Sunday, May 29, 2016

Van or RV interior LED lighting?

Sounds like a good lighting option for your van or RV interior. Dimmer controlled, 3 to 21 watts power consumption @ 12 volts.

Image without lens on.

Product name:
Green LongLife 9090101 LED Dome Light Fixture Single 921 Wedge 230 Lumens 12v or 24v Natural White

Product Description
Green LongLife LED replacement lights are built with the finest LED lighting technology and materials. This Green LongLife LED features: Built-in adjustable dimmer switch; 8-30 volts DC including 12v and 24v--this wide-range voltage is designed to withstand RV power fluctuations that can damage ordinary LED lights; 230 Lumens; Natural White color; 3.0 power watts; 21 High Power 5050 SMD LEDs; beam pattern of 120 degrees; and color temperature of 4000-4500K. Each Green LongLife LED bulb has a life expectancy of 100,000 hours--many times longer than a standard bulb--which saves money and time, especially in those hard-to-reach places. This product does not contain mercury or emit ultraviolet (UV) light.

Friday, May 27, 2016

Mom saves nearly $600/month on prescriptions!

Some of you may use a prescription or multiple prescriptions everyday and the cost is brutal. Here's a company, Blink Health, where many medications are less than $10 on the Blink Health website. It's worth a look if you pay for your own prescriptions.

Link to story:

Link to Blink Health:

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

BOV's, Van Dwellers

I've added a new preparedness category called: Van Dwellers and RV Living Blogs. These blogs deal with using Vans and RV as back-up emergency or full time shelter.

An older but still very livable van.

A nice inside conversion of a high top van.

A Prepared person is one who has an alternative fixed or mobile shelter and provisions to wait out any one of the many possible disasters that can come upon us. A vehicle like a pick-up with a camper shell, a van, an RV trailer or motor home are all solutions for a safe and mobile shelter. Pick-up's and vans can be your everyday transportation so it's not like your investment just sits in the drive waiting for the day to be used. If you are family campers then RV trailers and motor homes would also get used regularly for fun and just incase, a truly self-contained mobile shelter that you already know you can live in indefinitely.

Off-Grid and living nearly free:
The way our government is destroying our culture and economy today is outrageous. It's possible because of them, that losing your home to foreclosure because there are not enough jobs for everyone including us so we can continue to pay the rent or mortgage can be a likely result. So, what is an alternative shelter?

All of the above but especially the utility vans like the Ford Econoline Van or Chevy Express Cargo Van. These are very popular with the "Van Dweller" crowd because of the low used price and ease of self-conversion to a comfortable long term shelter. Van Dwelling may become a necessity if your financial world collapses or you're simply throwing in the rat race towel in favor of the minimalist lifestyle or your retirement funds necessitate this low cost traveling/living lifestyle.

Below is a link dedicated mostly to Van Dwelling with maybe hundreds of well done videos interviewing Dwellers and how they converted their vans to live in. Many ideas here will help guide you through your own conversion by taking the their best  ideas that suit your lifestyle. It's where I'm getting my idea's for my Ford Mini Van conversion and re-doing some of what I've already done to make it better using actual Van Dwellers designs for livability.


We may someday meet on some free BLM (Bureau of Land Management) land.  :-)

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Think your dog is talented?

Watch the video. This dog is truly trusting and simply amazing!

Enjoy :-)

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Hurricane Season Is Back!

For those of you who live in hurricane country like I do, it's time to review your hurricane supplies such as batteries, lighting, propane, gas, water, food and a camp stove to cook with. Test the generator if you have one, along with a chainsaw because you may have to cut some fallen trees out of the way afterwards to get out of your neighborhood or get re-supplied.

The link I use to track and predict the land fall is NOAA, check it out:

also a link useful for seeing wind direction and speed:

Be careful and plan ahead now!

Updated May 07, 2016.
When is hurricane season? The Atlantic hurricane season runs from June 1 to November 30 with the peak period from early August through the end of October. The Atlantic basin includes the entire Atlantic Ocean, Caribbean Sea and the Gulf of Mexico.

What does a typical hurricane season look like? Based on historical weather records dating back to 1950, the Atlantic region will typically experience 12 tropical storms with sustained winds of 39 mph, of which six that turn into hurricanes with winds reaching 74 mph or greater, and three major hurricanes category 3 or higher with sustained winds of at least 111 mph.

Florida has been on a winning streak. Coming into the 2016 hurricane season, Florida had gone a record 11 years without a land falling hurricane of category 3 or higher.

Last year's Atlantic hurricane season was quieter than what is typical. The last major hurricane to hit Florida was Hurricane Wilma in 2005. 

But this may be the year that breaks the streak, as experts are predicting an average or above-average number of hurricanes in 2016.

Saturday, May 14, 2016

Nuclear Power Plant Meltdowns

What the politicians don't want you to know about nuclear power plant disasters is reviewed in the following link. This is a very good example of the evil of Super Pac money that buys politicians who are supposed to be protecting us and acting in our countries best interests. This is a very enlightening short video worth watching.

About the link:
"This conference was held by Dr. Helen Caldicott, in Montreal, back in March of 2011.
She tells it THE WAY IT IS.
I was born and have lived in the Metro Vancouver BC Canada area all of my life.
All that comes to a swift end in the wake of a completely avoidable disaster.
The northern hemisphere is about to be forever covered in more than a dozen different radioactive elements, all lethal, all essentially permanent."


Thursday, May 5, 2016

Fort McMurray fire in Alberta, Canada this week.

Current, real life evacuation from a forest fire and look how many people were not prepared at all. Don’t ever be one of these unprepared people! 80,000 people live in this town so evacuating is always an issue with this many people trying to leave at the same time.

There are many lessons to be learned from watching these video’s. Put yourself in the cameraman’s place. He and all the others caught on the road and  could have been in just one minute, overcome by the smoke and died.

Use your head and if a disaster is heading your way get out of town before anyone else or an evac order is issued.

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Battery Powered Bike of the future?

For an RV’er, Boat Cruiser or a grid down transportation [if you have solar to recharge the battery] this may be your ride!

The GeoOrbital Electric Bike Wheel:

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Listen To Police/Fire/EMS Without A Scanner On Your PC!

It may be useful for you to know what your emergency and police are up to. Especially useful for areas away from your location so you can actually hear what’s going on in neighboring towns and what may be coming your way.

Browse the site to see what it offers and how to use it. It is simple to understand.

Click on your state then click on your county.

It may take a minute or two to start hearing the chatter, be patient.

Thursday, April 14, 2016

A no-nonsense Survival/Evasion forum based in Alaska

A no-nonsense Survival/Evasion forum based in Alaska by a guy named Bergmann. Lots of good stuff here.

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Electric Chainsaw by WORX

I’ve owned a couple gas chainsaws over the years and for the small amount I need and use one they were always a pain to start after months of storage.

I had an opportunity to sell my gas saw a few months back and jumped on it, he’s happy and I happier. I had been looking at this electric saw before and research showed me this would do the job for me. For storm pruning or cutting a cord of wood a year this saw will handle that job very well.

The downside of this saw for many people would be the need for an extension cord to power the saw. At a full load TORX recommends a 12ga x 50 feet long max length cord.

For myself, the cord is not an issue because I can and do run the saw off my HONDA 2000i. The HONDA is very portable. I have to have a generator living here in Florida anyway so this saw is just another opportunity to use it.

Saw Specs:
Model WG304.1
15 amps full load, 110volts
18 inch bar length
Chain speed 12m/s
Uses standard Oregon chains and bars
11.2 lbs.
3 year warrantee

Here’s  a link to a YouTube video of a gas saw vs Worx saw. Not a scientific comparison but clearly shows this saw will get the job done. It cuts the same log almost as fast as the gas saw.


I like this saw and recommend it. It’s built solid and has plenty of power. Using my HONDA 2000i I can cut wood anywhere a gas saw can go. And it starts every time by simply pulling the trigger.

Monday, April 11, 2016

Camp Stove Coffee Pot, Percolator Type

Most everyone enjoys a morning or evening cup or two of coffee. But what do you do when a disaster occurs and the electrical grid is down for weeks? Your Mr. Coffee or Keurig brewers are useless.

Here’s where camping gear comes into play with the old fashion Percolator to save the day! The Percolator shown below has two purposes, one for making coffee and the other for boiling water for instant soups, dehydrated pouch meals or water for tea etc. You don’t need a camping stove to make it work, a simple campfire will brew and keep the coffee or water hot all day long.

However, there is one obstacle to making coffee in a Percolator, it’s the coffee grind you use at home! Most households only have the finer ‘drip grind’ coffee in the pantry. You need a coarser grind for a Percolator otherwise the drip grind coffee will pass through the holes in the perk brew basket and be in every cup of coffee. Below I’ll show you how I solved that problem using the Mr. Coffee filters.

The Percolator Coffee Pot:
All metal, no plastic or wooden handles which makes it suitable for campfire use.

The coffee brew basket assembly.

The standard Mr. Coffee filter that I modify to use drip grind coffee in a percolator.

I use a pen of pencil and poke a small hole in the center of the filter. The hole is a little smaller than the percolator basket center tube.

This will make a snug fit around the tube so grounds can’t pass by and get into the finished brewed coffee. Slide it over the center tube and push it down and out to fill the basket.

Add the coffee.

Place the basket lid on and insert the assembly into the pot filled with cold water.

Now you’re ready to brew on the camp stove or campfire.

Friday, April 8, 2016

Rocket Stove using a Camp Stove Oven

In a disaster aftermath when no stores are open and no utilities operating it would be nice to have some baked bread, cookies and PIZZA along with other goodies we would be craving. If you’re out of propane, charcoal or other cooking fuels what do you do? The Rocket Stove will be your family savior.

A few months ago I tested my Coleman ‘camp stove oven’ on my rocket stove and found it was no problem to maintain a baking temperature (325f-375f). So I had confidence I could bake using the rocket stove, just needed to actually bake something and confirm it.

The only concern I had about baking using a wood fire was how much smoke would enter the oven and would the baked goods be overpowered with smoke smell/taste. With dry clean, dry wood that didn’t happen, the baked goods turned out just fine.

I made 8 dinner rolls for the test baking and here I’m waiting for them to rise.

After an hour they’re ready for the oven.

Getting the fire going.

Preheating the oven. Note that with a clean fire/flame there is no smoke.

In go the dinner rolls.

Fresh out of the oven.

Out of the pan and you can see the sides browned just like in a regular oven but the top appears to be discolored like a smoke gray.

You can easily bake using a Coleman camp stove oven on your rocket stove. A rocket stove and a camp stove oven are truly viable disaster survival tools that will make cooking and eating possible in the worst of conditions.

The baked dinner rolls did have a very slight smokiness to them but no different than your fried eggs or fish cooked over a campfire. The bake time was comparable to the home oven. These took just 35 minutes to bake.

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Propane Lantern Test

Single Mantle Lantern

Propane Lantern Test:
I tested my single mantle propane lantern @ full power for its’ fuel consumption (although it has 5 lower detent settings to save fuel when max lighting is not needed). Fuel consumption was measured using my accurate gram/ounces digital scale. The results below will aid you in calculating how much propane to store vs hours of light you want/need.

  • 1 hour of burn time consumes 36 grams of propane.
  • 1 pound cylinder (16oz/454gm) of propane will yield 12.6 hours of light.
  • a 10 pound propane tank will yield 126 hours of light or 15.7 nights of 8 continuous hours of full power light.
  • 30 nights @ 8 hours = 240 hours of light, requires 19 lbs of propane (a 20 lb tank).
Option of Liquid Fuel:
The Coleman “Dual Fuel” two mantle liquid fuel lantern may be an option worth looking at. The lantern operates on Coleman white gas or plain no-lead pump gas. Pump gas fuel may be easier to come by in a post disaster situation than propane.

My thinking is everyone who has a BBQ Propane Grill would want propane to run the grill to cook some food. I doubt these people have any camping gear.

The same can be said for the Coleman two burner liquid fuel camp stove.

Thursday, March 31, 2016

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Food Storage, How To Begin Yours

You’ve read about it and you’ve thought about but just can’t seem to get started storing food because you’re not comfortable with exactly what to do. The questions of what to buy first and how much of it is always in at the back of your mind because you certainly don’t want to waste a dime on foolish uninformed choices! The following is my method for getting started with your food preparedness.

It is especially important for your own morale, that you keep your preparedness foods and menus very simple, like out of a can and into a fry pan or in a single pot heating it with a propane camping stove! Living through a disaster with no utilities, a five course meal is out of the question.

There’s just two rules for food storage:
  • Rule #1,  Keep it very simple with minimal varieties! (You can always make it complicated later, just get some food on the shelf ASAP)
  • Rule #2,  Store only what you've already have eaten or tested and know how to prepare.
Initially you are going to store food for the short term. We’ve all heard about short term and long term storage plans but what are they and how long is each and generally what kind of food is stored in each? Here’s what works for me:

Link to short term, mid-term and long term storage definitions:

Short Term Storage:
  • Up to 2 years shelf-life.
  • Virtually all foods in your supermarket fit this 2 year time frame.
  • This is the food that's in your everyday pantry, just more of it.
  • It is can, pouched, bagged or boxed foods including your home canned food.
  • The source for this food is your everyday supermarket.
  • There should not be any foods in Short Term Storage that requires freezing or needs refrigeration because you cannot ever count on having dependable grid electricity in troubled times.
  • For Short Term storage there's no need for buying kit buckets of food, MRE's or other specialty survival foods.
  • All can or home canned foods needs to be protected from freezing.
Before you start menu planning, let’s start with what do you plan on cooking with? Remember the grid utilities are probably down, you have no operating kitchen appliances that you normally cook with and possibly no running water. How do you cook your food and at night have light to see what you’re doing?

Do You Have Camping Gear?
If not, then it’s time to get it out or buy some basic camping gear such as a propane camp stove and a propane lantern and a dozen propane 1lb cylinders to start with. I prefer propane because it’s safer (can’t spill) than the liquid fuel type lanterns and stoves. If you must have coffee then buy a percolator type coffee pot that can be used on the camp stove or campfire. Other than those items the rest of your kitchen gear will work just fine.

Organized and Dedicated Storage:
This step is very important. You need a place to store, organize and easily inventory your preparedness foods and gear. Like myself, you probably don’t have a place to store an extra months worth of food, water, propane, etc.
The best storage method I found, recommend and use is a wire shelving unit dedicated to your preparedness items. I suggest a wire shelving unit as they are strong and can handle the weight of all the can foods placed in them. You will also need several 5 gallon fresh water plastic cans for cooking and drinking. If the shelving unit will not fit in a utility room or bedroom and ends up in a common place where friends and neighbors can easily see it, hang a curtain around it to keep the contents from being seen by people who should not know you have a food stash.

Now for Your Menu Planning Using Supermarket Foods:
First, before you buy any food you need to create a meal/menu plan and an inventory for just 7 days. This can be a simple hand written inventory and menu that is also used as a shopping list. An inventory is critical to make food storage work. It will eliminate unnecessary purchases or running out of key ingredients for a planned meal which can mean a skipped meal and you going hungry. Remember, there may be no stores open so you can’t run out and pick something up. If you don’t have it in stock, you go hungry!

Why just a 7 day meal plan?
Well, it’s simple and easy to do because it’s only 21 meals to plan and some snacks. A 7 day plan will get a few weeks food in storage quickly without taxing your patience trying to figure out what to eat, just focus on the 7 days. Once you have the first 7 days of food items on the shelves you start on the second week which I keep the same as the first week. Remember, keep it simple or it will become frustrating and you may quit!

After 2 weeks of shopping for food to put in stock, you’ll be more aware of the many, many foods available that are canned, boxed or pouched and will have a better feel for what you can make from the supermarket shelves. At that time if you wish your menu can become more complicated.

Your new Preparedness Food Stock:
It’s also your personal convenience store. If for a dinner or lunch you need some soup or canned ham that’s not in your everyday pantry, just take it from the stock. HOWEVER, here’s where the inventory is important. Have a clip-board with the inventory on it. Hang it on the shelving unit. As you remove an item from stock, change the quantity on the inventory sheet, now when you go shopping take the list with you and buy the replacement items.

When Do You Stop Short Term Prepping?
I feel that 4 continuous weeks of food in storage should get you through most all disasters except Asteroid strikes, EMP and War on our countries soil. After 4 weeks of can and pouched food on the shelf you can start adding/storing Mid-Term and Long Term foods along with your short term food. Just be sure you grow all your storage smartly and in balance. You don’t want to have enough flour to make 300 loaves of bread and only one package of yeast!

Wire Shelving I Use:
Measures 18x48x72, purchased at Sam’s Club for $95.00

Link to Shelves:

Saturday, March 26, 2016

Food Storage Containers I Use

This photo shows the five containers I use for my food storage, they are: 5 Gallon Buckets, #10 Cans, Quart Canning Jars, 5 Quart PVC Jugs and Gallon Mylar Bags:

Link to my container retailer sources:

5 Gallon Buckets:
They are the standard for long term food storage and what I use. They are the best way to store large amounts of dry bulk food that's highly organized, cheap and reasonably safe from critters. To date I have not had a critter chew through any of my buckets. Buy quality buckets; .090 wall thickness and FDA Compliant plastic.
[Recently, food packers have been packing in 6 and 7 gallon buckets. These are just as good as the 5 gallon except when it comes to your wire shelving shelf height spacing. They are much taller, 19.75, 7 gallon vs 14.5 inches tall for the 5 gallon and will require taller shelf spacing so if you are planning on buying the 6-7 gallon buckets in the future set the shelf spacing to accommodate the taller buckets now. Also if you plan to buy 6-7 gallon buckets for your own food storage remember they do cost more and my not be the best value for you.]

Gamma Seal Bucket Lids:
There’s no comparing the Screw On Gamma Seal Lids to the conventional snap-on, pry-off bucket lids for the shear ease of opening and removing a 1 gallon bag of food when needed and then resealing the bucket. Over time, because of the cost, I have converted all my bucket lids to the Gamma Seal lids.

1 Gallon Mylar Bags:
Because of my actual hands on experience, I no longer Mylar bag food in the single, large, 5 gallon size bag. I now use exclusively 1 gallon bags and pack 4 of them into a single 5 gallon bucket. The 1 gallon bags are perfect for refilling the 5 quart jugs I continue to use.
[Note: Some may be saying I’m wasting space in the bucket by only using 4 of the 5 gallons of space. Actually that’s not true. When filling a bucket with a large 5 gallon Mylar bag you’ll find; #1 you can’t perfectly fit the Mylar to the buckets contour and #2 you must leave several inches of open space on top the food level to have space to fold up the excess Mylar bag into so you can get the lid on. Bottom line is the most you can fit in a single bagged bucket 4.3 – 4.5 gallons.]

5 Quart PVC Jugs:
These jugs are FDA Compliant. I found this size Jug the best way to begin Dry Food Storage. In the beginning I didn't want to buy 5 gallon buckets of bulk dry food without being able to at least create and test cook recipes first. If I purchased 5 gallon buckets of a food then what if I didn't like it? I’ve just wasted that money.

The jugs allow me to store small amounts of dry bulk foods. Supermarkets carry most all of the survival dry foods in small, inexpensive amounts such as 1, 5 or 10 lb bagged quantities. The jugs also let me have a wide variety of dry food items in a small space and I can spend $5 or $6 a week building initial amounts while test cooking them along the way.

I’m also a big believer in using and cooking my bulk stored food at least on a weekly non-SHTF basis because it saves on the everyday food budget and allows practicing recipes using it. Remember, store only what you already know how to prepare and like eat. The jugs make this easy. With my jug system I have 16 varieties of dry foods stored in 16 jugs. When a jug gets emptied I simply remove a one gallon bag of fresh food from the appropriate 5 gallon bucket and refill the jug with fresh stock. The remaining gallon bags in the bucket remain sealed and fresh until needed.

#10 Cans:
In the beginning when I was new to buying and stocking #10 cans of dehydrated or freeze-dried foods for long term storage, I needed a way to sample the contents and practice preparing meals using these new foods without the risk of spoilage after the #10 can was opened.

In order to sample the contents of #10 cans they must be opened and immediately at that point the long term food life begins to degrade. There are 13 cups in a #10 can so, if you have 6 or 8 different types of food that you need to practice preparing, a lot of time may pass during this practice time and spoilage of the remaining amount is possible. I get around this problem by opening the cans and immediately transferring all the contents into four, one quart canning jars with an oxygen absorber in each jar. Now I can use one of the jars to take food from for my testing and everyday use while the rest is safely stored in an oxygen free jar to continue its long term storage.

Your probably asking, why do I use a 500cc oxygen absorber in each jar, isn’t that overkill? Yes it is, but here’s why I use that size. I prefer to keep all my preparedness items and methods as simple and uniform as possible, so I stock only one size of oxygen absorber, the 500cc size to use in all my storage containers. If I need let’s say, 1,000cc’s for my one gallon Mylar bag storage I simply use two of them, for five gallon Mylar bags I use eight of them. It does cost a few cents more this way but I find it is a small price to pay for this flexibility and almost all my storage today is in quart jars and one gallon Mylar bags.

Quart Canning Jars:
Canning jars have for years been the staple of storing food without relying on refrigeration. Their uses are almost endless such as in this case, re-packing #10 cans of dehydrated or freeze-dried foods after opening.
Tip: before adding the #10 cans of food heat the canning jars and lid to about 200f degrees. This will soften the rubber seal for a better seal.

Contents of a #10 Can:
Here’s what you can expect to see after opening and transferring the contents of a typical #10 can of food into quart canning jars. [There are 13 cups of volume in a #10 can. About 3½ quart jars filled.]

How much space are you going to need?
This will give you an idea of what you’ll have with just 3 shelving units, 36 buckets and 16 jugs of bulk dry foods along with some #10 can and qt. jars. You will probably double this amount depending on your family size.
This does not include supermarket can, boxed and pouched foods or home canned food stored else ware.
What you see here is over 250 days of 2 cup meals, 3 times a day for two people.
Or 500 days of 2 cup meals 3 times a day for one person.
The overall floor space needed is approximately 2.0 feet x 12.5 feet for just these three shelving units!

My initial 5 quart jug storage:
This is what my start of dry bulk food jug storage looked like before buckets.
All this dry food was purchased at my local supermarket, nothing purchased online. This shelving unit I bought at Target for $40 and it fit nicely in a closet. It’s a little smaller at 18 x 36 x 72 (one foot narrower than the Sam’s shelves) that I use exclusively now. If you noticed, there is a second row of jugs behind the first. Every two jugs is equal to 2½ gallons or ½ a 5 gallon bucket!

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Grandpa Gets an iPad

Watch the following short clip that takes less than a minute. In fact it's 32 secs.

A daughter is visiting her father and is helping in the kitchen.

She asks: " Tell me dad, how are you managing with the new iPad we gave you for your birthday?"

This clip is spoken in German but it's totally understandable in any language.

Friday, March 18, 2016

Food Storage vs Shelf-Life*

Revised 3-18-16

When I began storing food just before Y2K, there was much controversy and uncertainty about this subject. Most who wrote about it were new at it themselves and had no long term experience to draw upon thereby what they were writing about was just a guess. Because of their guesses I made some mistakes in the beginning but, through my own trial and error and not giving up, got me on the right track.

It's not as difficult as you think, just two rules for food storage.

Rule #1,  Keep it very simple with minimal varieties!
Rule #2,  Store only what you've already tested, eat and know how to prepare.

Another confusing area about food storage is we’ve all heard about long term and short term but. What are they and how long is each and generally what kind of food is stored in each? Here’s what worked out for me:

Short Term Storage:
  • Up to 2 years shelf-life.
  • Virtually all foods in your supermarket fit this 2 year time frame.
  • This is the food that's in your everyday pantry, just more of it.
  • It is can, pouched, bagged or boxed foods including your home canned food.
  • The source for this food is your everyday supermarket.
  • There should not be any foods in Short Term Storage that requires freezing or needs refrigeration because you cannot ever count on having dependable grid electricity in troubled times.
  • For Short Term storage there's no need for buying kit buckets of food, MRE's or other specialty survival foods.
  • All can or home canned foods needs to be protected from freezing.

Mid-Term Storage: 
  • Up to 10 years shelf-life.
  • Most all #10 cans of dehydrated or freeze dried foods.
  • Most all pouched foods/meals like the Mountain House brand.
  • MRE’s (Meals Ready to Eat).
  • Kit Buckets of food, like the Mountain House 72 hour kit/bucket.

Long Term Storage:
  • Up to 30 years shelf-life.
  • Any purchased foods with a declared shelf-life of up to 30 years.
  • Typically this is all bulk purchased dry foods like; wheat, beans, lentils, rice, barley, pasta, etc.
  • It requires being sealed in Mylar Bags with Oxygen Absorbers.
  • Included are ‘some’ #10 cans of dehydrated or freeze dried food, verify shelf-life before storing.

Additional Information:
Stocking commercially canned foods, long term food storage and home canning always raise the same question. What is the shelf life? I look to University Extension Services for the most accurate research and tested methods. The links below will help answer this question with tested fact. Enjoy and be safe with your food storage and canning!

The shelf life paragraph below is from the Utah State University Cooperative Extension

Shelf Life:
As a general rule, unopened “Home canned foods” have a shelf life of one year and should be used before 2 years. “Commercially canned foods” should retain their “best quality” until the expiration code date on the can. This date is usually 2-5 years from the manufacture date. High acid foods usually have a shorter shelf life than low acid foods.

For emergency storage, commercially canned foods in metal or jars will remain safe to consume as long as the seal has not been broken. (That is not to say the quality will be retained for that long).

Foods “canned” in metal-Mylar®-type pouches will also have a best-if-used by date on them. The longest shelf life tested of this type of packaging has been 8-10 years (personal communication U.S. Military MRE’s). Therefore, storage for longer than 10 years is not recommended.

Here’s a few very good links for more qualified canning information.

Utah State University Cooperative Extension

39 Food Specific PDF’s about canning are at this link plus other informative topics.

National Center for Home Food Preservation. Lots of trustworthy information at this site.

Sunday, March 13, 2016

Home Heating with Coal Burning Stoves

Buck Stove Link:

Is coal a smart replacement compared to purchased wood fuel? If you live in a long cold winter part of your country then coal, may be your preferred fuel to burn.

Why? Because it burns clean, hot and consistently long. So an evening load of coal in the stove will burn evenly (temperature wise) all night long. If you have a properly insulated house, how nice that would be not getting up every 3-4 hours to add wood to the stove to keep from freezing!

Coal stoves are similar to their wood burning cousins. Most use natural draft and have the similar chimney requirements as wood stoves. In the past, many stoves were designed to burn both coal and wood. Be sure to verify your wood stove is safe to use and burn coal.

‘Anthracite Coal’ is most efficient when burned in freestanding stoves. Coal fires are difficult to start, but once alight a fire can last for weeks or even months by just adding more coal and using the shaker grill to remove the spent clinkers and ash. For this reason, coal is best suited to those who use their stoves on a full-time basis, not just for a quick warm-up of the house but to maintain a comfortable home all day and all night long. I grew up using coal for heat and all the benefits mentioned are true.

Coal vs. Wood Cost:
One ton of coal is about equivalent to a one cord of wood in pound for pound BTU output.

Tractor Supply sells and if need be ships coal in 40 lb. bags $5.00 each or $250 per ton:

Coal stoves produce no creosote or tar, and the chimney and smoke pipe will usually only contain a white or brown fine ash coating. It is important to clean the coal stove, smoke pipe and chimney immediately following the burning season as this ash can be quite corrosive when combined with the heat and humidity of the spring/summer.

Coal produces 10 times as much ash per pound as wood does, so a large ash pan is a good feature. Shaking should be done at least twice a day and as many as six times if the stove is being run at high outputs.

How long will they last?
A quality coal stove could easily last ten years or more. Coal burns much hotter than wood, so it should be common to replace coal grates and liners as time passes.

Chimney Concerns:
Coal burns very efficiently, so the temperature going up the chimney is not as great as it is with wood. However, coal contains sulfur and other compounds which can cause corrosion, especially in stainless steel chimneys. Be sure to select a quality brand of Chimney and confirm that the warranty covers use with coal. Also be sure to clean the chimney every spring (some sweeps pour baking soda down to neutralize the acids), as most corrosion occurs over the humid summer months.

Types of Coal:

Anthracite, the type used for home heating:
Anthracite, also known as hard coal, is very clean burning and produces no visible smoke or creosote. Anthracite is coal with the highest carbon content, between 86 and 98 percent, and a heat value of nearly 15,000 BTUs-per-pound and is most frequently associated with home heating. There are 7.3 billion tons of anthracite reserves in the United States, found mostly in Northeastern Pennsylvania. This hard coal is packed with an enormous amount of energy

The most plentiful form of coal in the United States and is used primarily to generate electricity and make coke for the steel industry. The fastest growing market for coal, though still a small one, is supplying heat for industrial processes. Bituminous coal has a carbon content ranging from 45 to 86 percent carbon and a heat value of 10,500 to 15,500 BTUs-per-pound.

Below bituminous is sub-bituminous coal with 35-45 percent carbon content and a heat value between 8,300 and 13,000 BTUs-per-pound. Reserves are located mainly in a half-dozen Western states and Alaska. Although its heat value is lower, this coal generally has a lower sulfur content than other types, which makes it attractive for use because it is cleaner burning.

Lignite, sometimes called brown coal, is a geologically young coal which has the lowest carbon content, 25-35 percent, and a heat value ranging between 4,000 and 8,300 BTUs-per-pound. It is mainly used for electric power generation.

Link to another source to purchase coal: