Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Two is One, One is None...Be Redundant.

Redundancy is key to serenity. Its when you have only one important item and it gets damaged, lost, etc that you find out how important redundancy is. Here's a short list of important items and how I've built in redundancy.

Income- (1) My main job (Sonography, Radiography). (2) My part-time job (See #1, different hospital). (3) My wife is nationally certified in Radiology and can work if necessary.

Income skills- (1) Trained in Sonography. (2) Trained in Computed Tomography. (3) Trained in Radiography.

Transportation- (1) The family Suburban. (2) The family Jeep. (3) My auto insurance includes rental car coverage should one of my cars becomes disabled.

Food- (1) Our biweekly grocery run. (2) Our garden and short term food storage. (3) Our long term (25+ years) food storage.

Water- (1) House/city water. (2) 55-gallon drums x 12 in the backyard. (3) Bottled water in the garage.

Shelter- (1) Our house. (2) Our family retreat 2+ hours north of town (3) a retreat property with no shelter but we have tents, sleeping bags, etc for now.

Entertainment- (1) Electronic games. (2) A ton of movies/cartoons stored on a hard drive. (3)MacBook with solar panel recharger.

Water filtration- (1) Berkey water filter with 2 black Berkey ceramic filters + pf2 x 2 filters. Filters 3 gallons per hour. (2) Sand filter. (3) Boiling/plastic bottle in the sun sterilizing.

Cooking- (1) Indoor stove & microwave. (2) Outdoor propane bbq grill x 2. (3) Dutch ovens to cook on charcoal/wood fires.

Areas I need to work on:

Communication- (1) Five cell phones in our immediate family. (2) I want to purchase a mobile ham radio for the Jeep and a home ham radio for the house. (3) Garmin Nuvi handheld sets.

Food caches- I only have food stores at our main house. A majority of our meat is stored in a standup freezer ($10 freezer alarm on Amazon). If we lose power, there goes the meat! (searching for propane freezer). Can also store food in a locker at work for secondary cache or at our retreat property up north. (Update: filled work locker with cans of Campbell's soup. Headed up North this weekend to begin stocking BugOut location.)

Firearms- One lonely shotgun :-(

Excretion- Two bathrooms in the house. Need porta-potty ($22 on Amazon) just in case there are plumbing issues. Last resort would be to dig a latrine. (Update: have added the bucket porta-potty above)

Power- Totally dependent on the grid with the exception of my little solar charger (made for cell phones and laptops). Would like a gas generator (several on Amazon) and maybe, just maybe, a solar-powered portable system.

Washing Clothes- Aside from our indoor washer/dryer, that's it. I'd like to add a WonderWash. Last option would be a washtub. (Update: have added WonderWash x 2)

What did I forget?

Friday, February 18, 2011

Using Chicken Tractors to Raise Chickens.

I'm interested in raising chickens in my backyard. I'm sure it is harder than I think it is but I just found another way to, perhaps, make it a bit easier.

I shuddered at the thought of letting the chickens "free range" or roam freely about my lavishly green grassed back yard. Then I read about the chicken tractor and felt a little more at ease.

Why? Because with a chicken tractor, the chickens can free range while still being confined to a mobile chicken coop.

Wikipedia says: "Chicken tractors allow a kind of free ranging along with shelter, allowing chickens fresh forage such as grass, weeds and bugs (although these will quickly be stripped away if the tractor stays put for too long), which widens their diet and lowers their feed needs. Unlike fixed coops, chicken tractors do not have floors so there is no need to clean them out. They echo a natural, symbiotic cycle of foraging through which the birds eat down vegetation, deposit fertilizing manure, then go on to a new area."

Friday, February 11, 2011

Storing Cooked, Dehydrated Hamburger

I found an interesting thread on how to cook, then dehydrate meats like hamburger, turkey, pork etc. The original thread is here.

From the thread:


Fry 5lbs of ground meat. When cooked transfer to colander and rinse meat under hot water to remove fat. Place washed meat back into cleaned skillet. fry again over med/low heat stirring often until you see no more steam. Keep flame low once the rocks are browing up nicely.

Place twice cooked rocks into an oven roasting pan. Turn the oven to 200 degrees F, stirring and turning occaisionally as meat continues to dry. One to two hours should do the job. Remove from oven and check for dryness. Store in Jar or ziplock bag.

If you want to "can" the hamburger rocks for long term storage, preheat canning jars in the oven at 250, simmer lids as usual. Put the rocks into the jars while hot, then seal jars. After 15 minutes or so the jars will cool and you will hear the jar lids "pop" as they seal in place.

I love this method because there is no expensive pressure canner involved. The credit for this recipe goes to Mrs Miles from the End Times Report site. She also has a great recipe for canned butter you might like on her site."

With a dehydrator:

"I just fry line til the fat runs off, then rinse them and stick them into the dehydrator...it seesm to make them more tender that way. I also make pebbles and gravel this way...just cut the meat a bit larger.

Turkey and pork are also good like this."