December 11, 2023

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.

A snippet from Mark B.:

“I’ve mentioned before about Costco selliing Kirkland canned roast beef.  It is pre-cooked, so you could eat it right out of the can, if’n you wanted to.  Has some sodium phosphates.
If you purchased it only for rainy days, (which seem more and more likely lately)  you should relax some of your hesitation on chemicals in your food.  You don’t need to be organic at that point.
There are four 12-ounce cans, or 3 pounds total, for $12.97.  So about $4.33 per pound.  Already canned.  “Best-by” date about 2 years out, but it should last 10 years or so and be good.
I really can’t buy the meat alone for that price, not counting the cost of canning jars and the labor involved in cooking it.
I opened a can tonight for dinner.  Certainly cooked well enough.  I liked more salt than it had.  Tasty enough.  More than plenty for the two of us.  Don’t need a can opener.  A bargain.”

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‘Next Pandemic’ Will Be the ‘Big One,’ Deadliest Known to Humanity, Scientists Warn.

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Elizabeth Warren wants to restrict ammo sales: House and Senate Democrats Are Coming After Your Ammunition Now. (Thanks to Peter for the link.)

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Reader L.E. sent this snippet:

“Dog Run Garden Cage: It’s unbelievable to me how useful this item is, I bought a heavy gauge wire dog run easy assembly cage about 8 by 6 feet from the local tractor and farm supply, with a covered top, so the whole cage is bird, skunk, raccoon and deer proof. It also seems to keep small lizards and rats and squirrels out as they seem to be confused on how to gain access inside the big rubber tub. The openings in the wire are only about an inch apart. I put in a large 90-gallon rubber stock watering tub and can now grow potatoes and several large planters for tomatoes, strawberries et cetera and not have to worry about any crop loss. In the early fall, I start adding kitchen compost and finish it off with a layer of shredded cardboard and dry leaf mixture and cover it and let it “cook” all winter. One caveat though, is that you will need to water much more frequently as crops grown in containers seem to dry out more quickly.”

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Here is a video link that you can share with any gun-grabbers who claim that “high capacity” magazines are some modern invention.  It details an 80-round magazine rifle that was patented in the late 1870s. Guycot: A Rocket Ball Chain Rifle From 1879.

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Reader H.L. sent us this news item: Iran takes charge of UN Human Rights Council. JWR’s Comment: “And, in related news, the Fox has been elected Sheriff of the Hen House”

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Tim in Connecticut wrote:

“MM mentioned tarps carried by the big box stores and mostly made in mainland China. These tarps deteriorate after a few seasons and are not worth the investment.  But there are several quality US-made tarps. I purchase mine from MyTarp in Georgia. I have some that are over a decade old and they look as good as when I received them. Their prices are competitive.”

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SaraSue sent us this snippet:

“I hesitated in sending in an update, but it’s good to review the bad and hard, along with the good.  Like many of you,  I’m feeling a dark cloud of ominous world events overhead.  It’s easy to become frozen in worry.  I had to fight that off all week.  I was under the weather and yet things needed to get done.

My larger pigs busted through some fencing in a panic after breaching an unprotected fence line.  My German Shepherds went after them as if they were predators, causing more mayhem and panic.  Suffice it to say, I was able to get my dogs into a down/stay position in spite of the blood rushing in their ears (and mine).  I was able to lead the boar and his buddy, the barrow, back to their pasture.  I was able to get the fences fixed, and hot-wired a new section of fencing they had discovered.  I am still waiting for one of the sows to farrow.  There were more than a few moments when I wanted to send every last pig to the butcher.

My very first homegrown steer went to the butcher.  Bless his sweet heart – I cried a little.  He was 11 months old, a pure dairy breed, and not very big.  He weighed in at 650lbs.  The net packaged meat will probably be around 150lbs, and very tender since he was so young.  But, that’s the way it goes, and this is what raising your own food looks like.  You either carry animals for a couple of years to get to a better butcher weight, which costs quite a bit, or you send them to the butcher at about a year.  I’m expecting two calves next year. Any bull calves will be castrated young and go to the butcher at a year; heifers are evaluated as potential milk cows for this farm, or will be sold after weaning, or are bred at the appropriate age and sold as homestead milk cows.  There are lots of options as each cow/calf pair must be evaluated for its best use.”

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W.J.  sent this:

“A recent post on bodgers discussed coppicing trees, meaning to cut them at a slight angle close to the ground to make use of the many straight wooden shoots that sprout from the cut base.  Pollarding is another traditional approach, about the same, except that the cut is four feet or more above the ground (also above deer munching height).

A species suitable for pollarding that was not mentioned are mulberry trees. They sprout new shoots from the cut surface like mad, and grow rapidly, but best of all, their fruit is borne directly on the new growth, and you get a lot more mulberries than you would from a full-grown tree.  I don’’t know of any other coppice or pollard suitable tree species that produce edible fruit that is easy to harvest.

The berries do not ripen all together, but in sequence on each individual branch, so some branches bear sweet fat mulberries, while the next branch has only little hard green things that cling tightly to the stem.  When the mulberries are completely ripe, they fall off the branch at the least excuse.

A good method of harvesting is to put sheets or tarps on the ground around the tree, and gently shake the branches.  The ripe mulberries will fall onto the sheet or tarp, where they can be easily collected.  Repeat daily, as new berries will ripen each day for about three weeks.  I am in zone 6B, which means harvest time is late June into July.

The mulberries can be eaten fresh from the tree, or dried, or made into preserves.

Mulberry trees can be almost impossible to kill.  One near me was bashed flat by heavy equipment, and lay on the ground, a splintered mess.  By the next year, it was busy growing several new vertical shoots, and continued to thrive thereafter. “

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And, to end on a humorous note, there is this from The Babylon BeeFamily Makes Tough Decision To Put Aging Grandpa In US Senate.

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