Guest Post - Food Storage Tips

Food Storage Tips
Edited 2/25/13 - The author of the guest post had sent me an email that I missed, asking me to hold off on posting their article.  They should be getting me an updated and expanded one soon.  Sorry for the confusion!
Bug Out Box Subscription Service
A long-time reader sent me this link to the Bug Out Box subscription.  For $27.95 a month (including shipping) you get 5-8 survival gear items, plus information for how to use them in different situations.  I don't know what they include, but it might be worth looking in to if you want to get an older relative set up with some basic supplies or if you have trouble sticking to a monthly budget.
Starting My Seeds
I got my first tomato seeds started in the grow box today.  I had some more tomato and pepper seeds left over from last year, but I can't find them.  I think they must be buried in the freezer so I'll look more this week.  Last year, I filled my red Solo cups a couple at a time with super rich soil from my garden box, then carried them across the yard to the green house.  I got a little smarter this year and filled a bucket from the box, then sat at the grow box with a stack of cups and my seeds.  MUCH quicker and efficient!  My wife cut me a piece of black canvas to fit the top, then serged it so it wouldn't unravel.  I stapled it to the back edge and stapled the front edge to a dowel rod.  Now, when we have a clear, cold night, I can roll it out to cover the top and prevent convection heat loss to the atmosphere.  Then the next morning I can quickly roll it up before I leave for work.



Another Milestone!

We just passed 900 fans on Facebook!  Thank you so much! When dealing with advertisers, suppliers, and other organizations, FB fans is an important number.  I haven't been getting much out here on the blog lately, but I try to share a news story or a cool picture or something everyday on FB.  If you are not already a fan there, please consider doing so.  I also post on FB whenever I have a new post up here on the blog.

Car Troubles

About three months ago, I sold my Honda Element.  It was very cool, and did everything I could need, but it just didn't fit my body for my 2+ hours a day I spend commuting.  I had gone back to my 11 year old Dodge pickup.  Stick shift, manual windows, 2 wheel drive,V6, A/C had been broken for two years... nothing fancy at all, just very reliable and pretty comfortable to drive.  Thursday morning last week, the engine blew with 175,000 miles on it.  I just can't see dropping several thousand dollars to get a $1,500 dollar truck back on the road.  Starting Friday after work, my wife and I went car shopping.  The objective was a late model, low mileage, AWD or 4WD, car/SUV/Crossover/PU, under $20K - and it had to be automatic with cruise control and comfortable for me to drive - no compromise on those last two.

Saturday morning, it was snowy and sleety here, and I had to be at my new gun club for new member orientation and safety briefing.  My wife had another obligation in town.  I fired up the EMP-BOV 72 Jeep Commando and went on out.  No heater and a soft top, but it did great... just not suitable for commuting to work (maybe in the summer...) Over Friday, Saturday and Sunday, we went to five or six dealerships, sat in over a dozen vehicles and test drove about six of them.  Sunday afternoon found us at a Kia dealer looking at a used Soul.  It had pretty high mileage for the year, and had a very funky smell to it.  The dealer worked with us and got us into a 2013 Soul+, that met all of my criteria, except it wasn't used and it is front wheel drive.  As small as the Soul is, I'm a pretty good sized dude, and it fits me just fine.  Very comfortable seating, no odd angles or protuberances into my knee or shoulder, and pretty peppy.  I had a Kia Spectra several years ago and was very impressed with how it held up.  5yr/60k mile bumper to bumper and 100k mile powertrain warranty shows they stand behind their products.  It has all kinds of cubbies and storage, so my GHB and emergency kits are already in place.  It is also getting almost twice the gas mileage of my truck.  It's not AWD, but really, around here, front wheel drive will get me through 99% of what I need to be driving in.  If you are in the market for something to commute in, check out the Soul.

Slingin' Lead

As mentioned above, we just joined a gun club.  It's very nice, catering mostly to skeet and trap shooters, but they have several nice rifle and pistol ranges too.  I was a member years ago when it was an Issac Walton League facility, but it is privately owned now.  They require all new members to take a four hour safety class.  Three hours is the NRA home firearms safety course, and the last hour is range rules and regulations.  In Va. the NRA course will count for a concealed weapon permit, so that is a nice feature for new members who don't have a permit.

Once it warms up, I want to shoot some shooting videos for the YouTube channel, and take some non-shooting friends and family just to show them how much fun and "unscary" guns can be.

Suppressor Info

Our friends at Liberty Suppressors have just released this video that goes over the pros and cons of "can" ownership.  Very informative.  Link to YouTube video

Coming Up

We've got a guest post from a reader that I'll get out later this week.  If you have a particular interest or skill that you want to share, please email me a guest post.  I'd love to get it out to our readers.

When I went down to weekly posts in January, I mentioned some new ventures that I am working on that will take a lot of time.  One of those is pretty big, and I hope to be able to share it with you by the end of the week.  Stay tuned!


Prepper Ponderings


I set up the growhouse tonight.  I was going to put it against a chainlink fence, but I think having it against the shop will give it more sunlight over the course of the day.  I can't put my black cinderblocks in the bottom because it is actually in my strawberry patch.  It will be an interesting comparisson to see the strawberry plants that spend the next few months under the shelter vs those exposed to the elements.  I put eyebolts in the rear of it and in the wall of the shop, then used zip ties to secure it.

New Promotional Partners

I'm excited to announce two new places to get If It Hits The Fan out to folks.  A new survival/preparedness aggregator site, Survival Pulse, will start showing our links.  It's a very useful site to see what is going on a huge variety of sites.  Also, the site, Before It's News is going to start carrying our RSS feed for their millions of readers.  Pretty cool if I do say so myself.


Our friends at Meal Kit Supply have a new batch of MREs for sale.  These were packed just last month, so they are super fresh and a great way to get as long a shelf life as possible.  A new menu item is Chicken Fajita.  I'm looking forward to giving them a try.  $129.99 for a case of 12 meals.

Crucial Survival Tip for Men

Fellas, if you don't take my advice on this, your life will be much worse off...  Valentines Day is right around the corner.  This coming Thursday is it!  Maybe your gal wants flowers or candy.  Maybe she wants a case of MREs or a new holster or knife.  Whatever it is, get it ahead of time.  Don't be the guy searching the CVS on the way home from work Thursday evening!


Product Review: Grow It Wooden Growhouse

A Greenhouse for Regular Gardeners

Last year I tried a greenhouse for the first time, to get my seeds started early.  My dad and I built it out of pvc pipe, rolls of plastic, and Gorilla Tape.  It was 6'x6' with a peaked roof, and I ran a space heater and grow lights into it.  I built a shelf unit with the shelves lipped and lined with plastic so that the hundred or so seed pots (10 oz red Solo cups with a hole drilled in the bottom) could self water from the trough.  It worked ok, but it was really bigger than I need for my garden, and by the time spring was going good, it was starting to collapse from the tape losing adhesive.

This year, my wife bought me the Grow It Wooden Growhouse from Amazon.

It's 3'7" high, 2'6" wide, and 1'10" deep with two slatted wood shelves, and polycarbonate sides, back, doors and top.  The top is hinged and has braces to keep it open, and the two doors swing open.  It was VERY easy to put together, taking me just under an hour (it would have been even quicker if I followed the directions from the get go).  My only tool was a phillips head screw driver in my drill.  It seems pretty sturdy, but is lightweight enough for one person to easily move around.  It is plenty big for my needs, and if my garden gets bigger next year, I can always get a second one for more capacity.  It's pretty attractive, and would be fine in a hoity-toity subdivision, or out here on the homestead.

The wood is stained to look like redwood, but I'm sure is a light pine or poplar or something.  That is probably about the only negative I see.  I don't think it will hold up to the elements for year after year.  I plan to hit it with a weather-repellent coating of Minwax or something like that, and it will come in the shed after seed starting season.  With those two small efforts, it ought to last for years. 

I also am making a couple of adjustments to it to fit my particular needs.  I'm going to have it against a chain link fence, so I'm screwing in a couple of hooks on the top rear corners so I can secure it to the fence and it won't blow over.  The doors have swiveled pieces at the top and middle to keep them closed.  I'm adding one to the bottom to keep it from gaping there.  Finally, I'm going to take a piece of canvas the size of the lid.  I'll staple one edge to the rear of the lid frame, and the other edge to a dowel rod so it can be easily rolled up and out.  It will be used to cover the top when it is a cold, clear night.  Listening to Paul Wheaten one time on The Survival Podcast, he spoke about the need to cover a greenhouse under those conditions.  You figure that the upper atmosphere is bitterly cold, and if there is no cloud cover to insulate the ground, then any head built up in the grow house during the day will rapidly escape.  I'm also going to paint a couple of cinder blocks black and put them in the bottom to serve as a heat sink.

Next weekend, it will be time to get my seeds started for the season.