Sunday, May 31, 2015

Alas, Babylon

"Alas, Babylon." Those fateful words heralded the end. When a nuclear holocaust ravages the United States, a thousand years of civilization are stripped away overnight, and tens of millions of people are killed instantly. But for one small town in Florida, miraculously spared, the struggle is just beginning, as men and women of all backgrounds join together to confront the darkness.

I believe that it is important to "real books" in your reference library. Just in case. I have just finished re-reading "Alas, Babylon" for the third time & each time I think it is better than the last. 
Initially my only shock was dealing with the racial epithets. But keeping in mind that this was written in 1959, I felt that the main family of color was treated as respectfully as possible considering the era. They were an integral part of the survival of the group that gathers.
Since the story is told from the perspective of only having a short time to gather items they believe will be helpful for the impending disaster, it shows the ingenuity of learning new skills and learning how to expand the resources they had on hand.  
Personally I highly recommend actually buying this book for our bookshelf.
It is worth every penny.

 Seriously, depending on what you think is a good possible scenario for a TEOTWAWKI, I would think you would want to also have a copy on hand.
IF you are interested here is another post that has some more of my very favorites fiction and non-fiction books. 43 Good Books for Your Library.
Note: There may be links in the post above that are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission, which does not affect the price you pay for the product. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will add value to my readers.

Friday, May 29, 2015

Looking for a Great Light Source? UCO Cadlelier Review

I am constantly searching for products that I am able to use in the event of an electrical outage. Be it short-term or if perchance it becomes a way of life. 
Mr. Perky and I have had several chats about committing to simply becoming less dependent on electricity as a life style choice. I like finding products that use various types of fuel sources. I have tried several products that haven't worked as well as I would like. 
The UCO Candlelier® Candle Lantern which uses three 9-hour candles which I feel makes the Candlelier an excellent choice for home and emergency use. The Candlelier employs spring-loaded candle tubes, twist-lock base, aluminum body, and glass chimney. 

For me I really liked the amount of light it puts out. My big test was to see if I am able to read by the light emitted & I was able to with out any problems what so ever.
It has a heat shield on the top which they said will produce enough heat to heat small amounts of liquid. Initially I didn't have it seated well enough on top, you sort of have to push it down inside. It does get hot, just ask my silly fingers that "tested" the heat. It definitely heated up some water.

The Candlelier comes with 3 regular candles. We purchased several extra packs of candles.
Now that I am comfortable with the product, I will be getting more candles and a citronella set of candles (to try out) for my storage.

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.


Your order is so very appreciated, because anything ordered through my Amazon Associate links helps me to be able to stay home and write for you.Perky Prepping Gramma is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to

Top 5 Reasons People Don't Pressure Can (what is your reason?)

I started canning in October of 2012, so I consider myself a “newbie” still. The first thing I pressure canned was meat. That's right, I jumped right in with both feet. 

Then I started hearing people expressing fears about canning...
Before I start, I want to emphasize: to can meat and other low acid foods, you HAVE to use a pressure “canner”
NOTE that is a pressure canner not a pressure cooker. They are two totally different animals.

TOP 5 Reasons People Don't Can #1: “FEAR
I once heard that fear is “False Evidence Appearing Real”. Turn that FEAR into healthy respect. Learn how to use a pressure canner properly. Follow the rules of safety and sanitization. This one bears repeating; follow the rules of safety and sanitization. Never compromise. Find sources that you trust. Create more positive information about canning in your brain. Learn how many people are doing it successfully. And when in doubt ask questions.
Thankfully I didn't struggle with this one, since I trusted my resources.

TOP 5 Reasons People Don't Can #2: "KNOWLEDGE/HOW TO"
There are many resources for this. There are some posts listed below on getting started and many more on the side here. There is also the Ball Complete Book of Home Preserving & don't forget the nifty guide that comes with your canner.


TOP 5 Reasons People Don't Can #3: “LEARNING STYLE”.
Knowing your dominate learn is critical for some people. At lot of people are “visual” (need to watch it done) or “auditory” (listen to explanations) learners. For me this was the most critical element. While some are able to simply read something to learn it, I am a “kinesthetic” learner. I need to actually “do it” hands on, while someone guides me along. I learn best with this method. I knew I had a girlfriend that canned. I made a “date” and had her walk me through all the steps. Then I read my book that came with my canner.
So, figure out “how you learn” & start studying. Ask for help.

TOP 5 Reasons People Don't Can #4: "EQUIPMENT"
Just make a plan to get the equipment. Even if you have very little monetary resources, just start saving a little bit at a time.
While I was planning (dreaming) and saving for an All-American pressure canner, I went ahead a got a Presto pressure canner to get me started. 
Gather other equipment as needed.
You need a reliable pressure canner, a utensil kit & I would add you need clean dish towels. Oh, yes and canning jars....

TOP 5 Reasons People Don't Can #5: ”Time Consuming"
Only you are able to make the decision if you want to invest your time into canning.
If time is your issue, find other things to do (in the kitchen) when canning.
I have asked for a rocking chair for my kitchen, so that I am able to sit and relax (probably going to be reading). But, you could also check fb, e-mail. Do the dishes. Clean out a drawer. Organize the kitchen. Drag a little t.v in there and watch t.v. Or not...

There you have it the top 5 reasons. Hopefully this will help you. Now, feel free to go back to facebook and tell me what your fear is, if you have one. Are you ready to take that leap?

Saturday, May 23, 2015

Perky Gramma has Fun

I realize that you mostly see the serious side of me here, but honestly I am a really silly creative person. I shared that I want to build a little "gnome home" in my yard, but geared more for the Borrowers.  

I had a collection of tiny items that I gave to my grandchildren a couple years ago for Christmas, with their first "Borrowers" book. I pretended that my home housed a family of Borrowers named the Fireplace family. They were sending gifts to the Borrower family who then lived at my grandchildren's house.
There was a little Christmas card and a wee letter...


Here the children are reading the letter with the magnifying glass...

Here are some of the petite sized gifts that were given.

Then I made a passel of teeny, tiny books. If you would like to make these books here is the tutorial:  DIY Teeny, Tiny Books

It was grand fun as we spent the day looking into various places in the house to see if we could find the miniature family hiding.
Obviously, I need to start a new collection for my yard...

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Why the FoodSaver Would be My First Tool Purchase for Preparing...

Actually we already had the FoodSaver when we started preparing. Mr. Perky had purchased it for freezing up meats. It does a bang up job and really does extend the freezer life of various foods.
But, make sure you get the version that has the accessory tube/port for vacuum sealing. For me, this has been an invaluable tool for storage.
Here is just one example why...
As you know I have been packing to move and have been finding some...uh...things I didn't preserve so well from the beginning. Take this package of dehydrated mushrooms. I hate to admit it, but these mushrooms were infested with moths. Ugh! Straight to the outside trash they went!

Learn from my mistakes. What you need to remember is that the plastic bags for the sealer are still air permeable which allows for bugs to get in, grow & for degradation of the product.
I am really glad I have been vacuum sealing my mushrooms and other foods for a very long time.
Vacuum sealing with the FoodSaver is actually very simple. They have lasted about two years and are still in fantastic shape. I picked up the lid attachments (both regular & wide mouth). 

1) Take off the ring from the jar. Add attachment. The lid is dated with when I dehydrated or put the item in the container.

TIP: You may use "used" lids after canning for this purpose. But, I highly recommend only using the best used ones, without nicks. I have found that sometimes these lids will unseal because they can't create a tight permanent seal. 

2) Attach the nozzle from the accessory port on the Food Saver.


3) Hit the button.

TIP: If you are having difficulties getting a seal, sometimes you may use two lids when sealing & only one will attach. Not sure why this works, but lots of people have to do this extra little step. Then, pop off the nozzle from the accessory tube. Also, I have found that older canning jars have a higher failure rate for vacuum sealing.

4) Take off the lid attachment.


There you have it. Everything from dehydrated chipped beef, blueberries, raspberries, mushrooms, crackers & Amish noodles to storing your favorite chocolate for when the grid goes down.

It really that easy to vacuum seal & store your food for a very long time. After your basic purchase you may want to consider this: a Mityvac Automotive Test and Bleeding Kit, for when the grid is down. 

It is simple to use & you will be able to seal and reseal your jars if there isn't electricity (How to instructions here). 


As you see from pictures, I participate in the Amazon Associate program, where I receive a small % commission for linking products that I recommend. I only recommend products I personally used and like. Your support is very appreciated, anything you choose to purchase through my link, is helping me to be able to share more things that I do with you. Perky Gramma Teaches Amazon link.

Thursday, May 14, 2015

How To Dehydrate Milk for Long Term Storage

When we started on our preparedness journey, I tried to be practical. I didn't even know what a "prepper" was. In the beginning I made a list of things I used everyday. Literally from the time I woke up: Water, meds., t.p., coffee, toothpaste, toothbrush and so on and that is what I started storing. You know, store what you use, use what you store. Then I found I wasn't alone. 
Eventually I started dehydrating (and pressure canning) my own milk for long term storage because I taste tested all sorts of instant milks and tried packaged shelf stable milks and found them to be unpalatable for my taste. Plus, when examining how often I cook with milk it quickly became apparent that I needed to find a storage solution that would keep a supply of milk on hand.

This is the journey of storing milk. For my first batch, I used my Oster dehydrator (no longer available, but I also like the Presto dehydrator). I purchased these nifty fruit roll-up trays and  gently poured one cup of milk to each tray. 

Something is not level here. Not, sure if it is the dehydrator or the counter. So I kept turning the trays around to even out the milk.

This took about 12 hours. Longer than I expected. Note the flakiness and the “goopy” parts.

For the second batch of milk, I used the same method by putting the fruit roll-up trays in my Excalibur 9 Tray dehydrator. I have to share, I took me while to save up for the Excalibur dehydrator, but I find it to be worth it's weight in gold. Seriously. The main advantage is it's size & the fact you are able to control the temperatures. 
TIP: I would suggest that you put the round tray on your Excalibur tray INSIDE the dehydrator & then pour the milk into the tray.
Um, I prepped one on my counter top, tried to carry it over and milk spilled everywhere. My furbabies were VERY happy. I wasn't. Then I had to mop my floor.

Temp: Set the temperature between 125-130 degrees (F) and dehydrate until dry and flaky. It takes several hours, so be patient. 
Again, it wasn't level, maybe it's my house. So, every twenty minutes or so, I turned the trays around to more evenly distribute the milk. Turned out better this time.

When each batch came out there were several areas that were “goopy”. So I took my Pampered Chef scraper and gently removed all the dried milk, re-trayed & dehydrated a little more.

After the milk was nice and flaky, I crumbled up the pieces.

Next the pieces were put in the blender.

It really is that simple. 7 cups of instant ½ & ½.

After the jar was full, I vacuum sealed the jar for long term storage. 
It takes very little time, but worth it when it comes to minimizing my storage space. But, I highly recommend that you also read:
How to reconstitute the milk.
Also, you may enjoy these blog posts on pressure canning milk & dehydrating lattes:
Canning White Stuff from Cows I am very serious about my milk, I actually pressure can milk almost every week. I use milk a lot in my cooking, Therefore I store it.
How To Dehydrate Lattes (Yes, I actually store lattes)

What you see here on my blog and on facebook is original work (and all the pictures) that I actually do myself. I simply share my journey on preparing. If you liked this article, please feel free to join our community (Perky Prepping Gramma) on facebook & keep up to date on things posted. 
Take the time to look around on this site, you will find many tested methods of preparing for an emergency. I appreciate the support. Thank you. (4123)

I participate in the Amazon Associate program, where I receive a small % commission for linking products that I recommend. I only recommend products I personally used and like. Your support is very appreciated, anything you choose to purchase through my link, is helping me to be able to share more things that I do with you. Perky Gramma Teaches Amazon link.

Here are some other great articles from other preppers I work with:

Food Storage


72-Hour Kits or Bug Out Bags


Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Third Step in Preparing (It's Not What You Think)...

There really is no secret on how to prepare, it just a matter of actually taking the first steps and staying focused.  
Even our government recommends being prepared. They have lists that you can print out or download. Last week I shared what I consider the first steps...
Step 1) 72 Hours of Water
Step 2) 72 Hours of Food

I would recommend after water & food, start gathering the other items listed: 
Starting with cash on hand. 

Now we didn't start with this amount, we had to diligently save. Personally, from the very start we quickly established using 10% each payday to start our purchases, then increasing another 10% of our earnings for saving for our on hand cash & that is after personally tithing. 

While this is a silly video, I think it illustrates how people often think. If you start with disciplining yourself to set aside real money for your purchases, you will be way more prepared than most. A lot of these items are items you should already have because you are using them. I found that I just centrally located all my items we might need for an emergency. Then you are able to start purchasing the other items with cash:

Recommended Items to Include in a Basic Emergency Supply Kit
This first group are items that I actually carry every day and has come in handy several times. 
Prescription medication & extra glasses 3 days worth stashed. 
Matches in water proof container or lighter(s)
Flashlight and extra batteries
Moist towelettes, garbage bags and plastic ties for personal sanitation

Feminine hygiene and personal hygiene supplies
Paper plates, cups, utensils, paper towels, mess kits
Wrench or pliers to turn of utilities
Can Opener for food
First Aid Kit
Whistle to signal for help
Face mask, to help filter contaminated air and plastic sheeting and duct tape to shelter in place
Local Maps (we keep ours in both cars)

Additional Items to Think About:
Sleeping bag, blankets
Battery powered or hand crank radio NOAA Weather Alert Radio. I would highly recommend the hand crank radio, that way you don't have to depend on having fresh batteries.

First Aid book
Change of sturdy clothing, shoes. Cold weather clothing

Just take these steps and establish your 72 hour kits. Then you will be able to breath easy as you continue on your journey of being prepared.
Next, it's time to look at tools for preparing.

The first tool I would consider getting is the FoodSaver and here is why:
Why the FoodSaver is the First Tool I would Buy

What you see here, is what I actually do. If you liked this article, please feel free to join our community (Perky Prepping Gramma) on facebook & keep up to date on things posted.  Thank you. ~Perky Prepping Gramma
Also I participate in Amazon's associate program, where I receive a small percentage of recommended purchases. I only recommend things that I have used and like. There is no additional charge to you.

Thursday, May 7, 2015

Nifty Tip to Open Cans Without a Can Opener

Peter Bendall Kear shared "Guy asked me how would you open a can assuming you did not have any form of can opener or even a knife without possible spilling the contents. I told him I would rub through the lid's rim either on a large flat stone, cement, or using a smaller stone run around the rim (preferred). He said what so I went on to explain how cans are rolled and sealed. Then I thought about it and while I had time I found this simple video I thought I would share with you all because I am betting a few of you do not know this trick and honestly it is good information to know.

BTW it was shared on another prepping site so it seems the conversation and then this bit of info happened to all fall together. Oh and the small stone is simply worked in a circle around the rim of an upright can thus no spillage."

I personally found it interesting that shortly after seeing this video for the first time, I learned why this works? It is the way they flange the lid onto the can at the factory. The top actually wraps around the body of the can, like the picture below. When you use the concrete or rock, you are simply rubbing off that top layer. Cool!

I still store a lot of can openers, since two is one and one is none.