Thursday, November 29, 2012

Using Contrails To Predict The Weather

Mohave Rat recently had a post dealing with contrails, and I offered an explanation for them, hence this new post. I first learned how to read them from Larry Williams, an extraordinary outdoors man.

First, we need to define contrails. Contrails is short for condensation trails. They are those long or short lines behind the jet airplanes that appear in the sky. The condensation trails are formed by water vapor that condenses or turns into ice crystals depending on the air temperature of the jet's altitude. Armed with this knowledge, you can mostly predict the weather. It isn't 100% accurate, but reliable enough when backpacking on extended trips.

Air can contain no more than a certain maximum amount of water vapor at any given temperature. The higher the temperature of the air, the more water vapor it can hold. When it is cold enough and there is moisture in the air, the exhaust of a jet engine "seeds" the water vapor making contrails. Snow and raindrops are also formed around a speck of dirt, which explains why the car gets so dirty after a rainstorm. If the temperature of the air at which condensation takes place is above freezing, water droplets form. If it is below freezing, ice crystals form.

Some contrails are short and some are long. On days when the contrails are short there is little moisture (cold) in the air at high altitudes. When the contrails are long, there is more moisture in the air (warm) at that altitude. You can take note and notice the rate at which the contrail disappears to determine the amount of moisture in the atmosphere.

You can predict the weather by taking advantage of this information in the sky. If the contrails are short, and there are few or no clouds in the sky, then there is little moisture in the upper atmosphere. The chances are very good that the next twelve to twenty-four hours will be clear. If the contrails are long, the moisture content of the upper atmosphere sky is high and more clouds or even a storm is on the way.

You can take two viewing of the contrails in the day and extrapolate a more accurate weather prediction. Short contrails and a clear day in the morning, then long contrails and clear in the afternoon most likely means that it will be clouding up tomorrow. You get the idea.

You can also get an idea of the direction and speed of the upper atmosphere winds by watching the contrails.

 The planes most likely crossed from right to left, and the winds are blowing from bottom to top of the picture. I say most likely because the contrails are thicker on the left side, and it dissipates on the right side. The upper atmosphere winds are pushing the contrails towards the top of the picture as the bowing of the contrails suggest. The winds don't move in nice fronts like the weather maps show on tv.

Have fun with this knowledge, make some notes, predictions, and observe the results.

Oh, and that sprained ankle from a few years back is an excellent barometer too!

Keep Right On Prepping - K

Monday, November 26, 2012

MRE Monday - Pears

Nutritional Information:

Serving Size: 128 grams or about 4.5 ounces
Calories: 110
Calories from fat: 0
Total Fat: 0g or 0% DV
Cholesterol: 0mg or 0% DV
Sodium: 10mg or 0% DV
Total Carbohydrates: 27g or 9% DV
Dietary Fiber: 2g or 8% DV
Sugars: 26g
Protein: 1g
Vitamin A: 2% DV
Vitamin C: 130% DV
Calcium:  0% DV
Iron: 4%

My expectations were canned type pears diced into small cubes.

Red Ant with Pincers, the soon to be four year old, took a small bite and said, " I don't like them." No further amount of persuasion could make him eat another bite. He is usually the better eater of the two boys too.

Row, the soon to be seven year old, was really excited after the first bite and said, " Yes, i do like them. These are just like the ones at daycare!" He did finish the same sampler bowl, which I consider a thumbs up. He usually doesn't go for the fruits and veggies like his younger brother.

Mother-in-law really liked them, and said that they were better than the canned variety.

Sweetheart, wasn't impressed with the pears. She did think that it might be good mixed into some oatmeal or baked into some bread.

I grew up on canned pears, and it would often be topped with mayonnaise and grated cheese. This being said, I thought that these were excellent. Very rarely, would I describe an MRE with these words, but it definitely got my approval. I think that the pears in the MRE were a little sweeter than the canned variety, which could account for my high marks.

Final Thoughts: 
Yet again, the cost of $1.80 is quite high for 4.5 ounces of pears. The high cost is a trade off for long shelf life and portability. The pears will be going on the A-list of reorders just because my number one son likes them, and eats them. Anytime I can get one of my kids to eat a veggie/fruit, much less an MRE it will get my money.

Stars: * * ( 2 )

Saturday, November 24, 2012

How to Make Your Own Powder Laundry Detergent 2

We have been using our own homemade laundry detergent for 6 months, and here is the original post, if you are interested. The results have been very good, with a slight learning curve. Some of the early loads came out a little soapy and had to be re-rinsed.  We started using warm water instead of cold, and putting the detergent into the water after about 2-3 gallons had filled the tub. This solved the problem.

The four cup batch before it got mixed. The paint bucket from Lowe's has been a great place to keep the detergent.

The results have been very good, and the only noticeable difference has been the savings. The last batch ( 11 cups ) was made on May 11th, and cost us $7.99. So a little over a dollar a month for laundry, and we need to do at least one load a day to keep up. I made another 4 cup batch today, the only change has been that the Fels-Naptha has been grated to a fine consistency.

I have also been using a little white vinegar on occasion as a fabric softener, whiten the whites, and remove the sweat stains from my undershirts.

I prefer the scent of the homemade detergent over some of the store bought brands. The scent is best described as a lack of artificial scents.

The last six months has included clothes from yard work,restaurant level dirty, and workouts. I haven't seen any difference between Tide and our homemade detergent. Sweetheart would like a occasional scented version, perhaps a little oil concentrate could be added to the recipe? She does a vast majority of the laundry and has been rather indifferent to the change in detergents.

Our six month experiment has been a success. We will continue using our homemade version, and save some serious money for other preps. I ran the numbers and $32.00 will provide enough laundry detergent to last two years, with a load being done everyday. Not too bad.

In a long term situation, the ingredients do need to be safe guarded against moisture, since I had some minor clumping of the Borax and Super Soda. Clean clothes would be a huge morale booster and a possible way to barter services for goods in an economic collapse. Any thoughts?

Keep Right On Prepping - K


On the first batch, I ran out of Fels-Naptha and used Ivory soap to get the right ratio. Here is a little trick to save some time instead of grating it. The ivory soap scent is rather strong after it is microwaved, just as a warning.

MM - If you could comment on the acceptability of using Ivory soap for allergies, it would be greatly appreciated.

Friday, November 23, 2012

Thank You

I want to extend my humble thanks to G.K. for the generous donation. I do have my eyes on a few new reference books on Amazon. My wife and I are reading Where There Is No Doctor , and should have a joint book review due after the new year. By the way, Sweetheart  does medical coding, and she is one of my greatest resources for medical advice/diagnosis. We both want to extend our knowledge in the health care skill set.

I have also volunteered to be a victim trauma patient for a 2 day EMS refresher course being offered on campus. I'll get to do some passive learning while earning $25.00 per day. It may not seem like much to some people, but it will buy my two boys something from Santa.

I hope everyone had a good Thanksgiving, but remember our troops overseas during this time of year. You know that it has to be hard to be away from family during war time. I'll be organizing another care package for my friend's son that is over in Afghanistan. I'm hoping to send enough that he can share with his Army buddies. Send a note or a care package to our armed forces, and remember them in your prayers.

Keep Right On Prepping - K

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Picture Collection

Happy Thanksgiving to Everyone. The lack of blogging is because I have been extremely busy with school. Since my last post, I've had a nasty test in Physics over the electrical schematics of an x-ray machine. Yeah, sounds like loads of fun doesn't it?

I've also had two x-ray evaluations on a foot ( right & weight bearing ) and a KUB x-ray. The KUB stands for Kidney, Ureter, and Bladder. The evaluations consist of detailed information about any and all anatomy show in the radiograph. Diseases and abnormalities that could be seen in that particular image. I passed both of these so I currently have a 'C' in the class, which means continue. This has been a recurring inside joke within our class. I was venting to my sister (The super Neonatal ICU RN) and she helped changed my perspective about my lack of A's, thus the meaning of "C means continue" grew within the program.  BTW - currently 3 A's and 2 B's. w/ the C.  One of those B's is an 92%, and the other is 88%. 93% is the lowest A. I can forget my 4.0 GPA, but do employers really ask about your GPA in college? The various clinical sites are basically two year job interviews and a good work ethic will go a long way.

Now, on to the show......

15 out of 19 isn't too bad.

For my Bro...Carbon Fiber Stormtroopers
#5, 6, 8,& 10 YES!

My newest screensaver

Our new flag. Our new Motto "Security for Freedom"
 And for Pioneer Preppy...
The "Juggernaut the Feminist" Banner for your blog.

Keep Right On Prepping - K

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

An Ounce of Prevention

 I had a few moments today where I could reflect on prepping as a lifestyle. Most preppers prepare for a disaster, and their main goal is to lessen the negative effects of whatever happens. They get their bean, bullets, and Band-aids squared away for the day when they are needed. They also use their brain, use some planning and foresight and position themselves into a better situation.

Most experienced preppers know that building a like-minded community is the best way to protect against the Golden Horde. You can call them sheeple, walking dead, or the masses that fail to take personal responsibility for their own well being.

Unfortunately, I don't see the Prepper movement taking a strong interest in writing their congressmen about current legislation. Our Representatives have a greater impact and power on policy than our President. Most want to bitch and moan about the current situation, while trying to squirrel away a few extra bags of rice. We need to be voices of reason to our elected officials. We need to write letters by hand, instead of signing a petition over the internet. Imagine the impact of a thousand hand written letters being received by your congressman. Those hand written letters can't be ignored.  When is the last time you got a real letter?
Remember the excitement when you got one of these?

Be a voice of reason. Write a letter. Build an online community that is a politically pro-active letter writing voting bloc. Don't let the instant gratification crowd make us suffer. We all know that the responsible citizens will be the ones to pay the price for the party that we weren't invited to attend.

Keep Right On Prepping & It's Worth A Pound Of Cure - K

Tuesday, November 13, 2012


I called my Sweetheart on the way home from clinicals today, asking if I needed to pick the kids up on my way home. She said that we had something to talk about...really? That is almost as bad as a woman saying, " We need to talk." I firmly believe that no conversation ended well with that opening line, but I digress. (I've always wanted to work that into a conversation)

She had fallen at boot camp this morning (yeah, she pays someone to make her workout at 5:00am -  I just don't understand her sometimes) and was hurting when she came in at 6:00ish. Sweeteheart called me at 8 wanting to know about some muscle relaxers. Anyways, she went to the doctor after a few more hours, and got diagnosed with a fractured radial head.

A quick anatomy lesson is that the radius is one of the two long forearm bones. The radius is located on the thumb side, and the head of the radius is located next to the elbow. The arrows point to an image of a radial head fracture that was available on Google.

The other long forearm bone is the ulna, and the anatomical head of that bone is located near the wrist, and also has a rounded end.

  • Broken, cracked, or fractured all mean the same thing, that the integrity of the bone is no longer intact. One term is not worse than another. 
  • Fractures can be displaced or non-displaced, and this attempts to explain whether the bones are aligned properly. Some amount of displacement is allowed depending on which bone is broken and where in the bone the break occurs. The body can remodel bones as they heal, so displaced does not automatically equal having to "set" the bones.
  • Setting means reducing or realigning the bones so they look and function better. The vast majority of fractures that have to be reduced will have that procedure done under anesthesia. And sometimes, bones that appear well aligned right after the injury may move and then require reduction later on.
  • Finally, if the skin over the fracture is lacerated or torn, this is considered an open fracture and will need to be cleaned out, because outside world has invaded the break and the risk of infection is high.

The coarse of treatment is pain management, and RICE. Rest, Ice, Compression, and Elevation above the heart, is an anagram to help reduce swelling. This is an important treatment that can be used for pulled muscles, sprained ligaments, joint aches, or soft tissue damage. Basically, it reduces the blood flow to the area that has been injured.

Rest: Stop using the injured body part immediately. If you feel discomfort when you move, this is your body sending a signal to decrease mobility of the injured area. 

Ice: Apply an ice pack to the injured area, using a towel or cover to protect your skin from frostbite. The better that the ice pack fits - the better. In a grid down situation, the chemical Instant Ice Packs would be an excellent item to have in your first aid kit. 

$3.99 for two

Compression: Use a pressure bandage or wrap over the ice pack to help reduce swelling. Never tighten the bandage or wrap to the point of cutting off blood flow. You should not feel pain or a tingly sensation while using compression. 

Elevation: Raise or prop up the injured area so that it rests above the level of your heart. 

Sweetheart is on the couch with the arm resting on two pillows with a ice pack underneath her elbow. No cast was needed, but her arm will be in a sling for a while to make her more comfortable. She will start working on her range of motion within a week.

Keep Right On Prepping & Learning - K 

Monday, November 12, 2012

MRE Monday - Applesauce with Raspberry Puree

Most importantly, I'd like to thank all of the Veterans that have served out great country. I'd also like to remember the spouses and children of those current deployed. Sometimes they have a harder job with making ends meet and running a household. Even though they might not be in harm's way, they deserve some credit for their contribution to our country.

Nutritional Information:

Serving Size: 4.5 oz.
Calories: 90
Calories from fat: 0
Total Fat: 0g or 0% DV
Cholesterol: 0mg or 0% DV
Sodium: 50mg or 2% DV
Total Carbohydrates: 30g or 10% DV
Dietary Fiber: 2g or 8% DV
Sugars: 27g
Protein: 0g
Vitamin A: 0% DV
Vitamin C: 410% DV
Calcium:  0% DV
Iron: 2%

I really wasn't sure of what to expect other than the consistency and the raspberry taste.


Once again, you'll have the treat of an added review by my Mother-in-law. She has an open invitation to join us every Sunday evening for the newly started tradition of Family Movie Night. We have been going through old movies appropriate for kids, and it was Brother Bear this time around.

Row, our six year old reviewer, voluntarily took a bite and even before he even swallowed it said, "I don't like this one." That pretty much put an end to any further reviewing by our oldest child.

Red Ant with Pincers, the finicky three year old, was in another wonderful mood this afternoon. (Please notice the sarcasm) He also took a small bite and proclaimed the same review as Row. Two strikes and no stars.

I'll have to think of an appropriate nickname for Mother-in-law. Please, no comments on this one. Anyways, she really liked the applesauce, but didn't give any further detail. I think she might still be a little shy about the reviews going on the internet, but hopefully I'll be able to pry a little bit more out of her next time.

Sweetheart noticed the "first blush was the raspberry taste which was surprising, but then mellowed out." I think that this had a lot to do with the boys rejecting a second tasting of the applesauce.

My first thought on the flavor was "Wow! It had a strong tart/sour flavor profile." It has to do with the added ascorbic acid as a preservative, and it also jacks up the Vitamin C content to 410%. The flavor did settle down with the rest of the sample, and I found it quite enjoyable. My main thought during the tasting was that it would make a nice flavor contrast with the other MREs.

Final Thoughts:
While it only gets two stars for this MRE, I would consider purchasing this item for the adults in any group. The added flavor would be a welcome addition to any meal. It would help break any food fatigue that might develop over time with a steady rationing of MREs. The cost per packet runs $1.80, which is still expensive. Again, I would add the applesauce to an adults BOB or emergency kit.

Stars: * * ( 2 )

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Holiday Food Storage Opportunities

The holidays are rapidly approaching, and I wanted to make everyone aware of the opportunities to add to your food reserves at some yearly low prices.
  • Brown Sugar/Powdered Sugar/ Granulated Sugar are usually at it's yearly low, so stock up. Also any sugar can be stored long term in a mylar bag without an oxygen absorber.  
  • Thanksgiving will be right around the corner, and most grocery stores will offer outstanding offers on whole turkeys to get you to spend your money there. Use it - if not once but twice. One can get frozen and the other one used, but this might require two trips.
  • The same opportunity goes for hams this time of year. If you have a pressure cooker, well...let's just say that I'm a little jealous at the protein that you'll be able to can.
  • Flour will usually be offered at at all time low sometime this season. Take advantage of it, storage life is around a year. to two years. Remember to freeze it for 3-7 days if you buy a lot to kill any stray eggs that might be hitching a ride.Baking goods are usually at the yearly low too!
  • Canned Cranberries/Pumpkin/Sweet Potatoes will also be at attractive prices during Thanksgiving and Christmas. Stock up for the year.
  • Liquid Oils will also have a good price point too. Buy enough for the year. Oils are good for only about a year.
  • Aluminum Foil will be another buying opportunity. We use a little bit around here, mainly during the grilling season. Wait, isn't grilling season all year long? Maybe not when it's rainy and cold. This useful item never goes bad.
  • The Thanksgiving and Christmas season will also have some buying opportunities for canned goods as well....stock up.
  • Be on the lookout for other bargains.

Friday, November 9, 2012

Picture Collection

Now for a comedy break....(maybe)

My Favorite - Almost spit coffee all over the laptop.

I need to save this one for my boys.

New Screensaver

Here ya go bro! 

I think that the Star Wars theme for my brother & space themed screen savers will become a common feature for these posts.

May the Force be with You &  Keep Right On Prepping - K

Thursday, November 8, 2012

PVC Cache Youtube Video

You can adjust the size of the PVC tube to store a rifle, canned goods, ammo, silver/gold, or anything that will fit. I highly recommend using a mylar bag with desiccants for ammo or a vacuum sealer. Just like my post on backpacking caches, I would also wrap the PVC tube in a heavy duty trash bag  (preferably green colored or black) to add another additional layer of protection against moisture. You can bury anything, but get below your region's frost line.

Keep Right On Prepping - K

Monday, November 5, 2012

MRE Monday - Beef Stew

Just another friendly reminder to get out and vote.

Nutritional Information:

Serving Size: 227 grams or about 8.1 ounces
Calories: 220
Calories from fat: 40
Total Fat: 4.5g or 7% DV
Cholesterol: 35mg or 12% DV
Sodium: 780mg or 32% DV
Total Carbohydrates: 25g or 8% DV
Dietary Fiber: 3g or 12% DV
Sugars: 5g
Protein: 19g
Vitamin A: 150% DV
Vitamin C: 20% DV
Calcium:  4% DV
Iron: 15%

I expected something comparable to Dinty Beef Stew.


My Mother-in-law was having dinner with us again, so a bonus reviewer is available.

Row, the resident six year old, said, and I quote, "Yummy!" He finished what he had in front of him without any encouragement. This is the first time this has ever happened with an MRE, so it gets a gold star from him.

Red Ant With Pincers, or Red Ant, had been in a negative mood all day, so it didn't bode well for tonight's review. We had a hard time even to get him to take a small bite. No star, but maybe on a different night.

My Mother-in-law liked it a little better than Campbell's soup. Personally, I thought that this was a grand compliment. She giggled and said, "It would be good for the end of the world'. ( I think she's on to our preparing. ) In one word, she described it as "delicious".

Sweetheart really liked the "actual beef texture" and thought it had a decent flavor. She also liked the small chunks and would "definitely eat it again".

For me, it had a good aroma, good texture, and the potatoes were pleasantly firm. This is a solid meal, and I imagined that it would be even better on a snowy evening. The beef stew won two awards tonight, best entree to date and placing within the top three MREs. I finished the bowl, and might have licked the bowl if Mother-in-law hadn't been at the table. After all, I have to be held accountable to some sort of civil standards.

Final Thoughts:
This is one MRE that can be on a weekly dinner menu plan. We are going to order more for the next order, and will be going into our packs. If you haven't tried it, consider ordering one to try as a sampler before committing to a bigger order.

Stars: * * * ( 3 )