Wednesday, November 19, 2014

November 19, 2014 New Book Out The Prepper's Guide to Alternative Weapons: Book One

Just became available today.  This one covers muzzleloaders, crossbows, airguns and Bows.  It's available in print or Kindle formats.

  Print Version

  Kindle Version

Saturday, November 15, 2014

15 November, 2014 - Winter on the Homestead, or ... Living in a Deep Freeze

The cold weather hit like a striking snake!  Hard and painful!  Getting cold weather in NW MT is nothing new.  I remember a Halloween night it was bitterly cold but to have it hang on for days as this last one has is a bit unusual.  They keep forecasting warmer weather in a few days but then keep postponing it.  We'll just keep adding more wood to the fire I guess!  (And try to move up our scheduled departure date for going south!)

Susan made pork-n-beans.  She began with beans and real bacon bits.

Then made the sauce.

Put it all together.

And run it through the canner!  

We always test out the new creations before putting them back in storage.  If  something is wrong we need to know before she does another ten canner loads of it.  This is meatloaf that Susan canned.

When it came out of the oven she added the topping.

And opened a jar of the home made pork-n-beans.

Baked some rolls and made potato salad and we had a feast!  The recipes are all great!

This is about a day's supply of wood for heating the cabin.

We brought our SIL's motorcycle up from their cabin to store it in a shed for the winter.  Scott "rode" it up the hill and played on it for quite some time afterward.  (It's firmly strapped to the trailer.)

Our first real snowstorm of the year!

Susan of course got out her ice skates.

The day after!  It's about zero and everything outside is frozen.  I put the solar panels in their vertical position in preparation for winter and heavy snow.

Emily and Stephen, our newest grandchild's mom and dad.

Susan switched swings in the living room so Scott would have some variety.  We bought a wagon and a toy (sit-on kind) backhoe to take with us down south next month. He'll love playing with them!

One advantage of using the wood stove is it saves on propane for cooking.  This is breakfast being made and a cup of coffee being heated up.

I needed to patch my camouflage coat and decided to just use an iron-on patch.  I had to find the iron and get it hot.  We purchased this at a yard sale years ago.  It's designed to use hot coals to heat the iron but it works great just setting in on top of the wood stove.  The stove is really hot so I placed the iron on a trivet to keep it from overheating.

The rip in my coat sleeve. 

I cut one patch to go inside the cloth exterior.

Then I ironed it to set the glue.  I then cut another patch to go over the rip and ironed it on as well.

All finished!  And I didn't even scorch it! (Much!)

We have been known to buy frozen vegetables if they're on sale real cheap then dehydrate them for storage and use later.  We got a super deal on mixed vegetable awhile back so Susan dehydrated them.  Our system is simple.  We scatter them on plastic screens and put them in various places near the ceiling to dry.   This is one rack holding one pound of the vegetables.

We had four pounds and dehydrated them all.  The space savings are great.  All four pounds are now stored in this quart jar.  We can store it anywhere out of the sun too since there's no danger of it freezing.  Plus it took no electricity or other extra energy source to dry it nor does it take any extra energy source to preserve it.

We stopped in Kalispell to do some shopping and see some of the kids.  This is our oldest son.  I posted a photo of his elk antlers the night he got it but the photo was dark and grainy.  This one is a bit better. It was his first bow kill!  It's going to be hard to top in the coming years!

Friday, November 7, 2014

7 November, 2014 - Making a cart for propane bottles, more canning, and hunting blinds.

Short post this time.  It's not that there isn't anything happening.  It's just that most of what we are doing this week is the same stuff we did last week!  One of the projects I've had on my list was to make a cart for moving our 100 pound propane bottles.  We've thought about getting a bulk tank but we only use about 40 gallons of propane a year.  Even a small, 200 gallon tank would last us four to five years between fills.  Since I only have to change ours out every five to six months of use it just hasn't seemed practical to get a bulk tank.  We now have three empty tanks so after we fill them we'll still have enough propane on hand for at least 18 months.  (I just switched out a new bottle this week.)

In order to make a cart I cannibalized two other items.  The first was a hand truck that we'd picked up for free (because it had a bent handle).  We have a similar one that's in good shape so we still have one on hand for "flat" goods.  The other item scheduled for modification is the frame from a jogging stroller. 

I took the wheels and axles from the jogging stroller for the new bottle cart.  The axles fit perfectly through the guides used for the hand truck's axles.  At the left of the orange cart frame you can see another piece of thin-walled tubing.  I cut sections from it to lengthen the frame on the new cart.  I also cut the axle adjustment sleeve off of the stroller to use it on the new cart.

I then used the circular saw with a  metal cutting blade to cut the curved brace from the stroller, the straight brace on the back of the new cart frame and to grind off the tops of the bolts holding the bottom plate on the new cart.

The larger wheels made it necessary to extend the frame on the new cart so I cut sections off the thin walled tubing to extend the lower frame.  I then welded the base plate to the extensions and welded the extensions to the frame.  I could have drilled holes and bolted everything together but the welder was faster and cheaper.  I have no intention of taking it apart again anyway.

A side view of the finished cart.  I immediately put it to work.  I had to repair a tube in one of the tires but the other held air okay.  The large wheels roll easily over rough ground and the wider axles make it much more stable than my old method of using the other hand truck.  The handle is from my other hand truck.  I may make a handle for the cart or may just swap them as needed.  Painting will have to wait for warmer weather.

Rear view.  The curved bar from the stroller had just the right radius for the 100 pound propane bottles.  The axle adjustment sleeve is not welded to the frame of the cart.  It works well like it is.

Susan had two of her canners going yesterday while she canned 42 more jars of food.  Most of it was meat like crumbled sausage and ground beef, meatloaf, and hamburger and sausage patties so the canning times were long (90 minutes each).  She canned one load of pudding for later use.

And there they are!  All ready for storage in the pantry, root cellar, under the beds, in the spare rooms, in outbuildings, and wherever else we can find space!

I spent a few hours putting together a deer blind on the corner of our property.   We've had weeks of rain and cloudy skies and I wanted someplace I could go without having to get soaked walking through the woods or have my rifle drenched every time I go out. So I put up a blind complete with a metal roof.

This photo was taken from the most likely avenue of approach.  I wanted to see what a deer would see when coming up this trail. I used the camera's telephoto so the distance is somewhat compressed.  The range is about 50 yards.

The view from the front.  Odie was out with us that day.  (I wasn't hunting at the time.)

Scott is checking out the view from grandpa's "office."

The tarps are old "foxhole covers" I ordered years ago.  They were great for small jobs I wanted to cover for the night but they're so thin now that they won't stop water.  They still make fine "walls" for an impromptu blind.  Everything is literally put together with sticks and baling twine!  But it's dry inside and I have a padded swivel seat on a five-gallon bucket with a padded "hot seat" on top of it all.  It's comfy enough!

I always pack a firearm when out (with Scott or Susan especially!).  This is grizzly and wolf country but my biggest concern is mountain lions.  It seems that every year at least one is killed while stalking a child or woman.  We have a lot of lions in our "neighborhood."

Saturday, November 1, 2014

31 October, 2014 - New addition to the family. More of life on Mosquito Mountain.

The weather has closed in on us making us a little more frugal with our electrical usage.  We've been asked what we do about power when the weather is cloudy so now's an appropriate time to address that question!

First: we cut back on how much power we use.  That means when Scott watches his cartoons he uses his portable DVD player instead of the television and Blue Ray player.  It means we use only two, lower watt, lights at night.  We use one in the living area and one in Scott's room (where his porta- pottie resides).  We spend less time on computers and more time reading, playing cards or board games or doing other, non-electric things.  This includes more play time with Scott using his blocks, Legos and other non-electric toys.  We are normally pretty frugal in our electricity usage anyway but we cut out all non-essentials on cloudy days.  We've even been known to light up the kerosene lamps on extended spells of cloudy days.

Second: we run the generator if the batteries get too low.  It's not good for the batteries to be drawn down too deeply or to remain in a discharged state for long.  We'll use the generator to recharge the battery bank when it's low and the extended forecast is for more cloudy days.  If we can hit three hours of good sunlight during the day it's enough to completely recharge our battery bank.  Some days (especially in the spring and fall) we just don't get three hours of sunlight!  One gallon of gasoline gives us around five hours run time on the small (4000 watt) generator.  That's long enough to recharge the battery bank using the fast charger.

Third, we go to bed earlier and get up later!

Some of the things we really enjoy on low power nights are the hours Susan plays the piano (or her guitar or violin or my banjo).  This time she's playing Christmas hymns and songs.  It was great listening to her.

While she was doing that I had been doing some repairs on my camouflage hunting overalls.  I used my old Singer treadle sewing machine then when I finished with that Scott got to play with it.  I do the same with him that my grandmother used to do for us.  I removed the needle and all the thread and let him have fun.  We used to play with her machine for hours and he does the same with mine.  While he was doing that I had some buttons to sew on.

We had a bear come to visit early in the morning.  The dog heard it knock over the trash can then ran the bear off.  I had to clean up the mess!

Susan canned up some apple pie (the six jars on the left).  The details are in her Poverty Prepping blog.  They taste great.  The crust is like the crust on the bottom of the pie pan on a regular pie.

She also canned up some Baby Lima beans for me.

This is apple cobbler that she canned.  The canned deserts are for use when we travel or just want a fast snack.  It's a lot easier to just open a can than to bake a pie or cobbler from scratch.

Scott was hamming it up for the camera.

He hasn't been feeling too well the last couple of days.  It appears that he has a cold.  Susan and I had been outside working and when we came in to check on him he was sound asleep in his carefully arranged bed in a plastic crate near the wood stove.

The newest addition to our clan.  This is Scott's little brother, Benjamin.  Mom and baby are both doing fine.

For dinner Susan made buns to go with the canned hamburger patties.

I'm near completion on my next book, The Prepper's Guide to Alternative Weapons (One).  It will cover muzzle loading firearms, air guns, crossbows, and handheld bows and arrows.  The second book will cover the lesser known things like slings, boomerangs/throwing sticks, atlatls, etc.
This and the rest of the photos and drawings are sneak previews of what's in it.

Replica Remington 1858 revolver with target sights.

Close up view of the cylinder with safety notches.

Crosman Model 1322 pump type pellet pistol with shoulder stock.

Illustration of arrow angles on a non-center shot riser compared to a center shot riser.

Different angles of the arrow at different draw lengths with a non-center shot riser.

Photo showing how a center shot bow is designed.

Split tip on an aluminum arrow.

Arrow shortened, de-burred and ready for insert to make this into a crossbow bolt.

Modification to a broadhead insert in order to make it fit a nock made for a traditional arrow.  (In preparation to fletch the shaft.)

Nock glued to modified broadhead insert.

Modifying broken wood arrows for use in a crossbow.

The book is going to cover the four types of weapons listed with evaluations of each from a prepper's standpoint.  After months of working on it, it should be finished an less than two weeks.