Homesteading and Prepping Progress For The Week August 11, 2018

Well, folks, here we are again! I hope that everyone has had a great week and have gotten stuff done…

Before we get started with this weeks segment I’d to let you know about my other site TN Concealed Carry a tell you about a few of the most recent articles there – check those out by clicking on the links below…

Also, check out The 30 Day Sharp Shooter and most importantly, don’t forget to subscribe to TN Concealed Carry via the signup box in the right-hand sidebar… it’s FREE!

Preps for the week… well, besides the usual boring stuff that no one wants to hear about like having my driveway graded smooth and tending to chickens and harvesting and canning tomatoes, I took the new Ruger PC Carbine to the range and put over 500 rounds through it over several hours with no malfunctions what-so-ever.

This is a great little carbine and is recommended for anyone who owns a Glock 19, or Glock 17 because the magazines are interchangeable…

And, while not really prep or homesteading related I also ordered this belt and this wrist watch through – check those out and let me know what you think.

Well, folks, that’s it for me this week… what about you… what did you do to prep this week?

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  1. I’m first again…..LOL

  2. Puppy has had cabin fever with all the rain. He would keep coming up and wanting to play more out side. I wish I had half his energy.

    Had an alarm system salesman come to the door trying to sell the new alarm system with the doorbell camera. I laughed showed him he was already on camera,had tripped a motion detector and then I told him plus I have him, meaning puppy…..LOL I also have another alarm system but you understand. Now get off my lawn…LOL

    Changed oil in the BOV
    Trying to charge some neutron batteries.

    Made some doctor pepper jerky, its still dehydrating can’t wait to taste it.

    Bought water, which has gone up in price like everything else and is getting to be less all over the globe.

    Bought more meat.
    Bought pop tarts.

    Watched videos on eotwawki and prepper stuff.

  3. Dehydrated 10 lbs of onions (outside), a 10 lb bag filled a 9 tray Excalibur. Ordered 20 lbs of carrots for canning. Not sure how well my carrots will produce so I’m not taking any chances. Picked 12 qts of our blueberries so far (for the freezer), 3 qts of gooseberries I turned into jelly. Went to harvest early sauce apples and found they’d dried to crispy shells on the trees. It’s been a dry summer and the trees suffered.

    Our bees need a 3rd super now. We went from no bees at the start of the season to 3 hives producing honey and brood like crazy.

    Saw my doctor and changed my blood pressure meds. The previous one gave me persistent coughing and stuffed up lungs. At the thrift store got a new box of 3 large vac seal bags for $6 and another dozen non-mason pint jars cheap, for honey at month end.

    Got a break in the weather Friday and tied up my tomatoes. Didn’t think we’d get much this year but so far there are a lot of tomatoes on the vines. For paste tomatoes, I chose Roma VF because we’ve had viruses coming in on the rain. The Purple Cherokees seem to be resistant to problems.

    • Congratulations on the bees!

    • Gloria,
      I have a question. When you can your carrots, are they in slices, rounds, or just baby carrots? How is the texture when they come out? I’ve had canned carrots before and they seem kind of mushy. Does the slicing or preparing the carrots make a difference?

      Any help would be appreciated.

      • SIRIUS, if you like your carrots crunchy add a little Pickle Crisp to each jar . Pressure can for 25 minutes for plain carrots (no other additives) pints.

        favorite recipe for canned carrots:
        Glazed Carrots (makes 6 pints or 3 quarts)

        6 1/2 -7 lbs of carrots
        2 cups brown sugar
        2 cups water
        1 cup orange juice

        Wash and peel carrots. Cut carrots into desired size.

        Combine brown sugar, water and orange juice in sauce pan. Cook over medium heat, stirring until sugar dissolves.

        Keep syrup hot. Pack carrots tightly into jars. Pour hot syrup over carrots, leaving 1″ head space.

        Process pints and quarts for 30 minutes at 10 lbs of pressure . Adjust for altitude.


      • Sirius, I follow the Ball recipe book on canning carrots. I top and tail then wash the carrots well as they’re usually freshly pulled and have thin skins. If skins are a bit nasty, then we peel them first. If carrots are older or a bit wilty, don’t bother canning them.

        For shape, I’ve done both rounds and ‘fingers’ we cut from larger carrots (keep sizes fairly uniform) and the family seems to prefer the rounds. I don’t bother much with baby carrots unless they’re a reasonable size and I have lots.

        In clean jars, I just add a 1/2 tsp canning/coarse salt then pack in the carrots, top with good tasting hot/boiling water, debubble, wipe rims, and put new lids on. With pressure canning there’s no need to boil jars since the canner temps exceed boiling water. Canner weight should be for your altitude/elevation.

        I process pints for 25 min, the size that suits us best. The carrots come out cooked but not mushy. Soon as the pressure canner has released its steam, I pull out the jars so they stop cooking, space them on some thick towels on the floor and let them cool. Never let them sit for ages in the canner to cool – they overcook. I still have some from a 4 years ago and they’re fine, and the family prefers the home canned carrots.

        They’re worth the effort at this time of year when they’re cheap, plentiful, crisp and tasty. If you can get helpers, a production line makes short work of the process. When we open a jar, we just dump the contents into a pot, add a bit extra water, and heat only until they’re nicely warmed. Or drain them off and add to stews near the end of cooking time. The carrot water can be added to a stew earlier.

        Hope that helps.

        • Patient Momma, Gloria,
          Thanks for the response. This is exactly what I was looking for. I can get 50 pound bags of feed carrots for about 5 dollars. They are old, ugly, and tough. They are also “dog candy!” That and my mother and I both like carrot spears dipped in ranch dressing. That and celery spears.

          Since they are old and tough, I’m guessing that canning would not be a good idea. That’s fine. Marko and I can both poop orange 🙂 We will both be eating a lot of them.

          Absolute great tip with the pickle crisp. I would not have thought of that. Nor would I have thought about removing the jars from the canner while it cools down. It makes sense though.

          Thanks for the help!

          • Sirius, cut open a few of those deer carrots to see what they’re like inside. Outside are mostly cosmetic looks. I know a gal who buys only deer carrots for $5 a huge bag and cans them for her suppers.

            You’ll need to carve out nasty spots, perhaps peel some and maybe remove the tough centre cores from a few huge ones but the rest will likely be fine for canning. Shape doesn’t matter. Key tip is to try to cut the pieces into fairly uniform sizes so they all cook evenly, none over or under cook. By canning a bunch, you won’t overdose on Vit A which can happen.

  4. I have been in my classroom every day…again. I think I’m finally ready for a new school year. So, I prepped a classroom. I have enough food and water for my kids to hunker down for a day. I also restocked my first aid kit, all at my own expense. I feel it’s that important.

    Be prepared. Stay safe. He’s in charge.

    • When my step son, was in grade school the whole grade school had parents, put together a ziplock gallon size filled with food. I put little canned sausages, and crackers with cheese, and a few comfort snacks that they had their name on and it was in a bucket for a gride down. That was in the late 1998, 1999, and then that was it. When my two went to school, I had them keep a bag of extra food in there backpack, that I changed out every two weeks so they had something for them just in case.

  5. I posted earlier but everything disappeared.

    Dehydrated 10 lbs of onions (outside), a 10 lb bag filled a 9 tray Excalibur. Ordered 20 lbs of carrots for canning. Not sure how well my carrots will produce so I’m not taking any chances. Picked 12 qts of our blueberries so far (for the freezer), 3 qts of gooseberries I turned into jelly. Went to harvest early sauce apples and found they’d dried to crispy shells on the trees. It’s been a dry summer and the trees suffered.

    Our bees need a 3rd super now. We went from no bees at the start of the season to 3 hives producing honey and brood like crazy.

    Saw my doctor and changed my blood pressure meds. The previous one gave me persistent coughing and stuffed up lungs. At the thrift store got a new box of 3 large vac seal bags for $6 and another dozen non-mason pint jars cheap, for honey at month end.

    Got a break in the weather Friday and tied up my tomatoes. Didn’t think we’d get much this year but so far there are a lot of tomatoes on the vines. For paste tomatoes, I chose Roma VF because we’ve had viruses coming in on the rain. The Purple Cherokees seem to be resistant to problems.

  6. Started another 5 gallon batch of wine with local grapes and my own cane syrup. Started the task of harvesting sweet potatoes and putting them on shelves on my screened porch to cure for a couple of weeks. Getting ready to cut back my Moringa Trees to dehydrate and powder the leaves…..that’s it for me!

    • Goatlover, my Moringa Trees didn’t do as well this year. My good one from last year didn’t come back up. I plant new ones every year as they are iffy here.
      Using your own cane syrup to make wine is an awesome prep!

      • I also have a batch of Mulberry Buck fermenting…it’s made with my cane syrup and my mulberries, so it will be a true “hobby farm” product! Gotta relieve a little stress when the SHTF!

    • Goatlover & Labgirl, Here in the Philippines there is seven names/pronunciations in just the Filipino (Tagalog ) language alone with Malunggay being the most common in our part of Luzon. I will not even mention the many other dialects in the country. I asked my wife to try some of the dry powered product in my favourite Mongo bean soup. She did and I must say it was awful. It tasted like dried dirt or mud. I am used to the freshly harvested leaves in all of Maria’s cooking that uses Malunggay. The trees line all the streets in our subdivision and grow like a weed year round. Your only excuse for NOT using the fresh leaves would be if you were trapped indoors during some sort of emergency. May I inquire what kind of experience you ladies have had with drying your own. Is the flavour not too bad or maybe even great? I can say I will never use the supermarket dried product again. If a DIY dried Malunggay is worth the effort, I am all in. Thank you in advance for any responses you offer.

      • We dehydrated ours and then powdered it and put it in a spice jar just to sprinkle on whatever, soups, smoothies, etc. Never really noticed any particular taste.

      • I dehydrate mine, then run the leaves through my blender. Not quite a powder, but pretty close! I keep it in small mason jars and sprinkle it into my daily smoothie. I love the smell of the crushed leaves….they aren’t a strong flavor either. Perhaps we have a different variety than you have there?

    • My wife and I use the Malunggay (Moringa) leaves fresh, don’t get enough growth to harvest any for drying/powdering. Supposed to be a super food.

  7. Thor1,

    I have recipes for homemade Pop Tarts. And they are pennies on the dollar for what you can make them. As long as you can follow MATH. Baking is Science, Cooking is Art.

    I just saw a movie two nights ago. It was called “Into the Wild” or something like that, about a true story of an Emery University graduate who decided to cut all ties to the “normal” world and go find his own way up in Alaska. The main character was Emile Hearch. The movie dealt with his journey and his ultimate outcome. I don’t want to spoil the movie, but I have to say this…

    If you go out in the wild like that… do more than read a couple of books. It will get you killed.

    I’ll see you guys next week. It’s a good movie if you can find it.

    • Sirius, post the pop tart recipe please…..

      I buy quantities of store brand which is less than $2 a box of 8.

      They have to have frosting though……

      Yeah a book worm ain’t going to make it in the wilderness…..

      I just like seeing some of the survival movies to see if there is something I didn’t think of…

    • Saw that movie couple years ago, maybe on Netflix. Yes need more info and prep. Good movie.

    • Sirius – I haven’t seen the entire movie, but just enough to know that it’s really depressing. Emory is an excellent university, but once again the young man’s story proves that book learning never outweighs actual experience. My brother was fortunate enough to connect with some people already living in Alaska when he made his move there. He learned a lot and brought those skills back with him.

      On a positive note, if your ever in Atlanta, there’s a REALLY good Barbecue place near Emory. People literally drive for hours just to get their Mac & Cheese too.

      • GA Red,
        Now you are making me hungry. I can raise my hand to God and emphatically state that the only good BBQ in California comes from my back yard! And if you doubt me on that… bring a grill.

        • Sirius – I shake my head when people talk about barbecuing and it turns out they are just grilling burgers. Really? They just have no idea what real BBQ is.

    • I’ve seen that movie and before it was made into a movie, Outside magazine did a great article on the young man.
      I live near Atlanta, and I’m curious about this BBQ place. There’s a great place in Blairsville. I love their sign in the parking lot. It says, ‘you can smell our butts for miles.” Good stuff. I be liking me some good BBQ.

      • Jean – Community Q Barbecue – there’s usually butter in the bowl after eating the mac & cheese.

        We can’t get past the Blairsville Restaurant for lunch when we’re up that way. Either there or what used to be the Blue Otter in Hiawassee if we’re eating dinner.

  8. Finally some rain. People who move to Arizona often ask where the rain is….and than they build another 40 square miles of pavement…and complain about “global” warming….its called micro climates and it’s not abnormal for large cities (spread out not built up) to develop almost arid conditions even if they are on coast lines- *Los Angeles* but the city is where I am at the moment-

    Going fishing today. It was my birthday last week! 41 years old and feel physically like I am 73 or 74 – and mentally like I am in my 80s. .. but still enjoying life!

    My big summer/year goal was losing weight…I crossed the 30lb mark a few days back and should see a total of 70lbs down by years end! *goals*

    Have a review for two AR15 pistols in 5.56/223 being put together for Monday. One is a 10.5 and the other an 11 one is mine and one is not. It is a comparison and cost analysis with overall use and reliability factored in.

    How is everyone?

    • Jesse, Good for you on the weight loss goals. Looking forward to the pistol reviews. Happy to see the rain here also, been a dry “monsoon” here in SE Arizona. Doing well, hope you are too.

    • Jesse, repeat after me, “MY BODY IS OLD BUT MY MIND IS YOUNG.” I tell my self that every evening (morning in the US) when I wake up to trade in my IRAs and on weekends when it is R&R time. This has worked for 64 + years through thick and thin, injuries, good times and bad.

    • JM, in LA with AR pistols……. LOL you criminal. Be careful California has some bad laws…..

      Congrats on the weight loss. Maybe it will make your back pain less too.

    • I tell people I’m 41, 65 in construction years.

    • Jesse – congrats on the weight loss. The DH has lost over 100 pounds since last summer and his Spondilo is way better. He’s even walking on the treadmill upwards of 5 miles a day. He actually admitted the other day that he didn’t really believe it when the doctors told him that losing weight would help his back – now he believes it.

    • Jesse, Great job on the weight loss!

    • Great job on the weight loss. It’s so much easier to pack on the pounds than it is to take them off! Congratulations !

  9. This morning, I have been weeding the raised garden beds. I will mulch them when the Bahia grass gets mowed, since it is basically hay. Then the beds will be ready to plug in the fall seedlings in October.
    I have been shopping for smaller clothes. I found two tops at Waterfront Mission and one top at Goodwill. A work friend brought me three pairs of jeans. One fit now and maybe another will fit when I lose more weight. The third will never fit!
    Bought for storage replacement and to add to it: frozen green beans, sausage, 24 bottle case of water, 3 bags of cajun 15 bean soup mix, soaps, garden gloves and 3 pounds of dry pinto beans.
    I also got a couple of round plastic containers. I saw on a blog where you fix a freezer meal and freeze in a round container so the solid chunk will fit in the Instant Pot.

    • Labgirl – don’t give up on the ones you don’t think will ever fit. After weighing over 200 lbs, I thought I’d never see a size 10 again. Thanks to an injury that required some PT (aka strength training), I’m wearing those 10s. Now I just need to keep the weight off.

  10. Cleared out another section of the “basement”. It has a dirt floor and walls so it is getting covered in wood with raised wooden platforms and time and money become available.

    Food: Picked up 4 “gallon” cartons of dehydrated potato shreds. Got in a Walmart order of AF #10’s and 5 lb. bags of grits.

    Bought a new bullet launcher. A S&W 686+ 7 shot .357 Magnum 3”. It pays to shop around. Locally I could find it for around $800, one place offered me 5% off for military discount. Finally found one on line, printed it out, and a local pawn shop matched the price of $689, delivered. Then I qualify for another $25 off from S&W as a military discount! I’m happy. New grips on order for it too.

    Gun Show finds: NIB Stevens 12 gauge insert (12” long) to use 3” 410 shells ($20), Cold Steel Master Hunter Carbon V (used – $20). .22 and .30 linear muzzle breaks for AR-style rifles.

  11. Getting ready to take my canning to the fair today and our Little People, for the hobby part of the fair. I was busy canning this week I got Salsa, and spaghetti sauce, and beets done about 25 jars all together. I also did 4 quart jars of canned water, just to have on hand…. Today, in the PNW, we’re suppose to get a bit of rain so far up just a lot of dark clouds, but then tomorrow we are getting back up into the 70′ 80′ just in time for the fair hip, hip, I’m happy. Picked up a few good deals on ice cream, and cheese, used coupons, and did pretty well. Picked up four cases of water to keep in each vehical, and one in the house, last week we bought a case of water for $5.99 for 24 not the best price but we needed it so when Safeway, has it for $1.99 24 pack it’s time to stock up… I’ll get at least 4 more to keep in our travel trailer…. Well, thats it for me have a great rest of your weekend everyone and stay safe and well.. 🙂

  12. Well this was a meat week . Have canned up 72 pints of chicken and Turkey . Have had and pork yet to can .
    Got a pond liner today so the geese will be happier soon

  13. Howdy, all. We found a complete set of factory shop manuals online ready for research or download to aid in repairs to our (new to us) Mitsubishi RVR. Made a lot of progress analyzing the many small faults you inherit with an older vehicle. Still, I am more pleased each day to have in our possession a ’93 TURBO-DIESEL, 4 wheel drive vehicle with NO computer control. We verified the mileage, it really does have only 41,824 miles on the clock. That is nothing for a diesel engine. Maria did an inventory and highlighted some areas we should build up. All the bills are paid so I am ordering more gear for the kid’s school EDC bags and for our travelling adventures. Rainy season is here so a lot of time is spent indoors with the mini-people practising emergency water procurement, emergency cooking and naturally, their school projects. OH, may I also proudly say our five-year-old, Christian, has been chosen to compete and represent his school in a declamation. He will be reciting with actions a lengthy poem with difficult English wording in front of an auditorium full of people and a team of judges. Middle child, Veronica, won a singing contest for her age group this past Saturday. She will move up and compete next against other schools.

  14. Well I managed to get some of my water stock back up. Twenty gallons this past week and 20 next week. Restocked some canned goods and bought extra. Found 2 really awesome pewter wall sconces for pillar candles so I am pretty set on those. That’s about it for me this week.

    M.D. Thanks for that USCCA map. Very cool and very informative. A word of caution for those planning to travel with a cc weapon. Be VERY careful if passing through IL…at least N IL. They are total jerks up there. MO has good reciprocity.

    Prayers for our little group here. Prayers for all the firefighters and people in harms way.

    • Izzy:
      Thanks for the travel information. I try to stay clear of major cities but crossing the Mississippi always seems to get me.

      Do you ever buy those Yankee Candles?

      • Moe; If you give me some idea the direction you are coming from and going to, I can get you across the Big Muddy and not hit a big city. As well as some beautiful drives.

        I have in years past bought Yankee Candles for gifts. They are just so expensive now. Besides, I’ve made so many, I am in real good shape candle wise.

        • Izzy:
          I will let you know when plans are finalized, I forgot you made your own candles. A skill I need to learn.

  15. Not much this week. The refrigerator is acting up so back to using the dorm size but lost enough food to fill a garbage can. Have a couple ideas on fixing it. If it doesnt look like I can fix it will probably safe up and just get new as a used one could run $225 and a new one $430.

  16. Some of our expats were going home, so I purchased 2 bookshelves from them. The big white 8’ shelf went upstairs into the guest bathroom and finally I have clear, easy to see, inventory, and FIFO my medical supplies and healthcare products. Not bad for $25.00

    Drying herbs and I am making my first attempt at mint essential oil distillation.

    Deer have finally invaded my yard. We have 5’ chain link dog yard for 4 very large dogs. For the last 14 years, deer have not ventured into the yard. I know this because my garden has remained uneaten by anything bigger than a rabbit now and then. But this year, we have momma deer hoping our fence and browsing on everything in the yard, from peppers to watermelon to herbs! And 3 younger, smaller does stand outside the fence watching her! Grrrrrrrrrr

    • If possible, add 2 more feet height to your fence and that will keep out the deer. Doesn’t have to be more chain link, just something the deer perceive as impenetrable.

  17. Picked up a used single shot .308 rifle for hunting. Still trying to narrow down the ammo choice. Two misfires in the first box of Winchesters. Never had a misfire in my life and now I have two in one day. Hmm.

  18. Finally, crocked up a 2 Liter fermenting crock with two heads of local cabbage and some caraway seeds. This is the first time I have used the new Luna glass weights vice the ceramic weights that came with the crock. The Luna weights are somewhat larger so you need to work them into the crock a little different but, once laying flat they fit perfectly. Ended up with over an inch of bring above the weights. Now the waiting begins. Hope to have a perfect batch of sauerkraut for our “Oktoberfest” dinner party in late September.

    Still waiting for the SIG-716 to ship. Have been picking up 500 rnd cases of various 7.62/308 ammo when the prices is good. So far MidwayUSA has had some pretty good deals on IMI and Federal.

    Terrible weather for the garden this year. Just haven’t been able to get a decent crop of tomatoes. They almost all seem to burst open overnight….especially after all the rain and high 90 degree temps during the day.

    Getting excellent results on 40 and 80 meters using my G5RV in an “Inverted V” for NVIS operation. Love the low noise/high signal strength ratios. This setup pretty much allows me to have solid, reliable communication to suit my needs….now and after SHTF. Still able to use my other G5RV for DXing and listening to long range comms, but no overly interested in contesting.

  19. Canning season continues. I traveled to my MIL’s to pick her grapes. She is no longer up to canning but doesn’t want anything to go to waste. So I brought home over 30 pounds. Then one of the kids brought a friend home to experience the rodeo and fair. The young lady grew up in a big city and had never canned so she helped with one batch of jelly from start to finish. I could not get her to take home as much produce as my kid because she says she doesn’t cook much. So very glad my four kids participated in 4-H.

    Other canning included pickles, salsas, and chutneys. We have had an unusually large amount of rain for this time of year. A nearby town with an extension office keeps track. July 1 they indicated less than two inches. August 10 showed 11 inches with almost 3 for the month of August. We should reach our annual rainfall this year. In fact MIL thinks we may be in for a snowy winter.

    Does anyone know how I can turn grape seed into a soap or a lotion? I have quite a bit of by-product that would be great to use.

    • Moe,
      You could get a cold oil press. Pitiba makes a good one that I own and it’s not that expensive. If you’ve got a lot of grape seeds, you could turn them into oil and use that in your soaps and lotions.

      I use mine to press walnut oil. My mom’s gardener rakes them up and splits them with me.

  20. Rain off and on. Near impossible to get anything done outside. Potatoes about cured. Did get a late crop of bush beans and peas planted. Picked up an new lawn to mow for the next month.
    M.D. Belt looks like a good deal. Watch with good scratch resistance and decent water proof should make it a great watch for you.

  21. I’m interested in a Hi-Point .45 ACP pistol from Academy Sports, it’s very affordable. Anyone have any thoughts on this brand? It’s American made…

    • william grumbley

      It is some what better than a brick. but it is better than nothing . I have seen these at the range and they have very few problems with them . I do not know about long term usage though. My 2 cents Peace out.