Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Home Made Sterno Burner

I remember when I was little, my mom made 72-hr kits for us.  Part of that kit was a homemade can of sterno.  This is super easy to make- stores forever, virtually indestructible, self contained, safe and it's waterproof!  All you need is:

  1. Tuna can
  2. Cardboard box
  3. paraffin wax or old candles

Makin' it.  Clean out the tuna can and take the label off.  Cut your corrugated cardboard to about 1" or the depth of the tuna can.  Wind up the cardboard as tight as you can and put it into the tuna can.  While you are doing this, get a pot of water boiling and put your wax into a mason jar or old tin can (I used an old jelly jar).  The jar goes into the boiling water (double boiler style) and after a few min, you have melted wax.  After the wax is all melted, carefully pour it into the tuna can with the cardboard in place.  It takes a while for it to dry (faster in a frig).

Startin' it.  It doesn't start as well as I thought it would.  It took some time with the lighter (the wind didn't help any either).  Once it lights good, it will stay lit.  After you get it going, you're going to need something to balance the pot or pan on.  Bricks are just the right height, but you could use rocks or specially designed metal to do the job.

Cookin' with it.  It took exactly 9 min 30 seconds for it to boil two cups of water.  It's not a fast cooker, but it will do the job.  *also, very important* DO NOT use your wife's best cooking pan to experiment with this!  It leaves black marks all over the bottom.  The fire is a little smoky and doesn't smell that great (I guess if you used incensed candle wax it might smell better)- but it does the job and may help you eat.  I cooked on it for 10 min and there looked to be PLENTY of cooking time left on it.

Puttin' it out.  Don't pour water on it!  It flares up something fierce!  (pretty cool though).  I recommend smothering the flame with the bottom of the pot (not the good one though).  Don't let it burn out cause you can use it again for next time.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Fall Garden

It's well into September and, since I live in Texas where we have an extended growing season- I'm pulling out the summer plants
(except for my herbs and my peppers, which are finally producing) and laying in some lettuce, carrots and onions.  I believe if I plant them now, I'll be able to harvest this November.  We don't really get snow here and all of those plants are very cold hardy.  We've had so much rain the past two weeks I haven't been able to do any gardening.

Just a reminder to those in the temperate climates- now is the time to plant out your fall garden seeds.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Survival Groups

Survival groups form as preppers realize that chances of survival increase if you have a network to help in the event of a crisis or sociatal breakdown.  James Rawles book "Patriots" portrays a good example of how a group could function.  Each member brings different talents to the group and division of labor and effective defense are benifits of such a survial group.

I have heard stories of failed attempts at creating survival groups.  Reasons include lack of commitment from each member.  Varrying expectations of group members, and fiscal differences can easily create riffs that could break up the group.

Imagine the rich doctor that wants to join a group that is willing to commit financial resources, yet does not have the time to commit to survial practice and help with the building of the physical retreat.  He may expect that his financial contribution compensates for his lack of time-  this situation may work out just fine- or it could create friction with other members of the group that are putting in the sweat and hard labor.

Consider the part time prepper that figures that a cabin in the woods is more like a timeshare vacation.  When he goes there, he doesn't help with the garden or building or chopping wood.  He's on vacation- if others members of the group percieve that he is not pulling his own- disputes can break up the group.  Or another who tells everyone and his dog about the "secret" retreat- violating the privacy expectations of others.

On the other hand, chances of survival and the group staying together increase if everyone of the group understands and agrees (in writting) to the expectations.  I think that a constitition of sorts could be drawn up and every member who joins must abide by the rules- or face expulsion.

In Patriots, there was one overall leader with other members in charge of various jobs (medical, logistics, cooking...).  If a disagreement ever arose, the leader had final say- like it or not.  A crisis is not the time to vote and debate- right or wrong a swift decsion can save lives and give purpose. 

If you belong to a group, lets hear what's worked for you and what hasn't.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

September Preparedness

For those of you who are just getting started in prepping, or those who have been prepping for a while and just need a few tips,  I've decided to post my prep goals for each month.  You can follow along, and, I'll bet, before long you will have a complete year supply and some.  Those who already have all your prep stuff, I'll lay money that there will be a few things that you'll discover you don't have or that you need to check on.

Here goes:

1. Buy 100 lbs of grain.  (rice, wheat, oats, etc...) (I need a little more oats)
2. Buy at least 1 case of water
3. Add at least $20 cash every payday set aside in house (not in the bank)
4. Don't let gas tank go below 1/2 full
5. Buy (another) 5 gallon gas can, fill it and add Stabil (prolongs shelf life)
6. Big item of the month: Fall/Winter garden prep.  Prepare the soil now- ground, pots, or boxes.  Get tools if necessary, till up yard- turn over this years garden, add supplements if necessary (it is).
7. Check 72-hr kit.  Comfort items?  (hard candy, gum, toys/crayons, cards, novels...)
8. Have scripture study and pray everyday.
9. Bake whole wheat bread every week (4 loaves/week)

Wednesday, September 9, 2009


     I am a scouter.  I have been my whole life- well, at least since I was 7 and my mom was my den leader.  Since then, I've progressed through the ranks, been a camp councilor and an adult leader for several years.  I don't have any boys myself, but I volunteer with the scouts every Wednesday.
     Today, we took the boys fishing at a nearby pond.  There are 6 boys in our patrol and everyone of them caught at least four fish.  That's pretty good for fishing only an hour or so.  Each of the boys learned or applied the knots learned while they tied their own knots.  Each was able to correctly identify the fish they caught and remove the hook.  They demonstrated proper casting technique (we practiced the week before).   They all exercised safety. Each boy gained confidence in his abilities to fish and become self reliant.
     I bring this up to point out that the self reliant and preparedness attitude can start early.  Each boy now knows that, if needed, he can bring home a string of fish for his family.  The skills learned may not even be recognized for what they actually are at the time.  To the scouts, they were just having a good time- but they were really learning survival skills that may help them and their families in the not too distant future.
   I also bring this story up to encourage my readers to become involved in their communities.  Become friends with your neighbors; contribute to worthy causes.  Help others when you can.

I think we can all learn from the Boy Scouts- and if we are all scouters at heart, the world would be a better place- See if you don't agree with the Scout Promise, Law and of course the Motto: Be Prepared!

Boy Scout Oath or Promise

On my honor, I will do my best
To do my duty to God and my country and to obey the Scout Law;
To help other people at all times;
To keep myself physically strong, mentally awake and morally straight.

Note that the Boy Scout Oath has traditionally been considered to have three promises. Those three promises are delineated by the semicolons in the Oath, which divide it into three clauses. The three promises of the Scout Oath are, therefore:
  • Duty to God and country,
  • Duty to other people, and
  • Duty to self
DUTY TO GOD AND COUNTRY: Your family and religious leaders teach you to know and serve God. By following these teachings, you do your duty to God.
Men and women of the past worked to make America great, and many gave their lives for their country. By being a good family member and a good citizen, by working for your country's good and obeying its laws, you do your duty to your country. Obeying the Scout Law means living by its 12 points.

  • Trustworthy,
  • Loyal,
  • Helpful,
  • Friendly,
  • Courteous,
  • Kind,
  • Obedient,
  • Cheerful,
  • Thrifty,
  • Brave,
  • Clean,
  • and Reverent.

DUTY TO OTHER PEOPLE: Many people need help. A cheery smile and a helping hand make life easier for others. By doing a Good Turn daily and helping when you're needed, you prove yourself a Scout and do your part to make this a better world.

DUTY TO SELF: Keeping yourself physically strong means taking care of your body. Eat the right foods and build your strength. Staying mentally awake means learn all you can, be curious, and ask questions. Being morally straight means to live your life with honesty, to be clean in your speech and actions, and to be a person of strong character.
(taken from http://www.macscouter.com/advance/boyscout/bsoathlaw.asp)

Monday, September 7, 2009

Secret Bread Recipe

I'm about to share a family bread recipe.  Write this one down, it's a keeper.  I usually use all wheat flour except for about a cup or two of white while I'm kneading it. These are the worst looking loaves though- the kids ate up the better ones this time before I could snap pics.  I recommend large dark non-stick metal bread pans (like the ones shown) .  The ones in the photo above were done with old glass pans that just don't give it the shape it should have (still tastes the same).  I grind my own wheat and don't use a bread machine or food processor and I get that much more enjoyment out of it knowing that my sweat is in the food I'm eating.

2 Tbsp Yeast
1/2 Cup Warm Water
5 Cups Hot Water
2 Tbsp Salt
2/3 Cup Oil
2/3 Cup Honey
2 Tbsp Vital Wheat Gluten
2 Tbsp Dough Enhancer
12 Cups Flour
1 Tbsp Sugar (or honey)

Mix yeast + 1 Tbsp Sugar into warm water - set aside
Mix 7 Cups flour with Hot Water- mix well
add salt, oil, honey, gluten, enhancer- mix well
add 1 cup flour- mix well
add yeast mixture and 3-4 cups flour- mix well
knead for 10 min adding flour if needed- let rise in bowl for 30 min in warm area with moist hand towel over the top.
Punch down- let rise again for 30min.
Divide into 4 loaves and put in greased bread pans and let rise 30 min.

Bake at 350' for about 30 min.  Brush with butter when it comes out.
Sit back and enjoy.

I've done this recipe substituting with variations: 2 cups rice flour, 2 cups oatmeal, white flour... I think the gluten and dough enhancer really help the bread though.  I bought 2 cases for my food storage from Honeyville Farms.  Good stuff.  The more you let it rise and punch down, the better consistency and texture of the bread (I don't punch more than 3 times though).  This recipe works well with dinner rolls too.  Kids love it.

Friday, September 4, 2009

No luck in the woods today

Today yielded no meat for the freezer.  I got out in the woods around 6am and couldn't get too far in the woods cause it was too dark.  I stayed along the fire road and watched the field until it got lighter.  I got bored and started walking real quietly through the grass and I saw movement to my left.  I froze and watched the movement come towards me.  I wasn't sure what it was at first- something small for sure- a possum I thought.  Then an armadillo came out of the high grass and walked right up to me, stood on it's hind legs and sniffed the air for a few seconds.  I suppose they are blind, because after sniffing the air, it just kept on through the grass in front of me in no big hurry.  Later, I was walking a different field and sprang 3 white tale deer.  One was a buck with just 2 small horns.  I came across a box turtle as well.  Unfortunately, I didn't spy any wild pigs.  I do think I found an area they traverse though.  I staked it out for an hour, but to no avail. Real muddy area that is heavily traffic'd by animals headed toward the lake.

What kid of animal do you think this came from (my photo above)?  Looks like pig to me base off of these tracking photos.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Change, Change, Change

The American people will never knowingly adopt socialism. But, under
the name of “liberalism,” they will adopt every fragment of the
socialist program, until one day America will be a socialist nation,
without knowing how it happened.” — Norman Thomas, U.S. Socialist
Party presidential candidate 1940, 1944 and 1948

"Facts are stubborn things; and whatever may be our wishes, our
inclinations, or the dictates of our passions, they cannot alter the
state of the facts and evidence."


Over five thousand years ago,
Moses said to the children of Israel,
"Pick up your shovel, mount your asses and camels,
and I will lead you to the promised land."

Nearly 75 years ago, Roosevelt said,
"Lay down your shovels, sit on your asses,
and light up a Camel, this is the promised land".

Now, Obama, has stolen your shovel, taxed your asses,
raised the price of Camels, and mortgaged the promised land.

I've been reading about the bill in Mass that will allow the police to come into your home without a warrant, destroy/confiscate your property, force you to have an injection and send you to a hospital against your will if they suspect you have the Swine Flu.  In America?  God help us!
I've been reading about Obama's plan to address my children in school.  I spoke with the principal and she will be reviewing the program BEFORE showing it to the kids- if it is deemed appropriate (unlike the Utah school this past week).  This gives parents time to view it as well and IF parents object, their children will not be shown the video of the president.  This is the way to go.  Parents you have to be vigilant.  Don't let your kids be brainwashed by this commie.
This will be my first year of hunting.  I attending the hunter education course two days ago and will be purchasing my license today.  The hunt is on tomorrow morning!  Looking for wild boar.  Practice until deer season this November.  Wish me luck.