Radio rambling

I don’t know if the local radio programming changed, or if my schedule changed to the point that I fell into the time slot…BUT…. what is up with this Alex Jones guy?

I mean, I’ve got a bit of tinfoil lining my ranger cap but this guy is out where the buses don’t run. I mean, I’ve heard all the conspiracy theories, and from people who said them with a straight face and earnest seriousness, but this guy is just…

Now, of course maybe I’m wrong. Maybe the MK Ultra programming by the Illuminati is reacting with the chemtrails and nanobots in my flu shot. I mean, that’s perfectly reasonable, right?

It was like Coast To Coast AM for people who don’t have trouble sleeping.

Bunker Gumbo

Although most folks regard me as some sort of Firearms Guru And Resident Montana Love God, I’m slightly more faceted than that. Not much, mind you..but slightly. Some folks think that I like to cook. Not so. I like to eat, cooking is just how I get there. The side effect of that, of course, is that I’m a pretty decent cook.

Chicken Gumbo with a small ball of white rice. All it needs is a few sliced green onions on top for color.

So it’s winter in Montana and, really, who has time to cook? But sometimes you want something satisfying for those cold winter days. A few months back I was at a restaurant with a friend and they had chicken gumbo on the menu. Cool. So I ordered it up and, while good, there was an element missing. I asked the waitress to check with the kitchen and confirm my suspicion. Indeed…there was no okra in the gumbo. Without okra it is not gumbo, it is simply soup. So, I decided I’d start working on a recipe to make my own gumbo.

After a half dozen attempts, which were all pretty good actually, I settled on one recipe which I tweak a little bit here and there. I’m simmering a yuuuuuge batch of it right now. Some will get frozen, and some will get pressure canned. Here’s the recipe as I found it. The original recipe is bold, my comments are not:

  • 2 tablespoons vegetable shortening. Screw it, I use butter. Because butter.
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 1-2 pounds of diced chicken. I used skinless, boneless chicken breast. I like lotsa meat so I usually go with 1.5-2#. Adjust as you see fit.
  • 5 cups chicken broth or stock. I’m lazy, so I use canned.
  • 2 onions, finely chopped. I run it through my Cuisinart to get it nice and fine.
  • 2-3 ribs celery. I cut these into narrow strips and mince them as small as I can.
  • 1 green pepper. Cut up same as celery.
  • 8 tomatoes, diced. Again, lazy. I use 2 cans of diced tomatoes.
  • 1/2 pound okra cut into 1/4″ pieces. I use frozen.
  • 1/4 teaspoon thyme
  • 1 bay leaf. I use a couple more than that.
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 teaspoon salt – Way too much salt, IMHO.I use about 1/4 and then salt later in the simmering, or, more often, at the table. Salting too early always seems work out poorly. Salt food as a final step.
  • 1/2 cup uncooked rice – I’ll add rice if Im not canning it later. When I do add rice, I add about 3/4 cup. I like a thick gumbo and the rice absorbs excess liquid.
  • Cajun seasoning – not in original recipe. I cook the chicken in this and save some for seasoning during simmering.
  • Hot sauce or Tobasco – Again, not in original. Used for seasoning in the simmering process.

Take the chicken and cut it up into small pieces, kinda like you were doing a stir fry, and cook in butter with a sprinkling of cajun spices. Cook until chicken is no longer translucent. Set chicken aside.

Melt the shortening or butter, and add the flour. Stir over low/med heat until flour is browned. Don’t burn it or you’re screwed.

Add the trinity: onions, peppers, celery and cook until onion is translucent. I usually throw in some more butter.

Add broth slowly, stirring all the while.until it reaches boiling.

Add tomatoes, okra, rice, celery, salt, pepper, thyme, and bay leaf; bring to boil.

Take the cooked chicken and chop it up into the size pieces you want. I run it through my Cuisinart using a dough blade (plastic) instead of the sharp (metal) blade. Shreds it nicely. Add the chicken to the pot. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, cover, and simmer.

How long? I let it go for a couple hours but its up to you.

In the simmering, I’ll add a little hot sauce or Tabasco to give it some body. Use your own discretion. You can also add more Cajun/Creole seasoning during the simmer process to really dial it in.

I don’t use the rice in the cooking process because in canning, the rice gets mushy. If I want rice I’ll cook some up and add it to the gumbo at the time I’m consuming it.

I usually add a couple more bay leaves than called for. Depending on how thick or thin you want your gumbo, simmering uncovered will reduce it or you can add some uncooked rice to suck up excess liquid. For storage, more liquid seems to work out better for reheating purposes.

And. of course, time to break out the Manhattan Project gear and can this stuff…

Looks like a SADM looking for a place to happen.

The canner is an All American #925. It should be called All Your American Money. It’s wildy expensive but it is literally built to last a lifetime. Holds 19 pints or 7 quarts. No gasket to replace. Here to stay, built to last. Pay alot, cry once. Zero recommends.

If you don’t have a good pressure canner, I highly recommend this one. It has worked flawlessly for me in the almost-ten-years I’ve had it. It lets you can a large amount of food and can double as an autoclave. (And probably as a water distillation device with the proper tubing.)

And , yes, there probably shoulda been some Andouille in there but it isn’t easy to find good sausage.

Real world eating of decades old freeze-dried food

A timely collection of posts about eating some Mountain House from way back when.

Claire, over at http://www.clairewolfe.com/blog/ , was kind enough to email me and bring to my attention this series of posts from a blog I should have been reading for a while. (And how awesome is it to actually be friends with Gun Jesus, aka Ian McCollum?)

And though I’ve mentioned it before, it’s worth a bump: Mountain House: Food that has lasted half a long lifetime

Real-world results trump theory every time.

Book review – The Mandibles: A Family, 2029-2047

So this showed up in my mailbox a couple weeks ago:

The Mandibles: A Family, 2029-2047

Short version: Worth the read.

Longer version:

Post-apocalyptic fiction is a tough nut to crack. You either go with guns and cannibals, like pretty much everything written since ‘Lucifers Hammer’ or you try to give a less ‘action movie’ apocalypse and deal more with day to day stuff like ‘Alas Babylon’. Some fiction tries to promote an agenda or belief, some just wants a body count. But regardless of the style of apocalypse, if it isn’t well-written no amount of gun-battles and zombies is going to make you want to make it to the final chapter.

“The Mandibles” goes for the ‘economic collapse’ flavor of apocalypse. The US defaults on it’s debts, becomes an economic pariah, and tries to inflate it’s way outta things. In the midst of this are several generations of the Mandible family who were counting on their family wealth but instead watch it vanish. The story covers several members who represent various mindsets and lifestyles…the practical, the pessimistic, the naive, the possibly sociopathic, the intelligentsia, and others.

What I found that made the story compelling was the fairly realistic, as I see it, representation of how daily life changes as the economy disintegrates. Our characters lose jobs, face empty supermarkets, inflated prices, evictions, robberies, medical emergencies, and eventually totalitarian government, all through the course of the book.

Although I disliked the last couple chapters of the book, which seemed to turn a gritty somewhat-reality-based economic collapse into a L. Neil Smith libertarian fantasy, I really enjoyed the book in general. I’ve always said that the hallmark of good fiction is if it makes you think about things in ways that you might not have otherwise. In this case, after reading though the book in one sitting, I found myself inventorying my precious metals stash and resolving to make some future purchases. Yes, I’m that susceptible to things I read.

Gunplay? Virtually none. Cannibal army? None. But was it compelling reading? Absolutely. Only one character in the book seemed to have any grasp of the severity of the situation and the implications for the future. I found myself eagerly waiting for the parts where he would respond to the situations without the normalcy bias everyone else seemed to have.

My impression: good book, enjoyable read, not for the person who wants all-action-all-the-time, but definitely good for someone who wants to imagine a ‘wargame’ of riding out the dollars collapse in a big city.

MH buy, snowshoes

Working on setting up the MH buy. Everyone who emailed, check your email. Someone’s email keeps getting bounced to me…so, M.R., try emailing me a different address to reply to.


We don’t get alot of snow in this particular chunk o’ Montana, so I never really worried about snowshoes. But, we don’t get a lot of zombie apocalypses either and yet I’m getting a couple pallets of Mountain House….. So, I figured I’d risk fifty bucks and order those surplus snowshoes we constantly see in all the surplus catalogs. (Fifty bucks over at Sportsmans Guide) They arrived today.

Virtually everything I have read says that the issued bindings suck like a Hoover with a hemi. An alternative binding was recommended. However, always up for a challenge and willing to experiment with surplus gear, I figured I’d try the military bindings. The intimidating part is getting them on the stupid snowshoes. Fortunately, YouTube to the rescue:


Sure, I had to rewind a couple times but I think I got it figured out. I need to go out in the hills where theres a good bit more snow and try these out. But…its one more thing off my list. I’ve been meaning to give snowshoeing a try…it appeals to my desire to be out in the boonies away from all the stupid humans.

Ordered up two pair of snowshoes…one is none and all that jazz. Did a search for “Sportsmans Guide Coupons” and found a coupon for free shipping, so that worked out well. Now I just need to dig out the winter camo, put the winter furniture on the PTR, and go tromp in the woods.

Food

The MH purchase will be a pretty hefty discount off MSRP. Send me an email if youreinterested. I’ll reply with a detailed list, including shipping weights, so you can calulate your shipping and see if it’ll work for you.

zero@commanderzero.com

Link – The Great Starvation Experiment

Starvation is something that has always fascinated me. Not the actual mechanics of it, although that does have some fascinating features, but rather what it does to the mind of the starvation victim.

We are all familiar with the phrase “Hungry people are dangerous people”, but that’s really just an abstract concept for many of us because we’ve never been truly hungry. I don’t mean ‘hungry’ as in “I haven’t eaten since yesterday afternoon”…I mean hungry as in ‘behind barbed wire’ hungry. The kind of hungry that comes from someone purposefully depriving you of food, or from there literally being no food available.

I’ve mentioned it before, but at the end of World War Two a scientist decided to see what actually happened when you starved people. He lined up some volunteers, starved them, and took notes. The result was the Minnesota Starvation Experiment.

Here’s a link to a website with some good info about it.

Worth noting is that many of the subjects became ‘obsessed’ with food and it became a primary focus of their waking hours. This part is interesting:

The stress proved too much for one of the men, twenty-four-year-old Franklin Watkins. He began having vivid, disturbing dreams of cannibalism in which he was eating the flesh of an old man. On trips into town (before the buddy system had been implemented), he cheated extravagantly, downing milk shakes and sundaes. Finally Keys confronted him, and Watkins broke down sobbing. Then he grew angry and threatened to kill Keys and take his own life.

Mind you, these were people who knew it was an experiment. They knew they wouldn’t starve to death. But….what starvation does to the mind is interesting. To continue:

Almost sixty years later, in 2003, 19 of the original 36 volunteers remained alive. Of these survivors, 18 were interviewed as part of an oral history project about the experiment. They admitted that there had been some lingering aftereffects of the experiment. For instance, for many years they were haunted by a fear that food might be taken away from them again.

Notably, two of the survivors from the Essex are reported to have hoarded food in the later parts of their life. I’ve also read of death camp survivors from World War Two who, even fifty years later, never went anywhere without pockets full of crackers or snacks.

So, yeah, in a world where the ‘rule of law’, such as it is, may be a tad thin someone starving (or watching a loved one starve) is probably going to be a remarkably dangerous, virtually feral, individual.

The solution? Well, don’t be there. Second solution, have lots of food. Have lots of food in several locations.

Which brings me to Mountain House. I was thinking about putting in a big order with them in March. It’s $3500 for a minimum order and I was toying with seeing if anyone here wanted to see if we could get enough people on board to make it happen. This would be for the #10 cans, whole cases… no broken cases. We’d probably have to set some sort of minimum on it, like $200 just to keep it manageable. But..if there’s enough demand we could make it happen. Figure pricing would be around 25-30% off MSRP. Local pickup would be available for those so inclined. Give it some thought.

ETA: Email me if youre interested and when I have a list of pricing and shipping set up I’ll let you know.

 

.gov shutdown 2018

If they’re “Non-essential” .gov employees, then doesn’t that mean we don’t need them? Or, at least, their services can be done cheaper and more efficiently by private enterprise?

Honestly, Im a huge fan of gridlock and .gov shutdowns. Put that thing in a box and keep it from doing more damage.