Saturday, 14 May 2016

09:59 – Barbara and I just hung the final few pictures in her office and installed a shelf in the laundry room over the coat rack. I’m making up chemicals in there now, and I need somewhere to store the large beakers, graduated cylinders, and other stuff I use for that.

We’re going to repackage some LTS food today, including the 50-pound bag of sugar we picked up at Costco Thursday and some baking soda. At room temperature, the stuff is stable essentially forever in the retort bags it comes in, but it’s a PITA to haul out and open a 13-pound bag of baking soda every time we need a teaspoon or two. We’ll repackage it into Costco nut jars, which hold about two liters. The density of powdered sodium bicarbonate ranges from 1.1 to 1.3 g/mL, depending on how tightly packed it is, so we should get five pounds or so in each jar.

Incidentally, if you’re storing baking soda, which you should be, that “room temperature” part is important. I’ve seen people store those big bags in the garage or attic, which is a bad idea. At higher than room temperature, baking soda starts to break down into sodium carbonate and carbon dioxide gas. At about 50C, it breaks down very quickly. I’m comfortable storing it at up to 86F (30C), but I wouldn’t go much higher.

Same deal for baking powder, but more so. Baking powder is a combination of baking soda and a dry acid. It degrades very quickly at high temperatures, and even faster if moisture is present, even from humid air. In fact, baking powder is unstable enough that we don’t store any in our long-term supplies. Instead, we store baking soda and citric acid. Both of those are very stable if stored separately, and it’s easy enough to combine them to make up your own baking powder on the fly.


16 thoughts on “Saturday, 14 May 2016”

  1. Good tips, as usual.

    I’d heard we were gonna get rain all weekend and low temps, but wife sez all that chit is gonna miss us; today is gorgeous. I paid the neighborhood kid to mow the lawn, but the back/sciatica seems to be slowly getting better, knock on wood. Four hits of Prednisone a day and four hits of Motrin three times a day, and a couple of codeine/Tylenols at night. Hopefully I can get back to hauling chit around here this week, there is a LOT to be done, all behind “schedule.” Jumped wife’s Saab convertible; it needs some work and will probably have to be towed, so I got that ready to go. Summuh-time, ya know. The grrls like to swan around here and in Moh-ree-all with the top down and their hair blowing in the wind.

    Speaking of drugs; is there a handy-dandy cheat sheet somewhere about the veterinary and/or aquarium dope that could be equivalents of these kinds of drugs? Antibiotics, Prednisone, pain-relievers, etc.? I’ll also be looking into medicinal herbs for this and we, or most anybody, would have the space for those, even in balcony pots in the cities.

  2. Excellent advice here:

    https://brushbeater.wordpress.com/2016/05/14/economic-considerations-for-resilient-communities/

    I think I can talk Mrs. OFD into a gen for the well pump; the rainwater collection stuff, I dunno. We’re good for gardening, insofar as our space and climate allow, but I’m taking some online tutorials on it as I get ready to ramp up the hands-on:

    https://www.udemy.com/year-round-gardening/

    He’s doing it in a cold climate like ours, too. (Udemy and Lynda.com have a chit-load of courses in all kinds of chit at reasonable prices and regular sales.)

    And my After-the-SHTF trades will involve firearms, commo and maybe tutoring.

  3. _Avenging Home (The Survivalist) (Volume 7)_ by Angery American
    http://www.amazon.com/Avenging-Home-Survivalist-7-American/dp/0996696016/

    Book number seven of a post apocalyptic series of seven books. The printing is a POD (print on demand) book in trade paperback. The author has indicated that he will write more books related to the series but not directly in the series.

    The book is six to nine months into the new world after the EMP that killed off all the electrical devices and electronics in the USA. Things are starting to settle down. The military forces are in active rebellion against the commander in chief and fighting the DHS forces all over the country. And Russian peace keeping troops are landing on the east coast and Chinese troops on the west coast despite the Navy interdicting their ships.

    My rating: 4.4 out of 5 stars
    Amazon: 4.9 out of 5 stars (375 reviews)

  4. @Rick, re:win10, do you have any old hardware that doesn’t have drivers for 10? I’ve got old hp printers that don’t seem to be updated, or will the 8 drivers work with 10?

    @ofd, re: hand weakness on one side, you might want to get that checked out. One thing that can cause it is when your arm pushes down on the arm’s nerve bundle as it exits thru the ribcage. Thoracic Outlet Syndrome, IIRC… There is a very dramatic surgical correction, but I found that certain shoulder exercises were enough to relieve the symptoms, mainly shoulder rolls and shrugs, meant to ‘raise’ the shoulders and open up the thoracic outlet. There is a definitive test involving timing electrical shocks thru the arm, but you could just try the exercises. Nothing really to lose there.

    @RBT, Peter at http://bayourenaissanceman.blogspot.com/ has a great deal of knowledge when it comes to picking a gun for someone with reduced hand strength. He’s helped a lot of elderly, or disabled people arm themselves. My question is, what part of the manual of arms are you having trouble with, and can it be overcome by a different technique (Kathy at Cornered Cat has some alternatives for racking the slide, and there are add on doohickies that can help) or a different gun, maybe one that doesn’t use a grip safety or need to be held so tightly to combat recoil…

    nick

  5. WRT taking the tenor of the clans, I had a long conversation with some older ladies at an estate sale today that was interesting. They were (all three of them) vehemently anti-hillarity, were pro-trump, see bad times coming, distrust the MSM (and have access to alternative news sources), see the necessity of arming up against the underclass hordes (one has her CHL) AND YET they don’t have any stores put aside…or wouldn’t admit to it.

    I had another chat in the habitat ReStore with a late middle aged couple who were very aware of cell phone tracking, smart TV spying, and the general surveillance state. They are small businessmen in a technical manufacturing field. She tossed off that they’d never buy a smart TV because then it would know her politics.

    I had a couple other quick chats, or exchange of comments, with others too that had a surprising awareness of realpolitik, race and crime, and the true economy.

    While we’re talking, it isn’t unusual for another lady to pass by and toss out a comment that agrees with the others. (or for the cop doing security to volunteer that he has an awesome bug out bag.)

    It seems that ordinary people are waking up, and are at least beginning to take steps in the right direction.

    I had social obligations all morning, and got rained on all afternoon, with a couple of canceled sales, so I got almost no prepping stuff this week. I picked up some foam ear plugs, some medical supplies (dressings, wrap, and some big syringes-for irrigation) a couple of re-sale items, and family stuff. No work around the house either. I did discover that my kindle has a very noisy PSU in the shortwave bands. I was tuning around with a little cheap portable in bed, and noticed the noise increase near the kindle. I’m going to have to go thru my whole office and check for very local noise now.

    I passed on a couple of items due to cost, most notably a Grundig Satellite 800 in minty condition, but 2 x ebay cost (and it is physically large.)

    I did pick up another mid-sized analog SW, but it needs a little work. I think that if you are picking up a SWR ‘just in case’ there are a couple of things to think about. The small (transistor radio sized) pocket radios in analog are pretty useless. The dial and tuning mechanism is so small you can’t get good tuning at the 10khz separation of SW stations. You will never get ham bands on it, with 3khz separation. I don’t have a pocket digital, but digital has some issues too.

    Of the many SWRs I have that use digital tuning, all of them are very tedious to use for just ‘tuning around the dial.’ Either you get an annoying ‘chuffing’ noise for every freq. increment, or you don’t hear anything at all if you tune too fast. If you know where you want to tune, digital is great. And you can tune the ham bands, but unless you have a BFO (beat freq oscillator) you won’t understand any ham using SSB. The one digital tuning radio I have with a BFO, the knob and range of adjustment are both too small to be effective.

    So for general listening (or tuning around post-SHTF) a larger analog radio is great. The larger size makes the tuning ranges bigger, and fine adjustment is easier. The analog tuning means you move smoothly across the band, and hear everything as you go past. (lunch box sized)

    I think the idea of listening to ham operators on a SWL radio is a bust. If you will want to hear hams, you need a ham radio, or a “General communications receiver” which has the sensitivity, coverage, and controls to allow you to hear hams, and commercial SW.

    If you will want to listen to SW, you need more than a pocket radio, especially a cheap one.

    Look at mid80’s japanese or euro radios for great quality, at a reasonable price.

    nick

  6. “…certain shoulder exercises were enough to relieve the symptoms, mainly shoulder rolls and shrugs, meant to ‘raise’ the shoulders and open up the thoracic outlet. There is a definitive test involving timing electrical shocks thru the arm, but you could just try the exercises. Nothing really to lose there.”

    Trying that along with the hand/arm exercises at the link put up to Dr. Levi Harrison; downloaded it off the Tube. Will also do the grip exercise gimcracks and doo-hickeys. For the semi-auto pistols and racking the slide there is this:

    http://www.handi-racker.com/

    “It seems that ordinary people are waking up, and are at least beginning to take steps in the right direction.”

    Which is great, but they gotta get to linking up, hooking up, with others in their neighborhood nations. Meatspace. See the link I put up earlier to Brushbeater’s note.

    “…most notably a Grundig Satellite 800 in minty condition, but 2 x ebay cost (and it is physically large.)”

    No kidding; we’ve had one for years that we got for half-price at the Orvis company down in Manchester, VT; it got rained on a few years ago and we took it to a local radio fix-it geek and he did us good for fifty bucks; all set now. Multiple antenna options on the back, but kinda heavy with the six D batteries.

    Agreed on the SW radios and ham bands. I’ve got a small Sangean SW box, the Grundig, and a CountyComm portable SW that also has SSB but haven’t played with it yet. Ham bands on the two Bow-Fungs, a Radio Shack scanner, and the Uniden Bearcat. Oh, also the TecSun SW. Best reception of all is on the Bearcat. Brick house on the lakeshore near as giant pile of scrap metal at the highway department.

  7. WRT to Win10 and old drivers: my old laptop was an HP about 5 years old, originally Win7. After the upgrade, everything that used to work still worked. I believe there is really good compatibility with older drivers. If things were working in Win7/8, they will work just fine in Win10.

    I had an Acer desktop that had built-in graphics card that wasn’t compatible with Win10; the Win10 compatibility check (pre-install check) said that since the graphics card was so old, the system couldn’t be updated. I fixed that with a new PCI graphics card, and Win10’s compatibility check said all was well, so I updated that system also.

    In general, if it works in Win7, then it will probably work in Win10. The compatibility precheck will let you know if there are potential problems.

    All the printers and scanners we have around here worked fine. We have upgraded printers here (two Canon Laser’s – one for downstairs, and one for the upstairs scrapbook room), plus another Canon Scanner/color printer for upstairs. They were purchased in the last 6 months, so they installed and work just fine.

    I’m a firm believer in keeping things upgraded; that’s why I haven’t had any malware problems. I believe that Win10 is more secure than Win7/8, and certainly more than Win98. (I also have off-site backups via a cloud service; that gives me peace of mind with the ransomware scourge.)

  8. They should fit right in very nicely in Rut-Vegas, VT, down the road a ways from us up here.

    https://refugeeresettlementwatch.wordpress.com/2016/05/14/nevada-ready-or-not-refugees-on-the-way-to-reno/

    Just a 100 to start; gee, I wonder how many are Christian, Jewish, Buddhist or atheist. We’ll never know, of course, and we are told that the vetting requirements are super-stringent and take three years to do, etc., etc. One look at the fugly pig running the show and it’s deja vu all over again; always somebody like that, ain’t it.

    https://refugeeresettlementwatch.wordpress.com/2016/05/13/vermont-rutland-citizens-say-lets-take-care-of-our-own-first/

    Except they’re talking to the wind, no one gives a shit about “our own.”

  9. Agree with Mr Rick.. re drivers etc..
    Late last year installed a SSD and Win10 on a friend’s HP Pavilion notebook (DV6).
    Went to HP site to download drivers, saw the message” drivers are not supported for this operating system”. In other words buy a new notebook!
    Installed 8.1 drivers and most of them were fine.

    Windy and cloudy conditions today.. 22C (72F) @2.40pm..

  10. Instead, we store baking soda and citric acid. Both of those are very stable if stored separately, and it’s easy enough to combine them to make up your own baking powder on the fly.

    Isn’t baking powder usually made of cream of tartar (potasium bitartrate) and baking soda? Why use citric acid instead? Does it have a longer shelf life, or are there other uses for citric acid?

  11. From my knowledge as a cook and just background stuff, yes, store-bought baking powder is usually baking soda plus cream of tartar. This is (relatively) shelf stable, which is presumably why CoT is used. However, any acid will do for making CO2 bubbles – ref the vinegar and baking soda “bottle rockets”.

    I prefer to make my own baking powder at need from baking soda and CoT I keep on hand. I can buy in bulk and not have to worry about it going bad, and 4 oz baking powder tins always seem to be running out.

  12. Isn’t baking powder usually made of cream of tartar (potasium bitartrate) and baking soda?

    Yes, it is.

  13. Yes to all. You could store cream of tartar (or tartaric acid) instead, but citric acid is very cheap, widely available, and has lots of other uses, including canning food.

  14. I actually engaged in some prepping related activity yesterday. I’ve been wondering about getting involved in ARES or RACES in my area. I had found the frequencies for the repeaters in my county, but haven’t done anything about it. Yesterday I got a postcard from the local ARES/RACES person and sent him an email. I’m calling him next week for more info.

  15. Outstanding, Mr. Dave; let us know how you make out with that. I gotta do the same at some point up here once I get through the license exams, hopefully this summuh.

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