Category Archives: Emergency Preps

Anything that can be thought of as preparedness or preparedness related.

Leatherman Tread

by Woodsbum

My wonderful wife ended up getting two discount coupon codes to Leatherman that give special pricing. For my birthday she gave me the codes and told me to pick out what I wanted……

What a freaking AWESOME lady!!!!

Leatherman Tread

Leatherman Tread

Anyway, one of the things that I picked up was their multitool bracelet called a “Tread.” I found it quite interesting and actually wanted to pick up the additional pieces that allow this to be a watch band. Fast forward about a month and lots of me looking for my watch, me messing with the bracelet, and testing this bad boy as much as I could. Here is what I found.

The Allen wrenches on this are SAE. For some stupid reason every Allen headed bolt that I run into is metric. I have yet to even come close to being able to use one. The screwdrivers have received quite a bit of use, however. Interestingly enough, the bracelet is MUCH easier to use as a screwdriver than a multitool. It seems that it is designed to fold flat with the tool sticking out, thus giving a good handhold to really torque on things. It works quite effectively. There is a cutter type thing that opens letters and cuts string quite well. That is all that I have been able to find to cut with it. The pokey thing that is described as a SIM car remover does work decently as an “Electrical Device Reset Button Pusher.” Other than the beer bottle opener, these are the tools that I have found a need for.

I think that swapping out the square headed bits for metric Allen wrenches would have been a better idea, but all said and done it does work well. For those of you with small wrists, you may have to take out a few links. Mine actually fits perfectly right out of the box. This is kind of odd because I have huge wrists and nothing every seems to fit them. Even my FitBit is on the last notch and pops off on occasion. The Tread is also quite heavy, which I like. It makes it feel like you are toting an actual piece of metal on your arm. Too many tools are just novelty items. This may be novelty and gimmicky, but it at least will take a beating.

Once I find my watch and get some batteries in it I will marry the two up and make it into a watch band with the adapter I purchased.

If I was to do it over again, I would definitely pick it up for the price I got it for. At MSRP, I would think twice just due to the lack of daily use. Spending $170 on a bracelet or $170 on a nice knife will always find me looking for things to cut. It is a great piece of gear, though.

Cheers!

Leatherman Tread

Leatherman Tread

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Hardtack

by Woodsbum

For those of you who are not sure what hardtack is, think of it like a horribly thick and hard cracker. What is nice is that it will literally last forever. It doesn’t go bad. What I like it for is tossing some hard cheese and meat on it, honey, or use it to dip into a soup. People also eat it as is, but it is a bit bland.

Here is the recipe:

 

  • 3 cups of white flour
  • 2 teaspoons of salt
  • 1 cup of water

Mix it all together and roll it out into a big square. Cut the dough into about 9 equal portions or just make them about as equal as you can get. Once you get these portioned and cut, use a nail to poke about 14 holes to make it resemble the holes on a saltine cracker.

Bake the pieces on an ungreased cookie sheet at 375 degrees for 30 minutes. Remove them from the sheet and let them cool. They should look like slightly browned, puffy crackers.

Each piece of hardtack is about 150 calories.

 

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Zippo Lighters

by Woodsbum

Well, here it is….  I did it again. I bought something with my logo on it.

Zippo

Zippo

I have carried Zippo lighters for years. Although I don’t smoke cigarettes, I do like cigars and tobacco pipes a lot. Cigars are a bit expensive so I do tend to just grab pipe tobacco and go at it that way. Carrying a lighter really isn’t about using it to light tobacco (or other stuff if you live in WA, OR or CO). These things are VERY handy in a variety of situations such as ridding your clothes of those pesky threads, melting the ends of paracord, starting campfires, lighting incense (or sage in my case), etc. Let’s face it, the savior of any birthday party is  the one that has a way to light the candles. Even Dr. Henry Jones carried his lucky charm that allowed him to escape the Nazis (movie reference for those that didn’t catch it).

The way that I discovered that Zippo did custom orders was through sending them my older lighters for repair and swapping out standard inserts for pipe ones. The pipe ones have a big hole in them that allows the lighter to be turned sideways without extinguishing the flame.

Pipe insert

Pipe insert

If you have a Zippo, you can actually contact them at this page, send in your lighter and they will replace your normal insert with one designed for a pipe. They have two other lighters of mine right now getting swapped out. Interestingly enough, it is quite difficult to find Zippos with the pipe insert that don’t have a stupid pipe emblem on the bottom. Good luck finding one that is camo or has a Harley emblem either. They just don’t send them out that way. Personally, I think you should be able to buy them from Zippo directly with the option for the type of insert.

Ignoring the fact that I just complained about Zippo in the previous paragraph I really love their lighters and carry one most of the time. They are windproof/resistant, light even when it gets REALLY cold, are tough as hell, and are a piece of gear that you can really depend on as long as you keep it filled with fluid (don’t overfill and put it in your pocket if you don’t want funny rashes on your leg). For those that don’t have a Zippo, I recommend getting and carrying one. It worked for those in WWII, Korea, and Vietnam so if they NEEDED them for survival I guess I should carry one, too, just in case. I know that I am not in a war or having to fight my way from hilltop to hilltop, but if the reality is that a lightweight piece of gear was so important that everyone carried one at one time I have no problems tossing one into my pocket. It just makes sense to learn from my elders when it comes to that sort of stuff.

Now for the important part of this whole post: My Zippo is AWESOME. They really did a great job on it. All I had to do was import my image on the website, center it and pay with a credit card. You can do any number of different types of images from family pictures, personal logos, kid art, whatever. Giving a Zippo with a family picture to your pops for Father’s Day is a great gift idea. The cost is only $15 over the cost of the lighter plus shipping.

Go get yourself a lighter with your personal touch, people!!!

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Homemade Applesauce

by Woodsbum

I searched for quite a while before I found a good applesauce recipe. Most call for all sorts of weird things. I really like this recipe because it is simple, basic and tastes great.

Here are the ingredients per my batch. Some math may be required:

  • 18 lbs of apples
  • 3 cups of water or apple juice/cider
  • Juice of 3 lemons (approx 1/2 cup)
  • 1 1/2 cup brown sugar (packed of course)
  • 5 teaspoons of Cinnamon

First thing you will need is your apples. I used half Gala and half Granny Smith. They are much better if you use them before they get too soft.

Make sure you pick up one of these:

Apple slicer

Apple slicer

These slicer things make short work of peeling, slicing, and coring an apple. When you pull the apple meat off the device, just cut the whole apple coil in half, then throw it into the pot with the ingredients. There is no need to play games with adding things one at a time. Just toss it all in and put it on low heat to start cooking down.

Cut and ready for cooking

Cut and ready for cooking

Once it is all cooked down and the apples are soft, you need to pull the apple out and blend them. I use a Ninja like this one:

Ninja

Ninja

The hot applesauce will be a bit running, but it will be perfect to just jar up and can. I left about 1/2 inch of headspace on my jars and then water bath canned them. The 18 lbs made a little over 6 quarts of applesauce.

Ready for canning

Ready for canning

The whole process took about an hour and half from start to finish. The best part is how great the applesauce turned out. I don’t think that I have ever had any store bought or homemade applesauce that tasted better.

As a side note, I do things a bit different with my cinnamon. I purchase the sticks in bulk and then grind it myself as I need it. This gives a stronger taste without the bite that you get with the preground stuff in the stores. Even the smell is better.

Have some fun and good luck. I am getting ready to can some peaches that we picked up in Wenatchee sometime this week.

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Plum Preserves

by Woodsbum

Due to travel, it has been a been over a week since my last post. I tell you, life is really crazy.

When I got home I found that the French improved plum tree in my backyard was ready for harvest. We grabbed several bags, one of which was pitted and put into my dehydrator. The other one was pitted and put into a pot for preserves/jam. The recipe we use is a 2 ingredient variety that just takes longer to complete than one that calls for pectin.

The recipe is as follows:

  • Use about a 20 small plum/prune to 4.5 cups of sugar ratio. 12 fruit to 4.5 cups of sugar for the bigger plums.
  • Stir the fruit and sugar up, then leave it to sit for about 2 hours.
Coated and slowly heating plums

Coated and slowly heating plums

  • Heat the mixture up slowly until all the sugar is melted. This should be done on 3/10 or 4/10 on your heat setting. Once the sugar becomes mostly liquid and not all grainy, bring your heat up to 6/10 and get it steadily bubbling.
  • Once your mixture is completely bubbling, turn your heat up to the lower portion of your high setting, 8/10, for about 10 minutes. Stir the mixture constantly.
  • Turn the heat down to about 3/10 and stir it until the bubbling subsides dramatically. Let it simmer for about 10 minutes.
  • Take the mixture off the heat and let it sit until it is cool enough to comfortably sit on the skin without burning.
After first heating

After first heating

  • Repeat the heating process another 4 times to complete a full 5 heating cycles.

Once the final heat is done, take the mixture off the stove and fill your sterilized jars. Just follow current canning standards.

The more times that you heat the mixture, the thicker the preserves/jam will be. If you happen to add too much sugar, you can always just use it as syrup or a sauce. The nice thing about making jellies and jams is that there is no such thing as a bad batch. You just improvise the label and use it a bit differently.

We were finishing our 3rd heating cycle last night so I don’t have any pictures of the finished jam yet. The whole process can take 2-3 days due to the heating and cooling cycles. Because of all the sugar you don’t have to worry about bacteria growing. It is fairly well preserved once the first heat cycle is completed, but the follow up cycles set your consistency and thickness.

Happy jamming!

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