Thursday, June 27, 2013

Can you guess what this is? Cream Cheese...

Canning  Granny posted her article about 2 years ago "Now Why Would You Want to Can Cream Cheese?”, and I asked her recently “C.G. Two years ago on your blog, you shared canning cream cheese. I am curious how did that turn out?”.
She replied: “It's still great!”

I used the directions from Canning Granny's blog post. 

So with that being said, here is what I did. I squished about 3 oz. of room temperature cream cheese into each sterilized jar. Used a spatula to get the air pockets out and added more cream cheese.

Thoroughly cleaned the rims with a paper towel and vinegar.

Then with one change, I pressure canned the cream cheese for 15 mins. at 10# of pressure.

Here are the results. Looking forward to using it through out the year. (801)

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Prepared for Rape?

Good Morning PPG, 
I am a 47 year old mother of two and have a story that all women need to hear. Prepping has many angles. Self defense should be in the top ten; not just for strangers but people we may even know. I was attacked in my home by a friend of my husband’s (family friend). Yes I have a concealed weapon, yes I have training in self defense, and yes I have a criminal justice major and special training in law enforcement, yes to every question one would think of. HOWEVER, I am 110 pounds and was attacked by a man 240 pounds! I know everyone say‘s “I would have dug his eyes out… blah blah blah.”. I was choked from behind and fought and sexually assaulted. I was then choked and passed out (praying the entire time God would protect me) as I came to I was being drenched in lighter fluid! All I could think of is my 5 month old baby sleeping in the next room… we were both going to die. After he realized I came to… he picked up some video tapes and left my house and said thank you for the tapes! I was within a match of being set on fire. It made me realize how vulnerable we can be, not only should we protect ourselves from strangers but sad to say friends as well. 911 is for them to investigate who murdered you… their not coming to save you! I live in a very rural county and we have one officer working the county… and three homicide detectives on call at all times, it kind of tell its own story! Our 911 system is a high tech called ID and doesn't give the address were calling from… I know this after we had a small fire from an electric fence and one of our pastures.
I now carry in my home as well and have several weapons stashed around my home. My son who is now 10 also has several weapons (knives) he has access to in case of emergency! The illusions that we’re safe in our home are just that. We tend to let our guard down when it comes to people we know, #1 mistake. I don’t live paranoid, I know live safe; I evaluate each situation and were I place people in my home and tell no one about my stash of weapons around the home! In a shift situation we pretty much know who our enemies are… train in your home practice scenarios of all types of intruders including family and friends! If we only practice for crimes that happen after a shift situation then were forgetting one thing, we have to make it to the shift situation. My assaulter was given 10 years probation and mental health therapy… I realized after the attack, that I had to train myself beyond self defense I had to train harder because of my size! I might at 110 lbs small and 5’3 but I train like a fighter everyday! Mentally and physically be prepared… size matters in a fight and in a shift situation it’s going to be 10 times harder to survive! 
As we prep the biggest threat we face is the unknown, will we be alone, who will be with us and will we be safe with that person? These are all the questions we have to ask ourselves, because in a SHTF situation people are going to be thinking and acting differently. I remember after Katrina reading about police raping and robbing women. Well that’s the reality of when SHTF; I call it a SHIFT because it will shift from what we know as normal to the unknown SHTF; so it’s SHIFT SHTF! 

After my rape, I realized training would have to be different. Scenarios are the key, when you desensitize yourself your fight or flight mode changes; we all have the fight or flight mode so don’t kid yourself on that one. Rape is probably one of the most devastating things that could happen in a SHTF situation because not only are you traumatized from the act there is pregnancy, and STDS which you could also face; being willing to take people into your home when SHTF should be weighted carefully. 

Scenario training is a must! When we train for specific things we tend to react to the situation and think of the reaction it’s not a spontaneous reaction! Train in your home, train for intruders, train for everything! Weapons don’t always mean deadly weapons, sometimes in certain situation you wouldn't want a lethal weapon in a hand to hand combat; small pocket knives can also get a person off you and give you time to get to your lethal weapon if that how you choose to deal with the situation. But if you don’t practice then you will not know how to react. If you would train for emergency situations with medical preps, then make sure you prep for attack scenarios. If you have children would you want your children to hide during an attack, run away during an attack or help fight during the attack? These are questions you have to ask yourself and answer because children will freeze in a situation if not trained properly. 

Training with fire arms is great but do you want your child trying to shoot someone attacking you? I always get a giggle when I tell people my son is deadly with a sock with marbles in it... I promise that person would be knocked out in a flash! So practice with non lethal weapons also. My son always says he would shoot someone who tried to hurt me... I really don’t want that on his hands to deal with; but the reality is our children have to learn also. But the repercussions will be traumatic for a child, and we must take that into consideration. I say train train, train, be prepared as much as possible, we can’t imagine every situation but we can desensitize ourselves to some scenarios such as rape, home invasions and gang situations.
I recently saw as I am sure most of you did the woman attacked in her home while her child sat on the couch with a pillow over her face; as the mother was attacked and beaten by an African American man. Many of you said to yourself “I would have ______” you fill in the blank. Did you see the size of that guy? Did you see how easy it was for him to brag her around and handle her like she was a doll? That’s because he had an adrenaline rush while he was breaking the door down, and then it probably increased when he entered the home. What would you have done? Personally, I would have had a lethal weapon close enough to react when he entered the home! But it’s a good scenario to practice because obviously she was not prepared for what happened; perhaps if she had a weapon on the stairway when he threw her down the basement. Train people, read different situation on robberies happen, rape happen, home invasions happen. 

And then the aftermath of a rape, while we live in a world where we can go to therapy and try to over comes this attack; what support would you have after a SHTF? Most people will need some sort of support! Do you have spiritual support? Do you have books on traumatic incidents like rape? And what about pregnancy are you prepared for that after a rape? Most rapists are not going to stop to use a condom that’s just the reality! STD’s what about them some are life threatening; do you have preps for them?These are all things to think about and talk to your loved ones about. Make sure you talk with your husband or wife about these situations. Today prepare and practice scenarios in which these situations could happen! I hope and pray I have helped even if it was in a small way!

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Do you have a plan for when your sugar storage runs out?

I like to “store deep”: Meaning, I store what I am able and also have a back up plan to produce our own after the storage is depleted. I store four groups. Sugar, honey, syrups & seeds.
I initially stored about 10 lbs of brown sugar with our FoodSaver bags &
dry stored about 20 lbs of granulated sugar in PET containers. Store cool, dark & dry.
Recently I did 25 more lbs of granulated sugar with Mylar bags.

We have multiple forms of honey. From freeze dried (?) to raw in jars.
We also have some black strap molasses and maple syrup stored.

We plan to do more granulated sugar for reasons “other” than baking.
I researched various ways to grow sweeteners (sugar cane, sugar beets, etc) and settled on getting seeds to grow sorghum. Going to learn to to build a press and make our own sorghum (have the plans on white paper).
This will be for the situation of when the granulated sugar is no longer available. The plan was to start doing it this year, but with learning how to grow a garden, we moved that to next year. We are going to practice this process. But, we have the information available. Also, adding additional sorghum seeds soon.

Saturday, June 15, 2013

I say tom-A-to, you say to-mah-to...

On the debate of water bathing or pressure canning tomatoes:
Please note I am NOT an expert.

My answer is as simple as “know what you grow”.

Here is the fact: To decide if you water bath or pressure can food depends on the acidity level.
High acidity=you can water bath. Lower acidity=you need to pressure can.
The debate revolves around the issue that newer breeds of tomatoes may or may not be acidic. But, if your know what your are growing or buying, I would think the answer is easy. 
So, if you are canning “new” types of tomatoes (from the store or what you grow); ADD vinegar to raise the acid content back up for water baths.

Does that make sense?
I am growing Desters this year.

About the Dester
New! A large pink beefsteak variety that reaches 1-1 1/2 pounds. Its rich sweet flavor makes it an excellent slicer. The seed came to us from an Amish lady just a few miles from our Baker Creek farm. Anna worked as a house cleaner for Dr. Dester and his wife in Indiana in the 1970's. Having acquired the seed from Germany, the Desters shared their favorite tomato seed with Anna, who treasured it and now shares it with us. One of our best tasting tomatoes.

I know the story, therefore I know what I grow & they will be water bathed.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

How to Choose Your Water Filtration System...

Think! What is the first few things you do in the morning? Does it involve water? Mine does. Probably one of the most important things for me in the beginning was insuring the water would be safe to drink by having an extremely good water filtration system.
One of my tasks for our team was I am the researcher on water, food and health (back-up). We each have our areas of strengths  I will admit it is BORING reading up on water filtration systems, their claims (efficacy) and what it all means. But I want to challenge you to do this, since the safety of your water is of paramount importance.
The easiest way to explain it for me is the more (absolute) 9's a water filtration system has, the safer your water will be to drink

Here are links to the facts on several of the better filtration systems:
1. Sawyer FAQ
2. I can't seem to find the proper page with details, but is rated really high.
3. Berkey

Again, after a lot of reading; in the end I decided to purchase Life Straws for our get home bags and the Sawyer Water Filtration System for our family. Here is what they say on their website.
First, Sawyer's filters and purifiers are rated in Absolute Microns. This means there is no pore size larger than 0.1 or 0.02 micron in size on the PointONE™ and PointZEROTWO™ respectively. This means that it is impossible for harmful bacteria, protozoa, or cysts like E. coli, Giradia, Vibrio cholerae and Salmonella typhi (which cause Cholera and Typhoid) to pass through the Sawyer filters and purifiers. At 7 log (99.99999%) the filter attains the highest level of filtration available today. The PointZEROTWO™ filter removes both bacteria and viruses.”

Here is their detailed explanation log chart.

It operates with a bucket (which you purchase separately).

I believe there are other great systems, but this is what worked for us.
Oh, and they have a 1 million gallon guarantee.
Now that we are moving, I am actually looking at installing a Sawyers water system onto my kitchen tap. I will keep you posted.

I am not saying a bad word about the other systems I listed above, in fact I believe they are good systems. For the cost, the efficacy of pollutants removed and longevity my personal preference runs with the Sawyers System. Fact is I almost bought a Berkeley, but personally the cost of having to keep additional filters on hand (prep storage) just seemed not effective to me when the Sawyers has a million gallon guarantee. 
The other tipping point for me is I personally know they have a program to provide filtration systems in countries where clean water is a great need. Churches frequently will support and sponsor sending the systems where they are needed. It was after I sponsored a village was when I first got my personal system. I happened to be researching around that time. It is pretty amazing to actually do a demonstration of the dirty water to clean water after filtration.

Additional Suggested Reading: Here is the first water storage article that covers more basic ideas on water storage: Water: A Real ConversationIf you want, here are two very detailed blog posts on water filtration from Preparedness Pro. It is where I began my education on water. I highly recommend you read them. Water Filtration: Facts & FictionWater Filtration Facts: Pay Attention to the Nines.

What I do here is simply share our preparedness journey. If you liked this post we would love it if you joined our Perky Prepping Gramma community on Facebook, comment or share. Plus it would just make my day.


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Wednesday, June 5, 2013

...then he shot himself

Imagine being 19 again…

There was a guy, considerably older than I was, who was stalking me. The term “stalking” wasn’t used back then. But that is certainly what it was. We worked together in the military. I was military police and he was an investigator. He followed me around where I worked. Every single day. I felt like I was under surveillance. He would send me a bouquet of roses almost every day.
One night about midnight, he came to the guard shack I was working and started chatting with me. At one point, he just said “I love you and can’t live without you” and pulled out his gun and shot himself right in front of me.
Everything seemed to move in slow motion after that point. He slumped over the steering wheel of the cobalt blue sedan. I could see the bloody exit wound on his back. His right arm was limply splayed over the center console. Blood was splattered everywhere. When the bullet exited his back it pierced the upholstery of the drivers seat, right at a stitched seam.
This really messed me up as you can imagine. I was actually under investigation for the shooting, because of bizarre circumstances that surrounded the incident. He did live. It took years to heal from this attempted suicide that happened in front of my eyes.
Fast forward to many years later. There was a young girl at youth group, who was going through some very difficult times and wasn’t talking about what was wrong. Finally one night on the phone I cornered her and told her she had to tell what was going on.
She said “I can’t tell, no one could understand. Have you every seen someone try to commit suicide?””
Well, I could truthfully answer, “Yes I have, let’s talk about it”.
No human mind could have ever foreseen that conversation. Only God In His infinite wisdom, knew the truth.
So, who am I? Just another face you see everyday.

"Every adversity, every failure, every heartache carries with it 
the seed of an equal or greater benefit."