Water – A Detailed Look

It’s the most important thing after air. We need it to survive, to cook, to take care of personal hygiene, and to clean. If your normal source of water suddenly disappeared would you be ready?

How Much?

The general rule of thumb is that you’ll need one gallon of water per person per day. Half a gallon is used for drinking and the other half is used for hygiene. That number will go up depending on a whole host of factors. If you live in a hot climate or have pregnant or nursing women in your group, you’ll want to store more water. And you need to add more water if you have pets, unless you’re willing to watch them die of thirst. You also need additional water for cooking. We’ll start with a gallon a day per person as the general rule.

So the question becomes, how many days worth of water should you store? Well that depends on how prepared you want to be for varying degrees of disaster. FEMA recommends that everyone have enough water to last three days should your regular water source be disrupted. Three days of water should be enough to get you through the periods of water shut-off or contamination that can happen during natural disasters like earthquakes, tornadoes, and ice storms.Three days is a good starting point but water access can be down for much longer than that even during “usual” emergencies.

Most people who are preparing for “minor” emergencies suggest that you have at least two weeks’ worth of water on hand. So for a single person, that’s 14 gallons of water. For a family of four, that would mean you’d need 56 gallons of water. Whether you decide to store more than the two-week minimum depends on a few things. For many people, finding space in their home or apartment to store enough water for two weeks is a challenge, so trying to find room for a month might not be feasible. Even if space isn’t an issue, the upfront costs for long-term water storage can be cost prohibitive.

If you can’t immediately buy a month or year supply just start off with the two-week supply. You can add to it as space and money allow. Be sure to consider special needs of your family. If you have a baby on formula you’ll need extra water for both preparing bottles and for cleaning those bottles. John and I both take medications that cause us to drink water continuously all day (and night) long. That means we’re going to need a lot more than the “average” gallon a day. Take a few days to determine how much water you actually use during the day. How many glasses does each family member consume? How much do you use for cooking, cleaning, and pets? Base your two week supply on your actual consumption.

Long-Term Water Storage Solutions

You’ll need a safe container in which to store it. It’s best to use food-grade plastic bottles. You can also use glass bottles so long as they haven’t stored non-food items. I don’t use glass because I don’t want to lose my water because it’s spilled on the floor with tiny shards of glass floating in it. Another option is stainless steel but you won’t be able to treat your stored water with chlorine Chlorine corrodes stainless steel. And no matter what you choose to store water in you need to be sure you can seal it to keep out everything you don’t want in your water.

Two-Week Water Storage Options

Store-Bought Bottled Water. The easiest, albeit somewhat more expensive way to reach your two week quota is to simply buy packaged bottled water. You start right out with clean water that’s well-sealed, food-grade plastic bottles. Individual bottles are great if you need to bug out and have to carry water with you. It’s also a great option if you have limited space. We buy Great Value (Walmart) water in bottles that contain 1 pint 0.9 oz. Averaging one case gives us about 4 gallons of water or enough to last one person 4 days. Since we use so much bottled water daily it’s not a problem to pick up a couple of extra cases.
3-cases-water

Empty Soda/Water/Gatorade Bottles. I also like to fill empty plastic 2 liter bottles and those gallon size Hawaiian Punch bottles. I always check that the bottles are PETE and clean them with bleach, rinsing them thoroughly, before re-filling with water.

5-7-Gallon Water Jugs. These jugs are made from sturdy, food-grade plastic. The plastic is usually a dark blue which restricts light and helps prevent algae growth. If you’ve ever had a fish tank near a sunny window you know that algae loves sunlight. The jugs are typically stack-able, so they are easy to store. Their smallish size also makes for easy transport in case you need to leave your home base but they’re not good if you’re not transporting in a vehicle as each gallon weighs about 8.344 lbs. (not including container). You’re not going to hike across the city hauling almost 42 lbs. to have 5 gallons of water.

5 gallon jug with spigot

One Month or More Water Storage Options

A good thing to invest in is the waterBOB® This is a water containment system that holds up to 100 gallons of fresh drinking water in any standard bathtub. It is constructed of heavy duty food grade plastic, and keeps water fresh and clean for drinking, cooking, washing for up to 16 weeks. Simply filling your tub with water isn’t going to keep it clean. In fact, unless you sanitize your tub and then keep it tightly covered, it’s not really where you want to get your drinking water from anyway. Filling a waterBOB® takes about 20 minutes. It comes with a siphon pump so filling jugs or pitchers is easy. It’s affordable at about $20 and I recommend getting one for every tub in your house. It shouldn’t, however, be the only source of water you plan to have. Twenty minutes may be longer than you actually have water flowing. Please note that the fluffy towels and candles are not part of the package.

waterbob

55 gallon water barrels are a good choice if you have space. They’re made from sturdy food-grade plastic and have bungs at the top that can be sealed super tight in order to protect your water from contamination. The plastic is also BPA-free and UV-resistant. Each 55 gallon barrel will provide a family of four with about 27 days of water.

There are considerations with these barrels. They take up a bit of space so they’re not right if you live in an apartment or don’t have the space for them in your home. They are a bit pricey. Each barrel will set you back about $93 for the combo that includes a bung, a gas wrench, and an emergency siphon. A full barrel weighs in at 440 lbs. You’re not going to fill one up and then move it around and you definitely aren’t going to carry it on your back.

07910_55 Gallon Water Barrel Kit-500x500

My wishlist includes the (http://beprepared.com/320-gallon-ultimate-water-reserve-combo.html) 320 gallon ultimate water reserve combo. This package includes 6 Aqua Mira water treatment packages, and one 50-ft hose designed for drinking water. It’s made with BPA-free plastic. It includes lead-free spigots and vent cap for easy dispensing and rotating your water. The plastic has been enhanced with UV resistant properties (more sun protection!) to increase the life of your water and the life of the barrel itself.The barrels are stack-able (up to 2 high) and fit through standard doors. It’s expensive at about $800 but it’s something I’d give up other things to own.

Storing Water in 55-Gallon Barrels

It’s recommended that you store all water off the floor of a basement or garage. Chemicals from the concrete could leech into your water. Just place the containers on pallets or 2×4’s. While you may not need to treat the water if you have a municipal source (which is already treated) you should if you have a well. While water doesn’t “spoil” you want to keep out contamination so be sure to seal the bung as tightly as you can.

Rain Barrels. If you use Facebook you know there have been a lot of posts about many states making collecting rainwater illegal. Conversely, some states encourage and even give awards for collecting rainwater. I’m not going to get into an in-depth review of which rules apply to which states. You can look up your state here: http://www.enlight-inc.com/blog/?p=1036 I live in a state that encourages rainwater collection for things like watering gardens and lawns. And, in emergencies, it’s possible to use the water once you have properly filtered and cleaned it. Some people collect rainwater thinking they’ll use it for hygiene purposes in an emergency without cleaning it but I advise you not to try to clean anything, including yourself, with untreated rainwater.
Rainwater harvesting is a budget friendly way to add to your long-term water storage. Be sure to cover the rain barrel(s) with fine mesh to keep out large debris. You should also add some kind of mesh to the downspout if you’re running it directly into the rain barrel. You’ll still need to treat the water but this will save time you’d otherwise waste pulling out leaves, pine needles, etc.

rain-barrel

Rainwater Cisterns. These cisterns are basically giant holding containers for rain water. Water cistern systems range from 1,400 gallons to 12,000 gallons of water capacity. In a TEOTWAWKI scenario these systems would be the ideal. There are some drawbacks. They’re expensive. A 1,400 gallon system will set you back several thousand dollars. They need a lot of space even though they’re underground. They require a system of pipes. And the tanks aren’t food grade so all the water needs to be treated before use. But if you can afford one, have the space, and are prepared to treat the water a cistern is the way to go!

cisterns

Back-up Water Solutions
In addition to having stored water, you’ll want to have options to filter and purify water in case you need to use water from rivers, streams, or lakes to supplement your supply. Creek Stewart recommends having three options on hand to produce clean drinking water: filter, chemical, and boiling.

Water filter. There are various products available for filtering water on the go. Most are lightweight, not terribly expensive, and useful mostly in a bugout situation.  lifestraw

Katadyn Hiker Water Filter

Purification Tablets. I keep Aquamira tablets in my stores as these tablets filter out more contaminants than others I’ve researched. Many people use iodine tablets. Just be sure to have some kind of purification tablets or drops in your supplies.

Aquamira tablets

Fuel and stove to boil water. Boiling water doesn’t totally purify water. Viruses (Zombies!) and some other contaminants may remain but boiling water certainly does help!

Preparing for TEOTWAWKI Part 3 – Food Storage & More

We can only predict some disasters and only shortly before they occur. There may a few days warning for a hurricane or a few minutes for a tornado but some things hit us when we least expect it. I wouldn’t want to wait until I felt the first shocks of an earthquake to start getting ready.

Common sense dictates that we prepare as much as possible as soon as possible. Authorities tell us to have a two week supply of food in our homes. But this doesn’t work if the food chain is disrupted for longer than that or if people who have not prepared show up looking for help. Everyone should have a minimum of three months’ worth of food stored.  This means at least 2, preferably 3 meals per person per day.

Storing enough food for the family is something that our great-grandparents did without thinking about it. It was just common sense. Since those days we’ve become accustomed to making weekly, sometimes daily, trips to the grocery store. This is not a very prudent thing to do. It wastes time, gas, and money since we’re likely to buy impulse items every time we enter the store. It also assumes there will never be an emergency that prevents us from getting to the grocery store or the grocery store getting food supplies.

I used to work in the automotive industry and our deliveries both from suppliers and to our customers was on a JIT system. JIT stands for “Just in Time.” That means that we weren’t keeping a large supply of extra parts in our warehouse that we didn’t yet need nor were our customers buying our products before they needed them. Our nation’s food supply works on this system as well. It’s a continual dance of products being delivered to the stores and customers buying those products. You probably have even noticed that sometimes the store is out of certain items. In those cases JIT was “not quite on time.” But imagine if the stores weren’t going to get any more products. Whatever was currently in stock were the only items available for weeks or months. Everyone in your area would need the same things but the supply would be very small and gone within hours. You cannot depend on our Just In Time system.

There are so many things that could disrupt the food distribution system. Weather related emergencies like hurricanes or tornadoes, epidemics, terrorist attacks, trucker strikes, riots, martial law, and the list goes on and on. Our food distribution system is usually highly efficient and cost-effective but it’s fragile.

Step 1 – Extend Your Pantry

Take a look at what you currently have in your pantry. These are the things you and your family are familiar with and will willingly eat. Your first step is to simply buy more of the things your keep normally keep on hand. Consider the shelf life of the items and don’t buy so much of things that they’ll go bad before you consume them. You’ll need to rotate your food so that the oldest is used first. FIFO (first-in, first-out) is the rule with food storage. My rule is that I replace everything I use with at least 1 identical item and with 2 if the shelf life warrants it. I also buy extra things like beans, rice, raw honey, and molasses and then repackage them for longer term storage. I freeze nuts and other items that would normally have a fairly short shelf life.

Step 2 – Long-Term Storage 

You can purchase food supplies from many companies that claim a shelf life of 20+ years. This makes it very easy as the food from these companies can be purchased as individual items or in packages for anywhere from 3 day supplies to 1 year supplies. These can be the right choice if you can afford them and you prefer not to spend a lot of time thinking about your food supply and planning/packaging, and storing them.

I tend to purchase some items at the grocery store where I get a better price and then repackage them for long term storage. I use Mylar bags, oxygen absorbers, and buckets but I also use 2 liter bottles and gallon bottles that I wash carefully. I’m careful to use only plastic that is marked PETE and I throw in an oxygen absorber, and keep them out of the light.

I also purchase items that will make our food storage a lot more palatable. Powdered butter, milk, and ever items like powdered sour cream and powdered cream cheese will make adjusting to a new reality a lot easier. I use Thrive Life for my long term storage purchases. Clicking the bold text “Thrive Life” will take you to our Thrive Life party. On that page just click the “Request an Invite” line. This does benefit us but it also can be a huge help to you in preparing your long term food storage.

The most important thing about food storage is doing it! You’ll be surprised at how quickly you can develop a good supply of both short and long term food if you just take the first steps. In later posts I’ll go into detail about what things you definitely should store and how to store food. I’ll also post ways to cook your stored food if conventional methods like your stove and microwave are no longer available to use.

Preparing for TEOTWAWKI Part 2 – Water

In my last post I mentioned the “rule of three.” We can survive 3 minutes without air, 3 hours without shelter, 3 days without water, and 3 weeks without food. Now I realize that these “3’s” are a little dependent on conditions. If it’s summer in the Midwest you’ll be able to survive longer than 3 hours without shelter even if it’s a bit uncomfortable. If you’re in a desert in Arizona you’re going to need shelter a lot faster. But water is something you really can’t do without for long.

The Mayo Clinic lists these symptoms of mild to severe dehydration:

Mild to moderate dehydration is likely to cause:

  • Dry, sticky mouth
  • Sleepiness or tiredness — children are likely to be less active than usual
  • Thirst
  • Decreased urine output
  • No wet diapers for three hours for infants
  • Few or no tears when crying
  • Dry skin
  • Headache
  • Constipation
  • Dizziness or lightheadedness

Severe dehydration, a medical emergency, can cause:

  • Extreme thirst
  • Extreme fussiness or sleepiness in infants and children; irritability and confusion in adults
  • Very dry mouth, skin and mucous membranes
  • Little or no urination — any urine that is produced will be darker than normal
  • Sunken eyes
  • Shriveled and dry skin that lacks elasticity and doesn’t “bounce back” when pinched into a fold
  • In infants, sunken fontanels — the soft spots on the top of a baby’s head
  • Low blood pressure
  • Rapid heartbeat
  • Rapid breathing
  • No tears when crying
  • Fever
  • In the most serious cases, delirium or unconsciousness

The final outcome is death.

You need to have sufficient water to at least keep your body hydrated but you also need it to be disease-free. This article will discuss ways to have not only enough water but clean water.

Most of us get our water from municipal water sources and many from private wells. When those aren’t available we need another source of clean water. The problem is that water is kind of a pain to store. It goes stale and has to be replaced. It takes up a lot of space. It’s crucial to have enough. So how do you solve the inconvenient problem of having sufficient water?

There are many options for storing water. You want something that’s sturdy, reasonably priced, and free of BPA which is a toxin present in some plastic. While you won’t be carrying 5 gallon water containers for any distance you should also consider how well the handles are made and also if they have good spigots. There are stackable 5 gallon containers that are HDPE “food grade” and BPA free. Most folks can carry a container this size. Because the containers are stackable they’re easier to store. And most have an optional spigot so you can conveniently get water.

Many of these containers are opaque and therefore you need to have a way to determine how much water is left in each. You can lift them and gauge the amount left but there are also clear containers that make it really simple.

Bel-Art Clear 5 gallon containers with spigots are a good choice of clear water containers. Each holds 5 gallons (of course). The spigot is nice and long (4 ½”). This means you can draw water while the container is on a table or shelf. And the spigot stores inside the container cap for transport. The opening is a screw top that allows for easy filling and allows you to vent the container. The cap is 2 ¾ “. It features both a handle and a bottom grip for ease of carrying. The big drawback for me with these containers is that they’re expensive. As I write this (July, 2015) the cheapest one I’ve found is nearly $39.00.

If you aren’t in a financial position to purchase stackable containers just buy a couple of gallons of drinking water each time you grocery shop. You can also refill plastic 2 liter pop bottles as long as they are PETE (Polyethylene terephthalate). Just soak them in hot water with a little bleach (don’t forget the caps), rinse thoroughly, and fill with fresh water. These bottles can also be used to store dry items like beans, rice, and dried peas. I throw an oxygen absorber in just to be sure and I freeze the dry items I’m storing in them for a couple of weeks then take them out for a couple of days and refreeze. This will kill any insects/eggs that might be present. The oxygen absorbers will take care of anything that survives.

We’re quite fortunate to have two sources of water beyond our taps. There are both a tributary to a river and a large lake within a short walk of our home. We can reasonably haul 30 gallons in less than 30 minutes. That water, however, is not potable without treatment.
That brings me to the topic of purifying water. There are many options available from filters with ceramic candles which filter over 500 gallons each to a product called Lifestraw which filters over 250 gallons of water and requires no batteries nor electricity. I found Lifestraws for sale at http://www.campingsurvival.com/lifestraw.html?gclid=Cj0KEQjwuLKtBRDPicmJyvu_qZMBEiQAzlGN5kIot26Qud4s5_K0R3j-cn9jdgW9uSKdnoC2GwvGdfQaAlCe8P8HAQ for less than $20 and the more you buy, the lower the price. There are tablets (Aquamira filters the most contaminants), and simple sand, charcoal (not briquettes like you use in your barbeque), and stone filters. Instructables has a good tutorial on building this type of filter at http://www.instructables.com/id/How-to-purify-your-water/

I recommend trying to store as much potable water as possible before an emergency. My goal is to have 5 gallons of water per day, per person/pet. This would give me not only plenty of water for drinking but water for personal hygiene, cleaning, and even laundry if rationed reasonably. The extra water I store for our pets gives each person even more water since the dogs aren’t into showering every day. Or month. I’m a long way from reaching my goal for water storage but I’m on my way.

By both storing clean drinking water and having other sources you can ensure your family will have enough water to get through an emergency. Drive around your neighborhood to find sources of water you can use. Of course people living in hot, dry areas will want to store more. Just remember to rotate your supply just as you do with food.

Preparing for TEOTWAWKI Part 1 – Self-reliance & resiliency

Emma:

I’d always thought of myself as pretty tough but I started to really consider the meaning of that word when John was diagnosed with cancer. An older lady said I’d have to be very self-reliant and resilient to get through it all. I looked up the definition of resilient and realized I’d have to be very resilient; tough, strong, and flexible if we were going to make it.

re·sil·ient

rəˈzilyənt/

adjective

adjective: resilient

(of a substance or object) able to recoil or spring back into shape after bending, stretching, or being compressed.

synonyms:       flexible, pliable, supple;

(of a person or animal) able to withstand or recover quickly from difficult conditions.

“the fish are resilient to most infections”

synonyms:       strong, tough, hardy

The current state of the world has most people wondering what will come next. Economic upheaval, terrorism, the threat of war, natural disasters, and disease seem to be coming at us from every side. We may all have to become very self-reliant and resilient to make it in this new world. It makes sense to prepare yourself and your family for whatever may lie in store but figuring out how to prepare can be a daunting prospect.

Most people begin “prepping” because they’re afraid. They’re afraid of the state of the world or the state of their government. They’re afraid of job loss or social unrest. My own desire to become as self-reliant as possible came from a life-altering injury and the subsequent loss of my job. We had three teenage boys at home and we’d lost more than half our income and had astronomical medical bills. That first summer I realized that, if not for the generosity of my husband’s co-workers and some help from a food pantry, we would have struggled to even feed our sons. I looked into my pantry and I was terrified. I vowed never to be that dependent on anyone or any agency ever again. When John got cancer last year my careful planning was invaluable. I was able to keep things going here with very little outside help. After years of research and trial-by-fire learning I know that I can keep my family going should anything happen to drastically change our circumstances again.

This past year, more than any other, has shown me how resilient and self-reliant I am and I know that I’m not alone in that. People surprise themselves with their level of resiliency when disasters strike. Sure, some folks curl up in the fetal position and wait to be rescued, but if you’re reading this it’s because you’re not that type. You’re ready to take on the challenges and not only bounce back but thrive. I also learned that I have many areas in which I need to improve. I take heart in the knowledge that I’m wise enough to recognize that I don’t think I know everything and I’m still able to learn. If you’re just getting started you may feel overwhelmed. Don’t. We start everything in our lives with no experience. This is just like learning to read or drive a car. You need instruction and practice but you can become great at it.

It may be hard at times but there are some key things to remember when you’re getting started. First we need to consider the things we must have in order to be resilient. I’m talking about the most basic needs for survival. The “rule of three” applies here. This rule states that we can survive 3 minutes without air, 3 hours without shelter, 3 days without water, and 3 weeks without food. The more sources for those things available to us, the more likely we are to survive.

Let’s start with water and food. If we have several sources of water available we’re more likely to survive if the municipal water stops flowing. If you have a pond, a river or creek, and ways to filter that water so it’s potable, your chances of surviving increase. If you don’t have to depend on daily, weekly, or even monthly trips to the grocery store for food you’re more likely to survive if the trucks suddenly stop delivering to the market. You’re more resilient if you can grow at least some of your own food. This includes both fruits & vegetables as well as (if this is possible for you) your own sources of protein. Even if you can’t have cows and chickens in your back yard there are ways to prepare should the system fail.

No one I know can be entirely self-sufficient. We’ve become too accustomed to “specialists.” If an engine fails we see a mechanic. If we get sick we go to the doctor. We’ve lost so much of the knowledge our grandparents and great-grandparents once took for granted it’s nearly unimaginable. But we can learn what they knew. We have greater resources for learning than they could have ever imagined. And we can develop relationships that will be of mutual benefit. We have gone from having real communities to living in proximity to others. Part of being resilient is having not just the things you need but the people.

Get to know the farmers and others at your local farmer’s market. Investigate groups in your area who are interested in growing their own food or in operating a ham radio. Join a group who can teach you to sew or do carpentry. It may sound funny but there are “zombie societies” that teach people about survival. And they often do great things in the community while teaching very important skills. Many have events to stock local food pantries or raise money for local charities. There’s no reason becoming self-reliant can’t be fun!

Unless you’re a billionaire you’re probably never going to be fully prepared for every possible contingency. This is the real world and we live with real limitations. We’re limited on how much we can afford, how much space we have to grow and store food and other necessities. We’re limited on how much time we have to spend getting ready for disasters and limited in the ability to foresee every possible emergency. But you can learn to prepare within your budget, space and time constraints and for every disaster for which you can reasonably expect to be ready.

Don’t feel you have to suddenly be fully prepared or it’s not worth starting. I’d rather be 5% ready than not ready at all. I’d rather budget to be prepared than to succumb to defeat and blow my money on wasteful things. Set realistic goals for yourself. Even if you only spend an additional $5 – $10 a week on “prep” items it’s better than nothing. And you’ll find your confidence and inner peace growing as you become more and more self-reliant. Sure, awful things may happen but at least you’ll be able to meet the requirements of your family to survive and eventually thrive.

Over the next week or so I’ll be sharing some of the things you need to prepare yourself and your family for a TEOTWAWKI situation. Feel free, at any time, to comment or to ask questions. We’re all in this together!

Mulberry Leaf Tea

Emma again:

In my first post about mulberries I listed some (many) of the health benefits of this amazing tree. It’s not just the fruit that’s good for you! Since John has been battling cancer since last year I’m going to make a large batch of Mulberry Tea leaves so that he’ll have it available all winter long. It’s a really simple thing to make and store.

First I’m picking a large quantity of leaves. The ones you want to use are mature leaves, free of blemishes. I wash all the leaves and then pat them dry with paper towels. That way I know they’re clean of bird and bug messes.

Mulberry-leaves-washed

From there it’s simply a matter of drying the leaves. Drying can be done by spreading the leaves out on a screen in a sunny area, and covering it with another screen to keep the leaves free from insects. I use my dehydrator as it’s easier for me than locating a spot where my curious dogs won’t disturb the drying leaves.

leaves-ready-to-dry

It doesn’t take too long to dry the leaves in a dehydrator. In the sun it will probably take two or three days. You want the leaves to be so dry that you could grind them into a powder but don’t do that. Just break them up into pieces. Remember, they don’t have to be uniform but you want them relatively close in size.

dried-leaves

Once dried and broken up you simply store them in a plastic bag or in a jar. They’ll keep quite well if you’ve dried them properly. I’ve temporarily stored this tea in a zip lock bag but I’ll put it in canning jars which I’ll seal with my Food Saver later.

bagged-dried-leaves

When you’re ready to make a cup of tea just put a few leaves in a cup of boiling water. You really want to be sure the water is screaming hot. If the water isn’t hot enough it will either be extremely weak tea or won’t even really steep at all. The tea should turn out the color of green tea. It has a pleasant taste and can be sweetened if you like. So go out, find a Mulberry tree and get started with your own healthy Mulberry Leaf Tea!

Ready-to-drink

Pemmican – An Ancient “Survival Food”

Pemmican is a “survival food” made of lean meat, beef tallow (rendered beef fat), berries, and nuts. The creation of Pemmican is generally attributed to the Cree people from Canada. There are many recipes available for Pemmican but they’re all basically the same; meat, tallow, fruit, and nuts. Honey can be added to improve the taste. While it’s unlikely you’ll love it so much you start having Pemmican Thursdays at your house it’s a great thing to add to your food storage because it stores extremely well and provides lots of nutrients in a SHTF scenario.

Basic Pemmican Recipe:

Ingredients:

4 cups dried meat (only venison moose, caribou, or beef)

3 cups dried fruit

2cups rendered fat (only use beef, preferably leaf fat ) An excellent article on how to render fat can be found at http://christeguh.hubpages.com/hub/How-to-render-youre-own-beef-tallow-or-lard

1 cup unsalted nuts (this is optional but I highly recommend it)

1 tbsp raw honey (not the stuff you find on the grocery store shelves in the little bear bottle) (optional)

Equipment:

Cookie sheet

Mortar and pestle

Sharp kitchen knife

Directions:

Dry the meat by spreading it thinly on a cookie sheet at 180* for at least 8 hours or until crispy.

Grind the dried meat into a powder using the mortar and pestle.

Add the dried fruit and grind, leaving some larger fruit pieces to help bind the mixture.

Cut the beef fat into small chunks and heat over medium heat until it renders (melts) making tallow.

Stir the rendered fat into the meat/fruit mix, mixing thoroughly.

Add (crushed) nuts and honey if using.

Shape the Pemmican into bars or small balls and wrap individual servings in wax paper or store in plastic bags.

Vanilla Mint Body Lotion

Kate here again!  We all want to feel pampered from time to time, so I let the girl children choose scents for their own lotion/body butter.  They were really hip on this, which meant they needed to sniff every bottle of essential oils in the store.  It was a tedious adventure, but it all turned out pretty well.

My 13 year old had decided she wanted to clone the scent of her favorite chapstick which is vanilla mint.  So we set off to work on it.

Our ingredient list:

  • 1/2 cup coconut oil
  • 1/2 cup aloe vera gel
  • 1/4 cup grated beeswax
  •  2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 5 drops peppermint essential oil

To start, we grated up the beeswax (because the only kind I could find was in a block).  We added it into a glass bowl with the coconut oil.

IMG_1952

We then filled a pan with water, set our glass bowl in it and heated it on medium, stirring until it was all melted.  (Note: the beeswax takes longer to melt than the coconut oil, so it will look like this before it all gets clear)

IMG_1954

And…..this is where my camera apparently decided it wasn’t going to save anymore photos….because I took them, I swear I did, but they are just not there now!

So, as you can see I used a big pan thinking it would be easier to retrieve the bowl for my 13 year old, it was not.  I ended up having to lift the bowl out ninja-style with a bendy spatula.  It was awesome to behold, and yet sad at the same time.  Next time I’ll just go with the smaller pan size like a double-boiler.

Once you do your ninja moves on the bowl of melted coconut oil and beeswax, you add in your aloe vera gel, vanilla, and peppermint.  Of course, according to your tastes and smells you might want to adjust the amounts you put in.  Mix until the aloe is well incorporated.

Now she liked the consistency of it just the way it was.  However, if you want to go for some extra flare, you could probably let the mixture set up for awhile and then whip it up into a fluffy and luxurious body butter.

So let us know if you’ve tried this out.  Post in the comments if you made any changes to the recipe that made it better (or worse LOL)!