Link – Military planning for possible H1N1 outbreak

Military planning for possible H1N1 outbreak

The U.S. military wants to establish regional teams of military personnel to assist civilian authorities in the event of a significant outbreak of the H1N1 virus this fall, according to Defense Department officials.

Hamthrax comes out and its the end of the world, then we’re told that regular flu kills more folks than swine flu so stop worrying, but, apparently, in the background theres a quiet undercurrent of concern at the higher levels. Interesting.

Be interesting to see what happens this winter as flu season rolls around.

LDS cannery, linkage

I haven’t been to the LDS/Mormon cannery in a while.Thus, I haven’t posted anything about the cannery lately. However, just because I haven’t gone lately doesn’t mean I should let the topic fall off the radar. The LDS cannery is probably the single most useful resource anyone who is into preparedness could have. They sell the stuff at cost, which is mighty cheap, and sell it in a form that is designed for long term storage. Remember, you cant just go in and buy stuff off the rack and walk out the door…you have to put in some ‘sweat equity’. That means you have to take part in the packaging process which, really, you should do anyway so you’ll know how to do it yourself if the time comes. Maybe you’ll be on the little assembly line slapping labels on the cans, or running the can sealer, or putting the oxygen absorbers in the cans, or some other simple task. But work you shall. And its worth it. It is my understanding the canneries are open to non-members these days so don’t worry that you have to sniff out a Mormon co-worker or golf buddy to get you in the door. Even if its an hour or two drive from you, it’s worth the trip.

Finding a local cannery can be done with this link.
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It’s interesting, when it comes to preparedness I think almost entirely in terms of food, money and fuel (in that order). The guns part of the equation has virtually dispappeared. Sure, I still pick up some .22 ammo and that sort of thing, and if a good deal walks in front of me I take advantage of it, but theres virtually no urgency anymore. I dont have everything I want but I do have everything I need. Several layers of redundancy. I can focus on other things, and thats kind of nice.
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Speaking of redundancy. Our good friend ,Rawles over at SurvivalBlog boiled it down rather neatly and came up with these guidelines regarding gear, tools and equipment. Not too much in there to argue with.

Upcoming birthday, more movies,

‘Tis my birthday August 7th. I use my birthday and Christmas to get gear that I would otherwise not quite be willing to spend my own money on.

Case in point, my brass tumbler died a couple weeks ago. My dad asked me what I wanted for my birthday. I thought about it and sent him a link to this monstrosity. I am now happily tumbling 9mm brass, 2000 at a time. Sweet!

The missus is out of town for a week but a box has shown up here from the gang at Kifaru. I like to think its this little jewel. Kinda makes your eyes bug out when you look at the price tag, doesn’t it? This is why I reserve stuff like this for birthdays and Christmas.

I’d been wanting one of these for a year or so. I normally carry one of those little foil space blankets when I go hunting but have you ever actually draped one of those things over yourself in the cold? Theyre better than nothing, I suppose, but not by much. Now, the obvious thing to do with them would be to use them in conjunction with a lightweight sleeping bag or blanket to enhance heat retention. Trouble is, when I go hunting I really dont want to be hauling around a lot of weight. This thing compresses to about the size of a canteen and promises far better insulative ability than a mylar space blanket. In fact, if I wind up accompanying the missus on one of these ultralight backpacking endeavors I may wind up seeing if its a good substitute for a bulkier and heavier sleeping bag. (As a side note, Kifaru has some interesting looking compression sacks and Im going to have to pick up a couple to try out.)
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Man, what it is with the post-apocalyptic genre? Seems like the apocalypse is suddenly becoming trendy. We have yet another entertainment offering coming out – The Book Of Eli . Looking at the trailer, I can see some John Woo/Wachowski influence going on there. I’ll go see it…Im stupid that way, you put a movie in the period after a global apocalypse and I’ll be right there in line to see it. What I’d like to see, if theyre going to keep cranking out these end-of-the-world dramas, is one based on something a bit more realistic like a global economic meltdown…so far we’ve had comet strikes, zombie plagues, nuclear wars, weather changes, alien invasion, killer trees, etc, etc. Lets get something a little closer to home, shall we?
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Man, I’m really starting to get complacent. I need to do a massive WallyWorld/CostCo trip and restock some of the common usage items around here (AA batts, toilet paper, paper towels, soap, various foodstuffs, etc, etc.) I have to keep reminding myself that while things locally may not look outrageously bad, the bigger picture is much less forgiving and I need to stay aware of that. Fall and winter will be here soon and I need to get the hunting gear lined up, get the kerosene heaters set up, etc, etc. When the wheels fly off of western civilization, saying “but I was gonna get around to doing that next week!” ain’t gonna save your bacon.

Misanthropy, plants, stoves

If I had a million dollars it would be almost a certainty that I’d be sitting in my comfortable, but tasteful, heavily fortified home on a piece of land big enough that I can be left alone and not have to deal with the rest of the world. Unfortunately, just because I want nothing to do with the rest of the world doesnt mean the rest of the world doesnt want something to do with me.

It isn’t really explicitly spelled out anywhere in the Constitution (although maybe you can read it into the Fourth Amendment) but I like to think that somewhere theres a right to be left the heck alone. Whether its the .gov, islamofascists, christofascists, lefties, greenies, telemarketers, or people selling magazine subscriptions door to door…I like to think theres a point at which all of them will just leave me alone if I leave them alone.

Sadly, it looks like that aint gonna happen. The .gov wants to destroy my healthcare, the islamofascists wanna destroy my .gov (which means they may not be all bad, in some ways), the christofascists wanna tell me who I can sleep with, and the telemarketers are rapidly becoming higher and higher on my list of ‘people first up against the wall when the revolution gets here’.

I do believe the heat is making me grumpy.
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Summer continues here western Montana. It’s blisteringly hot during the day but my tomatoes and pepper plants dont seem to mind too terribly. My basil is going like gangbusters and I need to thin it down a bit and make some pesto. I wish I had planted more pepper plants this year but for some reason I always seem to just never get as committed to gardening as I should. Its a shame, too, because I have a yard that is almost perfect for it. Still, I should get enough peppers and tomatoes to make a few decent meals and perhaps have enough left over for a little canning.
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The missus is doing a short overnighter up at Glacier this weekend. I need to dig a stove out of the bunker for her to take. I’m going to give her the Svea 123. It isnt the lightest stove out there but, by Crom, its utterly reliable and pretty darn simple to use. Although I have several multi-fuel stoves, I rather like the pre-WWI technology of the Svea. It has exactly one moving part – the on/off valve. Can’t get too much more simple than that. naturally, we keep several gallons of Colman fuel on hand for use in lanterns and stoves, but I rather prefer the ‘multi fuel’ stoves that can use Coleman fuel or regular gasoline. The Primus Omnifuel that I have will run on pretty much any liquid that will burn and also run on cannisters as well. But, its a bit more complicated and I dont want to overwhelm the girl. Still, for something to throw in the hunting bag for those ‘just in case’ situations that Svea 123 is pretty nice.

Movie – “Carriers”

Yet another zombie/plauge apocalyptic film in what seems to be a steady stream of them these days.

http://www.apple.com/trailers/paramount_vantage/carriers/

Off the top of my head, I can’t think of anything in ‘modern’ times that racked up a body count like that. Even the Spanish Flu didnt kill so many people as to turn cities into ghost towns. On the other hand, the Black Death, from what I read, did a heck of a job of opening up apartment vacancies.

Still, I’m easily amused and fascinated so I’ll wind up going to see this.

In praise of canned goods

Food is pretty easily divvied up into several categories: short life, mid life, long life. At least, that’s how I see it. Short life is the stuff you normally buy at the grocery store..a box of cake mix, a box of crackers, a bag of potato chips, etc….basically non-canned stuff that on its own will last less than a year. Mid life stuff are things like jars and cans of food…canned vegetables, jars of sauces, etc….stuff that will last a year but not forever. (Although canned foods that are stored properly can last for amazing amounts of time they aren’t immortal…anything more than three years is a bad idea in my opinion. (Yes, your Aunt Ida has been eating from a case of canned peaches she bought in 1993 but I’d rather not rely on that kind of luck.) Long life food is stuff that will last almost indefinitely like bulk grain, rice, freezedrieds, etc, etc.

Obviously, for day to day living, most of the stuff we consume is short- and mid-life food. (In addition to things Im discounting like fresh vegetables and meat).

So we have racks of steel shelving in a cool, dry location for storing our mid-life foods. These are the foods that we use often and therefore probably want to have in quantity. What sort of foods? Glad you asked. A quick glance at the inventory spreadsheet shows canned broth, canned soup, canned tomatoes, canned corn, jars of spaghetti sauce, canned pears, canned peaches, and several other varieties of canned vegetables and fruits. Personally, I go heavy on the canned broth and canned tomatoes because both of those allow me a huge amount of room to get creative with my other ingredients. For example, canned broth is used to cook stored rice, add some canned chiles, canned tomatoes, dried onion and garlic, various spices and you’ve got a very good Spanish rice. Add in some diced chicken or beef (from pouches, can or freeze dried) and you’ve got a big meal that’s not boring and easy to make. Or the canned tomatoes can be used for making spaghetti sauce, pizza sauce, or a host of other red sauces. So, for me, a couple cases of them is not too much…especially since I go through them fairly regularly.

The canned broth, by the way, is just as versatile. For a fast, cheap, filling, large meal I can mix equal parts rice and orzo, cook in oil or butter until  browned slightly, add broth to simmer until cooked. Throw in some herbs and you’ve got a Rice-a-Roni style dish that is dirt cheap and, if you throw in some meat, is a meal by itself. And it has a shelf life of years in its basic form. (substitute broken angel hair pasta for the orzo if you want something a little more similar to R-a-R.)

Canned goods around here get rotated every few months. What usually happens is Im in the kitchen cooking and I’ll realize Im out of tomatoes (or chiles or corn or whatever) so I’ll pull a half dozen cans out of storage, move them to the kitchen, and make a note to pick up more for the stuff in storage. This way we truly do wind up ‘eating what we store’. When we purchase cans, although all are coded by the manufacturer with dates, I just take a marker and put the month/year of purchase on the lid of the can to keep things easy.

As you can see, Im kind of a fan of canned goods. They’re bulky and not terribly conducive towards transport but that’s okay. We have other food for portability purposes. The canned (and to a lesser degree, jarred) stuff has tremendous appeal to me for its durability and longevity. However, nothing is perfect. Sometimes you can come across a can that’s bulging or otherwise had its integrity compromised. I’ve never come across one but it can and does happen. You very much want to get rid of it. Burying it or dumping it out somewhere is almost universally a bad idea since, as I read it, toxins get into the groundwater or somesuch. I would imagine that a roaring fire would take care of the tainted contents rather handily. These sorts of compromised containers seem to turn up more in home canned goods than commercial canned goods but the lesson is the same – if a gun is bulging, oozing, or just otherwise doesn’t seem perfect don’t use it. Although you might save a buck or two, buying a dented can in the grocery store is just plain stupid. Don’t do it.

I usually buy canned goods by the case. I wait until my local Albertsons has a sale or I head up to Costco or Wally World. Some folks worry that buying food (or anything, for that matter) in a bulk quantity like that will some how set off alarms and tip people off that you’re a paranoid survivalist. Not a problem…anyone says anything you say that since it was on sale you figured you’d pick up a case or three and drop them off at the local food bank.

Speaking of cans, its pretty obvious youre going to need a can opener. As any cook or food prep person will tell you, one of the dirtiest things in a kitchen is a can opener. Take a really good look at the cutting edges of one sometime, see the gunk and metal shavings that accumulate, and you’ll never want to use one again. I use one of those rotary-cutter style can openers that removes the lid with no sharp edges. These things are the shizznits. The cans then have no sharp edges so you can use them for whatever purpose you want and the lids can be firmly pushed back on to the can if you want to stick the half-full can in the fridge for a few days. More importantly, these can openers are much more sanitary than the other styles. Of course, you can still open a can with your P38 ‘John Wayne’ or even with a knife (a tedious process, I promise you) but for cooking around the bunker, the rotary-cut style can opener is the way to go. And do I really need to remind you that one is none and you should have several of these things?

ObamaCare, Colony, camping

I can’t see how this ‘health care reform’ that the Obama administration is trying to push through can possibly do anything except make things worse. I’m relatively healthy and when I need a doctor its usually for something rather acute like stitches, and even then I can usually just pay that out of pocket…but I foresee an overtaxed medical infrastructure and new levels of beauracracy. If getting into an emergency room, or making an appointment with a doctor, is difficult now I cant imagine what it’ll be like when 300 million people suddenly can all ‘afford’ to go for medical treatment. I just can’t see how this is going to work.

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Someone pointed out the Discovery television show “Colony“.  Broadly, its a cross of “Survivor” and “Jericho”. I don’t have much hope for it. My exact reply was “They could do this show alot cheaper by just wiring a beat up hotel in Somalia with webcams, dumping the ‘contestants’ in there and then writing “rich unarmed Americans are here!” on the side of the building in six foot letters. That’d be some ‘reality’ tv right there.” As if trying to stay above water in the New America isn’t enough of a challenge. You want reality tv as it relates to survival? Get a couple with two kids and a mortgage, make mom a ‘stay at home’ mom, give dad a pickup truck he can barely afford, put them in a house that eats 50% of the take home pay with every mortgage payment, and then have dad get downsized. Thats survival. And reality. And every day I am grateful beyond words that that isn’t us.

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As time goes by and I read the news every day I am more and more convinced that yesterday will be looked back upon as ‘the good old days’ and every day is going to be incrementally more insecure and unique than the previous one. I am, however, determined not to have it impact us as bad as it is going to affect the poor bastards out there who live their lives thinking ‘I dont want to think about bad things happening’. Because, as we know, if you dont think about bad things they wont happen..right? Right? There’s no way we can stop this train wreck before it happens, all we can do is be prepared for it and thats pretty much what we’re doing. =-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-= Believe it or not, my lovely wife has never been on an overnight camping trip. She’s decided that since we live in Montana we should take advantage of Montana’s incredible outdoor recreational opportunities. She’s developed an interest in ultralight backpacking which is pretty much exactly what it sounds like. She picked up this ultralight tent and took it with and wound up using it for the first time in a hellacious thunderstorm. It weathered tings quite well, kept her dry and didn’t turn into a tattered pile of rags despite the intense winds. How intense was it? Very intense. But she was glad it happened because it gave her confidence in her gear and herself.

I’ll probably go with her next time and then we’ll see if thats a good thing or a bad thing. But, really, if youre going to live in Montana it would be kinda foolish not to take advantage of things.