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Thursday, January 7, 2010

Cooking with Food Storage: Wheat Bread Machine Bagels


Wheat Bread Machine Bagels
3/4 cup water -- lukewarm
1 1/4 cups white bread flour
3/4 cup wheat flour
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 1/3 tablespoons gluten
3/4 teaspoon salt
2 1/4 teaspoons active dry yeast

Directions:

1. Insert ingredients in bread machine according to manufacturer's instruction s. Remove the dough from the machine after the first knead - approximately 20 to 30 minutes.
2. Place dough on a floured surface. Divide into 5 parts. Form balls, gently press thumb through center of ball and slowly stretch into bagel shape.
3. While bagels rise, bring three quarts of water and one tablespoon of sugar to a rapid boil in a large saucepan. Drop test dough (see hints below).
4. Using a slotted spoon, drop 2-3 bagels into rapidly boiling water. Boil on each side for 1/2 minutes. Remove and cool on rack 1 minute, brush with egg and sprinkle with sesame or poppy seeds, if desired.
5. Bake at 400 on a baking sheet sprinkled with cornmeal, until golden - approximately 15 minutes.


** Bagel Success Hints
** When forming the bagels, set aside two 1/4" balls of dough. When the bagels have doubled in size, drop the test dough into boiling water. The dough should pop to the top right away. When this happens, it is time to boil the bagels.


** A quick spray of non-stick vegetable coating on the top of the bagel may be substituted for the egg wash.


** To make bagel sticks, cut bagel before rising and lay out in a straight line . Roll sticks in a combination of sesame and poppy seeds with a pinch of garlic powder. Let sticks rise, boil, and bake as described in the above direction s.


** To make bagel chips, slice leftover bagels horizontally into thin slices. Brush with butter or margarine on one side. Lay (butter side up) on an ungreased cookie sheet and bake at 325 for 12-15 minutes until golden brown and crisp.


Survival Seeds?

Survival Seeds - Peace Of Mind For Your FamilyI recently received a free pack of Survival Seeds from Hometown Seeds.

Looks like a hell of a bargain. 

Almost 1.5 pounds of seeds in a sealed mylar bag. Currently on sale (30% off) for $34.99US. Over 16 non-hybrid varieties, 100% GMO free.

Couldn't come at a better time, as I am planning 0n putting in a new 10x10 garden in the spring. I'll report back on viability.


From the reviews on other blogs, Hometown Seeds has a pretty good reputation and I recommend giving them a close look.





Food Storage Tip - Drink Mixes


Water is the most important part of your preparedness plan. Without clean drinking water you wouldn't survive more than 3 days. I have a lot of water stored as it is an important part of my preparedness plan. As much as I like water I would hate to be stuck drinking only water for an extended period of time. There are many ways to break the monotony of drinking water all the time. These include flavored drink mixes, tea, coffee, and protein drinks.

Having some of these included in your food storage will help break the cycle and give you some variety in what you drink. Variety should already be included in your food storage, but it's just as important to have variety with your water storage. Most stores and supermarkets have large jars of flavored drink mixes that are very inexpensive. You can get Kool-Aid mixes, Gatorade mixes, Tang, and a number of other mixes.

These come in all different flavors so everyone should be able to find something that they like. Tea bags are also a good thing to store as they last a long time, and most people like a nice cup of tea. And for all the coffee drinkers out there make sure you have some coffee stored for those early morning pick-me-ups. Another option is to store protein powder drinks. These come in a lot of different flavors and types, and most are high in calories and vitamins, which would make it perfect for a quick meal on the go.

No matter which one you choose, having something to add to your water, giving you some variety is going to be beneficial. If nothing else having something flavored to drink, and possibly sweetened with sugar from your food storage is going to boost your moral in the event of a disaster. I like water just as much as anyone else but nobody wants to drink only water everyday. If you have children this is something that's very important.

Book Review

from Preppernation – Preparedness, Survival, Homesteading, Alternative ... by Prepper
Book Review

Book Review


Well, we have another book review today… You can see from the title that it’s sticking with the whole frugal living theme that I consistently preach here. It’s really not as much about just being frugal so much as it is just being conscience of were our money is going. I have always worked hard and had money in my pocket, always will if I have anything to say about it. It’s easy to miss those vicious little drags on our prosperity if we aren’t keeping track. I’ve found time and again that the it’s the little things that add up to the BIG things quickly.

With this in mind, I bring you the “Living Well on Practically Nothing” guide. This book is from the nether regions of my book shelf. It was copyright in 1992 and published by an old favorite, Paladin Press. Knowing that this too is an older book, you can see that my interest in leading a sustainable life has been surging through my veins for many years.

The author, Edward H. Romney, had been working in the corporate world for many years prior to making this move to volunteer simplicity. He is famous for quotes about poverty being a state of being rather than an economic condition. He spends an entire chapter explaining how to reduce your income without losing your self respect. It’s interesting the way he describes how our peers view of us is often tied to our economic state. Sad, but I think pretty true. I would even have to say that I ‘m guilty of drawing conclusions based off of how things look at the surface, far to often…

As I re-read these books to find those that are worth sharing with all of you, I’m reminded of how they have each impacted my life, or not… Some I don’t even remember the content in the book and others like this one come right back as if I had read it only months ago.

I particularly liked the chapter on repairing items rather than replacing them. The author writes about the many examples from his own life. Things that he learned from his grandparents and many things that he has discovered on his own as he has led a life of volunteer simplicity.

I think that this book is very good at getting the old wheels turning on ways that we could all cut back and or even do without. Written from the man that is actually doing this stuff to this day. I however, won’t go to the lengths he has and will continue my luxuries for as long as possible. I don’t personally like to sit in a cold room and just add additional layers of clothing to stay warm… It’s not that I don’t agree with him theoretically, I just would make these type of cuts as a last resort rather than to shave another 10 bucks off the electric bill.

This book is a real toolbox of information that will spin off new perspectives for each of your own specific situations. What will work for one of us won’t even apply to someone else but when we see what others are willing to take on, I whole heartedly believe it empowers us to go further in our own pursuits… The following is a quote from the conclusion of this book that spoke to me –


“People are not just reactive creatures responding to stimuli. They also create and control their environment. There is poverty, but the real poverty, as Martin Flavin points out, is poverty of soul. There is a message in this book beyond hardware and technique, and that message is for people to reach out and take hold and rise up and build and grow and create for themselves a better life. By doing so, it encourages others to do likewise, and that builds a better world.”


Most of the actual information in the book is still viable even though it was written in the 90’s. There are things surrounding personal computers and the like that just don’t apply anymore but if you’re willing to over look these details, you’ll still enjoy reading about the efforts that the author and his family have made to live cheaply.

In this particular economic time of history that we find ourselves living in now, it seemed that this book might be timely for many of us. I think that we should all be exercising our minds on ways to streamline our lifestyles and make ourselves as self sufficient and reliant as possible!

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Prepper

Back-up Heat? part 3


   So, part 3 and the conclusion on my thoughts about our collective need for back-up heating options. This could be applicable to our primary homes or a potential bug -out-location. Let’s face it, we will settle for what we have but we would like to be comfortable. I know we have readers that are the traditional tough guys that have slept everywhere from the arctic to the jungles, all in nothing more than boxer shorts. Not to take anything away from all of them but is this the approach that your family will be the most happy with?
 
   We all probably already have the sleeping bags or “Level One” gear or can pick it up at the thrift store for pennies on the dollar. It’s also not a large financial expense to add at least one heater from the “Level Two” gear we talked about yesterday… Figure a $150 investment in hardware and then another $150 in fuel, should get you a supply of roughly 25-30 gallons of kerosene, at least in my area. Propane might even be the cheaper route in your area, check around if your going to be making a purchase! Let me also encourage you to look on Craigslist before going and paying retail for a new heater. I’ve always been able to find these heaters available second hand, except after the power outage has already begun!
 
   “Level Three” back-up heating… This level will cover all the bigger and more expensive options that we all have available for a more long term solution. I’m thinking wood stoves, fireplace inserts, permanently installed propane wall heaters, etc. All of these option will require a semi-large cash outlay but will be the most economical in the long run.
Installed Vented Propane HeaterInstalled Vented Propane Heater

   Let’s look at the propane fueled options that are available first. The most obvious one would be the current central heating forced air furnace that is installed in most of today’s homes. Many are electric but a good deal of them run on natural gas or propane as well. I’ll assume that you will already know what kind of fuel your furnace is running on but if you don’t I think it could pay dividends to check on this option first.
   If you have a furnace that is already running on propane, then you just need to evaluate the size of your storage tank and maybe add some additional capacity. If you’re burning natural gas currently, I suggest you talk to your furnace service company and see what it would take to make the adjustments to your furnace to enable burning propane in a prolonged emergency. I can’t say from first hand experience that this is even possible but I do know for a fact that there are standard home furnaces that burn propane right out of the box, just like the natural gas variety and from the same manufactures! I have been told that it is just a matter of either changing out or adjusting the gas jets on the furnace. One or the other fuel requires a smaller orifice…
 
   Additionally, your gas or propane whole house furnace will need to have a work around done for the circulation fan. This will be another question for your furnace company. Quite possibly this could be accomplished by adding an external electrical connection that you would be able to run with a small generator or even a battery and inverter arrangement. Yes, this will require a little more forethought to get going but you should wind up with a sustainable clean heat source… I definitely think it would be worth the effort. You may also find that you are satisfied with the ability of your natural gas utility to be able to continue to serve your home in a prolonged power down situation and only need to get creative with running the fan… Check into these options!
Non Vented Propane HeaterNon Vented Propane Heater
   It seems that there is a wide variety of propane heaters being manufactured that are designed to be installed on the interior of the home. Some still require an external venting to allow the air exchange and water vapor to be minimised. There are also offering that can be installed on an interior wall and don’t require the external venting. I think that with the amount of vapor that these generally produce that the vented models would give a more satisfactory performance. Either way you might choose to go, these heaters are running in the several hundred dollar range and I’m sure can go much higher from there… This is a viable solution for long term but these are similar to our “Level Two” gear, in that they aren’t designed to heat your whole house. However, these can be plumbed directly from your large storage tank outside, giving you a virtual endless supply of heat as long as you do your part and keep the tank full!
 
   Along a similar line would be to utilize a standalone RV propane furnace. I happen to have an old one laying around that had previously been installed in my first BOL. The unit came from a RV that was being parted out after a wreck. We spent maybe a couple hundred bucks in getting it all setup. This operated on propane and had a 12 volt fan so we could actually take advantage of some of the ducting potential these units use in a traditional RV installation. As long as we kept the 12 volt batteries charged the thermostat would kick the heat on and off throughout the night. It all worked pretty well but in a small cabin it was overly loud each time it came on, waking everyone up multiple times each night. Not a restful sleep that a night in the woods should bring. I mention this option here just to show that there are even ways that might seem initially outside the box but could work really well in your specific situation. I plan to utilize this little furnace again somewhere at the BOL on a future project.

Fireplace wood burning insertFireplace wood burning insert
   It would seem that alot of home builders have gotten away from the traditional fireplace in their new homes. I still see some of the gas or electric units going in mostly as an asthetic design… These may have some merit if they indeed kick out a degree of heat… I suppose they could be a real asset if they were in a bedroom or some other small room that could be closed off to attempt heat containment. Similar investigation would be needed to determine what would be required to keep these units running aftrer the power went down… Check and see but don’t count heavily on this being a real solution…

   If you’re fortunate enough to have a real fireplace in your home, be thankful! You will have a couple options and may save yourself a lot of money in getting a real sustainable heat solution set-up! Typically, fireplaces are used very little and are more for ambience than heat production. In their stock configuration most of the heat created is sent straight up the chimney along with sucking air, and heat, right out of the house as well! I wouldn’t let this stop you from adding a substantial pile of firewood to your supplies and taking advantage of this as an addition to our “Level One” gear and keeping the sleeping bags as close to the hearth as practical. This might be a help until you can devote the capital to improving the arrangement.
 
   The real advantage to having an existing fireplace is that you can easily add a wood burning insert. If you’re not familiar with these inserts, they are a modified wood stove that is designed to fit inside your fireplace. They utilize the prexisting chimney and don’t usually require much retrofitting to your hearth. The benefit to these units is that the heat is captured just like in a traditional wood stove and radiated out into the room rather than being sucked out as fast as it is created. As far as I know the stovepipe that is required with this set-up is the same as the stove pipe used for a standard wood stove. Your local codes may require that the pipe be insulated from the stove all the way up the chimney. This would add additional expense but safety is not a place to get cost conscious. I would even go as far as to pay the labor costs of a professional installation team doing the work.
 
  Once you have this insert in place you have a real asset. This equipment will last a LONG time and I haven’t heard of them wearing out or being replaced because of age… Many homes had them installed back in the 70’s and then it seems their popularity wained and there is often quite a few on the used market. I think if you looked around you might find a company that’s manufacturing them but why pay retail when you can get it one second hand?
Modern Airtight Wood StoveModern Airtight Wood Stove

   Finally, we have the lowly wood stove… Actually this one is my personal favorite. We had a wood stove and used it regularly when I was growing up. Yes, the added work of cutting ad splitting wood wasn’t something my brothers and I were to happy about. As with most things, Dad did most of the work and had to listen to us gripe on top of carrying the load.. Sorry Dad!
   Anyway, this is the option that we, the “Preppers” will be taking for our current BOL project and other than the fireplace insert, it’s the only truly self-sufficient option that I see for long term! I think that the wood stove is self explanitory for the most part. As long as the stove is sized correctly for the application and you keep the wood supply stocked, you will have heat – endlessly… I know what you’re thinking, “Endlessly”? Nothing is without limit but even in lightly treed areas of our country, there are people using wood to heat there homes. The quality of the wood is going to vary depending on what is locally available and it may take longer to find and stock-up on but it is doable!
 
  The same precautions needed for the fireplace insert installation would apply to the wood stove as well. A stove pipe and chimney arrangement is required and I am going to pay a professional to make my ceiling/roof penetrations. I have done this installation on another project and I could do it this time but I want to KNOW it’s all done correctly! With the uncertainess of our current political and economic situation, I don’t want to take any chances with a leaking roof or burning down the BOL…
 
   There are additional advantages to the wood stove, even over the fireplace insert. Generally the wood stove has a flat top and is designed so as to provide a cooking area. At least a flat top that is sufficient to keep a kettle or frying pan on! This is a topic for another post, back-up cooking! I have also seen where some crafty wood burners have plumbed water lines through the stove walls to provide for an integrated water heating system.
 
   There are still old cast iron stoves available both on the new and used market that don’t comply with most codes but can still provide a good deal of heat. These stoves aren’t air tight and won’t have the heat control that a modern stove would, but don’t discard these right off as they can be quite a bargain and in some situations can work out well. In my first BOL we used a reproduction of an antique cast iron stove. It was probably cast in China and wasn’t of a good quality but it worked for what we needed. We rebuilt it and did our best to seal the pieces together. This stove is still in operation in that old cabin to this day. The price was right and for an occasional use item, it works just fine!
 
  The wood burners in any configuration would be a setup from most others in that they will not require any electrical inputs to keep running and will usually burn almost anything, if it came down to that. With these ideas in mind I think we all need to take a long look at what might be possible for our “Level Three” needs. It won’t all come together overnight but if we are aware of the need, we will be sure to notice when a solution presents itself.
 
  As usual the things we need to do most are often the least glamorous! This back-up heat system is indeed another one of the systems that we will be discussing further in the financial foundations pyramid at some point in the future. If we can all get to some point in “Level Three”, we will have really accomplished alot… Level 1 and 2 are pretty easy but 3 will take some extra thought and money but once complete, this asset will go far in providing for you!
 
 
Prepper
Back-up Heat? part 2
from Preppernation – Preparedness, Survival, Homesteading, Alternative ... by Prepper

Alright, where were we? I was going to take care of a little bit of house keeping before we got off the ground this morning. First a reminder to the newer readers, please sign in with your email address and you will receive an email each day when I publish the post. Also, the book review give aways are open to you as “Subscribers” then as well…

I have had a few inquiries as to an error message when you “Subscribe”? As close as I can tell this only happens when you try to type in your email a second time? What happens when you fill in and submit your email address is that I get a notification in the back room of the site and then have to finish the process on my end before you will begin getting the updates. I’m usually in and out of the site through out each day but it isn’t instantaneous…

Finally, I got a bit of flak from a reader, maybe a former reader? He was upset that I was censoring his comments, at least that was his impression. That is not the case! The same thing happens when I get a comment as when a new subscriber request comes through, the comment will not appear until I process it on my end. Believe it or not I get 20-100 spammer comments per day. If I thought you would be interested in buying Viagra or any number of other drug related products off of “Prepper” nation.com than I’d just let anything get posted on my site. This is a service to both you and me but that is the only censorship that I have used. Don’t test me on this as I would censor some content as this is a family site, for the most part anyway and I have no use for hate or racial types of comments but we haven’t seen anything like that here yet and I doubt we will! For some reason, I get a lot of emails but very few comments? I guess it makes sense as I was the worst offender as far as not actively participating in any of the site’s that I would read regularly. I’m still not as good as I should be! Keep the emails coming and if you have a comment to make, step right up – most of us don’t bite…

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Yesterday we started to discuss the need or potential need for back-up heat sources. We got as far as the “level one” preps. These would be the fully non-electric things that can be done to give a minimum level of protection without spending much if any money. These would be the sleeping bag and sweaters, level of coverage. Don’t get me wrong, these are very important and our “level one” preps could end up being all we had in the end. It would definitely be a mistake to skip these in favor of the more exciting one’s. In addition, these are fairly portable items that could, hopefully stay with us if we were to be motivated to leave our shelter in a hurry.

As we move up to the next level or “level two” preps we will find the small propane and kerosene heaters. These are a functional and quite desirable addition. Typically these heaters are designed to provide a level of heat to an area the size of a tent to maybe as much as a living room. Their advertised heating capabilities may be said to be much larger but in my experience they serve a small area better than being challenged to do more than they are actually capable of.
Kerosene Heater

Kerosene Heater


Let’s start with the Kerosene heater. I have found these heaters to be real work horses. I own several currently and they aren’t used daily but have never let me down even once when called to duty. My heaters are all made by the Kerosun company. They are the tall cylindrical model that has a metal cage type of arrangement around them. The fuel tank is directly under the heater and I believe it holds roughly a full gallon or was it two gallons? I honestly can remember, either way it is a sufficient amount of fuel that it isn’t necessary to be refueling on a regular basis.

There are other advantageous features that these particular kerosene heaters offer as well. They are actually advertised for use indoors, many of the propane fueled heaters are not. They also have an intricate tip over shutoff valve. As I’m sure you would all agree, we don’t make it a habit to tip over our heating appliances but its good to know that there are safeguards already built in. Last but certainly not least, the wire safety cage that surrounds the heater on all sides as well as the top, can be used as a cooking surface. This is a very nice added benefit.
Kerosene Heater cook top

Kerosene Heater cook top

The other “level two” heater would be the propane fueled variety. I also own a propane powered model as well. My unit is designed to be attached to the top of a 5 gallon tank. I do like the amount of heat that it puts off and it has never let me down, however, I do prefer my kerosene units to this arrangement for shelter heating, anyway. They do have their place for sure and I would typically use mine to heat a work area in the garage. Over the years I also have owned small canister top models that were marketed for the camping crowd to use as a tent warmer. All of these models performed well enough but always seemed to put out more water vapor than the kerosene models. As I’ve said before, the tool that you have is often the best… I do not advocate spending money just to change fuel types or styles of heaters but if you are on the market anyway, I think I would stick with kerosene for your “level two” preps.

The one exception to kerosene over propane would possibly be the new “Buddy” heaters. I haven’t personally owned or even used one of these heaters, yet. I would be interested in adding one to my supplies but I just haven’t seen a good deal at the same time I had the available funds. If there are readers that have experience with these, please speak up and share your first hand experience. The buddy style units can either be powered with a small canister of fuel, larger versions can be equipped with two canisters or even attached to a large volume tank. It’s this larger volume of fuel that might make me reconsider.
Propane "BUDDY" Heater

Propane "BUDDY" Heater


As “level two” preparations these actual heat producing appliances will serve to carry our families through an extended period of power lose or other various troubles. We will however need to take the time to store the necessary fuel now so as to have it available in sufficient supply when it’s needed. If we fail to make these arrangements and find ourselves low on fuel when it is needed most we will be relegated to a similar condition as those that did no prepping and waited until the event to go find the fuel their families needed.

The prices I regularly see for either of these heaters is $50-100 for a propane unit and consistently $129 for a kerosun heater. I’ll let you do your own fuel usage and cost analysis, fuel costs vary widely depending on where your located. As with everything there are individual things that might make a difference in the choice you make toward one fuel over the other… Such as if you have a large propane tank already parked in the yard or will be making use of one for other purposes.

As a short to medium term solution that is still somewhat portable, a heater such as we have discussed today will make you and yours much more comfortable than just making do with the sleeping bag options that are available to us using only “level one” preps. We are still building up to the more sustainable solutions and I will wrap it all up with those in part 3. I hope that most of us have many of these issues already addressed but I’m suspicious that it’s a good reminder, assess and make adjustments now before you need them!

Prepper

Back-up Heat? part 1


 
   I think we may have touched on this subject at some point in the past but I know I haven’t done a complete post on this yet. As we did discuss a couple of weeks ago, in the foundations post series, we have to have shelter. This is universally recognised and accepted as a basic need. I think we would also agree that a shelter, any shelter, that will keep us dry and out of the wind would be better than nothing. How much better would we be if we took the time to provide a back-up heat source to this shelter now while we have the opportunity?
 
   This is what we’re going to discuss today, Heat! You all know that we, the “Prepper” family, have our city house in Western Washington State and then our BOL and future homestead in the Eastern part of Washington. These two very different climates require different approaches to handling this issue.
 
   As preppers we each need to first do an assessment of where we are currently. What are the typical weather patterns that we each can count on throughout a normal year. Does the weather get extremely cold, below freezing where you are? Do you face the potential of a prolonged sub-zero weather event? Maybe sub-zero weather is actually the norm in your area? I know this sounds remedial and I’m often tempted to just shut up and let you all be, no point in boring you with simple minded topics that you all have covered years ago… This is when I remind myself that despite the fact that the weather in North Dakota is extremely cold – EVERY WINTER, people continue to die of these conditions when the power goes out for an extended period of time…
 
   Another thing that I want to point out is that even in our warmer climates, we get surprise weather events. I’m pretty sure that I’ve been hearing about unusual snow storms in Texas this year? I could be wrong but if you just watch the national news some evening, you will see what I’m talking about. In many of the areas of the country, back-up heat or maybe back-up warmth would be a better way to put it, can be accomplished with several wool sweaters for each member of the family. Only you the individual will know what is going to be adequate for your family.
 
   Another thing to consider is where you and your family might end up if you were forced to evacuate your current home? Are you going to stay with uncle Joey out in the sticks several hundred miles away? How’s he set for supplying your family? Wouldn’t it be better to plan ahead and offer to bring more than just additional mouths to feed when you show up on old Uncles front porch?
 
   With all of these preliminaries out of the way and each of us having had the opportunity to take stock of our current setup, lets talk about what additional preps we might need to add!
 
   The primary approach that I personally plan to and will be focusing on is sustainability. There are several heating options that come to mind that are non-electric. I guess the main choice for long term sustainability would be a wood stove or fireplace insert. There are also very good and even fairly efficient kerosene heaters that I think are a viable choice.  Following this of course would be the host of propane fueled heat sources.
 
   Just like we all have unique needs depending on our personal situations, we each have a shelter with unique design elements. Does your home or shelter already have features that could be expanded on? Such as an existing fireplace? What about your existing furnace? If you’re already using propane or natural gas, maybe there would be a possibility to setup a power source for the furnace fan and continue to use it.
 
   Before we look specifically at the hardware options we need to establish a base line of what our desired outcome really is. We may have to accept that we don’t have the ability to heat our entire structure. Possibly we could need to restrict ourselves to only one or two rooms. Is your home setup in such a way to make this possible. Our house in Seattle isn’t setup well for isolating spaces in the main part of the house. We live in a tri-level home and our family room, where the fireplace is, is pretty much open to the kitchen and then the living and dining rooms as well. If we were to try to use the fireplace or a fireplace insert for heat we would have to plan on heating the entire house. It isn’t that our home is overly large but all that air space and the typical high ceilings of the early 90’s doesn’t make for a realistic option.
 
   Also important is the length of time we think we will need these alternate plans for. Is this a week of cold weather that happens to take out the power grid too? Perhaps this is something more long term or even TEOTWAWKI? You all have probably already pegged me for the worst case scenario guy that I am! Unfortunately, I have financial restrictions just like everyone else! We all have the ideal setups that would be perfect for just about anything that comes along but the finances of someone that will need to make a few compromises along the road to our long term goals. What can we all do to have a system or systems in place to fill the gap, keeping us warm enough to be comfortable? Just like with our approach to food storage, we all need to start somewhere and then we’ll build from there as we have the ability.
 
   A sensible first step would be the non-electric and non-fueled items. Many of our homes already have this equipment but when was the last time you saw them and inspected their condition? I’m referring to sleeping bags… You already have them in your camping gear, right. Well, that’s often the best piece of equipment, the one you already own! Just having these in the house isn’t good enough, they need to be incorporated into your families plan! That means they should be of the quality and cold rating for the situation you might find yourself in. ‘
 
   Making this equipment a part of the families preparedness plan means that a new degree of vigilance needs to be taken to assure that they are always kept in the same place and put back there after each use. I don’t know how your house works but if you have children than they are usually needing to drag these bags off to camp or the neighbors house and often they are never seen again. This isn’t the end of the world, it just needs to be factored in to the equation. Maybe, the kids should have a special sleeping bag that is the one that makes those particular trips. This would allow the families supply bags to remain in the house or under your control at all times.
 
   This might sound a little severe and with your families cooperation might be unnecessary, only you will know what will work for your plan. These bags and the wool sweaters that were mentioned earlier, along with the blankets and other household comforters, etc. could be looked at as the level one warmth replacement preps. It will be important to discuss this with your spouse and family as appropriate so everyone knows that this will be the expected response to lost primary heat.
 
   As usual we’re just getting warmed up, pardon the pun, on a topic that will need to take at least a couple of days to look at thoroughly. We’ll pick it up again tomorrow and see how much farther we can get…
 
Prepper