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Fruit Trees on your Property

If you have a spot of land, you really should have planted a fruit tree or 20 by now! Why?

  • Long term food source
  • Food for the bees to keep them around
  • Apple trees, once they die or are no longer producing, are great for firewood
There are even miniature fruit trees that you can grow inside. Look for colonnade trees at the Starks Brothers Nursery. Several different kinds of apples, and one peach that I know of.  Grow in a pot, and have it on your deck or balcony in good weather, or start an inside garden where the tree is prominently featured!

If you have even .25 of an acre, what fruit trees have you planted? What fruit tree can you just not live without?

  • Apples: so versatile, from fresh eating, long-term storing, dehydrating, juicing, canning for apple butter or pie filling, and even making vinegar for pickling, digestion and cleaning.
  • Pears: delicious fresh, dehydrating or canned. Have you tried pear raisin pies?
  • Cherries: very expensive in the store so try growing either pie/sour cherries or sweet. We love the Ranier cherries (yellow and red). If you don't want a tree, Nanking cherries grow on a bush.
  • Plums: very healthy but highly sprayed from the stores. Great to eat fresh, dehydrated or canned. I make an amazing spiced plum jam that I use for Winter holidays.
You get the idea. What fruit tree do you absolutely need on your property? And why?

Halloween...now and future

Halloween is coming soon.  Sure you  might be almost ready for this year, with house decorations, candy and costumes, but what if the SHTF? What will you do?

No matter the situation, most children will expect trick-or-treating, or at least donning costumes for a party. They will miss the candy and treats, and have a hard time accepting that their traditional Halloween won't happen at least that year.

First, take advantage of dollar stores to stock up on hard candies NOW. Store out of reach of children, roaches and rodents. Use only for super-special occasions, which will make it last a long time.  Then start new traditions that don't rely on spending money money money!

Have you considered what to do? Here are a few suggestions:
  • Keep old costumes and face paint. Dress up!
  • Instead of loads of candy, have them search for a few pieces of hard candies (non-perishable, like dum-dum suckers or hard mints) around the house. We hide them like Easter eggs!
  • Have a few close friends over for a meal with easy-to-make dishes and a costume contest.
  • Observe the real meaning of "All Hallows' Eve" and remember those who have died ... friends, family and saints (hallows). Have the kids draw pictures of these people, gather natural items like sticks, rocks and leaves, and create a special altar with all of this in remembrance of them.
  • Make this day your harvest festival! Gather neighbors and family to harvest. Start the preserving whether by canning or dehydrating. Having many hands to slice makes quick work! The kids can bob for apples after collecting them for storage.
What do you think your family could do to celebrate Halloween if there are no sources for costumes or candy, and trick-or-treating is not safe?

Grab and Go Cooking Bucket

Gallon Bucket With Lid – Want a Free One?
If you are planning to bug-out in case of an emergency situation, do you have all of your cooking equipment gathered together? Suggestion, get a 5-gallon bucket (like the one to the right, or a bright-orange bucket from Home Depot IF you don't mind being bright and visible!) and store these items:
  • Cooking pot with a lid (pot first in bucket, rest of items nested in and on top of it. The lid will be on top of all items in bucket)
  • Mixing bowl (nested in pot)
  • Aluminum foil (for easy clean-up from cooking)
  • Matches, lighters, fire-starters
  • Can opener (test it to make sure it won't fall apart!)
  • Utensils for eating and cooking
  • Dishes for eating: bowls, mugs, plates
  • Pot holder(s)
  • Dish towels
  • Soap for washing dishes
IF you have any room leftover, nestle into corners small packages of dehydrated fruit and veggies, protein bars, bacon pieces, SPAM or tuna singles, etc. Use every bit of space, but don't weigh it down too much so you can easily carry it for a long period of time.

Thanks for the notes, Shayla!

Dehydrated Foods like fruit

While I do dehydrate a lot of fruit for our snacking, desserts and oatmeal, there are certain things I buy ALWAYS from www.justtomatoes.com.  Have for many years!  Order soon, and use my discount code “BACK-TO-SCHOOL” for 15% off. And if you order over $100 worth of product (after the discount), then you get free shipping (ground).

So, yesterday, I made a bunch of oatmeal breakfasts for my husband. Enough for at least 3 ½ weeks for him. That’s when I noticed that I was running super-low on fruit powders. Today, I ordered some more, including a couple of fruits that I have trouble dehydrating.

Mango, whole
Raspberry, whole

Banana, powder
Blueberry, powder
Mango, powder
Peach, powder
Pineapple, powder
Raspberry, powder
Strawberry, powder
 
I didn’t order whole blackberries or blueberries because we still had plenty of those. I also usually order peas but when I was going through my storage, I found some.  I sometimes order tomato slices but I still have plenty from what I dehydrated last year.

They used to do mushrooms, scallions and others (I think they still do garlic) but they discontinued some things several years ago because of lack of interest. Join me in asking them for more vegetables. That survival and prepping for emergency people really need a good source of HEALTHY (no additives) vegetables, fruits and other ingredients. I just called and put in my request. Do the same! (800) 537-1985

What do I use all of the fruit for? My son needs more fruit in his diet, so he (almost daily) gets mango, blueberries and blackberries, and usually munches on peas as a snack. I munch on their “fruit salad” and raspberries , blue/blackberries, and mango, and, of course, what I dehydrate (plum, nectarine, peach, apple, banana, pineapple and grapes).
 
I use the chunks and whole fruit to make delicious crumbles and other desserts.

As far as the powder, we use that to flavor oatmeal. We particularly love tropical oatmeal (powders – banana, mango, pineapple, plus coconut flakes), raspberry and cocoa (so yum), peach, and PB&J (peanut butter powder with raspberry, peach or strawberry powder).

Give some of these a try. Trust me, they make DELICIOUS foods. And so healthy.

p.s. I do not get any compensation of any kind from Just Tomatoes.

Bees for your homestead

I just love what bees do! Not just honey bees for their honey and pollinating abilities, but also mason bees (pollinating), bumble bees, and more. If you don't intend to collect honey and just need pollinators, invite other kinds of bees onto your property.

From the website page: http://csweeney00lm.hubpages.com/hub/bee-types, here is a bit of information to get you started.

Bee Types Introduction

There are many different bee types. Some bees sting, others don't. Some live in trees, and some underground. On this page, I will talk about the 7 most common bee types and their habits as bees.

Bumble Bees

Bumble bees are known to fly around the flowers in your yard and garden in the spring and summer months. They spend most of their time pollinating plants and gathering nectar to make honey. However, they do not make anywhere near the amount of honey that honey bees do. Although bumble bees are not overly violent bee types, they will sting you if they feel threatened by you. Bumble Bees tend to make their nests in soft fluffy materials, like old patio furniture cushions, insulation, dried up leaves, etc.

Yellow Jackets

Yellow jackets are one of the bee types that you usually find flying around near your ice cream and lemonade outside during the spring and summer months. They are a hassle at barbecues too! They are named yellow jackets because of their distinctive yellow and black stripes. They nest in a football or teardrop shaped nest constructed by a grayish paper substance, which is actually created by the bees themselves by chewing little pieces of wood. Yellow jacket’s nests are usually found in trees, hanging under your deck outside, and sometimes even in the roof of your attic. If you hear any sort of rustling sound, be sure to have it checked out!
     
 

Yellow Jackets/Ground Bees

Another type of yellow jacket is the ground bee types. Like their name states, they live in a nest between 2 inches and 2 feet underground, many times in abandoned mole or mouse holes. You really need to watch out for these guys, especially when you’re mowing the grass. They do not like loud mowing sounds and can become angry very easily!
     
 

Wasps

Wasps pack the most painful punch when it comes to a sting. These bee types are known for their very thin body center and hanging legs when flying. They love nesting in attics, however, they nest anywhere, including shutters, grills, light fixtures, and mailboxes too.
     
 

Carpenter (Mason) Bees

Carpenter bees, often confused with bumble bees, are the bee types that chew through wood in a perfect circle, as if a carpenter had actually taken a drill and drilled right through. Inside the wood, they nest and lay eggs. Carpenter bees aren’t known to sting at all. However, the damage they can do to wood is outstanding, so if you think you have a carpenter bee problem, make sure you get that checked out.
     
 

Honey Bees

Honey bees are involved in the pollination of not only honey, but several other fruit and vegetable crops, and they are extremely important to the production of these crops. Honey bees nest many times with tens of thousands of other worker bees, gathering honey and bringing it back to honeycombs in their hive.
     
 

Hornets

Hornets are certainly the most easily-agitated of all the bee types. Not only will they sting you, they can spit venom at you too, which is very painful when the spit it in your eyes! Hornets nest in hives just like those of yellow jackets.


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Another good source is: http://www.bumblebee.org/OTHERbees.htm

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We do so love fresh raw honey. Good for cooking and eating, but also good for allergies, as medicine for abrasions, and digestion.

When we move to our new place in a year or two, we plan to have a "hive" of mason bees and a hive or two of honey bees. The fruit trees, brambles and veggies will be so happy!