Monthly Archives: June 2012

Lavender Essential Oil, a Prepper’s best friend

Lavender essential oil is indispensable to a prepper.

You can use lavender oil on just about any skin irritation. Burns, scalds, rashes, bug bites (especially spider and mosquitoes I find), cuts, acne, seriously just about anything. All you do is put the lavender oil straight on the area of irritation, you don’t have to mix it with anything and you just need a tiny drop to cover a good area.  It doesn’t sting like some modern medicines, it soothes and reduces scarring. In a household with two chefs, we use it a lot and don’t have nearly as many scars as we should!

It can also be used as a bug repellent, an antiseptic, an antidepressant. The scent is used in aromatherapy to relax and calm the client. It makes a good treatment for head lice, sunburns, helps to treat clinical shock and muscle pain.

Its edible and can be used in cooking (although I usually stick to using it in desserts, it apparently goes well with rice or fish).

Basically this is a natural wonder drug that is so much cheaper than buying all the seperate medications needed to treat the above issues. If you had enough of the flowers you can make your own essential oil (you’d need a distiller, I’ll blog about that another day). But its easily found in health food stores or larger grocery stores and pharmacies. So let’s hear it for lavender!!

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Tips for Keeping Up Morale

Life post-SHTF will be very different than what we are used to. Different, harder, crueler and probably nothing like we expect it to be. We will have to deal with boredom (which can be a killer). People in the same environment for extended periods with a loss of privacy, a lack of hygiene, emotional issues, not to mention food fatigue and the digestive problems this can bring on will definitely need something to keep their minds off of things.

All of this is enough to bring anyone down. It is important to keep morale high. Boredom can lead to depression and depression can lead to a loss of will to live. This obviously is counter productive to our survival plans. So:

Give people a job to do, establish a routine. I’ve said it before, people thrive on routines. When you know what to expect and what your day looks like, it makes it easier to deal with.

Make sure you have entertainment. Books, games, decks of cards, coloring books for the kids, anything. If you don’t have a physical source of entertainment, put on a play, sing some songs or have a talent show.

Learn some skills that are fun and productive. Knitting or crocheting (which can be done with whittled sticks and plant made fibers!) can produce clothing, wash cloths, blankets and even nets for fishing. Wood working can make utensils (for eating and cooking), bows and arrows for hunting and improve your shelter!

Include some goodies in your preps. Candies or chocolates, stored in cool dark locations, can last almost indefinitely. (PLEASE do not throw out chocolate that has gone white! As a former chef I can tell you that it is NOT mold! It is called bloom and it is the fat in the chocolate separating. You can eat it as is or you can melt it down and mix the fats back in.) For the adults: a small bottle of your favorite liquor might be more to your taste. Or add a case of your family’s favorite soda to help ease the transition.

Above all else, never give up hope!

Strawberry Jam – no pectin

Strawberry jam is a yearly occurrence in our house. Everyone loves strawberries (so much in fact that last year when I purchased two flats of strawberries, they were gone in a few days before I could make the jam). I always use local strawberries because the flavor is amazing (so much more so than berries that have ripened on a truck).

This is the recipe my grandmother used, I’m pretty sure it’s the Bernardin recipe, so clearly I don’t own it.

Place 8 250ml size jars (1c) on a rack in a water canner and heat to a simmer (make sure water is covering the jars). Heat snap lids separately. Keep hot until ready for use.

Bring mixture of 8 cups strawberries (crushed), 6 cups sugar and 1/3 cup lemon juice to a boil slowly. (make sure sugar is dissolved so it doesn’t stick to the bottom). Boil for about 30 minutes or until the mixture thickens and passes the ‘gelling test’. (Coat a spoon with the jam and move it away from your pot, watch the jam slide off the spoon, if it falls in chunks instead of drips, its ready).

Pour your hot jam into the hot jars leaving a quarter inch headspace. Keep your rims clean! Place your snap lid on the jar and screw the band on until finger tight. Boil filled jam jars for 10 minutes. Pull out and let sit for 24 hours (do not move them).

Traditionally, items canned like this last for about a year (not exactly long-term food storage).