Monday Musings: 5/19/2014

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MondayMusings5192014

Welcome to another Monday Musings, where we share interesting links as well as updates on the blog and preps.

First the blog updates…

Prepper Chats  My conversation with John Wesley Smith of Destiny Survival Radio will be posted on Thursday, 5/22.  I will send you a link when it’s up.

Soon I’ll be speaking with Donna Miller over at Your Preparation Station  Chatting with fellow preppers is fun and I look forward to them.

Giveaway  Our giveaway for a copy of Food Storage for Self-Sufficiency and Survival by Angela Paskett is still going on.  Don’t forget to enter.  We have a fun one coming up later this week, so come back and check!

Now for the links…

Still following this closely   3rd case of MERS virus found in the US

Illinois man tests positive for MERS virus without falling ill

Clean up and reorganize This is a great time to reassess what you have an what you need.  Here are a couple of articles to inspire you.

14 Creative Hidden Storage Solutions for the Over-Stocked Prepper

Garage Organization Ideas

Moving tips  Apartment dwellers move around a lot, I know… These tips will help you keep the costs down.

Moving with Minimal Money: Nine Tactics for Frugal Relocation

Giving thanks   Being financially challenged wears you down, but wallowing in misery only makes it worse.  Gratitude is so much more uplifting.

Gratitude is good for your soul … and your finances

Take care and have a great week everyone!

 

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Can You Live without a Refrigerator?

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apartment living, prepping, preppers, urban prepping, city prepping, survival, survival in the city, emergency preparedness, preparedness, living without a fridge

This post is by Bernie Carr, apartmentprepper.com

Having a refrigerator in the house is one of those conveniences that we take for granted.  Most homes and apartments come with a fridge, and if it didn’t, most everyone would get one right away.

Why even consider living without a fridge?

  • Long term power outage
  • Personal emergency:  your fridge breaks and you can’t afford another one right
  • Living in a downsized space such as boat or RV.  Many boat and RVs have very small refrigerators
  • Extended camping trips

I experienced first hand not having a fridge available when our fridge broke.  The old fridge was about 30 years old; my parents gave it to us when they upgraded, and it finally gave out.  The repair estimate came out about equal to just buying a new fridge.  At the time, we did not have the finances to buy a fridge outright as we did not want to buy one on credit, so we waited until the next paycheck.

That meant not having a fridge for a few weeks.  After the initial panic – who even lives without a fridge in this day and age – we decided to be creative.

  • We transferred the most perishable items from the broken fridge to a cooler.
  • We started researching what items absolutely need to be kept cool and which ones can last without refrigeration.

After three weeks the new fridge was delivered, but the experience taught me a few things.

Here are a few tips I learned:

Fruits

The shelf life of fruit depends on when the fruit was actually picked, and how ripe it was when you bought it.  Many fruits last a long time without refrigeration:  apples and citrus fruits will last around four to five weeks on the counter.

If you buy pineapples and mangoes, let them ripen on the counter for about three to four days, then eat within 24 hours.  I don’t refrigerate bananas but let them ripen on the counter and eat them before they get too spotty.

Strawberries and other berries are short-lived without the fridge – eat them as soon as you buy them; if you must keep them, eat them the next day.

Vegetables and herbs

Some vegetables such as celery, broccoli and cauliflower will stay fresh when stored upright in some water.

Herbs also store well while sitting upright in water.

Root crops such as potatoes, sweet potatoes, onion, garlic will last one to two months without refrigeration.  But once you cut into the onion, you need to use it right away.

Squash such as zucchini will last a week.

Tomatoes (technically a fruit but considered a vegetable for cooking purposes) will last two weeks if they are still green, or about a week at the most if they are already ripe.

The best way to ensure that fruit and vegetables stay fresh the longest without refrigeration is to buy them from the grower or at a farmer’s market, since you know they just got harvested and were never refrigerated in the truck or grocery store.

Milk

Use powdered milk and just prepare a serving or two for consumption.  Another choice is to use shelf stable milk.

Juice

Apple juice will last a couple of days but most other juices get rancid quickly if not kept cold.  Another choice is to use Tang Orange Drink, or powdered lemonade, and just make enough for use.

Eggs

As we have covered in the blog, eggs actually last a long time on the counter, and if you coat them with mineral oil, they will last for months.

Yogurt

Yogurt will last on the counter overnight but no one really wants to eat warm yogurt so we kept yogurt in the cooler.

Cheese and butter

Cheese and butter, because of the salt content, will actually last a week to two weeks outside the fridge.

Meats

Use canned or dehydrated meat.  Unfortunately, fresh meat won’t last without refrigeration, so we kept the meats in the cooler.

Medications

Some medications such as certain children’s liquid antibiotics require storage in a cool area – these would have to be kept in a plastic bag (to avoid spills) in cooler.

Condiments

Most of the condiments such as ketchup, mayonnaise, mustard and hot sauce (Tabasco) that are in squeeze bottles last for a long time without the fridge.  James and jellies also kept very well.  During our time without a fridge, we just kept them in the pantry and they were fine.

The parts that weren’t so easy

The one thing about not having a fridge is you can’t have leftovers, so you can only cook limited quantities that the family will finish right away.  Another thing that was not easy is not having cold drinks readily available, but that is something that one can get used to.

Truthfully, I really like having a refrigerator and would not willingly give mine up.  But the experience of going without one taught me it is doable and in an emergency, I’ll know what foods to save and what to use up right away.

 

My new book is out!

Jake and Miller's Big Adventure

 

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Food Storage for Self-Sufficiency and Survival by Angela Paskett: Review and Giveaway

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Food StorageI had an opportunity to review a copy of Food Srorage for Self-Sufficiency and Survival by Angela Paskett.

I like the way the book is organized, with a separate chapter covering food needs for 72 hours, short term emergencies (two weeks to three months) and long term emergencies (three months or longer).   There are more sections dealing with water storage, preserving, packing dry foods for long term, maintaining balance, sustainable food storage, organizing and using your food storage.  In short, this book covers everything you need to know about storing food.

If you are just starting out with your food storage plan, then you are fortunate to have this guide, but if you already have some food stored, you can still find a lot of good ideas.  With this book you will also learn to make the most out of your food storage, avoid waste and use your storage to save money and time.  For example, there is a section on what to do with oil that has gone past its edible prime.  The book also covers how food storage can actually improve your financial situation as you get through some lean months.

I found a lot of ideas on how I can improve my own food storage plan.  The author gives practical steps that anyone can implement right away.  I highly recommend this book.

Now for the giveaway…

What aspect of food storage do you find the most challenging and why?

The winner* will be chosen at a random “Pick a Giveaway Winner” drawing on Friday,  May 16th at 8 pm Central.  *Winner will be notified via email.  Winner must reply to email notification within 48 hours or another winner will be drawn.

 

© Apartment Prepper 2014

 

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How to Choose a Survival Kit that’s Best for You

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Living readyThis post is by Bernie Carr, apartmentprepper.com

Hurricane season starts next month (June 1 – November 30), and one of the recommended steps to prepare is to have a survival kit.

You have a couple of options:  make your own OR buy a pre-assembled survival kit.  You also need to decide how much money and how much time you want to spend.

Here are a couple of factors to consider:

  • Number of people in your household
  • Number of days you are covering
  • Type of emergency
  • Purpose of the kit – home emergency, car emergency etc.

Whatever kit you choose, there will be some crossover – some of the same items would be useful regardless what type of disaster- power outage, hurricane, earthquake, flood etc.

For a 72 hour kit, you should have the following items:

Food – Include food that does not need a lot of effort to prepare:  energy bars, canned food, “just add water” meals (dehydrated or freeze dried foods), crackers,  etc.  Include some comfort food such as chocolate, candy and chips.  Don’t forget the manual can opener

Water – One gallon per person per day is the guideline

First aid – in addition to the basic first aid contents, include personal prescriptions, eyeglasses, contact lenses etc.  It is also a good idea to include a pocket first aid manual.

Communications – battery operated or crank weather radio, charged cell phone

Personal hygiene – toilet paper, trash bags, moist towelettes

Lighting, Fire and warmth – flashlights, propane or other alternate fuel stove, candles

Basic tools such as knife, multi-tool, wrench and pliers

Entertainment – books, board games, cards

You’ll also need to include other miscellaneous items such as stuffed animals for children, special needs, pet food and medicines etc.  While you’re in the planning mode, device a plan on what you will do if you need to evacuate the area.

If you decide to buy a prepackaged survival kit, go through the contents as soon as you receive it, so you know what you have stored up.  If you are planning to do it yourself, now is the time to get started with building your kit.

 

© Apartment Prepper 2014

 

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Monday Musings: 5/12/2014

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Monday Musings 5122014Welcome to another Monday Musings, where we share interesting links as well as updates on the blog and preps.

First the blog updates…

This past week we were able to set up the Sun Oven, but the following days were cloudy followed by rain so I haven’t had a chance to do part two – the cooking part!

Podcast Interview coming up.  I’m looking forward to chatting with John Wesley Smith of Destiny Survival Radio – I’ll let you know when the podcast airs.

Moisturizing Salve update  I’m just so pleased about how my moisturizing salve turned out:  With the last batch, I gave away some eczema salve and miracle to family members, some I mailed out of state.  After a couple of weeks of use, the results are in:  they definitely work!   The salve helped eczema, psoriasis and skin allergy sufferers.  I’m using the plain salve as a makeup remover, and substitute for petroleum jelly.

I’m convinced essential oils really work, and that’s why I joined Spark Naturals as an affiliate.  If you order from Spark Naturals, use coupon code APARTMENTPREPPER and get 10% discount off your purchase.

Essential4Pack

Sponsor News   A big thank you to Prep and Pantry Apps for renewing with us.  Prep and Pantry Apps provides an easy way to keep track of your food storage.

5 apps parents should delete from kid’s phones

Doomsday types  Insightful article about worsening times and reasonable ways to cope
A Year after The Age of Limits: 5 Responses to the End Times

The struggle to stay private  Good article on making the stand against privacy intrusion

Sorry but I don’t Give Out Personal Information

Speaking of privacy, have you taken these steps to protect your privacy?

Going Undercover: How to Protect Your Privacy Online

Some Simple Vigilance, Shred your Trash

Now is a good time to do this Even a small food pantry gets cluttered.   Here’s an article that will help AND give you a great tip to store spaghetti too.

8 Tips to Spring Clean Your Pantry (stop groaning, it won’t hurt much)

Take care and have a great week everyone!

 

Please click here to vote for me at Top Prepper Websites!

Sorry, But I Don’t Give Out Personal Information
Sorry, But I Don’t Give Out Personal Information

Emergency Essentials/BePrepared

Emergency Essentials/BePrepared

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Happy Mother’s Day

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Happy Mothers DayMy family knows that for Mother’s Day, I prefer the luxury of time, instead of material items.  I’ll take a nice, long walk, read, perhaps go on a leisurely lunch with the family.  Most days of the year, I am rushing around, but today I get to slow down and smell the flowers.

Happy Mother’s Day!  Enjoy!

 

 

© Apartment Prepper 2014

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What To Do If You Cannot Grow A Garden

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This post originally appeared in The Rural Economist

Photo: Zukes blooming.

Photo from Rural Economist

I am blessed, because nearly everyday I come in contact with someone who tells me they’re starting their first garden ever. But every now and then, someone tells me that they cannot have a garden because of where they live. They want to have a garden, but do not know how to do it without getting in trouble. So I ask myself,” How would I go about starting a garden with these restrictions?” I did a little research, and here’s what I’ve come up with as suggestions for those who cannot have a garden.

Covert Gardening

There are several places that are  against a vegetable garden but are perfectly okay with a flower garden. In these locations I would practice covert gardening. There are many herbs that look perfectly at home in the average flower garden. Rosemary for example can be trimmed to look like many topiaries. Thyme can be used as a creeper right against your border. Basil, parsley, and oregano as well as many others can be used as a greenery in the average flower garden. There are also several very colorful varieties of lettuce, decorative cabbages, and kale. Most of the plants that I have listed above can be kept in a flower garden without raising a single eyebrow. If you’re more adventuresome, I have seen peppers and even tomatoes designed for patios placed in a flower garden. You may want to slowly phase these in. Remember, every single step you take get you closer to being more self sustainable.

Container Gardens

Photo: Here's a creative wall garden for your herbs <3</p><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br />  <p>Fresh Local Herbs ?<br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br />  http://www.farmerspal.com/organic-farms/produce/herbs/page/1/
Photo courtesy of www.farmerspal.com

So what if you’re not even allowed to have a flower garden? Then we start to look at container gardens. Container gardens can provide a lot of flexibility. There are many varieties of tomatoes, strawberries, and even peppers there specifically designed for use with containers. Containers can be kept in the home, on the sidewalk, on the porch, or even on a patio. In warmer climates peppers are perennial not annual, so keeping them so you can leave them outside in the summer and bring them in during the winter. Pepper production is much greater the second year. Now, I’m not saying that you’re going to want to grow corn and peas in a container but it is a start.

Community Gardens

This is a subject that every time I bring it up my wife has reservations because of the possibility of mismanagement. Community gardens are growing in popularity all across the country, so the likelihood of having one in your area is increasing every single year. A perfect setup would be that every person that works in the garden would get a percentage of the produce based on how many hours that person works or what kind of investment is made. If there is a community garden in your area, find out who the manager is. Ask questions. Here are some questions to consider asking. Is there a record of how much time is spent in the garden? Who decides how much each person gets off the produce? Who’s responsible for the cost of seeds and for fertilizer? If for any reason these questions and more are not answered to your satisfaction consider passing.

If there is no community garden in your area, you can always look into starting one yourself ,that way you can make sure that it is managed properly. If you are in a small community, you might just have to go to the city council meeting. If you’re in a larger metropolitan area ,you may have to deal with the city planner. There is precedent for this type of program so don’t be afraid to ask.

 

Community Supported Agriculture or CSA

There are two types of CSAs. One you can just buy shares of the produce or the second, that requires a labor investment. Just like buying shares in a company there is some risk. Years when the growing season is great you can get a lot for your shares and years when the growing is poor you may not get much.

Many only want payment for shares, but if you ask around you may be able to find a CSA that will trade labor for part or all of the cost of shares. Most CSAs will provide a list of what fruits and vegetables they will provide for the share. Many will deliver their produce to you or you can pick it up at the farm.

 

Farmers Markets

The last option I will cover is farmer’s markets. Farmer’s markets are the least hands on of all the options that we have listed. Nearly all major cities and small towns have a farmers market. Farmer’s markets are places where anybody who grows food can sell their abundance- provided they are willing to obtain a permit. Depending upon your location, you may have a wide range of options or very few.

This is again one of those situations where you will want to ask a lot of questions. Some questions I would like to ask are as follows: Do you use herbicides?, Do you use pesticides?, Are you certified organic?, and Are you willing to let me go look at your farm?This is not a complete list, but it is a good starting place.
Every step you take, no matter how small can be the beginning of your homestead. Just like the Victory Gardens in World War 2, if we all work together there can be food production at every household.

 

About the author:  This post was written by Gregg Carter who runs The Rural Economist.  Please visit http://theruraleconomist.blogspot.com/

 

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Setting Up the Sun Oven for the First Time

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Setting Up a Sun Oven for the First TimeI mentioned a few days ago I have been waiting for sunny weather to set up my Sun Oven.  We’ve had several cool and cloudy days this spring, and now we’re finally getting some sun.  I also had to find space to do the set-up.  We don’t have a lot of space around our unit, so I opted to try the Sun Oven at my sister-in-law’s house, as they have a lot more room in their enclosed backyard than I do.

Here is the box the Sun Oven came in.

Setting Up a Sun Oven for the First Time_boxOpening the box, it came with:

  • Sun Oven
  • 2 dark colored stackable pots with 1 glass and 1 enamel lid
  • 1 multi-fuel WAPI *
  • 3 dehydrating racks
  • 1 roll of parchment paper
  • 2 loaf pans
  • Recipe disk

Setting Up a Sun Oven for the First Time_contents

I thought I would have to buy special pots or baking pans to cook in, so I was glad they came with it.

* What is a WAPI?  WAPI stands for “water pasteurization indicator”  It is a special thermometer, a transparent tube that contains wax.  It was designed to float in a pot of water.  The wax melts when the temperature of the water reaches 150º F (65ºC) for 6 minutes.  This is the time required to kill germs in water, enough to make it safe to drink.  The Sun Oven can be used to pasteurize water to conserve fuel.

Assembly

The Sun Oven was easy to assemble.  There was not much to put together, other than placing the stand in the bottom to allow it to tilt toward the sun.  Removing the plastic film covering the reflectors was the most work involved, and that only took a few seconds.

Setting Up

Originally I thought I could start cooking food right away, but it turns out, there are a few steps required for set-up.   We went outside around 1 pm to get started, so the sun was still overhead.

1.  The instruction book indicates the Sun Oven needs to sit outside in full sun for 30 minutes.  So we took it outside in the yard, and set it on top of the original box.  I did not want it sitting directly on the grass, to avoid bugs and other critters.  You had to position it directly facing the sun, and the way you can tell is by checking the shadow around the opening – you have to adjust the oven until an even circle could be seen.  See below.

Setting Up a Sun Oven for the First Time_alignAfter 30 minutes, the temperature inside the oven had risen to 275 degrees.

2.  The next step is to leave a pan with three cups of vinegar inside the oven while out in the sun for two hours.  The oven needed to be re-aligned roughly every 30 minutes so it can face the sun.

The oven reached about 300 degrees by the time the two hours ended.

Setting Up a Sun Oven for the First Time_setup1Setting Up a Sun Oven for the First Time_setup23.  The final step was to clean the oven with the vinegar.  The oven had heated up quite well so I used an oven mitt to move it to a shady spot.  After the vinegar cooled I cleaned the oven thoroughly.

Setting Up a Sun Oven for the First Time_vinegarBy now it was too late in the day to get started with cooking something.

The weather forecast for the next couple of days showed cloudy days and an increasing chance for rain.  In the meantime, I’ve asked around for recipes from The Prepared Bloggers FB group and got the following:

I am waiting until the next clear day to do some cooking in the Sun Oven.  I will post the results then!

 

© Apartment Prepper 2014

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Dog Attacks are Common in Cities: How to Protect Yourself

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Dog Attacks are Common in CitiesNow that the weather is getting warmer, a lot more people are running or walking outdoors.  We hear about at least one case on the news every week: a person walking or jogging passes by a loose dog, and he or she gets attacked with dire, sometimes fatal consequences.   I didn’t really think about dog attacks that much, until one day recently, I was walking our dog Miller at a park trail when I spotted two unleashed dogs a distance away.  The dogs then ran toward us, and started aggressively barking at us. I stood my ground because running away only causes dogs to chase and attack you. Miller usually ignores other dogs, unless they get close to him.  They were about to “gang up” on him when a bicyclist ran his bike close to the dogs to distract them whereupon they started chasing him instead. I do carry a taser for protection but I was grateful I did not have to use it. I waved my thanks and kept walking.

In a collapse, dogs that are let go will turn feral.

I had read a book a while ago that described a collapse scenario and one of the after effects was owners who could no longer feed their animals let them loose.  The dogs turned feral and started traveling in packs, attacking anyone they come across.  Animals in the wild tend to avoid humans, but dogs do not fear humans.  If they turn wild and starving, anyone will become prey.   Animal Control in the surrounding areas of Houston is already understaffed, even in a “normal” times.  The problem will only get worse in a disaster.

Dog attacks can happen anytime

A dog attack can happen anytime you’re outdoors – there are stray dogs running around, and enough irresponsible owners who let their dogs out unleashed, or leave their gates open.  Sure, there are laws against this, but it doesn’t help you on the spot when an attack is imminent.  Most of the time, the dogs are harmless and just want to sniff near you, but what if you run into a vicious dog?

How to avoid getting hurt in a dog attack

  • Stay calm. This is the first thing to remember. Staying calm also projects to the dog you are not threatening it, but do not feel like you are threatened. The dog is already agitated and if you show fear this only aggravates them further.
  • Avoid direct eye contact with the dog.
  • Know the signs of an agitated dog:  intense stare with whites of the eyes visible, stiff body and tail, ears pulled back, furrowed brow, backing away and a low growl.
  • Keep and protect your space. Don’t turn your back to dog, and do not run away – the dog will only chase you. If you have a stick, umbrella or cane, place it in front of you to make your space larger.
  • If the dog is about to lunge, give the dog something to bite.  Try and get something between you and the dog such as a jacket or coat, a long sleeve or even a shoe. If the dog manages to pull this off you, he may get distracted long enough for you to get away.
  • Many of my fellow dog walkers also carry pepper spray or stun guns in case a larger dog or pack of dogs attack them. Make sure you know how to properly use your pepper spray or stun gun and your protection is within easy reach.
  • If you are being attacked, protect your face, neck or throat and chest. It’ll be painful either way, but a forearm bite would be better than getting bitten in the neck. Don’t yank your limb away, you may cause further tearing.   Try and hit the dog with your free hand or kick with your legs.
  • If you are bitten, wash the wound with soap and water.   Put antibiotic ointment on the wound and cover with a sterile bandage.  Keep the wound elevated.  See a doctor for medical care.  The doctor may give you tetanus shot and a course of antibiotics. If the dog’s health condition is unknown, the doctor may give you the rabies vaccine.  Report the incident to your local animal control agency or police.

 

© Apartment Prepper 2014

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I was a Guest on Prepper Recon Podcast

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Prepper Recon PodcastJust a quick post today, I am on Prepper Recon Podcast.  Had a great conversation with Mark Goodwin, who runs the podcast.

Check it out at http://prepperrecon.com/prepping-kids/

 

 

© Apartment Prepper 2014

Please click here to vote for me at Top Prepper Websites!

 

I’m convinced essential oils really work, so I joined Spark Naturals, a trusted name in the field, as an affiliate.  Use coupon code APARTMENTPREPPER for a 10% discount.
Essential4Pack

 

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