Friday, 14 August 2015

08:48 – We had a tough time with Colin yesterday and overnight. He had the squirties. Fortunately, he goes to the hall bathroom when he can’t hold it, and the floor there is ceramic tile. After several indoor accidents yesterday, we thought he was past it when we went to bed. Not so. He woke me up about midnight and had had an accident. I took him out then, and then again two or three times more. At 4:30 he was throwing up and had rushed to the front door, so I let him out loose. He sniffed around the front yard and finally squatted, but then instead of coming in when I called him he trotted down the street, hung a left down our neighbors’ driveway, and disappeared. We ended up driving around the neighborhood until we found him. We were not amused.

Barbara leaves Sunday with her friend Bonnie. They’re headed up to Brasstown, in the mountains in the far southwestern corner of North Carolina for a craft workshop. They’ll return sometime Friday afternoon or evening.

While they’re gone, I’ll be cooking for myself, using only long-term storage food. There are several recipes and methods I want to try, and this is a good opportunity. Some of the recipes I want to try are real recipes, but I also want to try some ad hoc fast meals like combining rice with a can of Bush’s Best Baked Beans. Barbara would gag just at the idea of that one, although she likes both ingredients separately. I want to see how they go together. I figure that if it turns out inedible I’m out only a cup of rice and a can of beans; if it turns out decent, I’ll know one way to make a quick, cheap, nutritious, appetizing meal in an emergency. I also want to try (re-try) methods like slow-cooking noodles or rice in a Thermos bottle. I’ve done that before and it works fine, but I haven’t done it for more than 30 years.

Most of my time this week was devoted to working on science kit stuff, as usual in August, but here’s what I did to prep this week:

  • I bought a couple packs of these hotel/institutional washcloths. They’re cheap and handy to have around. I wrote about them in the book in the Sanitation chapter, both for bathing and as the best imperfect substitute if you run out of toilet paper or tampons. The idea of using them as a re-usable toilet paper substitute is pretty gross, but it’s much better than using a handful of leaves or doing without. And with only a couple of five-gallon pails, some chlorine bleach or HTH pool chlorination granules, some hand sanitizer, and some rubber gloves it’s perfectly sanitary. Women need sets of three to six; one for bathing, one for micturation, one for defecation, and possibly additional ones if they’re of menstrual age. Men need sets of two; one for bathing and one for defecation. And even if push never comes to shove, they’re handy to have around if only as cleaning rags or paper-towel substitutes.
  • I ordered a Coleman Portable Camp Oven. This can be used on a standard Coleman camp stove, but it can also be used on a propane barbecue grill, a charcoal hibachi, or even a wood fire. For $28, it’s worth having available.
  • I ordered 1,000 each of Crossman Destroyer .177 pellets and RWS Diabolo .177 pellets. At a penny to 1.5 cents each, they’re a cheap way to practice. I don’t think Barbara has ever fired a serious pellet gun. It’ll be a lot closer to shooting a .22 rimfire than she expects, and I think she’ll have fun doing it. Back when I was about 12, I used to take my pellet rifle to the dump to shoot rats. It worked very well on them.
  • I read the first book in Joe Nobody’s Holding Their Own series, A Story of Survival. Like most other so-called authors in the PA genre, he’s a horrible writer. The first volume was barely readable, full of typos, misused words, bad grammar, poor plotting, cardboard characters, and stupid dialog. Adding injury to insult, the price of these books is outrageous. There are almost a dozen in the series, and most of them are priced at $9 or $10 for the Kindle. Like Tate’s books, I suspect a lot of people just torrent them. This style of PA novel seems to be a new trend, unfortunately. Write what amounts to one very long prepping novel, hack it into 10 or so pieces without much regard for continuity, and then sell those chunks at $10 a pop. It’s insulting to readers.
  • I ordered ten 18.8-ounce cans of Campbell’s Hearty Cheeseburger Chunky Soup and a dozen 18.8-ounce cans each of Campbell’s Beef with Country Vegetable Chunky Soup and Campbell’s Chunky Grilled Chicken and Sausage Gumbo. There’s not much nutrition in each can, 200 to 400 calories or so, but one can mixed into a large pot of rice produces an easy, quick, nutritious, and reasonable tasty meal. Ordinarily, I wouldn’t order from Prime Pantry. They started out with reasonable prices, but now they’re far more expensive on most items than Costco or Walmart, and they charge $6/box shipping in addition to the higher prices for the products themselves. But I had three $5 credits for choosing no-rush shipping, so I decided to find what I could that was reasonably priced and see if they’d apply all three $5 credits to one order. They applied two, so I’m not sure what’s going on.
  • I started on a revamp of my long-term food storage inventory spreadsheet, adding nutrition/container and total nutrition columns for net weight, calories, carbohydrates, protein, and fat. That’ll give me a much better handle on what we actually have available. I also institute a formal checkout sheet method for recording transfers from our long-term pantry downstairs to our upstairs kitchen pantry.

So, what precisely did you do to prepare this week? Tell me about it in the comments.