Time to test if you are prepared!

June 30, 2012

I have not had a lack of disasters to post about lately. As we wrap up the interesting  month of June  I have posted about the economic disaster of Greece/EU, the Bugout because of the Colorado fires and just to finish we have a massive wind storm smash the east along with 100+ temps and drought.  Riverrider is up to his ears in the latest bit of eastern weather fun and posted he’s okay and ready to handle what’s thrown at him.  But we already have several dead and injured because of the wind storms and power will be out for quites some time.  Start thinking about days if not weeks without power. There is another bank of storms coming so if you have not been hit yet, get prepared just in case.

Water/Sanitation: If  you have water fill everything that can hold water with cool water: Buckets, sinks, tubs, Big pots or pans.  Get those kiddy pools filled up, clean garbage cans (not for Drinking) can help to keep you cool.  Some of the water treatment and sewage plants are already down so you are going to need water for Sanitation needs. So time to get out the porta-potty/bucket, solar shower, dish tubs and laundry buckets ready to go if needed.  If you still have power get the house clean and start the laundry and dishwasher!

Food Preparations:  Cook outside to keep the house cool. Keep your fridge and freezer closed and if your stores are open, fill up on Ice and Dry ice. Get those camp coolers out and read the instructions if handling dry ice. Getting regular ice gives you extra water as it melts so no dumping the coolers of water!  Use paper plates and utensils to save water from doing dishes. Use dishpans for doing dishes and reuse the water for flushing or the rinse water for the lawn or garden and washing hands.

 Power outage:  Round up your flashlights and check the batteries. If you have LED lanterns use those instead of candles and open flame lamps to reduce adding heat and for safety.  Make sure your phone, laptop and stuff is fully charged. Test your generator and run it only 4-6 hours per day to conserve gas. That should be enough to keep the fridge and or freezer cold. Don’t overload the generator’s power specifications.  You can use your car as a generator as long as the battery is kept charged and you have gas. So if you have a power adapter charge your phone and or laptop via the car battery.

Stay Home: Leave only if there is an emergency. If the power is down forget about getting gas, money from the ATM or the stores.  Don’t get caught out with a bunch of hot, cranky folks who are not able to buy stuff they want/need. Wait at least a couple of days for the panic to calm down.  If you must leave for a shelter (NO WATER or FOOD)  listen to the news on where they are located.  It’s going to get very dark in cities without power so don’t freak out and don’t stand out. Only run your generator when you hear others are running. Keep your head and your feet cool, drink plenty of water, stay in the shade watch for heat injuries.  People survived for thousands of years without AC you can too!

What I’m doing for my test: I hooked a Box Fan to my little power pack got about 30 minutes, the power pak was partially discharged. I can get a 12volt DC fan to fan to run about 2 days on a full charge, so running the 120 volt  big  fans won’t work with the little power pak.

Tested my modified swamp cooler made with Burlap bag, a bucket of water and a fan and It’s okay if not great and could provide a little relief/comfort.  The burlap does wick enough to soak up some water for evaporation cooling.  I don’t have to worry to much about staying cool as my basement stays about 65-70 degrees.

Stay safe folks!

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Sales at Sportsman’s Guide and silver quarters

June 27, 2012

I went looking at sportmans guide.com as I get the flyers and email updates and they have some great buys on on the Camp Chef propane oven combo for under $200.00. A new Camp Chef product is just the oven with no burners on top for $152.00.  If you already have a little camp stove with burners this might be a good option for backup cooking/camping.

They are coming out with those power packs for jumping cars that you can charge with a solar panel. They usually have a small inverter (400-600 watts) a light, radio and some times an air compressor. I have a small power pack that I have used to keep my router or a small 12 V DC  fan going during power outages, but I have to charge it via 120 V AC.  Being able to charge one of these with solar panels would be great to have on hand.  They have  one I’m looking to get next month for $80.00, I think this would be a great little gadget for charging the Laptop, phone or  run a small fan.

The Big Mr. Heater is on sale for $116.oo and though I have the mid size Mr.Heater, I’d like to have the big one as it has a fan for circulating the heat that runs on batteries or AC power. I was impressed on how well the Mid-size heater did on heating my home during the test I did this last winter and having 2 would give me a backup.  I already have the Adapter hose for using a big tank but my local grocery store Paul’s has the little tanks on sale for $2.98 each and I can refill or use the big tank for the oven or the heaters.  This is a good time to looking for camping stuff on sale and SportsmanGuide has great service.

The only thing left on the “wish list” will be the propane water heater.

Apmex has a sale on a roll of quarters 90% silver which split the difference on cost between dimes and the 1/2 dollars. So I’ll be getting a roll. That should give me plenty of change for barter for at least a little while and then I’ll get back to buying 100% silver.

UPDATE: The Big Stove was just marked down at Sportsmans guide to $170.00 

Coupon Code SG2254:      Offer good on merchandise orders of $125 or more (minimum order cannot include Buyer’s Club Membership fees). Cannot be combined with any other special offers or coupons and cannot be redeemed for cash. Offer expires at 11:59 P.M. CDT on Sunday, July 1, 2012. $10 Gift Card will be mailed separately within 7 to 14 days and will expire on Wednesday, August 15, 2012.

 


Colorado fires and bugout

June 25, 2012

I know we often have  conversations about folks in “Denial”.  It seems so logical to have a few supplies for any kind of disaster no matter how it manifests.  Ask the folks in Colorado how important a Bugout plan is now that the fires are raging out of control.  There is a guy named Dave that is on APN and is ready to bugout because of the fires if the order comes down. He had 3 routes out and 1 has been cut because of the fire but 2 are still good. The vehicle is already packed, gassed up  ready to go if he needs to scoot!  While the situation sucks it seems to me he is very grateful that he was already prepared and can deal with this quickly and without panic.

Michelle Malkin had to leave quickly and left behind 2 pet birds. Now she seems like a very smart lady and since she is a best selling author I assume she has a few dollars to prepare. Yet even she was caught unprepared and these poor little birds may die because no one will give them water or food while she is gone.  I’m not trying to pick on her it just shows that even smart people with a few bucks can get caught out because of denial!

I try to use these disaster to think of what would I do if I was there and it is happening to me. How long would it take me to GOOD (Get Out Of Dodge) with 12-24 hours warning?  What would I need to pack in the RV what roads could I take out?  I used up my cash and payday is 4 days away so how do I fill the propane & gas tank?  Do I have food, clothing, blankets  and water to last up to 2 weeks or more? Are all of my important papers ready to grab and go, do I have copies? Medical supplies and any records needed to get prescription drugs if needed. Do I have pet food, collars, leashes and crates for the pets so they are safe and have their preps on hand.  Alternate communications to let folks know I’m safe and where I’m at as well as the spot where I’m going to settle down until the disaster is over.

Lets say you do all of these thing and your home is not destroyed but has the power cut or is looted.  Did you put the food in the freezer in ziplock bags with a couple or ice cubes in case the power went out but your food froze again, or worse the power is still out and you have to clean the fridge and freezer of rotted food. Trust me bagging all your food in plastic bags will save you ton of heart ache as well as your sense of smell if you bag your food before a potential power outage while you are away from home.  Do you have pictures recorded of all your stuff before the disaster you can submit to your insurance company?  Do you have some basic  “business attire/uniform” for your job?  Showing up in dirty jeans, t-shirt, sneakers or sweats after a disaster probably won’t impress the boss.  At least have “Business Casual” clothing clean and ready to wear.  While they may understand why,  being ready will impress they heck out of them and give you some “gold star points”. If the business is destroyed you will have good clothes to wear for a job interview.  You resume is updated right?….

Take care of yourself first and you will be able to help others. Unless you do for you first you can help no one. Yes that does kind of selfish at first but giving away all your water and food will just get you dead. I believe God asks us to be generous not stupid.


Using what’s happening in the EU as a planning tool

June 23, 2012

As you all know I have been watching the the events happening in the EU closely.  I think it shows what happens in an economic collapse and what we might see happen in the USA.  One thing that jumped out at me was an Italian bank shutting down for 30 days and folks had no access to pay bills or get any of their money at all.  I’m sure you can imagine the cost in late fees at best or  having your utilities shut off at worse and having to pay a big fee to restart them all.

I use a couple of Credit Unions that are in 2 different states.  Hopefully they won’t both go down at the same time. If they do we probably have an much bigger problems than me making a payment.

So how would I handle my bank shutting down for 30 days? About the only options I can see is have enough cash on hand to make 30 days of payments or pre- pay on your bills.  The 30 days of cash on hand is a great idea but as many of us are living paycheck to paycheck that might not be realistic for most folks. There is also the fact of having that much cash on hand might make you a little nervous.  Life is stressful enough with out adding to it!

I ‘m not a big fan of pre-paying bills or automatic deductions  as I figure I can do better at managing my dollars. But I can see how paying a little extra on the  most critical bills might make sense if your bank shuts down.  Plus having everything paid 1 month ahead could offer some peace of mind in case you had an emergency. You know you have at least a month to come up with a plan.

Check with your companies but I know you can pay ahead on your mortgage and most utilities adding as little as $5.00 to $100.00 per month might be a little easier than trying to save up a months worth of cash. If you always see your cash on hand slowly evaporate this system may work for you.  But keep working on that emergency fund!

I would not do this if I was working to pay down debts.  Any money not used should be put towards your debts right after contributing to your emergency fund.  Being debt free is a critical step for preparedness so get rid of any debt first!

UPDATE: RBS and NatWest in Scotland seem to be suffering from  a “Glitch” that has kept folks from accessing funds to pay bills for the past 5 days.


Solar Oven AAR (After Action Review)

June 23, 2012

The boneless pork cooked up great even with having a bit of the core frozen. It was a bit dry but I did not brine it and only added a bit of flavored oil to the pan. I think it took on the spices I added quite well.  I was shocked the beans were not cooked while the loin was done. The “Cloud Gods” seem to be fascinated by my solar oven and always want to come take a good look at it.

About a 7 hour cooking time and a few cloudy periods with the oven. Beans were cooking but not quite done overall. Broth flavor was quite good but it looks like I need to add some time cooking to the beans and reduce the time for boneless meats.  I have to admit I was quite surprised that the boneless pork was done yet the beans were not done.  I’ll try some basic oven type items of 300 degrees and see what works best for the solar oven.  I got the cheap version of a pre-fab solar oven.

I can say that rice meats and veggies will cook up with good sunlight. so this gives another cooking system. The oven keeps all the smells contained. So it should be a good choice if you want to hide the smell of cooking food.

UPDATE: I set the solar oven out today and just watched the temp gauge and it was between 275-300 degrees.  I didn’t fuss with turning it to face the sun directly, so without clouds it can get the cooking job done!


Stuff done today and plans for next week

June 21, 2012

I didn’t need to get much this week but been checking prices and seems coffee, butter and bacon are starting to come back down in price. Since I’m buying silver this check I’m skipping most of the grocery shopping as only one or two items “blew my skirt up”.  Cash & Carry has a two week sale and the items I want I’ll get those next week.

  1. 40 pound bag of mesquite charcoal $11.40 (2 bags)
  2. 50 pounds of rice $16.65
  3. 50 pounds of flour $13.95

Albertson’s has a good buy on it’s bacon that I like so much.  $1.99 per pound but it’s a min. buy of 5 pounds,  I’m thinking about getting some  if I sell a few of my water bottles.  I’m going to Family Dollar and check out some shorts that are 2/$10.00 if they are good quality I’ll pick up a pair.  I know the PTB’s seem to think they have fixed all of the problems in the world or at least fooled most folks for a couple more weeks.  But I want to keep a little cash on hand just in case!

Now that the days are finally staying sunny I can try out the solar oven.  I soaked some 16 bean mix last night and I’m doing a small boneless pork loin to see how it cooks up via solar.  I’ll try my oven baked mac & cheese along with some biscuits if the beans and pork loin work out.  Got your beer ready to go Craig,  it’s a 6 pack of Dark lager I hope you like it. It tends to be one of my favorites.  I’m going to start a batch of wheat beer for some summer time drinking.  Looks like summer finally arrived so I’ll take the hot plate outside to boil the wort and help keep the house cool.

I’ve been rethinking my wood stove goal for this year,  instead I am looking at doing propane because I already have a Mr. Buddy heater, a propane oven/burner combo and for about $100.00 I can buy an instant hot water heater.  I won’t have to install a chimney,  nor does propane give off smoke or smell like wood burning.  All I will need to buy is the tanks and fuel and that would be a lot cheaper option this year.  Plus I’ve become very aware of my energy levels since doing my water test and flipping a switch or turning a valve is a lot easier than packing in wood or starting a fire and I’d still have to heat up water on the wood stove.

Looks like I completely missed my guess on which way Silver prices were going this week.  I hope it keeps going down for awhile as that means I can buy more next week.  Logic is often a way to go wrong with confidence especially in today’s market. I think this is only my second miss so overall I’m doing good. The historic value remains the same so I’ll keep plugging away at it.

 


Yardsale shopping list

June 19, 2012

Mom and I are planning a yard sale outing for the end of the month so I thought I’d share some of the items I will be looking for as well as my total budget.   I don’t shop for antiques or collectibles so I don’t know values on those kinds of items.  I only buy junk silver based on the silver content of the coin, not the coin’s numismatic value.  I’m learning about the rarer coins but I’m still new to junk silver so better to pay based on silver content and when I get home I can check values via the internet.

Know the retail price of the items you are looking for and don’t pay more than 1/2 of that price. For example canning jars are about a dollar each retail, so 50 cents or less per jar is an okay deal.  Figure up your total budget for your yard sale shopping and carry lots of $1’s, 5 and 10 dollar bills rather than a checkbook depending on your budget.  Now it should be easy to make out your list for the next 2-3 months of yard sales.  I find most of the best shopping is in upper middle class neighborhoods on average.  I believe they tend to overbuy on credit and then have to generate cash to pay off debt.  But you don’t have to pass up a sale at either end of the market as you can often be surprised what folks will sell.

Don’t be afraid to bargain and walkaway from anything offered if it is out of your price range. I’m not talking about trying to take advantage of someone but if you feel something is a little high make an offer and if they say no, so be it. I’m positive you have been told “no”  before and will again you don’t have to get upset, because you will walk away with either your cash or the item.  If you are not good at it take someone who is good at bargaining.  For me that’s my Mom, I tend to be better at keeping prices in my head and doing research on the value of stuff.

My list of item to look for  is:

  1. Hand powered tools of any sort from drills to can openers
  2. Cast iron pots and pans in good shape
  3. A heavy duty grinder;  meat and/or grain
  4. Books and board games
  5. Junk silver coins based on spot price not numismatic value
  6. Compact fishing pole, reloading equipment and Kerosene lamps
  7. Canning supplies
  8. Fuel cans of all sorts
  9. Wood and/ or propane stoves,  fans
  10. Seasonal clothing

Now this might seem like a long list but everything must meet my price range of less than half of the retail price. Plus I’m looking at some of these as barter items that will be easy to trade.  Get your needs covered first on your shopping list then go for backups and barter items.  If  your budget is $20.00 go have have fun shopping around with it and see how much you get done for that amount.  At the very worse you will drive around a bit, walk a bit and get a few items you need at a good price.  This kind of shopping can take weeks to get done so don’t buy up all you need right away unless you get a great deal and stick to your budget!