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.