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Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Guest Post: Firestorm Chapter 10a , by Christopher Young

The Girls Turn

Dinner time arrived, at Bill's retreat. Madison had the chicken cooked up, heated on the camp stove. Connie was still asleep, so they went to the dining room table to eat. Madison struck another match, and lit a slim taper candle. Used that candle to light two pillar candles in glass, which were at the dinner table. The two kids sat at the table, and weren't sure what to do. Jade knew that the thing to do was eat. He was hungry from the day's stress. Scooped big piles of chicken onto his plate, and shovelled them in.

The kids heard what sounded like a car or truck rolling into the driveway. Surely, they must be mistaken. But when a car horn beeped outside the door, Madison and Jade looked at each other with fear. The bad men came back to hurt them some more? Without any conscious thought, they took each other by the hand, and walked slowly towards the front door.

Dinner at Sam's was a bit more animated. Sam was on a tirade about sanitation. The water was still on, which is good. Somehow, the water treatment plant in town hadn't been damaged. There was still plenty of water in the water tower. The sewage was still running, after all, it's all down hill from here. But, the solid waste garbage pile was unacceptable. Just an invitation to roaches, ants, and mice and rats. Gomer rolled his eyes, and pretended not to hear as Sam went on and on about the importance of disease control.

Brenda could see an argument about to happen, so she suggested turning on the radio for news. Without bothering to hear any replies, she went to the radio and turned it on. The last of a country western song came through the speaker. A wimpy hardly melodic wail came through, about getting his truck back from the bank. Gomer and Chris made violin motions, and pretended to be sad.

At the end of the song, the announcer came on. He reported on the local news. The county and city buildings in the nearby city had been burned to the ground, last night. The fire department had responded, but there wasn't enough manpower, or water or equipment to do much good. There was a live feed from Washington DC, which would be aired in about five minute. The President was preempting all other broadcasts, in order to adress the nation.

At Gomer's compound, Heather and the kids were not listening to the radio. Heather was doing her best to take care of Faith, even if she didn't much like the woman. Heather decided that she had best stay with her patient. She turned to Melissa, and asked her to start dinner. Burgers and fries. And be careful with the stove. Melissa beamed. She had helped Mother in the kitchen many times, but this was the first time she was allowed to do it all herself.

Heather asked Savannah about the camp fire. How did you know what to do? Savannah and Bobbi started to talk at the same time. Heather focussed on one, and then the other, and back. Finally she got the general idea that Gomer had been big on camping, and had taken the girls and Faith out camping several times. Faith mostly stayed in the car, and listened to her music. But,t he girs had paid attention the camp fire, the fishing, and the other parts of camping. They had learned a lot. Gomer had let them gather sticks, and they both knew about tinder, kindling, and fire wood. And how to find dry tinder. Heather was impressed.

The broadcast from Washington started. "My friends, fellow Americans, ths is the President. These are perilous times. Times of trouble and strife in this great land of ours. Many have suffered much, and we are doing what we can to rebuild this great land. We ask you to remain calm, in these troubled times. We are doing what we can, to find the source of the problem, and adress it at the root. So that we can one day very soon get back to the business of running this great nation as it once was, and may become again. God bless America."

Sam turned off the radio, and said to the assembled family that we've got to meet our neighbors, and see who's on our side. George would be a big help, now.

Brenda had been out to meet the neighbors

Heather finished dinner. She had so much enjoyed having someone else cook for a change. And, it turns out Melissa is a very good cook. Of course, she's done each of the things before. But this time, she managed to arrange it so the food all arrived at the table at the same time. Very impreessive. She's quite an intelligent girl.

Heather was thinking out loud. She could really use a pair of dry socks, now. Melissa said "no problem" and came back into the room with a pair of clean, dry socks. Still warm from the dryer. "How'd you do that?" heather asked. Well, you see, while you were out rescuing Faith, I decided to catch up on the house work. I had the boys bring all their dirty laundry. I sorted it, and washed it. Your socks were in the last load in the dryer. Heather was solidly impressed.

A quick check on Faith revealed that she was still deep in a coma. Heather decided it was time to see if the local farm store was open. Since the Buick was running, now, and had some gas in it. See if she could pick up on all the neighborhood news.

Heather called to Zack, who came into the room. Zack had been playing video games, and Heather figured it was time for him to get a little less screen time. Told him we're going to the farm store, and see if they are open. We can use a few things around the house. Heather assembled the other kids, and told everyone that Melissa is in charge. Do what she says. Melissa glowed, with the trust and responsibility.

Trust and responsibility. Madison was also enjoying being the oldest functioning person in the house. She and Jade walked slowly towards the door. They pulled the curtain aside just a tiny bit, and then both smiled. It was Martha, the woman who lived up the street. She is such a nice lady. She's been to the house many times. Usually brings cookies. Her husband was a quiet fellow, hardly said a word. Just sat and watched the television. Naturally, they were thrilled to see any friendly adult. The kids were getting lonely.

Madison threw open the front door, and they both started to talk at the same time. Martha just stood, and listened and listened. Martha finally started to get the picture. "Well, there's a lot of cleaning up to do, around here! This house smells like a distillery!"

That was just the prompt the kids needed. Madison got the bucket with the cleaning supplies, and Jade went to get the vacuum cleaner. Madison looked at her younger brother and said "whatcha gonna do with that?". Jade looked at Madison like she was stupid or something. "Well, d'uh, what else do you do with a vacuum cleaner? Wash windows or something?" Jade pluggged in the electric cord, while Madison smugly smirked, and watched for Jade to turn the switch. Jade flipped the switch, and looked blank. "Oh, yah, the power is off". Madison started to give him the royal horse laugh treatment, but Martha interrupted. "Now, now, lets rememeber how to treat each other with civility and manners".

"Whatcha gonna do with that big pile of meat?" Jade asked. He wasn't very fond of his step dad, and it showed. Martha hadn't thought quite that far ahead. Well, maybe the county coroner or someone would know. In the meantime, she checked on Connie. At least Connie was still alive, and breathing.

Time to Up-armor… The Gas Tank

Things that make you go......hmmmmmm.


Original Article

With the price of oil again pushing prices at the pump close to $4 a gallon, I’m thinking of the last time gas prices were this high in 2008 and gas theft was way up.
Some thieves didn’t bother cars with locking gas caps, while others didn’t even look at the caps and just put a hole in the bottom of the tank to drain it.
Gas prices will fluctuate but over the long-term they can only go higher, meaning such thefts are almost guaranteed to continue and increase. We drive 4WD vehicles that sit high off the ground, relatively easier to access the gas tank when compared to the average car. My insurance deductible is $500 and I’m not sure I’d want my rates to go up by making a claim, so my plan is target hardening; locking gas cap and some sort of protection or the tank. Parking in a secure garage or with the gas tank side up against a wall are not options right now.
Standard skid plates are available for some trucks but probably not for many cars. Also, many skid plates are made for protecting the tank from damage from rough terrain rather than preventing someone with a screwdriver or icepick from making a small hole. Sensors to detect gas tank molestation are also being marketed, but they are expensive and unproven.
I’m no veteran metal worker but have jerry-rigged a few minor projects, mostly with success. My plan is to fashion some sort of sheet metal, maybe diamond plate, to protect the tanks. This won’t stop a determined gas thief, but will deter the lazy ones or those with less time. Hopefully.
Why go to all the trouble? My guess is that in a situation where we need to bug out, fuel will be extremely tight and theft will be rampant. Ensuring we keep the fuel and prevent damage that could ground us is vital. So I think these precautions will be called for. I’ve only been thinking about this for a couple days and need to take a few photos before I decide what to do. Related ideas and suggestions would be appreciated.

Choosing a Hand Grain Mill

Original Article

How do I choose which hand grain mill to buy?
There is quite a range of prices for various hand grain mills, and it may seem difficult to decide which one to choose, but you can narrow your choice by deciding two basic things first.
One, do you intend to grind/mill into flour for breads (versus only for courser grinds)
Two, do you intend to use it frequently.
If you will be milling wheat to make flour for bread, you will want to be sure that the mill will grind the wheat berries into fine enough flour. Many cheaper models apparently do not, although many claim that they do. Just read the reviews of the product in consideration and you will usually get to the truth.
If you will be using the mill frequently, then it will be important to choose quality construction that will hold up to the test of usage and time. Many of the cheap mills have reviews that indicate that the unit falls apart or fails in one way or another after a relatively short time.
The phrase, ‘you get what you pay for’, is usually true enough. Unfortunately it often requires a higher than expected amount of money to purchase a product that is at least ‘good’, and even more money for a product considered to be ‘excellent’.

Regarding the notion of spending a bit of money… seeing how the dollar (and other currencies) will likely continue to devalue as national debts continues to soar, it may be smart to use some of one’s extra money to purchase tangible and practical products (and food items) today, before prices go higher tomorrow. This may included items to add to your preparedness supplies, one of which may be a hand grain mill.

We have been using an electric NutriMill Grain Mill for some time now, and make all of our bread with it (using Hard Red Wheat or Hard White Wheat) and we are very happy with it. Since we supplement a portion of our home electrical power with an off-grid solar system, we’ve not felt the immediate need to purchase a hand mill for a power-grid-down situation. However we’ve recently decided to go ahead and get one anyway, just in case…
This is when we discovered the quality versus price factor of these hand mills. It was surprising.

As of this post, we’ve not yet pulled the trigger and made a final decision on a particular model, so I thought it might be helpful to some of you to relate our experience.
It seems that every grain mill priced under $50 has generally poor reviews. There is this hand mill however, Victorio Hand Grain Mill, originally the ‘Back to Basics 555′, that has fairly good reviews for it’s price range ($69 as of this post). This might be a ‘good enough’ mill for the occasional user who isn’t too concerned that the flour may not grind as fine as more expensive mills.
Then we found this hand mill, Wonder Junior Deluxe Hand Grain / Flour Mill, which may end up being the best quality versus price – if you’re favoring the quality side of things. This mill comes with stone heads and stainless steel burr heads to accommodate different conditions, and will apparently grind fine flour (and everything else) without issue. It’s pricey though ($219 as of this post).
And then of course there is the top-of-the-line and seemingly best hand grain mill on the market, Country Living Hand Grain Mill, which will last generations and is built with the highest quality. It is very pricey ($395 as of this post), and may clearly be ut of the price range for some. But, it’s the best.
Feel free to comment on your own experiences, so to help future readers trying to decide which hand grain mill to buy…

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"Backfeeding" with a honda generator?

If you absolutely MUST hook up your generator this way, be sure your main breaker is OFF! You can back feed right out to your power pole and kill someone from the power company working out there.



check this out, what do you all think of this? looks good to me as long as the mains are shut - pulled. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P9y-d...CE5F2668F61239