Monday, June 28, 2021

I've Been AWOL

Of course, you all knew that, didn't you.

Sometimes in the aftermath of an event in our lives – particularly a sad one – we think we are doing better than we really are. Such has been the case here, but with the help from friends and family, I am slowly getting back to whatever normal is these days. Thank you for your patience.

My children are going above and beyond the call of duty to make sure Mom is alright. Yesterday Youngest Son brought his family to spend the afternoon with me. It was fun to hear what the Grands had been up to. David and I took a stroll down Memory Lane, talking about his Grandparents and about how living on the farm that had been in his Dad's family for several generations had shaped his appreciation for life and his love for the land.

Those who have houses or homesteads may not understand some of the challenges we apartment dwellers face in our preparedness journey. I am finding that I am quite literally out of space to store preps. I did manage to fill four banker's boxes and turn them into a makeshift coffee table with a crocheted afghan thrown over them and adding a plant and some books on top. It is one of the few plans that actually works.

In the process of clearing off a shelf to fill boxes, I discovered two cases of half pint jars full of canned bacon. I had forgotten they were there. The only good thing I can say about old age memory loss is that sometimes it results in some really good surprises. :)

I know I have been preaching 'stack it to the rafters,' but I believe I am going to have to slow down some. If I don't, my little apartment is in danger of looking like one of those hoarder's houses!

I still have some canning to do – meat from my freezer – a batch of ham and beans and a batch of vegetable beef soup. I have room to store those jars, but that is all.

I don't just store food. I use it. So my new strategy is to keep a list of what I use and replace it accordingly. I wish I had a basement or a spare room. I don't. Neither do many apartment people. So we adapt and do the best we can with what we have to work with. At least we will have something to eat should the lights go out, which is more than I can say for those who aren't paying attention to the crazy world round us.

Friday, June 18, 2021


the temps here in Minnesota have dropped to a reasonable level. The canning has begun.

My grocery order arrived yesterday and in it were 1 cabbage, 4 lbs. of carrots, 2 bunches of celery, 3 lbs. of onions, 2 lbs. of frozen corn and 2 lbs. of frozen peas, along with 12 lbs. of frozen chicken breast.

Yesterday afternoon and evening were spent chopping, slicing and dicing. The meat was cut into about one inch pieces.

This morning I filled pint jars with a heaping quarter cup of chicken and topped that off with the veggies, adding water, leaving an inch of headspace and dropping one chicken bouillon cube into each jar for flavor. The jars were pressure canned for 75 minutes.

So far I have 32 pints of chicken/veg mix and there is at least enough left for another canner load of 16 pints – maybe more.

I have canned this mix before. It makes good soup, stew and pot pie filling. I have used it in casseroles and served it over rice. It is my main 'go to' canned food. I have also canned a version using beef, adding a beef bouillon cube and some tomato powder to each jar. Both varieties are good for quick, easy meals.

As long as Mother Nature has decided to turn down the heat a bit, I will be clearing out the freezer and canning up most of the meat. We were lucky this time in that we didn't lose power during the heat wave, but I have seen where some parts of the country had those problems. Meat is getting more expensive by the day and I am not willing to risk losing what I have. By canning it, I will have shelf stable meat.

With the direction our country seems to be headed these days, the more I can put on the shelves now, the better.

I don't want to be a prophet of doom. I would rather look at the positive side of things. But lately that seems to be a stretch. If the current power grabbers have their way, we will be dependent upon them for our very existence. I know that most who stop by this silly little blog agree that we are not hard wired to tow the mark. We would much rather do for ourselves than stand in line for a handout.

So we prepare. We do everything we can to remain independent. Because at the end of the day, we can live no other way.

Friday, June 11, 2021

Playing Hooky

I feel like a kid who is playing hooky from school, but without the fun involved. Here in Minnesota it has been hot. And humid. Youngest son called me yesterday and said the thermometer on his truck that reads outdoor temperature said 103 degrees. The air, even inside, feels heavy. It has not been a productive week.

On the positive side, a box fan moves the cooler air around my apartment making life more pleasant.

I feel sorry for those who have outside jobs. My youngest son oversees several landscaping crews. He has been filling a cooler with bottles of water and Gatorade to hand out to the workers. Having done that kind of work for several years, he knows how miserable it can be, working in this kind of heat.

A few years ago my oldest son told me about a trick he used while working in a hot restaurant kitchen. He would get towels wet, wring out the excess water and toss the towels into the freezer. When frozen, they were still pliable enough to drape around the back of his neck. I have been doing the same thing with some of my flour sack type of kitchen towels. Works like a charm.

The weather guessers say it should be a little cooler and less humid starting tomorrow. Hopefully I can begin canning up the meat in my freezer without turning my apartment into a sauna.

I hope things are more pleasant where you are. Keep on prepping and praying!

Friday, June 4, 2021

Flexibility and Solutions

First there was the attack on the oil refinery. Then came the hack of the meat processing company. So I have to wonder, what's next. My best guess is the power grid.

My crystal ball is broken, so I can not see into the future. But common sense tells me that should we lose power, I could lose all the meat that is left in my freezer. And there is a substantial amount and it would cost me a fair amount of cash to replace what I bought at last year's prices.

So the plan was to thaw out much of it tonight and start canning it in the morning. Until I took a look at our local weather forecast, which is for temps in the mid 90's for the next several days. When you live in a three room apartment in a building that was constructed in the late 1800's and has an air conditioning system that sometimes struggles to keep up, perhaps heating the place up by running a pressure canner is not the smartest move. A cool down is coming. I will wait.

Most in the prepper community know about flexibility. Things don't always go according to plan. Which is why we usually have a plan B.

This same three room apartment is sorely lacking in storage space and if I don't come up with a solution as to where I am going to put the additions to my preps, I am soon going to be tripping over cases of canned goods.

I asked my youngest son to bring me some of those banker's boxes with lids. Unlike buckets or plastic tubs, the boxes can be folded up and stashed behind the couch when not in use.

Three of the boxes fit in front of my couch. Three more fit on top of the first three. I plan to spend the next few days filling them mostly with canned food from the grocery store along with some of my home canned food. That will get some of the food off the floor and make walking through the room where most of it is stored less of a hazard. Each box is labeled as to contents. Toss a quilt over the boxes, add a couple of books and maybe a potted plant on top and – drum roll, please – a storage coffee table.

Even though I have been taking time to do some of the things I enjoy – this past week it has been sewing – the need to continue to add to the stores doesn't go away. Learning to be flexible and finding practical solutions to problems are just a part of preparedness.

I doubt things are going to get better any time soon. The tyrannical politicians, both local and federal, aren't going to relinquish their power easily. We have a better chance of surviving the insanity if we can roll with the punches and find solutions to problems. That being said, it is my sincere belief that the most important thing of all is heartfelt prayer.