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Friday, July 24, 2009

Life’s a Bowl of (Dried) Cherries

dried cherries

When it comes to storing fruit, you have a few options depending on how fast your family can rotate it. You can store fruit in your freezer or in jars and cans, or freeze-dried or dehydrated for longer-term storage. It’s good to have a variety. My family is slow to use up canned fruits, but we use frozen fruits in homemade smoothies on a regular basis. I bake with dried and freeze-dried fruits so I store those for long-term storage. Any dried fruit I buy, I store in half-gallon glass jars that I seal with a vacuum sealer jar attachment. This will keep the fruit fresh and moist for years. Recently, I started storing dried cherries because I love them in oatmeal, baked goods and salads. They are delicious for snacking, and versatile in recipes. My favorite brand is Traverse Bay and I order them from Amazon.com. The quality is clearly superior to other brands when you try them (the Amazon reviews are confirmation) and they are soft and chewy. They’re often on sale, and I don’t think I can find a better price on dried cherries anywhere, let alone this quality.

Original: http://allaboutfoodstorage.com/2009/07/lifes-a-bowl-of-dried-cherries/

Cinnamon Roll Bread Pudding

With the kids out of school and some free time on my hands, I like to audition recipes that I can use in the Fall and Winter months. Here is an incredibly simple recipe for bread pudding in the crock-pot that is made from cinnamon rolls. It’s a handy recipe that works well for a carefree dinner party dessert or Christmas morning breakfast. It’s so delicious and easy, I’ll definitely be making it again!

bread pudding


8 cups cubed unfrosted cinnamon rolls

4 eggs (or 1/4 c. powdered eggs + 1/2 cup water)

2 cups milk

1/4 cup sugar

1/4 cup butter, melted

1/2 tsp. vanilla extract

1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg

1 cup raisins (chopped apples or nuts would also be yummy)

Place cubed cinnamon rolls in the crock-pot. In a mixing bowl, combine eggs, milk, sugar, butter, vanilla and nutmeg. Beat until smooth. Stir in raisins. Pour over cinnamon rolls and gently stir. Cover and cook on low for 3 hours or until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean. Serve warm with whipped cream or vanilla ice cream. (Note: I used Alison’s Pantry Frozen Cinnamon Rolls to make this recipe even easier. All you have to do is proof and bake them, and they taste just like homemade. They have a generous cinnamon filling, are nicely sized and much higher quality than Pillsbury tube rolls or other similar refrigerated dough products.)

Original: http://allaboutfoodstorage.com/2009/07/cinnamon-roll-bread-pudding/

Everyday Carry

I am a big fan of the EDC forums (http://edcforums.com). Being a kind of techno-geek, I like to see what other techno-geeks find new, useful, and interesting. The EDC forums is a good place to do this. One thing I like to do is refine the things I carry with me on a regular basis. My criteria for these items: compactness (I've long since passed the days when I want to lug around a backpack full of junk in the off chance I might need it), usefulness (items should do double or even triple duty and be things that are used almost daily), and quality (I've also long since passed the days when I want to carry around cheap crap that cost very little up front but ends up in the garbage after very little use). Here's what I carry in order of usefulness:
  1. Cell phone (this is a basic Nokia cell phone which I can also use to access the internet--with effort. I am tempted to get a new touch screen iPhone type phone with all of the bells and whistles but the monthly cost would be double what I pay now and I'm not sure if it is doubly valuable compared to what I have now. That said, my phone provides a clock, alarm, phone capabilities--obviously, access to the internet and my email/Twitter/news, a camera for stills and videos, and a music player/FM radio.
  2. Wallet (with ID, cash, bank cards, concealed carry license, etc).
  3. Pocket knife (a Swiss Army knife that is so old I don't even know what model it is. It is sharp enough to perform surgery but quite basic with a couple of blades, a bottle opener and Phillips and flat screwdrivers).
  4. Small nylon pouch (which contains a packet of two aspirin, a couple of bandaids, a alcohol prep pad, a Handi wipe, a jump drive with all of my important files, a mini lighter, flat roll of floss, tiny flashlight, a Fischer tekker space pen, and a few quarters).
  5. A digital camera (an 8 mg Canon Power shot which has been used for everything from documenting accident scenes to photographing documents that I need to save).
  6. An aluminum water bottle.
  7. A Nike windbreaker that folds up ultra small.
  8. A granola bar, raisins, or other portable snack food.
  9. A small Moleskine notebook.
  10. A KelTec .380 with spare magazine (depending on where I will be for the day--courts, airports, and military basis frown on such an item and going out of my way to secure the firearm at these types of facilities is a huge hassle).
  11. Occasionally I carry an Asus netbook, but even though it is really small it is still a bit heavier than I like for everyday carry.

My work can take me from downtown in a large city, to an airplane, to mountain biking, to hiking down a wilderness trail sometimes all in the same day so I carry these items in a Timbuk2 messenger bag that blends into almost any environment.

Original: http://codenameinsight.blogspot.com/2009/07/everyday-carry.html

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Gear Review -- Venturer Survivor Shoulder Bag

Author: YeOldFurt
YeOldFurt.blogspot.com (Old Lightning)

As I stated before, I was looking for a smaller musette bag than the WWII M1936 musette bag and ran across this one:

I really like the heavy duty construction and the twist locks for securing the flap. Mounted on the flap are 4 pockets, two of which have snap flaps and fit an en-bloc clip for the M1. The third has a zipper and works for loose shotgun rounds. The fourth larger pocket at the bottom fits several different items, including stripper clips and en-bloc clips.

Inside the flap are 3 more uncovered pockets sewed to the front of the main pouch pocket. The upper pocket runs the full width of the front of the bag and about 90% up the height. The two pockets sewed atop the first pocket run full width and about 50% in height. A series of five loops is sewed above the right hand pocket. These are a tight fit for 20 ga. and won't fit 12 ga. but work well for a stripper clip or two. The interior of these pockets and the main pocket of the bag seems to be a rip-stop nylon type of material.

The main pocket is actually secured by it's separate strap closed by a snap. Very well constructed. Would hold several magazines, or other gear like any bag. A small expandable pocket deep enough to carry an M10 cleaning rod with attachments is sewed onto the side panel and closed by a snap.
A deep pocket makes up the back of the bag, suitable for various items such as maps, etc.

The website carries them for $22.99 and is shipped in USPS flat rate shipping box. P&I total cost me $28.94 which beats the M1936 on E-Bay or the knock off imitations that won't stand up to any wear.
I think I'm going to like this bag as I can use it for a range bag or just a tote.

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for more great articles visit: prepperbook.blogspot.com

Firearms Basics Part 3: Long Gun Actions

Hey, remember the firearms basics series? If you're just now joining us, you can find part one here, and part 2 here. Well, here we are for another installment. I never did say how many installments there would be or when they would be posted, did I? That's how I work . . .

Today we're going to cover long gun actions. The Action is the part of the gun that manipulates the ammunition. It secures the cartridge for firing, then ejects the casing to load the next round. (We're using firearm lingo already--if you have any questions, please ask!)

There are manual actions, where you have to move the parts to load the ammunition, and automatic actions, where the gun loads the next round for you usually using the gas expended from the round you just fired.

These first two rifles are SEMI-AUTO rifles with detatchable magazines. There are also semi-auto rifles with tubular magazines, and semi-auto shotguns (remember the shotgun ammo is built different than rifle ammo). Semi-auto means that if you pull the trigger the gun fires one round and loads the next round. You have to release the trigger and pull it again to fire another round.The little lever under the scope pulls to the rear of the gun to "open the action". You need to open the action to check if the gun is unloaded, so it's important to know how to open the action. The action is also opened to load the first round. Here's the same rifle with the magazine removed (it comes out the bottom by way of another little lever/release button):Ahhh, the classic Ruger 10/22. Same deal with the lever at the top. Pull it back to open the action.Here it is with the magazine out:
Now here's the most common manual action. The BOLT action. Bolt action rifles can be single shot where you manually load one round of ammunition each time you pull the bolt back, or manipulating the bolt can load multiple rounds in succession from a magazine. A bolt action works like the little latches you find on lots of public restroom doors (the older ones). You lift the bolt handle straight up and then pull toward the back of the rifle to open the action. Slide it forward and lock the handle back down to be ready to fire.
The next manual action rifle is LEVER action. This is like the Daisy BB guns, except it fires real bullets. Load the number of rounds your rifle holds through the black slot on the side, then pull the lever down and forward to eject empty cartridges and load the next round. Here's an important note when loading ammunition into any gun--the pointy bullet end goes toward the front of the gun and the flat end with the primer goes to the back of the gun. There's no craziness like there is with which way you load your paper in your printer, it's always the same on a firearm. Bullet to the front, primer to the back. Here it is with the action open. See how the top slid back when the lever moved forward? When the lever comes back to firing position, the top closes again, securing the loaded cartridge.Next we have a BREAK action rifle. Okay, it's actually a shotgun, but a break action rifle works the same way. Break action rifles are usually single shot. Break action shotguns can be single shot, side by side (double barreled), or over/under. The side by side and over/under kinds load one shell in each barrel and can fire both before needing to be reloaded.To open the action on a break action gun, you'll need to know where the release lever is. This one is a thumb lever on the side, but some are worked into the trigger guard or in front of it or who knows where else. Push the lever and the barrel "breaks" from the receiver (the part with the trigger) on a hinge so you can remove the empty shell/cartridge and load a new one.Now here's one that's primarily found on shotguns and not rifles. The PUMP action. Cartridges are usually loaded into a slot on the bottom in front of the trigger guard, and then the piece under the barrel that your support hand holds when you're shooting is pumped back or forward to eject the empty shell and then back to its original position to load the next round.
If your gun has no action, it's probably a muzzleloader. That's real manual loading there. That's another post . . .

As usual, here's your homework. Have someone help you if you need to. Find a long gun and open the action. Not too difficult, right? If they're being stored unloaded, the action might already be open. Bonus points if you get one out to the range and load and fire a bunch of round through it! :)

Original: http://selfrelianceadventures.blogspot.com/2009/06/firearms-basics-part-3-long-gun-actions.html

Are You Prepared?

I got these questions on a handout from church a couple of weeks ago--See how you do or if there are areas you need work on. I had to ask sweet husband about a few of these . . . we still have work to do.

1. Has your family rehearsed fire escape routes from your home?
2. Does your family know what to do before, during and after an earthquake or other emergency?
3. Do you have heavy objects hanging over beds that can fall during an earthquake?
4. Do you have access to an operational flashlight in every occupied bedroom? (use of candles is not recommended unless you are sure there is no leaking gas)
5. Do you keep shoes near your bed to protect your feet against broken glass?
6. If a water line was ruptured during an earthquake, do you know how to shut off the main water line to your house?
7. Can this water valve be turned off by hand without the use of a tool? Do you have a tool if one is needed?
8. Do you know where the main gas shut-off valve to your house is located?
9. If you smell gas, do you know how and would you be able to shut off this valve?
10. Gas valves usually cannot be turned off by hand. Is there a tool near your valve?
11. Would you be able to safely restart your furnace when gas is safely available?
12. Do you have working smoke alarms in the proper places to warn you of fire? Carbon Monoxide alarms?
13. In case of a minor fire, do you have a fire extinguisher that you know how to operate?
14. Do you have duplicate keys and copies of important insurance and other papers stored outside your home?
15. Do you have a functional emergency radio to receive emergency information?
16. If you and your family had to evacuate your home, have you identified an outside meeting place?

If an emergency lasted for 3 days (72 hours) before help was available to you and your family . . .

17. Would you have sufficient food?
18. Would you have the means to cook food without gas and electricity?
19. Would you have sufficient water for drinking, cooking, and sanitary needs?
20. Do you have access to a 72-hour evacuation kit?
21. Would you be able to carry or transport these kits?
22. Have you established an out of state contact?
23. Do you have a first aid kit in your home and in each car?
24. Do you have work gloves and some tools for minor rescue and cleanup?
25. Do you have emergency cash on hand? (During emergencies banks and ATM machines are closed)
26. Without electricity and gas do you have means to heat at least part of your house? (Think of how to cover broken windows.)
27. If you need medications, do you have a month's supply on hand?
28. Do you have a plan for toilet facilities if there is an extended water shortage?
29. Do you have a supply of food, clothing, and fuel where appropriate: for 6 months? for a year?

Do not think that you are covered on any of these because your significant other knows the answer. My thinking is this: my husband is home on average only about 2/3 of each day, sometimes he's gone for 2-3 days at a time. And when he's not home, his job is such that he's usually out of cell range also. Therefore the liklehood of an emergency happening with him available to help is not very high. I need to know how to shut off my own water and gas and have the answers to these questions myself--just in case I'm the only adult around when something happens.

I've already put my order in with my husband for a "decorative" (and functional) outhouse in my back field :)

Original: http://selfrelianceadventures.blogspot.com/2009/07/are-you-prepared.html