Sunday, December 24, 2017

Merry Christmas 2017

From our family to yours, we wish you a Merry Christmas. We have been on the final run to finish out the year, and look forward to seeing what the new year brings. Mainly Disney World, and more preparedness. I'll have a longer post after the new year.


We thank God for His ultimate gift for us - K and Family

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

A Much Needed Update

Like the title suggests, I'm doing a much needed update and probably the last one of the year. I'll try to cover all the bases...

Since my schooling has officially ended, I've kinda drifted around without any major goals besides raising a family, work, chores, and teaching Financial Peace University. I've got a couple of great ideas to develop into apps for the Apple Swift operating system, and have been slowly working through the ideas. I purchased an Apple mini, at a great price, but found out that the unit was too old to support the latest playground for application development. Oops! So that computer is being used by the boys for school.


My younger self wanted to be a programmer, and I taught myself BASIC and took COBOL and FORTRAN in High School. I'll be self teaching myself SWIFT, which is really intuitive after learning all the other languages. It won't be easy, but it won't be impossible either. The plan is to develop the application in Swift then transpose it into the Android platform and earn residual income off the ideas.

While we have positioned ourselves fairly well in our location, we need some acreage to move to the next stage of preparedness: PioneerPreppy, Sandy, and JUGM and Senior setups. Our ideal situation is to have a functioning homestead for family and group members that is already operating at or near  group count. The excess during normal times will be sold at the local farmer's market, and the money used for additional preps, expansion, taxes, silver, and construction.

I've still got a few posts (experiments in progress) that need to be finished: Cheese waxing experiment going on one year for JUGM, wound stitching and review for Sandy's give away, and bullet review for Ammo To Go.

Books I've been reading:




The garage workbench ( 8 ft ) has been started now that the oppressive Arkansas heat and humidity has subsided. I've cleaned the area out, or shuffled stuff in the garage, and made some progress.




I added another center brace on the bench at every 2 feet. The legs will run at a 45 degree angle towards the footer board on the wall to free up floor space. The front of the bench has a lip for attaching a future reloading press. I'm hoping to have the workbench finished by Christmas...we shall see if time permits. I'll take more pictures at a later date.

The family is still on track to visit Walt Disney World in January. Airfare, hotel, and park tickets have been paid in full. We are still saving for food and souvenirs and are one track to have a BIG time.  The boys ( 11, 8, and 3 ) are both doing well in school, Red Ant is having a few problems with the rules, but nothing serious. He will lose screen time for losing points at school.


The Doctor, our 3 year old, passed out last night while reading his Goofy Coloring Book. This is how we found him.

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Net Neutrality goes up for a vote on Dec 15th at the FCC. this is a huge issue for freedom of the internet. Very comparable to freedom of speech.

Imagine Comcast or any cable provider deciding what websites get priority/bandwidth. A few European countries have lost their Net Neutrality and have to pay additional fees to access music, blogs, news, videos, etc...

Get involved! This is a power grab for information.
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Keep Right On Prepping - K




Thursday, October 19, 2017

Good Dadding

In an effort to stretch our family food budget, we have breakfast night at least once a week. We  ended up with 11 sausage links and 10 sausage patties at the table, because one link accidentally fell into my mouth. Red Ant got to the table and asked how many links he could have and I replied, "How many is 11 divided by 5?"  It took a minute, but the final answer was two!

We always like to take opportunities to have teachable moments. Well, Row doesn't really care for the sausage patties, which were also on the table, so we suggested that he trade for the items that he wanted. Row really wanted more than two links. I a stroke of brilliance I offered that the boys bid on the lone remaining sausage link. Red Ant said that he'd clean both both sides of the bathroom. Row countered with a 10 minute foot massage. Red Ant offered up another bid with cleaning the bathroom and vacuuming the living room, but Row was quick to counter with a 10 minute foot massage for both parents.


Red Ant got the remaining sausage on the plate, and Row got a link from my plate. Excuse me while I sit in my recliner, have my feet massaged, and watch our middle child clean the house.

Keep Right On Prepping - K

Friday, October 6, 2017

Confronting School Socialism One Teacher At A Time

Yesterday, Red Ant with Pincers, our eight year old, got written up at school for coloring on his cap erasers. He has gotten in "trouble" for doing this twice before. First a little background, my mom is a retired teacher/counselor and our kid's teachers have my full support as a parent and should be paid a whole lot more...



I noticed that on the short form, that he was written up for "Improper care of school property". Well, I sure remember paying for his school supplies out of my own pocket. When I asked Red Ant about it, he said that the supplies that he brought to school were put together and the classroom shared the supplies. Classic Socialism. I often voluntarily donate items to the classrooms as our budget allows. What I do mind, is the incorrect thinking that these items no longer belong to him.

I send a note along with my signature on the short form to his teacher.

"Mrs teacher,

We talked with Red Ant about marking on the erasers, but more importantly not listening to your instructions. I do however have an issue a concern with the reason for the short form - "Improper Care of School Property." Red Ant brought two packages of cap erasers to school, you can correct the form to "disobedience to classroom rules" which would be HIS property.

-K"

My sweet wife in her wisdom, made a few changes before it was sent off to school. I have a  problem with poking the bear sometimes.

I could go into a long diatribe about the indoctrination of our kids at school, but it is the parents responsibility to teach our kids, not the school. Get involved in your kid's education, be aware and take moments like these as teachable lessons.

Thoughts?

Keep Right On Prepping - K

Thursday, September 28, 2017

Storing Sugar For Long Term Storage In Humid Environments

In previous posts I've talked about storing sugar for long term storage since it never spoils, is a calorie dense food, can be used as a preservative (jams, jellies), relatively cheap, hard to produce, and makes an excellent barter item. The five enemies of long term food storage is: light, moisture, temperature, insects/varmints, and oxygen. The humidity can be very high in Arkansas with 100% humidity not uncommon. If I do buy sugar, it can easily turn into a sugar brick within a few months. Our local Kroger ran four pound sugar packages on sale for 99 cents each (1.5 cents/ounce) which is more than half the usual cost.

104 pounds of sugar
Here is my solution: The local Chinese restaurants put uncooked rice in their salt shakers to absorb the moisture. I placed about 3 pounds of sugar in a Quart Ziplock freezer bag, added 1/4 ounce rice between to two bags, then vacuum sealed the contents.

After many years of backpacking, there is no better brand than Ziplock. The Quart size will allow me to gently massage the sugar back into granules if this experiment fails.

I bought a Ziplock Vacuum Sealer for $10 as a Black Friday special last year, and ideally two people and two sealers would make the process go much faster. One making the bags, and the other sealing them.


Between the sealer bag and the Ziplock bag, I put 4 ounces (1/4 cup) of rice, then vacuum sealed the contents. In theory, the plastic(s) will allow some exchange of air and the rice should act as a moisture barrier between the two bags. Sugar does not have an expiration date, so unless a major failure, these should be good to go for 25 years with the plastic determining the failure date.




I've got some more vacuum sealing to do, but the finished products are placed in these square food grade buckets for the pantry.

I'd love to hear your thoughts and comments on my idea of long term storage for sugar in humid climates.

(104 pounds of sugar = 182,520 calories = $25.74 = 91.26 days of 2000 calories /day)


Keep Right On Prepping - K

Saturday, September 23, 2017

The Great Thing About My Work

The great thing about my work is that I get to meet quite a few different people. This one patient works at the Remington Arms plant, and I asked him about ammo sales. "It's dropped off a cliff since Obama left office.", was the patient's reply. They told me that their client base has been stockpiling ammo for a long time, and this is a great, probably the best time to purchase ammo. I suspect that I should continue to purchase ammo and consider it an investment in future shooting fun.



I also get to meet people from all corners of the state, and can pick their brains about the region that they live.

I've really been getting the itch to purchase some land for our future homestead, but with over 900 bucks a month in childcare, it'll have to remain on the back burner  for a while longer. We aren't willing to go into additional debt. We are kinda caught between the kid's education, which is the main reason we haven't moved, and wanting to live out in the country. Plus, my wife has to have high speed internet for her stay at home job. We've talked about a good time frame, and perhaps as soon as three years we could buy 5 to 10 to 15 acres, have our house custom build for prepping, sell our current house, and live the dream. Until then, we are living below our means, saving money, and expanding our skill set.

Theoretically, we could max out our budget, stop contributing to retirement, and do all this now. We hate living on the edge, and worrying about bills/money. The small farm will have to wait...

Keep Right On Prepping - K


Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Alive and Busy

Just a short update to keep the blog current, and to keep the few loyal readers informed. Wow! It has been really busy at our household. We are transitioning into the school routine and getting all three of the boys ready or motivated, depending on their age. It leaves me with about 2 hours of  "free time" to run errands, housework, clean,  projects, and other misc. tasks that pop up.

The Doctor, our three year old, is really blooming. His vocabulary and personality are really starting to shine. In the photo below, the parents didn't get up soon enough when the good Doctor wanted some morning milk. So, he helped himself to an ice cream treat. This is what happens when you catch a few more minutes of sleep at our house. It's hard to get mad when he is beaming a bright smile telling you that "I've got ice cream!" 


We have been trying to teach him to take turns watching TV with the other two, but the only thing that he knows is that every turn is "My TURN!".  Sounds like the chorus at a political rally.  Don't worry readers, we will teach him the old ways of respect, earning your way, being a light for the world, and doing the right thing when no one is watching.

Red Ant with Pincers, our soon to be 9 year old, earned another stripe in Cuong Nhu ("Kung New") and by the next testing will be a yellow belt. He is so proud of himself. He has worked really hard and will be ready to demonstrate the first full form at the next testing.  His school work has been good, but he needs to buckle down on spelling. He is a rock star in the other subjects, and has already learned his multiplication flash cards even before being required.


Row, our soon to be 12 year old, has transitioned into sixth grade and doing well. He has all Pre-AP classes, and adjusting to going to many different classes per day. He is definitely our rules kids. He is a rules follower, but I try to offer teachable moments when it's not okay to follow the rules. For Example: Please speed when you are taking someone to the hospital for a life threatening event or when government oversteps there authority. For those readers interested, read How Do You Kill 11 Million People? by Andy Andrews.

That just leaves the parents in this update. Sweetheart has been asked to work "voluntary" (read mandatory)  but recommended over time each week for the last year. The money is nice, but time has become a scarce commodity for her. She is still training for her marathons, and races while going to bootcamp most mornings.

We are teaching Financial Peace University, Dave Ramsey's program, at church again this semester. The leadership has decided to add another three classes to this course, so it extends it to 12 weeks instead of 9. We provide lunch to about 40-50 people, with the grateful help of another couple, every Sunday afternoon. This is the first semester that we have talked about stepping back from teaching. We love helping people get their finances in better shape, the achieved status in church, and subtly spreading the prepper mindset, but the weekends are crazy trying to get everything accomplished. I also tend to create some unnecessary stress in our marital bliss on Sunday mornings trying to get things ready for church. I'm trying to correct this behavior, but it's a work in progress.

We have officially paid for our Walt Disney World trip in January without going into debt. The majority, if not all, of our extra cash has been towards airfare, on-property hotel, and tickets. We only have food and souvenirs to save up for now.  It seems that everything runs about $400 per person no matter what the line item. Speaking of which, our two oldest boys will be at Disney on their real birthdays. What an awesome way to turn 12 and 9! Sweetheart was able to snag all of our reservations by getting up at 5:00am to register them online. Which means, our boys will have a huge birthday dinner at their chosen restaurants of Be Our Guest and Via Napoli.

I've got a few projects on the back burner, or currently working. For JUGM, at Haze Gray and Red Clay, I've got a block of cheddar cheese in the spare refrigerator as an on going experiment in cheese storage. I'll be picking a warm day to crayon wax them and then store them under the house. Our local cheesemaker, through a conversation, recommended keeping certain cheeses in the vegetable crisper to age. This was his optimal storage technique for the Arkansas climate.

For Sandy, at Oklahoma Transient, as promised, Ill be doing a tutorial post on learning to stitch wounds in a SHTF scenario.  I was the winner of her giveaway for the Voodoo tactical kit. Thanks again! Money has been tight, but I was finally able to order suture needle and thread from Amazon. This is a skill in which the viewer will have to practice this skill set. Watching a video or reading about it does not make you competent, just enough to be dangerous.

I bought a lot of sugar on sale ( 4 pounds for 99 cents) at Kroger, and will be doing a short post on how I think packaging it for long term storage in humid climates might work best. Another experiment in action.

Thanks for reading and Keep Right On Prepping- K and family


Monday, September 11, 2017

9-11


19 Moslems hijack 4 airplanes and kill over 6000 people. The enemies of America celebrated.

Never forget who your friends are...

Keep Right On Prepping - K