House cleaning is like stringing beads with no knot at the end of the thread.

"Usually the Lord gives us the overall objectives to be accomplished and some guidelines to follow, but he expects us to work out most of the details and methods." -Ezra Taft Benson-







Saturday, September 15, 2012

Review: KELLY KETTLE

This is my newest PREPAREDNESS purchase!!  I used my Christmas money from this last Christmas. Yes I waited almost 10 months to buy it, but I wanted to decided between this and a StoveTec stove, but I got this one first. So today we did a test run and we are VERY VERY VERY impressed and happy with this kettle! And I am very happy with the shipping, I ordered this on a Monday and received it on Wednesday!

FIRST, this is originally from Ireland!  They have been using these for over a hundred years! With this you can boil water anywhere! I got the Base Camp Kettle KIT in Stainless Steel. We got the kit, which comes with a cookpot, pot support, grill, and pot/gripper handle. The kit also comes in Aluminum. But I wanted SS so that is what I now have :)  So here is what it says on one of the sides of the box:

"Boils 1.5 liters in minutes!  
For over 100 years the unique Irish Kelly Kettle has made boiling water in the outdoors quick and easy even in extreme weather conditions.
Using abundant natural fuels such as sticks, pine cones, tree bark, dry grass, even dry animal dung, etc. This Kettle will boil 1.5 litres of water in 3-5 minutes.
The Kelly Kettle advantages are:
*No Gas
*No batteries
*No running costs
*Never carry fuel again!
*Never worry about running out of fuel
*Safe to use: The fire is contained within the kettle
*And you can add our Pot-Support and Cook Set to reheat or hydrate food as your kettle boils."

So I tested it.. And we like it! So first you get your wood and such in the bottom pan, I forgot to take a picture of that, but here is one after we were done:


Ok, so it took us awhile to get the fire going... By the way it helps if your kids don't bring you green sticks. If you look closely,  you will see the small pile of green sticks to the right of the pan. It was rather comical as this was smoking like crazy, and I looked at them and said, "Where did you get the sticks", and they said, "off the tree".. HA HA, ok, I explained to them that green wood doesn't burn it smolders, so we poured them out and got some nice dry cherry sticks from the orchard, and they went and found some dry pine sticks. We also grabbed a single piece of newspaper, put that on the bottom then stacked the sticks like a pyramid. Then we lit it, we turned the vent hole towards the wind, which helped a ton!

As you can see, the smoldering wood from before made some soot marks on the outside of the vent hole.  But this is the new fire, with dry wood, and it was hot. The bowl base discolored from the heat, we weren't surprised. I love it, as something well practiced with will work better. And you need to practice using your prep stuff or you won't know how to use it when you NEED it. As you can see here, well barely, the Kettle is on top of the base. It was not boiling yet, but it was getting hot. To feed the fire, you drop small sticks down the chimney.

BE CAREFUL when dropping sticks down the chimney, it is SUPER HOT!!! Now I know in the picture above you can't see the heat coming from the chimney, but it is there, and you can see in the water hole, the sweat from the steam forming.  Yes it says you will have boiling water in 3-5 minutes, this is after you get the fire going. Obviously you can't boil water without the fire.
Yes we boiled water, and it boiled fast, although we forgot to time it, it did boil fast as soon as we had the fire going.
Here is a picture of the Kelly Kettle while boiling.

It is sooo cool! Now just a reminder: FIRE SAFETY, do not have this sitting on a combustable surface. DO not have anything flammable near the vent hole, as we found out, the sticks can shift while burning, and some ash or embers may come out of the hole. Sorry I did not get a picture of the water boiling but it was neat! 
WARNING: NEVER USE THE KETTLE WITHOUT WATER IN IT!

This is a great preparedness item because you can sterilize your water for drinking, cooking, bathing, brushing teeth.. DO not store water in it. The stopper provided (orange, and I didn't get it in any pictures darn it) is for when you are carrying the kettle from your water source. Do NOT boil with the stopper in the hole! And the stopper is for the water hole, not the chimney.

By the way, the base, grill, pot support, handle.. it all stores in the bottom of the Kelly Kettle, and all that stores in the bag that comes with it.

We are very excited to have this in our home. We have a way to make boiling water for when the power is out, when camping or hiking or both.


Another survivalist just did a review on her Kelly Kettle. I am posting the link here so you can see her video she made. She's lucky she has a working video camera. So head over to Food Storage and Survival and see her video. And yes, she LOVES hers too!!

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Dehydrators

There are so many to choose from my goodness. BUT, beware, if it's a very low price, it's a poor choice.
Brands out there:
Ronco
Nesco
American Harvest
EXCALIBUR

Ok, I have used all of those, and I will say by far the best one is the Excalibur. YOu can get them with 4, 5 or 9 trays!  I have the 5 tray one, and I wish I had the 9 tray too sometimes.

If you would like to see a comparison go to Harvest Essentials and check out their flow chart. I hated the round ones, nothing dried evenly and I felt like a lot of food was wasted. With my Excalibur, things dry evenly, things dry, and I love how well it does. Yes the Excalibur is more expensive, but it will last.

I dried a bushel of pears in 24 hours! I dried a bushel of onions in 36 hours. Worth it?? EVERY PENNY!  I love my EXCALIBUR dehydrator.

Where can you buy one????

 Harvest Essentials

Pleasant Hill Grains

Excalibur

Amazon

Monday, September 10, 2012

National Preparedness Month!!

Did you know September is National Preparedness Month?  Well in our house that is every month... ya I know, I am like a broken record.  I wonder how many of you know what a vinyl is.  oops off track. OK, so because this is the official Prep month, I wonder, what are you doing to prepare?
Are you still buying atleast one extra food item when you buy something needed? Is that helping your larder build?

How well are you prepared if the power goes out?
Flooding?
Evacuation and forced Evacuation?
Fire?  We have had too many here in Washington lately.
Freezing?
Heat?

Do you have water stored? Do you have a water filter? A way to boil water if you don't have power?
Does you have gas or briquettes stored for you BBQ and or Butane stove?
Do you have fuel for a generator if you have a generator?
Do you have a pressure cooker (different from a canner)? OR a Saratoga Jack Thermal Cooker (bottom of the post it talks about them, and yes I still sell these)?
Do you have food in your pantry?

Another major thing people don't think about is the toilet. You realize that if the power is out, you won't be getting water to your toilet after you flush. Make sure you have water nearby so you can flush.  Oh, and do you have enough toilet paper?

In August I saw major evacuations in Eastern Washington due to fires. And again on the news last night they are having high wind warnings (so the fire will spread very fast) all over Eastern Washington.  What does that mean? It means lentils and wheat prices will most likely sky rocket. If those fields go up two major staples prices go up.... food for thought.. or is it Thought for Food?  The latter I think.

I have food, a heat source, several cooking sources, water source, BOB's packed, and fuels.
What are you missing? I suggest you get it. If you don't know where or how, email me. I can help you.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Peaches, Nectarines, Apples and Pears.. OH MY!

Now that we finally have the "fruits" of our labors coming in... what to do with them? IF you can keep your kids from eating them all and complaining of belly aches, and have enough to put up for winter, then I will make some suggestions.

FREEZE: freezing peaches and nectarines is EASY!!  DON'T freeze pears, they fall apart. So peel and pit your fruit. Cut into the desired size pieces, sprinkle with sugar, place in freezer bags and seal. Lay flat in freezer.  You can also use a citrus dip to prevent browning.

DRY: I love this!!!  You can dry any fruit. So for pears.. to peel or not to peel, it's up to you, but we prefer peeled. So we wash the fruit, peel it, and slice about 1/4-inch thick. This dip in watered down orange juice. pineapple juice or lemon juice and put on dehydrator trays. We do the same for peaches and nectarines. We use these as snacks. You can also do this with bananas, and my kids LOVE them this way.

CAN: So many options! You can do a light syrup, or heavy syrup. You can make butters, chutneys, salsas.. it is amazing! I suggest getting a Ball Canning, freezing and dehydrating book. Usually a new one comes out every year. I have made pear butter (absolutely divine, just don't scorch or burn it), banana butter, peach butter, fruit in light syrup, peach jam, triple berry jams, apple butter, apple sauce, apple pie filling, peach pie filling, apple juice, zucchini jam (yes it is good!!).

The BALL book is great!!  BUT, you can also use their website.

Ok, so don't be afraid, get ready to jump in up to your elbows because you will be sticky all the way up!! You can always email me if you have questions.