Thursday, May 31, 2012

Firestarter review!

I was given the awesome gift last Christmas of some firestarter.  Here is the actual one I received Jim Baker firestarter, although this one at Emergency Essentials EE firestarter looks the same on the photo.  But just to be clear, the Jim Baker one is the one I've tested.
They claim this is coated to be is water resistant.  I haven't tested this yet.  It was a slightly breezy day & we had no trouble lighting it first try.  The website claims it will burn in up to 30 mph winds (although I assume you'd have to start it out of the wind).  I tested it first in my Kelly Kettle (see last blog post).  It was perfect for that.  It boiled the water quickly, & I didn't have to add more fuel.  It also only took 1 match to light.
I had been told that you can put this out & relight it later.  I liked that idea.  The bucket says 1 cup will burn for 30 min, but if you can boil water in 6 min, I hate to waste all that other burning time.  So after the water boiled, we smothered it out, & let it cool.  (I estimate we were using about 2/3-3/4 cup of firestarter).  We were able to get it relighted but it took a few matches this time.  Perhaps sprinkling a bit of fresh on would help with that.  It did relight burn longer, but it wasn't nearly as hot, & I didn't get my water to boil in the kettle this time.  So I would probably try to do enough cooking to use it all, but if that wasn't possible, I would probably save it to combine with some fresh, & hopefully get more use out of it that way.
The wonderful woman who gave me the bucket full also gave me small packets with the instructions to put in my 72 hour backpacks.  I thought that was a great idea!  And you don't have to have a Kelly Kettle to use this, you can even cook right on top of it.  It also has a 30 year shelf life!  (Emergency Essentials also has smaller amounts if you don't want the huge bucket).  This could also be used as kindling to get wood or other things started.  Overall I'm VERY glad to have this in my storage!
One tiny complaint, the big bucket was VERY hard to open.  I had to cut the "peel" part off the lid.  And then use my tool for opening those buckets.  I'd hate to be doing that in the cold or an emergency, so I'm glad I've already opened it once & got the hard part out of the way.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Free stuff at Walgreens this week

Look at a site such as for details on how to do this exactly.
But basically the first aid gel is free after register rewards.  The toothpaste was $.25 after coupons & register rewards.  The shave gel was $.45 after both of those, & the Ecotrin after coupons made me $1 (which covered the $.45 & $.25 on the other items).  Awesome!

There's also a deal on Kotex pads, buy 3 with coupons for $9, & get $10 back in movie cash.  This wasn't working yet a my store but it might be at yours!  These prices should be good through Saturday.

Kelly Kettle review

I was blessed to get in on a group buy of kelly kettles, & get a great deal!  So I decided to give it a try.  I love my solar oven, but I still wouldn't mind an option for cloudy days.  What appealed to me about these is they are simple, & almost anything can be used for fuel.  I'd even heard that dried animal droppings can be used.  (makes sense, buffalo chips were used for fires).  I have a lot of rabbit droppings, so that would be nice to have that option if necessary.
The kelly kettle holds the water all around the outside of the kettle.  That makes it boil pretty fast with a smaller amount of fuel.  You can add more fuel through the hole in the top while it's heating.  And there is an optional stand & pot accessory (shown in the pic above).

I was pretty sure wood would burn (although you'd need small pieces), so I decided to try something else.  We got long, dried pine needles that fall in our yard from our neighbors big tree.  These burn hot & fast.  I wasn't fast enough adding them at first, so had to restart the fire once.  Shoving them in the top was a bit hot, so I got out my heat gloves I use for solar cooking Heat gloves post.  These helped a lot.  The needles worked great!  We ended up using a pretty big pile of them, but did get the water to boil.  And there are plenty of these around!

Next we tried rabbit droppings.  We couldn't get them to light, so we tried adding some dryer lint as starter (see free fire starter post).  The dryer lint lit right up, but didn't light the droppings.  Then we tried with the needles, with same result.  Our conclusion was that even though these were old droppings, they simply weren't dry enough to light.  This summer I will experiment with really drying some & try again.  I'd love to know if I had that fuel source.

Then we tried our firestarter.  This was given to us as a Christmas present.  firestarter link  (this is what we have, but I believe emergency essentials carries the same thing in different packaging).  Soon there was a vortex of flame inside the kelly kettle.  It boiled the water in about 6 min, without our adding any more fuel.
Last we tried the little pot on top.  A very small pot came with the stand, but you could use some larger pots or fry pans with the stand, you'd just have to experiment.  But my once dislike of my solar oven is I can't fry anything.  No scrambled eggs, cooking onions, browning beef.  So I decided to try scrambling the egg.  I put the pot on as soon as the water was boiling.  I had a scrambled egg in no time at all!

In this pot, or a slightly larger one (I think a thin sided pot, such as are in camping sets would work better), you could cook rice or pasta.

Overall, I'm quite happy with my kelly kettle!  It supplements my solar oven for cloudy days.  Almost no matter the weather I could boil water, have hot chocolate, or make oatmeal, pasta or rice.  And I can use it to fry which I can't my solar oven.  Even better, I have much better options for fuel.  I have some small camp stoves that use propane or other things; but the question always is how much fuel to store.  We don't know how long we might need them.  And the fuel is pricey.  I love how fast, simple & versatile this is.  The stand also goes flat & can store inside, & there's a storage bag for the whole thing.  For more info you can look at their website  Maybe you can even set up a group buy to get a good deal like we did!  The next post will have more on the firestarter.  I think the firestarter is IDEAL for this kettle, if you want the easiest time.  But I love all the other options this gives me.  I'll be sure & post as I experiment with the manure later!

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Great deal on knife sharpeners

Do you have a knife sharpener in your prep supplies?  I had an electric one.  No use in a big emergency.  And we may be using our knives a lot!  Recreation Outlet has these ceramic knife sharpeners this week for $1.99!
Ok these probably aren't as good as more expensive ones.  But if you don't have one, go spend $2 until you can get a better one.  It will sure be better than nothing!  I know from butchering my rabbits how quickly the knives get dull, & how big a difference a sharp knife makes!

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Survival Medicine Handbook

I just finished reading this book cover to cover.  One thing that is unique about this book over regular first aid books, is it is a book for if we are living in a collapse situation.  It doesn't just tell you how to stabilize someone until you get them to a hospital, it assumes you are the only medical care available.   That makes it much more useful in that kind of situation.  Another thing I really liked about it is it gives information about traditional medical treatments, & herbal & alternative treatments.  His contention is that you shouldn't rule out one or the other, but know both & use whatever you have.  I am often frustrated with the way dr's & herbalists sometimes claim there to be nothing of value in the other, & have been wanting something that addresses both.
There is a lot of stuff in there.  The chapters are short & concise.  I can't think of anything I am likely to encounter that wasn't covered here.
He also has a lot of emphasis on prevention.  For example safety glass when chopping wood, as trying to fix eye damage is not going to be easily done in a collapse situation.  He also has a great method for stockpiling antibiotics, & instructions of when to use them.  It covers everything from burns, childbirth, gall bladder attack, to ticks.  I made a list in the back of things to buy after reading this book.  It also made me realize the importance of getting as healthy as we can now...some things are just not going to be easily treatable without modern medicine.
He also has a list of youtube videos you can watch (now, not after a collapse) to learn some of the things talked about, as well as reference books he suggests you buy to keep.  The author is a Dr, his wife is a nurse, they are both herbalists as well.  One nice thing about this book is the "Doom & Bloom" title & philosophy.  It's an attitude that you can "bloom" in hard situations, & is more optimistic & upbeat.
There were a few things I wish had more info.  For instance it says dandelion tea for something, & I have no idea how to make that, so now I have to find another resource with that in it.  However, the book is already 400 pages, so I can understand not being able to put everything in.
I'm very pleased with the book & think it would be a great thing for everyone to have.  Now I just need to start working my way through those youtube vidoes, & buying my list of additional supplies!  While I won't remember everything I read of course, I'm hoping in an emergency enough will stick with me to help, at least enough until I can look things up in this book!

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Fish antibiotics?

Fish antibiotics video link
Interesting video on stockpiling antibiotics!  I'm going to give this some thought!

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Raising funds for a roof!

We just found out we're in need of an entirely new roof!  We had savings for just such an occurrence, but unfortunately those funds have been used up fighting frivolous legal actions the ex has been harassing us with.  We have some family who are willing to help with the labor, but still have to buy supplies.  I HATE asking for help!  Especially when I had planned for things like this!  But I'm afraid we are going to need some help, especially since we have another hearing to pay for today!
So we are having a fund raising yard sale on May 26, 8-12 pm, at 348 West 1560 North Lehi. Anyone who'd like to donate items to sell, come shopping at the garage sale, we'd be so grateful!  
There's also a donate paypal button above if you feel you could donate.  Or through paypal email address  
Thanks everyone!

food storage instead of a wedding ring?
Here's an interesting article about a couple who chose to buy food storage instead of an engagement ring.  Sounds extreme!  But then can't eat gold or diamonds.  Worth reading!

I've made some similar choices in my life.  My dream since I was about 8 years old was to go to Egypt.  At one point I had the money saved to go.  But I had no food storage.  I made the hard decision to buy food storage instead.  And now it looks like I'll never get to go to Egypt!  But I can take care of my family!
Another consideration when I bought that food storage was having room to store it.  We lived in VERY tiny married student housing.  It was easy to justify & say we didn't have room.  But I decided it would be better to give up the couch than food can't eat the couch!  So we crammed it in every corner & space.  I've never yet had to live off my food storage, but I still think it's been worth it!

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Cheap weed killer?

link for cheap weed killer
I was excited about trying this...I spend a fortune on Round Up Every year.
I sprayed a lot of vinegar on a bunch of stuff in my yard; including some grass.  There was no rain or sprinklers on for days.  5 days later; nothing.  Maybe a bit of brown on a couple spots, but so faint I wasn't even sure.  So I guess I'm back to round up!  Has anyone else tried vinegar as a weed killer?

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Free pioneer handbooks
This site has a wonderful selection of free pioneer handbooks.  Everything from soap making, tanning, orchards, beekeeping, dairy & everything in between.  Print these & keep them in your prep library!  These are skills you could use even if you didn't have a lot of modern tools.  Be sure & notice the selections in the left sidebar, not just the ones on the bottom of the main page.  I just downloaded 12 to print & keep!

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Free prep magazine!
First issue of a free online prep magazine!  You can subscribe through the tiny links on the bottom of the page.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Cool Ties at Dollar Tree

A while ago I blogged about making your own "cool ties", to get them cheaper than the $8 they are at some stores.
Yesterday I came across these at Dollar Tree.  I haven't tested them yet.  The beads seem a bit smaller than what I've had before.  But for $1 they'd be worth trying!
The ones I've had do work really well!  I've used them hiking in the desert.  If we're doing harder work in our yards to survive, if there's no electricity so no coolers, or if you're bugging out in the summer, these would bo SO great to have!  I grabbed some of these for gifts & to put in my 72 hour kits!

Medical care during emergencies & collapses! CD review

I just finished going through this CD I picked up at a prep fair.  I played it on my computer & it was about an hour & 15 min.  It is audio with slides.  The first half I was a bit bored.  For instance I didn't need 10 min to convince me I needed to learn some medical skills, that was why I bought it!  (although they had some good stats)  It was pretty basic at first.  So I was still bored for a while.  For instance I already know elderberry is on the list that can help with illness, & since there was no info on how to use it, I didn't need to hear that again.  But as it went, it got better & better.  It had some interesting emergency dental info, including specific products to buy.  Tools needed for extractions were shown, although no instruction of how to do so was given.  Then it got into different kinds of injuries, 3 degrees of burns, different kinds of broken bones, & how to treat them all.  Hypothermia & heat stroke are on here too.  As are specific product recommendations for your first aid kit (I've got a big list to buy now!).  I thought how to tell when to stitch a wound & when not to was great info.  And I'd never heard of surgical staples instead of stitches!  As it got to more specific info I wasn't familiar with I really enjoyed it, making notes as I went along.  One thing I especially liked about this is it was from the perspective of if getting to a hospital isn't possible at all.  Such as in a major disaster when hospitals are overwhelmed, or you can't travel.  Or longer term scenarios.  So the point of view was entirely taking care of things yourself, rather than emergency stop gaps until you get to a Dr.
The man is a Dr, & his wife is a nurse.  I liked that they included traditional medical items, as well as natural & herbal ones.  I learned some cool things about honey in wounds.  And their idea of how to stockpile medicines (especially a cheap, legal way to get antibiotics) was worth the cost of the CD all by itself!
Here is where you can buy the CD.  They have a book out now I plan to order & will review after I go through it.  And they have some videos free on youtube under DrBonespodcast.  Their website also has many free articles.