Tag Archives: DIY

  • Pickling 101: The Basics

    |1 COMMENT(S)

    Learn the basics for pickling your own food at home! #canning #pickling #foodstorage

    If you've ever lost power during a storm, watched expensive produce spoil quickly in your fridge, or had an overabundant yield in the garden, learning how to pickle just might be the solution for you.

    Used since ancient times, pickling has been a process of covering food in salt and acid to preserve it and add flavor, while eliminating any bacteria that may cause spoilage. However, since the invention of the refrigerator, the art of pickling has become a less common skill and practice.

    For anyone interested in emergency preparedness or food storage, learning to pickle is a practical skill to put under your belt. Here’s a basic crash course:

     

    Why should You Pickle?

    Besides providing you with food that will last longer on the shelf (and that doesn't need refrigeration), there are other benefits to pickling that make it a practical skill and art to learn:

    1)    Food storage: Of course we all know that pickling is a great way to build your food storage reserves, but did you know that it can also give you more control and choice during an emergency? Having a supply of your favorite pickled (and other home-processed) foods on hand can help to make an emergency a little more bearable; it gives you a sense of comfort, control, and familiarity during an emergency situation.

    2)    Saving fresh food: Pickling allows you to use food even past its season. If you've grown or bought more than you can eat, you’ll still have a way to preserve it and keep it on hand for when you’re craving it most. Also, pickling helps you to save money because you won’t have to buy imported or expensive produce that’s out of season later in the year.

    3)    Variety: Pickling allows you to experiment with different textures, flavors, and recipes. You can be more adventurous with your food by learning how to pickle.

     

    Equipment

    There are a few tools you’ll need to have on hand before you begin your pickling journey.

    Glass jars and Lids: Use glass jars specific for canning that are free from cracks and chips along the rim. Rings can be re-used, but must be free from rust and dents. Choose the size of jar based on the foods you are pickling and the amount you would use in a reasonable amount of time once opened. Don’t use half-gallon jars to pickle cauliflower if you only use 1 cup at a time. Also, most jar sizes are available in two different opening sizes (regular mouth & wide mouth) for ease of packing. Keep this in mind when choosing your jars.

    Always use new lids. Inspect them carefully. Do not use them if there are any dents or impressions in the rubber ring on the lid.

    Pickling 101: The Basics

     

    A large pot: For sterilizing the jars. Always sterilize all of your equipment before pickling. You don’t want any contaminates that could spoil the food getting into your containers, so be extra careful to keep everything clean. Try the Victorio 7 Qt. Aluminum Steam Canner, which also comes with the fitted wire rack that helps prevent jars from breaking.

    Tongs: This tool not only helps you to handle sterilized items and to keep them free of contamination, but they also help you to avoid getting burned while taking your jars out of the boiling bath. There’s a very sturdy set of tongs in the Victorio Canning Kit that will make pickling much easier.

    Funnel: For easy, mess-free pouring. You can also find this tool in the Victorio Canning Kit.

    Canning or pickling salt: Make sure you have canning or pickling salt. Regular salt doesn't have the same preservation properties. Canning salt helps your pickled food to retain its rich color and texture and is also easier to dissolve in the brine (learn what brine is in the “Basic Process” section below).

     

     

    The Basic Process

    While each item you pickle will have its own process and steps to follow, you can count on many of the steps in the process to be the same, no matter what you are pickling.

    1.Sterilize your cooking area. Start by making sure your work area and equipment are sterile. Learn how to sterilize your jars by following the steps below from CountryLiving.com:

    • Place your empty jars right side up in a large pot. Fill the pot with water, making sure the water completely covers the tops of the jars.
    • Bring the water to a rolling boil. Boil for 15 minutes over high heat.
    • Turn off the heat. Place the jar lids in the water as well as the grasping side of the tongs you will use to take the jars out of the bath later. Let them sit in the water for 10 minutes to an hour.
    • Remove the jars using your sterilized tongs. Pour out the water and set them right sight up on a paper towel.

    2. Prepare your produce. Choose your pickling product, making sure it is thoroughly washed (check out the “what makes a great pickle?” section below to learn how to pick products for pickling). After washing your produce, double check your recipe for any special instructions for the type of produce you’re handling. For example, cucumbers need a ¼ inch sliced from the blossom end [pic], because the blossom can contain an enzyme that causes unwanted softening.

    3. Choose a tested recipe from a reliable source. Check out a bookstore or your local library for cookbooks and tips about the pickling process. Here are a couple of titles to look for:

    • The Joy of Pickling: 250 Flavor Packed Recipes for Vegetables for All Kinds of Produce from Garden or Market by Linda Ziedrich
    • The Complete Book of Pickling: 250 Recipes from Pickles and Relishes, to Chutneys and Salsas by Jennifer Mackenzie
    • Pickled: From Curing Lemons to Fermenting Cabbage, the Gourdman's Ultimate Guide to the World of Pickling by Kelly Carrolata

    4. Prepare a brine. A brine is created by boiling water with seasonings and herbs to create a fusion of flavors. Brines use only canning or pickling salt, instead of table salt, and mostly white or brown granulated sugars instead of corn syrup or honey (unless specified by a trusted recipe).

    5. Add food and brine to jars. This step is specific to the type of food you’re pickling. Be sure to check the recipe for the correct way to add your produce and brine the canning jars. All pickling recipes include these instructions.

    6. Seal the Lid. Watch out for air or bubbles, they give room for bacterial growth that can ruin your newly-pickled foods.

    7.  Pick your storage area. Be sure to store pickled items in a dark, cool place. Most pickled items are ready to eat in a few weeks and last several months, depending on your ingredients and pickling style.

    8. Wait it out. You’ll need to set aside some time for the entire process, depending on the recipe. Pickling can be quite an undertaking, so bring along a friend! It’s an excellent experience to share with someone else.

     

    What Makes a Great Pickle?

    There are few rules for choosing the perfect product to pickle. Executive Chef Paul Corsentino from the National restaurant in New York City encourages us to pickle anything, as long as it’s fresh. Sometimes there are different levels of freshness to consider. For example, some people may want to pickle green tomatoes, because they’re firm and have a more neutral taste, while others may prefer ripe, red tomatoes because of their sweetness.

    The rules of pickling really depend more on your sense of taste than anything. You can pickle vegetables, fruits, meats, and eggs, but remember that pickling brine is acidic and salty, so it’s important to find the right flavors to pair with the brine.

    Pickling 101: The Basics

    Because many of us have the most experience eating store-bought pickles, we might automatically want to think our pickling adventure with something like that. But according to Rebecca Orchant, a professional food writer for the Huffington Post, pickling cucumbers can be more difficult than some other produce items. She suggests starting with things like asparagus, carrots, or mushrooms.

    For a list of unconventional things you can pickle, from watermelon rinds to brussel sprouts, try this list from Good Housekeeping. Or try one of these Recipes:

    Pickled Green Tomatoes

    Lemony Cauliflower Florets

    When your pickles are ready, you can serve them with olive oil and crusty bread, or on pasta for an instant meal. You can also use various pickled items as side dishes, in salads, or on sandwiches for extra flavor.

     

    Experiment

    When you've become more familiar with the art of pickling, you can get creative! Traditionalists love using dill, but you can add the flavors you love to make your pickles a different experience every time. Make it spicy by adding some chopped chilies or extra garlic, give it some zing by adding mustard seeds, mince it up to make a relish, or make a sweet pickle with sugar.

    The best part about pickling is that you get to choose the flavors and textures you love, so your food storage possibilities can turn from the same old flavors into a variety of bold new dishes you’re excited to eat.

     

    Have you pickled before? What do you like to pickle? Any tips for those who are new?

     

    -Lesley

     

    Related Products:

    Get started canning and pickling with this all-in-one set! #emergencyessentialsLearn the Basic of Canning with this Step-by-Step DVD This pressure canner/cooker safely cans produce and meat for home storage. #emergencyessentials #canning Prepare food for canning, cooking, and dehydrating at home. This strainer helps you quickly process foods without electricity.

    Other Articles You Might Like:

    How to Make Delicious Homemade Jams and Jellies

    Preparedness Skills: Canning Basics

    Preparedness Skills: Different Home Canning Methods

    How to Make Homemade Baby Food from Food Storage

     

     

    Sources

    www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/06/28/how-to-pickle_n_3512573.html

    www.goodhousekeeping.com/recipes/seasonal/surprising-things-you-can-pickle.

    www.foodrepublic.com/2011/07/27/5-things-know-about-pickling

    www.chefs.edu/Student-Life/Culinary-Central/November-2009/Anything_pickle

    http://nchfp.ega.edu/how/can_06/prep_foods.html

    www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/michael-symon/pickled-green-tomatoes-recipe.html

    www.almanac.com/content/pickling-tips-and-recipes

    www.simplycanning.com/sterilizing-jars.html

    www.seriouseats.com/2012/07/pickling-recipes.html

    http://www.thekitchn.com/pickling-salt-what-is-it-and-do-you-need-it-193108

    http://www.hobbyfarms.com/food-and-kitchen/you-can-pickle-that.aspx

    https://www.exploratorium.edu/cooking/pickles/salt.html

    http://www.urbanfarmonline.com/urban-gardening/backyard-gardening/how-to-pickle-vegetables-and-fruit.aspx

    http://www.countryliving.com/cooking/about-food/sterilizing-canning-jars

    Posted In: Uncategorized Tagged With: self-reliance, pickling, home food preservation, homesteading, DIY, canning

  • 8 Ways Duct Tape Could Save You in a Bind

    People always joke that duct tape fixes everything, but did you know that it could potentially save your life? In a survival situation, duct tape can have many uses, and here are just twelve ways to use this adhesive wonder in a number of emergency situations you may encounter.

    8 Ways Duct Tape Could Save You in a Bind

    1. Patching holes/Sealing – Rip your tent while assembling? Hole in your siding? Missing a shingle? Duct tape is the perfect way to patch holes, seal items, or make emergency repairs on just about anything (like, for example, a tent whose zipper breaks in the middle of a rainstorm… not that I’ve ever had that happen to me).

    2. Medical Uses – Duct tape is a great resource for first aid. You can use it to make bandages (it might hurt a little pulling hairs, but that beats bleeding to death), provide padding on a blister, or even splint an ankle in an emergency. You can also make an emergency duct tape field stretcher!

    3. Make Cord/Rope – You can easily twist long pieces of duct tape together to form a rope or cord. This can be used to hang clothes to dry, hang up a bag out of reach of pests, or any other number of uses (including a belt, if you’re desperate).

    4. Waterproof/Insulate – While this could apply to just about anything, it’s specifically helpful with shoes, especially in the winter. Just wrap duct tape around the shoe to form a barrier from water and provide extra insulation.

    5. Cup/Bucket – Duct tape can be used to fashion a watertight cup, bucket, or even a bowl/plate if you need one. Check out the Norwegian Bushcraft video below to learn how to make a small bucket from duct tape that can hold water, but can also be used to gather food or other necessary items. (The tutorial begins about 27 seconds in to the video).

    6. Weapons and Hunting – Even if you have more ammo than you think you’ll ever need, eventually it’ll run out and you’ll have to resort to something besides a firearm. You can easily create a spear by using duct tape to fasten your knife or broken piece of glass to a piece of wood. You can also improvise an arrow as shown in the video below.



    7. Transportation – Duct tape can be used to repair the exterior and interior furnishings of vehicles, but you could also create a kayak out of PVC pipe and duct tape (and a few other household items)! Duct tape can even help repair leaks in a regular kayak or canoe.

    8. A Place to Sleep – Here’s an example of a hammock made out of duct tape (although I would suggest using something stronger to support if you plan on using it long-term or for more than 120-150 lbs.). Or fashion yourself a tent if you’re desperate!

     

    There are a lot of other uses for duct tape; what are your favorites?

     

    -Michelle

     

    Other Sources:

    http://www.happypreppers.com/duct-tape.html

    http://www.backdoorsurvival.com/duct-tape-for-survival/

    http://offgridsurvival.com/duct-tape/

    http://survival.outdoorlife.com/blogs/survivalist/2012/06/25-practical-survival-uses-duct-tape

     

     

     

     

    Posted In: Uncategorized Tagged With: duct tape, DIY, Survival Tip, Survival, skills

  • Fantastic Plastic: A Million Uses for a Grocery Bag

    |1 COMMENT(S)

    Fantastic Plastic: A Million Uses for a Grocery bag

    Any of you with diaper-age children already know the crucial importance of keeping plastic grocery bags on hand at all times. As a dedicated bag toter, I found myself vindicated this week by no less than Backpacker Magazine, whose online slideshow, “Survive With a Plastic Bag,” has got me thinking of other uses for this ubiquitous resource.

    Backpacker’s six tips include some predictable, but still helpful waterproofing ideas, as well as some not-so-predictable ones, like using the plastic bag as a windsock or a whistle. I’m more than convinced I need a handful of these in my hiking pack and emergency kits. But just a little more digging unlocks the further utility of the plastic bag. Here’s just a sampling:

    • Survival Common Sense lists a bunch of different kinds of plastic bags—everything from Ziplocs to garbage can liners—and shows what you can do with them. I like the wallet-sized fire starter, in particular.
    • Outdoor Life’s Survivalist blog has a great little write-up on how to use a standard plastic grocery bag to collect water in the wild. Hint: it doesn’t even require digging a hole!
    • The Master Woodsman (we don’t know who he is, but we like his site) dedicates a whole article to the big, black garbage bag. His super impressive list of uses for the bag includes some shockers. On your own, you might have come up with the idea of making a shelter or lining a sleeping bag with a garbage bag. But would you have known that you can make a mattress, strong cord, or even glue out of one? Yeah, me neither.
    • In possibly the biggest mind-blower, this YouTube clip shows how to boil water in a plastic bag! I’m not going to pretend to understand why the bag doesn’t melt or ignite, but the guy in the video successfully hard-boils an egg in one over a bed of blazing coals. In a plastic bag!

     

    If you’re still not convinced (Really? What does it take, people?), check back on these previous posts to see still more ingenious ways to put plastic bags to use for emergency preparedness.

     

    Have we missed anything? What other emergency or survival uses do you have for these fantastic plastic bags?

    -Stacey

    Photo courtesy of Backpacker Magazine Ben Fullerton

    Posted In: Uncategorized Tagged With: DIY, Survival, skills

  • DIY Oil Lamp

    |2 COMMENT(S)

    When a power outage strikes, hopefully your emergency supplies are up to date, complete with emergency power and lighting gear/options. Keeping a variety of flashlights, headlamps, and lanterns (along with batteries or solar power options to keep them charged) is ideal, but if your batteries runs out before the power turns back on, try making this DIY Oil Lamp to light your adventure.

    The San Francisco Globe shows us how to make an oil lamp that can last for 6-8 hours, using two common household items: an orange and some olive oil. Check out the tutorial here.

    Oil Lamp 2Orange Oil Lamp

    For more DIY projects, check out these articles:

    --Kim

    Photo Courtesy of the San Francisco Globe

    Posted In: Uncategorized Tagged With: power outage, DIY, light

  • DIY Project: Food Storage Shelf

    |7 COMMENT(S)

    Do you feel like you’ve run out of room to store all your food storage?

    If so, we’ve got another Do It Yourself solution for you. For your next DIY project, consider making a canned food organizer. Now, I know you’ve probably seen a lot b of different DIY shelf organizers on the web that range from flipping wire shelves upside down in a closet to putting Lazy Susan shelves into a traditional pantry.

    So what makes this canned food organizer different than all the rest? It’s a shelf that slides out from the space between your fridge and the wall. It makes great use of wasted space.

    Instead of taking up extra space in your cabinets and cupboards, this shelf creates a totally new space to store your food and other supplies in. We found a tutorial from Mallory at classyclutter.net that shows you a step-by-step process for making a canned food organizer.

    DIY Food Storage Organizer

    Photo courtesy of ClassyClutter.net

     

    Here’s what you’ll need:

    9 – 1×4s cut to 29 1/2″ (top board, shelves, bottom board)

    2 – 1×4s, cut to 64″ (Side boards)

    1 – Thin board, cut to 31 1/2 x 64″ (Mallory used bead board/wainscoting board from Home Depot)

    4 – 1 ½-2″ Metal Casters that hold 50+ lbs (Mallory used 2″, 80lbs)

    7 – 7/16 dowels cut to 30″ long (lumber section of Home Depot)

    Handle or knob

    Paint and Brush, Roller, or Sprayer (if needed)

     

    Tools and Supplies:

    Drill

    7/16″ drill bit for drilling dowel holes

    Several wood screws (purchase a bulk-size bag or box to make sure you have enough)

    Several 2″ nails (purchase a bulk-size bag or box to make sure you have enough)

    Several finishing nails (purchase a bulk-size bag or box to make sure you have enough)

    Hammer

     

    Directions:

    Essentially you’re going to build a ladder-like structure and then put a back panel onto it so that all your food stays in place. Put the completed structure on wheels and put a handle on the side so that you can easily roll the shelving unit out.

    For step-by-step instructions and pictures, check out the article, “DIY Canned Food Organizer Tutorial—Build Your Own.” Or check out this “imgr” food storage shelf tutorial as an alternative technique for building this awesome shelf.

     

    Want more DIYs?

    Check out this list of 60+ DIY Kitchen Shelf projects from diyncrafts.com that can help you organize your cabinets, pots and pans, spices, and much more.

    If you’re looking for more “unconventional” places to store your emergency supplies, check out our “No Room for Supplies?” Pinterest Board and read our article, “Baby Steps: Make Room for your Food and Supply Storage.”

     

    Where do you store your store your food storage and emergency supplies?

     

    Sources

    http://www.classyclutter.net/2012/05/build-your-own-extra-storage-diy-canned-food-organizer.html (Tutorial)

    http://imgur.com/a/nqKrk (Tutorial)

    Posted In: Uncategorized Tagged With: DIY, food storage

  • DIY Project: Build Your Own Rabbit Hutch

    |2 COMMENT(S)

    DIY Rabbit Hutch Projects

    Once you've decided to raise rabbits for food storage, the next question to ask yourself is where am I going to put them? Since you are raising rabbits for self-sufficiency, and not as pets, it may be helpful to keep them outside to make that distinction clear (easier said than done, I know.)

    Traditionally, outdoor rabbits are kept in hutches. A hutch is a cage that is usually made of wood and is enclosed with wire mesh. Most hutches have tall legs to protect the rabbits from predators on the ground. You can also build a hutch without legs to keep on a table or, in warm climates, directly on the ground.

    Rabbit hutches are fairly easy to build and serve as excellent DIY projects to complete over the weekend. You can make hutches out of pallets, shelves, and even old dressers.

    Here are 5 great DIY rabbit hutch tutorials from the web to get you started:

     

    Tiny Homesteaders.com “Making Yet Another Rabbit Hutch out of Pallet Crates"

    Space is a very important factor when building a hutch. Since your rabbit will spend a lot of time there, it’s important that they have enough room to move around.  This hutch is a great example of giving your rabbits enough space:

     Rabbit Hutch via TinyHomesteaders

    Photo Courtesy of Tinyhomesteaders.com

     

    Mother Earth News’ “DIY Rabbit Hutch from Wood Pallets”

    When building a hutch, it’s important to have at least part of it enclosed so it will be dark enough when your rabbits need to sleep—or so they can hide if they feel threatened by predators.

     Rabbit Hutch via Mother Earth News

    Photo Courtesy of Mother Earth News

     

    Monsterguide.net “How to Build a Rabbit Hutch”

    Since rabbit hutches require regular cleaning (we’re talking on at least a weekly basis), make sure your hutch is built in a way that provides you with easy access to get the job done—like this one.

    Rabbit Hutch via MonsterGuide dot net

    Photo Courtesy of Monsterguide.net

    Bettaliving.org’s DIY Rabbit Hutch Plans

    This step-by-step guide (with in-depth instructions and pictures for each step) is a great source if you want to build a hutch on the ground. Rabbit hutches built on the ground are better to use in warmer climates, but even then should provide a way for your bunnies to take shelter from predators or rain.

    Rabbit Hutch via BettaLiving.org

    Photo Courtesy of Bettaliving.org

    For Urban Homesteaders: DIY Project: Nicole’s Modern Bunny Hutch

    This hutch is made from an altered dresser. It’s a great method for building a hutch if you live in an apartment or don’t have yard space for a traditional hutch.

    Rabbit Hutch via Design Sponge

    Photo Courtesy of DesignSponge.com

     

    Looking for more tips on building a rabbit hutch? Check out these links:

    http://www.amillionlives.net/build-a-rabbit-hutch-protective-shelters-for-the-bunnies-dwelling.html

    http://www.dummies.com/how-to/content/getting-a-hunch-about-rabbit-hutches.html

     

    Have you ever made a rabbit hutch? What’s the best setup you’ve found?

    Posted In: Uncategorized Tagged With: raising animals, homesteading, DIY, rabbits

  • DIY SuperPail Step-by-Step

    |2 COMMENT(S)

    The Do-It-Yourself SuperPail ™ Combo is an excellent way for you to store your favorite bulk foods in your long-term storage.

    And it’s really simple to do—just pick one of the methods we’ve outlined below, and follow the steps. Easy peasy.

     Package your favorite bulk foods in our Super Pail combos

    Method One:

    1. Fill your metallized bag with dried product (not too full or you’ll have a hard time getting a good seal and fitting it into the bucket).
    2. Insert oxygen absorber.
    3. Heat-seal the metallized bag using a warm iron or industrial sealer.
    4. The easiest way to do this is to lay the bag down and place a board or other sturdy (and heat-safe) object under the edge of the bag, then pass over it with the iron.
    5. Be sure to get a complete seal; otherwise the bag won’t serve its purpose.
    6. Place the sealed bag inside the bucket and place the lid on top to close.

     

    Method Two:

    (Illustrated in the image above)

    1. Place the metallized bag inside the bucket and fold the excess over the lip of the bucket.
    2. Fill the bag with dried product.
    3. Insert oxygen absorber.
    4. Heat-seal the metallized bag using either a flat iron (a hair-styling tool) or a clothes iron and a piece of board to help you get a good seal.

    Now step back and take a look at all you’ve accomplished. New skill? Check. Bulk storage of your favorite dried foods? Check. General awesomeness? Check check.

    Looking for more DIY preparedness projects? Check out our DIY section on the blog.

    --Urban Girl

    Posted In: Food Storage, Insight Tagged With: SuperPail, Do it Yourself, SuperPails, DIY, food storage

  • Who Couldn't Use a Faraday Cage? (Plus How to Make One)

    |20 COMMENT(S)

    What It is

    A Faraday cage, also known as a Faraday shield, Radio Frequency Cage, or EMF (Electromotive Force) Cage, is simply an enclosure built to protect electronic devices from electromagnetic radiation and electrostatic discharges. It can be anything from a small box to a large room, covered with conductive metal or wire mesh, which prevents surges from damaging the equipment inside.

    The sources of these surges can be powerful lightning strikes, destructive solar flares (CMEs, or Coronal Mass Ejections) directed toward earth, or the effects of an EMP (electromagnetic pulse) from a nuclear bomb detonation high in the atmosphere.

    The device is named for Michael Faraday, who observed in 1836 that the excess charge from a conductor remained on the outside of a container and had no effect on the interior contents. He experimented by building a room coated with metal foil and allowed high-voltage discharges from a generator to strike the outside of it. He used an electroscope to show that there was no electric charge present on the inside of the room’s walls. Though the device bears Faraday’s name, Benjamin Franklin is believed to have been the first to discover the principle.

    Faraday cages, or shields, are used all throughout our society. Some are used in the scan-rooms of MRI machines, in which the “cage” effect prevents radio frequency signals from being added to the data from the patient’s image. Some electrical linemen wear “Faraday suits” when working on live, high-voltage power lines to prevent accidental electrocution. Military planners and politicians who have reason to keep their communications private often meet in Faraday-protected rooms that are impervious to electronic “eavesdropping.” In 2013, the Vatican even used the technology to shield the Sistine Chapel from curious listeners during the deliberations to select the new Pope.

    Many people buy Faraday bags to protect their cell phones and laptops both from electrical surges and from unwanted surveillance or tracking.

    According to the National Weather Service, an automobile is essentially a Faraday cage, and it’s the metal surrounding you, not the rubber tires, that protects you from lightning (as long as you’re not touching metal inside the car).[i] A smaller example is a microwave oven, which is a Faraday cage in reverse, trapping the waves inside the device instead of keeping them out. In fact, an old microwave oven makes a good Faraday cage for small electronics!

    Typical items that can be stored in a Faraday cage include

    • Laptop or notebook computers
    • Thumb drives or external hard drives
    • Cell phones
    • Ipads, iPods, and e-readers
    • Portable AM/Shortwave radios, ham radio equipment, and walkie-talkies
    • DC/AC inverters
    • Battery-powered radios

     

    Why You Might Need One

    Why, you may ask, would it do any good for you to have working electronics when everyone else’s would be down or destroyed? First of all, you might still be able to communicate with people outside the affected area (and it may be very difficult at first to determine how large that affected area is).

    Second, you won’t be the only “techie” who thought to protect valuable electronics in a Faraday cage. Some preppers do this as a matter of course, and eventually you would probably be able to communicate with them. (Cell towers, however, would likely be “fried” and need to be rebuilt).

    Communication at such a time would be extremely valuable. Unless there had been well-publicized warnings of impending CMEs in the days before the event, many people would have no idea what had happened to our world. Ham radio operators, who could communicate with other Hams around the globe, might become the new heroes of the day.

    Many AM/FM and shortwave radio stations believe that they’ll still be able to broadcast after an EMP or CME event, and without all the usual “noise” of our plugged-in society, their waves may be able to travel farther than they do now. Hopefully there would be Faraday-protected radios out there to receive their signals! There is, however, a likelihood that the earth’s electromagnetic field would be seriously disrupted by such an event, and it might take quite a while for things to settle down and not cause static on the airwaves.

    How to Make a Faraday Cage

    To be effective, a Faraday cage must:

    • Be covered with conductive metal or mesh. Copper is the most conductive metal, followed by aluminum. (Well--gold and silver are better, but we assume you won’t be covering your cage with those!)
    • Be properly grounded (according to some experts, to prevent shocks when touched)
    • Adequately surround whatever it’s protecting.

    In addition, whatever is inside should be adequately insulated from the cage itself, such as being placed on wood, in a cardboard box, or on a rubber mat so that it doesn’t touch any metal.

    Faraday Box # 1—The Galvanized Trash Can

    A Galvanized Trash Can can act like a Faraday Cage

    You will need

    • A galvanized metal trash can with a tight-fitting lid
    • Several boxes of heavy-duty aluminum foil
    • Enough metal screening or mesh to wrap around the top of the can and fit over the lip
    • Cardboard boxes of assorted sizes that fit inside the can
    • Plastic garbage bags or plastic wrap
    • Cloth pieces to wrap items

    Wrap the items you wish to protect first in cloth, then plastic, then 3-4 layers of heavy-duty foil, being sure that the foil is molded to the shape of the item and that each layer completely covers the previous one, with no tears or holes.

    Place your wrapped items in cardboard boxes. Tape shut, then wrap the entire box with 2 layers of foil.

    Line the trash can with cardboard, including the bottom, making sure there are no gaps. The foil-wrapped boxes must not touch the metal of the can. Set the can on wood or cardboard, not touching any other metal.

    Several experts say that simply putting the lid on the can, even if it fits tightly, is an insufficient seal. They suggest folding a sheet of metal screening around the top of the can and over the top lid and then forcing the lid over that to maintain a constant, tight-fitting metallic connection.

    Remember, this is for long-term storage of the appliances inside, not something that you can take your appliances out of to use and then return to the container without a great deal of trouble. A good idea is to look around for good deals on duplicates of things you use every day. Another important thing to remember is that you will need some type of charger—hand-cranked or solar-powered—to power up your devices once a crisis has passed. If you can wrap and store one of these in a protected Faraday container, you’ll be glad to have it. 

    Faraday Cage # 2—A Metal-Clad Box

    Any box made of non-conductive material such as plywood, and then totally covered with metal, metal mesh, or metal screening can serve as a Faraday cage. The metal must touch at all the corners and over and all around any opening for the protection to be complete, as an electrical charge will find its way through any gaps or crevices in the construction. The smaller the holes in the mesh or screen, the better the protection—but either mesh or screen is believed to work better than solid metal. The metal can be attached to the wood with staples or screws, whichever seems to work best for you. You might consider applying the metal mesh so that it folds around the corners. Then let the next piece overlap the edge of the first, securely fastened together and to the wood so that there is no break in the conductive shield.

    Updated: Living Off the Grid

    For those who don’t rely as heavily on electronic equipment for day-to-day life, the idea of Living Off the Grid is more realistic. Those who live off the grid don’t need to worry quite as much about EMP’s or CME’s causing havoc and chaos to their daily routine because they have already given up a lot of the equipment that would be affected by those electromagnetic pulses.

    However, living off the grid doesn't always mean going completely electronics-free.  In this case, living off the grid may not protect you from the aftermath of EMP’s or CME’s even if you produce your own electricity from an alternate source.  Faraday cages can benefit a variety of lifestyles to protect you and your electronics.

    There are many uncertainties about exactly what would happen in the case of an enormous release of electromagnetic energy in our civilized, plugged-in world. We can hope that nothing will happen to damage our electronics, but in case our hopes are vain, we’ll be happy for every measure we've taken to prepare!

    For more DIY projects, check out the articles below:

    DIY Tent Lamp

    Guest Post: Make a Paracord Bracelet

    Baby Steps: DIY Felted Wool Dryer Balls

    Emergency Essentials' DIY Laundry Detergent

     

    Sources:

    www.ehow.com/info__10047811-things-keep-faraday-box.htm
    www.ehow.com/how_8796313_make-faraday-cage-html
    www.thesurvivalistblog.net/building-a-faraday-cage
    www.wikipedia.org/wiki/Faraday_cage
    www.science.howstuffworks.com/faraday-cage.htm
    http://thesurvivalmom.com/2012/10/09/skill-of-the-month-make-a-faraday-cage/

     

     

    Posted In: Uncategorized Tagged With: Faraday Cage, disaster preparedness, DIY, emergency preparedness, preparedness, disaster, skills, emergency power

  • 10 Easy & Delicious Food Storage Meals

    |6 COMMENT(S)

    With our ever busy schedules, sometimes it seems there just isn't time to make gourmet meals, what with the prepping, cooking, eating, and cleaning up. With these food storage recipes, however, you get delicious meals every night of the week with less effort.

    Chicken A La King
    Make a savory meal of chicken, mushrooms, and noodles in a rich white sauce and you’re sure to make your evening gourmet without taking up the whole night to cook it.

    Food Storage Meal: Chicken A La King

    Easy Hearty Beef Stew
    With winter touching down all over, warm yourself up with a steaming bowl of hearty beef stew full of succulent beef and warm vegetables. Just put the ingredients together and let it simmer for 20 minutes.

    Linguini Chicken with Vegetables
    For a refreshing and filling pasta dish you won’t soon forget, try this combination of chicken, noodles, vegetables, and cheese with a tangy Ranch flavor. 

    Spicy Chicken
    Adventurers, when it comes to the world of food, get your taste buds ready for a spicy kick tonight! The Spicy Chicken combines jalapeño peppers, hot pepper sauce, onions, and chili powder to create an explosion of flavor on your plate.

    Food Storage Meals: Spicy Chicken

    Tropical Turkey Salad
    Transport yourself to paradise with the Tropical Turkey Salad—a refreshing blend of sweet, citrus fruits with the crunch of vegetables, all mixed in with succulent turkey. The meal itself will feel like a vacation.

    Breakfast Burrito
    A simple, yet delicious meal to eat morning or night (breakfast is always a good idea, no matter the time of day). The Breakfast Burrito combines sausage and refried beans with your basic egg, cheese, and pepper burrito. You could even add some additional breakfast side favorites into your burrito like hash browns or bacon. 

    Tuscan Tomato Soup
    Traditional, flavorful, and warm—this hearty tomato soup combines pork sausage with vegetables, cheese, and Italian seasoning for an unforgettable flavor. It's a fantastic meal by itself or to complement grilled cheese sandwiches (don’t forget the Yoder’s bacon on the sandwich!).

    Food Storage Meals: Tuscan Tomato Soup

    Easy Beef Stroganoff
    Using your food storage, you can easily make this hot, filling Beef Stroganoff in a matter of minutes!

    Oriental Chicken Salad
    Relish in the flavor of sweet fruits, green vegetables, and chicken with a sweet and sour dressing, served on a lettuce leaf.

    Food Storage Meals: Oriental Chicken Salad

    Provident Pantry Garden Omelet
    Add a healthy variety to your breakfast omelets with crisp vegetables from your food storage. Broccoli, green peppers, green onions, mushrooms, and tomatoes combine with your favorite omelet recipe to help you reach your daily vegetable servings. (Feel free to substitute any vegetables you dislike for ones you do).

    With 10 food storage meals that are this easy to make, you get to spend more time doing what you love.

    Do you have a favorite food storage meal or recipe that’s fast to make?

    Posted In: Uncategorized Tagged With: food storage meals, gourmet meals, DIY, emergency preparedness, preparedness, food storage

  • Baby Steps: DIY Felted Wool Dryer Balls

    |3 COMMENT(S)

    Looking for a unique DIY present? Why not give the gift of soft, sweet-smelling laundry all year long . . . (and no, we unfortunately don’t sell a laundry-scented 100-hour candle . . .)

    Last summer, we wrote a post about how to make DIY Laundry Detergent, so we decided that we needed to make something for your dryer, too. DIY Felted Wool Dryer Balls are a great present to give to your family, friends, and neighbors. I think they’re meaningful gifts and something that is useful to everyone.

    DIY Felted Wool Dryer Balls

    The benefits of DIY Felted Wool Dryer Balls

    • They reduce your drying time
    • They are free of chemicals often found in store bought dryer sheets
    • They reduce allergic reactions because they don’t include fragrances or chemicals
    • They fluff your laundry and reduce static cling
    • They are inexpensive to make (It only cost me $5.49 for the yarn. I already had the other supplies around my house)

    What You’ll Need

    • 100% Wool Yarn (not labeled ‘superwash’ or ‘machine washable’)—I found my wool yarn at Hobby Lobby. The brand was called “I Love this Wool.” Check your local craft store’s website for 100% wool yarn before making a trip there.
    • Scissors
    • A pair of old pantyhose
    • A blunt-tipped needle or crochet hook (a pen cap or tooth pick would work as well)
    • A little string or acrylic yarn (optional)
    • Essential Oil (optional)

    How You Make it

    1. Wrap a strand of wool yarn around the index and middle fingers of your non-dominant hand about 20 times. Pinch the wrapped yarn in the middle and pull it off your fingers. Wrap 4 or 5 loops of yarn around the center of this bundle to hold it securely. Using the bundle as the center of your ball, continue wrapping yarn around it in different directions, turning to achieve a fairly-tight ball shape. Continue until the ball is at least the size of a tennis ball.
    2. Use a blunt-tipped needle or crochet hook to tuck the end of your yarn under several layers of wrapped yarn until you can no longer see the end. Repeat the process described in steps 1 and 2 until you have 5 or 6 balls.
    3. Cut one leg off of an old pair of pantyhose (or use a knee -high stocking). Put one ball into the toe of the stocking, followed by the other dryer balls. Use the little string or acrylic yarn to section off each ball from one another (or just put one ball in the stocking at a time and tied a knot between them with the pantyhose). Tie off the open end of the stocking so that you have a “yarn-ball caterpillar.” Make sure you tie them tight! You don’t want them coming out in the washing machine.
    4. Throw the “yarn-ball caterpillar” into the washing machine with a load of whites or towels in hot water to begin the felting process. Then throw the caterpillar into the dryer.  You will want to wash and dry the caterpillar at least 2-4 times so that the yarn will felt and won’t come apart.
    5. Remove the dryer balls from the stocking. Then toss the balls into your dryer with a load of wet laundry. If you’d like, you can add 2-3 drops of your favorite essential oil to the balls to scent your laundry as they work.

    How do they work?

    For each load of laundry, the dryer balls will bounce around in the machine, separating your clothes, and allowing more hot air to circulate through the clothes. This excess air will allow your clothes to dry faster and the tumbling dryer balls will help to make the laundry soft and decrease wrinkles as they hit the clothes.

    How long will they last?

    This is the biggest question I had while making my own dryer balls: How long will they last? I scoured the internet for an answer to this question. The common consensus seemed to be 5 to 8+ years—they’ll last you for quite some time. However, if you use Essential oils, you’ll need to re-apply them regularly to the dryer balls to infuse that scent into your laundry.

    Wrap Em’ Up!

    These DIY Felted Wool Dryer Balls would be an excellent present because they are the gift that keeps on giving throughout the year (and beyond!)

    Place your wool Balls into a small wrapped basket or box and include a batch of our Emergency Essentials DIY Laundry Detergent to make a complete present. You can even leave a little note explaining how to use the dryer balls and what their purpose and benefits are.

    -Angela

    P.S. Speaking of laundry . . . top off your present with a Mobile Washer (hand operated washing machine). The Mobile Washer is perfect for washing clothes during a power outage or on a camping trip. All you need is a bucket, a little bit of your DIY Laundry Detergent, and a little bit of muscle to get your clothes clean. Check out how the Mobile Washer works in the video below.

     

    Sources:

    http://erinslittlesecrets.blogspot.com/2012/05/homestead-challenge-3-making-felted.html

    http://bodyunburdened.com/diy-wool-dryer-balls-natural-fabric-softener/

    http://www.diynatural.com/how-to-make-wool-dryer-balls/

    Posted In: Uncategorized Tagged With: DIY, baby steps, gifts, skills

  1. 1-10 of 16 items