Sunday, September 20, 2015

Passing the Word

Just a few notes:

loaded round of ammunition

When I said the bullet in the AK-47 round and the bullet in the .303 Enfield had the same diameter, I didn't mean to imply the loaded rounds themselves were interchangeable.  That is, you sure can't fire the AK-47 round (7.62X39)  out of an Enfield rifle, and you can't fire the Enfield round (.303 British) out of an AK-47.  You couldn't close the bolt on the AK-47 if you had the longer Enfield round in there, but you might be able to close the bolt on an Enfield with an AK-47 round and that , conceivably, could cause an accident though I doubt it. At any rate, I seem to have given that impression to some folks. A "bullet" is just the projectile. No case, no powder, no primer. A "round" is the cartridge case, primer, powder and bullet all put together and ready to fire.


A lot of folks wrote to me about storing lard. I do actually keep lard here, mostly for the dogs in winter.

I didn't mention it because I figured people would be all over me about the negative health aspects of using lard to fry food in. In the South, almost all country people use lard for frying food.

We eat a lot of fried food. We also have vastly higher rates of hypertension, stroke and heart attack than the rest of the country.

Lard is harder to keep than vegetable shortening, so it's a good thing to have but it has drawbacks.

I got several emails from people who pointed out that the chart I published said "X will last 3 years" but they had a web page that said "X will last 2 years."

There isn't any absolute on how long food will last. It isn't like math, which is exact.  It depends on how old the food was when you got it, how you stored it, etc.

All of the charts on the internet and in books will give you some idea of how long an item will keep, but it's just an idea.

When someone says "I kept this in a store room where the temperature was always 70 degrees and the humidity was always 52%, and it lasted this long" that's the best information.

There's always going to be some variation in what different charts written by different outfits say.

Addendum at 0347: The LDS food storage calculator

The Mormon Food Storage Calculator

Link above

click the link above to go to the food storage calculator;
The Mormons have it together on this issue.  You fill in the two blanks in the fields as to how many people of what age you are planning for.  Click "calculate." Then scroll down past the add and you will have your data just below the add.  This is not "all inclusive" it's more a basic bottom line for a one year planning period. They expect you to add on the things your particular  family needs that are not listed. Also, they assume you have access to water supplies.

10 articles from the Mormons on food and water storage.

Link Above
I am not a Mormon but I admire their planning and execution in this area.

Another thing that the post on long term storage of oils produced was an "off blog" discussion of healthy foods.

While having a balanced diet is important to me, and I make great efforts to plan for healthy food, I also have to take into account that what I am looking at is a major event where the roads become too dangerous, trucking ceases, no supplies arrive in my town, and we have to live off what we have stored here for a lengthy period.

What I keep in storage here is not necessarily what I eat every day. I know a lot of survival books say you should only store what you eat. That sounds good in theory, but if all you eat is fresh vegetables, fresh bread, etc, then that's not going to lend itself to comprising your total emergency food supplies.

Several people wrote to mention that canned food usually has a lot of salt in it. That's true and it's a valid point, but canned food also lasts a long, long time if properly stored. So my thought is that the main characters in "The Road" didn't worry about the salt in canned food and I probably wouldn't either in their shoes.

What I do have is a lot of bulk food like wheat, flour ,sugar, rice, peach slices, rolled oats, pasta, dehydrated green vegetables, etc. I also have a lot of canned meat, vegetables, butter, cheese.  I hope this stuff will both last in storage and provide nutritious meals for us here.

It's up to everybody to decide what to store and how to store it.  People who are good at home canning, like Vicki, will do better in that department than I will, for instance. It's about what you want to eat, what you can afford, what your skills in that regard are, where you live, and a lot of other factors.

I have a lot of smoked hams.  They are both affordable and easy to find here in North Georgia. If you live somewhere else, where smoked hams are expensive or hard to find, or both, then you will probably have something else to fill that need for meat.   We all want to have healthy meals for our families, but they will probably be comprised of different components.  The information below is from a Kentucky company that makes country ham, but the facts are the same for all country ham.

"old fashioned, slow-aged, Kentucky country hams require no refrigeration until cut. They may be shipped any place. Because of aging, your ham may have some mold on it. This does not affect the quality of the meat and indicates proper aging. The mold may be removed with vinegar and a cloth or by washing with water and a brush.

A new user of country ham may expect them to be more salty than a packing house ham. The flavor is much more intense due to shrinking and enzymatic activity during aging. As early as 8 months, usually at approximately 10 months of age, some (but not all) Kentucky country hams form white streaks through the ham that appear as white specks in the meat after it is sliced. This is a concentration of salt and proteins caused by aging. These specks are in no way harmful to eat and are only an indication of a properly aged Kentucky country ham. Hams showing this indication of proper aging are much sought after in this area of Kentucky ham country.


 To keep for indefinite period or for further aging, hang in a dry place and protect against insects, usually by wrapping in paper and cloth bags. Remember Ham will drip some fat in a warm place, but will not age further if stored where it is cold or in refrigerator.

Having good home food storage practices will take a burden off you when the "bad thing" happens.
When TSHTF you don't want to go out foraging in this. You might wind up as somebody else's supper.


  1. My family used lard a lot, especially for pie crust and other baking. Donuts were fried in lard. Lard wasn't nearly as spendy as shortening or vegetable oils, so it was used more often than the alternatives. In farming country like my area, when pigs were butchered, the fat was rendered down into lard, poured hot into canning jars and topped with lids and rings. As the lard cooled the jars would seal and the lard would stay fresh for years in a cool place. I am not saying do it this way. But I'm going to give it a try. I still like lard in pie crust.

    I would love to feed my family nothing but fresh, non GMO fruits and vegetables and free range meat. But I can't. I just can not pay three times the store price for a bunch of carrots. Simple as that. So I get as much to can and dehydrate at the
    Farmer's Market and the rest comes from the grocery. And should the time come when our only source of food is what I have put by, I don't think any of my family, if they are hungry, are going to care about the source of the food.

    1. Vicki, I wonder, given your experience, if I kept unopened lard down in the most stable supply room it would last indefinitely. I might give that a try. I've experimented with other foods in that manner.

      There are folks, who live out in the countryside and have their own farm and pasture land, who can avoid some of the pitfalls of things like GMO foods. But the vast majority of us just don't have the disposable income to do that, or access to the right supplies even if we did. We all just do the best we can.

    2. It would depend on whether or not the lard is in a sealed container. From what I have found from trusted sources, lard should keep as long as no air can get to it. Personally, I'm not sure about trusting the seal on a bucket of lard. And if the bucket is plastic, that can absorb other odors. When I do mine, I'm going to use the method I described above, using quart canning jars. I just like the glass with the canning lids. Then there should be no question as long as each jar seals.

    3. I buy it in little plastic buckets. They are food grade, but not as thick as the "pails" I got from Walton Feeds.

      I keep lard but it's usually opened and being used to spice up pet food. I think I'll buy some , put the normal date on it, and not mess with it for five years. I did the canned beans experiment for ten years and it worked out.

  2. The bullet thing - you said it correctly (but then you already knew that).

    I don't suppose your storeroom is cool and dry during the summer months, but about how long do you expect one of the smoked hams to last at your place?
    They'd probably last a bit longer here, since we ARE often cool and near 60% humidity.

    1. Charlie, I have a main building (the house), a shop with an apartment over it, a barn, and a shed for flammable liquids like kerosene, gasoline, etc.

      The main building is completely climate controlled for humidity and temperature year round. My biggest, purpose built store room is in that.
      The barn has a section that is closed off and climate controlled. Both the shop and the apartment are climate controlled. All have running water except the barn and the flammable liquids shack.

      The smoked hams will last about as long as you want them to. They come in burlap sacks. You just hang the sack from the rafters. People here will keep them a long time, and if mold grows on the outside they just slice off the mold and give that meat to the dogs. The ham is very dry and very hard. Some people boil it before frying it. I just fry it in olive oil. I would say you could hang a smoked ham somewhere that is dry and cool for a couple of years and probably a lot longer. A smoked ham here runs about thirty dollars or so now. I don't have mine cut by the butcher because that would expose more surface and decrease the storage time.

  3. I knew a guy who had a Winchester 32 special and thought it was a 30-30. My dad discovered the guy had loaded with 30-30 and wondered why it didn't perform all that well. Duh.

    My lovely wife and I ate a fair amount of canned food on the sailboat and didn't worry about the salt. In the hot sun I was drinking a gallon of water a day and needed the salt.

    In the wild fats are hard to come by. I am a big fan of those big cans of olive oil. Lard isn't all that popular up north. However, vegetable shortening isn't exactly a healthful fat -you'd probably be better off with lard. Of course, in a SHTF situation I'd be happy to have some to cook with.

    1. Some of the older weapons aren't marked with the chambering and that can cause problems. I usually cast the chambers on my old military weapons if have any cause at all to suspect they may have been "reworked."

      I eat more canned food than I should up here on the mountain, because I can just open the can and eat things like peas or hash without heating it.

      As you say, neither lard nor shortening are very good for you, but in hard times that would become less a primary consideration when food was hard to come by. When I do cook for myself, I usually use olive oil.

  4. Hey Harry,


    We have Taco stands (primitive Mexican food restourants) in South Texas. I sometimes think its the lard capitol of the world.

    I don't cook so I don't store lard or olive oil or whatever (I don't even know what to do with lard or olive oil) Yeah that puts me in severe disadvantage, but I have cooking manuals for cooking the stored stuff I have.

    There is also all the nice round Mexican women around here that know how to cook and they come with lots of lard (no I mean their kitchens come full of lard ok:)

    I did two good deeds today. One I help a neighbor that went to the doctor by sitting with her dogs. Two, a neighbors dog got out and I called the neighbor and sat with that dog outside (in the shade) and comforted that dog and got it two bowls full of water being its an inside dog used to air conditioning (the temp today was in the 90's)

    Yeah' I wish I could have gone to the range and taken the Mosin but I have no brass ammo (its on order) but I helped some doggies out today.

    1. Your day was more productive than mine. I didn't do much Sunday, but I try not to. It's my day off, in a way. I'm glad you helped out the neighbors dogs. Most people would have just called animal control and had them hauled off I expect.

      As long as you have food stored that you know you will eat if you have to,and you have enough of it, it doesn't matter what it is. Living on the ocean, I reckon you could catch fish off the pier, couldn't you? I can get trout and crawdads here. I never do it now because I detest fish. When my mom sends me those Omaha steak coolers and there is fish filet in them I fry it up, cut it up, and give it to the cats. It stinks but I can't waste food so I just have to let the house air out.

      I hope you are not throwing that brass away. I'm telling you, honestly, loading ammo is so easy, and so relaxing. You can get a starter kit from Lee with everything you need for under a hundred. Then you just get yourself a box of primers, the right powder, and a set of carbide dies and your ammo concerns are over.

      If you don't want to do that save it anyway and I'll buy it off you. Just don't let it lay there!

      If TEOTWAWKI comes you may have to shack up with some rotund Mexican mujer and let her family take care of you. Entiendes?

    2. Captaincrunch, Re ammo availability if you are a gun enthusiast handloading is really is the only way to go. You can drop your ammo cost to around 7 cents a shot for rifle ammo, less if you cast your own bullets. And the Mosin is happy eating wheel weights all day long. Definitely save your spent brass. You don't need to spend big money on a loading press, all you need is a LEE Loader tool that will cost you less than $30.
      here is how you use it

    3. I've tried to get CC into reloading but with no success. He has his own lifestyle and is not very interested in changing it. Can't blame a fellow for trying though. I doubt I'd be able to shoot a lot of my rifles if I had to rely on commercial production, a great deal of the time some of the more esoteric chamberings just aren't to be had.

    4. Hey Harry (and everyone else)


      Yeah' okay....I give in to your vile peer pressure ( a joke:) I may have to look into reloading for some calibers. Now 5.56 would not be worth it unless it was outlawed but the Mosin would be the no.1 choice.

      We got plenty of lead weights down here with all the fishing. I have neighbors that melt down lead weights to make new ones. Im not a fisherman so I don't know all the ins and outs of fishing. In fact I agree with Harry. I very little fish. I surf with the damn things and they are ugly and they smell (Im sure the feeling is mutual)

    5. When you talk lead, you are talking cast bullets. I don't cast my own, I buy the fmj from Sierra, or Hornaday. Bullets are relatively cheap. I know Commander Zero casts his own, and Michael does and I think a few other people who come here do, but I never saw it as being necessary for my purposes. It just depends on your own preference.

      All you would need, depending on what you want to do, is a Lee starter kit. As Michael pointed out above, you can get a starter kit with a press, scale, and primer tool like I used, or a cheaper kit that is bare bones but works. You do need the die set though, and I'd get a carbide die set so you don't have to always be screwing around with case lubrication.

      I'll bet if you actually try it you find it to be very satisfying. You can also store a lot of components and be easier in your mind about your ammo supply. It's nice to be able to work up your own loads to suit your own needs, too.

    6. I am used to shooting 38/357 home made loads for about $6 a box of 50. When I got the Ruger Mini 14 I was horrified at the prices of 5.56/.223 running about 25 cents a shot for the cheap Tula steel case junk. I am looking at casting and reloading for it too. Everyone claims it is not good to run cast through a semi auto especially a 223 running at near 3000 ft/sec but I have seen some folks that keep the pressures/speeds down to 2300 ft/sec and they are having no leading problems. Also looking in to powdercoating to effectively make my own plated bullets. I'll do a post on it when I get it all sorted out.

    7. I know if you keep the muzzle velocity down leading in the barrel is not that big a problem. Most of my SAA replicas use ammo that runs at 800 fps , it's almost all lead, and I've had no problem.

      I'll be interested in seeing how using non-jacketed bullets in a semi-auto works. I have never known anyone who did it before so you will be the first one with experience in that area I can talk to. Look forward to the post.

    8. I just sent to your Phil Nolan address some links to a series of videos on a guy down your ways running cast through an AR quite successfully.

    9. Ok. What do 100 cast .223 bullets run do you think. If the price was a lot lower than just buying 100 fmj bullets from Sierra, and you were just shooting targets, it might be worth ramping down the muzzle velocity to make lead bullets .

    10. Couple weeks ago when I priced it out .224 55 grain FMJ were about 18 cents a piece and that is the cheap Winchester stuff. Sierras and Hornady are running about 30 cents a piece. New cases were about 20 cents ea. I did pick up a brick 1000/ct of Selier & Bellot small rifle primers for $20. I have near 500 lbs of lead, and I have a line on some once fired brass for $70 /1000ct. I figure if I cast my own I should be about 10 cents a trigger pull by the time I am done.
      On the 38/357 I am around 11 cents a round using store bought Berrys plated 157 grain RN. I can cut that cost down to 5 cents a round using my own cast SWC 158 grain.

    11. The lead I have was 100% free. Some gifted by a friend and some collected from my local tire shop. So no real cost other than my time and the mold purchase which was about $30 from LEE.

    12. Selier & Bellot had some kind of explosion at their factory and several people were killed this week. I haven't heard anymore about it but your timing is good, as that might put a crimp in their production for awhile depending on what happened.

      I had heard about collecting lead from the wheel balance work at tire shops. I also heard on timey window frames are lead but they must be getting in short supply these days.

    13. It takes a bit of scrounging but lead can be had for free. The local tire shop seems happy to be rid of it. Its a matter if asking around. Dad collected a bathtub full a few years back when he cast a keel for a sail boat he built. So we had some left from that. I also collect a bit from old roof/chimney flashing from my projects. A good bit of what I have came from old medical radiation shields gifted by a friend who was moving and did not want to haul it with him. At this point I have enough to last a lifetime. I had not heard about the S&B factory explosion. Its a shame as it is good and reasonably priced stuff. I need to start stockpiling some more small rifle primers. I am all set for small pistol and large rifle primers as well as powder in assorted flavors.

  5. I'm quite happy I found your blog, Harry!

    In the last few weeks, I've learned more about storing "real" food than I have in the last year.

    Most of our stores are either freeze-dried stuff, or canned stuff from the store. Every so often I'll go buy a few cans of things I really like, liked tinned corned beef or roast beef, and add it to the "Earthquake Supplies".

    And I've been know to add canned corn, green beans, and peas, too.

    Your info on the Kentucky hams reminded me of some things from my childhood.

    One of my Uncles used to be the family "smoke house and sausage" guy (ALL the brothers had specialties), and his home-made Polish sausages were amazing.

    Being Polish helps, of course, and our neighbors and my Dad's buddies were always asking when Uncle Clarence would have another batch ready.

    On thing my Dad experimented with was hanging some of the smoked sausage in a closet in the garage which was always warm and very dry in the summer. After a few weeks, the sausages would stop dripping fat (he had a catch pan for the drippings. Our dog LOVED them!), and started to look like a giant "Slim Jim".

    But they tasted waaaay better!

    Dad finally quit doing it after Mom started griping about the odor, which neither my sister nor I noticed.

    Mom was Irish, and I guess some of the Eastern European foods and their preparation just didn't sit too well with her.

    But man, those sausages were just to die for.......

    1. drjim, Lots of people build up their disaster supplies by doing exactly what you are doing. They have a little pantry, or a big closet, and when they buy groceries they pick up an extra can of this or that. They get it home, write the purchase date on the top with an indelible magic market, and they are off to the races.

      Some years back, I taped a show on National Geographic. It was about preparing for "the big one." One of the people they interviewed was the head of the state department responsible for disaster preparedness. He was a giant black guy, must have weighed close to 300 I bet, maybe more.

      He was a smart guy, though. He said he spent most of his time trying to get people to store just three days worth of food and water. He said no matter how poor people were, they could do that with just a little prior planning. He also said virtually nobody was doing it, because they didn't understand the "just in time" food delivery system we copied from the Japanese, and they figured they would just take what they wanted from "the back room" of grocery stores. I thought that was pretty brave of him to say that, because true or not, it wasn't politically correct. We all know who does that kind of "bargain shopping" when the trumpet blows.

      I try to stay stocked up for one year, and that's based on myself, my wife, my two kids, and a small number of individuals who will come here if something really disruptive happens. My worries were greatly eased this year when an emergency room nurse joined our merry band, and she lives right here so I can go get her. Beans, bullets and bandages....

      If you know how your dad did the sausage you could make some of your own. Dried meat worked fine for the Indians and the Mountain Men so it ought to work ok for people today. I keep some jerky, buy it in big plastic tubs and don't open them. But it's expensive. Tried making my own with my dehydrator, but I kept eating it all. I also made flavors i liked, such as garlic jerky and super hot jerky, so it probably wouldn't have served as general distribution food anyway ;-)

    2. We *should* have at least six months worth of stuff for us and the dog.

      Gotta keep the dog fed, and we have some food specifically for her if she can't eat the table scraps of whatever we're having.

      The bad thing is my wife is soooo sweet I have a feeling she'd tell some of her non-prepared friends that we have some "extra" and would want to share it with them.

      That's something I have to work on to get her to understand that if things get really bad, there will be no "extra" food for anyone, ESPECIALLY those who were too stupid to store some of their own!

      When I found out she had an "Earthquake Kit", I looked at what she had in it, and started filling in all the holes. Like you say, when you go and buy your groceries, toss in an extra can of beans, or corn, or whatever you like, and do it every single time you buy groceries. It's only a couple of bucks, and pretty soon you'll have a nice little store of food.

      My son is an EMT, so he guided us on what kind of first aid kit to get, and what books to have with the kit.

      God forbid I ever have to stitch anybody up, but I have the supplies, and I'm sure I could do it without causing more harm!

    3. I think you can do whatever you have to do in the crunch. There are people that couldn't, but you don't strike me as one of those. My personal experience is that when something horrific happens, you function dispassionately and it's only afterwards when everything is over that you might have time to feel disconcerted about events.

      The issue of what to do to help other people is painful one. I know what I "say" I would do, and I believe it, but in the event I honestly don't know. I know what logic dictates, and that's the absolute fact that if you try to be a good Samaritan you are going to be cleaned out and then your own family will suffer. Almost all the really good post apocalyptic fiction novels like Shatter, Deep Winter, Lights Out, One Second After, etc have the characters trying to reach some sort of compromise.

      I keep a lot of dog food in plasticized bags in trash cans. I also keep a lot of cat food, chicken cracked corn and scratch, and especially ferret food. But if things got tough and went on that way too long, my ferrets would be at risk because they can't eat any kind of food but that they imprinted on as kits. So I actually keep a years worth of that on hand, and constantly rotate it. I buy the 5 lb bags, put a date on them, and use the oldest first. It stays perfectly fresh in the sealed bags inside the trash cans. Metal trash cans are great for storing pet food. I keep them in the climate controlled part of the barn. Don't know how well they would work if I lost power for any length of time (say the generator ran out of fuel), but I don't know how I could do it any better.

  6. Harry - like you, i store a lot of food that is not really in my food rotation plan only because i would want that food on hand in a dire situation. Vicki is right about rendering lard and then canning it - it will last forever that way! i don't believe that animal- or vegetable-rendered lard is bad for you - our ancestors used it for thousands of years and none of them were obese or got cancers the way that we do. if you do stock lard, try and stock the lard that has the least amount of ingredients that you can't pronounce in it.

    continuing on - do i like MRE's? heck no! but i have a ton stored. why? because in 10yrs if SHTF and we have a bad gardening year...then those MRE's are going to taste mighty fine! and all of the canned goods loaded with salt - i don't think i'll be worrying too much about salt..i'll just be trying to feed my family and friends.

    i find that there are 2 schools of thought in the prepper/survivalist community. some people who call themselves preppers are mothers who live in an urban community and are stocking up on things like GMO-free/organic/free-range soups (i'm sure they exist!) - because that's what they feed their families now. then there is another crew who realize that when the gravy train stops - all you are going to want is calories and that you will pretty much eat anything at that point. these folks know that spices are important and canned meats can add life to beans and rice.

    i love the big cans of olive oil and have never had a can go off on me (knocks on wood!). but i also store other types of oils - especially coconut oil (which lasts forever if stored correctly) and lard. but if we were in a total grid-down situation and ran out of oil or lard, i would melt one of our potatoe tires over a fire if need be, in order to make some kind of crazy oil/butter (just kidding to try and make a point).

    i hope you are hearing my sarcasm in all of this. i am quite burned out by all of these armchair survivalists/preppers that say you can't store this, you shouldn't store that, making people feel they have to justify their choices. you do what you can and to the best of your ability!

    now can you mail me about 20 of those country hams? if SHTF, we'll have venison, a variety of fish, pheasant and wild rabbit but absolutely no country hams!!!

    keep on keeping on Harry! sending much love, as always! your friend,

    1. Hey, Kymber. It's three in the morning here and I am frying up a big pan of potatoes. Using olive oil, of course! Once I have the potatoes fried I'll let the oil cool and then I will go out and pour it in equal portions in the two dog bowls.

      I know I should learn to can. One big hole in my planning is that I am not worth a damn on gardening, all my seeds are really old, and I have no canning pressure cooker, no jars. Almost all the women who come by here or have blogs can. For some reason, it just seems like such a pain in the derriere. Unless I have my own garden, it isn't cost effective to buy all the gear, because by the time I buy the produce at the farmers market I could buy the same amount at the grocery store. But canning is about when you can't go to the grocery store, and I know it, but I use that as an excuse. I think I don't want to can because it isn't fun. I know that is a very bad excuse, but it isn't like stocking a store room, or loading ammo. It's a woman thing. >;-(

      But my wife says she isn't doing it. So if anybody does, I will have to. She says she'll "help" garden but that means it'll be me out there scratching in the dirt, and putting out the pig poop, and hauling water because I do the heavy jobs. Once again, >;-(

      Not being self sufficient in vegetables is really dumb. You are, Tania is, Dani is, Kev is, Kathy is, and on and on. I really need to get with the program. Maybe I should get a couple of Mexicans and set up a mini-farm in the meadow.

      I don't worry so much about the salt content or the GMO thing, because I can't do a lot about it. I know some people who live out west and they don't eat GMO food but I think they grow most of their own. If you were fabulously wealthy and could buy as much of anything as you wanted to, I expect you could work out a food plan to avoid GMO but the vast majority of us (including me) can't afford to do that.

      As you say, I want to make sure the people here on the mountain top can eat, have fresh water, stay warm and be secure until whatever happens settles down. If the bad thing is still in full cry a year after it starts, supplies around here are going to start getting sparse.

      Lots of people seem to be very positive about coconut oil but I don't believe I have ever seen any. I wonder where you buy it? Does it make your food taste like coconuts?

      If we ran out of oil of any kind, had no shortening or lard left, I guess we'd have to quit frying and start cooking everything in the dutch oven. I could do that if I had to.

      It's a pretty diverse community and there's no shortage of ideas as to what and how to store food, that's for certain. I honestly believe there's no one way, since people vary so much. In the end, just as you say, everybody does what they can with the resources to hand. They do if they have any G2, anyway. Those that think Uncle Sugar "gwan to come down dere and be RESPONSIBLE!" are in for one hell of a shock when the balloon goes up.

      I wonder if Canada would let in an American country ham? Ask your post office. I could send you one for Christmas if we can get it into Canada. I don't know though, so many Moslems moving into the U.S. and Canada, there may be a ban on the international transportation of country ham so as not to offend them. Or they may cut off your head if they catch you with one!

    2. It seems to me that Walmart has coconut oil. I get it from our co-op, Azure Standard. I used to buy it online until they jacked up the price out of my range. You can buy refined coconut oil from soapmakers suppliers. Cheap way to go. It will work in a pinch when there is nothing else.

    3. I can go on line and see if our Ingles has it. They have a product locator page. I'm bent out of shape with Walmart so I am trying very hard to not buy from them, but I have found that sometimes I am cutting off my nose to spite my face so I make exceptions.

  7. harry,
    i eat coconut oil for 2 reasons gall blADDER AND BRAIN.
    PUT A DASH OF THAT IN EVERYTHING. sorry about caps. errant little finger.
    jarrow coconut oil in big brown plastic jar. very coconutty flavor. delish in almond flour cookies. in fridge after opening- gets hard as a rock.
    we buy liquid coconut oil for everyday use .has no coconut flavor.

    am going to ask kymber what the proper storage is for coconut oil. don't think storing in the plastic containers it comes in will be good for longterm?

    1. I don't have any coconut oil, so I am not very knowledgeable about it. I store things like Canola oil in the bottles they come in, in fact, I can't think of anything I don't store in the container it came in. Coconut oil may be different.

      If you didn't use the plastic containers, I would guess glass would be better but where would you get big glass jugs?

    2. Harry - deb is right about turmeric - put it in everything - add some to every single meal even if it is only cold beans from the can! also add cumin, cayenne and garlic. for increasing daily heath - 1 tablespoon of apple cider vinegar (with the Mother in it) every single morning. if you want more ideas, you know that i am full of them! like daily garlic, ginger and honey tea.

      deb - we get big vats of hard coconut oil and then re-store it in mason jars - no pressure canning or anything - just take it out of the big vat and fill as many mason jars as it fills. then store the jars in a cool dark place. once you take a jar out, keep it in the fridge until it is used up. then go get another jar and put it in the fridge. i find that putting the hard coconut oil in pint-sized jars works well. but i agree - get the coconut oil out of the plastic containers. any questions deb - just yell.

    3. How much does coconut oil cost? Is it a lot more than olive oil?

      I eat a lot of garlic powder in my food. I have a bottle of cayenne pepper, is that what you mean? Never heard of cumin. Is it a spice?

      I have apple cider vinegar in the house. Don't know why, but I do.

      I'm going to look into the coconut oil, sounds like something I should know about.

    4. Harry, Tumeric is spice made form a plant that's a relative of Ginger, its the orange/yellow you see in Indian curries. Cumin is the ground seed of the seed of a relative of parsley also from Asia/middle east. Both are common flavors in Asian and Hispanic cooking.
      I always avoided coconut oil as I was told it was bad. But given the recent talk about it I bought a tub of it yesterday to give it a try. Up to now I had been using mostly olive oil for cooking. I did discover Rice-bran oil a short while ago that works real good for stir frying as it is really fine and has no impurities and has a high smoke point. It is also supposed to be quite healthy for you.
      On the hams I have always been a fan of the Spanish Serrano ham. Kind of like the Italian Prosciutto but even dryer and better. There is one from the northern mountains in Spain called Pata Negra where the hogs are fed nothing but acorns. It is truly the elixir of the gods. But real uncooked Serrano is impossible to obtain here due to import regulations designed to control trichinosis.

    5. I'll take a look at the grocery store for tumeric and cumin. Never heard of either of them before.

      If I can find any I am going to try coconut oil too. I have a vague suspicion that there won't be any in our town. This is not a place where new things and innovation are welcomed.

    6. Garlic is so easy to grow and store that I can't see using the powdered stuff.

      Just take a clove of fresh garlic, and stick it in the ground. The stuff grows like a weed, has pretty little flowers, and keeps the cats from using your veggie garden as a litter box!

    7. My chickens are free range and eat everything that is green around the house, but I could try putting some out by the edge of the meadow.

  8. Harry - pouring the used oil on the dog's food is a really good practice! my father always fed our dogs dried food with a fresh-cracked egg on top and bacon grease on top of that. our dogs were the healthiest i have ever seen! and you would think i was raised in the south as we always saved the used bacon grease in a rinsed-out tomatoe juice can in the cupboard. anytime we were frying something up, a blob of saved bacon grease was used as oil (and trust me when i say that popcorn cooked in bacon grease is deeeeeelishous!). butter was a luxury so butter was only used for special things. we didn't have any fancy oils, just saved bacon grease and lard - and our grandparents and everyone in our surrounding communities on the island did that for hundreds of years.

    coconut oil is really good for you - if you can get it. it is expensive but well worth the money. the health benefits are endless! or maybe it's just the latest fad to sell a product. i don't buy into "latest fad" type stuff until i try it myself. coconut oil doesn't taste like coconuts it just tastes like oil. but the reason i like to have a stock of it is because you can use it for cooking, chapped lips, it does wonders for your hair and is great as a hand/body cream. but then so is olive oil, canola oil and lard for that matter. so it's anyone's call in my mind.

    as for canning - i can send you a link to a free course that i took with SciFiChick of the Bacon and Eggs blog and we were both terrified. but it is really easy once you learn the basics. and both of us went on to be able to can our own harvests. you can grow and can your own food, you can get food for cheap from farmers markets or the grocery store when that food is in season and can it, or you can just stock up on great deals that you find on either frozen or canned food. there is no single answer for everyone.

    and yes if it all goes to heck - then a dutch oven over an open fire could cook up some really good meals. my philosophy is that if SHTF then things are going to change. i won't be able to eat avocados anymore. but guess what? i'll have to just deal with that. will it kill me? no. because i have stocked a whole pile of stuff. and jam and i will just have to learn to eat what we have access to.

    one thing about the diverse prepper/survivalist community that i like is i like it when people like you, Dani and Kev who are in 3 countries other than mine share your points of view about self-sufficiency and how each of you are doing it. none of you are telling people "you must do this. you must do that". each of you are sharing your diverse points of view as to how each of you do that. that is sharing, helping and teaching...not acting like some know it all preaching at me what i must do.

    anyway, i am pretty sure that there is no way you could send a country ham across the border...but i actually asked for 20 - bahahahahah! bu thank you for your generous offer - it is really appreciated.

    sending love always. your friend,

    1. Kymber, ask your post office if there would be a problem. I think that would be a fun thing to send you and J, and also, from a purely selfish point of view, I'm wondering what you could do with one. I just slice it, soak it, fry it, and then have it with potatoes or rice, something like that. I would bet you could invent different ways to serve one, and variety is the spice of life, especially when it comes to food. I'm serious, just check on your end. I will be going into town on Tuesday and will check with the post office people in my town to see if they would give me a hassle about when I filled out the customs form. They won't let you mail perishable stuff and that may be a problem because they are pretty much jerks and won't listen, plus they hate me because I am always writing complaints when they don't deliver my priority mail (supposed to be 3 days!) in under three weeks.
      But if they are jerks about it, I am sure I can send it UPS. I'll check with UPS Tuesday too. It can be a mutual experiment and we can blog the results. Your dog will really like the bone. You can use the bone to make Lima bean soup (do you have lima beans in Canada?) then the dog can gnaw on it.

      Send me that link and I will piddle around with the course and see if I can get motivated. Kirsty in England is just getting started but she is already canning things! You would like her blog (and her) it's "rural retreat restoration" and it's in my blog role way down at the bottom of the blog.

      I know when things blow up it's all going to be a new world, though I can't predict what will be different. I believe we are all going to find out pretty soon though. I expect that when the U.S. goes down the toilet we will drag a lot of other countries with us.

      It's natural that everybody does't see eye to eye on everything, but disagreeing is ok as long as nobody turns into a monster over it. To be honest, in this case I don't think "what's good for the goose is good for the gander." We all live in such different environments. I'd be completely horrified if I was sitting up here with a sword to defend myself, but Kev seems completely unconcerned. Maybe the British equivalent of the Golden Horde won't reach his homestead. I sure hope not. Dani is very calm and they live way out in the boonies so they may be safe too. But I don't sleep without a pistol by the bed. I don't see how they do it. I know you and J are pretty mellow and living on an island as part of homogeneous community you are pretty secure. But you are still armed.

      It would be pretty pompous for any of us to try to dictate to any of the others what they should be doing. Instead, I try to pick up on ideas they have that I might could apply here. Canning is a good example, you and so many other friends do it. I just look at it like a trip to the dentist, though. Maybe if I got it in gear and actually did some I would like it.

      I am serious about the country ham experiment. I will talk to the P.O. (fat chance there) and the UPS store Tuesday, and if they will send it I will ship you one. You might get some kind of tariff to pay on it on your end but it couldn't be much.

    2. Hey Harry and Kymber.


      Yeah' okay I don't cook, I don't reload ammo but I got hogs. Kymber. You need hogs. Maybe I can start a business exporting Texas Hogs to Canada.
      You gotta shoot thease hogs in the head right behind the ear with a .22. Damn things smell like that table cloth around Yasser Arafats neck and don't get stuck by the tusks because you will be in the hospital for a week.
      I was thinking 'bout getting two hogs and naming one 'The Prophet and the other Mohammed'
      Something tells me them 'Mounted Canadian Mounties' would not find me or my hog business idea amusing and I would be turned away at the border.
      Now Kymber I may crack a few jokes about the 'Mounties' and the Dudley Doright thing and what not but in all consideration. I wish American law enforcement would take lessons from the mounties. We have a problem with abusive, overzealous 'shoot for the hell out it' law enforcement in our country and cops are being shot, citizens are being shot, cops have militarized' citizens are militarizing. Black lives matter dirtbags are going banana's.

      The whole American cesspool is overflowing (good quote)

      people in this country have forgot what 'civilization' is.

      Sorry for the 'Instant coffee fueled side rant'

      I gotta find a way off this planet. Mars is looking real good right now. So what I if I gotta breath my own farts in a spaceship. I would be free.

    3. That Mad Dog 20 20 will kill you over time, CC.

      Things aren't all that hot but you've still got the beach and your surfing.

    4. Hey Harry,


      It ain't Mad Dog 2020 that's doing it. Its that 93 Octane, Folgers Instant coffee that's the source of all my brilliance.

    5. You're supposed to drink it, not snort it.

    6. harry,
      39 manly uses for coconut oil in your bushcraft kit.

    7. harry,
      turmeric and cumin are acquired tastes. if you like taco meat you may like the cumin.
      i put turmeric in lots of things but not too much as i don't like the taste.
      i think one reason for the rise of alzheimer's in htis country is that pickle factories began using yellow food dye instead of turmeric to color pickles.

      if you are going to a town with an indo-pak store buy turmeric there. much, much cheaper.

      just found out that all the water supply here is poisoned with fracking 'brine', which isn't salt but nasty things like benzene---welcome, cancer!

  9. Hey Harry and Kymber.


    I got a cans of Spam and a fork. I'm ready for a global thermonuclear war.

  10. Hey Harry,


    Almost forgot to mention if you'all heard what Ben Carson said about having a muslim for a president????

    'a moslem as a president would be antithesis to the Constitution"
    Ben Carson.

    That's the best line I have heard in long, long time.

    That explains what's happening now.

    Trump and Ben Carson both got the idea so far.

    1. Carson has impressed me. He seems cool headed and is not deterred by the barrage of criticism from Moon Bats, journalists, and creatures like Harry Reid who have crawled out from under their rocks to lambaste him. He's exactly right, too. Islam is a religion of oppression and murder. No one who adheres to it could possibly support the constitution of the U.S.

  11. I tried to post but was not logged in so sorry if you get this twice. I saw this ferret group on Facebook but can't see the posts to know if it is a good group or not. You have to join. If you are uncomfortable with FB you can always set up an account just for Ferret posts.

    1. Thanks, Kathy. I don't trust Facebook at all, and when I did have an account weird things started happening with my email that I never did figure out. But I don't want to miss out on something about ferrets, so I will take your suggestion and try to set something up just for that one area. I appreciate your thinking of me.

  12. Yep in the south lard is used a whole lot more than in the midwest. I remember staying with someone in Macon - all they served us was fried foods. My stomach isn't and wasn't used to it. I was sick the whole time. I think you have to get your stomach used to that slowly before you can eat foods like that all the time.

    I'm learning a lot about bullets from watching the show Dexter. It's a crazy show. I never thought I'd like a serial killer. He kills the bad people. He's also a blood analyst and figures out how people were killed. Crazy indeed!

    1. Greasy foods are hard on people who are not used to them. I don't know why Southern cooking relies so heavily on frying, but it does. If you go to a cafe here for breakfast, you really don't have much choice, everything at my favorite place is fried in the mornings. Bacon, ham , eggs, potatoes, about the only thing that isn't is the biscuits.

      I have never seen Dexter, but I have heard about it. Kind of a strange concept for a series but lots of people enjoy it.

  13. We have a little gas station about 5 miles from us that sells the hams. They leave them hanging up outside the store. I have never bought one. But you have me intrigued. How long do you think they will store for?

    1. I've kept them for up to two years before we ate them. But be careful, there are smoked hams, some of which are cooked prior to smoking, and some are not. There are brine cured hams, hams that have been brine cured and then smoked, etc. I buy the cooked hams that have been brine cured, then smoked. They taste good and last a long time.

    2. Does it say on the packaging somewhere how it was cured, or do you have to ask?

  14. Can you recommend a website where I can buy country hams? Or recommend a chain that may be in Ohio where I could find them?

    Thanks in advance.

    1. I buy mine from Ingles, which is a chain in North Carolina and Georgia. I don't know about Ohio, but I did a google search for that region of the country and came up with this conversation:

      Looks like a promising place to start.

  15. I learn so much reading here. Amazing. It's like hanging out with your friends almost. Nice conversations, sharing of information back and forth. Really quite pleasant.
    I have to start reloading. I have quite a few different calibers to care for, and ammo is not as cheap as it once was. I have a big old Herters single stage press I inherited from my Dad, have to see if I can find dies that fit. Somewhere packed away, I should have 38 special, 45 acp, and 30.06, and maybe 218 bee. I need a bunch more though. I have a large quantity of US military 30.06 brass. Just chicken I guess. I want some guidance when I start. I am an experienced "Mechanic"/ technician, what ever we are supposed to be called now..It should not be difficult for me, but I would hate like hell to damage one of my old rifles by doing something dumb. The passing of knowledge one on one is always best I think.
    I am going to have to order a ham or two. I had no idea they kept so long, or so well...
    I had a rough weekend, and a rougher day today. Glad it is all over with. I was preparing 2 cars for the local Jaguar concours, and like all old cars, there are last minute setbacks, wrong parts, etc..The cars finished first and second in their classes... But I finished up at 2 AM Sunday...I am too old for this foolishness...

    1. Sounds like you have a pretty demanding job. I can remember times like that, usually in March when all of our partnerships were audited by an independent auditor. I don't miss the pressure.

      Reloading isn't hard, as long as you do it with no distractions. It has checks and balances to prevent you from double charging a casing or something like that. An old guy from the gun club here taught me how to reload and gave me an old set of 9mm Luger dies. Once I got started, I just kept on and over the years I accumulated everything I needed to load for the weapons I owned. My equipment is not the most expensive or the most sophisticated, but it works just fine.

      Country hams are a good investment food wise. They taste really good, having ham to cut up with plain dishes like potatoes or rice is a big benefit, and they are an excellent protein source.

      Blogging can put you in contact with a lot of people who have similar interests, and it's a great source of information. I enjoy it very much and have made some good friends over the years.

    2. J Bogan, A classic car mechanic is someone I'd love to learn from. If you are wrenching on concours winning Jaguars you have what it takes to reload your own ammo. Its just a mater of paying attention to detail and sticking to the recipes provided in the loading manuals available on line. I am 100% self taught just from reading and youtube videos. It really is a lot of fun. It provides a lot of satisfaction and saves you a pile of money. Once you get good at it you can start tweaking your loads to particular guns to achieve better results. And it adds a level of self sufficiency so that every time O'bumer opens his pie hole and stuff disappears from the shelves you can still keep pulling the trigger.

  16. I have just never done it, and never watched anyone do it up close. I have no doubt I CAN do it, but want an afternoon of tutorial from someone...Increases the comfort level. I have a lot of calibers to load for... The curse of C and R rifle addiction...It is on my list of things to do in the near future. In the meantime, things to fix.