The can rack in use.

This DIY FIFO can rack can save valuable shelf space.  It only uses up 2 square feet of floor space and holds up to 120 cans.  The concept is simple.  You place the new can on the top shelf.  The can rolls back, falls to the lower shelf and rolls forward.  This way your cans always stay rotated without having to take them all out and place the new ones under or behind the old ones.

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Treating and Preventing Chigger Bites

I grew up in the country crawling around in weeds and such as a kid. We were always warned we were going to get chigger bites, but never did I in my entire 38 years until this year. While mowing and working out at the land several weeks back, Jon and I and one of the boys got a bad case of chigger bites. I even got them twice. The second time was horrific and they even blistered. No chigger bites in 38 and years and now twice within a few weeks of each other!

What is a Chigger?

  • Chiggers are the larvae form of a certain type of mite.
Chigger and Mite Life Cycle
Photo Credit

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Winter Onions – 6 Month Update

In November we planted winter onions for the first time. Winter Onions are also referred to as “Egyptian Walking Onions”, “Egyptian Tree Onions”, “Tree Onions”, “Walking Onions”, “Top Onions”, and “Perennial Onions”.

The blue-green shoots/stalks/leaves are round and hollow and typically grow approximately 3 feet tall. As the plant matures a cluster of bulblets will begin to grow at the top of the stalk encapsulated in a protective papery casing referred to as a tunic.
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Simple Door Reinforcement

Here is a very simple, and cheap home security improvement that anyone can do in just a few minutes.

The plates in your door right now probably have 3/4″ or 1″ screws holding them in place. All this accomplishes is holding the plate in place. If you remove those screws and replace them with longer screws, it will add a little more resistance should an intruder even try to kick your door in.

Using 2″ or 2 1/2″ screws will secure the, plate in place as well as go through the door frame and into the stud next to the frame. This will make your door more sound.

Now, I am not suggesting this will stop an intruder, because it won’t.  However, with 2 screws through the door knob plate, and 2 more through the dead bolt plate, it just may add enough resistance to force an intruder to fail to breach your door on the first try, or cause them to loose their balance due to the additional force. This could buy you some precious time. Enough time to get your wits about you, or give you a jump on preparing to defend your home and family.

There is no guarantee that any of this will help. However, there is a chance it will slow an intruder down just enough to change the outcome in you favor.  For the few cents 4 screws cost, why not?  Even if you think the odds of this helping are as low a 1%.  Wouldn’t you buy that extra 1% for under a buck?

Gun Tote’n Mamas’ Conceal Carry Zebra-Print Hobo Purse

This is a fashion/safety post for the ladies. Some time back Jon and I took the conceal carry permit (CCP) class and registered for our conceal carry permits. Initially, I bought a belt style holster for my .38 Ruger. But a holster never really felt comfortable to me. This is probably because I do not usually wear a belt and I have right many “curves” so it always just felt like it was poking or rubbing me somewhere. I truly believe it is because of the shape of my body and not due to a lack of design of the belt holster I have.

So, for several months now I have been looking for a conceal carry purse. Like most women, my purse goes with me everywhere so it makes sense to keep my handgun there as well. What I found out is they are quite expensive! I do understand they need to be of stronger material for the liner as well as exterior. Conceal carry purses are made at a higher quality than the every day purse due to the need to securely support a heavy handgun safely. I really had hoped for something under the $100 range if at all possible.

I also am quite picky about the design of my pocket books. I need pockets and compartments in a functional size and design. While I always like a good looking purse I look for functionality first. That has always been a laborious task for me even before having a CCP and now having extra “functionality” requirements.

And lastly, well dangit I wanted something cute! I generally go with a leather bag of some sort. Leather tends to be more durable. But leather CCP purses were either several hundred dollars or were only in a biker or western style (neither of which I preferred).

So, after several attempts at looking I bought the Gun Tote’n Mamas’ conceal carry zebra-print basic hobo handbag from amazon for $75. Have I mentioned I love amazon? It is now showing for $80.

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Gettin’ Down on the Mountain

I guess everyone thinks Jon and I have just lost our minds. Well, my immediate family does not seem to think so, but they have probably already lost theirs too. Jon’s friends think so. A few of them have said so. One of his of buds texted him this youtube video a while back. He said it reminded him of Jon. Neither of us had heard of this song, but instantly fell in love with it. It is now my ringtone on my iphone for Jon.


Gettin’ Down on the Mountain by Corb Lund – CD Cabin Fever
Do your family or friends think you have lost it?  If so, I’d love to hear your stories. We personally think anyone is crazy if they do not get back to some basics and learn to do for themselves some.

Gardening with Heirloom Seeds

Yes, it is the end of January.  Since I cannot get out there and plant the garden, and I have the soil all ready to go, I am starting to get cabin fever waiting to get my seeds in the ground.  So, all I can do right now is talk about the seeds I have for this year’s garden.

Last year, we kind of threw the garden together in a quick hap-hazard fashion.  We used whatever seeds we found.  We used good seeds, purchased from local stores mind you, but we did not take into account any properties of the seeds, mostly because we did not know there was much of a difference.

We had decent success from our garden in the first year, all things considered.  The onions were a complete failure.  The corn produced little ears, tasty but small.  We did get enough carrots to can half a dozen pint jars.  The beans did good, except for the one row that never germinated (bad seeds).  The zucchini went nuts, we still have a lot of zucchini in our freezer.  The leaf lettuce did good, and the broccoli was almost a total failure, we got enough for one side dish at one dinner.  The crowder peas did very good, and thanks to my wonderful wife’s advice, I now absolutely love crowder peas.  We will be planting a lot more of them this year.

The majority of our problems were from low soil pH, and generally poor soil preparation.  This year we believe we have done a much better job.  We have raised our soil pH from around 5.0 to 6.5 which should be pretty close to where we need it to be for all of the plants we intend to grow.  The soil has been tilled much, much better, so the weeds should be a lot easier to deal with this year.  We have also added what we hope to be enough organic matter (horse manure compost) to the soil.  We also have a fair amount of partially composted leaves and dry leaves to use as mulch.  So, we feel ready for a successful garden this year.

Only one thing left to do.  Get some seeds.  We have been constantly researching any and everything we could think of for our garden.  During our research we learned a lot about seeds.  Genetically altered seeds seems to be rather prevalent in retail stores.  I am not going to spend my time judging the use of these seeds.  The advancements in seed technology has helped produce more produce to help feed the worlds expanding population, and has also allowed things to be grown in area that they could never have been grown naturally.  But as for me and my house, we will use heirloom seeds.

Heirloom seeds are natural seeds passed down from natural plants.  When you save a seed from a plant grown by heirloom seeds, the plant that will grow from that seed will be the same as the plant the seed came from.  This is not the case with a lot of hybrid seeds.  We did retrieve some seeds from our crowder peas this last year, and we are planning on trying them out.  We have no idea if they will grow properly, but they are very hard to find and we are gonna take that chance.

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Joy of Snow

In my last post I talked about being prepared with winter weather, thundersnow and power outages. It is important to experience the joy of snow as well. Preparedness should not be about a constant fear of the horrible unknown. Preparedness should not consume your life and prevent you from encountering the joy in each day of  life God has blessed us with. Preparedness should help us react, handle, and adapt to difficult situations more easily so that we may hopefully have more time to experience the joy of snow and every day life. I generally think of being happy as more of a situational thing. Where as I believe joy is a state of heart, soul, and mind.

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Thundersnow and Power Outages

Just 4 days after my post, Is It Spring Already?,  we had snow, thundersnow to be exact. Have you ever heard of thundersnow? It is simply a thunderstorm with snow instead of rain. It is not a common thing. This one was a doozie! The thundering was loud and plentiful and the lightening was bright! Have you ever heard that 10 days after thundersnow there will be another snow? I always have. I guess we will wait and see.

It has been raining pretty much non-stop since Monday. Everything everywhere had standing water. Yards, field, and some roads were looking like lakes. Thursday afternoon the wind was really strong. It had the potential for some serious downed trees and power outages. The lights flickered a few times. So, I filled the upstairs garden tub with water and told everyone to charge all of their electronic devices now in case the power went out.  We had one flicker long enough that the TV did not come back on by itself.

Then, Thursday evening’s temperatures dropped changing the rain over to sleet and quickly to snow. It was some of the biggest flakes I have seen in a long time. Several of my facebook friends within 30 miles or less were reporting power outages. Luckily, we never had any power outages this time, but it is good to be prepared.

Our primary source of heat is an electric heat pump. The home is also equipped with older electric baseboard heat that we do not use due to the lack of efficiency.  I do check them once a year to make sure they are working in case we have to rely on them if there is ever an issue with the heat pump. I did rely on them for a couple of weeks about 6 years ago when the heat pump went out in February and had to be replaced. The power bill tripled from just 2 weeks of use! Still it was nice to have a backup and much better than freezing.

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Nesco American Harvest FD-37 400 Watt Food Dehydrator

I have been in want of a food dehydrator for some time. I used to have one many moons ago, but I never got around to replacing it. Not too long ago I found a blog post for zucchini chips by The Creative Home and then shortly after came across a review of the Excalibur dehydrator. This rejuvenated my quest for a food dehydrator.

I had inevitably looked at Walmart first. I then turned to Amazon where I do a lot of shopping. I despise going to the store and shopping. I absolutely love shopping online if I can get a good product and deal with little to no shipping charge. I also happened to have a gift card for Amazon that I had received for Christmas.

There were so many options on Amazon that range from $28 to $385! Although the Excalibur received a glowing review I just cannot fathom spending $200 to $300 on a food dehydrator for the home. That just seems excessive to me. So, I set my limit in the $60ish range and started looking there. I like to read the reviews when available and there were many.

I opted on the Nesco American Harvest FD-37 400 Watt Food Dehydrator for the low low price of $30 and got a 2-pack of the easy clean screens to see how they worked. You can also get the fruit roll-up screens as accessories. All of us have outgrown fruit roll-ups so I did not purchase those.

Nesco American Harvest FD-37 400 Watt Food Dehydrator Packaging

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