A few of you have asked me and one almost pleaded for me to keep posting. I know some of you have felt my fatigue. The pandemic fatigue that so many of us have. I feel some of us are desperate for something normal. So I am going to give it my best to keep going. I need it as much as you do and I thank you all for your kind words about my blog.
This is a Zinnia.
My friend and Neighbor Naomi grew Zinna's. Naomi passed away many years ago now and every time I see a Zinna I remember her lovely yard.
There is a man that lives in our town that grew camellias and after his wife passed away he bought some extra land and filled his time with expanding his camellias. The local paper did an article on him for his beautiful property full of camellias.
I feel that there are many things good things we can do to distract our minds from thinking about what is happening in our country and world.
One thing we are doing is growing vegetables and fruit and preserving. Above is an Okra Bloom.
Many people think we have a big yard but we do not, we have a very small yard and a small house.
I use every spot of dirt and container to grow vegetables. It all starts with a package of seeds or some seeds saved from the year before. Let me say here to save seeds we need to understand about how to save seeds so we have a successful crop the next year. There is many articles on the internet about how to do this.
Our cucumbers that were growing over an arbor that was shown in earlier posts gave us many cucumbers but then the heat and other factors they started getting bitter so I pulled them out and planted more cucumbers for a second crop and now that second crop is starting to make cucumbers.
We do not get enough vegetables from our yard to sustain us so we purchase vegetables in season from the produce market. I do dehydrate and can some of the veggies from our yard if there are plenty but we mostly eat seasonally from our yard and I preserve what we purchase from the produce market or even the grocery store produce section.
Our yard is a bit of a flower, vegetable, fruit and herb jungle. Before this yard was just a backyard with grass and trees. One day I just started crawling around on the ground planting.
Then I got older and added some raised beds and cattle tanks.
To me securing the home is more than home security. It is figuring out ways to be frugal and to be able to run your home with our without electricity and running water, even in the city.
It is how to make bread when we cannot go to the store.
It is learning to cook the simple meals such as this rice and zucchini, onions and tomatoes with a tiny bit of meat whatever it is we have.
And then there is keeping a pantry
Our pantry used to be a utility closet. It is a narrow space and we added many shelves and turned it into a pantry.
This did not happen overnight. I have kept a pantry for many years. When we went to the store we would not buy junk food and we gave up many things such as tv cable and cut back on our electric bill and such as that in order to buy extra to build a pantry. There are many things that can be done to purchase the things we need to make ourselves more sustainable.
I can and dehydrate food to keep in our pantry. I am pointing to gold potatoes. There is a difference in potatoes when drying. Notice the ones to the left are brown looking. when food is rehydrated it changes color and goes back to a more normal color.
This is three different types of potatoes and the left one also has the skin on it.
To rehydrate dehydrated food normally boiling water is poured over it to let it absorbe for 15 or 20 minutes. Some things take longer but I would never leave it for over 2 hours because I have read that if it is over that time it could develop bacteria or bad things we do not want in our food.
Dehydrated food can be used in casseroles, soups or just as a side dish. I normally always test what I have dehydrated. These potatoes I rehydrated for 15 minutes then I cooked them until the water was cooked off. They were very tasty. I normally use our dehydrated food as a side dish.
I dehydrate and I water bath and pressure can food. We like the way certain food taste canned and some better dehydrated.
Dehydrated bananas, citrus, strawberries etc.
I pressure can chicken and beef...
I air seal rice and wheat berries to expand the shelf life.
I even air seal oat cereal to go with those dehydrated bananas. I keep powdered milk on hand.
Air sealed oats for oatmeal and cookies.
Air sealed coconut to make coconut milk and pie and cake.
Popcorn, grits, cornmeal...
I make pickles and relish and can apples, peaches, pears.
dehydrated green beans.
Dehydrated onions and peppers...
This is what we do to secure our home. We do not want to depend on a freezer in case the power goes out. We do have a very small freezer and we do use that I want to have a more shelf stable pantry.
Besides home canned, dehydrated and fermented food we also have store bought canned tomatoes and ghee, olive oil, refried beans, evaporated milk and such as that. I keep sugar and flour and many dry goods.
It takes some studying and trying to make a pantry work for each of our family so we do not understock or overstock. It is done by making choices of what is important and not spending our money on unimportant things.
We must learn what to do, that is our responsibility as adults. People have become dependent on stores and most everything. This is never a good thing because it is up to us take care of ourselves and our family.
Food, shelter and "practical" clothing is what is important. A lot of money is wasted on non "essential" things.
I lived without phone, washing machine, telephone, dishwasher, air conditioning, computer, television just fine. We had the basics, which was electricity and running water. Some of my family that lived rural did not have any electricity or running water and raised families and did just fine.
When I married I did not have a lot of expectations because my mother was a very practical person and I knew starting off was starting from basic. She gave me a few extras to take with me and it was up to us to build wisely from that.
We did not have many things that required electricity other than an iron and a few lamps. We had wind up clocks, I washed clothes by hand and hung them to dry Life was good back then... We have come so very far from those days when now most everything has a fee.
When it comes to food we do not live like those did long ago and our food preservation is now different.
They had tools that we no longer can buy and we have tools that they did not have but we still need tools to do the things that will help us be more sustainable.
We added this little device last month. Not the two round caps but the top left device. This is a hand held air sealer. I like the food saver larger machine but this is good for jars that I open often and then want a quick seal. Stopping food waste is a good financial decision.
The two round caps are sold separately from food saver to use with the food saver sealer machine or the hand held. Someone wrote to me asking me about the food saver and I looked online to see what they cost now and this is when I found the small hand held air sealer. So if a regular food saver machine is not affordable this costs less.
Also the food saver regular machine that presses the bags sealed and air seals jars needs the port hole. Most of these items are sold separately.
We do not have to have air sealers to dehydrate but it does help to extend the storage time which is a savings.
I just put the white cap on top of the lid and jar and press the button. It also will seal bags that have a round air seal patch that also is sold by food saver. We got 4 of the zip lock air seal pouches with the new handheld sealer.
An air sealer for jars or bags is a good thing to have to not waste food. It is also good for someone single or like us where there is just Charles and I. This way the extra that is often bought because something is not packaged for just one or two people can be air sealed to keep it from going bad so quickly or getting freezer burned if you freeze it.
I have noticed through the years and still now when someone thinks they are getting sick they often run to the store to buy food to get them through the sickness. This is not a good thing to do as this can infect others. This is something I see people do when they think they are coming down with the flu.
People that keep extra food in the house do not have to do this.
We eat fresh out of the garden so we are not eating only pantry food. It is all a combination of fresh and home preserved food. And we rotate it so we eat it in a reasonable time.
There are many things we could be doing to help secure our home. That is readying our home for all kinds of situations by keeping a first aid cabinet. We need thermometers and fever reduction medicine, tweezers and bandage care needs. Extra soap and laundry detergent.
There are basic things each home needs and these things come before fancy shoes and the latest fad clothing. We should stop our impulse buying and think, do I really "need" this?
We need tools to do repairs and the tools we need to preserve food. We should have needles and thread, scissors and mending tools to do repairs and make things ourselves.
Our homes should never be a pit stop but a refuge. It is a place where we can live comfortable and shelter in place if needed.
This is a link to two articles about the man from our area that grows Camellias