Monday, December 31, 2012

Wheatgrass for a Health Conscious Survivor

Wheatgrass is widely acknowledged as one of nature’s existing super foods. When grown in organic soil wheatgrass retains 82 out of the 92 minerals that are present in soil and 1oz of wheatgrass juice is said to contain the same amount of nutrients as 2.5 lbs of green vegetables. The following wheatgrass information will inform you of the various reasons why people swear by wheatgrass.

Wheatgrass is grown from the Red Wheatberry which is a special strain that contains high concentrations of chlorophyll, amino acids, enzymes, minerals and vitamins.

Wheatgrass must be juiced to obtain the maximum nutritional value from it. In its non-juiced form wheatgrass is non-digestible due to the high levels of cellulose and its fibrous nature. Wheatgrass juice makes all the high levels of nutrients the wheatgrass contains available for digestion. For further wheatgrass nutrient information see the wheatgrass nutrient information.

Wheatgrass kits are available which enable you to grow your own wheatgrass which can be more economical than buying it pre grown although it requires more effort to get your supply of wheatgrass juice. Wheatgrass can be grown indoors if you have a window that receives sunlight daily. You will need a wheatgrass capable juicer to be able to juice wheatgrass. The most common type of juicer (centrifugal juicers) are not capable of juicing wheatgrass.

Wheatgrass should be cut when it reaches around 7 to 8 inches as this is when it reaches its nutritional peak.
The taste of wheatgrass juice may seem a little strange to some and you may prefer to make juice from a combination of wheatgrass and other fruit / vegetables. See some example Happy Juicer Wheatgrass juice recipes.

Because of the strong taste and high nutrient content many people start off drinking around an ounce of wheatgrass juice a day (with/without other juices) and then gradually increase the amount to around 4oz of wheatgrass juice a day. One handful of wheatgrass will produce approximately an ounce of juice.

Another great feature of wheatgrass is that it is gluten-free (despite having wheat in its name) and so is suitable for anyone who has a gluten intolerance.


Sunday, December 30, 2012

Grow Your Own Organic Wheatgrass

This guide shows you one common way to growing wheatgrass at home. Because wheatgrass isn’t frequently available in the average high street, many juicing enthusiasts look to growing wheatgrass at home. You may be able to find wheatgrass in specialist health food stores, alternatively you can buy organically grown wheatgrass online.

Soak around 500g of your wheatgrass seeds in water for 8 hours. Just before the end of the soaking period prepare a 20 x 10 inch seed tray (of around 2 inches depth) by adding about 11/2 inches of moist compost and potting mix. Try to use an organic growing medium. After soaking, drain the seeds, rinse thoroughly and then drain the seeds again.

Spread the seeds evenly over the compost mix. Add another half inch of soil your growing medium and then water the seeds using a watering can with a rose so as to give an even distribution of water. Your compost mix should be moist but not sodden. It is vital to keep your soil moist whilst the wheatgrass is growing so the tray should be watered everyday. You should then cover the tray either with moist newspaper, another tray, or plastic bubble wrap. This covering helps to keep the moisture in.

After 3 days the wheatgrass should be a couple of inches in height. You can then remove the cover off the tray and place the tray in a position where the wheatgrass will receive good amounts of indirect sunlight. You should not place the Wheatgrass in direct sunlight as this can cause drying out of the soil which inhibits growth. The sunlight will enable the sprout to produce chlorophyll which will quickly transform the yellow wheatgrass sprouts to a vivid green colour.

You should harvest when the wheatgrass is about 7-8 inches in length as this is when it is at it’s nutritional peak. To harvest your wheatgrass simply trim an a centimeter or two above the soil surface with a pair of scissors or a chefs knife. You should rinse your crop thoroughly before putting it through your juicer.
The time to harvest after you remove the seed cover is about 4-5 days but this can be increased/decreased by changing the temperature and light levels in your growing micro-climate. 65-68° F is a widely accepted temperature for growing wheatgrass in. If the temperature is too hot or the air is too humid then mould formation can occur.

Some people are allergic to mould and it is also bad news for people who suffer from asthma. If mould does form in your wheatgrass then trim the wheatgrass well above the mould to avoid ingesting the mould. For more information see the wheatgrass FAQs.

If you harvest more wheatgrass then you wish to juice that day then simply transfer the excess wheatgrass into an airtight container and refrigerate. The wheatgrass should keep for a few days.
Once you are familiar with
  • the time cycle associated with growing wheatgrass (which will differ for different climates and seasons)
  • how much juice a tray yields
  • how much wheatgrass juice you consume each day
you will be able to plan when to plant your next tray of wheatgrass to ensure that you have a constant supply of fresh grown and harvested, nutritionally packed wheatgrass that has been produced using organic methods. Growing your own wheatgrass is also the most economical way of obtaining a regular intake of the the green wonder juice!


Tuesday, December 25, 2012

A Christmas gift

One of my neighbors came by on Christmas Eve to give me 3 cartons of various olives and a bag of the most perfect and ripe Ruby Red grapefruit that I have thus far seen.

I hope all of you are taken care of in some small way ...I truly wish that those who are able to give greatly...or just a bit---do so from the goodness of your heart.

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Preparing for the New Year 2013

Today is the start of a new chapter, galactically and energetically-- in our, on planet Earth. The December 21st, Winter Solstice brought forth new portals of awakening and dissolved much fear of the unknown that many had prepared themselves for in mundane and also spiritual ways.

Preparing for the new year 2013 can be a refreshing new start on many levels for each of us. Consider opening your hearts to those in need. Give from your heart and bring about a generous and benevolent way to survive.

We are a community...together at this place in time for the good of All.

Think of how you can cherish each neighbor more...with acts of kindness that can be small but powerful.

Happy Holidays!

Friday, December 21, 2012

December 21, 2012: End of the World Party

Why Not Have an End of the World Party?

End of the World Party December 21 2012As we move closer to December 21st, 2012, aka, the end of the Mayan Calendar Cycle (read more about how the Mayan Calendar works), or as some predict, when the world will end (read more about the 2012 end of the world predictions) the comments from you, our readers, are pouring in! We love to hear all your ideas, philosophies, theories and debates about what will happen come 12/21/12. We invite you to keep the discussion going, but for the sake of having a little fun, we thought we'd start giving you some ideas, tips and ways to celebrate the "end".

Throw an "End of the World" Mayan Themed Party 

So if the world is really coming to an end, why not go out with a bang? Here are some party planning ideas to help ensure you have fun, no matter what happens. Plus 12/21/12 happens to be a Friday, and for many of us in the United States, the final day before the holidays and perhaps even a pay day. So it's the perfect excuse to get together with your friends, family and loved ones to celebrate.
Create an End of the World Soundtrack
Using a free service like Spotify, you can come up with a party playlist including everything from "It's the End of the World as We Know it (and I Feel Fine)" by REM to "Till the World Ends" by Britney Spears. It will not only help your guests get in the mood, but you can listen to the music while preparing for the rest of your end of the world party planning.

Plan a Doomsday Food Menu

The Mayans ate primarily things they could grow or kill during ancient times. Corn, bean and squash were staples to accompany whatever main course was hunted for that day perhaps deer or fish in the coastal areas. Deer chili with bean-filled tamales might be a good modern-era spin on the Mayan cuisine and a great, hearty last meal. If you prefer your last meal to be one of your favorites like pizza, then by all means don't feel the need to stick with the theme and splurge on whatever you wish. If burgers, beers and French fries are your meal of choice, you may want to go ahead and indulge - who knows if we'll be around tomorrow to regret those calories or not.

Select Your 2012 Countdown Movie Picks

Queue up your Netflix, stream a video on iTunes or run to your nearest Red Box and rent movies about the world ending such as Armageddon, 2012 or Melancholia. (Note: this idea came from one of our fans who commented on our 2012 Planetary Alignment page).

Decorating Ideas for the Apocalypse

Luckily you probably already have the hall decked for the holidays, but to give your party a Mayan twist, bring the outdoors in. Grab some sticks and large rocks from around the neighborhood to build a fake campfire. Turn off any overhead or artificial lights and use candles (but be safe when lighting) instead. And have a flashlight close by just in case the lights don't come back on. Eye-wink

Dress Up Mayan Style

Of course this end of the world party lends itself nicely to a Mayan theme. Traditional Maya women wore simple woven cotton cloths (white or brown), woven tapestries or tie-dyed apparel to signify their family or tribe. Use a variety of earthy, natural colors and dyes indicative to the ancient world. Elite women adorned their outfits with pearls and feathers and hair sashes. For men, again keep it basic and simple using typical materials such as breechcloth or deerskin. Wrap around your waist, top with a sleeveless shirt (or no shirt at all) and you'll be all set. Shoes are optional but if you insist, wear sandals (yes, even in December).

Invite your Friends to Your End of the World Party

Now that your end of the world party is all planned, the last and final step is to determine your guest list. Who do you really want to be with when the world does come to an end? Chose wisely or choose no one at all. No one will judge if you plan to throw a party of one. But if you do decide to invite your friends, use a free service like eVite or Facebook to create an event and easily email your guests. Using ancient Mayan hieroglyphics of course!

Details for The 2012 End of the World Party 

When: Friday, December 21, 2012
Time: Chances are the planetary alignment goes off at GMT 0, so make sure you plan accordingly depending on your time zone.  Read more...

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Travelers Advice: Hotel Motel Security

Hotel Motel Security

Safety Advice for Travelers

Hotel Motel Room Sanctuary

When traveling on business or pleasure, it may become necessary to stay overnight in a hotel or motel. Your hotel room becomes your home for the night and is your sanctuary while you sleep. It is important to give some thought about security planning. What hotel or motel are you going to select, and what room you are willing to accept? The cost of the hotel room is not always the best predictor of how safe the room will be. There are a few security rules of thumb that should apply to any hotel room you rent.

Higher Floors are Safer

Upper floors are safer from crime, but worse for fire rescue. Emergency rescue is best below the fifth floor. I compromise by picking a modern fire-safe hotel and always request a room on an upper floor to reduce crime exposure. Ground floor rooms are more vulnerable to crime problems because of access and ease of escape. In a high-rise building, rooms above the fifth-floor are usually safer from crime than those below because of lesser accessibility and ease of escape. Also, rooms not adjacent to fire stairs are safer from room invaders because they use them for escape. Criminals do not want to be trapped on an upper floor inside a high-rise hotel. By design, high-rise buildings usually have fewer ground level access points and are easier for the hotel staff to monitor who passes through the lobby after hours.

Door Security Hardware

Hotel or motel rooms should be equipped with a solid-core wood or metal door for best protection. Doors should be self-closing and self-locking. Room doors should have a deadbolt lock with at least a one-inch throw bolt. If the lock appears worn or there are pry marks around the lock area, get another room or move to another hotel. The knob-lock should be hotel-style where you can push a button on the inside knob and block out all keys. This feature is designed to prevent a former guest or housekeeper from entering the room once you are safely inside. Hotels with electronic card access have the advantage of being able to disable former keycards issued to previous guests and unauthorized employees. Electronic locks also will block out most room service keys when you set the deadbolt. The room door should have a wide-angle peephole so you can view who is at the door before opening.

Access Control

Do not open your door to someone who knocks unannounced. Some criminals will pretend to be a bellman, room service, maintenance, or even hotel security to gain admittance to your room. See my web pages on Hotel Room Invasion. Always call the front desk to confirm their status with the hotel and only open the door if you requested the service. Do not rely on door chains or swing bars to secure the doors while you partially open the door to speak someone. These are unreliable security devices. Teach your children not to open the door of any hotel room without knowing the person on the other side and without your permission.

Other Entry Points

Make sure all windows and sliding doors are secured, if they are accessible from the ground. It is a good idea to test all windows and glass doors to see if they are secure. Beware of balconies where someone can climb from one to another and enter through an open window or sliding door. If the windows or sliding doors are not securable, ask for another room or find another hotel. If your room has an adjoining door to an adjacent room, check it to see that it is secured with a deadbolt lock. If it is questionable, ask for another room.

Beware the Parking Lot

If you are a woman traveling alone or with small children, take advantage of car valet service, if available to avoid the parking lot. After checking-in, ask the bellman or desk clerk to escort you to your room. After unlocking the room, quickly inspect the closets, under the bed, and bathroom including behind the shower curtain before the bellman leaves. Tip the bellman for his efforts.

Occupancy Cues

Put the Do-Not-Disturb sign on the doorknob even when you are away, this deters room burglars (it may affect housekeeping service, however). Turn on the TV or radio just loud enough to hear through the door to give the appearance that the room is occupied. Leave one light on inside the room if you will return after dark. This helps you see upon re-entry and gives the room the appearance of occupancy from the outside. Always go through the same room inspection routine every time you re-enter. Women travelling alone should use caution when using the breakfast order door-knob hanger card. This card lists your name and number of persons in the room. A smart crook can knock on the door posing as room service and use your name as a ruse to gain entry.
When you find a suitable hotel that meets your safety standards and will cater to your security needs try to stick with it or with the same hotel chain. Don't be afraid to complain to management to get the safe room you deserve.
  • Always request a room on an upper floor, if possible
  • A solid door with a good deadbolt lock is best
  • Electronic card access locks help limit access
  • Make sure your door has a peephole and night latch and use it
  • Turn on the TV or radio just loud enough to hear through the door
  • Turn on a single light in the room if you plan to return after dark
  • Inspect the room hiding places upon entering and check all locks
  • Ask the bellman for an escort and use valet parking if alone

For More Information

Hotel Motel Security for Travelers 


Monday, December 17, 2012

Seed Saving Lessons

Saving seeds

By Jackie Clay

Issue #129 • May/June, 2011
I go through dozens of garden seed catalogs in preparation for each year's new (and better!) garden. I have a lot of "old reliable" varieties that I grow year after year. They taste great, are hardy growers in our cool, Zone 3 climate, either store well (such as squash and carrots), or they can-up and dehydrate well. Many are open-pollinated varieties from which I save my own seed. But I still try new things in the garden. Some are the latest "bells and whistles" hybrids, often costing upwards of $5 a pack or more, others are very old heirloom varieties I've never tried before.
But one thing that strikes me hard is the steady and often shocking increase in the price of garden seeds. In a year of rocky economy, it seems like a whole lot of folks are going to be raising their own food. Several seed companies have already run out of catalogs, and the spring is yet young. I know we are getting very serious about our garden and are worried about the prospects of seed prices climbing even higher. So to fight that recurring expense, we've decided to again raise an increasing portion of our seed. After all, in the quest for a self-reliant lifestyle, the more a person produces what they use, the more sustainable life they will lead.
Seed saving is not complicated, although some seed companies make it seem so. After all, Native Peoples all over the world have been doing it for thousands of years. And out of all of this seed saving have come thousands and thousands of tasty, productive, beautiful, and hardy varieties. My, oh my, how these seeds have traveled from their beginnings! Take corn for example; it was developed in Central America from a wild maize, teosinte, which resembles a grass more than corn as we know it today. After years of selective planting, ear corn was developed. Soon, it was traded up through Mesoamerica (what is modern-day Mexico) and into what is now the United States, where it traveled quite rapidly and was quickly adopted by many Native American tribes. They, in turn, developed thousands of different varieties to suit their climates, growing seasons, and tastes.
The same thing happened, in different ways, with melons, squash, beans, and other vegetables. Squash started in the southwest, melons were brought by the Spanish explorers, and beans developed from wild beans of different cultures. Food has always been a chief trading stock and, because of this, new tasty foods traveled quickly.
The sad part is that during the 19th and 20th centuries, when commercial seed growing started, thousands of these superior, wonderfully tasty varieties were lost forever in the name of progress. In fact, this situation continues today. Most of the seed available through those beautiful seed catalogs are grown and marketed by a handful of huge companies. And most of it is hybrid (unable to produce an exact copy of itself), so seed saving is not a simple matter, as it should be.
Let's take a look at some oft-used terms and just what they mean to you.

A simple germination test will help you determine
which seeds to save from year to year.


Open-pollinated seeds are usually old, tried-and-true varieties that have been around for a long time. They are often called "heirloom" seeds because they were initially passed from one family member to the next, down through the generations. The first people in this country to have done this were, of course, the Native tribes, carrying their seeds from one camp to the next, from one garden area to another. Many times, these familiar seeds were so treasured that people faced starvation rather than eat their precious seeds. Cherokee women even sewed seed for their favorite pole beans in the seams of their skirts during the horrific forced march after the government "removed" them from their farms. This "walk" of hundreds of miles was later called the Trail of Tears, from which this variety of bean is now known.
Following the Indians, the European settlers often received some of this seed through trading, gift, or theft. Some immigrant families also brought seed from the old countries, trading with their neighbors as it grew and thrived. Seed was food and food was life. It held huge importance in times when, if you didn't grow it, you simply did not eat.
Open-pollinated seeds always produce the same plant and fruit as the plant the seeds came from. However, not all open-pollinated seeds are "heirloom" seeds. There is an increasing trend to create new and better open-pollinated varieties and to even breed back hybrids so that they will produce true types. One example is the "Indian" corn Painted Mountain. This was relatively recently developed by a Montana grower trying to develop a corn for cornmeal that would mature in a very short growing season. Diligently, he crossed dozens of native corns having good production, taste, and quick maturity, until he reached his goal. Then, by carefully choosing ears of corn closest resembling his goal each year, he stabilized this open-pollinated variety.
I have taken hybrid tomatoes, Early Cascade, and bred them back from the initial hybrid variety, in three generations, to reach a stabilized, open-pollinated variety. It only took choosing plants with the right type of tomato, pulling out the rest, and continuing to search for the ideal tomatoes.


Hybrid varieties are crosses between two or more varieties. Seed producers hire experienced plant breeders to research and develop new and "better" varieties each year to market in the future, often at inflated prices. While hybrid stock often does exhibit more vigorous growth and disease resistance, it can sacrifice such things as taste, tenderness, and keeping ability. Today more seed is developed for commercial growers who sell to wholesalers, shipping countrywide. Such traits as a thick skin (for more successful shipping), holding ability (pick it green and keep it in a warehouse for a while), ease of mechanical harvesting (eliminate farm workers), and firmness (bruise less in the store and during shipping), mean more than do sweetness, tenderness, flavor, and total productiveness.
These hybrid varieties may be fine, but do not expect seed saved from them to produce "children" like the fruit you got the seed from. You may get a totally different plant, resembling one of the initial parent plants, something "kind of" like it or something in between. Although companies like Monsanto are developing varieties with a "terminator gene" that can not reproduce, hybrid vegetable seeds today are not sterile. But they don't reproduce exact copies, either.

Organic seed

Organic seed is simply seed that was produced without the use of chemicals in the growing of the "mother" plants. You can have organically grown hybrid seed, heirloom seed, or open-pollinated seed. It only means that the farm the seeds were grown on did not use chemicals, such as fertilizer, herbicide, or insecticide in the production of the plants.

Treated seed

Some seed is treated with a fungicide before being packaged. This is to prevent the seeds from rotting in the ground if planted just before a period of damp cool weather, which delays germination. Unfortunately, this seed treatment is also toxic (wash your hands after use, please!), and many people (me included) distrust putting it into their garden soil. Seeds often sold that have been treated are corn and muskmelon.

I took this photo today, following my germination test on
Hopi Chinmark corn I grew in New Mexico, 10 years ago.

Which is best for me?

I'm asked that question a lot and my answer is always the same: "It depends."
I prefer to grow and save my own seed. We farm organically, although we will probably never be certified because we do not sell produce and do not need, or want to pay for, that certification; we know what we put into our soil — or what we do not. I try to stay away from treated seed by only planting when the soil temperature has warmed up enough to allow quick germination, and by paying careful attention to our trusty weather radio for a long-term forecast that we can usually depend on.
However, I also plant some hybrids each year, as many hybrids result in a much earlier crop than is available using open-pollinated varieties. (I always have "back-up" open-pollinated varieties in my seed boxes...just in case, for who-knows-what reason, hybrid seeds may be unavailable one year.)
I also always try a couple of new-to-me heirloom varieties to see how they perform for us, and how they taste. I like my food beautiful, too, so something new to me but an old and pretty heirloom always catches my eye, right off.
I firmly believe that every family should grow at least a portion of their own seed in order to be more self-sustaining as well as to cut garden costs.

Pumpkins and squash are the easiest of all seeds to harvest and save. Just look at this huge variety of last year's open-pollinated squash and pumpkins.
Besides, saving seed is great fun. Most varieties of common garden crops produce seed that, if harvested and stored well, will keep viable for years. That way, if you have a good squash year and save a pint of squash seed, but then have two bad squash growing years, you'll still have plenty of seed for the next year. Remember, seed equals food; seed is like money in the bank.

Seed saving basics

For the most part, seed saving is very easy and you get a lot of seed for very little work. But remember that to save "pure" seed for any kind of crop you should know that different varieties of the same species can — and will — cross if not separated by an appropriate distance. Here are guidelines for producing pure seed, but you can sometimes reduce the distances I recommend by taking into account barriers between the gardens. For instance, I can grow one variety of a squash species in our lower garden and another in our berry patch. The recommended distance to keep them from cross-pollinating is half a mile, but the distance between these patches is only 600 feet. However, there is a large hill and a woodlot between the crops, so we feel confident that the insects that pollinate the squash blossoms will not readily travel between patches. And remember, a homesteader's need for "pure" seeds is not as high as is a seed grower's or serious hobbyist's.
Here are some recommendations for spacing to prevent cross-pollination:
20-500 feet beans, peas, tomatoes, peppers
half mile squash, melons, sunflower
one mile or more corn, fava beans, okra
In addition to planting different varieties of the same species at these distances, you can also build isolation cages from fine-screen mesh to cover the plants (this will keep pollinating insects out, so you will have to hand-pollinate the blossoms), plant different varieties at different times so they do not pollinate at the same time (works well with corn), or even hand-pollinate the blossoms.
To ensure that your seeds are plump and ready for collection, let your fruit ripen in the field. Unripe seeds will not germinate.

How long will my seeds stay good?

Most garden seeds, with the exceptions of onions and leeks, remain viable in storage for years, regardless of what some catalogs tell you. With older seed, there is a slow reduction in germination. Where year-old seed may have a 98% germination rate, four-year-old seed may have a 70% germination rate. When in doubt with some of your older seed, do a germination test. If most of the seeds germinate, great! If only a few do, you know you need to save seed soon. Simply plant more seeds to cover poor germination.
Test the germination of your seed by putting some seed on a damp paper towel, then wrapping it up and placing it in a closed jar. Put the jar in a warm place and check for germination (tiny roots and shoots). Some seeds germinate in as few as three days, where others require up to three weeks; check your seed packages or a catalog. Seed can remain viable a lot longer than commonly supposed. I have planted beans that were carbon dated 1,500 years and they grew!

Here I am, harvesting seeds from a very good squash. I "squish" out the
seeds from the strings and pulp and place them on a pie plate to dry.

Seed harvesting

We'll start with the easiest crops first and work up to the more difficult ones.
Squash and pumpkin: There are five major varieties of the species Cucurbita, grown in the United States: C. pepo, C. maxima, C. mixta, C. moschata, and C. argyrosperma. C. pepos are usually pumpkins and summer squash. C. maxima are usually larger, pumpkin-shaped squash and hubbard-type squash. C. mixtas can be cushaw, "sweet potato" or Japanese squash. C. moschata includes some Japanese and pumpkin-squash. C. argyrosperma includes many striped cushaw-type fruits.
It seems confusing, but you can still grow five different squashes in your garden each year, one of each variety, and still keep pure squash. For instance, I can plant my favorite C. Maxima, Hopi Pale Grey, along with a summer squash, a butternut squash, a cushaw, and a sweet potato squash. Or I can save seed from one of each, one year, then grow different ones the next. Infinite possibilities. Or when you have a great supply of seed, you can grow as many of the same species, but of different types, as you wish and just not save seed that year; they are just as good to eat, as the fruits will be purebred...just the seeds will be crossed.
To save squash or pumpkin seed, harvest the ripe squash late in the fall, before any hard frosts. Bring them into a protected spot that will not go below freezing and let them continue to "ripen" for a month or more. (I just stack them in a cool, but heated room, under a table, in a closet, or even in the hallway, then save seed as we eat them.)
Cut your squash in half with a sturdy knife or even a hand carpenter's saw if the rind is very hard. Be careful not to have an accident here. After the squash is halved, scoop out the strings and seed by using a large spoon. Then go through one piece at a time, squishing out the plump seeds by hand. Leave any that are flat and lightweight, as they are not viable and will not grow.
I place my seeds in a single layer on a pie plate. When finished, put the seeds in a warm, dry location. (Don't put in the oven; heating that much will kill the seed.) Every few days, stir the seeds by hand to keep them from sticking. After a week or so, there may be a thin, papery coating that flakes off. Work the seeds by hand until it all loosens, then blow the coating off outdoors. In another week, the seeds should be very dry and ready to store. Pour them into a jar and turn the lid down snug. If any condensation forms in the jar in the next day or so, immediately remove the seeds and dry them some more or the seeds will mold and be no good.
Squash and pumpkin seeds will be good to grow for many years if stored in a dry, cool place. You can also put your containers in the freezer for even longer storage. Be sure to label your seeds so you know what variety you have in the jar.
Muskmelon (and other melons) and watermelon: Most muskmelons are of the same variety and species, but they will not cross with watermelon or other garden crops. So each year you can grow your favorite melon variety, or alternate with others when you have plenty of seed saved that is pure.
Like squash, melon seed saving is very easy. Easier, in fact, as you don't have to continue ripening the fruit after harvest. We've all enjoyed a juicy melon in the summertime, spitting out the seeds as we go. All you have to do when you save melon seeds is to pick (or spit!) out the ripe seeds onto a piece of wax paper or non-stick cookie sheet. Pick out and discard any white, unripe seeds. Then put the seeds up until they are dry. I stir them around every couple of days with my hand or a spatula to keep them from sticking down.
In about two weeks (depending on the humidity), the seeds will be nicely dried and ready to put in an airtight jar for storage. Melon seeds remain viable for years.
Peppers: Most peppers, both sweet and hot, are of one variety, Capsicum annuum, so it's best to stick to growing only one variety (or a couple if you have a large area or plan on using isolation screens) each year. To harvest viable seed, you must let your peppers ripen thoroughly. This usually means letting them ripen deep red or the pepper's natural mature color. Some mature to orange, yellow, or even purple.
When the pepper is very ripe, harvest the pepper, cut it open, and remove the large, robust seeds. A few will be very thin and white; these are not viable so discard them. Of course, each variety of pepper has a different size and thickness of seed, so take that into consideration. Most bell peppers have a quite thick, larger, flat seed, where some smaller chilies have a much smaller, thinner seed. Take a look at a few seeds from your seed pack if unsure. I sprinkle my mature pepper seed out onto a kitchen towel, laid on a cookie sheet. The seeds don't stick as badly on a towel as they sometimes do on paper. Let them dry for a few days, then rub them gently to loosen them from the towel. Again, let them dry more. In about a week, they should be dry enough to remove from the towel and put in a pie pan for extended drying of another week or so. When thoroughly dry, pack away in a small, sealed jar with a variety label enclosed. Pepper seeds will remain viable for several years.

To save seed from this open-pollinated watermelon, pick out the dark, fat seeds and discard the white, immature ones. Put on a pie plate or cloth to dry.
Beans: Nearly all beans, both bush and pole, snap, and dry, are of the same variety, Phaseolus vulgaris. Exceptions you may run into are runner beans (Phaseolus coccineus), soybeans (Glycine max) and cowpea, often called "yard-long bean" which is Vigna unguiculata.
While the recommended spacing distance for beans is listed at 30 feet, a few tall rows between beans is usually sufficient to save relatively pure seed. I plant my pole beans on one side of the garden, my bush beans on the other side, and separate them with rows of corn. They're only about 15 feet apart, but have never crossed yet.
All beans are saved for seed by letting them mature and dry in the pod, in the garden. This means letting a plant here and there, down the row, grow on and develop mature seeds, taking care not to harvest them when you pick your snap beans. I tie a piece of red yarn on all "save-for-seed" plants so I don't get in a hurry and pick them. The seed is ready to harvest when it rattles around in the yellowish brown pod.
Do be careful, though, as a few types of beans will split their dry pods and "self-seed" throwing beans far and wide. When the pods are ripening, keep a careful watch so this does not happen.
When in doubt, take your beans, dry plant and all, carefully into your garage, shed, or barn and lay the plants loosely on a tarp to finish drying. That way if the pods split, the beans will not have to be picked up, one at a time, from the garden rows. For a smaller amount of beans, you can just pick the pods, split the beans out, and lay the seeds on a tray to finish drying.
For a large amount of seed, it's easier to lay the plants or pods on a tarp, then walk around on them with clean shoes or rub the pods between your hands to loosen the bean seeds.
After harvest, the seeds should be cleaned and then laid out in a single row to finish drying for storage in airtight containers.
Peas: Peas, like beans, are of one variety, Pisum sativum, and will cross with each other. So if you plan on saving seed, stagger your plantings so that one will not flower at the same time as another. (Plant garden peas in the spring and then plant snap peas in the fall, for instance.) These peas include snap peas, edible pea pod peas, and garden shell peas. Soup peas are simply smooth seeded peas that are allowed to mature and dry.
To save pea seed, simply allow the peas to mature and the vines and pods to dry to a tan color. Be careful, as pea pods will split open, happily ejecting their seeds to reseed your garden. So when the pods are dry, either pick the pods or pull the whole vines to lay out in a dry area on a tarp to finish drying. Like beans, you can thresh out the seed by walking on the vines or whacking the vines with a plastic baseball bat or smooth stick.
Winnow the seed by tossing the seed from a basket, up in a strong wind. The wind will blow away the dry chaff and dust, leaving the clean seed behind. I further dry the seed on trays for a few days to ensure that it is sufficiently dry for long-term storage in airtight jars. Pea seed remains viable for years.
Cucumbers: All cucumbers commonly grown are of the same species and variety, so they will cross. If you are saving seed, it's best to grow only one kind each year. Yes, you can make pickles from cucumbers such as "burpless" or "Japanese" types and pickling cukes will grow long enough to use as slicers.
Cucumber seed may be harvested much like melon seeds. Allow the cucumbers from one healthy plant to ripen to the fat, yellow stage. Remember that when a plant has a couple of these "boats," it will stop blooming and producing pickle-sized cukes and slicers, thinking that its mission in life is done. So don't let many plants grow mature cukes or you'll lose out on a long harvest.
Cut the fat, mature cucumber open and squeeze the seeds out of the pulp by hand onto a clean piece of cloth, such as a kitchen towel. Remove any thin, unfilled seeds and discard them. Smooth the seeds out into a single layer and let dry in a protected, warm place. After a few days, stir the seeds around to dry them evenly and to prevent them from sticking. In a week they should be dry enough to put on a cookie pan to finish drying without sticking down.
After the seeds are very dry, pour them into a clean, airtight container and label them for storage. Cucumber seeds will remain viable for several years.
Corn: All corn grown in the U.S. is of the species Zea mays. So the different varieties of corn will cross. This includes field corn, sweet corn varieties, "Indian" corn, popcorn, and flour corn. As corn is chiefly wind pollinated, it is recommended that you isolate each variety from other corns by at least one mile. (Wind pollination is the means by which many "clean" corn fields are becoming contaminated by genetically modified corn pollen. It's getting harder and harder to find untainted corn seed.)
But when you are growing for your own family's use, varieties separated by about 100 feet, with a natural barrier such as a hill or woods between them, usually produce fine results. As most folks today grow sweet corn and don't have large pieces of land, you can always use sweet corn as a flour or cornmeal corn, as well. It makes terrific meal that is naturally sweet.
To harvest seed corn, choose several ears of your nicest corn and allow them to fully mature and dry on the stalk. If wet or very cold weather threatens, you can snap the ears from the stalk and bring them in to a protected area to finish drying on the cob. I usually husk the ears so I can watch for any signs of mold. When the seed is very dry on the cob, you can shell it off with your thumb into a tray. Remove any small kernels and discard them. Finish drying on a tray for a couple of weeks to ensure that the thick kernels are totally dry and ready for storage. Pour into an airtight container that is rodent proof (mice and rats love sweet corn seed, and so do weevils). Label the seed and put away in a safe storage area. Corn seed remains viable for years.

Choose your best, ripe tomatoes to save seeds from.
Tomatoes: Tomatoes are of the species Lycopersicon lycopersicum, and all varieties will cross if not separated by several feet or physical barriers, such as tall crops (corn for instance), trees, or hills. Tomatoes are easy to save seeds from. I grow my "seed saver" varieties in different corners of our huge garden, and also in our berry patch up the hill.
To save tomato seed, simply choose your best plants and nicest fruit. Let several ripen thoroughly on the vine, then harvest them. Cut the tomatoes open and remove the pulp and seed. Place in a bowl and mash the pulp with your fingers. Add water to fill the bowl. Let sit on the counter from six hours to two days. The pulp will float to the top and the seeds will sink to the bottom. Remove the pulp, pour off the water, and remove the seeds. Spread out on a cloth to dry. In a few days, work them loose with your fingers and move them around to ensure that they dry thoroughly. Remove any inferior seeds and debris, then place in a labeled, airtight container for storage. The seed will remain viable for years.
Okra: Okra is also easy to save seed from. All varieties will cross if not isolated in cages or by long distances (one mile is recommended), so it's best to grow only one variety of okra in years you plan on saving seed.
Simply allow some pods on your best plants to mature and dry. Harvest the pods when they are quite dry, but before they split open. Carefully remove the seed and lay on a pan in a dry, warm location to finish drying. When the seeds are very dry, place in a labeled, airtight container for storage. Okra seed will usually remain viable for more than four years.
Annual greens (lettuce, spinach, kale, Swiss chard, herbs, etc.): All lettuce is of the species Lactuca sativa and varieties will cross if not separated by many feet and physical barriers such as tall plants, woods, hills, or isolation cages. If you plan on saving seed, only allow one variety to bolt and bloom; keep the others cut.
Swiss chard is of the species Beta vulgaris, and may cross with beets, Beta vulgaris. However, beets require two years to produce seed — the first year, they produce leaves and the beet root, the second, the seed — so you have some flexibility here.
These greens usually bolt when the weather warms up and the season progresses. Leave a part of a row to go to seed when harvesting your salad greens, herbs for drying, or spinach and Swiss chard for canning. Soon after it is mature, it will bolt and send up blooming seed stalks, followed by seed heads. Keep watching these seed heads once they begin to dry. Some drop their seeds quite soon and easily; others hold them longer. Once the seed is mature (with thumb and forefinger, shell out a few seeds and examine them), clip the seed heads and place in a box or on a cloth to finish drying. When they are quite dry, rub the seeds from the husks onto a tray or pan. Winnow them gently to remove any debris, then continue drying them in a single layer on a pan.
When the seeds are dry, place them in an airtight, labeled container and put away for storage. Lettuce seed generally remains viable for a few years, while beets, spinach, and Swiss chard seem to remain good much longer
Broccoli: Nearly all broccoli is of the species Brassica oleracea so different kinds will cross if they are blooming at the same time. To save more than one, plant at staggered times or plant varieties with different maturity dates.
To save seed, simply allow your best broccoli to flower then form seed pods where the yellow flowers dropped off. In short-season climates, plant earlier broccoli or even start it in the house, as broccoli requires more than 100 days to form viable seed.
Protect your broccoli from frosts in the fall. Where broccoli itself is fairly frost tolerant, the seed pods seem to suffer damage from frost.
When the seed pods are fat and dry, watch them so they do not split and pop out their seeds. Clip off the seed onto a tray and bring into the house to finish drying thoroughly. When the pods are paper-dry, rub them between your hands to remove the seed. Winnow the seed gently to blow away chaff and debris. Continue drying the seed in a single layer on a pan in a warm, dry location. Pour dry seed into a labeled, airtight container for storage. Broccoli seed is usually viable for several years.

By raising your own plants from your own seed, you have much greater control over what you eat. These are all open-pollinated tomatoes, grown in my little greenhouse from seed I have saved.
Biennial vegetables (carrots, beets, onions, celery, cabbage, Brussels sprouts, turnips, rutabaga, etc): Finally, we get to the "harder" vegetables from which to save seed from. These vegetables require two years to produce seed. The first year they produce leaves and roots, but no seed. They must be over-wintered in order to continue growing the second year, when they send up seed stalks and bloom. In mild climates, they can simply be left in place in the garden to winter over and continue growing in place the next year.
In colder zones, they can also be left in place in the garden and covered with a thick, protective mulch. However, in the coldest zones, we must remove the plants from the garden, store them in a root cellar, then replant them in the spring. Root crops, such as carrots, onions, turnips, and rutabagas are simply dug and stored in the root cellar until early spring when the ground may be worked. All are quite frost tolerant so late frosts will not hurt them as they begin re-growing in preparation for seed production.
Cabbage and Brussels sprouts can not be harvested as we generally do, by simply cutting them. When you plan on replanting them next spring, carefully dig up a couple of your best specimens, replanting them in large buckets. Store over winter in a root cellar, sprinkling the soil with water as needed, to keep it from drying out. In the spring, after the hardest frosts are over, replant in the garden and encourage new growth.
This new growth gets "unusual." Many people think their plants have crossed with wild plants, as carrots get long stalks and look wild and unruly. Cabbages sprawl and send out blooming stalks that make the plants look alien. But it's all part of Nature's plan. Soon the stalks will have seed heads and, as the season progresses, they will begin to get fat and dry. Again, watch carefully so the seeds don't end up down in the dirt, spit out from splitting seed pods. Clip off the dry seed heads and place on a tray in a warm, dry location to finish ripening. Rub the seed heads between your hands to release the seed onto a tray or pan. Winnow to remove debris and continue drying for several days. Label your seed and place in an airtight container for storage. This seed will remain viable for several years before reduced germination becomes serious.
Of course there are many seed saving tips out there. One of my favorite books is Seed to Seed by Suzanne Ashworth. If you're interested in getting serious with your seed saving, this is the book for you.
And to find open-pollinated varieties in a seed catalog, check out Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds, Seed Savers Exchange, Native Seed/Search, and Fedco Seeds, among other great places.
Enjoy your trip down the road to more self-reliance, a cheaper garden, and tons of fun and good eating.


Sunday, December 16, 2012

Protection Against the Effects of Radiation

Spirulina, Chlorella, Algae and Their Effects on Radiation
by Darren Craddock

In the mid 1990’s a Russian patent was granted for the use of spirulina as a specific immune enhancer in the treatment of Children affected by the Chernobyl disaster. The studies conducted showed that close to 300 children in highly radioactive areas, developed chronic radiation sickness and raised levels of Immunoglobulin E (IgE). A group of some 30 plus children were given 20 Spirulina tablets per day (about 5 grams) for 45 days. This lowered the levels of IgE in the blood, which in turn, normalized allergic sensitivities in the body.

Doctors in the Chernobyl area, where radiation levels in Ukraine have been very high since the accident, have shown that daily spirulina consumption in 20 days lead to a 50% reduction in measurements of radiation in patients’ urine. Testing done in 1990 in Belarus concluded that spirulina consumption promotes the evacuation of radioactive nucleotides from the body. Further studies showed that the consumption of spirulina also reduced the radiation load of radioactive nucleotides, strontium and cesium ingested in contaminated foods.

One of the main detrimental effects of radiation exposure is the destruction of the immune system. Both chlorella and spirulina seem to counteract these effects and rebuild the immune system. Chlorella has been shown in Japanese studies to also have anti tumor effects. When we consider that one of the prime effects of radiation exposure in the onset of cancer this is a very important piece of information.

When you also note the fact that the Enerfood formula is almost 50% composed of Spirulina, Chlorella, Kelp and Dulse, it becomes apparent why this formula will help not only nourish and cleanse you but also help protect you from radiation and help your body detox itself from the same. Japanese doctors noticed in studies how the consumption of chlorella helps increase the production of interferon, which itself slows the growth of cancer cells. 

Enerfood also contains several milligrams of naturally occurring iodine, which is very important in the event of radiation exposure to protect the thyroid gland and other endocrine and breast tissue.



Friday, December 14, 2012

Primitive Survival Cooking & Food Preparation

Found a good "Primitive Cooking & Baking Techniques" link? Let Us Know!
Improvised Grain Mill The grain mill described can efficiently pound whole-grain wheat, corn, etc., into meal and flour thereby greatly improving digestibility and avoiding the diarrhea and sore mouths that would result from eating large quantities of unground grain.

Build a Wood-burning Cookstove From a Steel Barrel Many people are familiar with wood heaters made from steel barrels. This is a description of how to make a wood cook stove from a barrel. An effort has been made to keep it simple so that you will not need special skills like welding or forging. The only tools needed are a drill, a jigsaw (with hacksaw blade), tape measure, and simple hand tools.

WOOD-BURNING OVEN by REV. BERTRAND SAUBOLLE. This oven was designed and built for use in the Godavari School in Kathmandu, Nepal. It is built of solid brick, with a sheet iron door. A wood fire is burned in the oven, the ashes removed, and the bread slipped in to bake in the heat retained by the thick brick wall. The oven for the school has a baking space of about 122cm x 122cm (4' x 4'), but some have been built with oven floors as large as 183cm x 183cm (6' x 6'). (For larger sized baking areas, of course, the size of the entire structure has to be adjusted.)

Camp/Primitive Cooking In recent times the popularity of compact camping stoves has brought outdoor cooking within the reach of many who would never have attempted it previously. The stoves are very convenient and when on you're on the trail and want something quick to eat or drink they are hard to beat. However, nothing will ever taste the same as food cooked on an open fire of your own making. Apart from purely aesthetic considerations a cooking fire is also more practical in many situations and allows a wider variety of cooking opportunities. As well as roasting and toasting over the flames or just boiling something up in your billy there are many other possible cooking methods, none of which require recourse to store bought equipment, here are a few ideas.

Stove Technology: Terms And Concepts As early as Roman times stoves made of clay, tile, or earthenware were in use in central and N Europe. Early Swiss stoves of clay or brick, without chimneys, were built against the outer house wall, with an opening to the outside through which they were fueled and through which the smoke could escape.

Building Masonry Cookstoves Also available HERE

Cooking Over an Open Fire I have cooked over a fire in a fireplace for years, here are a few things that I think are very important.

Cooking Info-Open Hearth Open hearth cooking is the oldest way of cooking. Before cook stoves came into existence, fireplaces were commonly used. A cook knew how to prepare the fire for a day of planned cooking. The cook would rise early in order to start the fire for the day's cooking. The fire was also the last thing at night the cook tended to, banking it for the next morning's use.

Open Hearth Grilled Fish There was only one way to roast a fish in the open hearth prior to the reflector oven. The cook would place a seasoned, whole fish on an oak, pecan or cedar plank. Then the plank would be placed standing upright on the side wall of the hearth. The reflective heat from the coals cooked the fish. This dish works equally well in the home fireplace.

The Art of Open-Hearth Cooking "Roast meats aren't what they used to be," says author Karen Hess. "Until just a century ago, turkeys and squabs and hams and other meats were roasted to golden-brown perfection in front of-not over—a blazing fire. Today, however, the art of roasting meat in this fashion has been almost totally forgotten."

Fireplaces That Can Heat Your Home and Cook Your Meal Any fireplace will happily cook while it heats — persuading your wood to do double duty. You can wrap sweet corn, potatoes, fresh-caught trout, and apples in tinfoil and bury it in the ash bank just as you would in a camp fire. But there's no timer or automatic thermostat to regulate a live fire for more complex recipes.

Central PA Magazine - WITF's Monthly Magazine Although a large, roaring fire in the kitchen fireplace is how you may think of open-hearth cooking, Martin says a small blaze was usually used in the early 1800s. "You regulate temperature by how much fire you have," he says, adding that embers are most common to cook on. "Embers are easier to control; they have a more uniform heat."

HOW TO COOK WITH A WOOD COOK STOVE When my companion and I began our 18-month transition period of moving to and living in the woods, we also began a period of education. We discussed and planned much. We bought books and magazines and took classes on everything from solar collecting to gardening. One subject evaded me: cooking on a wood-burning stove. Every time I saw a magazine that flashed headlines on wood stoves, my hands would tremble in anticipation as I reached for it. However, the wood stoves in question were for heating, not for cooking.

Cooking on a wood stove Cooking on a wood stove is an art and a science, but it's not hard to learn with some basic guidance.

Wood Cooking & Heating Cooking with wood stoves is pretty tricky. That was an art handed down from mother to daughter for generations! The instruction manual for my Monarch wood/electric range has about 50 pages of instructions. Regulating the temperature of a real, honest to goodness wood cooking range is hard enough: regulating the cooking surface temperature of a makeshift stove is much more difficult. Generally, the use of trivets to elevate the cooking pots and pans above the stove surface will allow more air circulation and lower the temperature, and that is easier to regulate than the temperature of the stove.

Heating and Cooking with Wood We used to cook most of our meals on an open fire but this can be a pretty inefficient way to cook so now we have built our enclosed kitchen we use on wood burning stove build from an old oil drum.. Much of the heat of an open fire is quickly lost into the atmosphere and the wind cools the food. A stove or oven provides greater control over the combustion and burns the wood more completely and is therefore potentially more efficient. However we used to burn waste cardboard from packaging on an open fire to quickly boil a kettle and it takes much longer on the stove. See also: How to make a wood burning stove

Fuel Efficient Wood Stove Research The Aprovecho Research Center has been involved with designing and testing fuel efficient wood stoves since 1976. Aprovecho initially helped to create the Lorena stove in Guatemala and published a manual teaching how to construct this high mass stove. Further testing of stoves led to the development of other stoves that were more fuel efficient.

I Live With a Cook stove and Love It The first time I baked biscuits I burned them to ebony. Also the second and third time. But on the fourth try they came out golden brown. And I burned my hands and wrists every day until I finally got it through my blockhead that EVERYTHING on or near that stove was HOT! But surely—if somewhat slowly—I mastered the wood range.

Backcountry Baking Stove-Top Style! Some chill, hungry day this winter, give this trio of north-country recipes a try, and see if they don't please your palate, warm your body, and infect your spirit with the call of the wild!

"Cooking on a Wood Cook Stove" by Karen L. Zlattner Although my husband and I are not off the grid, we don't want to rely on public utilities if we don't have to. So, even though we have an all-electric kitchen we decided to add a wood cook stove

Haybox Cooking. Haybox cooking, or retained-heat cooking, is an age-old slow cooking method used to conserve energy, both in fuel and labor. Working off thermodynamic principles, food is brought to a boil, simmered for a few minutes then put into a well insulated box where it will continue to cook slowly for hours. Since the insulated haybox cooker prevents most of the heat in the food from escaping into the surrounding environment, no additional energy is needed to complete the cooking process. While cooking time takes about twice as long as stovetop cooking, haybox cooking can save between 20% and 80% of the energy normally needed. Your pot only needs to remain on the stove for a quarter of the time needed in conventional cooking. Haybox cooking also prevents food from boiling over, overcooking, sticking to the bottom or burning. Food turns out perfectly cooked every time.

Building an Horno: the Adobe Bread Oven by Michael Moquin - Detailed adobe instructions.

Greg's Earth Oven Good adobe oven building instructions with illustrations.

Backyard Bakeoven Workshop with Norbert Senf step-by-step construction photos of a 32" X 36" oven.

BlackOven Good site by a brick oven enthusiast, including recipes and baking info.

Castable Oven step-by-step construction photos of a refractory concrete oven.

Wood Burning Oven Website, including oven plans, pizza instructions, and more.

Cob Oven - An Experiment in Progress Interesting oven experiments, including a novel firing technique

Building Heather's Oven - construction sequence of an Alan Scott style 4' X 6' oven.

1930's - 1950's Finnish Commercial - This double deck design was presented at the 1997 MHA meeting by Heikki Hyytiainen and is from a 1951 book from Finland.

Seven secrets of Dutch Oven cooking Squatting heavily in dank basements, drafty attics, and dusty, cluttered garages, these three-legged hulks from a bygone era wait impatiently to release their treasures. Until then, they are pitted by time and tarnished by neglect. For those who will uncover the mystery, their gaping caverns can once again be brimming with magic.

Making and using a solar cooker Solar cooking is a delightful alternative to conventional cooking methods. The solar cookers available today really work and they deserve serious evaluation by a much larger audience. For 40 years, small groups of people have been using and refining some very good designs. But these designs have, for the most part, gone unnoticed even by those involved with alternative energy. With such a lack of support, you’d think they would have vanished from view long ago. But they haven’t.

Fireplace cooking cures the winter blues Several years ago we experienced a prolonged winter storm that left power lines down and thousands of people without heat, hot water, and operative cookstoves. And for the better part of the week they learned to live a little like the pioneers of old...

Cooking Over an Open Fire How to not lose your eyebrows!

Cooking With a Dutch Oven Yes, you can cook just about ANYTHING with it..

How to Cook With a Wood Cook Stove From an experienced cook stove user.

The Solar Cooking Archive. Info & plans for 11 different types of solar cookers. Fairly decent graphics and text. Great selection.

Hot-Rock Cooking Party. Excellent & interesting article from the Smithsonian Magazine.

Building a Brick Pizza Oven. Limited details, but interesting enough. Good photos fill in some of the blanks.

Cooking Fireplace and Bread Oven @ Rumford Fireplace
Cooking Fireplace Plan
Superior Clay Bake Ovens
Picture circa 1760 reproduction fireplace & oven
Picture of circa 1720 Bucks County, PA oven

Solar Cooking Page. Plans, pics and testimonials. Some links to other places, too, which are probably duplicates to others on RMSG.

"Oven Building" Very interesting article on building and using a Viking era oven. Primitive, but useable. By Mark Beadle.

Solar Cooking Documents About 6 months worth of reading in one handy location.

Design Principles for Wood Burning Cook Stoves [40pg PDF] Although open fires are often used wastefully, carefully operated open fires can be fuel efficient and clean burning when tested in the lab. In many situations, cooks are not overly concerned with fuel use, and studies have shown that when fuel is plentiful three-stone fires can use an excessive amount of wood to cook a small amount of food. But in other places where fuel is scarce, open fires can be carefully controlled so that fuel efficiency rivals many first generation improved cook stoves.

How To Use Wood Stoves (and use them safely!) Part Two In MOTHER NO. 48, we printed—at some length—Ole's advice on the general use (with an emphasis on safety) of wood stoves. The following excerpts from Ole's new book—which may be the only one ever published on the design and construction of wood-burning stoves—will give you a further example of the thoroughness and precision with which Ole Wik puts his ideas across. Read on and learn ... and remember: There's much more wood stove wisdom where this came from!

Cookstoves for the Developing World Half the World's population of nearly six billion people prepare their food and heat their homes with coal and the traditional biomass fuels of dung, crop residues, wood and charcoal. The procurement and consumption of these fuels define the character of everyday life in many developing countries.

The Art of the Wood Cookstove These old-fashioned stoves still attract a loyal following, and it’s easy to understand why. Cookstoves combine stove-top cooking, baking, water heating and home heating, all in a single appliance that is steeped in tradition and powered by a readily available, renewable fuel. As with so many combination devices, cookstoves perform each function with varying degrees of competence, but if the following owners and users of antique and new wood cookstoves are any guide, the problems that do arise are easily overlooked. These folks are smitten.

NASD: Cooking When the Power Goes Off after a Disaster After a storm has knocked out electricity or gas lines, cooking meals can be a problem and can be hazardous if a few basic rules are not followed. See also: SURVIVAL ESSENTIALS - COOKING METHODS

Haybox how to and description | Lost Valley Haybox cooking (also called retained-heat cooking) is an age-old method that can be used to conserve energy not only during times of crisis, but anytime. Depending on the food item and amount cooked, the use of a haybox or insulated cooker saves between 20% and 80% of the energy normally needed to cook a food. The longer an item usually takes on a stovetop, the more fuel is saved. For example, with a haybox, five pots of long-cooking dry beans will use the same amount of fuel to cook to completion as just one pot cooked without a haybox.

An Improved Stove Can Change Your Life / Radio Scripts / DCFRN a couple of articles on 3rd world cooking.

Hayboxes: Haybox cooking (also called retained-heat cooking) is an age-old method that can be used to conserve energy not only during times of crisis, but anytime. Depending on the food item and amount cooked, the use of a haybox or insulated cooker saves between 20% and 80% of the energy normally needed to cook a food. The longer an item usually takes on a stovetop, the more fuel is saved. For example, with a haybox, five pots of long-cooking dry beans will use the same amount of fuel to cook to completion as just one pot cooked without a haybox.

How to start and maintain a wood fire The knowledge and skills needed to operate a wood burning system effectively need to be learned and practiced to get them right. Although it is not brain surgery or rocket science, it is not as simple as it might first appear. So, when you can light a fire with a single match and get a hot, bright fire burning in just a few minutes, you've accomplished something worth knowing and we salute the time and care you've taken. Reach around and pat yourself on the back.

Settler's pickle for hams, cheeks, and shoulders This page has a bunch of old time Canadian Settler's Guide (written in 1855) recipes for various items.

Stoves Archive for January 2002 This is an archive of messages from a discussion group.

Solar Cookers & Solar Cookers & Solar Cookers II & Solar Cooker III - a series of FAO pamphlets & manuals. See also: Cook Stove & Fuel-saving Stoves & Fuel-saving Cook stoves & Biomass Stoves & Wood Stoves & Wood Stove Testing & Cookers & Improved Stoves & Stove Portable & Sawdust Stove Build a wood-burning cookstove from a steel barrel. Author: Countryside Publications Ltd.; Buy New: $5.95

The joys of the wood cookstove. Author: Countryside Publications Ltd.; Buy New: $5.95
Space heating, water heating and cooking: Of course, we've always heated this house with wood, but I wanted to extend the use of wood to the heating of water and cooking of food in order to cut our household use of fossil fuels even further. Unfortunately there are no clean burning (EPA certified), full-sized wood stoves that have a bake oven and water heating option. The EPA exempted cook stoves back in the 1980s when they designed their wood smoke regulation. The result of that decision is obvious today: want a clean cook stove that will also heat your house and water? Sorry, you're out of luck. Space heating, water heating and cooking: Of course, we've always heated this house with wood, but I wanted to extend the use of wood to the heating of water and cooking of food in order to cut our household use of fossil fuels even further. Unfortunately there are no clean burning (EPA certified), full-sized wood stoves that have a bake oven and water heating option. The EPA exempted cook stoves back in the 1980s when they designed their wood smoke regulation. The result of that decision is obvious today: want a clean cook stove that will also heat your house and water? Sorry, you're out of luck.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Earthquake Preparedness

Earthquake Emergency Supplies and Your Earthquake Preparedness Checklist

By tyguy
A earthquake has the capacity to put lives at risk, and to do billions of dollars of damage in a matter of only seconds. The majority of people in high risk areas are not prepared, increasing their own and their families risk level when dealing with this type of natural disaster. Many people have been through earthquake drills. In addition, it is also critical to go through a earthquake preparedness checklist and to have earthquake emergency supplies.
photo credit: sanbeiji

The Earthquake Preparedness Checklist

Your earthquake preparedness checklist, first and foremost must minimize your exposure to immediate hazards if an earthquake was to happen. Have a look around your house, your workplace, or anywhere else you frequent for immediate hazards.
  • Here are some examples of some common hazards:
  • Pictures hanging over top of your bed.
  • Unsecured cabinets. (Could potentially fall over)
  • Unsecured appliances (you do not want your fridge to launch itself in an earthquake)
  • Unlatched cabinet doors (cabinet contents could be launched out in an earthquake)
  • *Ensure you are able to turn your gas off if you smell gas*
Your earthquake preparedness checklist should also take care of what to do during and after an earthquake. You need to be aware of hazards that you do not have control over, such as gas lines in your area or power lines you should avoid. In case your home is not safe to be in after an earthquake, you should have pre-selected a meeting place for your family clear of hazards.
Your earthquake preparedness checklist also needs to prepare you for after an earthquake. Two key points you need to cover are communication, and your earthquake emergency supplies. Keep in mind that it is extremely likely that your cell phones, and regular land line phones will not work after an earthquake. If the earthquake is severe and regular phone service will be interrupted for an extended period of time, temporary pay phones may be brought into your area. Make sure that you have some quarters included in with your earthquake emergency supplies. Since access to phones may be random, it will be hard to reach family in the affected area. Make sure you have an out of state, or out of province contact to be used as someone to update with information, and receive updates from.
With earthquake emergency supplies keep in mind that in a typical day you are not just at home. Many people only keep a kit at home which will not do them much good if an earthquake happens when they are at work. The bare minimum you will want have supplies for is 72 hours, and many kits are sold to get you through 72 hours. Personally I like to have more of a buffer, and have supplies on hand for 5 days. Earthquake emergency supplies can be put into kits to accommodate different needs and budgets.
The bare minimum for your earthquake emergency supplies will include things that will cover your most basic needs:
  • Food (typically a 3-5 year expiry)
  • Water(3-5 year expiry)
  • Basic first aid
  • Shelter (Tarp with rope works, or a tube tent)
  • Mylar blankets
  • Waterproof matches/lighter
  • Light-sticks/Flashlights
  • Wind-up radio
  • Multi-tool
  • Toilet paper (unless you are comfortable wiping your bum with leaves stay away for poison ivy)
This would be an example of a fairly basic kit, but depending on what you feel you and or your family's needs are don't hesitate to customize your earthquake emergency supplies kit. If you feel like not brushing your teeth for a few days would drive you nuts, then make sure you include a small hygiene kit. Make sure you are also aware of when various items in your kit expire, the last thing you would want in an emergency is water that you don't feel safe drinking.
This is a very minimal earthquake preparedness checklist and example of earthquake emergency supplies. The idea of this article is to give you a rough idea of what you can do to get started. I will be writing some more detailed articles to follow-up, but please do go through some more detailed literature. If an earthquake was to happen, it is important to be as prepared as possible.