What Does the Future Hold?

Our house out in the "boonies," built in the 40's (photo taken before hard freezes the past two winters killed off the hedge along the driveway)

I have not written for a few days because our family is going through some decision-making right now that is taking a bit of concentration.  We recently learned we must move from this wonderful place out in the middle of nowhere.  The quiet and peaceful natural setting we have enjoyed here is something we will greatly miss if we can’t find something similar.  But every time our family has moved, it has been to a place better than the one before, so we must trust that the Lord has something better for us.

We have been caretaking this house and 10+ acres for 6 ½ years for the owner who lives in a neighboring town, but now his daughter and family want to move down from TN and live here.  We knew it would happen someday.  There is no deadline yet, but we are preparing by looking into all the alternatives available.  Moving a family of eight with chickens, goats, a horse, dog and two cats will be no easy feat!

We don’t know what the future holds for us right now; but then, who does?  We can study what HAS happened and what IS happening, and try to predict what WILL happen.  But God alone knows for sure.  It pays to stay close to Him in these uncertain times, and recognize His voice when He gives direction.

Whatever the future holds, God wants us to trust Him and not be afraid.  “Behold, God is my salvation (deliverance); I will trust and not be afraid.”  Isa. 12:2a  When we hear predictions of gloom and doom, it can be tempting to react in fear, or just live in denial.  Facing the uncertain possibilities knowing that the Lord is our Protector and Provider can help us to prepare for what might happen using wisdom and leading from Him.

Surviving Holey Socks

View from our living room window

Eating Like Squirrels

A delicious acorn burger!

Guess what we had for dinner tonight!  You’ll never get it…acorns!  In central Florida right now we are blessed with acorns dropping from the oaks.  We decided to try this free food which the Indians used to eat.  The children had fun gathering them, and trying to keep Faline, the friendly deer who hangs around, from eating out of their buckets.

Acorns contain a lot of tannins, making them bitter and hard to digest.  The tannins can be leached out by boiling the meats and draining the water off numerous times till the water is no longer dark brown.  Some varieties of oaks, such as Live and White, have such a low level of tannins that leaching is not always necessary.  We have Live oaks, and many of the acorns were sweet, but enough were bitter that we went ahead and brought them to a boil several times for good measure.

The acorn pickers!

After gathering the acorns, we placed them in a bucket of water and discarded all the floaters.  Then we set about the tedious task of cracking and shelling them.  Of course any wormy acorns were also discarded.  Next time we will gather mostly from the huge tree out front, as those were larger, sweeter, and the easiest to process.

We leached them, and ground them in the mortar and pestle that Grandpa bought for us on his last trip to Haiti.  One of our Liberian daughters remembers using one to mash fufu in Liberia before she was adopted, so she enjoyed doing it again.  Finally the ground acorn meal was ready for cooking.  Following is the recipe we used:

Cracking and shelling

Boil together for 15 minutes, covered:

  • 3 ½ cups ground acorn meal
  • 2 cups water
  • 4 ts salt
  • 1 ts garlic

Meanwhile, sauté the following:

  • 9 small onions
  • 6 T butter

Last, combine the following and form into patties; fry like hamburgers:

  • Boiled acorn meal
  • Sautéed onions
  • 3 cups oats
  • 5 eggs, beaten

Grinding & mashing

We ate the burgers with ketchup, mayo, and pickles, just like a hamburger.  They were absolutely delicious!  The children all loved them and we ate till we were stuffed!  They were very filling, and we have enough left for another meal.   The flavor and texture was a bit nutty, as you would expect; definitely a winner!


Bug out Bags

Editors note:  The following night we made spaghetti and acorn balls, which was another hit.  The rest of the acorn burger kept in the freezer very well for months, used as needed in casseroles.


Playing Survival

The children are huddled around the "campfire" (notice the tent in the background)

Guess what was the children’s game of choice this evening for our weekly family night?  Playing SURVIVAL!  In the living room we set up the toy tent and pretended to live in the woods.  The men got up in the morning to go hunting and the ladies cooked a good stew over the fire… 

Why would our children think it is fun to pretend such things?  Shouldn’t we protect our younguns’ from the possible terrors of the future, so they don’t get anxious and fearful?  I greatly disagree!  We rob our children of confidence in their ability to face a crisis if we don’t prepare them for what could happen!  Children in our society can play every computer game around, but have no clue how to survive without modern conveniences.

When I was in elementary school we had fire drills.  The teacher would inform us ahead of time and remind us of what to do when the fire alarm sounded.  Were we scared?  No way!  It simply became a familiar routine and to us a great diversion.

At our house we’ve practiced our fire escape plan. In the back bedrooms the only escape could be through a window, so we have practiced opening the window and screen and helping little ones out.  Did anyone get scared?  Of course not!  It was done in a relaxed setting and the adults were not scared and tense, so why would the children be?

On the other hand, if you have “protected” your children from fear and one night the smoke alarm goes off for real, the tendency to panic is great, a most dangerous threat to survival.

Our children feel confidence, not fear or anxiety, about what could happen.  We do them a favor to talk about possible scenarios ahead of time and practice appropriate steps with no fear or tension present.  To them it’s another great thing to pretend, and they will be much more prepared emotionally in the event that it does happen.

Bug out Bags

Bug-out Bags

Re-assembling our packs last fall

Are you prepared to leave home at a moment’s notice?  No place in the world is completely immune to natural disasters, and with the current unstable situation, we are also not immune to man-made disasters, including terrorism, civil war, and enemy attack by nuclear or chemical weapons.

There is no use shuddering in fear at the possibilities; neither is it prudent to ignore them.  A prepared person is a confident person (Proverbs 31:21 & 25).

The first step in preparing is maintaining a solid relationship with Jesus Christ and with the people in our lives, and keeping a clear conscience.  Physically, we should have a bag packed for each person in the family with basic supplies to sustain them for at least three days if there is a need to evacuate or “bug out.”  Be prepared for the worst so you won’t be caught by surprise.

We started out with backpacks purchased at thrift stores, and we are gradually replacing them with serious military or hiking packs when we see bargains.  It takes more time doing it this way, so the risks must be weighed.

Here is a list of basic supplies we have made for our three-day packs.  The “littles” obviously cannot carry all their items themselves, so their “big buddies” carry some for them, and some items with an asterisk are found in only one or two of the adult packs.

  • Water bottles with filters such as  Berkey Sport Bottles (alternative:  regular water bottles and purification tablets when clean water is not available)
  • Chlorine or iodine water purification tablets (to purify water for drinking or washing)
  • Energy bars (high calorie)
  • Dried foods
  • MRE’s (Meals Ready to Eat): purchased, or homemade
  • Multitool (the Leatherman Wave Multitool is used by survival experts, and is what we use)
  • Rain poncho (avoiding hypothermia is critical)
  • Emergency blanket (extremely light-weight, aluminized, polyester blanket which reflects body heat back to body)
  • *First aid kit (more details another post)
  • *Hand crank radio
  • Heavy duty trash bag (can be used to make a one-man shelter, and other uses)
  • Paracord
  • Mess kit (spoon, fork, plate, cup)
  • Cloth napkin
  • Insect repellent
  • Hand sanitizer
  • Kleenex, toilet paper
  • Wet wipes
  • Personal hygiene (comb, toothbrush, toothpaste, sanitary supplies)
  • Soap & washcloth
  • Sunscreen, lip balm
  • *Tarp
  • Emergency candles (Dollar Tree has the best price)
  • Whistle
  • Glo sticks (for children in the dark – also cheapest at Dollar Tree)
  • Small Bible or NT
  • Small paper pad & pen, pencil
  • Leather gloves
  • Coffee can with lid (to collect & boil water in)
  • Hard candy or gum
  • Vitamins (& medications, if any)
  • Change of clothes
  • Wool socks (for cold weather)
  • Cash, silver, or other currency
  • *Survival knife (I LOVE my 11″ Full Tang Hunting Knife W/flint! It is one piece stainless steel knife & handle wrapped in paracord for a better grip.)
  • *Folding shovel (entrenching tool)
  • *Sterno Folding Stove & fuel (wonderful for boiling water or heating/cooking food when no fire is possible)
  • Swiss army sleeping bags (very small, compact, and warm)
  • Small toys or activities for the “littles

 Our list continues to be revised, and of course each family will be unique.  This is not intended to be comprehensive, but a guide.

Survival Practice, Day One

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