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Friday, March 20, 2009

Tailoring Your Job Skills to a Changing Market

Many people in the US have lofty ideas about job and career including where they should work, how much they should make, and what kind of work they should be doing. This sense of what "should" happen and what people think they are entitled to is the downfall in our current economic situation (read economic disaster). I think we have gotten away from the idea of being entitled to climbing the career ladder, earning more and more money, and gaining more and more seniority with the same company over the course of a lifetime--even in Japan, this isn't an assumption any more. However, when the economy makes its cyclical rises and falls, people these days seem to be just as stunned as many businessmen were a generation ago when they found out that their lifetime employment situation wasn't.

In the US and other "first world" countries, you can get away with being a not-so-useful worker for years on end, even earning quite a nice salary doing so. In the real market economy, however, you are only as valuable (and therefore garner as much money as the market will bear) as your services, skills, and products are wanted and needed by customers--those people who have the money to pay you for what you are selling. Notice how this is a problem for US auto makers. Workers (and their unions) feel they are entitled to a certain wage and executives of the companies feel they are entitled to certain bonuses. With a big coffer full of cash, you can get away with this for a while before bankrupting yourself because (duh) people are not buying your product and are therefore not bringing money into your company.
The free market is quite simple. You can either develop a skill, product or service that you become an expert at and enjoy doing then find customers to pay you to provide said item or you can analyze the market and provide the skill, product, or service that is wanted and needed by consumers. The problem with developing a skill/product/service first is that if no one wants to pay you for what you can do, you will not make any money and go broke (how many people need wagon wheel makers no matter how good they are?). In this example, you can become so specialized that you can serve the very, very few people who need wagon wheels (museums, stage shows, re-enactment events, etc) however you need to be very good and well known because these consumers aren't found on every corner.
On the other hand, determining a need then filling it the most logical way to make money no matter what the economy is doing as a whole. This is quite apparent in third world tourist areas. In any of these areas, the customer is obvious--generally from the US, Europe, Japan, et al. They are dressed in expensive, name brand clothes, carry expensive, name brand cameras, and they have money. With a bit of analysis, the customer's needs become obvious too--food (everyone likes to eat), cold bottled water (they will get thirsty and drinking tap water is out of the question), help finding their way around (they may need a guide or interpreter), a unique experience (put your boat/para sail/horse/local famous site to use and show the tourists around), sex (prostitution is an entire entity unto itself), drugs (Americans are one of the world's largest consumer of illegal drugs), etc. Offer these services/skills/products at a reasonable rate, and you are in business. If there are 25 food vendors or 25 prostitutes in your immediate area, however, you will need to either price you services lower than the others or otherwise attract customers with something that the other vendors don't have (more beautiful prostitutes, fresher looking food, a more persistent salesman, etc) in order to make money. Very simple.
Now let's see how these how you can use these ideas to tailor your job skills to a changing market...
  • Who wants to buy the skill/service/product you have? Your employer may be your first thought but if they are quickly running out of money, they can't buy what you are selling.
  • Who else wants to buy what you are selling? Think outside of the box.
  • Can you tweak what you are selling to draw more customers? If you are designing software for the general public that doesn't much differentiate itself from what is currently on the market and which the public is not really buying at this time, consider tailoring your software development to entities that do have the money and the need--government perhaps? The medical industry? The banking industry (Lord knows they have enough of our bail out money)?
  • Note that if you can sell something to others that will help them make money, be more attractive/popular to others, or make them feel better about themselves, you will have lots of customers. Think about the diet industry, hair growth products for men, etc.
  • Can you take the lemons of your current job situation and make lemonade? If you are a realtor, houses may not be selling and people are being foreclosed on in record numbers but these people still need a place to live so maybe you can turn some of your "for sale" homes into rentals until the market gets better. This is a win-win situation--people get a place to live and homes don't sit empty earning zero money for the owner.
  • What do people need now? There are things that people will always need/do no matter the economy. They will still get married, they will still have babies, they still need food, and they still want to be entertained. Instead of having the yuppiest bridal service store, maybe change and focus on classy budget weddings instead. The need for financial advice, fixing things (instead of buying new), and new job skills are also more in demand now because of the economy.
  • Are there new skills that you could/should develop? Maybe your days as an automaker are numbered, but you have always enjoyed animals. How about learning how to train guard dogs--a cheaper alternative to home security systems?
  • Don't forget to change your lifestyle to match your current situation. Your former job as a hot shot realtor may have included a Mercedes, tailored suits, and expense account lunches, but if your job/income is cut in half, then it only makes sense that you expenses get cut in half as well. Your ego may be dinged but realistically, people spend a lot of time and expense trying to impress others who really don't care about them. Your "friends" may think you are "the man" when you are picking up the bar tab for everyone but when you fall on hard times, are they there to pick up the tab for you? Often not, so why worry about impressing them now?

The bottom line is that you aren't entitled to an income, a job, benefits, or anything else. With this in mind, you ARE free to analyze the market, make an educated guess about people's needs, and develop ways to meet these needs; therefore earning the money you need to pay for your next lunch, make your bills each month, or become a multi-millionaire.

Original: http://codenameinsight.blogspot.com/2009/01/tailoring-your-job-skills-to-changing.html

Water Purification and Storage

We recently found this link: http://www.connorboyack.com/drop/water.pdf, and had to share it. Great information on the different ways to store water, and in case you can't store much, how to purify water to drink.

Thanks to Connor Boyack for putting that information together (here's a link to his blog: http://www.connorboyack.com/blog/). And, as he recommends at the bottom of his water link, be sure to do your own homework. Things could change, new products could become available, etc.

Original: http://survival-cooking.blogspot.com/2009/01/water-purification-and-storage.html

Prepping for Prepping

Down_the_rabbit_hole_by_tvillingsjeler Prepping for PreppingPrepping - it’s an endless activity that has few rewards, and those rewards often are not close in payout to the amount of time and effort that went into them. The interim rewards in prepping include not having to run to the store constantly to keep your food stocked. When you’re a Prepper your grocery store is in your own house, going to an actual store is akin to going to a warehouse to get resupplied. The other reward is great personal satisfaction and comfort in knowing that you are ready for anything - well, almost ready - there’s ALWAYS something else that can be done. The big payoff rarely comes for a Prepper - and that is when things get bad enough that you’re able to make it through it solely because you were prepped. This lifestyle, with it’s small rewards and rare big payoff, can be tiring - even overwhelming at times.

Random preparedness, which a lot of people I am acquainted with participate in, is a step up from non-preparedness but can be somewhat misleading, perhaps even dangerous. Wade talks about some of this in his inaugural post - you might have wheat stored, but do you know how to use it? If you have a flashlight, do you consider yourself prepped for darkness? What will you do when the batteries run out, do you have batteries stored? Do you just have one flashlight, or do you have one for each person in your family? How about two for each person in the family? Or a store of emergency candles to supplement the flashlights? Redundancy is very important! If you have candles stored to backup your flashlight, how will you light them? Do you have matches stored? What will you do if you run out of matches? Do you have flint and steel stored? This may seem like I have randomly picked flashlights, but with any item you pick it will almost always pare down to a “primitive” solution. Lighting leads down to flint and steel. Heat, both cooking and warming, leads down to flint and steel. Transportation leads down to pack animals and hand-made carts. And so on. Primitive or Pioneer skills are essential in a long term TEOTWAKI situation. This post isn’t to discuss primitive survival methods though, it’s to discuss navigating the Rabbit Hole.

The Preparedness Rabbit Hole can be a maddening thing! Once you start down it, you find there are endless branches, many of them intertwine and many of them go very deep and then head back near the surface only to empty into yet another branch. Let’s enter the Rabbit Hole through the Weapons entrance, whether for protection or for hunting. If you have no weapon preps or knowledge, your first thought will most likely be a gun, if you know nothing about guns this leads you to your first branch in the Rabbit Hole, and it’s right at the surface. You can learn about Handguns, Shotguns, Long-guns and Battle Rifles - and more if you’re inclined. In learning about these, you’ll learn about lines of defense and where each weapon is appropriate and for what, and when you need to rely on a different weapon. You’ll run back and forth between these branches for a while. Then you’ll settle on something, let’s say you settle on a Long-gun so you can hunt big game. Now you have to settle on a caliber, to keep this short, we’ll say you settle on a .30-06. Now you have to choose and purchase a weapon and learn about ammo - 180 grain bullets or 150? Ballistic Tips or Full Metal Jackets - and so on. OK, now you’ve bought your gun and a box of 50 180 grain BT cartridges.

Now the Rabbit Hole, which you thought you were near the end of, goes crazy. What will you do when you’ve shot all 50 of those cartridges you bought? Reload? You are now at the top of another tunnel, reloading - and you’re going to need a lot of supplies and some equipment. What if the only game you can find is small game - and a 30-06 would destroy it? What if you need personal protection? What if you can’t carry a rifle around because of how obvious it is? What if you’ve run out of bullets and reloading supplies? Can you make a bow and arrow out of raw materials? Can you make a sling? Do you know how to use either of them? Do you need a scope for your rifle? How strong of a scope do you need? Once you kill an animal, do you have the knives and equipment to gut and clean it? Do you know how? How will you get the animal out of the forest? Once home, how will you butcher it, both know-how and equipment? Once it’s butchered, how will you process and store it? Do you dry it? Do you freeze it, do you have a generator to keep your freezer running? Do you have gas to keep the geni running? Do you have a different alternative power source like solar or wind? The big one - do you have spare parts for the generator, freezer, rifle, reloader? Do you even know how to use spare parts (if you can get some by bartering) to fix any of those things? Do you feel the insanity of prepping beginning to slip in??? The Preppers Rabbit Hole is endless and maddening. Maybe that’s why they call us serious preppers crazy - cause in a way we can get there.

A LOT of effort has been made by a lot of people to map out the Rabbit Hole for us but unfortunately, there is no definitive map. If you’re a spiritual person and believe in personal inspiration you can turn to God for help and direction. If not, you can turn to books and more books and even more. Even if you’re the spiritual person, you still need to review books or other things so that God can direct and inspire you to what is important for you to investigate further. Many of us on this site as authors or readers have done some version of this approach and are willing and trying to share with others the maps that we have created of the Rabbit Hole. None of us have all the answers, each of us have thoughts, experiences and training of potential value to the others and together we have a lot of The Hole mapped.

Mapping the Rabbit Hole is Preparing for Preparedness. It’s studying, learning, practicing, experiencing, listening, reading, experimenting and so on. It’s good there is no complete map - in order to navigate The Hole you must “learn to fish”. By learning it for yourself you are able to make connections in the future from that experience that you wouldn’t have made otherwise. By studying prep topics you begin to see new things as common sense and gain an ability to puzzle things out for yourself. These experiences will likely be the most valuable thing to you in a TEOTWAKI situation - perhaps even more so than your preps themselves.

Prepping for Preparedness is something that becomes a lifestyle. Once you’re into it, if you stay into it, there is always a new top level Rabbit Hole to enter. This year I am peering into a few of them and considering diving in. I’m looking into Pandemic preparedness - which leads into all kinds of medical preparedness branches including knowledge, training and equipment. I’m also looking into leather work and how to make clothes from animal hides - which immediately branches into tanning hides and comes from hunting education. I’m looking to extend my growing season and trying to learn how early I can start plants indoors and the best techniques for it - which branches into different gardening equipment and requires different spaces than I’ve used. I also have plans this year to save up and buy 3 huge tents and 3 tent stoves from cylinderstoves.com.

With my intentions of getting into all these new areas and buying several new things, I have to study and communicate to learn the branches I can expect in these Rabbit Holes and start a mental map so I can navigate. I’m looking into medical suppliers, leather suppliers, gardening suppliers and reading several books, websites and manuals. I’m looking into classes I can take and other new areas where I can get experience. I plan to make several posts on these topics as I go, hopefully by the end of the year this site will be a good resource for these areas of preparedness.

What experiences have you had in the Rabbit Hole? Would you like to be a guest author and share them? Do you have some good experience in Prepping for Preparedness that you can share? Have you had experience in the areas I’m looking into that you would be willing to share, either in comments or as a guest author? Are you interested in learning these skills and maybe going through them with me? Let us know!

Original: http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/UtahPreppers/~3/509911452/

Vision Prep - storing eyeglasses

nerdyguy02 Vision Prep - storing eyeglassesIf you’re like me and can’t quite make out that big E on the eye chart from 5 feet away without vision correction or even if you’re not quite that bad, this post is for you. Probably everyone that wears vision correction has thought about having a backup, but what about 5 backups? One backup is great for if you break or lose your glasses/contacts, that’s a great prep to have. But what if we’re in a TEOTWAWKI situation and you can’t get new glasses at all for a very long time? It costs a lot to get replacement glasses and it’s a huge investment - usually - now enter Zenni Optical.

This fantastic site sells nice looking frames complete with prescription lenses for $8.00. That’s right, 8 bucks - and these aren’t the huge 70’s frames that we used to wear, these are nice looking designer style frames. They have frames that cost more than 8 dollars, like the $12.00 collection but who wants to spend 12 bucks on glasses when you can just spend 8!? They’ve even got a children’s selection, a bifocal collection and my favorite - the goggle collection. The frames in these collections are more expensive.

To order, you need to have your prescription (specifically for glasses, not contacts) including your PD which apparently identifies your center viewing point or something and isn’t usually given out with your prescription. Read here for more information on this. You enter your prescription information in the shopping cart when you order glasses from them.

I’m going to be placing my first order with them next week. I’ve been collecting my kids prescriptions the last few days and have an eye appointment next week. I’ll be sure to make a follow up post to let you know how it goes.

I’m planning on eventually having 5 backups for each of my kids (kids are really hard on glasses) and at least 3 backups for my wife and I. I’m going to get me a pair of those goggles too, perfect for wearing in a gas mask! I strongly recommend that you have at least one if not more backups for each person in your family. Not being able to see REALLY sucks!

Original: http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/UtahPreppers/~3/511068502/

Emergency home heat

My next preparation project was obtaining an emergency heat source. This is a purchase that I have been researching and planning for a quite a while now, wanting to make sure that I had adequately weighed options and made the best choice. There are a lot of factors to consider including the size and shape of the areas you want to heat, altitude, portability, direct versus ambient heat, ease of use, safety, ventilation, and fuel source.

For me, fuel source was one of the most important factors. And, while availability, storage life, and heating power are importing things to consider, my main concern was selecting a universal fuel. Whether I am cooking, lighting, or heating, my preparations will be much more effective if I only have to store one type of fuel. I would also like a solution that I can use regularly in addition to working well in an emergency.

Let’s look at the options:


Propane heaters are the most portable option. You can choose between wall-mounted and free-standing, blue flame and infrared, and vented versus unvented, but either way, they are a very safe and cost effective option for heat. Even the wall-mount units are only the size of a large suitcase and come with optional free-standing legs. They also put out up to four times the amount of heat of an electric heater. You can purchase units that heat 200 square feet (up to 9,000 BTU/HR) for $100 and units that heat 400 square feet (up to 18,000 BTU/HR) for $150.

Advantages of propane are that it stores indefinitely, there is no smell, no refueling spillage possibilities, vast storage options, and there are many propane appliances other than heaters, such as torches, refrigerators, ovens, stoves, and electricity generators. One downside to propane is that it burns a little dirtier than natural gas and can leave a thin, oily film on windows and other surfaces. Liquid Propane (LP) gas contains more carbon than natural gas and burns nearly three times hotter.

Natural Gas

Natural gas costs more than propane generally, but it burns cleaner. Many people argue that natural gas is the most earth-friendly of the two gases because it is taken directly from the soil, while propane gas must be processed. All things considered, however, the cost and location will usually be the deciding factor when determining the right type of solution for heating your home.

From my research though (I talked to a QuestStar gas service technician), natural gas doesn’t store well. Natural gas is a lighter-than-air gas that dissipates when released into the air. It does not burn as hot as other gases, but it costs much less. It must be hard-piped to an appliance from buried gas service lines. Natural gas heaters are very similar to propane, I only found one industrial modal that was portable. Since it’s a gas instead of a liquid, it must be pressurized and therefore is difficult to handle.


Kerosene is a common and cost effective method for heating your home. Kerosene can be stored in large quantities for long periods of time. A gallon of kerosene will produce about the same heat output as a wheelbarrow full of wood. Kerosene heaters are very safe to use indoors, requiring very little ventilation. As with the other liquid fuels can also be used for lighting and cooking. Once broken in, kerosene heaters burn virtually odor-free.

These heaters do require maintenance however as you have to replace the wick periodically and keep it trimmed. You also have to manually fill (pour) the fuel reservoir. Another thing to consider is that their output is over 22,000 BTUs and require a three-foot perimeter and thus aren’t good for heating small spaces (except for radiant heat models which produce half the output, but only heat directionally). They are also large and heavy. Most convection heaters have a fuel tank of about 2 gallons in capacity and will burn for 9 to 12 hours on one filling. The prices range from $125 to about $220, generally, and wicks cost from $10 to $20 each. Nearly every model you purchase today has an electric ignition that requires batteries, but they can be started manually with a match.


Unless the electricity happens to still be on, electric really means diesel since you will have to run a generator. While electric heaters are one of the more safe indoor options and having electricity provides you with most of your other normal life comforts, generators are loud and can be smelly. From what I have read, portable indoor electric heaters only heat up to about 150 square feet as well, so you’d probably need two of them if you have a family. While I do not have a lot of experience with generators, it also seems like you will burn through a lot more fuel with this approach since a generator produces a certain amount of energy even if you are not using all of it, whereas a gas heater only draws from the tank what it burns. Electric heaters run about $40 and $80 dollars.

Solar is one other option for generating electricity, but without a battery you’re going to be cold at night or during dark, foggy, winter days. While batter technology for home solar systems is coming, I did not include it since it is not readily available yet. As long as solar isn’t your primary energy source, I do think that they would be a great investment however. Most all of our gadgets and appliances run off of electricity. Solar is quiet, clean, and never runs out.

Wood stove/fireplace

Wood wins over every other option in terms of being a long-term solution. It is no-tech and can be used for cooking and lighting as well. It requires the most amount of work however and is the dirtiest. It produces smoke, dust, and embers and requires chopping, carrying, and manual ignition and it also sends up a signal indicating your location and that you have resources. It also runs the highest safety hazard. On the other hand, it is the only fuel source that you can replenish yourself.

The answer

So, what’s the answer? First, I also realized that I wanted two solutions: one for short-term emergencies that provided more convenience and comfort and one for long-term emergencies that was sustainable. Wood is the answer for long-term and for that I am saving for a fireplace and a wood-burning cooking stove. That will be another project, expense, and post for another day.

For short-term, I want something that is portable. I want to be able to move it back and forth easily between the garage and the shed. This rules out wood, kerosene, and natural gas.

I wanted something that could heat the entire garage or family room but could also be pulled up close to you when working in a tight space (such as changing the oil on the car) and heating an entire room would be wasteful. I’m not concerned about being able to heat my entire home, that would be foolish during an emergency—up to 400 square feet is plenty. Kerosene is overkill for what I want and you can’t get as close to it as you would be able to an adjustable propane heater.

All of the heaters work indoors. The vent-free propane units are the most safe, but they only come in the wall-mount models and require large external tanks. There are portable propane units that can run off of both large, external tanks and small, internal tanks.

Infrared verses blue-flame? Infrared is directional and only heats things that are in front of it. Instead of heating the air, it heats objects. It is good for large, vaulted or drafty rooms, but since this type of room would be the last type of room you would want to be hunkering down in in an emergency, this decision is a no-brainer. You want something like a convection kerosene or blue-flame propane that heats the air and is omni-directional.

And what about being a universal fuel? Kerosene is immediately ruled out as I don’t have a single other appliance that runs off of kerosene. Electricity is the most universal and while I currently have an electric dryer, oven, and stove, I much prefer cooking with gas and would like to replace these with gas options. I would be really pleased if I could find models that could run off of both natural gas and propane. This would allow me to use the indoor kitchen in an emergency if I wanted. Otherwise, I have a nice lantern and camp stove that run off of propane.

After weighing all of these options, I decided on propane and purchased the BIG Buddy from Mr. Heater. It is small, light-weight, portable, runs off of either one or two internal tanks or one or two external tanks, cranks out up to 18,000 BTUs, has three heat settings, has a battery-powered blower to help circulate the air, has an built-in ignitor, and can heat the largest room in my house (up to 400 square feet). Here is a photograph of the unit in my garage running off of a single external tank.

big_buddy Emergency home heat

I have been very impressed with it thus far. There is no assembly required; it can be lit right out of the box. It is light weight and easy to carry. It was easy to light and the built-in, battery-powered blower significantly increases the units power. On high, I could feel the temperature rising in my garage within just a few minutes. I love how it can run off of either internal tanks, so that it is truly portable, or large external tanks for extended use. It has a built-in oxygen sensor and shuts off automatically if things become unsafe—very important if using indoors while sleeping.

If you are interested in getting one yourself, Emergency Essentials is running a sale through the end of the month on the BIG Buddy and the adapter hose together for $155. Or, if you are willing to pay seven dollars more, you can get the unit and the hose from Amazon with free shipping for $162 and have it delivered to your door.

Fuel storage

I have two 20 lb tanks (the size on a barbecue grill). For normal living, this allows me to keep one in use and one on stand-by so that I don’t ever ruin a perfectly good steak running to the station to refuel. I will probably purchase one or two more that size (since you can carry them) and one 100 lb tank for the garage.

The real solution though is a 500 or 1,000 pound tank that is installed on your property. I plan on getting one of these but am still researching the logistics and making plans. They are common in rural areas and other parts of the country. You can also have them installed underground so that it doesn’t take up space and so you don’t have to look at it. Most people lease tanks such as these instead of purchasing them. One of the nice benefits of leasing is that certified technicians check them regularly to ensure that they are operating correctly are responsible for any upkeep or repairs.

The two companies that I am aware of that service the Wasatch Front are AmeriGas and Suburban Propane. Both of them lease but only AmeriGas sells tanks. I spoke with both on the phone and their prices are very comparable: ~$80/year lease for the 500 lb tank, ~$125/year lease for 1,000 lb tank, and ~$250 - $500 for installation, depending on it’s above or below ground. Prices to purchase from AmeriGas are $1,034 (500 lb above), $1,226 (500 lb underground), $1944 (1,000 lb above), and $2,100 (1,000 lb underground).

If you’re interested, the first step is to contact your local government to check on applicable laws. Next, you need to consider how much space you have. Regardless of your city’s laws, the gas companies require the tanks to be 15″ to 25″ feet from your home (depending on the size of your tank). In addition, the Propane Education & Research Council’s residential website has a lot of helpful information, including a brochure about large tanks at home.

Original: http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/UtahPreppers/~3/516800233/

Slimline Can Roller Project

Ever wanted to find a way to store a bunch more cans, especially those big #10 sized ones? Love the idea behind products such as the Shelf Reliance, but maybe you don’t have enough money for one, or better yet, maybe not enough space because of oddly sized rooms? Maybe you’re like me and maybe several of those are true all at once. What follows is a restatement of a post I did last year about some home-made can rotation shelving I built, along with the basic instructions you need to create your own (and you’ll want to).

Last spring I was in an interesting point of my life, as I was “transferring” my job to new workers, and getting ready for a new job. This gave me a certain amount of free time because contractual obligations kept me from doing some actual work. Always one to need to be *doing* something, I set my sights on my garage for a little reworking. I had on one wall a couple of old, decrepit shelves that were really a hazard to the contents, as well as anybody walking near them. They were long past due for replacement, plus, they really didn’t hold nearly what they needed to.

The Beginning, wall mounted rotation, flush and ready to build out the shelves

The Beginning, wall mounted rotation, flush and ready to build out the shelves

For many people, a garage really isnt’ a viable option for food storage. Temperatures can vary greatly, which can destroy packaging, or just destroy nutrients. I do have an enclosed garage however, and with some extra insulation work I have made it able to keep moderate temperatures that actually work well with some parts of our food storage. So I began by getting rid of the old, so I could start on the new. Once removed, I had a nice 70″ wall near the door that I used as the basis of the work.

Things I needed out of my new shelving:

  • #10 sized can rotation
  • Normal large shelving, for storage quite a variety of goods
  • Space to store another fridge/freezer
  • Bulk Bag Storage
  • Bucket/Heavy storage (Wheat bin, etc)

I started out with the can rotation idea. Most commercial systems are designed for the idea that they can sit up against a wall, and be loaded, and unloaded from the same spot. This is ideal for most circumstances. But what I had allowed for something different. As you can see from the picture, the wall in question did not end against another wall. Or in another build, I wouldnt’ have to build it *to* the end. By taking advantage of the ability to access both “sides” of the shelving, I had an opportunity to build something different. See, a #10 can is less than 8″ across. Given a hair more space to make things nice, and the width of a 2×4 that I was already going to use for a framework, I could take a little of the back of my shelves, and turn it into much more usable space. With 10 inches of shelving, in that area of the back that is normally a bane to oranization anyways, I know have something useful.

Face On, You can see just how little space this takes, and how many cans it lets you add

Face On, You can see just how little space this takes, and how many cans it lets you add

The build is really simple, I simply took some 1×1/2 slats, and cut them to fit my 70″ wall, giving a 4″ height difference at the end, what seemed like a good incline. 8″ between rows, then build the opposing wall to match. 1/4″ particle board was laid in my 8″ width. This size fits your #10 can perfectly, with 1/2″ in each side for wiggle room, and just under 2″ on top. That’s the right amount of space so if you have to reach up some, you can. It also leaves space on the end to lift your can over the ’stopper’ that you mount there with a piece of your 1×1, keeping cans from rolling off the end.

With my wall size, this will accommodate 96 cans (I could add one more row at the top, but it’s a little to tall for anybody in the family except me). That’s a lot of food I’m able to move out of my basement, under-the-stairs closet, which I can’t get to most of the time anyways. Given that this is just outside the kitchen <-> garage door, it makes it a nice accessory to the pantry. And since my garage is well insulated, and I know the temperature ranges in it, I can put in a pretty wide range of foods without them being affected adversely.

All told, the materials were $61 for this project, including the wood to frame out the front end shelves which aren’t done yet. Not a bad price for largely increased storage, with can rotation.

From there I’ve been able to build a very impressive set of heavy-duty shelves in front, that enclose the fridge (while letting it breath, don’t fully enclose it or it’ll burn out, and ruin your food!).

In another post soon, I’ll go over those shelves, as well as some of the other shelving I’ve added in odd places of my house to allow me to organize things like food storage.

Original: http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/UtahPreppers/~3/521190845/

Great Survival Books from Beserker

This post was written by an excellent blogger by the handle “Beserker”. His blog is full of great reviews on outdoor/survival gear such as the Maratac bug out bag review (one of my favorite every day items). Read his blog you will like what you find. http://berserkersgearpage.blogspot.com

Woodcraft and Camping by George “Nessmuk” Sears is a great read for the survivalist, camper, and bushcrafter alike.
It is full of woodsy wisdom, useful tricks, and witty anecdotes. The highlights are the sections on bushcrafting skills
(woodworking, campmaking, shelterbuilding, firebuilding, etc) but the rest of the book is good too.
It is not a “book of lists” as so many of the modern “survival” books are. No, it is a book of skills–and useful skills at that.
Do be warned, however, that Nessmuk writes at great length. This is not the small pocket-handbook type of deal. It is a large compendium of woods skills,
skillfully penned in charming fashion. If you do not like reading long books or learning about bush skills in story format, tough. Read it anyway, it’s good for your character.
If you do, then good for you. You’ll enjoy it all the more. This book can be found in PDF format as well as in print no doubt.

Camping and Woodcraft by Horace Kephart, was written as a sort of tribute to Nessmuk’s abovementioned book. This does not mean, however, that it is written or organized the same
way or that it has all the same information within it. In fact, this book shines in its regard to the sheer number of illustrations. This can be a big help if you are a visual learner.
Kephart focuses much more on gear than Nessmuk did, but mitigates this weakness by introducing us to the art of making camp (he does not share Nessmuk’s dislike of wall tents) and camp cookery.
Altogether it is a great book and I highly recommend finding a copy and READING it, whether PDF ebook or hard copy.

The Way of the Woods by Edward Breck is a superb piece of literature with an emphasis on hunting and trapping. The author also discusses planning outings, first aid (unlike the other two books)
and basic gear for extended trips. It is interesting to note that there are certain points at which he disagrees or amends Nessmuk’s advice, such as his reference to “bug dope” and the recipe he
gives being generally more efficacious. This book, too, is available in PDF format and likely hard copy.

Camp Craft by Warren Miller is a good book, more “modern” if you will, in the respect that it advocates the more modern methods of camping and campmaking (Note the chapters titled “Eliminating the Blanket”
and “Getting away from the Browse Bed.” The purists among us may sniff at this and say that we will never give up our woolen Army blankets, match coats, and bush beds, but nevertheless Miller offers some insights
into why he recommends the “Leave No Trace” style camping. You may agree and you may not, but the sad fact is that with as many people using the woods nowadays, there have to be some restrictions on what we can do on public lands.
Private land now, that’s another story;) Available in PDF and probably in hard copy as well.

Camp Life in the Woods and the Tricks of Trapping and Trap Making by William H. Gibson is an informative book detailing many of the traditional campmaking and bushcrafting methods such as shelter building, procuring bedding,
boat and canoe building, suggestions on the best types of staples for trappers to take with them (he suggests potatoes, beans, flour, things that cannot be procured or grown with any ease in the woods). But by far this book is outstanding
in its illustrations, especially in its detailed drawings of traps and methods of trapping all manner of beast and fowl. This book is an indispensable resource for the burgeoning trapper. Five Stars! This can be found in PDF and possibly hard copy.

Woodsmanship by Bernard Mason excels in showing practical usage of the axe, safe handling procedures, proper dress, and the techniques range from beginner-level through advanced. He does all this with a neverending series of drawings and fotos
interspersed with blocks of text describing the process. Keep in mind that most of these procedures could be extremely dangerous, especially if you’ve got little or no experience swinging an axe. As always, take your time in learning axemanship.
Available in PDF and (probably) hard copy.

The Sportsman’s Workshop by Warren H. Miller is a practical, down-to-earth guide to frugal gear procurement. He wastes no time in letting you know that new, store-bought gear is not the be and end-all of outdoor recreation. New, expensive gear
will not solve all your problems in the woods; it will only weigh you down. Instead, he cared enough to write this book in order to show us how to repair our broken fly rods, battered and rusty firearms, torn tarps, ratty boots, etc.
He gives ideas for ways to make your own “repair shop” or “den” in a room in one’s house where one has the tools to fix broken or torn up gear. This is not necessarily a book of lists, thank Gandhe. I’m so sick of books of lists. (Can you tell?).
Can be found in PDF format and possibly hardcover.

Bushcraft, Scouting, and Woodlore Notes by Dr. R.W. Oelslager is a compendium of annotated illustrations depicting common (and not so common) bushcraft skills, projects, etc. It is very visually-oriented and easy to follow. As far as I know
it is only in PDF format but there may possibly be a hard copy floating around somewheres. You could also print it out though it’s huge, you’d want to duplex-print it. Don’t make the mistake I made, haha.
The cover illustration reminds me of some old Scouting documents somebody scanned and uploaded on the internet. Definitely worth having!

Survival Handbook by Raymond Mears is nice big book of what used to be common knowledge. Ray Mears is a veritable encyclopedia of all things bushcraft. He travels the world, studying primitive cultures and their ways of surviving inhospitable conditions.
Ray focuses more on modern gear than some of the old-timers do but that is to be expected in this day and age when it’s no longer acceptable to cut down saplings and build lean-tos wherever one goes. Nevertheless he does a great job of not leaving such skills
out of his book. I have the ebook version but may soon buy the hard copy as it appears to be a real tome. Highly recommended.

SAS Survival Handbook by John “Lofty” Wiseman, former SAS operative and survival expert, is an awesome book detailing many methods for staying alive in bad conditions. Keep in mind this is more military and survival oriented
(e.g. the skills it teaches are meant to help you survive a short period of E+E till you get home or are rescued, not bushcraft-oriented) but even so it is a great book. It teaches some really neat things like methods for building traps and snares as well.
I have the Collins Gem version (tiny pocketbook, very portable) but it also comes in a larger reference-size version. Either way it’s indispensable; at least as good (if not better) than the US Army Survival Manual, which, BTW,
is great too and can be found in a free online PDF file, or bought in hard copy.

These are all great reads which I heartily recommend if you want to learn to be more self-sufficient in the woods.
Again, these are only to SUPPLEMENT ACTUAL EXPERIENCE in the bush. If you don’t get out there–you’re nothing but a dreamer.


Original: http://www.survival-spot.com/survival-gear-equipment/great-survival-books/

Back to the basics

If you are to get through the cold times, I feel that it will be essential to define what it is you need. This will have to be done at every level of your life.

Because in a sense, we will be looking at a period of time where possessions and stuff will have to pull their weight. If you are dragging something along because it “is valuable” but it serves no purpose, that thing may very well be the weight that pulls you down.

Look at things and establish their true worth. What is more valuable, a cell phone or dried preps? Good boots or your wide screen TV? Blankets or a couple of bucks in your 401K?

It may very well be that the storm times will leave you swimming in strange currents, trying to get to the shore. You will need to choose things that will help you get to the edge, not drag you to the bottom.

Original: http://mightaswellliebackandenjoyit.blogspot.com/2009/01/back-to-basics.html