Showing posts from 2012

Vacuum Pump & Tattler Lids

I recently acquired three new fantastic food preserving tools.
FoodSaver Wide-Mouth Jar SealerZiploc Vacuum Starter KitTattler Reusable Canning Lids & RubberIf one vacuum packs food (removes the oxygen which allows food to spoil) with a vacuum pump, food will last much longer in the freezer, fridge, or dried.
This vacuum pump that comes with the Ziploc Vacuum Starter Kit is an ideal inexpensive way to do this. I got mine for around $5 dollars at Wal-mart. The bags that come with it don't work very well. Other reviews on the web will attest to this.  The secret is a second tool. The FoodSaver Jar Sealer. Available for around $10 on Amazon. It is designed to go with the  $100 food sealers. But the Ziploc pump is much cheaper and doesn't have to have electricity to run it.  Just take a canning jar, put a regular canning jar lid (or tattler lid) on it, put the Jar Sealer over that, and then pump out the air. Take the Jar Sealer off and the lid stays on from the vacuum presure. Usin…

The beautiful, invasive, edible daylily

We have lots of them in our yard and are very abundant in our area.

Young spring shoots and leaves under five inches taste similar to mild onions when fried in butter. They are also a mild pain killer and in large quantities can be hallucinogenic.  The leaves quickly become fibrous so they can only be eaten young (but you can make cordage out of the older leaves.)

The flower buds, a rich source of iron, are distinguished from the plant's non-edible fruits by their internal layering. The blossoms are edible as well, raw or cooked (as are seeds if you find any.) The dried flower contains about 9.3% protein, 25% fat, 60% carbohydrate, 0.9% ash. It is rich in vitamin A.  The closed flower buds and edible pods are good raw in salads or boiled, stir-fried or steamed with other vegetables.

The blossoms add sweetness to soups and vegetable dishes and can be stuffed like squash blossoms. Half and fully opened blossoms can be dipped in a light batter and fried tempura style (which by the wa…

Water rates in US have risen 18% in the past 2 years

I am a big advocate of collecting rain water for your garden, lawn, "distilled" water, household use etc.
Start with a simple rain barrel and move up to more than one or bigger containers.

I have five 55gallon barrels, a swimming pool that holds 3000 gallons, two square containers that hold 250 gallons each, and an old hot tub (used as my fish pond) 300 gallons.

These are great for emergency supplies but my main reason is to have free water for my garden. I know some people who pay  $100 a month for water. Yikes!

Around here you can get used barrels for $5 to $10. If you want them to blend in you can get spray paint specifically for plastic. Have a screen to keep out mosquitoes. I keep gold fish in them instead as they are fun to look at and not only eat all the mosquitoes larva but fertilize the water to make my plants grow better.

Cargo cyclists replace truck drivers on European city streets

Another interesting article on biking. Over the years I have made many bike carts. While I lived in Tokyo, Japan, a country that uses bikes a lot for short distances, as an experiment I moved from one apartment to another using my bike cart. Yes, even there I got a lot of strange looks.
Read this article for some cool ideas. Low-tech Magazine: Cargo cyclists replace truck drivers on European city streets

"Research indicates that at least one quarter of all cargo traffic in European cities could be handled by cycles. And, by using special distribution hubs, larger vehicles and electric assist, this proportion could be even larger.

A cargo cycle is at least as fast as a delivery van in the city - and much cheaper to use, giving a strong economic incentive to make the switch. Cargo cycles also bring important economic advantages to tradesmen, artisans and service providers."

Winter project ideas to make pedal power equipment

Hop over to Low-tech Magazine blog for some cool, different pedal powered ideas.

Low-tech Magazine: Pedal powered farms and factories: the forgotten future of the stationary bicycle

196 Neat Free Frugal Prosumer Downloads

Here is a list of books/manuals/articles that could be useful to the Frugal Prosumer. One of the first books on the list "Where there is no Doctor" is an absolute must. I have used it for years and many people I know have used it as one of their main references when doing medical aid in third world countries.

I highly recommend getting a bound copy of this book in case power goes out. It could save your life.

This site by Fernando Ferfal and his book is very informative if you're interested in learning about what happens when a very advanced country goes bad and everyone has to become Frugal Prosumers.

SURVIVING IN ARGENTINA: 196 Neat Free Survival Downloads

These are all stored on Google Doc's
 First Aid
Wound Closure Manual
Emergency War Surgery


Urban P…

Rain Gutter garden beds

Former Iowa resident Suzane Forslinguses rain gutter to plant her vegetables in.
"I am from Iowa, so I have an inherent need to grow vegetables. Each winter, I dream up ways of trying to garden in Juneau's environment which, so far, has really frustrated me.
Courtesy Of Suzanne Forsling
Nothing I tried works very well. Like many homes in the Juneau area, our yard has its problems. We live near the glacier, so the soil is cold and has very little organic matter, there are lots of big trees shading it, and we have all the slugs and root maggots anyone could want, with porcupines, cats, bears and ravens meandering to boot. There is only one side of our house that gets much sunshine, and, of course, that side of the house has the smallest yard. It is really just an alleyway between ours and the neighbors. I might eventually put in some cold frames, but can't really afford that this year with all the extra money going to the high energy and food prices. So my brain has kept wo…

Avoid private student loans at all cost by Clark Howard

If you're not familiar with Clark Howard, you definitely should be. He is hands down the most practical person on handling money and I am a great fan of his radio show.

I consider his advice gold. Here are a few words of advice from him. He has much more at

"I read in The New York Times that student loan debt is being called the "anti-dowry" because it hangs around your neck like an albatross in your 20s and 30s and makes you less of an attractive prospect for marriage.
Now comes word from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau that private student loans stink. Just like I've always said!"A warning for parents and grandparents
Parents do not feel guilty that the expenses of providing for your family are preventing or have prevented you from saving for your children's college education. Let go of that guilt. It's more important to save for your own retirement, because there are no scholarships, loans or work-study programs for t…

Online Learning: Udacity and Coursera is this Educations Future?

Sick and tired of bank fees?

If you're sick and tired of having to pay to have a checking account and bank fees for every little this and that!
Wal-Mart and American Express as of next week have created an earthquake in the banking field.
They are offering prepaid credit cards without all the hidden and not hidden fees.

Read about it at:
Time to Go Prepaid?Wal-Mart’s New Prepaid Card May Be the Best Deal Yet.Wal-Mart reaches out to the unbanked- MSN MoneyGo to com for complete details and to sign up for the free card.

What you get with a bluebird reloadable prepaid Card:
Use it anywhere American Express cards are acceptedAccess to Purchase Protection if eligible things accidentally breakRoadside Assistance when you need itFraud Protection Guarantee to prevent identity theft if you lose your cardSpecial savings and advance tickets with Entertainment Access*Up to 3 Cards for your family, or othersFree auto-transfers from a bank accountCard and funds replaced at no charge if lost or stolen24/7 Ame…

Where is Technology Leading Higher Education?

"The rush to create large, free online classes has generated anxiety at universities around the country. With finances already tight and with a surge of movement toward online learning, universities are being forced to move quickly to change centuries-old models of learning. Terms like historic, seismic and revolutionary now pop up in descriptions of the challenges that higher education faces in the coming years." "Internet connections, computers and cellphones have become faster and cheaper, providing easier access to online material and creating the potential to speak with, work with, and learn from nearly anyone in the world. Information, once something people had to seek out, now flows relentlessly to them. In education, lecture capture and lesson creation have become easier and cheaper, and online storage has made retrieval cheap and easy. Free tools like Moodle, Jing, YouTube, and Twitter have provided new means of information sharing and collaboration. Smartphone…

Student Debt is Crippling our Economy

Recent figures show that one out of five (19%) american households owed student debt in 2010. Average debt was $45,000 and a total student debt over $1 trillion dollars – more than what Americans owe on either credit cards or auto loans.

This student debt keeps people in bondage for years and keeps many from owning a home, buying a vehicle, getting married, having children, starting a business, and other activities vital to the economy and the future.
As I have stated many times before, it is nearly impossible to get out of this. If things go really bad even bankruptcy (the tool made available to Americans since the founding of the nation) is unavailable to relieve student debt. Credit rating companies like Standard and Poor and Mood feel that student debt will be the next economic bubble to burst bringing economic and political unstability.

Along with this the value of a college degree is greatly devaluated as many graduates are unable to find work in their degree fields and end up …

$15 a month home phone service from Straight Talk

Just when you thought the home phone was dead. As it should have been with all its expensive and hidden costs and added fees for every little service. Verizon and Straight Talk have just teamed up to bring you Home Phone Connect.

For an initial cost of a $100 (update 10/30/13 now $80) for a wireless base station and $15 a month you can have:
unlimited local and long distance callingcaller IDthree-way callingcall forwardingvoice mailcalls to 411 and  911 supportedNo-Contract Replacement for your Landline Also:

No High-Speed Internet or Landline requiredCompatible with your existing corded or cordless phoneKeep your current number or get a new oneYou can take your Straight Talk Wireless Home Phone with you to a different addressRechargeable battery allows you to make and receive calls in case of power outage24/7 customer care support Many people have dropped their home phones and just rely on their mobile phones. 

Since this is a cellular based product, you could unplug the wireless base …