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Showing posts from 2011

Sorry for the blackout

Things have been pretty crazy around here. I somehow managed to download a virus on my laptop that made it pretty much impossible for it to do anything. Trying to write up posts on my phone has proven to be very frustrating so I've just been neglecting the blog. I've also been ridiculously busy. I've lost 45 pounds since I started training mma/jiu-jitsu. I didn't really consider myself fat to begin with (5'11" 220) but I was getting there. Training for 2-4 hours a day 4-5 days a week, holding down a real job and being a dad tends to cut the schedule down to pretty much nothing. I've still got some posts in the works and now that my laptop is fixed I should be able to find more time to get them written up. Thanks for reading. If you need to get in touch with me you can email me at artyboy at gmail dot com.

Welcome to my new sponsors

I'd like to take a moment to welcome two new sponsors to my blog. I had the pleasure of meeting both of them at the Denver Self Reliance Expo. The first one is LPC Survival. If you've ever been to a survival blog with direct banner ads then you've probably seen one of their banners. For years they've supported several of the survival blogs in the prepping community. I'm happy to be the latest one on the list. They sell several different Berkey water filters and the parts to make your own (you did see my DIY Berky bucket filter post that I did sometime last year, right?) if you don't want one that's made out of nice, shiny stainless steel or that has a built in LED lighting system. They also sell everything from Wise food storage survival buckets (keep an eye out for an upcoming review) to emergency seed banks. Go check out their site, have a look around and patronize them if you find something that you need.

Forge Survival Supply is another new spon…

Denver Self Reliance Expo was a hit

So this weekend the Denver Self Reliance Expo was held at the Denver Western Stock Show Complex. It surpassed all of my expectations. Granted I didn't expect much. I'm not even sure what I expected, exactly. Regardless, at the end of the day I was impressed by everything. Everyone was very professional, friendly and willing to make a deal. I managed to pick up some needed preps at a good price, I met some great people in the prepper community, I got some great ideas for future posts and I even landed a couple of sponsors. I will welcome them all within the next few days in dedicated posts.

The majority of the booths consisted of storage food. "Survival buckets" were the most popular item for sale by far. You've probably seen them before. They generally consist of several packages of individual, freeze dried entrees sealed in mylar, packaged in lightweight, space saving buckets. There were also a lot of vendors selling #10 cans of everything from free…

Self Reliance Expo in Denver

This weekend the Self Reliance Expo is coming to Denver. Adult tickets are $9 ($7 if you're a senior or you preorder online). Kids 12 and under are free. It will be held at the National Western Stockshow Complex on September 16th and 17th. It's open from 10-8 on Friday and 9-6 on Saturday.

Dave Canterbury from the Discovery Channel's "Dual Survival" series will be the keynote presenter. Jack Spirko, the host of "The Survival Podcast" will be speaking as well. There will also be several workshops going on throughout the weekend. You can read all about those on the website. Of course, there will be several exhibitors offering everything from firearms to kitchen appliances. If it relates to preparedness you should be able to find someone who's selling what you're looking for. There's also a casting call going on for the National Geographic channel's upcoming prepper reality show. I have no idea what the details are behind tha…

Results start when you do

After a few weeks of working out at my gym I posted up some before and after shots on facebook. I had lost about 20 pounds and the results were very noticeable. One of my coaches made a comment that kinda stood out to me. "Results start when you do." I'd known the guy for a few years. Every time I saw him I'd tell him that I was going to start training at his gym. Money was always too tight or I couldn't find the time. Finally, I decided to stop making excuses and just did it. Once I started going finding time was easy and it went from seeming really expensive to being a total steal.

So how does it pertain to preparedness? That statement can be applied to just about anything. Whether you're planning on starting a food storage plan, getting serious about paying down debt or just learning a new skill it's easy to make excuses and procrastinate. You've got to start doing it and stick to your plan or you'll never get results. Once you star…

Getting into shape with MMA

I'll admit it. I have absolutely no discipline when it comes to working out. I'm the guy who walks around the gym for 5 minutes, does 10 reps then walks around for another 5 minutes. Then I get on the treadmill and walk at a pace that's barely fast enough to get me to break a sweat for 20 minutes while I watch Fox News. When I have a partner things are a lot better. It's easy to stay motivated when you're competing with someone. Unfortunately, I've never had much luck with finding a workout partner that lasted more than a week or two. Then I had my kid. At that point my workout sessions went from half assed to non existent. Waking up, going to work, coming home then taking off again to go to the gym wasn't sitting well with the wifey.

So for the last couple of years I've been doing basically nothing. I guess that walking my dog burns a few calories. I keep the beer in the basement so that when I want to go grab one I have to take the stairs…

My Country My Ass - the mp3

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Here's a pretty good song I heard on a local radio show. There should be a "clean" version and an "x-rated" version which isn't that bad imo. He says the f word...once. Oh my. The production value isn't phenomenal but the content makes up for it in my opinion. Anyway, check it out if you've got a second. Here's a crappy youtube video:



You can also download it here.

My Country My Ass | Peter Boyles - TalkRadio 630 K-HOW#article_comments

"Terrorist attack" on my turf

Some "bombs" went off at a local mall today. My wife was actually in the mall. She's fine and wasn't in any danger. Apparently, a couple of knuckle heads went into Borders and set off a couple of worthless, homemade explosives. It was taken very seriously and the bomb squad, the FBI and homeland security all showed up. You can read the sad attempt at a full story here. Here's the statement from the FBI:

"The two small crude devices partially functioned in a nominal manner causing no damage to the Mall and only minimal damage to a small area of the interior of the Borders Bookstore."

Who knows where this story will go. I'll be watching next week. I'm sure that it will catch a few headlines. It might even get a lot of attention. I wouldn't be surprised if it just gets swept under the rug, though. No one got hurt. Damage was minimal. Should the msm make a big deal about it when someone lights a firecracker? The initial shock value…

A few simple storage food recipes using TVP

I've been playing with TVP quite a bit lately. I've found it to be very versatile and one of the cheapest shelf stable alternatives to meat out there. You can buy #10 cans of freeze dried ground beef for $60 a can (if you can actually find someone who isn't backordered by 3 months) or you can get TVP for a fraction of that and not have to worry about getting put on a waiting list. Before you go all out and buy a 10 year supply on Amazon I encourage you to find a store in your area that sells the 10 oz bags of Bob's Red Mill just so that you can try it out. You may not like it. Anyway, onto the recipes.

Red Chili:

1 cup TVP
1 15 oz can diced tomatoes
1 15 oz can tomato sauce
1 15 oz can pinto beans
2 tbsp dried onions
2 tbsp chili powder
1 tbsp red chili flakes
1 tbsp garlic powder
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp oregano

This is a pretty basic chili recipe. Just dump everything into a pot, bring it to a boil then let it simmer for a couple of hours. You can tweak this recipe q…

TVP - Textured Vegetable Protein

If you've done much research on any of the long term, freeze dried, canned storage foods besides Mountain House that are being heavily marketed then you probably already know what TVP is. Otherwise, you'd have to be a pretty hard core health nut/vegan to know what it is. For those of you who don't know what it is it's a high protein meat substitute made from soybeans.

Soybean oil is separated from the soybean flour. Then the soybean flour is superheated and shot through a nozzle to create the desired size "nugget". When the "nuggets" cool they're completely dry, can store for years and, by adding some boiling water, you have a product that's the equivalent of ground beef. Is it a replacement for real meat? I don't think so. Is it a viable alternative when real meat isn't available? Yes it is.

Like I mentioned before, if you're buying a long term, canned storage food solution that isn't produced by Mountain House th…

Bank of America Gets Pad Locked After Homeowner Forecloses On It

Bank of America Gets Pad Locked After Homeowner Forecloses On It

We need to see more of this. Go ahead big banks.... Keep trying to sweep people under the rug.

Pressure cooker severs woman's leg

Here's a freaky story for you. Apparently, a woman was cooking with a pressure cooker when it fell off of the stove and exploded, severing her leg. Luckily, whoever was home with her knew how to apply a tourniquet. Be careful when you're cooking with a pressure cooker. As fantastic as they are for cooking (and absolutely necessary in some cases) they can also be extremely dangerous. Use high quality, newer models. Keep the seals and gauges in good condition. Be extremely careful when moving them around. Don't skimp on your pressure cooker. All American pressure cookers are the best on the market. There are plenty of other's out there, though. I use a Presto for canning and a smaller one (can't remember the brand) for normal cooking.

In other news, despite the "good news" about the economy that the current administration is trying to get people to believe, some really rich guys are still investing in aerable farmland. We're talking about …

Zombie Survival tips posted on CDC website

So the CDC finally owned up to the prospect that a deadly plague could strike at any time that turns people into flesh eating maniacs. You know the one. A few people get sick and then they get REALLY hungry. Before you know it they're taking a chunk out of Aunt Lili's arm. Then Aunt Lily gets really sick and before long SHE starts to get hungry. By the time people realize that you have to shoot anyone who's been bitten in the head there are already way more people who have been bitten than there are bullets. By then your only hope is to put all of those years of preps and training to use to keep your own ass from getting bit.

The zombie scenario is always a fun one. I maintain that it does a great job of getting people interested and thinking about preparedness who otherwise would never think twice about it. Hell, that's how I got into it years ago. Just about anyone who gets past "Dude, what would you do if a horde of zombies were breaking down your …

The Survival Laptop

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It wasn't so long ago that I made a post about smartphones. I'm still loving mine. With the extended battery I can go all day without charging it as long as I don't play video games or watch movies. As cool as it is, though, it doesn't replace my laptop. They're faster. They have a better, more customizable user interface. They're easier to fix if they break. The screen is bigger and they're much better at multi-tasking. Some of the batteries last several hours. You just have a lot more options with a laptop.

So what should you think about when you're picking out your survival laptop? First of all it needs to be small enough to take with you. That's why I like netbooks. A netbook with a 6 cell battery (I think that they make them with 8 or 12 cell batteries now) will last several hours between charges. The screen is smaller and everything in the system is bare bones so they're energy sippers. They're powerful enough for the bas…

Aquariums, The End of the World and Other Stuff

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So my aquarium has been going strong for a few weeks now. I decided to go with zebra danios and some cory's that look like plecostomus. According to the pet shop they only get a few inches long. The run of the mill plecostomus that most pet shops sell can get two feet long! That's way too much fish for my little 20g tank and I don't really want to find a home for one when it gets too big. I also added some neon tetras today. From what I've read they're pretty fragile and need very specific water conditions. We'll see how they do. I also found a tub that should be the perfect size for my grow bed. Once I'm sure that the nitrogen cycle is established and the fish are doing well then I'll go ahead and set it up. I've been using the water from water changes to water my house plants and they have exploded. That's encouraging. I'm looking forward to the results.

If you listen to talk radio then you've probably heard the commercial …

Aquaponics project is on hold

I've decided to put my aquaponics project on hold for a little while. My biggest hurdle has been finding a suitable grow bed to match up with a 20 gallon aquarium tank. I tried a few different storage totes but none of them worked out. It's too hard to get a good seal for the siphon and drain that has to go on the bottom because the plastic is so flimsy. I need to find or build something that's a lot more sturdy. The hydroponics grow beds that I looked at were too shallow for an aquaponics system to work properly. Everything that I've read so far says that the grow bed needs to be 12 inches deep.

I haven't given up. I'm just going to set up an actual aquarium for now. I need to learn how to keep small fish alive under normal circumstances before I go crazy and try to do it on a large scale using unconventional methods. A lot of the principles that go into setting up an aquarium are used in an aquaponics setup, anyway. The nitrogen cycle is the core …

Back in My Day....

I saw this on facebook and had to repost it. Sometimes we just need something to laugh at.

When I was a kid, adults used to bore me to tears with their tedious diatribes about how hard things were. When they were growing up; what with walking twenty-five miles to school ...every morning.... Uphill... Barefoot... BOTH ways...yadda, yadda, yadda

And I remember promising myself that when I grew up, there was no way in hell I was going to lay a bunch of crap like that on my kids about how hard I had it and how easy they've got it!

But now that I'm over the ripe old age of forty, I can't help but look around and notice the youth of today. You've got it so easy! I mean, compared to my childhood, you live in a damn Utopia! And I hate to say it, but you kids today, you don't know how good you've got it!

1) I mean, when I was a kid we didn't have the Internet. If we wanted to know something, we had to go to the damn library and look it up ourselves, in the card cat…

Quote of the day

"To those who prepare for the worst, the worst never seems to happen. To those who prepare for the best, the worst always seems to happen".

I have no idea who said this but in most cases it rings true.

Aquaponics

So I've been doing a lot of research on aquaponics lately. Basically, when you set up an aquaponics system you're setting up a miniature eco-system. Everything works together. Ideally, you'll end up with a system that requires very little maintenance and it produces a lot of food. At first glance, it sounds like pie in the sky voodoo. From what I've seen it's pretty impressive when implemented correctly. The cool thing is that you can implement it correctly on a very small scale. So what the hell is it?

Basically it mixes hydroponics with aquaculture. You raise fish and vegetables at the same time. The fish create ammonia. The bacteria in the medium that the plants are planted in convert it to nitrites. The plants convert the nitrites to nitrates and that water is pumped back to the fish. The cycle continues.

I want to try the idea but it's kind of hard to do here in the middle of winter. Once I get an indoor setup set up I'll let you all kno…

Recipe from preps: Penne Pasta in tomato sauce

Do you cook with your preps? From time to time I'm going to post up a recipe for preps made entirely out of long term storage food that you should probably have plenty of. Mayberry gave me the idea a few days ago. I'll try to post up the recipe and then mention any tweaks you can do in case you're short on something. Of course, if you know that you need something for a recipe that you really like then you'll probably have plenty of it on hand. Experiment, tweak and, most importantly, LEARN HOW TO COOK now so that you can benefit from the cheapest, easiest, most cost effective luxury there is whether the world is ending or you're just having trouble making rent. Anyway, on to the recipe.

What you'll need:

16 oz cup Penne pasta
16 oz Can of chicken
8 oz can of tomato sauce x2
1/4 cup dried onions
1 tbsp garlic powder
1 6 oz can of mushrooms
15 oz can of chicken stock
1 tsp each of oregano, basil, parsley, salt and pepper

Drain the chicken and then brown it…

Sensible Food Storage

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There are a few different approaches to food storage. As long as you're doing it at all I don't care how you do it. Just make sure that you're actually doing it and you don't just think that you are. It's really easy to make mistakes and assume that you've got "enough". What if you couldn't leave your house for a week? A month? If the power went out for more than a day or two how much of the food in your house would go bad? If we're talking worst case scenario how long could you really hold out? Your food storage strategy will go a long way towards answering that question.

If you've got the money then the easiest solution is just to buy a freeze dried food supply. Mountain House is the most recognized name in the industry and you can get it from several reputable dealers. Nitro-Pak is an excellent source. They ship free if you order $100 or more. I do have some Mountain House in my supplies. It's very convenient, lightwe…

What I could have done better

Hindsight is 20/20. I didn't really become interested in current events, investing or prepping until after I bought my house. When I was young and in the army I took my bonus and put it in a mutual fund. Then within 6 months I lost $1000 in it. That put a very bad taste in my mouth toward the stock market and I steered away from investing for a long time. I tried to follow the mantra that if I can't pay cash then I can't afford it. The fact that I had no credit made it easy not to bother applying for it. This went on for years. Eventually I wound up with a good job, in a cheap apartment and a good sized bank account. Then I met my wife.

While we were dating she received a good chunk of cash from an inheritance so we decided to buy a house. This, of course, was at the top of the real estate market. We put our 20% down and got a payment that we could easily afford. We still have the house and we still love it. We're still living well within our means. We …

What a year

This last year has flown by. Between everything going on with the news (has anyone else noticed that the world is on fire?), my job and the baby (who's already almost a year old! Didn't I just bring her home from the hospital?!) I'm still having trouble figuring out where the time is going. Maybe I'm just getting old. I hate to think about how fast it will go when I'm 50. Anyway, despite everything else that's been going on I've still been prepping. I also need to improve in some areas.

I admit that I need to spend a lot more time at the range. Ever since the price of ammo skyrocketed I pretty much quit going. A couple hundred rounds every few months just isn't enough to stay proficient. Have you noticed that I don't talk about guns much, anymore? I also need to work out more. I wake up. Go to work. Come home. I have the kid handed to me by the wife when I walk in because "she's been watching her all day". It's not an…

A couple of months off is all it takes.....

I take a couple of months off and I don't even make it into the top 50 survival blogs. Sheesh...everybody's a critic. Was it something I said? While I'm disappointed I can't really say that I'm surprised. It doesn't matter what you've done on the internet over the last few years. What matters is frequency and consistency. People care about what you did two seconds ago. Two weeks ago? That's REALLY old news. If you don't keep people interested then their attention is quickly diverted. I've started several posts in the last couple of months but I just never seem to get around to finishing them. Then when I get time to sit down and finish them off they already seem outdated or I'm just not that interested in the topic anymore. I think that the biggest downer is that I keep seeing a lot of what I've been talking about actually appearing in the mainstream media. Why bother repeating stuff?

It's not like everything is right …