Econo Prepping: Make A Simple Dehydrator

In the Prepography post entitled “Top 10 Food Dehydrating Tips“, I detailed the benefits of dehydrating your own food. One of the most important pieces of equipment for dehydrating in the modern era is the store-bought dehydrator. Shocking, I know! There could be several reasons why you haven’t already run out and purchased a new dehydrator based on my sage advice. The price of a new one could be outside your budget. You could be a cheapskate and don’t want to spend the money. or, you could be one of those industrious types that thinks you could build one cheaper, and better than one bought from a store. Well, this post is for you and will help you make a simple dehydrator.

In fact, you can make a simple dehydrator using nothing but household items.  It will by no means be as good as a Nesco or Excalibur but it will; given time, patience and attention, get the job done. Gathering the parts to make a simple dehydrator will take longer than actually putting it together and making it operational.

WARNING:  Your home-made dehydrator won’t be the subject of an ISO testing regime so make sure to use it only in a fire-safe area that you closely monitor during the dehydrating process.

Materials Needed To Make A Simple Dehydrator

Make A Simple Dehydrator

Step 1: Select a large cardboard box. A suitable box should be able to stand on its end for easy access. Make sure not to use a plastic box as there may be the risk of off gassing when the dehydrator heats up or melting. Line the inside with aluminum foil using tape. Double sided tape works best for this step.

Step 2: Insert and mount your heat source, with the cord running through the side or back of the box. Try and keep the hole as small and insulated as possible, in order to cut down on heat loss. A word on the heat source, use a bulb that gives off heat. A 75w or 100w incandescent bulb works great. An LED, or CFL bulb won’t give off the necessary heat.  Make sure there are no exposed wires in contact with the aluminum foil, as moisture may accumulate inside your box.

Step 3 (Optional): Insert and mount your fan.  Place the fan opposite your heat source. Adding the fan to the process will help with the dehydrating process by circulating the warm air and helping remove moisture from your food.

Step 4: Cut holes in the sides of the box to slide your wooden slats or dowels through to place your racks on.  Some suggest that you could use PVC for the rack supports but due to the possibility of off-gassing, my suggestion is to use wooden dowels, slats or a freestanding rack.

Step 5: Make vent holes at the top to allow the moisture to escape. You want to use numerous smaller holes, rather than fewer larger holes.  The reason for this is that moisture will collect on the areas where there is no ventilation.

Step 6: Insert the cooking thermometer into the side of the box, at about the level of you rack supports.  Ensure you can read your thermometer from the outside of the box.  If you were to place the thermometer inside you would have to open the box to read it and would lose valuable heat in the process.

Step 7:  Place your newly constructed dehydrator in a fire safe area.

Step 8:  Place your food on the racks and mount inside your box.

Step 8: Close your box, turn on your new dehydrator and let the food dehydrate!  Make sure to monitor your dehydrator for safety during the dehydration process.

Using Your Simple Dehydrator

Some notes on using your home made dehydrator.  First and foremost, do not leave you dehydrator unattended; safety, safety, safety.  The next thing is managing the heat.  Different foods need to be dehydrated at different temperatures, for best results.  The table below shows you the proper temperature for different foods:

Dehydrator Temperatures
Fruit & Vegetables 130°-140° F
Meats 145° F or higher
Herbs 95°-110° F

You can manage the heat inside the box, by leaving the box slightly open or closing it up.

Choosing The Right Caliber For Game – Infographic

Today’s Infographic, Choosing The Right Caliber For Game comes to us courtesy of hunter-ed.com.

How to Choose the Right Caliber

Eminent Domain – A Newspeak Definition

Today we add another term to our Newspeak Dictionary.

Eminent Domain:  Eminent Domain is a legal process through which a governmental agency strips individuals of their property rights to promote a public project (or lack thereof if setting aside ‘green space’).  The Fifth Amendment to the Constitution does specify that property may not be taken “without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.”   I agree to the need for such processes on rare occasions like for the building of the Hoover dam which still provides electricity to a large region of the Southwest but Eminent Domain has also been used in recent years provide transfer property through sweetheart deals to influential private developers.  For this reason, Eminent Domain joins our growing Newspeak Dictionary.

Check out the rest of our Newspeak definitions at Prepography‘s Newspeak, A Modern Political Dictionary and drop me a note if you notice a word or term that needs to be added.

18 Ways Water Heals and Prevents

Water is a key component of survival. Water security falls under more than one section of the Full Spectrum Preparedness doctrine. This article highlights how water is integral in the Health & Medical Preparedness function of the FSP doctrine. Based off the ideas in the manual “Where There Is No Doctor” by David Werner, Jane Maxwell, and Carol Thurman (free download) or purchase as paperback, it details: 

18 Ways Water Heals and Prevents

1) Prevent diarrhea, worms, gut infections – Filtering and boiling water before using it for drinking, or hygiene, will help kill germs and bacteria that can cause diarrhea, worms, and gut infections. In third world countries, and in areas hit by disaster these are the leading causes of sickness, and death, especially among children.
2) Prevent Skin Infections – By bathing often, in clean, treated water, you can help prevent skin infections like impetigo, ring worm and folliculitis; among others. These highly infectious infections can run rampant through a population that doesn’t bath properly, and often, as part of their hygiene practices.
3) Prevent wounds from becoming infected – The danger of a wound becoming infected is greatly reduced if it is washed thoroughly with clean water and soap, as soon as possible. Infected wounds can lead to other problems, all the way through death, if not treated properly.
4) Treat Diarrhea and dehydration – Diarrhea is one of the largest cause of death throughout the world. The diarrhea itself does not kill the patient. It is the associated dehydration that ultimately kills them. When struck with a bout of diarrhea, drink plenty of water/liquids.
5) Treat Illness With Fever – The high temperatures associated with fevers can lead to complications that staying hydrated might prevent. By maintaining proper hydration, you can circumvent situation that can lead to more dangerous condition as well as reducing discomfort and symptoms.
6) Treat A High Fever – Along with the dangers of dehydration, a high fever can also pose a threat from the temperature itself. If a fever goes over 103 degrees F, brain damage and organ failure can result. Soaking a patient with a wet, cool compress can help reduce a dangerously high temperature and increase comfort. In extreme cases, submerging the patient in a cool bath, or ice may mean the difference between life and death.
7) Treat Minor Urinary Infections – This common ailment can strike men and women of any age. They can be very painful, and lead to life threatening complications. Mixing 1 cup of water with 1 tsp of baking soda then drinking can help alleviate some of the discomfort. While it may not be the most appetizing of combinations, the mixture may be able to help lessen the intensity of a urinary tract infection or UTI.
8) Treat Coughs, Asthma, Bronchitis and Pneumonia – Again, maintaining proper hydration is key to good health and healing. When you have a cough, asthma, bronchitis, or pneumonia drink plenty of water. You can also help loosen mucus by inhaling hot water vapors
9) Treat Sores, Impetigo, Ringworm, Cradle cap, A Pimple – If infected by one of the aforementioned ailments, the best solution is to washing with soap and water. using a wash cloth, lightly scrub the area. This will help remove dead and infected tissue, and promote faster healing.
10) Treat Infected Wounds, Abscesses And Boils – Once an infection gets deep enough, more than simple washing may be called for. Soaking in a hot tub, or using a hot compress can help alleviate discomfort, as well as draw out infection from wounds, abscesses and boils. If done early enough, lancing, or excising the infected area may not be necessary.
11) Treat Stiff/Sore Muscles And Joints – Taking a hot soak, or using hot compresses will relieve pain from muscles and joint made stiff by over use and stress. The increased blood flow they generate will also help quicken the healing process.
12) Treat Strains And Sprains – By alternating cold and hot soaks, you can hasten recover from strains ans sprains. The cold soak will lessen swelling, improving comfort, and the hot soaks will increase blood flow, which helps with recovery.
13) Treat Itching, Burning, Or Weeping Skin Irritations – The pain and irritation from rashes caused by things like poison ivy and poison oak can be lessened with a cold compress.
14) Treat Minor Burns – After receiving a minor burn, immediately hold the effected area under cold water. This will help numb the area, and reduce any swelling that may occur.
15) Treat sore throats or tonsillitis – The most common home remedy for treating a sore throat, or infected tonsils, is to gargle with a warm salt water solution. Mix 1 teaspoon of salt per glass of water, and gargle. Ensure you get the solution to the very back of your throat.
16) Acid, Dirt or Irritating Substance In Eye – If you get a foreign substance, or chemical in your eye, thoroughly flush the eye with cold water at once. Continue to do so for 30 minutes.
17) Treat Constipation Or Hard Stools – Drinks lots of water can help hydrate your dietary tract. This will help treat, and prevent, constipation and hard stools.
18) Treat Cold Sores Or Fever Blisters – At the first sign of a cold sore, or fever blister, hold an ice-cube on the inflamed area for several minutes. This will help keep the swelling down, as well as numbing the associated pain.

Where There Is No Doctor18 Ways Water Heals and Prevents – Conclusion

While water can help prevent and heal, as this list highlights, hydration is the common thread in recovery. Proper hydration is only attainable if you have a clean, safe source of water. To learn more about water preparedness, click on the Prepography links below:

Prepping For Political Risk

I’ve said often enough that my close friends are starting to quote me that ‘I refuse to be a refugee.’  That’s easy for me to say as I live far from hurricane and wildfire country, nowhere near a nuclear plant and in a part of the country with a relatively low population density (by coastal standards) but as I read James Wesley Rawles‘ book, The Liberators: A Novel of the Coming Global Collapse a few months ago I began thinking again about prepping for political risk.

In the novel, the fifth book in Rawles’ post-crunch, ‘Patriots‘ world the characters find themselves living in territory that was both formerly part of both the U.S. and Canada but the respective national governments have since fallen.  Each character must make their own decision about how to react to the advance of foreign armies and the creation of a new nation…one with radically different values than many of the residents hold.

While I refuse to be a refugee during tough times, an economic downturn or following a natural disaster…what about political change?  If I find myself living in a secessionist State promoting morally repugnant policies do I flee to parts unknown?  This is the very situation a number of our ancestors found themselves in a century and a half ago as the secessionist movement tore our country apart.  What if the policies and values of the good old U.S.A. become unrecognizable and morally repugnant to you…how does one prepare for that?

I have friends that think our nation is on the road to ruin and have become expatriates and if recent polls are to be believed the majority of our country agrees that we’re on the wrong track so prepping for political risk isn’t just a good idea it’s potentially a matter of life and death?

Ten Ways To Prepare For Political Risk

  1. Relocate to an area less susceptible to political risk:  The preparedness writer FerFal, who writes at Surviving In Argentina, did this when he moved from Argentina to Northern Ireland…think about that for a minute…Northern Ireland is safer than Argentina…I guess centuries of religious strife is safer than what a few years of socialism have done to the once great country of Argentina.  Rawles promotes moving to the inland West of the U.S., what he describes as the American Redoubt, for a number of reasons including the political climate.
  2. Become a dual citizen:  More and more wealthy U.S. citizens are hedging their bets by becoming dual citizens…and not just former U.S. Representative Michelle Bachman who has since given up her Swiss citizenship.  Dual citizenship doesn’t just make it safer to travel in some parts of the world it also gives you another place that you can call home without the threat of deportation.  There are a number of ways to obtain dual citizenship without moving to the other country including reclaiming citizenship for the country of your birth, through marriage, through lineage, and even through investment.
  3. Give up your citizenship:  The number of U.S. citizens surrendering their citizenship is at an all time high…more due to U.S. tax policies than to political risk but it’s becoming more popular and can be quite lucrative like Facebook‘s cofounder of Eduardo Saverin discovered when he resigned his naturalized U.S. citizenship on the eve of cashing out of Facebook’s for their IPO.  Can you imagine anyone giving up their hard won U.S. citizenship for tax savings…it’s happening more and more as the idea of American exceptionalism wanes.
  4. Vote:  Help select officials that support freedom and liberty so as to reduce political risk.  Don’t tolerate the election of those bent on abusing power even at the local level as local successes spur the bastards on to seek larger offices.  Note:  When you do vote, just vote one time (in each and every election) and make sure to doublecheck your voting machine as it’s recently been discovered that some voting machines are actually robotic party operatives.
  5. Donate:  Contribute to politicians that support freedom, liberty and our founding values.  Like it or not… money is the fuel that powers political campaigns and does effect whether the forces of freedom or the forces of tyranny get to make the rules until the next election.
  6. Stand for election:  Stand for election…unless of course you feel that you are better at making decisions for folks than they can make for themselves…then stay home, don’t vote and spend your money buying lots of liquor, Twinkies and Matt Damon movies.
  7. Be a voice of reason:  Call out the statists you encounter day-to-day when they start blabbering Newspeak or saying things like ‘businesses don’t create jobs’.  Learn to do it with confidence and finesse.  I don’t like direct confrontation because it shuts people down instead of opening their minds…try asking questions (the Socratic method) like ‘then who do you think creates jobs…’ and ‘how are jobs created then?’
  8. Write:  One of the ways I support freedom and liberty is by writing about tyranny and freedom issues from time to time.  Write a letter to the editor of your local paper, write a blog, comment on a blog, write a freedom living e-mail and see if you can get it to go viral (hint…kittens and soldier/sailor/airmen/Marine stories are always good viral e-mail topics).
  9. Rules For RadicalsCultivate optimism:  Cultivate optimism in yourself and others.  It’s easy to get discouraged as we see statist and devotees of Saul Alinski elected and running for the nation’s highest office but our founders built a resilient system replete with checks and balances…we just have to refocus our efforts and dismantle as much as the anti-liberty constitutional ‘interpretations’ and dial back as much government over-reach as possible.
  10. Never give up, never surrender:  To steal a catchphrase from the Tim Allen space comedy Galaxy Quest, never give up, never surrender!  The fight is too important to our country, our future and to future generations to roll over and accept tyranny.  For nearly 240 years the United States has served as a beacon of hope to the entire world, a place where a peasant could build a new life for him and maybe end up living like a king.  Freedom is liberating and generates opportunities like no cast system, aristocracy or oligarchy ever could.

The U.S. is still a freedom loving country…even with recent shifts in the political climate but we must maintain our vigilance, promote liberty and bring up future generations to view/fight tyranny as our forefathers and mothers did as part of our own prepping for political risk.

The Dangers of Illegitimacy

A more proper title for this article would have been “The Dangers of Perceived Illegitimacy” as often it’s the perception that matters even more than the reality of legitimacy.  An illegitimate government that is perceived as legitimate will wield power as peacefully if not as effectively as a government that is truly legitimate and perceived as such.  Conversely a legitimate government that is perceived as illegitimate will create an atmosphere of civil discord and strife.

legitimate: adjective le·git·i·mate \li-ˈji-tə-mət\ : allowed according to rules or laws : real, accepted, or official : fair or reasonable per merriam-webster.com

Today in much of the U.S. we find ourselves in a position where there is a camp that increasingly believes our federal government is exercising unconstitutional powers through a variety of mechanisms including executive orders, legislative shenanigans (like the White House failing to submit the Iran Nuclear capitulation ‘Deal’ to the Senate for approval as the Constitution requires for treaties), an activist judiciary, kill lists that include the names of U.S. citizens…likely bad people yet still U.S. Citizens who are assassinated without ‘due process.’  There’s even a subset of this camp that believes that President Obama wasn’t born in the United States and is therefore not eligible to lead the nation.  As to that latter allegation that same camp never alleges that the President’s mother wasn’t a U.S. Citizen which would make him eligible in any case.  Not hearing the same outcry against Senator Ted Cruse who was born in Canada to U.S. Citizens either.

As if the perception of federal illegitimacy wasn’t bad enough there’s a different, sizable camp that believes that their state and local governments are illegitimate due to racism, the legacy of slavery or because minority interests are merely protected and not promoted at the expense of other minorities and the majority populace.  In fact as George Will so eloquently puts it there are so many things to be offended by, and so little time to agonize about each.  The dangers of illegitimacy were put brutally on display recently when a uniformed official of the high school football variety was brazenly attacked on the field by two high school students who perceived him as racist.

The dangers of illegitimacy, perceived or correct do have the power to destroy our nation.  I’d argue that the various perceptions of illegitimacy have already greatly weakened us.  When a first lady of the United States says that ‘for the first time in my adult life I’m proud of my country‘ because it elected her husband she was expressing her perception of our entire nation being illegitimate.  When a leading presidential candidate states that our country was founded on ‘racist principals‘ instead of properly stating that our great nation was founded on the concept that all men are created equal in spite of the human failings of some of our founders he’s questioning our legitimacy.  When the race baiters and extremists highlights our differences instead of our commonalities then we enter dangerous territory where those with communications platforms or even just a social media account begin calling for the execution of police officers for the ‘crime’ of keeping the peace or for outright class war or ‘race war‘  When our unelected two party officials craft debate participation rules so as to assure their desired range of outcomes they add to this perception of illegitimacy.  When congress passes tax laws so Byzantine and clearly targeted at the producers and entrepreneurs that the IRS becomes a symbol of oppression and illegitimacy we are in danger of inciting a tax revolt.

To make matters worse our federal government now regularly sues our State and local governments to force the States to stop enforcing the very laws that the federal government itself is sworn to uphold while our States regularly, in turn sue our federal government for abridging the rights of the States and her citizens.

Only by once again embracing the principals of transparency, fair play and rule of law can we hope to recapture the perception of legitimacy at the State and federal level.  Those willing to commit government overreach on the left and the right would do well to remember both the words of President Jefferson and the legend of Robin Hood that so many generations were raised on.  Even if we do everything right…perceptions are fickle things and people will believe what they want in spite of the facts but if we don’t try then the dangers of illegitimacy may prove fatal to our Republic and many of our fellow citizens.

The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots & tyrants. it is it’s natural manure. Thomas Jefferson writing to William Stephens Smith from Paris. Aug. 30. 1787.

We Will Remember – Today’s Quote

These acts of mass murder were intended to frighten our nation into chaos and retreat. But they have failed. Our country is strong. A great people has been moved to defend a great nation.

President George W. Bush

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