Jan 202017
 
How To Create An Endless Supply Of Hot Water – No Power Required

How To Of The Day: Create An Endless Supply Of Hot Water

Whether one lives off-grid and seeks to create an endless supply of hot water or lives in a location with sparse resources, this video is sure to inspire and inform.

Are you interested in moving off-grid so you might live a self-sufficient life away from society? If so, you’re sure to benefit from this video uploaded to YouTube by engineer775 Practical Preppers. The information shared reveals that all one needs to create an endless supply of hot water is some recycled parts and a small rocket stove.

In case you’re not aware, a rocket stove is a hot burning stove that uses small diameter wood fuel. It ensures almost complete combustion prior to the flames’ reaching the cooking surface and is extremely efficient. Learn how to build your own here.

The ingenious technique described in the video utilizes thermal siphon pumping to move the freshly heated water into the reservoir. It’s easy to reproduce and will ensure an individual has an endless supply of hot water for as long as they need.

 
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Jan 112017
 

You think you’re warding off disease, but if you don’t spend enough time washing your hands in the correct manner you’re fooling yourself.

Use the simple guide below to wash your hands like a doctor.

How to Wash Your Hands Like a Doctor

January has been the month of the cold that would not die at the McKay household. First one half of the family got sick, then the other, then the first half again. It was a downright pandemic around here. Productivity, morale, and my gains — my poor, poor gains! — have suffered greatly.

It’s gotten me thinking about how to better handle getting sick in the future, and how to prevent getting sick in the first place. When it comes to the latter, proper and regular hand-washing is one of the most important weapons in your cold and flu-fighting arsenal.

In the past I’ve admittedly been a short and sloppy washer. And I’m not alone; studies have shown that only 5% of people wash their hands correctly.

So we talked to Bryan Canterbury, ER doctor at Newton-Wellesley Hospital in Newton, MA, to get his tips on how to wash thoroughly like a right-old medical professional. His doctor-endorsed guide is above.

According to the CDC, you should wash your hands:

  • Before, during, and after preparing food
  • Before eating food
  • Before and after caring for someone who is sick
  • Before and after treating a cut or wound
  • After using the toilet
  • After changing diapers or cleaning up a child who has used the toilet
  • After blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing
  • After touching an animal, animal feed, or animal waste
  • After handling pet food or pet treats
  • After touching garbage

Skip the antibacterial soap; it’s not only no more effective at getting rid of germs than regular soap, it may lead to the development of resistant strains of bacteria (i.e., the “super bug”). The antibacterial label also tends to make people careless about washing their hands the right way, figuring the soap will take care of the germs itself, which isn’t the case.

Hand sanitizer will work in a pinch — use a big glob, make sure it’s at least 60% alcohol, and rub it over every surface of your hands. Sanitizer’s not a good choice when you’ve got actual grime on your hands, and it doesn’t kill all germs, but it’s almost as effective as hand washing. It won’t lead to super bug-dom, either; hand sanitizer breaks down bacteria in a different way than the anti-microbials in antibacterial soap do. Here’s how Dr. Canterbury recommends using sanitizer:

“In the hospital, we use hand-sanitizer in-out of each patient room. But we are told to soap-and-water after the bathroom and before/after meals and when hands are visibly dirty — and I think that’s great minimum criteria throughout the day no matter your work/life setting; more if possible to prevent catching a cold, flu, pneumonia — or worse.”

There you go, how to wash (or sanitize) your hands like a doc. Until next time, keep your noses, and your hands clean.

Illustration by Ted Slampyak

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Jan 092017
 
How to Seal Foods Air-Free Without a Vacuum Sealer

Seal Foods Air-Free Without A Vacuum Sealer

Here’s a quick, easy, inexpensive way to seal foods airtight in a plastic-bag. All you need is a zipper-lock bag, and a tub or pot of water.

If using this method for storage use freezer bags for a better seal. For cooking sous-vide, do not use this method for foods that need to cook longer than a couple of hours. For long cooks, use an actual vacuum sealer. Zipper-lock bags can fail with extended cooking times.

When it comes to plastic-bag storage, there are a lot of good reasons to remove as much air as possible. Marinating in an air-free plastic bag helps better distribute marinades around food. Excess air causes oxidation that can develop into off flavors or promote spoilage. Air pockets can exacerbate freezer burn in the freezer and slow down sous vide cooking. Removing that air is simple to do with a vacuum sealer, but what if you don’t own one or don’t want to use the expensive bags for a relatively simple storage or cooking task?

Here’s a quick, easy, inexpensive option called the water displacement method. All you need is a zipper-lock bag and a tub or pot of water.

I first learned about this technique when Dave Arnold demonstrated it to me as an alternative to vacuum sealers for sous vide cooking, but it has far wider applications.

To do it, you start by placing your food inside a zipper-lock bag, then seal the bag, leaving just the last inch or so of the seal open. Next, you lower the bag into a pot or a tub of water. As the bag gets lowered, water pressure will push air out of the bag through the small opening you left. Just before the bag gets completely submerged, seal off that opening and pull the whole bag out of the tub.

Ta-da! Food that’s sealed in a nearly air-free environment, no special tools required.

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Jan 052017
 

Stack your firewood to last the Winter and to dry perfectly with this handy graphic.

store-and-stack-firewood

After you split firewood, you want to stack it up and store it to begin the seasoning process and prepare it for burning. Firewood should be stored for a minimum of 6 months, and during that time you want to ensure it loses as much moisture as possible by exposing it to ample sunlight and air circulation. As noted above, while both elements are important, sun exposure should be prioritized over wind direction. If your backyard or property has inconsistent wind patterns, the stack should be aligned so that it catches the west-to-east winds which are common in North America.

You’ll know when your wood is ready for stove or fireplace by sight and sound: Check the ends of your firewood for hairline cracks that spiderweb across the grain, and bang the wood together; a low thud sound means you’re good to go, but a sharp clap means it still needs time.

If you’ve waited six months and your wood still doesn’t seem ready, your stack may be out of whack; check the guidelines above for tips on how it might be improved.

Illustration by Ted Slampyak

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Dec 302016
 

Pancakes are delicious, but it’s easy to screw them up if you’re not careful. Before you make your next batch, check out this handy graphic with tips on how to get them just right.

make-perfect-pancakes

Let’s start by admitting that the nature of a perfect pancake is a subjective thing. Some people love thin, almost crepe-style pancakes, while others crave flapjacks that are heavy and almost cakey in texture. In the middle of those extremes is what we’re after — a pancake that’s got crispy edges and a moist, but not too dense inside. If you want to make the sort of hotcakes you’d find at an all-night diner in the middle of a long road trip, where heavy ceramic mugs accompany warm jugs of maple syrup ready to pour over golden stacks of butter-covered pancakes, these instructions will guide you.

The key to creating these divine cakes starts with fresh ingredients: don’t use flour, baking soda, or baking powder that’s more than 6 months old, as it weakens key interactions that make the difference between great flapjacks and mediocre ones.

Illustration by Ted Slampyak

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How To Of The Day: Treat A Bee Sting

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Dec 222016
 

treat-a-bee-sting

Were it not for their stings, bees would likely be viewed with the same playful fascination we give to butterflies and worms. But the reality is that housed in their little yellow-and-black bodies is a powerful stinger attached to a nasty little sac of venom just waiting to let you know you’re in the wrong place at the wrong time.

To be fair to bees, most stings are carried out by vespids, a classification of insects that includes things like wasps, yellow jackets, and hornets. While they look like bees, vespids are far more aggressive and don’t have the common decency to produce something delicious, like honey, as a means of making up for their brutish behavior.

Even though bees and vespids are thought of as summertime nuisances, the likelihood of stings actually goes up in early fall. At this time of year, populations of yellow jackets, wasps, and hornets are at their highest, and in preparation for winter, their diets have shifted to focus on more sugary foods, like our sodas, candies, and ice creams. The result is a greater chance of an encounter with a pest that’s more keen than usual on getting what you have. If you find yourself at the business end of an angry stinger, follow these steps to neutralize the pain and prevent excessive swelling.

Illustration by Ted Slampyak

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How To Of The Day: How to Roll Up Your Sleeves

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Dec 102016
 

A quick video on when and how to roll up your sleeves.

Enjoy!

When the mercury is on the rise, so are your shirt sleeves. You can’t be going into work in t-shirts or even short-sleeve button-ups, so you’re left with rolling the sleeves of your nice dress shirt in order to stay a little bit cooler. How do you do so without looking sloppy, though, or without wrinkling your shirt when the sleeves need to come back down for an important meeting?

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How to Roll Up Your Sleeves

 

How To Of The Day: How To Survive Inside A Plummeting Elevator

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Nov 272016
 

how-to-survive-inside-a-plummeting-elevator

Falling to your death in a steel box seems like the sort of risk you would want to avoid, especially when the alternative is merely the inconvenience of walking up a few flights of stairs. Luckily, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics and the Consumer Product Safety Commission report that elevator accidents are exceedingly rare, and more likely to happen to elevator repair professionals than people merely cruising between floors. Still, the notion of an elevator cable snapping and sending you on a deranged amusement ride, no matter how improbable, is scary enough to warrant memorizing a few survival tips.

Illustration by Ted Slampyak

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How To Of The Day: How To Cook A Turkey

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Nov 242016
 

fatmanwithturkey-800pxHow To Cook A Turkey:

Step 1: Go buy a turkey
Step 2: Take a drink of whiskey
Step 3: Put turkey in the oven
Step 4: Take another 2 drinks of whiskey
Step 5: Set the degree at 375 ovens
Step 6: Take 3 more whiskeys of drink
Step 7: Turk the bastey
Step 8: Whiskey another bottle of get
Step 9: Ponder the meat thermometer
Step 10: Glass yourself a pour of whiskey
Step 11: Bake the whiskey for 4 hours
Step 12: Take the oven out of the turkey
Step 13: Floor the turkey up off of the pick
Step 14: Turk the carvey
Step 15: Get yourself another scottle of botch
Step 16: Tet the sable and pour yourself a glass of turkey
Step 17: Bless the dinner and pass out

 

How To Of The Day: How To Move To Canada

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Nov 092016
 

Move Canada

If Hillary’s loss has you feeling disillusioned with American democracy, you may find yourself imagining a move to Canada.

After all, it’s a land where healthcare is free, people are friendly, and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau explains quantum computing just for laughs.

But actually becoming a citizen is tough: You need to live in Canada for at least six years, stay on your best behavior, and know a thing or two about the country you’ll soon call home.

For those who actually want to head up north, here’s how you move to Canada:

Preface: Make sure you’re not already a Canadian citizen.
Before you go through the hassle of applying for citizenship, take a short quiz to see if you may already be Canadian.

The government outlines several caveats for being a citizen even if you weren’t born there, many of which depend on your parents’ citizenship. Maybe you secretly inherited their status at some point along the way.

Be at least 18 years old.
If you’re not a legal adult, you’ve got an uphill climb ahead of you.

Minors need their parent or legal guardian to fill out the application for them; they need to be permanent residents in Canada (more on that later); and the parent must either be a citizen or applying to become one at the same time.

Or enter the pool for skilled immigrants.
Canada has a fast-track system for immigration called Express Entry. It’s how skilled workers transition into a role in the country.

All applicants into Express Entry are given specific scores based on their specific talents and job prospects and then ranked with other applicants. Those at the top of the rankings are invited to become permanent residents.

Have a permanent residence in Canada.
To become a permanent resident, people can choose between several avenues. They can apply through the province of their choice, go down a special entrepreneur route, get help from a family member who lives in Canada, or go through Quebec, which has special immigration requirements.

Permanent residents are entitled to healthcare coverage and can work, study, and travel anywhere in Canada. You just can’t vote, run for office, or hold some jobs with high security clearance.

Declare your intent to reside.
If you’re invited to become a permanent resident, you must confirm your plans to stay Canadian. The government defines permanent residence as living in Canada for at least two years in a five-year period. If you don’t spend that much time within the borders, you could lose your permanent residence status.

If you don’t live in Canada, you must work outside Canada as a public official known as a Crown Servant or live abroad with certain family members who are Crown Servants.

Spend six years at that residence.
Permanent residents don’t always become citizens. The bar for citizenship is higher.

If you’re living in Canada, you must have been a permanent resident and physically present in Canada for at least 1,460 days (four 365-day periods) in the six years immediately before the date of your application.

You must also be present for 183 days (half a year) during each of the four calendar years that are fully or partially within the six years before the application date.

In other words, your time in Canada needs to stay relatively consistent.

Provide your income tax filing.
Like the residence requirement, you must be able to provide four years’ worth of tax returns in the six-year period leading up to the date of your application.

Basically, they want to see if your job is legit.

Speak English or French.
Along with dozens of other countries, Canada has two official languages: English and French.

To become a citizen, you need to know just one. You don’t need to be fluent, just conversational enough to make small talk, give directions, use basic grammar, and know your vocab well enough to describe yourself.

You’ll send along written documents with your application, but a citizenship officer will make the final call whether your English or French is up to snuff.

Know a thing or two about Canada.
You should probably brush up on your Canadian history anyway, but the government also issues a formal quiz to applicants on the history, values, institutions, and symbols of Canada.

You take the test if you’re between 16 and 64 years old. Typically, it’s a written test, but the citizenship officer may also ask questions orally.

There are no real surprises. Everything you’d need to know can be found here: Discover Canada: The Rights and Responsibilities of Citizenship.

Know why your application might get denied.
There are a number of reasons your past may prohibit you from becoming a Canadian citizen.

For instance, the government looks down upon granting citizenship to people who have committed a crime within four years of submitting their application or are on trial for a crime.

It also specifies that people in prison can’t use their sentence toward becoming a permanent residence. (That doesn’t quite fit with the “intent to reside.”)

Invest in durable clothes for your local climate.
Canada is the second-largest country on earth, behind Russia. As such, there is no singular “Canadian climate,” even if people may think it’s just cold most of the time.

Depending on how close you live to the British Columbia coast, for example, spring can begin as early as February and summer temperatures can rise into the 90s.

So if you’re looking for places to take up permanent residence, research what the weather’s like. You won’t waste money or space buying unnecessary items.

Take advantage of the customs of your new life.
Now that you’ve left your home country behind (and if you’re an American, abandoned the circus of presidential elections), embrace what makes Canada unique.

Many Canadians express deep fondness for Tim Hortons, quirky slang, celebrity ambassadors, and hockey.

No one will expect you to dive headfirst into this new world, but if you want to become a genuine citizen, formal requirements are only the start.

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How To Of The Day: How To Paint A Room

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Oct 042016
 
How to Paint a Room

Illustrated by Ted Slampyak

Painting can be one of the hardest and dullest of all household projects, which is why many people put it off. When done wrong, painting is time-consuming, frustrating, back-straining, messy work. When done right, it’s still all of those things, but to a lesser degree. As with any chore or project, careful preparation and patient execution are your friends. Take the time to do it right and you’ll avoid ending up with a splotchy mess of a room.

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