Saturday, August 31, 2013

Food Trucks and the Prepper's Kitchen

You can't use this on a fire!
     In my prepping I have been gathering kitchen gear.  I have my everyday dishes and my pots and pans, but for a world without electricity, I also have things that cook over open fire.  Either wood, propane or natural gas if the lines are open when the grid goes down, the pots, pans and dishware you use everyday are not always suitable.

     I have posted articles on iron and aluminum pots and pans in the past.  Today, I went to an antique fair looking for a butter churn and realized I have a second kitchen in my storage.   (I win!)  Without any pain at all I have gathered pretty much the same cookware as I saw in the food trucks at the fair.  I have a portable kitchen.  I mention it to you as a way to learn what you may need in a grid down situation.  Often the beginner prepper is overwhelmed with the list of things needed besides the food and first aid.  

     To get a grip on the post TEOTWAWKI kitchen list, look inside a food truck while you are eating your spicy Korean Taco!  (I had a red velvet cupcake because prepping should not be a chore and cupcakes are better when someone else makes them!)  

I watched the sausage on a stick guy setting up.  He opened his back door to set up his electrical needs; his fan and his music.  THEN he turned on his fryer.  SOoooo, we know my mom didn't train him, he learned it at a school!  The first thing you should do is turn on your money maker, then your safety equipment, then your comfort machines.  You can learn a lot about a person by watching them in their everyday setting.  

     None of the trucks could operate without their generator or electrical hookups PLUS the generator.  Then, again, won't need cupcakes as much as you need to cook whatever you have stored.  Creature comforts were a big issue for them.  Apparently THEIR mom never volunteered them to run the little league concession stand every Thursday for an entire season!  I get that it is hot and a lot of work must be done to make a living, but gee, turn on the grill first.  Maybe, that's just me.  I digress.  The point is look at them cooking to finish their orders.  

     Look at the small space, the organization and the equipment.  There are propane stoves and grills, Wood burning grill are on some trucks.  They all have a finite amount of space to work with, like your storage space.  They all must buy the best equipment that will hold up under repeated use, high temperatures and low, They use stainless steel, aluminum and cast iron.  Their utensils are wood or stainless steel and very high quality.  Their knives are the state of the art blades that will last a lifetime, truly.  The propane cooks and the grill cooks have post-SHTF kitchens. 
     If you can get to a restaurant supply store or you yard sale where people no longer cook at home, you should look into updating your kitchen gear to equipment that would last a lifetime under any conditions.  I no longer own any non-stick coated pans or teflon spatulas.  I also sent my "I just had to have that smoke glass pot" to the yard sale.  Like prepping in general, it is a lifestyle choice. 
     If you don't have an off site storage area for your prep ware and you choose to change your kitchen gear, storage can be a problem.  Then I remembered the eighties.  I am glad I no longer feel I should mousse and spray my hair into an upright position!! but the eighties kitchen offered a storage solution for pots and pans.  You spent money on those expensive things, show them off!  Store them where you can get to them!  THey look good and you know when to stop shopping.  You only need what you need, only.  The pots on the wall or ceiling free up cabinet and drawer space to store things you don't want to use everyday or to be seen by everyone.  


Friday, August 30, 2013

Hawks in Flight

     Today, I was waiting at a red light.  I don't text, I look around.  I see others texting, toying with their music, threatening the kids in the back seat, mostly, I am looking around.  I noticed a flash of shadows in the sky.  A hawk was in flight above the intersection with a small mouse or mouselike critter in it's talons. 
     I watched as a second hawk dropped out of the clouds and swooped past the first.  I have seen hunting pairs of hawks trade off their kill in mid air.  I saw a hawk pick up a fish, turn it to face forward and fly up to another, trade it off to a second bird who turned it to face forward and they separated, one back to the lake the other to the tree line.  I thought this was what I was seeing, but suddenly a third bird flew into the picture.  The third bird flew right into the second and bird with the mouse.  The second bird pivoted in the wind and came at it with all it's speed.  The first hawk hung on to it's kill but made a bee line for the tree line as the two birds turned to chase.

      So, this time I was seeing a pair of hawks trying to gain food by fighting one of their own kind.  Nature at it's most natural, these birds went about the business of surviving as if they were the only creatures on earth.  I was lucky to have seen the dance in the sky and it brought a dark thought to mind.

     Some time ago, I had shared my copy of James Wesley.Rawles' book Patriots.  After he read about half of it, he returned it to me with a snort.  He reviewed the book as if he were a professor of literature (his mother holds that title, not he).  When he finished, he said if the end of the world as we know it came, he would just take out his collection of guns,(handguns mostly collectable but still deadly) and go to the nearest gun shop, rob it for bigger weapons and ammo and take whatever he needed as he needed it.  

     We do not talk anymore.  For the sake of family, I am a head nod when he is in the room or passing by, but all conversation stops, even the most benign.  I never speak to his wife on the subject of prepping and I never talk beyond the most polite social requirements.  

     Recently, someone posted a video to my facebook about the preppers who won't prep claiming they don't have the money but they do have the weapons to take supplies from actual preppers if they need it.  They rest upon the laurels of their military or paramilitary (police) training.  They stand upon the moral ground that they are the strong who will survive and do so by any means.  The ground upon which they stand is shaky, at best.

Beware: Ex Military Soldier’s Survival Plan Is “To Hit Preppers”

Mac Slavo
August 27th, 2013
     Like the hawks in the sky, nature will take it's course.  When unguarded, the hunter will be hunted.  There will be those who wait to prep because they know others are prepping.  They will assault God loving decent people and kill them for food, clothing, shelter, water, whatever they believe they need.  They will turn on their own kind, they will attack, they will use their training and they will drag their spouses and kids into battle with them, prepared for battle or not.  There are those who will do just that.  

     I hope they are reading the comments on the facebook video I was sent.  There will be no quarter shown.  They will rush in to guarded fortified positions and they will fail.  They will be met with deadly force at every turn.  They will find hawks in flocks defending their own territory and it will be both brutal and natural.  

     To the prepper who believes prepping food and clothing is enough, to the prepper who believes that they will survive on rice and beans alone, prepare to defend yourself.  

     I do not post information on weapons as I can not speak as an expert on the subject.  I know what I know.  I urge you to get some knowledge, some training and some backup plans.  There are sites online that can be very helpful.  Try this site to find one that fits your needs:
It is a list of the most popular survivor sites, there is one to suit your taste there with the weapons and strategy information I cannot provide. 


Thursday, August 29, 2013

Bicycle Battery Chargers
     I was deleting some old news photos on my hard drive, yesterday.  I came across a news photo of a charging station for cell phones that was set up on a city sidewalk after Hurricane sandy blew through.  I realized, I had put bicycle generator on my wish list for prep supplies ages ago and just let it slip my mind.  Yikes!  Not good prepping!  

     I have access to a bike and I have small electronics.  Sure, I have a solar charging panel for those things, but, a backup system is a good thing to have in storage.  THis complete setup to the right is $158 plus shipping.  It includes a stand to convert the bike to a stationary power generator!  

SpinPOWER S1 Smartphone Bicycle USB Charger Kit
     Other kits available online feature smart phone charge kits.  This small kit is under $80 and this site has many styles available.   They also offer phone holders to charge your phone while you ride.  

bike generator 5 (with laptop)-whitebg.png
     While I was shopping online for a good deal, I found a how-to build your own generator at  It looks simple enough and might be a project that will educate and amaze my grandson when he takes his winter break from school.  Imagine gathering all the parts and when he asks if there is something he can do on a dull day, whipping out a box of parts and putting together a bicycle generator!  I believe this is the way to earn the title Coolest Grandmother, Ever!  It is also a good way to teach science, thrift and making things when you need them.  

Bravo View 600 Watt Peak Power Inverter with Game Plate
     The inverter can be picked up at hardware stores, Big Lots, and Wal Mart's RV department in the sporting goods section, which means it can be purchased online at  A 600 watt inverter with a game plate and socket is $30 to$40.  A 400 watt inverter is under $30. 

     The instructions for many kits online are free if you buy the kits, but thanks to You Tube, you can watch someone build a working model and decide if it is for you.

Bicycle Generator - YouTube
Jun 4, 2010 ... Using an alternator, mountain bike and an inverter, we build a bicycle generator, and make 110 volt electricity, run a human-powered 220 Watt 

    Since most plans show converting a bike into a stationary bike first, you might knock the cobwebs off your old exercycle and create some energy!  
DIY: How To Build Your Own Pedal-Powered Bike Generator - The 

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Chicken Wire, paige wire, tomato cages and coat hangers

Of course, you can use chicken wire to build a chicken coop or to fence in your garden against rabbits, but there are a few other uses and reasons to stock more than the chickens need.

Make a basket.

Use as a form as metal lath to stucco a wall.  Hay bail construction is easier to spread stucco over when you line the hay with chicken wire.
Crafts for Men & Boys to Make | Manly Projects to Build and

Use chicken wire as a form to build a scarecrow on.(or a ghostly figure for halloween, or as a decoy when dressed in old clothes) 

Create tomato cages from chicken wire forms.

Speaking of tomato cages, here are some clever ones: 
Make a bottle tree for garden decor or for drying those canning jars in the sun.

Grow vine vegetables like cucumbers and squash in containers using tomato cages 

Coat hangers:

Fabricating CB antennas - Ham Radio

Bubble wands
Wreath forms
audio antenna
Shoe hangers
marshmallow & hot dog  roasting sticks

Add a circle of bridal tulle, a freezer pop net, or fish net or an old stocking and its a minnow net!
Cut open one end, bend it and fish out those socks behind the dryer!
Cut the hanger to make hooks, S hooks, and key rings, to organize work shops, craft tables and other supplies. 
Save some hangers for hard times, some dry cleaners abroad have switched to's only a matter of time before the movement arrives on our shores.