Mac Nova

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Recent posts by Mac Nova

If you examine the chemical composition of sugar and cocaine you will find they are exactly alike with the exception of one molecule of nitrogen.
12 years ago
Here's an interesting article on preserving Beef, Pork, Lamb and Eggs back in the good o'le days.

by C. F. Eckhardt   
Imagine living in an era when there is no refrigeration. None at all. If you live in a town you might get ice delivered to your house every week or so during the spring, fall, and winter, about twice or three times a week during a Southern, Texas, or Southwestern summer. However, if you live in the country, you're not going to have ice except as a special treat a few times a year. Of course, if the creek nearest your property freezes over during the winter-thick ice, not thin-you might go down and saw chunks of ice out of the creek. Unless you've got well-insulated underground storage for it, it's not going to last much past the middle of June. So-how are you going to preserve meat for late spring, summer, and early fall eating?

Meat was dried-the stuff called 'jerky' from what Native Americans called it, though the practice seems to be world-wide. In sub-Saharan Africa exactly the same stuff is called 'biltong.'

It was pickled. It was smoked. Those were about the only ways of preserving meat.

According to DR. CHASE'S RECIPES OR INFORMATION FOR EVERYBODY, the thirty-sixth edition of which came out in 1866, here are some recipes for preservation of meat without refrigeration. One of the recipes for preserving beef deals with hundred-pound lots, which would not be unusual on a farm or ranch. First you would thoroughly cover the beef in salt 'to draw out the blood.' After the beef remained in the salt for twenty-four hours you'd drain it and pack it into a wooden barrel. Then you'd prepare the preserving brine. This would consist of seven pounds of salt, one ounce each of saltpeter (potassium nitrate, also used in making gunpowder) and cayenne pepper, one quart of molasses, and eight gallons of 'soft water.' That was usually rainwater caught in barrels and allowed to settle until all the dust went to the bottom of the barrel. This you'd bring to a boil and 'skim well.' You'd then let it cool, pour it over the beef, and put a lid on the barrel.

Now, obviously, this stuff is gonna be mighty salty when you take it out of the barrel. What you'd do to get rid of the salt would be parboil the stuff-throw it in a pot of water and boil it for fifteen or twenty minutes. After that you could cook it in whatever way you wanted to. Unfortunately, parboiling has an unfortunate effect on the meat. It makes it about as tough as boot leather. After the meat was parboiled but before it was cooked a good cook took a heavy metal skillet and pounded the meat with the edge of it to tenderize the stuff.

By the end of summer, the onset of autumn, this preserved beef would be getting a mite 'high,' to say the least. The primary reason rich brown gravies and tangy sauces were invented was not to 'enhance the flavor of the meat,' but rather to disguise the fact that it was pretty far on the way to being rotten.

To preserve mutton-the hams only-you were advised to put the mutton hams into a weak brine for two days. Exactly how much salt made a 'weak brine' isn't mentioned. After that, for each one hundred pounds of mutton hams put six pounds of salt, an ounce of saltpeter, two ounces of saleratus, and a pint of molasses into six gallons of water and pour it over the mutton in the barrel. You would leave the mutton in the brine for two to three weeks and then take it out, dry it, and apparently dry it as you would jerky. According to a note, the saleratus kept the meat from getting hard.

There were several methods of curing hams, all of which involved smoking them. Mr. Thomas J. Sample of Muncie, Indiana, writing in 1859, prepared his hams this way. To what Mr. Sample called a 'cask of hams'-he apparently used large casks, for this recipe is for twenty-five to thirty hams-he allowed them to lie in salt for two or three days. He then packed them in casks and poured his brine over them. The water-he doesn't give a quantity-had to have enough salt added to float a 'sound egg or a potato.' That's a lot of salt. To that he added a half-pound of saltpeter and a gallon of molasses. He then left the hams in this brine for six weeks. After that time he took them out, drained them, dried them, and smoked them. Dr. Chase adds that immediately dusting them, upon removing them from the smoke, with finely-ground pepper will keep flies off.

A Marylander, Mr. T. E. Hamilton, who took several first prizes at fairs with his hams, did it somewhat differently. First he rubbed the hams with fine salt and let them sit for two days. He then made a brine of four gallons of water, eight pounds of coarse salt, two ounces of saltpeter, one and a fourth ounces of potash, and two pounds of brown sugar. This he poured over the hams and let them pickle for six weeks. After that he took them out, drained them, dried them, and smoked them. Having eaten Virginia smoked ham myself-though it's been well over half a century-I can testify that the hams of Virginia and Maryland, which are very similar, are great.

To have pork chops or pork steaks for summer from the winter kill, this method was used. After pickling the pork 'until it is salty enough to be palatable,' you would fry it or cook it until it was about half to two thirds done. Then you would pack it into airtight jars in its own lard. According to Dr. Chase, when you took it out and finished frying it or cooking it, it would be as fresh as you could want. He mentions having handled beef in the same way, packing it in lard, and that it was preserved, as well. Bacon was also prepared like this. After being cured and smoked, it was cooked about half way, then packed in lard in airtight containers. According to Dr. Chase this worked on the same principle as canning, by excluding air from the meat.

One method Dr. Chase mentions would supposedly preserve meat for as long as three years. He recommended packing it in finely-ground charcoal. (Don't try this with modern charcoal briquettes. They've got a lot of petroleum products in them as well as charcoal-and not just the 'light the bag' kind.) Apparently this is the way the British Royal Navy packed meat for long voyages. Dr. Chase mentions that Captain Cook sailed three times around the world with the meat for his crews packed in powdered charcoal, and the meat was still edible at the end of the third year-long voyage.

Oh, yes-to preserve eggs, pack them in finely-ground corn meal. According to the recipe, eggs will keep 'perfectly fresh' for up to a year this way. Now-aren't you glad you live in the era of home refrigeration?

© C. F. Eckhardt
"Charley Eckhardt's Texas" February 21, 2008 column

12 years ago
If you recharge them using wind generated, Solar or Hydro sources they will be but if you just plug them into the wall then its no cleaner as Mother Earth suggests.

And how about the Ethanol mother natures gasoline, Made from plants that use 10 calories to make 1 calorie of plant matter and then process it to make fuel. Out of plants that compete with the food supply... How does that work?
12 years ago
Fire flies in jar.... done deal
12 years ago
You can extract Casein out of the milk and make a rock hard polymer type plastic out of it using just vinegar. One cow produces 20,000 pounds of milk per year so with a small heard you can make a shit load of this stuff its easily mouldable when wet and hardens when it dries. SO you can make a dome house out of it and eat it if times get tough. Buttons and knitting needles and the like are made from it. I know back in the day the Canadian forces used them on the uniform buttons on combat colthing and parkas so you could eat the buttons in a jam. You can make a plastic glass out of potatoe starch or any starch for that matter that is trans lucent. Just google Plastic from milk or plastic from starch. Called bioplastics but dead easy to make and use.
12 years ago
Bad luck getting robbed but don't get discouraged with hunters. Go out meet them say hello ask what they are hunting and whatever it is, they can find it over in your drug dealers land next door. Then when they go out of sight rob their truck when they come back blame it on the drug dealer problem solved. They won't come back.
12 years ago
Having an extencive background in thermodynamics and power generation I have seen many ideas and power "saving" concepts over the years. Most are very technical or require doing without heat to save. Not my idea of saving this doing without. Heat scavenging is about the best low tech method of doing this thru heat exchange.

That being said there are two simple concepts with heat.

1. Heat rises.
2. Heat moves from hot to cold.

A simple application for these two principles is in an apartment above the first floor. I lived in one for years on the thid floor in Northern Canada for years heated by electric power and never used it even in-40C weather. The idea is to open a window, yes open a window... The air flow created will draft out your hot air and inturn will create a low poressure zone in your apartment. Then open your apartment door and you will draw in all the warm air from the building and equalize the apartment temperature with the average temperature of the building in a few minutes. As I draw the heat from the building cold outside air will replace the warm air being drafted and the building heaters will kick in to reheat the air.

Its not free heat but I never paid for it just scavenged the hall heat and whatever drafted out underneath doors. At night as the apartment cooled heat flows hot to cold and being the clodest apartment at night heat would transfer to my apartment using this principle.

Much the same as a refrigerator working many think that the fridge cools off things in reality it removes heat it doesn't add cold. And the Idea of darkness you don't make somthing dark, dark does not exist its just an absence of light that prevents reflection.

The process works the same in hot climates for air conditioning thermal equalization can take place using an underground trench dig a trench four or more feet down run a pipe a have one end open to the outside and the other inside your home. As the hot air rises and exits your house on a hot day it will draft the air thru the piping and as the air travels thru it will try and heat the dirt in the surrounding trench losing its own heat in the process the heat will be lost to a max. of the ground temperature and this cool air will enter the house thru a vent. Another way to scavenge the heat from food items using this method is to convert a closet to a "cold sorage area is to vent in the cold air thru the bottom of the closet and the food will try and heat the cold air thus losing its own heat and becoming as cold as the vented air no need to insulate the closet and just leave the top of the closet open to insure continuious air flow. The food will equalize to the intake air temperature so as you dig monitor ground temperature and thats how cold the food will be. Hotter it is the more air flow and this draws in a greater volume of cooler air making the system more efficient.
12 years ago
Two sticks on a chain works well one size opf a hockey stick and the other the size of a billy club. chain the two together and fly at her.
12 years ago
Well from the whole USA map The only nucke free zone is in the mid west probably because of the Yellowstone factor and the super volcano rising at 2 inches per year it goes off every 600,000 years and last time it went off was 640,000 years ago. SO its over due. COme up here to Canada man we got loads of room. If everyone in Canada played hide and seek each person would have 13 Sq miles each to hide on! Nobody would find anybody

Undeerground housing will stop most nueclear fallout and solar flairs direct gamma and your toast anyways. But if your really worried come to Canada tell them star wackers are trying to get you and your in. Worked for Randy Quaid.
12 years ago

Feral wrote:
Another thought.. because my growing season is so short.. can this be used to my advantage, for example, the season for things tends to be long gone elsewhere.. when things start happening in my area. An example, lilacs bloomed nearly a full month behind areas in Vancouver, Portland, SE Idaho.  Same with many other things. I'm thinking that this could be used to my advantage as it could extend the availability of some seasonal foods and flowering plants.

Just all thoughts that keep rattling around in my head and I need to figure out how to use them!


Looking at it from a neutral POV, Your in zone 4 back off the beaten trail with a short growing season. You will never compete with local nurseries or the big box players. Your at least a month behind them. Selling native perrenials seems like a bad idea since the perrenials are native to zone 4 and probably will not grow in warmer zones the few that will grow are already there in the wild in the other zones. Kinda like me trying to start a tropical food forest in Northern BC. Not trying to piss on your parade just trying to save you some grief.
12 years ago