Thursday, November 28, 2013

Single Stage Reloading Questions

When we get our new house, I'd like to have a place to reload my own ammo. So, without any real experience in the art, I'd like to get some reloaders opinions into what gear is best. I don't mind spending the money, as long as it is quality gear. I'll also be asking for some of these items for Christmas, so hopefully (wink wink) I'll get some of them.

Reference Books?

Tumbler? Dry

Press - Single stage. Brands?

Scales - non-digital


Any other items that I have forgotten?

Thanks in Advance & Keep Right On Prepping - K

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Meal Kit Supply Ration Heater Review

One of Meal Kit Supply selling points is that the ration heater is 22 grams. In one of my earlier posts I said that "The water-activated flameless ration heater is not your standard heater either. It is a heavy duty 22 grams, instead of 11 grams, and will heat up your rations in the coldest of conditions." So, I set out to do an experiment because unlike most backpackers, my friends and I prefer to go outing in the worst of winter conditions.

The water, potato cheddar soup, and beef ravioli from menu 5 were placed in the refrigerator for two days to simulate a constant temperature of 38 degrees Fahrenheit. This helps to control the experiment parameters for future testing.

This is the dry component of the ration heater. The outside of the packet is tea bag material, and the powder is finely ground to increase it's surface area, ergo to increase the speed of the chemical reaction to water.

 Notice that the ration heater is about the same size as the pouch, so that the heat is transferred more effeciently.

About an ounce of water was added to the ration heater, and the cold MRE pouches were placed around the heater package. I was surprised at how little water was needed for the heater. I did use a rubber band to hold the pouches closer to the heater, but the package recommends placing a weight on the top of it. I don't think it will make much of a difference. The heater package with the MREs were placed back into the refrigerator to simulate the cold environment. The bundle did its work for 10 minutes as recommended by the instructions.

After ten minutes in the refrigerator, the cheddar potato soup had reached 86 degrees Fahrenheit. 

The beef raviolis reached a temperature of 70 degrees Fahrenheit. I wasn't really impressed with the result. Perhaps the thicker consistency of the beef raviolis had made a noticeable difference?

I was curious to how hot the ration heater could get, and at 208 degrees, it is just a few degrees shy of the boiling point of water. The cold beef raviolis were wrapped back in the ration heater, rubber banded, and placed back into the refrigerator.

After another 10 minutes, the final MRE was brought out of the refrigerator and the reading was 90 degrees Fahrenheit.  The ration heater was slightly hotter than tepid, so I don't think that the beef raviolis were going to get any hotter.

Final Thoughts:

As my first go around with the ration heaters, I can see ways to improve upon my effectiveness with them. This experiment was about the raw data without any modifications to the heating routine. In cold weather environments, I would try to keep the pouches close to the body to warm them to above the air temperature. I also should have taken into account that the chemical reaction of the heater would also be slower, and I should have lengthened the time from the recommended 10 minutes to about 15 minutes. My thinking is that the instructions are for average conditions, and this wasn't your average condition.

The ration heater contains finely powdered iron and magnesium metals, and table salt according to my research, and the added 11 grams is very much needed in cold weather conditions!

In the outdoors, I would also try to maximize my heat retention by placing the ration heater in a extra jacket, clean socks, or other piece of clothing. That way it could insulate the heater from the elements, and hopefully transfer more heat to the MREs. 

Just like any other skill, the more practice at heating MREs with these, the hotter the final temperature can be achieved. The actual application or use is always superior to theories about such application or use.

Friday, November 22, 2013

China to stop stockpiling the US dollar

 Just a quick article I ran across...


I've talked about the end game of China to be one that takes place of the US dollar as the world's reserve currency. Well, it looks like they have accelerated the plan. The dollar isn't welcome in China's plans. Do yuo think you'll hear about it on ABC, CBS, or NBC?

Keep Prepping - K

The new world reserve:

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

House Hunting

We are continuing our search for a new house within our oldest son's current school boundaries. I should have been leery of a house that is for sale by a self-proclaimed "Progressive, Liberal, Forward-thinking, Socialist" Lawyer. (Why yes, I do my research on the home and the owner to find any leverage that might be useful.)

Derek, a former co-worker, and a friend,  just passed his real estate license, and we are happy to have him as our agent. His brother has been doing it for a while, so he has someone to answer the tough questions that we might ask him. I think I prefer a new agent, rather than a seasoned "professional" just for the honesty factor.

We had the other agent tell us that the seller didn't have an end-game if the house sold. She must think I'm really stupid! The owner of the house is a successful lawyer, ergo pretty intelligent, and the other agent says she doesn't know what she is going to do once the house sells? Please.

We did our second walk-thru of the house, and we invited our parents. We both wanted critical objective observation of the house that we were ready to put a bid on. My Dad, who I think can fix anything, has designed and built two workshops, and is very knowledgeable about these things. He brought one of those three pound 6V flashlights, and looked around. We both walked around and started finding quite a few things that would need a new home buyers attention [money].   

The deal breaker, and notice the exposed wire junction box too.

The dry rot on the outside storage area was the deal breaker for Sweetheart and me. The unknown of how far it went, and the extent of the water damage was too much for us. After we walked through the house, I asked Dad for his honest opinion on the house. To paraphrase, "I wouldn't buy it." My Dad was really worried that he had hurt our feelings for being so honest, but that's why we brought him along.

I talked with my Sweetheart, and we both agreed that we would rather be "disappointed shoppers, than disappointed buyers." We talked with the kids, and they understood why we weren't going to be moving into that house. Row in his young wisdom, explained to me that if someone is selling something that is broke, then that is like stealing someone's money. We can learn a lot from our kids.

Keep Right On Prepping - K

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Presidential VP pick for 2016

Eric Holder is good for at a least one thing.

Keep Right On Prepping - K

Friday, November 15, 2013

Pellet Rifle Article - Please read and provide feedback

My classmate over at Shooting Sports and Tough Times wrote a very good article on Pellets rifles for a SHTF scenario. I've been encouraging him to submit it to Survival blog, and perhaps during the semester break he'll work on it. Anyways, check out his essay, argument, and provide some feedback into what you think. We'll both be grateful for your time.

I'll be investing in two air rifles for my boys. It's a good training rifle, and a lot cheaper to shoot than 22LR.

Take Care and Keep Prepping - K

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

MRE Monday - Penne Pasta With Vegetable Crumbles In Spicy Tomato Sauce

We picked this one because we wanted to see if the title would fit on the page. It does.

Nutritional Information:

Serving Size: 8.0 oz.
Calories: 200
Calories from fat: 20
Total Fat: 2g or 3% DV ( Daily Value )
Cholesterol: 0mg or 0% DV
Sodium: 740mg or 31% DV
Total Carbohydrates: 32g or 11% DV
Dietary Fiber: 4g or 16% DV
Sugars: 4g
Protein: 11g
Vitamin A: 15% DV
Vitamin C: 15% DV
Calcium:  4% DV
Iron: 10%


We've had a few MREs that were pasta based, and expected a pouched variety of Chef-Boy-r-Dee.


Row, our seven year old, sampled a spoonful, chewed it for a minute, then said that he didn't like it. I asked him why, and he said " It tastes kinda funny."

If Row doesn't like it, then it's almost a guarantee that Ant won't like it either. It held true with this MRE, except that Ant was quicker to say that he didn't like it.

My Mother-in-law likes the spicy flavors, and thought that it was better than most frozen entrees. She also noted that at her age, spicy is a better.

My Sweetheart's first impression was the aroma, and it didn't start off very well. She said that she wasn't impressed with the scent. She continued to hammer the MRE because the noodles were too soft, and it had a chemical taste. I can vouch that she is a "Supertaster", because she will notice details in food flavors that aren't obvious to me. She also noted that the veggie crumbles weren't fooling her either. She did go on to add that she would put it on the B-list for MREs. This means that if a case of MREs turned up on our deserted island, then it would probably get eaten towards the end.

I thought the same thing about the noodles being too soft, and the spicy flavor was slightly noticeable towards the end. I would call it more flavorful than spicy, and it would be placed on my B-list as well.

Final Thoughts:

Worth a shot, if you like flavorful pasta dishes, and the noodles that are on the softer side. Both adults gave it a star, but it won't be one of the more sought after MREs.

Stars: * * (2)

Monday, November 11, 2013

My Current life...

...revolves around school textbooks. I'm currently fleshing out 3 different study guides, for example...

12. The lower aorta bifurcates into what two arteries?

The left and right common iliac arteries

13. Beginning with the common iliac, list the arteries mentioned in the lecture going through the legs.

Common iliac -> common femoral -> divides into deep femoral and superficial femoral -> popliteal -> anterior tibial -> posterior tibial -> peroneal -> dorsalis pedis -> plantar arch

14. Which veins of the lower extremity are imaged most commonly?

  1. External iliac vein
  2. Femoral vein
  3. Great Saphenous vein
  4. Small Saphenous vein
  5. Anterior Tibial vein
  6. Posterior Tibial vein 

I couldn't let this Veteran's Day go by without thinking of my Granddad. My oldest son and myself are named after him. Thank a veteran, say a prayer for Veterans past, and hope that our children don't have to go to war.

MRE Monday tomorrow and Keep Right On Prepping - K

Friday, November 8, 2013

Pictures With Witty Commentary

As the title suggest, I'll be posting a few pictures instead of a well thought out article.

Let's see, can anyone say double standard? Edward Snowden needs to be awarded the Medal of Freedom.

 Statistical proof that if everyone stopped using IE , then murders would cease to exist. 

Now, we just need some federal grants to determine how they didn't suffocate.

I'm sure my dog has the same thoughts judged by how he reacts when I get home.

Sadly, the political process in America...'nough said.

Okay,  no where even remotely politically correct.

My wonderful wife will appreciate a photo of my Father-in-law's car. He isn't a hoarder, but has "an acquisition and storage problem."

I bet you started to sing the song, am I right?

Most appropriate.

Even the Empire is hitting hard times, and the customary Star Wars photo for my brother.

And the customary new Earth related screen saver. (aka Earth Porn)

Take Care and Keep Prepping. I'll see you Monday with the latest MRE Monday review, as I'll be busy preparing for 3 major tests next week. - K

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Small Update

This is just a small update into what's happening in my life. I've started back at my old job on Sunday mornings. It brings in a small amount of income for our family, and also allows me some time to actually study. For those that remember, I was the kitchen manager for an local independent restaurant. It feels like I have been promoted to dishwasher. I'll explain:
  1. I work by myself, with very little outside pressure or job stress. 
  2. I can listen to my lectures on my phone while working.
  3. I can even set my school books on the stainless steel tables to do some reading during down times.
  4. On Sunday mornings, a free breakfast is provided by the owner. The cooks prepare it of course, but it's free.
  5. The old job was happy to have me back on MY terms. (set one day schedule)
  6. I have lots of A/C during the summer.
  7. A lot of good people work there, and we get along.
  8. $10/hour...not a bunch, but I get to study for a few hours AND get paid. I was doing that for free at home ;-)
  9. The added income helps with the food budget envelope.
  10. I like cleaning, and always leave the job in a better condition.

We are actively looking for a new house so that Row can continue to go to the school he currently attends. Our daycare stopped the after school care, ergo our reason to get Row a transfer to a better school. Our neighborhood school is rated 2 out of 10 for educational quality and Row's current school is rated an 8. It also has an after school enrichment program that he enjoys. He takes a cooking class on Thursday, and under no circumstances "are we to pick him up early!", per Row's orders. His other classes include Legos, karate classes, art with recycling materials, and a reading class.

I've also hit my stride with school this semester (finally!) and really getting into the school work. J from school, who reads my site, and shooting partner, will undoubtedly give me a hard time for admitting this.  I hoping that the winter break doesn't completely ruin me, and the last few months of school remaining. I'm looking forward to graduating, and landing a job. I'll also be a bit sad because our class has a lot of genuinely good people in it.

My wife has been truly amazing while I've been in school, and worked her tail off. I'll be glad when I can earn a bigger paycheck so that we can once again each others company without having to worry about bills, tests, and homework.

Monday, November 4, 2013

A New Motto?

Yes, I'm still busy with school, and I scored a 53/53 and 52/50 on the last two tests. I promise I've got some got posts coming in the future, but school takes priority. Keep Prepping, it's getting closer to crunch time.


Saturday, November 2, 2013

.22 LR Available for Shipping

I know that many of my readers have been having a hard time finding .22LR so I thought that I'd pass along this link. I might make for a good Christmas present for a family member that is a shooter considering availability Warning: They are priced at 12 cents each which is a little high, but this is the cheapest box of 500 that I could find. I did find a few 100 ct boxes for 9 cents, but shipping really put them out of frugal range.

The best shipping price that I got was around $15.00 which put it at .15/round.

Order at your own risk. Personally, I'll wait until I can order a whole lot and reduce my per round cost or a free shipping promo. Anyways, I thought that I'd share...

Keep Right On Prepping - K