Saturday, December 17, 2011

Getting Ready For The Deer Hunt After The Holidays, More meat!

To my disappointment this year, I have been to busy to go hunting outside a couple hours the first day. I have hired seasonal help, but the hunting season escaped me. I have plenty of local beef, pork and chicken, but I have to get these $35 dollars worth of dog tags filled. I love black powder hunting, it fills my "Jeremiah Johnston" side and gives me that good ole feeling of living off the land.

There is a male squirrel who is going to be in my fry pan before to long. He has been clawing on my mushroom logs at the top. He will be deep fried and ate with some greens.

Sugar season is coming up soon, about 8-12 weeks from now. Working on my rain barrel system next month and looking forward to sap gathering this year all on my own. Joshua is looking forward to it as much as I am, a great time spending time together creating memories of living off the land. If there is one seed I am sure I planted with my son on living off the land, it is maple syrup making. 

Sunday, November 13, 2011

From Downspout To Sap Out, Interesting Useful Idea

While winterizing this year, confident in my acquired skills of maple syrup making, spotting and marking of maple trees on my own property (more than four I have tapped in the past). Thinking of my resources on hand to start building my sugaring supplies, not wanting to spend more money, I decided to take one of my rain barrels and keep it out of storage for sap gathering. I will need to buy one large barrel to put in the shanty for holding sap while cooking it down. But I decided to spread the idea so that you can take advantage of my newly thought of idea.

In truth, maple syrup making is a skill handed to me by my grandfather. So as you might know, I planned to be at this point a year ago, but the murder of my parents put my life on hold. My feelings of their deaths has been a roller coaster at times, and time does allow us to learn to except the way things are. I still get angry and upset at times, if I didn't I wouldn't be human. I miss them and wished they could share life with us. Being as it is, perhaps they were saved and are watching us from heaven.

Realize that putting a hold on my path of being self sufficient has not taken hold of my ideas and made me put it down and surrender my diet and lifestyle to big corporation. Learning the skills needed by pioneers of the past days keeps me excited and the rewards of my hard work keeps me going. I will have a plan to share with you for what/where I want to be in the next year. I know that I want to expand my diet to include more dried beans.

I am in a better mental state and find myself getting back to normal something to look forward to. I miss my folks but I know although they are gone, they would want me to keep moving forward in my own life.

Hope you hang in there with me while I get things back together in my own life. Peace be with you, and spread some love. Life is too short to hate. Jason

Thursday, October 20, 2011


Pheasant season this weekend and rifles are cleaned up ready to go. Spent some time checking all my scopes and open sights to make sure I kill what I am shooting for, I hate to wound any animal and have it suffer.

Considering tanning my hides this year to use for clothing and other need items such as tool bags and pouches. But I need to explore this more so I understand what I am about to take on. But it is a self sufficient skill that can save your life as well as bring in some cash.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Dehydrating, Dealing W/ Bumper Crops, Part II

There is a lot to be said about dehydrating your bumper crops, and one of the most asked questions is... " Where do I find recipes or how do I use the dehydrated food? "

Being a organic foodie, I also like to live on the wild side and do things that just don't go together. If I told you that a ham and ketchup sandwich was tasty, or a peanut butter and mayo sandwich was good. Would you try them?

Yes it is fair enough for me to share with you more of my dehydrating food recipes, or better ways to use the food. Before I share some with you, I want to take a moment and tell you how wonderful dehydrated food is, and second, how good it is for you. No way do I have a PHD or know it all about the nutritional value. I don't, but I have read plenty of others who are and do know.

A simple recipe is to add dehydrated maters to your normal dishes, including mac-n-cheese. Dips are great as well as using them just as chips.

Dehydrated zuke squash, maters, onions and carrots added to nearly finished pasta, the last 3 minutes, or just after you drain it, WONDERFUL and TASTY!! PASTA PASTA PASTA!!

I have used ground up Asparagus in scrambled eggs. How about zuke squash fruit snacks using fruit juice... Make complete soup recipes, vac seal them and when your ready added the bag to your slow cooker and broth, simmer all day and when you get home or its time for dinner.... BAM!!

I LOVE,LOVE, LOVE dehydrated fruit in my pancakes.... Get creative and try my Apple Chip pancake recipe. Take a handful of dehydrated Apple chips, crush add to your pancakes, your welcome!!

I also crush veggies in a coffee grinder, sprinkle on dishes. I will give Mrs. Dash her place, but I can make 300 times more for the same cost of one jar.

Monday, September 5, 2011

Keep'em Coming, I'll Just Find New Ways To Make'em Into Food

Well if the heat wave didn't destroy your garden, there is a good chance yours' is producing like mine is. I took a poll to find out what some folks are sick of harvesting, the number answer right now is tomatoes.

Everyone has expectations of corn, but if your like me, I plant more of the useful stuff just in case something goes south. Well when it doesn't go south, what do you do? Start pulling your hair, take it over to more needy folks, give it away to anyone who wants it, pawn it off on co-workers or set it out with a FREE sign at the end of your driveway. Stop for a second and lets talk about canning.

I decided to expand my mind while expanding my pantry and shrinking my food bill. So I have put up GALLONS of pasta sauce, salsa, chili, and ketchup. Stewed maters and mater juice is next. By looks of all the green maters, were going to be here a while and run out of canning jars if I don't do something.

Green maters, pickled with onions, jalapenos, and sweet red peppers... Green mater chutney, yummy.. 

So what else can I can with maters????????  Do you have an off the wall, wonderful, delicious canning recipe for me to try?

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Wasting Some Green, and Seeing Red, A No Waste Trick

Well the garden is coming in and doing its job, I have processed pickles, chutneys, jams, squash, onions, garlic and the corn is coming in.

I have had so many cukes, I put some in the frig and meaning to get back to them for bread and butter pickles, and well they went limp on me. I try to have a no waste rule, however I have been so busy with the new building project, time just slips by. I picked another bunch today and threw out the old shriveled ones.

So the first small handful of red maters were nice, then today I harvested 6 pounds or so. I processed them for juice using my kitchen aid and two different attachments combined together to pulp free my sauce in less then 15 minutes I had over a 1/2 gallon of the good stuff. I have frozen that and will add that later when I have enough organic juice to make a few batches of sauces and salsa.

The trick to get every little bit from the maters using my method, is to process the maters 4 times through the kitchen aid. I ended up with 1/4 cup of seeds and just skins. The old method use to take me hours, and there is nothing wrong with doing it by hand. However, I am a modern pioneer and I love to save time processing as long as I get a better or higher quality end product. In this case, it was hours sooner and I got 100% of usable product.

If you want me to share what products I use, and my method, let me know. I am always happy to share.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Dehydrating, Dealing W/ Bumper Crops, Secret Tip, The Recipe

This time of year most folks love to share the fruits of their labor with others. So many people bring in food from their gardens and give it to co-workers and such.

NOT ME!! If you now suspect that I am just a grumpy old man, that isn't true. However, I do like to share some of my food with others and love to fellowship and share with certain folks. I process all my own food, and I deal with my bumper crops differently than most people.

Some people do get what I am doing, and I gave a friend some Jam, only to find out they didn't use it because it was home processed. I know right? But it was the first time, and the last I shared my food with them.

This time of year, its Cukes and Squash... I know that mater time is just around the corner when bumper crops of these two veggies head for the dehydrator. Cukes have tons of canning ideas, my focus in this article is Squash.

Zuke and Yellow are two of the most produced squashes in gardens. People love to grow them with little to no care, plant the seeds and off they go. I find that most people give away squash and maters, and from time to time Okra. NOT ME!!!

You know by now I love to process and store my own food, and you want to learn from my adventures and share your own ideas. To prep my squash, I clean it, cut the ends, and set my slicer for 5/16 of an inch. Now it is not wise to dehydrate big squash without a little bit of work, but armed with an egg cup, you will now be able to store and keep more food than you ever knew.

Yes, for this article I am going to use the word pith, it is the only word I know that I can described the center of a squash that has mature seeds in it. Now, having seeds in dehydrated food isn't a crime. The criminal here is mature seeds. Seeds are self contained units, and if activated, will ruin mass amounts of food stores. Now if your storing them for seeds that is different, as the end use is much different.

 Allowing mature seeds to be left in can not only ruin food, but also contain natural chemicals that will off set the flavor of your food. So armed with a egg cup, I remove the pith and mature seeds so that I can continue to save the squash for dehydration.I put up 23 pounds of squash in one go using my Excalibur 3900.

Some will say this recipe has been in many families recipe book for generations, as for a modern pioneer, our methods of food storing do change when a new way allows for better food storing. With that, food recipes and the desire to make our own comfort food makes us change our recipes to adapt to our new ways.

I am positive some of you growing up on a farm have spent many summer nights at the table with a bowl of squash mess. I know this time of year it was a near staple fixed on the grill in a cast iron pan over hardwood fire. We never cooked inside unless it was early morning in the summer. So I gave my hand at making this recipe with dehydrated food. After trial and error, I have developed the recipe and process.

11/2 cups each of dehydrated yellow and zuke squash
1/4 cup dehydrated onions
dehydrated garlic to taste
2 1/2 cups of veggie stock or chicken
2 tablespoons of butter
3 tablespoons of flour
salt/pepper to taste

Put stock in fry pan, add squash, simmer for 20 minutes over medium heat. Increase temp to high, cook off remainder of stock liquid, turn back to medium, add butter, when squash begins to turn brown add butter, when butter melts add flour and return to high heat until the flour is brown.

I tested this recipe throughout the winter making as many as 8 to 12 side dishes. From the first to the last, outstanding!!

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Keeping On Getting Back To Normal, Love Fresh Food

Hello SS folks, long time no post... However as I mentioned after my return from the coast, I am presenting you with the photos of the homestead and where I am at with things.

So we are doing great, and the weather has been bad. With almost no rain, my rain barrel has been dry most of the grow season. I have used both pond water and well water for the garden. The mulch I laid down has been a blessing. Like some of you, I have been getting on with my seasonal duties of putting food up for the winter season. Although I have been eating more veggies since the garden has been growing, I drop almost 25 pounds of fat. Stress fat as well as process food eating I am sure. We all know the difference in the taste of market food and your own.

Well, all that being said, I'd rather explain the photos as they posted. So if you have sometime and want to join me on my adventure of my SS lifestyle, grab a cup of tea or your preferred drink and lets have a mozzy on the farm.
Mushroom Logs setting idle, waiting for some rain

Wind spinners which help run the birds off and add some beauty to the garden

Solar lights in the garden. 4 corners have led colored globes, and again the bean tree fence post topper

Garden Guard

Garden pictures of different crops and general garden stuff

Ground Hog enters garden and eats carrots and beans, I will harvest and stew him soon

Early Garlic processing


Summer and Zuke squash, dried and ready to be separated into my squash mess vac bags and other cooking recipes. I have a long loved squash mess recipe from my Mom that she taught me how to make. I took it one step further and developed a dehydrated recipe of my own.

Jamming.. Maple syrup too..

So let me set this up and explain to you how some people don't think. At the end of maple season, folks are tired and couldn't be bothered working out the "fines" in the last gallon of syrup. Fines are named as all the small particles left over in the last batches of each go at maple making. They were going to toss them out this year, I got my equal share already, and wanted the stuff they were going to throw away. Anyway, what you are looking at is one jar of the left over "fines" syrup. Somewhat darker than Amber, still a good quality syrup, this jar is 90% maple syrup with the fines settled at the bottom. SO letting it settle and removing the top syrup has given me another half gallon of syrup.

Todays harvest

The root cellar seems to keep at a steady 66 degrees and was a rewarding building project for food stores. It has proved to be a great place for me to safely store both dried foods as well as canned food.

The hedge rows have provided a steady supply of berries for jamming and fresh eating. This year is the first year that grapes are growing. some of the later raspberry plants are still providing berries of pancakes and sugar and milk.

I suspect that I will be drying and canning tomatoes very soon. I will be canning green ones as well. I also will be drying some for soup recipes.

You can take the boy out of the country, but you can't take the country out of the boy.
вегетарианец- Russian word for poor hunter
We are pioneers, trail blazers, we fight for freedom. We transform our dreams into the truth, our struggles, we became a nation.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Seeds Sit and Rot While The Rain Keeps Coming, Bored of Rain

First, I hold all those families in/near or being effected by the flood in my prayers.

It is true it has been a while since I have posted, and in truth I have been busy with other things other than my homestead. Although, it is true that I have many projects in the making, I finished a few of them including the mushrooms as you know.

I also made some small climbing trellises for veggies in the garden. I copied something I saw for sale some years ago, and found them to be small than the ones I made a few years ago. They are easy to move, and made them from cedar planks that were above my shop.

We have yet to plant the garden and get that going. I went to the mill today for some supplies only to find onion and tater seeds being sorted as more than 60% were rotting. There isn't many odors more awful than either of those two. John is upset by the loss, as are the farmers I was told.

Some farmers have had just enough time between the rain to drop a plow in and get that done. I have seen no fields that have been disced yet this year.

I have done yet another project I need to share with you as well soon, as soon as I can get out and shoot some frames.

I had set my garlic/onions/taters prior to all this rain. I do have small plants ready to go in soon. I also have currents (red/black) as well as cherries coming in now!! YIPPY!!

Monday, May 2, 2011

How To Make And Grow Your Own Mushroom Logs, More Self Sufficient Ideas

I know many of you have been waiting for me to complete this video this spring. So it is now completed, and I also want to share a good reliable source for you to purchase your spores from.

This self sufficient task was so easy to do and gives years of rewards. If your in need of getting your hands on some white oak logs, be sure to ask your friends that own land, or find a saw mill near by. A logging company would be happy to sell you or give you some branches from a white oak tree they have harvested for wood. People really get interested when you start to explain to them what your doing with the logs.

Remember to place the log in a shaded area, where there isn't a lot of wind. If you need to build a wind break, do so. Also remember to place your logs just above the ground on some other logs or an old pallet.

If you start this spring, you will get a few in the fall, but expect full production to start next spring.

If you don't have the means to get your hands on the wood, but you want to try it out on the cheap. Try purchasing one of these, for the cost of this single purchase, it will pay for itself the first time it grows Mushrooms for you. Just follow the simple instructions included and you will be little more self sufficient. Its a real fun project to share with others..

Saturday, April 30, 2011

Fungus Amoung Us, Get The Good Stuff Here!

In the near future, I will be presenting to you a how to video on doing your own mushroom logs. I have a source that can be trusted and has only the good stuff to sell.

Here are last years logs that Mark inoculated with Shiitake Mushrooms, and mine are not too far behind his now. Each climate is different here in the mountains. Simply put, a flower can be budding right down the road, but here it might just be growing and not even reading to bud yet. I look forward to sharing some photos with you.

Now I have bought some spores from sellers that just didn't produce anything. I mean, I bought them thinking mushrooms will come, followed instructions, and nothing. Once I got my hands on some good product, I feel I need to share it with you so that you won't waste your money and get nothing. I followed the same instructions and have a good products. So I want to share the seller with you.

I have purchased several packages from this seller, and the products are spot on. If you decide to dive into doing mushrooms yourself, which I say it is great, be sure to buy it from this awesome seller.

You can see the results in my photos above.