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Friday, January 8, 2010

Weevil Trouble?


I receive several emails each year regarding weevil, so I thought I would share a couple of tips I have found over the years to help protect your food from weevil. Now, before I share a few of my tips, I do have to say I am NOT an expert on weevil. Although I ate my fair share of it growing up (ugh!), I have NEVER seen a weevil in my storage the past 11 years (thank my lucky stars!). However, I talk to people all of the time who are dealing with weevil trouble, so I thought I would share their tips and tricks with you :) If you have had trouble with weevil and found better solutions, or have tips to share, feel free to leave a comment for others to benefit.

Here are a few tips:

*To kill weevil, freeze your flour, sugar, wheat, cornmeal, etc. for 72 hours or longer. You can then sift the weevil out or just pick out the few dead weevils you see remaining. They are perfectly fine to eat (sounds gross, but you really wouldn’t taste them), and once you kill them through freezing, they should be pretty much dissolved or gone. If you do not have freezer space you can just try to sift them out with a fine cloth or colander. They are so small, this can be tricky, but may be worth a try.

*To prevent weevil from appearing in your food later as you store it, you can freeze all of your items BEFORE you put it in your long term storage for the same 72 hours. This should prevent weevil from hatching or spreading as you store the items long term.

*Put dried bay leaves (a few leaves) in the bottom and top of the container you are storing your grains in. This seems to be the most popular method. Many people put bay leaves in their pantry, food storage room, and closets. Costco sells Bay Leaves in a large container for fairly inexpensive.

*Dry Ice Method: Put a pound of dry ice (per 50lbs. of wheat) in the bottom of a plastic bucket. Leave the lid on loosly until the dry ice vaperizes. Then seal the bucket. Be careful not to seal the bucket lid too soon or it could crack or explode :)

*Microwave your wheat (dried) for 5 minutes to kill the weevil and their eggs.

*Place your wheat in a glass of water. Those wheat berries that float to the top are most likely infested with weevil eggs or bugs. You can remove them and use the other berries as normal.

*What do you do if you have seen weevil in your storage room? Take all foodstuffs out of your cabinets or off of your shelves. Wash the cabinets down thoroughly in case there are eggs remaining on the surface. Then wash/wipe down all items you are putting back into the cabinet with a warm/hot rag. You will be after any visible living organism; but, you are really after eggs which may be on the outside of these food bags as a result of infestations in stores and warehouses. Once you have sufficiently cleaned the surface and the food bags (if necessary) you can return the food to your shelves.

*Find the infected food source to try and locate the problem. Many times weevil or insects are coming from one main food source and spreading. This is common in a long term food storage room. If one item is infected, most likely others will be as well. When you find and get rid of the main problem/source, it should help your weevil troubles subside.

*Empty out your food items into clean buckets or keep them in plastic containers to help keep bugs out of your food. Sealed buckets are best, but any container will help protect agains these critters.

*TIP: Buy your wheat, rice, and sugar from Costco because if you ever find weevil in their food, they will return the product for a refund or exchange. It is like a food insurance policy :)

*This may seem crazy to many of you, but I actually pray for my food storage. Not on a daily, or even monthly basis, but I thank God for the blessing of having food to eat and ask Him to watch over our food and protect it. The scripture that says 'to God ALL things are spiritual', I figure my food storage can be as well :) This isn't to say I will never see weevil, but so far (11 years later), my prayers have been answered :)
WASHINGTON - JANUARY 17:  Heavy snow falls on ...

You can't say you weren't warned...

Just a few quick items today:

I mentioned earlier in the month how this is an El Nino year. Past experience tells us that in an El Nino influenced winter, we can see more frequent and more severe ice storms. The freezing rain over Christmas resulted in thousands of families being without power until earlier today. That's 3-4 days without power in sub zero temperatures. We may see more of this type of weather as winter is just getting started. If you don't have batteries stored, a supplemental heating plan and a way to cook food without electricity, next time, it might be you that is suffering.

http://www.cbc.ca/canada/ottawa/story/2009/12/29/ottawa-ice-storm-power.html?ref=rss

When you travel away from home, you need some items in your vehicle to help you get through tough times, if you get stuck or break down - particularly in the winter. Enough said.

http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,581303,00.html?test=latestnews

Tire pressure:

It's cold outside. The colder the temperature, the lower the air pressure in your vehicles tires. A tire filled to 32 lbs at 21C will read about 29-30 @ -5C and even lower at -20C. Conversely, as temperatures heat up, the air in a tire will expand and pressure will increase. For every 10 degrees of temperature change you need to check and adjust your tire pressure to maintain the recommended pressure that can be found on the label affixed to the driver's side door jam. Failing to regularly check and adjust tire pressure, reduces the life of the tire, affects the tire's ability to grip the road and impacts on gas mileage that usually results in costing you more money. Correctly inflated tires can save your life. It's easy to check so there is no excuse other than laziness not to.

[What have you done today to prepare?]
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How to ensure you do not survive disaster...

1. Fail to Prepare in Advance:

Most people refuse to prepare. They continue blindly accepting that the systems of support that they currently enjoy will always be available to them. People tend to put their faith in systems that they neither understand or control. Most figure that any problems encountered will be short lived and quickly corrected by others. Most of the time they are correct, but not always...

2. Rely On Only One Food Source:

Having all of your eggs in one basket is asking for trouble. If for some reason your home is destroyed or you are forced to leave in a hurry, you lose access to your stored provisions. It is important to have supplies located away from your home that you can retrieve when the circumstances warrant. $30/month rents you a nice sized storage locker somewhere with round the clock security included. This is called a "back-up plan".

3. Assume that having large quantities of gold, silver and other commodities will see you through an economic crisis:

Commodities have value only so long as someone else wants them. You can't eat gold and you can't drink silver. You can't plant either to grow more. Having some precious metals available to "buy" items you need after an economic collapse may be a good idea but you will be much better off if you have extra food, water-filters, first-aid supplies, ammunition, toilet paper, boots etc. Store extra "finished goods" that you know others will need and want if you plan to trade/barter.

4. Rely too heavily on firearms:

Guns and ammunition are expensive. The proficient use of firearms requires extensive training and practice. Your money and time is better spent on securing stored food and items that will meet your needs and allow you some degree of comfort and warmth every day. Guns are neither warm nor particularly comforting. Shooting at something or someone is a hassle that may hasten your own demise. Expect some people to shoot back if provoked.

5. Rely on the ability to Bug Out:

Running away from disaster to a longterm retreat location may be romantic, but is often impractical. Bugging out is usually a short term solution to an immediate threat that will pass in time. Do not rely on the ability to leave and start fresh somewhere else...these people are generally referred to as refugees and are usually the picture of desperation and misery as they trudge down the road. Refugees are generally not well received by others in times of difficulty. If you do not have somewhere specific to go, Bugging Out is probably not a very good idea.

6. Forsake Skills, Knowledge and Experience:

Learn to survive, don't rely on anything in particular to do that for you. Reading lots of books and blogs is a good idea. Practicing what you have read is even better. The first time you build an igloo you are going to mess it up. Make sure the first time you build one is not when your life depends on a successful outcome. This advice applies to all skills. We learn by our mistakes. If you haven't made the mistakes, you haven't really learned anything.

7. Depend on Hi-tech Toys & Gadgets:

When it comes to surviving, simple is best. The more moving parts something has, the more likely it will break. Batteries will run out and will become difficult to replace over time. Having 50 Bic lighters is much more practical than fire steel or potassium permanginate and glycerin (but not as cool :-}) Keep your selected emergency tools and gadgets simple and effective. Your best tool is your brain - practice using it.

8. Depend completely on the ideas of others:

Your life and your needs are very much your own. What will work for someone else may sound good, but will not necessarily work out for you. As you amass information on being prepared and put that information into practice; Think for yourself and address your specific needs and goals. Do not rely exclusively on the solutions that someone else figures will meet your needs. We are all different and as such your preps should reflect this fact.

9. Be obvious and/or confrontational:

Those that stand out or behave badly, usually get what they deserve which is trouble. Don't advertise to the neighborhood that you are well prepared. Don't be the only house on the block with lights blazing while all around you everyone else is in the dark. Being belligerent or picking a fight is the quickest way to get noticed in a bad way by others. Bad feelings and animosity fester over time and always return to cause you grief. No matter how wrong someone is, it's often best to keep a low profile and even retreat from confrontation so you don't make the situation worse. You cannot afford to get hurt and you certainly don't want to become a bigger target in the future.

10. Become a part of the problem:

Those that entertain the idea that when push comes to shove, they will just take what they want or bully others will end up dead. Nothing galvanizes the resolve of man quicker or more strongly than threatening someone, their family or their property. If you plan to be a MBZ (Mutant Biker Zombie) and pillage during times of distress, expect your reign of terror to be short lived - you wont be able to kill everybody. You are much better off preparing for tough times by storing your own food, water and supplies.

[What have you done today to prepare?]

Prepare: The New Years Prepper


Happy New Year.

Like many, you probably have a list of resolutions underway like "Quit Smoking", "Pay off Credit Card" and so on.

But there is a good chance you also were bothered by the state of the world and thought, "I need to do something and this is the time to get started". Good for you.

The first thing people do when they are want to get prepared is go on the internet and search for "prepare for disaster, survivalism" or something similar. The problem is the glut of information. Its overwhelming. Should one prepare for nuclear war or famine or civil disorder? Preps for one month, six months, a year or a lifetime? Should one bug out or stay in? Its a lot to consider.

The best thing to do is step back and prepare for what you can. Also, start with the broadest solution rather than the smallest possibility. Here are some suggestions to get started.

Food - I don't care what the scenario, if you don't have food, nothing else matters. Food is easy. But securing a one year supply of food seems impossible. There are three ways to get started.

1. Go the grocery store and buy double what you normally eat and use. Four cans of tuna instead of two. Two packages of spaghetti noodles instead of one and so on. One trip and you have an extra week's supply of staples. Do this for a month and you have two. Just remember to rotate the oldest to the newest and don't eat all your preps without replacing them.

You can improve on this by also buying shelf stable (does not require refrigeration) alternatives to perishable foods. Canned meat and vegetables for fresh for instance.

2. Go the warehouse store or a food wholesaler and buy several months of food at one time. Cases of canned vegetables, fruit, meat, powdered milk, etc. It will cost more than a few cans a week, but one can quickly get a three month supply of basics put away right now. Don't forget to get staples like flour, sugar and cooking oil.

3. Leave the hard part to someone else. Go to the Nitro Pak link on the right or the Mountain House link at the bottom of the article and purchase a one, six month or one year supply of long term storage food. All you have to do is put it away. Yes, the cost is more, but the peace of mind of having a one year supply of food with a twenty year or better shelf life is incredible.

Water - No water means no life. One gallone minimum per person per day for drinking and cooling. Cleaning means adding another gallon per person per day.

1. Get some two liter soda bottles, clean them and fill with water and one dropper of bleach. Put them in the closet or pantry. Do two or three a week and in about a year you will have enough for a family of four for a few weeks. Takes a while.

2. Better is to get several large 5, 10 or 55 gallon drums from one Nitro Pak, fill and put in the garage or basement. Yes, they are heavy, but having enough water is a good thing.

3. Plumb a well on the property if possible. Or get several large rain barrels, bleach, a heat source and collect water for filtering. Or put in a cistern to collect rain water. Same idea and a better long term solution.

Protection - In a SHTF situation, all the above food and water will make you a rich person. If you can't protect it, someone will take it from you and probably will hurt you and your family in the process.

1. Get a shotgun, 12 or 20 guage. A pump is better, but a single shot breakdown is better than no gun at all. Get at least 250 rounds for your new shotgun.

2. Get a rifle. .22 is a good starter, but move to something with some more hitting power as soon as possible. .223, the same caliber used in the military's M16 and M4 rifles is nice, but the stopping power is dubious in some cases. Go for something in a 30 caliber, .308 for instance, if doable. A 30.06 is also good as the caliber is common. Get at least 500 rounds of ammuntion for any rifle.

3. Get a handgun. For trip away from home where stealth and a low profile are required, a handgun is the way to go. A minimum of .38 is required. However, due to their popularity and thus, availability of ammunition, a 9mm or .40 caliber is preferrable. For stopping power, the .45 cannot be beat. Again, at least 500 rounds of ammo for any handgun.

Get some real currency - Dollars may lose their value in the post-SHTF world. What is a good substitute? Junk silver coins and gold are nice. But get some trading tangibles. Extra fuel, hygeiene products, food, growing supplies, anything tradable which someone else might want and is willing to give you something valuable in return.

That includes skills. Think about it.

OK. Food, water, protection, currency. Get started in those four simple areas right now. Those suggestions will prepare most for 90% of the problems out there. But there is more to cover later.. Until then.
CHENGDU, CHINA - SEPTEMBER 28:   A woman shops...Image by Getty Images via Daylife

Prepare: Building the One Year Food Supply


With the news being so cheery lately, all of us are concerned about putting some control back into our lives. That means making sure we have the basics covered in these trying times including food and the ability to feed our family.

Job loss or total SHTF, food is at the top of the priority list. Every day, each member of the family eats several times a day. We refill the pantry with weekly and sometimes daily trips to the grocers. But what happens if the Safeway is closed or looted and emptied forever?

Having a food storage plan in place can build a real insurance policy against hunger. However, the task is daunting to even the best of us.

Companies like Nitro Pak sell complete canned meal systems for one month to one year. Many of the foods contained in these packages can be obtained by anyone and stored similarly; its not rocket science. Here are a list of foods you can buy today at the grocers or warehouse store to build your food storage plan with.

Beans - go for red kidney and pinto. I happen to like black beans as well. Get the dry type and store in five gallon plastic buckets. Beans will last for years, provide protein and are filling.

Rice - American, jasmine, or long grain. Get the twenty five or fifty pound bags, put in plastic five gallon buckets and store in a cool, dry place. You can put oxygen absorbers in the buckets as well to ensure long term freshness. Rice is filling, lasts forever and is the best filler or platform to build a meal upon.
Remember, brown rice has more oils and may go rancid sooner.

Soup bases - Chicken and beef. Most warehouse clubs sell the really big containers of these products. Use a soup base for soup or to flavor the rice you stored above. Soup bases must be stored in an airtight container and put in a cool, dry location free from moisture and humidity.

Milk powder - Milk powder is more than for drinking. It can be added to any soup or cereal to provide a thickener and a boost of calcium. Dry milk has no fat so it lasts longer and will not go rancid like canned or perishable milk. But dry milk has to be kept in a cool, dry place in well sealed container. Get the five gallon buckets and add oxygen absorbers for best results.

Honey - While sugar lasts a long time, honey is a healthy alternative with plenty of uses. Honey has been known to last for hundreds of years as it has been found in tombs and forgotten stashes. Get the five gallon containers rather than the little glass jars or "honey bears". Some stores sell honey in the big buckets, but make sure that the honey is real and not corn syrup with honey flavoring.

Dried fruit - Dried fruit like bananas, apricots and raisins last a long time in proper containers. They can be eaten as they are or served with hot cereal, in a dessert or rehydrated with water for a side dish. Store in a cool, dry place in a five gallon bucket. Many types of dried fruit can be found at the warehouse store, but watch the prices. Often, dried fruit is very expensive and is not cost effective for storage. A better idea is to get a dehydrator and dry seasonal fruit yourself.

Wheat - This is a tough purchase for many city folk. For starters, large quantities of wheat such as hard winter red is not available at the standard grocers or the warehouse club. Some organic stores carry it, but at higher prices for smaller quantities. The best bet is to find a grain supply source nearby rather than paying for shipping from one of the big outlets like Honeyville. Another problem with grain is "What to do with it?". Most of us have never had to grind grain to make cereal or flour. But that is where those things come from and having the knowledge to cook and use whole grains is crucial. Grain lasts literally for years in storage (remember the grain story from the Bible with Joseph and the Pharaoh?). Put whole wheat in five gallon buckets and store in a cool, dry place.

Pasta - Noodles are cheap and easy to get. Buy the largest bags you can find at the grocers or warehouse and store in five gallon plastic buckets. Pasta can be a platform for any meal and can be served with almost anything.

Cooking oil - Vegetable or olive. Oils do go rancid and will not last forever even in the best storage. But make sure you have five or more gallons on hand at all times. Cooking oils can replace butter when grilling or cooking over a flame. Also, our bodies need a certain amount of good fats which come only from oils.

Oatmeal - There is no complete food storage plan without oatmeal. Oats are easy to get in large containers from the grocers and you should have several pounds on hand at all times. Store in five gallon plastic buckets and your oats should stay fresh for months if not years. Serve oats with dried milk, dried fruit and honey for a hot, filling and nutritious meal.

There are some long term storage foods which are difficult to purchase from retail stores. Textured vegetable protein, cheese powder, powdered eggs, dried vegetables, and dried meats. These things will have to be purchased online from a company like Nitro Pak. The best part is these products come in long term storage containers which are easy to store and have on hand.

Anyone can start on a one year food storage plan, but you need to get busy now. Go to the grocery store or warehouse club with the list above and buy some of each item, store in proper containers, and start building a real food insurance plan.
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