Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Zombie Apocalypse!

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I am a news junkie. I am a slightly paranoid, apocalyptic minded, survivalist news junkie.

I should not be allowed to read news stories.

In the last week alone, I have read about three earthquakes, a hurricane and a 350 acre wildfire. Although, I do not believe that the world is coming to an end, it causes my imagination to run rampant and I start considering what survival in a "Mad Max" world would need. I just realized that my caching arsenal needs beer making skills...

When I start reading news stories that make it sound as though the world is collapsing, I start reading up on smoking sausage, raising meat rabbits and testing what plants grow best in my garden in the Pacific Northwest. I like being prepared, what can I say? I tend to over prepare. When I invite friends over for a potluck, I still provide more dishes than necessary just in case.

Like I said, I do not believe that there will be a zombie apocalypse. I do not believe that the world is coming to an end. I just like having knowledge that may not be as common as it once was and when the shit goes down, man, I'm prepared!

Maybe I read Laura Ingalls Wilder a little too much as a child. Or watched Little House on the Prairie one too many times(Didja know Jason Bateman was on that show as one of the many adopted Ingalls?)

Do I glorify farm life? Well... maybe a little. I know it is hard work. I know it is long hours with little income. I know that it is what I actually want to do. Do I want to do it during a zombie attack? Not so much. But at least I would have a shovel in my hand most of the time to beat and decapitate the living dead that might tread through my vegetable garden eyeing my cauliflower looking for a human brain.

The CDC has a zombie apocalypse preparedness list which covers the basics of what you would need at initial outbreak but what would you need for sustained long-term survival in a zombified world? Or even if the climate just changes enough that food shortages were to occur in larger areas?

If you are a meat eater, being able to slaughter, butcher and dress your own meat might be a good skill to have if you would like to continue eating meat. Being able to grow and preserve your vegetables by canning is a good skill. Raising your own chickens and rabbits and goats would be good for dairy, eggs and meat. Food foraging and identification skills are good.

Here are a few places that you could start to learn all these skill. Because when the zombies come you want to be prepared!

There are many classes/courses to be found on basic skill that were common 50-100 years ago and that have been lost because of conveniences of the modern age. But what if those conveniences were not feasible now?

If you are interested in broadening your self-sufficiency horizons, you should be able to find information in the areas you are located or online or even start at your local library.

It is always good to rely on yourself. Especially when the brain eating undead are after you.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Yes! We Can! Blueberry Jam!

Blueberry Jam

 Eight Cups Fresh Ripe Blueberries

 Eight Cups Sugar

 Juice of One Lemon

 Put eight cups of blueberries in large pot with lemon juice and bring to a slow boil. Using a potato masher, squish the blueberries.
 Add the eight cups of sugar, slowly incorporating it all in until it has dissolved completely.

 Boil mixture until thickened. Took about an hour for it to become the consistency that I wanted it to be.

You can check the cooled thickness of the jam by placing a plate in the freezer for about a minute then drop a tablespoon of the jam mixture on the plate and put it back in the freezer for another minute or two.

 Once cooled it should give you a true idea of the thickness of the jam.

Pour the jam into sterilized jam jars and process per your preferred method. You can find more information on canning at the National Center for Home Food Preservation.

 My favourite canning tool is the magnetic rod used to pull the lids and rings out of hot water and to place them on the jars without having to touch them.

I love this thing!

Now to make cream biscuits to have with my jam!

Thursday, August 18, 2011


I am home sick today and while lying in bed I heard a disturbance in the hen yard. A cacophony of clucks and squawks. I peered out my bedroom window and realized that one of the chickens was in the coop hollering as though she could bring down the walls of Jericho all by herself.

Being that I feel like a steamy pile of poo, I sent the boyfriend out to see what all the commotion was about. I could hear him talking to the "ladies" and then he let out a little woop himself! I got out of bed and went to the back door as he walked back towards the house, a big smile on his face, holding two tiny, little brown eggs! A couple of the ladies had finally laid their first eggs!

They are small and when we cracked them open they had vibrant orange yolks. It isn't unusual for first time eggs to be yolk-less but these first tried were beautiful besides one being slightly cracked on the top.

The egg shells were nice and thick so it seems that they are getting enough calcium in their diet, at least up to this point. If you notice that your eggs are thin shelled add calcium to your hens' diet. You can get that from your local feed store usually in the form of oyster shell.

I wanted the boyfriend to taste farm fresh eggs unadulterated, so I made a simple egg drop soup with some canned chicken broth we have in the fridge. Boyfriend just had his wisdom teeth pulled so there is a lot of liquid sustenance going on for the next few days and egg drop soup would be a bit of a treat for him.

The eggs taste like eggs. Like a stronger version of egg. Its very rich in flavour. It is rare that you taste eggs that do, in fact, taste as fresh eggs should unless you are willing to wait in line at the local farmer's market first thing in the morning and pay 5 bucks a dozen.

Boyfriend sucked it all down and was happy. The rest of the chickens shouldn't be far behind in their laying and I am excited to see the eggs the Ameracaunas lay. Those are the ones that are called Easter Eggs. Usually a blue, green or even pink colour!

I already have a few egg cartons provided by friends and neighbors. I am bartering with my local coffee pusher for coffee in exchange for eggs. If my calculations are spot on I should have about fifty-six eggs a week. Four and a half dozen or so a week, which is more than I will ever be able to eat so I will share and sell and barter and eat. But aren't they lovely eggs?

Sunday, August 7, 2011


Ode to the Potato

"They eat a lot of French fries here," my mother
   announces after a week in Paris, and she's right,
not only about les pommes frites but the celestial tuber
   in all its forms: rotiepurée, not to mention
au gratin or boiled and oiled in la salade niçoise.
   Batata edulis discovered by gold-mad conquistadors
in the West Indies, and only a 100 years later
   in The Merry Wives of Windsor Falstaff cries,
"Let the skie raine Potatoes," for what would we be
   without you—lost in a sea of fried turnips,
mashed beets, roasted parsnips? Mi corazón, mon coeur,
   my core is not the heart but the stomach, tuber
of the body, its hollow stem the throat and esophagus,
   leafing out to the nose and eyes and mouth. Hail
the conquering spud, all its names marvelous: Solanum
   tuberosumIgname, Caribe, Russian Banana, Yukon Gold.
When you turned black, Ireland mourned. O Mr. Potato Head,
   how many deals can a man make before he stops being
small potatoes? How many men can a woman drop
   like a hot potato? Eat it cooked or raw like an apple
with salt of the earth, apple of the earth, pomme de terre.
   Tuber, tuber burning bright in a kingdom without light,
deep within the earth where the Incan potato gods rule,
   forging their golden orbs for the world's ravening gorge.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Yes! We Can! Peach Jam!

Peach Jam
5 pounds fresh peaches
4 cups white sugar
juice of one lemon

Start a large pot on the stove to boil water. Rinse the peaches. 

You will need to remove the peach skins.  In order to do this easily without sacrificing any of the flesh, you can blanch the peaches in the boiling water for 30-60 seconds, then immediately dunk them into a bowl of ice water.

The skin should peel right off with the help of a paring knife. Slice an "X" into the bottom of the peach and this should help you to peel off the skin easily.

Slice the peaches in half and pit them. Chop the peaches coarsely and put them in a goodly sized pot and

Add Sugar!!  You also need to add the lemon juice at this time, this keeps the fruit from turning brown and adds a nice tartness.
(Some people will add pectin during this stage but fruit makes it's own pectin when cooked with sugar, so I don't think you need it. It is a binder and causes the jam to gel faster. If you have a bit of time and patience you will get jam soon enough without pectin.)

Let the peaches sit for an hour which will cause the juices to flow.

Bring to a boil on medium heat then turn to a simmer on low for the next two hours. Stir occasionally.

As the peaches cook a few of the smaller pieces will disintegrate and the syrup will thicken. The longer you cook it, the more it will reduce and the thicker the jam will be.

As the peaches get closer to done you will want to get your canning jars, lids and rings ready. You will want to wash the jars and boil to sterilize. You can find more information on canning at the National Center for Home Food Preservation. They are a wonderful resource on canning and food preservation.

Once the jam is done and to a consistency you like, carefully pour the hot jam into the hot jars, seal with the lids and rings and process in a water bath for 15 minutes.

Once your jam has been processed pull out the jars carefully and place them on a towel of cutting board. When you hear the tops "POP!" you can be pretty sure that they are sealed. If you don't hear the pop and lids still have give to them, sterilize a new lid, make sure the lip of the jar is clean and process again, otherwise use that jar first.

Refrigerate after opening.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Farmstead Meatsmith

Kickstarter Update #2: Momentum from farmrun on Vimeo.

Farmstead Meatsmith teaches people how to slaughter and butcher their own animals for their own consumption. They want to teach the world how to humanely feed themselves. You can help by donating to their Kickstarter Project.

They are raising funds to make instructional videos on Butchery directed by Andrew Plotsky. They will be having a benefit on August 7th at Island Meadow Farm. Check out the flyer below:

I believe in sharing good information whenever I can. I am not affiliated with FM, I just agree with their philosophy.