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Friday, August 30, 2013

Solar Yard Lights: Use them inside

 Solar yard lights are such a great thing to have.  They can light up your yard on a regular basis, and then when you have a power outage, you can just bring them inside.

I bought these at Lowe's in 2013.  They were about $64 for 8 yard lights.  The best thing about this particular design is that the top lid (with the LED light bulb in it) comes off of the rest of the apparatus.  This enabled us to lay the lids around in the house, and they put off a nice amount of light.

In the picture above, you can see how the lid comes off separately.  Usually, solar yard lights are made all in one piece, so you can't take off the top.  Therefore, you must place the stick down into a pitcher or jar to stand it up when it is inside your house.  This design is much better for use in an emergency situation.

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Normal food for 72 hour kits

 I prefer to buy normal food from the grocery store for my emergency food supply.  Ready-to-eat meals like this one last a couple of years, and are more convenient for me to buy than ordering MRE's ("Meals Ready to Eat").

(Note: "72 hour kit" is a term that is  going out of style.  After Hurricane Katrina, people have realized that you need to be able to take care of yourself for much longer than 3 days.)

Saturday, August 17, 2013

25 year old lids get brittle

We bought a lot of wheat in buckets in 1987.  In the last few years we have found that the slightest touch or weight will shatter the lids.  They have become very brittle, so we have to keep replacing them.

This photo should also serve as a warning not to ever stack buckets on top of each other!  Maybe these lids would have held up another bucket when they were new, but not when they were older.

(Note: If I want to stack two buckets, I put a board in between them.  The sides of the buckets seem  strong enough to bear the weight if it is spread out on a board.)

Friday, August 16, 2013

Still using my solar oven

In my other house, it was such a pain to use my solar oven because I had to keep it in the upstairs spare bedroom.  Now, it is much more convenient because I keep it in the garage.

On a sunny day a couple of months ago,  I had some potatoes setting on the counter, and I saw them one morning and decided I would throw them into this black pot with a little water, chopped onions, and seasoning.

I put them outside about 9:00 am, and forgot about them for about 5 hours.  When I looked in the pot at 2:00 pm, the potatoes and onions were soft and tender like they had been cooked in a crock pot.  They were delicious!   My only regret was that I hadn't put a roast in there with them, that would have been even better.

This is what I learned: 

I was under the impression that I had to go out and turn the solar oven to face the sun about every half an hour.  I guess that isn't necessary. 

I thought I had to open the solar oven periodically and wipe the condensation off of the glass.  It appears that wasn't necessary either.

My decision:  I should use my solar oven more often!  It is easier than I thought.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Storing Bandages

I was inventorying my medical supplies, and found that I had a lot of over-the-counter medicines (which I need to rotate) but I really didn't have many bandages or supplies to treat wounds or cuts.

I went to Target and bought all of these items, hoping I don't ever need to use them.  I am hoping I won't need to rotate them very often.  The only thing I see that might go bad over time is the adhesive on the bandages or tape.  The items without adhesive might be good forever.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Vacuum sealed chocolate got too hot

 We moved into a new house last fall, and later found these melted chocolate chips that I had vacuum sealed the previous year.  We think they got too hot in the truck.
I was going to throw them away, but my husband said, "Don't throw it away. That chocolate is still good."
He melted the chocolate in the bottle in a pot of water, and dipped graham crackers in it.  Mmmm mmm good!  I'm so glad I didn't throw those jars all away.

Monday, August 12, 2013

Vacuum canning Chocolate Chips

 I like to buy chocolate chips when they are on sale, and then vacuum seal them into canning jars.  I use this white attachment that fits into the port on my FoodSaver vacuum sealer.  I own a "wide mouth" and a "regular mouth" attachment.
Here are the chocolate chips after I vacuum sealed them.  They are supposed to stay fresher longer without the oxygen surrounding them.

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Can of seeds

I buy at least one can of canned garden seeds per year, and keep it in my freezer.  Then the next year, I use it and buy another can to store.  I am hoping that this strategy will enable me to grow a garden even if some big catastrophe happens.