How to Make a Good Emergency Plan for Your Family

Maybe you receive a fair bit of warning, like a weather report predicting a hurricane, or maybe a sudden tectonic shift creates an earthquake with both immediate and cascading, destructive effects. Either way, there is no reason to be caught off guard and without an emergency plan.

Given that even fairly basic emergency plans can be prepared relatively easily and cheaply, finding yourself surprised by a sudden catastrophe places yourself and loved ones at risk without a good justification. If you are still sitting on the fence, or more likely the couch, here are five reasons why you should have an emergency plan ready and waiting for the unforeseen.

How to Build a Disaster Kit Infographic

 

5 Reasons Why is Important to Have a Family Emergency Plan

Speed – When a disaster strikes, time is the most valuable resource and one that you simply cannot get more of. That is why a proper emergency plan includes more than just the supplies you have collected. It includes a comprehensive approach that accounts for all stages of response. One of the most important is the very first stage.

Regardless the disaster, the first stage will involve organizing the party in a single location if possible. If the party members are separated, plans for reaching various rally points before meeting up can give a quick recovery to a chaotic circumstance. Unless the disaster calls for you to ride it out, like with a tornado or some other such disaster, those first moments can determine whether a disaster is manageable or filled with regret.

Efficiency – Considering response time is one the most vital elements for successfully reacting to a disaster, a well-developed kit will require a plan that provides each member of your party with a set of responsibilities so that they do not have to figure it out on the fly. Setting up a series of rally points or keeping a well-stocked and organized bug out bag on hand will only go so far if you have to figure out the steps after your party meets up on the spot.

Moreover, if everyone knows what they are supposed to do and has a specific set of tasks, your party as a whole can accomplish more in the limited amount of time before bugging out or hunkering down than one or two people could alone. Remember, children can contribute too–just make sure their tasks do not strain them physically as their endurance levels are likely not as developed as the adult party members

Reason vs Instinct – People are constantly saying that the best answer is usually your first thought. This may be true when you are in a safe and comfortable situation without the threat of injury or death, but when survival is on the line, people’s instincts usually do not serve them any better than a random guess.

However, if you take the time to develop a plan of action for when disaster strikes, you will be more likely to keep a cool head, reason through the risks, and determine an appropriate course of action. Remember, anyone in a profession that involves risk of bodily harm trains for hundreds, sometimes thousands, of hours to develop the kind of mindfulness necessary to make rational decisions in high-stress scenarios.

Supplies – Once a disaster strikes, what you have on hand is likely the only supplies you will be able to procure. In fact, even if you have some warning, there is a good chance that a run on supplies by unprepared people will likely clean out your local stores in record time, not to mention delay you further from escaping or hunkering down as the situation calls.

That is why you should make sure that you have a fully stocked and packed bug out bag for every member of your party–ready and waiting to go the second it is needed. Keep in mind, having your supplies packed in an easily reachable place is just as important as having the supplies in the first place.

Self-Reliance – Despite what you may see on news reports during a disaster, most assistance that people receive occurs well after the disaster has already passed. As heartening as it is to witness neighbors from the surrounding region pitch in to help out those caught in an unfortunate event, they generally only do so once their own safety can be secured.

As sad as it may seem, you cannot rely on government institutions or other authorities to come to your aid when disaster strikes. Chances are, they are already overwhelmed with calls for similar relief. Moreover, charities and NGOs generally begin their relief after the danger has passed as well.

Things to Consider When Making an Emergency Plan

As alluded to earlier, a solid emergency plan includes far more than simply a bug out bag with all of the supplies necessary for a few days. The plan should account for all the steps each party member will need to take before, during, and after the immediate danger has passed. This can be broken up into three sections.

Pre Planning – This is arguably the most important part of an emergency plan. This is the point when you figure out where the party will meet up depending on their dispersion. Moreover, the different members should understand their assigned tasks as well as the routes and location should you need to leave the area.

In the Mix – Once it comes time to put your plan into action, you will need the members of your party to respond without hesitation. That is why it is important that your party actually runs through the plan before a disaster strikes, ideally to the point that it becomes muscle memory, so that no time is wasted when rubber meets the road.

Survival – Depending on the disaster, you may well be without many of the modern amenities so many people have come to rely upon for their daily survival. That is why you need to know how to survive in the wild for extended periods of time. Various survival skills like building a shelter, starting a fire, and securing food and water are vital.

You can find an easy to read checklist packed with tips and necessities for a proper emergency plan at Survivor’s Fortress.

Conclusion

Just remember, your actual plan is every bit as important, if not more so, than your bug out supplies. While planning may not provide that immediate rush of accomplishment or sense of satisfaction that a well-prepared bug out bag can, supplies without a plan can only take you so far.

Keep in mind, your plan needs to account for all stages of disaster response. If you are bugging in, your plan may not involve as many steps, but each step is just as vital to ensuring your survival. Moreover, every party member needs to know the different roles and tasks to be accomplished.

With a thoughtful plan that considers numerous types of disasters, includes a variety of redundancies, and maintains the ability to improvise if necessary, you and your party should feel confident in its ability to handle whatever the world throws at it.

Further Reading:

How to Prepare Fresh Game Meat For Storage

If you’re hunting for meat, the last thing you can afford is for the meat to spoil before you even get it home (or to a processing facility). It’s tough to understand all of the ins and outs of preserving game meat, especially if you’re hunting in warm temperatures.

Here are a few of the most common questions I hear about game preservation:

  • How long should you wait to skin an animal? Do you need to do it immediately?
  • Does the temperature outside matter?
  • How can I keep my meat safe from bears and other predators?

Some of these questions are easier to answer than other. For example, if your hunting grounds are accessible by vehicle, game preservation is a pretty simple process. In fact, there’s really only one step to it: Collect the dead deer or other game animal and haul it to a cooler to be processed as fast as possible.

In the backcountry, or further away from a vehicle, it’s considerably more difficult. However, if you understand the common causes of spoilage and the ways to prevent it, you shouldn’t have any problems. Let’s get started…

What Factors Cause Meat to Spoil?

The biggest cause of meat spoilage is the body heat emitted by the animal itself.

While an animal’s normal internal temperature usually hovers around 99 degrees, this can actually increase once an animal dies. How is that possible?

Well, the animal’s muscles continue to generate heat; without the assistance of a functioning circulatory system, this heat doesn’t circulate properly through the animal’s body.

That’s why the most important thing to do is to lower the meat’s temperature to the temperature of the air around you–once you accomplish this, you’re nearly “home free”.

Should You Skin Your Deer?

Skinning an animal isn’t always necessary–if the outdoor temperature is 40 degrees Fahrenheit or lower, you can simply gut the deer while leaving its hide intact.

Deer are relatively small, so they cool faster than larger game animals.

In warm weather (above 50 degrees), however, you should take special care to skin animals quickly–especially large animals like elk with heavy hides. Removing the hide is essential to cool the meat so it doesn’t spoil.

How to skin wild game

If you need a little guidance on skinning game, I personally really like this resource provided by Outdoor Hill.

Hunting with Arrows

Many expert hunters recommend using a crossbow when you hunt elk and even deer; one reason for this is that an arrow doesn’t harm the meat nearly as much as different types of ammunition.

Bow hunting

Granted, hunting big game with an arrow is easier said than done, but it’s a lot easier with the right crossbow scope.

Should You Hang the Carcass?

Yes, you should hang the carcass up. Air circulation is essential to quick-cool meat, and hanging is the best way to accomplish an all-around circulation.

Should you hang wild game kills?

This doesn’t mean however that you need to hang the deer very high–remember, the air is cooler lower to the ground.

Should You Gut Your Game?

It’s tough to gut large game animals such as elk–you don’t want to be knee-high in blood and guts, after all.

A better method is to slit the hide from tail to head. Then you can skin the upper half, remove all legs, and debone the ribs, neck, and brisket.

Should You Bone the Carcass?

If you’re carrying the meat for a long distance, boning can make a huge different in the amount of weight you’ll be carrying.

Boning the meat also ensures that it will cool quicker, which will prevent spoilage. At the very least, you should remove the biggest portions of bone, such as the shoulders and hips; these large bones can maintain the heat within the carcass for hours after death.

Although some argue that boning the meat will expose it to more dirt and cause the meat to dry out, it’s an easy problem to solve: you just need to bag the meat and seal it well.

Preventing Excess Moisture

Next to heat, bacteria is one of the most common culprits when it comes to spoilage. The bacteria that spoils meat thrive best in wet environments.

While you should still wash the meat, you should wipe it dry and leave it out to dry in the air for awhile before you bag it.

Keeping the Meat Clean

If you’re hunting in the cold weather, you most likely won’t have to deal with flies. In higher temperatures, though, they’re a formidable opponent.

how to store willd game meat

If you’re hunting in warm weather, you should bag all skinned meat as soon as possible. Invest in high-quality, compact and easy-to-carry bags.

What About Air Temperature?

Once you’re able to extinguish the carcass’s natural body heat, the temperature of the air around you is not much of an issue. If you’re hunting in hot temperatures, however, this article from Field and Stream has handy tips to keep your meat fresh.

As long as you can cool the meat to 40 degrees, time is one your side. Most commercial butchers age their beef or game for a few weeks; they quick-age beef even faster, and at a higher temperature.

Bear Safety

Although it’s understandable to want to keep your meat (and yourself) safe from bears, it’s unlikely that you’ll be able to hang an animal carcass at a “bear-proof” height: bears can reach 10 feet or higher.

Your best bet is to skin, bone, then bag the meat as quickly as possible; this will lessen the time that the animal’s scent will dissipate through the air, attracting bears and other predators.

Most Important Takeaways

If you’re hunting for meat, as opposed to sport, these are important rules to follow. Don’t sabotage your efforts and your health by allowing meat to get dirty, infected, or spoiled by the natural body heat reserved in it after death.

Here are the most important things to remember to keep your game meat fresh, especially if you’re hunting without a vehicle nearby:

  • Skin the animal as quickly as possible, this will help the meat cool to the outside temperature.
  • You should, at the very least, remove all large bones. They will weigh you down, and they cause the meat to retain more heat for longer.
  • Wash and hang your meat to dry.
  • Bag your meat as soon as possible, especially if you are in a warmer climate, or you are in an area known to be populated with bears and other predatory animals.

I wish you the best of luck properly preserving the game meat that you hunt. Let me know if you have any questions, comments, or ideas of your own in the section below. Happy hunting!

Chris Browning is the senior editor of Gun News Daily. The site was originally built by his father who used it as a resource center for people looking to learn more about gun education and safety. This legacy was carried on by Chris, who relaunched the magazine in 2015 and began to rebuild GND.

For the bulk of his career, Chris worked as a private military contractor for a number of NGOs. He is currently living outside Loveland, Colorado where he runs GND and a local coffee shop. Chris is also actively involved in the local community where he runs annual skeet shooting events.

Gun News Daily

 

 

 

 

 

10 STEPS FOR BEGINNING HUNTERS

(Featured Image – Buy on Bigstock)

10 HUNTING STEPS FOR THE BEGINNERS

Hunting is an interesting and one of the most enjoyable recreational activity for most people worldwide. However, a beginning hunter must follow some steps before he or she becomes a pro in hunting.

Below are 10 most important steps and necessities for you if you are interested in hunting and would want to begin the interesting activity.

1. TAKE A SAFETY COURSE FOR HUNTERS

Hunting can involve many accidents which can be avoided. It is important that a beginner in hunting takes a safety course on hunting. This will help the hunter avoid such accidents as shooting accidents. The safety course will make hunting very enjoyable since it makes the conduct of the hunters acceptable by the public. To start off, look for hunting training centers that can be found around your place by searching them online.

2. GET A HUNTING LICENSE

For a hunter to fully enjoy the practice, he or she should have all the rights to do it. It is no doubt that a beginning hunter has just realized a new hobby. Although some hunters may decide to go the illegal way, out of desperation to enjoy hunting, by avoiding to secure a license for hunting, choose the legal way. Do not mess up your new hobby. It is simple, secure a hunting license.

 

3. GATHER HUNTING EQUIPMENT

Before beginning any activity, it is paramount that you have everything that is required for the activity in place. A hunter, therefore, who is new in the game is expected to have hunting gear before he or she starts to explore his or her new hobby. The crucial requirements for a beginner include an archery, hunting clothes, hunting boots, sling shots, hunting bags and tactical backpacks, guns and a tactical pen. Hunting equipment varies from the simple cheap ones to the sophisticated and expensive ones. It is advisable that a person interested in hunting begins with simple and cheap equipment; then he or she will advance as time goes by. This will make it all an interesting activity where the beginning hunter gets no difficulty in doing it.

 

The choice of the gear is, however, important. A prospective hunter is expected to choose the best tactical backpack among some other equipment. A backpack is designed for comprehensive packing. They, therefore, help the hunter in carrying the requirements for the hunting. Some of the best backpacks include the Tactical Rush 72 Backpack, Maxpedition Sitka Gearslinger, Tactical Tailor Operator Removable Pack, Spec Ops T.H.E Ultimate Assault Pack, which is a good all-round pack, among others.

 

The hunter is also required to look for the best tactical pen. A tactical pen, for a hunter, is an important tool for self-defense in case of an attack while hunting. Some of the most popular and the best tactical penS include the Cold Steel Pocket Shark, The ProMag Archangel Defense Pen, The Schrade SCPENG Tactical, The Mid-Range, The Boker Plus Tactical Pen Cid Cal .45 among others. The hunter may look up for more good tactical pens in the market.

 

4. KNOW THE LAWS AND REGULATIONS THAT GOVERN HUNTING

Each country or state has its rules that govern hunting. A beginner should familiarize himself or herself with these laws to avoid the risk of finding himself or herself on the wrong side of the law. A champion always knows all the rules of the game. Avoid making enemies with the warden.

 

5. LOOK FOR A SKILLED HUNTER

Learning hunting involves a lot of observations. Because of this, a beginner should make friends with an experienced hunter and work with them fir the start. Your learning, however, should not be an interruption on the hunter. While with him or her, watch keenly what he does. Your respectful and non-inconveniencing learning may lead him or she let you know some of his or her hunting secrets.

 

6. CHOOSE A GUN

It is quite obvious that you will get several conflicting and confusing views on which gun you should take for the start. The best option is to visit the nearest gun store to discuss the same. If you are planning to be on the big game, then a riffle is the best. However, consider a shot gun.

7. PRACTICE SHOOTING

You should also practice using a gun and learn the safety precautions when using a gun.This will help you familiarize with your gun and ensure you are safe with them. Do this on targets and posts and you will be set to go. An experienced hunter may help you on that.

 

8. KNOW THE HUNTING ENVIRONMENT WELL

It is hard to hunt in a place that you are not used to. It is, therefore, important that you familiarize yourself with that surrounding; that is the landscape and the animal behaviors of the animals before you begin the game. This will help you when you will be drawing your hunting plans and therefore making the hunting game easy and enjoyable.

 

9. LEARN TO USE OTHER HUNTING EQUIPMENT THAT YOU HAVE

It is very obvious that you cannot use what you are not used to. Learn to use all the equipment that you will begin with, for instance, how to use the tactical pen for defense. Know how to put on your attire and how to put your backpack in place. This will keep you ready for the start.

10. BEGIN WITH A SMALL GAME

You are advised to start the hunting game on the easy targets such as the squirrels and later, deer. This will build your confidence in the hunting and keep you safe. Beginning with bigger targets will put you at the risk of being attacked by the animals and consequently making lose interest in hunting.

 

You are now set to go hunting. Explore the new interesting hobby.

 

Sheldon Martin is the founder of Captain Hunter. CaptainHunter.com is a site dedicated to the sport of hunting. We have a deep respect for nature and for the environment, and we therefore take the sport of hunting very seriously.

Never think that you are alone in the woods again. Our goal is to share what we know with who needs it most.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Campfire Cooking – The Basics

One of the first images that comes to mind when people talk about camping is a campfire. For many people, campfires and camping are practically synonymous. Campfires can serve many functions on a camping trip: as a quick source of heat on a cold night, and an efficient way to dry off layers after a rainy day. Some people even refer to campfires as “caveman television,” because of their addictive nature. One of the best uses for a campfire is to cook food. Although cooking on a campfire takes longer than using a backpacking stove, campfires are incredibly versatile. The smoke imparts a unique flavor to the food and, with the right equipment, you can cook everything from s’mores to fresh bread using a campfire. Campfire cooking is perfect for car camping or canoe trips, where heavier items like a Dutch oven and fresh ingredients are easy to pack.

You can learn more fishing tips here.

Making a Fire

Many official or established campsites have nicely built fire pits or fire rings. In regions without established camping sites, fire rings are usually easy to find in well-traveled areas, but many are built in locations that don’t adhere to land use regulations. Fire regulations vary greatly from state to state and between land agencies, so double-check any requirements before leaving home. If you’re on public lands, don’t build a new fire ring if you can’t find one where you are camped. Instead, build a Leave No Trace fire – one that won’t have a lasting impact on the area. The most important part of having a campfire is to ensure that your fire doesn’t impact the surrounding environment. Every summer, improperly extinguished campfires create massive wildfires. It takes very little time for a smoldering fire to flare into a multi-acre wildfire, so be sure your fire is completely dead when you go to bed or leave the campsite. The most effective way to achieve this is by pouring water on the embers and ashes. Another preventive measure is to keep the size of your pile manageable. A huge bonfire in the woods can get out of hand quickly, so aim for nothing larger than a three-foot diameter and a foot high and don’t use branches that are thicker than your wrist. Never burn trash, especially toilet paper because tiny pieces can catch the wind and blow out of sight, moving embers to areas beyond your vision. If you’re on public lands, check for fire bans in your area before starting any fires.

Source: eReplacementParts.com

Campfires can be used to create several types of cooking conditions, from an open flame to seasoned coals. The stage of fire you want to cook with depends entirely on what you are cooking. For fast-cooking items like hot dogs and marshmallows, full flames are fast and easy. While these items can be cooked on the end of a sharpened stick, it’s simpler to bring a set of roasting sticks. For easy packing, invest in a set of extendable sticks with wooden handles. People who are new to campfire cooking usually stick their marshmallow or hot dog right into the flames, which certainly will work. However, this usually results in a crispy exterior and chilly interior. For a perfectly golden-brown marshmallow or an evenly crispy hot dog, look for a patch of wood that’s glowing, but not shooting flames. The glowing signals coal, which emits a more even heat than flames. It does require more time to cook this way, but the effort pays off for those with patience. Kids will usually opt for the full flame effect, which is half the fun of having a campfire with children. To dress up s’mores, try using peanut butter cups in place of chocolate or bring filled chocolate bars instead of flat ones. If you like the chocolate slightly melted, set your graham cracker and chocolate on a stone by the side of the fire while you cook the marshmallow. The same technique will toast a hot dog bun.

For more delicate items like fish, vegetables, and anything baked in a Dutch oven, you need to wait until the fire has created a nice heap of coals. A Dutch oven is a large, heavy cooking pot with a sturdy lid. When buried in or surrounded by hot coals, the pot acts like an oven, evenly cooking the ingredients inside. Though heavy, they’re incredibly versatile and can be used for everything from stews and roasts to cobbler and fresh bread. They’re easy to clean and incredibly durable; there are countless recipes for home cooking in a traditional oven that utilize a Dutch oven, so it’s not a specialty camping item. If you’re cooking something with coals, pack heavy-duty leather gloves or a small shovel to help you move coals to where you need them. For cooking with a Dutch oven, make a flat space in the coals where you can set the pot without worrying about it tipping. Once it’s in place, scoop coals onto the top of the lid so the oven is completely surrounded by even heat. You can also cook food packets wrapped in heavy-duty tinfoil (be sure to use heavy-duty rather than regular). These can be cooked on a grill grate over the fire, or directly in the coals.

 

These are just a few recipes and cooking ideas to get you started! Campfires are excellent for cooking any number of dishes, including bacon and eggs, fresh corn, roasted vegetables, fresh bread, macaroni and cheese, and even hot drinks like cocoa and coffee. Experiment with different equipment, like a kettle for water or a tripod for hanging a Dutch oven over coals.


How To Identify Dry Firewood

Using wet wood to get a fire going will leave you cold and frustrated…regardless of how much effort you put into it.

Even if you do get a fire going (which in a survival situation is better than nothing) your fire will be inefficient and will require much more maintenance to see it through the night.

The reason why it won’t burn is that the water contained in the wood is absorbing the heat, preventing the wood from absorbing enough heat to ignite.

As heat continues to be applied to the wood, the water turns to vapor, absorbing a huge quantity of heat in the process. It isn’t until this process is finished that the hydrocarbon gasses start leaving the wood so that they can then catch fire.

Basically your best bet is to make sure that you have the driest tinder, kindling, and fuel possible.

seasoned-firewood

It’s one thing if you have a cord of wood neatly stacked out in your woodshed, but how do you find dry wood in the wild?

Below are three quick tips you can use in a pinch:

The Snap Method:

The Premise: dry kindling is devoid of a high water content and will snap easily instead of bending.

How To do it: take your smaller bits of kindling no thicker than your thumb and grasp them at both ends.  Pull the ends towards the middle, the kindling should snap in the middle.

What to look for:  twigs, sticks, and other kindling that snaps cleanly and easily is an indicator of dry kindling.How do you know if your fuel is dry?

The Percussion Method:

The Premise: as wood dries out, its acoustical properties change.

How to do it: grab two sample pieces of wood at one end and let them dangle, one from each hand. Swing the bottom ends together, and listen to the sound at impact.

What to look for: dry wood will “ring” or “bonk” when they hit each other. Wet wood, however, will issue a dull thud on impact.

Cracking the code:

The Premise: as fuel wood pieces dry, the wood fiber shrinks, which causes visible radius cracks to open up on the ends of the wood.

How to do it: examine the ends of a sample piece, looking for cracks that radiate from the core to the bark.

What to look for: big, deep radius cracks are a good indicator of well-seasoned wood.

Note: this is the least reliable indicator, as the cracks won’t close back up if the seasoned wood is subsequently allowed to re-absorb rainwater.

via Three Quick Tips To Identify Dry Firewood 

Someone’s Got To Be The Cook When The SHTF – Why Not You?

Big Baby Double-Barreled Cooker

Big Baby Cooker

This design is from the book “Real Barbecue” by Greg Johnson and Vince Staten. Their philosophy with the Big Baby is to take stuff that’s more or less lying around and turn it into a smoker that works on the same principles as the $1,600 models that the pros sell. 

The essential function of a top-notch barbecue smoker is to keep the meat entrusted to it comfortably separated from flames and direct heat and yet in the path of the hot air and smoke that give it its flavor. Big Baby does this by burning a hardwood fire in her bottom barrel and using the top barrel to contain the meat and direct the smoke. The top barrel also serves as a big, self-contained drip pan that catches meat juices. And the vents and dampers located all along the air path mean that the fire can be precisely controlled, keeping it from dying or flaring up.

Besides two 55-gallon drums, the “trick” to the smoker is in making use of wood-stove kits designed to convert such drums into cheap stoves for heating storage sheds and such. The kits come with a cast-iron door, cast-iron legs on which to mount the smoker, cast-iron supports to connect the bottom drum to the one above it, plus flues to connect the two drums. From a hardware store or wood-stove shop, you toss in some dampers and a couple of neat little smokestacks for each end to let the smoke escape from the top drum.

Building Big Baby

Before you get started, make sure you have the stuff you’ll need.

The drums you should be able to find for about ten or twenty dollars; the stove kits (it takes two) are available at hardware and wood-stove stores or by mail order from Northern Hydraulics, 801 E. Cliff Rd., P.O. Box 1219, Burnsville, ME 55337, for less than forty or fifty dollars.

The two twenty-two-by-fifteen-inch grill surfaces can be had at a barbecue supply house for twenty-five dollars or so.

Add some bolts, brackets, hinges, smokestacks, fire bricks, paint and such, and you’re up to a total expense of about a hundred and fifty dollars, more than the price of a simple covered grill but considerably less than the cost of a B1 bomber, which, by the way, does a simply horrible job on a rack of ribs.

The steps are simple: Paint the barrels first, then start cutting them with your saber saw. Use a fresh metal-cutting blade (ask the guy at the hardware store or tool rental place for one), and prepare yourself for a violently annoying noise roughly akin to five hundred colicky babies with the croup. Cutting through a hollow drum with a buzzing saber saw makes enough racket that you may want to consider earplugs. Or suicide. But persevere, and cut a hole for the fire door at one end of the bottom barrel and matching holes in both barrels for the flues that connect them. Cut the top barrel in half horizontally, setting the top half aside. Then do your drilling and mounting and bolting, referring to the directions in the wood-stove kit whenever appropriate. Basically, you want to mount the bottom barrel on its legs (and we recommend connecting these to a couple of two-by-fours for a sturdier base), and then mount the fire door to it, followed by the connecting supports and the two flues (remember to insert the dampers before you bolt on the top barrel). Then you add the top barrel, bolting together the supports and flues between the two. At this point, lay the top half of the top barrel in place and mark holes for the hinges and handles. After the lid is in place, you can drill holes and bolt in place a small chain to keep the lid from falling over backwards. About now you can use the saber saw one last time to cut holes in either end of the bottom half of the top barrel and mount the two smokestacks (again, don’t forget those dampers). Drill a hole for your thermometer (an inexpensive dial-type candy thermometer works fine, and even includes a clip that will hold it in place). Line the bottom of the bottom barrel with fire bricks, which keep it from burning through. Then drill and mount the brackets that support the grill surfaces, slap those puppies in place, and call one of those fellows who delivers wood. You’re ready to barbecue!

It’s best to operate this smoker over a nonflammable surface, from something as basic as packed dirt to concrete. The Babe sits a bit low to the ground, and her firebox gets more than a mite hot, so she will send any grass in the area to Turf Heaven almost immediately. For a neater look, you could put down gravel and even border the area with bricks.

Cooking With Big Baby

Big Baby is designed to burn real wood, not charcoal. She’ll be happy with just about any hardwood – hickory, oak, mesquite, whatever – but stay away from soft stuff like pine. Build a good-sized fire in the bottom barrel and let it go for a while, maybe an hour or more, until it has formed a healthy pile of hot coals. Avoid cooking over a “fresh” fire, since such fires send up a lot of soot and creosote like goo. Go for a hot bed of coals onto which you can toss the occasional log, keeping the temperature as even as possible. Barbecue is not set-it-and-forget-it food; cooking it requires almost constant tinkering and tending to keep the heat even over a period of hours. But with a big base of coals for consistency and the proper combination of damper settings for the wind and outdoor temperature, the Babe will chug along at a constant heat for an hour at a time, certainly time enough to go out for more beer or cassette tapes.

There will be very little in the way of barbecue that Big Baby can’t handle, from a suckling pig to three twelve-quart stockpots of smoky chili. But she’s more than a simple smoker.Big Baby is a sculpture in basic black, a life-style statement, a conversation piece, a badge of honor, and a joy forever. And on a hot summer day, even when you’re not cooking anything, it still smells like barbecue.

Where To Get The Parts

Parts for the Big Baby are available from Vogelzang International Corp. In Holland, MI.

Here are some pictures of a Big Baby smoker built by Stuart MacMillan of Seattle, WA using parts from Vogelzang. He reports that it took him about 12 hours and $275 to construct the smoker. He also reports that it works great.

bigbaby2.jpg (37861 bytes)BigBaby1

 [source]

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Unique Improvised Grills – Ideas For Cooking In A Survival Situation

 

By Dian Thomas

 

A few weeks ago, I got a call to give a presentation on preparedness. My approach was not to focus on preparing for a rainy day, but to get out and have a great time learning outdoor cooking and camping skills. Then when the rainy day comes, your skills are up to speed.One of the key places to practice your skills is in the backyard, a park, or in the woods. Decide to take the time now to enjoy your family and prepare them for their summer camps, outings and rainy days.

My parents were raised in the depression by pioneer parents. Creating and improvising was the norm. I grew up watching my mother and father make do with what we had instead of running to the store to buy Survival Food Supplies the next item that was needed. A great by product of challenging times is that we have to look inward for solutions, instead of looking out. What a great skill to teach your children which will prepare them for whatever challenges come.

If you do not have a grill, here are some fun creative ways to use your ingenuity to make one. When you create using items you have, it shows you children it is possible to make do with what you have. What a great skill to develop.

Tin Can Grill

An improvised, inexpensive grill can be made in just a few minutes. This is a favorite of children at scouting and campfire cookouts. All that is needed is a #10-size can, tin snips, aluminum foil and a pair of safety gloves.

Beginning at the open end of the can, cut 2-inch-wide parallel slits down the side, to about 3 inches from the bottom, repeating around the can. Bend the strips away from the center of the can to form a low basket like container. Fill the bottom of the can with dirt. Cover the dirt and strips with heavy duty aluminum foil. You have now created an improvised tin can grill. Place the charcoal on top of the foil and lay the grilling rack on top of the metal strips. It is important to keep

the distance between the grilling rack and the charcoal at about 3 to 4 inches (Bend the strips to this distance.)

Bonus of this grill is that it can be discarded after one use, and replaced at very little cost. Individual stoves can be made by a group to involve more people in the fun.

A #10-size tin can will make an easy and economical grill.

Use tin snips to cut two-inch strips down the sides of the can

Line the tin can with heavy duty foil before adding charcoal

Add a rack, and you’re ready to grill

Unique Improvised Grills

If you don’t own a barbecue or if you are having a “dry run,” enjoying a day at the beach, visiting a picnic area, or camping in your backyard, you might be happy with a child’s wagon grill, a wheelbarrow grill, a metal garbage can lid, or even a terra-cotta flowerpot.

The wagon or the wheelbarrow might tote your supplies to your site. Adapting it for grilling is as easy as filling the base with 6 inches of gravel, sand or dirt to insulate the bottom from the heat. Cover the dirt with extra-heavy-duty aluminum foil, which prevents coals from sinking into the dirt and insures that air will circulate. On top of the foil in the center make a pyramid of charcoal briquettes.

Pour lighter fluid over the charcoal and light. Drape a pair of oven mitts over the wagon tongue or wheelbarrow handles so they’ll be close by when needed. When briquettes are burning, arrange bricks around the outside edge, adapting them for the gill or rotisserie. If you simply want to do stick cooking, omit the bricks. The most efficient height for grilling is 3 to 4 inches about the coals.

Dirt can be stored between uses by covering the wheelbarrow or wagon with an old plastic tablecloth with Velcro stitched to seal the corners. Moisture will rust out the bottom of the wagon or wheelbarrow if it gets wet.

 

Backpacker’s Grill

A backpacker’s rack can be purchased from a sporting goods store. To use the backpacker’s grill, place coals on the ground; the backpacker’s rack sits on legs about 4 to 8 inches above. If

the dirt is loose or sandy, assure uniform heat by placing a piece of heavy-duty aluminum foil over the dirt to keep the briquettes from settling into the sand and causing the briquettes to lose heat.

The heat for the backpacker’s grill is very simple to regulate. To increase heat, simply push the rack toward the ground. To decrease heat, raise the rack farther from the coals.

 More survival cooking ideas…

Homemade Emergency Canned Heat

can_wlid

We lost power at 4:23 am on Saturday morning. We had power restored at 11 am on Monday. It was a long few days. We were able to stay in our house. Thankfully no pipes broke and there were no major events other than the power outage.

I want to really encourage you all to be prepared for such emergencies. We have moved twice in the last year and had let our supplies dwindle. We had no propane for the camp stove. We had no firewood. Not a good situation to be in. We did have some knowledge though and that helped us to get through until we were able to get wood and propane.

You can make your own “Sterno” at home for heating water. It is an open flame. By that I mean OPEN FLAME! Especially when initially lit. The flame starts out tall and then gets shorter. I found this to be true each time it was lit (not just the very first time). tall_flame

Never to be put where it can tip over, get knocked over, be around children (we have 5 of those), etc. I decided to clear one side of my sink and put the can in the sink to hopefully minimize any accidents.The flame is burning off alcohol so it can not be put out with water. I wanted to be clear that I put it in the sink not so I could douse it with water, but in case it tipped over I would at least not have flame rolling across my floor.  I was also careful to clear the area around the sink of anything flammable.  This homemade cooking/heating gave us some hot water and our first hot meal (Spaghetti-o’s) in 24 hours.  Having a way to heat food & drinks really boosted our moral.

Supplies:

  • Large metal can & its lid
  • Roll of toilet paper
  • Isopropyl alcohol (rubbing alcohol)

How To Make:

Clean The Can: You need a large clean metal can and it’s lid. In our case, I emptied a can of crushed tomatoes into a bowl, cleaned the can and lid (be careful of sharp edges) and dried them. Do NOT throw away the lid!

The Toilet Paper: Remove the cardboard tube from the toilet paper roll. Fold the TP roll in half length wise and then in half again (you’re crushing the roll and making it as compact as possible). Insert the roll of toilet paper into the can. Wrap additional toilet paper around your hand (making a mini-roll of TP) and compact in the same way you did the large roll – use this to fill in any spaces. Repeat until you have the can tightly packed with toilet paper.

flat_roll

folded_roll

Adding Alcohol: Slowly pour the isopropyl alcohol over over the TP in the can until the TP is saturated. This took nearly 2 bottles in my case.

Use:

Hold a match to the alcohol. It should light right up. This will burn nicely for quite some time. To put the flame out simply lay the lid on top of the flame. I am told that snuffing (eliminating any source of oxygen) is the only way to put this flame out. That is why you need the lid. I used tongs to put the lid on because I had them available. Make sure the flame is out and keep it out of the reach of children.

After several uses you see a bit of charring on the TP & some blue candle wax from lighting it (we were conserving matches).

After several uses you see a bit of charring on the TP & some blue candle wax from lighting it (we were conserving matches).

cooking

You will need to hold the pot above the flame (resting the pot on the flame will put it out). I used an oven rack across my sink.

 

**Please know that I am sharing this in the hope that it may come in handy one day to you or your family. YOU are 100% responsible for your safety should you choose to try this. I can make no guarantees on how well or how safe it is. As with any open flame; you must make sure there is proper ventilation. Keep yourselves safe! I used the canned heat several times before we were able to obtain propane for our camp stove and I had no problems using it. I made sure my children were no where near me when dealing with the can in any way.

 

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