Saturday, December 25, 2010

Survival Food: Turkey tips!

Used to having a dry turkey? Try this! Turn the turkey upside down and stuff an onion in body cavity. Pre-heat the oven to 325. Cook it until the breast meat is at 165 degrees. Cook it uncovered. Then take it out and let the turkey 'rest' under tinfoil for about 15-20 minutes. The turkey turned out so moist it was delicious!

Merry Christmas!

Well, I am with my family celebrating the holidays. Just thought I would drop you all a note saying I hope all of you are having a good, safe, Christmas with all your families.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Survival Gear: Squishy Bowls Product Test

Well, finally I did a test on those Squishy Bowls that I had purchased a while ago and they have held up to my expectations! I tested them both in the microwave, and in the freezing cold. First test that I did was I put them out in the snow for about 9 hours or so. The temp when I started the test was at about 12 degrees fahrenheit and by the time the test was done, the temp dropped to 5 degrees. They were still just as pliable, maybe slightly stiff but almost as squishy as when I first set them out and they did not crack when I squished them. This was freezing cold temps. I am a northerner so this really impressed me.

Then I tested the bowls in the microwave to boil water. Again, this really exceeded my expectations. Water came to a boil nicely, but one piece of advice, do not handle these when hot with your bare hands. The bowls are dark colored and absorb heat, so be careful when handling them. The bowls them selves did nicely, no warping of any sort. Also, these are not meant to cook with so do not put them over any kind of open heat source, these are silicone after all. It seems that they are microwave, freezer and dishwasher safe (though I have yet to test that). So far this looks like it will be a valuable addition to my vehicle bag.

I know that this is expensive for $20, but I rather shell out the extra bucks for good quality gear. Again, four paws up!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Survival Mentality: Extra Bag Freedom.

I like the idea of having an 'Emergency Vehicle Bag' in my vehicle.

I mean, it feels good to be able to pull over at a park, open up my vehicle bag and cook a hot meal out the back of my vehicle when ever I please. Sure it might be only an MRE, but to me, that is freedom.

And also, practicing using your vehicle bag is not only perfection, but tasty too!

Wednesday, December 08, 2010

Survival Mentality: Pay it Forward

"Give a man a fish, and he will eat for a day. Teach a man to fish and he will eat for a lifetime." -- English Proverb.

I saw this little program that the American Preppers Network has a few months back called Pay it Forward and thought I would mention it. What you do, is you go there and print out one of the Pay it Forward Bucks, as many as you want. And then when you do a good deed for someone, you hand them one of those bucks and ask them to do what it suggests. I like this idea, as it gets the word out about the site and about prepping in general. It has been a while since I heard about it, but I think this would be a good thing to pass around to others. Not a bad deal huh?


Monday, December 06, 2010

Survival Mentality: A Jar of Jelly

Nothing feels good like opening the fridge for a jar of jelly to add to your peanut butter sandwich, but feeling slightly disappointed when you find out you ran out, yet happy that you find another jar hidden in the very bottom of your extra storage bin later.

It is the simple things like that, that I love.

*NOTE TO SELF: Get or make some more jelly!


Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Survival Mentality: The Prepper Life

Blogger Ben said...

How to make prepping an addition to your life and not your entire life. Making your life simpler via doing things for your self, but not being so pre-occupied with it that you can enjoy life and share with others.

Thank you for your reply, and that is a good question! Honestly I had to think about this a while. The reason being is that the basics of prepping is normal for me. What I did with prepping was integrate it in my life, almost to the point that I really did not have to think about it too much. My family taught me those lessons because that is what they did. I don't think of prepping as a separate activity, it is a part of life.

For example, just today I went to the grocery store for a few items that I was running low on. I saw a good sale on a type of bread that I love that I was out of and it was a good deal, buy one get one free. Well I normally buy two loaves, but with the deal, I got two extra. The two loaves I keep out to use, and the rest I freeze for later. When I get home I sort the stuff that will get used soon from the stuff that I will put in extra storage right away. See some can goods that you normally eat, like a good sale on canned corn? Buy what you need, and then get a few extra on top of that and store it away. I do this on my grocery day and just add a little each time. Then I go do what I want. I just leave it at that. Over time I dont have to go to the grocery store as much, and since I live in Minnesota, I dont like driving in winter. Doing this cuts down on that.

In reality, prepping IS a lifestyle. I think for the longest time it was normal, at least with our grandparents and great grandparents. This was just what they did and did not have to talk about it. Right now I think some have to consiously think about it because we are not used to doing it. Many have become so used to having everything at our disposal, and that has made us a little slothful in a way. In this way it makes prepping a bit of a chore. Well there are ways to make it fun! Prepping is not only working with food, but also with skills. Some of these skills you can make into hobbies. Maybe try something new that you would not normally do and take pleasure in it. Get your family into it too. Costume making teaches sewing, and kids love cosplaying! I found a good forum that helps out with making costumes, which equals making your own clothes! Or get involved in First Aid or CPR, the Red Cross has excellent classes. I liked taking those classes when I was in girl scouts. Maybe turn off the T.V. and take the kids out camping. That is a good way to teach prepping skills, without making it a chore.

Can you guys out there think of more ideas like this for your family? I hope this is a good illustration, and that I did not ramble too much... heh.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Survival Gear: Squishy Bowls!

Just want to make a quick note, I got a new item in the mail! I recently purchased a set of Squishy Bowls (eighth item down if you click the link.) These are a set of silicone base bowls that you can fold down or squish flat for something like a pack as part of a kitchen kit. They seem really durable, are dishwasher safe and resistant to heat up to 400 degrees, though do not put them over a direct heat source. They come in a two pack. The one that I got squeezed in my hand is a 6oz cup, the other one is a 12oz bowl. I got a set of these for when I travel or hike.

The business I got this from is Canteen Shop for about $20. The company gets four paws up from me because of the speedy delivery, (I ordered them from the site on monday and got them on thursday!) AND they take PAYPAL!

BTW, Thank you for your ideas guys in the last article, I will take them under suggestion. If any of you have any more, let me know.

Friday, November 05, 2010

Reader ideas, suggestions for articles?

Hey guys, I am just kicking this out there. Is there anything that you guys would like me to write about, topics and such? I would like to know. I am an urban / apartment prepper so I think I am a little unique in that route. Also I am into learning new skills too. Maybe some more instructional articles on dehydrating or start canning?

If you guys have any ideas for articles on my blog, things that you would like to see me do, put them in the comments section. I would like to hear from you guys!

Monday, October 18, 2010

Survival Food: Liquid Gold

Honey is liquid gold. It has simple sugars, B and C vitamins, and it has medicinal values too. Add this to cuts and burns to keep from infection, use it as a 'liquid bandage' in a pinch. It has antimicrobial properties. But the best is that this is one food that NEVER GOES BAD! It has many literal uses for it, that I am really surprised that this is not really mentioned for survival bags. Thought I would mention this.

You can read where I found this info on here: Bees online

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Survival Gear: Bag Balm

Hey guys, got another good multi-use item that I would recommend. Bag Balm! Originally used for irritated cow udders, this lanolin and petroleum based product is great for other uses. Not only does it work on cows, but it also works well on human skin too. It is excellent for dry chapped hands, stops skin irritation, helps speed minor wound care healing. Here is a USA Today Article that tells a little bit more on the history and uses of this stuff. I did not know that they used this stuff on the pads of the cadaver dogs at the World Trade Center Site.

Personally I used this on my own hands. It is a little greasy, but it really worked making my hands soft. I would suggest putting this on at night and letting it soak into your skin, it only takes a little bit to work. It is a good addition to the med cabinet.

Sunday, October 03, 2010

Survival Food: Drink Mixes

Just thought I would do a quick little article about some things that I am currently storing as an alternative to soda pop. Need to get off that caffeine, and some of these drinks are good to carry in an emergency vehicle bag.

Teas: Yes, I drink a lot of tea. Most of the time I make a lot of my own herbal mixes for different reasons. Most are made for medicine when I am sick or just for plain enjoyment. Some though I do buy from the store and many are good and not so good. The best ones that I like are Biglows Tea and Native American Tea Company teas. Those two I find consistently taste the best. There are several downsides to this choice for drinks. 1. Many teas contain caffeine, and if you are in an area where water is scarce, you do not want to be losing more water than you take in. Caffeine makes you pee a lot. This is a good thing to keep in mind. 2. A good base of knowledge in herbs really helps, ESPECIALLY if you grow/harvest/forage/purchase in bulk whole leaf teas. It is good to know the effects and side affects of plants and how they affect you! You have to be very careful and know what you are doing. Boxed teas are for the most part ok, but if you plan to harvest wild plants, learn all that you can about them. You cannot make a mistake with something like this. I say this because some poisonous plants look a lot like safe plants out in the wild. It is a good idea to do a lot of reading from resources like Peterson's Field Guide to Edible and Medicinal Plants, get good instructional training. For me studying plants is a lot of fun, I enjoy it. But if you feel this is not the route for you, don't do it. In a survival situation, you cant afford to make mistakes.

Dry Milk: This is good for a lot of stuff, just to drink and to cook with. At $7 a box it easily is a bargain to buy than the gallon stuff if you drink or use a lot of it. There are also some individually wrapped packets that can be put in backpacks for on the go. Which I think it would be a good idea as it does contain protein. The only downside of this is it does taste like skim milk, otherwise it is not bad cold.

Gatorade Dry Mix: Yep, I drink Gatorade quite a bit. I get the big cans of it from walmart for a pretty decent price. Also it comes in individually wrapped packets for those on the go, I have seen them at places like REI. If anyone else knows where I can get those, let me know. It is good for sodium and electrolytes as well as flavoring water.

Emergen-C Packets: Good for adding vitamins to your drink, but not so good as a stand alone. It does have a lot of C in it as well as B vitamins. I do suggest adding it in with something else like juice to make it more palatable. They are a little pricey too, but still ok. This is carried by a lot of grocery, health food and drug stores.

Hot Chocolate: Again it is another option for flavoring water. You can buy them in canisters and individual packets. I just recently got some from Honeyville Farms hot chocolate with marhmallows, though I have not tried it out yet as I am still finishing off a canister of Nestle's Quick that I bought 6 years ago. The powders I find never really go bad. It works well as a nice morale booster. What better way to end the day fighting the massive zombie hoard, or living through a cold winters day than a nice cup of hot chocolate? **/joking** Kids would like this. This you can get most anywhere.

Kool-Aid and other brand mixes: This is my last choice for a drink mix, only because of several things. 1. A lot of them have Aspartame so READ LABELS. 2. Other chemicals like dyes and stuff. I am really odd when it comes to those things. If anything else though, this is still AN option for flavoring water. Many come in individual packets and whole canisters. Kool-aid even came out with a tablet form of mix like that of Alkaseltzer, just drop in the tablet. No need to add sugar and each of the tablets is individually wrapped too, so they do not take up much space. Kids love this, but I am not too keen on having this. Again, this you can get most anywhere.

That is all I have for the basics in drink mixes, if any of you out there have any suggestions, just put them in the comments area. I would like to hear your ideas and findings.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Survival Gear: Carts!

I am not sure if anyone has talked about carts on here, but I thought I would mention it. Since I live in an apartment, I needed a way to haul groceries and other items from my car fairly quickly. I well I got one several years ago for Christmas. That thing has helped like you would not believe. I have used it for hauling my laundry down to the laundromat, bringing home groceries, to hauling out garbage. In fact it came in handy when the apartment elevator broke down and I needed to use the stairs. That cart saved me several trips if I had to do it by hand, so instead of making 3-4 trips, It only took me 1. This one is close to the one that I have, from the same company, except it does not have a metal plate. Also there is an extra thick rubber-ish hooded liner that you can put in it. I have taken this cart to many stores and have never gotten a complaint. Overall it is well made, folds up very flat so it saves room and I use it all the time.

Do any of you use carts, trailers or wagons?

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Goodies in the Mail!

Yesterday I got some goodies that I will be doing reviews on. One is 'One Man's Wilderness' by Sam Keith and Richard Proenneke, the other is '98 degrees: The Art of Keeping Your Ass Alive' by Cody Lundin. Both I got on Amazon, plus I have some stuff on the way that I will be testing out. Thought I would let you guys know.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Survival Media: Dual Survival

Morning guys, it is WAY early for me to be up, but I cant sleep due to my back is sore, and I am not going to waste time doing nothing. Plus on top of that, I will be very busy this weekend and will not have time to put up another blog post till next week. Now on to the topic, Dual Survival.

I am not sure how I found out about this show, though I know it was from somewhere on the internet. Dual Survival is about two survival experts who have had opposite types of training in survival. The famous Cody Lundin, (author of 98 degrees, and When All Hell Breaks Loose,) is an expert in primitive survival skills and believes in working with nature. Dave Canterbury is trained in the military ways of survival, believing that nature is against you. Both of these men are put together in typical dangerous survival situations, with tools that everyday people are likely to have with them. One situation was if your car dies in a desert area, what do you do? Would you think about taking out the reflectors in the car headlights to help start a fire? They show what can be used for tools and how to improvise for the things you need. That is pretty typical for every show, but it is interesting how they go around doing things. Dave tries to rely on hunting for meat more, whereas Cody checks areas for wild plants and insects as a food base. They go over the basics of food, shelter, fire, water and security, and show the multiple ways that those can be obtained. These two really know their stuff.

Now, I must admit, when I first heard about the synopsis of the show, I thought that this was going to be an out and out "reality show" kind of bitchfest. From what I remember there was a little amount of that in the first episode, but after Cody made that amazing shelter in the first episode, there was a huge amount of respect between the two men. Sure there still some times that they pick on each other, but all in all it is not that bad. I have to admit, this a bit of a refreshing change from other shows.

The one gripe that I have about this show are They always point out that Cody walks around barefoot, We really do not need to be reminded about that so much.

Overall it is entertaining to watch.

Saturday, September 04, 2010

Survival Gear: Flour Sack Cloth

sack cloth

Thought I would mention this to you guys. I know that many folks recommend a sort of large cloth like a bandanna for an emergency bag or a Bug Out Bag. Here is an alternative to the bandanna, flour sack cloth. The white piece of material under the camo colored bandanna in the picture above is flour sacking. It is pretty good because most flour sacking is a little bit bigger than a bandanna and can be used for a lot of things. Good flour sacking is really thick and durable, can soak up a bit of water, yet it dries pretty quickly. It can serve as a hat, a shirt if you have more than one and I have even heard of this material being made in to dresses during the Depression era. It can act as a bag too. I personally have been using really good sack cloth for years as dish drying towels. I have some that were given to me. Even the white color can act as a contrasting flag to signal for help in an emergency. I keep an eye out for this when I can and recently I had bought some from wal-mart for under $5 and some a little pricier at hardware stores. I know that there are some dollar store ones that are thin and cheap, but quality is best.

If any of you out there know where to get some more real quality sack cloth, let me know.

Flour Sacks for Clothes Article

Friday, August 27, 2010

Survival Gear: The Army's Greatest Invention


No, it is not a gun, or a plane. It's a can opener. Yes a can opener. A P-38 Military Can Opener to be exact. Yes, unless you have been in the Army, though I dont think they use them anymore (if I am wrong please correct me in the comments area), you might have not seen the style of one of these before. Sure there are the commercial hand held openers, but many of our veterans have sworn by these. Years ago these used to come in C-rations for opening the canned goods that came with them. The actual can opener itself is a little bit smaller than what the picture shows, it is exactly 2 inches long and an inch and an 8th wide. It is steel, with a 3/4ths of an inch curved claw blade that can open almost any can, and be used for other purposes too, like cutting things that need cutting, or used as a mini screwdriver. It is small, light, compact, and to me seems pretty tough and the hole on the end makes it so it could be put on a necklace or keychain. I tried it out on a can of tuna for my lunch yesterday. This is a useful little tool.

BTW, I bought 15 of these for $7 total at amazon, though supposedly many have lasted a lifetime for our veterans.

Go here for more information on this little tool at Wikipedia. There is another link on that page to Georgia Outfitters where they have veterans stories on how this little tool was used too in the resources area.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Survival Gear: Field Testing Part 2

I am just quick making another post because there are also a few other things that I forgot to mention. It is a good idea to field test your gear for several good reasons.

1. It is good practice. Get comfortable actually using it, even if it is for mundane things. Good example is what I mentioned in my last post, I made my lunch with it. What good is your gear if you do not know how to use it or how it works? Testing in relatively safe conditions before you happen to get into trouble helps.

2. It shows where you can make improvements with your bag, and your personal skills. Are there things that you forgot to add? Or is there something that you did not think of, but found you could use later? For example, my bag could use a rag for cleaning things like dishes. Or maybe an extra pair of socks to keep your feet dry? If you do not have it, then you cant use it.

3. Testing shows how well your gear performs too. Maybe you bought or made something that was supposed to work, but didn't?

4. It gives you a chance to use up the perishable things in your bag so that way what you have does not go to waste. Waste not, want not.

These are all good things to keep in mind when you put together an emergency bag. Someday you may have to rely on it.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Survival Gear: Field Testing!

You know, sometimes it is good to field test your gear from time to time. It is good practice, and sometimes you get some surprising results. I wanted to get used to using my vehicle bag for basic stuff. What I decided to do was use it to make myself lunch, just a simple mountain house meal. I carry with me some sterno with a sterno stove and a magnesium firestarter as a part of my kit. Remember, I tested this setup once before at home, and it worked pretty well. But there was a difference, it was AT HOME and I used a glass jar. This time I went to a small park, used the same stove and my canteen cup and water that I had stored in my vehicle. This time, it took longer because I was outside and there was a bit of wind, and the water never really got to boiling, but it did get barely hot enough to use. This is something to keep in mind if I am going to use this setup again. In calm conditions it might be different. But hey, it helped start the baby steps to starting out in outdoor cooking, and it feels good to know that I can cook a basic meal anywhere... I hope to do more soon. This is a good example though to go out and practice some skills and get comfortable with using different tools.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Site Edit: Wolves love Birdies!

Just wanting to let you guys know, this old wolf is now on Twitter! Click the follow me button on the right side of the page to get den updates! The Wolf Den is now LIVE on Twitter!

Also, if you like any of my articles and want to share them, you can now click the 'Tweet THIS' button at the bottom of each post! Spread the word about this place!

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Slight update!

Hey guys, I know it has been a month since I posted anything. I promise I should have some articles up by the end of this week. This past month I have been taking care of some things on the *ahem* cave front. Which is what survival is after all. Take care of your own home first, then the world.

Just thought I would put up a quick post first.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Survival Mentality: Quiz Question Reply

Answer: It is YOU! You are your greatest survival tool, both body and mind. It is yours and yours alone. What you do with it, how you feed it, take care of it, and teach it can possibly make the difference if you would make it out of a situation. How in shape is your body? Do you exercise, or do you lay on the couch all day (sorta guilty on that one...). Do you eat fruits and veggies? Or do you eat fast food? Do you teach yourself new skills, or was the last time you read a book back in high school? I think these are legitimate questions to ask yourself, and GET HONEST WITH YOURSELF! That is the best thing, getting honest.

I know I am guilty on not doing a lot of that stuff, like the exercising, and not eatin right, and I have only myself to blame on that one. But, I am going to fix that and start a small routine. I have some exercises that are pretty simple to do that will help me. As far as the food issue, I have been recently going to the farmers market on saturdays getting fresh stuff to eat, while supporting local farmers, and getting lots of exercise from the walking and lifting! The skills thing I am working on right now. I had bought several books that, while I am sitting on the couch, I am at least reading them, and gaining knowledge on what to do. So far I have Urban Survival Guide and Cody Lundin's book 'When All Hell Breaks Loose.' (Reviews are coming on those!) And soon I will be doing the lessons and ideas from those books. Also just recently I have been field testing a few items that I have bought and am actually working with. I bought a second small Sterno stove (Wow, say that five times fast) to use for just as a second stove here at home, or to have an extra for my vehicle bag. Also, keeping up this blog is a good thing too, because I am not only reminding myself what I have learned, but I am also helping you guys out there too. Practicing these things also helps to get the mindset, and helps not to let panic set in. I never knew the freedom of carrying a mini kitchen with me, and having the skills to make a meal whenever I wanted. It felt kind of nice. If you know what to do in hard situations, you are less likely to panic, and more likely to live. Even speaking is a good skill, as Bob mentioned in his comment on my last article, it might be able to get you out of trouble.

I am not sure what made me write this post. Maybe it was the show 'I shouldnt be alive'. Where a couple got lost in the jungle for several nights, and did what they could to survive, on hardly any water, an very little food. The sheer mentality got them through it. Or it maybe just a random thought or two.

To sum everything up... Your body and mind is the best survival tool you have, and everyone knows, if you neglect your tools, they wont work when you need them the most. So take care of it! Thanks to everyone who has responded, and sorry for the delay. Thanks again!

Friday, May 14, 2010

Survival Mentality: Quiz question!

Ok, I know that I have been doing a lot of product reviews and have not gone into the survival mentality too much since I started this blog. I thought I would just put a question out there that might get some folks gray matter going. I think most on here might get it right away, but here goes...

Question: What is your greatest survival tool?

Feel free to post your answers in the comments area.

(BTW, I will be posting the comments in a few days!)

Tuesday, May 04, 2010

Survival Gear: Cup and canteen

Water. Something we take for granted. For thousands of year the human populace has lived near sources of water. We need it, but for the longest time, we have been complacent about it. It used to be for some of us to take the bucket to the nearest water source daily, now it is just turn on the tap and hello WATER! Statistically we can live 3 weeks without food, but we cannot live three days without clean drinking water. It keeps us alive and healthy. Why am I talking about this? Well the situation in Massachusetts comes to mind. Seems that many would be willing to give their right or left (fill in body part here) for clean drinking water.

I am no expert on this, but boiling it does work. There are filters out there that do work too. M.D. Creekmore mentions of a water filter that you can make. There are commercial filters out there that you can purchase too. There are also ways of chemically treating it too. A combination of these methods is the best for removing impurities and bugs. Personally so far I have just bought bottled water for storage and rotate it when needed, will be working on my water skills when I can. I need to work on a lot of skills.

And of course, storing them in jugs and water specific containers is the best for storage. There are water specific conatiners out there, but my advice to you if you re-use containers... DO NOT USE MILK JUGS! Even the ones that you fill up at the store. I have known them to leak, and water leaks are no fun to clean up in a home. Get ones that are meant to hold water for long periods, and make sure that you clean them before putting clean water in them. Make sure you read up on how to store water, (I am doing that myself, I got Cody Lundin's book "When All Hell Breaks Loose". Might do a review on that in the future).

Also, get used to carrying some water with you, either in a backpack, vehicle, or purse. It is sometimes nice to have a drink of water on you, without having to pay too much for it. Since I travel a lot, I picked up a military G.I. metal cup, a 1 quart canteen and cover at Camping Survival. I want to add that, that online store is excellent! Speedy service. Two paws up! The whole canteen kit fits well on my backpack too. I wanted the metal cup so that way if I needed to boil water with it, I can (Yay for multipurpose!)

So, that is all that I can think of for now, sorry for the delay between posts, been doing a lot of stuff around here. If any of you want to add anything to this article, please put it in the comments area!

Friday, April 16, 2010

Survival Media: After Armageddon

Hey, back again with another review! This time I am giving a review on The History Channels documentary 'After Armageddon'. The premise of the documentary is what more than likely will happen after a huge catastrophe, and in this case they used a global pandemic. Which in reality, I could see that happen some what. Disease spreads really fast and can move with speed, especially if someone is a carrier, and do not know it. So I could see this as plausible but slightly far fetched.

What they try to show is what would possibly happen with an "average" family, what should be done to protect a family during a crisis like this and what might happen afterwords. They talk about what would happen in the cities as far as food, water, and basic sanitation services, if those fail due to the crisis. They talk about other things like human migration from the large populaces. And what I like most of all is that it talks about the human behavioral aspect before, during and after too, from what I can see. Mind you I am just a beginner (as in no formal training) in learning this stuff, but so far this looks like a very good documentary as a layman's common sense perspective. Just to mention where I got it, I downloaded it from Itunes, just to add it to my collection.

Thursday, April 08, 2010

Survival Resource: The Survivalist Blog Resource list!

I just wanted to post that M.D. Creekmore came out with an excellent resource list that spans a huge list of skills and topics. Some good reference and resource materials. Check it out!

Wednesday, April 07, 2010

Survival Food: Honeyville Farms

Every once in a while I like to try out new companys, especially when they are recommended by others. Well about a week back The Survival Mom recommended the site Honeyville Farms as a good place to buy dried goods. So I did check out the site. To me they looked legit so I thought I would give them a chance, so I placed an order for 2 cans of their Freeze Dried Apples a week ago. I just got the small cans, not #10 size. What really pleased me is that this is one of the few businesses that does take Paypal as an ordering option. It makes things so much easier to pay for stuff online. Well, I just got my order today and tested one of the cans out. The product tastes really good! I was pretty impressed. I opened one can which I will use and the other went into my long term storage.

With good taste, good service, timely shipping as well as well packed, this is definitely worth a two paws up! Full Recommendation. If I get any other items from them, I will post about them on here.

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Survival food: More Mountain House!


Yep! I taste tested some more Mountain House stuff! This time I did three different items from them. Two out of the three I liked. The two that I liked were their meals. I tried Chili Mac with Beef (shown above), which I did like as it was full of good beans, noodles and meat. Also had a pretty strong spicy flavor to my taste. I would suggest this for a good home meal, or a back packing meal. It was that good. Two paws up!

The second one was Lasagana with Beef, (unfortunately no picture). This one was pretty good, albeit slightly more bland than the chili mac. Had tomato sauce, lasagna noodles, cheese like stuff, and meat. Still though it was tasty and with the right spices I would make it better. I would have it for a vehicle bag or something for a hike. Both meals were very filling. Here a hesitant two paws up.


The third one I had was one of their desserts, their neapolitan ice cream. It was a bit of a different experience. It had a texture that felt like I was chewing on styrofoam that melted and tasted sweet in 3 different flavors. I am not sure if I would try this again, it was not bad... just not what I am used to. The jury is still out on this one, though not too enthuastic about it.

Have any of you tried other Mountain House products or other MREs? Please feel free to post your suggestions and opinions!

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Survival Skill: Laundry Day!


Well, maybe not a survival skill per-se but, more of a home domestication skill. I know if you are in a survival situation water will be more valuable, but I think this would come in handy if electricity goes out for a few weeks or for a longer term solution, provided that you have a reliable source of water, if electricity is still out. Our great grandparents learned to clean their clothes long before there was a washing machine or electricity. To me during tough times, cleanliness is everything. You keep clean, and you keep relatively healthy. So, I think this skill might come in handy.

What I use is just a regular rubber dish basin (you can also use a clean bucket) and a toilet plunger. Why a toilet plunger? It is good for agitating the fabric, (as well as good exercise for your arms!) I got the basin for $6 at a grocery store and plunger for $3 at a huge box hardware store. BTW, I use that plunger for laundry ONLY, nothing else, hehehe. I have a seperate plunger for the toilet. What I use for cleaning materials is borax ($4 a box), Dr Bronner's Magic Castille Soap (the most expensive at $9.50, HOWEVER, I use very little per load), white vinegar ($1.25), and regular bleach ($4-ish). NOTE: I only use bleach for bed linens, and undergarments. Do not use bleach like Hi-lex on colored stuff, it will take out the dyes in color garments. Also, I don't touch bleach water with my bare hands. I heard it is not good to do that. So I use rubber gloves. Does anyone know if this is true? I also use Ivory bar soap for things that will stain. Add the clothes into the basin, work with the plunger for a while, rub out any clothes with stains, and then rinse your clothes really, really well.

For drying clothes, I just wring them out really well, and hang them up someplace that it is o.k. to let them drip dry. Clothes lines work well for most places, but for places like an apartment, I recommend an inexpensive folding clothes rack. That is what I use. Depending on the time of the year, clothes are usually dry within a day. If I need my stuff dry within few hours, I take and put the clothing rack in front of my box fan, since I have electricity.

Again, sorry for the long delay between posts, been busy with some stuff.

Thursday, March 04, 2010

Survival Gear: Sewing Awl

I have read on many Emergency Bag lists that sewing needles and thread should be added, usually a small boxed sewing kit. Well, I did find something that I think would be a good addition to a bag. Well I found a really nice sewing awl stitcher kit called 'Awl for All'.

It comes with the stitcher, instructions, two needles, a spool of really thick waxed thread, and a screwdriver tool. It is really light and compact with the needles and screwdriver all fit in the hollow wooden handle with room for extras if you need it. It works really well on sewing up thick leather and supposedly canvas. The most it does is a lock stitch, but for making repairs or needing to just sew things together, it works really nicely. I have been practicing on really thick leather. It is something I would add to a bag or just use every day. I picked it up for about $11 at Sportsman's Guide . They do have a deluxe kit, with the stitcher with some large spools of thread and extra needles outside what the original kit has.

sewing awl

This is what it looks like all together with some practice stitches.

CORRECTION: I added in the word 'supposedly' when mentioning it works well with leather and canvas. I have not worked with it on canvas... yet. I will try it though. Sorry about that. Also, there is a main website Awl for All for the little awl. It says it can be used on tarp, plastic and sail material. Thought I would add that.

Sunday, February 28, 2010

Updates coming on monday

Hey guys, sorry I have been a little big lax on getting some updates done this week. I had some personal stuff going on that kept me pretty busy. I promise you I will have something up by tomorrow. I will be reviewing a couple of books that I received recently, and might practice some canning too.

Oh, also I was able to find a bit more gear that might come in handy, I will be doing a short review on that too. More coming up later.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Survival Food: Farmers Market

Went out this past weekend, and did a little shopping off the beaten path. Around where I live there is a good size outdoor farmers market. I had heard about it before, but I thought it was like most farmers markets where they only run from spring to fall. But recently I found out the local one near me also runs a winter market. So out of curiosity, and a BAD case of cabin fever, I decided to make the trip. Getting down there was not too much trouble.

It was really nice out, being at about 32 degrees or so. (Around where I am at during this time of the year, that is nice.) Most of the vendors were selling bread, honey and meat. They had everything from chickens, beef and ham, to lamb and bison. I even found some things that I normally dont see in the local grocery chains like pork lard and bars of beeswax. When I was there I picked up 2lbs of honey for $7.50, a pound of bison meat for $6 and some summer sausage for $3. Even bought a bar of beeswax for $1. As far as the prices go, I found that they were quite comparable to slightly cheaper than the grocery stores. Granted meat is quite expensive on a budget, but this was not bad. I found a whole young chicken for just a little over $4. As for bison, in the stores it normally runs about $6.50 in one pound packages. I will definitely go back during the spring and summer months to check out the prices then on fruits and veggies. If prices are good then, I might make more trips down there.

Also, with the farmers market, you are supporting your local growers, and getting your goodies direct from the farms. In many areas that cuts down the cost (I think... let me know if this is true in other places). So that is a major plus!

Monday, February 15, 2010

Survival Food: Adventures in Dehydrating, Tropical Blender Fun (UPDATE OOPS)!

Hey guys, I am updating with just a little news. Got sick with the flu over the weekend, so there was no update. I am feeling a lot better, it was just a quick form of it, but you know it is the reason why I prep! I do get sick a lot, so there you go! Had all the food and stuff that I needed. Also noted what I needed to do better the next time it happens. That is all I am going to say on it for now.

As with the Fruit blend, it did not work out on the first attempt, it came up in fragmented pieces. No worries though, I will keep experimenting with it. I know it can be done, I might need to add in a bit more water to help things blend better, or blend it differently. I will note down what I do and tell you all.

I might also be working on some skills, like sewing and leather working. I will probably be adding that on here too. I think those skills might come in handy. I will keep you guys posted!

Keep coming back.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Survival Food: Adventures in Dehydrating, Tropical Blender Fun!


Hi guys, I am back from my weekend trip. Just spent a few day relaxing from being out and about around so many people. Got some new ideas for this place too which I might share later on hopefully. Right now though, I thought I would create another quick fruit leather experiment. I got this idea from a friend of mine. Take one can of your favorite fruit, in this case I like tropical fruit salad, and throw it in a blender, juice, fruit and all. (BUT NOT THE CAN... and no, I do not speak from experience on this one, it is just common sense! :)) Anyways, then I did like what I did with the Apple Fruit Leather . Pour it on the tray, spread it very thin, and let it dry at the regular temperature. Hopefully this will come out OK.

Will show the results later!

Thursday, February 04, 2010

Survival Food: Vitamins... Overlooked?


Vitamins... Do many preppers over look this resource? Everyone thinks about food as a necessity, and yes I do heartily agree with that. But some foods can only go so far with nutritional content. Human body needs more of a regular daily nutritional upkeep more than what an MRE can do and what even regular food can do for that matter. I think that vitamin pills would be a necessary item to be added to extra storage, Bug Out Bags, Get Home Bags, and other survival kits. I would add in a good Multi vitamin, some fish oil, extra vitamin C, and other necessary supplements if used for your health.

As a side note, I have personally tested the Emergen-C powder packets that you see in the picture above. It says it has vitamin C, and the power comes in several different flavors. The two that I have are lemon lime and orange. Personally, I find them barely palatable on its own in water, but it is not bad if you mix it with other fruit flavored drinks. I tried both with just water, and also mixed with Gatorade. I am not sure if the Vitamin part works well mixed with that, or even if the powder works at all. Though mixing it with something else made the powder more drinkable. If you need the extra boost of C, that might be an option. Note though that I am not a doctor so talk with your doc about this stuff.

Well, I will not be posting much till either sunday or tuesday as I am going to be out of town for the weekend for some fun. Got to do something to break up the winter monotony!

Tuesday, February 02, 2010

Survival Food: Mountain House Spaghetti Taste Test.


Hey guys, I am again trying some new stuff again. I kind of like to try out new things once in a while. So, I thought I would try a freeze dried meal. I know that there are a lot of freeze dried meals out there, tons of different companies, so I went and bought one. A popular brand out there is Mountain House, and also it was the only one that Walmart actually sells, errr that I have seen at any rate. It runs about $5 for one bag of 2 servings.


Cooking it was pretty simple. Just heat 2 cups of water to boiling, put it in the bag, stir it, seal it up, and let it sit for about 9 minutes. Then stir again and eat. I thought it looked a little soupy, but then I realized that if during a "troubling situation", liquids are at a premium, so I would probably prefer it a bit a little soupy. The taste is not bad really, and it would make a nice welcome hot meal. It kind of tastes like canned Spaghetti O's.

This would be pretty good for a vehicle or emergency kit. Just make up a little cooking kit with some Sterno, a Sterno stove, stick matches, a metal cup, and some water with this, and you have a pretty good meal kit. I know there are tons of self heating MREs out there, but this is the one locally that I could get my paws on. Mountain House sells a lot of ready made meals in bags, packs, kits and #10 cans on their site, as well as local distributors. At less than $5 this is a bit of a budgetary concern, however for something to add to a vehicle kit on occasion, it would be well worth the price. If stranded, I do not want to ever be caught without food. This is the first time I am trying their products, and so far this was pretty good for a commercial MRE.

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Survival Books: FREE E-book Its The End of the World as We Know it... and I feel Fine.

Just thought I would post this for you guys. M.D. Creekmore, the owner of The Survivalist Blog put out his own urban survival e-book for free called "Its The End of the World as We Know it... and I feel Fine." This book is a very basic, no frills sort of survival book. It covers a lot of topics like Food and Water perserving and storing, BOBs, basic medical information and protection. Overall it is a really good all around book.

What I like best is this book has a chart of how long dried food stores last in reasonable conditions and covers everything from fruit and veggies to powdered drinks and spices. He even has recommendations on gear and grain mills. Personally I added this to my growing information files on food storage. Best of all, it is FREE!

Download it from here if you want: M.D. Creekmore's Book

This is a re-post from Today's Survival forums here.

Friday, January 29, 2010

Survival Food: Adventures in Dehydrating, Apple Fruit Leather... Results!


...And about 6 hours later....

Fruit leather made from apple sauce! I was right, I had to go thinner. The recipe worked out, and it is yummy! They really taste like fruit roll ups like you get in the store. Except it is much cheaper, very simple to make, and if you make your own apple sauce, MUCH healthier. I will definatly make more. This makes really nice treats for when you are on the go. Something that is a good food to carry that does not take up much space in a lunch box or backpack. I will look into more recipes on working with this.

PERSONAL NOTE: other than what I explained earlier, it is also best to spread it pretty evenly, otherwise some parts of the leather will get done faster than others. Again, another lesson learned.

If you have kids, they might like making this.

Thanks to The Survival Mom for the recipe.

Survival Food: Adventures in Dehydrating, Apple Fruit Leather... oops..

Just a small update here... I made some leather... but I ate it, but for a good reason! I made a mistake. What I did wrong was I spread it out too thick. Took a bit too long to dry. When in doubt, go thinner and dry it longer. Otherwise, it has potential, just that the mistake was my own. That is what I am learning here, but I thought I would mention it on here. I started a new batch today, so I will post my results as soon as they get done. Also, next week I will have some new articles on survival books, skills and other items. Stay tuned!

Monday, January 25, 2010

Survival Food: Adventures in Dehydrating, Apple Fruit Leather!


Got another article for you guys. Again, I am playing with my dehydrator. This time I am going to try and make a yummy inexpensive treat! Apple fruit leather. I got this idea from The Survival Mom. A while back she had an article on Simple Secrets of Food Dehydration and in that article she talks about making fruit leather with apple sauce. Since I am rotating out some old apple sauce, I might as well try this! I had gotten some Musselman's on sale a while back pretty cheap at around $4 for two 46oz jars (from what I remember). Always look out for a good deal on food. I really did forget that I had those stored away, almost going out an buying some had it not been for me rotating my can storage. Now I thought I would put them to good use. The recipe in it self is really easy.


My dehydrator comes with a solid flat round tray insert ring that you can add to a regular tray. Then just pour in the apple sauce and spread it around till the tray is covered and it is about 3/8ths of an inch thick. I used about half the bottle, which might be a bit too much, but we will see. As you can see I have already done that in the picture. Then I set the temp at about 135F and I will let it go for about 6 hours. I will post the results at the end of the drying time.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Survival Food: Adventures in Dehydrating Part 4, Microwave Results


Well, here are the results of blanching from a microwave. There was some difference in some of the chips in colors, maybe a dark reddish color, and black of course like the first round. This might be due to different factors and could be anything from the process of blanching, to the types of potatoes. Total drying time was a bit longer than I expected at about 17 hours or so. These may not look pretty, but when you are on a VERY tight budget, or in a emergency situation, food is food. Plus these are a bit healthier than the boxed stuff, which is why I did all of this. Now, for storing them, you have several different options.

You can...

1. Leave them as they are and store them properly for later use, which I am learning to do right now.

2. Grind them till they are flaked and package them again in baggies if you are going to use them in the coming future. Or...

3. Get creative and make your own dry "instant" soups! Take other dried veggies and herbs and combining them with the potatoes. Make your own family creations! Of course if I do the same thing, then I will show you what I did.

So there you go, 10 pounds of potatoes that lost a lot of water weight. The actual amount after drying is probably all of a pound of weight. If you guys did something similar, please make a comment about it on here.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Survival Food: Adventures in Dehydrating Part 3, The Microwave!


Ok, finally got around to doing those potatoes. This time I did blanch them using the microwave, but I did them all. Reason being is that I do not have a proper steamer, and getting one is not in the budget at this time. If I can devise another way to do it, I will though, and I will put it up on here of course! But with these potatoes, I do not want them to go to waste. Waste not, want not!

Just basically what I did was clean them using a scrubber and water. Then put them in the microwave for for about 3 minutes. That kind of softened them right up. Good thing about it was it made them easier to cut up the same way I did them the first time. Took no more than about 30 minutes prep time in total and I filled up all 5 racks on the dryer. Again, set them at the recommended temp, and I am guessing at about 8 hours drying time. When they are done, I will post up the results.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Survival Food Storage: Re-useable containers!


Ok, yeah I know that I had promised you that I would have Episode 3 of Adventures in Dehydrating up, but things got a little busy here at my den the past few days. Been dealing with some personal things. Hopefully I will have something up in the next couple of days if not by tuesday of next week if I dont have things up by friday. So that is the plan.

Right now though I thought I would post something up that was a little different. As this site is about living off a survival budget and being a survivalist means being able to re-use things when needed. I again thought I would start basic. There are a lot of things that I use and re-use around here. I know that "being green" is popular, but for me it saves cash. One of the most basic things that I do re-use is containers. Both glass and plastic ware, preferably containers that once held food. I mean, you spend anywhere from $3 to $9 dollars, and most of that is for the packaging. Why not get some extra use out of them? It will save you money from buying extra storage containers. When I can I try to buy lots of food that is stored in glass. I use tomato sauce jars, jelly jars, mayo jars and salsa jars. It is fairly safe, and easy to clean. I store a lot of dry goods stuff in glass and keeps out bugs pretty well. Just make sure that it is very dried out if you wash it. Also an extra note, do not put sugar in a glass jar that has held tomato sauce, your sugar will taste and smell like tomatoes (If anyone knows how to get that out, please let me know)! That was my personal mistake. Other than that use them for what you will.

With plastic though, I try to keep the food grade plastic with numbers 1 and 2 (from what I understand they are the best, but let me know if I am wrong). I know there is some debate as to weather if some "food grade plastics" are truly safe or not, but I try to keep to the safe numbers that I can remember. I like re-using Cool Whip bowls, Ice Cream containers and butter containers. They come in handy. Mostly I use them for storing frozen foods, soups and chili. Reason being is it is easier to get the food out when brought out of the freezer.

Personally, out of the two storage containers, I perfer glass. Though it is easily breakable.

I know that Jeff Foxworthy made the joke "you might be a redneck if all your salad bowls say Cool Whip on the side." I wonder would that be the same for frozen chili?

ADDED NOTE: You can follow The Den! Just click on "Follow" at the bottom right side and follow me!

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Survival Food: Adventures in Dehydrating Part 2, The Results!

food storage

Here are the results of my first experiment. This is just cutting up the potatoes and putting them directly into the dehydrator. To me they have the look and feel of wood chips or dried mushrooms really. The reason why the look so odd is because of the oxidization that causes the dark grayish look to them, so NO, it is NOT MOLD! Total Drying Time: 6 hours. Yes, a lot shorter than I thought, but that is why I kept an eye on it. But there you go, first experiment done.

Next up is Blanching. Here is what my book says about blanching:

Most vegatables must be blanched, either steaming over boiling water or in the microwave oven to slow the enzyme action which will continue during drying and storage.

NOTE: Blanching softens the cell structure, allowing moisture to escape more easily and also allows the vegetables to rehydrate faster.

The steam blanching might be a bit harder for me to do since I do not have a steamer, but I might be able to rig one up. I have a metal strainer that I can use. The easiest will be the microwave, just because I have one. (DUH!) Again, I will post the processes on doing this.

Coming up... Dehydrated Microwaved Potatoes!

Friday, January 08, 2010

Survival Food: Adventures in Dehydrating Part 1


Hey guys, back with another article. Last fall I happened to spend a little bit of cash and bought myself a dehydrator (It was on sale and I got a good bargain on it). I am looking to save food as much as I can while on a budget. Finally today I am starting to get some use out of it. Best way to save money is how to save, preserve and re-use food. Well here, I am going to learn how to dehydrate food and re-use it. Then post what I am learning. So far, I am just taking the baby steps as starting easy. So for my first try, I am doing...


Potatoes! They work well dried for soups and mashed potatoes. I found a 10 pound bag of Russets at my local grocery store for cheap. Right now I just did only two racks to start with and with a some advice from a friend, got myself started. The type that I bought is a NESCO Professional Food and Jerky Dehydrator, my family has had good luck with NESCO products, so I think this one would work well. Simple to work as this has a temperature control dial, and to turn it on, all you need to do is just plug it in.

When starting it helps to read the instruction manual for the care and use of the machine. READ EVERYTHING THAT COMES WITH IT! Just wanted to say that as a disclaimer... Then what I did was washed the potatoes and cut them pretty thin, The thinner they are the faster they dry. Usually the drying time is about a day to a day and a half, or so I am told. These should be done in about a day or less. I was told that to test them just take one and break it in half. If it snaps like a potato chip, they are done. If not, or if they seem soft, then they need to dry a bit longer. At the end of the drying time, I will show you the end results. I am just doing two racks as a test because there are several different ways to prepareing the the food. One way is just cleaning and cutting them up. Another is several different ways of blanching, which I will try out too. Maybe you can learn from what I am doing.

Coming up, part 2 of my first batch of dehydrated potatoes.

Tuesday, January 05, 2010

Survival Books: The Modern Survival Manual by Ferfal

I am working on some new topics for this year right now that are not finished, but I thought I would put up something that I posted here. I will do some Survival book recommendations from time to time.


The Modern Survival Manual: Surviving The Economic Collapse" by Fernando "FerFAL" Aguirre

Just thought I would do a little bit of a report on "The Modern Survival Manual: Surviving The Economic Collapse" by Fernando "FerFAL" Aguirre. I know that Bob has mentioned in his podcast (Today's Survival Show) about this book and I checked out ferfal's blog Surviving in Argentina. (EXCELLENT blog BTW.) So I took the leap and bought the book. Even though I am a bit of a newbie still in learning about this survival stuff, I found his information quite useful. He covers the basics on a lot of topics ranging from food storage, survival kits, day packs and vehicles, to protecting the home and yourself. Most of his advice is very practical, and that is what I like about this. He is very straight to the point when it comes to presenting his information. He even gives his opinions on BOLs (bug out locations) and staying home.

That said, there is one thing that sets this book apart from other survival manuals. This information does seem to come from someone who has gone through a MAJOR economic collapse, and he talks a bit about the social and governmental changes in everyday life before, during and after the collapse. I don't think this is something that is not in many of your survival books, (though I have not read too many other books on this subject, if there is let me know). The best part is the way he describes the way the banks behaved just days before the meltdown. It was quite interesting to read. The very minor downside is that it is in a 'raw' format and there are some minor grammatical errors. I personally kinda like this form, being from a self published book. I think I will let Ferfal explain things in his own words.

"No, In this case you are not getting a good looking book. It's self-edited and proof-read so there's going to be many mistakes for sure.

If it's quality literature you want, this is not it.

But you are getting an honest first-hand account of something you'll soon go through and how to deal with it. That's pretty unique information." -- FERfal

Other than that, the book is excellent.

I do recommend this as an all around urban survival book for starters, but the more experienced might be pleased with it too.


If you have any suggestions for any good books, please put them in the comments area, I will be sure to check them out!

Friday, January 01, 2010

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year everyone... Just got a few resolutions this year.

1. Prep More!
2. Organize my preps!
3. Get more exercise.

It is good to set goals.... These should be easy.