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Monday, May 11, 2009

How to handle excess Lettuce – With Lettuce and Herb Soup

By Joseph Parish

So you got that garden in and its growing like a weed. You planted your beefeater tomatoes and those juicy bell peppers are doing nicely. Your squash is starting to take shape and oh my! Those lettuce plants are already grown up and ready for picking.

You take a quick glance at your garden and start to wonder what in the world are you going to do with all that lettuce. Well let me tell you lettuce is not just to eat in salads or perhaps on a sandwich. This wonderful green energy boaster is also great in Soup. The Romaine variety is especially flavorful in the recipe that I am about to present to you. This recipe is instruction for preparing Lettuce and Herb soup.

You can be adventurous and try various types of lettuce however I would like to warn you not to use iceberg as it is much too watery and does not provide much flavor to the soup.


1 tablespoon of butter

6 thinly sliced scallions using only the white portion

3 cups of chicken broth

9 cups of chopped romaine variety lettuce

2 tablespoons of chopped parsley

3 tablespoons of mixed herbs containing basil, chives, chervil, celery leaves and thyme

2 cups of whole milk

Yolk of 1 egg

¾ teaspoon of Salt

Black pepper to taste

Freshly grated Parmesan or Romano cheese

Step by step

1. Take a large pot and heat it over a medium flame until the butter is melted

2. Now add and sauté the scallions

3. Cook for 3 minutes and stir until mixture is soft

4. Add the chicken broth and bring mixture to a rapid boil

5. Add lettuce and cover the pot

6. Simmer for 5 minutes until the lettuce starts to wilted

7. Add parsley and herbs

8. Puree the finished mixture with a blender

9. Simmer the pureed mixture over a low heat

10. in a separate bowl whisk together milk and the egg yolk

11. When whisking add some of the heated soup together with the egg

12. Pour the whisked egg into the pot of soup

13. Simmer over low heat until thick

14. Season with the salt and black pepper

Your family is sure to enjoy this different dish especially when you sprinkle some Romano cheese on top of it. Serve this dish while it is hot. Now you know what to do with all your extra lettuce.

Copyright @2008 Joseph Parish

Original: http://survival-training.info/articles11/HowtohandleexcessLettuceWithLettuceandHerbSoup.htm

Batteries Part 2 Nickel-Cadmium

These rechargeable cells have been around for a long time, and were the only rechargeable batteries available in the standard dry cell sizes for many years. They run at a lower voltage than alkaline cells do, having 1.25v fully charged and 1.0v when drained, so voltage-sensitive electronics (like digital cameras) do not work well or at all with them. Ni-Cads also have a lower capacity than alkaline batteries do, they usually only have 5-600mAh, or equivalent to the carbon-zinc cells. Cadmium is a toxic metal similar to lead, so these batteries need proper disposal.
They have advantages as well. Ni-Cads will discharge at very high rates without harm to the cells. A Ni-Cad AA cell can discharge at ten or more times the rate that an alkaline battery can handle. Cordless drills and RC cars almost always use Ni-Cad battery packs for this reason. They can handle as many as a thousand cycles before failing, and their self-discharge rate of 10-20% per month is the lowest of the rechargeable cells. Their efficiency (power in/power out) of 70-80% is very good as well.
To get the best use out of your Ni-Cad cells, it is essential to purchase a ‘smart’ Ni-Cad charger, many of the problems with these batteries are due to cheap constant-voltage chargers. Overcharging Ni-Cads is one of the fastest ways to destroy them, on a constant-voltage charger a fully charged Ni-Cad cell will actually draw more current as it heats up, which makes more heat, which draws more current… Ni-Cads suffer from ‘memory’, where if they are only partially used and then recharged, eventually they only have that much capacity to give. A ‘smart’ Ni-Cad charger has the capability to do a ‘deep-discharge’, which fully drains the Ni-Cad cells, wiping the memory and restoring capacity.
Nickel-cadmium batteries are the ‘workhorses’ of the rechargeable designs, and if treated well, will serve well.

Upgrades to Your Bug Out Vehicle, by Nickey C.

There have been several excellent articles in SurvivalBlog on Bug Out Vehicles (BOVs), but there may be a few gaps to fill.

A REPAIR MANUAL for your model vehicle. A shop manual from a dealer can be quite expensive, but a Chilton’s or Haynes manual available from most auto parts stores is usually less than twenty dollars and is a wealth of information. [JWR Adds: I recommend buying a full length service manual and a maintenance code reader. If you do some searching on Amazon and eBay, you can often find a used factory service manual for just a bit more that you would pay for a new copy of a short Chilton's "excerpt" manual. It is also noteworthy that there are presently lots of car dealerships that are going out of business. This should provide a bonanza of service manuals and diagnostic boxes, if you call the right place at the right time. Typically, most of the tools at a dealership service department belong to the individual mechanics, but the reference books and diagnostic kits belong to the dealership.] I know a few “preppers” who will spend big money to buy the latest tactical-stealth-ninja gear and then pay someone else to change the oil in their vehicles! You should do as much of the work on your vehicle as possible, both regular maintenance and repair work; you will learn an amazing amount about how the various vehicle systems work, you will know the work was done correctly with the right parts, and many repairs are much easier the second time you do them (much better to learn now rather than on the side of the road somewhere or after TSHTF). If you do not have some of the tools you need, you can often buy the needed tool, learn by doing it yourself, and still spend less than having a repair shop do the same work, plus now you have more of the tools you need.

PROPER TIRES are vital; they are your vehicles only contact (hopefully) with the ground and can make a huge difference in how your vehicle performs. Many of us (probably most) drive trucks or SUVs as our daily drivers and/or BOVs, and we often succumb to the temptation of installing larger tires than the original equipment tires. We use the excuses of more ground clearance, etc., but the real main reason is usually we think they look cool on our trucks. That is fine; just understand that if you “upgraded” your tires by going bigger, you just “downgraded” your braking and fuel economy and if you went much bigger you may have seriously compromised your vehicle’s handling and steering as well. Braking distance will increase with larger diameter tires because there is usually more mass rotating farther from the center of the tire and because the larger diameter acts as a longer lever the brakes must act upon when you try to stop.

It is true that a larger tire will travel farther with each revolution, therefore creating the effect of lower engine RPM at a given speed (it will also affect the actual speed versus the indicated speed on the speedometer, which is not a free pass on a speeding ticket) that some assume should result in better mileage, but it will also increase the force required to turn the tire and create more stress on all the drive train parts. In the auto maker’s battles for better fuel economy and meeting CAFE standards, if gaining mileage was as easy as sticking on a bigger set of tires (making us happier in the “looks cool” area at the same time), a room full of really smart folks with engineering degrees designing vehicles would have probably stumbled across the idea on their own.
If you are willing to take the hit on lower mileage and longer stopping distances at least ensure the tires are rated for the loads you will place on them. Ratings for traction (wet, dry, and snow), load, noise, tread wear and other information is readily available at web sites such as TireRack.com. You can compare the various tire parameters based on your needs and make a much more informed choice on which is the best tire for your vehicle.

While you are dealing with tires, consider the spare; most pickups and SUVs have a full-sized tire that matches the four road tires, but on a cheap steel wheel. Tire makers say that by the time you have to replace your tires, the spare should be replaced as well. This is because the tire, especially the sidewalls, will deteriorate from hanging out under the truck in the weather and not being flexed from driving. Buy an extra wheel that matches the four main wheels and rotate all five tires. You will noticeably increase the life of each set of tires, saving considerable money in the long term. If you go way out in the boonies, you can get a used tire of the same size and type (maybe the best tire from your last set) and put it on the original spare steel wheel and have a “spare spare”.

AUTOMATIC TRANSMISSIONS are often one of the most under-maintained vehicle systems. Those of us with a preparedness mindset tend to ask a lot from our vehicles. We haul things, tow trailers, drive on trails, etc. and therefore operate under the “severe operations” side of the maintenance list. Much of this added stress goes right through the transmission. The problem for most vehicles is that you must completely remove the transmission pan to change the fluid and filter, making it rather expensive to have a shop change the fluid for you, or a big dripping mess to do it yourself. A simple solution is to replace the stock transmission pan with an aftermarket pan that has a drain plug. You can find a pan that is made from aluminum and has extra fluid capacity without extending any lower under your vehicle than the stock pan. Heat is a major enemy of automatic transmissions and the aftermarket pan has the added benefit of better cooling and therefore longer service life. Most have a magnetic drain plug that will collect the tiny bits of metal created as transmission parts wear. This will appear as a thick paste on the drain plug, so ensure you clean the plug well before reinstalling it.
The aftermarket also has a means to deal with the transmission filter, which is located inside the pan. You can get a remote mounting bracket that uses a standard oil filter and can be used to provide the filtration you need and enable you to change filters when you change the fluid without removing the pan. Automatic transmissions have either a separate radiator in front of your regular engine coolant radiator or a separate section within the main radiator to help cool the transmission fluid, so lines are already routed from the transmission to the front of your vehicle. It is a simple task to mount the bracket near the radiator, cut the rubber portion of the existing transmission line, and plumb in the bracket with a couple of brass fittings, clamps, and some rubber hose. Be careful to route the fluid to the inlet and outlet ports on the bracket correctly, if the filter has an anti drain-back valve, the fluid can only flow in one direction. When you use the remote filter, you must leave the original internal filter in place if it is used (most are) as the pick-up point for the pump that circulates the transmission fluid. Simply cut a hole in the paper filter media before installing the internal filter and it will still work as the fluid pick-up but will never clog. Now, changing your transmission fluid is truly as easy as changing the engine oil and the total cost for the pan and the bracket is less than having a shop change the fluid a couple of times.

INTAKE AND EXHAUST SYSTEMS are common upgrades. We have been told that gasoline engines act as big air pumps, not a bad analogy. The engines uses a small but definite percentage of its power pulling air in and pushing exhaust gas out, so it is reasonable that anything that eases the flow of air in or exhaust gas out will let the engine work more efficiently. This gain in efficiency results in more available power and better mileage. Original equipment intake and exhaust systems tend to be restrictive because they are designed to operate as quietly as possible. Intakes can benefit from a low restriction air filter, but will gain much more from a complete intake system. These systems use a high flow reusable filter combined with larger, smoother tubing to replace the original system all the way to the throttle body. These are set up to use the original airflow sensors and some compartmentalize the filter away from engine heat.

You can also noticeably improve performance with an aftermarket exhaust system. The most common is the “cat back” system; it replaces the original exhaust system from the catalytic converter to the rear of the vehicle with smoother, larger tubing and a less restrictive muffler. There are two main types of replacement mufflers used in theses systems. Some use fiberglass or similar material to absorb sound, these are often referred to as “glass packs”. The disadvantage to these is the material will deteriorate and let the muffler get louder over time. The other, and in my opinion better, choice uses specifically designed chambers and baffles to cancel out sound waves, especially in the range that would cause resonance inside the vehicle. The advantages to these are they don’t change or get louder, they are less restrictive, and you save about thirty to forty pounds from the original system. Many systems are offered with dual outlets, but there is not a great gain from two outlets, since the muffler is still fed by one tube coming out of the catalytic converter. Systems are designed for specific vehicles, but check the specs carefully; some require relocation of the spare tire, not a good option if you don’t want your spare banging around in the back of your truck. If you tow a trailer, especially a camper, the side outlets instead of rear outlets are recommended to help prevent exhaust gas from entering the trailer. Most manufacturers offer varying levels of sound output and many want the loudest option, but you really gain little or no benefit from going louder, and if things do get bad do you really want to announce your arrival from two blocks away?

MILEAGE/POWER ADD-ONS are controversial to say the least. Look at any auto parts catalog or web site and you will find a profusion of parts that offer better mileage and/or more power. If you buy into the ads of “up to 2 MPG and 10 horsepower” for this widget, “up to 3 MPG and 15 horsepower” for that widget, you can soon be convinced you can have a truck with 600 HP that gets 40 MPG while pulling a trailer up a mountain trail. While any manufacturer will want to cast his product in the best possible light, the magic advertising words here are “up to”. Even with reputable manufacturers, advertised gains usually indicate the best result achieved within the best possible test parameters, and may not reflect your driving results in the real world. The irony of installing an intake system that claims to increase performance by smoothing airflow and then putting in another piece that claims to increase performance by creating turbulence should not be lost on the reader. Just as with our firearms, any upgrades must maintain or improve reliability. You should also have a realistic view of any mileage improvements. If you are currently getting 15 MPG and a product gives you an improvement of 10% (a fairly good result) you will now be getting 16.5 MPG. With gasoline at $2.00 per gallon you will save about one penny per mile in fuel cost, so if you spent $300 on the "upgrade", you will have to drive 30,000 miles to pay for the cost of the item before you start saving any money from the increased mileage. Some things will give better mileage, more power, and better throttle response, some not so much; do some careful research before spending your money. My approach is usually to upgrade as repairs are needed, for example; after damage to my exhaust system from road debris, I replaced the stock system with aftermarket, when it was time to change the transmission fluid, I replaced the pan and added the remote filter. The best mileage improvement device available is wearing your right shoe (i.e. your driving habits). [JWR Adds: Beware of any "mileage boost" product that involves either chemicals or magnets. They are selling Dr Feelgood Snake Oil, folks. The electronic ignition upgrades might have some merit, but like Nickey says, do the math, first!]

ELECTRIC AND LIGHTING: A small (up to about 750-800 watts [if wired directly into high amperage terminals]) DC to AC inverter can be installed to power AC appliances like cell phone chargers, laptop computers, and even small power tools for about the cost of a DC adapter for either item. A set of fog lights can really help illuminate the road directly in front of you or when visibility is poor due to bad weather. A pair of low profile fog lights (wider beam than driving lights) under the rear bumper can help immensely when attaching a trailer or working behind the vehicle at night. For rear mounted lights I recommend an illuminated switch mounted in direct view of the driver to insure the lights are not left on accidentally. DC current is notoriously less efficient than AC at carrying voltage, so if your installation requires a long run of wiring, use at least one size larger wire than specs call for to avoid voltage and wire overheating problems.

BE PREPARED for your vehicle to break down at the worst possible time and place and in the worst possible weather. Most of us have a good basic tool set and we know about extra belts, hoses, etc. You should have clothes and shoes/boots to change into if you must work on your vehicle or if you have to walk out of the woods or to call a tow truck (cell phones don’t reach everywhere). Be sure to include clothes and shoes for all who are likely to be with you. This lesson was reinforced for me in Alaska when my vehicle broke down, luckily only about three miles from home. I had the proper clothing stored in the car and was able to walk home, get my truck and retrieve my car. Next was the task of replacing the serpentine drive belt in the dark at -35 degrees. Proper gloves are critical in a situation like that, but can also be important in hot weather; metal parts can get hot enough to cause burns in the summer even without factoring in engine heat. Many people have work gloves that would be fine for shoveling your way out of a mud hole, but you should also have mechanic’s gloves that will protect your hands but are thin and flexible enough to allow you to work with small parts that are very hot or very cold.

There are obviously many other possibilities for upgrades and additions, but I hope the ideas offered here will help. - Nickey C.

Original: http://www.survivalblog.com/2009/04/upgrades_to_your_bug_out_vehic.html

Frugal Prepping

Hi! I'd like to thank RW for allowing me to be a guest poster once again! Being unemployed gives me way too much free time to surf all the survivalist websites, and gives me too much time to think about things, and how to do it on a budget. I'd like to share a few of my tips and tricks with everyone. This will have nothing to do with guns and ammo, just basic stuff. So let’s start saving some money!

First off, decide if you’re bugging in or bugging out. The only difference is shelter. We all have, or should have, canned, dehydrated, frozen food stashed already. Where you eat it is up to you. Do you have a decent house, tent, RV, cave? If not, that's your priority. Anything is better than nothing.

Pay attention to your prep shopping. Do you buy something you see on a website just because it's "cool"? "Wow, a year supply of dehydrated lima beans for a $100 a case??” Give me a break! I'll be the first to say, these "advertisers" make a killing off of your paranoia. Need to bury something? Get a plastic tube for 200 buck's......or make it yourself for $20. See where I'm headed here? A little brains and sweat can save you big money! I'm here to try and give everyone a few tips and tricks to stretch each prep penny!

Yard Sales:

With the economy the way it is, every family is trying to reduce costs, or make a quick buck... Good for everyone!! Stop at every yard sale you see, you never know what you might find, regardless if you "need” it, or if it might be a good barter item. That old tent with a broken zipper for 20 buck's is better than no tent. That sleeping bag with a tear in it for 3 bucks is a great blanket or ground cover. A Coleman lantern with a crack in the glass for 3 bucks. That dirty camp stove for 10 bucks...


I'm not sure if this is a national thing or not, but the first Saturday of the month, our local Goodwill has a half price day, and it's a ZOO! I'm a mechanical kinda guy, and I always see stuff like fan belts, lawnmowers, weed eaters and stuff. Computer cables, you name it!


If you’re not using coupons, you’re losing money, period. I know, most coupons are for national brands, with a higher price tag, or buy 3, get 1 free or something. Today, almost every grocery store has double coupons, up to a buck or so. If you save those coupons till there is a sale, you can get a bunch! I once got 10 boxes of laundry soap for 2 buck's on sale with coupons!


I was helping my neighbor out with unloading some lumber, noticed he had a huge pile of red bricks, so I asked him what he was making...Come to find out, he wanted to get rid of them, so I got a pallet full for 50 bucks. I made a gorgeous BBQ grill out of them, and still have a ton left! He also had a roto-tiller that I bought for 50 bucks when I redid my yard. The motor is toast now, but cheaper to replace than the same tiller new.

Craigslist: There isn't anything you can't find there!

Just to share a few of my finds with you. A water canner with 60 jars and lids from Craigslist for 15 bucks. A food dehydrator, in the original box with manual, 10 bucks at a yard sale. A pressure cooker, small, new and in the box, but better than nothing, for 10 bucks.20 MASH style mess trays from park and swap for 20 bucks, solid stainless steel dated 54-56! And piles of camping gear I've gotten over the years I can't recall!

Just remember... Prepping isn't what you spend, it’s where, what and how you spend it!

Dean in Az

Note from RW:

Thanks Dean! Don't forget to check estate sales and the classifieds of your local newspaper for great bargains. Thay are out there! You just have to keep an eye out for them.

Staying above the water line!


Original: http://stealthsurvival.blogspot.com/2009/03/frugal-prepping.html

Bartering in a new economy

A lot of people have been discussing using bartering as a method of exchanging goods and services in the new economy, one where jobs may be scarce and the money tight, but where the need for exchange still exists.

Well, a Seattle company has created a website, called Dibspace, where you can post and exchange bartered services and goods. Basically the way it works is that you offer your services for a certain number of "dibits". Each dibit is equivalent to one dollar. So, let's say I sold my services providing canning lessons to someone for 25 dibits. I now have a credit that I can use for another service on the site, say housecleaning, window washing, sock folding, whatever is being offered. (For more detailed info you can read the FAQ.) The site does provide the appropriate tax forms at the end of the year as there are tax liabilities with bartered services.

The nice thing about Dibspace is not only is it free (for now), but you don't have to find someone to match an exchange with since you are bartering for dibits. It's an interesting concept and one might wonder why not dispense with the dibits business and just use dollars altogether instead? Their site offers the following answer:

Dibits pick up where the dollar leaves off. Even in a strong economy there's a whole lot of productive hours that go unfilled. Why? Because consumers don't always have enough dollars to afford to consume it all. To fill that gap, a specialized currency is actually necessary.

Consider the current economy. Cash is getting harder to come by and people are spending less. As a result, businesses are getting less work and consumers have more unmet needs. In economics-speak, we're value rich but cash poor. Dibspace.com makes it possible for businesses and consumers to continue to trade even when the US dollar isn't up to the job.

This isn't the only online bartering website. The issue with Dibspace, at this point, is that it's local to Seattle only. There are other online bartering sites that are national, like Joe Barter and ITEX, but you have to register to view data or make an offer and there just isn't much there in the way of services. Basically, the problem here too is that you have to find someone willing to accept some exchange that you can provide for their goods or services.

These sorts of sites offer some practical services (accounting, web design, etc.) along with more recreational things like pet portraits, photography and the like. I would love if there were a site similar to Dibspace that hooked up people needing basic homesteading goods and services in a similar fashion since finding someone to trade services where both parties match what they need is difficult.

Would you be interested in this sort of homestead bartering website? What kind of services would you be able to offer?

Audio Podcast: Do You Hide Who You Are

icon for podpress Episode-173- Do You Hide Who You Are [51:24m]: Hide Player | Play in Popup | Download

If you listen to this podcast you are probabally a survivalist on one level or another. Some are simple homesteader types that live in the country and try to be self sufficient. Some are more the sterotype and into beans, bullets and bandaids. Still others live in urban areas, work typical jobs and just make sure they have some extra food, supplies, etc around incase something goes wrong.

My question though is “do you hide who you are”? Clearly I can’t, by doing this show I must put myself out there.

Yesterday this show and I were featured in the Sunday Edition of the Fort Worth Star Telegram. The article prompted a lot of questions from listeners such as “is it really wise to tell people you prep”? Today’s show discusses that issue and many others stirred up by the article.

If you want to comment on this today is a day where you really may want to listen to the audio of the show first.

Original: http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/survivalpcast/~3/_ec_NgWwybE/episode-173-do-you-hide-who-you-are