Have you ever considered the importance of teaching children to become resilient?
For us, as adults, it’s easy to get frustrated these days. Whether you are a … Read the rest
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Relaxing in a hammock offers a quality way to enjoy the great outdoors. Suspended in air, the swaying motion is soothing and puts you right to sleep.
A DIY hammock that you create yourself — maybe out of recycled, everyday materials you already have laying around — could be more fulfilling than buying readymade. A comfy DIY hammock is also easy to make.
If you’ve come this far, you’ve likely decided you’re going to try and build a hammock. Let’s explore some options and get ideas for where to start.Important Details to Consider When Building a hammock
Before you can build a DIY hammock, you have to consider the details of how you intend to use it, where you will use it, and what you will use to make it.Hammock Height and Size
Before you start, you have to determine the hammock height and size. That isn’t always easy to do, but you can figure it out pretty quickly if you stick to a few fundamentals.
Hammocks are usually between 9 and 15 feet in length (off the shelf), so that is a good range for your DIY planning as well. The width of a hammock is customarily between 4 and 10 feet, depending on if it’s for one or more sleepers. Wider hammocks are suited for more people to enjoy at once.
But even a wide hammock is fine for one individual to use.
Hammocks need anchors at either end, so you need to measure that distance first if you plan to fit one into a predetermined space between two trees. The best hammock size for any span is one that is just about a foot shorter than the space where it’s going to hang.
So if you have two trees that are 12 feet apart, an 11-foot hammock would be ideal. Ideally, a hammock will be about 18 to 24 inches off the ground when it is unoccupied.Types of Materials to Use
You could use almost anything to design a DIY hammock.
When it comes to the sleeping surface of a hammock, as long as it is stretchy, can bear your weight, and is lightweight, anything will do. Some favorite hammock sleeping surfaces are canvas, drop cloths, rope, ripstop nylon, and even towels or blankets.
Once you have a sleeping surface in mind, you’ll have to figure out how to fasten it to a stand, post, or tree at each end. That will take some ingenuity, but the materials you can consider are common and readily available. Ropes, chains, clotheslines, carabiners, eye bolts, or paracord are all favorite materials for store-bought and homemade hammocks.
Keep in mind that hammocks aren’t really designed to be permanent. So if your design doesn’t incorporate clips, snaps, or hooks, good knot-tying skills will be essential.
If you don’t have trees, poles, or a stand, consider making a DIY hammock stand.Hammock Uses and Purposes
Hammocks are a favorite of campers for their easy setup and the ability to let you sleep outdoors. But they are also a fun and relaxing diversion near your backyard pool or on your patio. Read a book and relax as you rock on the breeze.
But hammocks also serve some purposes that go beyond pure relaxation. If you’re sleeping in the elements, you don’t want to be on the ground where it may be wet, dirty, or packed with insects and critters. Getting up off the ground is essential for outdoor sleeping.
And hammocks are usually easy to fold or roll up and bring with you on an adventure. With the addition of a tarp overhead, you can remain protected from the rain or even light snow. Just make sure you pack your sleeping bag to keep you warm.Other Considerations
- Think outside of the box when it comes to DIY hammock design. Make it work for you and your surroundings.
- Keep it simple. The more complicated your design, the more difficult any repairs will be.
- Stay light. If you are traveling with or planning to move your hammock around, the last thing you want is something bulky and heavy. Light, portable, foldable, and water-resistant are good traits in a hammock.
Martha Stewart offers this simple canvas hammock fashioned entirely from materials you can buy at your local hardware store. You’ll need two sturdy trees and a sewing machine to build it, but with a canvas drop cloth, some grommets, rope, and O-rings, you can be swinging and relaxing in no time at all.Find the plans at Martha StewartDIY Ripstop Nylon Hammock photo courtesy of instructables
Ripstop nylon is a common material in jackets, sails, and kites. This build also requires a sewing machine, but it is easy to make without much sewing experience. The hardest part may be sourcing a few yards of ripstop nylon. But once you have your nylon and some paracord, you can build a supremely lightweight hammock with its own storage bag too.Find the plans at InstructablesDIY Hanging Dock Hammock Plans
If you’re located on the water, there is likely a dock nearby. By taking advantage of the standard design features of a simple dock, this design will suspend you over your favorite body of water with nothing else below you. You will need some lumber, carriage bolts, nuts, and washers to complete the design. And for the construction, you’ll need a circular saw, impact driver, and reciprocating saw.Find the plans at DIY NetworkDIY Hammock Chair photo courtesy of life sew savory
Sometimes you might not want a full-size hammock. Maybe you just want to swing and read a book or enjoy a view. If you don’t want to fully recline in your DIY hammock, this hammock chair is ideal. All you need is a sturdy piece of wood, some fabric suitable for the outdoors, a bit of rope, and a single carabiner.Find the plans at Life Sew Savory
Related Post: Hammock ChairsDIY Beach Towel Hammock photo courtesy of design sponge
Beach towels are perfect for adding a splash of design to your DIY hammock. They are usually bright colored and fade resistant, so adding them to the palette can turn a drab DIY project into a work of art. You will need a sewing machine, additional canvas, zip ties, and strapping made of leather, nylon, or canvas, to pull off this design.Find the plans at Design SpongeDIY Hammock Swing
This DIY hammock swing will also require you to build a hammock stand. The directions are straightforward, and completing the work will bring years of hammock swinging to your backyard. Designed more for upright rocking than supine sleeping, this is not a travel hammock. Instead, this project will build a permanent relaxation station for your home.Find the plans at InstructablesDIY Lazy Day Hammock photo courtesy of camille styles
This hammock is a little bit tricky to make as it requires some good, knot tying skills. But with a little bit of patience, rope, a few other common materials, and a sewing machine, you can have your very own hammock. This design also shows you how to incorporate some trim or lace as a fringe.Find the plans at Camille StylesDIY Baby Hammock Swing
If you want to bring the relaxation of a hammock into your baby’s life, this design is perfect.
It is simple, durable, and easy to make with household tools and materials. It’s not only cute, but a few minutes of the soothing, rocking motion will help put your baby to sleep.Find the plans at Wonderful DIYDIY Multicolor Rope Hammock photo courtesy of design milk
This design uses two different colored ropes to fashion a modern hammock between wooden dowels. The design requires a lot of rope weaving, but the end result is a stylish, modern, 2-tone hammock that is sturdy, light, and perfect for hanging out.Find the plans at Design MilkDIY Double Layer Hammock photo courtesy of diy gear supply
This is one of my favorite DIY hammock designs. Its double-layer construction is stronger and less failure prone than a single-ply design. It will accommodate a pad between the layers for comfort, or you can nestle yourself between them to avoid mosquitoes and other creepy crawlies.Find the plans at DIY Gear SupplyDIY Deluxe Hammock System
Gear heads, get ready. Here’s one for you. This DIY camping hammock is infinitely customizable, relatively inexpensive, and offers a really cool look, but it can be time consuming to construct one.
The result is awesome, but the designer is upfront explaining that it took him many hours to make it. This project might be better for the winter before your camping trip, as opposed to the morning of that trip to the mountains.Find the plans at Gear ReportDIY Canvas Hammock photo courtesy of the merry thought
This canvas hammock is a no-frills option. You will need a sewing machine, rope, and grommets to complete it, but when it’s done, it is a classic hammock design, and its simplicity is elegant.Find the plans at The Merry ThoughtDIY Quick Hammock Tree Straps
If you already have the makings of a hammock, the hard part could be figuring out how to mount it to posts, trees, or a stand. With this quick tutorial, you can turn a few dollars’ worth of materials into a set of tree straps. And when you’re done, you can either reuse an old hammock or fashion your new DIY hammock.Find the plans at InstructablesDIY Fabric Hammock photo courtesy of miss lovie creations
This DIY hammock is one of the easiest to make, but it does require a sewing machine. Suppose you have some leftover fabric from another project. In that case, the only other thing you will need is a couple of tree straps (easily fashioned from sturdy webbing) and a couple of carabiners. Old backpack straps might work well as repurposed webbing.Find the plans at Miss Lovie CreationsDIY Navy Hammock Plans
Hammocks are part of the history for the naval service. Sailors could easily take down and stow a hammock during their daily work details. But when it was time to sleep, they could quickly deploy and hang a hammock. Now you can enjoy a traditional, World War II-style navy hammock. It’s up to you if you want to rock on the sea or in your backyard or campground.Find the plans at Brilliant DIYDIY Beginner Hammock
This video tutorial will teach you how to make a cheap hammock that stows away easily. It will fit into a small space when secured, so it is very portable. And the video is a quick watch — only six minutes long.Find the plans on YouTubeDIY Hammock Tarps and Extreme Hammock
This is a hammock build that’s suitable for outdoor use even in the winter. It features multiple layers, quilting, and a hardcore design intended to keep you warm even in extreme conditions.Find the plans on YouTube
Most people would agree the pandemic and oppressive government lockdowns caused a dramatic escalation in mental health issues. A healthy person, confined to their home, with limited … Read the rest
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Currently I’m planting buckwheat in the garden as a cover crop in beds that contained spring peas, lettuces, or onions this spring. Although fundamental truths for success in gardening remain firm, techniques to obtain those can vary with each individual. In this post I’ll share techniques that may give you ideas about how to save […]
The post Buckwheat as a Cover Crop – Techniques to Simplify appeared first on Tending My Garden.
So what exactly should you do with your hydrangeas after they bloom? Is it okay to prune them? Should you be deadheading the spent blooms? Those questions are two of …
The post What To Do With Hydrangeas After They Bloom – How To Prune & More! appeared first on Old World Garden Farms.
In my book How Not to Die, I center my recommendations around a Daily Dozen checklist of everything I try to fit into my daily routine.
In my book How Not to Die, I suggest we try to center our diets around whole plant foods. Some plants are healthier than others, though. Apparently, you can live for extended periods eating practically nothing but white potatoes, for example, and, by definition, that would be a whole food, plant-based diet—but not a very healthy one. All plant foods are not created equal.
The more I’ve researched over the years, the more I’ve come to realize that healthy foods are not necessarily interchangeable. Some foods and food groups have special nutrients not found in abundance elsewhere. For example, sulforaphane, the amazing liver-enzyme detox-boosting compound, is derived nearly exclusively from cruciferous vegetables. You could eat tons of other kinds of greens and vegetables on a given day and get no appreciable sulforaphane if you didn’t eat something cruciferous. Same with flaxseeds and the anticancer lignan compounds: Flax may average a hundred times more lignans than other foods. And mushrooms? Well, mushrooms aren’t even plants. They belong to an entirely different biological classification and contain some nutrients like ergothioneine that may not be made anywhere in the plant kingdom. So, technically, maybe I should be referring to a whole food, plant- and fungus-based diet…but that sounds a little gross.
It seems like every time I come home from the medical library buzzing with some exciting new data, my family rolls their eyes, sighs, and asks, What can’t we eat now? Or they’ll say, Wait a second. Why does everything seem to have parsley in it all of a sudden? They’re very tolerant!
As the list of foods I tried to fit into my daily diet grew, I made a checklist and put it up on a little dry-erase board on the fridge, and we made a game out of ticking off the boxes. This evolved into my Daily Dozen, the checklist of everything I try to fit into my daily routine. In my video Dr. Greger’s Daily Dozen Checklist, you can see the list, the daily minimum servings I recommend, and examples of foods that go into each category. My Daily Dozen includes Beans, Berries, Other Fruits, Cruciferous Vegetables, Greens, Other Vegetables, Flaxseeds, Nuts and Seeds, Herbs and Spices, Whole Grains, Beverages, and Exercise.
By Beans, I mean legumes, which also include split peas, chickpeas, and lentils. It may not seem like you’re eating beans when you have a bowl of pea soup, for example, or dip carrots into hummus, but you are. We should try to get at least three servings a day. A serving is defined as a quarter cup of hummus or bean dip; a half cup of cooked beans, split peas, lentils, tofu, or tempeh; or a full cup of fresh peas or sprouted lentils. Technically, peanuts are legumes, but, nutritionally, I put them in my Daily Dozen Nuts and Seeds category. Similarly, I put green beans, snap peas, and string beans into the Other Vegetables category.
My Daily Dozen includes at least one serving of Berries a day, which is a half cup of fresh or frozen, or a quarter cup of dried. Biologically speaking, avocados, bananas, and even watermelons are technically berries, but to simplify things, I use the colloquial term for any small edible fruit. So, this category includes kumquats, grapes, raisins, and fruits that are typically thought of as berries even though they technically aren’t, like blackberries, cherries, mulberries, raspberries, and strawberries.
For Other Fruits, a serving is a medium-sized fruit, a cup of cut-up fruit, or a quarter cup of dried fruit, and I recommend at least three daily servings. Again, I’m using the colloquial rather than the botanical definition, which is why I put tomatoes in the Other Vegetables group.
Cruciferous Vegetables include broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, collards, and kale, and I recommend at least one half-cup serving a day. My Daily Dozen also calls for at least two additional daily servings of Greens, cruciferous or otherwise, and two serving of Other Vegetables, with a serving being a cup of raw leafy vegetables, a half cup for raw or cooked non-leafy vegetables, and a quarter cup of dried mushrooms.
Everyone should try to incorporate one tablespoon of ground Flaxseeds into their daily diet, in addition to one serving of Nuts and Seeds. A quarter cup of nuts is considered a serving, or you can have two tablespoons of nut or seed butters, including peanut butter. Chestnuts and coconuts don’t count nutritionally as nuts.
For my Herbs and Spices category, I recommend a quarter teaspoon a day of the spice turmeric, along with any other salt-free herbs and spices you may enjoy.
To meet my Daily Dozen, you need at least three servings of Whole Grains, and a serving can be a half cup of hot cereal (like oatmeal), cooked whole grains or so-called pseudograins (like amaranth, buckwheat, and quinoa), cooked pasta, or corn kernels; a cup of ready-to-eat cold cereal; one tortilla or slice of bread; half a bagel or english muffin, or three cups of air-popped popcorn.
The serving size in the Beverage category is one 12-ounce glass, and I recommend at least five servings a day in addition to the water you get naturally from the foods in your diet. If you’re curious, I explain my rationale in my How Many Glasses of Water Should We Drink a Day? video.
Finally, my Daily Dozen calls for at least one daily “serving” of exercise, which can be split up over the day. I recommend 90 minutes of moderate-intensity activity, such as walking briskly (for instance, at a pace of four miles per hour), or 40 minutes of vigorous activity, like jogging or active sports. See my video How Much Should You Exercise? if you’d like more information.
This may sound like a lot of boxes to check, but it’s easy to knock off a bunch at a time. One simple peanut butter and banana sandwich on whole-grain bread can check off four boxes, and imagine how many Daily Dozen boxes you could tick off when you sit down to a big salad of two cups of spinach, a handful of arugula, a handful of walnuts, a half cup of chickpeas, a half cup of red bell pepper, and a small tomato. That’s seven boxes in just one salad! Sprinkle on your flaxseeds, add a handful of goji berries, enjoy it with a glass of water, and end with some fruit for dessert, and you just met nearly half of the Daily Dozen in a single meal! And, if you just ate it on your treadmill…just kidding!
Do I check off each glass of water I drink? No. In fact, I don’t even use the checklist anymore. I just used it initially as a tool to get me into a routine. Whenever I sat down to a meal, I challenged myself by asking, Could I add greens to this? Could I add beans to this? Can I sprinkle on some flax or pumpkin seeds? What about some dried fruit? The checklist just got me into the habit of wondering how I can make each meal even healthier.
The checklist also helped with grocery shopping. Although I always keep bags of frozen berries and greens in the freezer, if I’m at the store and want to buy fresh produce for the week, it helps me figure out how much kale or blueberries I need.
In fact, the checklist even helped me picture what a meal might look like. When you look over the Daily Dozen, as you can see at 6:44 in my video, you see that it includes three servings each of Beans, Other Fruits, and Whole Grains, and about twice as many vegetables in total than any other component, when you add up the Cruciferous Vegetables, Greens, and Other Vegetables. So, glancing at my plate, I can imagine one quarter of it filled with grains, one quarter with legumes, and vegetables taking up the other half, along with a side salad and fruit for dessert, for instance. I really like one-bowl meals where everything’s mixed together, and even then the checklist helps me visualize. Instead of a big bowl of spaghetti with some veggies and lentils on top, I think of a big bowl of vegetables with some pasta and lentils mixed in. Instead of a big plate of quinoa with some stir-fried vegetables, I picture a meal that’s mostly vegetables with some quinoa and beans added in there, too.
There’s no need to be obsessive about the Daily Dozen. On hectic travel days, when I’ve burned through my snacks and find myself stuck in some airport food court, I’m lucky if I hit even a quarter of my goals.
If you eat poorly one day, just try to eat better the next.
To help track your progress, volunteers created Dr. Greger’s Daily Dozen apps for both iPhone and Android. You can download and use them both for free with no ads and no cost.
My hope is that the checklist will serve as a helpful reminder to try to eat a variety of some the healthiest foods every day.
- All plant foods are not created equal, so although we should try to center our diets around whole plant foods, we should be sure to incorporate the most healthful ones.
- Some of the most special and important nutrients are sulforaphane, which is found almost exclusively in cruciferous vegetables, and flaxseeds with their anticancer lignan compounds.
- The Daily Dozen checklist is the synopsis of recommendations I make in my book How Not to Die, incorporating everything I try to fit into my daily routine and lists categories and minimum servings.
- My Daily Dozen includes Beans (and legumes, including split peas, chickpeas, and lentils), Berries, Other Fruits, Cruciferous Vegetables, Greens, Other Vegetables, Flaxseeds, Nuts and Seeds, Herbs and Spices, Whole Grains, Beverages, and Exercise.
- The Daily Dozen is intended to inspire you to eat more healthful options and look at each eating experience as an opportunity to maximize nutrition.
- To help you tick the Daily Dozen boxes, volunteers created Dr. Greger’s Daily Dozen app, completely free to download and use, and available for both iPhone and Android.
This was quite the departure from our regular blogs! Normally, we just share the science from the primary sources in the peer-reviewed medical literature, but I want NutritionFacts.org to be more than just a reference site. I want it to be a practical guide on translating this mountain of data into day-to-day decisions, which is where my Daily Dozen app slips into the mix. It’s available for free on iTunes and as an Android app, thanks to an amazing group of volunteers through our Open Source Initiative.
For more introductory-type videos, check out:
- The Story of NutritionFacts.org
- Why You Should Care About Nutrition
- Taking Personal Responsibility for Your Health
- The Philosophy of NutritionFacts.org
- Behind the Scenes at NutritionFacts.org
- How Not to Die from Heart Disease
- How Not to Die from Cancer
- How Not to Die from Diabetes
- How Not to Die from Kidney Disease
- How Not to Die from High Blood Pressure
- What Is the Healthiest Diet?
- HOW NOT TO DIE: The Role of Diet in Preventing, Arresting, & Reversing Our Top 15 Killers
- Dining by Traffic Light: Green Is for Go, Red Is for Stop
- What Are the Best Foods?
How can you actually incorporate those Daily Dozen foods into your diet? Check out my How Not to Die Cookbook. If you didn’t already know, all the proceeds I receive from that—and all my books, in fact—go to charity.
Michael Greger, M.D.
PS: If you haven’t yet, you can subscribe to my free videos here and watch my live presentations:
- 2019: Evidence-Based Weight Loss
- 2016: How Not To Die: The Role of Diet in Preventing, Arresting, and Reversing Our Top 15 Killers
- 2015: Food as Medicine: Preventing and Treating the Most Dreaded Diseases with Diet
- 2014: From Table to Able: Combating Disabling Diseases with Food
- 2013: More Than an Apple a Day
- 2012: Uprooting the Leading Causes of Death
Sometimes, you just get a hankering for something salty and crunchy. Usually, that itch is scratched with a snack from a shiny, throwaway bag that has more multisyllabic chemical ingredients than there should be. But on a homestead seeking both a healthier lifestyle and a less wasteful existence, those Bag O’Salt crunchies really shouldn’t have a place on the pantry shelf.
So what to do? The same answer for most everything on the homestead — do it yourself! I contend that satisfying snack-making should be an important tool in anyone’s culinary bag of tricks. Because as good as homegrown tomatoes or zucchini may be, they’re not snacking material for most of us, especially if we’re in the middle of a workday and need a quick boost.
In this article, I want to share three easy-to-make, crowd-pleasing, and homestead-approved snacks that store well, scratch that snacky itch, and are made with real food.Waste-Free Popcorn
Popcorn is simple, good food. At least, it used to be. If you grab a microwaveable bag, an ingredient list that should read “popcorn kernels, oil, and salt” reads instead like a sci-fi horror roster. Let’s dial back the unnecessary modernization of this basic snack and strip the cellophaned, chemical-coated bag from our shelves. To make the best possible popcorn, all you need is a covered pan and a bit of finesse. Then see if you can choke down another bag of artificially buttered pops after tasting the real stuff.Ingredients
- 1/4 cup of popping kernels (we order ours from Azure Standard)
- 1 tablespoon of oil
- Flavoring spices (more on that in a minute)
In a large saucepan, place the oil and 5 to 10 kernels. Cover and heat over medium high, and listen. Once the first kernels pop, add the rest and cover. By shaking the pan back and forth, you’ll soon be serenaded with a lively percussion of fluffy, exploding kernels. Once the staccato beat slows down, remove from the heat and leave covered until the pan is finally quiet (if you open it too soon, some will fly out). That step is where the finesse comes in handy. If you wait too long on the heat, you’ll end up with burned kernels. Pull the pan off the heat too soon, and you’ll have a layer of unpopped missed opportunities on the bottom. Keep making popcorn, and you’ll be a pro in no time.
Dress with a drizzle of olive oil or melted butter and salt, and then flavor to your heart’s content.
Here are some of our favorite combinations.
- Smoked paprika, salt, pepper, garlic powder
- Cinnamon, cocoa powder, cayenne, salt, and a sprinkle of sugar
- Ground cumin, pepper, ground coriander, cinnamon, turmeric, and cayenne
“Crunchy beans” is an underwhelming name that doesn’t do justice to these endlessly pop-able bits of tasty goodness, but it’s the name that stuck in our kitchen. The crazy part is, you don’t need to cook the beans — merely soak them, and they’re ready to transform into an amazing snack. Who knew the humble garbanzo bean could pack such a satisfying punch?Ingredients
- 1 cup dried garbanzo beans, soaked for 24 hours
- 2 tablespoons oil of your choice
- Spices of your choosing
Toss the soaked garbanzo beans with oil, salt, and whatever spices suit your fancy. Bake in a 375-degree Fahrenheit oven for an hour or so, tossing ever so often to make sure they’re toasting properly. They’re done when toasted a nice light brown, shiny, and perfectly crunchy.
As a side note, if you decide to flavor these sweetly (and yes, nutty garbanzo beans do handle being sweetened amazingly well), add your sprinkle of sugar AFTER the roasting process so they don’t turn to burned caramel and glue the beans to the pan.
Related Post: High Fat, High Protein Vegan SnacksInfinitely Customizeable Crackers
With the recipe for these crackers up your sleeve, you can turn out a satisfying snack that won’t leave you with orange fingers, more garbage in your bin, or that I-ate-the-whole-dang-bag feeling of regret. As a bonus, if you keep sourdough starter, they’re a great way to use up extra starter when you need to reduce and feed it but aren’t planning on making a whole loaf of bread. These crackers are a more involved snack to prepare than the first two, but they’re worth it if you make a huge batch.Basic Dough Ingredients
- 3 cups whole grain flour — if you grind your own flour, a tasty mix is 1/2 wheat, 1/4 rye, and 1/4 cornmeal
- 1 tablespoon unrefined sugar
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 3 tablespoons butter or oil of your preference
- Whatever extra sourdough starter you’ve got (no more than a cup, though)
- 1/2 cup of yogurt (if not using sourdough starter)
- Seedy Option (my favorite): 1 cup of combined millet, sesame, flax, and nigella/kalonji seeds
- Sweet Option: 3 additional tablespoons of sugar, 2 teaspoons of cinnamon, 1/4 teaspoon of nutmeg, and a drizzle of honey during the last five minutes of baking
- Cheese Option: 1/2 cup of shredded cheese of your choice, plus parmesan for sprinkling on top
- Herbed Option: 2 teaspoons each of your favorite herbs like black pepper, rosemary, and oregano, or a different combination of cumin, red pepper flakes, and dill (seeds or leaves)
- Combine all dry ingredients in a large bowl and mix well.
- Crumble butter or oil into the flour mixture, and blend with your fingers until it looks like fine sand.
- Add wet ingredients, mix well.
- If necessary, add water a little bit at a time, until the dough holds together in a pliable, but firm mass. It should not be sticky at all. When in doubt, err on the side of too dry, rather than too wet.
- Preheat your oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.
- VERY IMPORTANT: Now, allow the dough to rest for 10 to 15 minutes. This resting step makes the all difference between an easy to work, easy to roll thin dough, and an annoying, fall apart mass of frustration. Don’t skip it.
- Sprinkle flour or cornmeal over a work surface, and roll half the dough out as thin as possible. I like to mix whole millet seed in my crackers for both the flavor and their surprise utility at this step — the ideal dough thickness is the width of a millet seed. When you roll the dough thin enough, the rolling pin will start making gritty sounds against the millet.
- Roll the thin sheet around your rolling pin and carefully transfer to a dry baking sheet.
- Using a butter knife, score the dough sheet into square cracker shapes (you can use cookie cutters to make these crackers in whatever shape you want, of course, but I find that far too fiddly. Square crackers taste the same and take far less time to roll out and bake).
- Prick each cracker in the dough sheet with a fork
- Follow the same process for the other half of the dough, and pop it all in the hot oven.
- Bake the crackers for 8 minutes, then start checking them for doneness every few minutes after that. The speed at which they cook is dependent on your oven and how thin you were able to roll them, so it’s hard to give an exact time for this step. Basically, you want them to be bone-dry, but not browning. Once they start changing color, they start tasting burned. And they cook fast (!) so don’t walk away for too long. I find that my nose is my best guide. As soon as I start smelling that nice, toasted bread aroma, I pull them out and check to see if they fracture easily. If they shatter, they’re good to go.
Note: If you find that the edges are cooking faster than the center, rotate the sheet halfway through cooking to help speed up the process,
- Once you remove the crackers from the oven, transfer the sheet to a drying rack to let it cool enough to handle. Then, merrily crack it into individual crackers. If any don’t break along the scores you made, and if you feel they’re too ugly to serve, it’s your right to snack on them right then and there.
- Serve in basket lined with a nice cloth napkin, or store in an airtight container. Pair them with soup, salads, cheeses and pickles, dips, or eat them on their own. They’ll last pretty much indefinitely, but you’ll never know that because they’ll get eaten well before then.
Now, those are just three of my family’s favorites. What are yours? Let us know in the comments below!
Since I am living in a century-old home off-grid without air conditioning during what is shaping up to be the hottest summer on record in the Pacific Northwest, I am learning some lessons on staying cool.
First, we need to take heat seriously. Heat can be a killer. Heat waves kill more people each year in the United States than all of the other natural disasters combined. According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), more than 400 Americans die from heat-related illnesses in a typical year. That number is more than deaths from winter storms, extreme cold, floods, lightning, tornadoes and hurricanes put together.
So what are some low-cost, low-energy ways to keep cool– or at least somewhat comfortable – during a heat wave, off-grid without air conditioning. Here are a dozen “hot” ideas:
1. Change your activity schedule. Whenever possible, perform chores and other outside activities during the coolest part of the day. You may need to start earlier or end later, depending on when you get your cooler temperatures, but it will be well worth it.
2. Stay hydrated. Your body gets dehydrated much more quickly during extreme heat. Sweating, the human body’s main cooling mechanism, uses your body’s water. Our perspiration does not evaporate easily when the air itself is full of moisture, so we feel hotter on humid days.
To compensate, you need to drink more water in hot weather and even more in hot, humid weather. If you feel thirsty, you are already on your way to becoming dehydrated. This summer, I have gotten into the habit of taking a water bottle with me pretty much everywhere I go.
3. Use a spray bottle. And fill it with water or a damp washcloth, damp bandana or commercially-sold “cooling towels” to help reduce your body temperature. Apply them on your forehead, behind your neck and on your feet for quick relief.
4. Wear loose, natural-fiber clothing in light colors. According to Cotton Council International, loose cotton clothing allows air circulation, which helps absorb perspiration and helps keep your body dry and cool. Light colors help light to pass through the fabric instead of being absorbed by the fabric. This is one of the off-grid without air conditioning methods.
5. Use window coverings. I love summer sunshine, but there is such a thing as too much of a good thing this time of year. Keep shades and curtains drawn to reduce heat in your home when the sun is out.
6. Create cross ventilation. Keep windows open – especially windows that are on opposite sides of the home – to creates cross breezes. Install screens on windows and doors to keep insects out. As the day heats up, shut some windows to retain some of the cooler air. This is a off-grid without air conditioning method for survival.
7. Use fans. Window fans, ceiling fans and room fans don’t cool the air, but they do help air to circulate and therefore, provide relief. To cool the air a bit, try making an old-fashioned “swamp cooler” by placing a bucket or pan of ice or ice water in front of a fan. Invest in some battery-operated fans.
8. Minimize use of appliances. Your oven will heat up your kitchen. Limit its use by having cold suppers or by grilling outdoors. Dry your laundered clothing items on a line to reduce use of your clothes dryer. Hand wash and let dishes air dry as well rather than running your dishwasher.
9. Reduce use of certain bulbs and lighting fixtures. Halogen bulbs, for instance, can generate a great deal of heat. LED lights and compact fluorescents will keep your home cooler.
10. Cool off in a pool or bathtub. Even a child’s wading pool can be effective in cooling you off considerably. If you feel silly sitting in a plastic pool, you can feel results by soaking your feet in the cool water for a while.
11. Eat lighter. There’s a reason we like to eat more fruit and salad during hot weather. They help hydrate us. Leafy greens, cucumbers, celery, tomatoes and watermelon are about 90 percent water, so they can help keep your body cool.
Also, you may want to turn up the heat – in your mouth, that is. Curries, chillies and other spicy foods can enhance circulation and cause you to sweat, which helps to cool the body down.
12. Let yourself build up a tolerance. Do you ever wonder how people have survived heat waves before air conditioning? By confining ourselves to air-conditioned homes, offices and stores, we have changed the way our bodies respond to heat. When you allow your body to experience heat and sweating, you can actually become accustomed to the heat. (It doesn’t mean you enjoy it; it means you can tolerate it.)
Here are some other quick tips for off-grid without air conditioning:
- Take cool showers.
- Decrease bathroom heat and humidity by running the bathroom fan after you shower.
- Let your hair air dry for a cooling effect.
- Close your fireplace flue to avoid losing cool air or introducing more hot air from the chimney.
Finally, here’s a word to all of the iced tea and iced coffee lovers out there. While the time-honored advice has been to avoid caffeinated beverages when the mercury soars, that thinking has changed.
According to the Institute of Medicine, caffeinated beverages supply us with more water than their caffeine causes us to lose. So if they help you stay hydrated this summer, drink up!
What are your tips for staying cool without air conditioning?
The post 12 “Cool Ways” To Survive Off-Grid Without Air Conditioning appeared first on Off The Grid News.
Much of the farming we see embraces death and destruction in order to get a yield. The “enemies” of a crop are sprayed with poisons. The ground is beaten into submission and soaked with chemical fertilizers.
The tiny living creatures which attempt to live in these fields find themselves in a dangerous and inhospitable place. Bees get poisoned, spiders get crushed, worms get chopped into pieces, etc.
It’s hard to grow food on a large scale without causing a certain amount of destruction. Trying to avoid killing anything is difficult and may not even be a correct goal, as some things just need killing. I can’t imagine growing enough corn for all the tortilla chips consumed during an American summer without big tilled fields filled with rows of corn fed by chemical fertilizers and harvested with specialized equipment that cares nothing for the tiny lives of ladybugs and crab spiders.
But in a backyard garden there’s no need to roast everything. Instead, we should embrace and encourage life, with the notable exception of the squirrels that steal our heirloom corn. We know what to do with those.
Overall, I like lots of life in my garden. It’s great to see butterflies, bees, beetles, spiders, dragonflies, praying mantises, toads, lizards and worms. Yeah, we have some leaf-footed bugs and cabbage moths, but they aren’t huge issues. The sheer amount of plant species and hiding places for predators keep things somewhat under control. This doesn’t look like a typical row garden and doesn’t have the same pest problems either.
We had worse problems last fall and in early spring before we built our Grocery Row Gardens and added all the other plant species. Look at the picture above and imagine how many hiding places there are in there! Then imagine all the roots in the ground and the micro-life that those roots bring. Lots and lots and lots of life.
If I were to spray malathion now it would be a desecration. I’d kill countless good guys. The gardens are now beyond that. It’s not a monoculture system that needs tilling and spraying. It’s developed into a forest edge polyculture. God’s design is taking over and the checks and balances are falling into place.
Stop spraying, plant lots of different species together, then watch and see what happens. Life will arrive!
Embrace life and see what little miracles come your way.
The post What Would a COMPLETE Supply Chain Breakdown Really Look Like? appeared first on The Organic Prepper.
Tulsi is also known as Holy Basil, and is widely grown in India and other parts of Asia. It is considered a sacred plant there, and it renowned for its healthful and medicinal purposes. It has been recently popularized by health afficionados in western countries as a healthful tea. Organic India is company that sells tulsi tea.
The variety we grow is called Kapoor, and in our opinion has the best flavor of all the tulsi varieties we have tried.
We love the smell of the tulsi we grow, with hints of bubblegum (or something) that led us to the following miraculous recipe that changed our culinary lives!
In a blender (Vitamix) add:
- At least one giant handful of tulsi — leaves, flowers, and stems (so long as they aren’t too woody).
- Vanilla ice cream (like 3 small servings worth)
- Frozen blueberries (1 to 1.5 cups)
- Enough milk for it to blend and be a thick milkshake
This is one of the best tasting deserts I have ever eaten. (And minus the sugar, super healthy.) Its flavor is so unique, one can only describe it as such. “Imagine you never had anything with vanilla or anything with chocolate, and try to describe those flavors.”Share on Facebook