Cool Cucumber Salad

By Alec Sharp (Palmetto Prepper)

salad

By the time garden season gets into full swing most back yard gardeners have more cucumbers, peppers and onions then they know what to do with.

Every summer I take several quart jars and make up some Cool Cucumber Salad for my family and friends …. Enjoying a few for myself along the way. The recipe is easy and will last two months, as long as it is kept refrigerated.

Recipe:

– 7 cups pickling Cucumbers sliced thin (about 7 large cucumbers)
– 1 cup sliced Onions
– 1 cup sliced Bell Pepper
– 1 tablespoon salt
– 1 cup white vinegar
– 2 cups sugar
– 1 teaspoon celery seed
– 1 teaspoon mustard seed

Place the vinegar, sugar, celery seed and mustard seed in a sauce pan and bring to a boil, remove from heat and cool for one hour. While your vinegar mixture cools place your cucumber, onion and bell pepper in a large bowl and sprinkle salt on top. Mix all the vegetables together and place them into two quart jars (wide mouth jars work best). Once the vinegar mix has cool for an hour, pour over the vegetables and place in the refrigerator overnight.

The next day enjoy your Cool Cucumber Salad!

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Canning Dried Beans

By Alec Sharp (Palmetto Prepper)

dry beans

I have had many people ask me over the last year or so, “why do I need to can my dried beans? They should last for years in the bags they came in from the grocery store.” Well this is just not true. There are two reasons why I can dry beans instead of keeping them in dry form.

First, according to the US Bean Council ( http://www.usdrybeans.com ) dry beans keep up to a year in an airtight container in a cool, dry environment, away from direct sunlight. During storage, beans may either absorb or lose moisture, which will affect the soaking and cook time. If stored longer that 12 months, or exposed to unfavorable storage conditions, beans may never soften sufficiently, no matter how long they’re soaked or cooked.

The other reason I can my dry beans is because when you need them they are already cooked. All you have to do is heat and eat. Canning turns your favorite foods into the ultimate fast food! If you can them, they will last for years.

Supplies Needed for Canning Dried Beans

– Pressure Canner
– 4 pounds of dried beans (your choice of variety)
– Canning Salt
– 2 gallon stock pot
– Long handled spoon
– Small sauce pan
– 7 quart canning jars or 14 to 16 pint canning jars
– Jar lifter
– Magnetic lid wand
– Canning funnel
– Measuring spoon
– Ladle
– A few old towels

Preparing for Canning

– Wash beans and remove any dirt, foreign debris and bad (broken) beans
– Place beans in two gallon stock pot and cover the beans with two to three times the volume of water as beans
– Bring the beans to a boil and simmer for one hour
– Stir occasionally and add water if needed
– Wash jars, lids and rings

Filling and Closing Jars

– Put 2” water in small sauce pan and bring to boil
– Remove from heat and place lids in water
– Fill sterilized jars with drained beans to about 1 ¼ inches from the top
– Add ½ teaspoon canning salt per pint or 1 teaspoon per quart
– Top off each jar with juice (from cooking beans) leaving ¼ inch of head space
– Wipe rims of jars with wet dish cloth or paper towel (I use a paper towel)
– Assemble lids and rings and apply to jars
– Tighten lids to hand tight

Canning Dried Beans

– Put 3” water in canner and bring to boil (don’t put cold jars in hot water)
– Place jars in canner and lock down the lid
– Vent the canner for 7 to 10 minutes
– Process at 10 PSI for 45 minutes for pints or 55 minutes for quarts (Check you canner directions for proper PSI if you live at high altitudes)
– When done allow pressure to drop off naturally
– Remove jars and place them on counter to cool (I usually place them on a towel on the counter)

Jars may take up to an hour to seal, but wait until they have cooled to room temperature to be sure. Remove the bands before you store them.

If a jar does not seal, which is uncommon, your beans will need to be eaten right away or placed in the refrigerator.

Happy canning!

Ham Radio – An Interview with Palmetto Prepper

By Alec Sharp (Palmetto Prepper)

Ham Radio

Several weeks ago I was contacted by Jennifer Osuch from the Survival Mom Radio to discuss the topic of Ham Radio. Yesterday, I received the list of questions/topics that she wanted to discuss. So I decided that I would post to my blog my research/answers to the topics that will be discussed during her pod cast. Once the pod cast is uploaded to the Survival Mom Radio website, I will post the link.

Now let’s began:

Can you go over what HAM Radio is?

Ham Radio, also known as Amateur Radio is many things, to many people and if you were to ask a dozen different Amateur Radio operators you would get at least a dozen different answers. Ham Radio is a very rewarding hobby that has many different appeals to different people. Weather it is the ability to talk to local friends using a local repeater and a handy-talkie or communicating digitally with packet radio to exchange a personal messages or vital information in an emergency. Others would say they enjoy talking to other Hams (rag chewing) all over the world or to engage in contesting with other Radio Amateurs. For me, I practice my Ham Radio skills so I can be familiar with the radios, rules and practices; so I would be able to communicate with other like-minded people in times of an emergency and you can find me on 80 meters (3.902) contesting, often.

What is the difference between Ham Radio and regular Radio?

By regular radio I am assuming Mrs. Osuch is talking about CB (Citizens Band) or FRS (Family Radio Service).

CB Radio is commonly used by truckers as they go up and down our interstates. If they are used legally, not modified, they have a range of 10 to 20 miles and consist of 40 preset channels on the 11 meter band.

FRS is an improved walkie talkie radio system that uses frequencies around 462 and 467 MHz in the ultra-high frequency (UHF) band and does not suffer the interference effects found on the Citizens’ Band. The FRS radios are also known as line of sight communications and have an effective range of around a mile or less depending on the quality of radio used.

The major difference in the Ham Radio Bands and the other two is that you have to be licensed by the Federal Communication Commission (FCC) to use the Amateur Bands; meaning there is a high standard of operation on the Amateur Bands that is not usually found on other types of radio communication.

Why would Ham Radio be so important in a collapse?

There is an old saying, “When all else fails, Ham Radio gets through.” What makes Ham Radio work is that is it has flexibility. It is not tied to channels (except one band) but is made up of blocks of frequencies and in those frequencies there are multiple modes that can be run. But more importantly, Ham Radio operators are trained and very knowledgeable. I know in my “SHACK”, what Ham Radio Operators call there radio room, I have 6 different radios, several power supplies and outside I have an even larger number of antennas. These multiple radios, power supplies and antennas gives me the versatility to make communications with other Amateur Radio Operators all over the world. Other types of radio communication just can’t compete when there is a collapse and our trusty cell phones want work.

Why do you have to have a license to operate a Ham radio? What are the different levels of licensing?

First of all, why would you not need a license to talk on a CB radio or the FRS. In order for these services to be available to the general public, the FCC requires manufactures of such radios to follow very specific rules on design, restrictions on power, and the pre-approved frequencies they can operate on. With the FRS you are limited to half a watt of power on 14 channels and the CB is limited to 12 watts on 40 channels. If you amplify the signal you might find yourself having a very unpleasant conversation with the FCC.

In contrast Amateur radio opens up these boundaries. There are no channels in Amateur radio and the power is turned way up. My first 2 meter radio I purchase (used for $25) had 50 watts of power and hams can operate with 1000 watts of power or more depending on the frequency and mode you are operating on.
When you first become a Ham, by passing the Technician class exam, you are given access to 17 bands of frequencies. With the proper equipment you can receive and transmit in your licensed area on any of these bands using many different modes (CW, phone, digital etc.). Pass the General class exam and you receive a larger portion of the ten high-frequency bands in which you can talk the around the world on; some part of every amateur band is represented in the General Class privileges. Study a little more and you can pass the Amateur Extra exam and have full access to the entire amateur radio spectrum.

Can you describe a Ham Radio Set Up? What does it look like? Do you have to have special Equipment/Antenna?

There is a tremendous variety in what different people may require for their ham radio shack/amateur radio station. When I first got licensed as a Technician class operator I had two radios. I had a used mobile 2 meter radio mounted in my truck and a very old Kenwood Handy Talkie (walkie talkie) that I carried everywhere with me.

Later on, I set up a power supply in the living room with a dual band (2 meter/70 Centimeter) mobile radio connected to a vertical dual band antenna on a 20 foot push-pole attached to the back deck. With that simple rig I talked all over the state using a linked repeater system and was even able to connect to the world using the IRLP (Internet Radio Linking Project).

As I progressed with the hobby I obtained my General Class license which opened up the world to me. A fellow Ham donated a 30 year old Kenwood TS-430S, power supply and tuner. I built an 80 meter dipole antenna (Long wire stretched between two trees in the back yard). The dipole is connected to the tuner, so I can use it not only on the 80 meter band but also the 40 meter, 20 meter and 10 meter bands. My wife finally kicked the radios out of the house so my 16 year old son, also a Ham, and I converted a 10 X 10 storage shed into a Ham Shack. In the last two years we have added another HF radio, an 11 meter radio and placed a 40 foot tower in yard.

The tower is used to hold/support our growing antenna farm. So far we have the 80 meter dipole, a 10 meter dipole, an 11 meter vertical, a 2 meter vertical and a 70 centimeter vertical. I have only purchased one radio new. All the other equipment has been purchased used or donated by older hams. The 40 tower we put up in the yard was purchased very used for $200. All we had to do is disassemble it, move it and set it up. Hams are some of the most generous people you will ever meet.

What is the purpose of a call sign?

A Ham radio call sign is a designation given to an amateur operator by a licensing board which here in the United States is the FCC. The call sign identifies the operator to anyone who might hear his or her transmission and must be announced at the end of each transmission and at least once every ten minutes during a transmission.

How do you talk to people overseas and how do you join a conversation?

First of all you must have an understanding of the bands and what they do. If I am talking on the 2 meter band I would know that band properties, under normal conditions, only allow short distance communication and should be used mostly for local contacts. So I would pick a band, like the 10 meter band, that I know if it is propagating I would have a good chance of chatting with a foreign station.

When chatting with a foreign station you must identify yourself in English, if you are a US station, no matter what language you are using for your foreign contact. I mostly communicate in voice mode so I will explain that type of operation.

To call, say “CQ” (calling all) three times, then state your call sign. When answering another stations “CQ” call, say that stations call sign then “this is, then your call sign.

If you are listening to an ongoing conversation you need to wait for a break in the conversation, then say your call sign. You need to wait for one of those stations to identify you and then you can join in on the conversation.

Is the test hard?

For some reason the Technicians test was very hard for me. I did not have any understanding of radio or electronics and I was very nervous when I took the test. I failed it the first time out. But I went home and studied more, the next month I passed it.

I then spent six years playing with the radio, learning how to use it and how radio propagation works. When I went back to take my General Class test I passed it the first time.

You can take practice test on the internet. http://www.arrl.org/exam-practice

Are there any precautions you need to take when you’re on the radio?

There are no real general on the air precaution I would share with anyone but I would remind everyone that Ham radios are very powerful and some of them push lots of watts. You need to be careful and follow all safety measures to make sure you do not get electrocuted.

The other precaution I would stress is, that unlike CB radio, courtesy and staying in your licensed area is a must on the Ham radio. You would hate to work so hard to get licensed only to have the FCC take if from you.

What would you recommend someone to do today if they are inspired to get started in Ham radio?

I would start by searching out a Ham Radio Club in your area. I am a member of my local club and the members have helped me in all aspects of Ham radio. Most clubs have people that volunteer as Elmer’s (Ham radio mentors). Your Elmer will help you find all the study material needed to pass your test, help you find equipment and get you comfortable on the air.

If there is no club in your area I would get on the http://www.arrl.org web site. The ARRL is the American Radio Relay League and it is the National Association of Amateur Radio. It helps connect Hams from around the U.S. with news, information and resources.

You can also find me on my Palmetto Prepper Facebook page, http://www.facebook.com/PalmettoPrepper/posts/246268702182109#!/PalmettoPrepper , or on my blog at https://ki4idb.wordpress.com/ .

You can find the Survival Mom Radio Network at http://radio.thesurvivalmom.com/

And Jennifer Osuch show at http://radio.thesurvivalmom.com/category/jennifer-osuch/

I hope to hear you on the radio soon!

Five Things Every 12 Year Old Should Know

By: Alec Sharp (Palmetto Prepper)

As a father of six children I have found that there are several things my children must know. As the world becomes much more complex; these things become more important. There are many other things that our kids should know and hopefully they will learn them before they need them, but these five things are a must.

1. How to get home:

I remember about 15 years ago I took my family to Disney World to see Mickey Mouse and his friends. After lunch we were all standing in line to ride yet another ride and I look around and could not find my 4 year old son. I felt the sinking feeling in my heart as I began to scour the crowd for him. Luckily for me, there was a nice older couple who saw him walk off and brought him back to me. This event got me wondering; what would have happened if that couple would not have seen him walk off?

That very night the education began. My wife and I made flash cards and started teaching our children important information like their home address, telephone number and our full names.

As they got a little older we taught them how to get home. This was fairly easy to do. We started off by going about three blocks from our home and had them tell us where to turn to get us all home safely. Once the three blocks were mastered we would venture further away from our home and have them direct us back home. Eventually we would go to large landmarks in town like a shopping mall, the State House, Church, etc. and they all learned how to get home.

As technology changed so did our teaching. When my wife and I got cell phones the kids learned those new numbers. When the older children moved out, the younger kids learned where they lived and there cell phone numbers. You will be amazed at how much information your children can retain!

2. Basic first aid:

This is also very important and when I say basic I am not talking about how to stich a large wound closed or anything thing like that. What I am talking about is that they know where the family’s first aid kit is kept and how to use the items in it. Like most prepping families our first aid kit is larger than the little kits you get at Wal-Mart and we carry extra smaller kits when we leave home.

Our kits not only have Band-Aids and the other basics but also gaze pads, terry strips and OTC medicines. All the kids know how to properly clean out a wound, stop basic bleeding and how to get help.

A commonly over looked important item to have in your first-aid kits would be the phone numbers for adults that live close by that can assist with the rendering of aid along with the contact number for your local EMT office.

In order for your children to feel comfortable with the first aid kit you have at home I would recommend that you roll play with them and have them treat you for different events. In some cases you might have a small cut on your finger and they have to properly clean it out, add ointment and a bandage. Yet in another scenario you might have a broken arm and they would have to help you immobilize it and call a neighbor who could get you to help.

Whatever kind of kit you have it is important that your children are familiar with where your kit is stored and how to use the items in it.

3. How to find food and water:

If your children are at home, this is a pretty easy task to complete. But once they know where the food is stored they also need to know what to do with it. When I was off at college I called my wife (then girlfriend) long distance to ask her how to cook a can of green beans. She got a good laugh out of that and vowed that none of her children would ever be that helpless. She has taught all of our children how to cook. Just the other day my 12 year old daughter cooked supper to include homemade biscuits.

Now when they are away from home this task is not so easy. What would happen if you and your child were hiking or camping in the woods and your child got separated from you? Do they know what plants can be eaten; can they fish or catch small game? If not then you need to teach them. A simple internet search for Wild Eatables would be a good place to start.

4. How to defend/prefect themselves

Gun safety would be a good place to start. There are several types of firearms in and around our farm. The first thing I did was take the curiosity about guns away by showing the guns to all the children. The children were allowed to hold them, after they were made safe, and I have allowed them to all shoot a gun at the range. A 22 caliber rifle is a good place to start. At the age of 9 my youngest daughter learned how to handle and safely shoot a 22 rifle.

Sometimes hiding is the best way for the kids to protect themselves. Find a good place for the kids to take refuge if danger shows up.

Emergency numbers are another good resource that your kids can use to keep themselves safe. If they are ever in a situation where they need help, a list of emergency phone numbers will be very useful. The list should include, but not be limited to, the local police station, neighbors, family and close friends.

Lastly check into self-defense classes. These can be found at your local YMCA, Police Department or Church. Many organizations offer self-defense classes for entire family.

5. How to swim

Swimming is an important skill for the entire family to learn. We have a small pond in our back yard and spend part of the summer hiking around a local lake. I am sure that just about every family routinely comes in contact with both large and small bodies of water and because of this it is important for your children to learn how to swim.

Children can actually learn how to swim before that can walk. There are many places that offer swimming lessons and usually at a reasonable price. Check your local YMCA or swim club for a list of lessons. We actually bartered with a local lifeguard for swimming lessons.

I was speaking with a few of my preparedness blogging friends and we all decided to write on this subject. Please check out there blogs to see their ideas on this important subject.

Mom with a Prep – http://momwithaprep.wordpress.com/2013/04/22/10-survival-skills-every-12-year-old-should-know/

Are We Crazy, Or What? – http://arewecrazyorwhat.net/5-things-kids-should-know-by-the-age-of-12-2/

You can also find me on Facebook – http://www.facebook.com/PalmettoPrepper?ref=hl

Firearms Safety – It is Your Responsibility

By: Alec Sharp (Palmetto Prepper)

gun-safety2

I would say that several times a week I am being asked about guns. What to buy, where to buy it and how do I obtain a CWP (Concealed Weapons Permit). In addition, I have seen an increase in CWP holders. Just last year my wife, my oldest son, an older couple from church and the lady at Starbuck’s have all gotten there CWP Permits.

The one question I have not been asked is about gun safety, which is the most important information that any gun holder should have. It would seem to me that most people are quick to get to the end result, owning a gun, without taking time to obtain all the information needed to be a responsible gun owner.

I firmly believe that every law abiding citizen, that what’s to own a firearm of some sort, should have that right! I just want to make sure that new and old gun owners have the basic knowledge to be a responsible gun owner.

10 Basics of Gun Safety

1. Always keep the muzzle pointed in a safe direction – If everyone handled a firearm so carefully that the muzzle never pointed at something they did not intend to shoot, there would be virtually no firearms accidents.

2. Firearms should be unloaded when not actually in use – It is your responsibility to prevent children and unauthorized adults from gaining access to firearms or ammunition.

3. Don’t rely on your gun’s “Safety” –Treat every gun as though it can fire at any time, regardless of pressure on the trigger.

4. Be sure of your target and what’s beyond it – Don’t shoot unless you know exactly what your shot is going to strike.

5. Use correct ammunition – You must assume the serious responsibility of using only the correct ammunition for your firearm.

6. If your gun fails to fire when the trigger is pulled, HANDLE WITH CARE! – Any time there is a cartridge (bullet) in the chamber, your gun is loaded and ready to fire even if you’ve tried to shoot and it did not go off. It could go off at any time, so you must always remember RULE #1 and watch the muzzle!

7. Always wear eye and ear protection when shooting – All shooters should wear protective glasses and some form of hearing protection while shooting.

8. Be sure the barrel is clear of obstructions before shooting – Before you load your firearm, open the action and be certain that no ammunition is in the chamber or magazine.

9. Don’t alter or modify your gun and have guns services regularly –Any alteration or change made to a firearm after manufacture can make the gun dangerous and will usually void any factory warranties.

10. Learn the Mechanical and handling characteristics of the firearm you are using – Since guns can be so different; never handle any firearm without first thoroughly familiarizing yourself with it.

My goal in posting this quick article is to just give you the simplest of basics in gun safety. For more information please visit the below listed websites:

National Shooting Sports Foundation – http://www.nssf.org
Project ChildSafe – http://www.projecthomesafe.org

You can always check out my Palmetto Prepper Facebook page – http://www.facebook.com/PalmettoPrepper?ref=hl


Dilly Beans

By Alec Sharp (Palmetto Prepper)

dilly beans

Just the other night I was sitting in the den with the kids and had an urge for something special. I don’t know about you but I love pickled food! I have eaten pickled okra, pickled asparagus, pickled bell peppers and my favorite; pickled green beans (AKA: Dilly Beans).

I snuck over to the pantry and grabbed a pint jar of dilly beans, which my wife and I canned about two months ago, and sat down at the kitchen table hoping the kids would not smell them. I barely started enjoying those crunchy pickled green beans before the kids came to investigate. I ended up having to fight off the kids to get my equal portion of beans. Of course my equal portion is larger than the kids portion, I mean that is only fair right?

For those of you that do not have the Ball Blue Book I will share with you the recipe so you and your family can also enjoy this delicious treat. If you are just starting out in canning, I would strongly recommend that you get a copy of the Blue Book, it is very helpful!

Here is the Dilly Bean recipe from the Ball Blue Book:

Dilly Beans

2 pounds trimmed green beans
4 heads of dill
4 cloves of garlic
1 tsp. cayenne pepper (red pepper flakes can be substituted)
2 ½ cups vinegar
2 ½ cups water
¼ cup canning salt (do not use table salt)

Heat jars and lids in simmering water until ready to use, pack beans lengthwise into hot jars, leaving ¼ inch head space. To each pint, add ¼ tsp. cayenne pepper, 1 clove garlic and 1 head dill. Combine remaining ingredients in a large sauce pot. Bring to a boil. Pour hot liquid over beans, leaving ¼ inch head space. Remove air bubbles. Wipe rims with damp cloth and adjust caps. Process pints for 10 minutes in boiling water bath. Check lids for seal after 24 hours. Yields – 4 pints.

Usually any low acid foods like beans need to be processed in a pressure canning for safety, however when you are pickling, water bath processing is the recommended method.

This is a very easy recipe and takes very little time to make such a yummy treat.

Give it a try and happy canning!

For more information check out my facebook page at:

Our Grandparents had it Right

By Alec Sharp (Palmetto Prepper)

Back when our grandparents were young most people were fairly resilient and resourceful. Largely they grew a lot of their own food, knew how to can/store it for the winter and had the basic ability to fix and repair items when they broke. In addition, they did not spend their money foolishly and were masters of reusing and repurposing items. If our grandparents made a bad decision there was no federal program to bail them out; they were accountable for the outcomes of their decisions.

Most people now a day live in a disposable/instant gratification world. If it is broken they throw it away and simply buy a new one. Worse than that is when a newer model of an item they already have comes out, lots of people will simply disregard the older model and buy a new one (I have a friend that has a new iPhone 5 and also an iPhone 4 and 4S in a bedroom drawer; still in working condition). There is no waiting; you get hungry simply pull into the nearest fast food drive thru and in a few minutes you have a hot meal and cold drink. This society has left us empty and wanting more!

Society has forgotten the mottos of our grandparents. Patience is a virtue. Waste not, want not. If you want something you will have to work for it. If you squander what you have then you will go without. Put some away for a rainy day. When was the last time you have heard any of those mottos? I know for me it has been a long time!

However, trends seem to be changing. More and more people are getting interested in prepping. If you think about what prepping is, it is basically trying to live our lives closer to the way our grandparents did and less like people of the very recent past. The prepping movement seems to be growing. More people are waking up and realize that we are going to have to be accountable for ourselves and our families, society as a collective will not be able to keep up with the pace of people needs.

Spring is upon us, go plant a little garden, examine your life and take responsibility for you decisions. Make your grandparents proud!

For more information please visit my Facebook page -Palmetto Prepper at http://www.facebook.com/PalmettoPrepper?ref=hl

Oven Canning Dry Goods for Long Term Storage

By Alec Sharp (Palmetto Prepper)

oven canning 1

I have been looking for an easy way to save dry goods like rice and flour for a while. I buy a little just about every time I go to the grocery store and have been looking for an cost effective way add them to my long term food storage. During my research I learned about oven canning and thought it might by a great solution for me.

Unlike many people who store food I do not buy in bulk; for two reasons. The first being that I do not have any stores nearby that sell bulk dry goods and the other is I don’t have the extra money to buy 100 pounds of rice and then all the Mylar bags, oxygen absorbers and food grade buckets. What I do have is a few extra dollars every week and lots of jars that were in grandma’s out building. So I can buy a few 3 pound bags of rice at the end of the week, oven can it and I am done.

The other great thing about oven canning is that if you can your dry goods correctly they can have a storage life of 15 to 20 years. So if you are at the grocery store and find flour or sale and decide to pick up a few extra bags you will know that you can store it long term and you will not have lost any money. The other great thing is that the jars are a good size so you can rotate the dry goods easily. We use ½ gallon jars for our oven canning. When needed my wife will just open one up and keep it in the pantry. When that jars is empty, she washes it and puts back in the box with the other empties and gets another full jar out of storage. We have found that the half gallon Ball jars hold about 3 ½ pounds of rice and 2 ½ pounds of flour. Any size jar will work from pints to half gallons.

What can be oven canned?

Dried goods like oatmeal, rice, whole wheat flour, white flour, cake mixes, and potato flakes can all be oven canned. Sugar and products that contain oil cannot be oven canned.

How to oven can Dry Goods

The first thing you need to do is pre-heat your oven to 200 degrees (depending on the size of jar you are using you might have to remove the top rack in your oven). While your oven is heating up make sure that you have the correct size lids and bands to fit the jars. Fill your clean jars with the dry goods you are canning. Once the oven has pre-heated place your full jars (no lids) on a cookie sheet in the oven. We always place the cookie sheet in the oven first and then place the jars on the cookie sheet. The cookie sheets job is to keep the jars from tipping over in the oven.

Leave the filled jars in the oven for one hour. While they are processing get a clean towel and place it on your counter so the hot jars want damage it when you remove them from the oven. Once the jars have processed for an hours use hot mitts to remove a jar and place it on the towel. Carefully wipe the rim with a damp (not wet) paper towel. Lastly place the lid on the hot jar and screw the band firmly in place. Carefully grab another jar and repeat this process until all the jars have lids and bands firmly secured. As the jars cool you will hear them start to make a “clicking” noise. That is the sound of the lids sealing. Let the jars cool completely, remove bands, label and store.

The Advantages

Oven canning is an excellent way to prolong the shelf life of dry goods. It also kills bugs and eggs that you might not know are in your products. The big one for me was that if frees up valuable freezer space and helps me take advantage of sales at my local grocery store.

oven canning 2


Please be extremely careful when handling hot jars and remember I am not a professional and I am only sharing what has worked for my family and me. If you have any question about safety please feel free to check with your local extension office.

The Art of Making a Prepper Notebook

By Alec Sharp (Palmetto Prepper)

binders

I find myself spending hours at the computer downloading, coping and pasting information into “documents” to refer to later. It seems that there is so much information on the internet and I want it all!

After I had all these wonderful documents saved to my computer I had a massive computer failure and lost it all. I was young (in my mind) and dumb and did not have any of it saved on a flash drive or printed out. This made me wonder, “What if we had an EMP or an extended power failure, how would I ever remember how to make homemade washing powder?” That is when I decided to make a Prepper Notebook.

This Prepper Notebook is different from your library of book you have been collecting. Every seasoned prepper I know has a collection of books on gardening, wilderness survival, cooking, sewing, animal husbandry, plant identification, wild edibles, and nutrition and so on. In the notebook you keep quick reference material and topics of interest that isn’t book length or might only be found in article found on the internet in amazing blogs like the one you are reading now.

To start off with you will need a good 4 inch heavy duty 3 ring binder, plastic paper insert clear sheets protectors and a pack of dividers with tabs. If you can find these items on sale I would buy several because these notebooks will fill up fast.

Next take your tabs and mark the following titles on them. You can add to this basic list later, but these are the ones you will want to start with.

– Preparedness Supply List
– Food storage Info.
– Recipes Using Food Storage
– Homemade Versions of Store Bought Items
– Wild Edibles
– Health Care Info.
– DIY Direction

By having these tabs already in your notebook you will find yourself searching the internet for great articles to place in your notebook. As your notebook grows you will find yourself adding lots of additional tabs.

When the power goes out and you have to adjust to life without Google you will be happy that you printed out your favorite recipes using all those jars of food you canned over the years.

Have fun and get searching!

What to Do When You Country Dog Gets “Skunked”

By Alec Sharp (Palmetto Prepper)

skunk

While Urban or suburban dogs are largely confined, the same is not true for your country dog. Country dogs have more freedom and spend their days exploring the hills, pastures and creeks nearby. Sooner or later your family pet will be on the wrong end of the country skunk. No matter how hard you try to protect your favorite canine, there curiosity will end up with them in one big aromatic mess.

As their caregiver we will have to fix the problem. And let me tell you it is hard to snuggle up with your beloved companion when they have been “SKUNKED”. Below you will find an easy remedy that will help fix the problem!

Destinking your “Skunked” Dog

– 1 quart 3% hydrogen peroxide
– ¼ cup baking soda
– 1 teaspoon liquid soap

Mix together, rub deeply into your dog, and rinse thoroughly. This will not be a pretty scene, weather done outside in a tub, or inside in the family bathroom. But the joy of the newly cleansed canine will make it a worthwhile effort – Storey’s Basic Country Skills, John and Martha Storey