Originally published at Notes from the bunker…. You can comment here or there.
Oh, the feeling of impending doom. Every election I start running around like a headless chicken trying to acquire as many potential soon-to-be-banned items as possible. This election is no different in that regard. I am only slightly comforted by the recent Supreme Court decision and hope that the decision will mitigate any anti-gun legislation that the new administration comes up with.
But, at the same time, we’re nobody’s fool….
I really don’t want to annoy anyone by sounding like a broken record (assuming anyone here is old enough to remember vinyl LPs) but if you don’t take care of your firearm, magazine and ammo needs within the next few weeks you may be very sorry later on. Also, if you can get your hands on the physical metal itself, might be time to take advantage of the recent price dips on metals.
Enough about that.
Its all fine and dandy to stuff a couple hundred pounds of wheat, corn and rice away for that rainy day but just sitting on it isn’t enough. You gotta know what do do with it. To that end, I ground up a bunch of the hard red wheat the other day.
One of the wedding gifts we got was the SuperBlender. This bad boy has enough oomph to grind wheat, corn, rice, ice cubes, and possibly granite. Dude, its got a hemi. Threw in a cup of whole wheat, put on my earmuffs (‘cause it gets a bit loud) and let ‘er rip for about a minute. The result was very fine flour. Ok…great…now what? I fancy myself a bit of a cook so I mixed up some egg, salt, flour and ran the whole mess through the trusy hand-crank pasta maker. The result was a whole bunch of fettucini-type pasta. Threw it in a pot of boiling salted water and in about ten minutes had some pasta. Added a bit of crumbled turkey sausage with some roasted peppers and onions. It was good. There was a different texture and taste than when I use regular white flour for this sort of thing. These noodles would really lend themselves to soup..they were thick, hearty and chewy. An excellent choice for turkey soup.
The girlfriend made a pizza crust and that requires a little more experimentation. I think the whole wheat crust requires a bit more heat, a bit more cooking time, or both as opposed to its white flour cousin. We’re going to side-by-side them next time for a comparison. Didn’t really notice a difference in taste, although there were obvious appearances in appearance and texture.
Next up was dried corn. A minute in the SuperBlender and there was a fine corn flour. I should have stopped it earlier to get a coarser mix for cornmeal and polenta but I wasn’t paying attention.
I got a new deep fryer the other day (what can I say, after guns kitchen gadgets are my big vice) and decided to try some corn breading. It actually wound up being corn batter. Mixed up some corn flour, an egg, some salt and ran some thin pieces of chicken through the whole mess and then took them for a swim in some 375-degree oil. I think Im onto something with this … the batter formed a crunchy hard crust around the chicken and came out a lovely golden color. Only drawback, unfortunately, was that it was a little…bland. Certainly there was a corn flavor to it, but there needs to be a little more than that in my opinion. Next time I’ll add more salt and some other seasonings. A healthy couple of shakes of Cajun seasoning really brightened it up so I may go further in that direction.
Naturally, the more astute of you will say “Hey, that’s all well and good but how are you going to run the SuperBlender without electricity?” Way ahead of you there, buddy. For Christmas the girlfriend and I are thinking that as a gift to ourselves we’ll get ourselves one of the Country Living grain mills. A few threads on the subject put this one at the top of the list for hand-powered grinding.
We’ll do a little more experimenting with the whole wheat flour in terms of baking bread and that sort of thing. (I’m keen to try fried ‘pocket pie’ type food in the deep fryer.) Once we get a bit more experimenting under our belts we’ll probably go pick up a couple hundred pounds of wheat to add to the storage. Already have at least a hundred pounds of the dried corn tucked away so I think we’re okay there.
We also took the opportunity to experiment with some of the #10 cans of dried apples we picked up at the Mormon cannery. Reconstituted and baked in a pie they were quite good..the pie was a tad dry but perhaps soaking the apples even longer would help. The girlfriend liked the dried apples very much and was eating them out of the can like potato chips, which is actually probably healthier than potato chips. The guy at the cannery warned us about filling up on them and then drinking liquids. Apparently, ‘feeling full’ would be an understatement in that situation. Word to the wise.
So, by and large, I think we may be pretty much done with our food storage. Other than picking up a hundred or so pounds of wheat I think all that’s left is simply maintenance and rotation. I’d say that theres about a years worth of edibles socked away. That’s including MRE’s, freeze drieds, canned goods and bulk dry stuff. If the freezer took a hit we’d lose a goodly amount of meat but at the same time I have enough canning supplies on hand to can the stuff if it looked like a prolonged crisis. As it stands now I think that our next major purchase will be a small generator for the freezer. (Lighting and heating needs are met with our kerosene lamps and heaters. However, next year I very much want to set up a small PV system to keep a small system of 12v LED emergency lighting available through the house.)
Had a discussion last night with the girlfriend. I asked her if she ever thought that we took things ‘too far’ in terms of preparedness. This, naturally, requires one to set a baseline of ‘what constitutes having gone too far’? One of the ideas of defining ‘too far’ was where the activities and preparations wind up negatively impacting our lives. However, this is subjective as well. For example, if we pass up going to Disneyland because we want to use the money to stockpile freezedrieds some might say that that is a negative impact – our vacation/leisure option has been cancelled due to our preparedness desires/needs. However, to me the satisfaction and security I achieve by doing that more than offsets the opportunity cost of the lost trip to Disneyland.
Another definition that I explored and abandoned was that you’ve gone too far when someone can just look at you and know that you’re living a life of military surplus, MRE’s and talk radio. I’ve actually met people who literally wore nothing but military surplus. Usually several different countries at a time..US BDU pants, German jacket, Swiss shirt, Russian gloves, etc, etc. A veritable UN wardrobe. They tended to look like the stereotypical survivalist. They were nice people, in the few dealings I had with them, but they did present a picture of someone who may have been a bit ‘out there’.
So, heres a question for the readership – how do you know when you’ve gone too far? Don’t confuse this question with the comedic “You may be a survivalist if….” Posts that abound. How would you know that perhaps you (or whomever) has taken it a little too far and perhaps needs to mellow out a bit? Maybe when you quit the $250k job to move to the middle of nowhere and eke out $20k a year because ‘its far from the primary target area’? When you refuse to tell your family your physical address ‘for security reasons’ and instead only provide them with a PO box?