat, broth, dog food (organ meat and fats from butchering), lard, some milk, maybe butter and cheese, fruits and all of the vegetables, I go back to my original question. Do we have enough jars & canning lids?

Some other things I thought of. With jars, we have to plan on breakage. This happens sometimes during canning, or by accident. Ask Frank. I am a rather clumsy person. Regular canning lids can be reused, sometimes as many as three times. We know. We tried it just so we would know and wouldn’t have to hope or guess if we really needed them. But it is not a recommended practice. The Tattler lids can be reused many times if you take very good care of the gaskets. If I was solely dependent upon them, I would want to lay in a good supply of extra gaskets. And for Tattler lids to work, you must have rings. We’ve tried to devise a way to take extra good care of our rings to make them last as long as possible. When we are canning and our jars have sealed and cooled, we wash the rings, dry them well and store them so they won’t rust, thus prolonging their usefulness.

June 2013

Spring and the gardening season will be upon us soon. This year we are going to make a serious effort to can and store a year’s supply of food. Food that we produce here on our farm. Then, as we use it up, we will take stock of our jar, lid and ring supply. But until we have a more solid idea of our long term needs, we will continue picking up more jars and lids. Just in case. We have been surprised at the stock of canning supplies Wal-Mart has kept this winter. They usually don’t. I’m glad. We have picked up a few more lids.

The more I learn, the deeper I learn, and the more I realize how little I know. There are layers upon layers of knowledge to learn. I have barely scratched the surface.

Until next time – Fern