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Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Garden Planning

Time to roll up the sleeves and get to work gardening! Yeah I havn't completely lost it, well not yet anyway. I realize it's the middle of January, and I got 18"of snow in my yard, but I've never done it before. Now is the time for reading and planning for the garden. The above picture is from Google Earth, and has helped me figure out where the best places to put my garden. My house is the one without the cars. The front of the house is to the right, and I got a ton of trees.
That might clear things up a bit. The oak tree in my backyard is HUGE. About 5' in diameter at the trunk, it's canopy is 100' across. Real nice for keeping the AC bill low, but hell on gardening. The pink open box in the upper left is where my neighbor has a 50'x40' conventional garden. I'm not sure how he does it because of all the shade, he has my oak tree, and another maple right in the way for most of the day's sunshine! He pulls it off every year though. He doesn't compost much at all so his crop has gotten a little worse every year. He doesn't like me, probably because I'm not Portuguese, and pretends not to speak English. His loss.

The bigger filled in pink box is where I'll have my square foot garden. It should get about 8 hours of sun a day there. It's not the best place for me, because I don't have much yard on that side of the garage and shed, but oh well. The smaller filled in pink box will be a 4' box for herbs. I will have another small box for the shade loving herbs, but not sure where to put that just yet.

The main garden will be 4' x 8' for 32 square feet. I've been working on planning what to grow and where for the last 4 hours. Like I said I'm new to the whole gardening thing so things most gardeners know already I need to read in a book. So I figure the tomatoes are too big for a SFG so I'll get a couple of big containers for them, they will do fine in there.

I plan on growing the following:
Navy Beans(9)
Cayenne Peppers(2)
Cucumbers (2)
Carrots (16)
Garlic (9)
Salad Greens (12)

I just had to change something. I had two squares of cucumbers, which would keep me knee deep in pickles for years. Not enough greens so that was a quick fix. I probably can get a second crop out of most squares, but for now I am focusing on the initial crop.

Now my last frost is about April 25th, so that means I got to start my cabbage seed the second week of February! Good thing I started planning now and not March, eh?

I have not decided to grow corn or not yet. Either way, it will be in a separate 4' x 4' SFG. Corn needs to pollinate each other by the wind, so it's best to have a clump rather than a single row. My back neighbor grows corn so I am afraid of his yucky genegineered corn from pollinating my
heirloom corn and ruining the seed for next year. Either way, the corn and beans are for seed stock, unless I get the hankering to make my own Boston Baked Beans. Yummy!

Well, If a techno-geek like me can plan a garden then you can too. This first year is more of a pilot than any serious attempt. A proof-in-concept. I will not be relying on it for my main source of food (I hope not!) but a confidence builder. The only way to learn something is to do it, so you better learn how to grow a garden NOW before the poop hits the fan and you and your families survival depends on it!

Original: http://teotwawkiaiff.blogspot.com/2009/01/garden-planning.html

SHTF: Winter survival at home

Let's take the modern American home like mine for instance. A major ice storm hits the area and is expected to last for 24 - 36 hours. At 9PM, the power suddenly shuts off leaving the whole house in the dark.

This happened last night and is not a drill. We experienced in the middle of the country, a hard ice storm which knocked out power to many homes and towns. Right when the weather was in the mid 20's and dropping fast.

I was in the laundry room searching for an air filter when it happened.
My wife had the baby and was giving her a bottle.
The older kids were in bed, but still awake.

My kids shouted first, "Daddy, the lights are out!".

My wife said nothing from the other side of the house because she knows I will do something in about 10 seconds.

I retrieved the first flashlight from the shelf above and went for one of the emergency electric lanterns by the front door. That went to the kids so they would quit hollering.

I went for another lantern in the bedroom and put that in the den with my wife an baby.

I went outside and verified the rest of the neighborhood was in the dark as well.

OK, we are on electric heating so in a few hours, no warm house. We have a gas fireplace which takes wood, but has gas to start it if needed so that went on immediately.

Extra blankets and quilts? No problem, have lots. The stove runs on gas the water was still running so we were okay there. Who cares if the phone works or not, we use our cells for most anything these days anyway.

However, this brings up a larger set of questions:
- What if the power was out for several days (happening now in other parts of the country due to the same storm)?
- What if the water failed in a day or so?
- What if the gas went out?
- What if the storm was severe and travel was hard if not impossible? How much gasoline is in the car anyway?
- What would you do to warm the home, cook food, drink and bathe with?

In the winter, no heat is bad news. Yes, a nice wood stove without a blower would be nice, but hardly anyone has one I know of and I would not know where to put it in this house.

A well? Fat chance in the city. And the need for electricity would still be a problem.

You see the problems? Most of modern America would be dead or very uncomfortable in about 24 hours or less. We all read about that poor old man in Michigan who died of hypothermia.. that only one has been reported is amazing to me. I would think in this faceless and nameless day that hundreds of shut ins, elderly and others would pass away during cold snaps.

So what is the solution for the hundreds of thousands of families living in modern homes in America during the winter?

Stock up on blankets naturally.

Have a wood fired fireplace at the very least and one cord of wood on hand (five is recommended for winter use).

[Note: Do not plan on burning furniture, lumber or fencing in doors. Most are made from treated wood which when burned, will introduce numerous dangerous chemicals into the home].

Have a water supply now. And have filters and bleach on hand to produce more drinking water from rain or snow.

Stored food goes without saying, but remember you will crave and burn more calories in the winter. I would add to that stock warm beverages like lots of coffee, tea and cocoa.

Make sure the cars are always full of gasoline.

Keep an eye of neighbors, especially the elderly.

A generator is good to have in winter emergencies, but note they burn lots of gas fast. And they may attract the wrong element.

Stay near home and avoid going out doors. Doing so only makes you colder, burns energy and brings more cold air into the home coming and going.

Keep firefighting equipment nearby (extinguishers, sand, etc.) for emergencies. Also have a carbon monoxide detector on hand.

Winter survival at home is not for the fainthearted. Fortunately, our power came on shortly after it went out, but it could have stayed off for a day or longer. When the SHTF, it will stay off permanently; this was a good exercise.

Best news of the day: My wife wondered when we were going to sell our home and move somewhere more rural and have our own land. Wonders never cease!

Original: http://survivalism.blogspot.com/2009/01/shtf-winter-survival-at-home.html

Let there be light

Here’s another gear review. This entry will be about flashlights. Please note that I do not have any advertisements on the blog so I am free to give my truthful opinion as I am beholden to no advertisers. I don’t think it’s necessary to spend $100 or $200 on a good flashlight. BTW if you have stuff to add, if I made any mistakes or you have any recommendations, please post a comment and I’ll add it into this entry so we can get a real good flashlight article going.

Just some background for beginners-

Basically three different types of bulbs:

  • Filament - these are the old fashioned bulbs, with the little filament wire that glows, they use a lot of juice, I don’t think they’re very bright, they cast kind of a yellowish glow, generally don’t last a long time and are sensitive to shock, as your batteries die the light from these bulbs really weakens.
  • Xenon - I think this is a gas that they pump into the bulb, it glows brighter than a regular filament bulb
  • LED - a computer chip controls how much juice these use, batteries will last ten times longer with an LED light than a filament bulb, because there’s a chip a lot of them have multiple settings, LEDs will last for up to 10,000 hours, I think the new LED’s are real bright. Some cast a yellow light and others a whitish light, because there’s a chip as the batteries die the level of light remains pretty constant. The really paranoid (me among them) know that LEDs are sensitive to EMP attack so we have different type of bulbs…I’m not….. saying anything…but….just in case.

And without further adieu…..

First up is an Underwater Kinetics four C light.

p22This is really a nice rugged light. You operate it with a switch under the lens. It’s a light made for SCUBA diving so it is as waterproof as waterproof can be. The strap is also rugged with a rubber sleeve over it. As I said, it takes four C cells so it’s kind of heavy. The batteries do wiggle around a bit, so if that bothers you you could put in a little rubber washer or a slice of inner tube to take up the extra space. It is a very bright light throwing over 200 lumens. It is easy to light up the tops of tall trees or the edge of a field 200 feet away. If I’m out walking at night sometimes I feel I’m being watched by creatures (you will develop this sense if you spend enough time outside.) so get outside everyday.) so I’ll flick it on and shine it at the treeline or up the river and I can’t tell you how many times I see eyes staring back at me. This light will freeze the creatures in the paths. Except for that heron a few weeks ago. I felt bad about making him fly at night. This will set you back around $35.00.

p72This is a cheapo emergency all in one unit - flashlight and radio. It runs off batteries, a grinder, DC converter or a little PV cell that runs on top of the handle. Not bad, but kind of cheap. I think I paid maybe 20 bucks for it. Everyone should have something similar in their emergency kit. You just can’t count on this cheap crap to work so have a backup. Typical Walmart unit.

Speaking of cheap crap…

p14Here’s some more cheap crap. Upper left is a $10 LED that takes three AAA batteries. I’ve never been a fan of the multi-LED lights. This one proves the point. Not a fan of the 8, 15 or 80 LED lights. More stuff to go wrong. Get one good beam. At the bottom is a plastic filament bulb that takes two AA batteries. Another poor excuse for a tool. Upper right is the old fashioned Rayovac double D filament bulb flashlight. This thing was fine 10 or 20 years ago. Maybe it’s fine to trade or barter with, but I would never want to depend on it. Spend your money on something more rugged, waterproof and that will last. For the same price or a few bucks more you can get a real light.

This is another must have, even though it is also cheap crap.

p19I like this. It’s one of those shake lights. There’s a copper coil and magnet inside of it. When you shake it the magnet slides back n’ forth past the copper coil and somehow creates electrcity to charge the battery. In other words this baby doesn’t take batteries. Can’t depend on it because it feels cheap, holds a charge a short time and isn’t very bright, but it’ll be better than TP when the batteries are dead and the store shelves are empty. I think this was probably around $10-15 at Walmart. Everyone should have a shake light too.

This is a cool light.

p15I know I just said it, but these things are cool. It’s a PAL light. It takes a 9v battery, which I’m not a fan of, but the light makes up for it. It has four settings - dim, bright, strobe and always on. You get that, even off it is always glowing dimly? Crazy huh. Even when you shut it off the light glows dimly. It’ll glow in this “sleep” state for a year. It makes it easy to find in the dark. I keep a couple on bookshelves and such and they actually work as a mini-nightlight and if the power goes out makes it easy to find. Ever have a tough time looking for a flashlight in the bottom of your pack? This is the light for you, because it will always be glowing dimly calling to you, like a beacon or your muse. It will glow in sleep mode for a year. It doesn’t cast a heavy, bright beam even in the high setting, but it’s plenty for most close work or to find your way. Like I said even in the sleep mode it’s bright enough to find your way down the hall. It seems pretty waterproof in it’s heavy rubber case. They come in a few different colored beams too. The one I bought came with a magnetic attachment and a belt loop. I think they’re around $15. I have a blue one. I’ve thought that it may even be possible to set the strobe function put it on the dashboard and maybe be able to get through traffic faster. If you like flashlights this is a must have.

p16This is a Princeton-Tec Impact XL. It takes four double AA batteries. It’s a LED light. You turn it on by turning the bezel so it takes two hands to operate. It casts a sweet, pure, white beam. It’s very bright and very waterproof. You see it also comes with a nice lanyard. Almost as nice as the lanyard on the Underwater Kinetics light up above. There’s a story here. About a year after I bought the light it died on me. I was pissed. I think it cost about $20-25. For 25 bucks it better last more than a year. Who has the receipt for anything a year later? So I send Princeton an email explaining the situation and forget about it. Maybe a month later I get an email from them apologizing for the delay (some people left the company or what not) and they give me an RMA to send the light back to them and they’ll send me a brand new one. I did and they did. Got that? They sent me a brand new light!! I can’t say enough good stuff about customer service like that. You just don’t see that these days. Good product and good people. Not the brightest light, but great for camping or hiking.

p20These are two Pelican lights. The top one takes two C cells. The bottom one takes three C cells. Both operate by turning the bezel i.e. two handed operation. They both come with nice lanyards. Notice the bottom one also has a spring clip on it. They are both waterproof. If you look right behind the bezel on the bottom one you’ll see a round thing with two black stripes. That’s some sort of pressure release valve in case I’m ever 20,000 leagues beneath the sea. Not very likely, but kind of interesting. Both are filament bulbs. Both are extremely rugged. The top one is rated for use in explosive environments. It has so many letters on it - MSHA, class 1, division 1, group D, UL, FM approved, P, SA AUS EX 1145X. This is like THE safety light. It also has two built in slots on it that you can run some strapping through to lash it to something. I can’t say enough good stuff about Pelican products. They are made work tough for everyday use. Firefighters use Pelican lights. You can drop these from a ladder or into the pool and they keep going. If you’re not familiar with Pelican, the next light you get make it a Pelican. They are both plenty bright for 90% of what you may need to do. They’re reasonably priced too. I think each of them was maybe $30 or so, maybe a bit more. Not tactical lights though, but buy a Pelican and you won’t be disappointed. Pelican makes tough, simple work lights.

Here’s another nice little light…

p12This is another Underwater Kinetics light. This little light takes two AAA batteries. It’s very small. It’s rated at seven lumens, but I’m telling ya it seems a lot brighter than that. Because it’s so small and offers great brightness for its size, this is a great light for backpacking. This and a headlamp would be adequate for any hike. It’s operated by turning the bezel too. It’s also waterproof. It comes with a keyring and that black thing is a clip that can be clipped to a cap or a pack. It’s an LED light. I have yet to change the batteries in mine. The LED just barely sips the power from the triple AAA’s. Batteries last a very long time. I like this light. It’s a nice clean, white beam. If you want to travel very light and have a flashlight that gets the job done this is the ticket. You can’t light up the other side of the football field, but if you want to read, BBQ or find your way down the trail this will do it. I think this light ran about $15. You won’t be disappointed adding one of these to your kit.

Not done yet…

p11This is your basic Xenon tactical light. It was more than I like to spend on a flashlight. I think it was about $40. It’s bright. The switch is on the tailcap. You either push it or twist it for constant on. It only has one setting. It takes two of the lithium 123 batteries. These batteries are expensive. The batteries only last an hour or two too. Not a bad light, but not my favorite. It’s a standard size (1″) so it can be mounted on a firearm.

p18This is a real nice Rayovac metal flashlight. It’s made much better than the crappy orange one pictured up above. This one takes three C cells. It’s an LED light. The batteries last a very long time becaue of the LED. There are rings that make it fairly water resistant. It’s nice and bright. It also has a rubber sleeve around the body that makes it comfy to hold in the hand. There is a hole on the tailcap that you can slide a lanyard through. I think this light was maybe $25. I like this light. It’s big enough to bash someone in the head if need be. You can see it’s operated by a button on the body of the light. This is the light I use most when I walk the dog around the block or have to check something outside. It sits on top of my fridge. The downside is that the body isn’t squared off anywhere (it’s round) so it will roll of the fridge or under the car if you put it on the driveway.

p17Hooahh! This is the famous Maglite. This light is an old fashioned filament bulb. It is made like a tank. It takes three D cells. It’s fairly bright, but not really. These lights are made really well. It will outlive me. It has an extra bulb built into the tailcap. There is only one setting. The switch is on the body. It seems water resistant, but not waterproof. This light has mass and would be an effective weapon. It extends my reach by a foot. My light is very old at lest 15 years. It still works great. Only had to change the bulb once. The batteries last a fairly long time. LED kits are also available for these lights. These are the lights that cops used to use. They’d hold it over their heads, shine the light in your eyes to blind you and then lower the boom on your noggin. This light is round so it will also roll away from you just out of reach. There is no place to attach a lanyard on this light.

The rest of the lights are from Deal Extreme . This is a great place to buy good cheap lights made in China. The lights are shipped from China.

p101These two lights are some type of fairly new LED lights called CREE lights. They are unbelievably bright. Make a CREE your next flashlight. These run on one AA battery. You can see they’re only about 3-4 inches long. These lights probably run $15-$20 each. As I said they’re very bright and one AA lasts a long time. I usually load mine with lithium batteries. These lights each have one setting only. You turn them on with a tailcap switch. They both come with lanyards.

p81These are two more lights from Deal Extreme. I think each of these lights is maybe $20-$25. These both are also CREE lights so they are very bright. I’d say as bright as Surefires and alot less money. They both operate by a tailcap switch. They both have rubber rings on the fittings so they are pretty water resistant. Although made in China the threads feel pretty good to me. Both of these lights have a great feature. They come with an extension tube so they have multiple battery configurations. You can see the extension tubes in the picture. You can see one of the red waterproof seals too on the tube on the left. The extension tube on the right also has rings, but they’re black so you can’t see them.

The one on the left runs on either one AA or you screw on the extension tube and it will run longer on two AA batteries. It also has four settings in this order - low, medium, high, crazy ass blinding strobe like a Japanese cartoon and a unique SOS strobe …—…. Without a memory though you have to flick through them all every time. So say I want to use the crazy ass blinding strobe on some BG I first have to click through low, medium and high to get to the crqazy ass blinding strobe. Not so good.

The one on the right runs on one 123 lithium or screw in the tube and a pair of AA’s. I use lithium AA’s. It’s bezel is crenalated, that is it has a scalloped surface that’s good for striking BG’s in the brow. This light won’t roll away from you.

p9This is another light from Deal Extreme with the extension tube screwed in. It’s also a bright CREE LED. This one runs off of one 123 lithium or two AA’s. It has the tube screwed in now. Comes with a lanyard. Operates by the switch on the side of the body. Bright enough to blind. The bezel on this one has some really nasty crenalations on it. Wouldn’t be a problem splitting a brow but good with this one in your hand.

Abraham’s Rule number 15,347.7564 of living - when you start finding flashlights in the pockets of jeans in the dresser you have enough flashlights.

q121Deer tracks in the snow.

q14Deer sleeping hole.

Original: http://hotdogjam.wordpress.com/2009/01/24/let-there-be-light/

Flour + water + salt, etc. ...

Ok, you may remember that I have a semi-phobia for killing yeast, among other things, that has greatly hampered my desire to make bread. Then I found this recipe, and it is very good, both in the taste category and the alleviate-my-guilt-for-not-learning-to-make-bread-loaves category. The problem with the roll recipe is that it requires some things that may not be readily available in my food storage supplies, such as butter and eggs, so I decided to get serious and find out what kind of bread that I could make with the really basic ingredients that are staples in my food storage. Today was the day. I headed over to the Hillbilly Housewife website and tried the Beginner's Bread recipe.

One of the things that I heard that made me feel that I could gauge the water temperature so that it wouldn't be too hot, and hence destroy the oh-so-useful yeast, was that you should make the water about the same temperature that you would like to end up with when you are testing a baby's bottle on your wrist. I don't know how anyone else gauges it, but that tip has served me well so far...in fact some of the rising today went a little quicker than the recipe indicated. Of course, I am not the most patient of people, so I made sure that my kitchen was somewhat warmer than it usually is to help the rising process along.

Everything went pretty well through the initial stages--just had to add a couple of teaspoons of water to the dough before letting it rise, and it didn't take too much coaxing to get it to fit in the loaf pan in a reasonable shape. Letting it rise in the pan was really quick, and I didn't let it go an hour before putting it in the oven because it was getting big enough to make me nervous. Once it was in the oven I was afraid that it would hit the upper coils, but all was well. The cooking was kind of quick too, but the top was golden brown, so I took it out. This was when I had the biggest difficulties, because despite the shortened duration of baking time, the loaf had evidently become quite attached to the pan--to the point that it was necessary to help it out around the edges, even though it had been greased really well. Because of this "help", part of the bottom of the loaf was left in the pan. Glass half empty: the bread slices were rather short and squat rather than regulation-size. Glass half full: it was immediately evident that the bread had indeed cooked all the way through, except for a very small strip on one piece that was questionable. Pan all the way empty: the loaf is now almost a memory, except for a couple of slices.

So there's a win in the bread category, really in more ways than one--the bread was edible, and the ingredients--water, yeast, oil, salt, sugar, and flour-- couldn't be more basic. The recipe now resides in my emergency notebook, and is one answer to the question, "Now I have all this basic food storage--what do I do with it?"

Well, upward and onward. Thanks to Hillbilly Housewife for providing the recipe! I'll let you know how it works out when I make bread with flour that I've ground from my wheat storage--yeah, yet to happen. And I've been eyeing some tortilla recipes.... :)

Original: http://adventuresinbloggingtoo.blogspot.com/2009/01/flour-water-salt-etc.html

Carrying Water

This post is inspired by my current irritation. I had to go out and buy a fucking black camel back today. I had a green camouflage one but that isn't sufficient. I must have a black camel back. Not I must have one or I can't wear a camel back; I just had to go out and get one. I fucking had one of them 5 years ago and I mothballed that POS. Awhile after that my sister mentioned wanting one for Christmas or something and I walked out to the garage, found mine and gave it to her. I only got the green one because it was free. Forty bucks down the drain but it really isn't a big deal in the grand scheme of things as my wages do reflect this sort of thing.

This got me to thinking about carrying water. Broadly speaking there are two carry water. There are bottles and bladders (camel backs, hydro storms, etc). If you didn't pick up my thoughts in the rant above I'm not a huge fan of bladders. Admittedly I could have just had really bad luck with bladders but I've had a few different ones made my multiple manufacturers. I like bottles, specifically hard plastic ones with screw on lids. Two great examples of these are GI canteens and Nalgene bottles. There are oodles of different types but really anything that is hard plastic and has a lid that screws on securely is probably a fine choice.

My personal bad luck with bladders aside I do have one big issue with them as used by many people. Bladders (especially with current larger sizes) have a bad tendency to lead people to putting all their eggs into one basket. Far too often I see folks whose only water source is a bladder with a tube flopping around near their face. If something in this inherently weak system (in comparison to hard plastic bottles) fails they are up a dry creep with a wet back or possible backpack. Even if you have one of those big assed gallon and a half blivets that are attached to your back by straps have another source of water. For the record I am not talking about a little day hike where the worst case is you turn around and are back at the car in ten minutes. I am talking about situations where you need to rely on the water you are carrying and possible periods of time where resupply (even that needs to be filtered) might not be readily available.

Regardless of the method of water carrying you go with (admittedly I am prejudiced against bladders) the bottom line is that you need to have some water readily available and some more in your ruck. You need some readily available to drink while you walk/ ski/ whatever. This could be in web gear or those little water bottle pouches on the side of commercially made packs or by some other fashion. The balance of your water needs will be carried in your ruck.

Now comes the question of how much water to carry. I think it all depends on your needs but for longer hikes, a potential night in a dry camp, etc I like to have at least a gallon and a half. Two quarts readily available and a gallon in the ruck. I figure that is a reasonable amount for most situations. Keep in mind that water weighs right about 8lbs per gallon. IMHO a gallon and a half covers most situations except long 10+ mile stretches of no water, multi night dry camps or seriously high temperatures, etc. To be honest in those situations you would need to strongly rething the practical ability to carry enough water to be self sufficient on your back. Some other method for travel or procuring water is going to need to be found or plans would need to be dramatically changed..

Original: http://tslrf.blogspot.com/2009/01/carrying-water.html

Product of the Day

LifeHammer Original Emergency Hammer

Product Features

  • A high-quality car escape tool to help prevent automotive entrapment
  • Double-sided, steel hammer heads breaks through side and rear windows with minimal effort
  • Razor-sharp blade cuts easily through safety belts
  • Includes a mounting bracket for convenient installation
  • A fluorescent pin glows in the dark for easy retrieval

Waterproof Survivalist Bibles

Do you carry a Bible in you Bug Out Bag?

Many survivalists, POW’s and military have attributed their survival to faith. Faith can get you through some of the toughest situations that life can throw at you. This is why carrying a bible is an important resource to the survivalist.

A bible is a great addition to your survival kit, bug out bag, or hiking backpack. In a moment of crisis it can be just the thing you need to calm your mind and give you hope. If you do decide to start carrying a bible in your bag, think about getting a waterproof one. Regular Bibles don’t really hold up to the elements.

Check out these Water Proof Bibles:

Original: http://offgridsurvival.com/waterproofbibles/

Reading Canned Food's Expiration Dates

We found the following information at: http://www.foodreference.com/html/tcannedfoodshelflife.html
In a well-run supermarket, foods on the shelf will be rotated on a regular basis, so there is continuous turnover. Each canned food manufacturer has a unique coding system. Some manufacturers list day, month and year of production, while other companies reference only the year. These codes are usually imprinted on the top or bottom of the can. Other numbers may appear and reference the specific plant manufacturing or product information and are not useful to consumers. Below is a sampling of how some manufacturers code their products so consumers know when the product was packaged. If you have specific questions about a company's product, contact a customer service representative at the phone number listed.

Note: For month coding, if a number is used, numbers 1 through 9 represent January through September, and letters O for October, N for November and D for December. If letters are used, A=Jan. and L=Dec., unless otherwise noted.

Note: For year coding, 8=1998; 9=1999; 0=2000; 1=2001; 2=2002, etc.

Bush Brothers & Company (voice: 865...)
Four digits
Position 1: Month
Position 2 and 3: Day
Position 4: Year
Example: 2061 (February 6, 2001)

Chiquita Processed Foods (voice: 800/872-1110)
Ten digits (only 6-8 are pertinent to consumers)
Position 6: Year (A=1999, B=2000, C=2001, etc.)
Position 7 and 8: Julian Date
Example: A195 (July 14, 1999-July 14 is the 195th day of the year)

Del Monte Foods (voice: 800/543-3090)
First line, four digits
Position 1: Year
Position 2, 3 and 4: Julian Date
Example: 9045 (February 14, 1999)

Faribault Foods
Consumers can send inquiries and product coding numbers via an online contact form, and a company representative will help them understand the coding. http://www.faribaultfoods.com/

Furman Foods (voice: 877/877-6032)
Second line, first four digits
Position 1: Year
Position 2, 3 and 4: Julian Date
Example: 9045 (February 14, 1999)

Hirzel Canning (voice: 800/837-1631)
First line, four digits
Position 1: Year
Position 2, 3 and 4: Julian Date
Example: 0195 (July 14, 2000- July 14th is the 195th day of the year)

Hormel Foods Corporation (voice: 800/523-4635)
Five digits on the top line
Position 1-4: Information about plant and manufacturing
Position 5: Year
Example: XXXX0 (2000)

Lakeside Foods (voice: 920/684-3356)
Second line, second through fifth digits
Position 2: Month (Jan=1, Sept.=9, Oct.=A, Nov.=B, Dec.=C)
Position 3 and 4: Date
Position 5: Year
Example: 4A198 (October 19, 1998)

Maple Leaf Consumer Foods (voice: 800/268-3708)
Top of can, grouping of last four digits
Position 1: Year
Position 2, 3, and 4: Julian Date
Example: 9130 (May 9, 1999)

Mid-Atlantic Foods (voice: 410/957-4100)
Second through fourth digits
Position 2: Month (letter)
Position 3: Date (A=1, Z=26)
Position 4: Year
Example: MDE0 (April 5, 2000)

Pillsbury/Green Giant and Progresso (voice: 800/998-9996)
Five digits
Position 1: Month (letter)
Position 2: Year
Position 3: Plant information
Position 4 and 5: Date
Example: G8A08 (July 8, 1998)

Seneca Foods (voice: 315/926-6710)
Two digits on the first line
Position 1: Month (letter)
Position 2: Year
Example: L1 (December 2001)

Stagg Chili (voice: 800/611-9778)
Second through sixth digits
Position 2 and 3: Month
Position 4 and 5: Day
Position 6: Year
Example: S02050 (February 5, 2000)"

Information provided by the Canned Food Alliance."

A huge thanks to the people at http://www.foodreference.com/ for doing all of this research. Very helpful!

Original: http://survival-cooking.blogspot.com/2009/01/reading-canned-foods-expiration-dates.html