Monday, July 16, 2018

Baking a Must Know Survival Skill

The biggest and most serious issue I see today with Preppers is that few of them know how to bake a simple loaf of bread. They say they’ve tried but it always fails and have given up trying! That is a critical mistake! You MUST know how to bake bread to survive an extended disaster aftermath comfortably.

During the stockpiling of your survival pantry of preparedness foods, there are several must have foods: #1 is Wheat Grain or All-Purpose White Flour and #2 are a Variety of Beans. Wheat is critical to have, and have a lot of. Wheat grain with beans makes a complete protein like meat. This combination will keep you alive and healthy during the longest of disaster aftermaths, even with little else to eat. From your stored grain you will be able to produce flour for baking by milling your own wheat into flour for baking most every comfort food imaginable.

A current example of why you must be able to bake bread is to simply look at Venezuela today, 2018. The non-government workers are standing in line for hours, sometimes all day just for one small bag of groceries and is not what they really need to feed their family. The average weight loss for all these non-government employed citizens is 20 pounds so far, all from lack of needed everyday food. With a Prepper Stock of wheat grain and a couple of baking essential ingredients they would not have to be in line to be allowed into a grocery store to shop the shelves that are nearly depleted of food.

Here are a few things you can make from a basic loaf bread recipe, all just from your stored wheat grain:

Bannock Bread
Beer Bread
Loaf Bread (Sandwiches, Grilled Cheese or Toast)
English Muffins
Soft Pretzels
Dinner Rolls
Hamburger Buns
Hot Dog Buns
Bread Sticks
Soda Bread
Just to name a few.

Work at developing your bread baking skills every week. It is very simple to do!

Friday, July 13, 2018

Kindle for PC’s, Download & Install the Latest Version

I don’t care for all the electronic gadgets available today including cell phones that do more than I’ll ever learn or remember to use. I like things simple! However, the Kindle Reader has interested me for quite a while but didn’t want to spend the $90 for one.

There are many books I want to read dealing with prepping or self-reliance but spending up to $20 for a paperback book that I’m not sure is worth the money is hard to do. However, the Kindle versions are just a couple bucks each such like the ones offered at my favorite writer about prepping!

Today was going to be the day I ordered a Kindle, but at the last minute, I decided to check Google to see if someone had a Kindle program for PC computers that I could load on my laptop instead of having to buy the Kindle.

Sure enough, there it was!! And Free!
Very simple to download, just a couple basic questions and it was downloaded and installed.

I already have a couple of books downloaded and started to read them. The software works perfectly. Just saved myself $90.

Here’s the link to the free software:

Tuesday, July 10, 2018

Van Wrap Gone Bad

Today I had my lawn irrigation pump replaced. They go out every 2-4 years.

The photos are of the pump installers 2014 Sprinter Van. As normally done, businesses wrap their vehicles with the companies advertising, looks very professional. To me, it looks like the wrap installer used a razor blade to do the trimming and he cut through the paint causing rust in every corner and panel edge trimmed. Just passing this along should you ever wrap your vehicle or parts of it, ask how they trim it and how long they’ll guarantee against rust and defects.

Tuesday, July 3, 2018

My Mini-Van Conversion to BOV or Van-Dweller

The mini-van is a 2004 Ford Free-Star: My earlier conversion of it had a 74” x 48” platform that was hinged in the middle lengthwise to access ‘stuff’ stored under it. Although great for sleeping, living in it was difficult so I revised it to a more user friendly design especially during stormy weather. I’m very pleased with this revision.

There are five things I must have in a BOV (Bug Out Vehicle) or Van-Dweller conversion:
  1. A very comfortable sleeping/mattress area at least 74” long x 30” wide.
  2. Security when inside from thieves and wild animals.
  3. A warm, secure, and dry area to live in during bad weather.
  4. A place to cook indoors during bad weather.
  5. An open area large enough to use the poop bucket etc.
  6. Easy access to the stored ‘stuff’ under the bed platform.

The platform is 74” x 30”, the 74” length is cut at 44 inches long so each piece can open independently for easy access to all the ‘stuff’ stored underneath. The hinges are mounted to a 2x6 running the entire length of the platform and it is mounted to the original folding seat anchor. This secures the platform from shifting should there be a wreck or just bad roads. Also, with the drivers seat in the normal driving location there is enough room behind it for the cooler or 12 volt refrigerator to be stowed for easy access.

The completed bed platform. Made from 3/4 inch all pine cabinet plywood, this type of plywood is strong, stable and resists warping.

Shown here the 30 inch rear section opened.

Shown here both sections are opened for full access to all the ‘stuff’ under the platform. Note, standing on end is a 2x6 support for both sections when in the bed mode. This support is silicone bonded to the floor to hold its position. It was bonded because the gas tank is right under it and I didn’t want to accidently drive a screw into the fuel tank or lines. Also note, the end support legs are hinged and lay flat against the plywood so they’re out of the way when open so I won’t bang my face into them when searching for my ‘stuff’.

In the rear is the well for the original third seat (I removed the seat because I didn’t need or want it). This left a well almost 12 inches deep for storage of the bulky items like a sleeping bag, tent and 12 volt solar battery.

There is a good bit of open floor space left. The distance from the top of the plywood platform to the ceiling is just enough for me to sit on and not have my head against the ceiling. The passenger front seat is still available for a passenger or for me to sit in and read or relax and use my laptop during bad weather.

The bed platform with a mattress on it ready for use. I normally sleep with my head behind the drivers seat. The mattress now is three lounge chair cushions that are only 24 inches wide. I’m looking for a mattress that’s 30 inches wide.

The rear 3rd seat well filled with some bulky items.

The right front corner of the platform was cut-off slightly so when moving from the drivers or passenger seats to the rear it’s to give a little more room for my legs so not to bang my legs into the platform’s edge. It’s about ready to go! Just organize all the loose ‘stuff’ and find permanent place’s for it.

Can I Cook Inside?

Yes! When it’s raining or when stealth camping and you can’t cook outside, there’s now more than enough room inside to cook. Just fold the mattress out of the way and use the “important bucket” for a seat. Works out just fine.

Or if the weather is marginal and for a quick meal you can use the stove at the rear of the van and with the hatch open gives shelter from light rain. Otherwise, when I’m at a more permanent campsite I use my folding table.

What’s This??
For all of you who depend totally on cell phones, GPS, and other electronic navigation devices this is ‘old school’ it’s a compass. It needs no batteries and totally independent from the need of broadcast signals to work perfectly every minute of everyday. It’s mounted (actually bonded with silicone) onto the center of my dash board. Note: If you buy one I have found that the cheap models (Walmart) fail because, the extreme heat of the sun expands the fluid inside when hot and splits the compass case seals. I live in Florida and the sun will kill about anything on the dash. I find that a Marine Compass is designed to be used in the hot sun without any issues. I purchased mine from Amazon $40.00

Serious Build Note:
  • Today’s mini-vans hide things you need access to like your ‘jack’ behind interior side panels and in the floor of the rear 3rd seat well is where the ‘Screw’ to raise and lower the spare tire is located. Be careful not to built-over them and make them inaccessible. It is not the time to find out you did when you need the spare!

Current cost for the platform conversion so far:
  • $70 for all new wood and 6 hinges.
  • $45 for the cushions/mattress.

Still to do:
  • Buy a one piece 4-6 inch thick mattress.
  • I will add two, rear side window shelves, for the fans and other needed items like a flashlight, phone charging, etc.
  • Curtains.
  • 200 watts of solar power for lighting, computer and a Dometic 12-volt refrigerator.
  • Not shown, is a hitch mount cargo carrier for additional carrying capacity such as extra gas, propane and maybe firewood.

  • Will a Mini-Van conversion work as a BOV? Sure it will.
  • Will a Mini-Van conversion work for a full-time Van-Dweller? Sure it will, however, it is a minimal space to live in with all your ‘stuff’ necessary to live comfortably. Long term, I think it will task anyone’s patience very quickly.
  • Best vehicle choice would be a standard, full size Utility-Van, especially with a raised roof like a typical conversion van. Best would be a full stand-up raised roof van, a far better choice for full-time Van-Dwelling.

Thursday, June 28, 2018

Freeze-Dried vs Dehydrated Food

A quick review of what they are and what’s the difference?

Removes about 90-95 percent of the moisture content.

Removes about 98-99 percent of the moisture content.

Modern-day dehydration isn’t that complex and can easily be done at home with a low-cost dehydrator such as the NESCO Dehydrator. Machines, like this NESCO circulate hot and dry air across the food. This removes much of the water. The moist air is then dried so that water continues to be removed. The temperatures are high enough to remove water but not high enough to cook the food. Dehydrated food is usually withered and harder.

The freeze-drying process is a relatively modern preservation process. Freeze-drying is a fairly simple process but isn’t something you can do at home without high-tech machinery.

The food is placed on large racks inside of a vacuum chamber. The temperature is lowered to below freezing and then slowly raised. The water in the food moves from a solid state to a gaseous state - maintaining the structure of the food and keeping the nutritional value.

Freeze-drying can be done at home with a machine like the Harvest Right Freeze-Dryer. This machine is expensive, depending on the model size will cost $2,000 - $3,000.

The Main Difference between the process’ is Moisture Content.
The objective of food preservation is to remove the moisture so that the food doesn’t decompose, grow mold, etc.

Shelf Life:
The moisture removal has a direct impact on the shelf life. Most dehydrated products like dried fruits, vegetables, powders, and TVP; have a shelf life of about 15-20 years. However, dehydrated items like honey, salt, sugar, hard wheat, and oats have a 30-year shelf life - sometimes longer. Freeze-dried foods will have a longer average shelf life. Freeze-dried fruits, vegetables, just-add-water meals and real meats will have a 25-30-year shelf life.

Dehydrated foods will require cooking. Many times, they will also require some type of seasoning. This means that you’ll need to spend time boiling the product in hot water and letting it cook. The preparation time for dehydrated products can take anywhere from 15 minutes to 4 hours depending.

However, with freeze-dried foods, you just need to add water. Adding either hot water or cold water will get the job done depending on what you’re eating. Freeze-dried foods will usually be ready to eat in less than 5 minutes.

Obviously, the cost of food storage will depend on what you're buying. But usually, dehydrated foods are going to be cheaper than freeze-dried. Freeze-dried and dehydrated foods offer different benefits that might be worth the cost. However, if you're on a tight budget, dehydrated foods are the way to go.

Ideally, all of your food storage would be stored at a temperature of 60 degrees or lower.

NESCO Dehydrator Link:

Freeze-Dryer Link:

General Info Source Link: