Sunday, September 19, 2010

Home Made Rocket Stove! With pics and results

For quite some time now I have had this home made rocket stove. It works well, very well, as you will see with the results towards the bottom of this blog. In the next week I will make another one, and create a "how to" blog on making one of these stoves.

I have tried to take pictures for this blog 3 separate times this week, but it keeps getting dark so I miss the chance to get the shot of the thermometer at the end. So if it appears like I am cooking in the dark, but taking the "finished product" photos in mid day light, this is why.

Here you will see me lighting the paper that will kindle my humble fire.

As in any fire you stack small twigs and work your way up. To start the fire in this particular stove, you drop your supplies in through the top, but once it gets going you load the sticks in through the side via the port hole, so if you need to replenish your fire, you don't have to take your pot off the top and load, you can keep your pot on the stove and load through the side.

In this next photo you will see the side port hole where you will load your twigs once the fire is going. This is a very nice feature to have. As stated above, there is no need to remove your corn to load sticks through the top, you can simply push them in through the side.

Once the fire is roaring you can set your pot or can on top. I used corn for this experiment. It is a can with a net weight of 15.25 oz, so just under 2 cups. I puncture a small hole in the top with the can opener so the pressure can escape.

After just 3 minutes (yes 3 minutes exactly, I had my stop watch out) you can see the contents of the can reached 135 degrees. This was warm enough that I had to blow on the first few spoon fulls of corn before I ate them.

Here is a picture I took before I started. These twigs ended up being enough to cook my dinner the first night, and the second night of the experiment. Hows that for efficiency.

All in all, this is not something that should be hailed as the best stove on the planet. I have seen far better ones in camping stores. However, it was free to make, it works effectively, it takes a renewable fuel source, and very little of it, It is smaller than a #10 can, and weighs very little.

I will follow up later this week with a "how to" on the construction of such a stove.


Monday, September 13, 2010

Silver and Precious Metals

So today Sept 13, 2010, the silver market had a nice little boost in its prices. It rose over 30 cents in a short period of time this morning and it was all I heard about from friends, family, and co workers, for the majority of the day.

My opinion on silver, or any other precious metal, is that it has its place and value, but it also has a priority level, one which many people neglect to realize.

I myself own a fair amount of silver, and in the right circumstances would advocate to others to consider a silver purchase as well, but only once other necessities are taken care of.

I see people buying silver, pounds at a time, when they don't have proper food storage, their security is lacking, and they are renting a house for their family.

Silver is pretty low on my priority list.

In the event of SHTF food is going to control more power. Monetary currency does not exists until everyone has a few basic necessities of life taken care of. If a category 4 or 5 hurricane swept through my part of Florida tomorrow, come the end of the week I would still be trying to gather clean water, medical supplies, extra food essential items that I am lacking on such as spice and seasoning. Now take a look at who I would be buying this stuff from. What do they want in return? The sellers of these goods will probably also need things, food, skills, weapons, ammo, etc. Things that have value but also use. You can say that the value is derived from the usefulness in fact.

Silver has no use at this point (photography, stereo wire, and jewelry will be the last thought of anyone left alive) so the value will be similar. Value will start to appear in PM's only in a time when the basics (food, water, medical, sanitation, weaponry, etc) are taken care of.

Now let’s expand on the scenario. A month passes, people have either died, relied on FEMA, or have found their own way of survival, either through gardening, hunting, fishing, or their personal food storage. At this point, people start to go after the monetary gains, the PM's and such.

I personally feel that for the short time after the SHTF, people are going to pass up the opportunity to get silver, to take advantage of the opportunity to feed and comfort their families.

To edit this post and add to it, as stated in the first paragraph, there is a time and place for an investment in precious metals. To use silver as a hedge against (hyper)inflation, is a solid investment idea. This is what fueled my purchase of bullion. However as I came to learn, in most cases food storage, owning home free and clear, guns to defend your possessions, and money spent on training (wilderness survival, medical certifications, weapons training, schooling) will be much better investments.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Home Canned Tomato, Another Picutre Tutorial!

Today was tomato day, and what better way to celebrate than to make a tutorial for others who would like to try this themselves!

Here you will see my washed tomatoes, in my sink.

The very first step is to take the skins off. The best method of doing this is to dunk them in boiling water for 50 seconds. Once the 50 seconds are complete you will transfer them to a bowl of ice water. This will take some forethought if your freezer does not automatically keep ice in the dispenser ready for use.

Here you will see the tomatoes in the bowl of ice water. The ice melted, but for best results you want to keep the water as cold as possible. You can see one of my tomatoes is blemished, this can simply be cut off and discarded and the rest of the tomato can be used.

After cooling in the ice water for a minute, you can quarter the tomatoes, and the skin will fall right off.

Here you can see a giant bowl of skinned and quartered tomatoes. You can either leave them this size, or chop them into more manageable pieces, which ever you prefer.

I have now filled my jars with tomato pieces and added 2 Tablespoons of lemon juice to each jar to keep the Ph Levels where they need to be.

You will then fill the remaining space with clean boiling water, leave 1/2 inch head space.

On go the lids, and into the boiler for 45 minutes.

This is a very easy recipe, take a little time, but is great for a rainy afternoon when you want to learn how to can, or just polish up your skills.

Hope you can find this useful!

Jam: A Picture Filled Tutorial

Over the course of the last month I have had the chance to get a lot of free perishable food, mostly fruits and veggies. I decided to try my hand at canning a few different things to help preserve the food I had received. Following is a siple tutorial to making what I like to call, Pleach-A-Rine jelly. It is composed of Plumb, Peach, and Nectarine.


First I have a picture with all my materials, you can see a few different fruits which I will explain in the next pic. I also have knives and a cutting board.

Here you will see my selection of fruit. Top row is peaches, middle is nectarine, and bottom is 2 types of plumb.

So lets get started. Slice your fruit into wedges. You can now see why I had 2 knives, the white one goes right through the pit and all.

Next you will peel your wedges. The peeling can get tough and chewy, so you want to get it all off. A sharp knife is a must for this step.

Here you can see my plumb is wedged and peeled, this is what you are aiming for.

I don't have a pic, but you want to cut up the peeled wedges into tiny pieces and perhaps even mash them a bit with a potato masher.

You will then want to add 1/4 cup of lemon juice, or if you are like me and don't have any, squeeze some limes into the pot of cut up fruit.

Next, mix in a separate bowl, a pack of pectin, and 1/2 cup sugar.

Put your pot of fruit on the burner and start to warm. As is warms add the Pectin/Sugar mix a little at a time.

Stir, stir, stir! make sure it does not burn. You want to stir until the mixture becomes liquidy and is at a rolling boil. This is when you cannot stir the boil away. Mix in sugar to taste, sometimes as much as 3 cups is needed.

Pour into jars, then into the boiler to boil for 5 minutes.

That is it, very simple, great starting point for beginners, and the Jam is the best jam I have ever tasted.

Hope you enjoy!