Saturday, January 24, 2015

Signal Mirror and Whistle

The signal mirror and whistle are rarely talked about or practiced with today. Probably because we are to comfortable with all our electronic goodies like cell phones and all their apps, hand held radios and GPS. The simple truth about these devices is they require battery power and if the batteries are dead or the device is dropped and disabled you're on your own.

In an emergency such as getting yourself lost or children wandering from the campsite, very common here in Florida or if your electronics just happen to be broken in the fall or the device batteries are exhausted, now what? Well, I guess it's back to the 1960's when things were non-electronic and always seemed to work. They were dirt simple like the signal whistle and signal mirror! It's a good idea t get one for every member in your group, they're cheap, and "learn how to use them"! Make a lanyard from para-cord and attach the mirror and whistle so it can be easily worn around the neck when leaving the campsite. Including a small inexpensive compass and knowing how to use it on the lanyard is also a good idea.

The Signal Mirror:
The signal mirror has two uses for me. I keep it in my backpacks first-aid kit for the times you're by yourself and you injure your face or have some small debris in your eye. With the signal mirror you can look in your own eye to find the debris and safely remove it. Without a mirror you're in a bad spot.

A signal mirror's main use is it can attract the attention of aircraft, ground searchers, or passers-by miles away. The only down side to using a signal mirror is you need sunlight and the sun for best results needs to be somewhat between you and the rescue party.

Again to be effective you need to practice using a signal mirror. The kids would love to play with the mirror flashing others and that's fine and educational for them, just be sure they understand how to use one!

The Whistle:
This item affords a chance of self-rescue if one gets separated from your group. A whistle may also be used to attract the attention of rescuers or passers-by. It requires very little effort and energy to blow, yet the sound carries great distances. All group members should be familiar with whistle distress signaling. A universally-recognized distress code is three equal blasts on the whistle, to be repeated until others hear it and respond with two blasts of recognition. Or create you groups own simple but unique distress blasts like two short and one long blasts. Make sure everyone knows the code and practices it before you need it!

Here's where I purchased the mirror and whistle combo:

For just $10.10 for the combo, it hard to not justify having one for all in your group.

Manufacturers Description:

UST JetScream Whistle:
  • 122db whistle can be heard over most natural and man made noises.
  • Pea-less.
  • Whistle will never rust or freeze up.
  • It floats.
  • Compact design fits comfortably in your pocket.
  • Short lanyard allow you to hook it to your backpack or anywhere it is easily accessible.
  • Made in the USA.

Ultimate Survival Technologies StarFlash Signal Mirror:
  • Size: 2 in. x 3 in.
  • Over 90% as reflective as glass, yet far lighter.
  • Scratch resistant coating on mirror surface.
  • StarFlash Mirrors targeting system allows you to aim your signal with pinpoint accuracy
  • Unbreakable and Floats.
 As packaged.

Mirror front side.

Mirror rear side with instructions.

Thursday, January 22, 2015


Yesterday, about 6:00pm I seen this owl fly into my neighbors oak tree. I live surrounded by forest and the Intracoastal Waterway so it's not unusual to hear owl's hooting with big deep hoots so I knew there were big owls around, just never seen a full grown one. For this photo I was about 40 feet away hand holding the camera so that's why it's not very clear or does it doesn't show you the true size of this bird. The bird was without including the tail feathers, was as big as a full grown raccoon!

The other thing that's impressive, to me anyway, is how nature camouflages this bird with its environment. No wonder they are so hard to spot.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Concealed Carry License and Deadly Force Self-Defense

If allowed in your state, get one now before it's to late and they stop issuing them! Carrying a concealed pistol without a CCL can get you arrested. I'm not telling you anything new but there are a whole lot of tree hugging liberals who feel getting rid of all guns is the answer to a crime free country. These people are relentless in the anti-gun movement and with all the Panty Wearing Anti-American Congressmen we have they will get their way, piece by piece over the coming years.

There are quite a few issues facing us today if we use a gun to defend ourselves. A Concealed Carry License does not give us any special gun defense use privileges. The law isn't necessarily on our side as one would think about self-defense.

Below is a video of Massad Ayoob discussing self-defense. He's a long, long time featured gun use writer/expert for The Backwoods Home Magazine. This video is an eye opener and I urge all of you to take 25 minutes with your family and friends to watch it. It may keep you out of jail and save your financial life that would be eaten up by attorney fees. This video was produced in 1990 so some of what he says may have new laws written since then but it's still very informative. Massad has made many videos, at the end of this video will open a large list of his work.

Video that's worth watching:
Judicious Use of Deadly Force by Massad Ayoob

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

My Long Term Bulk Dry Food Storage

(The intention of this post is to visually show my actual storage to the people who want to prepare with bulk food storage so they can see what it looks like. Hopefully this will help).

What king of meals can be made from my storage below if in an extended SHTF situation? Simple ones. These meals may be meager with only home made whole wheat bread and a bowl of pasta, soup, beans, rice or other grains stored. However, they're far better than living in a FEMA Concentration Camp!

I'm only showing here bulk packed foods in 5 gallon buckets and 5 quart jugs. I do not cover any of my #10 cans of dehydrated foods and the food in my pantry including home canned foods.

Below is how I currently store Dry Bulk Purchased Long Term Foods and home canning jars. It has taken several years of attempts for me to finally figure out what works best, stores the most in the least space and still be easily accessible and organized. Also the storage system is fully adjustable to accommodate changes in container sizes or amounts as I build my food stocks. My access to all the food stored is easy and not handicapped with stacking buckets 5 high in a closet or with fixed position shelves I purchased or home built shelves etc.

How much storage space?
I currently use 5, six shelf shelving units, but only three contain long term food storage as shown in the photo below. Of the other two, one is 3/4 full of my ammo stock and solar system components. The 5th unit is for household paper products, laundry products, pop and everyday bottled drinking water.

I use two storage methods for my dry bulk food storage:
One is five quart jugs and the other is 5 gallon buckets that work together.

Why do I use five quart jugs?
I found it's the best way to begin Dry Food Storage. In the beginning I didn't want to buy 5 gallon buckets of dry food without being able to at least create and test cook the 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 so I needed a way to buy and store smaller amounts first and be able to test or practice cook the recipes it to see if we liked it. Supermarkets carry most all of the survival dry foods to store in small and inexpensive in 1, 5 or 10lb bagged quantities.

The jugs also let me have a wide variety of food items in a small space and I can spend $5-$6 a week building the initial amounts while test cooking them along the way. I’m also a believer in using/cooking bulk stored food at least on a weekly 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.

Why do I Use 5 Gallon Buckets for Storage?
It’s the best way to store large amounts of dry bulk food that's organized, cheap and safe. In combination with the 5 quart jugs they make refilling the jugs easy with freshly opened stock as each bucket is filled with four, 1 gallon Mylar bags with an oxygen absorber in each. When the jug gets emptied I simply remove one bag from the bucket and refill the jug with fresh stock.

The Shelving Units I use for dry bulk food storage:
As you can see below I only need 36 buckets for my storage program and they fit nicely in three, 48 x 18 x 72 inch tall heavy duty wire shelving units purchased from Sam’s Club. You can also buy these wire shelving units most anywhere but warehouse stores are the cheapest at $99. Each of the shelves hold 600 lbs per shelf without wheels or 200 lbs with wheels, so they’re stout and will last forever. Mine are on wheels so it's easy to move the unit and clean under and behind. It's important to keep the food storage area very clean so not to encourage all types of critters from trying to help themselves to your food.

The Shelving Units:

Manufacturers Description:
Heavy duty chrome plated steel shelving with caster wheels, height adjustable shelves and polypropylene shelf inlays. This heavy duty chrome shelving unit is attractive, versatile and can be used virtually anywhere. With it's six height adjustable shelves and polypropylene shelf inlays, you can use it to store large or small items. Moving the shelving unit for cleaning or relocating is easy too when you attach the four caster wheels. Food safety is also taken care of with NSF certification.

  • Heavy duty steel with chrome plated finish
  • Six height adjustable shelves with polypropylene shelf inlays
  • Four caster wheels (2 locking) and height adjustable leveling feet
  • Triple truss shelves with 600 pound weight capacity per shelf evenly distributed using leveling feet
  • 200 pounds per shelf weight capacity evenly distributed using caster wheels
  • NSF certified for restaurant capabilities
  • Assembled size 47.75" x 18" x 72" w/leveling feet and locking casters.
  • No tools required assembly 

Link to Shelves:

Photo of my long term storage.

What's in My 5 Quart Jug Storage: (16 jugs)
(Each jug of food when full produces 32, 2 cup servings of prepared food)
(* means refillable 1 gallon at a time from 5 gallon buckets)
Rice, White Long Grain*
Barley, Pearled*
Wheat, Hard White*
Corn Meal
Oats, Rolled
Salt, Table*
Salt, Canning*
Egg Noodles*
Elbow Pasta*
Penne Pasta
Orzo Pasta
Navy Beans, White*
Pinto Beans*

What's in My 5 Gallon Bucket Storage: (36 buckets)
Each bucket of food has 4, 1 gallon Mylar bags of food in it. The exception is the hard white wheat, white flour, sugar and salts that are bulk packed with one large Mylar bag.

Wheat, Hard White = 40 loaves of bread
Wheat, Hard White = 40 loaves of bread
Wheat, Hard White = 40 loaves of bread
Wheat, Hard White = 40 loaves of bread
All Purpose White Flour = 30 loaves of bread
All Purpose White Flour = 30 loaves of bread
All Purpose White Flour = 30 loaves of bread
All Purpose White Flour = 30 loaves of bread
(Note; I make a lot of baked goodies other than just bread)

Pasta, Elbow = 128, 2 cups servings prepared
Pasta, Elbow = 128, 2 cups servings prepared
Pasta, Egg Noodles = 128, 2 cups servings prepared
Pasta, Egg Noodles = 128, 2 cups servings prepared
Pasta, Spaghetti = 128, 2 cups servings prepared
Pasta, Spaghetti = 128, 2 cups servings prepared
Rice, White Long Grain = 128, 2 cups servings prepared
Rice, White Long Grain = 128, 2 cups servings prepared
Rice, White Long Grain = 128, 2 cups servings prepared
Rice, White Long Grain = 128, 2 cups servings prepared
Rice, White Long Grain = 128, 2 cups servings prepared
Rice, White Long Grain = 128, 2 cups servings prepared
Barley, Pearled = 128, 2 cups servings prepared
Barley, Pearled = 128, 2 cups servings prepared
Barley, Pearled = 128, 2 cups servings prepared
Pinto Beans = 128, 2 cups servings prepared
Pinto Beans = 128, 2 cups servings prepared
Pinto Beans = 128, 2 cups servings prepared
Pinto Beans = 128, 2 cups servings prepared
Lentil Beans = 128, 2 cups servings prepared
Lentil Beans = 128, 2 cups servings prepared
Navy Beans = 128, 2 cups servings prepared
Ramen Soup, Chicken (36 Pkgs or servings)
Ramen Soup, Beef (36 Pkgs or servings)
Milk, Non-Fat = 192 cups prepared
Sugar, White
Sugar, White
Salt, Canning
Salt, Table

How many 2 cup servings can I prepare from my dry Bulk Food Storage?
Typically 1 cup of dry food when prepared doubles and some triple in volume.
In the 5 gallon buckets alone excluding the Wheat, All Purpose White Flour, Dry Milk, Salt and Sugar buckets they contain; 2,888 two cup servings of prepared food in all the food buckets listed. This equals three, two cup servings a day for two people or 481 days of eating something!

About my food storage let me be clear here. This particular type of dry bulk food storage is for “Hard Core Survival Eating” or simply eating to stay alive in the worst of times. Not included or discussed here are my pantry with can meats, fruits, vegetables, home canned food, spices and the #10 cans of dehydrated foods that will increase the amount and quality of the meals stored.

Saturday, January 17, 2015

Food Storage, The Long and Short of it!

When I began storing food back around 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 many mistakes but through my own trial and error and not giving up got me on what I feel today is the right track.
Here's the way I see it today!

It's not as difficult as you think, just two rules for Short Term and Long Term food storage.
  • Rule number #1; Keep it very simple with minimal varieties!
  • Rule number #2; Store only what you've already tested, know and eat.

What is Short Term Storage?
  • 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 your 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.
  • Supermarket foods generally have best by dates of 1-3 years and with proper storage the 1-3 year items can last more than 5 years.

What is Long Term Storage?
  • 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 all #10 cans of dehydrated food.
  • Bulk dry stored foods can withstand freezing.
  • This type of food has a shelf life of 10 to 30 years.

Should you store 'some' long term foods at the same time you're building your short term food inventory?  Yes!
  • The reason is you can use rice, barley, lentils, oatmeal, cornmeal, grits, etc as adjuncts to can or homemade soups including stand alone main dishes.
  • You'll save money doing so due to the bulk purchase savings.
  • You will also learn how to make survival meals from all your stored foods. During a disaster aftermath is no time to try and figure out how to cook dry beans for the first time.
  • Also you should practice milling your own wheat grain into flour and baking your own home made 'chemical and GMO free' whole wheat bread and other baked goodies.

Shelf Life Comments:
For the 1-5 year shelf life I and many others have found that most can, pouched and boxed foods come with a Best by Date of 2 and some 3 years. Extending those items to 5 years is of little concern to me provided they're kept at a reasonable household temperatures. If the container is not swollen or damaged and when you open it still smells like a fresh can does, I eat it!

However remember storing food is a job, I call it a 'serious hobby'! It requires using an inventory list and doing stock rotation so you're never faced with using stock that's 5 years or older unless you've been starving and that's all you have or have been given by some gracious Prepper so you have something to eat!

Carbohydrate Levels Comment:
As a person who is currently losing excess weight I pay particular attention to the Carb mg amounts in everything I eat to keep it low as possible, thus I lose the excess weight easily.

The opposite is true when it comes to Long Term Stored Bulk Food. It is impossible to keep the Carb mg's low in dry bulk foods because they are all high in Carbs such as wheat, beans, rice and pasta. Honestly, I don't care if I consume these high Carb foods because when we do we're probably in a SHTF situation. We will want the extra Carb consumption to keep your energy level high and at the same time carbs make the belly feel full and thereby helps keep moral up. That's a good feeling in bad times.

What do I currently store?
I am working on an updated post that details what bulk dry foods I store and how I use them.

In Closing:
Again remember I am not an occutard nutritionist, who historically change their positions on what's good for you and not good for you to eat or am I a food scientist who tests and lab studies old stored food. The above is what I follow for myself and I'm quite comfortable with it.