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Monday, December 26, 2016

Merry Christmas & Happy New Year

The staff of Blue Collar Prepping is on vacation this week. 

Have a happy and safe 2017, and remember that it's always better to be prepared than to be sorry. 


Sunday, December 25, 2016

Gun Blog Variety Podcast #123 - Happy Holidays 2016

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year from all of us at the GunBlog VarietyCast! Enjoy our holiday-sized episode and we'll see you next year!
  • Beth is "On Assignment" and will return next week.
  • Two suspects are arrested in the murder of a third, and you'll never guess how they knew each other! Sean tells you all about it.
  • Barron is on assignment and will return soon.
  • In the Main Topic, Erin and Sean take a look back at 2016.
  • Tiffany was so intrigued by Weer'd's Audio Fisk of the "Miss Sloan" film trailer that she had to run out and watch it...and then she tells Weer'd all about it in a double segment we like to call "The Weerdy and Tiffy Show."
  • Erin combines her Blue Collar Prepping segment with the Plug of the Week to tell you about the Mule Light by UVPaqlite.
Thank you for downloading, listening, and subscribing. You are subscribed, right? We are available on iTunes, Stitcher Radio, and now on Google Play Music!
Listen to the podcast here.
Read the show notes here.
Thanks also to Firearms Policy Coalition for their support. And a special thanks to our sponsors for this episode, Remington Ammunition and Lucky Gunner.com.

Friday, December 23, 2016

A Story About Winter Driving

Some years ago, I was heading home from work on a Saturday morning. It was about five degrees with, as I recall Doctor Fever once saying, "a gentle wind wafting out of the north at about a thousand miles an hour."  I thought one of my tires was a bit low, so detoured to a service station that usually has an air line available.

When I arrived, there was a lady trying to air up a tire, and it wasn't working because that sucker was flat. And she was standing there in the "I don't know the number, but it's effing cold!" wind chill in just a sweater.

It turned out that changing her tire was a bit involved, because her spare was low enough to be unusable and the air hose at the station was off. So I took it to another place and got it aired up, brought it back, and discovered her jack would only go about halfway up; I had to get the jack from my truck to lift it from there.

During all this, I asked why she didn't have a coat (or gloves, or a jacket, anything), and she said "I was just going to work, and where I park is covered and close to the door." This was also, let me note, just before cell phones started being available and affordable for most people, so she had no phone, and it was early enough that most places were still closed.

So, here we have a simple flat tire bringing up a lack of necessary things:
  • No coat, or gloves, or anything warmer than a sweater.
  • An unusable spare tire. 
  • A nonfunctional jack..
  • No way to air up the spare without being able to drive somewhere.
  • No way to call for help unless she could find a pay phone... somewhere.

So in winter weather (moreso if you're traveling a ways, but even in town):
  • Make sure you have warm stuff to wear. Even a blanket folded up in a bag can make a big difference in comfort if you're stuck somewhere for a while. And if your engine is not running, meaning you can't use the heater, it could be a literal lifesaver.
  • Make sure your spare is aired-up and ready to use.
  • Make sure you know how to use your tire jack. (Don't laugh, I've run into people who had no idea how.)
  • Make sure you even have a spare tire (a lot of modern cars don't), or at least a can of Fix-a-Flat. It might be worth it to invest in an actual spare and a jack if you can; it might save you a long hot/wet/freezing wait for the service guy to show up.
  • Make sure you have a phone to use in an emergency.
  • Make sure you have change, in case there's one of those current '$0.25 for air' pumps around.
  • And, just in case you have to wait around a while, having a bottle of water and something to eat might be really nice.

Stay safe this winter, folks.

Thursday, December 22, 2016

Hoarding or Stockpiling?

Most preppers tend to keep extra amounts of food, water, and clothes on hand, as they are important enough that we like to have a backup supply available. Keeping a full pantry and storing bottled water in a closet is called stockpiling, as is having a cache or two hidden away. Stockpiling supplies is a good idea for most people, but the hoarder needs to be watched over.

There are a few TV shows about hoarders, and they cover the worst that they can find because it's television, where everything has to be blown out of proportion. I don't recommend watching these shows unless you have a strong stomach and can tell when things are being hyped for ratings. I've seen hoarding on different scales, from the garage full of moving boxes (we might need to move again someday!) to the survivor of the Great Depression who owned piles of shoes and coats (he was the youngest of 4 boys and didn't own a new pair of shoes until he joined the Army), all the way to a distant aunt whose house was a maze of pathways through the stacks of papers and magazines. That distant aunt (great aunt, something removed -- it's a large family) passed away when I was a child, and her children spent a day gathering what they wanted from the house before burning it down. It was beyond the point of cleaning; better to start over from scratch, they felt.

The Clinical Definition
Hoarding is a psychological disorder where people are unwilling or unable to discard things, which leads to large piles of things collecting in their living spaces. The disorder was finally recognized by the psychiatric community in 2013 and is now considered as a possible symptom of Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD) as well as a disorder by itself.

Hoarding is distinct from collecting in that:
  • A collector will search for, properly store, and maintain things of value, while a hoarder will tend towards never discarding  what others consider worthless.
  • A collector will often trade items in order to get something more valuable, whereas a hoarder will find it hard to part with anything.
  • A collector knows what he has and is proud of his collection, whereas a hoarder is often ashamed of the confused mess that has gathered.
  • Collectors tend to talk about their prizes; hoarders tend to pull the curtains so nobody can see inside their house.
Hoarders eventually reach a point where their living spaces fill up with junk and can no longer be used for their intended purposes. This is also the point where the clutter starts to become a health hazard by attracting or harboring insects and vermin.
  • Beds and other furniture covered to the point that they can't be slept in or sat on.
  • Movement or passage through rooms is  limited due to clutter.
  • Visitors and family are turned away because of the mess.
  • Normal activities are difficult or impossible, because supplies for food preparation and cleaning  are buried.
  • At its most extreme, the clutter can reach a point where it is a hazard of collapsing and trapping the hoarder. There are instances of people being killed when their hoarded possessions fell on them, or trapped them until they starved.
  • Piles of paper create a fire hazard, and cluttered rooms make it hard for firefighters to move through.
There is an opposite to hoarding, though: obsessive clearing is as bad as never clearing out junk. The trend of "discarding anything not used in the last X months" picked up steam several years ago, and I saw families waste money buying the same things three or more times over a decade just because they were told that they didn't need to keep them around. Now we have the “tiny house” movement starting to grow, and I can see that the same thing will happen, as lack of storage space means buying and discarding the same things multiple times.

I have tools that I haven't used in years, but I'll laugh at anyone who tells me that I “need” to de-clutter my shop. Those tools have saved my friends from having to buy them for one-time use, and I know that the tools are around if I ever need them. Prices aren't coming down, and the quality of modern tools seems to be degrading, so I'll keep my collection of tools rather than have to replace them with an inferior copy years from now.

The concept of needing a personal trainer to tell us how to live strikes me as the ultimate admission that parents are not teaching their children how to act like adults.

The Hoarder Prepper
From a prepper viewpoint, a hoarder is someone who mindlessly buys extra stuff and doesn't maintain it.

  • Bags of rice and beans from big-box stores stacked up in the basement
  • Towers of cases of bottled water that have been there long enough to have cobwebs on them
  • Cans of food with rust on them
  • Weapons and other tools gathering rust and dust in a corner
  • etc
I remember that  Dante's Fourth Circle of Hell was reserved for hoarders and wasters, because they both went to extremes. If you can't get through the original Dante's Inferno (it was a political piece, written a long time ago, in poem form, in Italian) there is a somewhat more recent version titled “Inferno”.


Watch for hoarding tendencies in yourself and your tribe. The numbers vary by source, but roughly 5% of the population has hoarding issues, so if you have a large enough tribe, it could become a problem. Get help, or be the help, as the case warrants. The things we set aside as preps are too important to let them go to waste or be lost in a pile of trash.

(Editor's Note: I have a touch of the hoarder within me, as do both my parents. I blogged about this back in 2014, and it's something I have to fight on a regular basis.)

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Prudent Prepping: Monthly Recap

The dust has settled and the First 72 Hours have passed. Follow along as I build a long term plan via Prudent Prepping.


This post is a series of follow-up about other products which I've blogged about previously.


The TOOB
BlueI mentioned that I replaced the TOOB toothbrush and toothpaste system I'd used for about 6 months. Now I have to replace the set I bought about two months ago, as the toothpaste tube developed a crack which allowed the cap to pop off. The threads inside the tube are flat on one side now and I can't keep toothpaste from leaking into my bag.

I really, really like the small size and ability to carry two things at once, but even with buying everything locally (and cheaper than Amazon) I'm going to a regular brush with a travel cover and a partial tube of toothpaste in my EDC bag. I'm spending too much money trying to be smaller and lighter.

Antec Mobile Products LifeBar 10
I have used my backup battery for almost two months now, and the Antec Mobile Products LifeBar 10 reviewed here is a keeper. I can top off my phone and ear buds four times before needing to recharge the unit. These are strictly 'Top Off' recharges during my 30 minute lunch period, and there is still charging capacity showing on the power indicator after doing this. Both the phone and earbuds are charged fully when I get home each day.


Ear Bud Report: Blueant Pump Lite
In the battery report linked above, I mentioned using earbuds and that I would have a review soon. This is that review.

From the website:

Design Fit and Sound
Featuring 3 stabilizer sizes and ear tips, the Pump Lite allows you full customisation for a personalised fit and noise isolation seal for the ultimate in pure sound delivery allowing you to turn on, tune in and maintain focus.
  • Wireless HD in-ear sportsbuds
  • HD Audio - Energised sound clarity
  • Sweat-proof – IP54 rated
  • Over 4hrs Play Time
  • Personalised fit - Includes 3 sizes of stabilizers and tips
  • One Touch Control - Call, track and volume
  • Wideband microphone call capabilities
  • Siri/Google Integration
  • Bluetooth 4.1 - Connection with any Bluetooth phone
I found the different size in-ear tips the best feature so far, since most ear pieces *coughApplecough* don't fit or stay in my ears. I prefer cordless ear pieces because there are no wires dangling in the way of me carrying boxes, climbing ladders or reaching into awkward tight places. Wired units DO have the advantage of running longer without draining your phone but don't work as well for me.

Call quality is very good both ways; no one can tell I'm not using my phone directly.

The listed run time of 4 hours in one place and 6 hours in another seem to be the the minimum and maximum to be expected with the Pump Lite. I am getting right at 5 hours before the unit powers down. Charging at lunch will get me 1-2 hours more before turning off again.

The Takeaway 
  • Sometimes smaller and lighter is done at the expense of stronger and durable. 
  • I still like the TOOB toothbrush system, even with the problem I had with mine. If I needed the smallest possible way to carry a toothbrush and paste, this is what I'd buy again, problems or not. 
  • A good backup power source for your electronics can be handy and inexpensive.
  • With my state going completely "Hands Free" phone use while driving, a good, comfortable. easy-to-use ear piece is required.

The Recap 
  • TOOB Toothbrush system: $8.92 from Amazon with Prime.
  • Antec Mobile Products LifeBar 10: $25.99 from Amazon plus shipping.
  • BlueAnt Pump Lite earbuds: $39.99  from Amazon with Prime.

If you plan on buying anything through Amazon this holiday season, please consider using our referral link. When you do, a portion of the sale comes back here to help keep this site running! 

If you have comments, suggestions or corrections, please post them so we all can learn. And remember, Some Is Always Better Than None!

NOTE: All items tested were purchased by me. No products have been loaned in exchange for a favorable review. Any items sent to me for T&E will be listed as such. Suck it Feds.

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Solo Stove Review Redux

Erin's love of the Solo Stove is well-established, so based on her recommendation I recently acquired a pair of their smallest models, the Solo Stove Lite, through one of the sales Solo is known for. Erin has shown how the Solo performs at sea level in decent weather, but I wanted to see what it could do at 4500' and sub-freezing temperatures.I'm not a fan of crazy "torture tests" that put products through a gamut of tests that prove precisely nothing, but I do love putting gear into real-world situations and seeing how it stacks up.

I didn't have the time or light to run all the tests Erin did, but I ran the one that mattered the most to me: boiling water.

Conditions
It has been cold and messy in my beloved high desert lately. The high today has been in the high 20s, and the weekend was the same story. We've had a pretty solid bit of moisture as well, and all of my firewood is stored outside, so it was icy and wet -- much like it would be if I was scavenging wood in the hills.

Fuel
Knowing that my wood was questionable, I followed the lessons from my bad weather firemaking post. My Solo is about the size of a baby formula can, so I used a knife to split small sticks down to sizes that I would normally use as kindling. This also exposed the dry inner wood, making it easier to burn. I also had to knock the ice off the outside of a couple pieces before I split them.

Ignition
I'll admit to having a bit of difficulty with my first couple attempts, just like Erin had. I lit my tinder, put my cup on the cooking ring, and watched the fire die. After a couple attempts and feeling like I'd forgotten everything about making fire, I decided to forget about cooking and try just to make a fire in the stove.

In a mirror of Erin's experience, once I let it burn for about a minute with nothing on the top, it turned into a raging little blast furnace and I heard the exact same whistle as air was aggressively drawn into the fire chamber. Even my wet, frozen wood dried quickly and burned hot.

http://amzn.to/2i6lAEs

Boil
The water boiled after 7 minutes, which isn't a whole lot slower than using the cooktop in my kitchen. That may be what impresses me the most about this little unit: I can make tea or soup, or just purify water, in about the same time than it would take at home.

Fuel consumption was surprisingly low, as well. I managed to boil 16 oz of water in a steel cup on roughly a double handful of kindling-size fuel. That amount is about what I tell people to gather to start a normal campfire, and I was also using questionable wood for fuel.

Closing Thoughts
The one issue I have with this stove is the same as I have with the Esbit and other stoves of this type: It leaves a sooty residue on your cooking utensils, so don't use it with your good cookware, or you'll be spending some quality time with a steel wool pad getting things clean.

The other lesson to be garnered here is to play with your toys. Practice with your gear when it doesn't matter, so that you know how to run it when it does matter. The Solo is a wonderful design, but if you don't know what you're doing, you'll drive yourself mad when your health or life may depend on cooking something while you can.

Lokidude

Mule Light V2 Video Review

Not actually Erin.
& is used with permission.
I know that Lokidude already wrote a very nice review of the Mule Light V2, but there were a few points I wanted to make and I felt that a video would help illustrate them better.

One final thing: the magnet on the yellow collar isn't strong enough to support the light if there's any movement or vibration of the material it's magnetized to -- the flashlight is too heavy and will gradually inch down. However, the glowstick is also held in place with magnets, so if necessary you can just energize that and stick it where it needs to be. As it's significantly lighter that the light itself, it is far more likely to stay in place.

The Mule Light V2 can be purchased from Amazon for $75 and free shipping for Prime members.



Sunday, December 18, 2016

Gun Blog Variety Podcast #122 - Weekend Glory

"Some clichty folks don't know the facts, posin' and preenin' and puttin' on acts, stretchin' their backs."
  • Beth got a letter, and it wasn't a happy one. Is it so wrong to focus on women in the shooting sports?
  • There are no walls between the "Safe" university and the "Unsafe" town, and criminals don't respect your imaginary boundaries. Sean looks into the case of a man arrested for kidnapping and sex assault right near Duke University.
  • Barron is on assignment and will return soon.
  • In the Main Topic, Sean discusses his new SIG P320 and competitive shooting. Will Erin ever shoot an IDPA match?
  • Tiffany has a message for Erin, and she has to quote Maya Angelou to get that message across.
  • How many hours are there between now and sunset? Erin tells you how to use your fingers to measure things in the sky.
  • Did you know that more people bought guns than received permits to carry in Florida? Gasp! One TV station decided to try to make hay of this, so Weer'd mows them down in another patented Weer'd Audio Fisk™.
  • Our plug of the week is for the Streamlight Stylus Pro flashlight.

Thank you for downloading, listening, and subscribing. You are subscribed, right? We are available on iTunes, Stitcher Radio, and now on Google Play Music!
Listen to the podcast here.
Read the show notes here.
Thanks also to Firearms Policy Coalition for their support.

Blue Collar Prepping Transcript:
Finger Tricks
The other days I was walking our dogs with my mom when she noticed some rain clouds on the horizon and said “I wish I knew a way to look at clouds and determine how far away they are.” I thought this was a GREAT idea for a prepping segment and began to research it.

As it turns out, though, there’s no good way to estimate cloud distance, because it’s impossible to tell how large clouds are with the naked eyes. Objects without reference can be deceptively large, which is why the moon can look so huge when you see it up in the sky, but appears to get smaller when you see it behind some trees. It doesn’t actually change in size -- seeing the trees gives us a reference point and our brains can then estimate the scale.

But there are some cools tricks you can use to estimate things in the sky, and the best part is that you don’t need special tools to do it -- you only need your hands.

The first thing you can do is estimate the time until sunset using just the fingers on your hands.
  1. First, extend your arm in front of you with your palm facing you. 
  2. Put your index finger under the sun. Obviously, don’t look directly at the sun, dumbass. 
  3. Each finger width between the sun and the horizon is approximately 15 minutes of daylight. The closer you are to the equator, the more true this is. You should practice this now so that you know how many minutes each finger actually gives you in your location -- if you live very far north, you might have 18 minutes per finger. 
  4. When you have only 2 hours of sunlight left you should start making shelter for the night. 
(Sean) But Erin, you have tiny Hobbit hands, and I have large manly hands. Won’t your smaller fingers say that you have more time than mine will?

You’d think so, right? But you’d be mistaken. You see, nearly everyone’s fingers are proportional to their arm length, so my small fingers on small hands are attached to equally small arms. That means when I extend my arm out my hand isn’t as far away from me as yours is from you, and so because it’s closer my fingers appear thicker against the horizon. Neat, huh?

Now I mentioned that the time varies on how close you are to the equator. This is known as latitude, and you can also measure that using your fingers and the night sky.
  1. Again, stretch your hand out at arm’s length. 
    • A closed fist is 10 degrees. 
    • The distance between your index and little finger -- like if you’re throwing heavy metal horns -- is 15 degrees. 
    • The distance between thumb and little finger, the classic Hawaiian “hang loose” symbol, is 25 degrees. 
    • Your three middle fingers -- the classic Boy Scout sign -- measure 5 degrees across, and your little finger is a single degree. 
  2. So to determine your latitude, just find the North Star -- there’s a link on how to do that in the show notes -- and measure the distance from it to the visible horizon. That’s your latitude in degrees.
    Using this trick, you can not only get an idea of how far north you are, but you can also look at far away objects and determine how far apart they are in navigational degrees.

    You can’t use it to tell you how far away something it, but it’s a good way to tell how far apart two object on the horizon are -- and that will give you a good idea of their scale.

      Thursday, December 15, 2016

      Non-Food Uses for Vacuum Sealers

      Food isn't the only thing you can use a vacuum sealer for. Since the basics of preserving anything include isolating stuff from air, water, and insects, vacuum sealers can be handy for plenty of jobs.

      Clothing
      A while back I needed to ship a set of BDUs to a friend. By using my sealer, I was able to get them into a medium USPS flat rate box with room to spare for other items. The clothes were hard as a board and took up a lot less room once I removed the excess air. 
      Matches
      When I can find them,  I like to stock up on strike-anywhere matches. They're useful for lighting oil lamps and campfires, but are susceptible to moisture. The boxes crumple a bit when you pull a good vacuum on them, but that makes it easy to tell when you have most of the air out.

      Book matches come in packages about the size of a book. Perfect for handing out , they are cheap and easy to find in grocery stores. The packaging tends to curl when you pull the air out of the bag, so they don't store perfectly flat.

      Other fire starting materials like steel wool, cotton balls, and drier lint also store well in vacuum sealed bags, but will compress down to a very small package. Expect to have to fluff it a lot before you can use it.

      Wool
      I like wool for cold weather, but the biggest problem with it is the fact that moths love to lay eggs in the material. Vacuum sealing my extra wool blankets protects them and they take up less space.

      Here is a before and after of a wool blanket in a bag.

       This is actually a wool scarf, folded and vacuum sealed.



      Books
      I have a few reference books that I consider essential. I have duplicates of these sealed in plastic to protect them.

      Baking Soda
      Baking soda is great at absorbing odors and will absorb odors through the cardboard box. Vacuum sealing a box takes a few minutes and keeps it fresh for years. Activated charcoal has the same problem and is also a good candidate for storing in plastic. 


      I like my cheap FoodSaver vacuum sealer -- it's a good tool because it has so many different uses. Check your local thrift stores and make sure you test it before taking one home.

      Prudent Prepping: Tuning Up a Friend's EDC

      The dust has settled and the First 72 Hours have passed. Follow along as I build a long term plan via Prudent Prepping.

      I first posted about a gift EDC bag for my friend last summer, and followed up on it several times. The same conditions still apply now: I'm dealing with an experienced backpacker from another culture with very definite ideas on what is to be carried. I have not added anything to her bag or made suggestions until now.

      My friend drives over 20 miles one way to work and more than 40 most weekends to visit friends. I feel that the Life Straw in her kit is not good enough, so I bought this as a replacement:

      Sawyer Mini Water Filter

      http://amzn.to/2hQeArd
       From the Sawyer website:

      Our most popular filter just got smaller and lighter. The Sawyer MINI Water Filter is rated to 0.1 micron absolute, weighs only 2 ounces, and filters up to 100,000 gallons! This award winning system is reliable and easy to use.

      The MINI can be attached to the included collapsible drinking pouch, inline on a hydration pack, on a standard soda bottle, or simply use the included drinking straw to drink directly from the water source.  How is that for versatility? Like all Sawyer filters, a proper backwashing can restore up to 98.5% of the filter’s flow rate. That means no expensive cartridges to replace, ever."


      My friend's hiking group uses pump-type filters that I think are a bit big for her bag, and since the whole Mini system (bag and adapters) weighs 3.5 oz and fits easily inside a quart zip lock baggie, this will do the job well while taking up minimal space. .

      With my job taking me over 40 miles from home and over a bridge every day, and since I could be stranded for several days and/or looking at a 2+ day hike home, I added a Sawyer Mini to my GHB as well. I wanted a more reliable and larger water filter than a Life Straw, and now I have that.

      The Takeaway
      • Find something you like, that works for your situation and see if others can use it also. 
      • A recommendation from friends is better for me than 100 online Likes.

      The Recap

      If you plan on buying anything through Amazon this holiday season, please consider using our referral link. When you do, a portion of the sale comes back here to help keep this site running! 

      If you have comments, suggestions or corrections, please post them so we all can learn. And remember, Some Is Always Better Than None!

      NOTE: All items tested were purchased by me. No products have been loaned in exchange for a favorable review. Any items sent to me for T&E will be listed as such. Suck it Feds.

      Tuesday, December 13, 2016

      Bugging In While You're Out

      The Blue Collar Prepping Facebook group is a wealth of conversation and thought exercises. Last week, a question was posted that really intrigued me. Bugging out and bugging in are topics that get discussed ad nauseum in prepping groups, but what happens when you need to bug in when you're away from home?

      There are plenty of reasons why you might have to bug in while you're out and about. Severe storms and police/security lockdowns are the first two that come to mind for me, but others certainly exist. As with all supply kits, your situation will dictate the contents, but many items are universally useful.

      The person who posed the question is a teacher, and that colors their bugging in needs. It needs to accommodate students in a classroom environment. Weapons are not allowed, due to state and federal laws. He'd like it to fit in a 5 gallon bucket, for reasons I'll go into shortly.

      With that said, here is what I would build. Some of the items come from the group, some are mine. They come together to make staying someplace with a group far more comfortable.

      First Aid kit: We've covered these, a lot. Get or build the most comprehensive one that the budget allows. Learn to use it as well.

      550 cord strap: A 3-5' strap of woven 550 cord allows for easy carry of the entire kit, and can be broken down to provide a large quantity of strong cord, which has innumerable uses.

      Flashlights: Several inexpensive flashlights will be a boon in the event of severe storms or other power losses. A couple small, inexepensive LED lanterns would also be a great addition.

      Duct Tape: As useful as 550 cord, and just as inexpensive. It can repair items, seal openings, hang things, or make signals on windows. It's too handy to not have.

      A toilet: Kind of. This is where the 5 gallon bucket comes in. If a classroom gets locked down, students could be stuck there for hours and the need to go may become pressing. With a bucket, seat, and bags, you have a toilet in a pinch. If you want something a bit fancier, there's this. Add a sheet that you can hang with your 550 cord and duct tape, and you've got a private privy in a small package.

      A bug-in kit for the place you spend the second most time in your day is a great idea. I highly recommend taking a look.

      Lokidude

      Monday, December 12, 2016

      Guest Post: Mental Health in the Apocalypse

      by George Groot

      George Groot first realized he couldn't deal with depression and anxiety on his own anymore, and during a tour in Iraq he sought professional help which included anti-depressants. Over the last eight years, including two subsequent deployments to Afghanistan, he has used a combination of medication and therapy to cope with the psychological stress. 



      I’ve tried to write this article a number of times and have scrapped it because there isn’t a good ending to this topic.

      The comedian Patton Oswald has a (NSFW) bit about going off his anti-depressants because he was afraid he couldn’t get them after civilization collapsed. While entertaining, his observation about medications not being available is one that I believe is likely to be true.

      Modern medicines are miracles of technology, and there is nothing readily available to replace them if they are gone. I wish that there were an easy button, some sort of “collect dandelion flowers, dry them, and make a tea year round to treat depression!” level of answer to this, but there isn’t. Thankfully, multi-year collapse scenarios are rare, and global collapse is also very unlikely, so the odds are good that having a stockpile of necessary medications is going to be enough to get you through the more likely “Hurricane Katrina” style scenarios.

      Turning Back the Clock
      But if it isn’t short term, then what does that mean? Different people have different ideas about what a global collapse would look like, but using what has happened in the last 50 years as a model for prepping, I don’t believe that a full-on “face colander Mad Max”-style collapse is likely.  Far more likely is the long, slow slide of Rome where things just get worn down, the economy contracts, and systems just aren’t as resilient... like the water system in Flint, Michigan, but played out on a global scale. So I believe that any collapse is going to be more of a "turn back the clock to the 1910-1930s" rather than "turn back the clock to the Stone Age". I think it is important to state this up front, because what I write here is based only on my own ideas, and not some sort of group consensus.

      Truly high-tech pieces of civilization rely on clean rooms and high purity raw material inputs. It would be impossible to make an integrated circuit (a computer chip) using the technology available even 100 years ago, and modern medicine requires the same purity of ingredients, very precise reactions, and high-tech testing to ensure that the end product is actual medicine instead of poison. This means that if there is a collapse that disrupts the economy, computer chip and medicine fabricators will be the first to experience disruption in operations. This isn’t in itself going to end the world, but what it means is that as the digital things wear out, they won’t be replaced by better cheaper digital things and that once the current medicinal stocks are on hand are used up, people will begin to look for replacements.

      Alternatives
      If you think about all the “cure-alls” sold in the early 20th century, where doses of cocaine or morphine were included in products sold over the counter, it probably doesn’t inspire much confidence in meaningful treatment methods from the scientific knowledge of the era.

      The even worse news is that there aren’t any 1910-era replacements for selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRI) or mono-amine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs) that are routinely used to treat things like depression and anxiety. I recommend a huge dose of skepticism when listening to anyone who says that you can treat depression with common herbs you can grow at home. Unless you are talking about cannabis (which does have some medicinal uses, which is why it's regulated as a drug), the ability to grow medicinally useful compounds at home is very small, and those that you can grow are not going to be useful for mental health.

      There is some research that shows good effects from saffron and turmeric in treating depression. Turmeric grows in warm wet parts of Southeast Asia and saffron can grow anywhere from Spain to Afghanistan, but the three stamen per flower make it incredibly hard to grow in quantity. If international trade is disrupted, getting these in quantity might become difficult. If you are a reader who lives where turmeric is grown, that might be something to look into. If not, perhaps international trade will make turmeric available; after all, spices were a huge driver of international trade for the bulk of recorded human history.

      Addictions
      But even though these spices were available a hundred years ago, looking back to the early 20th century it becomes clear that a lack of effective mental health treatment options was one of the foundations for the rampant alcoholism that eventually gave us Prohibition, which gave us a huge increase in organized crime, which eventually ended Prohibition. Self-medication with alcohol to treat depression or anxiety (think about how gin and whiskey took on the names “liquid courage”) is something that you and your tribe will want to avoid. Alcohol has many uses from sterilization to food preservation and should be part of your preps, but you must be cognizant of the dangers of alcohol addiction in a world without modern medicines.

      Then there's marijuana. Despite a near total Federal prohibition on it, a somewhat thriving underground economy supporting an obvious demand for the stuff has managed to stay in business. Several states are legalizing marijuana, and so far it hasn’t been a big deal and no one really cares. Marijuana doesn’t cure cancer, nor has any health benefits to a healthy human being, but it may be useful if someone in your tribe has crippling anxiety and/or depression. However, the long-term side-effects of heavy marijuana usage would make this an option of last resort in a long term collapse scenario.

      Unfortunately that’s pretty much it for the list of chemicals or plant products that are available to the 1910 level of technology. If I haven’t made the case by now that there just aren’t any good “low-tech, resilient” chemical solutions to treating depression and anxiety, it isn’t for lack of trying on my part. The dangers of addiction through self-medication are real, and the “sanitariums” of the era were little better than poorly run torture prisons to keep the mentally unwell out of the public eye.

      The Talking Cure
      The last option is the one that I support. Taking medications as a therapy under the instructions of an actual doctor is recommended when available, but there's almost always someone available to listen. Having people feel comfortable enough to talk about their depression is far harder to achieve than it sounds -- people don’t want to look like unproductive parasites in a survival situation -- but it's important to create some sort of tribal culture, service, or space where it's acceptable to do that. A resilient tribe has always had priests, pastors, therapists, and elders, to whom people could go for advice. Those people may not always have had good advice to give, but simply listening is a service that isn’t going to go out of style any time soon. 

      Above All, Plan
      Like I wrote at the beginning, there aren’t any easy buttons for this issue, but mental health and its evil twin addiction are not going away just because civilization took a hit to the jaw.
       
      Plan for medicines to become scarce, or not available, and that more and more members of society at large will fall into addiction.
      Plan for increasing your security posture to a level where you aren’t rolled over by an addict looking for their next fix. 

      Plan for creating the support structure you need to deal with depression and anxiety. The support group is a great way to go in terms of a solution that can be implemented by people without requiring outside expertise (think of the Alcoholics Anonymous model if your tribe is large enough).

      Sunday, December 11, 2016

      Gun Blog Variety Podcast #121 - Armed Lutherans, Toy Guns, and a Man Without Pants

      Wasn't that the synopsis of a Robin Williams movie?
      • Are toy guns OK? Beth gives you her answer to this thorny question just in time for the holidays. 
      • A man without pants was shot, and luckily for us it's not Robb Allen. Sean looks closer to see who would perform such an act of naked aggression. 
      • Barron is on assignment and will return soon.
      • Joining us this week is Special Guest Lloyd Bailey of Armed Lutheran Radio -- another podcast on the Self Defense Radio Network.
      • Well, the world is coming to an end; just ask the Los Angeles Times if you don't believe that. According to them, if Concealed Carry Reciprocity passes, it'll be a "be a parade of horribles". Sean reads the article and Erin fisks it.
      • Tiffany is also on assignment, and will return next week.
      • What do you do to keep from being overwhelmed? Delegate. Erin gives you some tips on how to do that.
      • Hollywood thinks it's time to take on The Gun Lobby™again. This time it's with Miss Sloane, a movie that looks to have all the box office appeal of that new Ghostbusters film. Weer'd has a few things to say about the movie trailer. 
      • Our plug of the week is for Amy Dillon's GoFundMe raffle, where you can win a really nice AR-15. 
      Thank you for downloading, listening, and subscribing. You are subscribed, right? We are available on iTunes, Stitcher Radio, and now on Google Play Music!
      Listen to the podcast here.
      Read the show notes here
      Thanks also to Firearms Policy Coalition for their support. And a special thanks to our sponsors for this episode, Remington Ammunition and Lucky Gunner.com.

      Blue Collar Prepping Transcript:
      Delegating Tasks

      As I mentioned at the top of the show, I’ve been really really busy with managing Operation Blazing Sword. In fact, things have gotten so crazy that I’ve had to admit that I can’t do everything by myself, so I’ve swallowed my pride and admitted that I need help in keeping things running.

      This is an important lesson for preppers as well: we need to acknowledge that we can’t do everything, especially in a disaster or survival situation. I know that there are some folks out there who believe they’re John Rambo or Chuck Norris, but as I like to point out, You have to sleep sometime. There’s a reason humans have banded together for protection since prehistory.

      Now if I were really cool, I would be able to say “And that is why I’ve delegated this Blue Collar Prepping segment to so-and-so, who will talk to us about such-and-such,” and then Sean would play the segment. Unfortunately, I’m not that cool, so I’m going to talk about how best to delegate.

      There are many people, myself included, who easily fall victim to the thought that if we want something done properly, we have to do it ourselves. While that may be true in very specific, I think we all know that for the most part it’s BS.

      So the first thing you need to do is have an adequate skill and knowledge base. You create this by making friends with intelligent people who are experienced in ways that you aren’t.

      For example, my co-blogger Chaplain Tim spent 20 years in the water purification industry, so whenever I have questions about water, or chemistry in general, I go to him. If he were part of my real-life prepping group instead if being in another part of the country, I would put him in charge of the water and rest easy knowing that he’d take care of it properly.

      Just as importantly, I wouldn’t micromanage him -- I’d assign the task and get out of his way, trusting that he’d come to me if he needed help. Micromanaging is actually WORSE than doing it yourself, because it wastes everyone’s time, results in the person being micromanaged feeling annoyed and insulted, and the task still doesn’t get done properly.

      However, while it’s very easy to delegate when someone has a clearly defined area of expertise -- it’s something else when that someone has little to no skill.

      A while back, I was on another podcast and the host asked me what he should do with his children, who were young girls, during a disaster situation to keep them from panicking. My advice was to find a job for them to do, because it would keep their minds occupied on the task instead of the emergency, and by doing that job they would not only help the family but also -- perhaps more importantly -- stay out from being underfoot.

      In his particular situation, the family had pet dogs, so I suggested that he delegate to his girls the task of wrangling the pets -- keeping them calm and out of the way, making sure they had food and water and were able to relieve themselves, that sort of thing. This was doubly useful to him because not only would it keep his children from panicking but also keep his dogs from freaking out and making a mess or causing a ruckus.

      What’s important to remember is that everyone in a prepping group needs a job to do. It makes them feel useful, and feeling like a contributing and therefore important member of the group is good for morale. It’s also great for whoever is in charge, because however minor that task is, it’s one less thing for the leader to worry about.

      So in conclusion:
      • Make sure everyone has a job to do that is within their skill set.
      • Have them do that job and praise them when they perform it well. 
      • Watch them as they do their duties for signs that they might be better suited for other tasks, either in addition to or in place of the original. 
      • If they’re doing a good job, stay out of their way!
      • If you’re the leader, offload as much “doing” as possible to other people. In my admittedly limited experience, being a leader is more about thinking and making decisions and being a good role model than it is doing every little thing.

      Friday, December 9, 2016

      Fire Straws


      Having a way to start a fire is good, but multiple ways are better. The problem with some ways is that they’re messy to keep around until needed. A specific example being cotton balls and petroleum jelly.

      Never heard of that technique?
      1. Get some cotton balls (the pure cotton ones, not synthetic);
      2. Put them in a baggie with a dollop of petroleum jelly (for a half dozen balls, start with a blob about the size of a marble);
      3. Close the bag and work the contents around so the jelly saturates the cotton balls (you don’t want them to be petroleum jelly with some cotton inside, you want the cotton balls to be saturated). 
      They’re very handy and easy to use. 
      1. Get some tinder and kindling ready. 
      2. Take one ball, pull it apart a bit, and put it in the tinder. 
      3. Touch it with a flame* and it’ll ignite and burn for at least a couple of minutes. It will be smoky, but still able to dry out and ignite damp tinder to get the kindling going. 
        • *If you pull the ball far enough apart, so as to have a fairly ragged surface, you can light them with a flint & steel or spark striker, too.
      The problem with the CB&PJ method is that they're messy. You can keep them in the baggie, but baggies can tear. What’s a good storage method that doesn’t involve buying a bottle or something?

      I present to you the Fire Straw:
      1. Get a drinking straw, the bigger the diameter the better.  
      2. Cut a section about 2” long.
      3. Use a pair of needle-nose pliers to squeeze one end shut with a little sticking out.
      4. Hold that to a flame (match, candle, anything) and work it back & forth a bit, and you’ll melt the end closed.
      5. Hold it for about ten seconds while it cools. You now have a tube with one end sealed.
      6. Take a cotton ball (you may want gloves for this) and a match stick or something else suitable, and mash the cotton ball into the tube. 
      7.  When done, wipe the end of the straw clean (it’ll need it), then repeat the sealing process.
      You now have a fire straw. You can put a handful of these in a bag and never have to worry about them leaking and getting jelly all over everything. Just cut a straw open, pull out the cotton and go to work. Alternately, just pull some out the end and light it, and it’ll melt and burn the straw as it goes.


      Note: the one drawback is that you really need a knife or scissors to open these, as that straw is surprisingly tough.

      Thursday, December 8, 2016

      Vacuum Sealers

      If you've ever found a package of food at the bottom of your freezer that you misplaced months ago, you've experienced freezer burn. Most of the packaging used for food is not air-tight, and some of it is barely water-tight, so food left in a freezer for a long time will lose moisture (low temperature = low humidity) and will look slightly burnt. This will affect the flavor of the food and can make it harder to cook. 

      The way to avoid freezer burn is to repack food for long-term storage in air-tight packaging. Fortunately, there are tools called vacuum sealers which are fairly inexpensive and simple to use. Their makers claim that vacuum sealing your food can extend the freezer-life up to five-fold, so buying food in bulk and repacking it might make a bit more sense if you know it will still be worth eating by the time you get to it. 

      The original Dazey Seal-a-Meal was built to seal food in a boil-able pouch to make meal preparation easier. The early ones didn't have vacuum pumps in them, but it's hard to find one today that doesn't have a vacuum pump. The invention and adoption of microwave ovens killed the idea of boiling food in bags for the most part, although the food snobs around here will know what sous vide means.

      Brand names will vary (if in doubt, read the instruction manual), but they all work in the same manner. Starting with a tube of suitable plastic and a vacuum sealer, the sequence goes something like this:
      1. Measure out how much of the tube you think you're going to need to hold the food. 
      2. Add an inch (or more, depending on your sealer) to each end for the seams. The first few attempts will let you know how much extra you'll need. 
      3. Cut the tube to the desired length. Most sealers have a cutter built into the lid to ensure straight, even cuts because the machines are not very tolerant of jagged edges. 
      4. Place one end of the tube in the sealer and activate it to melt the plastic together, creating a pouch. 
      5. Carefully place the food into the pouch, keeping the plastic on the open end as clean as possible. This ensures a good seal can be made when you're done. 
      6. Place the open end of the pouch in the sealer and activate the vacuum pump. Depending on the size of the package and type of food, removing the excess air can take a few seconds or a few minutes. 
      7. Most sealers have an automatic sealing function once the vacuum pump reaches a set pressure. The cheaper machines may need you to press a separate button to start the sealing. 
      8. Remove your sealed package and label it. Brand-name bags have a white area every few inches to give you a place to write using a permanent marker.
      Vacuum sealers some in a variety of sizes and functions.
      • The cheaper ones will work with standard 8 inch wide rolls of plastic. These are good for occasional use and smaller items, but they may not have a very long life. Prices are usually under $50. 
      • The mid-level ones , priced between $50 and $100, will handle up to 11 inch wide rolls and may have a tube or port for use with special lids or containers. Repair parts are available at this level, and the pumps are much better than those in the cheap machines. 
      • The high-end machines, the ones that will set you back more than $100, will almost always have a connection for a hose and tend to be better built. Warranties tend to be better, repair parts are available, and the machines at this level tend to use more metal in their construction.
      The sealers themselves aren't hard to find (I got mine at a thrift store for $10 and it works); the real expense is plastic rolls. Brand-name rolls and pre-cut bags get expensive, but there are other options, so if you're using your sealer a lot, look for generic rolls online. I have yet to see anything other than the brand-name rolls on a store shelf, so you're going to have to hit Amazon or eBay to get a better price. 100 ft of 8-inch tube for $20 sounds better to me than 40 ft of the same size for $20. Shop around, because once you see how well these machines work, you'll find other uses for them.

      Speaking of which, next week I'll explore sealing things other than food with a vacuum sealer. Plastic is a great way to keep dirt and bugs out of and off of things in storage.

      Wednesday, December 7, 2016

      Prudent Prepping: 'Tis The Season


      The dust has settled and the First 72 Hours have passed. Follow along as I build a long term plan via Prudent Prepping.

      The season of giving is here, and I've got a few things to send and hand out in person to important people.

      What do you get people who have lots gear or have what they need? I know several folks like this, and gifts for them are impossible to find, so for them I give Time. I help one of them with projects that require two reasonably strong adults; he has two girls who know how to use tools,but there are jobs where dexterity doesn't match muscle. For the other I dog- and house-sit so they can have weekend trips for Spartan races.

      I do have gifts going out, this week and next, to several friends across the country and several of them are pretty well geared as well. Time is something I am not able to share with them, so gifts are the best I am able to do.

      Gifts
      I call on a large home improvement chain, and from time to time some "marketing genius" who has never opened a box, stocked a shelf or built a display comes up with a Neat Idea or New Product to put on the shelves. The latest was office supplies. Now I ask you: if you were shopping for 1/2" 4'x8' plywood, 5 gal. pails of asphalt sealer and roofing felt, would you think a three hole paper punch and dry erase markers would be available too? Me neither, but these and more were on the shelf and are now being clearanced out. Some of these possibly, sorta, maybe could find their way into boxes:

      Rite In the Rain Pencil and Pad

      Our 3" x 5" Top-Spiral Notebook is small enough to fit comfortably in your pocket and tough enough to survive any of Mother Nature's onslaughts. This scrappy pocket notebook will survive sweat, rain, mud, snow, oil, grease, and the wear-and-tear of daily use in your pocket. Impact-resistant Wire-O binding won't lose its shape in your back pocket, and a PolyDura cover defends your notes from scratches and stains.



      Do you like pencils but fear they will break when it matters most? You're not alone. A Rite in the Rain Mechanical Pencil may well be the last pencil you'll ever need to buy. True to the Rite in the Rain brand, this pencil is tough, reliable, made in the USA, and writes no matter what.

      I have a Rite in the Rain notebook and pen or pencil in my GHB and my EDC sling bag. I find the possibility of writing and leaving notes that won't be destroyed by bad weather a brilliant idea. When I brought up these items to my geocache friends I was told --  by a 10 year-old -- that everyone knows about and uses them,

      Look for yellow tags at The World's Largest Home Improvement Chain; you may find a bargain or two.

      Boardwalk Buy Outdoor Tactical Waterproof Hiking Pouch 
      I see another rep regularly in my sales calls who likes the look of the mini 1st Aid pouch mentioned in this post. He likes the look of my pouch, doesn't carry anything extra on his belt, and mentioned wanting something slightly larger. I've known this guy for years and he bought me lunch several times this year, so he's getting a surprise: this bag I ordered from an ad on Facebook.

      I know, I'm feeding the Facebook ad monster, but with a great (advertised) return policy, I thought I'd give BoardwalkBuy a chance. At the time I ordered, these bags were $13.99 with free shipping.

      The bag I bought for my friend looks like the photo, has two large and sturdy looking zippers to close the compartments and uses two straps with snaps to attach the pouch to your belt. There are convenient webbing strips to use to adjust the pouch to fit your belt width.

      Bottom Left.Straps tucked under webbing
      The bag has enough room for my friend to duplicate the 1st Aid portion of my kit and still leave room for a notebook and other small items.

      Other than an extra-long time for it to be delivered (nearly a month), I think the pouch is worth what I paid and possibly even worth the $19.99 current advertised price.

      The Takeaway
      • Give what you can, when you can. Something simple like an extra hand can be the best gift for a friend
      • Ideas for friends show up in the strangest places.

      The Recap
      • Rite in the Rain pencils:$11.31 with Prime shipping from Amazon
      • Rite in the Rain notebooks: $6.85 and free shipping for a 3-pack from Amazon.
      • Belt pouch ordered from BoardwalkBuy (Facebook ad): $13.99, but currently $19.99. 

      Just a reminder: if you plan on buying anything through Amazon for the Holidays, please consider using our referral link. When you do, a portion of the sale comes back here to help keep this site running!

      If you have comments, suggestions or corrections, please post them so we all can learn. And remember, Some Is Always Better Than None!


      NOTE: All items tested were purchased by me. No products have been loaned in exchange for a favorable review. Any items sent to me for T&E will be listed as such. Suck it Feds.

      Tuesday, December 6, 2016

      Mmm, Leftovers

      (All apologies to Casey Jones for the title.)

      This is the time of year when folks tend to get together to share warm wishes and piles of food. I tend to be a fan of both of those things, and would bet my paycheck that the rest of my BCP family is as well. Unfortunately, the most popular meats served at this time of year are expensive and frequently have unnecessary amounts of waste, due to difficulty removing it from bones. There is a very simple solution to this problem, however, and it requires nothing more complex than a large pot and a few hours of time.
      Boiling down meat for soup is a classic way to make the most of your food dollars. It is (or at least was) so prevalent that you can ask your butcher for soup bones year round. Soup from bones provides a rich flavor that is hard to match otherwise, and it also works with virtually any meat. Every year after Thanksgiving, I cook down the turkey carcass, and my mom was an artist with ham bones when I was a kid.

      For a turkey, I use a 3 gallon stock pot. The bird doesn't fit completely at first, but it will as it breaks down. Smaller bones, such as beef or pork, can also be cooked in a slow cooker.

      1. With your leftover meat in the pot, add enough water to cover the whole lot if possible, but not so much that it will boil over. 
      2. Cover your pot and set it to boil. (I like to season my soup at this point, but this can also be done before you serve it.)
      3. Let your pot boil until the meat separates and falls from the bone. This may take a few hours. Check on it occasionally, adding water as needed.
      4. When the meat has fallen off the bone, you'll need to remove the bones from the pot. I use a slotted spoon for this, and simply remove all of the meat and bone. I then separate them, returning the meat to the pot and discarding the bone.
      5. At this point, you can either add vegetables and other ingredients and serve immediately, or you can portion out and refrigerate or freeze your soup for later. A large turkey ends up making me about 2 gallons of rich, hearty soup. A beef or pork roast could make nearly a gallon.

      Dollars always seem to need streching this time of year, and this is a tasty way to do it.

      Lokidude

      Monday, December 5, 2016

      Guest Post: Carbohydrates and Fats in the Apocalypse

      by George Groot
      George is a member of our Facebook Group and has written for us before.


      We’ve already covered essential amino acids and vitamins. I’m going to lump carbs and fats together in this final post because, biologically speaking, they are both very boring: science lists no “essential” carbohydrates, and only two essential fatty acids (omega-3 and omega-6). For a quick review, here is the list of essentials:

      Amino acids: histidine, isoleucine, leucine, lysine, methionine, phenylalanine, threonine, tryptophan, and valine
      Fatty acids: linoleic and α-linolenic acids
      Vitamins: ascorbic acid, vitamin A, vitamin D, vitamin E, vitamin K, thiamine, riboflavin, niacin, vitamin B-6, pantothenic acid, folic acid, biotin, and vitamin B-12
      Minerals: calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, and iron
      Trace minerals: zinc, copper, manganese, iodine, selenium, molybdenum, and chromium
      Electrolytes: sodium, potassium, and chloride
      Ultratrace minerals: (essentially everything else)

      Carbohydrates
      Carbs are nowhere on the above list, but that doesn’t mean you can ignore them; a lack of carbohydrates in your diet can lead to hypoglycemia (low blood sugar, which results in being tired, cranky, and unhappy) or even ketosis, a serious medical condition that can lead to death. So you definitely need some carbs, but you have no specific need for any one particular carbohydrate, which is why none are labeled as essential.

      But not all carbs are created equal, and you can think of them as “fast” or “slow” carbs. You’ll often hear them called “simple” and “complex”, and if you remember that simple is the “fast” kind that tastes good but isn't good for you, then you are on your way to success. Simple carbohydrates are monosaccharides (a single sugar molecule) or disaccharides (a molecule that is broken apart by an enzyme into two single sugar molecules). Not all of these sugars have the same glycemic index (how much they affect blood sugar and insulin production), and complex starches such as found in potatoes or pasta are still carbohydrates according to your body.

      You don’t need much to survive; a single bowl of oatmeal or a medium potato is going to give you all the carbs you need to avoid ketosis or hypoglycemia if you are a healthy person. If you have flour, beans, rice, pasta, potatoes, and fruit as part of your preps, you are not going to have any issues getting enough carbohydrates to maintain health. I worry more about preppers being extremely carb heavy in their preps which, over the long term, can lead to health problems such as weight gain, heart disease, and diabetes.

      Fats
      If you cook with a vegetable oil, or eat fish, you are already getting the two essential fatty acids you need. In fact, the only people who are in danger of needing essential fatty acid are those who go for a long stretch of time on extremely lean meat. But if you have a fat source, then lean meat is no problem.

      The normal household cooking oils (corn, canola, olive, and soybean) all have the essential fatty acids you need. There is some argument among foodies about which oil has the best ratio for human consumption and optimal health, but in a survival situation any of them will keep you alive and healthy. Sunflower oil may or may not have the omega 3 fatty acid you need, depending on how it is processed and what type of sunflower seeds were pressed. Cold pressed is best, in my opinion.


      The two essential fats that you need aren’t hard to come by, and cooking oil is one of the essentials that you can buy cheap and stack deep as it has a myriad of other survival uses such as filling copper candles, weatherproofing cloth, and if you store it too long and it starts to go rancid, consider turning it into soap. And if you didn’t pack away enough cooking oil to keep yourself healthy and your cast iron pan seasoned, then go fishing and gather nuts to make sure you get the essential fats you need in your diet.

      Sunday, December 4, 2016

      Gun Blog Variety Podcast #120 - Your Life is a Kitchen

      So bake as many pies as you want with the GunBlog VarietyCast!
      • Beth brings her husband Sean (not GBVC Sean, a different Sean) back on to talk about being a couple who shoot competitively.
      • A 32-year-old woman is accused of stabbing her 61-year-old former roommate to death. Sean takes a closer look.
      • Barron is on assignment and will return soon.
      • In the Main Topic, Sean and Erin answer a pair of questions from a liberal gun-owning listener: "What do you hear when a liberal says 'We need to have a conversation', and what do you hear when a liberal says 'We need to compromise' ?"
      • In a late night/early morning segment, Tiffany discusses the First Amendment concept of "fighting words" and how that relates to your Second Amendment right to armed self-defense. 
      • When the oil from the hurricane lamps you've got stored in the garage leaks all over the floor, how can you get it cleaned up? Erin gives you some tips.
      • Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey is back, this time in a Vice News interview. You know what that means: it's time for another patented Weer'd Audio Fisk™!
      • Our plug of the week is for Roll20.
      Thank you for downloading, listening, and subscribing. You are subscribed, right? We are available on iTunes, Stitcher Radio, and now on Google Play Music!
      Listen to the podcast here.
      Read the show notes here
      Thanks also to Firearms Policy Coalition for their support. 

      Blue Collar Prepping Transcript:
      Lamp Oil Cleanup on Aisle Five!

      Now that my family has unpacked the Christmas decorations and strung them up across the house, it’s time for the annual cleaning up of the garage in the hopes that maybe this is the year we’ll get it all organized. I say “hopes” because invariably something goes wrong, and this year is no exception.

      We maintain several hurricane lamps in the house for, not surprisingly, if we lose electricity from a hurricane. And we’ve had these lamps for a long time -- at least 30 years now.

      Now despite these lamps being old they haven’t received a lot of use, because storms rarely knock out electricity for more than a few hours and because (with my help) my family has moved on to battery-powered means of long term light.

      But batteries can wear down, and it’s always good to have backups, so we’ve kept these lamps around. However, the drawback to owning one is that you also need to stay well-stocked with lamp oil.

      Now I don’t know if our listeners know this -- I certainly didn’t until this past week -- but apparently the plastic bottles that store lamp oil can become brittle after, oh, a decade of storage in a garage, and past that point bumping them, or even moving them, will cause them to crack (or in our case, shatter) and leak all over the place.

      So this past week has involved me asking the collective wisdom of the Blue Collar Prepping Facebook Group -- if you aren’t a member, you’re wrong, join today -- how to clean up the stinky stain in my garage and if there’s any hazard associated with it.

      So first of all, lamp oil is just highly refined kerosene, with a flash point -- that means “the temperature at which it ignites” -- of 363 degrees F. This is not to be confused with the auto ignition point, which means “the temperature at which it spontaneously ignites without needing a spark”, and is a much higher 428 degrees F.

      These are all good things to know, because it means that the spill won’t catch fire in a hot garage!

      So, onto the cleanup, and the techniques I outline here can be used for other forms of fuel, like gasoline.

      The first thing I need to do it absorb as much of the oil as possible. This is best done with clay-type non-clumping cat litter, although dry sand will also work. Cover the stain with it, wait until it’s saturated, then dispose of the litter or sand and replace it. I need to keep doing this until there’s no more oil to be absorbed, and if I really want to get aggressive I can scrub the litter into the floor with my shoe or a broom.

      After that, I’m going to spray the stain with carburetor cleaner. This is supposed to “lift” any remaining oil out of the concrete and allow it to be absorbed as disposed of.

      I need to spray the stain until it’s covered -- not a thick coat, just wetted down -- let it stand about 5-10 minutes, then put more kitty litter onto it. I’m told that I should repeat this about 3 more times. This will probably get out everything it’s possible to get out.

      After THAT, I need to use Dawn dishwashing soap to break down whatever oil is left and cause it float to the top. More kitty litter!

      After that’s done, it’s just a simple matter of washing off the rest of the Dawn with water and a mop.

      Of course, all of this trouble could have been avoided if I’d prevented the lamp oil from spilling in the first place. What I’m going to do to keep this from happening in the future is to keep our remaining bottles of oil in a big plastic storage tub. That way, even if the bottles break, the only mess will be inside the tub instead of all over the floor!

      The Fine Print


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