A bump in the night…

March 29, 2012

Something has woke you up and you are on high alert and you don’t know why!  Is it the cat, the house settling or is it a real threat. You start to sweat and lie in bed listening….There it is, something is wrong and you go to check it out and you grab….

I think we have all been in a similar situation and most times it is nothing. Perhaps the wind blowing briskly and moved a trashcan or an animal running through the yard.  But you are awake and you are unsure, so how will you meet this potential threat?

  1. It’s dark out so where is your flashlight. Is it beside your bedside? Can you grab it without searching for it?  I have a little LED push button light on the wall by my bed along with a flashlight on my bedside table.
  2. Never be in front of your light. Focus your light out and if you can always search with your flashlight above your body and shine the light down.
  3. My weapon of choice in a home is a 12 gauge with 00 buckshot and I prefer a pump action, or as we call it an Idaho burglar alarm.  I don’t want to have to shoot anyone, I’d much prefer to give them a chance to run away. The pump 12 gauge can be had for under $200.00 including some ammo and fits in well with my prepping on the cheap.
  4. If you are in your home or in an urban area you must be aware of blowing holes  through walls. A good thing about the 12 gauge is that penetration of walls tends to be minimized.

My next weapon is my 45 acp Hi-point pistol with a laser.  If I step out of the house to investigate some thing. Again this weapon can be had for under $200.00. The laser is to let others know I’m ready to defend myself and property and I want them to go away. Not to long ago the police were searching for a suspect in the alley behind my home and the weapon I grabed was the Hi-point after my motion detector light went off.  I could see if was a police officer and asked what was going on?  Just  a suspect seen traveling the alley and “Did you see anything?”

Now this blog is about prepping on the cheap but the best weapon you can buy is one that you have confidence in and hit what you aim at.  I’ve heard of a Hi-point out shooting a Kimber XD and other stories.  So buying as expensive as you can or the biggest caliber is not always the best practice.  The best practice is find a gun that meets your needs and you can use, there are no lethal weapons only folks that are lethal. I could give you a nuke and if you are not willing to use it, you ain’t deadly. If you can not shoot to kill do not own a gun. Buy pepper spray or get a baseball bat.  Believe it or not the kinetic energy of a well swung baseball bat is about the same as a 32 caliber auto. Of course the pistol’s bullet does poke hole in you.

I’m seldom more than 10 feet away from any of my guns. I’m sure some folks may consider me paraniod of fearful but I can tell you I’m not fearful as I always have a means to protect myself.

I’m reminded of a story a cop pulled over a little old lady and asked if she had any guns in the car?  She replied she had a shot gun in the back seat a 9mm on her hip and a 45 in the jockey box. The cop asked her what she was so afraid of and she said not a goddamn thing sonny!


The Shopping list

March 27, 2012

Cash and Carry has some outstanding deals this week

  1. 10 Pounds of IBP 80/20 hamburger for $19.95:  I looked them up and these folks don’t use Pink slime so we are good to go for both dehydrating and canning.  I dehydrated some 70/30 ground beef and I was not at all happy with the greasy feeling after drying. It still had a good shelf life of over 9 months stored in the fridge but I never really trusted it for regular storage in the basement.
  2. Butter $1.79 per pound: Six pounds salted for the freezer. I like using real butter in almost all of my cooking and I have built up a good bit canned already and I have to admit the canned butter’s texture is not quite perfect compared to fresh or frozen butter.  I think the next jar of bottled butter I get out I’ll whip it in the stand mixer and see if that helps  before putting it in the butter bell for use.
  3. Red onions 25 pounds for $4.98:  I’ll split this bag with my Mom, Having only 1 or two people to cook for makes it tough to take advantage of buying perishibles goods in bulk. If you are handicapped or work you can’t always can, dehydrate and preserve the food and both Mom and I think throwing away any food as almost a sin.  But 12 or so pounds each is easily used/ preserved for both of us. Plus the purple onions are usually sweeter than the whites and will add a splash of color in my jar and bag mixes.
  4. Shredded chedder/jack cheese 5 Pounds for $9.98:  I like the shredded stuff for freezing and blends of cheese work better in my oven baked mac & cheese rather than straight cheddar.  Quite a lot of meals can be kicked up a notch by adding cheese and it’s full of good fats.

Believe it or not I’m looking at $45.60 as a total cost for my shopping list. This shows how my shopping habits have changed as I’m no longer buying what I need this week but what I will need in the future.  Today I took over some  low dosage asprin to my Mom for her dogs. She wanted me to stop by Walgreens and pick a bottle of 72 for almost $4.00(on sale) yet I had the same amount of tablets stored for less than $2.00. Trust me a fully stocked pantry is  a great time and money saver.  This month even I’m getting hit by inflation but I will only spend about $120.00 on groceries  for 1 person.

The thing is I won’t eat 10 pounds of burger this month. Or  12+ pounds of onions  or 5 pounds of cheese. I’ll can, freeze or dehydrate it for later this year. You can do the same and when someone needs some thing you will be ready to grab it out of the freezer or pantry or you can create a meal at the drop of a hat as you have all the basic ingredients already to hand. No more last minute grocery or drug store runs as you have been buying and rotating already.

A little power outage practice

March 26, 2012

Today a I had a little power outage. No big deal but it gave me a chance to see if my little Black & Decker Powermate would let me still access the internet.  It did the job for an hour or so and I did not use up the battery, that  was only about 1/2 charged.  I’m happy with the results of  the Powermate and my laptop which managed the 2 hours no problem on battery.  I’m thinking a small UPS (Uniterruptable power supply) or 2 would make a good addition for the gadgets in the house.  I’ll be keeping an eye out for any additional Powermates I can get used or on sale.

The Car Box

March 25, 2012

I did a post on my charity bucket and how these could be given to folks either to help out or to move a long to new destination.  I also have a couple of BOBs that I’m working on but I thought in a pinch my car box along with the “Bucket” would make a nice addition along with the BOB if I had to go in a hurry and this combo could get me up over a weeks worth of stuff for survival.

The car box stays in the car at all times.  I use a plastic shoe box in the 5.5 quart range that I got at a dollar store. I like this size as it will fit under most car seats and so takes up very little room.  Also this box stays in the car at all times so you will need items that are not affected by extreme tempeture changes.  I was focusing on use in the winter time in case I ever got stuck in the snow so I’d always have a little some thing to tide me over for up to 3 days.  I also have 3 items that don’t fit in the box but are small enough to fit under the seat.

  1. Small solar panel:  Keeps the battery charged so you don’t have to run your engine to conserve your gas.  Perhaps even keep your cell phone charged.
  2. A modified snuggie:  The one I bought can be zipped to create something similar to a sleeping bag.
  3. A quilted wool  shirt: Not very stylish but great for creating layers to stay warm. Plus wool keeps you warm even when wet.
  4. Last but not least I have a set of jumper cables, tire and jack and a can of fix a flat as changing a tire by myself would be impossible along with a combo tool that is a light weight hammer, hatchet and pry bar.

The contents of the box are most of the usual items that you see and read about on the net. Remember this is “my box” you may need different stuff but it should give you the general idea as well as be easy to modify.

  1. The box itself should be made of the thickest plastic you can find.  You may be using it to gather snow or water so you will want it to be strong.  Make sure the lid fits snug.
  2. Contruction grade garbage bag:  My favorite multi-tasker for survival from making a shelter, retaining heat to holding water for a short time and using the power of the sun to warm water or melt snow these bags are very strong and don’t take up much room.
  3. Sterno Stove, 2 cans of fuel and a metal cup:  You can boil water make a meal and help keep the car warm. I like the sterno stove as it folds nearly flat and fit’s in the box. The cans of fuel fit neatly in the metal cup so no wasted space.
  4. 2 large pieces 0f Tinfoil folded flat: These can be used as a pan, a lid for your cup to heat faster or as a signal device.
  5. 1 lighter,  1 small box of wooden matches and two  9 hour candles.
  6. Food supply: 4 Beef bullion cubes, 3 bags of instant oatmeal and a 3 oz. bag of beef jerky.  2 packages of Hot cocoa mix and I went with “Real” salt and dried red pepper flake for a little spice,  1 set of plasticware (fork knife spoon).
  7. Emergency blanket and 1 plastic poncho.
  8. 1 small LED flashlight and extra set of batteries.
  9. Safety pins for emergency clothing repairs.
  10. Utility knife and 5 safety razor blades: I carry a Multi- tool at all times but blades can break or get dull
  11. First Aid/sanitation: 1 small 1st aid kit kit,  2 face masks and 2 sets of disposable gloves. 1 small bottle of hand sanitizer, a package of wet wipes and a small package of tissue.

This box is just for me if there are more folks you transport you will need more or bigger boxes. But I like the idea that each person could modify this small box and still fit beneath the seat.  It also works as a backup system if you are caught at home as well as always being ready to go in your vehicle.

Added pictures of my SKS and the Charity Buckets

March 24, 2012

Just a FYI if you wanted to see the pics

The Charity Bucket

March 23, 2012

We have seen quite few storms and the weather has been wonky here in the good ol’ USA.  As a disabled person I know I’ll need some help with muscle power as well as most of my family members are so deep in Denial that it’s almost the more I’ve tried to help them the more stubborn they get on not preparing.  Any way I came up with a Charity bucket and I have a few stored for folks that covers most of the basics in a compact and easy to carry and or store.

  1. Square food grade bucket I get at Fred Meyer/Kroger bakery $1.50- 2.00 used. I like these because they are cheap, stack easily in a closet and can be used for collecting water. Small enough to carry easily. Food safe and have a lid, but the lid does not have a gasket.
  2. Dry goods: I store in 1 quart freezer bags. You will get about a pound of beans, almost 2 pounds of rice, 1 pound 4 oz. of quick oats and pasta 2 cups dried (go with small noodles like macaroni or Orzo) in each bag. I like using the resealable bags for this better than the Foodsaver. Don’t forget lentils and or pearled Barley. You can fit at least 6-10 bags depending on what you pick for your dry goods.
  3. Meat: I got a good buy on a 10 oz can of chicken so 2 of those and add in 4 cans of different meats in the 5 oz. can and you get some variety. Figure about 1 pound of meat per person per week.
  4. Sauces: I go with a big can of Hunt’s pasta sauce. They are about 6 servings in each can.
  5. Spice: I get extra packets from the fast food joint or you can make your own.  Bullion cubes  Chix and or Beef.
  6. Water enhancers: Whatever you like, but I went with Tang or Country time lemonade. Small container makes 8 quarts. You could add Hot chocolate, instant coffee and tea bags
  7. Milk: 1 quart UHT bought at the Dollar store. I’ve use some 2 years after the use by date and was fine.
  8. Breads: I put 1 pound of biscuit mix that works with milk or water. That makes about 12-16 depending on size.
  9. Fats/oils: I put a half pint of my bottled butter in, but you could also go with Butter flavored Crisco in the sticks.

Stuff you need:

  1. Construction grade trash bag: 2 at least.
  2. Small roll of kitchen trash bags
  3. My own little bathroom bag that has a small 1st aid kit, a small package of Kleenex, A couple of feminine napkins, Small package of wet wipes. 1 bar Ivory soap and small bottle of Iodine tablets. All stored in a quart bag.
  4. A small box of wooden matches, 1 disposable lighter, and 2 small emergency candles that are good for 9 Hours of light each.
  5. A couple of masks and a couple of sets of disposable gloves.
  6. Toilet paper: 2-4 rolls smashed flat
  7. Several folded squares of tinfoil. Tinfoil can make a pan for cooking or a signal mirror and takes up little space.

My special additions:

  1. 2 buckets have a wind up flashlight and radio and 2 buckets have a sterno stove and 2 cans of fuel. Which bucket they get will depend on what they need the most as I can’t fit both the in the buckets.
  2. Note pad, mechanical pencil and a deck of cards.

FYI on packing your bucket. Place the cans in first, my buckets have slightly rounded corners this works out great. Then pack your dry good bags, they are somewhat flexible and will form around the cans. If your buckets are in the 3 gallon range, you should have space leftover and you can add emergency blankets and whatever you think is needed.

Multi-taskers Your construction grade trash bags can be used for many things from shelters and ponchos to catching water and using the sun to warm the water, for washing up and your laundry. The empty cans could be used to make rocket stoves.  Once the dry good bags are empty you can reuse them from little trash bags to an evaporation still catching the dew off tree leaves in the morning.

This list assumes that a person is bugging in and has a can opener and other basic household stuff to hand and is no substitute for preparing. But it could easily extend a person’s food supply for several days as long as the have a safe water supply and can heat water.  I don’t have any veggies in my buckets yet. I hope to add a my own homemade dried veggies to each as soon as I have an idea and have tested how long they last in storage.

Hurrah, I was wrong again! Sale on Ammo and Beer brewing

March 23, 2012

If you have been keeping up with the news things have started to heat up all over.  I’ve been kinda concrened about something was going to blow this week but thankfully I was wrong.  Perhaps you think I’m the girl that cries “wolf”.  Itry to give the reasons why I think things may blow up but I’m in no danger in being called a prophetess. All you can do is keep on preparing and if you get a little extra incentive or a good time to practice a scenario I’d say go for it.

Sportman guide.com is having an incredible sale on Ammo of all sorts.  Like 9mm or .380 for $15.00 or less for a box of 50. Or 640 rounds of 7.62×39 for $165.00 If you spend over $99.00 there is a coupon code SH678 for $4.99 shipping. I’ve used Sportsmanguide.com several times and they give great service and my package usually arives early.  I don’t recieve any compensation from them, I just think they are a good company.

I have my Dark Ale bubbling away and I’m trying a new recipe for a Dark Lager similar to Dos Equis on the stove as I type.  I did overfill my fermenting bucket a little and had a little bubbleover going into the airlock.  No need to panic just clean it up and or replace the airlock with clean water.  The lid I’m using has a flexible plastic neck for the air lock so I just extended it and it’s doing fine.  Just remember you want to limit opening the fermenting bucket so it does not get contaminated.  One thing I’ve found helpful is to keep the fermenting bucket for both lager and ales upstairs until the airlock shows bubbles. I keep my living area  a cool 65-68 Degrees. This seems to give the yeast some time to get working before I take it to the basement that is much cooler.  That won’t work in the summer time but then my basement warms up a few degrees.

Mom is home from the hospital and seems to be doing good and the surgery went fine.  I’ll go check on her Saturday and see how cranky she will be missing the first 70 + degree day of spring this weekend.

Sasha is finally Home !

March 21, 2012

I am so excited, I made the last payment on my Russian SKS today and got to give a super close look and do a little research on her as well. I think I did good on the price and from what I can see she is is not a refurbished SKS.  Looks like a 1954 Tula with the original stock.   I got the box,  sadly no paperwork but I do have an additional  collapsible (Evil Black Rifle) stock and 20 round Magazine all for $300.00.  I had someone offer to buy it while I was finishing up the paperwork.

I’ll be giving her some extra cleaning and learning everything about the SKS for the next few days as this is the first Russian made rifle I’ve ever used.  I want to be thoroughly familiar with it before I ever load her up with ammo.

I did have a PC problem when I got up this AM but the Tower is working fine now. I have a Laptop that is my main backup and I could do most everything needed but I need to budget some money for building a new PC as this one is getting a little long in the tooth as far as technology goes and she has been upgraded about as far as her motherboard will allow.  I need to grab the Backup drive out of my EMP Box and do another Update of the drive.

My neighbor’s are on my network and have agreed to barter some lawn work in return for internet access and using my Laser printer.  They are great people very community oriented as well as looking to become self-reliant.  They, like many young folks got snookered by the student loan fiasco to the point that putting a degree on a resume is actually a bad thing for getting a job as they are over-qualified.  But, they are not waiting for help from the PTBs.  They put in a garden,  got chickens and are cooking , making real food and working hard to make this neighborhood a real community that works together.

So all in all not a bad week. We not at war and the economy has not blown up yet. Every month I get better prepared and with a little luck by October  the wood stove, the water barrels and the Solar setup  will be done.  Of course money is tight but I’m still managing to stay under $125.00 per month for my food bills as well as dropping my electric usage.  I set up my budget for inflation of up to 30% either the rising cost of living or a cut in SSD and VA benefits so while I’m not happy, I’m not hurting either.

The food dehydrating is coming along as a new way to store. The Beer making is going great and this year I hope to grow my own Hops and get some Malted grain stored for making my own Wort from scratch.  I do have a bit of a challenge getting a 1000 rounds of ammo for the rifle. But, 7.62×39 ammo is darn cheap to buy compared to most rifle ammo. Heck if it was easy everyone would play!

Last FYI Mom came through the Knee replacement surgery great and they may even release her early from the hospital.

Just a little update

March 20, 2012

Mom is out of surgery for her knee replacement. Yep, the Doc said the knee really was crap, but Mom is tough as nails and did about 4 miles walking with me Monday.  She’s supposed to stay in the hospital for 3 days and she should be home by Friday. I’m going over tonight and check on the chickens and all the squirrel and bird feeders though we got a little more psychotic Idaho weather as it been snowing all morning and tomorrow it’s supposed to be about 65 degrees.  Smokey the cat is most displeased with the whole snow thing happening again.

Big Shopping day the 21st and I’m very excited to get the SKS off layaway.  I’m  getting all the ingredients for the beer tasting/potluck on Apr. 15th with the folks on the Block.  I’m going to do a Pale Lager and a dark lager similar to Dos Equis and then a simple dark Ale. That should give a good selection and only the Dark Lager will be a new recipe.  I have a  grocery trip planned for getting some fruits and vegetables for drying, a salt preservation method for lemons and limes,  and of course the Bacon.

One more check and all of the winter stuff, bills will be done and then I can start on the stuff for the wood stove. I think that will make a huge difference on the power bill as well as another back up source for heating and cooking.

Figuring out what to do next….

March 15, 2012

Sorry I haven’t posted for a few days. That water test really took it out of me though I’m bouncing back slowly and I did get a little clean up done.  I got a craving for BLT sandwich so I bought some fresh fixins at Paul’s  and stuff for a green salad. I try to eat veggies with the season but Spring time always brings out my cravings for fresh greens.  I did a small batch of Onion rings and I’m currently drying the rest of my onions I got at the roadside stand in Oct. 2011. They stored fairly well in my modified root cellar, but I did lose a couple turning to mush.  I’m trying to put together some dehydrated mixes for soup and stews and do some test recipes.

This is a month that I have a 3 weeks between checks and I spent quite a bit on a barrel, the rifle and of course the last big electric bill for the winter so I’m in planning mode for the next paycheck.  I’m getting another rain barrel this one will be for the front yard to take advantage of the spring rains. I know it ‘s a bit on the crazy side for 1 person to work for 500 gal. of water on hand but, one thing the water test taught me is you can’t have to much water available. Especially when I have so many friends and family members who are not prepared. Plus one of the items I am planing to barter is beer and good water is absolutely critical for making good beer.  I also seem to have a knack for making good beer and have had great results so far compared to some of the other brewers on my block.  The neighbors and I are talking of having a little potluck and beer tasting party on the IRS weekend the 14th or 15th of  April.

Got some good sales coming up from garden and yard stuff to Cash & Carry having a good sale on bacon for $2.59 a pound that I’d like to can and some lemons and lime that I want to try preserving via a salt method I have read about,  along with using my dehydrator. Plus I love Lime sherbert and I’d like to use my Ice cream maker and try it out to see how well I can make my own sherberts.

I still have a seeds I want to order and get some starting soil for the plants and I need to transfer the dwarf citrus trees to bigger buckets.  I think I may have come up with a workable idea of a modified swamp cooler that takes no power and will reduce my summer air conditioning bill.  It’s taking a little time to gather all the stuff needed as everything I do in the yard I’m restricting myself to off  grid power,  solar or propane that I can control.

I know I’m doing good on preparing but I hope that the PTBs can keep it together for another 18 months so that the folks that are just waking up will have time to get ready. I don’t think the majority of folks won’t wake up until SHTF and it will be to late but every person and every family that is preparing now, is one less we need to worry about turning “zombie”.  If you are new to prepping and you get into the lifestyle you will never finish as it is a journey, a way of life.  There is always more to learn , to do and more to practice and use.  I suppose some folks will see prepping as a burden. Not me as I have done and learn so much and I’m not even scratching the surface after 3 + years. Most of it is hard work and can leave your sore and tired. Some of it is great like brewing a good batch of beer, making your first good loaf of bread, smoking a turkey and getting that first tomato off the vine. There is nothing like it when you do for yourself.