Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Prepper Bread - Part 1 - Bread Machines

Bread is often referred to as the life giving staple of humanity.  Every culture on earth has it's own version and they feed it to prisoners right?  Well, OK, maybe that last part is just folklore, but let's face it, there simply is no better way to enjoy all that peanut butter and home made jam you have stored up in the pantry.

The problem can you make bread during or just after a disaster?  The stores are closed, the power is out, and the stove doesn't work!  Well, there are a few ways you can turn your stored up flour into golden loaves.

Many of us see the need to mitigate short and medium term situations with a gas, diesel, or propane generator.  The best way to use them is to start them up and run for a couple of hours, say twice a day.  During these times, we can plug in the fridge to cool it down, charge our deep cycle batteries or NiMh cells, or any number of things.  One thing we can do is to plug in a bread machine.  I know, that's cheating right?  Nope..anything that helps is not cheating, it's surviving.

Most bread machines use 500 to 700 watts of power, so there should be no problem powering one from a genset.  There are 3 ways you can use one.
1 - basic bread setting.  These setting usually last about 3 hours and produce a pretty good quality loaf from some very basic ingredients.  There are plenty of recipes out there that use no milk, eggs, or other perishable items, with the exception of yeast.  That problem can be solved by buying individual packets of yeast that can be stored in the pantry.
2 - Rapid bread setting.  These settings last about an hour and are great time savers.  Unfortunately, I have yet to find a recipe that produces a good loaf.  Most of the time I get a very dense and sweet lump that barely rose, even though these recipes call for lots of yeast and sugar in an attempt to overcome the time restriction.  However, in a pinch they work and will at least bake a bread like substance.
3 - Dough Setting.  This is by far the most used setting on my bread machine.  In about 90 minutes, all the mixing, kneading, rising, knocking down, re rising labour intensive work is done for me.  Although bread machines are generally limited to 1.5 or 2 pound loaves, I can easily get a 3 pound dough done this way, which when turned out and put into pans, gives me 2 good sized loaves that I can bake in a dutch oven, outdoor bread oven, or even the sun oven...enough to go around the table filled with my prepper group.

Friday, January 24, 2014

Foraging or Looting - Semantics or Intent?

I subscribe to a preparedness newsletter and one of the articles this past fall was about looting.  As I started reading the article I was prepared to be offended because looting is bad – right?  However, the article questioned the difference between looting, which I perceive to be bad, and foraging, which I perceive to be good and in fact a very desirable trait.  I asked some friends about the two words and their meanings and my friends all came up with the difference between them being the person’s intent.
Looting after an NHL playoff game to celebrate or in anger at the result of the game, in my opinion should be prosecuted to the full extent of the law.  It serves no purpose, only irresponsibility and willful destruction of property. 
                On the other hand an example of foraging can be found in the Hollywood blockbuster from 2004 “The Day After Tomorrow” where a young Jake Gyllenhall playing the character of Sam Hall sheltered with friends in the New York Public library after New York had both been flooded and then frozen solid by global storms that pulled cold air out of the higher levels of the atmosphere.  To stay warm they gathered books from the library and tore them apart and burned them or stuffed them into their shirts to keep warm.   Foraging or looting?  Later in the movie, in an attempt to obtain penicillin to fight the infection of his sweetheart cut her leg, Gyllenhall as Sam Hall and two friends left the warmth of the library to search the ship that had floated through the flooded streets of New York and came to a rest in front of the library.  They broke into the ship to search for the medicine they needed causing destruction to accomplish their task.  Foraging or looting?
                I liked the answer my friends gave – the difference between foraging and looting likely is intent and the result likely is quite different.  You loot with no or little intent to use items in a life sustaining manner whereas you forage for exactly that reason.  Some of the items on my foraging list may include (based on circumstances):
-          Food, or more food than I have stored
-          Wood or other flammable items for cooking and heat
-          Medicines
-          Shelter, tents or lean to or snow caves or such
What items are on your foraging list

This post by Deanna from Briden Solutions - Proudly helping Canadians obtain high quality Survival supplies. 

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Emergencies and Natural Disasters Don't Always Happen in the Summer - SPAR Winter Field Day

The Society for the Preservation of Amateur Radio is holding its 6th annual winter field day this weekend.  The object of the practice is to set up emergency style communications and make as many contacts as possible in a 24 hour period.  Bonus points are given for operating outdoors, away from home, and without using commercial power.

Much like the summer field day held in June by another organization, amateur radio operators from all over will set out in a contest to make the most contacts possible.  The goal, on top of having fun, is to practice setting up and operating communications equipment in a disaster situation.

While some hams will be working the contest indoors, many will be using RVs, makeshift emergency communications trailers, or even camping out in tents.  The challenges are obvious, but not trivial.  Setting up antennas outdoors in sub zero temperatures can be a  frosty endeavor, not to mention keeping the radios and other gear, like computers warm enough to operate.

To learn more about amateur radio visit Radio Amateurs of Canada

To learn more about SPAR and Winter Field Day visit SPAR

Friday, January 17, 2014

What is Bitcoin?

After another stimulating episode of Coast to Coast (listen here) I was compelled to do some research into Bitcoin.  I have heard of it before but held minimal knowledge of its function.  My spidey senses are telling me that the time to get involved is now.  

What is Bitcoin?
Bitcoin is a peer-to-peer payment system and digital currency introduced in 2009. Users send payments by broadcasting digitally signed messages to a network. Participants, known as miners, verify and timestamp transactions into a shared public database called the block chain, for which they are rewarded with transaction fees and newly minted bitcoins. 
Sending and transacting money online in a traditional fashion is an expensive process.  Percent fees, transaction fees, double dipping on fees, you get my point.  Many warnings involve the hesitation of large money moving corporations losing out on fees.  Bitcoin has minimal to no transaction fees.  Money is exchanged directly between individuals and business.
There is no Federal Reserve controlling Bitcoin, it is a digital unit used to purchase real world goods and services.  Instead of one or two people deciding to print more money, diluting the value, it is based on a complex mathematical code.
Us like minded folk strive for complete and utter independence from all that is big box and corporate.  Bitcoin isn't a new thing but it may be new to you.  Now that momentum is picking up I encourage you to educate yourself and see if Bitcoin is right for you.  Imagine complete and independent currency, governed by majority, it's definitely something worth looking into. 
This blog is intended to tweak your interest and have you do some research on your own time to see if Bitcoin is a fit for you. I will personally begin, what they call, mining and will keep you posted with my experiences.  GOOD LUCK! 
Get started with Bitcoin

Keeping with the Times!

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Surrey, BC.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Mapping a Road to Self-sufficiency - Guest Post by Lee Flynn

Mapping a Road to Self-sufficiency

Self-sufficiency is defined as being able to take care of one's self without the assistance of others. This does not mean that self-sufficient person does not need other people, it means that they take their present and futures into their own hands as much as humanly possible. They accept responsibility for their own well-being by working, planning and saving for the future.

Mapping a road to self-sufficiency and developing an attitude of prepared
ness begins early in life with encouragement and teaching by family and others who care about children. Getting a good early education and preparing for the future by getting training or a degree that will lead to gainful employment are both strategies that help ensure self-sufficiency. There is also another side to self-sufficiency that people sometimes take for granted until they have no choice, and that is being prepared for a disaster, whether it is natural or man-made.

Being self-sufficient during an emergency situation requires some strategic planning sense no one is certain of when a disaster could strike. There are some plans that can be put in place which will work in any emergency situation whether a disaster or periods of unemployment. The following recommendations can help those who want to be self-sufficient when unexpected circumstances arise.

Food is a major concern whenever there is an emergency. Planning for emergency food is one of the most important aspects of thinking ahead and being self-sufficient during a disaster. Typically, about three days of emergency food should suffice. However, emergency foods should be those with long shelf lives, such as canned foods, dehydrated or freeze dried foods and similar non-perishables. These are best because they can be kept in a disaster supplies kit for longer periods of time. Such food should be kept in a cool, dark and dry place to maximize shelf life.

When planning an emergency food supply, keep in mind foods for babies and those on special diets and if pets are part of the family, they will also need food.

It is also important to choose foods that are not high in salt because these will increase the need for water, and water might be rationed during an emergency. Water is essential for survival. Each human and pet needs about one gallon of water each day and if the climate is hot, more water should be stored. Clean potable tap water can be stored for around six months. Water should be stored in clean and sanitized food-grade containers. Commercially bottled water can be stored and used in accordance with the expiration date on the container.

Other supplies that should be kept on hand for disasters and emergencies are paper products like cups and plates, disposable knives, forks, spoons, paper towels and manual can openers. Unscented liquid household bleach for disinfecting and sanitizing, batteries and cooking utensils round out the list. Baby diapers should also be kept on hand if their are babies or toddlers in the family. A first aid kit, flashlight should be a part of the emergency supplies kit. It is also important to save money and keep some cash on hand since ATM machines and banks will be affected by long-term power outages. Budgeting and saving money will also help when a family suffers a job loss.

Generally when cooking is done, it is on a charcoal grill or other non-electric source. Charcoal or gas grills should never be used indoors.

Planning for self-sufficiency not only helps the family that does the planning. It frees up resources to help others who for whatever reasons are not able to prepare. It also provides more time for an individual or family to attend to other important tasks since for the first few days they will not need to worry about finding the essentials.

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

The Year Ahead for the Canadian Preppers Network

Welcome everyone to a brand new year filled with opportunities.  We are making a few changes in the new year in hopes of livening up the site a bit and getting as many Canadians as possible prepared for what may be.

Uniting The Blogs
In the past, the CPN was describes as a group of interconnected provincial blogs.  We have decided to bring all the provincial blogs here under one roof so that Canadians from all provinces can intermingle under one unified blog.  With this change, you will see articles by some of the former provincial bloggers, as the ones still actively posting were invited to continue to do so here.  Also, we have at least one new blogger on board, and hopefully more to come.  The links to the old provincial blogs on the left sidebar will now redirect to the Canadian Preppers Network Forum, where you can take part in discussions about anything prepper.

Sponsored Posts 
The sponsored post program started last year proved successful.  There were some interesting prizes given away and we will continue to work with both Briden Solutions and Chylan Gear to continue this through 2014.  In order not to over commercialize the blog, these posts are limited to once per week, on Fridays.  Although this is an advertising opportunity for them, I am confident that their posts will continue to offer informative information as they have in the past.

New Bloggers Wanted
We are always on the look out for new bloggers.  The posting method has been changed, so you no longer need to sign up for a Google account in order to post.  If you think you can provide an interesting and prepper related article from time to time, please feel free to contact me.  You don't have to commit to a schedule, just do what you can when you can.

I am confident that the Canadian Preppers Network will continue to be a leader in the education and unification of Canadian prepers as well as being a flagship blog promoting the mainstream acceptance of the preparedness mindset.  May you all have a prosperous and safe year as we all prepare for the worst while hoping for the best.

Friday, January 3, 2014

The Chylan Greenhouse Project

While the odds seem to be against us in the overall destruction of our planet and its food sources each one of us has the ability to play a role in an evolution of urban gardening. Have you ever noticed that one little weed, a tiny green stem of life, poking through the cracks of cement on the side walk?  That little weed represents the resilience of Mother Nature and how she can overcome all obstacles.  This brings us to the Chylan goal for 2014, mastering urban gardening. Our first project will be the construction of a green house.  We will be posting our progress and encouraging you, the reader to join in.  If you already have a greenhouse think about adding another, people got eat right?  We do not claim to be experts, just a family with a strong desire to make an impact.  This will be a trial and error project.  You will learn from our mistakes and celebrate our victories and if you are also an amateur at this whole urban gardening scene it will be a great way to learn and grow as a team.  If you are local to the Lower Mainland we will be hosting regular classes in gardening provided by our local environmental program.  We encourage you to LIKE Chylan on Facebook HERE for regular updates on classes and more. 

Our Green House Project will consist of Three Phases
  1. Picking the right plan
  2. Construction
  3. Getting started with seeds

Each Month we will update our progress to the Canadian Preppers Blog.  We will also have more detailed updates posted to our Chylan Blog that you can follow HERE.  You can also submit to our newsletter HERE for updates in our progress and other upcoming events and information at Chylan. 

Phase 1 – Picking the Right Plan

Greenhouse Size – Determine what size greenhouse you will need.  In order to do this you must assess your goals.  Do you want to grow most of your own food or simply grow as a hobby and provide sanctuary? Our goal is to grow our own food and reduce our grocery bill.  Hobbyists should consider smaller units where as those with goals to grow most of their own food will need a larger plan with the possibility of expansion in the future.

Know your Limitations – Don’t try and build something suitable for Home & Garden Television if you have experience with a saw.  What I am saying is don’t set yourself up for failure.  Keep it simple and basic and make sure you have a good plan before getting out the saw. 

Keep it Square and Level – Any successful project starts off with a solid foundation.  If your foundation is not level and angles don’t align your end result will follow suite.

Frame – Find a design that you would like to work with.  The web is full of design templates that are free.  We have decided on the classic wooden frame.  We have a basic carpentry skill level so this is something we feel we are capable of completing successfully.  There are other options if you don’t have any carpentry experience such as a PVC frame.  Click HERE for the basic plan for a traditional wooden green house that we will be following

Materials - Be sure to choose woods that are rot resistant. Treated wood should be avoided because the condensation on your greenhouses windows will form droplets that will drain down into your soil. All those chemicals will leech into your soil, kill your plants, and pose a health risk to you if you were to eat the fruits and vegetables grown in contaminated soil.

Greenhouse Panels – Your choices are glass, polycarbonate, acrylic, plastic film and fiberglass.  Do your research, there are pros and cons to all and it depends on your skill level as to what you will be capable of using.  Our choice will be the polycarbonate, it has a shelf life of about 20 years, it’s easy to cut, it is strong and great at diffusing light.

So there you have it, let’s get started.  What you need to do is asses your goals and skill level, create a plan based on them with material that suites your desired outcome and budget.  Stay tuned for our progress and post any comments or suggestions.  We encourage any sort of feedback to help us along our way to our Urban Garden Paradise.  Next month will be all about Phase 2: Construction…….HAPPY PLANNING! 

Master Urban Gardeners in the Making!

Visit us on the web at
or in person
109-6039 196th Street
Surrey, BC.