Preparing for a storm and losing electricity

I pressure can meats and an upcoming electricity loss is not such a big deal for me since my meats are in jars on my shelves and not in my freezer.

But, I don’t want to lose anything in my refrigerator or freezer.

I save my plastic juice containers and fill them with water.  My originsl thought was if I lose electricity, I can use this water to flush my toilet since I have a well and it is controlled by electricity.  No electricity, no water.

So, I took about 10 of those water jugs and put them in every spare area freezer.  Frozen water will keep your food cold for a longer time.  The fuller your freezer is, the longer the food will stay frozen.

The hurricane was days away.  When I lost electricity, I took three of the frozen jugs of water out of the freezer and put one on each shelf of my refrigerator.

We were lucky to only lose our electricity for 30 hours so I never lost even a slice of sandwich meat.

This is part of being prepared for emergencies.  My grown children don’t have to worry about their mom.  In fact, if there is some kind of disaster, they said they are coming to my house.



Becoming a prepper

There are so many reasons to be prepared by stocking up on food.  For example, you could lose your income from job loss or even an accident.  What if you have an ice storm or Hurricane and you can’t get to the store or they are closed due to no electricity? Those are two obvious reasons to stock up on food.

I have always looked at the circulars and stocked up on items I use consistently.  Clipping coupons is not my cup of tea.

I have recently started pressure canning meats (and potatoes) and I have been able to stock up on great bargains and don’t have to worry about freezer space.

The meat is tender and it is like having fast food at your finger tips.  I can have a roast with potatoes on the table in 15 minutes.

Canning the meat means 75 minutes (pints) or 90 minutes (quarts) of my propane gas stove and it makes 7 meals. When I cooked a roast in my oven, it took 6 hours to get it tender enough and I usually got 3 meals out of the roast.  I would make the roast, then French dip sandwiches and then a beef stew.

But the canning means I have beef tonight and then another meat the next night.

So far I have canned roast, beef tips, ground beef, pork, chicken, sausage and bacon.  Oh yeah, butter, too.

I also can dry beans and what a savings that is!  Pintos, great northern, navy, lima and black beans fill my shelves.

My gas stove has been a blessing, too because when we lose electricity, I can still light my burners with a match and cook meals.  Losing electricity did not effect my canned meats either.  One of my relatives had a full freezer and lost almost everything.

If you are interested in learning to can, watch u-tube videos.   That is how I learned.  I found “Michigansnowpony” “Linda’s pantry” “starry hilder” and “guildbrook farm” are great for learning about canning and homesteading.


Finding flies and killing them

It never fails that I sit down for dinner and though I haven’t seen a fly all day in the house, one appears from somewhere.  I get the flyswatter out and occasionally get it.  But, if he sneaks away, I definitely want to get him before I go to bed.  I already had a disgusting experience with maggots in my kitchen.

So I turn all the lights off, including the tv, and leave just the light on above my kitchen sink.  Usually within 5 minutes, the fly has come to the light and I have swatted It.  Continue reading

Mama’s Sweet Potato Pie Recipe

The holiday season is just not complete without my mom’s sweet potato pie.  I have actually eaten so much of it that I threw up.  Seriously, I love the taste.  I tease my grown children telling them it is a vegetable pie.  I am not real big on vegetables so it is funny to us.

I make a deep dish pie so this is the recipe for just one pie.  I imagine the filling is enough for two regular sized crust as my pie is always filled to the brim.

First, you need to sit a stick of butter out to get to room temperature.  You are going to slice the butter into pieces when you add it to the mixture.

I drain a 29 ounce can of sweet potatoes and put in large bowl.  Go ahead and mush them up.

It doesn’t really matter what order you put the items in so I am going to just list them.

Drained 29 ounce of sweet potato

1/3 cup brown sugar

1/3 cup granulated sugar

1 14 ounce can of sweetened condensed milk

2 eggs

1/2 tsp salt

2 tsp pumpkin pie spice (or to taste)

Bake for 55 minutes if you are baking two regular sized pie crust or 65 minutes if a deep dish pie.  When your pie doesn’t jiggle in the center it is done.

Baking temperature is 350 degrees.


Possum moved in

Living in the country means critters show up uninvited.  We live in a mobile home and had left our underpinning open because we were working on a plumbing problem.

So, we were awakened one morning by something crawling around on our metal duct work under the mobile home.  We figured a cat had gotten under there and would find it’s way out.

As we were watching tv that night, we again heard the sound of something crawling around on the duct work.  No worry, it left right?  Yes, but not for good.

We heard this noise on and off for a week or so.  We realized it was a nocturnal animal coming in around daylight and sleeping all day and then going out during the night looking for food.

We have chickens so I really wanted it gone plus the noise in the morning was annoying.

We couldn’t close up the underpinning in the morning because it was under the mobile home so we waited to hear it go out.   Then I got worried it was going after my baby chicks so we went to check on them.

We had flashlights and I saw something in the back of our two acres opposite the chicken yard.  We followed it and saw it was a big possum.  I won’t go into the details but we killed it to prevent it from eating our chickens.

I hate to kill animals.  In fact, we don’t even eat our chickens we raise.  He just made the mistake of coming back one too many times.

Saving money on repairs via u-tube.

My husband bumped the back of our 2013 Nissan Sentra and broke the tail light. He was upset that he did something so careless. Checking with the dealership, the part was 341 dollars and the labor between 75-100.

So, he watched a u-tube video showing how to install the part and then ordered the part from
JC Whitney for $115. We got the part in just a couple days and he and our brother-in-law fixed it in less than half an hour.

He also helped our brother-in-law fix a truck door by finding a video on utube that showed how to repair it for only 10 dollars. The auto repairman was going to charge 350 a door.

I also looked up how to repair our ice maker and successfully fixed it.

I know everyone knows about u-tube but I just didn’t realize people were willing to share such valuable information.

Plastic coffee containers used as watering cans

I accidentally came upon this idea today while caring for my chickens.  I always keep a coffee container in my barrels to scoop my chicken feed.  They are just the right size for refilling my feeders.  Well, I turn them upside down and hang them on top of my fence post at times and forget to put them back into the tub.  I have a lot of squirrels that i unintentionally feed because they love the corn I throw to my chickens as a treat.  The squirrel had chewed a hole in the coffee container while it was hanging on the fence post upside down.  Guess the little critter could smell the corn I had previously put in it.  And can I say right now, that squirrels are smart.  They have been trying to chew into my barrels where the corn is…..not the one that has the chicken pellets….nope, just the whole corn and the cracked corn.

So, when I noticed a plant that definitely needed water, I picked up that coffee can (the one the squirrel had chewed on near the top) and filled it with water and hurried to my plant.  While holding the handle part of the coffee container, I began to pour and the water made a very nice stream coming out of the hole the squirrel had chewed open (about the size of a quarter).

So, now I have another use for the coffee containers besides using as a scooper and storing things like matches that I don’t want to get wet and numerous other things.   I am always looking for ways to recycle anything I use.

I save all my plastic peanut butter jars and store nails and screws in them for my husbands tool shed.   We just add a 2×4 between the studs and make shelves.

If you have other ways to use the coffee containers, I would love to know.  We use about one a month so they add up quickly.

Secret to Best Brownies

I am not talking about the best brand either.

I have been told quite often that I make the best brownies and I am asked why mine are so good.  I truly believe the secret is to not overcook the brownies.  I actually take my brownies out of the oven when they are still a little gooey.  If I stick my toothpick in and it comes out a little wet, then I know they are done.  I think they must cook a little bit more when you take them out anyway.

I actually put a little of the vanilla pudding in my brownies this time.  I know it adds so much moisture to my cakes that I am thinking it might be good in brownies, too.  I have also put the vanilla pudding in my pancakes and that works great, too.

Keeping kitchen trash can smelling good

I clean my plastic kitchen trash can every week or so by bleaching it and sitting it outside on the porch to air dry.  Often onion peels make my trash can smell rather strong and the smell seems to absorb into the trash can even after the trash has been taken out.

So, between times of bleaching or scrubbing clean, I put a dryer sheet in the bottom of the can before adding the new trash bag.  I buy 50 Breezy “fresh linen” dryer sheets for a buck at the Dollar Tree.

Vaseline keeps the ants away

I set up our Hummingbird feeder on one of those metal poles (Shepherd’s Staff, I think they are called) and was pleased to see the little birds sipping away at the sweet water.

When i went to clean the feeder and refill the liquid, I noticed there were tiny ants in the remaining water inside the bottle as well as all along the pole.

So I loaded the pole with Vaseline just before the curve started where the feeder hung.  I smeared about three inches up on the pole.  Worked like a charm!

Now if I could just figure out a way to get rid of those carpenter bees that keep making holes on our wooden deck.  They hover a lot so I just keep swatting them with a fly swatter and killing them.