When you get old you spend a whole lot more time waiting in doctor's offices than you'd like to.
Quote of the Day
"One bleeding-heart type asked me in a recent interview if I did not agree that 'violence begets violence.' I told him that it is my earnest endeavor to see that it does. I would like very much to ensure — and in some cases I have — that any man who offers violence to his fellow citizen begets a whole lot more in return than he can enjoy."
Colonel Jeff Cooper
Wednesday, July 31, 2013
When you get old you spend a whole lot more time waiting in doctor's offices than you'd like to.
We try to use things from our long term food storage as much as we can, because there is the eternal routine of rotating everything that has to be adhered to. I don't always get it right. A year or so ago, I moved some crates and found a whole case of Navy Beans that I bought in 1999. They were about 13 years old by my calculations. None of the cans were rusted, or swollen up. So first I opened a can and gave it to the chickens. They ate it with no ill effects. Then I gave a can to the dogs. I once saw them eat a DAK ham that had gone bad in the can and it didn't seem to do them any harm, so I figured they could eat the beans and they did with great pleasure.
So I ate some. The beans themselves tasted fine, but the fluid in the can was a little bland. Didn't do me any harm though. Still, you don't want to let things fall through the crack and the long term food storage supplies need to be used and replaced like anything else.
It's not hard to use dried onions, cheese powder, egg powder, corn meal, rice , beans, flour and similar everyday foods. You just open a pail, take out what you need, use it with your regular cooking and all is well. It's a little more difficult to work in things like dried fruit slices, rolled oats, dried broccoli and the like.
There are cook books to help you do just that. Here's one that has been very useful to us.
Beans and rice are what they used to store on slave ships. The reason is simple. They keep well, they are cheap, and they will keep people alive . Everybody I know well enough to discuss the subject of what they have stored, keeps large quantities of different kinds of beans. They usually also have white or brown rice.
A cautionary tale here. When we first began to pursue storing large amounts of beans, I had no idea how long to soak them before cooking them. My mother told me that my grandmother soaked dry beans before cooking them but she couldn't remember how long. There was no internet to speak of back in 1986, so I didn't really have access to other self sufficient life style adherents. I put the beans in a pot and soaked them for 24 hours. When bubbles started coming up out of the beans, I figured they were ready and I boiled them. When I ate them they tasted good, especially since I had no idea what dried beans were supposed to taste like when you cooked them. Unfortunately, they made me really , really sick. The only time I have felt worse was when I joined my reserve unit at the University of New Mexico and drank a bottle of bourbon. I had never had hard liquor before then and to this day I still want to be sick when I smell bourbon. At any rate, I learned the hard way that soaking beans for 24 hours was not the right time. If I'd had a copy of this book that never would have happened.
I never turn my nose up at books designed for beginners. Yes, I've been doing the long term food storage thing for a long time. The Mormons helped me a lot over the years, and I feel pretty comfortable that between what they taught me, my own experience, and what I've read I'm doing it right. But there is always room for improvement. Not the most hard core, savy survivalist knows everything there is to know. So if you read this and you don't learn anything, you can pass it on to someone less well versed in the topic. You may pick up something useful you hadn't thought of before, though.
Anybody who hasn't read the book already is doing themselves a grave disservice. If you are a survivalist or a prepper, this is the book you need to read concerning the psychology of a family under apocalyptic conditions. You won't just enjoy the book, you'll learn from it.
The sections on how the women fed the family, with no money and virtually no supplies but lard, flour, and perhaps some dried bacon are very worthwhile. We all hope we never get down to that , and we are putting away food to see it never happens to us. Nobody can see the future though. If you get down to brass tacks and the kids are hungry you may be glad you read The Grapes of Wrath.
Marlene's Magic with Food Storage is out of print, I think. But even if it is, you can usually find out of print books on Amazon. This one is excellent. We've used recipes from the book and they have been right on target. One thing you get out of reading recipe books is learning what you don't have in your supplies that you ought to. So as you go through Marlene's book, you need a note book to jot down the supplies you never thought of storing on your own. I need to use a notebook for this so I don't lose the little scraps of paper I would ordinarily make notes on. If you are better organized, you might want to use index cards or whatever works.
To finish up, here are some more Peggy Layton books you might want to consider adding to your self sufficiency library.
Just a word about powdered milk. It keeps as long as you have it sealed in a mylar bag, in a nitrogen flushed pail. After you open it and start using it, I've found that even with the lid down hard on the pail it starts going bad in about six months.
I make omelets out of dried eggs, copying the ingredients the field mess hall cooks used, and I enjoy them with some hot sauce. This book will help you get the most out of powdered eggs. I've got a big flock of chickens but I still store the powdered eggs. Backups to backups.....
There are some more good books on long term food storage and on cooking with it. I think I've probably overloaded everybody by now though, so I'll finish this post up. Remember, you can get a program on line from the Mormons to help you determine what you need. You just plug in the age and gender of each family member, and how long you want to live off your stored supplies. Then it cranks out a very exacting list, by item and amount.
Tuesday, July 30, 2013
Rawles' is the guru of many survivalists and preppers. His blog reaches thousands all around the world. He's been on a vast number of television shows and radio programs. Perhaps even more indicative of his worth is the fact that he is roundly hated by Morris Dee of the self styled Southern Poverty Law Center. If you know anything about that crew, you can understand that being attacked by them means you are doing something right.
Congratulations, Commander Zero. That's impressive.
"I don't know what the hell this ‘logistics’ is that Marshall is always talking about, but I want some of it." -- Fleet Admiral E. J. King: To a staff officer. (1942)
Logistics: the detailed coordination of a complex operation involving people, facilities, supplies, services, transportation, maintenance and equipment.
Monday, July 29, 2013
I just got an email from a long time friend who warned me that I was doing it again. So, I've got to try to be better about Operational Security. I never do things like posting a picture of someone without their approval, or compromising other people's privacy. But I do have a tendency to be careless and I need to watch that. I don't want to wind up listening to the Horst Wessel Leid on the phone at three in the morning again.
Elizabeth immediately launched into the fray. I think she knows every animal rescue outfit in Ohio, Kentucky, Tennessee and North Carolina. After two days of phone calling, she found someone who would take the foal and raise it on their farm. The people (company?) that had the animal don't care about giving it away, they just want rid of the horse. So some other people are going to take it down to it's new home in Kentucky. Seems odd to me, I've had horses and I know lots of people who have horses here. They don't treat them like commodities, and they don't sell them to the "killers" for dog food when they are old. But I've worked for people who were like these race horse people. All they care about is the all mighty dollar and they don't see either people or animals as living things with feelings. It's a cruel world, as the saying goes, and I believe it's true.
I also learned that someone has dumped off three young ferrets at a pound outside the city. None of the local ferret rescues are able to take them. I told Elizabeth to tell the pound that I will take them if it gets down to where they are going to be killed, sort of as a last resort. I love ferrets, but nine might be a bit much. However, I talked to my wife and we have decided to turn the old sewing room, which no one uses anymore, into a ferret room. It's plenty big enough, and with their snuggy bags, old sweat pants, ferret hammocks, pipes to run through, and all their other paraphernalia they should be fine. That would also preclude any more chewed up gun butts. I could set them up in the glass arboretum, but it's impossible to air condition or heat because it's made of glass. They need temperature and humidity levels akin to what people need, so the ferret room is probably the best bet.
I can handle ferrets in large numbers, no problem. The one thing that strikes fear into my heart is that one day Elizabeth will call and say "Dad, there's an aquarium going broke in the city, and they have this baby whale that needs a home....."
Just a word of warning in closing. Ferrets require a lot of hands on care. They need a controlled, stable environment. They are not an animal to keep around young children. They have big vet bills because they get the same ailments people do and require attention when that happens. Ferrets wind up in the pound or dumped off in the woods because ignorant people buy them from greedy pet store owners who shouldn't be selling them in the first place. They are the best pets I've ever had, but you have to know what you are getting into.
Sunday, July 28, 2013
A fellow left a comment on a posting not long ago about something that was on the old blog. The subject was the power system I built out here to back up the very tenuous grid power. That power system was based on magazine articles and what the people I bought the equipment from told me, so maybe it is no surprise that things didn't quite go as planned.
The pictures all date to the late 1990's, which is when we installed the system and were using it. Today, I just have a generator and a transfer switch. But for what it's worth here's the cautionary tale.
In the mountains where I live, we are probably 40 years behind what most Americans are used to. Our land line telephone system works sometimes, and sometimes it doesn't. Usually it doesn't when you need it the most, when there is a massive snow or ice storm or a big rain storm. The power grid was put in during the 1930's, as part of FDR's Rural Electrification Program. It is, for the most part, above ground. Much of the equipment is outdated. When it gets close to zero here our transformers explode on the poles, and the power goes out. When it snows, we have two 1957 dump trucks the road crew puts plows on, and that's our snow clearance equipment for the whole county. Most of the roads here are just big enough for two cars to pass each other going in opposite directions, and the majority of the roads are still gravel. It's a place where you soon learn how to work around problems.
Back in the 90's my whole family lived up here on the mountain top. Especially for the kids, long power outages were hard. The biggest problem was that without power, we couldn't run the water pump or the air conditioning. No water pump meant no showers, no washing clothes, no hot water, and having to haul water to flush the toilets. Finally my wife had reached the point where she wanted something done about it, and I felt like it was something we needed to deal with.
I looked at books and magazines, and I designed my system. I planned on a generator, a bank of solar cells, and a big deep cycle battery bank all being hooked into a Trane Inverter. If things worked the way they were supposed to, the solar panel would trickle charge the battery bank. If the battery bank got low, the inverter would automatically switch on the generator, and run the house and outbuildings off the generator until the battery bank was recharged. It seemed pretty straight forward.
Today all the power backup I have is the generator hooked into a transfer switch. If the power goes out, I go throw the switch and start the generator. That's it. As for the rest of this system, it was all an expensive experiment that failed. I relied too heavily on cheery articles in country living magazines. The people that wrote them either never used the systems they touted, or they were writing "theoretically" , or maybe they just plain blew smoke to sell their articles. Since then, I have read a lot of survival magazines and books, but I always read with a degree of skepticism. If I were going to launch into some new project today, I'd read up on it but I'd find someone on line who had already done it and solicit their advice. There's no substitute for experience.
Saturday, July 27, 2013
I got the July Cheaper Than Dirt catalog recently, so I dug out the December 2012 edition and contrasted the prices for the exact same items. Here are some that I thought were interesting.
- December 2012 price : $419.19 per can
- July 2013 price : $999.79 per can
- December 2012 price : $369.10
- July 2013 price : $999.79
- December 2012 price: $399.97
- July 2013 price : $999.97
- December 2012 price : $17.59
- July 2013 price : $39.58
One thing I will say about this. In times of turmoil, when prices are fluctuating, you can expect the sellers to put very high prices on their products in the print catalogs, because if the item keeps going up they don't want to have a big seller in their catalog that is under priced. Frequently, if you look the item up on their web pages, the current price will be more reasonable than the one in the catalog.
I could walk down to the waterfall. It's about 40 minutes through the woods. I used to make that trip in under 30 when I was in my late thirties. Now I have to sit down along the way and rest ever so often because my hip starts to hurt. I rationalize that I am waiting for the dogs to catch their breath. They are not getting any younger either. Used to be, I'd always carry a rifle with me. Not because I want to shoot anything, but because the trail passes through some pretty thick vegetation and you can walk up on hogs or a bear. Now I just carry a pistol because a rifle gets too heavy. Walking in our woods is not like walking in the woods out in the Great Plains or the West Coast. The humidity is really high, which is why this place is called the Smokies. Often you get out there and you think low clouds are flowing down the mountain side, but it's just water condensing out of the air.
My wife is still up North with our kids. She has been going to malls, going to nice fancy restaurants, and generally doing all the things you can't do here. She's also been helping the kids with logistics issues. We put new tires on both their Jeeps, got the Commander a brake job and the Liberty is going in next week for the same. She got my son some decent furniture for his room. He's always been a bohemian and is not much of a materialist, but he's old enough now at 24 to start acquiring some decent furniture , at least. My wife has been going horseback riding with the kids up at the stables my daughter goes to. She won't go trail riding with me here because she thinks I am going to fall off and get all busted up. I don't think I would. When I say so, she reminds me that when my son wanted a dirt bike, and she didn't want him to have one, I got him one anyway. I didn't think anything would happen there either but he had a terrific smash up and had to be carted off to the emergency room. It was not pleasant having to call her from the hospital about that.. She never lets me forget it, women are like that. In the Marines we used to say "one ah sh*t! equals ten thousand atta boys." That's how my wife sees it.
I wish I could have gone with her to visit the kids, although I would only have stayed about three days instead of the whole summer. But I have my place to take care of, and the animals have to be seen too. I don't like being gone very long, home is where I am most comfortable. She'll be home in mid August and until then I will just have to get along on my own. I would never make it as a widower, though. If anything happens to her, I will do like my great, great Grandfather, Joseph. He fought all the way through the War Between the States in Company B of the 54th Georgia Infantry. When the war was over he had lost an eye at Kennesaw to a Yankee shell burst, and a leg when the Yankee cavalry wrecked the rails outside Atlanta and the hospital train he was on derailed. At 65 he married a 22 year old woman (there weren't many men left in the South after the war so the women couldn't be that choosey). I might have a harder time finding a young woman for myself these days, so I hope my wife lasts out.
Friday, July 26, 2013
|Small lake near my house|
First, I'm going to the small lake near my house. That only involves a twenty minute drive through the mountains on an old forest service road. It's a dirt road, one lane that cuts through the mountains. Assuming no trees have come down across it since I was last on it, that particular road is the shortest way there. I'll take a chain saw along though, just in case since we've had some really bad weather in the last few weeks. There are two fords along the way, and if all this rain has the water level too high, I'll have to turn around and come back. That will mean a lot longer trip on a paved road.
|one of the fords on the forest service road, winter photo|
After that, I'm off to a big flea market across the state line to look for some hand tools I want to add to my tool shed. I would like to pick up some augers of different sizes, another good axe, a pitchfork, and a few other manual tools. I own a good collection of power tools, but the old timey tools are good backups. This is the best place to get them.
|Whatever you need, the flea market has.|
Then a stop by a grocery store there that has good case lot prices, and back home. Should be a busy day.
Thursday, July 25, 2013
- .30 carbine
- 7.54 MAS
- 7.5 Swiss
- 7.7 Japanese
- 8MM Mauser
- .44 Special
- .44 Magnum
- 6.5 X 55 Swedish Mauser
- 8X56R Hungarian
- .38 Special
- .40 S&W
- .357 Magnum
- 9 MM Luger
- .45 Auto
- .45 Colt
- .380 ACP
- .223 Remington
Right now, ammo is really hard to find as anybody who owns a firearm knows. People don't trust the government (wisely) and they are stocking up. I have been stocking up for 30 years, but I still buy fresh commercial ammo at Walmart or the general store if I can find any. I guess I don't need it, but old habits die hard.
I have "beau coup" powder, primers, and bullets. You can store enough for thousands of rounds in a good sized wall locker or shelf unit. That's another thing I like, knowing I can keep myself in ammo for the indefinite future with what I have on hand.
Today I have to go up on the roof, and fix some shakes that the last 17 days of wind and rain have dislodged. I got up and had my coffee two hours ago and have been reading blogs since then. I read the same blogs every day, but usually I do it later in the afternoon after everything that has to be done, is done.
The problem today is that the part of the roof I'm going to be working on is at the side of the house where the distance from the roof to the ground is about 50 feet. There's no nearby tree limb I can hook a safety harness to. When my son was home, it wasn't such a serious matter because he is much more adapt at scurrying around on a steep roof than I am. The other thing is that if I fall, nobody will know til this evening when my wife calls to check on me and I don't answer the phone. It would be tough to fall and not be able to get up, listening to the chickens edging closer and closer, clucking in greedy anticipation as they considered the feast soon to be enjoyed. I'm not kidding there, chickens will eat anything they find, including dead chickens. They aren't as bad as hogs in that respect but I bet they are a close second. The sooner I get out there and get this done, the better.
It amazes me how much food some people are able to grow. PP has a huge garden, and I was reading postings from South Africa and Australia where the people had grown extensive gardens full of delectable vegetables, better than the ones I can buy in town. The Australian lady had a picture of kangaroo's going past her garden. I am going to try to put links to those two posts in this , because the gardens were so impressive. Don't know if I can do it but here goes:
South African Garden
I can't get the color to change to blue, designating a link, but click on those two above and it will take you there. They're both well written blogs in their own right, so it will be worth your time.
Might as well get started on that roof.
Wednesday, July 24, 2013
Why do ferrets and rubber recoil pads on rifles not mix?
They love to gnaw on soft rubber , so I give them rubber cat toys to play with.
There are always things that need to be done when you live in a log house and have log outbuildings. Particularly when you are going through the wettest July that the state has experienced since they started keeping records in the 1880's. Today, though, I have nothing pressing that has to be done.
Putting that experience to use, I'm not bad at cramming the maximum amount of supplies into storage space. I still wind up down there rearranging things though, always trying to get a little more material into a little less space. I have some new cases of canned food that I could do a better job of storing, but "the spirit isn't on me" today. It will just have to wait.
Tuesday, July 23, 2013
I watch television survival shows for the same reason. The first one I remember was Bear Grylls.
I watched it and while it was sometimes interesting, I always thought that his actions were pretty extreme. Some of the things he did, like eating rotten carrion and drinking his own urine at every opportunity, seemed to be more oriented towards his audience than reality. He traveled with a massive camera and support crew to back him up and film the show. I heard rumors that he was faking a lot of his production, but I didn't believe them. Finally a fellow emailed me and gave me a specific incident that was supposed to be faked. I wrote the the Discovery Channel, and they sent me back a form letter saying ,in effect, that some of Bear's activities were in fact faked. The famous "I spent the night in this tree" when he really stayed in hotel that night was the one I specifically remember. The letter said the Discovery Channel was sorry that there had been "misunderstandings" about the issue and that next season all of Bear's programs would be "realistic and true to the presentation." Maybe they were, but I don't know because I never watched his show again.
Dual Survival has gone three seasons and I'm not sure if it will be back. I like Cody Lundin. I've read his books, and read about him in other books written by survivalists who went to his school in Arizona. He's a straight forward person, with no pretensions. Lundin grew up on a farm way out in the plains, did time for drugs, got his act together and has prospered as a lecturer, author, and actor. He makes no claim that his Dual Survival Shows are entirely authentic. He famously responded to a question about the reality of the program in an interview where he said "hey, man. It's television." The first two seasons were with Dave Canterbury, who fell from grace when it turned out that his military career had not been exactly what he had portrayed it to be. Rumor control had it that Canterbury's disappearance was more to do with not being able to get along with Lundin than any real discrepancies between his resume and his service record. The third season featured another special forces type, whose name I don't remember now. This was a good show, filmed in beautiful locations, and you could learn from it. However, the producers felt that it would be more riveting if the two partners constantly disparaged each other and denigrated their partners skills. That practice got on my nerves and sometimes I almost turned the show off in exasperation.