Energy Solar

Marti’s Corner – 142

March 21, 2024

Hi Everyone,


We have a small portable solar panel that is similar to this one:

It’s only $29 on Amazon.  

BLAVOR 10W Portable Solar Charger(5V/2A Max), Waterproof IPX4 Foldable Solar Panel with Dual Smart USB Output Compatible with iPhone Xs/X/8/7, iPad, Samsung for Outdoor Hiking Camping Backpacking : Cell Phones & Accessories

The advantage to this is that the battery will never “go bad”.  This happens when the battery starts to expand and bulge.  I had to throw all my cell phone chargers with bulging batteries away.  I thought they were going to explode!  
This solar panel has no battery.  So…. it won’t work at night.
But, you could use this one to charge your other cell phone chargers so they won’t have that battery issue from sitting in the sun all day.  (Weird, that they are DESIGNED to charge in the sun, but doing just that is not good for the battery.)

As a note:  if you DO use this charger to charge your phone or other device, make sure your phone is behind the solar charger – in the shade.  Cell phones do NOT like to sit in the hot sun!!!

**  Consider learning how to sprout.  This is my favorite thing to sprout:  Organic Lentil Salad | Crunchy Lentil Fest Sprouting Lentils | True Leaf Market Seed Company

It takes all of 2 days (3 at the most).  I do NOT have any fancy equipment.  I use a glass jar with a ring (no lid) and a piece of mesh or netting.  Put about 1 TB seeds in the jar.  Cover with water.  Soak overnight.  The next day, cover the jar opening with the netting and stain out the water.  Rinse and drain.  Then set the jar tilted in a soup bowl to drain. I keep my sprouts covered with a dishtowel, but others put the jars in the sun.  ???  Must not matter that much.  That night, rinse, drain and set in the bowl.  Repeat each morning and night.  I do NOT like long squirmy sprout roots.  I like mine to be about 1/4 inch long.  When the sprouts are the length you want, put the jar in the refrigerator.  It’s THAT easy.  Sprouted seeds are PACKED with nutrition and all kinds of good stuff that is absent in the seeds themselves.  In an emergency, you would have nutritious food to supplement your storage in just a matter of days.  Gardens are great but all your neighbors know you have one.  Sprouts are done privately.  They are SOOOO good on salads or sandwiches.  I like mine on scrambled eggs.  

** Do you know how to turn off the gas to your house (in case of an earthquake)?  

HOW TO shut off and restart your gas line in case of emergency


**Time to harden off your seedlings…. at least in MY grow zone.  Start about 1 week before you plan on planting outside.  Baby plants need time to acclimate to the sun.  The hot sun is from about 1-4.  Start with 2 hours.  Take the seedlings outside in the sun for TWO hours.  No more!!!  Then, move them inside or in the shade.  Increase the time by 2 hours for another day or 2.  By the time you get to 8 hours, you can be pretty sure they will be safe outside all day.  
Even seedlings you buy at a nursery need some hardening off.  IF you get an overcast day that does not have full sun, you can leave the plants out all day.  Don’t neglect this important step.  

Once the plants are hardened off, you can plant them in the garden.  This week, I’m going to get the broccoli, cauliflower, and any other cool weather plants in the garden.

Generally, you want to wait until the evening temperatures are mostly above 50 degrees before you set out the tomatoes, peppers, and cucumbers.  

Here are just two of my trays outside for the second day. 

You are not REALLY supposed to put them on the ground, but I don’t have any dogs, or chickens, or any other animals that might hurt them.  Nor do I have anything that might eat them.  
Another option would be to put them in a place that gets a few hours of direct sun, then afternoon shade.  
I really dislike this part of the job, because bringing them in and out and in and out is a pain.

THIS WEEK’S PURCHASE:  cooking oil, shortening

    Back in the old days, there was no such thing as spray Crisco.  We used cooking oil or shortening to grease all our pans.  I don’t use shortening very often (except for pie crusts and the occasional cookie).  But I use cooking oil quite a bit.  Shortening is supposed to last three years, unopened, but in my experience, that’s pushing it.  It tends to yellow and go rancid (depending on where it is stored.)  If you just HATE to throw it away, know that you CAN use it as a candle.

Magic Crisco Shortening Candle Recipe I like this video because he uses cotton twine as a wick – nothing fancy.  Here’s a version that the City Prepping team created, which uses Crisco, a candle, and an upcycled pickle jar for an incredible 300 hours of burn time. 300 Hour Crisco Candle.

MISC. PURCHASE: plastic zip lock bags 

I go through a lot of bags.  I buy snack bags, sandwich bags, quart bags, and gallon bags.  I use so many that I’ve started washing them out and reusing them!!!  
Small bags (like for a small trash can) might come in handy if the plumbing stops working and you need a make-shift potty.  Large bags might come in handy if trash services are suspended for any length of time.  I’m not sure how I could possibly store enough bags to last me a year.  BUT, I CAN store several boxes of each.  We have a couple of shelves in the garage where we store non-perishable items:  candles, plastic bags, soaps, etc.  Whatever you use, start with an extra 2 of each.  Set them aside.  When you run out, use one of your stored boxes and then replace with two more.  


Every time the teachers had any kind of pot luck, one of them would ALWAYS bring this breakfast casserole (kind of like a coffee cake).  I really liked it:


2 c. Bisquick
2/3 c. milk
2 TB sugar
1 egg

In a separate bowl:  Mix the topping
2 TB Bisquick
1/3 c. brown sugar
1/2 tsp cinnamon
2 TB butter
1/2 c. oatmeal

      Use a fork (or your fingers) to work the butter in with the Bisquick and brown sugar.  

Add 1/3  of the topping mix in with the 2 c. Bisquick and milk mix.
Pour batter in a greased 13X9 pan.
Sprinkle topping on top.  Bake 375˚ for 25 min.  Drizzle vanilla frosting (powdered sugar and milk)
Now, I almost NEVER buy Bisquick.  Here is a recipe for a substitute:

DIY Bisquick

2 c. all purpose flour
1 TB baking powder
1 tsp salt
1/3 c. vegetable shortening

     The fastest way is to use a food processor to mix,  It will make about 2 1/3 c. which is just a little over what you will need for this recipe.  

Baked Fudge Pudding

from Lois Wurtz

I like this one because everything is already on my shelf.
1 c. flour
3/4 sugar
2 TB cocoa
2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
     Mix together.
1/2 c. mil
2 TB vegetable oil
1 tsp vanilla
      Add and stir until smooth.
1 c. chopped nuts (optional)
      Add nuts if desired.  Spread mixture evenly in 9X9 baking dish.
1 c. firmly packed brown sugar
1/4 c. cocoa
     Mix sugar and cocoa and sprinkle over the mix.
1 3/4 c. VERY hot tap water
      Slowly pour water over the batter and brown sugar mix.  
Bake 350˚ for 40 minutes.  Let stand 15 minutes.  Serve with whipped cream or ice cream.

Tortilla Soup

from Amy Morris

1 small onion, chopped
1 small can chopped green chilies
2 crushed garlic cloves
2 TB vegetable oil
     Saute onion, chilies and garlic in oil for 5 minutes.
1 large chopped tomato 
2 c. beef broth
2 c. chicken broth
1 tsp chili powder
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp salt
2 c. water
2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
1 can tomato soup
4 chicken breasts, cubed (in an emergency situation, could probably substitute 2-3 cans of chicken shredded
1 can corn (or frozen)
     Bring to a boil and simmer 1 hour 10 minutes.  
To serve:  place tortilla chips in a bowl, add soup, and a dollop of sour cream, a sprinkle of green onions, and shredded cheddar cheese.


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