Saturday, March 28, 2015

Updates, Soap Lady, and Gluten Free Emergency Kits

Updates and Stuff.

I am bad at this! First off, I want to apologize about the lack of updates on my blog. The past 8 months have been a whirlwind of busy-ness that turned my personal life in ways I did not expect. However I am making this year a time of personal responsibility and accountability and that means being accountable for past promises that were not delivered.


This time last year, I promised a few folks that I would do some product reviews on my blog that I never got around to doing. I am going to rectify that now.

First I want to graciously thank The Soap Nut Lady and the fine folks over at GlutenFreeEmergencyKits.com for giving me samples of their products to try. Both things I have received while I was at the Survival Preppers Expo last year.



Meals photo aa10f26a-4000-43f7-9338-4e7f5c190650_zpsqmyhazqo.jpg


First off I would like to start this review with the products from Gluten Free Emergency Kits. The three packages that you see in the picture all nicely airtight sealed in mylar pouches. I got the Lasagna Meal, Cheeseburger Meal and Impossible Cocoanut Pie. Out of the three, I tried the Cheeseburger Meal and the Lasagna Meal. Mind you, I am writing this review a year later, but I can remember that I particularly liked the Lasagna Meal. It was pretty easy to make and the instructions were clear on how to make it. It was basically a one pot meal and tasted like lasagna. The Cheeseburger Meal, I found to be ok, if not just a touch bland, though with the taste of cheese. At the time I did not add any other spices, I just went by the instructions. The Cocoanut pie… well I squirreled that way as an extra treat in my storage preps. I still have it to this day. All these meals are all dry ingredients, and you just add water, from what I remember. Also, if you are allergic to gluten, this place is a good one to go to.




The second item that I was given to try was a bag of nuts! Soap nuts from The Soap Nut Lady to be exact. If you have not heard of soap nuts, they are small round nuts that look like walnuts, but they saponify water, giving a nice soapy feel slick feel. From what I remember they gave off a slight nutty / piney sent. I will admit, I did make a mistake with the product. I had never used soap nuts before so this was new to me. What I did was I put the soap nuts into the little bag that came with and let them soak in my huge bucket that I use for laundry for a while. (Like 15 minutes.) and then used them for my wash. Even with that short of soaking time, the water got a little slick and it kind of worked. From what I understand, you have to soak the nuts in water for several hours to get the full effect. Just doing a short soak in a huge bucket of water was my own mistake. As a cleansing material, I would have to honestly experiment more with it, if I got some more. I was also given a packet of ground up soap nuts to put in a spray bottle, but I had not used that. I think I still have it though.

I just thought that I would still get these reviews up, and rectify this. Both products I feel were pretty good, and the companies that gave these products to me were very nice to talk with when I first met them. Again, thank you! Hopefully my dear loyal readers, I might be able to add some more experiences to my blog in the coming months. I again do apologize for the delay.

-Ravenwolf










Saturday, July 12, 2014

Eggplant Urban Farm Supply

Eggplant Urban Farm Supply: A Review.

The Store!

Hi guys, I am back with another article, this time about a really cool business that I found in North St. Paul, Minnesota. Have any of you heard of Eggplant Urban Farm Supply? They cater to urban homesteaders! Looking for books on gardening, cheese making, food preserving, beekeeping, wine brewing or raising chickens? Or…. Need to order baby chicks in several different breeds? They have it! Need to buy tools and supplies for all of those projects? They have that too! They even have classes on cheese making, chicken raising, and basically all things homesteading packed into this tiny store! The store itself has a really nice country vibe even though it is very much in the city. I mean check out the interior:


Love the country feel of this place!

I actually found out about this place while I was looking to make my own Kefir. Through my search I found this little place where I could buy it locally. (I prefer local instead of over the net.) Well, this place has both the milk and water kefir grains. 

I have gone back several times since and here is a list of what I got:

Filthy Cowgirl Handmade Soap. Really nice rose and lavender soap!

Country Wisdom and Know How. A book that has tons of homesteading advice and food recipes.

Gardening for Geeks: A good book on how to make a garden for optimal food production for the home.

Two different type of lettuce seed packets: I now have nice leaf lettuce growing for my suppers

A Purple tomillo plant: No fruit yet, but big, green and leafy with lots of little yellow flowers!

Garlic chives: they are growing nicely!

And of course the Kefir. (I have not tried that yet. I will post an article about it later.)

The place has been open barely four years, so they are a fairly new business. Every time I have have stopped by there, the staff has been very friendly and knowledgeable. The prices are pretty fair and because of that, it is so tempting to start so many projects! Oh and they also have a little garden center in the back if you are looking for plants. If you can, stop by check them out!

Eggplant Urban Farm Supply
1771 Selby Ave.
St. Paul, MN 55104
(651) 645 0818

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Laundry Update again!

Hi guys, I know it has a VERY LONG time since I have made another post. (I am very bad about these things, though My old laptop fried!) I am just putting up a little post today to show you that I have updated my laundry setup! I have had this for several years now and it works great and I am willing to share what I have done with you guys. As you may or may not remember from a previous article, I wash most of my clothes by hand. It saves me money. But, I did spend a little money to upgrade. I stopped using the plunger and dishpan and went to two buckets and a product called "The Breathing Mobile Washer" The orange bucket I bought at Home Depot for $3, the white bucket I got from a bakery for $1 and the Washer I bought at Emergency Essentials for $14.99 ($17 or so with shipping!) Let me tell you. The money I spent on the Washer was WORTH IT! Literally the first day It nearly paid for itself. My apartment laundry room costs about $1.75 to wash and $1.75 to dry. If you do three loads, it would cost you $10.50! Within a week it has paid for itself.

The Breathing Mobile Washer acts like a plunger, but has a grate underneath and a smaller cone on top to add extra pushing and sucking power, forcing water and soap through the cloth material. That is how the manufacturer claims this works. I know it does work on my clothes. Here is an action shot!

There is one little downside to this product though. Sometimes the head of it tends to come off, if you do not twist it back on. To prevent this, you can either get an "O" ring gasket from lowes. Or you can do like I do and when you plunge it up and down doing your laundry, twist the handle in a clockwise motion not only keeping the head on, but also adding a slight spin motion in the bucket. That is the only downside.

You can get this product from Emergency Essentials, very cheap and it pays for itself.

Washer Specs for you Techie people from Emergency Essentials website:

Weight: 1.36 lbs

Dimensions: approx. 29” long x approx. 8” base diameter I just thought I would share this with you! -- Ravenwolf

Friday, April 11, 2014

Expos and New Things.

Hi guys, I am back on doing my blog again. Sorry I have not been posting the past few months. I just have had a lot going on, most of it pretty good. I will soon have some products to review on here again. Right now they are a going to be a bit of a secret, but I did pick them up at Survival Preppers Expo last weekend. That was a hell of a weakend too. If you have not heard of the event, go here! This is just a little taste of things to come! -RavenWolf

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Prepping Tools: RadioShack NOAA Weather Radio

I SO love my pack... I mean family. They gave me a really nice gift, a RadioShack NOAA weather radio! You see I don't watch much tv and I have not been on the internet for a while, so I don't get the weather news. I love it! It gives the weather forecast for upto the next week, and also alerts you to storm watches, warnings and amber alerts in your area. It is very customizable, were you can get general weather radio, or have it set up for your specific county. It can work off of DC power, or off batteries. The signal I get is pretty clear and you get up to 9 channels (I think) to choose from. It also has an alarm clock function. You can also buy extra attachments too, like an extended antenna, and vibrating warning for those who are hard of hearing or deep sleepers. (It wakes you up if there is storm warning in the night.) I have it set up in the middle of my apart... I mean cave where I can hear it from any room. This makes for a very useful gift.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Eating for Victory and Make Do and Mend




Two new additions to my library. Eating for Victory and Make Do and Mend.

These two books are a collection of reproduction pamphlets that were handed out by the British Ministry of Food and the Ministry of War to the common folks during the second world war on how to live on the ration system. These two books also are a very good peek into what our friends in Great Britain had to deal with in their daily lives on the home front. Literally everything was rationed, from cloth and furniture, to food, fuel, and metal. Somethings were heavily restricted, while other items were non-existent due to the Nazi blockade. Over half of their food pre-war was imported from the U.S and other countries. The war in itself changed the way their agriculture worked. Everything was tightly restricted and controlled, and these two books are a couple of examples showing what they had to go through.

Eating for Victory covers the food rationing system and gives a lot of recipes and meal plans with foods that are heavily rationed. It shows you how to plan meals, how to work with new foods like dried eggs and dry milk. With us today... Well if you think about it having things like food storage is really food rationing, you are working with only the stuff that you have if you can't get to the store. Most of the items in this book should be in everyone's food storage. They have recipes using stuff like butter, sugar, flour, oils, salt, and food additions that would add any sort of flavor into dishes that would be bland.

Make Do and Mend is the companion book to Eating for Victory. This book covers home heating, basic home repairs, clothing maintenance and all the ration coupon rules and regulations. There is just one pamphlet alone that covers how to wash your clothes so they don't wear out as fast. The Mrs Sew - and - Sew pamphlets show you how to darn and repair rips, tears and holes in clothes. This book also shows you how to conserve fuel if you use gas or coal cooking ranges (I think there are several here that might be interested in that!) There is so much more in this book that what I am just telling you here.

Both of these books are very good, if not only for the historical value, but also for other prepping ideas. The only few downsides to these books are: 1. Some of the information is old since we are talking about the mid 30's to mid 40's era here, especially the health information so keep that in mind. 2. They do use different measurements than we do, especially in cooking, if you can get around that, you would be doing fine. Personally though, I think these books are good to have in a prepper's library. I got both of these on Amazon, though I don't remember what I paid for them, they were not real expensive though.

Thursday, September 06, 2012

Prepping Vacation, Summer Reflections

Prepping Vacation, Summer Reflections

Hey guys.

Wow, it has been a little over 3 months since my last post!? Wow. Sorry it has been so long. I ended up taking a couple of months off to have a bit of prepping vacation. Not that I ever really stopped picking up good information for prepping. I just needed a break for a while. It is easy to burn out from doing this all the time. This summer I decided to hold things off for a while instead of going over board. I know that sounds a little "grasshopper-ish" but I have been working on this for the past few years.

What have I been doing the last few months you ask? Well I had a nice little vacation with my pack... I mean family this summer. Can't pass up a family trip for a week of fun. Hell this summer has been great. And I still got to use some of my prep skills even while I was on break. I finally got to put my wineskin bota bag to use when my family and I went for bike rides during this hot summer. Also I did not pass up the chance to visit a native american museum and store to see what goodies they had. I actually ended up in front of their book rack spending 5 minutes copying down the titles of some really good instructional books. What they had covered leather making, cooking, medicinal plants, and native ritual ceremonies. I even ended up buying a cookbook later when I got home for cheaper than what they had it for. At the end of this article I will have a list of the book names I wrote for you guys to check out. Some of those books, If I get them I will review. This has kind of started me down the path of looking into the old ways of how things where done. I ended up finding old and new documentaries and some "reality shows" of doing things from times past. So far I am loving shows like 1940s House, If Walls Could Talk: A History of the Home, Victorian Farm, Edwardian Farm, and Frontier House. The best thing is most of these shows are on DVD or in book format. I personally believe that the old ways of doing things should not be forgotten, and should be practiced when possible.

I also went to the state fair too. It gave me a chance to speak with master gardeners and I found out that there are gardening classes in my county. I got some great square foot gardening ideas for my balcony. I got to check out new camping gear and I am thinking of getting a Duluth pack for my Vehicle Kit. I also gave out information to folks on prepping too. It was great talking with some of the vendors. Oh and I nommed some tasty fair food. Deep fried apple pie with cinnamon ice cream? TO DIE FOR!

Also, this was the summer of facing my fears. For the first time I drove long distance... alone over 200 miles round trip. That I felt it still was a big deal for me, though it was the second time I have done a trip like that. The first time I drove it was quite a bit longer.

I also do not like being around crowds, but I chose to go to the state fair. I also never really took the transit system by myself before, again, with the state fair I learned to use the park and ride system. I also used my map skills when I was at the fair and learning to locate places that I wanted to go. I don't like traveling to the big city. The big city was where the state fair was. In years past, I went with my family, this time I chose to go alone and it was still fun. I just kept my eyes open, my wits about me, and wrote the more important information down (like the transit bus number and pick up location).

Hows about that for an update?

Prepping is serious business, but it should also be fun and allow you to have fun. I know it did for me.

RavenWolf


List of Books I Found:

A handbook of Native American Healing

The Book of Buckskinning Series

Secrets of Native American  Herbal Remedies

Encyclopedia of Native American Healing

Cherokee Plants Their Uses a 400 Year History

Frontier Chuckwagon Cooking

Ma's Cookin Mountain Recipes
 
Hillbilly Cookin'

American Indian Cooking and Herblore

The Native American Sweatlodge

Stories and Recipes of the Great Depression by Janet van Amber Paske