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Sunday, April 19, 2009

Blog Contributors wanted!

Want to write for this blog?

Feel free to send me a sample article to: dailysurvival@gmail.com
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Curing meat

I was going to attempt to build a smokehouse (old style) and give it a whirl. Back when I was youngen, we would gather up at a neighbors around first frost and buther hogs. Some of the meat was salt cured and the other was sugar cured. It was hung in the smoke house to finish off the process.
Anyhow, due to me having a Birthday recently, I had company come down to find out if I could still sit around a fire and drink beer with the younger folks. Since a couple of them are part of my "bug in" crew, should the SHTF, I felt that the need to prove I was up to the task was called for. Heck, my 78 year old daddy hung in there until after 10 pm. I made it until it was going on 1 am., I finally got my legs back under me good yesterday. WHEW!

When preparing meat for storage, tempture is everything. Below 40 degrees is good. Heat is what allows the nasty to come out. I am going to include a website that can explain it better and not take up as much room. http://www.wedlinydomowe.com/curing/curing-methods.htm

There are a couple of ways to prepare your meat, I like the Morton's Tender Quick. It is a mixture of Salt, Sodium Nitrite, Sodium Nitrate and Sugar. Then there are Praque Powders, #1 is a mixture of 1 part Sodium Nitrite and 16 parts salt (4 ozs. per 100 lbs. of meat), typical home use is 1 tsp. per 5 lbs. of meat. #2 is a mixture of 1 part Sodium Nitrate, .64 Sodium Nitrate and 16 parts Salt. This is used primarily for dry curing. If you salt cure, make sure you rub the salt in around the bone real good. This is where the meat will spoil.

Sugar Cure for Ham: 1& 1/2 pints salt, 1 /2 cup brown sugar, 3 to 4 tablespoons black pepper, 2 tablespoons Red Pepper, 1 joint ham (from a 300 to 400 pound hog). Mix together and rub in and pack on joint of meat. Spread some on newspaper and lay joint, rind down, on mixture. Wrap in paper and then in cloth (cheesecloth). Tie like a package. Hang where there is even temperature, a little cool, but not necessary. Hang with bone pointing down. It will drain a little. Leave for several months. When cured, slice and store in freezer if weather is hot. This can be smoked also.

I plan on my smokehouse to be 6' X 8', I will block it up on cinder blocks about 2'. My firepit will be dug down about a foot deep, leaving a foot above ground. I will use regular stove pipe to run the smoke and heat into the smokehouse. I will keep you posted on this project. Use hard wood for the fire. Hickory is best (for flavor) Oak burns good and Pecan won't burn as hot (which is good for temp. control. You want to keep the temp. to around 140 degrees.


Seasoning Cast Iron cookware

One of my Nephews suggested that I write a piece on the proper way to season cast iron cookware. We do alot of camping and I am fanatic about my Dutch Oven and skillets. I love the way the food taste and the simple cleanup of these. So, here it is. In addition, if you run across some cast iron frying pans (skillet) at a flea market and its rusted up, what I do is build a fire and set it in the coals. After about 15 minutes I pull it out, scrub it down with steel wool (careful not to burn my hands) and then rub it down with fat or raw bacon to season it as below. It will smoke up a kitchen.

This is how to season a dutch oven:
1. Preheat your grill or oven to 350 degrees.
2. If you are using your kitchen oven, wrap a large cookie sheet with a raised edge in aluminum foil and place it on the lowest possible shelf of the oven. This cookie sheet catchs oil that drips from the dutch oven so make sure it is bigger than the diameter of your dutch oven.
3. This will be only time you will ever use soap on your dutch oven! After this, never use soap unless you are stripping your oven to perform a completely new Initial Seasoning. Wash your cookware in soapy hot water. Use a scouring pad or steel wool to scrub away all coatings down to the metal. Remember, after this you don't use soap to clean up.
4. Thoroughly dry the dutch oven and lid with a cotton towel or paper towels. Place it in the grill for a minute or two to really dry it and heat it up a bit. Use an oven mitt to remove the dutch oven from the grill and let it cool just enough so you can touch it.
5. Rub vegetable shortening all over the inside and outside of your dutch oven and its lid. Use plain Crisco or Wesson - do not use butter or butter flavored shortening. Using a paper towel or cotton rag, rub the shortening into all the pockmarks, holes, and dimples in the metal surface.
6. Place the dutch oven upside down in the grill or kitchen oven and close the door or grill lid. By being upside down, the melted shortening will drain out of the dutch oven leaving an even coating rather than a pool in the bottom.
7. Place the lid in the grill also so it bakes along with the dutch oven.
8. Bake the dutch oven for 45 to 60 minutes. Remember to open windows and temporarily disconnect your smoke alarm while doing this. (I open the door and place a fan there)
9. Turn off the grill and leave the dutch oven inside to cool for 15 minutes.
10. Using an oven mitt and paper towels, remove the cookware from the grill.
11. Use paper towels to wipe off excess oil from the inside and outside of the dutch oven and lid.
12. Repeat steps 5 through 9.
13. Allow the cookware to cool until you can pick it up.
14. Wipe off all excess oil with paper or cotton towels and you're ready to go!

Periodic Seasoning:
As you use your dutch oven, the grease, oil, and fat from the food you cook will continue to season the cookware. Some acidic foods such as beans and tomatoes can remove some of the coating. So, frying bacon, deep-frying fish, making doughnuts, or cooking fatty foods will improve the protective layer while acidic foods will harm it. Once seasoned, your dutch oven will most likely not need to be seasoned again (as long as you use it often and clean it correctly). It never hurts to reseason it and some folks like to do that at the start of a cooking season. It also may be necessary to reseason if food seems to be sticking too much or your cookware has been abused or stored incorrectly. If there is rust or the oven just doesn't look well coated, it's a good idea to season it again.

Periodic Seasoning is just like the Initial Seasoning except that you don't wash with soapy water. If there is rust present then you may want to strip down everything and do a complete Initial Seasoning. Otherwise, clean your cookware normally and follow the steps above except for using soap.

The finish on your dutch oven should be dark brown or black, the darker the better. It should be glossy, but not sticky. If it is sticky, you left too much oil on and you'll need to heat it more. Over time, with proper cleaning, this glossy coating will become thicker and stronger. You should notice that foods are easy to remove and clean up is simple.

If we do encounter a SHTF scenerio, cooking outdoors (or over a fire) is easier with cast iron. I use a 12 inch Dutch Oven and can feed 12 people out of it easily.

Original: http://georgiapreppersnetwork.blogspot.com/2009/03/seasoning-cast-iron-cookware.html

Foot Blisters

After a major disaster (think Hurricane Katrina), chances are you'll have to walk a long distance. If you haven't prepared, you may end up with a major blister-and-blood situation.

A blister is irritating at best, and when they get advanced, they can be crippling, taking days to heal (while you sit still, unable to continue your travels). It will take even longer to heal if you have to walk in knee-deep in sewage water (again, Katrina).

What is a blister? According to Wikipedia, "A blister is a small pocket of fluid within the upper layers of the skin, typically caused by forceful rubbing (friction), burning, freezing, chemical exposure or infection. Most blisters are filled with a clear fluid called serum or plasma. However, blisters can be filled with blood (known as blood blisters) or with pus (if they become infected)." If they become infected and are left untreated, it could actually be life-threatening.

They often show up on heels or toes, but can occur anywhere, especially if you are wearing new shoes or boots.

How to Prepare:
  • Shoes: Choose shoes that are strong, lightweight, and sturdy enough to walk miles and miles and miles. Break them in as soon as you get them, but don't wear them out. I often walk around the house in my new shoes for days before they even hit the streets. This includes boots, sneakers, and casuals. I do NOT recommend flip flops or thongs for use during an emergency.
  • Socks: You really need socks that will wick away the sweat, keeping your feet dry and clean. Keep several changes of socks in your supplies, and change whenever they get wet. Some people wear thin tight socks directly on the foot (to minimize any rubbing), then a heavier pair on top of those.

The instant you discovered a blister, deal with it. Leave it alone and you'll regret it. Your goal is to stop the rubbing.

  • Stop walking.
  • Take off your shoes or boots.
  • Dry out or get out some clean dry socks.
  • Apply to the blister a piece of first-aid tape, "second skin", duct tape, or something else that's just for blisters, like moleskin. Cover a larger area than hurts so that if the dressing comes off, it will pull off the tender skin. Do NOT use a regular bandage because the non-stick part will keep rubbing the bad spot (I had been doing this wrong for a long time!).
  • Put your clean/dry socks on.
  • Don't leave the bandage or tape on too long. It's a good idea to change it every hour or so, to prevent moisture accumulating under the tape, which will cause even more problems.
  • If it gets really bad, make a little doughnut from moleskin and apply to the blister, keeping the blister inside the hole in the doughnut. This will even more minimize the rubbing.


  • If you can rest for a couple of days and not keep on walking, don't pop the blister. The liquid inside will reabsorb and will heal naturally.
  • If you can't rest and blister hurts, clean the area gently but thoroughly. Carefully pop around the edge of the blister with a sanitized/sterilized (tip in a match flame) needle. Gently press the liquid out. Leave the flap of skin in place, and cover with a large bandage and moleskin.
  • If your blister pops, stop and clean gently. Make sure all dirt and grime gets cleaned out. Lift off the flap of skin if necessary, replacing after it's clean and dry. Cover with a sterile banage then cover than with duct tape or other first aid tape or moleskin. Watch for infection (redness).

I've had my share of blisters, and have often treated them incorrectly, leaving scars in their wake. Here's just a tidbit of info that I hope makes your travels easier and painless.

Original: http://colorado-preppers.blogspot.com/2009/04/foot-blisters.html

Inventory Check: Space Blanket

A space blanket isn't really a blanket. It's more like a covering that's made to reflect radiant energy (heat).

Two sizes:

  1. They come folded up to fit in the palm of your hand, and open up to cover your body, and more. It's shiny, and made from a Mylar plastic, coated with aluminum, that reflects up to 80% of your body heat. It's shine also is great at signalling.
  2. A larger version is a big bigger when folded, so takes up more space in your supplies. It isn't as reflective or as shiny, but it is more durable. It's made out of a tougher woven material, and has grommets in the corners to allow for tying down. These are smaller than a tarp but can cover 2 people easily. They can also be used as a ground cover, windbreak or body wrap. They also keep rain and snow off in a pinch. These come in neon-type colors which will help signaling for rescue.

Use these to insulate you against cold OR to reflect heat from, say, a desert, away from you. You could also use them to line a solar oven, disinfect water, or reflect the sun when hung in your windows.

I've found these at Wal-Mart for .99 cents each. I grab all I can find when they are in stock; usually, that space is empty!

In my opinion, you can't have too many of these.

Original: http://colorado-preppers.blogspot.com/2009/04/inventory-check-space-blanket.html

Water Storage Options...

I'm on a roll tonight!
I posted this on www.bushcraftusa.com tonight and thought it worthy of it's own post on here...

Hey all,
Here is some food for thought...
The human body can survive for three days without water, even less in arid or hot environments, still less when performing hard work.

One needs at least a gallon of water per person per day per household. This is drinking and cooking water. Washing water should be factored in separately.

Since I am at college I have only myself and my roommates to provide for, however I have taken the liberty to stockpile water in plastic soda bottles and milk jugs. I have only enough for a few days; after that I'd have to resort to transporting it from the creek out back of the apartments. I pre-treat my water with 1/8 teaspoon of plain bleach per gallon, or even 1/8 teaspoon/half-gallon. Keep in mind that with this method of water storage, you must dispose of the containers every six months or so (the milk jugs in particular tend to degrade quickly).

Other methods include:

  • Storage in jerry-can-type water-cans, such as were used from WWII through current conflicts. These can be found in varying condition from various sellers. The best are lined with ceramic or some such as this prevents the growth of mold, mildew and bacteria while insulating your wasser for those hot days in the field.

  • Storage in HDPE "blue cans," these are the most cost-effective method to stockpile transportable amounts of water, usually between 3 and 5 gallons.

  • Storage in Food-Grade 55 gallon drums. Food grade barrels can be found for cheap, or even free from suppliers of honey, molasses, and various other types of food industries. You will want to pressure-wash these to remove traces of whatever was in them before you picked them up. Also keep in mind that while this is a viable option, it is hard to refill them or clean them without a pressurized water source, thus, this should not be your only means of storing water. The steel 55 gallon honey drums which my uncle sells from our corncrib back home are great for use as rainbarrels, which is a very effective way to put to use whatever precipitation drains off of your roof. Even a very small roof will collect a sizeable amount of water. It is a good idea to set up a gravity-fed irrigation system for your planters or garden boxes using rainbarrels.

  • Storage in large, buriable tanks. This is a good way to stockpile water, however you will want to have not only an inlet but a way to bleed it and also a way to treat it (such as bleach or pool crystals).

There are three distinct categories of water according to my friend Eric:

1. Drinkable water on hand: This is primarily bottled water. We have roughly a dozen cases on hand at any given time. I hope to double that amount very soon. We add a few cases each time we go to Costco or Sam's.

2. Accessible water on the property: For us, this includes the water in the water heater, a well, any water remaining in the pipes of our orchard sprinkler system, and our pond. I wouldn't want to drink the water from the pond unless necessary, but we could certainly use it for flushing toilets when needed. And in a worst case scenario I have everything I need to make the pond water safe enough to drink.

3. Water in the area, within walking/carrying distance: We have several small streams/rivers within just a couple of miles of our ranch. Water is heavy and I wouldn't want to transport too much of it very far, but it's good to know where it's at.
So following this logic, there is a strong case (perhaps stronger a case than for stockpiling food) for the stockpiling of drinkable water and the upkeep of water-collection systes BEFORE SHTF.

Therefore I recommend a Five-Pronged approach to stockpiling water:

We (as Survivalists) should have:

  • 1. Ultra-portable 1-gallon or Half-gallon-sized jugs or a case of bottled spring water to grab in a "leave-now-or-forever-hold-your-peace" scenario (bugout issue),
  • 2. Vehicle-portable jerry cans or blue jugs (preferably five per BOV in addition to case of spring water),
  • 3. Rainbarrels for sustainable gardening without the benefit of an electric well-pump,
  • 4. A hand-pump for our wells. This is something I've yet to convince my Dad is the most important prep-item you can get. Problem is it's a relatively expensive procedure. However in an emergency it'd be worth its weight in gold. Just be sure to place it in a location unavailable to the general public or its liable to walk off.
  • 5. A dedicated water-tank for SHTF scenarios. Remember that if it's not properly maintained, mold or other nasties are sure to grow in it.

My pal Eric states that the human body needs 80 oz. of water per day in comfortable weather WITHOUT hard work. He says that if one is eating MREs or other emergency rations, the amount of water necessary for digestion rises dramatically, so plan for 80 oz. of water/day/person.

For two people that would be 8.75 gallons of DRINKING water per week, or 35 gallons per month. He says an average-sized dog drinks approximately 1-1.5 gallons per week. A small dog or cat would probably drink less than a half-gallon per week.

So to keep two people and several dogs hydrated for a month, one would need 65 gallons. That is ONLY DRINKING WATER and DOES NOT include water for cooking, washing dishes, clothes, flushing toilets, etc.

What does this mean? This means we should each have on hand at least 100 gallons of fresh, non-contaminated drinking water. This is just for two people and some pets! Add a gallon of drinking water per day per person per household, and you may well end up deciding that you need a 300-gallon water tank IN ADDITION to your stocks of easily-transportable drinking water.

As always, remember that without the benefit of either an artesian well or a hand pump, one is at the mercy of the droughts and at the mercy of the rescuers. Thus it is absolutely imperative that we all have a good supply of drinking water on hand AND have the means to get more from our immediate water table. Those of us who live in the cities or suburbia will have a harder time meeting these needs. In a long-term SHTF scenario, these folks will have to relocate in order to be able to draw clean drinking water from streams, springs, lakes etc.

Some useful water-prep related links:
www.hewsystem.com ---> expensive, holds less.
www.waterbob.com---> less expensive option, holds more.
www.aquatabs.ca ---inexpensive way to treat small amounts of water, (bleach based).
www.berkeyfilters.com ---> expensive.
http://shop.monolithic.com/products/...ic-drip-filter ---> less expensive option, best used in addition to bleach, iodine, boiling or other methods.


Till Next Time,

If anybody has any suggestions as per other ways to store/treat/swap water and boost water collection during droughts, let me know.


Original: http://berserkersbushcraft.blogspot.com/2009/04/water-storage-options.html