This weekly Snippets column is a collection of short items: responses to posted articles, practical self-sufficiency items, how-tos, lessons learned, tips and tricks, and news items — both from readers and from SurvivalBlog’s editors. Note that we may select some long e-mails for posting as separate letters.
Video with some good advice from Austin-based building contractor Matt Risinger: Three Generator Pro Tips (from a mini-Prepper).
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Reader Ron M. suggested a brief, informative video describing NIJ body armor levels.
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T.M. forwarded this news link: General Mills Announces Recalls For Bleached, Unbleached Gold Medal Flour.
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Reader H.L. spotted this: See a Wolf Pack Emerge From Nowhere To Fight a Huge Grizzly.
JWR’s Comment: It goes without saying that if a pack of wolves can take on a 500+ pound grizzly bear, they can certainly make short work of a 200-pound adult human. Whenever you leave your home, always carry at least a large-bore pistol or revolver, and at least one reload — a spare loaded magazine or speedloader. Predators also come in a two-legged variety.
SaraSue sent in this snippet:
“Oh man, am I busy – Spring cleaning of barns, storage, coops, fertilizing fruit and nut trees, weed whacking, planting out the garden, treating the animals for various issues, etc. My #1 dairy cow is visiting another wonderful farm with a bull, after a couple of vet visits, disease testing, etc. I’ll pick her up after a couple of cycles and hopefully she will be bred. I’m in process of weaning the second dairy cow’s steer calf. I had to learn how to create and hot wire a fence by myself (took me 3 tries to get it right!), because that little guy is not so little any more and his determination to nurse is admirable. I am in process of acquiring a third dairy cow. The #2 cow has experienced numerous difficulties that we’ve worked through, and at times, the house has been without milk. “One is none. Two is one. Three is two.” – applies to dairy cows! I never in a million years thought I’d have 2, let alone 3. All three cows have A2/A2 genetics – important to me. I keep a “cowlander” to track heat cycles, vet visits, treatments, issues, breeding and calving schedules. I’ve found a wonderful vet, and a few great mentors who I heavily rely on. During this steep learning curve, I haven’t once regretted having my own dairy animals.”
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Reader Bob B. suggested this essay on the deepening Red State/Blue State divide: The Great American Opt-Out: A Matter of Willingness, Willfulness, and Will.
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Christin wrote to enquire:
“Recently Sara Sue wrote an article about cooking/baking from scratch and I was hoping to run a question by her (or anyone who might know the answer). I tried doing online research and came back with nothing but confusion.
My question has to do with doubling a bread recipe. I’d like to bake two loaves at a time instead of one in order to save cooking fuel and time. But apparently, you can’t just double everything with bread; some say you should use less yeast. Also, do you need to alter the rising time and cooking temperature? I have a basic sandwich bread recipe I like. Does anyone have advice on doubling it?
2 1/2 – 3 1/2 cups flour
1 cup warm water
1 package active dry yeast
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 tablespoons sugar
1/4 cup milk
1 1/2 tablespoons butter
Put together in the usual way, knead, rise. Punch down, rise, bake 30 min at 400 degrees.
I got this recipe years ago from The Simple Dollar, before the owner/main writer sold it.”
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D.S. suggested this, over at The Burning Platform: We Should Really Be Having More Kids.
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Mrs. Alaska offered this advice:
“Free food: spring foraging. Learning to forage for regional wild foods is essential for anyone concerned with bugging out or living in a grid down situation. Spring is a great time to start.
Samples that we enjoy here:
I cut the rosettes of leaves above ground rather than dig them out so the leaves remain clean. (Besides, the long tap root brings calcium up from deep in the soil to the surface, so I let them proliferate.)
Later in the season, leaves can turn bitter (but still edible). Early leaves are easy to enjoy raw in salads, steeped in teas, or in the same preparations you might use for spinach, such as cooked with butter, lemon, and garlic. I dry spring dandelion leaves for tea later in the year. The leaves offer calcium and Vitamin C.
Dandelion flowers and buds are edible, too, but the green sepal that attaches the flower to the stem is bitter.
Spruce and Larch tips:
The earliest spruce and larch (tamarack) tips have a citrusy flavor (because they are packed with Vitamin C) and a texture like rosemary. They do not taste resinous yet. I snip them into breads and muffins. I dry the tips as a flavoring spice later in the year. Others add spruce tips to beer and jelly.
Later in the season, fireweed stalks get woody to support tall growth, but early spring shoots less than 5 inches tall are edible. They do not have much flavor, but add nice textural and color (red) to spring salads. I don’t recommend cooking them since they turn a pathetic-looking gray. They have Vitamins C and A.
Fiddleheads are the spring shoots of ostrich ferns (and some other varieties). They are visually distinctive: tightly coiled, bright green growths about 6- 8 inches tall, coated with papery brown scales. Once they open out into leaves, they are no longer edible.
To eat them, the cook needs to rub off the scales, which is a bit of a bother, but once done, a quick sautee with butter, garlic or other flavorings yields a delicious spring treat with a texture like asparagus. I like to add it to toasted cheese sandwiches.
Obvious warning #1: eat only wild plants that you recognize. For example, some early fern growths are NOT edible. #2: Be mindful of pollution or pesticides in the vicinity. #3: Be alert to wild animals.”
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And on the same note, reader Jim L. wrote to recommend these wild edibles:
“Both of these nourish me in the spring:
I don’t really have to describe this one. The flower, leaves, and root can all be used. The plant is loaded with vitamins and minerals (A, C, K, E, iron, potassium, calcium, and magnesium) and is also used in herbal medicine. There was too much information on nutrition and medicinal uses to fit in this brief profile. It was so important to European settlers as a food and medicine that they brought it with them to North America and that is why it grows in your lawn. It can have some bitterness that may not be palatable to everyone, but harvesting young leaves can minimize this effect. Mixed in a salad with other milder leaves it can add a nice depth of flavor. It’s simply too nutritious a plant to continue overlooking it. Give it a try.
Wood Nettle-Laportea canadensis & Stinging Nettle-Urtica dioica
Wood nettle (Laportea canadensis) is often confused or lumped together with stinging nettle (Urtica dioica) which is an introduced species from Europe. Both plants are worth knowing, and both have food value (very nutritious), and medicinal value. Wood nettle is considered by many to be the better-tasting of the two plants.
Wood nettle often grows in river floodplain forests in pure stands over several acres in size due to its spreading rhizomes. Stinging nettle prefers full sun and is often found in field borders, ditches, and open stream sides. The young shoots or new growth can be collected and cooked as a vegetable until mid-summer (cooking and drying destroy the stinging hairs). The leaves can be collected at any time to make a tea or broth. Both plants are considered very nutritious but almost all of the nutrition evaluations I can find are related to the European variety Urtica dioica. It’s basically a superfood.”
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Reader “Mike 16” wrote to mention an OPSEC fail that he observed:
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