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.

Unprepared People

Today I saw a person sitting in the passenger side seat of an SUV. There was nothing strange about this man in particular. He looked normal, and acted normally, except that in his lap sat an adult woman that was roughly his age. Obviously this woman had on no seat belt, and everyone in the car was laughing and chatting away. Undoubtedly everything was just fine and they were all having a wonderful afternoon.

This made me think about another site I had seen about a week or two back. I was waiting in a turning lane on a very hot afternoon waiting for a streetlight to change. While waiting, a motorcycle drove on by with a man and a woman riding, and the woman had her arms wrapped around him tight. The woman was only wearing a bikini top, shorts, and sandals. Once again, I'm sure both people were having a great time and I'm sure they are both fine right now as I type this.

What do the people in the SUV and the people riding on the motorcycle have in common? They are not prepared for a potentially bad event. If the SUV got into a crash, the woman would be ejected without question. In the very best situation she might only sustain life threatening injuries. The same is true for the girl on the motorcycle. These individuals were not prepared for a bad situation. In fact, I will go as far as to say that they most likely couldn't have disadvantaged themselves worse if they had tried.

Now, I am no "doom and gloomer." I am a very happy and positive person, but this doesn't mean that I am careless. In case you have not noticed, this is far more encompassing then just people's general safety. People are ill-equipped in nearly every facet of life. Few people really know how to properly preserve food anymore, beyond the freezer and possibly a vacuum sealer, and few people even have a stockpile of nutritious food that would get their whole family past a month of two. In fact, it is often discouraged, or thought of as being ridiculous.

I even had to write an article arguing the different statements I have heard against stockpiling food (you can read it here)! We are so used to having the everyday conveniences of life, like 24 hour grocery shopping, that we've allowed it to make us reckless. We do not think we will get in a crash, so let's not bother with even the most basic of safety precautions. That is insanity to me! If having extra food stored in case of emergency is crazy, then count me in. I refuse to be one of the people in a grocery store physically fighting for the last gallon of clean, potable water.

These situations may not rise everyday, or even consistently, but I will prepare so that when they do arise, my family and I are ready. I suggest that you do the same.

Friday, July 3, 2009

Survival Deals I've Found:



There are lots of other places offering promotions but these are the best prices I've found so far.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Some Updates!

Hey Everyone!

I've been very busy lately so I apologize for the lack of updates. It's been raining a ton here as of lately and I've seen some mushrooms begin to pop up. I'm going to try and get a good picture of them on here and identify it for you. No, I have not seen any Sea Snails lately, surprisingly! I've written a couple of new articles that relate to this blog so I will be posting those for you to check out. Unfortunately I have not been able to get out and do much exploring because of a combination of things (school, work, moving, life, etc.) but I'll do my best to get out there and get you some very nice pictures!

New Articles: