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Thursday, December 23, 2010

Prepare: Lights Out Book Published

 Lights Out

If you are an old hand at this stuff and are a fan of post-apocalyptic fiction, than you surely have read "Lights Out" by David Crawford. Originally published online in chapter format over a whopping two year period, "Lights Out" is probably one of the best survival fiction stories written in the past decade, online or traditional.

If you are new to this genre, get a copy of this book as its really that good.

"Lights Out" takes place in present day San Antonio and follows Mark Turner, an average computer fixit guy for a midsized corporation, his family and friends and the events which befall them after a supersized electro magnetic pulse (EMP) instantly vaporizes all modern electronics and electric infrastruture in the United States.

In the days that follow, Mark and company have to learn to not only live without modern day comforts, but also how to provide food and security for their suburban neighborhood all while dealing with internal divisions, external threats and the constant ordeals of being thrust into the equivalent of the 19th century.

The story is real. Most online post-apocalyptic fiction features two dimensional cardboard characters, mind numbing lists of name brand equipment, dull lectures on grinding wheat, making soap, fiat currency and grinning idiots slapping each other the back after dispatching ne'er do wells with names like Scrag and Greasey. "Lights Out" has none of that.

Husbands and wives fight. Good people die. Children are injured. Homes are torn apart. Popular characters are killed off while bad guys get away with murder. There is something unexpected at each turn in "Lights Out" and readers will find themselves identifying with several characters in the story; I know I did.

After reading "Lights Out", you will look at your neighborhood and life different.

While "One Second After" was a shocking book a couple of years ago and also a great read, "Lights Out" has a different take on the same genre with separate outcomes.

"Lights Out" makes a great Christmas gift for the prepper in your house or a friend who "almost gets it" but needs a realistic little push.

I happliy found "Lights Out" on Amazon, but it took some looking and you had to know the author's full name and not the one he originally posted under online (you know what I am referring to if you are familiar with the story). I pulled a handy link to the book on Amazon for new readers.

Check it out.


The Reality of Bio-Terror

By Joseph Parish

Few people realize that emergency medicine is a function of our homeland security agencies. In today’s fearful world it has been determined by a congressional committee that our greatest threat is not so much nuclear as it is biological weapons. 

Biologic attacks will not be immediately noticeable and the resultant impact of the infectious agents will lie silently during their incubation period. Since these types of weapons are not generally released within a "bomb" they appear to be more effective. Bombs would in fact destroy the dangerous bacteria or viruses and eliminate the biological agent immediately.

Today’s stress on biological weapons has necessitated that our doctors learn to recognize the associated symptoms of the illness patterns which are indicative of potential infectious disease outbreaks. Various clues which contribute to the physician’s diagnosis are the number of patients which are reporting the same symptoms all of a sudden within the same time frame as well as the geographic area of concern. As these clues are uncovered the health care facilities and doctors will start to upload their data to their local health authorities who will begin releasing their stockpiled antibiotics, vaccines, etc to combat the attack. These efforts will be accomplished in coordination with all levels of government.

As a survivalist there are certain functions that you can accomplish for your family and yourself. The major task at hand when confronted with this type of emergency is to keep informed. Many of our state or local health departments now have social media accounts on Facebook or Twitter and maintain these accounts with up to date data. If your area health and emergency agencies participate in the "reverse 911" you could sign up and receive automated updates concerning events of a disastrous mature.

Next you should have a plan in place in the event of an emergency of this kind. I know you have heard me stress over and over for every family to have some sort of plan and the reason I do this is because it is so important for your survival. Sit down before a disaster occurs and work out the various details with the members of your family. Develop several potential evacuation routes and maintain maps of your surrounding areas which are clearly marked with emergency shelter locations. If you have school age children learn how the school will handle various emergency situations. Establish safe locations for all family members to meet when a disaster occurs as well as procedures to take if vital communications are cut off or disrupted. Have an out of state call list so you have a central message center to pass information.

Lastly make certain to prepare your emergency kits so that they can be quickly grabbed and taken with you in the event of an evacuation call. Your kits should include water, canned or non-perishable foods and prescription medications. Don’t overlook your personal hygiene items, perhaps a second pair of glasses and if you have an infant include the necessary supplies to attend to the baby. Evacuation kits should include first aid supplies, a wind up or battery powered flashlight and a radio so you can listen to media updates. Keep copies of your important papers on your person or within easy reach. 

There you have the basics laid out for you. Naturally your personal chooses for supplies will depend upon your usual likes and dislikes as well as your lifestyle. 

Copyright @2010 Joseph Parish

Make Your Own Dehydrated Baby Food

I know you're thinking why not just make the baby food and either use it or freeze it, but I'm ahead of you on that one!  Here's why you would want some dehydrated baby food.  For taking along when baby goes for their backpacking adventure (you know carrying the baby in the baby-backpack is heavy enough--you don't need all that baby food weighing you down more).  For using on any trip where packing space is limited, but water is accessible.  For baby's emergency kit.  For your food storage if you might have a baby coming to stay from the extended family.  Because it has a long shelf life so you can get a head start on baby food storage when you have a million carrots now, but the baby won't be eating solid foods until NEXT fall.  So now that I've got you convinced that you need some dehydrated baby food, here's how to make some.

Pick a vegetable.  I did carrots.  I know, you're surprised by that one--I'm still trying to clear that cooler of carrots out of my kitchen.  This would probably work with fruit as well, but I haven't tried a fruit yet.  It might get sticky in the blender, but might be fine.  I'll have to try some next time I've got excess fruit.

Wash and prep your food--peel it, core it, whatever you would normally do to preserve that particular veggie.  I scrubbed the carrots clean, cut the tops and bottoms off, and cut them in half the long way so they'd cook faster.

Put the veggie in a pot with some water and cook it or steam it until it's soft.  Then put the soft veggie in your blender or food processor and blend it to mush.  You may need to add some of the water it cooked in back into it to get a pour-able consistency.

Now prep your dehydrator trays as if for fruit leather.  I've found if I don't need the whole tray space, I can run one length of plastic wrap down the middle of my trays and over the edge.  Then when I put it in the dehydrator, I put the non-wrapped edges in the tray grooves and it slides in nice and smooth.  You still get a lot of drying area on one length of plastic wrap.

Pour your blended veggie on the tray like for fruit leather.  You can go a bit thicker with the veggies.  Some vegetables may not need to be blended first, but I know carrots dry hard and I don't want to put my food processor or blender through the task of trying to chop dried carrots into a powder, so I blended it first and then blended it again after it was dry.

Once you've got it in the dehydrator, dry it until it's crispy.  So that it snaps when you take it off the trays and bend it.  Veggies don't stick together like fruits, so they look kind of crazy on the plastic when they're dried.

When you pull it off, break it into pieces small enough for your blender or food processor.  Apparently my food processor spins too fast to chop the veggie crisp into powder--it basically just spun around the edges of the food processor bowl, so I ended up using my blender.  The one I got from my brother when we got married.  Still works. :)

Blend it until it's a nice fine powder.  It might take a while.  Now you have powdered baby food!  Store it or pack it or use it.  I'll be getting some of this in my baby emergency kit next spring.

It is highly concentrated--that half a sandwich bag was the whole pot of carrots!

To reconstitute, I heated up 1/8 cup water and added 1 1/2 tsp of the carrot powder to it.  Proportion this to how much your baby eats, so 1/4 cup water to approx 1 TB of carrot powder.  It rehydrated very quickly, but I let it sit with the lid on for a minute or so just to make sure it was all soft.

It was a bit on the thick side, you might want to add a little more water or a little less powder depending on baby's tastes.

Yummy instant carrot baby food.  Organic from my own garden and man does it not take much space on my shelf!

Not too hard, right?  I'm doing squash next since I still have a bunch of winter squash that is hanging out in my living room as fall decor, but now it's December and I don't have enough Santa hats to make them into Christmas decor, so I guess I need to cook a few of them up.  Squash powder would be a great way to make them smaller, NOT use my freezer space for more squash, and have them around when I'm needing baby food next fall!