Sunday, July 9, 2017

Week of July 4th

I took off the week of July 4th to take keep the boys out of the house since Sweetheart works from home. I tried to pack a full schedule to keep them occupied, and one of the trips was into the Capital City to the MacArthur Museum of Military History. Red Ant is really into anything military related, much like my brother. I wouldn't be surprised if he did decide to join or armed forces. In case you didn't know, before Brother Bill Clinton, Little Rock most famous person was Douglas MacArthur. General MacArthur was the better person.

They had a real Jeep inside the museum, and it was really cool to see the original design. Speaking of which, I've had my truck on Craig's List for about a month. I'll be using that money to buy a used Jeep Wrangler, or that is the idea.

Through the week, we went to a community bakery for breakfast, and visited with a friend that I worked with at the restaurant. We also went to a doctor's appointment for Red Ant, visited an old arcade and played Donkey Kong, pinball, air hockey, and other classic quarter games. I had forgotten about so many cool games...

On Friday, we went to the Buffalo National River and hung out on the river bank, collected rocks, squashed worms, and  watched people roll their canoes in the rapids.

On the way back, we pulled over at a scenic overlook and had lunch at one of their picnic tables. About 10 minutes after filling up the truck, one of the cylinders started to misfire, and the truck died. Fortunately, we were able to coast into a farmer's market at a small town. The lady at the stand gave me the name of a towing company, and $175 and 100+ miles later, we were at our house.

The truck goes to our mechanic on Monday. Hopefully it's bad gas, a faulty coil, or spark plug. Something cheap would be nice.....
UPDATE: $9000 for a new motor. It's going to junk yard....

Keep Right On Prepping - K

Thursday, June 22, 2017

You have Been Warned : Bad Advice Blog Called Out

I've been mulling over this post for a few months to make sure that I haven't overreacted, but I will be removing the American Preppers Network website from my blogrolls. It started when they posted an article on "The Best Survival Foods on a Budget" which included: rice, spam, powdered drinks and milk, dried eggs, and energy bars.


I'll let my few loyal readers mull over this advice. Do you see any problems? First off, if you are looking for foods on a budget, you want high calorie vs. dollar amount. (calories/dollar)

Here is a way better list that I've assembled. The best food choice, hands down, is flour at 4464 calories per dollar. The LDS list wheat berries as a primary grain to store...NO WONDER! You can easily make Navajo fry bread with just flour, salt, and water. Soda bread only uses a little bit of baking soda and no yeast. You could also bake sour dough bread without having to store yeast.

My personal favorite item is sugar at 2854 calories per dollar. Protect from moisture and you have a food storage item that will last indefinitely, relatively hard to manufacture, highly desirable as a trade item, and goes great in coffee. Sugar was actually the first item to be rationed during World War II (Spring 1942) and no sugar could be legally purchased without ration stamps until 1947.

Next on my list is rice at 2320 calories per dollar. I'd also recommend storing Kikkoman Soy Sauce, and the Walmart website sells powdered soy sauce.  (LINK TO SOY SAUCE POWDER)  Having a ton of rice, but no soy sauce would really irritate me after a while.

Let's not forget plain oats at 2148 calories per dollar. The oats make a quick and easy breakfast to go with that tea brick that I did an article about...

The cheap Ramen noodles and pasta come in at 1949 and 1600 calories per dollar, respectively.

So, here you have my top 5 list for budget foods to store. This is not a complete nutritional profile, so I'll add a few more items to help round out the nutritional side of things.

1. Prenatal Vitamins which tend to be cheaper and better profiles.
2. Extra Virgin Olive Oil (1245 calories per dollar) and can be stored in a deep freeze for extra longevity. Besides, fried squirrel and rabbit with that flour, salt and pepper makes a great meal. (Be sure to check out the Lard and Crisco comments below)
3. Salt. A no-brainer preferably with iodine if you don't live along the coast. Also, can be used as a salt lick for hunting local game.
4. Green Coffee Beans
5. Lots of spices that can't be grown locally. Here's my list: nutmeg, cinnamon, black pepper, turmeric, mustard seed (homemade mustard), cocoa powder, and chili powder.
6. (hat tip to Monsoon Matriarch)  Refried Beans from the LDS for a quick food to make a complete protein with the rice.
7. (Vicki is on point with two overlooked fats)  Lard ran $1.99 for 2110 calories per dollar, Crisco ran 1982 calories per dollar, and olive oil ran 1284 calories per dollar. Purely empirical, lard is the best choice. I checked today, and the lard had a best buy date of Feb 2019 (I'm impressed).

Interesting links:

My tea brick article

Soy sauce powder link for Walmart

IFSBULK. A wholesale supplier and GREAT prices.

APN article that I hate.

Sweet Maria: Coffee supplier

As always, comments are encouraged, and make my day a little brighter.
Keep Right On Prepping - K

Saturday, May 27, 2017

Memorial Weekend 2017

Some gave all.

Thank you -

K, Sweetheart, Row, Red Ant, and The Doctor

Thursday, May 4, 2017

The Quest for Coffee And SHTF

I've done several posts in the past about coffee storage for extremely bad situations, like being without it. I've looked at several commercial packaging techniques, and the steel canisters seem to be your best bet for ease of use. Look for the expiration dates when you have a few minutes to peruse the coffee aisle at your local grocer.

The holy grail for coffee and long term storage is the green coffee bean, which can stay "fresh" for a year stored in a cool dark pantry, without any special packaging or preparation. The shelf life can be extended to 10+ years with storage in mylar bags and an oxygen eater.

First, a quick education in how the green coffee bean progresses to various roasts. The roasting process was taken from Sweet Maria's wholesale coffee supplier. (LINK)

Understanding the different stages of the roast will help you control the flavor of your cup and appreciate how different roasts result in different cup flavors.
  - Yellowing: For the first few minutes the bean remains greenish, then turn lighter yellowish and emit a grassy smell.
- Steam: The beans start to steam as their internal water content dissipates.
- First Crack: The steam becomes fragrant. Soon you will hear the first crack, an audible cracking sound as the real roasting starts to occur: sugars begin to caramelize, bound-up water escapes, the structure of the bean breaks down and oils migrate from their little pockets outward.
- First Roasted Stage: After the first crack, the roast can be considered complete any time according to your taste. The cracking is an audible cue, and, along with sight and smell, tells you what stage the roast is at. This is what is called a City roast.

- Caramelization: Caramelization continues, oils migrate, and the bean expands in size as the roast becomes dark. As the roast progresses, this is a City + roast. Most of our roast recommendations stop at this point. When you are on the verge of second crack, that is a Full City roast.
- Second Crack: At this point a second crack can be heard, often more volatile than the first. The roast character starts to eclipse the origin character of the beans at this point and is also known as a Vienna roast. A few pops into second crack is a Full City + roast. Roasting all the way through second crack may result in small pieces of bean being blown away like shrapnel!
- Darkening Roast: As the roast becomes very dark, the smoke is more pungent as sugars burn completely, and the bean structure breaks down more and more. As the end of second crack approaches you will achieve a French roast.
- Ack!! Too Late!: Eventually, the sugars burn completely, and the roast will only result in a thin-bodied cup of "charcoal water."

During the next 24 hours, the newly roasted coffee beans will gas carbon dioxide, hence the air vents on commercially processed packages of coffee. I have been experimenting with using a hot air popper, and it is ridiculously simply.

The green coffee beans and the roasted beans to first "pop"
I ordered the sample pack from Sweet Maria's which was eight pounds of coffee beans for about $48.00 w/ shipping. Still a very reasonable price, and the best prices that I've found while researching the topic for a few weeks. (more later on prices)

As a Prepper, this is what I would suggest. Order a sample pack from Sweet Maria's and experiment with the different methods of roasting the green coffee beans. You'll also get to learn the different region growing "tastes" and what roasts (i.e. medium roast, espresso) you prefer. I'll be learning to roast the beans using cast iron and an oven over the next few months. 

SOLUTION: You can either order, and store your coffee with mylar and oxygen eaters, or purchase canned green coffee beans from Costco for about $4.00/pound. I haven't tried the coffee from Costco, so I can't testify to it's quality. Any readers have experience with this brand?  Practice roasting the green coffee beans with varying methods. Having the supplies, but not knowing how to prepare/use them is not good logic. 

If things get bad, you'll still have your morning cup of coffee to greet the day.

Comments are always welcomed and Keep Right On Prepping - K

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Blog Fluff

As the title suggest, just a quick post of no importance.

Our family has been planning a vacation to Walt Disney World, or whichever one is in Florida, for a couple of years. The plans got side railed with the newest addition to the family. I jokingly tell my friends that we are a white couple with no rhythm. Anyways, we are taking family walks to gradually get the boys in better shape since the average person walks about 6-10 miles per day.

The boys has also purchased piggy banks to save their money for the trip. Red Ant is saving for a gigantic Lego set at Disney Springs. Row has informed the family that he will be using his money to rent a motorized wheelchair. Smart boy.

Image result for disney world motorized wheelchair
Keep Right On Prepping - K

Sunday, April 30, 2017

Garage Renovation

When we bought the house, it had a ramp from the garage into the mudroom. It came in handy for moving heavy appliances, boxes, and other items that needed a dolly, but time and resources have made it possible for me to finally start work on a work bench area.

I remembered to start taking pictures about half way through the demolish process. The handrails have already been taken down along the 10 foot sloped ramp.

All of the 2x4's have had the nails removed, and the ends trimmed (if needed) for the workbench. I'll repurpose as much of the wood as possible. I still have plans to build a small step down for the Doctor since it is a HUGE step for a three year old. It'll be easier to get into the house on leg days as well....

Our teaching Dave Ramsey's Financial Peace class has ended until this Fall, so we will have more time to complete planned posts, projects, and a mini-blog series. I don't know if I talked about the surreal feeling of being done with school, but I am slowly refocusing my energies towards skill sets.

Keep Right On Prepping - K

Sunday, April 16, 2017

Easter Analogy

We took the kids to our church Easter Egg hunt yesterday, and I was thinking that all of the kids scrambling around to collect the eggs is very similar to what happens whenever the weatherman calls for any frozen precipitation. It's nice being a parent and standing back watching all the mayhem.

Happy Easter.

-The K family

Thursday, April 13, 2017

Backyard Potatoes

I had a hour before work to finish up the side yard potato/compost containers. Last year, we had to replace the main water line from the house to the meter, and they dug up quite a bit of the side of the house. The monkey grass was re-purposed to keep the water away from the foundation and move the water towards the backyard.

I cleaned up the old leaves and mulched them with the mower. The leaves will make the base layer, then some sand, followed by the cut potatoes (with eyes). I'll top off the potato cuttings with more mulch and a little bit of soil.

The cages are being kept together with zip ties, so that at harvest time, I can just clip the ties and harvest the potatoes. I chose this area for a few reasons, plenty of light, more soil is needed at this location, easy to watch, plenty of room for runners since this area doesn't get mowed, and close to the faucet.

I'll periodically post throughout the year until the first frost. I've probably started with about three pounds of raw potatoes for this endeavor, plus $13 for the rabbit fencing. Maybe $16 as a start up cost....

I'll start the third container this weekend with the boys as a science experiment.

Keep Right On Prepping - K