Friday, August 21, 2009

New Companion Blog

Hello Everyone,

We've started another blog that ties in slightly to this one but it focuses mainly on disaster preparation and prevention. We certainly hope that it will be very useful for you and your family.

You can check the new blog out at: We look forward to seeing you there!

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Inexpensive and Ingenious Solar Cooker!

I don't think a solar cooker can get any more ingenious then this contraption that I have found for you today. It is very impressive. I have spent much time lining cardboard boxes with tin foil, and researching the best use for mirrors, when all along I had this great little contraption in my presence!

You know that reflective sun blocker, also known as a window shade, that you unfold on a hot day and place in your car's windshield? This contraption uses that device to make it into a solar cooker! It is amazing what people can come up with just by simply tweaking something that is already laying around.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Droughts Hitting California & Texas Hard!

There are severe droughts threatening to ruin farming in both California and Texas! The map below indicates the severity and how widespread:

You can keep updated at this drought monitoring website which is a fantastic resource! I highly urge my readers and their families to consider stockpiling some emergency food and brushing up on basic food preservation skills. Even if this blows over, it will not hurt to be prepared. I will include some links to great resources on stockpiling of food and basic food preservation skills. Droughts are not taken as seriously as they should be as it has been a long time since America has experienced a famine. Please prepare yourself and your family.

Why Stockpile Food?
How To Can Food
How To Dehydrate Food

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Solar Food Dehydrator

Lately I've been reading a lot about various solar food dehydrators and I have been trying to find a design that might be fairly easy to build. I like the idea of being able to dehydrate my own foods. There are many options available as far as materials are concerned. You can build them out of plywood, sheet metal, and cardboard boxes. My first one will most likely be made out of cardboard boxes for simplicity sake, but if it works well enough I may venture into a plywood one.

There are a few factors that will vary the efficiency of the solar dehydrator that I will make, those are: insulation, air tightness, and the size of the collector. If I can ensure that the box and collector are well insulated, this will lower my heat loss throughout the whole dehydrator. By making the collector, and the drying box air tight, this will help to ensure a good vacuum that will maximize the air movement. The size of the collector will obviously determine how hot the drying box will be able to get but I need to strike a balance so I am dehydrating and not cooking the food.

This project will most likely be occurring over a long period of time as I'm very busy, but I'll do my best to keep you updated with the progress.

Monday, July 6, 2009

The Rule of Threes

Today I learned a lesson, well, I didn't so much learn a lesson as I did have one reaffirmed. Many indian tribes for hundreds of years have practiced a rule called "the rule of threes". This rule has existed for a very long time, most likely under different names, but in any event it is useful. The rule of threes states that you should have three sources for everything. You should have three sources of food, three sources of water, and so on. It's a very intelligent rule to follow.

How did this rule get reaffirmed in my mind today? On my way to work I realized that I had less than an eighth tank of gas. I stopped at the local gas station and went in to prepay. I don't use cash anymore as I prefer the safety (irony to follow) of a debit card. I've stopped carrying credit cards on me as I do not want to live outside of my means. When I swiped my card and entered my pin, it declined. This is strange as I frequently verify that I have adequate funds. I swiped the card again and tried to run it as credit, again, it declined.

I called my Credit Union to find out what was going on. I verified I had funds, then the representative on the phone informed me that my card had been locked, ironically enough, because of suspected fraud (of all things!). The good news is that I did not lose any money, but the bad news is that I had to have my poor wife drop everything she was doing to bring up our credit card. After the fiasco was over I was able to get on my merry way to work.

I have always preached to people about having an emergency $20.00 in their cars and to have an emergency credit card. I disadvantaged myself by only providing one possible source of cash. Had I followed the rule of threes and had some cash, and my credit card, this all could have been avoided. Lesson learned: follow the rule of threes.