Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Dave's Kitchen - Canned Eggs

Here's some first-hand information from Dave.  Please make informed decisions about what you try at home, and follow safe food handling and processing practices.

 
Canned Eggs  - by Dave
 
Since people have been asking about
canning eggs, I thought I would write up a "How-To"
with pictures.

 My working area with items/ingredients needed.


I used 10 ounce jelly jars, I didn't have any wide-mouth
pints empty(what I usually use) and the grocery
store didn't have any either so I settled on the jelly
jars.

The ingredients I used are:
 
                                        1. Shaved Deli Ham(because it was very dry)
                                        2. Cheddar Cheese - Grated
                                        3. Dehydrated Onion
                                        4. Paprika - Homemade from dried sweet peppers
                                        5. Dill
 
 
The ingredients


First, I put the ingredients into the jars.  The amount
of ingredients will add to the fill level of the jar so
don't over do it.
 

I cracked 2 eggs per jar into a bowl and lightly whipped
them, whipping only until mixed. Lightly mixing adds less
air to the mixture and the "Omelet" will expand
less while cooking. The egg mixture will sometimes
double in volume during cooking and can spew the
contents out of the jar out into the pan, blow the lids
off or even break the jars.
 
The jars filled with egg and ingredients, ready
                                                               to go into the canners.
 
Quite a few people have questioned me about cooking time
and method, so on this batch of a dozen jars, I water-bathed 6 jars
for 1 hour, and pressure canned the other 6 jars at 5 psi for 45 minutes.
Both ways seem to have worked well.
 
The setup I use to keep the half full jars from
                                                   floating during the Water Bath.
 
 
The jars of eggs right out of the Water Bath.
                                                                       1 hour.
 
The jars of eggs right out of the Pressure Canner.
                                                            45 minutes at 5psi.
 
Notice that the eggs doubled in size during cooking.
This is the reason to only fill the jars half full.
After they cool down, the contents will shrink back down
to a degree, but not back down to the fill level.
 
 
Thank you, Dave.  Please leave comments
 and questions below, or email them to
Susan
 

Monday, January 28, 2013

Reviews that lie - Do you agree with this guy?

I normally get a few readers who dislike my books and leave 1-star or 2-star reviews.  That's to be expected since you can't please everyone.  On Poverty Prepping there were people who were disappointed that I didn't go into more detail on other subjects, or expand out to include full prepping information, such as cooking when the power is out.

The title of the books says "How to stock up for tomorrow when you can't afford to eat today."  It doesn't say "complete guide to prepping" or "how to use the food storage" or how to cook it, or anything else.  I was specific in my blurb.  I was tired of buying food storage books that either talked on an advanced level about things newbies don't know, or that had whole portions of the book devoted to making bug-out bags or other subjects related to prepping but NOT food storage.

I also got people leaving reviews that said "nothing new here".  If they were an advanced prepper, or anything beyond a beginner, and they still bought this book, they ought to at least take that into account when they leave a review?  It might not be new to them, but to a beginner, a lot of it might be new.  This book is exactly what I represented it as.  I wrote it originally for specific real life friends.  I published it so the rest of you could, maybe, get something out of it.  The more people we help prepare, the better off we'll all be if any sort of SHTF happens. 

I can understand those reviewers though, but I DON'T UNDERSTAND THIS.  It's a review someone left on the new book, Preserving meat, dairy, and eggs:

Total waste of time. Entire book was "If I was going to try this here is how I'd do it" Or "I read a web site that said to do it this way." No firsthand experience in doing any tasks for food preservation. Very disappointing.

If you've read the book, do you agree with that? 

The book is nearly ALL first-hand experience.  Dave and I spent the last several weeks doing the things in this book, plus we've both been preserving food for more than 30 years.  Actively preserving food, of many types and methods.  How the heck can he say "No firsthand experience in doing any tasks for food preservation"???

And what's with  "Entire book was 'If I was going to try this I'd...' "?

The only web links or suggested links were one to amazon for canning supplies, and one to this blog to expand on the information in the book.  That is the point of this blog.  To get additional information to those who want it.  In Poverty Prepping I did suggest people do further research, either online or at libraries, for specific things they wanted to learn more about.  But I DID NOT do that in this book.  And I did not just talk about websites.  I did mention different things I had seen on a couple websites but ONLY to make it clear to the reader that that particular things was not first-hand knowledge to me.  I even used a line that something (I don't remember where in the book) was just theory to me because I had never done it myself.  However, whatever it was, I believe David had.  I think it was in brining or smoking.  But if David had done it, that made it first-hand experience because he co-wrote the book.  This review says NONE of it is firsthand, and nearly all of it is.

I'm so shocked, angry, and stunned that I don't even know what to say.  This goes beyond someone just leaving a bad review.  And I'm even more angry because this person is dragging down my co-author, David, who is one of the most dedicated food preservers you could ever hope to meet.  He could have written this book, probably better and bigger than I did, all by himself. 

If you have read this book and you disagree with that reviewer, please go tell Amazon.  There's a place under the review where you can click on "report abuse".  You can also select "no" on the "was this review helpful" thing by the review. 

You can also leave your own review, and I am NOT asking for a 4-star or 5-star review, or anything specific.  If you dislike anything about the book, please say so.  Let me know here on this site, or at the email address, or on a review at Amazon.  But be honest and specific, and make sure you really have read the book. 

Sunday, January 27, 2013

D.K.Richardson Guest Post - Safety and Defense


Safety and defense

This Chapter is a brief discussion of safety issues faced by those displaced by a disaster. I list ways to protect yourself and family members, your valuables and offer suggestions on ways to avoid problems before they impact you. A brief discussion covers the pros and cons of carrying a firearm - since laws in the US vary so wildly, I cannot offer specifics for your area.

The safety issues faced by people displaced by disaster are multifaceted. Even if you seek shelter in an 'approved' Red Cross or other organizational sponsored shelter, you need to remember - "Safe" is relative term.

For this reason, I'll begin by saying, if you don't have to leave your home, don't.

Some climate-related or technological accidents (man-made disasters) will leave you no choice. Flooding, long term loss of utilities or the releases of deadly toxins from a transportation accident are just a few of the reasons you might have to leave home. You should have a plan and "Know Where to Go" should you be displaced. Your County, State or maybe even a local Emergency Services department should have a list of pre-approved shelters and who is slated to run those shelters. That is no guarantee that the shelter will be, open, habitable or livable, but it is a starting point. And one you should know.

Weather extremes - hot or cold, are the primary reason I suggest knowing where your nearest shelter is located. These normally have at least minimal facilities for heating/cooling and basic sanitation - normally.

What if a shelter isn't available or is full/uninhabitable? Friends or relatives used to be the place to go, but as many families are scattered across the Nation, this option has become less of a choice for many - especially if transportation is difficult or impossible and distances to relatives are great. A nearby motel is a possibility, but if the disaster is widespread, likely these facilities are damaged as well. Last choice would be a developed campground. These will usually have basic sanitation (cesspits) but water may be an issue in the best of times.

Living out of your vehicle in a parking lot or on the street is the ultimate last resort. No relief from the heat or cold, lack of water and no sanitation will soon show this option is the worst of options. If you own an RV, things may be acceptable for a short period, but without a sewer dump station and fresh water, even these become unacceptable.

Bottom line - if you are forced to displace from your home, you will likely need to travel some distance to find a place to live until and if things return to normal.

Once you leave your home, you have become a "refugee". So, what to do now?

Once you have found shelter, you need to decide how you will ensure your own safety. Few public "shelters of last resort" will have an assigned security staff or police - and are intended for very short term use. This means you are on your own. Determine where the exits are located and if they are actually operational. If you are traveling/sheltering as a family, plan on one adult staying awake as the others sleep.

Most shelters have no food or water, if the public water system fails. In my research, most jurisdictions tell you to bring your own food and water to a shelter - most people won't. If you travel by car, I would suggest you leave any food items in the auto trunk. I'd hate to be the one person with a packet of cookies surrounded by a mass of unprepared folks who haven't eaten all day...

Rarely do public shelters have cots, bedding or blankets. More organized areas and Red Cross shelters do have cots and may even have blankets. This is why you have a blanket in your DIY kit.

Sanitation will be a big issue, so bring your own toilet paper and hand sanitizer. Putting these in a small bag or purse makes it easier to carry. Understand now, that at unstaffed shelters, the sanitation faculties will get nasty - fast. Women may want to consider carrying one of any number of available 'sanitation devices' or female urination device (FUD) (this is how they are found on the Internet) which will allow use of the facility without the need to make personal contact with a filthy toilet surface.

Water from public sources (water mains) may be compromised after a disaster - unless you know the water has been treated, any water obtained from drinking fountains, facets or hose bibs must be treated. The water tote in your DIY disaster kit will make a great 'holding tank' for the time it takes for your treatment method to take effect.

Public shelters may or may not serve cold meals.

Consider this - If you can't wash your hands with hot, soapy water after a bowel movement - neither can the food handler. Unless the food is pre-packaged, I would exercise extreme caution on eating anything served. Life may be miserable - but life in a shelter while fighting a bad case of diarrhea from contaminated food is a far more miserable existence. Use some sense, and have at least some packaged food in your kit.

A shelter will be noisy. A few sets of foam earplugs will go a long to allow you to sleep when it's your turn. For the same reason, a set of earbuds for your radio will go a long way to reduce tensions in a shelter area.

Finally, most shelters are in public schools, so find a comfortable corner, set up in the corner and be prepared to make the best of it.

Your valuables -

Real valuables, that is to say cash, money, precious metals and so on should go into a lock box at your bank. I've not seen any bank vaults wash away in a hurricane. Paper items should be sealed in a plastic bag just in case the vault floods.

Banking with a large bank or credit union - one with branches far outside of your local area, will provide the best bet to have or retain access to your bank account information and the money it represents.

Contact your insurance agent to confirm what documentation you need to file a claim - and gather the necessary paperwork or photos/images now.

Your paperwork and negatives of your insurance documentation can go nto your lock box - again, protected from moisture. But before you lock the papers and photos up in your lock box, take the time to scan them and then store the data on a so-called USB thumb drive.

RENTERS SHOULD ALWAYS HAVE RENTERS INSURANCE! Sorry, didn't mean to shout, but a basic policy is only about $100/year. Just to replace your clothing and kitchen 'stuff' would cost many times that much. Spend the money, you won't regret it. No, call your agent right now. Don't wait.

You may not have the paperwork in hand, but a digital copy is normally enough to at least get started on the claims process. The price and size of these storage devices have fallen, so more than one copy is not only possible, but recommended - but take the time to put some kind of simple encryption on the device is case you lose or it it is stolen. The internet has many, many sites that describe just how to encrypt this kind of data. Find one that matches your operating system and hardware. One last thought - save your 'paperwork' as an image file onto a SD chip device. If needed, a one hour photo can 'print' out your paperwork for claims...

Carrying large amounts of currency after a disaster is almost a necessity - if the electricity is out, credit cards are worthless.

Avoid displaying large amounts of cash - in private, put different amounts in different pockets. Remember, small denominations are best, a mix of one, fives and tens are best. If few places will take a hundred dollar bill now, even fewer still will want to bother with them in a disaster. One exception to that would be to pay for lodging. Combo lock car safes are available that bolt under a seat - a consideration if you live in an area where frequent evacuations are required. Money belts are an old school solution worth considering as well.

When I say security, most folks I know think of some kind of firearm. And while being armed can provide a sense of security, please take some time to think things through. Once you pull the trigger, you own that bullet until it stops. And after. Don't believe that a shooting event in a disaster will be treated differently - it will not. In the afterwards, and there will always be an afterwards, you will have to face the results of your actions.

Having said that, there are predators that inhabit disasters, so check you local gun and knife laws now to fully understand what is legal and more importantly, what is not. If you haven't received professional training of the safe handling of firearms, get the training now.

Safety once you return home.

Safety equipment. Heavy leather gloves, safety glasses, hard hats, dust masks and thick soled leather boots should be part of your clothing choices if you will be doing any kind of cleanup or demo work at home. Debris will be scattered and present sharp surfaces that can injure you. If you are planning on doing any backhaul/salvage of home contents, you still need the gloves and good hard-soled shoes.

If your community has a debris removal/disposal plan, ask for a copy of it now. If they don't, consider bringing up the subject at a planning or Emergency Services meeting.

Sanitation - if you are on a septic system you generally won't have a problem, if on a city sewer system, check to see that it is operational before using your home facilities - if they are even available.

I've covered water and food in an earlier segment.

Home security. This is another area where folks might think a shotgun is all that is needed. I would suggest a bright search light/floodlight and someone to use it will provide a lot more security for your belongings. Thieves will generally stay away from an area they know is being watched. So, again, one adult should plan of being awake all the time until things return to 'normal'.

Here is where knowing your neighbors and watching out for each other is golden. If you belong to a Neighborhood Watch, it is worth asking about what actions are planned, post-disaster. It is certainly worth asking. If you don't have a Neighborhood Watch - at least consider asking your closest neighbors what might work for your area.

I hope this segment has given you some things to think about now - and the push to add these to your overall planning.

So, are you saying a having a gun is a dumb idea?

No, I am not. What I am saying is that security is a lot more than having a firearm. And depending on where you live, the laws covering firearms can very - wildly - from city to County to State - so if you chose to carry a firearm, ensure you know the laws in your area. A jail cell is a crappy place to shelter. I am also saying that you ensure you know how to employ that firearm - legally, before you start packing. That means professional training. Get some - training. Again, a jail cell can be a lonely place to be.

So, where is a good spot in a shelter?

If you are forced to stay in a public shelter, find a small space, with a fire exit, or window. A corner is better, as you have two walls to your back. Some spot far away from the toilets as possible, for obvious reasons. If you can snag a couple of chairs or a table to use with your blanket to make a 'tent', you will find it easier to sleep and have a tiny bit of not-quite privacy. The reality, of course, is that there is no 'good spot' inside a public shelter.

What services can I count on in a public shelter?

That's an easy one to answer - NONE.

Okay, what options do I have?

Do you own your own home? I've built a 10 x 12 'shed' in my back yard, and set it up to support a stove, if needed. It is insulated and has a small sleeping loft and can be pressed into service as a shelter should my primary residence be so damaged as to unlivable. My fall back is a 5th wheel RV. Both are expensive options, but I live where is is both cold and suffers from earthquakes. I look at the shed as dual use, holding my gardening equipment now and the RV is our summer escape vehicle. If you rent a home or duplex with a yard, the landlord may allow a small storage shed. A camping tent may allow you to at least stay near the remains of your home as you recover what you can..

Man, you seem pretty hard over on renter insurance, why?

I've seen people burned out of their rental unit - and with the loss of everything they own. Then it hits them, with no insurance, they are starting all over again - from scratch. Basic policy coverage starts at under $100 a year, the least expensive coverage you can buy. Well worth the ten bucks a month. The landlord's insurance won't cover you, so you need to cover yourself.

Refugee? Are you kidding me?

Noun

A person who has been forced to leave their home or country in order to escape war, persecution, or a natural disaster. Homeless and without support.

Do you want to be that person? I don't.

Where can I learn more?

FEMA has on line lessons covering, among many things, shelter operations.

See: training.fema.gov/is/

Courses IS-7 A Citizen's Guide to Disaster Assistance

and

IS-22 Are You Ready? An In-depth Guide to Citizen Preparedness are recommended as your first courses. There is no cost for these on-line courses. I've complete most all of the courses - it will help you understand better what the FedGov will for you and to you in a disaster.
 
 
Thank you, Mr. Richardson, for this fine post.  For those who are new to this site, D.K.Richardson is the author of several excellent survival- and preparedness-related books.  We've fortunate to have him share his knowledge with us here on the blog.
 
Please leave comments and questions below, or email them to povertyprepping@yahoo.com
 
Susan

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Dave's Kitchen - Tamales from preps/food storage



      Today I made dinner with prep foods.  No preserving or anything, just cooking a meal completely from my food storage preps.  I have no idea what to call it, but I made Tamales with fresh-ground blue corn, seasoned canned pork tamale/enchilada filling, and wrapped in corn shucks from the corn I planted last spring.  I put them in the freezer and we eat one or two at a time as we get hungry for them, and today was the experiment.

      I steamed the tamales, and while they were in the steamer I made big flour tortillas on the lid of my 14-inch cast iron skillet.  I then wrapped the tamales in the tortilla, tied it closed with a bit of the corn shuck from the tamale, and deep fried it.

      I thought it would be a big failure but when I ate it with home-made salsa and serrano pepper paste, it was pertty darn good!  I made five more and we had them for supper tonight.  The tamales were of a size that one was a meal, so we have a couple of leftovers that are going in the fridge, and we will see how they are, reheated, tomorrow.

      One of those along with some sauce made from chili run through a blender, some spanish Rice, and maybe some refried beans,  and you would have a meal fit for company!



Thanks, david!  My mouth is watering just reading about it.

I've been having trouble uploading pictures in the past week or so, and that's made me less enthusiastic about fighting with my computer and blogspot.  I downloaded a different browser that is working better and I'm getting familiar with that and hope to be posting more on here now.  

Please leave comments and questions below, or email them to:
povertyprepping@yahoo.com

Susan

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Food Storage: Preserving Meat, Dairy, and Eggs (My new book!)

My new book is out!  Dave, of Dave's Kitchen, co-authored it wth me.

 It's called "Food Storage:  Preserving Meat, Dairy, and Eggs"

The kindle version is available now from Amazon and the print book will be out next week. Click on the picture to go look at it:


Product Details

Here's the 'blurb' about the book:  "There are a lot of books about food preserving but what sets this book apart is that each food and all the methods for preserving that particular food are described in their own chapters. The active Table of Contents allows you to click on a subject and go right to it. The book includes parts I and II:

Part I is an explanation of all the preserving methods, how to do them, and what you’ll need: Canning, Dehydrating, Freezing, Salting, Brining, Sugaring, Smoking, Pickling, and Fermenting, as well as some not-as-often heard of ones as Ash, Oil, and Honey for preservation.

Part II starts with meat and works it’s way through beef/venison/elk, pork/bear, goat/sheep, rabbit, chicken, turkey, duck/goose, and fish; then dairy: milk, butter, cheeses, yogurt and sour cream, and finishes with a chapter on preserving eggs. All the methods that work well with each food are explained along with directions for the preparation and processing of that food. There is also information about what doesn’t work and why."

This is a good book for preppers to keep on hand.  If the SHTF, you'll have directions for preserving food without modern equipment, although the modern stuff is in the book too.

The "Look Inside" sneak-peek looks terrible on the Amazon website, but it looks okay on a kindle. 

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Communications and Signaling - DK Richardson Guest Post




Communication and signaling

Communication is more than a cell phone. In this segment, I cover communications planning, alternate means of communication and the 'how it works' of commonly available communication equipment. Specifically, MURS, GRMS, CB, FRS and Ham radio - all are discussed at length in the book. I even discuss crystal radios for fun and battery free listening.
 
Why planning?
 
Years ago, I lived in Las Vegas - and at the time that time (mid to late 80s) the gangs and their seemingly non-stop drug turf wars were making the area quite dangerous to just go out and about. We had driven down a major road late in the evening, and the tires began to make a crunching noise - I stopped and put out my searchlight.

The road was covered with center-fire cartridges. Mostly 9mm, but with a sprinkling of 7.62x39 thrown in for good measure. It seemed odd, but at the time, I wrote it off as maybe someone had dropped a bucket of range pickings off the back of their pickup truck. As we drove on, we heard a mass of sirens approaching.
 
The next day, I mentioned this odd occurrence to a bud of mine who worked for the local PD. He asked the place and time- then turned pale. We have driven down the street in the quiet spot between when the shooting stopped and the cops showed up from a 911 call. A few minutes earlier and we could have driven into the middle of a firefight.
 
I had just purchased a new ICOM 2SAT handheld, a nice ham radio - and one with a wide-band receiver, I was able to receive NOAA weather broadcasts and participate in the Air Force MARS system as well.

My wife was unhappy with the expense of the radio, and I have to say, in retrospect, she had a right to be unhappy. To her, it was just an expensive toy.
 
After this 'near death' experience, I quickly found I could monitor the local police dispatch calls on my new radio . One day shortly after that, we were on our way to a local computer store to pick up a part when the scanner reported an armed robbery in progress - in the very store we were going to visit! We were in the parking lot of the strip mall - quickly pulling up to a big box store, we ran inside - stopping in the paint isle. When folks asked why we were crouching behind the cans of paint, we explained about the armed robbery going on next door.
 
Having the radio - and the real time information it could provide, we were saved from walking into an armed robbery in progress. After that - we didn't go anywhere without the scanner. Period. As a bonus, I never take any static on the purchase of new rigs - if they include a scanner function - because now my wife sees a radio not as a toy, but a important information gathering tool.
 
So what does all this have to do with this planning?

I had never taken the time to assess my needs for communications and what, if anything, the comm equipment I did have, could provide me in the way of information in a disaster. I knew about the NOAA weather radio stations, but hadn't given it much thought past that.
 
I see this planning effort as a two part process, how do I gather information of use to me and how do I communicate with the people I need to contact?
 
So, it was time to reassess my needs and see what I could live with and without. Here's a look at what communication assets are out there for information gathering, and how those assets can assist you.


Public communications.

I define this as public commercial broadcast reception of AM/FM and NOAA broadcasts. These are a good source of information, but for the most part, rarely provide detailed information in real time.

For traffic reports, weather and weather alerts, a Sony SRF-M37W Walkman sport radio more than meets this need. Easy on batteries, and headphone only, it is AM/FM/NOAA weather compatible and is without a doubt the best little receiver I have for this band set. It runs on a single AAA battery, the only radio I own that uses this battery.
 
Planning issues - The plus on these sources is that they are wide area, generally high power (easy to receive) and also can provide an entertainment component.

The minus is that the 'news' and reports are rarely in real time and for the most part the commercial radio stations just regurgitate whatever the local police and fire 'press releases' contain. Nobody has reporters anymore.

Another down side is that of trust. Has the information released to the public been screened to prevent 'embarrassment' of a public official or action taken by a political entity? You have seen the many and recent instances of bad or erroneous information put out over these outlets - so can you trust them for good data in a disaster?

You can decide if these outlets are good enough for you - they most certainly are a source your neighbors will be listening to in a disaster.


Public Service communications.

This isn't just the cops anymore. Police, fire and utilities - here the power, water and sewer utilities are owned by the Muni - and they may be in your area as well. All of these services can have a direct and immediate impact on my life and that of my family. By monitoring these comm channels, I can gather additional information not contained in public press releases. I'm also experienced enough to know these comms may be less than accurate as well. But, just the same, it is information I want.
 
Planning issues - You will need a wide-band scanner to receive these communications, and in many areas, the local law enforcement has used Homeland Security grants to add encryption to their everyday communications. You can check any number of scanner sites on the web for frequencies and technical characteristics of the comms in your area that are of interest to you. Some of these comms may be on so-called trunked systems, using a digital (P-25) common air interface. While scanners are sold that can easily receive trunked P-25 (and other) digital comms, they are not inexpensive and have a steep learning curve.

Radio Reference dot com is a good source of local public service communication systems.

 
Specialty communications.

All the wealth of other comms carried by radio is out there - air traffic control, railroad, private security, and on and on. While I don't normally monitor these, I do have a 'book', listing the frequency, owner and the technical specs should I think this is something I want to monitor.
 
Planning issues - You may be overwhelmed by the sheer number of licensed radio users in your area. Sorting out what can be of use to you is also a bit troublesome. For example, is the chatter between taxi drivers of any worth to you - day to day?

  Here it may be worth your time to see if there is a scanner club or like organization in your area to check with. Ham radio clubs often (but not always) have members knowledgeable on the local communications 'scene'. It doesn't hurt to ask.


Amateur radio.

I have enough portable equipment to cover all of the bands and modes of interest to me. Again, while information on a disaster might be carried on the ham bands, I also realize that the information may still be suspect. To be sure, if I lived in tornado country, I would have the SKY WARN channels selected to monitor in any bad weather.
 
Planning issues - Amateur radio operators are, by law, not allowed to encrypt or otherwise disguise their communications. A basic scanner will allow you to listen in on any comms that are on going. A side note is that ham radio is a dying hobby in many ways, due in part I believe, to inexpensive cell phone service. Just the same - if you have a scanner to listen to police/fire/ambulance calls, a little bit of work will provide a list of all the active ham radio repeaters in your area. The Radio Reference site mentioned earlier has a tab for ham radio.


Communicating with others

Talking with people requires several things. A transmitter, and any required license to use that transmitter. The person you wish to communicate with must have equipment that is compatible with yours. You must have an agreed upon frequency or channel where you will meet and you both should know how to operate the equipment both lawfully and in a technically competent manner. Wow - sounds like a lot, eh?
 
This can be as simple as both of you agree to meet on a CB or FRS channel at a certain time. Looking at MURS, GRMS, CB, FRS and Ham radio shows:
 
MURS - The FCC website pretty much says it all:

The Multi-Use Radio Service (MURS) is in the 151 – 154 MHz spectrum range. The most common use of MURS spectrum is short-distance, two-way communications using small, portable hand-held devices that function similar to walkie-talkies.

Similar services include General Mobile Radio Service (GMRS) and Family Radio Service (FRS).

Background

The Multi-Use Radio Service (MURS) dates back to 2002 when the FCC changed the rules for five industrial/business frequencies known as the “color dot” frequencies.


Licensing

The Multi-Use Radio Service (MURS) is licensed by rule. This means an individual license is not required to operate a MURS device. You can operate a MURS device regardless of your age and for personal or business use so long as you are not a representative of a foreign government.

If you are interested, the FCC service rules for the Multi-Use Radio Service (MURS) are located in 47 C.F.R. Part 95.


Channels

There are five MURS channels and the channels are either 11.25 kHz or 20.00 kHz each.

151.820 MHz (11.25 kHz)*meets new narrow band requirement

151.880 MHz (11.25 kHz)*meets new narrow band requirement

151.940 MHz (11.25 kHz)

154.570 MHz (20.00 kHz)

154.600 MHz (20.00 kHz)


Operating a Multi-Use Radio Service (MURS) Device

You can operate a MURS device in any place where the FCC regulates radio communications. A MURS device must be certified by the FCC. A certified MURS device has an identifying label placed on it by the manufacturer.

None of the MURS channels are assigned for the exclusive use of any system. You must cooperate in the selection and use of the channels in order to make the most effective use of them and to reduce the possibility of interference.

No MURS unit, under any condition of modulation, shall exceed 2 Watts transmitter power output.

Unlike FRS, you are allowed an external antenna, which will extend your range considerably.
 
So, MURS - No license, 2 watts, VHF, no-restrictions on and external antenna okay. For non-hams, likely your best bet for limited range VHF-FM communications. A wide range of commercial equipment is available. See my noted below on the new FCC rules.
 
GRMS - The General Mobile Radio Service (GMRS) is in the 462 - 467 MHz spectrum range. The most common use of GMRS spectrum is short-distance, two-way communications using small, portable hand-held devices that function similar to walkie-talkies. Bowing to reality, in 2010, the FCC proposed to remove the individual licensing requirement for GMRS and instead license GMRS “by rule” - meaning that an individual license would not be required to operate a GMRS device. This proposal is still pending. There are currently 23 GRMS frequencies or channels.

Operating a General Mobile Radio Service (GMRS) System

A GMRS system consists of station operators, a mobile station (often comprised of several mobile units) and sometimes one or more land stations. A small base station is one that has an antenna no more than 20 feet above the ground or above the tree on which it is mounted and transmits with no more than 5 watts ERP.

None of the GMRS channels are assigned for the exclusive use of any system. You must cooperate in the selection and use of the channels in order to make the most effective use of them and to reduce the possibility of interference.

You can expect a communications range of five to twenty-five miles.
GMRS - Maybe no license, 5 watts, 23 channels, UHF, limited external antenna okay. For non-hams, likely your best next best bet for limited range UHF-FM communications. Remember, today, a license is still required. A wide range of commercial equipment is available.
 
An important note on GMRS and MURS. Radios manufactured after November 13, 2000 are not legal on MURS, unless it was a purpose built for MURS (Type Accepted). Why? In an effort to promote greater spectrum efficiency, the FCC is requiring all Public Safety and Industrial/Business licensees using 25 kHz VHF and UHF radios systems migrate to minimum 12.5 kHz efficiency by January 1, 2013.

So here we are. A lot of older commercial radios are currently flooding the market - and at very attractive price points. Before you buy anything, ensure it meets with current FCC bandwidth rules.
 
FRS - Family radio service. Mandated low power (0.6 watt) and no external antenna allowed relegate this to the 'toy' category. Also known as "kiddie-talkies", they may be of some limited use in and around a campground to keep track of family members.
 
CB or Citizen Band. Operating at the top end of the HF spectrum (27 Mhz), this service has been around - well, almost forever. Limited by law to 4 watts on AM modulation and 12 watts on SSB, it offers a solid choice for low-population rural areas. External antennas have no restrictions, offering a low-cost way to extend the range of your 'system. While expensive, I would say that a SSB system is the only viable type of CB to own or operate and have any expectation of communication with others in your family/group. 
 
Amateur Radio.

This is the preferred disaster communication system. Entry level licenses are simple, code-free and easy to obtain. In many areas, ham clubs offer free testing. Licenses are good for 10 years. You will have access to multiple bands and impressive power levels. With this also comes the responsibility to operate your equipment within the rules and in a technically competent manner.

Visit the www.arrl.org website for more detailed information - it is far more than can be covered in this short posting.


What other things should I worry about?

No matter what equipment you decide on for your use, consider the following.

Battery type. All of my equipment runs from "AA" batteries and I have the adapters/cables to run from 12VDC auto systems as well. If you have a piece of equipment that has a NiCAd or NiMH battery pack, ensure you can run it from a secondary power source - most personal communication radio sets have a "AA" battery tray to replace the NiCad or NiMH battery - buy it when you purchase the radio, you won't be sorry.

Antennas - Or, rather, antenna connectors. No matter what you end up buying, get adapters to allow use of both BNC and co-called UHF cable plugs.
 
Have a plan! All the radio equipment in the world is of no real use if everyone in your family/party cannot operate the radio. Plan ahead, write down the plan and practice with the radios. Children as young as 8 years old are more than capable of operating complex equipment - if you take the time show/train them. My son got his ham license - back in the day with the code test, at age 9.


I was looking at ham radio equipment and man, is it expensive!

I guess this is how you define expensive. Quality gear will cost some real money. Don't expect that Big Box store bubble pack radio to give you much in the way of good service - they are low cost for a reason. Quality, but older VHF FM radios can be had at a very good price point if you just look a bit. If you are not a real gear head, enlist the help of someone who knows their stuff - just as you would for any purchase of used equipment - chainsaw or radio.


Why do you say the FRS a no-go?

Originally pushed by Radio Shack, they were aiming for a UHF, no-license rule to sell low-cost radios. There are so many restrictions, from power to antenna types that the range is abysmal and there are so many users that in many areas, the service is all but useless. You have better choices - take them.


Is CB any good to stay in touch while we travel?"

Yes. Yes, it is. Even though I have an Extra Class ham license, I carry and sometimes use a small CB set to stay in touch with others as we travel, very convenient. Listening to the truckers adds an element of entertainment not often enjoyed. I have a quality magnetic mount external antenna I leave in the rig.


What can I do to keep my commications on the ham bands private?

Nothing. Any attempt to disguise your communications - in any service - is expressly prohibited by law. The FCC has no sense of humor I would add, fines start at $10K, for each infraction. Bad idea.
 
That said, you can reduce the number of folks listening into your communications and do so quite legally. ICOM sells a series of D-STAR radios that feature digital communications. What? The D-STAR stands for Digital Smart Technologies for Amateur Radio. It is an open-source standard digital communication protocol established by JARL. Since it is an open source standard, it is legal to use. I don't know of any scanner that has S-STAR capability, so your communications have a low probability of intercept as we used to say.
 
For HF, the AOR corporation sells the ARD series of 'voice modems'; a vocoder that goes between your mike and the SSB radio - you need a pair of these to work. Without the proper equipment, your communications are unintelligible. Again, perfectly legal. Both of these modes are expensive, so it is no cheap fix. In my book "World of the Chërnyi - Going Home" I have the characters use other, legal, means to communicate and reduce their chance of intercept.
 
One last thought related to secure or private communications. Unless you are prepared to invest in a frequency-hopping, direct-sequence, spread spectrum radio system, legal by the way for hams, you are not going to have 'secure' communications. And if you emit any electromagnetic radiation (EM), over a very wide range of frequencies, you can be tracked and your location pinpointed. Face it, if an EC-130 Compass Call is out looking for you, you've already lost.
Stay within the law and be a good communicator.
 
If you want a fun no-battery, non-EM emitter radio receiver, look back in time to the crystal radio set. When set up, they do not need batteries, can be made to cover shortwave broadcast frequencies and are completely inert - that is to say, they do not emit any radiation.
 
Build your own or buy a kit. I once took a group of Cub Scouts out into the desert around Las Vegas and we found everything needed to build a radio in the junk that people had thoughtlessly dumped out in the desert.
 
Kits can be found here - http://www.midnightscience.com/kits.html

The XS-402 The Little Wonder Crystal Radio Kit is one of the smallest crystal radio kets I've sen, just the thing for your BOB.
 
Hopefully you now have a better idea of your options for communications. Send any questions to Susan, I'll reply via the site.

 
Thank you, Mr. Richardson!
Please leave comments and questions below, or email them to
povertyprepping.com
Susan



Sunday, January 13, 2013

Dehydrating Potatoes

Dehydrated cubed potatoes

We grow a lot of potatoes in our garden and store them in the root cellar over the winter.  By spring they're starting to sprout or shrivel, so I set some aside for planting and I bring the rest in to dehydrate.  We use the dried potatoes until the next crop is ready.  They're also great to take along when we go camping.

In the picture above, the two jars are full of dried cubed potatoes.  I peeled and partially cooked the potatoes before spreading them on drying racks.  I usually cook them until they're about 2/3 done cooking.  Then I drain them and run cold water over them to stop the cooking process.  This also cools them so that I can handle them without burning my fingers.

But let's back up a minute.  After the potatoes are peeled and I'm cutting, slicing, shredding, or cubing the potatoes, I put them in a big bowl of water that has a Vitamin C tablet crushed and mixed with the water.  This keeps the potatoes from turning brown or purple (yes, they do sometimes turn a reddish-purple, or even black).  You can use ascorbic acid, which is Vitamin C but sold in bottles for preserving the color of fresh foods, or any of the "fruit fresh" products to help retain the color.  They only need to be in the water for a couple minutes, then I remove them and dump them into the pan of boiling water.

When they're done I dump all the trays of potatoes into cake pans, then using my canning funnel, I pour them into jars.  When I'm canning I set aside any jars that have tiny chips in the rim, or the ones that aren't 'real' canning jars, and I use them for dried food.  I can also reuse a lid that had previously been used to pressure can.  They're not safe to re-use for canning but they're great to use on jars of dehydrated food.

We also use a meat slicer to slice potatoes for dehydrating.  These can be reconstituted and used for scalloped potatoes, or for fried potatoes and onions, and many other dishes.

I cook them until they're partially cooked, then spread them on dehydrator racks.  This is my Nesco dehydrator.

This is what they look like when they're almost done.  In the dehydrator they only take a few hours to dry, but in the oven or air-drying they take a day or two, depending on temperature and humidity.

These are shredded potatoes that I'm ready to boil.  They cook quickly so I only leave them in the water for about two minutes.  I unintentionally learned how to make instant mashed potatoes the first time I dried shredded potatoes.

The 'shredded' potatoes were overcooked and stuck together, and they were a mess to spread on the dehydrator racks!

No problem!  When they were done dehydrating I put them in the blender and made potato granules and we use them like instant mashed potatoes.

The next batch went better.  I dumped the shredded potatoes into the boiling water and fished them out about 2 minutes later.  You can see that these are separating and spreading better on the racks.

These are commercial shredded potatoes.  I got an incredible deal on eight bags of frozen shredded potatoes and dehydrated all eight bags spread on racks and placed on shelves above and behind our woodstove.  

I also made more 'instant mashed" potatoes this year.  I don't recommend plastic bags for long-term storage, but I used this tortilla bag to store these to take on camping trips.  

Here's a closer look at the cubed, dried potatoes, also stored in a tortilla bag for camping.  I prefer not to haul my glass jars out into the back-country.  Tortilla bags are great because they have good ziplock closures.

A closer look at the finished dehydrated potato slices.  They look a bit like potato chips but they're not light and flaky.  They need to sit in water for a while to re-hydrate and soften, and then cooked.

Potatoes are a versatile food that often gets a bad rap as being "fattening" or starchy.  But when you work hard growing your own food you probably work it off, and some of the 'fattening" qualities come from the things that are often added to the potatoes, either during cooking or at the table.  In a preparedness or emergency situation, potatoes can provide more to keep you going than a lot of vegetables contain.  So don't be afraid to grow or buy them and add them to your storage.  Dehydrating is a good way to keep them for a longer time.  I know of at least two people who dry potatoes and keep adding them to a 5-gallon bucket until it's full, then they throw in an oxygen absorber and seal the buckets.  They live in warmer climates and don't have root cellars, so both use dehydrating as a way to preserve potatoes.

Potatoes can be canned, too.  The first time I canned them I cut them into small cubes and when I used them, they became mashed potatoes.  The next time I cut them into large quarters and they canned up great. Potatoes must be pressure canned, not water-bath canned.

Please leave comments or questions below, or email them to povertyprepping@yahoo.com

Susan

Monday, January 7, 2013

Personal and Clothing Hygiene - DK Richardson Guest Post


Personal and clothing hygiene

More men were lost in the Civil War to poor sanitation than were ever killed in battle; this is true for the Boer war as well. I cover basic field sanitation, describe ways to wash your clothes in a disaster situation and list several ways to bath while in less than ideal conditions. Being clean isn't about smelling bad, it is a health issue. This chapter assumes you have been forced from your home, and are not at a developed campground or shelter - that is to say, worst case. I cover in-home issues in the next section.


Section One - Field Sanitation

Sanitation in the field can be problematic. Water is normally in short supply and unless you are staying at a shelter or developed campground, there are no toilet facilities. If you cook your food, disposal of the wash water (and food scraps) will quickly become an issue as well. The U.S. Army has a manual, FM 21-10 (Or FM 4-25-12) should you wish to look at how the Big Army covers this - unfortunately, almost none of the material is of use for a small family or individual.


Since we've already covered 'Water' in a prior chapter, we'll move onto some of the more gritty aspects of the subject. Remember - DO NOT DRINK UNTREATED WATER>


Field Sanitation:

Personal items and equipment.

Some of the personal items that you should have in your kit (for each individual) are:

Toilet paper and baby wipes - put these in a plastic bag to keep them dry.

Lip balm and sun screen. Your skin is an entry point for disease, protect it.

Foot powder

Insect repellant - bugs will drive you crazy and some carry disease.

Hand sanitizing gel - several small bottles are better than one large container.

Toothbrush and toothpaste or tooth powder - good dental hygiene is important.

Washcloth

Large hand towel or microfiber towel

Hand soap - several brands are sold for camping, like Dr. Bonner's.

*If you live in tick country, a small container of baby oil or Vaseline

*If you live in a very bug/mosquito prone area, a headnet and square of bug screen are a big plus.

*If you have the space, a hand-pump spray bottle or fold-up solar shower will come in handy.


Equipment items:

You will need at least a trowel or small shovel - for a family group, you'll find quickly that you need a real full-sized shovel if you will be on your own for more than a couple of days. A modern 'tool, entrenching, folding' should be more than enough for a couple of days.

*Metal buckets - if you think you will be forced from your home for an extended period, a set of 3 gallon metal buckets are worth their weight in gold. I'll explain why, even if they don't make into our short term DIY disaster kit.


Human waste disposal.

Human waste must be deposed of properly - it poses a tremendous health hazard.  If you do not have access to a cesspit or outdoor toilet, you will need to dig your own latrine or slit trench for human waste. ALWAYS bury your waste. This helps to keep it out of the local watershed and reduces the spread of disease.

Why? Simple - During the response to the Haiti earthquake, a single response team from Nepal started a cholera outbreak - from their toilet faculties leaking into the Meye river. In 17 months cholera had killed more than 7,050 Haitians and sickened more than 531,000, or 5 percent of the population. Lightning fast and virulent, it spread to every Haitian state, erupting into the world’s largest cholera epidemic despite a huge international mobilization still dealing with the effects of the Jan. 12, 2010, earthquake.
If you are on the move, you can dig a fast 'cat hole' to bury your waste in a individual basis. The hole should be about a foot (8 to 13 inches) deep and about a foot across. If you are on grass or sod, cut the sod and lay it back, you'll use it later; set the evacuated dirt to one side. Once you have finished your business, I have seen recommendations to burn your toilet paper before burying the waste. After cleaning your hands, use the evacuated dirt to bury the waste and restore then sod, if at all possible.
If you are forced to camp in an unimproved area, you will want to dig a slit trench of disposal of human waste. The trench should be about 2.5 feet deep and as wide as you shovel. Pile the dirt at one end to cover your waste after using the facility.
 
Wash hands carefully after a bowel movement or face the consequences. I recommend washing with soap and water, and then use a hand sanitizer to endure your hands are really clean. Adults need to monitor children closely to ensure they clean themselves well and wash their hands as described. Locate your latrine well away from any water source and your camp.


Camp sanitation:

Food scraps and wash water.  

These attract animals and insects. Wet garbage/food scraps may be disposed of in the slit trench and buried. Dig a dry well (French well) and use it to dispose of your wash and rinse wastewater.


Garbage.

Gather and dispose of all garbage as it is generated, and ensure your disposal methods meet local laws/ordinances in this regard.  Garbage is an attractant for animals and can pose a health hazard.  If you are forced to bury your trash, dig a deep pit and cover the garbage as it is pitted. Burning of garbage may reduce bulk, but check local ordinances to ensure you remain legal. I'll have a bit more on this in Section Two.


Food storage. 
 
Store food away from your camp area and secure it from insects. Inspect food closely prior to cooking to ensure it is free from contamination. In the case of your DIY disaster kit, a simple inspection to ensure the food container has not been breached should be enough.


Personal Hygiene

Personal hygiene is important, no matter your circumstances.  Washing of your hands is the best defense against disease, and being clean is a major morale factor.

Brushing your teeth is not just polite, it can prevent larger medical problems, so pack a toothbrush and toothpaste or toothpowder for each member of your group. Brush after every meal.

Concentrated "Camp soap" can be used for everything but brushing your teeth.  Consider putting a bottle or two in your kit. Dish soap will do for hand washing, but remember, over time it can cause issues with your skin. If you don't carry camp soap, several of the smaller hand soap bars, often found in hotels, will work just as well. Shampoo in travel sized containers is a real morale booster - clean hair just helps you to feel better.
You can take a 'shower' with very little water - and I can assure you from personal experience, even cold water will work to clean you, but tepid/warm water makes for a better experience. Children fuss less with warm water. So, how do you take a field shower with little water?
I've been in short water situations, so I first make a small 'basin' and put a plastic bag in the basin to catch the wash water runoff. Add a couple of cups of hopefully warm water to your spray bottle. Strip and stand in the basin, then wet yourself with water from your bottle.

One cup of water (less, actually) will make a standard size washcloth dripping wet. Add soap and work into a lather.

Wash. That is to say, scrub away. (If you are going to bathe more than one person, put the washcloth in a baggie/plastic bag to keep it clean(er).

Use the remaining water in the spray bottle to rinse.
As dumb as this may sound, if you have never taken this kind of shower, practice at home first. Tell the children it's a science experiment. Measure how much water you use to wet and rinse yourself. If water is not an issue, then the so-called Solar Showers that hold anywhere from 4 to 5 gallons of water provide a more familiar experience.
Capturing your wash and rinse water allows you to recycle it for washing your clothing. Yes, I know - but, think of it as a pre-wash - to get the worst of the dirt out before you hand wash and rinse the clothing. This clothes washing isn't much of an issue with your DIY disaster kit, as we're aiming for no more than 4 days of support.

Section Two - At Home.
Water.

Most people are completely dependant on municipal water systems for their water supply. One item that I recommend to everyone is a bathtub bladder. These will hold 100 gallons of pre-disaster water, assumablely safe to drink. (SeeWaterBoB or bathtub bladder).
 
Human waste disposal:

If you are on a septic system, you will likely have no issues, outside of a flooding situation. If you are on a city sewer system, you may have real issues and more quickly than you realize. Many of these systems use lift pumps and when the power is out, the sewage will quickly back up - sometimes into your home.

If you don't have a backflow preventer, you should check to see how your local sewer system is configured, then decide if a back flow preventer is a good investment. I would recommend it in any case.
If you are on a septic system, use your kitchen and bath wash water or any other gray water to flush your toilet.
If you are unable to use your home sanitation system, you need to decide how you will deal with human waste. Sneaking out at night to dump your waste into a storm drain or runoff ditch will not make your neighbors happy.

A simple 5 gallon bucket, some trash bags and kitty litter will work, but again, you will need to have some way to dispose of the waste that is...call it ethical.

My best suggestion is to check with your local authority for your best and or legal disposal options are in a disaster - before the need arises.


Garbage:

A metal 55 gallon drum equipped with a wire hardware mesh cover to prevent embers from escaping may be your best bet for disposal of trash that will burn. Several holes in the bottom and sides of the drum will aid in the combustion of the trash. Cans may be crushed to save on volume. Again, check with your local authority for trash collection locations in a disaster.
 
Wash day:

Washing day need not be too terrible, but it will be work, make no mistake about. A pair of plastic bins that hold several gallons of water as well as some kind of agitator will get you started. If clean water is in short supply, you will have to decide what will need washing the most.

Rather than re-invent the wheel, so to speak, I'll direct you to this excellent Brit site


Current non-electric cleaning offerings may be found at Lehman's on line.

 
 
 
Thank you, Mr. Richardson.
Please leave comments and suggestions below, or email them to povertyprepping@yahoo.com




Sunday, January 6, 2013

Food Storage Pizza

Sausage pizzas made from food storage.
 
Part of our food storage includes canning cheese and meat.  Up until a few years ago we didn't have enough solar power here on our off-grid homestead to run a refrigerator, so things like cheese had to be canned so we could have them without making the long drive to town.  I've already posted about our food storage cheeseburgers, but pizza is another one of our special foods from our storage.
 
I start off by making the crust, which is very similar to making bread.  I use one teaspoon of yeast rather than the 2 1/4 teaspoons that equal one packet of active dry yeast.  I also add a teaspoon of baking soda, but other than that I use the same recipe I use for bread.  In this picture I used pie pans because we were camping in our homemade camper-in-an-old-uhaul truck and I didn't have my pizza pan along.  It worked good; my husband and I each got a 'pan pizza'.
 
For the sauce I open a can of tomato sauce or spaghetti sauce.  If it's tomato sauce I add half a teaspoon each of oregano, basil, thyme, garlic powder, and fennel.  I spread that on the crust.
 
Then I open a jar of mozzarella cheese.
 
 
I dip the jar in hot water to loosen the cheese from the sides of the jar, then using a knife I ease the cheese out of the jar.  The cheese is the same consistency as fresh mozzarella cheese and it grates very nicely.  In the picture at the top of this post I didn't have my cheese grater with me so I used my fingers and a paring knife to crumble the canned cheese into little pieces, and I spread those over the sauce on the crust. Now I keep a grater in the camper.
 
Next comes meat.
 
 
That particular pizza was made with our home-canned pizza sausage, which was made from a couple of hogs we raised and butchered in 2008.  The picture (and pizza) is from summer 2010.  I store home-canned meat in our dark, cool, hand-dug root cellar, which lengthens it's shelf life and we're not afraid to use meat a couple years old.
 
 
This food-storage pizza has ham and pineapple on it.  I used canned ham chunks, the kind that come in little cans like tuna.  It came from the Dollar Tree store.  I have canned small jars of ham, too, using leftover ham from a holiday meal.  The pineapple is canned pineapple tidbits from the store.
 
 
 
Other toppings I might put on the pizza are (clockwise, from bottom left) onions, peppers, mushrooms, olives, and in the center, tomoatoes.  These are all home-dried, and the onions, peppers, and tomatoes were grown in our garden.  The mushrooms and olives came from store-bought cans.  When I open a can I rarely use the whole thing, so I spread the leftovers on drying racks and set them on special brackets we have above our woodstove.  When they're dry, I add them to the jars.
 
When I first start a pizza I decide what is going to go on it.  I put the dry vegetables in a bowl and add room-temperature water to them.  If I do that before I start the crust, the vegetables are reconstituted and ready to use by the time I'm ready for them.
 
We don't use the whole can of pineapple, either, so next time I make a pizza I'm going to try dehydrating the rest of the can.  My friend Dave, of Dave's Kitchen, says he does it with success.  He has electricity, though, and uses an electric dehydrator.  I'll have to make sure we have enough heat from the woodstove to dry the pineapple before it spoils or molds.
 
I'd like to try drying half of the can of ham, too, since we don't need the whole thing for a pizza.  Both ham and crumbled sausage should dehydrate well, since they're both cooked meats.  It would keep long enough to use it for another meal, without worrying about refrigeration. 
 
One of the pizzas I plan to make from food storage soon will have canned chicken chunks and tomato, which is one of my favorite pizzas.  I might even use some canned cream cheese and make it an alfredo pizza instead of using tomato sauce.
 
These are just suggestions for a special meal from food storage.
Please leave comments or suggestions below, or email them to povertyprepping@yahoo.com

Friday, January 4, 2013

My bad - Error in Bug-out Bucket book


    I know not everyone here has read my new book about Bug-out Buckets, Specialty Buckets, and Transition Buckets, and this post is not intended to sell the book. 

    A reader pointed out an error where I talked about the foil emergency blankets.  I had done a search on Amazon to get prices while I was writing the book.  In my haste I wrote that the most expensive emergency blanket I found was a Dynarex foil blanket for $89.  I was surprised when I saw that on Amazon but I've seen some amazingly high prices on things, so I figured they catered to the segment of the market that makes considerably more money than most of us!  But hey, even rich people can be preppers.  On some of the forums I've been too there are people with what I call "Million Dollar Preps".  So I shrugged and put the price in the book.

    I did not click on the product link for a closer look.  And that was... my bad.

    That price is for 120 blankets.  Let me say that again.  That price is for one hundred and twenty blankets!  Not for just one, as I stated in my book.

    I went in to the book file today and removed that and re-uploaded it to Amazon, but it doesn't do any good for the people who already have the book in either form, kindle or print.  I offer my apologies.  I hope I haven't caused anyone to think less of the Dynarex company for my error.  I have set a goal to buy an order of emergency blankets and donate them to our local food bank to be distributed with their monthly food boxes as soon as I am able to.

      Please leave comments or questions below, or by email at povertyprepping.com

      Susan

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Dave's Kitchen - Sulfuring dried fruit

 
Sulfuring


I ran across this in an old cook book and it reminded me about something my dad did with dried apples when I was a kid. It was called "Sulfuring".

It calls for placing dried fruit on racks in a wooden barrel and lighting an ounce of sulfur in the bottom and letting it burn and allowing the fumes to rise up and seep into the fruit. The barrel would be left for a full day after the sulfur burned, then the fruit was gathered and stored.

The purpose for this was to keep pests out of it while it was stored, and when my dad did it, it worked. I don't ever remember any bugs getting into the apples when we would eat the slices throughout the winter.
 
My mom would store the apple slices in paper bags in the cabinets. so there was plenty of opportunity for insects to get into them. We didn't store them in air tight containers like I do nowdays.

Some dried fruit is still treated with sulfur, I can sometimes taste it in dried fruit we get at the grocery store. Its a taste that once you know what it is, you will not forget it. Its not really an unpleasant taste but you will know it is there.

I checked with my Dad and he said that he has still seen "Campden Tablets" available in some places. They are "Pills" that you drop into water and they release the same SO2(sulfur dioxide) that burning sulfur powder produces.

Caution must be used when burning sulfur.  It is very toxic and can kill if enough of it is breathed.  That may be why it is not common now.
 
 
Thanks, Dave, for sharing this interesting bit of history with us.  If times got bad and air-tight containers coulnd't be found, this might once again be used more widely.  The sulfur pills sound safer than burning sulfur powder!  I wonder which they use at commercial dehydrating plants?
 
Please leave comments or questions below, or mail them to: povertyprepping@yahoo.com