Squash Chips

  Squash ChipsWhen they were in abundance at our farmer’s market, I bought a bunch of summer squash. They are not one of my favorite frozen foods. In an attempt to find an alternative way to preserve them, I dehydrated them in our Sun Oven®.  They were sliced in a uniform thickness of 1/4”, spread on parchment paper and sprinkled with seasoned salt and dried oregano. Placed in the Sun Oven® and kept at a temperature of less than 100ºF. by leaving the door propped open, they were dehydrated in 24 hours.

The plan was to store them in glass canning jars, add an oxygen absorber and pull a vacuum seal. That happened on the second batch. The first batch never made it that far. We sampled them and the next thing we knew, we had eaten them all. What a treat! They were better than potato chips and no cooking required. I may never cook summer squash again. Try this and let us know you seasoning recipe.

Squash Chips

Squash Chips

Billie Nicholson, editor
November, 2014

This month’s article includes:

Thanksgiving Day – An American Tradition  a change of economic systems led to this holiday for expressing gratitude  http://www.sunoven.com/archives/12222

A Winter “To Do” List  http://www.sunoven.com/archives/12232  Don’t let cold weather catch you unprepared.

Use household items to make your own Gel packs for sprains and swollen joints.  http://www.sunoven.com/archives/12238

Inviting pests to leave your home this winter, naturally. http://www.sunoven.com/archives/12260

Commit these ground to air emergency codes to memory. You may need them this winter. http://www.sunoven.com/archives/12243

 

Super size your rain water storage  http://www.sunoven.com/archives/12265

French style Stew   http://www.sunoven.com/archives/12032

Super-Size Your Rain Barrel for Water Storage


Super size water storageIt’s nice to have a supply of rainwater for gardening purposes and, with that in mind, we put a rain barrel to collect water from off the roof of our shop. The usual rain barrel system has a single plastic drum placed under the downspout on the corner of a building. About 30,000 gallons of rainwater falls on the roof of the average home per year. So there is plenty of water to go around. Excess water overflows the barrel and is absorbed into the ground.

We do not want to use valuable stored drinking water for cleaning, washing and hygiene if we lose access to our regular water supply. We decided to expand the amount of rainwater storage by adding two additional water barrels next to our existing one. We used sturdy plastic trashcans we had on hand.

When installing any water catchment system it is necessary to make sure that each barrel is on a sturdy base and is level. As a base we used cinder blocks and 2×4 pressure treated lumber.

Super size water storage

We drilled holes into the trash-can lids and installed garden hoses from one barrel to the next. To keep the hose ends from floating we placed a weight on the hose end. Before inserting the hose fully in place we charged each hose with water so that there would be a siphon-effect between the barrels.

When the water is used from one barrel the other barrels drain too. They also fill up the same way through the siphon-effect. As a final touch we placed a screen barrier at each hole so the mosquitos would not breed in the stored water. We treated the water by adding non-scented, not detergent bleach in the amount of 12 ounces per 50 gallon barrel. This prevents algae from growing in the water. We now have 150 gallons of rainwater storage capacity.

Super Size water storage

 

Robert Nicholson
November 2014

This month’s article includes:

Thanksgiving Day – An American Tradition  a change of economic systems led to this holiday for expressing gratitude  http://www.sunoven.com/archives/12222

A Winter “To Do” List  http://www.sunoven.com/archives/12232  Don’t let cold weather catch you unprepared.

Use household items to make your own Gel packs for sprains and swollen joints.  http://www.sunoven.com/archives/12238

Inviting pests to leave your home this winter, naturally. http://www.sunoven.com/archives/12260

Commit these ground to air emergency codes to memory. You may need them this winter. http://www.sunoven.com/archives/12243

Squash Chips – an alternate way to preserve summer squash without freezing.  http://www.sunoven.com/archives/12272

French style Stew   http://www.sunoven.com/archives/12032

 

Inviting Pests To Leave Your Home This Winter, Naturally

Robert & Billie Nicholson

The winter months have their joys and challenges. As cold weather arrives the warm, inviting interiors of our homes bring comfort to us. They also invite unwanted critters of all sorts inside. We are speak of rodents or insects, not relatives, if you build it they will come. We know that humans are a small part of the total animal kingdom, but we don’t have to share the interior of our homes with them.

How do we deal with unwanted animals and insects when they invite themselves into our homes?  You could call a professional pest control company.  Most professionals do a fine job at a fair price.  There are lots of sources for do it yourself solutions including dedicated DIY stores, online outlets and hardware stores.  Most popular solutions have their pros and cons. Pros are “fast and effective when used as directed and easy to use”. Remember to follow application instructions and do not apply more poison than directed. Cons include “expensive and toxic”.

We prefer to use homemade, natural pest control methods. These methods are inexpensive, natural, and less toxic than commercial preparations.

For rodents: Check walls inside and outside of your home for small holes and patch them. Keep your home clean. Keep trashcans as far away from our home as possible. Obtain 100% peppermint oil and wipe along the areas where rodents tend to run and around doorway thresholds. Keep a cat and place litter box close to the door. Keep a dog. Visit a reptile center and bring home snake poo to place near entrances. Use traps or spray diluted hot pepper sauce along rodent runs and doorways. For more info visit  http://www.wikihow.com/Get-Rid-of-Mice-Naturally

Pests leave naturally

For insects: For Carpenter ants that eat the wood of buildings call a professional immediately. For all other ants, roaches and hard shelled insects we use a simple mix of ½ cup sugar, 1 Tbsp. Borax, as in 20 Mule Team, & ¼ cup water. Microwave till it becomes syrup and cool liquid. Store extra ant bait in a small jar, MARK IT IN BIG LETTERS and store it away from children as you would do for any dangerous substance. Place the end of a Q-tip in the solution. Put cut off Q- tip onto a small square of waxed paper where ants or roaches are found. Place bait where ant scouts are or under sinks and near drains. Be patient as ant scouts and workers take their find back to the colony. After a few days they will stop coming for their feast as the poison takes effect. Recently our shower had an invasion of ants. When I observed the scouts I placed a small spot of pre-made solution directly on the tile. Within minutes the workers were on station. When they ran low on our special syrup I just brought more for them. Soon they were gone. Other tips can be found by visiting http://www.wikihow.com/Get-Rid-of-Ants-Naturally

November 2014

This month’s article includes:

Thanksgiving Day – An American Tradition  a change of economic systems led to this holiday for expressing gratitude  http://www.sunoven.com/archives/12222

A Winter “To Do” List  http://www.sunoven.com/archives/12232  Don’t let cold weather catch you unprepared.

Use household items to make your own Gel packs for sprains and swollen joints  http://www.sunoven.com/archives/12238

Super size your rain water storage  http://www.sunoven.com/archives/12265

Commit these ground to air emergency codes to memory. You may need them this winter. http://www.sunoven.com/archives/12243

Squash Chips – an alternate way to preserve summer squash without freezing  http://www.sunoven.com/archives/12272

French style Stew   http://www.sunoven.com/archives/12032

Ground to Air Emergency Code

If you go hiking or skiing, these symbols may be useful should you need to communicate with a rescue team from afar. You need to send a message your rescuer will understand. Keep a copy of these symbols in your jacket pocket or better yet, commit these to memory.

Symbol              Message

I                        Serious injuries, need a doctorEmergency Ground to Air Emergency Code

II                        Need medical supplies

V                        Require assistance

F                         Need food and water

LL                       All is well

Y                         Yes

N                         No

X                         Require medical assistance

–>                       Proceeding in this direction

Go to a large clear area on the highest terrain. Use whatever you can find as a marker that can be seen from aircraft or search parties.  Pick items that will contrast with the ground. When all else fails, remember the international symbol : SOS

Billie Nicholson, Editor
November 2014

This month’s article includes:

Thanksgiving Day – An American Tradition  a change of economic systems led to this holiday for expressing gratitude  http://www.sunoven.com/archives/12222

A Winter “To Do” List  http://www.sunoven.com/archives/12232  Don’t let cold weather catch you unprepared.

Use household items to make your own Gel packs for sprains and swollen joints  http://www.sunoven.com/archives/12238

Super size your rain water storage  http://www.sunoven.com/archives/12265

Inviting pests to leave your home this winter, naturally http://www.sunoven.com/archives/12260

Squash Chips – an alternate way to preserve summer squash without freezing  http://www.sunoven.com/archives/12272

French style Stew   http://www.sunoven.com/archives/12032

Home-made Gel Packs

Have you ever had a sprained ankle or knee? Icy gel packs can offer relief of pain and swelling. They are most effective when they can be fitted around the swollen joint to cool the inflamed area thoroughly. You can make your own version of gel packs from everyday things around your house.

Components Needed

  • Water
  • Rubbing (isopropyl) alcohol
  • Water tight freezer bag – quart size

 

Directions

  • 1 1/2 cups of water and 1/2 cup of alcohol to the plastic bag and seal it.
  • Place bag in the freezer for 3 hours (put it in a small bowl to keep it upright).
  • The alcohol will not let the fluid freeze solid, it stays slushy, for a better fit around an injured joint.
  • When needed, remove the bag from the freezer and apply it to the swollen area.
  • Elevate the injured area above the heart if possible. Cold compression and elevation work together to prevent the injured area from swelling.
  • To prevent frost bite or cold burns, place a towel or wash cloth between the plastic bag and the skin.
  • Alternate 20 minutes with the cold compress and 2 hours without the compress for 3 days or until the swelling completely subsides.
  • If the swelling is severe, you can reapply the compress after 30 minutes for the first 1-2 hours after the injury occurs. IF SWELLING PERSISTS, SEE A DOCTOR.

Billie Nicholson, editor
November 2014

This month’s article includes:

Thanksgiving Day – An American Tradition  a change of economic systems led to this holiday for expressing gratitude  http://www.sunoven.com/archives/12222

A Winter “To Do” List  http://www.sunoven.com/archives/12232  Don’t let cold weather catch you unprepared.

Commit these ground to air emergency codes to memory. You may need them this winter. http://www.sunoven.com/archives/12243

Commit these ground to air emergency codes to memory. You may need them this winter. http://www.sunoven.com/archives/12243

Super size your rain water storage  http://www.sunoven.com/archives/12265

Squash Chips – an alternate way to preserve summer squash without freezing  http://www.sunoven.com/archives/12272

French style Stew   http://www.sunoven.com/archives/12032

A Winter “To Do” List

  1. Stock up on staples – buy items you like to eat including some things that require little or no cooking
  2. Winter clothing update
    1. Check for fit – for both adults and children
    2. Boots, hats, gloves, coats – depending on your location and your outdoor exposure
    3. Layers for added warmth – plan on thermal underwear, sweaters and jackets, ear covers
  3. Winterize your garden
    1. Clean up garden beds discarding dead plants
    2. Mulch items that overwinter
    3. Prepare protective coverings for cold hardy plants
    4. Final harvest – before a hard freeze ruins them
    5. Bring some plants inside – herbs are always welcome and add a flair to foods
    6. Put away plant cages – tomato cages need to be cleaned and stacked
    7. Store irrigation timers, removing batteries and put hoses inside after draining
  4. Plans to stay warm
    1. Sealing the windows and doors to minimize cold drafts
    2. Generator & fuel for power outages – run monthly to keep battery charged and seals lubricated
    3. Alternative energy sources – wood or biomass logs
  5. Prepare to shelter & feed livestock including pets
  6. Organize emergency tools together
    1. Flashlights and lanterns – extra batteries and oil
    2. Shovels and ice scrappers
    3. Water turn-off tool in case of burst pipe; cover outside spigots
  7. Winterize your vehicle
    1. Emergency supplies to eat, drink & keep warm for your emergency car kit
    2. Check battery health – clean up any battery cable corrosion
    3. Fill windshield washer reservoir with fluid containing antifreeze solution
    4. Check radiator antifreeze level
    5. Check tire pressure to reduce wear on tires
    6. Keep a bag of kitty litter in the car to help get out of slippery places

8. Pick an indoor hobby

Billie Nicholson, Editor
November 2014

 

This month’s article includes:

Thanksgiving Day – An American Tradition  a change of economic systems led to this holiday for expressing gratitude  http://www.sunoven.com/archives/12222

Use household items to make your own Gel packs for sprains and swollen joints  http://www.sunoven.com/archives/12238

Commit these ground to air emergency codes to memory. You may need them this winter. http://www.sunoven.com/archives/12243

Commit these ground to air emergency codes to memory. You may need them this winter. http://www.sunoven.com/archives/12243

Super size your rain water storage  http://www.sunoven.com/archives/12265

Squash Chips – an alternate way to preserve summer squash without freezing  http://www.sunoven.com/archives/12272

French style Stew   http://www.sunoven.com/archives/12032

Waste Not … Want Not … Making Apple Cider Vinegar

Return to Knowledge Basics

     Last fall we wrote about several ways to preserve apples. We canned apple slices, apple sauce and dried apple slices in the Sun Oven®. This year, we’ve had an abundant harvest of apples again. With all that apple preservation, we were left with piles of apple cores and peelings. Homemakers of times past had the perfect use for all this “waste” – making vinegar!
So this year, we decided to give it a try.
The process includes four steps and can take up to six weeks to complete.Apple Cider Vinegar

1. Make a clean cider from ripe apples.
2. Convert all the fruit sugar to alcohol through a process called alcohol fermentation.
3. Change all the alcohol to acetic acid referred to as acetic acid fermentation.
4. Clarify the acetic acid to prevent further fermentation and decomposition.1

Which Apples are Best?

     Fall and winter apple varieties are best for making vinegar because their sugar content is higher than summer apples. Gather fruit and wash it well. We soaked our apples in a diluted solution of vinegar in water. This is recommended to remove any surface pesticides and most of the surface bacteria. While the fruit is soaking in the vinegar solution, thoroughly wash and rinse some half-gallon jars (a good run through the dishwasher works well, too).
Peel and core the apples. Leave the scraps to air. They’ll turn brown. Fill the jar about 3/4 full of scraps and top with filtered (non-chlorinated) water. We covered the jars with coffee filters held in place with a rubber band and placed the jars into a container (to catch the foam-over from the fermentation process.) Cover and place in a warm, dark place (60-80ºF.) You can leave it for up to a month. You’ll notice the contents of the jar thickens and foams and a grayish scum forms on top. 2
We separated the peelings and cores from the liquid after a week, strained the liquid into clean jars, covered them, put them back in the warm space and left them to ferment. After about a month, you can taste test it for strength. When it pleases you, strain it again and bottle it. It may be cloudy and have a sediment. This is “the mother.” This slimy looking thing consists of acetic acid bacteria and cellulose. It’s a natural product of the vinegar-making process. Filtration through a coffee filter will remove most of it.                  There are lots of uses for apple cider vinegar,3 from drinking it, rinsing your hair with it and using it as a cleaning product – don’t forget making pickles! Let us know what uses you have for apple cider vinegar at editor@sunoven.com. 

Making Apple Cider Making Apple Cider OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

References

  1. http://www.earthclinic.com/remedies/how_to_make_apple_cider_vinegar.html
  2. http://thehealthyeatingsite.com/apple-cider-vinegar-recipe/
  3. http://www.rd.com/home/150-household-uses-for-vinegar/2/

Billie Nicholson, Editor

October 2014

Additional articles in this month’s issue:

Prepper Camp™ Recap
What’s in Your Every Day Carry Kit?
How’s Your Battery
Emergency Medical Assessment
10 things You’ll Regret Not Having Enough of When the SHTF by Elise Xavier,
Escaping a Riot

Our Solar Chef presents Solar Apple Potato Soup 

Escaping a Riot

What to Do When

Escaping a Riot

http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/User:Mstyslav_Chernov/gallery

Riots can be as dangerous and as unpredictable as a natural disaster. They result in thousands of deaths and billions of dollars in property damage each year. Here are some steps to help protect yourself, should you get caught in the middle of a “community unrest” situation.

  1. Be aware – pay attention to events happening in your community or a city you might be visiting. Avoid riot-prone areas. Any crowd can become dangerous if the general mood becomes angry or hysteric. Know where you are in the community and be aware of escape routes; have several of them. Look for crossroads. This will give you an alternate route to take away from protestors or riot police. Always carry some cash in case you need to arrange another form of transportation or purchase food or drinks. You do not want to be considered a looter.
  2. Stay Calm – keep your emotions in check and don’t get caught up in the “mob mentality.” Avoid confrontations, keep your head down but be looking for an escape route, keep moving at a steady pace. Move to a place you can get inside away from the mayhem. Keep away from windows when inside, lock doors and windows, and look for a couple of exits in case you need them.
  3. Keep Companions Close - lock elbows, hold children in your arms, and keep up a reassuring dialog. Your focus should be getting away from the danger.
  4. Don’t Get Involved - your goal should be to keep as low a profile as possible and continue to move away from the center of action. If you are in the middle of a crowd, move toward the outside calmly and slowly.
  5. Drive Appropriately - stay in your car and remain calm, lock your doors, driving carefully but with intent. Should your vehicle become a target, get out and leave it behind. Otherwise, sound your horn and drive carefully around or through a group. Give them time to get out of the way. DO NOT drive toward a police line. They consider vehicles a deadly weapon and may react accordingly.
  6. Avoid Heavy Traffic areas - know alternate routes to get you over, around, or through a crowed area. Safety is the major issue here, not necessarily the quickest way home.
  7. Maintain Maneuverability - if a mob or the police rush your way, step sideways or move diagonally between groups rather than trying to out-run them.
  8. Communication - cell phone channels may be unavailable in the event of a major event. Resort to text messages. Look for phone booths; often they will have priority over other land lines when a system overloads.
  9. Carry a Flashlight - people often panic in the dark. Light a path and you can see where to go.
  10. Avoid Public Transportation – buses and taxis can become a target you don’t want to be trapped inside. Metro trains may be shut down and the stations can be full of people, waiting for another spark of hysteria to incite violence.
  11. Be Bold - act like you know what you’re doing and where you are going. Move and speak with confidence. Use an authoritarian, but not hostile, voice and people will listen. Most of all, think clearly about escape.

References:

http://www.wikihow.com/Survive-a-Riot
http://www.atmosphericsunlimited.com/blog/2013/05/how-to-survive-a-riot/
http://survivallife.com/2014/09/17/7-tips-for-surviving-a-mob-of-looters-2/?utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=9-17-14-content-mail
http://survivallife.com/?p=14931/?utm_source=newsletter&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=8-30-wrapup

Billie Nicholson, editor

October 2014

Additional articles in this month’s issue:

Prepper Camp™ Recap
What’s in Your Every Day Carry Kit?
How’s Your Battery
Emergency Medical Assessment
10 things You’ll Regret Not Having Enough of When the SHTF by Elise Xavier,
Waste Not … Want Not… Making Apple Cider Vinegar

Our Solar Chef presents Solar Apple Potato Soup 

 

 

How’s Your Battery Health?

Robert and Billie Nicholson

Batteries Required

We as a species take for granted many aspects of our modern lives. Most of our daily routine uses devices that require batteries. From automobiles to fire alarms to iPods and beyond, the list of battery using devices we depend on is almost endless.  We prepare for the unforeseen emergencies of life by purchasing life, home and car insurance. Likewise, we insure our safety and comfort by preparing for emergencies by putting aside a short wave radio, extra flashlights, walkie-talkies, and other supplies.  Most all of these devices require batteries and are useless without them. A regular schedule of battery checking and maintenance helps insure that our devices work correctly when we need them.

Rechargeable Batteries

Battery HealthWhen we store emergency electronic devices we always store the batteries separately from the device in a Zip lock bag. This way if a battery fails and corrodes the device is not damaged. We recently checked all our batteries and found that some had leaked, others were out of date, and others were too weak to be effective. We are changing over to rechargeable batteries to save money. Rechargeable batteries cost more, but save money over their useful life. One could decide that a solar or hand generated electric device is the way to go. If so consider the human energy needed to use the device over long periods of time. We have a solar battery charger. It is slow to charge but it does work. Our battery charger handles AAA, AA, C, D and 9volt sizes.  I also use a multi task meter to keep track of battery voltage. With the winter season coming soon cooler temperatures will make your battery health even more challenging as cold drains batteries of their charge more quickly.   Battery Health

Cleaning Battery Leakage

If your device ends up having minor battery acid leakage, use baking soda and water on a Q tip to clean. If your device has minor alkaline battery leakage, use vinegar on a Q tip to clean. Follow with clean water on a Q tip and a dry paper towel. Use liquid sparingly around electronic devices. Complete instructions are posted on the internet in videos.

For every cloud there is always a silver lining. In an emergency, if your batteries fail because you didn’t take care of them on a regular schedule, you can always use your electronic devices as doorstops.

Emergency Medical Assessment

Dr. James Hubbard, The Survival Doctor

 How to Figure Out What’s Wrong

Picture yourself walking down a trail and you find someone lying down, unconscious. Or it could be inside or outside your house, on the side of a road after a wreck—virtually anywhere. But let’s stick with the scenario of a trail. What would you do? Put yourself in the scene. What would do?

Go for help? Yell for help? Run over and actually try to help? Ignore the whole ordeal? That’s going to be a little awkward given the situation that you’re the only one around, but I’m sure it would be tempting to some. But, in fact, after you’re viewed all the segments in this video series, I hope they’ll prompt you not only to help out, but in some instances take charge, even in a crowd of people—at least until expert help becomes available, if that is an option.

Okay, have you thought about it? Someone’s unconscious. What you should do?Emergency Medical Assessment

Your Safety First

First is make sure you’re safe. Make sure whatever might have injured this person isn’t going to injure you. I mean, you’re not helping anyone if you get injured also. In fact, you’re doing more harm because now there are two victims to save. So, look for possible falling rocks, animals, other people who may wish you harm. Next, if you deem it safe, go over and check the person. Yell, “Are you okay?” Shake their shoulder. Pinch their face.

You might get a pinch back if they wake up, but do whatever you can to wake the person … except, what’s the number one thing you should not do at this time? Do you know?

Do not move the person. Not even their head. Not even a little bit.

Only in dire circumstances, like a fire is coming right toward you, should you move the victim. Why? You don’t know whether there’s been neck or back trauma. If you move a person with a broken neck, for instance, and the person pulls through, you could potentially have caused paralysis. More on how to protect the neck and back in my spine segment.

If you can’t get a response, check for any signs of life at all. Such as is the person breathing?

Check for Breathing

So how to check for breathing? Look at and feel the chest. Is it moving?

If the person is moving the chest or any other part, say a hand or foot, you can assume they must be breathing and the heart is beating. If the person is making any sounds, even a grunt, you can assume there’s breathing and a beating heart.

You should do this assessment within a few seconds. Also, about now, you want to shout for help and call 911 if it’s available. If someone’s with you, they should do it, while you continue to assess.

If There’s No Breathing

     If there’s no breathing, begin chest compressions right away. But why not check for a pulse? Current thinking is, unless you’re experienced in doing that, you may be uncertain of whether you’re feeling one and waste valuable time before you start compressions.

Why no mouth-to-mouth? Doing chest compressions alone has been found to revive as many people as combining it with artificial breathing. Again, this assumes you’re not a medical professional. If the person is not breathing, you can assume the heart is not beating. Start compressions.

If you cannot get 911 and someone is with you, they should immediately go for help or at least go until they get into cell range.

From “The Survival Doctor’s Emergency Training Course

Emergency Medical Assessment

October 2014

Additional articles in this month’s issue:

Prepper Camp™ Recap
What’s in Your Every Day Carry Kit?
How’s Your Battery Health?
10 things You’ll Regret Not Having Enough of When the SHTF by Elise Xavier,
Waste Not … Want Not… Making Apple Cider Vinegar
Escaping a Riot

Our Solar Chef presents Solar Apple Potato Soup

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