Tuesday, July 5, 2016


There are worst things a man could do this holiday, but plinking with guns, helping teach women to shoot and following all of this up with a large herd of pigs in the smoker. Surely that ranks right up there with Mom's Apple Pie, the American Flag, God Bless America and smothering our faces in grease and BBQ sauce.

We played all day at a private range yesterday. My wife, her pal and I had been asked by a group of women for private lessons awhile back and yesterday was the arranged day. We taught them all to shoot safely and then gave them the opportunity to try a few other guns on the range. Nothing but smiles and all wanted class #2 soon. I have been teaching all of my life, and nothing beats teaching any subject to students with alert and interested minds. The girls  added more skills to their first line of defense this day. All grounded women in the realities of life and taking care of themselves and family.

Afterwards, my wife (an NRA Instructor), her pal (also an NRA instructor) and I stopped in for a late afternoon burger and a few cold sodas on the way home. The little out-of-the-way restaurant boasts of the best burgers in the state. We have never been disappointed. We did discuss over lunch a little of what we were doing, re-talking a few points of the day and gal behind the counter chimed in. Tall gal, no-nonsense kind of woman. Explained she had been robbed once already and that she now packs a revolver. “Not going to happen again.” Not a women to be pushed. Dry sense of humor and visible aura of “not on my watch.”

A young man came in sat down. Dirty from a hard days work as a landscaper, hot, tired and hungry. Man's man!! He heard part of our conversation and with a smile said that no one needs a gun. (Just had to open that door). “I have never ever needed a gun---always leave my doors open---never ever had a problem.” Then he looked at us and just could not resist pouring salt on “guns.” “What are you afraid of?” The sly smile appeared again. “Not a fu**ing thing” said our pal sitting between my wife and me. She looked at him and explained that there is no thing or no one she is afraid of. The gal behind the counter told him that she had been robbed and there was an operating heroin house just across the street. Yep, here in little ol podunk middle New England where we do not lock our doors and nothing ever happens and who needs a gun anyway. Then he said, “well maybe you do need a gun”, adding that damn little half assed grin.

Maybe he meant well, but had very little tact when opening the gun door for discussion, especially in a woman's business that had previously been robbed. Crap happens and sometimes it can even happen to “anyone.” A parking lot and surrounding area looks very different to a lone women closing and leaving her business at 9PM every night. But what is she afraid of? Nothing. And that's how it should be.

So, the 4th brought four racks of ribs smoked, cooked and finished off on the grill along with fresh yellow squash picked this morning in the garden. Been a great weekend. Got a few chores done, spent an afternoon with folks who have American's back AND ate like kings.

God Bless this great land of ours!!

Friday, July 1, 2016


I have been a fan of making our own 5-gallon buckets of emergency food preps. I gave into the notion that I could do it better, cheaper and put a few buckets away of food we would actually eat. I still prescribe to that.

That being said, I have picked up a few MRE's at camping stores and supermarkets. The main course to which hot water is added and, after 15 minutes or so, the meal is ready to eat. Common among out-packers, hunters and campers. These meals also serve well in an emergency and will store for years in a cool dry place. There are a variety of meals to choose from and purchase to your tastes and likes. Might as well have a meal that you will eat and enjoy over the course of a week or two downturn. 

A couple water heating options:

For the past few months now, I have been thinking of pre-packing emergency meals in our two vehicles. Three days of food basics and water. No presumption we would carry these, just have them pre-loaded should we have little time to pack the vehicles and go. Think wildfire, earthquake or some unthinkable event mandating we leave our home. Or an event, when we are on the road and away from home, that finds us quarantined till further notice. Three days of planned MRE's/water will not take up much of the everyday space use in our cars. Minimizing some stress through pre-planning.

We happened on military MREs a few days ago. I remember MREs from Vietnam (C Rations) and find these new military MREs seemingly improved in menu and flavor. Worth a try and learning.

Contents: This meal was $8.99

Southwest Beef & Black Beans
Spiced apples
Chocolate banana muffin top
Turkey nuggets
Cheese spread, JalapeƱo
Mocha cappuccino
Accessory packet B---Sugar free beverage-Salt-Chewing Gum-Toilet Tissue-Towelette -Spoon-Flameless ration heater .

  1. Mocha Cappuccino drink was good. Cut top off package, add hot water to line indicated, fold top, shake and best poured into a cup. Can also drink it cold. While pouring hot water into the top of the pouch, I spilled some on my hand holding the pouch. I tried not to, but did anyway. No burn. This pouch has printed instructions on it. Most do not. A good idea of have some kind of camping cup that will serve for hot soups, coffee and rations needing hot water added. I used the Jet Boil to heat the water. Two minutes to boil.
  2. Toaster Pastry. Well, there ya go. A Kellogg's pop tart, brown sugar cinnamon. Good flavor, sweet snack will be ok in an emergency. Has after taste. First Pop Tart I have ever tasted!!
  3. Apple pieces in spiced sauce. Good portion, rip open and eat with a spoon. Not too sweet and flavor ok. Had a few spoonfuls to help with decision-making here. It did not get better nor did it get worse. Fruit in an emergency meal will be welcomed.
  4. Tortillas Plain. I added the cheese sauce packet on top because that was all that was left that might use cheese sauce. Yep, squeezed cheese on a dry tortilla (2 packaged). There is an after taste here, too. OK in an emergency. My wife watched me try this and laughed out loud.
  5. Turkey Nuggets. I do not know what to do with these. A hard “chunklet” vacuumed packed. Maybe open / add hot water? Maybe heat up in water?
  6. Southwest Style Beef and Black Beans. Main course and followed instructions. Good portion size. Squeezed and moved contents around in pouch before heating. I made sure the heater box was opened and would easily receive the heater and food packet when the water was added to activate the heater. Within 15 seconds, the heat starts to generate and it gets hot hot. The packet would have been too hot to handle had I waited longer to get it tucked into the cardboard box. You will not want kids doing this. I let it cook 15 minutes and did turn the box a couple times. The amount of heat generated in this process is impressive. Find a video or two on line and watch if you have never tried a MRE meal like this. Hot to remove and open. Poured on plate and ate all of it with the remaining tortillas this morning, taco style. Wife liked the flavor “very much.” 

  • Time-consuming and a lot of waste product. (But keep the spoon!!)
  • Expensive for what you get and bulky.
  • Nothing to put the cheese sauce on.
  • Turkey nuggets currently a mystery.
  • Military MREs will work fine if you want nothing to do with prepping, yet want emergency meals. Buy one and go through the whole process first. Involve the family when you try this.
  • Some MRE meals require that you are able to heat water.
  • Best for after camping site is set up and working.
  • Good for in-home use.
  • Yes, these will work and feed folks in an emergency.
  • $100 will buy a case of 12 meals.

Wife wants nothing to do with the whole process after watching me this morning. “Give me peanut butter cups, tuna in a pouch, beans/chili from a can, Vienna Sausages and Wasa Crackers.” It was not the taste of food, but the process and waste products for her.

Over the past years, I have purchased a Jet Boil and a Kelly Kettle as seen in the two top URL's. The Jet Boil is compact and versatile for heating foods. Requires fuel cans that are also compact. The Kelly Kettle is bulky and only heats water. Works with any wood fuel, sticks or branches. Both perform and are reliable. Two great tools in my opinion. (Do your home work on water heating options). In the after, wife and I require our morning coffee. So heating water is planned for. Coffee is packed and planned for.

Stepping back and looking at all of this now, the process was more important to me. MREs will work, expensive but oh-so convenient. Seems like everything these days is a work in progress. Right now, today my "throw and go" stuff is a mixture of one pre-packed MRE and the rest are homemade.