Tuesday, January 31, 2012

New show coming on, could be pretty good.

Just wanted to post a quick message about a new NatGeo show that is coming on called "Doomsday Preppers".  Will probably show a good portion of the nuts out there (wonder when they will give me a call?), but might actually show some good stuff too.  Might be worth watching.  Here is a link.

Doomsday Preppers

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Do it yourself

I firmly believe and am convinced that a prepper is essentially a do-it-yourselfer.  We don't like people telling us what to do, we don't like rules that say "you can't..." or "you have to...".  And we certainly do NOT like people doing things for us.

One movie quote that springs to mind is from the movie "The Edge" Starring Anthony Hopkins and Bart the Bear.  When Anthony Hopkins character is trying to convince his doubtful companion that they could kill a bear, he repeated to himself and made his companion repeat, "What one man can do, another can do!".

I really like that quote (and also the movie), but so many people today are just not willing or feel that they are able to do things themselves.  I have heard folks say, "Well, that person is a specialist.", or "My time is too valuable to do X.", or the amazingly self-deprecating "I just can't do that."

Well, what one man can do, another can do.  I firmly believe that.  In the immortal words of Robert A. Heinlein, "A human being should be able to change a diaper, plan an invasion, butcher a hog, conn a ship, design a building, write a sonnet, balance accounts, build a wall, set a bone, comfort the dying, take orders, give orders, cooperate, act alone, solve equations, analyze a new problem, pitch manure, program a computer, cook a tasty meal, fight efficiently, die gallantly. Specialization is for insects."

I really like this quote and I feel that is essentially the creed of any self-respecting prepper.

After all, if things happen like we all feel that they will, there will be no more specialization.  We will all be "Jack of all Trades". 

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Random musings about my solar oven

This is a post about my solar oven that my son and I made last summer.  I haven't made a post about it yet, so I figured that I would do so now since it has been pretty nice in my AO and getting my juices ready for Spring and Summer.

Its pretty basic as a solar oven goes.  It is pretty heavy as I built it with dual 1/2 inch plywood walls and insulated inside to attract and maintain as much heat as possible.  I put a wheel on it and push it around like a wheelbarrow until I get it where I want it.  Here are a few pics.

Its pretty basic with just an insulated box, an old window for a top, and 4 old cabinet doors (I don't throw anything away, much to the chagrin of my wife) with aluminum foil glued to them.

I didn't know what to expect, so I didn't have my expectations very high, but even if I had, I would not have been disappointed.  It heated up quickly to between 190 and 210 F and remained there for most of the day.  We put some potatoes in there as a trial to see how it did and we were very excited about the possibilities when the potatoes came out perfectly done and quite delicious.

We started thinking up other uses for this and we ended up cooking a roast (YUM) and even purified some water with it.

One thing that you have to come to terms with if you are going to cook in a solar oven, is that you cannot be in a hurry.  Things will just not cook as fast as they will if you throw them on your grill, put them in your oven, or cook over a fire.  To cook our roast, we had to cook it all day long (7 hours +/-).  The very great upside is that you will have the satisfaction of knowing that you just cooked your meal using your own ingenuity and with energy that was just going to be basically wasted if you didn't use it.

Now before you start thinking that this is just a warm weather experience, let me state now that this solar oven will easily reach cooking temperatures (not electric oven cooking temperatures) of 180 - 200 F even on some cold days.  The secret is that you MUST have full and uninterrupted sunshine.  If it is a cloudy day or even a day with some clouds that briefly cover the Sun, the oven will not get up to the temperatures that it needs to be effective.

So go out there this Spring, get some junk and build your own solar oven.  You will be glad you did.  

Monday, January 16, 2012

Simple Preps that could SAVE THE WORLD! Part III

Lights, Camera, Action!

Do you have lights and camera with you everyday?  No?  Why not?  A good prepper never asks "Why?", but "What if...?".

Quick story.  A few years ago I was at work in my office.  It's a old warehouse converted into fairly comfortable offices.  One of the downsides though, is no windows anywhere.  It was wintertime and we were getting hammered by freezing rain/sleet/wet snow.  One thing led to another and BANG, we heard the transformer just outside of our office blow sky high.  Instantly our office was plunged into darkness.  First thing that most folks grabbed was their cell phones.  Cell phones are a great all around prep item and work well for lighting, but unless you are just interested in what is happening in the 6 inches around your face, they aren't much good for lighting.

Me, being the good prepper that I am, reached for my Zebralight pocket rocket.


Instantly, I was the most popular guy in the office.  Escorting people outside the office to their cars, helping folks find their paperwork, making sure that all of the computers were unplugged so any surge wouldn't destroy them etc.  I had carried this light everyday since I owned it and had really only used it for personal use, but just like the rest of our preps, you never know when you may need something.

This light is the smallest (that I have found) cr123 flashlight that still actually has a reflector.  Sure you can get smaller flashlights, but most of them are just little LED's sticking out of the battery holder.  This little guy is a real, actual flashlight.

After that even, it has reaffirmed my choice to carry a personal light and I never go anywhere with out it.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Simple Preps that could SAVE THE WORLD! Part II

I am sure that everyone can remember the famous movie line when Crocodile Dundee pulls out his huge Bowie knife and declares, "That's not a knife, THIS is a knife!"

While I certainly love a big knife as much as the next fella, most of them are just not practical to carry around everyday in polite society. 

Sure, once the balloon goes up, or the dead start walking around trying to eat what little brain that I have, it will be easy to explain away the Kabar Kukri strapped to my side; "Why yes, this is a knife and I am still happy to see you!"

However, until then, you should never be without a good sharp blade, but what to do?

In steps the CRKT Minimalist.  It comes in several iterations; from the modified Tanto (pictured below), the odd looking Wharncliff, to the very familiar Bowie; all of which I possess and carry depending on what mood I am in when I get dressed.

I have always been fascinated with small, sharp knives, however the main drawback to me has always been that fact that when a manufacturer made a small knife, it usually came with a small handle.  Just because I want a small knife doesn't mean that my hands suddenly shrink to be able to grip a lilliputian handle.

So when I saw the CRKT Minimalist series, I fell in love.  Here is a great blade, made by a reputable company that realizes that just because the blade is small doesn't mean that the handle has to be.

The micarta handled full tang knifes are a joy to use.  The handles are large enough for my largish hands and allows me full control of the small blade.  At no time do I feel that I have to sacrifice my grip to accomplish a task.

I wear one of the Minimalists around my neck at all times.  It cannot accomplish all tasks, but for what it is designed, it excels in its role.

I am in no way, shape, form or fashion associated with CRKT, with the exception of being a very happy customer. 

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Simple Preps that could SAVE THE WORLD!

Ok, now that I have you attention (do I have your attention?)  I will get a bit more serious.  A few weeks ago my 10 year old son and I were sitting outside on our woodpile after doing some work outside.  I pulled out my handkerchief and wiped my face with it.  He looked at me and said that he needed one of those.  I threw mine over to him so he could wipe his sweat too.

I told him that a kerchief was a very important prep and EDC item.  He asked what else could it be used for, so we sat there feeling the unseasonably warm breeze on our face and proceeded to come up with scenarios and uses for our handkerchief.  Here are some of what we came up with.

- use it to blow your nose (novel concept for certain)
- wet down and tie around your neck to help cool you down
- carry acorns, berries, dry tinder for a fire etc
- use it for tinder for a fire in an emergency
- use it to bind up a wound
- use it to rough-filter water to prepare for final filtering/purifying/boiling
- wet it and use it to breath through in case of smoky surroundings
- tie it around your head like a doo-rag to help keep from losing heat
- tie it around your head to use to trap sweat to keep from getting in your eyes
- cut into strips to use for string or other binding material
- use as a flag or signaling device (camouflage probably wouldn't be the best choice for this)

That is about all that I can remember that we came up with off the top of my head.

Can you think of any others?

Over the next few days, I will be writing about EDC and some of the uses/instances/reasons that I carry what I do.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

2012 is here!

Well, it's here.  2012.  What the Mayans (and other ancient cultures) have been warning us about. Will anything come from all of those predictions?  I am assuming not. 

Now with that said, I think that that over the last 30 - 50 years, we have created our own "2012" here in the US of A.  Kicking the can down the road, saying that we are cutting expenses with "future savings".  That's like me telling my wife that I cut $100,000 out of our expenses for this year because I won't buy a Maserati that I wasn't planning on buying anyway.

Oh well, something inside me feels that this will be the year.  I hope and pray not.  I want all the protests to go away, I wish that all of the regulations and such that are keeping folks from good paying jobs would be removed and I wish that this time next year we can all look back and laugh.