Thursday, February 9, 2012

Family Grain Mill

Even though I enjoy all the conveniences of a fully electric home I hope one day to be at least partially solar powered if not completely.  I am fascinated with knowing how to get by should the luxury of electricity  become unavailable for whatever reason. I also just really like the idea of  passing along basic skills to future generations. Things like making candles, soap, cheese, gardening, and cooking real food from scratch should not be things our kids have no basic understanding of.  I admire those who live "the good life" to quote Helen and Scott Nearing and strive to get closer to the ideal working homestead that I envision.

One of the items I have had on my wish list for years I finally purchased last Fall. I would love to have the Country Living Grain Mill since it seems to get the best reviews and honestly the old fashioned design makes it look like what you think a grain mill should look like but it is really pricey. After a lot of research I found The family grain mill  which is a good quality hand grinder for under $200.00 that can be attached to a Bosch mixer or a kitchen aid mixer should you wish to power it by electricity. Here is a video demonstration of the grinder in action.
I see offered by many retailers online so it pays to shop around for the best deal.

 I have been  hand grinding Hard Red Wheat Berries to make whole wheat flour, my entire family has taken turns grinding flour and I am often surprised to discover a freshly ground batch left by someone who felt the urge to expend some energy.  Grinding flour is not easy work I have to say, but it is a great way to relieve tension as well as a great bicep workout. I mounted the grinder to my counter edge in the kitchen. I found that a simple plastic lid like the kind on a coffee can fits nicely over the open bin so I can leave unground berries in it all the time. I grind the wheat into a canister I keep on the counter below it so any time the urge strikes me I can grind wheat for a while. The Family grain mill is also supposed to grind other kinds of flour like bean, oat and rice flour and oat flakes but I have not tried any of those yet. I have been making the Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day recipe experimenting with half wheat /half bread flour since my family likes a fluffy loaf but I like the grainy goodness of whole wheat. I have not been able to get the really light fluffy kind of flour you buy in the market and I am not sure if it needs to be sifted or if it has to do with the quality of the grinder or the type of grinding element it uses, but I find the flour very useable. I plan to experiment with making flat breads and pancakes over an open fire outside just because I think those would a good substitute for baked bread if needed in a pinch. I have had it for a few months now and it seems to be of good quality that will hopefully hold up over time.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Pinerest Addiction

I can not believe I have allowed myself to find yet another thing to consume my time online since I try so hard to limit my mindless foray's into the land of the lost but I am loving Pinterest so much.
Here is one of the latest things I have pinned to my boards Spicy Black Bean Burger. I have the beans soaking now.
For the recipe click on my link to pinerest and get started making your own fun boards
When you click on someones board pictures it usually takes you to the original source of the picture.
It is a lot of fun.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Pantry Organization Dried Goods.

I wish I could remember which preparedness blogger originally pointed me in the direction of these great inexpensive containers but they have really helped to get me started organizing a working pantry, one of my goals for 2012. 
 I ordered them from US Plastics

here are the three items I have ordered so far and the prices which I found to be very reasonable in comparison to similar brand name containers sold in local stores.

Item No.

Clear Container With Handle and Cap

160 oz Clear Container 7.5” x 5.13” x 10.5”.

Comments: Standard Ground (UPS, USPS) $2.21 each



32 oz. PVC Pinch Grip-It Jars w/ Lid

Comments: Standard Ground (UPS, USPS) $1.35 each


PVC Clear Canister With Lid

20 Oz Canister With Lid, 3.3" x 3.3" x 4.85"

Comments: Standard Ground (UPS, USPS) $1.28 each

The containers are the same as the kind you might find in your Warehouse stores like Sam's club holding dried goods, sturdy and washable.

Later down the line I may venture into long term storage in five gallon buckets for the same kinds of  dried goods but this is a nice start for now. I still keep the flour, sugar and other baking goods in canisters on the counter since I those often but these would probably hold two five pound bags of flour or sugar.

I store things I know I will use and cook with regularly.

Canned goods are another area that I plan to slowly build up. My short term goal is to have enough on hand to feed my family and my animals without going to the store for 1 month and then build from there. This will include water which I find to be the biggest challenge.

February Already?

Today I hope to have a never leave the house kind of day, my favorite kind of days since they are so rare. At noon it is already 79 degrees outside and I have been out and planted a flat of strawberries and one bunch of green onions in the holes of my cinder blocks that surround a couple of the raised beds. Little by little the garden is becoming more of what I knew it could be. I somehow broke my digital camera so I am left to take pictures with my phone these day which I find less satisfactory but for now it works, these are some pictures of the garden right now.

Yesterday was my grandson Cadyn's 4th birthday and I was happy to be off work and able to join in the celebration. It was a beautiful springlike day here in Florida and we had a crowd of guests. I saddled up old Red and took the 9 kids on horse back rides. My oldest grandson Logan who is now 6 has learned to ride on his own off of the lead rope which thrills me to death. None of my own 3 children like to ride so the idea that I might have a future riding buddy in the making really makes me happy. My daughter in law made pulled pork sandwiches and potato salad. It was a perfect day.

The new years projects are going well, I got rid of 10 boxes of stuff out of the garage last week, so I am ahead on that goal of one box per week. This past week I planted carrots, spinach and more broccoli. So the goal of planting at least one new thing per week is well on track. I am brainstorming on how to find a place to plant seed potatoes soon. I don't have anymore raised bed space and don't want to spend money on materials right now so I am going to have to get creative. I certainly have the room here in this spread of property so I am sure when I get out and look around I will come up with something. More on this topic to follow.

On another note I was recently inspired to join Pinterest by another blogger Debbi and I have been having so much fun with it. It is like your favorites folders on your computer but with pictures which seems to make it so much more fun to save and organize the things you find on the web that spark your interest, its addicting really. You have to join the site and wait for an invite which takes about a day by email, but it really is interesting once you set up your own boards. You create your own virtual bulletin boards for pinning up things you clip from the Internet your favorite blogs and social media sites. /

To Blog or Not To Blog,,,

In January of last year I sat down and wrote a post from the RV I was living in at the time. I thought then that I really wanted to get bac...