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Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Prepare: Things fall apart

We stock and store extras for a rainy day. We have plenty of food and seeds to grow more. We have guns and ammunition. We have batteries and toilet paper. But things don't last forever. Things fall apart.

Improperly stored ammunition will bulge, corrode, mold and could lose its potency.

Rechargeable batteries can be recharged only so long before they stop holding their charge. This includes car batteries and deep cycle batteries.

Springs fail. The springs in your magazines are most at risk. Even keeping spares unloaded is no guarantee the springs will last for ever.

Toilet paper, tissue, firewood, lamp wicks and petroleum products can only be used once. They can never be recycled and used again.

Bagged fertilizer only lasts so long in sitting in the garage.

Medications have a shelf life. Afterward, some go bad quickly, but most lose their effectiveness slowly over time. First by half, then another third and downward from there.

Some canned foods last five or more years, but most will be inedible in three years.

Only sugar and salt and a few other dry, processed foods last a long time. Most go rancid in a year or two.

Light bulbs break or burn out, fuses burn out, wiring corrodes, switches break. Most basic electrical equipment will cease functioning in a few years without replacement parts.

House foundations crack, sag and fail. Roof shingles need replacing every ten years or so. Once a window breaks, a new one cannot be made from the old. The average home has to have constant maintenance or it will rapidly fall apart.

Once the SHTF, things will start to age and if infrastructure is down or destroyed, then replacements are not coming. The clock will start to tick on everything and if ignored, will never function again.

That goes for people too. When that trained mechanic, or doctor or farmer dies, then all that knowledge goes with them and there will be no schools producing another to take their place.

For the long emergency, be prepared to do without sooner or later. Figure out what to do when gasoline is gone and batteries lose their charge. What will you power the home with? How will get from one place to another? What will you put on your feet?

It's mind boggling and troubling at the same time.

An Article by "Bow" Beauchamp: Fire Basics - General Steps to Make a Fire

The CPN is very proud to announce that we have a new contributing author - Allan "Bow" Beauchamp! To learn more about Bow's extensive expertise and extreme winter survival skills, see Bow's Welcome post here.

Bow has previously written articles for Wildwood Survival and the CPN has been granted permission to share some of these articles with our readers (a big Thanks to Walter Muma who runs Wildwood Survival!). So without further ado...we hope that you enjoy reading Bow's articles and learn some excellent tips for extreme winter survival! (and remember to watch for more of Bow's articles to appear here at the NWT Preppers Network, the Yukon Preppers Network and the Nunavut Preppers Network!)


Fire Basics - General Steps to Make a Fire

Here are the general steps to make, maintain, and end a fire (any fire, any method):

1. Choose and prepare a location for the fire.
2. Gather fuel.
3. Pile some of the fuel in an appropriate manner where the fire is to be situated, ready to be lit.
4. Ignite some material, usually tinder. This is usually the most difficult (and critical) step.
5. If necessary, depending on the fire-starting method, blow the tinder into a small flame.
6. Transfer the flame from the tinder to the actual fire.
7. Build up the fire by adding fuel.
8. Maintain the fire as needed.
9. Put out the fire.

1. Location

Generally, the location for your fire is a balance of many different factors:

* close to fuel source
* located on a non-burnable surface (bare rock is best)
* located away from burnable materials (such as very dry branches close overhead, or dry grasses nearby)
* convenience of the location (for example, close to your camp)
* but not in the way, either -- you don't want to have to navigate carefully around a fire that is squarely in everyone's way.
* wind direction and speed (wind can blow the fire onto neighboring burnable materials, such as dry brush)
* whether you need to hide the fire or not
* proximity to a means of extinguishing the fire (such as water)
* safety

For the rest of the general steps to make, maintain and end a fire...be sure to check out Bow's complete article at Wildwood Survival here.


Thanks Bow - we are super glad to have you here!

Carrot Craze!

Spiced Carrot Waffles with Cinnamon Cream Syrup-YUM!

I was surfing through food blogs the other night and found a recipe that I KNEW I needed to try from the Tasty Kitchen. I found the recipe at 10:15 p.m. and was so excited to make this recipe I decided to make it that night and have it ready for the kids in the morning before school.

It really was delicious and the best part about it was that it used up the bags of carrots I had in the fridge that were about to go bad. I stock up my fridge and freezer when carrots go on sale (in the hopes we will be EXTREMELY healthy and reach for a carrot instead of a cookie :) Sometimes it works, and other times (like this past week) it didn't! So..I had 3 bags of carrots I needed to use up and this recipe saved the day! The carrots and applesauce make these waffles moist with a sponge like texture. They are SUPER good, and somewhat good for you!

I had my sisters and their kids come over for breakfast and they were a hit! Some of the kids asked why there were carrots in their waffles, but once they tried them, they were hooked. We even ate a second batch of them for lunch later that day--DELIGHTFUL!

I know many of us are trying to watch our calorie intake this time of year, but the Cinnamon Cream Syrup is worth the calories. It was the perfect pair with these waffles! Enjoy!

Spiced Carrot Waffles (my adapted recipe to include more food storage items)
1 c. white flour
1/2 c. wheat flour
1/4 c. corn meal
1 T. baking powder
2 t. cinnamon
1/4 t. nutmeg
1/2 t. salt
3 T. sugar
2 eggs (or egg powder and water equivalent)
1 3/4 c. water (or you could use buttermilk and leave out the powdered milk)
5 T. dry powdered milk
1 c. packed shredded carrots
1/4 c. oil (I used even less oil and substituted more applesauce-it worked great!)
1/4 c. applesauce

Stir together the wet ingredients, spices, and baking powder. Add the flour and cornmeal and mix until incorporated. For an even fluffier waffle (who has time for this??), you can separate the eggs, beat the whites to a stiff peak, and fold them into the recipe before cooking. This will make your waffles more fluffy if you have the time. Cook waffles on a hot waffle iron. Serve with Cinnamon Syrup.

Cinnamon Cream Syrup
1 c. granulated sugar
1/2 c. corn syrup
1/4 c. water
dash of salt
1 t. cinnamon
1 t. vanilla
1 (12oz.) can of evaporated milk

In a saucepan, combine the first five ingredients. Bring to a boil over medium heat; boil and stir for 2 minutes. Cool for 5 minutes. Stir in milk and vanilla. Serve over pancakes, waffles or French toast.

TIP: I could tell reading through the ingredients that I would love this recipe so I chopped extra carrots to freeze for a later breakfast in a hurry. Carrots freeze GREAT for later cooked meals, so stock up when prices are low.

Growing Perennial Food

Our grapes and blackberries starting to ripen!

Hi everyone! I've done quite a few posts lately about gardening. I believe that growing your own food--any portion of it that you can--is an absolutely fabulous idea! I love gardening, I love digging in the dirt, I love to eat what I've grown and I love to pull out a jar of home-canned veggies in the middle of winter! But, I wanted to focus on another aspect of food production that we haven't discussed yet: growing perennial food.

A perennial is a plant that comes back year after year. Perennials are reliable, fairly low maintenance, and much less work, generally, than plants that have to be replanted year after year (annuals). There are many different perennial food plants such as strawberries, raspberries, blackberries, rhubarb, blueberries, grapes, asparagus, fruit and nut trees, elderberries, gooseberries, lingonberries, currants, cranberries, and pawpaws, to name a few. All of these food items are things that you should only need to plant once, with some needing replanting every few years to refresh the bed. (Of course, any plant can die and need to be replanted.) They need some feeding of the soil and weeding, of course, and they will continue to provide you and your family with fresh, delicious food year after year! Some plants perform better when they're sprayed with pesticides/fungicides, so you'll have to decide if that is something you want to get into. Overall, perennial plants give you maximum return for fairly small investment.
We don't have to buy too much fruit during the summer because we're spending weeks at a time eating fresh home-picked berries when they're ripe! Most folks including kids, love to go out back and pick bright red strawberries or raspberries right off the plants and pop them in their mouths! We had a friend come and do some work with hubby once, and when he saw the big bowl of strawberries I was carying to the house he said that that could be his payment!!!

If you're wanting to start with one perennial food plant, I'd recommend strawberries. They're beyond easy to grow! You plant the crowns one year, remove the blossoms to encourage strong root growth, and the next summer you'll be enjoying a strawberry harvest! I feed the soil with some good compost every year or so, pull the weeds, and my berries do great! I'd recommend that you buy your strawberry plants from a reputable mail order catalog instead of your local nursery. I find that the local nurseries ask too much for their plants. I've personally gotten great berries from Miller Nurseries out of New York. (I receive nothing from recommending them. I just have had great products from them.) Through Miller Nurseries I can get 25 plants for $10.00, where most local places sell one plant for more than $1.00! Go with the place that'll give you the most bang for your buck!

With perennial food plants growing on your property, you're one step closer to self-sufficiency, and you're better prepared to face the future!

Prep on!
Gen-IL Homesteader

Backpacking Tips: Buying a Backpack That Fits

The fun of backpacking can be ruined by ill-fitting backpacking equipment. Getting a backpack that fits comfortably takes a bit of science and careful measurement.
There is one crucial measurement for buying a backpack that really fits your body. Overall body height is not it.
Male pelvisImage via Wikipedia
Two people who are exactly the same height won’t necessarily be comfortable with the same backpack. That’s because people of the same height may vary on other dimensions. Some may have longer legs and shorter torsos. For others, the opposite may be true.
The most critical measurement for getting a comfortable backpack is torso length. I’ll show you how to measure it.
Here’s how to get an accurate measurement of the length of your torso:
Step 1: Ask a friend or family member to help. It’s very difficult to accurately do the measurement alone.
Step 2: Place your hands on your hips as if you were throwing an attitude. Make sure you place your hands on your iliac crest or ilium (see illustration). You can feel this part of your pelvis on both sides. What you will feel are bony protrusions just below your rib cage. Place your hands so that your thumbs point horizontally at each other around your back.
Step 3: Ask your helper to find your 7th cervical vertebra (C7) on your spine. It’s not that difficult. It’s that prominent bump where your shoulders slope up and meet your neck. Tilting your head forward will make this bony bump stick out even further.
Step 4: Ask your helper to measure with a flexible tape measure the distance from your C7 down to the imaginary line that connects your thumbs at the top of your iliac crest.
Voila! You now have your torso length. Take this measurement to your outfitter and try on backpacks that are marked with a torso length range that your torso measurement fits into.
by Richard Davidian, Ph.D.
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