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Monday, April 20, 2009

Free Firearms Inventory Software

A good gun can last a lifetime and is usually handed down from one generation to the next. If you suffer a loss due to theft, burglary or a fire or other form of natural disaster, you will need an adequate record of your firearms for insurance purposes or, in the case of theft or burglary, to provide relevant information to the authorities in order to have some hope of recovering your firearms. Things like value, type, model and serial number(s) will all be required to establish proof of your loss. You will need to be prepared to provide your insurance company or local law enforcement authorities with an accurate record of what you have lost.

Most firearm inventory software is quite expensive and is usually directed at FFL gun dealers rather than the individual homeowner with a limited firearms inventory who needs a simple way to keep track of their firearms.

There is a free firearms inventory software program called GunSafe available at:


This is a great little program that will allow the average homeowner to keep an accurate inventory record of your firearms. You can also track cleaning and maintenance and store pictures or other notes about your firearms with this program. I also use the “Notes” section to track ammo type and amount.

Download GunSafe 2.8 via HTTP (2.43 MB)

Download GunSafe 2.8 via FTP (2.43 MB)

This software is provided as-is and works on Windows 98/NT4/2000/XP/Vista.

It does NOT run Mac or Linux.

Got inventory record?

Staying above the water line!


Original: http://stealthsurvival.blogspot.com/2009/04/free-firearms-inventory-software.html

Homemade wholemeal pasta

by Julie
Towards Sustainability

At home, making our own pasta from scratch not only saves us money, we can control what is in it (organic and/or local ingredients where possible), it tastes better than the bought stuff, and it's ridiculously easy to make.

I like to use a 50:50 mix of white and wholemeal (wholewheat) flour because I've found that using straight wholemeal flour tends to be a bit gluggy for my family's taste buds; half and half makes for a pasta which everyone will eat, although I use straight wholemeal if it just for myself and my husband. Traditionally, white pasta dough is made with just eggs and flour, but I feel that wholemeal pasta needs a little olive oil too.

The basic recipe we use is:

450g/ 1 pound wholemeal (wholewheat) plain flour (or a mixture of white and wholemeal)
4 eggs
2 tablespoons olive oil

It's traditional to make the pasta dough on the bench top - make a well in the centre of the flour and add the eggs and the olive oil to the well, then slowly mix the dough by hand, gradually incorporating the eggs and oil into the flour as you go.

My 3 year old daughter likes to help though, so for the sake of us retaining at least some of the flour while mixing, we use a bowl ;-)

Once incorporated, knead the dough for around five minutes until it is smooth and elastic. Cover with a damp towel or wrap in cling-film and leave to rest for around an hour. When you use wholemeal flour you don't tend to get as smooth a dough as you would using all-white flour, but I quite like the "rustic" look.

Once rested, roll it out very thinly using a pasta machine or rolling pin. Folding the dough in half over itself several times as you roll it out will help the final texture of the pasta. If you are using a pasta machine, roll it through the largest setting several times, folding it over on itself in between rolling. Then roll it progressively through the smaller settings until you reach the desired thickness.

Once I've finished rolling, I cut it into strips for fettuccine using the cutter on the pasta machine, but using a knife or pizza cutter is just as quick. Leave it in whole sheets for use in lasagne.

I was lucky enough to acquire my almost-brand-new, never-been-used pasta machine at my local op-shop, and lightly used ones pop up fairly regularly if feel the need for one. Rolling out the dough is a family affair. Everyone loves to have a go at turning the handle!

We don't bother drying the pasta before eating it, it just goes straight into boiling water for a few minutes, until al dente. If you like, you can air-dry the pasta for an hour or so before cooking, in which case it will need cooking for a few minutes longer (around 6-8 minutes).

Pasta dough also freezes really well for several months. Tip it straight into boiling water too cook - too easy! Make sure it is well floured when you freeze it though so that it doesn't stick together in a big clump. If you have the room, freezing it on a tray initially and then tipping it into a container for long-term storage also prevents clumping.

We like eating it with simple, rustic sauces using whatever is in season, or using home-preserved tomatoes as a base. Yum!

There are plenty of great, more detailed instructions on the internet for making pasta from scratch if you want more details, including hundreds of videos like this one on YouTube.

Buon appetito!

Original: http://simple-green-frugal-co-op.blogspot.com/2009/04/homemade-wholemeal-pasta.html

Inexpensive Ways to Get Emergency and Food Storage Supplies

As I've looked at online emergency supply stores the thought keeps coming to me that I don't have to buy the fanciest or newest items and gadgets to be prepared for emergencies. In a talk given by President Gordon B. Hinckley in March 1990 he counseled us to remember a motto the pioneers followed: "Fix it up, Wear it out, Make it do, or Do without."

Sure, it would be nice to have a brand new solar powered flashlight, but couldn't I get by with the battery powered one we already have? There are some great kerosene stoves on the market too, but what if we already have a working Coleman camping stove and all we need is to buy some extra fuel. The gear my son accumulated for scouting trips can easily be used for emergency supplies. My wheat grinder is pretty ancient and I've been coveting the new ones on the market, but it works great and I haven't seen any weevils, and store fresh ground wheat in the freezer.

Here are some other inexpensive ideas to get you thinking:

  • Print your county map online, and laminate it. Presto! Your own emergency map. Or stop by your Chamber of Commerce for a free one.
  • Find a small plastic Ziploc-type storage container and go through your home first aid supplies to create a miniature 72-hour first aid kit.
  • Watch the after-Halloween clearance sales to buy light sticks at 50% off. Then store them with a lanyard string. Kids love these extra assurances of light.
  • Find activities for kids to do at an emergency shelter by printing them online and creating your own activity pages for their 72-hour kit.
  • Maybe your tent has a hole in it. Well, you can repair tents! Check this link out.
  • Craigslist.com - Search online at Craigslist.com for used camping and food storage supplies in your city. Put in various keywords and you will pull up a host of items. I did a quick search today and found a Coleman battery powered lantern for $5.00, about $25 new; a Coleman 2-burner stove for $20, about $60 new; a new hand grain mill for $30, retails $60 - $70;
  • Classified Ads - Search in your newspaper classifieds too. Today I found a Lodge cast iron 6 qt. Dutch oven for $40, retails $90; used canning jars for .25 each, used Bosch mixer for $50 and another for $75.
  • Here is how I figure out how much to spend on a used item. I look up the retail amount, typically at Amazon.com or Target.com, and for used I am willing to pay about 25%, and new 40% - 50%. You will typically pay more on Craigslist.com and in the classifieds than at a yard sale, however it's much easier to find something online where you can look at pictures than by chance. But if you are patient, yard sales are typically the better deal. Many are listed in the classifieds.
  • Yard Sales - Keep a list of needed emergency and food storage equipment supplies with you in your car to take advantage of some great deals at yard/garage sales. Yard sales are where people get rid of stuff, so they usually keep their prices low and are willing to bargain. Many home owners need you to shop these days, so it is a win, win situation. Click here for some yard sale tips.
Don't feel that because you see supply lists on my blog that you have to go running to the store to shop for brand new items. First search your own home and Fix it up, Wear it out, Make it do, or Do without. If you still need something, then patiently shop for used items in the ads. And last if you absolutely have to, buy new.

Share any ideas you may have!

Original: http://preparedldsfamily.blogspot.com/2009/04/inexpensive-ways-to-get-emergency-and.html

Emergency Sirens

"It's a twister! It's a twister!" - Zeke in Wizard of Oz
Do you know the sound of the emergency sirens in your town? Do you know the town policy for using them? A week ago several people in Mena, Arkansas were killed by a tornado. Some could not hear the town siren, some ignored it, some thought the emergency was over when the killer tornado struck.

Tornadoes (like earthquakes) can strike more than once. People often leave their safeyzone after the first strike and are surprised and injured by a second touch down or after-quake. The best advice is to stay put until you hear an all clear signal. Only evacuate if your "safe spot" has become unsafe because of fire, bad air or it might fall on you.

The situation in Mena was particularly confusing. The tornado sirens sounded three times and three times "harmless" funnel clouds passed over the town. After a half hour of this people either assumed the worst was over or clearly nothing bad was going to happen. "The siren was going off in plenty of time, I just didn't take it serious enough," said one resident.

Then the siren sounded for a fourth time and within minutes a killer tornado hit. 600 homes were damaged or destroyed. Another resident who ignored the siren said, "I didn't have time to go nowhere, I just grabbed a hold of the wall and held on."

Many residents were confused by the sirens going on and off, did "off" mean the danger was over? "We heard the siren two or three times. It would sound off and it would quit. We were getting ready to get out of the building when it hit."

Even the local weather caster wasn't exactly sure why the siren sounded multiple times. He suggested that some communities cannot run their sirens continuously because their motors will burn up.

Bottom Line
Find out the siren policy for your town. Will the motor burn up or will the sirens continue to sound so long as the danger will last?

Original: http://perpetualpreparedness.blogspot.com/2009/04/emergency-sirens.html

10 steps to improving your current situation...

Following up on the last couple of posts, this will be my last motivational blurb for awhile. Some of the points have been mentioned recently, but they bare repeating due to their importance. The information which follows is my personal belief and reflects one way to improve your quality of life. As with all of my postings, I am but one man. What I present is the best information I can assemble through personal experience, research and advice from respected sources. I am not a financial advisor, a lawyer, in anyway involved in law enforcement nor am I the final authority on any subject. If I make a mistake, let me know and I'll correct it. If I post that the price of silver has dropped $1.50 in the last week I am not directing you to take any action whatsoever. You must always make your own decisions based on your personal situation and what is in your best interest.

10 Steps to improve your situation:

1) Debt is the shackle of the masses. When you owe money, you have abdicated some control of your life to someone else. The Banker says, "Pay me, or I will throw you out of your house!" If you are in debt, you are not in complete control of your own fate. You must get out of debt as quickly as you can. All that interest you are paying is money that should be in your pocket. You can save tens of thousands of dollars by making mortgage payments every two weeks instead of once a month. Same amount, each month, just paid in two half's. Since no one can see into the future, no one should be betting on their continued financial/medical stability for the next 25 years. You should take out a mortgage for a term no longer than is necessary to aggressively pay it off completely. I would suggest no longer than 10 years. If you can't be mortgage free within 10 years, you are not putting enough money down or you are buying too much house for your current income. Your money should be working for you, not for a money lender. It is foolish to assume that you will for sure be able to sell your mortgaged property for more than you paid or even owe on it at any given time.

2) Store Food & Water. Your body is like your car - if the gas runs out, the car dies. If your body runs out of fuel, you die. Food and water are not commodities. They are the most basic requirement for you and your family to continue living. Something of such importance should not be gambled with. All your life, food has been just down the street at the grocery store. I expect it will still be there tomorrow and the day after...Will it always be there to provide you the nutrients we all must have? Will you always be in a position to buy the nutrients we all must have? I do not know for sure - and either do you. You must take steps to ensure that you can continue to eat and drink if for any reason food and water become unavailable to you through the regular sources.

3) Plant a garden. It doesn't have to be a big garden and it doesn't have to be a lot of work. Everyone needs to know how to and have some experience growing food. The knowledge you will acquire is that same knowledge that our grand parents knew and indeed relied upon to improve their lives. Today, our modern conveniences have removed from most families that connection with the land and the know how to work it to provide for us. Start small. A 4x4 foot raised bed or section of your back yard is all you need to get started. Not much soil preparation, not too big to weed, easy to water, you can reach everything from the sides, no big tools or machinery needed. Plant some lettuce, a tomato plant or two, carrots, radishes, beans and some peas. Have some family fun turning dirt and seed into many salads and side dishes for dinner. Plant an apple tree in your yard and in a couple of years, enjoy "organic" apples right out your door. Learn to can apple sauce and you'll learn another important skill, preserving the food you grow until you have a chance to eat it. Live in an apartment or have no yard? You're not off the hook, you can plant all of the above in containers (pots) and put them on your balcony. Maybe the landlord will give you access to the roof (if it's flat) for your pots.

4) Understand probability. As we travel from birth to death, we make plans. Some short term and others longer term. Often our plans need to change because something happens. These happenings are sometimes pleasant and sometimes not so pleasant. Many situations we have no control over. Yes, a massive asteroid can land in the centre of Ontario but it's not very likely. Yes, there can be a giant solar flare that cooks the Earth, (this will probably happen some day), but not likely in our life time. You need to assess the probability of any occurrence from your own perspective and not from the effects of the occurrence. It is more likely that you will face a job interruption or a death in the family than you are to be subjected to a terrorist attack. You are more likely to be involved in a car crash than you are a plane crash. You may be more likely to have your basement flooded from a broken water pipe than an overflowing river. When planning your path in life don't ignore the improbable but do give more consideration to the happenings that are most likely to directly affect you. Besides, it's always a good idea to have a plan for when you finally win the lottery.

5) A "Bug out bag" for everyone including Fido. Do yourself a big favour - Put together a kit for every member of your family that they can grab at anytime and head off on an adventure for three days. It is possible that someday there will be a knock on your door where you are informed that you need to leave. Your safety is in peril as is the safety of your loved one's if you stay where you are. Be able to grab your "bug out bags" and go. The anxiety of having to suddenly leave is bad enough. Trying to grab some stuff at the last minute will undoubtedly lead to poor choices of things to take and it uses up valuable time. Time you might not have. Eliminate all of the decisions that would need to be made by making them now and putting everything together ready to use whenever it's needed.

6) Think about "Bugging in" and "Bugging out". Before something happens that causes you to think about staying or going somewhere else, consider what needs to done to allow for either scenario. Think about where you would go or what you would need to stay where you are. Some situations don't afford such a choice, so it's best to have considered both options. After you've thought about this for awhile, talk to your family and make a written plan for staying where you are and one for when you have to go.

7) After you are out of debt, consider purchasing a rural property not so close to where you are now that you could go to if you had to to leave your current address. This can be a 6 bedroom home with nice landscaping or it could be an acre of bush with a pop up trailer sitting on it. You decide what works for you. If nothing happens and you never need to go there, you have another investment that has some value and that value will improve your situation. If bad stuff happens, you own someplace else where you could live.

8) Diversify your investments. No matter how much or how little you have invested, I'm certain you can't afford to lose any of it. Investment is another word for risk. Some investments expose you to very little risk, others to significant risk. Never should all of your investments be in one place - be it the stock market, mutual funds, RRSP etc. You need to have quick access to cash if for some reason you suddenly need it. Some of your money should be in tangible investments such as gold/silver holdings. Some of your money should be in very low risk bonds and GIC's. With the bases covered on the low risk end of the scale, you may now expose some of your money to higher risk and higher returns. If you don't know exactly what you are doing, please seek the advice of a financial planner before going forward.

9) Learn to defend yourself. Part of our biological imperative programming is the fight or flight response. If you don't know how to fight, you only have one real option. I'm not advocating that we need to be running around the countryside in cammo battle dress practicing advance to contact drills with the cows. However, you do need to know how to get yourself out of a sticky situation should you stumble into one. The drunk on the bus who insists on sitting too close, the pan handler that is too aggressive and wont take no for an answer or even the group of kids who demand your ipod. Having the skills to defend ones self if need be, increases your confidence. Increased confidence reduces fear. Reduced fear allows for better thinking and reasoning to take place. Better thinking may even allow you to talk your way out of the situation. But if push comes to shove, you need to be able to shove better than the other person or you're going to get hurt.

10) Understand that everything you do matters. Realize that if you do one or all of these things, your life will be better off for having done them even if nothing catastrophic happens. Your actions make it possible for you to improve your situation from today onward. If something bad happens in the future, it doesn't really matter, because you are able to control your own fate. You aren't beholden to the Bankers. You don't owe the Government any taxes, you can eat because you stored food and you know how to grow more. You have a place of safe refuge and all of your money isn't in risky investments, life is as good as it gets - because there are no guarantees, good or bad.

[What have you done today to prepare?]

Original: http://ontariopreppersnetwork.blogspot.com/2009/04/10-steps-to-improving-your-current.html