Monday, December 31, 2012

Happy New Year 2013!!

Happy New Year everyone and congratulations on another year of prepping. Our numbers are growing and that is a wonderful thing. We, as preppers have done a great job this year of helping those who are new to our beliefs and dispelling many of the negative assumptions that seem to attach to us without basis.

We can imagine a world where no one is waiting for assistance in desperation after a disaster. A world where no one fears their neighbour knowing what they have because their neighbour is a prepper too. A world where ideas are shared easily without risk of suspicion. A world where each home is a castle, capable of producing it's own needs. Each street is a small town able to help and share and each neighbourhood is it's own little city, trustworthy and capable. This world is not impossible nor unrealistic, in fact, this world is the past.

The Holiday season is a time of reflection and thankfulness so I would like to thank you, the C.P.N. members for helping to create the world of my imagination. The world that we all strive to live in is attainable and it begins with you.
Thank you all for doing what you do, and for sharing what you do with those of us who are less experienced.
I'm sure we can all remember being a new prepper and how hard it was in the beginning, so thank you existing members for your knowledge and experience and for sharing so readily.

I wish you all the very best in the coming new year.
Happy 2013 C.P.N.!!!

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Choosing a Woodstove -Cookstove

Heartland Wood Cookstove

It's been a bit of a process but we've finally made up our minds what to do about the wood stove - cook stove dilemma we've (I've) been struggling with. I have written before about my absolute love of all things old and beautiful but I would NOT want an old stove because burn technology and heat shields  have come a long way in the past 25 years and I am concerned about safety above all.  

Our search had several criteria. 
  1. It had to look good.  
  2. It needed to be efficient.  
  3. I would like to cook on it. 
  4. The price needs to be taken into consideration.  

It may sound shallow but that was in order of importance!

We spent part of the past weekend  learning about wood stoves by visiting different wood stove dealers.  We asked lots of questions and were able to see - in person - some of the stoves I had researched on-line. The real dilemma in making the choice lay in what we want the stove for in the first place.  Our first priority is an alternative way to heat the house - the second is cooking.  I had to keep reminding myself of that goal.

My all time favourite is the Heartland Wood Cook stove - and who wouldn't love it???  It's even more beautiful in real life!  This is the stove I drooled over - almost literally...  The problem: It was pricey - about $7000.00 and It has a small firebox which means it needs to be restocked regularly and although many people use it to heat their homes I was looking for something that I could fill up and leave longer than the 7-8 hours max it is rated.  Chopping wood is not on my list of - I-can't-wait-to-do-this-some-more so if I gotta do the work then I want all the bang  for the buck I can get for my sweat equity. 

Blaze King
I've researched the most efficient wood stoves on the market in the past few weeks and came up with the Blaze King. It's Canadian-made wood stove with a catalytic system built right in to create less emissions and therefore less creosote.  In some cases it allows for a 40 hour burn! Wow - that's impressive.  I watched all the videos on Blaze King I could find.  Great technology.  The problem: it is the ugliest stove you have ever seen and it didn't improve AT ALL in person.  It's a big square ugly box and no matter how I squinted I could never imagine it in my dining room and therefore who cares what it costs :)  If it was out of sight - i.e.  a basement or a garage - it would be my first choice.

One of the others I wanted to see was the Esse cook stove.  This stove made in the UK has great reviews for heating a home and cooking.  It looks nice too.  I liked it but the price tag of $7000.00 was more than my budget could bear.

Esse Ironheart

So - we needed to look for something else.  We stopped in a place called Friendly Fires in Peterborough and walked into WOODSTOVE-COOKSTOVE-GAS-STOVE-BBQ HEAVEN!  We found really nice people who really knew what they were talking about.  We got the most answers to our questions of all our stops and they took their time to explain everything without making us feel we were taking too long (or we were dumb - which of course we were!)

All through this process I had my conversation with Michelle Mather (who lives completely off-grid) in the back of my mind.  Last year she pointed out that having a cookstove as your main cooking appliance meant you would have to fire up the beast in the middle of the summer in order to cook - oh yeah. Her suggestion was to get a good quality woodstove - and she and her husband Cam recommended the Pacific Energy Brand (and later get a gas cookstove that looked like the cookstove of my dreams. oooh!)  

After looking at many other brands we settled on one made by Pacific Energy - the Alderlea. 

Built around Pacific Energy’s legendary Super Series steel firebox, the Alderlea T5 combines the very best features of both cast iron and steel stoves. Elegant, historic cast iron styling that adds to the decor of any room, radiant and convective heat, huge glass for a full view of your fire, a concealed cook top for peace of mind during power outages all in a proven easy- lighting, clean, long-burning heater with 30 years of wood stove technology behind it.

Alderlea by Pacific Energy

Matt - they guy we talked to at Friendly Fires mentioned that one of the other men who worked there had guided the purchase of wood stoves for his whole family and wouldn't let them buy anything BUT an Alderlea because as a repair man he KNEW that these were the least likely to break down, the easiest to fix if they did and the most efficient.  Apparently people who own one never want anything else - even 20 years later they are coming back for the same stove.  Well - that was the kind of recommendation we were looking for. It's also pretty, it has a swing out cook top and the price of $2500.00 was more within the budget range.  

Alderlea by Pacific Energy

Our stove chimney will go straight up through the ceiling of the dining room, through the corner of second floor family room and out the sloped roof - the install cost was quoted at around $3000.00.  Spending that kind of money I think it's worth our while to purchase a really good stove rather than put an old stove in and hoping for the best.  I feel very confident the Alderlea will last for many years and safely do the job with style.

Soon we will have one more step done in the plan to be more self sufficient!

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Important Anouncement

Canadian Preppers Network Official Statement Regarding the Connecticut School Shootings  

It has come to our attention at the
Canadian Preppers Network that certain people in the media are now trying to make a connection between the peaceful, preppers community and Nancy Lanza, mother of Adam Lanza - the monster who brutally and savagely took the lives of so many innocent children and adults in Newton, Connecticut. Our members, and others around the globe who share our philosophy of being prepared in times of emergency, are sickened by this event. We too are fathers, mothers, brothers, sisters, sons and daughters and to associate CPN or any legitimate organization that stresses preparing for emergencies with this barbaric act goes against everything we collectively stand for.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Winter Prepping

Winter in Canada

The smells of beef stew in the crock pot and chestnuts roasting in the oven permeate the house. The snow falls slowly in large flakes that swirl then quickly gather and blanket the yard. It's winter in Canada and like it or not, that means winter prepping.
I like to make a winter checklist of things to do just before we get hit with the seasons' first snowfall.

Here's an example of my list:
-Get the furnace checked/ do annual maintenance
-Clean ducts
-Double check secondary heat sources (plug in heaters)
-If you're lucky enough to have a wood stove, check and do maintenance, top
 up wood storage
-If it's been 6 months- 1 year, check and refill water storage,
  move it to where it won't freeze
-Tune up the car, put winter tires on
-Make sure all vehicles have a safety kit containing at least:
     -candles, snacks, first aid kit, water, flashlight, blanket, gloves,
      folding shovel, kitty litter (for traction), and jumper cables.
      I like to put mine in an empty paint can which has multiple uses.
-Clean eaves troughs to prevent ice backup
-If necessary, put plastic insulation on interior windows
-Check salt storage or buy salt and replace any broken or damaged shovels
-Inventory your food storage and make sure nothing has invaded your pantry.
-Top up on ready to eat foods.
-Check over sleeping bags, make sure they're in good condition.
-Empty and restock bug out bags for winter survival, make sure all documents
 are up to date, copied and packed.

That's just an example of my list. Yours might be longer or shorter depending on your situation. I believe winter prepping is most vital to us Canadians as I believe winter to be our biggest threat. Not only does it pose health risks such as frostbite and hypothermia but a winter power outage can also cause serious damage to your home.

Here are some tips to help if you do experience a winter power outage:
-Close drapes/ blinds to conserve indoor heat.
  If necessary, hang blankets over windows to further this goal.
-Open taps to a slow drip to prevent pipes from freezing.
-Close off an interior room for household members by hanging a blanket
  in an open doorway, or by plugging drafts under existing doors.
  Restrict movement into and out of this room to maintain heat.
-Candles cause fires. If using candles maintain proper precautions by
  keeping them away from flammable sources, children and pets.
  Keep your battery powered carbon monoxide and smoke
  detectors in the same room along with a proper fire extinguisher.
-Never use a generator indoors or when wet, store fuel outdoors as well.
-Never use a BBQ indoors, fumes are deadly.

Remember that winter in Canada is not only inconvenient with the shoveling and travel hazards, it can be a serious event.
If you have any tips to share, please feel free to add them in the comments.