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“You can expect the men to prefer the higher, rather than the lower, ground.  They like the sun, and shun the shady and damp places.  They would rather be on firm, dry ground where the chances of being healthy are much higher.”
— Sun Tzu
(don’t confuse this with steep grades)

(I just reported on the North American Union.  Did you vote for it?  No.  Did Congress vote for it?  No.   So much for Democracy, and we can’t blame Obama as it started under Bush II.  We have a Presidential Dictatorship!!)

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Continuing with maps, Navigation Equipment and Methods  this booklet explains further about the compass, and where not to use it (near Electric overhead lines, in a vehicle etc.).   This one explains contour lines, Elevation and Relief.  This one does a much better job of explaining orienting the compass to the map Terrain Association than I did.   Here is Topographic Symbols.  This link “Determine a Magnetic Azimuth” provides several skills, including a link to determining the distance along a road. The quadrangle map is not 50,000 to one, its 1:24,000; but measuring the distance of a road remains the same. Use a piece of paper to mark the  beginning and end of the first straight section, move the paper around the turn, keeping the last mark lined up, and make a new mark where the road curves again,  continue in that fashion lengthening the measurement on the paper.  I usually leave a small mark on the map in the process, it makes it easier to measure. Then put your paper up against the scale of the 1:24,000 map and you have your mileage. There is also link under this main one talks about a grid coordinance, it is only important if you are calling in a artillery strike, mortar rounds or bombing mission, so don’t worry too much about that, but take a look so you know how it is done. 
In a  group of survivalists, the leader and scouts should have a lensatic compass and ‘everyone’ should know how to use them.  The same goes for a small militia platoon.  It is important to cross train everyone, everyone should know each member of the group’s job.  For information on starting a militia here is the  Link

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Building a Vegetable Dehydrator

The fresher the vegetables the better, another reason for gardening yourself. Gardening yourself eliminates the GMO’s and regardless of Presidential Executive Orders you can harvest your own seed, if you start with non-hybrid seeds. Search the internet for heirloom seeds. Depending on where you live, vegetables arriving at the stores can take over a week before they are on the display on the shelves.  

If you live in an area that doesn’t have traffic pollution than you can dry your vegetable and fruits outside.  Fruits dry nicely at 85 degrees but drying vegetables is better in the summer when temperature is closer to 100 degrees.  In Carl Emery’s book  The Encyclopedia of Country Living (A book I wouldn’t do without 8X12 -paperback 843 pages of information.), she suggests blanching the crop  after it is cleaned, scrubbed, and sliced.  After cleaning and peeling, when necessary, slice them no thicker than a 1/4 inch, then blanch them, dip them in ice water, and dry them off.   Fruits can be sliced a bit thicker.  Personally I have never blanched vegetables before drying them, meaning it is up to the reader to decide.  But remember the thinner you slice them the quicker they will dry.  Peas don’t need to be sliced, and Chinese peas are also thin enough.

One thing is certain, never blanch fruits and pick them when they are ripe.  Fruits can be dipped in a solution to prevent them from darkening.  Fruits can be sliced  or chopped and then dropped into a gallon of water that contains 6 Tablespoons of pickling salt.  They should be in that solution no more than 5 minutes.  Another method is to crush ascorbic acid (vitamin C) tablets weighing 5 grams, or add 1 or 2 Tablespoons of ascorbic acid powder.  For either method add them to a quart of warm water and remove them, once again before the fruit gets soggy.   Using either of these methods, be sure and dry off the fruit before placing it in the dehydrator.

Most dried fruits in the grocery store are dried using the sun.  But if you live in a humid area you may want to use the oven set on the lowest temperature and keep the door slightly ajar so the moisture can excape.  If you use a cookie sheet, make sure they don’t burn and of course turn them over.   You can also make the dehydrator to fit inside the oven. 

In the past I have used a draw from a dresser that I purchased at a garage sale and  removed the bottom,  making a rectangle; or you can build one.  You need to build a rectangle out of soft wood, 1X6 would work, while you are at the hardware store purchase enough plastic window screen for 3 layers and some braces with holes drills to support the rectangle.   You will also need some 1X2 molding to go around the bottom edges  of the dehydrator.   When the rectangle is complete and braced, use the first layer of window screen across the bottom and nail it tight. Next take the 1X2 molding and place along the bottom that you have just placed the screen over.  Nail the molding in place, after the molding is in place use the 2nd layer of plastic window screen and nail it to the bottom.  Now you should have the rectangle of wood, with screen in the bottom, a two inch gap and more screen.  This will keep the flies from lighting on the bottom of your food.   You are almost finished!!  Now use the final piece of plastic screen to cover the top and when you have food in it, secure it in place with thumb tacks.

The reason you use plastic window screen is the metal type screen will  contaminate the food, because it is coated with zinc and cadmium. 

In the past I have used sawhorse to set the dehydrator on outside, if you have ant problems you may want to put an empty food can filled with water under each leg of the saw horse to discourage the ants.

When drying fruits or vegetables, only use a single layer in the dehydrator.  The idea is to get them to dry as soon as possible to keep spoilage down.

Once you have food outside in the dehydrator, bring the dehydrator indoors at night, or during a rain or dust storm.  Bringing them in at night prevents dew from forming.  Turn the veggies and fruits over once a day.  For vegetables it takes 3 or 4 days in the sun to dry them and for fruits a couple days.  The dry vegetables should easily break when dry, and the fruit should be leathery with no moisture showing when they are squeezed.  If you have the ability to vacuum pack them, do it.  For others, use a zip lock bag and a straw inserted to suck out as much air as you can, and seal.

I have a friend in Pahrump, Nevada that dries watermelon.  She says that they are really good.  Melons are another one that I wouldn’t blanch, just make sure they are thinny sliced.

PS: Potatoes should be blanched to keep them from darkening.  Blanch them in a double-broiler (steam blanch) or boiling water for a few minutes then plunge them in ice water to cool them; dry them off, and then dry them.

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Storing Grains and Flours

I pack all of my flour, rice, corn meal, oat meal with whole Bay leaves.  It seems to keep the weevils at bay (no pun intended).  With wheat flour I put 5 lbs in a used coffee can (large) put two Bay leaves near the bottom, fill them half way and put two more Bay leaves, and then near the top, one more Bay leaf and the plastic cover.   I have well over 1 years worth of flour and no weevil problems.
With Rice, I cut a hole in the plastic bag, stuff a few Bay leaves in, tape up the cut and the weevils don’t show up.  I’ve got Rice that I have had for 3 years with no sign of weevils. 
When I buy oatmeal, I remove the seal and drop in a few Bay leaves; still no weevil problems.
With Corn meal, I can keep the weevils out for about 9 months with the Bay leaves.  Corn meal is a problem and I will keep working on finding a solution.

Next Posting I’ll cover nitrogen packing

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