Author Archives: S

Scenario: settler winter

Here’s a quick scenario I posted on my social media accounts, let’s get YOUR thoughts!

Scenario time: it’s back to little house on the prairie. Winter is coming. You have nothing but the clothes on your back and a house. What do you need to survive winter (family of 4 let’s say)

Homemade Play Dough

As 2020 rages on, I find myself looking for more activities to do with my kids. For the past 6 months we just kind of focused on making it day to day, doing some school work and some “home” work, such as gardening, baking, cooking and cleaning. Now that its time for school again, I’ve been trying to incorporate more education while keeping it fun.

Today we made play dough from scratch. I found this recipe online years ago and have kept a copy of it written in my books (so if its yours, let me know!). Making play dough can show children math and measurements (including fractions), you can play with colours to work in art subjects. It certainly counts as sensory play, digging your hands into the dough and kneading it.

I like this recipe because its very easy, contains ingredients I always have on hand, doesn’t include cooking and is totally non toxic. Here it is!

1 cup flour

1/2 cup salt

1/2 cup water

1 tablespoon vegetable oil

optional colours and/or scents (I use these cake colours, they’re much more vibrant but careful, they can stain clothes! https://amzn.to/2Rw5ML5 )

Mix your dry ingredients in a bowl and set aside. Mix your oil and water in a cup and slowly incorporate the wet ingredients into the dry. Add a few drops of food colouring (and/or your skin safe scents) and mix until your dough starts to form. Knead the dough for 5 minutes until its smooth. If your colours aren’t bright enough you can add a few more drops and work it in well. Store in a ziploc bag to keep from hardening.

Like I said above, I like that this is a non toxic recipe and I make sure to use safe for consumption essential oils so if my animals accidentally get into it I don’t have to worry. (My kids are a little too big to be putting stuff in their mouths anymore but you never know!)

Let me know if you try it! Don’t forget to follow me on Instagram @preppergal11

Chive Blossom Vinegar

Every year I have a bumper crop of chives, regardless of the weather. I’ve started using the blossoms as I can’t possibly eat all the chives themselves, especially if I let them spread their seeds everywhere. My favorite way of using the flowers is making flavored vinegar.

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Simply fill a mason jar with the fresh beautiful flowers and top off the jar with white vinegar. (If you want to get fancy, white wine vinegar is amazing in this.) Let the jar sit in a dark place for a couple weeks. When the vinegar is a pretty pink color, it is ready to use. Strain out the blossoms and use the vinegar on everything! Its got an awesome light onion flavor, it tastes so good on salads, raw veggies or anything potato.

Let me know if you try it!

Supplies:

Jars (https://amzn.to/2UrfDTh )

Chive seeds ( https://amzn.to/2yWd3hq )

Vinegar

My New Greenhouse

Guys, I’m so excited about my greenhouse. It was a birthday gift from a friend but I’ve finally got the chance to set it up and start using it. If you follow my Instagram, you’ve seen it but here’s a quick pic and the promised review:

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Greenhouse!

It recommended two people to set up but it really was only a one person job, the trickiest part was getting the tarps on. It’s 6x6x8’.
It has stood up to strong wind and rain in the Canadian spring season. My plants inside are super happy. It has two built in shelves with lots of space for more shelves of your own.

Here’s a quick amazon link if you want to check it out for yourself (https://amzn.to/2ZfFMIR)

Dehydrating Apples

I try never to waste food, but especially right now during the Covid-19 pandemic, it’s not so simple to just go to the store.
I had a bag of apples that the kids just weren’t eating fast enough so I decided to dehydrate them before they went bad (they were already on the soft side).
I used a mandolin slicer (you can get the same one here) to slice the apples thinly. I put them in water with a bit of lemon juice while slicing to keep them from turning brown.
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I then spread them out on my dehydrator and turned it on low for about 12 hours. I like to add the chips to muffins and loaves but you could also rehydrate them and turn them into apple sauce. My dog likes to eat them as treats and they’re a lot healthier than some other treat options.
To store, I put them in a mason jar with an oxygen absorber. You could also vacuum seal them but I don’t expect mine to hang around too long as I’m already planning ways to use them.

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Unsure Times

For about the past month or so, my Facebook, Instagram and email inboxes have been overflowing. My texts almost constant. So, rather than type a response a hundred times, I’m now directing people here to my blog. (Yes, I’m back to writing after much too long).

First; preparedness is not about hoarding. I have 4 boxes of Kleenex, maybe 9 rolls of toilet paper and 6 cans of chicken noodle soup. Preparedness is about knowing what to do.

To survive, the human being needs: air, water, shelter and food, pretty much in that order. So, I know how to purify water, I can walk outside and find an edible plant within 5 feet of me pretty much wherever I am. I constantly learn as much as I can. All the gear in the world is nice,  but if it ran out, or you had to leave it behind, knowledge weighs nothing.

I’ve always been open to teaching people how to garden, how to can, how to forage for wild edible and medicinal plants. (Hopefully starting a YouTube channel soon!) If it gives you peace of mind, let me help you. I’m not interested in opening a survival school, but one on one, small groups or online, I’ll teach you what I can to help you sleep better at night, knowing you can take care of yourself and your family, without 300 rolls of toilet paper.

Specifically related to the current virus (covid-19): stay hydrated, rest up, eat healthy. Don’t panic. Wash your hands and use hand sanitizer if you don’t have access to soap and water at the moment. Reach out to your friends and family, take care of each other. The human being is a social creature, we need our community. Be decent.

Its ok to be afraid, things are a little uncertain right now. But I’m afraid of everything (thanks a lot PTSD) and I’m actually very calm about this, surprisingly, given the immune status of some of my family.

Try not to give in to panic, keep your cool, and figure out what’s actually important. Most of what’s truly important can’t be found in any store or bought for any amount.

Be safe, be prepared and be kind.

 

Sour Cherries

Hey! I was lucky enough to find a sour cherry tree in my neighbourhood. So I took the kids and we loaded up. 

We got a good amount in a short amount of time. The trees are almost always full of fruit because people try one, thinking they’re regular cherries and don’t like them due to the sourness.

I had enough to make jam so I tried a new recipe. It didn’t set for me but next time I’ll either add pectin or boil longer. It’s still delicious and is being used in drinks and on ice cream.
I took 12 cups of pitted sour cherries and 5 cups of white sugar. Bring to a boil and left it boiling heavily for about an hour while my jars (8 250 ml jars) were in a hot water bath.


At this point I’d recommend testing for viscosity by taking out a bit and doing the wrinkle test.

I was impatient I guess and just canned it at that point. I left 1″ headspace in my jars and then boiled the jars for 10 minutes. They then sat on the counter for 24 hours while they sealed and cooled.
If you didn’t want to go this route, sour cherries are also good dehydrated with a bit of sugar, or frozen and added to baked goods.

Foraging Garlic Mustard

 
Let me start off by saying I meant to blog this last week but I ended up with a sick kid and TWO emergency visits to the vet with my dog (that was an unexpected nearly $1000 bill!) and I’ve been making as much products for my business as I can to make up for the expense. 

Anyways, garlic mustard grows nearly everywhere. It’s one of the first plants to come up in spring and most people think it’s just a weed. It’s all over my yard right now and the park we go to is full of it, it’s very easy to get lots of it. 

The smell is obviously oniony/garlicky. I’ve seen people add it to salads but I personally like to make it into a pesto with lemon juice or just purée it. Then I put it in ice cube trays and freeze it, adding it to dishes as I need. 

(My camera did well for this pic! I love it)

There’s a close up of the leaves and flowers, when the flowers open they are small and white. There’s lots of information around the web on garlic mustard so make sure you research before you forage! 

Good luck finding it and I hope you like it! 

Seed bombs! 

Here’s a fun little project you can do with your little preppers! Seed bombs are little balls made of seeds and growing medium.  The ones we made were clay, soil and seeds.

You need:

4 parts air dry clay (found here)

1 part potting soil

1 part seeds


Mix your clay so that its pliable, add in your soil and then add in your seeds. We made two types of seed bombs: one with local edible and medicinal herbs and the other with wild flowers.


Let them dry 24 hours and then spread them around! A great way to beautify (or make usable and an additional prep!) an empty space!

Here’s the ones the kids did!
Love the idea, don’t have the time? These things seem to be popular on etsy and you can find them there (including my shop soon!). Get out there and guerrilla garden!

Prepping with Pumpkin

Tis the season of the pumpkin!

A couple days after Halloween, a friend of mine asked me if I wanted some pumpkins left over from landscaping. They were large and hadn’t been carved so I said sure! I hate to see them go to waste.

  This picture is the smallest of the three I received.

Two I opened up, gutted and saved the seeds then cut up and roasted the flesh for puree (more in a sec). The third made for great machete practice!
To make the pumpkin purée, I cut the flesh (after scraping etc) into manageable sized chunks and put them on a cookie sheet with skins up. I baked them at 350 F for about 2 hours (they had super thick flesh, start at 45 minutes, it’s ready when a knife passes easily through). Let them cool a bit then scrape all the good stuff off the skins with a spoon and let cool further. The skins then went into my compost.


The roasted flesh then went through my blender (but you could easily use a food processor or food mill) then into freezer bags.

If you’re freezing it, get as much air out as possible and freeze flat. You can also dehydrate the pumpkin purée, if you don’t have the fruit leather tray covers, use parchment paper to line your trays.

Half the seeds I roasted for a snack for my family and the other half will be planted come spring.

Pumpkins are cheap and plentiful this time of year, with many grocery stores putting them on clearance after Halloween or thanksgiving. Don’t pass up your chance for a whole lot of food for little money!

  About 3/4 of the above pictured pumpkin.