Preparedness

Long Term Grain Storage

I want to thank 4Nana for commenting on my General Store post, and asking specifically for more information on long term grain storage.  I branched out a little on Ditch the Grid this morning, and prepared a how-to video on grain storage.

Although I briefly mention it in the video, one of the questions 4Nana asked was if I wash my grains prior to storage.  I do not wash my grains. And honestly, I don’t think I would recommend doing that.  There’s too much that can go wrong – like not having all the moisture out of the grain before repackaging it, and ending up with bags of moldy grain.  If you don’t trust the quality or cleanliness of your grains, I would suggest finding another source.  With that said, I present you with the following tutorial on long term grain storage.   Enjoy!

This process will work for most any dry products: grains, legumes, seeds, dry milk, dehydrated fruits and veggies, nuts, etc.  The only item I wouldn’t really suggest doing this with is ground flour.  The reason being that flour doesn’t retain it’s nutrition all that long anyway.  So it’s not a good item for long term storage.  You’re better off storing your whole grains and grinding your flour as needed.  I’ve included some links at the end of the post for where to buy grains and supplies for your long term food storage.

On another note:  I just ran out to give my landlord this month’s rent check, and he mentioned that he’s going to drop a load of aged horse manure in the garden for me today (aka: compost).  Yay!  Of course, it was supposed to be nice today, but it’s raining and snowing again.  *sigh*  I hope Spring shows up one of these days! But I’ll get that spread out, and run to town to get some black dirt to add to the mix.  It’ll need another tilling or two (whenever it stops being awful outside!) before planting.  But at this rate, I’m clearly NOT going to be planting a single thing until June 1st, which is the traditional planting date.  So I’ve got a couple weeks to keep working on the plot to get it in the best condition possible before sewing seed and transplanting starts.

The landlord also mentioned that the neighbor at the end of the road saw two mountain lions in the pasture the other day.  Apparently one killed a deer out there.  So I’ll have to keep a close watch on Bella.  I’ve seen bears out here, but never mountain lions.  Those are not my favorite mountain critters.  They’re scary, and just so unpredictable.  *shudder* 

Here are some links for places to purchase good, clean whole grains and food storage supplies:

Wheat Montana – They carry gamma lids for your buckets, as well as whole grains, beans, specialty grains and cereals.  I can personally vouch for the quality of their grains.  They sell both organic and conventional grains in a variety of quantities.  If you live in Montana, you can order at your local Wheat Montana deli and save the shipping charges.

GrainMaker – This is my manual grain mill.  I love it!  Although, I understand they’ve raised the price of their mills.  But still, I think it’s worth the expense.  There are other companies out there that make both manual and electric grain mills.  I recommend finding one that you like – fresh ground flour is light years ahead of mass produced store-bought flour in terms of nutrition, taste and quality!

USA Emergency Supply – providers of mylar bags, oxygen absorbers, buckets and gamma lids, as well as other supplies for your long term food storage.  They offer bags and oxygen absorbers in a variety of sizes, and also have mylar bags with zip lock tops to help keep your grains fresh after you’ve opened the bag for use.

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Categories: Food Storage, Gardening, Preparedness | 9 Comments

Snowicane (like a snow hurricane)

While we’re not getting the sheer magnitude of snow the folks out east are seeing, today’s definitely a quintessential Montana winter day.  They said it was going to snow, so I thought it would be a great day to head up to the ski hill.  Ummmmm.  I don’t recall hearing anything about this wind that’s accompanying the snow!  It’s darn near a hurricane out there – what I’ve termed the “Snowicane.”  So Bella and I are hunkered down inside, eating (way too hot) chili, drinking chocolate milk and catching up on blog reading.

Mayberry has been writing a fantastic story over the past few months.  It had trailed off for a few weeks, but he picked it back up again a few days ago, and it’s amazingly exciting.  Filled with good ideas and knowledge to consider, too.  I highly recommend heading over to: http://mayberryspreppernetworks.blogspot.com/ and starting from the beginning.  It’s written in diary style, and I’m totally hooked.

It’s hard to think about gardening with the snowicane outside… but I probably need to start considering what I want to grow this summer.  And I can guarantee you I won’t be ordering seed from the “big” seed companies – I learned a lot about them over the past two years, including that many of their seeds are genetically modified.  No thanks.  I want to stick to items that can be canned, or otherwise stored for a good long time.  Carrots will be grown, but I’m not going to can them again.  Canned carrots are icky.  I still have several jars in the pantry, and I just don’t know what to do with them.  I can probably come up with some kind of “root cellar” contraption out in the barn for the carrots and potatoes.  I hear storing root veggies in coolers and/or galvanized trash cans can be easy to do without having to dig up the yard and building an honest-to-goodness root cellar.  I picked up a root cellaring book a couple months ago, but haven’t read it yet.  Too many books, not enough time.

I need to yank out an old notebook that I had started that listed the skills I wanted to learn.  Some of them have been figured out, but there are others I haven’t even touched yet.  Reading Mayberry’s story kind of kicks my butt back into action.  Since I’m not doing anything else this afternoon, perhaps I’ll re-visit the list.

Stay warm!

Categories: Food Storage, Gardening, Misc Musings, Preparedness, Skills & Info | Leave a comment

Dream a little dream with me….

I woke up to this dream this morning.  It scared the bejezuz out of me.

I was laying on the floor in the living room, kind of half asleep.  My Dad was sitting on a chair a few feet away when a brilliant light came shining in the window.  I woke up enough for my Dad to say “What the heck is that?  A UFO?”  I peeked out the window at the sky just in time to see a huge ship what seemed like just feet above our house.  I ran to a window on the other side of the room and watched as it passed over our house and headed in toward the city (Chicago).  We turned on the news to see if there were any reports, but there weren’t.  They were just talking about an earthquake that had hit California overnight.  I went back to the window to see if I could still see it, and I noticed it above the city, trying to pull up to gain elevation.  It seemed to be having trouble, then crashed and settled in among the buildings of North Michigan Avenue.  Again, consulting the news to see if there were any reports – but again, nothing.  We looked back out the window to see if we could see any helicopters heading over to investigate, but instead what we saw scared the living hell out of us!  Airplanes and helicopters falling out of the air, and up in the atmosphere what appeared to be a million tiny explosions and a double ring of fire as all the satellites and air traffic in the sky bagan to fall to the earth.  I had the sinking feeling that “this was it.”  This is what we had been preparing for.  This was the end of civilization as we knew it.

I tried to pull out my cell phone to call Allen to let him know what was going on, and that I was on my way.  But being a cell phone, it didn’t work.  I would close it, and see that I had full service, but as soon as I tried to use it, it would just die out.  I was terrified – I couldn’t get a hold of him, but knew that I had to get to him somehow.

That’s when I woke up.

My first thoughts upon waking:

  • I only had a quarter-tank of gas – not enough to get to Allen’s house.  Task #1 for today: fill up with gas.
  • I didn’t have a 72-hour kit put together, so I would be scrambling to get what I needed.  Task #2 for today: Put my kit together.
  • I only have about 2-3 meals worth of dog food for Bella. Task #3 for today: Buy two (not just one) big bag of food, and put one in storage.
  • All of my food is scattered in my kitchen, I would have to grab armloads and carry them to my truck before leaving for Allen’s house.  Task #4: develop a plan for transporting food stores in case of emergency when I would need to evacuate.

It’s like this dream… this apocalyptic, prophetic dream, is what I needed to wake up and get my arse in gear.  TEOTWAWKI can come at any time, and in any form.  And regardless of how much I’ve tried to prepare – I’m not prepared.

Task #5 for today:  Get on it!

I’ll be back with some garden updates and pictures soon.  We tilled the entire plot this weekend, did more destoning and actually planted some asparagus and strawberry starts that we had in the garage (before they started growing in the bags!).  It’s going to be 62* and sunny here in western Montana today.  It’s feeling more like May than March.

Categories: Gardening, Preparedness | 3 Comments

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