Archive for August, 2009

I’m sure you’ve noticed that there are near record unemployment numbers in this country, more and more people are going to bed hungry, homes are being foreclosed upon in high numbers, stocks have wiped out the retirement accounts of many seniors, health care costs continue to climb, and all sorts of troubles perplex this nation. And our government just keeps on spending more money that we don’t have. To top that off, there are many foreign, as well as domestic parties that would Just as soon see this nation become a heap in the landfill of the worlds trash disposal stream. Our borders are becoming less and less secure with each passing year as the left continues to divert tax dollars away from defense of this nation and infrastructure improvements, and spending more on developing a welfare styles socialist nation.

That’s why I get a bit miffed when I see things in the headline like the fifteen million dollars that Max Baucus has managed to garner for a tiny little border station in his home state, while Maine suffers with just enough to keep the light on at our border crossings, and not much more. Granted, fifteen million dollars isn’t much in the greater scheme of things, but the principle and actions behind that fifteen million dollar expenditure is what defines part of the problem that this nation has.

We talk about border security today, and the main stream media directs all discussion to the Mexican border, and the infamous fence that should have been completed long ago. Budgetary cuts and redirected funds have cut the moneys available to complete the project far short of what is needed to achieve that completion. On top of that, environmental groups obstruct the project with claims of environmental damage and wildlife disruption.

Here in the northern tier states there are thousands of miles of borderland unprotected, and unwatched, making for an easy stroll into this country by anyone that wants to visit, for whatever reason that may be. The Baucus grab netted his district fifteen million dollars worth of voting potential in his next senate race, all for a border crossing station that processes three visitors a day on average. In Maine, there are currently twenty three border crossing stations that must be used to legally enter/leave this country from this state. Unfortunately, there is also hundreds of miles worth of borderland that can be used to illegally enter/leave this country, which can be disastrous for both the US and Canada.

I remember that when I was in high school, friends and I would go fishing on some of the little brooks and streams along the Maine/New Brunswick border. There were dozens of old fields, farm and logging roads that ran along the stretch of border from the Easton area down to Bridgewater. We would often see Canadians driving along these roads into the US, as well as Maine vehicles heading for Canada. Back then there was little concern, and probably all of them were merely going shopping or visiting relatives. Today it would be of greater concern, of course.

But the issue of using the scarce funding available to protect our borders becomes a ridiculous effort when it becomes attached to bills by way of earmarks and riders that bloat the true cost of running this country. That fifteen million dollars would have gone a long way towards hiring new border agents and equipment to patrol the more than three thousand mile border that separates Canada from the contiguous forty eight states of this nation. And then there is the fifteen hundred or so miles along the Alaskan border as well. I’d like to know exactly how that fifteen million dollars is going to help the taxpaying citizens of this country beyond providing Max Baucus with votes for re-election and a few temporary construction jobs in his district.

Maine Sens. Snowe and Collins worked to get funding for some of Maine’s own aging border stations, but these stations can process hundreds of travelers on a daily basis, all of them providing millions of dollars to Maine’s economy, thus generating a very positive cash flow, tax wise for both the state and federal governments. The border crossing in Montana, Baucus’ state, serves fewer than one thousand people per year.

To be fair, this money actually comes from the Obama Stimulus program, but even though this money was to be fairly distributed across the board, it has proven to be politics as usual. The $720 million was intended to spur job creation and stimulate the economy, yet it seems the main impetus of this fund is to stimulate votes and favoritism. But check out this statement from the Missoulian; “A border station in Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano’s home state of Arizona is getting $199 million, five times more than any other border station. The busy Nogales checkpoint has required repairs for years, but was not rated among the neediest projects on the master list reviewed by the AP. Napolitano credited her lobbying as Arizona governor for getting the project near the front of the line for funding under the Bush administration. All it needed was money, which the stimulus provided.”

$199 million? That’s nearly 25% of the total budgeted for the entire funding of this program! Who says politics is honest business? What’s worse is that this article also says; “A checkpoint in Laredo, Texas, which serves more than 55,000 travelers and 4,200 trucks a day, is rated among the government’s highest priorities but was passed over for stimulus money.” I don’t know about your thoughts, but in my mind this just isn’t right. Something stinks about the whole issue of border protection here.

We, the electors of these senators and representatives, need to start putting pressure on these people to put the interests of the United States of America back on the front burner, and stop their petty politicking and vote buying that is bringing our country to ruin. Special interests certainly have their rights, but those rights should not come at the expense of the greater population. Our borders are an important part of our defense as a nation, and when one Senator or other public official gets away with lobbying for special treatment and funding, that causes the rest to assume an unacceptable risk.

 

Update to story on 20 October 2009;

Border Closed After Men Try to Walk Into U.S.

The border crossing between Calais and St. Stephen, New Brunswick, was closed for several hours while authorities investigated the incident.

This was a headline today that describes a situation whereby “The international border crossing between Calais, Maine, and St. Stephen, New Brunswick, was closed for several hours Sunday night and yesterday morning, after five men left a vehicle in Canada and tried to enter the U.S. on foot.”

Here is a more detailed report from the Bangor Daily News;

CALAIS, Maine — The international border crossing between downtown Calais and St. Stephen, New Brunswick, was closed for about nine hours Sunday night and early Monday morning at the request of the Canada Border Services Agency. more

There are any number of reasons the five men were turned back, and no information is given as to who they were and where they came from. But they tried to walk across just the same, and fortunately it was at a regular border crossing. If they had in fact been intent upon something of the terrorist nature they could have just as easily walked along an old dirt road further up the border, and gotten into a car driven by a compatriot out to do the same activity.

More money needs to be directed towards the Border Patrol of this nation, and it’s time the liberals in DC smarten up to that fact. chatter across the web seems to be incraesing and there are more and more indications that something is going to happen in the near future.

 

In Zombie Looters, part I, I started to talk about the defense aspects of the coming times. My feeling is that we will eventually have to deal with two major groups of people, Zombie looters and foragers. There will be many more different types of sub groups, of course, but in the initial days of a major melt down these two will be the primary concern as far as defending your property goes. There really is no such thing as a Zombie, of course, but it makes for a good horror movie sequence. However, these amassed mobs that do loot act very much like one would presume that a Zombie would behave, and perhaps that may well be the more tragic end of a terrible situation.

Looters are a mob driven type of people. They go where everyone else goes, and they do whatever everyone else does. There is no moral balance to this type of group, although the feeling that looting is acceptable by some people tends to propel those standing on the fence into joining the group. I guess that’s just the ‘old everybody does it, so how can it be wrong’ mentality. There is no justification that makes stealing acceptable, so remember that when the crowd comes down your street and you feel tempted to join in on the fun and frivolity.

But I left off at home defense and some of the things we could do to protect our homes from at least some of this insanity. I think it would be best to maintain the philosophy that says ‘out of sight, out of mind’ when we look to the coming times and at how and where we want to live. Those who live off the beaten track will fare much better than those who live in the cities, for obvious reasons. Therefore, if you do not have a survival homestead yet, look for one out of the way. It may take longer to get to where you work and shop, but when the crap does hit the fan you’ll be way ahead of the game. Provided the state doesn’t prevent you from getting home, that is. But that’s a subject for another time.

I also mentioned solar lighting, and I have decided to go into detail later on with a set up where you can build your own system, and use a central charging and switching station. But the idea here is that if you flood your homestead with lighting night after night to frighten the bad guys away, all you will do is bring attention to yourself. Eventually somebodies going to say, “hey! Look at all that light…they must be worth taking over!”

Defending the home may at some point involve firepower usage, so that is another consideration to keep in mind. There are tons of blogs out there on firearms so I won’t try to sell you any of that info here, except to say that there are several types of weapons you should have at hand. Rifles are good for long range shooting, and so in many cases will be useless for home defense. I would suggest you look into obtaining 12 gauge shotguns, with replaceable barrels and chokes, and a couple of different types of handguns. And make sure everyone knows how to use them safely, and without question.

If you have a multi story home, you will have an advantage at keeping the Zombies at bay, but whatever the size, all ground level windows should be shuttered with heavy, lockable from the inside shutters. The pioneers who fanned out and helped make this land grow learned that with their log cabins when they defended against the Indian incursions. Kept the bears out, too. If you have a couple of eyeholes in the shutters you can keep watch on the people on the outside, as well as using them to shoot through. But if you’ve done a good job at concealing your homestead, there will be little to worry about from these sources of danger.

The bigger danger will be the roving gangs of thugs and anarchists. They’ll be travelling in small, hard to detect groups. I would presume they would not be above checking every side road they come across, either. These people will be much more dangerous, and heavily armed as well. But if you can combine resources with others to increase your defensive posture they’ll think twice before crossing your path. In fact, I would go so far as to recommend that if things really do become as bad as some have predicted, a palisade around your central homestead may not be such a bad idea. If there are enough people to adequately guard against any invasion from these sorts of attacks, you’ll make out fine.

Another task you should accomplish, wherever your survival home is, is a secure survival shelter, underground of course. I would suggest you look into many of the articles and plans floating around dealing with the issue of fallout shelters here. These things are strong enough to resist many of the elements, including radiation. With adequate ventilation and a backup power source, you can survive for a long time, out of sight, out of mind. The suggestion of obtaining, and maintaining at least a year’s worth of survival rations is a good one. Dehydrated and vacuum packed meals may not sound like a night at the buffet, but they will keep you alive.

An external solar array to charge batteries is also a good addition, but I would recommend that you also have a hand crank generator as well. Solar arrays will only capture sun light if the sun is shining, remember? Ventilation and water, as well as sewage are all issues to address as well when constructing your survival retreat. And don’t forget the communications aspect as well.

Of course, this is all well and good if you have a place in the country. But many do not, and so we must make do with dwelling in the city as best we can. Most communities will not allow you to build a huge underground fallout shelter, so you’ll have to build one in your basement. If you live in a high density area, like an apartment complex, maybe you could get together with some likeminded people and build a group shelter for all of you to stay in. Costs and labor can be shared, making such a shelter more easily attainable, as well as cheaper. Just make certain the guy that owns the house it is built in won’t lock you out when it comes time to hide out in that shelter.

Go to the library and see if you can find any old books or pamphlets from the 50s an 60s with instructions for surviving a nuclear attack. It’s unlikely we’ll be attacked in the manner expected during the cold war, but the preparations are still valid in any disaster situation. Arm yourself with knowledge and you can survive the coming times.

I’m going to veer aside from my normal ranting and talk of the end times and look at the question of whether there is any possibility that the so called Bigfoot, or Sasquatch actually exists, and does this creature have any presence in Maine. Why? Well, it’s my blog so I can write about what I want to. But actually, the point is to show that rumors sometimes take on a life of their own, and while many are floating around with absolutely zero basis in fact and lack credible truth, people believe them to be true. Other rumors are accepted as truth by some and not by others, even though some evidence exists that does support the rumors existence as fact. And then there are those that fall into the category that perhaps it is true after all.

When it comes to surviving the times, you’re going to need to be able to sift through a lot of garbage to get to the truth of many things, and by not learning how to discern the truth you may end up losing more than you care to, including your life by not knowing the truth. So, having had a near lifelong interest in the big hairy guy, I thought I would take a look at the rumor and dissect it enough to come to a conclusion on the matter. First let me point out that there is indeed an active interest by some in researching the Maine Bigfoot question. I’ve exchanged some emails in the past and had a couple of short discussions with others, but frankly, I am not the least bit impressed with anyone I’ve had dealings with in the research field from Maine. Questions I’ve asked have gone unanswered and most of the emails have had the same results.

When a serious researcher is asked a serious and valid question, that researcher should be more than willing to give a serious and valid answer. Refusing that courtesy, being aloof, or beating around the bush takes away from any professional image that researcher may have. The end result is that the researcher merely looks like they are merely playing at the game, or perhaps they are merely seeking some sort of twisted attention. A serious researcher and scientists look for the true answer to a question, not just something that will support their own belief. While I have been interested in the question for maybe forty years, I’ve only had a serious interest for the last dozen or so.

A few short years ago I lost reams of research that I had been compiling, including maps, pictures and anecdotal reports, so, much of the evidence I had is gone, but I am still trying to build a case one way or the other. Based on memory of my own investigations, coupled with what I have accumulated online I can say that there are three possibilities. The question to be asked is a two part question. a; Does Bigfoot exist, and b; does Bigfoot live in Maine? This question can be answered, at least by me with this statement;

  • The possibility of there being a Bigfoot like creature upon this planet certainly exists. There are many forms of life that are being discovered on an almost daily basis, and the possibility of a large creature roaming around the wilderness is certainly not dismissible.
  • Anecdotal reports abound of sightings across the country describing a large bipedal creature or creatures lend weight to this possibility.
  • Circumstantial evidence suggests, but does not prove the existence of this creature.
  • The environment of Maine is similar to other states where sightings have been reported, and Maine too has had many sightings and stories of this creature.

So yes, in my opinion, based upon what I have seen and heard, there is a possibility that there is a hairy, bipedal creature sneaking around in our woods here in Maine. That said, I think the more appropriate question to address is not the possibility, but rather the probability of such a creature.

The reasons I believe in the possibility are many, but the main reasons is because not of the hype behind the Bigfoot phenomena, but rather the longevity behind the stories of this creatures existence. Being the history buff that I am, I have actually come across many stories that point towards the existence of Bigfoot encounters having occurred here in Maine for centuries, not just since the famous Patterson film was presented to the public

In 1886 George L. Hosmer wrote in An Historical Sketch of Deer Isle, Maine
(pages 9-10) That a pair of skeletons had been discovered about sixty years prior in what looked like may have been a battle to the death. One would ordinarily presume that it had simply been a couple of Indians, or other men. The skeletons were found under a hardwood tree that had been blown down in a storm, and the tree had been very large and was old enough that it had started to decay. This suggests that the tree probably had to have been over one hundred years old at least, making the time of the battle around the very early 1700s, and possibly earlier in the 1600s. what makes this possibly the first recorded Bigfoot killing is that the skeleton of one appeared to be that of a normal man, and the other skeleton, of which a copper dart had been found in the rib cage, was over eight feet tall.

Ancient Japanese literature, as well as European and other regions have recorded stories of hairy men and giants throughout the eons. Our own Indian folklore on this continent is filled with stories of the Windigo or other creatures of ill repute and horror. Even more recently, there have been reported sightings around Maine as well. Perhaps one of the best stories from the 1800s that I have read, Cluey’s Indian Devil, or Cluey and the Indian Devil, paints a description that mirrors what many have seen today.

But these are all anecdotal stories and reports, and not one of them alone can prove anything other than the fact that a person thought they saw something, but we cannot say for certain what it was they saw or heard. However, the longevity of the tales indicates that this Bigfoot remains more than just a remote legend, or fairy tale. My precept is that the truth is the truth, and one may not add to, nor take away from the truth. However, every lie must contain some particle of truth. Every tale is founded upon a truth, however false that tale may be.

So, in conclusion for now, there may not be a Sasquatch camping out in Maine’s backyard, but there is definitely something roaming around in our wilderness. What that may be, I for one cannot say. I prefer to believe that there may be a Bigfoot among us, simply based upon my own observations coupled with the anecdotal and literal evidence that exists to lend credence to that creature, or some other creatures existence. My research continues, and while I will never be able to replace that which I have lost, the collection continues to grow. I have published a short collection of some of the historical finds I have made in the Maine Monster Parade, and I intend to publish a much more comprehensive overview of the monsters that have made Maine their home sometime in the next few months.

Until then, happy Squatch hunting, and stay tuned for more of surviving the times. And if you have any Bigfoot tales of your own to share, drop me a line at dlsoucy@remembermemedia.com. Keep checking in for more of my research. From Time to time I’ll share a few notes on the subject here.

There seems to be a big business these days in the area of home defense. Lots of bucks are being made, but are you really defending your home, or are you just buying peace of mind with some of these contraptions you can buy today? Mostly by this I mean is a burglar alarm really a defense system? Looking at the long term, worst case scenario, if there is no power or telephone systems, the best burglar alarm system on the market will be about as useful as you know what on a snake. No power, no alarm. At best, no matter what these salespeople tell you, these fancy pants systems are merely a warning device to let you know your home has been broken into. They don’t prevent anything. Under normal circumstances, they make a great deterrent and will keep the average Joe Blow crook away from your house.

But there are many things you should be doing today that can lessen your risk of invasion from the Zombies after that looming nuclear attack on us. First of all, I’d like to point out that in spite of all the cash we pump into the law enforcement system through taxation, don’t expect any protection from them when the crap hits the fan. They won’t be there. Look at New Orleans after Katrina passed through. The papers were full of images and stories of businesses and homes being looted b those that stayed behind. Expect that very same thing to happen in your community under the same situation.

If things do get serious you’ll be looking at two basic group types of these zombies, looters and foragers. Looters will be the immediate concern. Basically, they will form into a large unruly, and uncontrollable mob. As they form and grow larger, their sense of power will grow too. They will attack the business districts first, taking anything they can get their hands on, needed or not. Amazingly enough, I saw one picture where this guy was running down a street with a wide screen TV over his shoulder. Where’d he think he was going to watch it? There was no power to run it, and even if he could, there was no cable or broadcast TV available to watch. The ones stealing food and fuel were going to be better off. And that’s what looters do, they steal. There is no morally acceptable time to be taking property that belongs to someone else without their permission.

The damage they cause will normally be beyond repair, especially in a time where materials are not available. They also will not be above injuring people who may try to stop them, or get in their way. As I said, business districts will be hit first, so I would recommend keeping a wide berth of these areas during the initial breakdowns that are coming. And as the business districts become depleted of lootable material, they’ll be heading to your house next. People who live in densely populated areas will fare poorly under the brunt of this menace, but those who wisely chose to live in the more open suburban areas will be better off. Country dwellers will fare the best. (hint, hint)

One of the basic reasons, in my opinion, is that these mobs will be made up of city dwellers that are used to having things done for them. People tend to crawl into their comfort zones and stay there. So, if all you know is the city, then that is where you will stay. As long as you are comfortable, that is. Eventually food will run short, and self rationing will commence. In some localities you’ll see the mobs take on a sort of community style living where the stronger members will become the leaders. Things will disintegrate form there.

The other group, foragers will come along behind, and will be made up of those who were wise enough to leave, or not even join the mob mentality in the days after the calamity strikes. They will steal, just like the looters, but they will be less visible, traveling in smaller groups, and causing much less damage. They will harbor some feeling that they are not stealing because it is their right to whatever they need to survive. Knowing that they have little chance to obtain their needs in the bigger urban areas, they will fan out and rummage through suburban communities and then the country dwellings.

So, what kind of defense can we establish to reduce the potential harm from these groups? Against the looter there is minimal defense. Their depredations will be much too strong for the average homeowner to defend against. Your best bet is to move now, find a place in the country. And it would be of benefit if you could have a place that was obscured from the roadways. That way there will be less chance of them finding you. The same goes for the foragers as well. However, as the foragers gain experience, they will eventually find your home.

If you do have a country home you may fare better than in a more densely populated area, but the way you build and prepare your home will definitely be key to your survival. Have a wide open area around your home, with no places for people to hide behind. Trim back hedges and shrubbery to increase your visibility from inside the house. Install some security shutters on the first floor of your home. Usually, all you can find at most places are those flimsy plastic show shutters. Make your own out of metal or two bys and make sure they are securely mounted. You’ll want to make sure the hinges are bolted to the walls with toggle bolts rather than just screwed on. and also make them so the hinges are concealed when they are closed.

Doors to your home should be substantial in build as well. Use six inch screws for the hinges and extra long door bolts for the locks. And try to minimize the use of glass in and around your doors. Put a peep hole in a solid door instead. The safest door is one that swings inward, and for these I would suggest installing a Bronx lock for maximum security. A Bronx lock will give you positive locking on all four sides of your door. If you cannot do that, then at least install some kind of bar across the interior for security.

Solar powered lights would be a good addition, but not the kind that home centers peddle as walkway lights that come on at dusk and off at dawn. Lights on every night is one thing you do not want to have in a situation like this. Wire them up so they run from a central battery and switching point. that way you can turn them on when you need them, and only then. We’ll get into the specifics of much of this hardware as we travel on, learning how to survive the coming times, so I’ll pick this conversation up in part two of Zombie Looters next time.

But before I go, here’s a thought to ponder. There are a lot of folks that get those invisible fences that are supposed to contain your dog. They work pretty simply, and to some extent are successful. Basically, the wire in the ground acts like a transmitter of sorts and every time your dog, as long as it is wearing the special collar, gets near the fence, a little electric shock will jolt your little puppy dog. Works fine most of the time, but remember this on point. That little dog will be under the control of that fence only so long as the dogs fear of the fence is greater than that dogs desire to go beyond that fence, for whatever reason it wants to go beyond it. If the dog wants to bite a passerby bad enough, the fence will no longer be a deterrent.

The same goes for human beings. A bad guy will only stay away from your property only so long as his fear of danger by entering your property is greater than his or her desire to take whatever is on your property. In the ultimate scenario, there will be no law enforcement that the crooks will need to fear, so whatever you use as a deterrent force must be great enough to make it not worth the risk for these bonehead Zombies to attack your property. Remember that when the crap hits the fan, but prepare for it now.

There are a great many products on the market that you can use to heat your meals with whilst on the run, whether that be from a bully or a nuke blast. Most are safe, at least to some extent. Some, of course, are not. We’ll look at some of the different stoves available in another post. Today, I want to talk about what has become one of the most reliable fuel/stove combos, as well as one of the safest fuels. Sterno. What is it? Basically, it is gelatinized alcohol. Alcohol makes for a very good fuel, but as a liquid it can be troublesome to use. In gelled form, it’s a breeze. I love the stuff for an emergency source of cooking fuel.

You can usually find the cans in most any sporting goods or camping section of major retailers, and sometimes you’ll find them in the food prep section as they are also frequently used in warming chafing dishes. Usually, they’re found in a three pack. The stoves themselves are becoming tough to find, so I thought I would build my own portable Sterno stove. There are, like I mentioned, commercially available units that work just fine. The most prevalent is the folding stove, and then there is the one that simply slides over a can of Sterno. But this is, after all a survival and camping tips blog, so I figured, what the hey!

I have seen a few rather extravagant models that have been crafted by some of the best Red Green outdoorsman in the world, but I just simply hack up a tin can. When you are in a bind, you may not have time to get creative, and simple is as simple does (sorry, Forrest). I normally buy the 8 oz cans of Sterno which means I had to use a big can. A 24 oz stew can was just the right size.

Here’s the simple Sterno stove; open the can of stew, or whatever you have bought, and place the product into a pan of sufficient size. Scrub the inside of the can out to make sure there are no food particles or grease left on the inside of the can. Punch four to six ¼ inch holes around the sides of the can about 2 and ¾ ” from the bottom for air holes. Fire consumes oxygen, remember? Then punch two or three similar sized holes about ¼ ” from the top of the can. And that’s your emergency Sterno stove. Simple is as simple does, eh? The reason for the holes at the top is to get the air moving inside the can so that as the heat escapes from the top it draws more air in from the outside. I found if you don’t put the holes at the top, when you plant a fry pan or whatever on the stove its efficiency plummets and the flame tends to go out.

To work the stove, simply pry the lid off of a can of Sterno and place it into the stove, open side up. Drop a burning match into the can of Sterno to light the fuel. Place that pan of stew on top of the stove and in a few minutes you’ll have a nice piping hot meal. Just remember that since the stew can is metal, It will get very hot to touch, and the potential exists to possibly ignite any flammable surface the stove is placed upon, such as a wood counter or grass and leaves. Thi9s can be countered by placing the stove on a rock, or maybe a piece of metal such as an overturned fry pan.

So, to get back to the questions, what is Sterno? Sterno is a mixture of denatured alcohol, water and a special pink gel that they use to contain the fuel. The gel is essentially non toxic, but the alcohol is not. Be careful and make sure no one consumes the fuel accidentally. Wash your hands after handling it, and if a piece of food drops into the can, please don’t eat it. And if somebody does eat it, make sure you get medical attention immediately.

As far as the usefulness goes, they last quite a while. An 8oz. can, like I prefer, burns for up to t 2 ½ hours. The 7oz. can burns for up to 2 ¼ hours. The 2.6oz. can burns up to 45 minutes. The cooking fuel is extinguishable by simply dropping the lid on the can, and can be re-lit until the product is gone. An added benefit to keeping Sterno on hand is that it will not freeze. Some fuels can, especially other alcohol based fuels because of the water in them.

In addition to using Sterno for heating and cooking food, you can always scoop a spoonful or two out of the can and use it as a fire starter as well. Don’t lick the spoon after. I know you’re thinking about it, so don’t. They’re also easy to find on the road, too. Most kitchen places will sell at least the smaller cans because most chafing dishes are made to use Sterno because the flame is hotter than a candle flame, which makes it safer for the food.

The Sterno company, on their website says that you should replace the fuel after two years, but I have had fuel that kept for over five years in a cool location. Once you open the can, however, the fuel, being alcohol, begins to evaporate. So if you want a long term life, you may wish to also vacuum pack the individual cans inside a vac pack bag.

Safety note! Sterno burns with an almost clear flame, slightly blue at times, so if the can is open, presume that it is burning until you can determine otherwise. It is quite easy to burn yourself when you cannot see a flame.

The advantages of using this type of set up is that it is quick, easy, and safe.

Propane stoves require bulky storage bottle which can be quite heavy if you’ll need a lot of them. And in really cold weather or at very high altitudes propane may not work very well. Liquid gas stoves need to be primed and you have to carry highly flammable fuel for them. In a pinch, you can normally prepare a day’s worth of hot food with one 8 oz can of Sterno, and the cans are easy to dispose of. In some communities, propane bottles have to be recycled. Not that that will matter if the you know what hits the fan.

But that’s my quick and easy Sterno stove. Stay tuned and maybe I’ll share some menu items that can easily be prepared with a little Sterno stove, and remember, are you ready to survive the coming times?