Sunday, September 27, 2009

A Hard Copy...

In this computer is so easy to just walk over to our computers to find the information we want on the internet and in our nicely organized digital files. This ease has led many to completely abandon having paper copies. They say..."Why have a paper copy that may just be misplaced...or that I have to file...when I can easily just have everything stored on the computer!?"

Anyone who has had a computer die...with no back up can answer that one! All of your precious documents can be lost in an instant. Months of geneology records...irreplaceable vanish in an instant.

Such experiences have driven the sales of ways to back up your files onto CD's...DVD's...flash drives...and to additional hard drives. I am all for having these records backed using these methods. It can save you a lot of heartache and time. In this vein...I have read where various preparedness authors recommend that you put onto a disc all of those documents that prove who you are...and other important documents onto a disc...and then putting it into your bug-out-bag in a durable water-proof container. The thought is that you can carry all "filing cabinet" of documents on your back...without the accompanying weight! Sounds like a good idea to me. Still..I think that there are certain things that you should really have backed up onto a good ole' fashioned piece of paper!

You see...all of that information has to be retrieved from a working computer. Circumstances one day could be there there may be no working computers available. An EMP blast could fry all of the computers in your region. OR...there could be a long term disruption in the electrical grid. This could happen for a variety of reasons that could make it unsafe for workers to fix it...or not possible without substantial infrastructure being rebuilt. For example...a plague where no one wants to go to work for fear of exposure...a war on our own land...or a famine coupled with riots and anarchy to name a few.

If for one reason or another you are stuck in your home for weeks on end with no working may wish that you had printed out all of those food storage recipes that are only to be found on your computer!

Really...we should have paper copies of the things that we can't...or don't want to try to remember as a reference...or that are meaningful to us for one reason or another.

Investing in a self reliance/survival library is also a worthwhile endeavor. Books on homesteading...gardening...nuclear war survival...medical books...wild food identification...religion...constitutional government ( might have to put it back together again!) and so on... All the books that you would need to be an island to yourself. Even a few fiction books that take you away to a happy place might be a good idea for your sanity. I have picked up many wonderful books from Amazon for a fraction of their cover price and try to continue to add books as my budget allows.

While buying digital copies of books to read on your Kindle...or other electronic contraption may be convenient...and hip may not be available to you during an emergency. So I would not recommend it for anything other than reading your copy of "Twilight" or whatever it is you read for fun.

So...make your hard copies...or buy them as books...and put them where you will know you can get them when you need them!

Monday, September 14, 2009

"Popcorn is really to make and fun to eat!!" (Barney)

Like one of Pavlov's dogs...when I catch just the sight or smell of mouth waters...and I crave a bowl. In the American culture...I am not alone. At virtually any function where crowds of people are...there will be someone selling popcorn to the masses. One can hardly watch a movie in this country...without a heaping helping of popcorn to snack on. One might think that it's use started with us...but it's roots go back thousands of years.

While we may think of popcorn as just a snack that we might have for has qualities that also make it a great staple to be had for tough times...

Let's consider some of the virtues of popcorn...

1. It fills that desire for the "munchies"...when only something salty and crunchy will do.
2. It is not complicated to make. Even the cooking inept can make an edible product.

3. It requires only popcorn and a heat source. An oil can increase the flavor...but popcorn will pop without it.

4. Even the most finicky will eat it.

5. It can store for several years in a kernel form. The moisture and oil contained in the kernel is what makes it pop...and is probably the reason why you need to rotate it more often than you would other dry corns you might store. Popcorn at 14.5% moisture can be safely stored over winter and into early spring. For longer term storage, it should be dried to 13.5-12.5%.

8. It is a comfort food of the highest degree and can increase morale.

9. It takes little room to store...and expands greatly for consumption. It can make your belly feel full.

10. It is it can be seasoned a variety of ways to make the flavor sweet, salty...etc...

11. It is inexpensive.

12. It can be made primitively and doesn't require fancy equipment. You can make it on your stovetop with pans you already have or purchase a stovetop popper. I have this stovetop popper and use it several times a week. It is available in an aluminum or steel version. I honestly don't know which one I have. I picked it up at target after christmas for a fraction of the price as it was in their Christmas clearance.

13. It is mild for most stomachs. One can eat a lot of it and not get sick.

14. It can be used in the place of other dried corns in cooking. Cornbread for example.

Picking a Popcorn

There are actually 6 (or more) different types of make sure that it is a popcorn and not one meant for flour or something like that.

If you have ever tried various may have noticed that some taste better than others. I'm not talking about what toppings you put on them...but the actually taste of the unadultered popcorn. They also have varying puffiness and texture. If a kernel has too much will be chewy and won't store well. If it is too dry...less kernels will pop.

After trying quite a few...the best I have found is an organic variety that is available through Azure Standard that when bought in bulk is within a few nickels of the price of the yellow popcorn from Winco's bulk bin. I purchase a few big bags and put them into 5 gallon buckets with lids that I get from a donut shop and some into smaller more easily managed containers as well. When those containers get low I refill them from what is in the buckets.

I encourage you to avoid "prepopped" popcorns that you might buy at the store as they have all kinds of chemicals on them to make them fresh. I also would recommend that you not eat the microwave varieties as they have something in them called "diacetyl" that is known to be bad for you. You know... since I'm on a roll here...I'll might consider not putting most anything unhealthy on your popcorn! Especially anything manufactured to taste like something real! Cooking popcorn in some tasty oil (I like coconut) with some salt is beyond toothsome. I also sometimes jazz it up and make "pickle popcorn" by sprinkling nutritional yeast, salt, and organic dill weed on it. The kids LOVE it!!

It should also be mentioned that there are other seeds and grains that also "pop". Wheat...that you probably already have stored can be made to "pop". Amaranth is another grain that can be made to pop as well. While these may be good in their own right...I doubt they'll take the place of popcorn anytime soon!

So one day...if all of your cheetos and potato chips have been consumed...and no trucks will be delivering any more any time may be glad you had the foresight to store some popcorn!

Friday, September 11, 2009

Clean out your hot water heater...

A friend of mine runs a preparedness supply shop...and also is the leader of the CERT team in Folsom. He has a website where he posts various preparedness articles. This one on cleaning out a hot water heater for emergency preparedness is a really sensible idea in my estimation. It is worth putting on your preparedness to-do list!