Finishing up the year on a positive note!

December 28, 2012

Well 2012 has certainly been an interesting year, in the  sense of  the old Chinese curse “May you live in interesting times” . But I did manage to get almost all of my 2012 goals accomplished and added a few items that I planned to put off until 2013. I will be finishing up a few purchases on Monday the 31st that I did not think I could manage/get a start on the 2013 goals. I found a good price on the collapsible water barrel at Amazon for $35.00 with free shipping so I can get one and start working on the “Ice House” parts. I have gathered a few pallets that I will use as the frame to hold the insulating materials and I saw a neat idea using pallets used as a vertical garden so I think I will look for some plants that like partial shade and start my first insulating layer as dirt in between the slats of the pallet.  Hopefully this will give me some  use out of the Ice house area if the water won’t stay frozen into summer. I saw some neat little solar fountain pumps that might work for a modified swamp cooler for those hot summer nights.  This may also work as an above ground root cellar depending on what temperature  it can maintain. The main idea is if the original plan fails I have 3  more ideas that may work along with storing some rain water.

The Ham radio looks like a go for purchase thanks to the heads up from Selco at SHTF school.  I can listen in until I get my license and this radio offers VHF so I can talk to a few folks that have marine radios. That gives me a cheap entry point for backup communication and information. The last purchase is a 1000 watt inverter for my solar panel set up for a small portable generator for the RV and the house.  I have a gas generator but the solar generator won’t run out of gas or oil or make any noise! I hope to pick up 2 really good (expensive) 12 volt batteries a little later in the year to finish up the project.

If you have been watching the news you have noticed our fearless leaders have been screwing up by the numbers on most everything. One item that is not getting a lot of notice is the stalled farm bill which could cause a double or triple price of the cost of a gallon of milk to $6.00-$8.00 per gallon. That will also mean a huge price increase on cheese, butter, yogurt anything that uses milk as a ingredient.  So if you can be flexible on your food budget and preserve it, this would be a good time to add those dairy products to your shopping list. Albertson’s has two pounds Tillamook cheese on sale for $5.00 a package, this a good size to wax and store.  I will be adding some more milk to the freezer as well as some additional UHT milk for the pantry.  I think the PTBs will correct this oversight eventually but the price could get very high, very fast so be ready and have a bit on hand to ride out the price spike.

As for the guns and ammo situation, I’m not rushing out to buy anything at super high prices as I have already prepared and have what I need on hand. I think many people are reacting almost on the edge of panic and it does not seem to take much for them to go over the edge,  that has me a bit more concerned than the going price of an AR-15 or some magazines. I figure in about a month we may see quite a lot of stuff hit the second hand sales ads, gun shows and pawn shops when the credit payment is due and folks have a little time to think rationally again. So start saving a little cash for any good buys that might come along in the next month or two.  I would not be surprised that quite few people spent a few thousand on guns and ammo and don’t have more than 3-14  days of water or food stored.

Preparing and self-reliance can give you one of the most precious items in the world and that is time. Time to think rationally and adjust to what is happening without getting into panic mode. I think at best the 114th Congress won’t be in office until late Jan.2013 and then they still have submit the bill in the senate if Harry Reid even let’s the bill on the floor for debate and you can bet people will be watching that happening. Plus the USA will be dealing with the aftermath of the “fiscal cliff” as well as the mandatory cuts from Simpson-Bowls sequestration. Quite few people are going to be a bit peeved when they get to have even less money in their paycheck as the FICA rates go back to normal and hit with additional taxes. Or having all extended unemployment benefits just stop suddenly as well as the cost of food will probably jump in price as the effects last year’s drought starts to hit the grocery stores with a vengeance.  At best the new Assault weapons ban might reach the floor of the senate in Feb. or March 2013.  You will want to watch carefully if the PTBs try and use an emotionally charged issue to make people panic and beg the government to “do something”.  Your homework assignment is to research the Reichstag Fire in Germany 1933.

Playing with the solar oven and solar lights

February 4, 2012

I recieved my Solar oven and have been playing around with it to see how well it can do in the winter time. I’m just testing the temp. and how well it can use the sun’s energy and so far the results have been marginal at best and also what I expected for winter time in Idaho.

I’m not blaming the oven as it was designed for a location much further south and a higher daytime temp. than were I am located in Idaho.  A few degrees of angle in the sun can have a huge difference in total sunlight collected and focused.  I also bought the oven without the reflector which I think is needed for use where I’m at and to overcome the lower ambient temp. of winter time in Idaho.

I can say that I can get up around 150 degrees F. in an hour or two. Not hot enough to cook but not all that bad in conditions the oven was not built to handle.  I think by March and the Spring equinox plus adding a reflector could see this little solar oven work and be a great asset for a prepper. In summertime this little oven is going to work great for my baking and cooking and really help out with keeping the house cool by not using the oven.

I have a few of those decrotive  solar lamps for the yard. I noticed that they were slowly becoming dimmer and seldom lasted a more than a few hours. I also have a battery charger for AA and AAA batteries so I thought I’d see if it was bulb or the battery that were giving out.  I did have a few bad bulbs but recharging those batteries with a solid current and not the solar panels seems to have revived the lamps and they are doing much better and brighter than when I first bought them.  I cleaned the solar panel and I’ve been running them on what the solar panel can generate and so far the lamps are putting out the light better than ever.

So before you toss your solar lights try to recharge via household electricity. Clean the contacts with a pencil eraser and make sure there is no corosion build up.  If the eraser does not work use a mixture baking soda and water plus a brush and clean the contacts.  You may find you breathe new life into those little lights.  While having a little light is great every one of those lights is a solar recharging station for batteries.  You may not get a lot charge but it’s totally free and it could keep your flashlights and radios going in a power down emergency.