There are a few seats left for this free class on Saturday, August 30, 2014, from 1:00 to 5:00. The deadline for registering is Wednesday, August 27, 2014 .

If you are serious about attending, send me an email, sarahboonegd (remove space in front of @) to register so I can send you the address. There is no charge for this class.

A couple of years ago my husband and I attended a class with several other preppers in Albemarle, NC taught by a surgeon and chiropractor with whom we have become friends. They did a great job and are offering the class again on August 30, 2014. They are both knowledgeable preppers who want to help folks like us learn some basic emergency medical skills in the event traditional medical care is unavailable. The class will include a suturing practice session using tissue simulants and tools provided by the doctor under his supervision.

Let me know if you have any questions.

Found on NCEM website:

Are you ReadyNC? Here’s an App to Help.

North Carolina now has a mobile application that will help our residents and visitors prepare daily for everything from minor traffic emergencies to severe storms.

This all-in-one tool can provide the latest weather, traffic and hazard information and tells you what you need to know to be safe in all types of emergencies. The app is free and available (look for ReadyNC) in the AppStore for iphones and Google Play for Android devices.

Using this app does NOT replace calling 911. It is not intended to report emergencies to local officials, but it can be used to find life-saving information.

Some of the features include:

  • real-time traffic and weather information
  • critical information on how to be safe during different hazardous events
  • real-time information about opened shelters for evacuees (including addresses, capacity, directions and if the shelter is pet-friendly)
  • real-time updates on flood levels of major nearby creeks and rivers
  • phone numbers and links to all North Carolina power companies to report outages
  • basic instructions on how to develop emergency plans and what to put in your emergency supplies kit
  • real-time information on which counties have issued evacuation orders
  • contact numbers and links to websites for those who need help recovering from a disaster
  • direct links to the and websites and social media accounts

We never know when the next storm will threaten, but we do know that those who are prepared before will fare better. Use this app to get your family ready.

Be safe,

Mike Sprayberry

Update: Last summer we raised 7 Red Ranger (meat) roosters from one day old chicks until they were 12 weeks old, then butchered and processed them in one morning using the technique and checklist below. It worked well. One change we made was to fasten the cone to the frame of our firewood storage stack so it doesn’t move while in use.

We have killed only two chickens, but I am willing to share what we learned.  If you are sensitive to this type of information, please stop reading.

We killed a hen using the technique of a pole on her neck then yanking up on her feet to separate the spinal column. It worked fast and is the best way to kill rabbits. But you still have to cut the chicken’s neck to bleed it out, and she flopped around after she was dead.

Chicken Killing Cone

Chicken Killing Cone

We used the cone method for a one year old rooster, and it worked very well.  We bought a traffic cone and cut a few inches off the tip so the rooster’s head and neck would fit through. He was very sedate and didn’t struggle at all. Make sure you have a VERY sharp knife.

We hung the cone by a chain from my clothesline pole and put a bucket under him to catch the blood. Once his neck was cut, we let him hang for about 15 minutes to drain. There was no flopping around. Before we use it again, we will fix the cone to something more stable using some boards.

We had a large pot of hot water heating on our outdoor gas burner (camping stove).  It was about 145 degrees. We dunked him for 30 seconds until his feathers came out easily.  We added a small amount of dish detergent to allow the water to soak through the surface tension of the feathers. I was surprised how easy he was to pluck.

The rooster was a year old.  It was difficult to cut through some of his bones, particularly the back bone to remove the internal organs. It was very much harder than cutting up a broiler or store-bought chicken.  His thighs and legs were very large and the meat very dark.  Even though I don’t typically like dark meat, his meat was very good.

I have included a list we prepared for ourselves to use whenever we butcher a chicken. We read a lot of confusing information so got things organized to suit us. We used two books as references: Raising Chickens for Dummies and Storey’s Guide to Raising Chickens.

Here are some videos that demonstrate the harvesting and cleaning of chickens.

Respectful Chicken Harvest Part 1

Respectful Chicken Harvest Part 2

Poultry Processsing

Checklist for Butchering Chickens

Don’t feed chicken for at least 12 hours prior to killing.

  • Table
  • Cone
  • Very sharp, large knife
  • Heavy scissors/poultry shears/pruning shears
  • Big pot of hot water (140°-150°)
  • Water thermometer
  • Rubber gloves
  • Soap and water
  • Bleach
  • Rags
  • Paper towels
  • Large stainless steel bowl
  • Garbage bag and trash can
  • Needle nose pliers (to remove pin feathers)
  • Dull bladed knife (to remove pin feathers)
  • Garden hose
  • 2 pair exam gloves
  • Long handled tongs
Killing and Bleeding
  • Place chicken head down in cone
  • Stretch neck out
  • 2” cut just behind jaw from front to back
  • Let bleed for 15 minutes
  • 145° water with Dawn dish soap
  • Immerse bird for 30 seconds
  • Lay bird on table
  • Remove feathers
  • Use needle-nose pliers or tweezers to remove pin feathers
  • Rinse with clean water
  • Cut head off
    • Use poultry kitchen shears
    • Close to body
  • Cut off feet
  • Remove oil gland and tail (Storey P. 396)
    • 1” above glands nipple, deep enough to reach tail bone
  • Cut Back Open
    • Start at rear
    • With poultry shears, shallowly cut backbone from back to front
    • Be careful not to rupture the intestine
    • Remove entrails
    • Carefully remove the liver without bursting the attached gallbladder which will cause the meat to taste bitter.
    • Rinse with clean water

Wildfire Mitigation

Posted: March 4, 2013 in Uncategorized

Having lived in the southwest for many years, we learned about the danger of wildfires.  It was not unusual for fire to burn thousands of acres including homes and cabins. Our home is surrounded by wooded hills in western North Carolina. About 3 years ago the shingles on our roof were damaged in a high wind storm.  We used the insurance money to replace the shingles with a metal roof as a start to protect the house from fire.

We recently had a wildfire audit done by a forest ranger which was very helpful. The biggest change we needed to make was to thin the woods and underbrush.  That was predictable.  The surprise to me was that the big trees are not so dangerous as long as the tops aren’t touching. and the branches are trimmed up about 10 feet high.  The underbrush that includes a lot of rhododendron and mountain laurel was the most critical to remove.

We have spent the past month cutting, trimming, and clearing.  We have a few big trees we will have removed because they are dying or too close to each other.  We have stacked all the brush along the driveway and someone we know with a wood chipper will be here to take care of it tomorrow.

My husband is working on a plan to get some goats.  He is convinced that goats will help keep the weeds and brush under control.  That is okay, because I have wanted some goats, and he is doing all the research and work.

I own three grain mills and have been grinding grain for about four years. I often get asked about what is “the best” grain mill.  There are questions every family must answer for themselves to determine the best grain mill.

  • Do you want an electric, manual, or convertible mill? Will you be using it regularly now or putting it away to use only in an emergency?
  • Do you need to grind a high volume of  flour regularly for a big family or just enough for one or two loaves of bread?
  • Do you want to be able to grind hard foods such as popcorn or oily seeds such as flax?
  • How much money do you want to spend?

All of these grain mills have variable settings for course to fine flour. You should always check your grain for any small stones which will ruin any of these mills and negate the warranty.

Here are my observations of two electric mills, the Wondermill, and Nutrimill; and a convertible, the Family Grain Mill (FGM).  I will also provide you with information about a good manual, the Wondermill, Jr. Deluxe. I have given you price estimates as of March 2013.  Occasionally manufacturers will put their machines on sale, so it is worthwhile to keep a check on prices.  Many suppliers will ship at no additional charge, so make sure you take that into account when comparing prices.

Here is a link to a comparison chart from Millers Grain House of these grain mills and some other mills.  The chart can be printed and enlarged on the screen for easier viewing.  Millers Grain House also sells these mills.

We ran a home test to time how quickly the mills ground 2 cups of hard white wheat mixed with mixed grains that I use for bread. All the mills were set to their finest settings.  I did not include the Wonder Junior Deluxe since I do not have access to one.

Family Grain Mill–Manual                         10:04

Family Grain Mill–Electric                           4:42

Nutrimill–Electric                                       1:10

Wondermill–Electric                                    :35

Family Grain Mill (Convertable–electric and manual)
FGM electric and manual bases

FGM electric and manual bases

Family Grain Mill

Family Grain Mill

Our first mill was the Family Grain Mill (FGM). We had many of the same questions and requirements as many of you.  The primary reason we selected the FGM was because it was a convertible mill–an electric mill with an attachment to make it a manual mill. We wanted a mill to use now to grind wheat to make all of our own bread.  Being practical, I knew that an electric mill would more likely get regular use.  But being a prepper, I also wanted to have a manual mill in the event we have no electricity. It was about the same price for both electric and manual as other single purpose mills.

FGM taken apart

FGM taken apart

The FGM is easy to use, put together, take apart, and clean. This mill can be dismantled to remove and clean the bur which I do occasionally.  The Nutrimill and Wondermill are sealed and should never be taken apart.

FGM grinding flour

FGM grinding flour

The grain hopper holds 5 cups, but you can add more as it grinds. My blue mixing bowl will hold about 5 cups of ground grain.  I use this bowl because the large handle/spout catches some stray flour that falls close to the base.

FGM slicer/grater

FGM slicer/grater

FGM Flaker (rolls oats)

FGM Flaker (rolls oats)

FGM Meat Grinder

FGM Meat Grinder

We also liked the optional attachments including one to roll oats, a meat grinder, and a vegetable slicer/grater.  Since we store whole oats, the flaker (oat roller) gets used frequently.

This mill was my primary grain mill for a long time. One reason is because, unlike the other electric mills, I can use this one to grind flax seeds if they are added to my wheat before grinding for making bread. It is a smaller mill, but holds enough grain at one time to bake two loaves of bread. Unlike the other electric mills, the FGM doesn’t have a container built in to catch the flour.  I use a large mixing bowl.  That is no issue for me and makes it easier to clean.

All the mills have a control to set how fine or course the flour will be.  The FGM doesn’t grind flour quite as fine as the other electrics. I cannot tell the difference once the bread is baked. However, this might be a problem for people who bake a lot of pastries. I have read posts by people who run the flour through the mill for a second milling resulting in finer flour.

The FGM electric doesn’t grind flour as fast as the electric Wondermill and Nutrimill.  My routine is to grind enough Prairie Gold hard white wheat, mixed grains, and flax seeds to bake two loaves of bread at a time.  While the grain is grinding, I can use the time to get everything else ready, measured, and put away.

The FGM can be used to grind dry beans and dent corn for cornmeal to make cornbread or hush puppies.  Beans and corn are hard and will wear down the stainless steel burr resulting in the mill not grinding your wheat and other grains as finely.  We bought a second burr that we use only for beans and corn.   The FGM cannot grind popcorn for making cornmeal because the popcorn is harder and will ruin the burr.

FGM Manual Set Up

FGM Manual Set Up

FGM Manual Base

FGM Manual Base

The manual attachment is easy to use and attaches to a counter or table top with an included clamp.  It grinds fairly easily, although it is much slower than using the electric motor.  It turns without a lot of force.  All of the optional attachments can be used with the manual hand crank. I am happy to have the hand crank available if I lose power, but find having the electric motor a valuable option.

Adapters are available that will allow the FGM and its attachments to be run on mixers such as Kitchenaid and Bosch.

Family Grain Mill Company Website and  Information

Common price for electric base, manual base, and grain mill attachment is about $280. There are many purchasing options including just the manual base and grain mill for a little less than $150.

Wondermill Grain Mill (Electric)
Electric Wondermill

Electric Wondermill

The Wondermill is a very fast, easy to use grain mill.  It has two basic parts–the base and an attached flour canister that can be used for storage with the snap on lid that is included. I use the Wondermill as my primary grain mill.

Wondermill with wheat

Wondermill with wheat

Wondermill grain hopper

Wondermill grain hopper

It will not grind oily seeds, but the Wondermill has handled the grain, dent corn, and popcorn I have put through it. The grain feeds easily.  The larger dent corn and garbanzo beans fit through the feed slot without getting stuck as it did in the Nutrimill.

It is noisier than the FGM, but grinds grain so quickly that it is turned on for a much shorter time. Having a flour canister requires a little more clean-up of the canister and tube.  I brush it out after each use.  The lid on the canister must be firmly snapped into place, or the flour blows out of the canister making a mess. Yes, I learned this from experience. One unique requirement about the Wondermill is that you MUST start the machine BEFORE adding any grain.  Not doing so will damage the machine.

The canister holds about 12 cups of flour.

Wondermill Company Website and Information

Common price for the Wondermill electric mill is about $260.

Nutrimill Grain Mill (Electric)


Nutrimill flour canister

Nutrimill flour canister

Nutrimill flour canister lid

Nutrimill flour canister lid

The Nutrimill is a fast, high volume grain mill.  The flour canister will hold 20 cups of flour versus 12 cups for the Wondermill.  For people with large families, this is a good choice.

The flour canister fits into the bottom of the machine and must be pushed in all the way or flour will blow into the room.

We bought it for a couple of reasons.  We do not have a large family, but we thought it may be useful if the day comes when we may want to bake many loaves of bread or other grain products for barter, neighbors, etc. We also wanted a mill that will grind popcorn which we store. Another advantage to this mill is that it grinds fine flour. My unscientific comparison is that it is the finest flour of the three mills.

Nutrimill with grain feeding into machine

Nutrimill with grain feeding into machine

Nutrimill grain hopper

Nutrimill grain hopper

It is a large machine and loud.  I dislike that larger-sized items such as dent corn and garbanzo beans don’t feed into the grinder well and block the feeder tube going into the machine from the hopper.

Like the Wondermill, it cannot be used to mill oily seeds such as flax.

Nutrimill Company Website and Information

Common price for the Nutrimill right now is $260.

Wonder Junior Deluxe (manual)
Wonder Junior Deluxe

Wonder Junior Deluxe

The Wonder Junior Deluxe is a well-made, versatile manual grain mill.  It comes with both a stone bur for grinding grain as well as a steel bur for grinding oily seeds. It can crack grains or produce pastry fine flour with one pass. It can grind spices, herbs, oily grains (like flax or coffee), and makes nut butters.

I don’t own one of these, but I have seen one demonstrated and operated it.  It takes some effort to turn the handle to grind grain using the stone burs, but works well. It is more difficult to turn than the manual FGM.  An optional pulley attachment allows it to be powered by a bicycle.  There is also a drill bit attachment that works with a drill to power the mill.

There are cheaper manual mills most of which are not well reviewed and cannot perform close to what the Wonder Junior can do.  You could pay double for a manual grain mill that won’t perform any better than this one.

I would prefer to have an electric grain mill for my current day to day grinding needs, but this would be a valuable addition for anyone storing a lot of grains for use when electric power may not be available.

Wonder Junior Deluxe Company Website and Information

The price range for the Wonder Junior Deluxe is $203 to $220

Many new preppers become overwhelmed.  They read about many different prepping topics and recommendations for all the stuff they should buy and skills they need to learn. Then they join a meet-up group that includes experienced preppers and sit with their mouths open as others talk about their chickens, goats, and living off-grid.  The new folks may not have enough food for three days at home, and may fear that they might as well give up.  Shoot, their HOA won’t even let them have a garden or chickens!

Recently, I met several folks who are  new to prepping as well as at varying stages along the prepping path.  For them I have created the following table categorizing the various stages or tiers of prepping.  The lines between categories are flexible.  The information in the table is meant to be examples only and not all inclusive.  I have also included some basic resources and links that may be useful for people prepping at the various tiers.  I have many other lists and links listed in this blog from the pull-down menus.

This is just to help you set priorities and keep your goals realistic as you move forward.  Remember, at one time we all started at Tier 1.

Four Levels of Prepping

Tier 1:  2 weeks
Tier 2:  6 months
Tier 3:  1 to 2 yrs
Tier 4:  Sustainable

Store-bought non-perishables: peanut butter, soup, granola bars, tuna, Hormel entrees, dried fruit, MREs (limited need for cooking/ water), manual can opener

Rice, beans, pasta, cans or jars of sauces, mixes (taco, gravy, dry soup), freeze-dried and dehydrated food (entrees, potatoes, fruit, meat, milk, eggs), cooking oil, oatmeal, flour

Wheat, variety of grains, white rice, popcorn, sugar, salt, seeds for sprouts, gardening, canning, dehydrating

Heirloom seeds, winter garden, permaculture, chickens for eggs and meat, rabbits for meat, goats for milk and meat, pigs, trapping, fishing, gathering, bartering, beekeeping


Bottled water, 2 liter pop bottles you fill, food grade plastic barrels, bleach or water purification tabs,  NO plastic milk bottles, 1 gal per person per day min

Spring, creek or pond water, rain barrels, water filter


Well water (manual or solar powered pump)


Variety of batteries, LED lanterns/flashlights, candles, oil lamps, generator, infrared propane heater, gas turn-off wrench

Large propane tank, propane generator, portable solar panels to charge batteries


Solar, windmill, hydro-power, wood stove for heat/cooking


Grill, camping stove, fireplace

Solar oven, larger propane stove, cast iron cookware for cooking with coals or fire

Pressure canner, dehydrator, grain mill

Wood cook stove



Tent, large roll of heavy plastic for repairs, tarps, Gorilla tape, plywood, nails

Bug-out—Camping trailer

Bug –in—perimeter security, alarms, dogs, water source

Bug-out—cabin, bunker

Bug-in—good soil, defendable, water


Defendable property, away from cities, good soil, wood supply, wildlife, dependable water source, good neighbors


First aid kit, first aid training, extra medications, filter masks

Add more medical supplies including antiseptics, splints, antibiotics, butterfly and large bandages, dental kit

Add suture kit or staples, scalpels, burn sheet, Wilderness Medicine

Herbs, midwifery, Where There Is No Doctor, Where There is No Dentist


Towelettes, sanitizer, gray water to flush toilet, 5 gal bucket with liners for toilet, shovel, toilet paper, feminine hygiene products, soap, toothpaste and toothbrushes

Out house or septic system

Composting toilet or septic system,

Soap-making, cloth replaces disposable paper products


Corded home phone, cell phone, battery-powered radio, CB radio, All Alert Weather Radio


Ham Radio



Keep your gas tank at least half full

Bicycle, wheel barrow, folding shopping cart, wagon

Diesel, 4wd, EMP proof

Horses, oxen


FEMA (, CERT, Red Cross, Weather Spotter training, It’s A Disaster

Dave Ramsey on finances,  Survival Mom, American Preppers Network

Chef Brad, Mix-a-Meal, LDS Preparedness Manual, Southern Readiness Conference, Project Appleseed

Organic Growers School (Asheville),  Firefly Gathering, Master Gardner, Wilderness or Emergency Medical classes, classes/books on carpentry, blacksmithing, beekeeping, farm animals, Foxfire series


Fuel, propane tanks, emergency contact list, important documents, cash, matches/lighters

Clothesline and clothes pins, large rubber tubs for washing clothes

Clothesline poles, hand tools,  building supplies, fire-starter (magnesium bars, steel match)

Treadle sewing machine, hand wringer washing tubs, firewood source


Tier 1:  2 weeks

It’s A Disaster…and what are YOU gonna do about it? by Bill and Janet Liebsch


Build the Perfect BUG OUT BAG  by Creek Stewart

Tier 2:  6 months

Survival Mom by Lisa Bedford

Survival Blog—James Wesley Rawles

American Preppers Network

One Second After by William R. Forstchen

Tier 3:  1-2 years

Mix-A-Meal Cookbook by Deanna Bean and Lorna Shute

The Dehydrator Bible by Jennifer MacKenzie, Jay Nutt, and Don Mercer

Ball Blue Book Guide to Preserving

LDS Preparedness Manual

How to dehydrate food videos

Bulk grains, grain mills, solar oven, and instructions/recipes

Tier 4:  Sustainable

Back to Basics (1981) by editors of Readers Digest

Foxfire series

Backwoods Home Magazine

Back Yard Chickens forum

Winter gardening:

Additional Prepping Subjects for Research and Action

Bug Out Bags (BOB)

Bug Out Location (BOL)/Shelter

Bug Out Vehicles (BOV)

Self Protection/Security

Bartering Items

Prepping for Children

Wilderness Survival

Written by Vina8 February 8, 2013

Multi-grain bread

Multi-grain bread

Last year we bought a Bosch mixer for making bread.  We have baked bread using the no knead technique, hand kneading, bread machines for making the dough, and now we use the Bosch using a combination of techniques and recipes.  The process from grinding the wheat to finished bread takes about 90 minutes. The bread is consistently good, crusty, and keeps well.

These are round, fairly crusty loaves. If you prefer more traditional soft loaves, use uncovered loaf pans and bake at a lower temperature.

I bake 2 loaves of bread about once a week using whole grain that I grind myself.  Since there are only 2 of us, we cut the round loaves in half, wrap them well and freeze them, using half a loaf at a time.

The recipe and instructions are a combination of three sources:  no knead bread, Chef Brad, and Donna Miller of Millers Grain House. I have posted other versions of whole wheat bread earlier in this blog. This is exactly how I do it now.

This recipe is for 2 loaves of bread.


(Measurements of grain are prior to grinding into flour. After grinding the weight will be the same but the volume will be greater.)

3 cups (600 grams) Prairie Gold Hard White Wheat

1 1/2 cups (300 grams) mixed grains. Use what you have available. I am currently using equal portions of hard red wheat, spelt, kamut, amaranth, buckwheat, barley, groats, rye, and triticale.)

1/2 cup flax seeds

1/2 cup gluten flour


26 0z  (3 1/4 cups) warm water

2 tsp salt

1 tsp Fruit Fresh (dough enhancer)

1 tsp diastatic malt powder (dough enhancer)

2 Tbs oil

2 Tbs liquid lecithin (keeps bread fresh)

1 Tbs yeast


Grind together the wheat and grains at fine setting.  If using a Family Grain Mill, you can add the flax seeds to the grain for grinding. Many grain mills cannot be used for grinding flax seeds. Either omit them or grind them in a clean coffee/herb grinder then add to the flour. Add the gluten to the ground flour and mix well using a wire whisk or sifter. Set flour aside.

In the Bosch or similar mixer using a dough hook, add the water, salt, Fruit Fresh, diastatic malt powder, oil and lecithin. Add the flour to the mixer bowl but do not stir. Add the yeast on top of the flour.  Turn the mixer on to speed number 3 and time for 6 minutes.

Cut two parchment paper circles. After the dough has been mixed for 6 minutes, empty it onto a nonstick mat and divide into half.  Shape each piece of dough into a smooth round ball. Tuck the ends into the bottom.  Place each onto a parchment circle then put into bowls or plastic containers to rise for about 30 minutes.  Cover the bowls with a dish towel.

Place two covered, heavy, 3.5 qt pots in the oven and preheat to 450° F. I use enameled cast iron. Make sure the lid knob is oven safe. I preheat the covered pots and oven for the 30 minutes the dough is rising.

Remove the hot pots from the oven. Carefully place the dough in the parchment paper into each pot and cover with the lid.  I usually keep a folded square of parchment paper in the bottom of each pot to keep the bottom of the bread from getting too dark.

Place the covered pots and dough in the oven for 30 minutes.  Remove the lids and bake for another 5-7 minutes to brown the crust.

Remove the pots from the oven and carefully remove the loaves of bread. I usually get a hold of the parchment paper and lift them out. Remove from the parchment paper and cool on a rack until cool.

After we cut the bread, we place foil around the cut end only.

Hard white wheat, mixed grain, gluten flour

Hard white wheat, mixed grain, gluten flour

Ingredients to put in mixer

Ingredients to put in mixer








Bosch Mixer

Bosch Mixer

Measuring grain

Measuring grain

Adding flax seed

Adding flax seed






Adding gluten to flour

Adding gluten to flour

Gluten and flour mix

Gluten and flour mix

Liquid ingredients

Liquid ingredients






Adding flour to mixer

Adding flour to mixer

Adding yeast

Adding yeast

Mixed dough

Mixed dough






Parchment circle

Parchment circle

Parchment Paper

Parchment Paper

Divided dough

Divided dough





Shape dough

Shape dough

Beginning of dough rising

Beginning of dough rising

Preheat oven and pots

Preheat oven and pots





Cover dough

Cover dough

30 min rise

30 min rise

Place in hot pot

Place in hot pot





Remove from oven

Remove from oven

Cool bread

Cool bread

Protect cut edge

Protect cut edge