Sunday, May 10, 2015

Garden Update 5-10-15, Potato First Test Harvest

I couldn't wait any longer, just had to see what was going on below the surface :-)
I expected to see nothing but new potatoes but was surprised to find 5 of the 10 potatoes were dinner size and the other were new potato sizes. Good harvest for the first plant. Now I'll wait until die-off and dig the rest up. Yummy!

It looks like the new bottomless bucket method has worked well. Interesting that only 1 potato, a larger one, grew in the parent garden soil below the bucket. The rest were all within the bucket soil!

Plant event times:

2-15-15: Planted the seed potatoes.

3-1-15: They broke the surface.

4-25-15: Had Flowers.

5-10-15: Today, first test harvest.

This is what the plants look like today.

Potatoes attached to the plant roots.

Here's what the harvest looks like. I don't know what to think about the larger ones having splits at the end. They were all picked by hand, no tools used... Anyone have a thought about the splitting?

The weigh in: Almost 1lb 6oz. Maybe this year I'll see 3 lbs per plant! That would be just over 22 lbs. for the 8 buckets.

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Cuban Bread Recipe

I found that Cuban Sandwich Bread fits fairly well with the Jared of Sub-Way fame's diet as long as you don't use mayo, cheese and oils in them so you can try and keep the sandwich under 6 grams of fat. More to come on the Sub-Way diet later, it is very interesting.

So how to make Cuban Sandwich Bread?
After doing some recipe research I found the secret to authentic Cuban Sandwich Bread is the use of "Lard" in place of oil in the bread recipe. The basic bread recipe is my standard survival white bread recipe only using lard in place of oil.

yields two 15+ inch loaves (I should have made 3 loaves instead of 2)

3 cups all-purpose flour
1 tbs sugar
1 tbs instant yeast
1 tsp salt
2 tbs Vital Wheat Gluten (optional)
8 oz water
1/4 cup lard melted

Blend, knead and shape like any bread dough. Bake at 350f for about 20-25 minutes until golden brown. It turned out really good and simple to make.

Divide the dough into 2 pieces. Then flatten with your hands and roll flat (rectangle shape) thin like a pizza crust. Trim of the larger radius's, then simply lay the extra trimmings on the dough and roll into a log shape.

Roll the dough into a log shape. Trimmings have been rolled over here.

This is what it looks like when rolled up.

Now place the rolls onto a baking sheet and pinch closed and tuck the ends under. I use my perforated large pizza pan because it works so great for bread baking.

Cover the dough with a plastic wrap and let rise again.

After an hour this is what the dough will look like. Now slit the top lengthwise but only about 1/8 inch deep or only half the thickness of the rolled out dough thickness otherwise if cut to deeply when baking it will open up or unroll while in the oven and not remain in a loaf shape.

Fresh out of the oven. This is a 15 3/4 inch pizza pan!

Cut each loaf in two (or three) then split and fill with the goodies you like. Mine is a Veggie Delight, no meat, cheese or oil, just veggies with a good shot of white vinegar. This sandwich is awesome and easy to make. Also this picture is on a full sized dinner plate. It's Big! I'll need to either make three loaves or get fat! :-)

You can see I need to make smaller loaves so they can be baked in a Coleman Camp Stove Oven. It's a must be able to do if the grid goes down for several weeks so you can eat normal and favorite foods.

Friday, May 1, 2015

Tarp Awning for Van

Everyone should have a BOV (Bug Out Vehicle) of some sort for the times when you must leave your home temporarily should a large disaster event occur. Your vehicle may be the only thing you have for a temporary shelter and this is one way to get the most livability out of it, in my case a mini van, but will work on pickups and even cars.

To make the best use of your BOV you will need to expand the useful living area, that's done by adding a large awning. The awning will provide shelter from the rain or scorching sun so you can sit and relax outside the BOV and prepare your meals.

Here's what I made for myself:

The tarp is a typical cheap 8x12 size. Harbor Freight had the tarps on sale for $4 so I bought a couple.

This photo shows there are no grommets in the center of the length of the tarp so I had to add two. Very easy to do with the kit shown below.

Because the tarp grommet locations weren't placed in the middle of the sides I needed to add a couple new ones for the peak ridge pole to fit into. I purchased a grommet/repair kit from WalMart for another $4.

To make the tarp set-up easy and a simple one person job, I added to my vans roof three of these Stainless Steel hoops using Stainless Steel screws and of course silicone caulk. These items can be purchased at most hardware stores and all boating stores. (my van is 11 years old so drilling holes in the roof was of little concern)

Set-up is easy. On one corner I use a carabiner.

The other end has a small rope. This rope is pulled snuggly and keeps the tarp flat to the roof. 

This is a fixed length rope that attaches to the third Stainless hoop. This rope is in line with the ridge pole and allows the firm tensioning of the ridge pole and tarp peak without distorting the tarp.

The ridge pole is just a cheap painters telescopic pole I already had.

Turned out just fine and inexpensive!

Nepal quake survivors clash with riot police

Just another typical example of disaster aftermaths.
People please don't delay, Prep Now! Even just a couple weeks of simple dry food like soups or Spaghetti-'O's and bottled water can save your life and give you the time to make smart decisions without being hungry or thirsty. The story below is all to common, the governments are to slow to act, grossly incompetent and crowds of hungry people will riot or worse.



Full story here:

Kathmandu (AFP) - Desperate survivors of an earthquake that killed more than 5,000 people clashed with riot police in Nepal's capital on Wednesday, as the United AFP Supplies of food and water are running thin and aftershocks have strained nerves in ruined Kathmandu, home to some 2.5 million before it was shattered by Saturday's 7.8 magnitude quake.

Desperate to leave, thousands of people gathered outside the main bus station after the government promised to lay on special services to far-flung rural areas.
But when the buses failed to materialise, anger surged and scuffles broke out between the crowds and riot police who were sent to try to contain the situation near parliament.

Some protesters forced a truck carrying drinking water off the road and climbed on top of it, throwing the bottles to the crowd.
"We've been left starving in the cold and the best this government can give us is this queue. Why are they so slow?" asked Rajana as she lined up along with thousands of others for a bus to her home village.

"I keep hearing on the news that all governments and aid agencies are here, but where are they? Our government is totally absent. Forget shelter, they couldn't even give us water," said Rajana, who goes by one name.

Israel advised its nationals to leave Nepal for "health and security reasons".
Hundreds of thousands of people across the country settled down for a fifth night under tents. Their homes were either wrecked or were feared to be on the verge of collapse.

But with the number and scale of the aftershocks subsiding, some residents returned to salvage possessions from the ruins of their homes, grabbing everything from fridges to family chicken.

Saturday, April 25, 2015

Garden 4-25-15 Update

Everything is growing fine. I had rain storms last week, one dumped 2.5 inches in two hours, which washed off the bug killer spray and I ended up with something eating holes in my potato plant leaves. Had heavy rain again today and more forecast for tomorrow so it looks like Monday will be the best day to re-spray the plants. Anybody know what bugs are causing this???

The 8 potato plants.

The potato plants finally opened their flowers so that means I have New Potatoes below, generally at this point 1 to 1.5 inches in diameter. Now I just wait for the die off in maybe another 30-45 days and then I'll dig them up.

The Cherry tomatoes are doing well as they are beginning to turn red now so soon they be made into sauce or just eating them!