See her new community at

For my items, scroll down here. I'll crosspost them to her place later.

My blog is about cooking and health and homestead survival. I'm new to DreamWidth and I don't know how to get email notification of comments, so I may be slow in answering, sorry, pls keep after me. ;-)
Well, I hope they're still alive, wherever they are....

Our second flock of free range chickens has flown the coop.

A couple of years ago, my partner mentioned to a neighbor that he missed the sound of roosters crowing that he'd grown up with. The neighbor showed up hauling a broken down homemade coop with a rooster that needed a home. We scrambled to fix the coop and accomodations. A few days later when we were coming home we met the rooster marching along the highway, looking back and forth, going "Meep? ... Meep?" Obviously looking for a flock.

So we got two hens. First tried a local "animal rescue ranch" (that's another story). Then successfully bought two from another neighbor. We did more scrambling to patch together a better coop, with laying boxes etc. They all settled down happily, very sweet devoted rooster (details on request).

The first neighbor kept turning up with hens needing a home (we refused any more roosters). All went well till one of the new hens went broody (look it up). People told us to dunk her in cold water but that sounded cruel and made no sense. Instead we tried blocking the laying box she was using. She moved to another laying box. With many false starts and fumbles, we blocked all the laying boxes. Three older hens suddenly disappeared. Later we leaned they had gone into the woods to nest: we found their bones. People told us chickens are easily offended, don't like disruption.

The rooster stayed with the remaining hens. Slowly people gave us more hens that needed homes, and showed us how to unbroody them (yes, cold water, then a cool cage with no straw), which we did as needed for a year or so.

Near Valentine's Day of 2011, we began losing a couple of hens each week: midday, pile of feathers as she left the laying box to catch up with the rest of the free ranging flock. Big ethical debate with partner, who does not believe in confining animals. Finally I solved it: "Let's build them some safe areas but leave them an exit, let them choose whether and when to stay in."

Apparently it was a land-based predator such as a coyote or bobcat. We added a fly-in door for the coop and a jungle type rope bridge to a safe area. That system is still working fine for over a year.

Last week two hens went broody. We were too busy with other homestead crises to un-broody them immediately. So that was two of three laying boxes occupied by broody hens, and five un-broody hens waiting their turn.

Last night only one chicken came home to roost. The others, including the rooster, have gone.

This morning one relatively new hen came back. We were going to listen for the rooster crowing, hopefully somewhere nearby. But we were up so late last night worrying and making resolutions, that we slept through cockcrow time this morning.

I'm going to drink some Easy Now herb tea. St. John's Wort seems inappropriate.
Adding some fresh veg to prepared stuff is great. Here are a few notes on how to have fresh veg very very convenient for this.

Chard is convenient. It keeps for days or longer if put straight into the fridge on a ventilated shelf either naked or with a light plastic bag lightly around it. Break off a big leaf as needed. Chard has got some body to it, easy to wash under running water, no sand anyway I think. It tastes kind of like baby spinich or argula.

If kept naked and it wilts, that's not a problem. (Just so it doesn't get slimy.) Even wilted it's still wholesome and strong enough to wash, tear, etc. Wilted chard sauteed crisp tastes kind of like sushi seaweed.


Here's some useful info about vegetables that store better OUT of the fridge. What's shown aren't meant to be practical storage units; think of them as a science project display. ;-)


Fresh asparagus keeps great in a vase like flowers – longer if you set it in the fridge.
Mock Won Ton Soup

...... Very easy prep, easy cleanup. Comfort for upset stomach.

Mild link sausage

Canned chicken broth

Cut up the sausage and simmer in the broth till done
...... (Optional: along with green onion, raw sesame seeds, mild Chinese veg)

At the table add Egg Noodles that have cooked separately.
...... (Optional: raw pinons and celery hearts to float on top)

(Mine came out pretty salty using Campbell's chicken broth.)
Single dish for mixing and cooking, short cooking (5 or 10 minutes?), Keeps well, warms up well.

Can of tuna
Starch such as crushed potato chips or cooked pasta or cooked bean threads etc
Can of cream of mushroom soup (or cream of celery or whatever, and maybe some sour cream and/or cream cheese)

Optional: some cubed* crunchy veg that don't really need cooking (such as celery, asparagus, fresh green beans, etc)
Optional: fresh mushrooms, onions (NO need to fry them, just mix them raw into the soup/tuna mixture)

Mix the tuna and the soup. Layer with the starch ingredient.  Heat till it's all run together and gooey (5 minutes in micro?)

*'cubed' means cut or broken into pieces that would fit in a box about an inch big

( Commodorified requested cross-posting to her new community at  . I'll do that later. ) 
 A few of mine:

CURRY ETC. Bring home a take-out of a very spicy curry dish. Add canned coconut milk, some chopped meat and veg -- that makes several servings of mildly spicy curry.

Same with a boxed spicy entree from the grocery store. (Tasty Bite used to be good for this, though lately they've got too mild.) A boxed spicy dal makini could combine with a can of Progresso lentil soup.)


BASTARD BEEF WELLINGTON: Buy frozen pie crust and a soft spreadable sausage such as Braunswiger. Spread the sausage around a piece of steak. Enclose the steak in the pie crust and bake.


( Commodorified requested cross-posting to her new community at  . I'll do that later. )
 Signal boosting from Commodorified. See

Theme: Half-Homemade

Fresh fruit filling in storebought pastry, pasta sauce from a jar with 10 extra ingredients added, packet soup respiced to suit your own tastes ... 
 Finally some came out sort of okay. Read more... )
What a difference a different can of Campbell's made....

First version, with 'chicken broth', was great thin soup.
Second version, with 'cream of chicken', is er, well....

Read more... )
After me a few days away from the kitchens, the pot was full of vegetables for veg stock, which had all got problematic. Any texture or taste left? Likely to spoil? If I gave the veg to the chickens, what to do with the liquid? I don't want to think about sorting this out! I just want the pot empty so I can start over with this big hunk of failed expensive roast right now!

No-brains needed: dump the whole veg/stock thing into a gallon plastic bag, label, and freeze in the "Veg Need Work" drawer.

 So I ate bread and butter and then sat around a while getting up energy to get some stirfry out of the freezer, which I ate late still with no rice or other starch.

Note to self: Next time I do cook rice, make it a larger batch, and put some in the freezer to use when I'm too tired to cook rice. Package it separate from anything else, so I can cook fresh rice with my stirfry or whatever each time I do have the energy to cook rice.

Himself batch-cooks lop gai and freezes rice and all in each one-serving container. I think that hurts the quality of the rice. But having some separate containers of rice for the times when less quality is better than no rice at all -- is the Way of 80-20!

Here's some useful info about vegetables that store better OUT of the fridge. What's shown aren't meant to be practical storage units; think of them as a science project display. ;-)

Trying a simple-to-use recipe format.


Cook or heat approx equal amounts lentils and tomatoes together.
(If using dry lentils, add approx equal amount water; result should be soupy.)

At some point add some or all of these flavorings:
(I'm bolding the ones I like best)

red and green chilis
curry leaves

What I'm going to do, Lazy Susan here, is just dump these flavorings into the slow cooker along with the dal/tomatoes. (If and when I can find each flavoring, of course: the dal/tomatoes are already slowly cooking in there.)

Ideally, the flavorings should be heated in the butter separate from the dal/tomatoes, and the dal/tomatoes added to them at the last.
traditional order and original recipe )
Reading others' Carnival posts, I see a lot of mentions of cooking a big pot of something, enough for several days' meals ... then proceeding to eat it all in the same week, without having to package and freeze it.

That's country style!

Read more... )
I probably wouldn't offer this batch to anyone else, but I'm really liking it. Surprising tastes in it!
Read more... )
Note to self: Here's what I'm dreaming of.

Crock-Pot® 4.7 L Sauté Traditional Slow Cooker
Model #SC7500
4.7 Litre capacity - ideal for up to 5 people
2 heat settings
Convenient keep warm function
Removable pot can be used:- - On the hob - In the microwave - In the oven - In the freezer - In the refrigerator

Now, how to get one in the US? Or, can I afford it? Better check exchange rate.
After several power outs for one reason and another, we set up a super idiot light for the outdoor pantry shed freezer. The freezer power cord plugs into a small power strip, and so does a set of rope lights, which are draped around the front and roof of the pantry shed. So from any window in our home we can see whether that power strip is live or not (well, any west window).

The rope light we bought for that, several years ago, happened to be rainbow colored. So our shed makes a great political statement.

I'll try to get a picture....
That is, the 'ice chest' with a little cooling motor (AC/DC) that can be used more or less full time instead of a refrigerator....
Read more... )
ETA: Commodorified's "Carnival Round Up Post" is now up at

She invited everyone who has posted on Food Security to post a comment there giving their link.

Commodorified's "Food Security Carnival" starts Feb 2 -- also known as "Cooking for those who don't Carnival." Which means, a Carnival for those who don't cook.
Write a post to pass on something[s] you know that you feel is useful to anyone who wants to increase their level of food security by increasing their level of skill, knowledge, comfort around getting, storing, or preparing food. How-tos are good, recipes are good, linkspams are good. Reflective essays are good too, even if not of a strictly practically useful nature. You are your own best judge of what's on-topic. On February 2nd, come back and post a link to it in the comments of the Carnival Round Up Post.*

*Maybe she'll have the Round Up Post up on Feb 2.

I recently started this Susan8020 blog so most of the posts fit the "Food Security" topic one way or another, either as things I want to share ("Tips") or questions or concerns I'd like answers for.

My Tips most worth sharing are at these posts:

Tips for freezer organizing - saving access time - big pantry freezer -

Notes about take-out -

Here are my other posts, which are links in the "Page Summary" on the left sidebar, scroll down a screen or two.

Page Summary
Freezer political statement ;-)
Question for the Carnival: "poor man's fridge"
How I'm freezing fresh vegetables all wrong
Freezer tips - several freezers
Tips for freezer organizing - saving access time - big pantry freezer
Putting the slow cooker/crockpot contents on hold?
Fresh vegs: quick one-skillet dinner
Irritating style, but he's got some good points
Okay, now about tweaking the little Rival rice cooker....
About steam and how a rice cooker works
Homesteading lifestyle -- water and rice
Report - lazy blueberries
2 piece sari
To try - recipes for creamy soup/dishes in crock pot
Report - lazy blueberries
Considering 'perpetual soup'
Considering tarts....
Tips about take-out
First questions for Carnival
ETA: Actually there may BE a problem with this, at least with broccoli and cauliflower. Both of them came out with an odd sour taste after roasting. (Didn't taste them before.)

By the time we get home from anywhere, it's late and we're tired and can barely get the meat and dairy to safety. Anywhere from here is an all day trip, so the next day and next we're recovering or dealing with other homestead crises, or it's time for another all day trip to a doctor. So by the time I can do anything with the fresh vegetables they're no longer very fresh.

I like to stick meat straight in the freezer so it's not a deadline. Finally tried it with the fresh veg, at least the leafy ones, not the squash or tomatoes of course (or should I?). Vegetables come out of the store in a light loose plastic bag, so that's how I put them in the freezer, original bag and all. Maybe loosely tie the bag.

None of that washing, trimming, and blanching and whatever else.

They're still better than commercial frozen vegetables. The leaves get frozen stiff so it's easy to break off however many leaves are needed for a meal. They've still got enough texture to cut them with scissors.
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