Making Dried Greens
For Winter Nutrition

Dateline: 27 January 2015

Salad Flakes, from Machado Farms

I was nearly seven years ago that I blogged about Rick Machado's excellent agripreneurial idea of Salad Flakes. If you are not familiar with Salad Flakes, and you are looking for some homestead-based, cottage industry inspiration, check out that link. Rick Machado is a down-to-earth innovator and I think innovation is an important part of making it as a small-scale farmer these days. 

As my old essay shows, I made some of my own dried greens, much like Rick's Salad Flakes. I utilized them as a homegrown nutritional supplement, especially in the winter months. But for the next five winters after that, I had no dried greens.

Not until last summer did I finally get around to "putting up" some garden greens again for the winter, and I'm now having a good dose of them every day. I typically mix them into plain yogurt, with some granola and maple syrup. Occasionally I'll put a pinch of dried greens between my cheek and gum, let them slowly rehydrate in my mouth, and enjoy the flavor (dried beet greens are especially nice for this).

In addition to making some dried greens last summer, I took some pictures of the process (click pictures to see enlarged views)....

First, grow some greens.

Next, pick a pail of greens.
Here we have a pail of beet greens.
(my favorite kind of greens)

This picture shows my greens "colander." It's made with a piece
of porous fabric suspended inside a clean pail. Note the
high-class clothespins (ClassicAmericanClothespins.com). 

I wash the greens by putting them into a pail
full of clean water, then agitating the greens.
Particles of soil on the greens will settle
to the bottom of the pail.

After agitating the greens in the water, I let them set for
a minute or two and take them out. This picture shows
the water after a first washing.

When washed greens are removed from the bucket,
they are placed in the fabric colander.

The colander fabric is square in shape. Fold the corners
up and you have  a tidy bundle like this
picture shows. Now you can swing the bundle around
some and centrifugal force will remove most of the water.

I wash and rinse three times. The pail on the right was
the first wash water. The pail on the left was the
second wash water. Notice that pail on the right has dirty
water, while the pail on the left (2nd wash water)
has cleaner and greener water.

This picture shows a pail of beet greens after the third and final
washing.They are a bit bruised, but clean.

I heap the washed greens on a dehydrator tray, like this.

One pail of picked and washed greens will fit into my
Equiflow food dehydrator as shown here.

A few hours later (not long) the greens will be dried and crispy.
Note that they are still green. I keep
the heat down low to preserve the nutrients.

Here you can better see the nicely-dried beet greens.

I put the dried greens in a bowl and crumble them by hand.

This picture shows the beet green stems that aren't fully dry.
They don't crumble and are easily removed.

I put the crumbled beet greens into a canning jar.

One pail of picked beet greens, dried and crumbled,
will fill a quart canning jar half way.

This pail of fresh-picked kale was
dried in like manner.


Homemade
Contra-Industrial
Green Multi-Vitamins...

The industrial system has done a very good job of training their consuming herds to think that the best nutritional supplements are "scientifically formulated" and neatly packaged. Surely, these well-presented products are superior to a nutritional product, like dried greens, that any gardener can easily make himself, or so the marketing geniuses would have us believe.

I don't buy it. 

I believe that something as simple and good as homemade dried greens are far better than any synthetic daily multivitamin you can buy in a store. 

Homemade dried greens are also practically free, but they do take some time and effort to make.





—Martin Armstrong—
Deflation
&
2015.75

Dateline: 26 January 2015

Martin Armstrong

I like to listen to a lot of different economic analysts. But I don’t listen to anything presented by the mainstream media. That’s because the mainstream media is clearly a propaganda arm of the government-corporate cartel that now runs America. You know this already, right?

So I listen to (and read) alternative economic discussion on the internet. To a man (and woman), all these independent economic analysts are expecting an economic catastrophe in America's future. For so many economists to agree on something of such magnitude is rare, because economists are well known for having different opinions.

But there is certainly no consensus among these people about exactly how the economy will eventually implode. For example, many have been predicting a hyper-inflationary crash, while a few have been predicting a deflationary crash. 

Among the deflationist minority has been Martin Armstrong. 

Martin Armstrong is a fascinating fellow. When you first see him, or to listen to him, or read his writings, you might not recognize him for what he is, which is a high level (governments and institutions), world-class economic advisor with an amazing track record of accuracy in his predictions (so the story goes).

Martin is a long-time student of history and, if I understand correctly, he has developed a computer program (based on pi) that looks at historical cycles and predicts upcoming economic events with uncanny precision. I know it sounds a little crazy, but stick with me here. 

Martin Armstrong’s computer-model predictions were so correct that he attracted the attention of the FBI. To make a long story short, he spent 12 years in prison, seven years of that time he was in prison for contempt charges. Martin says the government wanted the source code of his computer program, but he wouldn’t give it to them. They accused him of manipulating world financial markets. 

Martin Armstrong’s story is being made into a documentary titled The ForecasterHERE is the link to one trailer of the movie on YouTube. HERE is another trailer link. I'm looking forward to seeing this movie when it is finally out.

You can listen to a recent interview with Martin Armstrong At This Link.

And you can read Martin Armstrong's blog HERE. I get all Martin's blog posts by e-mail (several a day lately). I suspect that every economist in the world is reading Martin Armstrong.

Martin Armstrong's computer model has been telling him that we are in for a significant crisis event on 2015.75. That is his way of saying the 3rd quarter of this year. Specifically, on or just after, October 1, 2015. 

We will find out if The Forecaster is right on this call soon enough.

###

Martin Armstrong 
Quotes About 
Empire & Deflation


"Empires do not die by hyperinflation – that is reserved for the fringe. When an empire dies, it historically has ALWAYS been by deflation/stagflation. How? Real wealth is driven from the aboveground economy into the underground economy where it is hoarded and tucked away. This is why we find hoards of Roman coins. This reduces the velocity of money and commerce collapses. This is ALWAYS AND WITHOUT EXCEPTION how empires die."

### 

The British Empire did not die of hyperinflation. The pound collapsed in value. It did not inflate into oblivion. The British Empire simply rolled over and died. The decline of the sterling silver penny of England was no different a path than the decline and fall of Rome. The United States will follow the same path and that means there is a risk that it will break apart into regional sections ONLY AFTER the dollar is hit very hard following Europe and then Japan.

###

This is fairly simple. All the hyperinflationists can point to is Germany and Zimbabwe. They can offer not a single historical example of how hyperinflation ever destroyed any empire. I have no vested interest in hyperinflation or deflation. I simply do the research and let the evidence speak for itself. This is just not a personal opinion issue in the least. Both will lead to the same end result – the death of an empire. Why must there be an argument over such nonsense? It is DEAD from fiscal mismanagement!

###

When an empire dies that is the major reserve of all nations. We must be concerned about a complete meltdown and the breakup of the nation long-before hyperinflation would even be possible.





Vintage Clothespins
(My Newest Web Site)
&
Marketing Your
Home Business Ideas

Dateline: 24 January 2015




As most everyone who reads this must know by now, I make Classic American Clothespins. To help spread the word about my high-quality, American-made clothespins I sent some samples off to the editors of a few different magazines. If you create a new product, you should do the same.

Not every publication will acknowledge your sample, or the brilliance of your idea. The fact is, print publications are flooded with free samples. This reality became clear to me once, years ago, when visiting The Taunton Press in Newtown Connecticut (back when I wrote articles for Fine Homebuilding magazine). One editor's cubicle was crammed with samples of new products, some from large companies, and some for small-scale entrepreneurs. He seemed a bit overwhelmed by all the stuff.

Editors are overworked and often harried people. They have a lot on their plate. Your sample may get lost in the shuffle. In fact, more often than not, I suspect it will get lost in the shuffle. But don't let that deter you. Nothing ventured, nothing gained. That's my motto. One review of your product in a print publication can make all the difference. I know this from experience.

When I think of the power of a product review, I think of Chris Pasto. Back in the mid-1990's I was self-employed as a remodeling contractor and my focus was on cabinet refacing (I wrote This Book on the subject). One spring weekend, in an effort to promote my business, I had a before-and-after cabinet refacing display set up at a home show in Ithaca, New York. Chris Pasto had a display there showing and demonstrating his BoWrench tool.

I was immediately intrigued by the tool and started asking questions. Chris told me the story of how he was a college student and he came up with the idea. He had spent several thousand dollars getting it patented, and was making the Bowwrenches himself. That home show was his first attempt to market the new tool.

I expressed my admiration for the brilliance of the idea and the usefulness of the tool. I told Chris that I wrote articles and tool reviews for a magazine called Fine Homebuilding. He didn't seem impressed.  I told him that a review of his tool in that magazine could really launch his business. He expressed mild interest. I realized that he wasn't going to just give me a BoWrench, and I realized that he really didn't grasp the importance of a good review of his product in a national publication.

So I handed over $50 for a BoWrench, did some evaluating of the tool and mailed it off to my editor friends at Fine Homebuilding. I told them it was a great tool and that I'd like to do a review of it. It took some months for the review to make it into the magazine, but when it was published, Chris Pasto's idea was launched onto the national stage. It made all the difference. No amount of money spent in advertising can compare to a good product review (absolutely free of cost) in a national publication.

I see the BoWrench is still selling and Chris has come out with some other neat tool ideas (BoWrench Link). I'm not sure what happened to the BoWrench I bought that day some 20 years ago. Maybe it is still in an editor's cubicle at Fine Homebuilding.

All of which is my long-worded way of saying that Mary Jane Butters at Mary Jane's Farm magazine saw the value of my Classic American clothespins when she received them, and promptly blogged about them. There was no internet  (that I recall) back in the mid 1990's. Things are different now.

Mary Jane's blog post sent a lot of customers to my web site. Then she mentioned my clothespins in an early 2014 issue of her magazine. And, again, in the most recent issue of Mary Jane's Farm, my clothespins are given national exposure.

Other people have mentioned my clothespins in internet reviews, which are probably just as good as a magazine review. Who knows how long print publications can survive with internet competition? The world is changing. But national exposure in a popular print publication remains a powerful marketing tool.

This has been a long-worded rabbit trail to simply announce my newest web site, Vintage Clothespins. The web site is something akin to a clothespin museum. If you like old clothespins, you'll appreciate the new web site.

The new web site is, like all of my web sites, made using the Blogger format, which is absolutely free. It's free. It's simple and easy to use. And it is effective.

Why take the time to create such a web site? Well, I do like old clothespins, but my motives are more practical. The new web site serves to attract and funnel internet searchers to my Classic American Clothespins web site, and my Make your Own Clothespins web site. In other words, it is a marketing tool.

If you have any kind of a product to promote, this is a marketing idea you can pursue at no cost... except the time and effort it takes to bring it to reality.


###

By the way, those clothespins pictured at the top of this page are probably the best example of an American-made clothespin. They were made by Penley Brothers in West Paris, Maine. I think they were made around 1950. The price for 12 clothespins was 29-cents.










Blessing Marci

Dateline: 22 January 2015



I was sorry to find out yesterday that Marci Blubaugh has been diagnosed with a brain tumor. For those who don't know, Marci and her husband, Mike, live a deliberate agrarian lifestyle in Ohio. Marci started blogging back in early 2006 (around the same time I did). The Blugaugh's have a web site and blog at Amazing Graze Farm.

Scott Terry has written about Marci and the difficult situation she is facing at this link: Prayers and Help For Our Friend Marci.  Quinn, at Reformation Acres has also blogged about Marci: Some Sad News.

To "bless" someone is to "invoke Divine care" (as the dictionary puts it) and to provide that person with something good or desirable.  

In this case, anyone reading this can bless Marci Blubaugh by praying for her, sending a card, and sending a gift. I intend to do all three. 

There is a Caring Bridge site for Marci HERE. Scott Terry has posted a mailing address for cards and donations at his blog post (link above).

I hope that many of you who read this will make time in your busy day (today and in the days ahead) to remember Marci Blubaugh, and bless her as much as you can.






More
Dandelion Root Tea

Dateline: 20 January 2015


If you live close to the earth and pursue a lifestyle of self-reliance to some degree, there are definite times and seasons for doing things. When a task is not done in season, you miss your opportunity. This was almost the case for me last fall when it came to digging dandelion roots for making my yearly supply of "root-tea" (as I call it around here).

In This Past Essay I told how, after years of thinking about it, I actually put some initiative into digging, drying, and roasting dandelion roots for the first time in my life. It so happened that there was nothing hard about any of it and the finished product is something I like very much. I like the flavor, and I like the fact that the tea is good for a body (the liver especially).

Based on that experience, I determined that making my own root-tea must needs be a part of my seasonal routines, like making apple cider in the fall, and maple syrup in the spring. My understanding is that the dandelion roots are best dug in the late fall, after a frost, and before the ground freezes.

But late last fall, with a snow storm approaching, and knowing that the ground would surely freeze, I had still not dug a supply of dandelion roots. It was nearing dusk, the wind was bitter cold, snow flakes were in the air. I grabbed a garden fork and a bucket and headed off, on foot, through the woods, to my field.




My field is chock full of weeds, including plenty of dandelions. They are healthy, organic, wild dandelions. I dug roots until there was so much snow on the ground that I could not identify which weeds were dandelions.

I processed the roots exactly as I showed in the essay link above. But instead of roasting the ground roots right away, I thoroughly dried them in a food dehydrator. Then I roasted them later.



I am confident in my digging, washing, chopping and drying abilities. But the roasting part seems to be one of those skills that requires some time and experience to know how it is best achieved. I think I have a tendency to over-roast, to the point of burning the little bits. But I haven’t yet ruined a roasting. Just come close.

I equate this roasting of the roots to the first few times Marlene and I made maple syrup years ago. Finishing it off on the stove was something of a mystery and we were plenty nervous about it. But, in time, we’ve come to “understand the syrup.”  Now finishing and jarring maple is a familiar process that we do with knowledge and efficiency.

One of the nice things about having a cup of root-tea in the evenings is that I can share the routine with my grandson, Futureman, when he is here. I add cream and maple syrup to the tea, and he loves it.

To Futureman, the root-tea is "fawky" which is his word for coffee (he doesn't drink real coffee, of course). We're working hard at learning him how to pronounce the word more accurately. Since he has no problem saying "cow" we are referring to root-tea as "cow-fee." The strategy is showing promise.


I suppose that learning to properly pronounce words at nearly-three is much like learning to roast your own dandelion root tea at nearly-fifty-seven. These things take time. And then, one day, it’s an easy, natural part of life.








When Life
Gives You Chernobyl...

Dateline: 18 January 2015




Here in the early months of 2015, doom-and-gloom prognostications proliferate. Some of the scenarios are way out there. Like, for example, there are people who think that the 100 nuclear power plants in the United States are succeptible to a Fukushima-style disaster.  Well, that’s pretty crazy. We all know that nuclear power plants are all perfectly safe. Right?

Yes, I’m being sarcastic. 

The fact is, there are a multitude of bad things that could happen, and sometimes bad things actually do happen to people. Take, for instance, the Chernobyl nuclear accident in Ukraine back in 1986. If you lived around that place, your world was turned upside down very quickly and unexpectedly by an event that you were totally at a loss to protect yourself from. 

Radiation and fallout from the Chernobyl accident was so significant that the Russian government created an “exclusion zone.” Here is an excerpt from the Chernobyl Wikipedia entry:

An area originally extending 30 kilometres (19 mi) in all directions from the plant is officially called the "zone of alienation." It is largely uninhabited, except for about 300 residents who have refused to leave. The area has largely reverted to forest, and has been overrun by wildlife because of a lack of competition with humans for space and resources. Even today, radiation levels are so high that the workers responsible for rebuilding the sarcophagus over the reactor are only allowed to work five hours a day for one month before taking 15 days of rest. Ukrainian officials estimate the area will not be safe for human life again for another 20,000 years.

Other accounts say that 160,000 people were evacuated from the 1,062,400 acres of land surrounding Chernobyl. Many of these people were rural farmers and peasants, living in small, rustic communities. 

Where did all the people go? My understanding is that they were herded into hastily-constructed apartment complexes and given government stipends.

But did you notice in the Wikipedia quote that 300 residents refuse to leave an area that “will not be safe for human life again for another 20,000 years?” 

What’s up with that? Those 300 people must be crazy, right? They must be living in total misery, right? 

Well, it turns out that those 300 people are not living in total misery, and I don’t think they’re crazy at all. Fact is, I think they’re more sane than their friends and neighbors who are crammed into the “safe” apartment complexes.


The 300 people who refuse to leave actually did leave, at first. But they missed their homes and the land that sustained them. So they left their apartments and dug under the fence around the exclusion zone to get back to their homesteads.

You can read all about these ‘self settlers' in This Article. It is well worth reading. 

And after you read that article (or even if you don't read the article) watch This Kickstarter film clip for the documentary movie that is being made about them.

If you want more insights into this story, watch This TED Talk from one of the people making the documentary. The thoroughly-modernized woman giving the talk does not share the experience of being rooted to a home and place, but she recognizes that it is something special, and vitally important. She sees that the settlers are better off than the apartment dwellers.

I think we can learn a lot from the example of these old people who are defying authority to live their lives bravely and joyfully in a radioactive no-man’s land. 

This Link takes you to the Facebook page for the movie. You can watch a movie trailer there.