Friday, March 29, 2013


When I see my two boys happily playing or sleeping, I am in awe that God would sacrifice His only Son for me. - K

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Fundamental Change

I've always advocated watching the news, and using it as an early warning system. The internet can be a double edged sword at times. It can provide false flags, and news outside the usual mainstream media. This article, in conjunction with already known rainfall totals, hay shortages, previous food cost increases, and livestock slaughtering (because of grain prices) has me wanting to further increase our food reserves. I won't even digress on the subject of corn ethanol production.

In previous theory based disaster scenarios, I talked about the effects of global warming and the food supply. A series of droughts can (and will) cause social upheaval and this article is just a warning light for future food increases. The farmers are also more likely to switch to a more drought resistant tolerant crops for financial reasons, putting a further squeeze on supply.

We can prepare now for the increases, mainly by increasing our storehouse of food. You have to admit, food savings is beating the interest on your savings account! Before making some purchases, I would think long and hard about crops that would be more sensitive to high heat, and low water. This strategy will maximize your dollar and potential savings.

These are some of the foods that require a lot of water: rice, cucumbers, dates, olives, wheat, coffee, chocolate, corn, peach, and cane sugar. (PDF here) While some of these crops are imported, you get the idea of foods that may see greater price increases compared to others.

Look at the map, find out what crops are grown there, and buy accordingly for the next 12 months. Corn looks like it will take a major hit in Nebraska , and corn is in virtually every processed food today.

What foods do you think will see the biggest increases and why? I look forward to any further ideas, and with that : The comment line is open.

Keep Right On Prepping- K

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

NASA and Light pollution

I'm taking a much needed break from my studies to write this short post. I posted this picture of the new NASA night image of the United States in an earlier post.

I ran across this map of light pollution across the United States, and thought it would be a nice addition, especially since the pollution map has a county breakdown. More light equals more people, so we can use this as a tool for population density and retreat selection.

Click image to make it even bigger.

Another tool for population density is in most people's pockets. It is your cell phone and the number of bars that are available at your location. I would consider this a financial population density tool, since most companies are not going to build towers for very low rates of return on their investments.

Sweetheart and I had a short discussion on cell phone coverage and our future retreat location(s) selection.

I have provided one cell phone coverage map, and I imagine that a more complete search will provide even more maps. This is just to provide an visual example:

Perhaps, a cell phone coverage map of your state would provide a more detailed image for your use?

Just food for thought. Comments are always welcomed an encouraged.

Keep Right On Prepping - K

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

MRE Monday - Sandwich Shelf Stable Pepperoni

I got a new shipment from The Epicenter for some new MREs that were not available through Emergency Essentials. This is one of them, and they are known as First Strike Rations. I guess that a new name for MREs is part of the evolution process.

Nutritional Information:

Serving Size: 2.5 oz.
Calories: 270
Calories from fat: 130
Total Fat: 15g or 23% DV
Cholesterol: 20mg or 7% DV
Sodium: 580mg or 24% DV
Total Carbohydrates: 25g or 8% DV
Dietary Fiber: 1g or 5% DV
Sugars: Not Listed
Protein: 10g
Vitamin A: 4% DV
Vitamin C: 0% DV
Calcium:  4% DV
Iron: 8%

The usual heating method at our house


I was kinda expecting an MRE version of a Hot Pocket.


Row, the resident seven year old, had a very favorable first impression. "Cool, It smells like a hotdog!", were the first few words out of his mouth even before I had the chance to ask his opinion. He took a good bite and savored the flavor for a few seconds, then jumped from his seat and ran around the kitchen saying that it was "too spicy!". He dashed into the bathroom to get a cool drink of tap water.

Red Ant with Pincers, the charismatic four year old, took a small taste of the bread and said that he didn't like it. We coaxed him into taking a bite of the pepperoni, before knowing Row's reaction, and he said that he liked it. It was actually a little comical to see Row running around the kitchen, and Red Ant spitting out the meat into the trash can because the spicy flavor had kicked into gear. I don't think either one of them will be giving this week's MRE a star.

Sweetheart commented that the bread was soft, and that the pepperoni flavor permeated the bread flavor. She thought that the pepperoni was alright, but a bit tough. It ended up with a rating of "it wouldn't be my first pick", which means to me that if she has chosen all of her more preferable MREs, this would be edible. While this isn't a ringing endorsement, she did grant it a star for the review.

My first response was a chuckle. It caught me off guard to see a pepperoni stick in the bread rather than sliced pepperoni. The pepperoni was good and greasy, which in my youth meant great, but now requires at least two Tums. The bread had a great texture. The bread has greatly improved over the last few MREs. I don't know if this is the future, but it is a good evolution for the armed forces. I thought that it would be great for a "walking snack", which was a phrase coined by my backpacking mentor, Larry Williams. I could easily be snacked on while walking down the trail. I gave it a star for the bread texture and the walking snack factor alone.

Final Thoughts:
While it might not make it into a long term food storage area. I could very well see it as a cache item just for the walking snack factor, or eating on the run.

Stars: * * ( 2 )

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Jumping into the Rut

Unpacking the car, picking up the dog, grocery store, heating the home, stowing gear, and feeding the kids. I wonder if I'll get to bed early?

Nothing like one's own bed!

MRE Monday will be Tuesday this week...just saying'

Keep Right On Prepping - K

Friday, March 22, 2013

Wegmans : Side Trip

Today's side trip was lunch at Wegmans grocery store and grocery shopping. It may not sound exciting, but my wife and I are foodies.

This picture was taken in the upstairs dining area, which can be partially seen on the upper left of the photo,and the area below the seating area is a multicultural buffet. Chinese, Indian, Pizza, Salad & Veggie bar are all available to go or dine in. The food was good, but a bit on the pricey side since we were paying per ounce.

The bakery was amazing! Fresh bread, desserts, and all sorts of wonderful baked goods.

This is one of the better deli's that I have seen. They had a pretty good collection of shelf stable meats, but we didn't buy any today. Couldn't find any canned bacon though ;-(

Another one of my favorite stops---Cheese!

For the coffee drinkers, Monsoon Matriarch I especially thought of you, this coffee was is available in whole beans & ground varieties. The packaging is a sturdy all  metal can  which is next to impossible to find. I've added it onto my Amazon Store for those interested in checking it out. I'll be ordering a double pack soon, to do a full review for everyone. I've seen a 3kg can on the web, but no prices yet. I'm thinking that the packaging alone would account for may be a good dollar or two. SHTF type of stuff.

We also bought a 10 pound bag of short grain rice that we haven't seen in any of our local stores. We'll use about half of it, then mylar bag the rest of it for long-term storage. The prepper in us never really go on vacation. Sweetheart and I have had the same thoughts on the local area in a collapse scenario...they're screwed.

The adult kid-in-candy-store in me was very happy to see this side of the store.

Also, a huge selection of beer that is not available in our home state. I blew my beer budget allowance for the next two months here. I have a very small budget, by the way. It has become a weekly tradition for Josh, Scott, and myself to take turns bringing a cooler of beer for testing Friday. I hope that I have picked two beers that are locally unavailable, good, and will blow their minds. Good friends deserve good beer.  

With these two beers, Piraat Belgian Ale & Leffe Blonde Belgian Ale, I should be good for about 9 weeks worth of tests. Josh and Scott - You two have a real treat ahead of you.

Tomorrow, we head back towards Knoxville and stay at the same hotel with the inside waterpark and pool.

Keep Right On Prepping - K

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Harper's Ferry: Side Trip

A much easier day today...

A very small section of the AT was hiked today, up from downtown Harper's Ferry past St. Peter's Catholic church (seen in the picture) to Jefferson's Rock. The Potomac River is also seen in this photo with Row and myself. The stairs were from the 1800's, which means not very uniform and could be treacherous in wet weather.

We  also made a trip to the Appalachian Trail Conservancy HQ. The staff was very friendly, and helpful, but what else would you expect?

A relief map of the entire AT was at the back end of the room. I showed the boys where we were in relation to the map and our trip to DC yesterday to help put things in perspective.The underside of the map, was a model of the trail shelters along the AT.

The weather was cold and windy, so it made our time short at Harper's Ferry. The downtown has a lot of restored buildings that can be entered, and some displays are set up behind glass for visitors to see.

Before the two hour parking was done, the boys got some real hot chocolate made with milk, and Sweetheart and I had some hot coffee. It was real nice to wrap our hands around the cups!!!

It's been nice to get away from the routine of things at home, and to visit family. It seems like time is always too short...

Tomorrow we are headed to Wegmans Grocery Store. The store is the Holy Grail for foodies according to my wife. I'm interested and happy to spend a few hours there for lunch and some shopping for items that aren't local for us. The evening includes making our bags small, and collecting our stuff for the trip back home. I also have to spend a few hours on schoolwork, which I have totally neglected this week. 

Keep Prepping Everyone. Things are getting interesting in the world. - K



Washington DC: Side Trip (PIC HEAVY)

We drove into Shady Grove to hop onto the Metro, the station is at the end of the line.

After playing Fallout 3, I now have a new respect for the game. I've spent quite a few hours playing Fallout 3,  then having the chance to actually go to Washington DC and seeing the sites, it  brought back some fun memories. I tried to image when the bad guys were, and how they had modified the terrain. Just a few random thoughts that I had during our trip.

The Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History was our first stop of the day. "The Night at the Museum" was commonly quoted.

The dinosaur has been replace by the elephant, and the Easter Island "Dum Dum want Gum Gum" is just outside the doors to the left of the elephant.

The natural environment photograph winners was awesome. 

My favorite of the exhibited photos. This is an actual photograph, which blows my mind.

A girl's best friend very best friend - The Hope Diamond.

 We exited the museum, onto the National Mall, and headed towards the Washington Monument. It is still closed to the public and being restored after the earthquake.

The WWII Memorial was next. My Grandfather served in the European Theater and was stationed in Occupied Japan. He signed up for the Army and showed up and the Drill Sargent was going down the line saying, "Army, Navy, Army, Navy....". He got to my Granddad and he was designated as Navy, and my Grandfather began to tell the Sargent that the recruiter told him he would be Army. Well, after a few minutes of back and forth, Granddad headed off to the Army.

I got to tell a few more stories for the boys about our family.

They have these small bronze sculptures along the wall, and we had to take a picture of the D-Day landing. Sweetheart's Grandfather died around this time. The mission  and location of his death are still secret.

 The Vietnam Memorial was our next sight to visit. This is one of the sights that I really wanted to visit, since a majority of my patients at the VA are veterans of this war. There is a solemn silence along the wall. It was hard not to get choked up, explaining to the boys that each name was a father, son, or husband that died during this war.

Row was excited about the Lincoln Memorial because he had just studied Old Abe in school recently. He is 19 feet tall. There was a small gift shop, where I was able to purchase 2 copies of the Constitution.

The Jefferson Memorial across the tidal basin. The peak of the cherry blossoms was pushed back two weeks the day before our trip to Washington DC. By this point, we had walked about 5-6 miles and the boys were starting to drag just a bit.

We did find a few, and I mean a few, cherry trees that had some blossoms on them around the Washington Monument. Quest completed.

Today's adventure, we will head out on a small day hike along the Appalachian Trail. The Harper's Ferry point is considered the halfway point of the AT. We will visit the AT center and put our feet on the trail and have lunch at the local Dairy Queen. Row and Red Ant thinks that DQ is the best place ever.

Keep Right On Prepping - K

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Antietam National Battlefield

Here is the side trip that we made today....

The boys thought the mud in front of the cannons was way cool!

If you could see the glazed look on their faces as I explained how to aim a cannon

Various cannons from 6 pounders to 12 pounders.

I let them win ;-)
The battlefield is huge!!! 23,000 soldiers were killed, wounded or missing after twelve hours of savage combat on September 17, 1862.

Another battlefield wound was claimed today. Red Ant was walking around the monument (he has his Mom's grace) and tripped while having his hands in his pockets.  He's got a nice fat lip for all of the photo ops in Washington DC tomorrow. 

We are driving to Shady Grove and taking the Metro into DC early in the morning. Smithsonian, Cherry blossoms, National WWII memorial, Vietnam Memorial, and Lincoln Memorial will give us a full day of walking. 

I told Sweetheart that if we go by the White House, she'll be taking a photo of me facing the White House and flipping off Obama (for the Blog of course). I'll be practicing my First Amendment rights.

Keep Right On Prepping - K

Liebster Award

I've had the high honor of being nominated for the Liebster Award from Connie at Frugal Living on the Watkins Ranch.

The Basic Guidelines:
Nominate 5 blogs with less than 300 followers
Share 5 random facts
Answer 5 questions
Think of 5 new questions for those you nominate.

My Nominations:

1- Pioneer Preppy @ The Small Hold
2- Monsoon Matriarch @ Frugal Prep
3- Jacked Up Glock Mom @ Tales From The Clothesline
4- Kelly @ Happy Hollow Homestead
5- Mama Bear @ Challenged Survival

In no particular order, and I would add more if possible.

 5 Random Facts:

1- I'm a 44 y/o full time student
2- I wish I could make money being a hermit.
3- I spend most of my allowance on food and the kids.
4- As soon as my head hits the pillow, I'm asleep.
5- I really like blogging more than I thought I would.

5 Questions answered:

1. What is your favorite holiday? 
Thanksgiving, because of all the homemade family recipes.
2. What would your ultimate vacation be?
3. What’s one thing you couldn’t live without?
My Family.
4. If you won a million dollars, what is the first thing you would buy?
Our dream homestead.
5. What is your least favorite thing to do?
Go to the dentist/doctor

5 New questions:

1- What is your favorite color?
2- What is the airspeed velocity of an unladen swallow?
3- What started you into blogging?
4- What is your favorite disaster/survival movie?
5- If you only had three plugs for electricity: What would you have plugged in? (no power strips!)

Keep Right On Prepping - K

Barter Box Ideas

On a previous post, I mentioned a barter box. This box contains items that are readily available,require little space, and somewhat cheap to acquire today. These are some of the items that are currently in our barter box.
  • Chapstick
  • Matches
  • Bic lighters (Bic is the best, trust a 15 year long ex-smoker)
  • Nail clippers (toe clippers can handle both FYI)

Anyways, what are some items that you are storing for trading when the SHTF? I know that there are some cool and innovative ideas out there, so let's hear them.