Amber Lager and the latest updates

January 29, 2012

The Amber lager turned out very good even better than the Dark lager. A little lighter and less heavy than the Ales and it looks to be a good Summer beer.  Bottling a wheat beer that I tried a new hops in the recipe and used my Hydrometer to check my progress on fermentation, it  looks good and using the different hops I think is going to give it a more citrus overtone/flavor which I like in a wheat beer. This brewing beer thing is turning out to be a great way to bring the neighborhood together. We have a neighbor who is just starting out but is excited about making his own beer.  I’m gathering info for starting our own  beer club and perhaps we will enter some competitions as we get better at brewing.

I got to show off my little solar oven and hopefully this week I’ll get a sunny day for a test. It was awfully hazy during the morning hours and finally burned off about 2:00 pm.  To late for a good test, but I’m ready to test the water boiling/pasteurization parts of the oven.  I’ll see how that goes then go for beans and rice to give me and idea how to cook with it.  This solar oven will really come into it’s own after we get into spring and summer. I saw a great cookbook for crock pot recipes at the 2nd hand bookstore I think I’ll get. It should give me some great recipes to modify for the solar oven.

I want to go buy that little wood stove so bad I can almost taste it but,  I think I need to hold off for a little bit and see how things shake out with Iran and EU economies and the war drums that the PTBs keep pounding on.  Best to build up my  little cash buffer again and be ready to bounce no matter what they decide to do.  I’ll start buying the cement board, floor protection at first and start getting that in place as that can be bought in sections and is low priced and I will need it no matter what stove I end up buying.  I can get the equivalent of 10 cords of wood in delivered “mill ends” for $350.00 and I have a great spot for the wood I need to cleanup.  I know it’s kind of odd get the wood before you get the stove but by November I want everything in place anyway, so it’s however I can get it done.  If I don’t get the stove the wood won’t rot and I’ll have a good barter item.

I found a little rolling cart that I think will work as my portable solar generator. I’ve been looking for something that I can put the batteries and inverter in that will protect it from the weather as well as be easy for me to move around.  Batteries get heavy fast! and this will give me the option of using it with the house or the RV.  I’m thinking of adding a few more 20 watt panels to get up to 100 watts total that should get the RV off the grid via DC power if I’ve done my figures correctly and have sunny days.

Last but not least the beast of a TV my niece left me finally died. My neighbors moved it out to the garage and I hope my Dad will haul it away.  So I spent the day moving my TV’s around and hooking everything back up again. I don’t know if it’s just me or because I work on computers but I also seem to collect other electronics as well PC parts.  So I’m still an average American with 2 TVs. I may look for a LCD/digital TV later this year, but I can’t justify buying one just because they are in the store!  I have a few odds and ends plus the wood stove to get done this year and a TV of any sort is just not a priority.


"Don’t be Evil" Google will change its Terms of service

January 27, 2012

I’ll be spending next month moving everything to wordpress blog. for last couple of years I’ve been getting more concerned with Google’s business model. My privacy is exactly that MINE and belongs to me. If I chose to give someone data that is my choice not Googles.
The new site will be
and I’ll be working to move everything over to wordpress and off of blogspot by Feb 29 2012.
I’m getting a few solicitations for sales on this blog. I don’t mind making money but I’m still prepping on the cheap and I won’t recommend something without testing it out personally. I hate wasting money my own or someone else’s and trust is to valuable to lose to just money. I’ll use my Country store spot for posting sales and items I have bought, used and recommend.
Don’t worry I’m not leaving you and I think wordpress is going to give me a lot more options to make this information even better for the future! But I maybe doing some grinding to get everything moved over to the new site. Another reason I’m planning on taking all of Febuary to get it done. It probably won’t take that long but I prefer to under promise and over deliver.
This might be something you folks on blogger may consider for your own blogs. I will give you my ups, downs and lessons learned so if you want to change over to wordpress.

Hello friends from blogger old site. To the new WordPress site.

January 27, 2012

I’m trying to move everything from Blogger to this site. Your comments moved fast but some of my posts are taking some time/hanging via import.

Most likely we will have a few issues but even if I have to copy and paste I will get everything moved from blogger to wordpress.

I will keep up the Blogger site though Febuary so we all will have a bit of time to work through all the issues that can screw up and ruin the best laid plans.


How long do you have to prepare?

January 26, 2012

The rest of your life! I know most everyone want’s to know if and when the big crunch comes but I have no clue how long we have to get ready. Some folks have already faced disasters that happen everyday and they are still plugging away.
It not all bad news and rising prices. Sure fuel and food are rising but if you are looking for the hardware of prepping the prices are down or at least stable. You can pick up a lot of great buys second hand from folks that need cash in a hurry or have overextended themselves. You have to be patient and don’t get desperate that you need that “item” right now.
For example the wood stove I want to buy is going to cost around $1000.00 for everything that’s the wood, stove pipe and safety items that have to be installed. I already have a kerosene heater ($5.00 yardsale) a Mr. Buddy heater($45.00 pawnshop) so I can take my time and shop carefully as I’m not in panic mode. This comes back to the Mental and spiritual aspects of preparing and survival. If you start get that panic or feeling of desperation STOP! Don’t buy anything until you can identify why you feel that way.
I looked for a couple of years for my water barrels. I didn’t want to pay $60.00 + shipping when I had already stored over 60 gallons of water for free in soda bottles. The barrels were a want to have not a need. It was a good buy for $35.00 as it freed up a lot of space that my soda bottles took up. After storing my water in soda bottles for a year the water was still good after adding a little oxygen passing the water between a couple of pitchers. I used green tinted bottles and stored them away from sunlight using City water. I didn’t ignore my water needs until I had the perfect solution. I started storing water in the best cheap solution right away.
Don’t let the perfect be the enemy of the good! Start small, your first garden might be an herb garden in the window. If you look at the price of fresh herbs in the grocery store this is a great place to save money, fresh herbs really punch up the flavor of your cooking and many herbs have medicinal qualities. Many herbs will reseed themselves and are sustainable for a one time cost. Go to the dollar stores in the spring and you can get six or eight packages of seeds for a dollar. I have had most of those seeds I’ve planted reseed themselves two and three years running.
Don’t get fearful and don’t do anything in a panic. Stop take your time, start small and you will become not only prepared for a disaster but for the rest of your life!

I found a wood stove! and staying motivated

January 25, 2012

As I was getting my water barrel at the farm store I found a little cast iron stove on sale for $280.00. After Mom’s 10% discount it’ll cost about $260.00. of course I’ll still need to get the wall/floor protection ($150) and stove pipe($250) and a load of mill ends ($350). For under $1000.00 total  I’ll have everything I’ll need for  wood heat/cooking next winter!  I think I’ll be able to barter for someone who can install  the fire place.
I know it seems so overwhelming when you start out. You see so much that you need and it all seems to cost a lot of money. But you just got to keep plugging away at it. This is a marathon and not a sprint. You will be changing your whole way of life if you embrace prepping. That’s very hard for most folks to do.
If you are starting out and think you want to be a homesteader but you are still trapped in the city or suburbs start with the little things. Trust me living off the land and working with animals and farming and gardening is a lot of physical work. Start small and always think of adding a little at a time. You don’t have start with a whole house solar setup fo $50,000.00. Get a few solar security lights or a couple of solar panels a good battery and charger controller for $300.00. You will save money right away if replace your security lights with solar lights. Sure it’s only a few pennies or dollars but it’s all yours. If you watch those nickels and dimes the dollars will take care of themselves.One of the biggest things that most folks forget is “It’s not how much money you make, it’s how much money you keep!”
Instead of planting a huge garden to start,  plant some square foot gardens or use pots. Ease yourself into it and find out much time you can dedicate to growing your own food. If you have a full-time job or are working several partime jobs this will give you a better idea on how much time and effort you can put into your “Homestead”. Seeds are cheap and if you can eat at least 1 pound of veggies each of those seeds you have planted from your garden you have paid for those seeds.
I find that when I get bogged down with prepping and trying to stay focused on the goals. Something always comes up and gets me back on track. Of course most folks probably won’t get excited of going 5 days without tap water so it’s just me being odd. But I take a lot of pleasure in the small things I get done and there points during my adventure that I felt I never get it done and in a way that is true. There is always more to be done another challenge to be met and overcome. I will also tell you there are points along the way that will give you a feeling of accomplishment and will make the next goal easier to get done.
My first AHA! momemnt is when I realised I had 6 months of food on hand. It got me out of panic mode thinking and trust me I was in a controlled panic. Most of buying was smart longterm items but it seemed I needed so much and had very little money to work with tht the task seemed nearly impossible. That six months of goods showed me I could do this prepping thing, and I didn’t need to freak out. That food buffer got me started on buying equipment a little at a time and often on layaway but after buying my shotgun (cash) and my campstove (Layaway) I began to gain confidence that everything was do able, it would just take time.
Now that I had some basics I could start my shopping lists on what I needed in the future and I could get on sale. That in turned freed up more cash for getting more things I wanted and found on sale like my smoker grill. Once out of that panic mode you can make lists for the future but you limit yourself to only buying on sale or second hand and just with the cash you have budgeted for prepping. Remember these items don’t need to go into some black hole and you never use again. Most items are great for camping and using daily around the house. Hot summer or fall day, break out the campstove and cook outside! keeps the house cooler and you get familiar cooking with your little gas stove. While yu will use some propane you will also save on electricity.
So find those little victories and celebrate them. Write them in a journal or like I do on my blog. Then go back and see how you have changed your attitude and tone. Stay positive and focus on what you do and get done, not how much you need to do.

Welcome to prepping you nut case!

January 24, 2012

    If you are prepping,  I’ll bet most of you get very little positive support from family or friends. You are going outside of the box and leaving the status quo behind and you will be punished, mocked and condescended too. Heck look at how the MSM is portraying preppers as always just a little on the fringe. I think prepping is a rational response to 2011  in the USA. I googled USA disasters 2011  About 211,000,000 results and 14 different  Billion dollar + natural disaster in 2011 a new record!   Yet we preppers are the crazy people!
   You are getting independent of the PTBs and they don’t like you breaking free of slavery. Sure the chains are light and don’t hinder you all that much daily. The Masters are nice and tell you how much they care for you and they will give you free stuff…. food, shelter, fuel and security as long as you play the game! You are dumb, ignorant and your betters have your best interest at heart. The PTBs will force you into a health insurance program and now they have the right to tell you what to put in your body because “they” are paying the costs. Of course it is only for your own good or for the children.
    I started prepping because my illness almost 9 months of no money coming in 3 months in an extended care unit at the VA an most money was on me being carried out not walking out. I got lucky as my VA care covered my medical bills. In today’s world of Obamacare I would have been refused aggressive treatment.
     For myself I love feeling of confidence and competence I get from being prepared. This 5 day water test has me excited not fearful. I’ve added challenge  by assuming no sewer system and not using the hot water tank has got me thinking on how I’ll handle just basic stuff and trying it out!  I got my second barrel today and I’m filling it up slowly and I have to tell you she looks great sitting on the pallet and I know I have more than enough water stored. I will use my camp jugs first and that way I can test how much water I’ll want to use daily and have a solid measurement without rationing water. 

I don’t need to prepare because….

January 22, 2012

 I’d really like to know why all you out there think preppers are wrong for preparing for disasters of all sorts. So all the folks that think I’m wrong please post why preparing is a waste of time and money and whatever else you think I’m wasting.

You now have five years to get ready what do you do?

January 22, 2012

   This is another scenario that is no more and no less likely than the 2 day scenario. The system will collapse is a mathematical certainty, how fast or slow it happens is just a guess. I’m sure we will get no “Grand Announcement” that the economic collapse has begun as the PTBs don’t want a panic or bank runs.
   Anyhoo, you have 5 years to get ready and you can do whatever your bank account will allow. It could be buying PM’s and moving to Hong Kong,  buy an island or even a missile silo! Remember the longer it takes to happen usually means a longer recovery as well so plan accordingly. Start thinking long term and don’t think you will have cheap power to much of anything with, transportation will take a huge hit and unless you have a natural gas well and all of the stuff that goes with production. Muscle power will be king. Small solar,wind,steam and hydro power will be your energy sources at best.
    I have been doing all my planning 1 year at a time and then I break that down into need to have and want to have lists. This system has worked great for me as I’ve managed to get almost all of both lists filled last year. By waiting to get those want to have items I was able to keep checking prices and found several of them at half the cost I had anticipated. For example I wanted a reloding kit and I figured it would cost about $150.00. Then Lee had a sale on a reloading kit for $81.00 so I jumped on that sale. Most solar ovens I found cost over $300.00 and though I put in my order a few days ago I found one for $168.00 including shipping. As you can see having those two different list put me in mindset of being able to save almost $200.00 on my original projected cost and made getting some wants do able.
     So on to the Five year plan and what you want and need in five years. You have to know exactly what you have today and keep going on the smaller goals, and incoperate it into your long range plan. Most importantly how you will budget your limited resources between short and long term goals. I’m doing more tweaking the items I have already on hand and taking items that are shor term and extending them out for the long term.

MY Five year goals

  1. Produce at least enough solar energy to run my Shop (Freezer, extra fridge and lights)
  2. Insulate the shop
  3. Replace my roof with metal roofing
  4. Install storm shutters on the windows.

Think about your five year plans. You may not accomplish them but you are moving towards the goal and as you budget for them you will have those assets on hand for emergencies! 

Just puttering today

January 21, 2012

   Froze about 7 pounds of cheddar and Mont. jack cheese for my Mac & Cheese. I like it better with a mix of cheese and the jack seems to keep the cheddar from breaking and getting oily. Three dozen eggs I got via barter have been oiled and stored. One thing about being in the Army and going to the field to train you find out what you miss after a few days and I always missed having real eggs and butter for breakfast. So having butter eggs is a big thing for me.
    I  watched a great series on youtube last night. All together ist’s long but it breaks it down in small batches.  Stop by and check it out!
Last but not least I’ll be bottling the Amber Lager and trying a new recipe for my wheat beer. The beer lady is also ordering hops rhizomes you can plant. I’m looking at 3 varieties I’d like to grow and this is a perfect area for growing hops.

Feeling powerless? You must do something to get some control

January 21, 2012

    I’ve changed a lot in the last few years and this disease has been a blessing in disguise. I’m not noble or special. I’ve whined about it and I would have preferred to learn in slightly less dramatic fashion without me getting smashed down to bedrock, but I doubt I would have learned. I’ve never been much for asking why me? The answer always seems to be. Why not you?  Remember the only actions you can control are your own.
   I did a post on the IPad shopping list that’s for folks that have some money but seem to think that you have to go all freeze-dried, MRE and special survival food to prepare an you don’t need to spend a lot of money to get started. You local store is full of survival food all you need to do is learn how to cook it!  Almost any processed food you can buy should get at least 2 years of shelf life.

  1. White rice 1 pound equals just over 8 servings
  2. Beans 1 pound equals about 12 servings

Both of those items can be bought nearly every where. Even if you have to pay $1.00-$2.00 per pound for a bag. 5 pounds of each will give you over 40 servings and costs  $20.00 at most. That’s your start for 2 meals a day.

  1. Pasta 1 pound equals 4-6 servings
  2. Pasta sauce I like the Hunt’s sauces and 1 big can equals 4-6 servings

Same rule as above but now you are starting to add a little variety. As you can see if you get 5 of each you have just add another 30 servings.

  1. Eggs: Did you know eggs can last 6-9 months if coated in Mineral oil and stored in a cool dark area? I’ve tested up to 6 months and the eggs were great though the yolk broke easily. Buy up an extra dozen eggs when they are on sale. 16 oz. of mineral oil can be had at a pharmacy or Walgreen’s and it is a great multi-tasker as well.
  2. Oatmeal or grits 1 pound equals 6 servings 

   These are example foods and all items I like to eat. This can be a start on your Bug out Bag. Add some coffee filters and a small bottle of bleach you can have safe drinking water. If you going to a fast food joint grab some extra packets of salt, pepper, sugar, creamer, ketchup, mustard or hot sauce and those to your BOB. As you can see this is a more expensive route to go. But if you have to walk and carry your food you get a few extra items at a time and it won’t be to difficult to handle and this will give you stuff for breakfast lunch and dinner and depending on how many family members you have you got a great start on your 3-14 day food list.  You never know what will make the difference in an emergency! I do know if you give up before you even try you will fail. The first thing you must do is tell yourself you will survive! Everything you do after that is just getting tools to make that statement happen