Friday, October 24, 2014
Wednesday, October 22, 2014
Storing a variety of crops in a root cellar is a superb way to preserve your harvest, not to mention saving a great deal of money. However, if you don’t have one in place, don’t worry. It’s quite easy to create a space in order to store vegetables at the appropriate temperature and humidity levels. Regardless if you’re storing food to sell to customers in the fall, spring, and winter or simply for your family – storing various vegetables in a root cellar is a great idea to save money and maintain adequate food storage.
Overall, this list shows the most common vegetables that people generally store in a root cellar:
- Winter squashes
- Jerusalem artichokes
- Apples (Store them separately. They will spoil the other vegetables)
If you have enough space in your basement, you can easily create a working root cellar. Simply wall off a space in the corner and incorporate vents to let cold air flow in and warmer air escape. Close the vents before the temperature gets too cold (freezing), which works to trap the cold air in the cellar and thus protects the produce from freezing.
Select a location that has a window if possible to facilitate an easy installation. Masonry walls work best since they’ll offer adequate cool temperatures. An outside corner in the basement is ideal. High soil height and northern exposure will also work better. Replace the glass in the window with a solid panel in order to hold the pipes for venting. In order for the vent to pull cold air in, attach a pipe that runs to the floor and shifts horizontally away from your vent to the outside. Since cold air hangs low and warm air rises, it naturally produces a siphon effect where the lower vent pulls cold air in and the upper vent pulls warm air out. Use some two by fours to frame the root cellar’s walls and also add a door. It’s also necessary to properly insulate the inside walls of the root cellar from the rest of the basement. Fiberglass batts or rigid foam will both work in this case. Be sure to leave at least one-quarter inch of gap in between the top, and along the wall, in addition to the structure above, in order to create good airflow.
A super easy and inexpensive way to adequately store a small amount of vegetables is to simply use a clean trash can as a makeshift root cellar. Purchase a new galvanized trash can and drill a number of holes in the bottom, which will let enough moisture into the can from the surrounding soil. Next, place the can in the soil, with close to 3 – 4 inches left sticking out above the ground. Gently place the vegetables inside and secure the lid (consider using a bungee as well if you have pesky critters like raccoons).
Finally, top with a foot of leaves or straw and a heavy tarp to cover.
If you’re a small farmer or an authentic homesteading family, you’ll need a great deal of square footage in order to store your food properly. The general concept is to utilize the earth as shelter for the food from the weather elements including freezing rain and heavy snow. People tend to get really creative in this area – one family even used a bus as their root cellar!
Once you dig a hole big enough for your particular needs, you’ll need a way to keep the soil from falling back in. Choose from a variety of things like wood, logs, rock, or concrete. Also, your earthy cellar will need a roof and maybe a tarp. It’s best if the floor is made of concrete and footings that reach beyond the frost line.
These are the different types of root cellars to create. Pick one to build so you can start eating fresh carrots in February.
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Monday, October 20, 2014
at 10:03 PM
Sunday, October 19, 2014
Winter is approaching us quickly in 2014. The last few winters have been somewhat mild, but according to the Farmers Almanac it is going to be a very bitter winter this year.
Being prepared for natural disasters is one of the most important things a person can do to ensure the safety of their life and that of their family. Winter is no exception. The risk of hypothermia is high if you do not know the proper clothing to wear or have a winter kit in your vehicle. Having your car break down or slide off the road can be a recipe for death. However, being properly prepared can keep you alive until emergency personnel arrives.
Below are some items to consider for your winter car kit:
(Note: As with any kit, you will want to design it to fit your region. These are *ideas* to help you start your emergency car kit.)
Shelter and Element Protection:
- space blanket
- Magnesium fire starter/striker and lighter
- Poncho with hood
- Emergency tube tent
- Wool Blanket/ Wool beanie or Hat / Wool Socks / Wool Glove liners
- Change of clothes according to season. Appropriate shoes for walking.
- Bandana to cover your face from the wind should you find yourself on foot.
- Hand/Foot warmers/ Body warmers (Here is a nifty little kit with all in one for a reasonable price.)
Tip: If you are stuck in your vehicle it is safe to run your heater for ten minutes every hour. Just make sure your tail pipe is clear of any snow or debris. We keep a tarp and duct tape in our vehicle so we can block off the back seat or the back of the SUV to retain heat to our location in the vehicle.
Food and Water:
- Filtration water bottle for each family member
- Several gallons (This depends on the size of your family.) of water for drinking or heating for meals or emergency water pouches
- Food/energy bars, powdered soups, camping meals, nuts, jerky or any other snack that will not go bad for a while in the trunk. Make sure to change these items out often to make sure. Hot chocolate or instant coffee would be good to keep as well. Not only would it be a comfort drink it will also help keep you warm.
- Pocket Stove
Communications and Lighting:
- Flashlight and extra batteries or a solar hand cranked powered light with an all weather radio and USB device charger.
- Glow sticks ~ If you use glow sticks, one neat trick I have learned is to tie a string or shoelace to the glow stick and swing it around like a lasso when you see a vehicle. It is much more powerful and can be seen from the sky as well. Most emergency personnel know about this trick as well so it would aid in your rescue.
- Emergency whistle
- Plumber candles – With a little air ventilation these candles last about 8 hours and will also provide heat.
- Survival Guide/ First Aid book
- Multipurpose tool/Swiss army knife
- Duct tape – We use this to tape the tarp down so the warmth stays in the front part of the car.
- Deck of cards, note pad, pencils/pens, List of phone numbers
- Signal Mirror
- Pre-Paid calling phone & card/ emergency cash
- 3 days of prescribed medication
- Compass/ local street map and state map
- Mess kit/utensils or any tin style cup to heat water in.
- Walking shoes/socks
- Fold-able shovel
- Rock Salt
- Toilet Paper
- Gallon of Kitty litter to get traction
- Tow rope
Being prepared can mean the difference between life and death. It is not something to take lightly or put off until tomorrow. Anything can happen to you in your car. Knowing the proper clothes to pack in your kit is important to. Many people do not know the dangers of cotton in the winter. Please do your research and do everything you can to keep your family safe.
at 9:02 PM
Saturday, October 18, 2014
Friday, October 17, 2014
An important part of any emergency preparedness plan that can easily be overlooked is medication. No matter what type of medication you take, you don’t want to find yourself in a crisis situation without it.
Ensuring that your medication is covered by your emergency preparedness plan involves these six steps.
1. Compile your medical information.
This can be cumbersome but is invaluable in the event of an emergency. Having all of your information organized and ready to go makes it much easier to get help if necessary and keep your medication regimen on track. In your medical file you should include:
- Emergency contacts, including at least one friend or family member that lives at least 100 miles away.
- Your doctor(s) and other medical providers.
- A list of the medications you take, making sure to include the dosage, frequency, purpose of medication, and the name and phone number of the doctor who wrote the prescription.
- A copy of the prescription for every medication that you take. You may also want to leave a copy with a national pharmacy chain. If you wear glasses or contacts, include those prescriptions as well.
- A notation of any sensitivities or allergies that you have.
- Your immunization history.
- Information regarding any medical equipment or support systems that you use. Take care to consider things like hearing aids, hearing aid batteries, oxygen, wheelchair batteries, service animals, and the like.
- If you have a communication disability, include a note of the best way others can communicate with you.
You should keep all of these records with you emergency preparedness kit as well as with a trusted friend or relative who lives out of town that can be reached in the event of an emergency.
If you feel comfortable doing so, you may also want to scan and email copies of your medical information to yourself so that it can be accessed from anywhere. An alternate suggestion is to store this information in the cloud.
Having copies of your prescriptions is extremely important as that will allow you to refill your medication as soon as you reach a pharmacy.
2. Determine what type of medication(s) and what type of help you would need in the event of an emergency.
Medications are to be taken for a reason, though some are more critical than others. Determine the importance of your medications and make sure you plan accordingly so that the medications will be available during an emergency.
Think seriously about your own capabilities, limitations, and what kind of challenges could be imposed by your surroundings in the event of an emergency. Know what kind of assistance you would need and be ready to communicate your needs in an emergency situation.
3. Stockpile prescription medication.
Start stockpiling your prescription medications. Your stockpile should include enough of every essential medication to last at least seven to ten days.
The best way to stockpile prescription medication is to refill your prescription as soon as the pharmacy will allow. By doing this every time, you will have a few extra days’ worth of medicine that you can set aside as part of your emergency preparedness kit.
4. Maintain your stockpile responsibly.
Medications do expire, so rotate the medications that are included in your kit so that you don’t store outdated supplies.
Get in the habit of replacing the stored medication with every new refill. Also, take care to store your medications in labeled, child-proof containers away from places that experience extreme heat, cold, or humidity. Be particularly cautious with certain medications, especially narcotics, as these are more susceptible to being stolen and abused.
5. Talk with your doctor about your emergency preparedness plan.
Anyone who routinely takes prescription medication should consult a physician about preparedness issues. Talk with the doctor who wrote the prescription about what to do in case you run out of medication during an emergency. Understand the shelf life and optimal storage temperature for your medication.
While it is beneficial to plan ahead, it is sometimes impossible to be prepared for everything. Certain medicines and supplies cannot be properly stored away.
For example, vitamin injections must be stored away from light and refrigerated. Plus, they only have a two month shelf life. This means stockpiling your vitamin injections is impossible; you must routinely purchase new doses. Talk to your doctor about an alternative form of medication that could temporarily replace your injections if necessary.
Also, other treatments—like nebulizers and dialysis—might be difficult to come by in the midst of an emergency. Talk to your doctor about the best ways to plan for an emergency and what alternatives might be available.
6. If you get regular treatments at a clinic, hospital, other healthcare center, or at home, talk with your doctor or nurse about their emergency preparedness plans.
These treatments are part of your medical needs, so work with your service provider to develop an emergency preparedness plan that will cover your needs. Also be sure to get referrals for other providers that offer the same services and include these providers in your list of emergency contacts.
By making sure that you have all of your medications and medical information in your emergency kit, you greatly increase your chances of staying healthy and getting what you need during a time of crisis.
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