15 thoughts on “Re-Skilling”

    1. It’s an All American 930 Made in Wisconsin. Built like a tank. I love it. The 930 will hold 19 pint jars or 14 quart jars. Before I bought it I was afraid it might become one of those items that gets used a lot the first month and then sits in a dark corner for ten years before it gets shuffled off to Good Will. But no. I use “Hilda” on average once a week – although I tend to do a cluster of canning one week and then take a few weeks off. Year round. Two thumbs up. Check out Linda’s Pantry on YouTube for a great source of canning inspiration.

  1. This post really touches a cord. My ex mining town here is populated by folk with little/no income, disposable or otherwise. My goal here was to spread the message that if the cash economy is leaving you in the dust, then DIY is your only option. It’s sad to see obese (40%),barely able to walk, often young, folk with grocery carts full of processed foods, potato chips, sodas, because this stuff is (initially) cheap and fresh produce is unaffordable. Many folk, even elders, no longer know how to cook from scratch, grow food, preserve it.

  2. Growing up in Kansas my relatives all had food cellers in the back yard that doubled as a tornado shelter. Look under Groundfridge for the new and better version of the old root cellar.

  3. OMG, I have a Hilda, too. Only I didn’t know what her purpose was. I inherited her, along with some lovely pots and pans from a friend who passed away. Now that I know what her function is, a little google-fu is in order. Since mine is much older than yours, may I please call her Great Aunt Hilda?

    BTW, I read the story of your Hawaii home several years ago. I cited it the other day on the Mr. Money Mustache Forum, and someone else mentioned that you have this blog. Nice! If you’re not familiar with the MMM Forum, I invite you to check it out. Lots of kindred spirits. And so far, I love your blog. I can’t wait to read lots more. And I’m waving from just over in the East Bay. Thank you!

    1. “I just believe,’ he said, ‘that the whole thing is going to be reduced to the human body, once and for all. I want to be ready…. I think the machines are going to fail, the political systems are going to fail, and a few men are going to take to the hills and start over…. I had an air-raid shelter built,’ he said. ‘I’ll take you down there sometime. We’ve got double doors and stocks of bouillon and bully beef for a couple of years at least. We’ve got games for the kids, and a record player and a whole set of records on how to play the recorder and get up a family recorder group. But I went down there one day and sat for a while. I decided that survival was not in the rivets and the metal, and not in the double-sealed doors and not in the marbles of Chinese checkers. It was in me. It came down to the man, and what he could do. The body is the one thing you can’t fake; it’s just got to be there…. At times I get the feeling I can’t wait. Life is so fucked-up now, and so complicated, that I wouldn’t mind if it came down, right quick, to the bare survival of who was ready to survive. You might say I’ve got the survival craze, the real bug. And to tell you the truth I don’t think most other people have. They might cry and tear their hair and be ready for some short hysterical violence or other, but I think most of them wouldn’t be too happy to give down and get it over with…. If everything wasn’t dead, you could make a kind of life that wasn’t out of touch with everything, with other forms of life. Where the seasons would mean something, would mean everything. Where you could hunt as you needed to, and maybe do a little light farming, and get along. You’d die early, and you’d suffer, and your children would suffer, but you’d be in touch.”
      ― James Dickey, Deliverance

  4. Nice post, Johnny. I’ve been water-bath canning for years, and made a TON of jams this year as a new way of saving fruit.

    I don’t know if this qualifies as “advice”, but I always remove the bands from the finished jars after they have cooled and after I have made sure that they’ve sealed. The canning process can cause food to “burp” out from under the lid, and if it does that, it gets caught in the threads and leads to corrosion and/or mold and other unsightly growths. If you remove the bands, you can clean up the threads, and the bands don’t do anything after the processing is complete, anyway.

    Also, I’d be very careful stacking other things on top of home-canned goods – It’s possible to break the seal on the ones underneath. I suppose you could make a case here for leaving the bands ON as protection, but only after cleaning up the threads. I understand wanting to use the shelving to its fullest extent – I lined the walls of my basement with 116 linear feet of shelving, and I STILL don’t have enough room!

    Forgive me, I didn’t mean to turn that into a lecture. Just wanted to say good on you.

    1. Thanks for the advice.

      After I remove the glass jars from the canner and they cool completely I remove the metal rings, wash and dry the jars and the rings, check the lid seals, then put the metal rings back on.

      I did a fair amount of research and half the people say take the rings off and half say leave them on… Each camp makes a good argument. We’ll see how it goes.

  5. Echo what you say about rodents and keeping the food close by. Unless you fancy spending some time every week checking on your foodstuffs and making it a part of your routine you’d better keep it all within eyesight of where you are most of the time. I’ve never lived anywhere that didn’t eventually have mice or rats or both.

  6. Liking these resilience posts. I’m a long way off…

    One roadblock I came up against: my family’s diet is based totally around rice. That’s when I realized my ideal of self-sufficiency was fatally flawed. Now, potatoes are easy to grow caloric substitutes but we just don’t eat them on the regular so any substantial harvest would just sit in the garage.

    Luckily, rice stores naturally for long periods so I’m doing that. In addition, to my surprise, I found out California has a substantial rice industry so supply chain disruptions are possible to avert, drought concerns aside (

    Final fail safe plan is stacking dried pasta. That I do eat on the regular regardless and there are several local producers using California-grown grain.

    1. Be sure not to store things like rice and pasta in the garage or other out-of-sight location in paper or cellophane packaging. Sooner or later rodents will find it and do a lot of damage. I speak from experience here. Keep food in the house proper in a place you see it regularly and/or store it in plastic 5 gallon buckets with Gamma Seal lids Rats can chew through heavy plastic, but they tend not to if they don’t know there’s food inside.

  7. I’m enjoying this series of yours. Doing much of the same here in my little suburban yard/home in Oklahoma: gardening, fruit trees, baking a decent loaf of bread, raising chickens for eggs and meat, canning, dehydrating, making soap, etc… . It’s nice to see others doing the same across the country. Your shelving is so neat and organized! The storage part is a bit of a challenge here as we hit triple digits quite a lot in summer so the garage isn’t useful in that regard.

  8. I like the idea of using re-skilling to re-connect with an elderly relative. Hilda is a wonderful name. And this is such a useful hobby: you aren’t consuming chemicals or additives or massive amounts of sodium.

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