Marti’s Corner 105

March 27, 2023

Hi Everyone,


Just a few weeks ago I recommended hamtestonline.com as a good resource for getting your license.  I just now saw that as of June 30, they are shutting down their website.  Don’t worry, there are other sites……. but I did like their system.

First Aid KitDo you have a first aid kit that you can throw in the car at a moment’s notice?  Just think about what you would want.  At a youth camp, the things we used most were: tweezers for splinters, moleskin for blisters, bandaids, aspirin, aloe vera gel for sunburns, and chapstick (or Mentholatum).  This is a good start.  Find a “fanny pack” or small backpack, or another small container for your kit, and just start gathering what you probably already have.  I have first aid kits in each of my 72-hour kits.  These FAKs fit into a quart-size zip lock bag, yet are quite comprehensive.  At any craft store, you can get very small baggies (2″ X 2″ or any size you want).  I used these small bags to pack a “few” aspirin, Tylenol, Benadryl, tums, Pepto Bismol tablets, and whatever else I wanted.  You don’t need a year’s supply of Tylenol.  You just want something you might need if you are away from home or stuck someplace unexpectedly.  


I grow a lot of things in 5-gallon buckets.  I bought a lot of them over the last few years at a local agriculture place.  But here’s the thing….. when I compared them to an actual 5-gallon bucket, they are NOT the same!!!  Even the 5-gallon fabric grow bags that I like are NOT actually 5 gallons.  I like the buckets that you can get at Lowe’s or Home Depot or Harbor Freight.  BUT, I don’t want them all over the yard because…..well…. they aren’t very aesthetically pleasing.  I’ve decided that the best solution are the fabric bags that are sold as 7 gallon.  They are the closest in size to the 5-gallon bucket.  Here are the ones I just bought.  Delxo 12-Pack 7 Gallon Grow Bags Heavy Duty Aeration Fabric Pots Thickened Nonwoven Fabric Pots Plant Grow Bags

There are several different brands, and they are mostly the same.

Now, what can you grow in them?  THIS article explains what you can grow, and how many you can put in one container.  It also offers some good advice about planting and growing them.  Grow Food In 5 Gallon Buckets – 15 Fruits & Veggies That Thrive.  The only thing I would add is that when I try to grow broccoli in the 5 gallon buckets, they never get the big heads that you find in the grocery store.  You just get small clusters.  

THIS WEEK’S PURCHASE:  pasta, macaroni – 15 pounds

The price of pasta has jumped since COVID.  But at Winco, you can get a pound of pasta for about $1.25.  Pick up 10 pasta packages.  You can vacuum seal them, or store them in a bucket with a tight fitting lid.  Pasta packaging is really susceptible to pantry moths, so protect your pasta before just putting it on a high shelf.  

MISC. PURCHASE – Tarp and rope.  During the winter, we cover our patio furniture with tarps.  It only takesTarp
a season or two before those tarps are falling apart!  In an emergency situation, your tarp could be used as part of a make-shift shelter, or to put UNDER your tent, or as a protector to keep the sun off your tent.  We use tarps year round.  The next time you go to Lowes, or Home Depot, just pick up one or two and tuck them away in the garage someplace.  50′ of rope will let you tie that tarp to a couple of trees or to another sturdy object.


Split Pea Soup

Soupy SalesFrom Ina Garten on the Food Network

I don’t make this very often, but I really like split pea soup.  Craig??    Not so much.  BUT…… the first time I made it he declared it was better than he thought it would be.  LOL

In a 4 quart stockpot, on medium heat saute

  • 1 c. chopped yellow onions (I use rehydrated dehydrated onions)
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced (I use dehydrated)
  • 2 TB olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp black pepper

   Saute to translucent, 10-15 minutes.  Add:

  • 2 c. medium diced carrots (3-4 carrots)
  • 1 c. medium diced potato (3 small potatoes)
  • 1/2 pound of split peas
  • 8 c. chicken stock 

Bring to a boil, simmer uncovered for 40 min.  Skim off the foam while cooking.  

Add an additional 1/2 pound of split peas and continue cooking another 40 in, or until all the peas are soft.  Stir frequently to keep the solids from burning on the bottom.

The first time I had carrots and potatoes in the soup, I couldn’t believe how GOOD it was!!!  

Notice there is no meat.  You CAN add ham from ham hocks, or left over ham, but you won’t notice if you don’t.  

Fruit Smoothies

DIY LimoncelloTaken from “There’s A Cow In the Kitchen” by Virginia D. Nelson

Fruit Smoothie

Do you have jars or cans of fruit that is too old to eat  but you just can’t bear to throw it out?  This is the answer.

In a blender:

  • 2 cups canned fruit with the juice
  • 3/4 c. non-instant milk powder or 1 1/3 c. instant
  • 1-2 drops almond flavoring if using cherries or large stone fruits.

If using berries, use 1 TB lemon juice.

Macho Mexican Rice

From The Survival Mom

In a 10-inch skillet, heat the olive oil.  Add

  • 3 TB olive oil
  • 2 c. white rice and stir until lightly browned.  Be careful NOT to burn the rice.


  • 3 c. water or chicken broth
  • 2 TB tomato paste, or more if you prefer
  • 2 cloves garlic, pressed
  • 1/2 tsp salt or more to taste

Stir until the tomato paste is dissolved, then add any or all of the following:

  • 1/2 tsp – 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • canned green chilies
  • 1/2 c. frozen or canned corn
  • 1/2 c. salsa or chopped tomatoes
  • chopped onion
  • sliced black olives
  • chopped cilantro

Bring mixture to a simmer and cover with a well-fitting lid.  Continue cooking for 20 minutes or until the rice is cooked but not mushy.

Top with sour cream or grated cheese.

Serve as a side dish, or in a tortilla.

Marti Shelley

5 3 votes
Article Rating
Notify of
Newest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Ron Impens
Ron Impens
7 months ago

Marti, I read every issue you put out. I even copy and paste them to my document files. You mention in this issue your use of 5 gallon bucket, and grow bags. I have developed a real fondness for the mineral buckets that cattle ranchers use for their livestock. They are about 15 gallons with a wide circumference. Granted, I live in Iowa where they are plentiful, and farmers are usually glad to get rid of them, as they accumulate quickly.
I can get several, line them up in neat rows with walk space in between. I have grown everything from garlic, potatoes, squash, beans, and tomatoes. Probably the only thing I don’t think they would be satisfactory for is corn. A good place to see these in use would be YouTube Living Traditions Homestead. They are actually where I got the idea, and make great use of them as well.
Blessing to you

7 months ago

Marti: Like Ron below I have saved every issue you’ve put out & downloaded. These are great resources. Thank you. I make planting bags out of the 42# kitty litter bags (like from Costco). I only use for 2 years but they hold together & give enough space for fairly large plants. They do not shred & blow plastic around like flimsy bags. I do punch drainage holes into the bottom & about 3″ up the sides of the bags. I trim off the top parts until the bag opens up completely. I roll down the tops about 3″ as well. I live in Idaho & need moisture to stay in without rotting the roots. This works. I’ve been doing this for 8 years & no failures. Other bags that have similar thick mils would also work. This helps to stretch your garden budget & get higher yields.


Subscribe our newsletter

Sign up for exclusive, behind the scenes content and updates.

Would love your thoughts, please comment.x