Saturday, July 15, 2017

Prepper food pantry: part 1

I have been putting off starting my non-perishable food pantry for a while now, too long honestly.  There always seamed to be some emergency that would come up at the last minute, but this weekend the day came that I carved a little money out of the budget and focused on gathering some food that required no refrigeration, and minimal prep time in most cases.  Keep in mind, I already have three days supply of Mountain House food for my family in sealed buckets, which are thirty year shelf stable.  That said, with the cost involved in them, I wondered how a walk down the grocery aisle stacked up price/calorie wise.  It is well worth pointing out most of the items on this list are NOT going to last more than a couple of years in good conditions, and will require a regular regimen of rotation to keep from spoiling.

Storage:  Others may opt for mylar bags, but I chose food grade buckets and oxygen absorber packs.

Note: The below is based on my local prices, yours may be slightly different.  Overall trends should be reasonably similar though.

1.  Rice - If I even have to point this out to you, you really need to step up your prepping game.  Rice has long been a staple food for many nations and cultures, being robust and easy to grow while packing in the calories.  It topped out our list for frugal prepper food at 2325 calories per dollar. In appropriately sealed containers, kept dry, this should have a fairly substantial shelf life.

2.  Peanut Butter - Also high up the list, surprisingly beating our number 3 item, is peanut butter.  1637 calories per dollar, able to sit on a shelf without refrigeration for at least a year (I can't say longer, as I haven't stored it much longer than a year), and packed with nutrients, this is another obvious choice.

3.  Black Beans - Black beans were cheaper than red beans when I went, so that's what I got.  Adjust your shopping to your tastes and preference.  1581 calories per dollar, a natural pairing with rice, not difficult to cook and very filling in the absence of a meat option.

4.  Peanuts - See peanut butter, 1129 calories per dollar.  Also have the benefit of being portable, easier to eat than peanut butter, and kept dry last longer.

5.  Instant Oatmeal - Being a dried grain, and something I'm likely to get my five year old to eat without bloodshed, this went in the basket as a low prep breakfast option.  At 802 calories per dollar, it's also a good option for frugality and energy.

6.  Nature's Valley Almond Bars - I wanted, and will add to this later, some sort of energy bar that was quick and easy to consume, no prep, individually packaged, no chocolate or other nonsense to make a mess when it gets hot.  591 calories per dollar wasn't too shabby either as we get into the pre-packaged stuff.

7.  Almonds - 544 calories per dollar.  Little different flavor for when the peanuts get old, not devoid of nutrition but more expensive than peanuts.

8.  Quinoa - Key No What???  My wife added this to the shopping list, some sort of grain rice substitute native to Hawaii.  Very nutritious, grains are much smaller than rice so it stores better taking up less space and weight, more expensive.  496 calories per dollar but not a bad choice.

9.  Evaporated Milk - 469 calories per dollar, I don't have a cow hitched up behind the house so this'll be what I lean on to keep the calcium flowing when refrigeration runs out.

10.  Tuna Fish - Good for nutrients that you won't find as plentiful in grains, but only 108 calories per dollar.  In a pinch, I'd get a rod and real and try my luck at catching something.

11.  Jack Links Beef Jerky - After a conversation with my wife today, we're looking into a dehydrator to start making our own beef jerky and dried fruit.  In the mean time, this will provide a good source of portable, no prep, easy to consume protein.  The calorie per dollar figure is a paltry 80, which could be partially mitigated by making it ourselves.

12.  Canned chicken breast - Bringing up the rear with 67 calories per dollar, this is another solid protein option for when tuna fish gets old, but not as efficient per dollar as grains.

Mountain House Essentials Buckets - based on the math I just did, my Mountain House brand meals come in right at 92 calories per dollar, being more costly per calorie than nearly my entire list.  Their only benefit is portability, and shelf life.  If money isn't your concern, and you want the easy option, Mountain House or a similar freeze dried survival/camping food is something I would consider.

The table I wrote up is below summarizing all the information.  Leave me your comments please, I'd love to hear what everyone out there is putting away for a rainy day.  Expect more on this in the future, as based on my calculations we spent $154 and the calories represented here should supply my family for roughly 18 days (for two adults and one child.)  I'm aiming for a three week supply of food and water once we are done. - Phil Rabalais

Matter of Facts Podcast, with video on YouTube

Matter of Facts Podcast is now being cross posted to YouTube.  Starting with Episode 27, you can subject yourself to the horror that is Andrew and I's radio faces.  The traditional RSS feed audio only podcast will continue on regardless.

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Stop listening to internet gun experts....

And yes, I know how funny that sounds coming from someone on the internet (I've never claimed to be an expert, more on that later.)  But seriously, please, stop listening to internet gun experts.  I have seen and heard more mythology, misinformation, and flat out nonsense spread by the various disciples of whatever shooting discipline/armed service/professional shooter is in vogue at the moment than I care to recount.  Some of it is actually based on a nugget of truth, but is horribly taken out of context, while some is absolutely factually inaccurate and irrational.  Here is a list of what annoys me. 
  • Always carry with one in the chamber - unless you have an older gun that is not drop safe.  Yes, there are a lot of them out there, still in circulation.  The more educated of us can figure out which is which, the less educated can not.  Always having one in the chamber can be a liability depending on the firearm.
    • Conversely, never carry with one in the chamber.  If your gun handling ability is so marginal that even having a round in your chamber is cause for fear, you need more practice.  If you have a specific firearm that doesn't make this a good decision, that's a specific issue but a broad sweeping statement to keep the gun clear is simply not rational.
  • Always carry ready to shoot/cocked and locked/hammer down - Every gun is different.  I have a Canik C100 double action/single action semi auto.  I refuse to carry the gun decocked, ever.  The gun came with a manual safety instead of a decocker (like my CZ P-09), and I'm not fond of thumbing the hammer down on a live round.  Do that enough times, one day complacency will set in and Murphy will bite you in the butt and punch a hole through your wall.  On the other hand, I always keep my P-09 decocked on a live chamber, as that is how that gun with the decocker installed is designed to be carried.
    • Similarly, there is no reason NOT to carry a 1911 cocked and locked.  That's how the gun was designed to be carried.
    • Similarly, if you opt to pocket carry or have a holster that does not fully conceal the hammer, don't you dare do it with the firearm hot.  You are inviting trouble.
    • Every gun/carry rig will lend itself towards certain gun handling methods.  Don't be a knucklehead and make broad sweeping statements.
  • Glocks suck - I do not care for Glocks.  They feel cheap and plasticky to me, I don't care for the ergonomics or grip angle, and I hate the fact that every tacticool range nerd on Earth has six of them in his bag.  BUT, they are reliable firearms with a robust knowledge base and endless accessories and holsters and they wouldn't be a bad choice for anyone's arsenal.
    • 1911's suck, AR's suck, AK's suck, Brown Bess's suck, Kentucky Long Rifles suck/ ETC - Listen, we can sit here all night and quote chapter and verse of why one firearm is superior to another, but the fact is if it reliably projects high velocity lead you HAVE to at least admit it's a viable self defense option. The person that can't admit that anything other than his favorite gun deserves any place in your arsenal is either selling a certain gun or has his ego so wrapped up in his firearms he's lost his objectivity.
  • Knock down power - Has been disapproved again, and again, AND AGAIN.  If a bullet fired from a handgun can knock a 150-250 pound man over, it would have sent the shooter sailing due to basic physics.  Now, there is such a thing as a round's ability to disrupt tissue, transfer energy, incapacitate an individual quickly, etc. and perhaps most people use the terms interchangeably.  But seriously, you aren't going to knock a person into the next room through a wall, so let's put this term to rest.  Please.
  • 9mm is a poodle shooter/5.56 is too small/45 or die/ETC - Same argument as a specific gun being the only viable self defense firearm.  People have died after being accidentally shot with a 22LR.  You don't need to conceal carry a 20mm to make sure you aren't under gunned.  Some (and myself) will recommend certain rounds over others, but when a polite recommendation turns into frat boy "bro talk" it's time to take a walk.
  • I'm a space shuttle door gunner/3 gun shooter/IPSC/I'm a big deal at my local range - If a person's whole argument is that their resume lends credence to whatever they are spouting, it's probably because SOMETHING has to due to their techniques/advice being anywhere from suspect to flat out ridiculous.
Mostly, I just hate people that deal in absolutes.  You can narrowly define a situation to make MOST of the above true, but if you have to narrowly define the argument then it probably doesn't work that well.  Each firearm, cartridge, situation, shooter, and environment are different and to reach the maximum effectiveness each needs to be considered individually.  Give some thought to that next time someone else (or even ourselves, I've been guilty at one time or another of some of the above) starts insisting THEY have discovered some universal truth that makes everyone else in the room wrong. - Phil Rabalais