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Monday, January 26, 2009

dehydrated/freeze-dried foods?

I've long been looking for a good, reputable company to purchase dehydrated/freeze-dried foods from and lo and behold I found one fairly local.


Reasonable prices, reasonably shipping and a pretty good variety.

If you're Canadian like me, you may have noticed that there are very few companies of this type in Canada.

I suggest checking them out. I'm hoping to pick up an order myself in the next couple of weeks.

Would you like to contribute?

Being a lousy writer (you may have noticed I personally have very little to say), I'm always on the lookout for people who may have something to contribute to my Blog.

So, if you have a comment, idea or opinion that you feel would fit in with the themes of this blog, why not Email Me!

Plainsman's Cabin

Welcome to my cabin! Here we will focus on hunting, camping, hiking, backpacking, wilderness survival and beyond. I am in the initial stages of building this site, so please bear with me.

The pictures on the left are taken from the book "Your Cabin in the Woods" by Conrad Meinecke. I always thought that this design would make an excellent hunting or a retreat cabin.

Original at: http://www.stormloader.com/plainsman/PlainsmansCabin.html

Product of the Day

Midland 75-785 Handheld CB Radio

*I have a model very similar to this one. Very handy.

Technical Details

  • 40 channels
  • 7 watts input/4 watts output
  • Automatic noise/gain control
  • High/low power switch
  • Lighter socket adaptor

Saving the Utility Bill with Candles

By Joseph Parish

We all are experiencing the effect of the increased utility bills that are being tossed at us each month. We get our mail and the electric bill shows this added surcharge and this one and another one. The problem is that it simply does not stop.

Knowing that these bills will not go down in the foreseeable future, I have initiated some alternative actions that are meant to combat the high cost of electricity. In these few paragraphs I hope to give you an insight into saving money by using candles.

Candles are usually great for some people but right off I would like to post a short precaution. First, if you have small children you may wish to be a bit leery of their use. With any young children in your home the use of candles would likely be a last type of resort. Don’t misunderstand me as you should still keep a supply on hand for actual emergencies, however, you may not wish to use them for cost cutting purposes.

Candles can and are dangerous as there is no doubt about it. It seems that most users of these wax lifesavers simply do not take the necessary precautions that they should and this in itself makes the candles inherently dangerous with its open flame. I have read about more then one fire being attributed as a result of careless handling of candles or leaving them unattended. It doesn’t take them long to catch something on fire and completely destroy a residence or worse cause unnecessary death. If you are going to use candles then you should certainly look for some of those tin lamps with the glass sides which will help protect from the associated fires. These objects are usually referred to as Franklin lamps or faux nautical lamps.

Now that we have carefully provided the safety information and have the needed precautions out of the way lets get on to the meat of this article. In my home I have a built in coffee shop room. It has a commercial coffee pot, an espresso machine, table and chairs as well as the other coffee associated memorabilia. Most of the items are what are left over from my several local coffee shops that I at one time had in the area. I use candles in my coffee shop area on a daily basis to not only save money but to add a sense of romance to the setting.

Many months ago I came to the sad understanding that not only was the economy getting bad but that all the normal costs of living were about to jump sky high. As it was time proved me correct in that assumption! It only stood to reason that when fuel prices rose then everything else will do likewise. It was then that I realized that the time had come to make some good use of my stored candles. It actually is really much more cost effective to now use candles then to turn on the light switch.

I have quit a collection of various styles and types of candles ranging from large floor models to the smaller tea candles which fit inside several holders that I own. Tea candles are fairly inexpensive and can be readily picked up by the bag full at just about any dollar store. In addition, if you watch yard sales and flea markets you can obtain tea candles for just about nothing. You can use candles for lighting in any situation that does not require a concentrated light source. You could not actually use the candles for book reading or anything of that nature. However it is a lot of fun and adds a new dimension to your room.

So don’t let the high cost of electric hurt you and eat up money that could be used for other more important purchases. Also you will find that using the candles produces a much more romantic setting and your love life may actually improve somewhat.

Copyright @ 2009 Joseph Parish

Original: http://survival-training.info/articles7/SavingtheUtilityBillwithCandles.htm

Storing Foods, Part 6 (rotating stock)

As we mentioned in Storing Foods, Part 5, it's very important that you rotate your food stock often. Why?

  1. To make sure your stored food stays as fresh as possible (nutrition value and protein decreases over time)
  2. To get your family used to eating stored food as part of their regular diet.
  3. Stored/canned food is convenient to use.


  1. We don't buy products (cans) any more that don't show an expiration date. When in doubt, assume you need to use within 6 months, and write that date as the expire date.
  2. Before storing, write on the can, etc. in magic marker or attach a label giving the date purchased, and the date to expire.
  3. There are many products available, or you can build your own, to help you use the oldest can (of green beans or whatever) first. The plastic shelves for cans of soda in the fridge will hold cans of corn or whatever in the pantry. Check out: http://foodstoragemadeeasy.net/babysteps/step-1-shelves/, http://www.organize.com/soupcanrack.html, and http://www.foodstorageshelves.com/store/642059/product/Pantry72RotationRack.
  4. We eat almost the same thing every month, just in different combinations. We pack canned goods according to month bought. We have a large storage tub, and add the 30 cans of fruit, several cans of chicken, ham and tuna, etc. Then put that tub at the end of the line. This helps us use the oldest first.

Other tips that bear repeating:

  1. Keep track of expiration dates. Some shelf-stable cans and jars are ok 6 months, and some last 2-3 years. Products with tomatoes (acidic) may go less than 2 years so rotate often.
  2. Store cool and dry. Never near water or heating pipes. And never cold (may freeze).
  3. Do NOT use or keep any can that has rust, discoloration or bulges. Don't gamble your health over the "chance" that it might be ok.

Note: iodized salt should be kept as cool as possible because otherwise, it will chemically change. Regularly rotate. We buy the "table salt" in 25-pound bags at Sam's, which is not iodized.

Last Section tomorrow - sprouting seeds ...

Original: http://survival-cooking.blogspot.com/2009/01/storing-foods-part-6-rotating-stock.html

10 Things You Must Take With You When You Evacuate

Last month there were wild fire evacuation and this month there are hurricane evacuations. Add to that the possibility of tsunami evacuations and the occasional winter storm evacuation and you see the need to have things ready to go in an instant. Of course we always recommend that everyone have their BOB ready to go, but for friends and family members who think being ready to "bug out" is a bit of the extremist side, make sure they at lease bring the following items:

  1. Cash—there may not be an ATM (or it may not be working) when/where you evacuate to.

  2. Medications—you may not have your prescription on hand or pharmacies may not be open so bring your own necessary meds.

  3. Food and water—when you evacuate, stores may not be open or the place you end up may not have food and water so bring it with you.

  4. Important papers—things such as passports, birth certificates, marriage license, financial document, etc. are necessary to prove who you are and what you own. Bring them with you.

  5. An overnight bag—if you have a hygiene kit and a change of clothes, at least you will be able to clean up after you evacuate; this is a big psychological boost in a trying time.

  6. Communications stuff—a cell phone and a hard copy of your contact information (friend’s and family member’s phone and email contact info).

  7. A thumb drive with all of the contents of your computer backed up on it.

  8. Something to pass the time—playing cards, a book, an iPod, etc.

  9. Emergency supplies—first aid kit, flashlight, emergency blanket, etc.

  10. Any special, hard to replace item—dentures, hearing aids, glasses, nebulizer, etc.

Original at: http://codenameinsight.blogspot.com/2008/09/10-things-you-must-take-with-you-when.html

Quote of the Day

Life comes from physical survival; but the good life comes from what we care about.
~Rollo May

Surviving A Cold Spurt Down South

I live in the south, South Carolina to be exact. They DO NOT build houses in an energy efficient manner down here. I am basically living in a large, expensive card board box...complete with all the drafts.

We have had a pretty good cold spell down here and it has really opened my eyes to how poorly they build houses down here. Here are some good examples.

I can stand three rooms from my front door and SEE daylight all around my front door.

My hot water heater is in an UNHEATED garage - I mean how damn stupid are you to do something like that....I mean AT LEAST insulate that thing with a jacket!

When I stand or sit next to a window I can feel the cold air seeping in.

My outside faucets don't have a shutoff inside the house! I can't drain them for the winter so the pipes freeze everytime it dips below 32 degrees. This is just moronic in my opinion. When I lived up north the shutoffs where in the heated portion of the house so cold exposed pipe could be drained in the winter.

My siding is right over the house wrap...NO DAMN styrofoam insulation at all!!!

I could go on but to continue would just piss me off even more and ruin my day...SO here is what I am doing about it!!!!

1.) I installed a insulated jacket on my water heater - not ideal but better than nothing. Ideally the water heater would be in a heated portion of the house. I am actually looking at replacing it with an "on-demand" water heater.

2.) I installed weather stripping around my front door. I also plan to install a storm door as well this should drastically cut down on the draft coming in the front door.

3.) I installed that plastic sheeting insulation on the windows. I hate this but it was the best I could come up with.

4.) I have plans to replace my sheetmetal garage door with an actual insulated one...my garage door up north had 1-2 inches of styrofoam between the layers of sheetmetal. My current door is a piece of garbage....just don't have the funds to replace right now.

5.) I put pipe insulation and tape on all exposed copper in my garage to try and help with the pipes freezing. I may have a plumber come in and install shut off valves in the garage in the future.

This is my meager plan so far...if you have any ideas, please pass them along...I am all ears!

...that is all.

Original: http://beasurvivor.blogspot.com/2009/01/surviving-cold-spurt-down-south.html

Borage is a Medicinal Herb and Tasty in Salads

We didn't take the picture to the right.
We forgot to photograph ours until
after the frost hit and killed it.

BORAGE: An annual, it was so easy to grow though. Out of many herb seeds we sowed in peat pellets, this one grew even when neglected and unwatered. By the end of the Summer, it was well over 2 feet tall and wide. The leaves were fuzzy and smelled amazing.

We never did get any flowers, though. Not that we remember. Maybe it was our fox problem that stopped it. Or our weather. Or maybe we started and transplanted it at the wrong times.

Since this is an herb for medicinal and culinary use, we plan on more successfully growing it next year. The seed content is an excellent source of oil, and it's a supplement we take regularly. Now we won't have to buy them!

Plus the leaves can be eaten in salads with a light cucumber taste. The flowers are a little sweet like honey and is often used to decorate dessert.

The following is information from: http://www.wisegeek.com/what-is-borage.htm (we did a little editing)...
  • An herb is a plant whose leaves, seeds, or flowers are used for flavoring food or in medicine. Other uses of herbs include cosmetics, dyes, and perfumes. The name derives from the Latin word herba, meaning “green crops.” Borage, also called bugloss, is an herb, Borago officinalis, in the same family, Boraginaceae, as the Virginia cowslip and Virginia bluebell. It is an annual that grows wild in the Mediterranean, notably in Crete and Sicily, and is cultivated elsewhere.
  • History. Though less well-known than other herbs, borage has nevertheless been used for centuries as an herb and a pot herb. There are records of Roman use, dating back to the early years CE.
  • Description. Borage, which grows up to two to three feet (60 to 90 cm) tall, is notable for it’s blue or purplish star-shaped flowers. The “furry” foliage is a grey-green color. The flowers and young leaves have a mild, cucumber-like flavor, and the plant is a great favorite with bees.
  • Gardening. An avid reseeder, borage prefers a sunny site and well-drained soil. It spreads assiduously, so plant it in spots where this is a desired trait. It can be used as a border plant.
  • WARNING: Note, however, that some sources recommend that pregnant and nursing women refrain from eating borage, so check with a medical professional for any health-related concerns.
  • Food and Other Uses. Borage is often not available in United States grocery markets, so if you wish to use it, you may have to grow your own. The flowers can be used sugared for decorating or sprinkled on salads, and young leaves are used in salad, soup, and pasta. The leaves may be cooked in quantity, like other greens, and served as a vegetable side dish or used as a pasta stuffing or crepe filling. As noted, the leaves are “furry,” but the covering is said to disappear after cooking.
  • Borage seed oil is used in topical treatments for dry skin, for people with diabetes and eczema, for example. Borage honey is also available.

Original: http://survival-cooking.blogspot.com/2009/01/borage-is-medicinal-herb-and-tasty-in.html

Link of the Day

Hurricane Preparations

Some common sense basic advice about how to prepare for a hurricane. Much is equally applicable for any similar natural disaster for which you have time to prepare.

Cheap and Useful: Flaxseed

A while ago I bought some flaxseed from the Amish bulk store, 8 oz for $.50. An excellent price for a useful product. I had read about some neat uses for flaxseed in my copy of Heinerman's Encycloopedia of Healing Herbs and Spices. Wasn't long ago that I recommended that readers of this blog buy the book--it's that good and useful. The information I read in Heinerman's was what convinced me to buy some flaxseed, and I'm glad I did.

Here's a few bits from the book on uses for Flaxseed:

Remarkably Effective Laxative

According to Dr. Hans Fluck, a Swiss professor of pharmacology, 2 tsp. of flaxseed put into half a cup of hot water and allowed to swell for up to 4 hours and the mucilage and seeds swallowed together will produce a swelling bulk within the intestines which will provide a substantial bowel movement a few hours later.

Best Hand Lotion Around

An Oregon woman who suffered from dried, chapped hands for years had tried just about every kind of hand lotion on the market, but with no success. Then she stumbled onto flaxseed and now makes her own lotion, which she finds incredibly effective.

Her recipe calls first for whole or cracked flaxseed, about 3 round tbsp. to be soaked in 2 cups lukewarm water overnight. The next morning, the mixture is boild and strained to remove as much of the mucilage jell as possible; then the seeds are thrown away. A pint of apple cider vinegar is then added to the jell, along with 5 tbsp of glycern (purchased from any drugstore). The mixture is heated again to boiling and immediately removed from heat. Take an eggbeater and beat the mixture for a minute or so to keep the glycern from separating. Bottle. Dampen hands with solution morning and evening, thoroughly rubbing the skin and letting the air dry them. You will experience a greaseless silky feeling on your hands.

Eye Problem Corrected

The following was obtained from Violet Boyce of Logan, Utah. "I had a unique experience with flaxseed when I was a young girl. While on the train I got a cinder in my eye. I was unable to dislodge it and was suffering rather acutely. When I reached home my aunt put a single flaxseed under the lid. Sure enough the gooey sides collected the particle and it could be brushed out."

I made the hand lotion this morning, after soaking the flaxseed overnight. And it works--it left my hands feeling silky and soft. For the price of the flaxseed, glycerin and cider vinegar--none of which are expensive at all, I got a great hand lotion that works. I don't have chapped hands, but the skin is often pretty dry, especially in the winter. I added some drops of lavender essential oil so the wouldn't smell like vinegar and a couple of vitamin E drops as a preservative to the essential recipe.

Heinerman's book is full of interesting tidbits like that, usually cheap, useful and effective. I like that!

Original: http://handmaidenkitchen.blogspot.com/2008/12/cheap-and-useful-flaxseed.html

Signaling for Help in the outdoors

Signaling is an essential skill for anyone who likes to go out into the back country. Knowing how to signal for help and having the right gear for signaling can mean the difference between life and death.

Ways for Signaling for Help

  • Smoke and fire - If you are stuck without a way to signal your rescuers, smoke and fire is one of the best options available. Fresh Greenery, oil, and rubber make thick visible clouds of smoke that can be seen for miles.
  • Whistles - Whistles are great for short range signaling, whistles are also useful for scaring off large animals and bears.
  • Flashlights - A flashlight can be very effective at night. Just make sure to conserve your batteries by using the flashlight when you are certain rescue is near.
  • Flares - There are a couple different types of flares. Day flares produce a bright color smoke that can be seen from the air, and night flares produce an extremely bright light that can be seen from far away.
  • Bright Reflective materials. Tinfoil, mirrors, metal or anything that can reflect the sunlight can be used to attract attention.
  • Cell Phone - Even in the most unlikely places you may be able to get a cell signal.
  • Ham Radio - A hand held ham radio will work anywhere in the world. They are lightweight and can be powered with a couple AA Batteries.

Signaling Devices:

Original: http://offgridsurvival.com/signaling-for-help-in-the-outdoors/