Rural Lifestyle

Life in Rural America

Tag: food

Using a Vehicle to Solar Dehydrate Peppers and Tomatoes

Solar Dehydrating Peppers and Tomatoes

Can a vehicle be used to solar dehydrate peppers and tomatoes?

Saw this on an episode of Doomsday preppers, or something like that, so I decided to give it a try. A tray off of an electric dehydrator was used to hold the food, and a meat thermometer was used to measure the air temperature. Two of the windows of the SUV were cracked around 1/8 – 3/16 inch.

The goal is to capture the greenhouse effect of the summer sun on the vehicle. Then use the collected heat from the greenhouse effect to dehydrate peppers and tomatoes.

Types of peppers in this experiment:

  • Tabasco Peppers
  • Jalapeno Peppers
  • Bell Peppers

Preparing the Peppers

Trying Something New With The Fig Trees

Fig tree

Around 2014 several fig trees were planted in the chicken yard. Some of the fig trees died and had to be replanted. The original ones, and the new ones have barely grown.

One of the original trees has barely put on any growth in four years.

In the past I had tried stuff like Miracle Grow plant spikes, and some Miracle Grow plant food. All that stuff is is a low grade fertilizer. Nothing I tried with Miracle Grow spikes or plant food helped the fig trees.

For 2018 I decided to try something different. I picked up some 6-7-7 fertilizer and put a cup around the base of each tree. This was done right before a rain. To benefit the plants the fertilizer has to be worked, or washed, into the soil.

Fig Tree Fertilizer

Planting Pepper Plants With Homemade Organic Fertilizer

Planting pepper plants

Let’s take a few minutes and talk about planting pepper plants and using homemade organic fertilizer. If there is one plant in my spring garden that has a special place, it has to be pepper plants. Because of that, pepper plants need some tinder loving care.

Pepper plants need nitrogen to grow big and tall, then they need potash (potassium) to grow peppers. Those are the first and third numbers on a bag of fertilizer. The middle number is bone meal (phosphorus), which promotes root growth.

Around the farm I have chicken manure, and some potash from the smoker. These were used to mix up some homemade potting soil, which will be used as organic fertilizer.

Aged chicken manure from the brooder house was mixed with potash and some topsoil in a wheelbarrow.

Planting Pepper Plants

Mountain House Breakfast Skillet Review

Mountain House Breakfast Skillet Review

Review of the Mountain House breakfast skillet freeze dried pouch. While working around the farm, and new fence line cleared out, I decided to have a Mountain House breakfast skillet for lunch.

For whatever reason, Mountain House freeze dried pouches have always come across as bland, very bland. There seems to be very little flavor was added at the factory. Maybe this was so people can add the spices they want?

I wish Mountain House would treat the sodium content like they do the flavoring, and leave some out. Why leave something as simple as black pepper out, but have an excessive amount of sodium?

Let’s move onto the review.

Nutrition Information

Food Will Be The Focus For 2018

Growing potatoes for food

Food production and preservation will be the focus for 2018. Every year I like to pick a topic and focus on that topic. Other ideas and topics will be covered throughout 2018, but the main theme for articles and videos will be food.

Food is a must have for everyone. Without food production, humanity has no future. Maybe we could revert to a hunter-gather society, but those societies do not flourish.

Food is the foundation of every modern society. When societies lose access to food, collapse is close behind. We have numerous examples of this through history. Only with a stable food supply do we have governments, science, technology… etc.

Unglorified Survival Gear Preps

Srockpiling survival gear preps

Go to YouTube and watch some videos on survival gear, and all the stuff that goes bang or is bright and shiny gets all the views. Why is that? Why do videos about chicken feeders, fencing, and other long term survival preps get so little attention?

For the sake of discussion, let’s say there is a collapse of society. This could be from nuclear war, pandemic flu, some kind of new viral plague.. etc. Which would serve you better, livestock and homesteading resources, or some cute cutting tool?

To me, my seed stockpile, chickens, livestock fence… are all just as important as something that goes bang.

Physical Health After Disruption In The System

Kevin Felts on a hiking trip

Couple of days ago I was watching naked and afraid, this guys body pretty much shut down and he had to be medivaced to a hospital. They were only 4 or 5 days into the show? The doctor said the problems with his health were from a lack of vitamins and minerals. The guy said he ate something like 5,000 calories a day. I kind of figured he was going to have problems going from 5,000 calories a day to almost nothing.

The guy on the show came across as a great person. He was friendly and had a wonderful attitude. However, it seemed like his body did not react well to be taken out of a certain setting.

The vast majority of the public are use to eating certain foods. Then that all stops in one day. People are spoiled to getting food right when they want it, and then that all stops. There are all kinds of videos on youtube of people getting in fights because McDonalds was out of a certain food.

Race Against Time

So Called Preppers Are Going To Starve

SHTF Survival Garden

If there is ever a real SHTF / TEOTWAWKI event, a large number of so called preppers are going to starve. Proof to back up that statement? Just look at the popular prepping related videos on youtube, or look at what forum sections get the most traffic.

The most popular types of videos on youtube are gun and tactical gear. It is not gardening, it is not chickens or other livestock, farming, homesteading, or prepsteading. The most popular types of videos are running and gunning videos.

You can not eat bullets, plate carriers, chest rigs, knives, or anything else that fuels the fantasy of a tacti-cool SHTF event.

During outbreaks of the plague in the middle ages, starvation killed a great number of people. Preppers may think they will leave the city and raid rural farms. Once again, history teaches us there is a good chance those people will die on the side of the road just outside the city. People will either starve before they reach rural areas, of they will die of disease.

Reality

Tips on Digging Backyard Garden Potatoes

Grandkids digging potatoes

Nothing brings mankind closer to the earth than digging potatoes. There is a certain joy in working the soil, planting seeds, watching the plants grow, taking care of the plants, then harvesting the fruits of your labor. This is especially true with potatoes.

Digging potatoes like opening a present, you do not know what it is until you open the box. The same is true with potatoes. You do not know what is in the ground until you start digging.

There are other options besides digging potatoes by hand.

Middle buster or plow

If you have a tractor, hook up the middle buster or plow, whatever you have, then slowly run the blade through the middle of the row. The potatoes will roll up to the top of the ground. Once the potatoes have been rolled to the top of the ground, simply walk along and pick them up.

Using a middle buster or plow to harvest potatoes is quick and easy. When you are dealing with a lot of land, quick and easy is good.

Potato fork

Meat Production After SHTF

Barred Rock Chicken

There are all kinds of articles out there talking about meat after SHTF. You want to know what is missing in a lot of those articles? Exact details.

Awhile back we talked about how many chickens would be needed for SHTF. I would like to do this article in the same manner as the chicken article.

Lets start with one very important question, and that is how much meat does the average person eat? To find the answer lets turn to the US census.

Per Capita Consumption of Major Food Commodities

Average US meat consumption in 2009:

Commodity Weight / Number
Red Meat, includes beef, veal, lamb and pork. 105.7 pounds
Poultry, includes chicken and turkey. 69.4 pounds
Eggs 246 eggs

For right now lets exclude eggs and focus on red meat and poultry. We will talk about eggs later.

Rabbit Update: Raising Rabbits For SHTF

Rabbit exploring her new home

An update to how the rabbit hutch and hideaway boxes are working out. The hideaway box is working well, but they are moving their food bowls around and spilling their food.

To fix the food bowl problem I ran a screw through the bowl and into the 2×4 under the bowl.

I used a 10 penny nail and hammer to poke a hole in the bottom of the food boil, then secured the bowl with a 2 inch outdoor wood screw.

The doe seems to spend an equal amount of time inside and outside the box, while the buck spends most of his time on top of the box.

The rabbits get on top of the box so they are next to each other, and that is where they spend a good deal of their time .

State Of The Nation February 2013

Kevin Felts, blogger and political commentator

While shopping at the local wal-mart here in Jasper Texas, I noticed a couple of things that made me stop and think. One issue was the availability of ammunition, or rather the lack of ammunition. The other issue I am deeply concerned about was the price of a whole fryer chicken.

Ammunition – Everyone and their brother and sister is panic buying all the ammunition they can get their hands on. If civilians can strip the market of all available ammunition, where would this leave the United States if we entered a real war? Iraq and Afghanistan are not “real” wars, they are minor conflicts. The Iraq military is not bombing New York, L.A., Houston or Dallas, tens of thousands of US citizens are not dying every week, its not like in World War II when food and fuel were being rationed,,,.

The United States has some minor conflicts going on, but for some reason the store shelves have been empty of ammunition for close to a month and a half?

How would this translate if/when we have a major war with China? The conflict does not have to be with China. Lets replace China with any major world power.

How Can People Justify Wasting Food

Walking through walmart today, saw a pack of ground meat and steak sitting on a shelf. The shelf was in the canned goods section, and not the cold foods section.

I picked up the meat, checked to see if it was still cold, then took the two packs to the freezer section.

Is this what humanity has come to, that we can waste enough meat that would feed a family for a day, maybe 2 days, or even 3 days?

The person that left the packs of meat on the shelf, have they gone hungry a single day in their lives?

The person that left the meat on the shelf, were they on food stamps or welfare?

Did the person give a single thought to the animal that had to die to put the meat on the shelf?

What about the cost of raising the animal? The cost of butchering, packing and shipping the meat, did the person give a single thought to all of that?

If You Had Seven Days Notice Before SHTF

Ruger 10/22 and Marlin model 60 side by side

Lets say the public was given a 1 week notice before the start of a major global conflict. Rarely does that kind of advance knowledge leak out to the public. For the sake of discussion lets say for once the public knows what is going to happen a week ahead of time.

One of the incidents I am referring to is the leak that Israel may attack Iran during Yum Kippor.

I have been hearing various rumors for over 2 decades, so I take them with a grain of salt and keep living life.

The word has leaked out, you do a review of your survival gear stockpile, now what?

What does your water stockpile look like?
What does your ammunition stockpile look like?
What does your fuel stockpile look like?
What about seeds for your long term survival garden, communications, livestock, livestock feed, firearms, propane,,, and other preps.

Firearms For SHTF

Excess food supply

Home grown yard eggs

Over the past 2 days I have given away 2 dozen eggs. Some people might be saying “so what”? To give food away means that my wife and I have an excess food supply.

Think about that for a minute. My wife and I bought our first chicks February 25, 2012. In all we ended up with 13 chickens. The chickens started laying when they were around 5 months old. At close to 6 months old we are getting 6 – 7 eggs a day.

Home grown yard eggsWe are dealing with a couple of topics here, the time required to get your food production up and running, and being able to grow more food then you need.

I see a lot of survivalist saying that if SHTF they are going to get some chickens, goats, maybe a couple of cows,,, the usual stuff. I see those types of planes as being unrealistic. You think you are going to be the only person looking for farming supplies and livestock after SHTF / TEOTWAWKI?

Lets say you have a buddy that knows a friend whos second cousin has a few chickens they are willing to trade for 1,000 rounds of 223 Remington. After some bartering the two of you finally agree on 500 rounds of 223 Remington and 500 rounds of 7.62×39 for 2 laying hens.

You get your hens home, now what? Where are you going to keep them at? Do you have an enclosed yard to keep your chickens in, do you have a coop? Or do you plan on keeping the hens in your garage? Hopefully you will be lucky enough to find some hens that are already laying. If not, you are going to have to wait several months for the chicks to grow and start laying.

Its not just livestock, what does your seed stockpile look like? Do you have tools to work the field? Do you have access to a tractor, tiller, hoes, rakes and manpower needed to get a field ready to plant?

After you get your squash, cucumbers, zucchini, turnips, snap beans,,,,etc planted, you are looking at 60 – 90 days before you are going to harvest anything.

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Kevin Felts © 2008 - 2018