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Europe Travel Inspiration

Thu, 01/02/2020 - 05:16

It is not necessary to run to a travel agency, write to tour operators and choose between a few boring six-day trips to the main attractions. Now there is the opportunity to travel independently and discover the world. We will try to tell how it is easier to organize such a trip and how cheaper it is to travel around Europe and the world.

What to Pay Attention to

Before you pack your bags, make sure that you will like to make a trip specifically to this country. Learn the country from different angles.

What to pay attention to:

  • location;
  • mentality;
  • climatic conditions;
  • time zone;
  • national features;
  • religious preferences of local residents.

Study what you have to deal with before going on a trip. If you have decided on the countries or cities that you want to visit, then you should get directions and decide how to get there. When planning a trip to Germany, rent a bus in Germany on https://bcs-bus.com/charter-bus-germany. More and more people travel to Europe by car, so check the quality of the roads and check their rules, if you like this option of caravanning.

Take Care of Accommodation and Food

The next stage is the reservation of a hotel or apartment, as well as specifying the places where you will eat. Nowadays, cheap travel is not a problem even with frequent visits to catering facilities and accommodation in rooms. You just need to be able to search.

You need to find the best area in each specific city where you are going to stay. Forums on tourist-related websites will help you with this. For example, Alexander Square and Berlin-Mitte are the best districts in terms of their infrastructure and proximity to the main attractions in Berlin. And if you decide to organize a trip to Germany and stay in Munich, then choose a hotel near the forecourt. Low hotel prices are complemented by an abundance of 24-hour cafes and restaurants, shops and parking lots.

Choose Attractions

The organization of independent travel is a painstaking task, so it’s better to approach many points from the list. In particular, the list of obligatory sights. Every interesting tower, museum or fountain has its own highlight and, at the same time, its own trick.

Do not forget to familiarize yourself with the experience of previous visits. Experienced travelers tell a lot of tricks: what time it is better to come at, what point to take pictures from and how to go somewhere for free.

Make a List of Things

Well, of course, make a list of all the necessary things that you plan to take with you. Literally everything — from hairpins to sleeping bags. Write the list carefully and even include documents that are often left at home. Describe all the points, leave the list for a day or two, then look at it with a fresh look, do not take too much.

On the one hand, there are still many problems to solve, but on the other hand, independent travel is a completely unique type of relaxation, experience, and emotions. Therefore, you should definitely try it.

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7 Smart New Years Resolutions Every Gardener Should Make

Fri, 12/27/2019 - 12:10

New Years Resolutions That Will Benefit Your Garden Will Benefit Your Family Food Supply Also.

Are you making New Year’s resolutions this year? If so, consider making resolutions that could benefit your garden.

Here are seven:

 

1. Use what you have

Many people will say they want to have a garden but that they don’t have enough space. They just need a new perspective. You always can grow with what you have, whether it’s a small window box for herbs or microgreens indoors. There’s a variety of vegetables that will thrive in almost any space and that require minimal care.

Some plants may be harmful to your pets, though, so it is always recommended you do some research before you make a purchase if you plan to have indoor plants. If you really cannot have a garden in your home, you can reach out to your surrounding community, as there are often community gardens with plots available where you can plant and grow in an outdoor space.

 

2. Choose the right plants

Photos of gardens that look perfect might make you feel slightly jealous or incompetent as a gardener, but what you might not realize about those picture-perfect gardens is that the plants were selected for that specific region.

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With this in mind, you want to choose the right plants for your climate. Do you live in a humid climate, or do you normally experience long, dry summers? If you can resolve to select the plants that thrive in the climate in which you live, then your garden is more likely to thrive – and it will be something you will want to show others.

 

3. Start your own compost bin

Some cities have rules regulating compost bins, and if so, there are smaller versions of personal compost bins available to keep in your kitchen or outdoor space.

Adding compost will definitely improve the quality of your soil – and garden.

 

4. Keep your tools in top shape

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If you live in a climate with distinguishable seasons, like summer, spring, fall and winter, then you can use the winter season to make sure all of your tools are in top shape — or replace any that might be getting old.

This way, you can begin gardening immediately when weather again becomes favorable. You don’t want to have to wait to plant during spring if you discover one of your beloved tools needs repaired or replaced.

 

5. Know what you’re planting

Different kinds of plants require different maintenance schedules, so take some time and learn about them. When should they be planted? What is their pruning schedule? How much water do they require? Appropriate pruning and maintenance is also essential for effective pest control.

 

6. Keep a garden diary

This isn’t like a mushy diary kind of thing, but instead focuses on when you planted it, when you watered it, when you noticed the first bud, etc.

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You also could include the weather experienced in your area each day; this will help put a pattern together for effective gardening. By keeping track of your gardening, you will be able to see patterns of what worked and what didn’t so that you don’t make the same mistake twice.

 

7. Create a garden scrapbook

You might take digital photographs of your gardens, but do you actually print any of them out? Start printing them. When you do this and put them into a photo album or scrapbook, you will have memories to look back on during those cold winter days.

Also, by having memories of what you garden looked like last year, you can make plans to change or reorganize your garden next season. These memories will give you beautiful photographs you can set on a desk or table around your home, and they will brighten up any room with your very own artwork.

What gardening resolutions are you making? Share your suggestions in the section below:

 

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Installment Loans in the US

Mon, 12/02/2019 - 06:52

Usually, people try to avoid debt, but in some situations, borrowing money can be beneficial. Moreover, with the help of borrowed money, you can even get rich. For example, if you take a loan and use it for the following reasons:

  • You can improve education;
  • You can start your own business;
  • You can use this money for a profitable investment.

What is an installment loan for consumer purposes? One may need to, for example, buy a car. A car will help you get to work faster, but it is unlikely to bring you any profit. Below we provide a shortlist of loans used in the USA, as well as give recommendations on how to obtain them.

 

Education Loans

College tuition prices are rising so fast that they are even ahead of inflation. An average cost for a four-year college education is $127,000. This price includes payment for tuition, as well as accommodation, meals, textbooks, transportation, and other expenses. It is very difficult for middle-income families to find funds to educate their children in college, but you can still do it.

Usually, parents accumulate part of the money for studying in advance. Often, students earn extra money in their free time. Students showing outstanding academic or sports success receive a scholarship. And the best of them even receive federal grants. But this money can only be used for a small part of the education.

In this case, a loan comes to the rescue. On average, American students borrow more than $21,000 for college. In the United States, there are many types of student loans, including those common such as Perkins, Stafford, or PLUS. All these loans can be repaid after graduation.

The second advantage of student loans is their low interest. Although the interest rate depends on the selected loan, it usually lies in the range of 5-7%. The state also offers various periods for paying student loans. Some of them can reach 30 years. Although, of course, it is better to repay the loan earlier and not pay large amounts of interest.

 

Commercial Loans

Opening a new or expanding an existing business always requires additional cash. One way to obtain them is a commercial loan. Commercial loans are usually provided by banks, as well as by some other lenders.

To get a commercial loan, you must have a carefully designed business plan. It should reflect the direction of your business, contain data on available finances and planned expenses, describe the income generation scheme, management structure, and other necessary information. The lender will also request detailed information about your guarantors.

The guarantor for commercial loans is often the Small Business Administration. This government agency does not issue money itself but acts as a guarantee of their return to the creditor in case of insolvency of the recipient of the loan. At the same time, the responsibility for repaying the loan remains with the recipient, and the SBA actually only helps to get the right amount.

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The Pilgrims’ First Thanksgiving Meal Included … Seal & Eagle?

Thu, 11/21/2019 - 16:00

First Thanksgiving Meal

The first Thanksgiving – at least, the one involving the Pilgrims — is believed to have occurred over a period of three days, sometime between Sept. 21 and Nov. 9 in 1621.

The feast occurred on a Pilgrim plantation at the Plymouth colony in Massachusetts, and was attended by 53 Pilgrims and 90 Wampanoag Indians. Reportedly, the Pilgrims and the Wampanoag expressed thanks for the animals, fruits and vegetables they were consuming. This is actually a tradition with Native-Americans, who would always thank an animal or plant for surrendering their life so that they may live.

The Pilgrims were grateful to God, not only for the bounty they had collected but for the Wampanoag, who had helped them survive on the brink of starvation and who peacefully co-existed with them for 50 years.

The Pilgrims did not have wood-burning cook stoves. All cooking was done over an open fire, either in cast iron pots and pans, or roasted on spits or suspended next to the fire. Dutch ovens were used for basic baking and braising. There also were some foods cooked in hot ashes, which was a technique they learned from the Wampanoags.

 

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Boiling, steaming and frying were the cooking styles of choice, and both duck fat and goose fat were highly prized for a number of dishes. Butter was a scarce and precious commodity, as was milk.

Seasonings were limited, although sea salt and certain herbs like liverwort and some other aromatic herbs like ramps (wild chives) and purslane were used.

What Was Not On The Table

First Thanksgiving Meal

The foods consumed were indigenous or natural to the Massachusetts area in the 1600s. As a result, there were some plants and animals that didn’t show up on the menu:

  • Potatoes. There simply were no potatoes growing in North America at that time. No white potatoes, sweet potatoes or red potatoes. Potatoes grew in South America, and it wasn’t until the Spanish brought them to Europe that they eventually made their way to North America.
  • Cranberry sauce. Cranberries did, in fact, grow in bogs around Massachusetts, but the sauce we know today was not made. Cranberry sauce requires a lot of sugar, and the Pilgrim’s supply of sugar was nearly exhausted. Honey was too precious for something as basic as a cranberry sauce.
  • Dessert. Again, there simply was not enough sugar.
  • Turkey. Well, maybe not. (The meat of choice was deer.) Wild turkeys inhabited the region, but other types of fowl took center stage, including ducks, geese, pigeons and even cranes, swans and get this … eagles.
  • Bread. At least, not much of it. There were some breads at the table, but mostly sourdough and cornbread. The sourdough was referred to as “cheate” bread by the Pilgrims. The sourdough was baked as a round loaf, probably in a Dutch oven. The cornbread was a gift from the Wampanoag, from a variety of corn referred to as “flint” corn — a yellow corn that was allowed to dry on the plant and was then ground into a flour or corn meal.
  • Salt but no pepper. Given the proximity of the Plymouth colony to the ocean, sea salt was in abundance, but pepper was missing in action. Pepper was a very exotic and expensive spice at the time.
What WAS On The Table

So, what did the menu look like? The only foods recorded in history were deer and fowl. In addition, fish, seafood and even seal likely were served. The vegetables tended to be rustic and traditional but very familiar to us. There was fruit, as well as some simple breads.

Let’s have some fun with this and look at the First Thanksgiving in a traditional menu format, with a description of the ingredients and how the dishes were prepared. These were the actual foods served at the First Thanksgiving, with traditional ingredients and a traditional preparation style.

——————————————————————–

Ye Olde Thanksgiving Menu

 

Appetizers:

Assorted nuts consisting of acorns, walnuts and chestnuts roasted over an open fire in a cast-iron pan and lightly salted with sea salt.

A mix of wild plums and grapes with blueberries, gooseberries and wild black raspberries.

Seal kebobs cut into chunks and slowly roasted on skewers over coals and served with sea salt.

Raw oysters on the half shell served with an herbed vinegar

Surf and surf combination of lobsters and clams boiled in salt water and served with herbed goose fat.

Mussels with curds. The mussels are boiled in sea water, shelled and then mixed with curds until the curds gently melt.

——————————————————————–

Starters:

Vegetable soup

A soup made with sea salt in sea water and a medley of sliced onions, parsnips, carrots, leeks and cabbage and topped with duck fat.

Clam chowder

We start with shucked clams and gently simmer in our limited and precious milk, onions, leeks and then thicken with corn meal and season with sea salt and garnish with chopped spinach leaves.

Mixed green salad

A salad of dandelion greens, plantain leaves, various lettuces, spinach and peas with a dressing made from vinegar and duck fat and a sprinkle of sea salt all topped with chopped liverwort greens.

———————————————————————–

Ye Main Meal

 

Venison

Venison steaks roasted over an open-fire on a spit and served with a brown-blueberry sauce.

Pan-roasted venison sautéed in a cast iron pan over an open fire with caramelized onions and vinegar.

Braised venison

Cuts of venison from the rump, brisket and shoulders are cut into chunks and flowered in corn meal and then browned in goose fat with onions, carrots and some sea water in a Dutch oven until tender.

———————————————————————–

Fowl

(All fowl dishes are served with an optional stuffing or a “pudding in the belly” made from corn meal, onions, cranberries, herbs, vinegar and sea salt

Pheasant

Spit-roasted pheasant roasted on a spit over open coals and basted with duck fat and sea salt.

Braised goose

Cut-up goose braised with onions, parsnips, carrots and cranberries in a Dutch oven.

Wild turkey

Spit-roasted wild turkey roasted between two beds of hot coals and basted with a sea water, vinegar blend.

Boiled eagle

Cut-up eagle boiled with onions and herbs in a pot of salt water and then quickly seared over open coals.

Pigeons in a pan

Pigeons in a pan with onions and carrots sautéed in a cast iron frying pan in goose fat and duck fat are then topped with roasted and chopped black walnuts.

Hot coal-roasted swan

The swan is set beside a fire vertically on stakes and turned from time to time to cook the meat through. It’s basted with a blend of duck and goose fat and seasoned with sea salt and served whole on a large plank.

——————————————————————-

Fish

Cod

Cod either boiled with onions, roasted over coals or wrapped in grape leaves and simmered in hot ashes.

Sea bass

Whole grilled sea bass basted with duck fat over open coals and topped with sea salt and chopped herbs and spinach.

——————————————————————–

Sides

Stuffed pumpkin

We start by hollowing out a pumpkin and then filling it with chunks of pumpkin, milk, honey and spices and then wrap in boiled grape leaves and cook in ashes until done. It’s served from the pumpkin as a bowl and has the consistency of a custard.

Boiled onions

Onions are peeled, quartered and boiled with raisins, sugar, egg and vinegar until tender.

Squash mash

A variety of squashes from butternut to acorn to pumpkin cut into chunks and boiled until tender and then mashed with honey, cinnamon, cloves and a touch of sea salt.

Mixed vegetables

An assortment of vegetables including carrots, parsnips, onions, spinach, peas, and a blend of chopped herbs all gently boiled and topped with sea salt.

Flint-corn mush

A combination of ground flint corn gently boiled in milk and seasoned with either sea salt or honey.

Boiled spinach

Spinach leaves boiled in sea water and drained and then topped with duck fat and a sprinkle of sea salt.

Your choice of sourdough “cheate” bread or cornbread

——————————————————————-

     Dessert

Fruit and nut sampler

A mix of fruits and nuts including grapes, gooseberries, blueberries, wild plums and an assortment of salted and roasted acorns, chestnuts and black walnuts.

———————————————————————–

Beverages

Water

Tea

Maple Sap

———————————————————————

I don’t know about you, but it all sounds pretty good — although I might take a pass on the boiled eagle. There’s a hefty fine and they are never in season these days.

If you want to try one of these recipes, the menu is pretty self-explanatory with ingredients and cooking style. This was a very rustic, simple and direct type of cooking. There were no meat thermometers to tell you when something was done; the usual shake on the drumstick of any bird would tell you it’s done when it feels loose and the juices run clear.

Fish was easy enough to evaluate when the fish was opaque and flaked, and most boiling and braising methods would indicate doneness with a simple slice and a taste.

You may or may not want to toss one of these recipes on your Thanksgiving table, but even if you don’t, you can always throw a cold plate of plums, grapes and berries out there to remember that first Thanksgiving.

What would be your favorite “original” Thanksgiving meal? Share your thoughts in the section below:   

 

The post The Pilgrims’ First Thanksgiving Meal Included … Seal & Eagle? appeared first on Off The Grid News.

Professional Tips On Winter Food Storage

Sat, 11/16/2019 - 14:26

As you start to prepare for the upcoming cold months, don’t miss these do’s and don’ts of how to properly manage your winter food storage. While it may take a little time and effort, when the inclement weather hits, you won’t be sorry.

 

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Veterans’ Day 2019: A Life Remembered

Mon, 11/11/2019 - 09:44

Today is Veterans’ Day. It’s a day to remember the incredible sacrifices that our men and women in uniform have to make on a daily basis to serve and defend our nation. Most of the time they’re on the periphery of our thoughts. They go about the day and night, doing their duty, while the rest of us live our lives—the lives they’ve taken an oath to protect.

Today I remember my father. He was an Army first sergeant. I was a child when we were living on bases all over the world. I was only thirteen when he retired. The memories I have of those days are poignant, yet hazy, filtered through the passage of time.

I remember the days, two weeks at a time, he would be gone. He called it “out in the field”, practicing maneuvers and war strategy. I remember the months and months he was gone as he did his time in Vietnam, and the letters he sent are still neatly tied and tucked away in a box. They were exhortations to an 8-year-old child that longed to sit in her daddy’s lap, to be “a big girl,” to “help your mommy,” and to “take care of your little brother.” They were my orders to chin up, do your duty, and do it well.

I remember the day he came home from the war. We met him at the airport. We ran to him when we spotted him through the gate. There wasn’t a gate made that was going to stop us from reaching him. I remember his arms coming around me and squeezing me so hard that I thought I would break. It was also the first time I’d seen my daddy cry, though it wouldn’t be the last.

My dad would wake up around 4 am every morning, and by 4:30 am, he was sitting at the table drinking a cup of coffee, dressed and ready to go. As I got older, it became my ritual to get up with him, to sit there and quietly discuss anything and everything that came to mind. It was our time together, and I cherish those memories. I can remember sitting with him in the evenings while mom and my brother were in another room, helping him polish his brass or his shoes. Or, he’d be at the table, catching up on paperwork. He’d hand me a blue and red pencil and let me help him with the stuff that wasn’t that important, but had to be done.

I remember the times that we’d travel to visit my mother’s parents in Denmark. It was a 12-hour drive from our home in Germany. While everyone else slept, I’d scrunch up behind my dad and talk to him, or we’d sing country and western songs in hushed voices, trying not to wake anyone up. We counted license plates and made up stories about people in other cars. He enjoyed the company. I wanted to make sure he didn’t fall asleep.

Even after he retired, there was a precision, a sense of honor and duty that stayed with him for the rest of his life. He worked hard to provide for us, especially during financial trials and family tribulations. We never suffered from lack of anything. I can remember him, stretched out on the couch on a Sunday, dozing in between football games on TV, resting so he could get back at it the next day. I remember him planting his garden each and every year, and how proud he was of my mother when she worked hard to put it all up into jars or the freezer. He was a simple country boy with simple needs the whole of his life, and his family was his reason for living.

His “take it on the chin and pull yourself up by the bootstraps” mentality was no more evident than the day that the doctors told him he was dying and gave him less than a year to live. His mouth clenched, he nodded briefly, and swallowed hard. That was it. I’m sure he shared his fears and concerns with my mother, but in my presence he persevered, carried on, made the best of it.

I was pregnant with our first child at the time of daddy’s diagnosis. I prayed to God to let him live long enough to see his first grandchild. God was more than generous. He lived long enough to see his second granddaughter born two years later. I wish he could have been here to see my brother’s son.

There are many things I regret when I look back on my life and my dad’s time on earth. Time wasted on petty differences, arguments, being a stupid adolescent and refusing to learn things he could have taught me that I’ve lost forever now he’s gone. But still there’s hope.

I know that when it’s my time to go home, he’ll be the first one to greet me. I don’t think he’ll let a gate stand in his way. And I know that he’ll hug me so tight, that I’ll think I’m going to break.

I love you, daddy. I remember your sacrifice and I remember your life. Thank you for mine.

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How To Mouse Proof Your Home For Winter

Fri, 11/08/2019 - 15:00

It is important to mouse proof your home. As the weather gets colder, mice are trying to find places to stay warm.

You don’t have to live next to a farm, field or forest to have a large mouse population in your neighborhood. It is important to mouse proof your home the best you can to keep these varmints out.

Mice are the ultimate survivors, and they thrive anywhere they find warmth, shelter, water and food. They may not bother us during spring and summer, but as the chill of autumn weather appears they look for better alternatives. Unfortunately, that often means our homes and cabins. There are a variety of steps you can take to diminish and resist this invasion.

Mice are prolific breeders. One female can produce up to eight litters a year, with six to 10 mice per litter. That means a single mouse can produce 80 other mice who will also breed and reproduce. The affect can be exponential, and that’s why this is often an ongoing battle against the furry little rodents.

 

Mouse Proof Your Home By Sealing Off Access to Your Home or Garage

This is not as easy as it sounds. A mouse can squeeze through the smallest spaces and gaps between your foundation and framing.

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But you have to start somewhere and here’s where to look:

  • Start in the basement and inspect any gaps in your foundation. If you shut off the lights in the basement, you may see daylight peeking through gaps or cracks. You can seal these with a patching cement, caulk, spackle or even steel wool. Mice are notorious for chewing through wood and just about anything else, so a patching cement might be your best bet if it’s an unfinished area and cosmetic appearance is not as important.
  • Check for any holes or gaps in your garage, whether it’s attached or freestanding. Garage doors are often left open for various periods of time, and that’s an invitation for mice to hide under and around things in the garage while they search for an entrance to your home.
  • Eaves and soffits aren’t out of reach for mice. Mice are good climbers and a tree or vine gives them a pathway to any gap or hole in an eave or soffit. Caulk works, or repair with new wood and re-caulk.

 

Mouse Proof Your Home By Eliminating Accidental Food Sources
  • Look for food left in or around spaces frequently occupied where food is consumed.
    • Did the kids leave some potato chips on the floor in front of the video game?
    • Did some organic garbage fall on the floor in the garage by the garbage cans?
    • If you have pet food, make sure none of it got scattered around by your pet, and seal the food in a sturdy plastic container with a tight-fitting lid.
    • Any food storage space can become a destination for mice, and mouse droppings in stored food are especially dangerous. Make sure any food storage is well-protected either in metal cans or sturdy plastic pails or containers.
    • Grass seed and wild bird seed in the garage are also mouse magnets. Make sure they’re in sealed containers and on a high shelf.
  • Check for incidental water sources.
    • I’ve often found a dead mouse floating in the sump-pump well. Try to seal the top to restrict access.
    • Wet spots in the basement also create water sources. Seal cracks or areas where seepage pools water. You should probably do this regardless of the mice, but if you’re unaware of the problem, this inspection step can help you remedy it.

 

Trapping and Eradicating Mice

Keep your home mouse proof this winter.

There are a variety of options for mouse eradication, and you should consider them carefully, especially if you have pets or children in the house. Some of the approaches are traditional and time-tested, and some fall in the category of new technology.

 

General Trapping Advice
  • Mice are nocturnal animals, which means they come out at night. As a result, they will be most active not only at night, but in a dark room. Shut off the lights and check your traps in the morning.
  • Mice hug the walls when they travel. They are skittish and nervous animals and like the reassurance of a wall next to them as they move around. They will foray into a dark and open space for food and water, but your best location for any trap is along walls and in corners or under furniture next to a wall or corner.
  • Yes, you can reuse any trap, and there is some evidence that the scent of a dead mouse actually attracts other mice to a previously used trap. That’s up to you. Wear rubber gloves if you take this approach.
  • Traditional bait for mouse traps is cheese or peanut butter. I prefer sharp, cheddar cheese pressed around the trigger so the mouse has to exert some pressure to get the cheese. I’ve had many occasions when the peanut butter on a spring trap was successfully licked off the trap without springing it.

 

1. The traditional spring trap.

We’re all familiar with this mouse trap. It’s a small, rectangular piece of wood with a snapping bar sprung by a spring when a piece of cheese or peanut butter is consumed from the trigger.

  • Pros: A quick kill that is inexpensive and allows you to discard both the mouse and the trap. It’s also highly effective.
  • Cons: Potentially dangerous to both kids and animals who may innocently trip the trap.

 

2. Glue traps.

Glue traps are a cardboard box shape that have a strong contact glue on the bottom of the trap. Sometimes you add food to the back of the trap and some are already scented with an attractive scent for mice.

  • Pros: These traps are also inexpensive and are specifically designed to be disposable. They’re also pet and toddler safe.
  • Cons: Probably the least humane mouse trap. I’ve hunted and fished for years and I’ve always hunted and fished to eat. But I’ll confess that when I used these traps, it broke my heart to see a small mouse squeaking and looking at me with a paw reaching out trying to free itself from the glue. I actually tried to get it loose so I could release it in the forest, but the glue was too strong. I dispatched it quickly and got rid of the glue traps. They work, but I don’t use them anymore.

 

3. Live-catch traps.

There are many variations on this type of trap. The concept is that they can get in, but they can’t get out. They’ll catch anywhere from one to six mice at a time, depending on the size and type.

  • Pros: It’s a humane option requiring you to find a distant location to release the mice. You also can capture mice in bulk if you get one of the larger traps. Most are baited with some type of food or food combination and are usually made of metal so they can be washed and reused. Also, they are pet and toddler safe.
  • Cons: They cost more but because they’re reusable, that’s not a big issue. They also tend to be somewhat large and visible, so they’re OK in a basement, but on the kitchen floor they stand out a bit more than you might like. Also, when you release the mice, make sure it’s a good distance from your home. The backyard is just going to invite them to try and get back in, and your neighbor may not appreciate it if you dump them in their backyard.

 

Image source: Pixabay.com

4. Mouse poison.

Mouse poison is a box of small, edible pellets that are usually made with corn and permeated with a potent poison. The mice eat the poison and will often run to an open space to die, although sometimes they will die in a hidden space and the only way to find them is the smell of a dead and rotting animal.

  • Pros: This type of eradication is often used in barns, sheds and other locations that are hard to access or check on a regular basis. It’s also used for large infestations when single traps just can’t do the job.
  • Cons: Be very careful with this one. Some stores won’t even sell it for liability reasons. Regardless of how well you hide it, a pet or toddler can die from ingesting it. In the old vernacular it was called “rat poison.” When our dog was a puppy he ate a box, and fortunately my wife caught him doing it. We rushed him to the vet and he put some eye drops in his eyes that caused him to immediately vomit. Sure enough, the tray was filled with the little, green pellets. He survived but it cost us $200 to learn the hard lesson about mouse poison.

 

5. Ultrasonic sound.

There are products on the market that broadcast a high frequency sound that is supposed to repel mice. I’ve never tried them and they might work, but I worry that they might also affect a pet dog or cat. There are enough versions of this type of product on the market to make me think it works, but I have found mixed reviews on Amazon.com

  • Pros: They’re safe for children and if placed properly may actually repel rodents with little effort.
  • Cons: Many of these products imply they will repel rodents in a broad range, from mice to rats, squirrels, chipmunks, rabbits, raccoons and possums. That’s what concerns me about cats and dogs.

 

6. Chemical repellents used to mouse proof your home.

These are repellents that you spray in areas where mice enter or reside. They usually come in a plastic bottle with an adjustable spray, from mist to a direct stream.

  • Pros: They’re easy to apply across a broad area or areas.
  • Cons: Some people don’t like spraying chemicals around their homes, although there are natural versions on the market. Also, the scent eventually fades. so you have to reapply from time to time.

 

Keep at it!

After you have tried one or more of the above methods, be vigilant to see if the mice have returned. Droppings are a clear sign they have, as is chewed paper or cardboard shreds.  If you think they’re back, don’t hesitate! Once they start reproducing you’ll be back to the battle again until spring.

What advice would you add? Share it in the section below:

 

The post How To Mouse Proof Your Home For Winter appeared first on Off The Grid News.

Prepping Your Immune System For Flu Season

Fri, 11/08/2019 - 14:56

Follow the link below to check out our latest video on how to effectively prep your immune system for the upcoming flu season. As the seasons change, the wintertime ailments start making their rounds. Take preventative measures now!

The post Prepping Your Immune System For Flu Season appeared first on Off The Grid News.

Autumn Leaves: ‘Miracle Mulch’ For Your Spring Garden

Tue, 10/29/2019 - 16:00

Mulch your leaves this fall and use them in your garden.

As we enjoy the changing seasons and the vibrant colors that come with autumn, we prepare ourselves for cooler temperatures and the raking and gathering of fallen leaves. For gardeners, this doesn’t mean an added chore, but actually a beneficial moment for improving and preparing our gardens for winter. There are many uses for those discarded leaves, and below are a few common ones.

  • Compost: Mow the leaves and place in the compost pile. It is easy to shred the leaves with a mower.
  • Leaf mold: This is a pile of leaves and soil that sits for about a year, and then is added to the compost. It helps with nutrients and soil-building.
  • Storing: This is a method of keeping all the leaves in a pile and using them to add to the compost when brown material is needed.
  • Mulch: Mulch retains moisture, controls temperature of soil and limits weed growth. Leaves also add nutrients and brown material as time goes on.

 

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Let’s take a look at using autumn leaves. Mulching is one of the easiest and most beneficial methods of using autumn leaves. It is also the most inexpensive way to deal with fallen leaves and takes as much, or even less, time than the usual raking and bagging. Mulch can be used in vegetable gardens, flowerbeds, shrubs and under trees. It looks attractive in any garden and is completely natural.

Tree leaves absorb about 50 percent of the nutrients that the tree gathers during the growing season. By using as mulch, they return these nutrients to the soil. They also encourage worms and micro-organisms to work the dirt. The end result will be a lighter soil which is easier to work and grow plants in.

Mulch can also be used to insulate plants and protect them from the cold winter winds and temperatures. It helps prevent soil compaction.

 

Things to Remember

Leaves can be turned into organic fertilizer for your garden

Almost any leaves will make good mulch, but not Black Walnut. Black Walnut leaves should never be used because there are plants that are sensitive to this particular leaves’ compounds. Use only healthy leaves, not any covered with mildew, rust or tar. If you collect from trees such as laurel, walnut and eucalyptus, compost them before turning into mulch as they contain growth-inhibitors.

Shred the leaves before using in the garden. Whole leaves can prevent water from reaching the ground and plants. When you shred leaves for mulch, you are ensuring micro-organisms have more room to do their work.

Mulch expands, so cover all the ground with an even distribution, but don’t put it right up on a plant’s stem or trunk. Otherwise, it will encourage rot.

 

Here are some essential tips:
  • To start mulching, use the lawnmower and run over the leaves a few times. This mowing will shred the leaves into acceptable sizes. Once mowed sufficiently, rake into piles, and place in bags, buckets or wheelbarrow to move to where you need to mulch.
  • Weed the area first, and then add mulch
  • Apply a two- or three-inch layer of leaf mulch around the vegetable garden and flower beds.
  • If you cover vegetables like kale, leeks, carrots and beets, you may be able to harvest them most of the winter.
  • For plants like leeks and other closely planted greens, use your hands and take fistfuls of mulch to place several inches between the vegetables.
  • Plants that love shade can be covered by leaf mulch. It’s natural for them to be covered at this time of year. Place less than two inches, or five centimeters, of mulch over them so they can push through with little issue in the spring.
  • If you are using mulch as insulation, use about six inches, or 15 centimeters, to protect the more tender plants.

So when you see the leaves begin to fall this year, do not worry. Use them to enhance and create healthy plants and soil for the next season. With a little work, you can have a top-notch, natural mulch all your neighbors will envy! Nature provided us with the best mulch material, so don’t waste it. Mow those leaves and create an awesome autumn leaf mulch.

Got any fall mulching tips? Share them in the section below:

 

The post Autumn Leaves: ‘Miracle Mulch’ For Your Spring Garden appeared first on Off The Grid News.

Uncle Sam Wants To Protect You From Pumpkin Carving Injuries

Mon, 10/28/2019 - 16:56

Pumpkin carving injuries are simply one of the many dangers that the CPSC is using your tax dollars to warn you about.

Pumpkin carving injuries are apparently a major problem in America. In fact, a federal agency has released an advertisement about pumpkin carving injuries in time for Halloween.

The ad features a talking jack-o-lantern that warns celebrants about pumpkin carving injuries, Vox reports. Remarkably, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) believes jack-o-lanterns are a danger. The CPSC is reportedly responsible for the talking pumpkin ad.

Furthermore, the CPSC has issued a warning list of jack-o-lantern dangers. The dangers include “lacerations related to pumpkin carving,” for instance.

The Federal Government Is Protecting You From Pumpkin Carving Injuries

The CPSC is so concerned about pumpkin carving injuries that it created a warning poster. However, the poster looks more like an advertisement for a slasher movie than a safety warning.

To emphasize the danger from pumpkin carving injuries, the poster says “Pumpkin Laceration: Chapter Seven.” In addition, it states, “any cut could be the deepest.”

Conversely, fake jack-o-lanterns could be a bigger safety risk than pumpkin carving injuries. The CPSC admits that Pier 1 Imports recalled thousands of decorative pumpkins because they were a laceration hazard. In other words, the “safe alternative” to traditional jack-o-lanterns is also dangerous.

Federal Agency Wants You To Avoid “Hatchet Job” To Your Fingers

Additionally, the CPSC has a website dedicated to preventing pumpkin carving injuries. Notwithstanding, the website provides very little information about jack-o-lantern safety.

The website cautions parents against letting young children use knives. It also advises parents to let kids draw on pumpkins with crayons instead of carving.

“Keep the sharp tools in adult hands,” the website advises. Particularly, the Commission wants to keep you from “doing a hatchet job to your fingers.”

 

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Uncle Sam Brands Jack-O-Lanterns A Fire Hazard

The Commission believes that jack-o-lanterns are a fire hazard as well. Specifically, its press release alerts parents to the danger of “candle flames from jack-o-lanterns.”

Consequently, the press release warns you to keep jack-o-lanterns away from drapes and other potentially flammable objects. The CPSC further advises you to keep jack-o-lanterns away from walkways or steps used by trick-or-treaters.

For example, the CPSC’s experts fear that trick-or-treaters will set themselves on fire by brushing against a jack-o-lantern. Notably, the CPSC press release lists no examples of injuries from jack-o-lantern fires.

Moreover, the CPSC warns parents to make Halloween costumes from fire-resistant materials. The Commission cautions against costumes with “baggy sleeves” and “billowing skirts.”

Likewise, the CPSC’s jack-o-lantern safety page recommends that you use flashlights instead of candles in pumpkins.

The CPSC Wants To Protect You From Pumpkin Carving Injuries And Other Holiday Dangers

All in all, pumpkin carving injuries are just one of many holiday dangers the CPSC wants to protect you from.

In the same fashion, the agency created a video showing the dangers of turkey fryer fires. To explain, a turkey fryer is a big pot filled with peanut oil which is used to deep-fry turkeys. Deep-fried turkey is supposedly a Thanksgiving delicacy in the South.

To demonstrate the danger, the video shows a turkey fryer exploding into flames.

On the negative side, pumpkin carving injuries are simply one of the many dangers that the CPSC is using your tax dollars to warn you about. For instance, the Commission is reportedly preparing warnings about Christmas tree fires.

On the positive side, the CPSC is providing sensible safety advice. However, there is no evidence that most people are even made aware of its warnings.

You may also enjoy reading an additional Off The Grid News article: 10 Unique Off-Grid Ways You Can Use A Pumpkin This Fall

What do you think about the government’s attempt to protect Americans from pumpkin carving injuries? Let us know in the comments below.

 

The post Uncle Sam Wants To Protect You From Pumpkin Carving Injuries appeared first on Off The Grid News.

Preparing for Winter: Important Aspects in Kids’ Wardrobe to Consider

Mon, 10/28/2019 - 05:24

It is already autumn, and caring parents start looking for wardrobe for their little kids. It is well-known that autumn and winter strolls are useful for the health, especially for the lungs and prevention of infectious diseases. That is why it is important to select the outfits that will ensure that your kid is warm and will not interfere with the moves of your active baby.

Luckily, these days, the choice in the stores is abundant. A parent can find outfits according to their preferences in styles, as well as available budget. Those who look for toddler clothes may check https://Thetrendytoddlers.com and dive into the cuteness of these outfits.

However, preparing for winter, nice looks and trendiness are not the first aspects to consider. Check the most essential points to pay attention to.

Tips on Choosing Winter Clothes for Kids

In autumn and winter, the number of clothes’ layers increases. Hence, it is important to take care of the child’s comfort. For newborns and infants under one year, this is not so important as they will sleep in the stroller. While active toddlers need to move so that not to get cold.

  1. Keep the minimum number of layers. It is always better to put on fewer layers of more warm clothes. For instance, in winter, try a cotton onesie over a diaper, fleece onesie, and an overall. That will be sufficient if your baby will walk and run outside.
  2. The materials in contact with the skin must be natural. While the next item can be of fleece that is light and warm at the same time. Wool is, undoubtedly, a good choice; however, it is often disliked by kids.
  3. Coats and overalls for autumn and winter should be waterproof. In the rain or snow, it is important to make sure that the clothes beneath will not get humid that may lead to catching a cold.
  4. Footwear is of no less importance. Waterproofing is obligatory. Besides, it is recommended to look for thermal booties that are not too heavy but keep the temperature inside. The choice is wide, hence, you can opt for the style you prefer.
  5. Thermo jackets, coats, and overalls are also a good choice for active kids. For newborns in strollers, it is feasible to choose overalls filled with a goose quill. However, this is not the best alternative for always-in-move toddlers.
  6. Hats, mittens, gloves, socks, and all the other accessories should be chosen to ensure the convenience for your child. It is possible to put a hood over the head instead of a hat, however, remember that in such a way, an outlook is limited. If you stroll in the area with traffic and crowd, it is better to opt for a hat.

Make wise choices of winter outfits and have no problems during strolls in cold seasons. Stay warm and healthy!

The post Preparing for Winter: Important Aspects in Kids’ Wardrobe to Consider appeared first on Off The Grid News.

10 Great Cold-Hardy Vegetables

Fri, 10/25/2019 - 15:28

Cold-hardy vegetable varieties.

There are many ways to extend the growing season through the winter in cold temperate climates. This can be done by  using cold frames, greenhouses, row covers, and raised beds, as well as mulching heavily and starting plants indoors. Perhaps one of the easiest ways to extend the season, however, is to grow a diversity of cold-hardy plants. Cold-hardy plants can allow you to begin harvests earlier in the spring while continuing to yield later into the fall and even through winter.  Below is a sampling of some favorites, as well as some lesser-known cold-hardy vegetables.

 

Kale And Collards (Brassica Oleracea Acephala)

Certain varieties of kale, such as Red Russian, and Sea Kale may produce well into the winter, especially if protected by cold frames or other covers.  Some may even survive the winter in areas as cold as zone 5, such as the perennial Sea Kale (Crambe maritima). This type of Kale is actually outside of the Brassica oleracea species of plants which includes other vegetables like kale, collards, cabbage, broccoli, and brussels sprouts. Mulch heavily and kale will stick around longer into the cold season, as with most plants.

 

Swiss Chard (Beta Vulgaris Cicla)

Although a heavy frost will kill chard, they will still produce well into the late fall in colder climates. If covered, chard may even last into the winter.  On very rare occasions, swiss chard can make it all the way through, even in zone 5 or warmer.

 

Beets (Beta Vulgaris Conditiva)

Even after the beet greens die off above ground, you will still be able to harvest the beet itself, often well into the winter. Beets are related to chard and their greens are equally as delicious.

 

Cabbage (Brassica Oleracea Capitata)

Cabbage comes in many different varieties and is another excellent green that will last into the depths of the fall. There are even perennial varieties such as Walking Stick Cabbage. Perennial varieties don’t have the large cabbage head that is characteristic of more popular types of annual cabbage.

 

Good King Henry (Chenopodium Bonus-Henricus)

This spinach relative is another perennial green that lasts into the fall in even the coldest climates, and it will also emerge early in the spring. Mulch heavily and it should survive in as cold as zone 4 climates. The cooked young leaves are best and must be eaten soon after harvest since they wilt. The seeds can also be eaten once soaked in water overnight and rinsed, though they are a little small and time-consuming to harvest.

 

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Perennial Onions (Allium Species)

There are a few varieties of perennial onions that last well into the fall in the coldest of climates, including Egyptian Walking Onion and Perennial Bunching Onion. These plants are commonly grown for their onion greens, but the bulbs can also be eaten. The bulbs may be harvested throughout the year, even when the aboveground greens die back.

 

Musk Mallow (Malva Moschata)

Musk Mallow is another perennial green that produces late into the year and comes up relatively early in the spring. The young leaves have a mild flavor and are best as one component of a multi-green salad. There are other varieties of mallow that are perennial as well. This variety is known to be one of the best flavored. The flowers and seeds are also edible, and the plant is hardy to at least zone 3.

 

Sunroot (Helianthus Tuberosus).

A vigorous perennial root crop growing to 10 feet tall, the flavor of the tuber improves after frost. Some say they are best eaten in their first year, though they will continue to produce and spread as a perennial for many years. Care should be taken to cook them well, and they shouldn’t be eaten in large quantity at first since they may cause gas. They are similar to beans in this way until your body grows accustomed to them.

 

Radicchio / Italian Chicory (Cichorium Intybus)

These perennials have edible leaves and roots. The leaves are a little bitter and are often blanched by excluding light while they are growing, making a sweeter, milder flavored green. Cook the roots like you would parsnips.  The roots also make an excellent (caffeine-free) coffee substitute when roasted and powdered.

 

Perennial Yam (Dioscorea Batatas)

Grown commonly in Japan and other parts of Asia as food, this vine root crop cultivates well in cold temperate regions. This crop can be harvested well into the winter, or early in the spring (until the ground freezes or when it thaws). It is best grown in deep, sandy soil, where it will produce a much larger root than in more dense soils (up to 3 feet long!). Cook the yam before eating, either by baking or boiling, similar to a regular yam. It is not very flavorful but is an excellent addition to soups and will readily absorb added flavors. The vine also produces small “aerial tubers” which are little yam berries. These tubers can also be cooked and eaten or used to propagate more plants.

These are but a small sampling of the many cold-hardy vegetables that you can grow in colder climates. Many perennials are great crops to try for cold-hardiness. Cold-hardy perennials, will often produce longer into the year and come up earlier in the spring. Consider constructing cold frames or a passive solar greenhouse to extend your season even further. This will potentially making it last through the entire winter.

What are your favorite cold-hardy vegetables? Please feel free to share in the comments below!

The post 10 Great Cold-Hardy Vegetables appeared first on Off The Grid News.

Creating Your Own Off-Grid Security System

Thu, 10/24/2019 - 16:00

Remote cabins require a creative security system approach.

Do you need an off-the-grid security system for your “just in case” place? Probably, but let’s consider.

Your off the grid get-away all set. Whether using wind, solar, or another form of energy, you have successfully removed yourself from the grid. This is a major accomplishment, and you should be proud. But how does one go about protecting this private “just in case” place? After all your work and effort, is your only option to turn to an establishment security system company and allow them to hook you right back into the grid you’ve spent so much effort to get away from?

You have a number of options, from the mundane and basic to the elaborate and exotic. We’ll discuss a few of those options here.  To begin we will look at the most simple set-ups, and then move on to more complicated systems.

 

Should You Install A Regular Security System?

The simplest option is to install a regular security system, and incorporate the extra energy use into your plans for consumption.  Energy-saving systems that monitor your location and adjust temperature settings can help offset this added use. If you choose this route, most companies will provide you with the energy requirements for their systems. They will also inform you if the systems are compatible with cellular phone use, or if they have to use a hard, or traditional, phone line.  This is an important question to ask because if you are set on getting rid of all wired connections, you will need to know the specs.

Beyond that, you can always create your own security systems. This is a bit more intensive, both from a labor and knowledge perspective. We will delve into the different options for each part of your homestead, and into some of what is involved in creating different systems.

 

The Home Alone Security System For Off Grid Living

The most important area to protect is the home itself, so we will start there and work our way out. Now, assuming the idea of a tin can tied to a string across your door seems a little too much like “Home Alone 2,” there are other options.  When evaluating the windows and doors, you can use battery-operated alarms. You can easily place them on doors, windows, and other entryways to make a simple alarm system.  During the day, it takes a little energy from your wind or solar power system to recharge the batteries.  However, it has the downside of being rather one dimensional. Additionally, it prevents a window from being open at night without removing the battery from that window’s alarm.

 

Laser Security System For Remote Cabins

Going one step further up the difficulty list, you can build your own laser security system. You’ll need a cheap, digital camera, a laser pointer, some wires, and an alarm clock. You can find the exact details of its construction online, but the premise is using the light sensor on the camera to send an electric signal to the alarm clock if the laser pointer stops shining on it.  This system has many benefits, including simplicity, mobility, and ease of use. However, it has some fairly significant disadvantages. Because of its reliance on light, the system is less effective during the day. Also, it can be foiled at night if the room it is used in is well lit or if a flash light is shined on the camera receiver.

 

Pocket Sized Solar Generator Provides Emergency Backup Power 

Finally, there is the option of buying equipment from a security company and wiring your house up as if you were with a major company, but without the massive bill or monthly payment. For someone with wiring skills and a decent working knowledge of how to construct these types of set ups, this can be a great way to go. The benefits include that the system is often the most complete, secure, and fully backed. As the system isn’t homemade, there are support networks to search for advice or help if the need arises. The downsides include the price ― this is the most expensive option ― as well as the amount of wiring required. You will also need highly technical skills to properly set up a complete home security system, along with running the proper connections all over your house from a central hub.

 

Home Security Weapons Of Choice

Moving outside the house, the easiest way to protect property from human outsiders is also the best. Building a simple fence of metal or wood, and signs warning against trespassing will keep most people away as long as civilization still exists. However, any breakdown in the civil order and the use of firearms to defend your property may be in order. There are several articles on Off the Grid News about the pros and cons of the different types of weaponry available under the Guns and Ammo section.

The largest worry for a self-sustaining homestead isn’t outside human influence, however. It’s the constant threat to gardens by wild animals. The fence mentioned above will keep most large animals out, be they deer, moose, or bear. Notwithstanding, to protect your crops from smaller animals such as rabbits, a simple electric fence can prove very effective. To ensure optimum performance, bury the fence into the ground to stop burrowing animals as well.

 

Dependable Emergency Backup Power From The Sun

When deciding if and how much electricity is needed, there are a few things to consider, including the type of animal and the length of the fence. The first is important to determine how “strong” a jolt you will need. A general rule is that 1mm of hide requires 2,000 volts to be felt. The second consideration determines the power source. Longer fences will require a stronger power source to maintain the voltage throughout the course.

How you power this fence is best determined by its location. If it’s in an open field, you can use solar modules for power.  Likewise, a fence near a river could be hooked into a water turbine, using the constant flow for power. This article on solar fence chargers will give you an overview of the available models.

All in all, security can be constructed or even adapted from your natural surroundings.

________________________________________________________________________

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How Our View Of The World Affects Learning, Knowledge And Understanding

Thu, 10/24/2019 - 15:47
View Of The World: Here’s A Great Place To Start

Our view of the world affects how we learn and understand all facts and evidence.

First of all, a good discussion with respect to how our view of the world affects learning has to start right here: God knows Himself.  He is light without darkness (1 Jn. 1:5). There are no hidden corners in His essence. He can never surprise Himself.  He knows His own mind and purposes.  And this God created heaven and earth.

When God made the world, He had no reference books, no helpers, no other gods beside Himself (Isa. 44:8).  The universe is wholly His creation.  This means that God’s knowledge and understanding of the universe is exhaustive and perfectly coherent.  God doesn’t know most things… He knows all things.  He knows each thing in its relationship to all other things.  God knows the world inside out, from top to bottom, from beginning to end (Isa. 46:10).  He is the only being who has this sort of knowledge and understanding.  His view of the world is comprehensive and exact.

In addition, God has revealed Himself in His creation.  The heavens do declare His glory … the passing days reveal His sovereign reign (Ps. 19:1-2). Every fact is a created fact and testifies powerfully to its Maker.  Every tree, water droplet, photon, leaf, and star point back to God and find their meaning in His eternal purposes (Matt. 10:29-30).

Furthermore, God has revealed Himself in His written word, the Bible.  The Bible is much shorter than, say, the Encyclopedia Britannica. Yet the Bible reveals all that we need to know about God’s purposes in creation and redemption (Deut. 29:29; 2 Tim. 3:16).  Likewise, the revelation it contains is coherent, infallible, and authoritative.  It is truth (John 17:17).  We, therefore, have the ability to know God and His world truly.

 

View Of The World: Human Limitations On Learning

On the other hand, we are finite.  We learn slowly, in bits and pieces, here a little and there a little.  We also easily forget things we once knew.  And we are sinful.  Our unbelief easily colors our thinking, even when we are thinking about God’s truth.  In short, our view of the world will never exactly be God’s … not now, and not even in eternity.  We will never have his omniscience and infinite wisdom.  And yet we must learn.

A mental model or map can help us understand and remember.  This model may be an outline, a story, a series of questions, a list of propositions, a written summary, or a visual aid, like a timeline or diagram. The creeds of the ancient Church are excellent summaries of the faith that help us contrast it with all the religions and philosophies of the ancient world.  The catechisms of the Reformation are very helpful and provide even more detail.

But does Scripture actually encourage us to shorten things up at times?  Do we have biblical grounds for “summing up the truth” when appropriate?  Let’s consider Paul’s sermon on Mars Hill as an example.

 

Paul On Mars Hill Teaching A Proper View Of The World

Paul at Mars Hill preaching the importance of worldview to the Greeks.

When Paul preached to the Greek philosophers on Mars Hill, he summed up a Biblical view of the world very quickly (Acts 17:18-34).  He began unapologetically with creation:  “God who made the world and all things therein” (v. 24).  Then he underscored God’s sovereign authority:  “He is Lord of heaven and earth.”

Next, Paul spoke of God’s transcendence:  God doesn’t dwell need live in earthly temples; He doesn’t need anything from His worshippers (vv. 24-25). But then Paul shifts to the complementary doctrine of God’s immanence:  God is the source of every good gift — “life, and breath, and all things”— and He has ordered the course and specifics of human history so that, in His time, men might “seek the Lord” (vv. 25-27).

Paul tells the Greeks that the way to find God is not solely in metaphysics—God actually is “not far from every one of us”—but in man’s ethical condition:  all men are functionally idolaters who need to repent of their culpable misrepresentations of God (vv. 29-30).

 

Our View Of The World Affects What Christians See As Common Ground With The World

Consequently, men need to turn from their idols and seek mercy in the God who raised Jesus from the dead.  For a day of judgment is coming (v. 31). Virtually everything Paul said here he quoted directly from Scripture.

Obviously, there’s a lot that Paul didn’t say.  He didn’t explicitly mention the Trinity, though he certainly preached God as genuinely personal … even as “absolute personality.”  He didn’t exactly preach the cross or justification by faith directly at Mars Hill, but that wasn’t his assigned topic. Rather, the Greek philosophers wanted to know about Jesus and the resurrection.  Paul answered them by placing Jesus’ resurrection in the context of creationist theology—the transcendence, immanence, lordship, and sovereignty of the God who made the world from nothing.

Above all, it’s important to understand that Paul found no common ground with Greek philosophy here.  Even more, everything Paul said about God was entirely at odds with the with the philosophers’ basic assumptions.  And yet Paul could still point to the Stoic poets and find support in their words, if not in their underlying theology.

For even the Greek poets knew that idols were “foundational garbage” and that men were, in some sense … “the offspring of God.”  Above all, Paul’s summary of theology was sufficient to draw a sharp contrast between his understanding of the world and that of the pagan philosophers.  He created a sufficient base for a moral and intellectual conversation about repentance.

 

The Importance Of Being Able To Summarize Our View Of The World 

“Let me ‘splain . . . No, there is too much.  Let me sum up.”

—Inigo Montoya, The Princess Bride (1987)

Paul summarized Christian theology with a handful of interrelated theological truth, all of them drawn directly from Scripture.  This summary served his direct and immediate purposes.  Had he received a more time and a more extended audience, had his hearers taken his words to heart, perhaps he would have had much more to say.  My guess is that He would have expanded his summary.  But it is unlikely, however, that even the most enthusiastic reception at Mars Hill would have moved him to read the entire Old Testament aloud then and there, let alone to exegete it all.  That work would belong to the newly planted church as it met every Lord’s Day.  And that work would then, even as it does now… take a long time.

Because the truth is, learning is a life-long process.  Actually, it’s an eternal process.  As we survey, evaluate, and communicate the truth about God and His world, we will need summaries.  As a result, by definition, summaries are incomplete.  But they are necessary.

 

Supplementing And Augmenting Our Christian View Of The World

Creeds, confessions, and systematic theologies supply some of this need for “summaries.”  And certainly, books, websites, and podcasts on worldview can even supplement the more traditional summaries by connecting the truths of systematics to the issues that fill today’s news headlines, entertainment and textbooks.

Lastly, and perhaps most importantly, the foundation of any and all “summaries” must stand the word of the living God.  That means continually returning to Scripture to see how our summaries can be expanded, tweaked, and corrected.

 

The post How Our View Of The World Affects Learning, Knowledge And Understanding appeared first on Off The Grid News.

How To Pick The Best Boot Knife For Prepping

Wed, 10/23/2019 - 14:45
Introduction

A boot knife is one of the best tools for prepping and knowing how to pick the best boot knife is extremely important.

Being a prepper means that you are self-reliant and that you have decided to take your safety into your own hands. A boot knife is one of the best tools for this and knowing how to pick the best boot knife is extremely important. Another thing you need to consider for your survival, especially to adapt to different weather conditions, would include having the best socks to keep yourself warm.

Boot knives are much easier and safer to conceal than firearms. In fact, you can fit this kind of knife into small compartments in your pants or bags. This trait will work to your advantage if you are entering an area with security checks, particularly those without metal detectors. In a situation like that, you can still conceal your knife and be eligible for entry.

Also, boot knives are much cheaper than firearms. After further understanding its usefulness, you can look at some tips on picking the best boot knife!

 

The Best Boot Knife: Blade-Point Design

In the market, boot knives come in a variety of blades, whereas you would normally find knives with a single edge and a clip point. This is important because it reveals how your knife would work in a variety of situations.

The straight back blade is the most popular blade point, and these knives have a straight edge, similar to kitchen knives. It is terrific for chopping and slicing, which is why it works great in the kitchen!

Next would be the sheepsfoot blade, which is ideal for slicing and cutting while you are still able to control the point. The main purpose of having a sheepsfoot blade is for cutting while minimizing your chances of accidentally piercing the point with another object. This is a popular tool that many people use when cutting seatbelts or restraints.

Another popular design is the spear point blade. A spear point blade is a blade that is symmetrically pointed. Additionally, it has a point that is in line with the center line of the blade’s axis. This is similar to the needle-point blade and both of these designs are good for piercing objects. Often, people utilize spear point blades as throwing knives since they are good for piercing.

 

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The Best Boot Knife: Suitability For Your Boots

Take note that there are some companies that specifically design boots to conceal boot knives. This would especially be true for hunting boots. These usually have built-in compartments or special straps for you to place the knife in. How easily and conveniently you can use boot knives would be dependent on the ring of your boots as well.

Those knives come in a variety of shapes and sizes. Nevertheless, you must ensure that your knife can fit into your shoe while providing easy access. Also, guaranteeing that it is easy to carry would be essential for you as you move around during the day.

The Best Boot Knife: Length Of The Blade

There are three categories of blade length, which are the short blades, the medium blades, and the large blades. For short blades, one obvious advantage is that they would be easier for you to conceal compared to other longer lengths. Since they are small, you would be able to clip them on your boots easily and assure that they are less noticeable. They would also be more lightweight, which is important when you are traveling for a long period.

For medium blades, generally, this category refers to blades which are from 2.75 inches to 4 inches. This kind of blade is sufficiently large to ensure that you can cut deep enough. Nonetheless, it is also still small enough for you to comfortably hold it.

As for large blades, these are usually blades which are above 4 inches. Despite being harder to conceal, these knives would be excellent for self-defense. This is because you would be able to inflict the most damage with this length of blade. You can cut deeper, guaranteeing that you hurt your target to the point that they stop harming you. You would also have a mental edge over your opponent because of how intimidating the knife looks!

The Best Boot Knife: Edge Of The Blade

The type of blade edge would influence how you should wield the knife and if you would behave differently. For a straight-edged boot knife, you should consider this kind of edge if you would prefer doing push cuts. These are cuts that you make when you push the knife forward. This kind of wielding would be great for making precision cuts, which is usually preferred when you are peeling an orange.

Next, you can consider a serrated edge blade. This type of blade is also known as a dentated, sawtooth, or toothed blade. If you are considering cutting through tough materials, you should choose a serrated edge blade. This blade would be able to inflict more damage when you pull the knife out of the object, as compared to thrusting it in.

The combo edge knife includes some parts of the blade which are straight and some parts which are serrated. A combo edge would be able to cause damage when it goes in and even when it is pulled out from an object. The only problem you may face with a combo edge knife is that it is more difficult to sharpen. After considering what you are going to use the blade for, only then can you effectively decide which edge you would prefer.

The Best Boot Knife: Texture And Material Of The Handle

A handle is important because you need to be able to hold your blade comfortably. Some choices you should consider are the stainless-steel handle, the Titanium handle, or the G-10 handle. Stainless steel handles are really durable because they cannot corrode easily. However, it may weigh more when compared to other materials.

For Titanium handles, they are usually durable and lightweight. Titanium handles have the best of both worlds, but they can be quite pricey. As for G-10 handles, they are composed of fiberglass, which makes them lightweight and capable of resisting chemical reactions. Consequently, these handles are able to withstand different environments.

Conclusion

In summary, the fact that you carry a firearm will probably keep you safe. Notwithstanding, having a boot knife with you can be just the backup weapon you can use. As a prepper, it would not hurt to plan further ahead!

Employing a knife would be faster and more effective, especially when you are caught in a close-combat situation. This is mainly because a boot knife is easier to pull out and attack with as opposed to pulling out your gun. You may even need to take some extra steps if your gun has its safety features on.

After understanding how to pick the best boot knife, you should now invest some time in learning how to use it! This includes learning the best methods to conceal your boot knife or even knowing how to throw it.

You may also enjoy reading an additional Off The Grid News article: 5 Essential Knives Every Survivalist Should Own

Do you have any other ideas that you want to share about what could be the best boot knife? Let us know in the comments below.

The post How To Pick The Best Boot Knife For Prepping appeared first on Off The Grid News.

Six Foolproof Ways To Protect Your Home (Even When You Aren’t There)

Wed, 10/23/2019 - 10:13

Check out this week’s video of six professional tips on how to safeguard your home against unwelcome visitors.

Follow these tips, stay safe, and always be prepared.

The post Six Foolproof Ways To Protect Your Home (Even When You Aren’t There) appeared first on Off The Grid News.

Elderberry Recipes That Will Keep You Healthy All Winter

Tue, 10/22/2019 - 16:00

Find the right elderberry recipe that works for you.

As always, I’m going to start this article with the standard caveat: Be very careful whenever you harvest a natural or wild fruit or berry. Only 10 percent of wild berries are safe to eat. Unfortunately, the other 90 percent are toxic — and some like belladonna or deadly nightshade are downright poisonous.

Unfortunately, this applies to some degree with elderberries. There are two varieties, one has a red look when ripe and the other has a blue tone. The blue ones are safe to eat, but the red ones can be toxic. The blue variety is referred to as Sambucus candensis. The red variety is referred to as Sambucus pubens. Don’t eat the red ones, look for the blue ones. They’ll often have a frosty, white coating as they mature.

 

Also, you should know that the leaves, stems and roots of elderberries are toxic. It’s enough to make you think twice about harvesting this fruit, but hey, rhubarb stalks taste great and the leaves are poisonous. You just have to know what you’re doing.

 

Processing Elderberries

The processing step essentially involves reducing the berries to a juice that can be made into elderberry juice, elderberry syrup and elderberry jelly. But you may want to think twice before grabbing a handful of wild elderberries and chomping them down.

For one, the berries are a bit tart. In fact, I would say they’re similar to wild grapes. The other thing you’ll find is they have very thin, almost sliver-like seeds. If you have any gaps in your teeth, you’ll be looking at about 10 minutes of flossing after chewing a handful. Therefore, that’s why the first step for any elderberry recipe is juicing the fruit.

 

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Finding Elderberries

Elderberries are a bushy plant that grows from 6 to 16 feet tall. They mature throughout the summer, which makes them a great wild berry to harvest. Unlike other berries like mulberries, black-raspberries and black berries — which have a limited growing season of 2 to 3 weeks — elderberries show up from July through September in many parts of North America.

 

Harvesting Elderberries

The berries are easy to harvest in bunches tossed into a basket and unlike some wild berries, there are no thorns. There are various ways for separating the berries, from using a wide-toothed comb to simply pulling them off with your hands. Also, be sure to pick out any stems and wash them thoroughly and you’re ready to take the first step: Creating elderberry juice. Look for them growing in fields and forests and maybe you’ll be surprised to find one in your backyard. Cast some of the berries around and you’ll have a steady harvest over the years.

 

Elderberry Recipes

We’re going to cover three basic elderberry recipes – two that can be used for medicinal purposes and a third that is simply delicious:

  1. Elderberry juice.
  2. Elderberry syrup.
  3. Elderberry jelly.

All three of these recipes are easy to make, but first you must extract the juice. The good news is that this is a simple and basic process using a saucepan, some water and a potato masher. Therefore, it’s a very off-grid approach and you definitely don’t want to use a food processor.

 

Elderberry Juice Recipe 

Elderberry juice recipe

Ingredients
  • 1 cup of elderberries
  • 1 cup of water
  • Sugar, honey of other sweetener to suit your taste
Directions

Place the elderberries and the water in a saucepan. However, you can scale this up if you have a lot of elderberries. The basic combination is one cup of water to every cup of elderberries. Next, bring the water/elderberry combination to a gentle boil and begin mashing the berries with a potato masher.

After a few minutes of mashing, pour the elderberry/water mix into a fine sieve over a bowl and gently mash with a spoon to extract as much juice as possible. Discard the mash. I usually toss it on the compost heap.

You now have elderberry juice, but your first taste will be quite tart. If you’re the tart type, go for it. However, I like to add a little sugar or honey to sweeten it up.

 

Elderberry Syrup Recipe

Surprisingly, this is actually a highly effective, natural medicine. It’s also been used for hundreds of years to treat coughs, colds and flu, and we’re going to take it up a notch with an infusion of willow bark. Elderberries are very high in vitamin C and by their nature help the auto-immune system. This recipe also has honey as a key component, which is also a natural remedy, and then there’s the willow bark component. The inner layer of willow bark, referred to as the xylem layer, has high concentrations of an element known as “salicin.” Salicin is the active ingredient in aspirin. In fact, it was a German chemist named Augustus Bayer who first synthesized salicin to make a product now known as Bayer Aspirin.

You can leave out the willow bark step if you’re just trying to make syrup for pancakes, but if you want a very effective cough syrup for coughs, colds sore throat and flu, the willow bark infusion might be a good idea.

Ingredients
  • 1 cup of elderberry juice
  • 1 cup of honey
  • 1 cup or water
  • (To make a willow bark infusion add 1 tablespoon of shaved xylem from the inner, heartwood layer of a willow tree in hot water for 30 minutes and strain.)
Directions

Add all ingredients to a sauce pan and heat to a gentle boil for 10 minutes, stirring regularly. Pour into glass, canning jars and process in boiling water for 25 minutes. Store in a refrigerator or fruit cellar for up to one year. Once opened, keep refrigerated and it should last for up to a month.

 

Elderberry Jelly Recipe Ingredients
  • 3 cups of elderberry juice
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 1 box fruit pectin
  • 4 1/2 cups sugar
Directions

Boil the ingredients for one minute and pour into canning jars. Process in a hot, boiling water bath with jars totally immersed for 25 minutes. Remove jar or jars and let cool. Store in a root cellar or fridge.

Have you ever cooked with elderberry? What advice would you add? Share it in the section below:

The post Elderberry Recipes That Will Keep You Healthy All Winter appeared first on Off The Grid News.

Preparing Your Wood Stove For Winter.

Tue, 10/22/2019 - 15:01

Preparing your wood stove for winter is a fall necessity.

 

I have three wood-burning stoves: a wood-burning cook stove in the kitchen of my cabin, a box stove with a glass door in the living room, and a boxwood, cast iron stove in the garage.

I’ve learned that some general inspections and maintenance can go a long way toward preventing problems when the weather gets frigid. Properly preparing your wood stove for winter use can save you a lot of time and money.

 

Beware of Creosote Build up

While there are some routine maintenance checkups and repairs we might consider, creosote is a major problem and threat in any wood-burning stove.

Creosote is a buildup of carbon-based chemicals in a stove and especially in stovepipes and chimneys. There are a variety of causes that lead to creosote buildup:

  • Burning green or unseasoned woods that create excessive smoke and release numerous chemicals into the smoke.
  • Burning at a low temperature, which also creates excess smoke.
  • The effects of temperature on a stovepipe, especially through a cold, unheated space like an attic that causes the smoke to cool and coalesce on the sides of a stovepipe.
  • A clogged or inefficient stovepipe cap that does not vent properly.

 

Preparing Your Wood Stove

This is not to say that wood-burning stove maintenance is all about creosote, but it leads to a strategy for how to maintain stoves for winter. Here are seven steps homesteaders and users of wood stoves should follow before winter arrives:

 

1. Start at the top.

Check the hood on your stovepipe top and make sure the spark arrester screens are clean and clear. They will often rust with time and result in holes in the screen or become clogged. This will affect airflow and efficient burning. If you’re afraid of heights, then hire a chimney sweep.

 

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2. Sweep the chimneys and stovepipes.

A chimney sweep can do this, or you can do it yourself if you buy the right size chimney brushes and the long handles that screw into each other to reach down the length of the stovepipe or chimney. This removes creosote (and you will always have some), and cleans out any other debris that may have found its way into the chimney or flue.

 

3. Vacuum.

My sons and I use an industrial wet/dry vac that we bought at the local hardware store. They’re not that expensive. We start by vacuuming any of the debris or creosote that’s landed in the wood stove firebox after the chimney sweeping. Then we work on the firebox.

 

Properly preparing your wood stove will save you time and money this winter.

4. Scrape the firebox.

Every firebox will also have its share of creosote and other residue. Wear a mask over your mouth and nose and maybe some safety goggles and scrape the side of the firebox with a metal brush, and perhaps a metal scraper. Vacuum everything up and inspect the interior with a flashlight to see if you missed anything, but don’t get too fussy about it. You’re just trying to get the crusty stuff off the walls of the firebox.

 

5. Check door gaskets.

Every wood-burning stove has a door on the firebox. This door has a gasket that will tolerate the highest temperatures and is usually a synthetic, braided rope glued in place with a compound that can tolerate high temperatures. When a gasket gets old or compromised, it can allow smoke to escape from the stove, or air to enter the firebox in an uncontrolled manner. You don’t want this to happen.

Visually inspect your stove door gasket and if you smell smoke when you burn, it may need to be replaced. There are numerous videos on YouTube that show you how to do this, and anytime you buy a new gasket kit from your wood stove supplier it will always come with instructions.

 

6. Clean the glass.

Many wood-burning stoves have a glass insert in the fire door. It is a glass designed to tolerate high temperatures, but often there will be a buildup of a brown residue on the glass over time. You can scrape this with a razor blade, but there are chemical solutions that will remove this residue without the risk of scratching the glass.

 

7. Polish and sharpen up the outside of the wood stove.

 Our wood-burning stoves are often a prominent part of our décor in our homes and cabins. They also rust and show some wear and tear. There are many solutions to this, from paints to other applications that can refurbish the look of a wood-burning stove.

These are available online or at stores that specialize in wood-burning stoves. Follow the directions, but keep one thing in mind. Your next fire after painting or refurbishing your wood stove is going to result in a smell that will fill the room if not the house. Now’s the time to open the windows and burn off that new exterior coating or paint. You don’t want to be smelling this on a night when it’s 10 below zero Fahrenheit and opening a window or door is a problem.

The other benefit of an early fire before you really need it is the ability to check for smoke leaks in the stove pipes, check air flow and check for smoke leaks. You want to do it when you have the option to make corrections and fixes before you are totally dependent on the stove for heat. Most of these maintenance steps require a cold stove with no fire. That’s not something you will have in January if you’re totally dependent on wood stoves for heat.

What maintenance tips would you add? Share them in the section below:

 

The post Preparing Your Wood Stove For Winter. appeared first on Off The Grid News.

8 Obvious-But-Overlooked Ways Our Grandparents Survived Tough Times

Mon, 10/21/2019 - 16:15

Overlooked Ways Our Grandparents Survived Tough Times

Hard times are nothing new. They have come and gone throughout the centuries, and people have dealt with difficulties as best they can.

Amid catastrophic weather, crop failures, job loss and personal injuries—all of which often lead to economic disaster—our grandparents made it through some of the worst of times. Here are a few money-saving tips our grandparents might give us for getting through hard times.

 

1. Work harder

It might seem laughably obvious at first glance, but hard work really is the answer to a lot of struggles. If you have a job, ramp up your efforts. If you do not have a job, make it your full-time endeavor to look for one. Either way, consider devoting some of your free time to per diem work such as raking leaves and shoveling roofs and walking dogs. Money is out there, just waiting for you to earn it.

 

2. Tighten your belt

This is another tip that is so obvious that it can be overlooked. Meals out, new clothes, new vehicles, furniture, accessories for both the home and for personal use, and many other luxuries which people routinely purchase can be forgone during hard times. If it isn’t truly necessary, you can do without it until your cash flow improves.

 

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3. Limit entertainment

If you are spending your time working hard, you will have less time and energy for entertainment. And tightening your belt means saying no thanks to things like cable television, the latest electronic gadget, a hobby upgrade such as a new cycle or camera or snowmobile, or a vacation trip. This is not to suggest it is healthy to go without entertainment and leisure for a lifetime, but focusing instead on work and thriftiness for a period of time to get you over a rough patch is wise.

 

4. Buy second-hand

Even if your livelihood requires that you dress in brand names and drive a nice car, you can still do it wisely by purchasing pre-owned. Consider shopping at thrift shops, online resale outlets, and social media buy/sell groups, not only in lean spells but also in times of plenty. It is a great way to support local businesses and help out your friends and neighbors who may need the cash your purchase brings in.

 

Overlooked Ways Our Grandparents Survived Tough Times

5. Have a yard sale

Selling your unnecessary goods can kill two birds with one stone. Not only will you scoop up a little cash from the sale, but you will help declutter your home and garage in the process. Having things clean and organized can be energizing, which helps you stay focused and get other things done.

 

6. Fix items instead of replacing them

In this world of disposable everything, it feels almost automatic to toss stuff in the trash and go buy another one. But in our grandparents’ youth, goods were thrown out less and repaired more. Consider having jacket zippers replaced at a repair shop instead of buying a whole new garment, or sewing on buttons and stitching up seams yourself. Glue broken knickknacks, tighten window blind strings, and don’t be afraid to tinker with tools and equipment to get them back into smooth running condition. Buy parts and replace them yourself or pay a professional—which is still less costly than buying new.

 

7. Grow your own food

Backyard gardening is never completely free, but it is always a better value in the long run than buying less healthy and more chemical-laden foods in the store. During hard times, even a few patio pots filled with tomatoes and summer squash can ease up a straining budget, and a couple of laying hens can make a real difference.

 

8. Shop wisely

If chicken is on sale, buy chicken. Even if that was not what you had in mind for your current menu or if it comes in packages bigger than you need, you can always repackage and freeze it for later. Buy seasonal items on clearance and store them for next year. Buy in bulk for items you use a lot. Avoid brand names when it does not make a difference, and use coupons for the brand names you prefer when it does matter.

By following these few simple tips all the time, you will be able to build money-saving habits so that when hard times come around, you will be better prepared. It may be possible to become so skilled at pinching pennies that your practices will either help deflect economic difficulties in the first place or will help you glide right through them with barely a hiccup in your routine. Either way, engaging in money-saving behavior is always a win-win.

What advice would your grandparents add? Share your tips in the section below:

 

The post 8 Obvious-But-Overlooked Ways Our Grandparents Survived Tough Times appeared first on Off The Grid News.

Simple And Easy Ways To Preserve Homegrown Herbs

Fri, 10/18/2019 - 15:04

Preserve your homegrown herbs so you can enjoy them all winter long

I’ve had an herb garden for as long as I can remember, and there are more than a few things I’ve learned the hard way. The biggest lesson was complacency with my herb harvests. The first frost will absolutely toast some herbs like basil, mint and lemon balm. The first freeze will wipe out most of the rest, although chives and thyme seem to hold on a bit better. Now I harvest and preserve those herbs, for the winter to come well before the first frost.

 

Preservation Techniques

We’re going to cover five herb preservation techniques. All of them include drying the homegrown herbs and wild plants to various degrees, but there are a couple of variations. What you’re trying to do is avoid mold growth while preserving flavor.

 

1. The food dehydrator

Food dehydrators are typically defined as a layer of trays with a heating element at the bottom and sometimes a small fan to circulate the air. You can dry various and multiple types of herbs. Herbs at the bottom which are closest to the heating element will dry out faster. You need to check and either rotate or remove trays as the herbs dry.

Typically I’ll put more robust herbs likes chives, sage and rosemary on the bottom tray and more delicate homegrown herbs like basil and mint toward the top. I’ll also check them periodically, knowing that some might dry before others.

 

2. Oven drying

This is a fairly robust technique and doesn’t work particularly well, with more delicate herbs like basil and mint varieties including lemon balm. However, it works great with chives, sage, oregano and marjoram leaves on the stem; as well as thyme and rosemary. The starting temperature is as low 150 degrees Fahrenheit and the duration varies depending on the herb.

The best way to manage this approach is to cover a baking sheet with foil and distribute the whole herbs on the stem in one layer on the sheet and place in the oven. You need to check on them every 20 minutes or so and possibly turn or toss some of them to expose as much surface area as possible to the heat. Once they’re dried, get them out of the oven or they may brown. You’re trying to preserve color, not lose it. Once they’re dried, strip the leaves from the stem and crush to the consistency you like.

Make Your Own Herbal Medicines With Homegrown Herbs

However, there are some wild plants like blackberry leaves or black raspberry leaves that are roasted at 400 degrees Fahrenheit for 20 to 25 minutes. The result will be a very crisp, brown leaf that is then easy to crush into a tea leaf consistency.

I also like the oven technique for natural spices like juniper berries and red sumac berries. I’ll use a low temp like 150 degrees Fahrenheit. Once they’re sufficiently dried I’ll toss the berries together and pour them into a pepper mill. In an off-grid environment, many spices like pepper, turmeric and others will be in very short supply. Using these berries as a flavor-note for foods will be a welcome treat.

I’ve also left the juniper berries on the stems and have later infused both the berries and the juniper needles to make juniper tea. Be forewarned: Your house will smell like a pine tree if you gently roast them on the stem, but some of us like that.

 

3. Sun drying

Without question this is the oldest technique for drying and preserving herbs and has been done for thousands of years. There are essentially two ways to approach. The best is to place the herbs on a foil-lined baking sheet and place them in a sunny spot indoors. This protects them from moisture caused by rain or morning dew and the general dust, dirt and pollen that is constantly in the air outside.

If you do choose to dry the herbs outside, a picnic table is a good surface area well off the ground and easily exposed to the sun. The standard technique is to once again line a baking sheet with foil, but you want a baking sheet with a raised lip around the edges. You then wrap plastic wrap around the baking sheet, leaving a one-inch gap on either side. This will help trap the heat, but the gaps allow the moisture to transpire to ensure the drying process.

All herbs can be used with this technique, but once again you need to check them from time to time to assess when they’re done. You also shouldn’t leave them out overnight due to morning dew. The garage is a good storage place while you wait for the return of the morning sun. Be sure to get them inside if rain is in the forecast.

 

4. Refrigerator drying

Preserve homegrown herbs

This technique requires dedicated shelf space in the fridge with a layer of cheesecloth on the shelf with the herbs on top. The refrigerator is actually a very dry environment. Therefore, we try to store fresh vegetables in the crisper where moisture can be maintained and managed.

The downside to this technique is the need to dedicate refrigerator space to the herbs for anywhere from one to three weeks. Fortunately, I have a second refrigerator freezer in the garage and that makes it easier to apply this approach.

The upside is that this technique really preserves the color of the herbs. It is important to make sure they’ are as dry as possible.  Moisture content in stored herbs can lead to mold growth. In fact, I’ll usually give any of my home-dried herbs a sniff from the jar before using. It should smell like the herb you want to use. If there is any hint of mildew, toss the contents of the jar and wash it well with hot, soapy water and a good rinse.

All herbs can be dried with this approach and it’s particularly good for the more delicate herb varieties like basil and mint.

 

5. Herbed ice-cubes

This has actually emerged as one of my favorite techniques for herb preservation. It’s as simple as dropping a tablespoon of freshly chopped herbs into each ice-cube compartment and then filling with water and freezing. Once the cubes are frozen, I’ll mark on a plastic sandwich bag the name of the herb and store in the freezer.

It makes portion control for recipes super-simple. If you’re making a marinara sauce that calls for two tablespoons of oregano, you just drop two of the oregano ice-cubes into the bubbling pot and you’re good to go.

Better yet, the herbs will retain all of their natural oils and flavors. It’s great to have fresh herbs in January and you can take it up a notch by substituting chicken or beef broth for water before you freeze the cubes. The broth adds a boost of flavor and the herbs will do the same.

I’ve also used this technique for things like goldenrod flower tops which make a great tea. Drying goldenrod flowers is tricky and they lose most of their subtle, licorice flavor. I just drop a handful of goldenrod ice-cubes into a pot of boiling water. Shut off the heat and let it steep while the cubes slowly melt.

 

Herb Storage

Storing your herbs is not complicated and there are a variety of options.

You could buy herb jars, small or medium canning jars or even save old herb packages and wash, dry and refill them. The critical thing is to know that the herbs are sufficiently dry. Moisture is the enemy with food storage, and it especially applies to home-dried herbs and spices.

An herb rack or pantry is a good storage option.  You could always keep them in the fridge if you have the space or want to ensure no spoilage. When it’s time to harvest and preserve again I’ll toss the old herbs, wash the jars and start over.  

Herbs can be very expensive to buy at the store, and if we’re in an off-grid environment, pretty much impossible. Even if you only fill a few jars with your home-grown herbs, you’ll appreciate that you made them from scratch.

What advice would you add for storing and preserving herb? Share your thoughts in the section below:

The post Simple And Easy Ways To Preserve Homegrown Herbs appeared first on Off The Grid News.

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