Friday, June 25, 2010

Friday - Glenn Beck

Welcome Preppers and Survivalists,

I Accepted a Challenge at Work
As some of you know, I listen to National Public Radio (NPR); everyone else listens to the radio station that has Glenn Beck. Dang, do I get ribbed about it.

It's O.K. though, they are good folks.

Well, one of the guys asked if I would listen to Glenn Beck for 30 days. I said yes since I am a curious person.

Now, this arrangement isn't prefect; I miss parts of the show. Today, I missed almost all of it, so be warned because I will be talking about it.
While I was listening to Glenn Beck, he had an advertisement for He was plugging their $199 "Essentials Kit."

According to their website, the kit contains:

"• Lightweight, weather-resistant backpack
• Quick heat fuel pellets
• 2-week food supply, 3 meals per day
• Waterproof matches
• Delicious freeze dried food
• Cooking tin
• Reusable heat source
• 1500+ use water filter

Product Description

Each item in The Essentials Kit Backpack is individually packaged and sealed for freshness. All of our meals are either ready-to-eat or require only water to prepare, and have a shelf life of 7-10 years."

So let's look at it.

3 x 14 days = 42 freeze dried meals.

Cool, but how big are the servings? If you are doing heavy work, you will need over 3,000 calories. If the weather is cold, you will need 5,000 calories. Plus, will the meals satisfy your hunger?

Next, the cooking tin (cup) and folding stove

Using a cup is a great idea, however, a cup with a longer handle would be better, such as a Sierra Cup. Why the need for a longer handle? A person has to move the cup off the fire. Can you say ouch?

The folding stove has its problems too. Folks have to make absolutely sure the small stove is level. If it isn't, the cup will spill.

Now, I am going to make an assumption that the quick heat fuel pellets and the reusable heat source are the same thing.

How many do they give a person? In the picture, I count 10. Folks, I know from personal experience, one hot meal a day boosts moral during cold weather. Plus, if the two items are the same thing, exactly how do you put out the fuel pellets? Once again from experience, a person has to smother the fuel pellets with soil to put them out.

Lastly, the 1500+ use water filter.

Exactly how big are the pore sizes in the filter element? 100 micron, 10 micron, or maybe 1.0 micron; only one of them will protect you from some bad stuff. Plus, a t-shirt can be a water filter, but I won't drink the water. Lastly, how big is a "use." Remember you need 128 ounces of water, a day.

Oh, I forgot the matches.

A small box of matches usually has 50 in a box. So if a person lights one match for every meal (just in case there are 42 fuel pellets), there are 8 matches as spares.

As Glenn Beck says (something like) you do the research then you decide.

I did, and I'm not buying.

Link: - The Essentials Kit

Folks, If you don't know my opinion about gold and silver, let me repeat it.

"As you prepare, some people will tell you to buy gold and silver. I disagree, for the family just beginning to prepare. I say this for many different reasons.

One, you can't eat silver and gold.

Silver and gold will offer no nourishment for your family's hunger, only food will do that.

Two, you can't defend yourself with silver and gold.

Silver and gold will offer no protection against the rapist, looters, and robbers, only guns and ammo will do that.

Three, you can't drink silver and gold.

Silver and gold will offer no quenching of your thirst, only water that you have stored or treated will do that.

Lastly, why should I, or any other person, sell you food, water, guns, or the other necessities of life if all I have to do is wait for you to die and then take your silver and gold."

As Glenn Beck says (something like) you do the research then you decide.

To help you out:

Search the Internet for "Goldline Scams"


Read these post from Ryan at Total Survivalist Libertarian Rantfest

Total Survivalist Libertarian Rantfest - Golden Thoughts
"I can not help but have this be a reminder that the types of coins and bullion many "experts" push so hard are the most expensive options. If I was a cynical person I would say their advice is driven by motivation for profit not your well being."

Total Survivalist Libertarian Rantfest - Buying American Eagle Silver Coins
"Remember that at the end of the day you are buying silver so get it at the cheapest price per ounce you can."

Goldline International - Home

Oh, About the Show
As they say in the beginning of the show. It's a fusion of entertainment and ...

Boring, uninformative, childish, juvenile, and ... Reminds me of Rush. 55 minutes of comment/commercials and 5 minutes of stuff I can use.

Yeah, I wish I had that part of my life back. Oh well, 25 days to go.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Building Shelves

Welcome Preppers and Survivalists,

As a prepper, you and your family are going to acquire a lot of stuff, and this stuff needs to be properly stored. One way is using shelves.

Now, your shelves can be store bought or made by you and your family.

Store-bought shelves are fast. Just go to the store, lay down your money and walk out the store with your shelves, but there is a problem. Store-bought shelves may waste space, or they may not fit where you want the shelves to fit. Plus, they can be expensive.

Homemade shelves are slow. They take about one to two hours to build, and that doesn't include going to the home improvement store, but they are always the right size. Plus, you can learn and practice skills you might need in the future.

Building the Shelves

The shelves, I am going to explain how to build, use dimensional lumber. Dimensional lumber is wood that is cut to standard sizes. An example is the 2x4 (two by four). It is actually 1 1/2 inches by 3 1/2 inches.

I know; another one of those "secrets" nobody tells you about until you ask, and I forgot the reason why 2x4s are really 1 1/2 by 3 1/2s

So on with the building.

First, you're going to need a plan because home-built shelves can be any width, depth, or height. Plus, the spacing between the shelves can be customized. For this project, I am building an 8 foot wide shelf that is 2 feet deep and 8 feet tall. Each shelf will be 2 feet apart.

Next, assembly your stuff. You are going to need at least a hammer, a saw, and your safety gear. Don't forget the lumber and your fasteners. (nails or screws)

After you have collected your material, you will need to mark where the supports for the shelves are going to go. First, you will need to make marks for the height of each shelf. Next, you will need to make another mark for the bottom of each shelf support.

Because I am using 2x3s for the shelf supports, I make that other mark 2 1/2 inches below my marks at 2, 4, 6, and 8 feet on the 2x4. This insures my shelves will be 2, 4, 6, and 8 feet above the floor.

If you want to use 2x4s for the shelf supports, you will need to make your other mark for cutting 3 1/2 inches below your shelf height marks.

If you click on the above picture, you will notice my cuts on each of the 2 x 4s. You will also see a "W" written on the waste piece; I will be knocking out with a hammer. Also notice, I was cutting into the thinnest side of the 2x4s, so I made my marks for cutting on that side.

If you are using a handsaw, you will have to draw a line 1 1/2 inches long on the longest side, so you know how deep to make your cut.

If you are using a circular saw, you can set the blade to the correct depth by taking a 2x3 and lay it on its side. (For the next step, please, make sure the saw is unplugged)

Next, place the circular saw on top of the lumber and adjust the blade until the blade is a little past the bottom of the 2x3. After you plug in the saw, put your safety glasses on, and your ear protection on because you're ready to start cutting.

When I am using a circular saw, I am very careful to know where my fingers (and other body parts) are at all times. Heck, I try to curl my fingers, so I don't cut them off. Plus, I always take my time, too.

Now, folks I try to complete every step before moving on to the next step. Measure and mark all the 2x4 s then I make all my cuts to the 2x4s. Then I knock the cut pieces out ... and so on. This seems to make the shelf building go so much quicker.

In the above photo, you can see the cuts I made using a circular saw. Notice, each cut is the same depth. Also notice that I cut each line that I drew. This insures that the notch for the support will be large enough for the support.

Now about that chisel and mallet that you have seen in previous pictures.

Originally I was going to cut a line using the chisel to connect between each of my cuts.

Bad idea because it is a waste of time. Instead I hit the small piece of lumber between each cut with a hammer.

I sacrifice some neatness for speed doing it this way and it's not a big sacrifice on neatness. (You will have to watch out for splinters though)

If you expand the picture to the left, you will notice a 4 between two lines marked on the right 2x4, that is where the four foot shelf should be when I'm finished.

After you have knocked all the waste pieces out of the 2x4s, take a minute to clean up because you now have 24 little blocks of wood underfoot. Next, you will need to cut two 2x3s into 21 inch long pieces, These eight 21 inch pieces will act as supports for the plywood shelves. (You'll get four 21 inch pieces from each 2 x 3)

Assembling the Shelf Supports

If you have room, lay out the 2x4s on the floor then attach the shelf supports with your choice of fasteners. (screws or nails)

I didn't have room to do that, so I leaned the 2x4s up against the wall and nailed the supports to the 2x4 uprights. Next, I measured two feet from each end then nailed a 21 inch piece of 2x3 to the shelf support. After I did that I turned the whole thing around.

Now, I had a concrete wall to act as a support to assist me in nailing everything. If you have drywall, you can take a piece of lumber to place between the wall and wood that you are nailing to keep from punching through the drywall.

Next, I placed a notched 2x4 in the middle. Do not nail this piece. It has to "float" so the plywood shelves can be easily positioned. Next, I leaned two other notched 2x4s against the wall and nailed the 2x3s to them, just like the first set. Once that was finished, I measured two feet from each end and made a mark. I positioned the 2x3s that are sticking out then nailed the 21 inch pieces of 2x3s to the shelf supports.

The steps above take some "wiggling and jiggling" to get everything in the right position, but as you can see in the photo to the left everything worked out.

With all the supports done, I was ready to cut the oriented strand board (OSB). I prefer to use plywood, but for this project we used OSB for the shelves.

The thickness of the OSB and the plywood are not important because the supports will end up supporting the shelves.

With that said, I try to use at least 1/4 inch plywood, but I have never used thicker than 3/8 plywood for shelves.

Since a whole sheet of plywood is 4 feet by 8 feet, you can get four (2 feet by 4 feet) shelves from one sheet of plywood.

To cut the plywood, you will need to mark the plywood. First, measure 24 inches (2 feet) from the (4 foot wide) shortest end. You will need to make at least three marks to insure a straight line. The first mark should be about 6 inches from the longest edge, the next mark in the middle, and the last mark about 6 inches from the other end.

In the picture to the right, I used a 2 x 3 as my straight edge. The pen and tape measure show where two of the three marks are located. Once the straight edge is lined up, I draw a line using the 2 x 3 as a guide.

If all three marks don't line up on the straight edge, you will need to remeasure because one of the marks was mis-measured.

Remember, measure twice, cut once.

Once you have finished cutting your plywood into four 2 feet by 4 feet shelves, you will need to notch each corner to fit onto the supports.

To do this, measure 1 1/2 inches from the short side and 3 1/2 inches from the long side of the OSB/plywood then cut.

When you make these cuts, you can do this two ways. The first way is to saw until you get to the end of the line then stop. Next take a handsaw and cut the little bit of wood that remains holding the little chunk of wood.

The second way is to just keep cutting until the small piece of would falls off.

On the other side, you are going to do the same thing but measure 3/4 of an inch from the short side and 3 1/2 inches from the long side of the OSB/plywood then cut.

There is a reason for this madness.

The sides of the shelves will go all the way to the wall, and ...

(To the left is the 1 1/2 inch by 3 1/2 inch cuts)

(To the right is the 3/4 of an inch by 3 1/2 inch cut)

they meet in the middle. This prevents stuff from dropping off the ends of the shelves and through the middle of the shelves.

That's it. The shelves are finished.

Not really because if you expand the picture to the right, you will notice another 2x4 notched every 12 inches connected to the side of the shelves.

We are planning to expand the shelves along a 20 foot wall, so we did some pre-building to help us.

Materials Needed:
6 - 2" x 4" x 96"
10 - 2" x 3" x 96"
2 - sheets 4' x 8' plywood
32 - screws or nails 2 1/2 inches long

Tools Needed:
Saw, curricular or hand
Screwdriver or Electric Drill with proper Drill Bit

Safety Equipment:
Hearing Protection
Eye Protection
Your Brain


Wikipedia - Lumber

Wikipedia - Oriented Strand Board

I tried to take pictures as I was completing this project. In some cases, I took some good pictures; in others, I didn't take a good example. Plus, I have some that don't fit into the post.

Here's one of them. This is a picture of two 2x4s, one notched every 24 inches the other notched every 12 inches. The 2x4 notched every 24 inches; we used in this post. The 12 inch notched 2x4; we will use when we expand the shelves.

We attached them by nailing them together with 3 inch nails. Yeah, 3 inch nails that stick out of 3 inches of lumber.

To prevent the nails from sticking out and hurting someone (me). We hammered them at an angle. Plus, you can see how I took some shorter scrap pieces of lumber and used them to make the 12 inch notched piece.

In this picture, you can see how I attached the 2x3 shelf support to the 2x4.

I forgot to take a picture showing how it would look attached with just one 2x4.

Plus, you can see a cheat I made. I accidentally broke off a small section of the scrap lumber. The accident required me to nail a little piece of wood to the bottom to fix it.

Now, about some of the pictures I didn't take. One is how I attached the shelves. I don't; they will stay in place because of the notches in the plywood except the piece for the top shelf. It has to be screwed or nailed down. Plus, the top piece doesn't have any notches, since it sits on top.

Another picture, I didn't take, deals with how I solved some of the problems I encountered. I step back, take a breath, and think of a solution. If it's wrong, I try another solution. I try to refrain from any cutting to solve a problem because I can't put wood back on in most cases.

Lastly, If the shelves start to bow, you need to add another notched 2x4 to the front and back of the shelf supports. This happened to me when I was making the shelf supports out of 1x2s. To correct the problem, without having to rebuild everything, I added a notched 2x4 (front and back) to the shelf supports.

OK. Really lastly. I have made about 20 sets of these shelves. They have been different heights, depths, widths, and spacing between shelves. My first set was made from found lumber. On that set, I used parts of a water bed and used nails that I straightened with a hammer.

I have improved with each set built, but I still make mistakes. That's why a serious prepper practices their skills; you get better doing them, most of the time ; )

Update: 19 July 2010
I made a mistake in the length of the pieces of lumber that go between the shelf supports. They should be 21 inches long not 20 inches long [24 inches - 3 inches (1 1/2 inch + 1 1/2 inch wide lumber) = 21 inches]. It has been corrected in the article.

If you have already built your shelves and need to correct my mistake here are three solutions that involves no money.

Cut all the notches in the OSB/plywood 1/2 inch longer. Instead of 3 1/2 inches they will need to be 4 inches. This will give the shelf a 1/2 inch overhang, front and back.


Make the front notch 1 inch longer, 4 1/2 inches not 3 1/2 inches, this will give an overhang of 1 inch.


Cut the OSB/plywood shelves to 23 inches depth then cut the notches as stated in the article. You will have 23 inch deep shelves.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Building Pallets

Welcome Preppers and Survivalist,

Pallets, you see them everywhere. Supplies stacked on top being moved by a pallet jack or a forklift. Sometimes you might see them stacked one on top of another waiting to be loaded with items or sitting in a warehouse full of stuff. Sometimes you will even find them for free at a local business, and that is the best price for them.

Because just like industry, we need to protect our stuff from various dangers, such as moisture, and we can do this in various ways. One way is by using pallets.

Pallets are a standard size depending on your area of the world and industry. Either way, the average pallet is probably going to be too big for our use, so we will need to build our own pallets or modify an existing pallet.

Building A Pallet
Now, you may not need a pallet because you have only a few items that will sit on the floor. To solve that situation, you can take some dunnage, a few pieces of wood, and lay it on the floor then stack your stuff on top of that. Doing this will allow air to circulate under and around the items.

Me, I'm a little lazy. I don't want to have to move four pieces of wood after I have moved some boxes. To do that, I build pallets.

My pallets are designed for general and specific purposes. An example of a specific built pallet, I needed to get 12 buckets of wheat off a concrete floor, (Fresh concrete will destroy a box and its contents because of the alkaline nature of concrete) so I built a pallet to fit the buckets. An example of a general pallet, I built, was a pallet to fit under a set of shelves.

Either way, I start with a plan.

First, I look at how much space I have and the size of the items. For this article I have 48 inches wide and 24 inches deep of space and the boxes are all 13 inches wide and 19 inches deep. Plus, I want to keep the boxes off the wall because we have concrete walls.

So, I decided to build pallets 48 inches wide and 20 inches deep. My decision is based on needing a little bit more room for a walkway, keeping the boxes off the walls. and providing air circulation under the boxes

I decided to use 2x3s (2 by 3s) and some short scrap pieces of 2x4 (2 by 4s) for this project. You can use 2x4s just as easily.

For each pallet, I built three, I used:

2 - 2x3s
3 - 2x4s 20 inches long
20 - 2 1/2 inch screws

First, I cut all the 2x3s in half. This makes four 48-inch long pieces. Next, I cut my 2x4 scrap into 20 inch pieces. If I had used a new 2x4, I would have cut the 2x4 into three 20-inch pieces. Next, I screwed the pieces of lumber together.

To screw the pieces of lumber together, I first layout the 2x4s then lay the 2x3s on top. I position the lumber then use a drill to drive the screws in. I put two screws in each end and 1 screw in the middle. The two screws in the end keep the pallet from "raking' and the middle 2x4 from shifting. If you enlarge the picture you can see the screws.

Some folks will tell you to pre-drill the holes on the ends to prevent the 2x3s from splitting. Some times I do and other times I don't. I didn't this time and only one of the 2x3s split, just a little.

Other folks will tell you to screw the screws in from the bottom. I don't see a big deal about screwing in from the top. Your choice, but if you go in from the bottom, you will have to first layout the 2x3s then the 2x4s on top.

In this picture, you will see the bottom of two types of home-built pallets. The one on the left is the one I have been writing about. The one on the right is a solid top pallet that I normally use for under shelves.

To build the pallet on the right, I made a plan and then cut the wood. I used 2x4s and 1/4 inch plywood for this pallet. The pallet is used to get some buckets off the concrete. The pallets is 48 inches wide by 12 inches deep.

I used a similar design to elevate the drums up off the floor in the background. They are 24x24.

Now, I ran into a problem when I was stacking the boxes on the pallet. The boxes started to wobble left to right, so I took some dunnage; two 2x3s, cut them in half; and placed between the boxes. I did the same thing for the drums but used some scrap pieces of plywood, and this leads to a point about safely storing your stuff.

When you are storing your food, gear, and other stuff, you want to make sure the heavy stuff is on the bottom and the light stuff is on top. It would suck to get a 35-pound box of wheat dropped on your head.

I will be adding to this article.


Wikipedia - Pallets

GDV - Dunnage

ELCOSH - Cement Hazards and Controls ...

Gondar Design Science - pH

Friday, June 11, 2010

Friday - Chickens

June 11th, 2010

Friday - Chickens

It's Friday!

The end of the workweek and another original post about what's going on in the world/my life.

We had our first set of baby chicks born from our chickens. There are six of them. (Now, there are 11. Nope 14. Wrong again 16 baby chicks) Cool.

We didn't get to see the chicks hatch because the mommy hen would peck us. Ouch.

The FAO has a few publications on chickens


FAO - How to Breed and Grow Healthy Chickens: A Guide for Farmers

FAO - Better Farming Series 13: Keeping Chickens



NASA: Astronomy Picture of the Day - Orange Sun Simmering

NASA: Astronomy Picture of the Day - Large Eruptive Prominence Movie from SDO

An Emerging Threat, This Winter!
Leave it to Riverwalker to identify an emerging threat and give a great suggestion you can implement before this winter!


Stealth Survival - Survival Pajamas

A Prepper Survival Manual
I will be discontinuing posting the 16-week course. It has been moved and will be revised, as I get to it.


A Prepper Survival Manual