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Saturday, September 28, 2013

Old School Sugar Squeezin's

I've recently had a number of questions regarding brewing.  Questions about how to convert corn into sugar to be fermented (queue banjo twang).  Corn IS occasionally used in beer brewing, so I've got some insights I thought I'd share.

I've been brewing for a long damned time.  Since 1980 - just a few short years after Nanny graciously allowed us to convert four freely available ingredients - water, malted grain, yeast and hops - into a bubblin' brew.

I've also dabbled in wines, mostly mead (honey-based wine) and ciders.

A key difference between my style of brewing, and that of most other folks is that I don't use kits.  You can find a brew store online, and get a kit with the proper amount of malted barley syrup or powder.  Add water, boil, add yeast and drink after it ferments and carbonates.

I go, 'old school'.  I buy my malted grains, grind them, make a mash (converting grain starches into sugars), sparge the grains (rinsing the sugars from the grains in the mash), THEN boiling and everything else.

But what if malted grains weren't available?  And what the hell is malting, anyways?!  And I thought this was about corn!

Hold your water, sport.

Let's take a step back and understand the science behind brewing.  All grains are made up primarily of starch.  We want to turn that starch into fermentable sugars.

The starches are tightly bound at the molecular level.  We've got to do something to open them up so we can convert them into sugars.

We have two paths to that goal:  malting and gelatinization.

With malting, you take your grain - be it barley, corn, rice, rye, etc. - and soak it in warm water.  You throw them into a sack and place them in a warm, dark place.

The grain begins to sprout.  As it's doing this, the kernel is producing an enzyme called amylase.   Amylase enzyme is what turns the starch into sugar.

Once the grain sprouts (different lengths for different grains, but about equal to the length of the kernel), you usually halt the growth process with heat (you don't want Mother Nature to take over and consume all of the starch).  You roast the grain.  A shorter duration roast gets you a light malt for a light Pilsner beer, and a longer roast will get you a dark malt for a heavier Stout beer.

Now, I said 'usually'.  You can also just knock off the sprouts, grind up the grain, and begin your brewing.  This is what is done very often with corn, for instance.

Now that we've got our malted grain, we're now ready for the mash to allow the amylase enzyme to convert the starch to sugar (more on this later).

The other option mentioned is gelatinization.  Gelatinization uses heat and loosens up those tight molecular bonds on the starch so that we can add amylase enzyme to convert that starch to sugars.

Let's say you don't have access to whole corn kernels.  All you have is corn meal.  Or maybe you have whole corn, but you don't want to go through the time and hassle of turning it into malt (about a week).

You take your ground, unmalted grain (say, feed corn) or corn meal, and cook it.  The temperature varies by grain.  For corn, it's right around 170f.  You add 1 pound of ground corn (like corn meal) and add 2 quarts of water.  Bring it to temperature, constantly stirring.   You'll end up with a thick corn mush (not mash).  Think grits or polenta.

When you get to the 170f, you need to keep it there for about a half hour.  You can just turn off the heat, cover it, and go get a cold adult beverage while you wait.  You now have gelatinized corn.

Now, it's time to mash.  Again, mashing is the process of adding a starchy grain to water, and adding amylase enzyme to get the starch to convert into fermentable sugar.

If we're using the malted corn that's just been malted (meaning it's still moist), we pulverize the corn, and add approximately 1 1/2 quarts of water for every pound of dry corn we started with.  If we dried the malted corn for future use, we add 2 quarts of water per pound.

TEMPERATURE IS KEY HERE.  If we bring this corn up above 165f, we'll deactivate the amylase enzyme that's present, and not get any sugar out of it.  The sweet spot is between 145f and 160f.

A trick that beer brewers employ is to bring the water all by itself (no grain present) to slightly above your sweet spot, then turn off the heat.  Add your grains, and the thermal mass of the grains will bring you to your sweet spot.  For corn, I'd bring the water to 160f, then slowly add your pulverized corn while constantly stirring.  You'll end up with a mush.

Cover your pot, wrap it in towels, and set your timer for 30 minutes.  At that time, open the pot, give everything a nice stir, and cover it up again for another 30 minutes.  You'll notice that the mush has gotten VERY soupy.  That's the enzyme liquefying those long starch molecules into short, fermentable sugars.

If we're using gelatinized corn, we need to introduce the amylase enzyme.  Two ways to do that:  First, you can just buy the enzyme from virtually any homebrew store.  Since we're goin' Old School, we're going to add a bit of malted grain (barley) to the gelatinized corn, and let nature do its biz.

So, our corn mush, looks like this after it's been gelatinized -

Think corn mush, polenta or grits.  We need to add malted grain equal to between 25% and 30% of the original weight of the corn.  BUT we need to bring the temperature down to 160f first (remember, we had this at 170f to gelatinize it).  Take the lid off, stir every 10 minutes, and in a half hour, you should be down to 160f.

The grain you use needs to be cracked -

You can buy it just like this from a homebrew store.  Since I brew a lot, I buy it in 25lb bags, uncracked (it lasts longer this way).

In this case, I started with 3lbs of corn meal, so I added 3/4 of a pound of 2-row pale malt barley (tip:  If you only buy grain to do this, buy 6-row, as it has more amylase present, and will get you more sugar).

Cover this bad-boy up, wrap it in towels and set the time for a half hour -

After a half hour, give it a stir, then cover it up again for another half hour.  Just like with the all-malted corn mash, you'll notice the mash has gotten very soupy.  Nature!

After your hour mash, if you try and scoop up your stuff, this is what you'll get (compare this to the previous picture with the mush pre-mash) -

I'm going to use these corn squeezin's in an American Lager beer.  Light body, low hops, high alcohol content.

Advanced, mind numbing stuff follows.  Even some math.  Proceed at your own peril.

Every grain has a given sugar potential.  It's expressed as PPG - Points per Pound per Gallon.  For instance, 1 pound of white sugar in 1 gallon of water has 46 points.  On a beer hydrometer (a tool that measures the amount of sugar in your mash results), you'd see this as 1.046

It's a linear scale.  Add two pounds of sugar to one gallon, and you'd have 92 points (46 x 2).  This is important, as you want to know how much alcohol your brew is going to produce.  The higher the points, the higher the alcohol content.

With grains, there is a little detour.  Corn, for instance, has a PPG of 39.  BUT, unlike already processed white sugar, it's virtually impossible to get every molecule of sugar out of the kernel.  On average, you can expect to get about 75% efficiency from your mash.  So, I'd expect to get only 29.25 PPG from my corn (39 x 75%).

So, in my example, I used 3 pounds of corn meal with 6 quarts (1.5 gallons) in my gelatinization.  If I take my expected PPG (29.25) and multiply that by the 3 pounds of grain used, I get 87.75 points.  Since I used 1 1/2 gallons of water, I need to divide this number by 1.5.  That gives me 58.5 points.

If I take my mash results (called a wash or wort), I should see a reading right around that on my hydrometer.  Well, well, well, lookee here!

Each of the lines below the 50 are two points each.  I ended up with 56 points instead of 58.5.  I probably should have actually had a little bit more, as the malted barley gave up some sugar as well.  My efficiency was probably around 72% or 73%.  Sue me.

If you do your mash in the low 150f range, and use 6-row malt, you could easily hit 80% or 85% efficiency.

Oh, and I heard once somewhere on the Interwebs that the grain bill for corn whiskey is 60% corn, 40% barley, or close enough to that.

One last thing:  If you're going to use rice as your fermentable grain, its gelatinization needs to be at 195f.  There are charts all over the Internet for the gelatinization temperatures of most grains.  Corn and rice are both used in lots of commercial American lagers (Bud, Miller, et al) because they're cheaper than barley, and pack quite the punch per pound.

One more one last thing:  If you're a wimp and don't want to gelatinize your own corn meal (hey, learn a skill, will ya?!), you can buy flaked maize from homebrew stores.  It's corn that's already been gelatinized, and is just waiting for the addition of the amylase enzyme.  At two bucks a pound, it's much more expensive than corn meal from the bulk section of your store, or feed corn from the feed store (make sure your feed corn is hormone- and pesticide-free).

As noted before, this corn juice is going into an American Light Lager.  I'll let you know how it turns out.... in about 4 months!  Cooler weather is lagering weather!

Copyright 2013 Bison Risk Management Associates. All rights reserved. Please note that in addition to owning Bison Risk Management, Chief Instructor is also a partner in a precious metals business. You are encouraged to repost this information so long as it is credited to Bison Risk Management Associates.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Emotion versus Logic

What are we gonna do?

Every damned time there's a mass shooting, the MSM and Talking Heads on TV start the parade of family members that had a loved one shot or killed.  Almost without exception, the family members plead for more strict gun laws.

Last Sunday - after the DC Navy Yard shooting - that chimp-faced bastard on Meet The Press trotted out the mother of some young woman that was killed in the Aurora movie theater.  These "interviews" - more like gun control infomercials - all go something like this:
Chimp-faced bastard:  I have to ask you, when you were here, and you heard about what happened at the Navy Yard, can you describe your reaction to it?

Mom:  [sigh] ...any time you've been a victim of gun violence like we have - when you hear news like that - it takes you right back to what happened when you heard your news.  And unfortunately, we got our news in the middle of the night - from the young man who was with my daughter - who called me from inside the  theater twenty minutes after I'd been talking to my daughter... and told me - with screaming going on in the background - that my daughter was dead.
 Chimp-face tossed her a couple of softball questions which she answered with the tried and true MSM-approved responses.  More background checks.  Close the gun show loophole.  More guns aren't the answer.  Blah, blah, blah.  Chimp-face then finished the infomercial with another request about feelings  Lots more sighs and gentle head shaking.

I got all dewy-eyed.  But that was from the force of my projectile vomiting.

Earlier in the show, Chimp-face had interviewed Wayne LaPierre of the NRA.  Unlike his pity-party with mom, he asked LaPierre tough questions, and got back tough answers.

Including the fact that the crazy bastard in Aurora - the criminal who gunned down gun-grabbin' momma's daughter - went through a background check.... AND WAS CLEARED!

Holy shit on a shingle!  The very system mom is saying we need more of, was used and failed.   If mom had half a brain that held a wit of logic, she'd see that any "system" can be beat. 

Criminals have known and exploited this for years.  Build a set of laws, and let Mr. and Mrs. Jones get all snug and comfy in the knowledge that the law is out there protecting them.

Then beat them, rob them and kill them once they've let their guard down, and given up their ability to protect themselves.

Without exception, all of these mass shooting occur in Gun Free Zones.  These are like salt-licks to deer.  If you were going to blow away a bunch of people, where would you do it?  In a highly-armed location like a police station or gun range, or in a place where possession of a gun is a crime?

Logic SCREAMS that the way you fix this problem is to arm anyone so inclined to defend themselves.  To make our laws to promote personal defense and responsibility.  To empower, encourage and enable every decent American to be willing to defend themselves and others in peril.

But, on Meet The Press with its millions of viewers, emotion carried the day.  Again.

To win a point in the public arena, you need to think like an advertiser.  With few exceptions, emotional tugs are more successful than logic.  Mini-vans are sold using images of a helicopter mom loading junior into the van with enough straps and binding to withstand a moonshot.  Women are the shot-callers for auto sales, so getting those innate protective mommy genes all riled up will result in a sale.

They use the same schtick with guns.  Ban guns so you don't end up like me - an empty, childless shell of my former self.

That's some powerful shit.

How do we logical types win the advertising battle?  How do we interject the same kind of emotional angst the gun grabbers use, into our fight?

Here are the basics of our logical arguments -
  • Since recorded history, there have been human beings that are either insane, anti-social criminals, or both.  That will never change.  These people will continue - until the end of time - to kill, maim and brutalize other human beings, regardless of the number of laws put on the books stating that these acts are illegal.
  • We can hope.  We can wish.  We can dream.  We can get down on our knees and pray to Almighty God to let the violence end, but it never will.  The best we can do is to manage the violence - keep it to a minimum by not allowing it to spread.  
  • Insane, anti-social criminals don't give a shit.  Logic and compassionate reasoning rarely work.  They've got to be put down like feral animals.  Wrap your brain around that.
  • Gun laws restrict access to guns, not by criminals and the insane, but by good people.  This works perfectly into the plans and actions of the anti-social criminals and the insane.
  • Every single recent mass shooting event was extended because the means to repel the criminal were removed from the law abiding citizens present at the event.  
  • Every single mass shooting event has been ended by people with guns either using, or threatening to use, those guns.
 Saying something like, "My first grader was killed by a crazy person.  Just one teacher with a gun could have stopped my child's death at Sandy Hook," just doesn't carry the same emotional baggage of, "My first grader had her brains blown out by a gun.  Ban guns so your baby doesn't have her brains blown out, too."

Yikes!  Sign me up for a donation to Brady!  [Hey, hey, hey!  Holster that weapon!]

If you notice, the grabbers place the emphasis of their wrath, not on the person responsible for the act, but on the inanimate object used.  It's the gun that's the problem, not the poor, pitiful, crying-for-help, I'm-just-another-victim-of-the-system that pulled the trigger.  They were almost forced to kill all of those people.  If we'd only removed all of the guns from the world...

They make a mental picture between a gun and splattered brains.  Kids brains.  What would we do, make a mental picture between a gun and an intact skull?

Obviously, I'm not a marketing genius!

We (that means you, NRA and GOA, et al) need to get some PR hacks and marketing dweebs on this.  We need a theme that ties guns to long life.  And kids being able to grow up.  And families staying together.  Honestly, it should probably stay away from the self-reliance angle, as way too many Americans are now very willing to hand over their personal responsibilities to the government.  Our goal with these types is to either keep them neutral or leaning our way, and not be anti-gun.

How do we emotionally convince these types that it's in their best interest to leave the rest of us alone with our guns?  That they will actually be better off with us with guns, instead of in danger as the gun grabbers would like them to think.

We need to have pre-written press notices that extend and reinforce this positive mental picture every time a person uses a gun to save or protect a life.  And every time a crazy bastard takes one.

We also need a female talking-head for our side.  Someone who is passionate, articulate, well-spoken and knowledgeable enough to hit the Sunday news show circuit.  Someone that's equally attractive to men and women, but whom you believe would punch you in the head if you got out of line.  Sorry, Wayne, we need someone that the women can get behind.  And that ain't you.  Thank you for your service, but it's time to step out of the limelight.

We're not controlling this debate.  We're defensively counter-punching.  This topic only comes up after a mass shooting, and when that happens, we look like the bad guys.  We bob-and-weave with facts and logic, and they throw hay-makers with dead children and Assault Rifles.

Seriously, who do you think will win, "the hearts and minds" of America with these tactics?  We're toast if this same road is followed.  We must get out in front of this and guide the conversation.  We've got to interject emotion into our fact-filled arguments.

Fear, love, hate, sorrow, glee, pride, joy, safety, contentment.  Which best get ALL of our emotional juices flowing?

Copyright 2013 Bison Risk Management Associates. All rights reserved. Please note that in addition to owning Bison Risk Management, Chief Instructor is also a partner in a precious metals business. You are encouraged to repost this information so long as it is credited to Bison Risk Management Associates.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Bug Out Plan Update: Guns

About a week ago, we got a public alert notice on our TV to be prepared to evacuate.  My area of Northern California has a dominant peak:  Mt. Diablo.  Well, it had a hell of a fire.  Not as big as the Rim Fire near Yosemite or a couple others further north, but it was a bigun.

As soon as we got the alert that we might have to evacuate (about 70 homeowners, ranchers and farmers did have to bug out), I broke out our Evacuation Plan.  What?  You don't have one?  You should be drawn and quartered!  Go here for a 3-part post (Part 1, Part 2, Part 3) on how to make your own.

Anyways, part of our plan is, "grab the guns".   So I started ticking off - in my mind - the rifles and pistols I wanted to bring, and staged them to be quickly loaded into our vehicle should the evacuation alert turn into a mandatory evacuation order. [BTW, the posts above discuss the concept of tripwires - events or news that happens, which then move you to action.  We would have voluntarily evacuated well before a mandatory order had been given, as one of our tripwires  - wind direction and speed - would have been tripped earlier.  I'm more aggressive in my self-preservation acts than those dictated by government officials.]

It then dawned on me that my wife would not know which to bring, and what needed to come with them.  I had a BIG hole in my preps by assuming I'd be home when an emergency hit.

So, in addition to updating the evacuation plan to mention specific guns, I wanted to have something that was fully self-sufficient, and easy to grab.


 Huh?  A tool chest?

Yes, but a very special tool chest.  First notice the front area just to the right of the yellow latch.  It's a lock.  A combination lock.  Here in the late-great state of California, if you're transporting a gun, it must be in a locked case.  I didn't use a keyed lock, because keys get lost.  The combo used on this lock is the same combo used on all of our locks.

What you can't see from this picture is a label that says, "FN-P9, 9mm pistol" on the end of the case.  In this way, I know all of my stuff needed for that particular gun is in a single case.

This case is a Stanley tool box.  It comes with a removable tray, which was removed and discarded, as I want to be able to pile as much crap into this box as is possible.

Here's what you see when you first open up the box -

Everything I need to use and maintain the gun in a bug out situation.

The pistol, 3 magazines, paddle holster, mag pouch, 130 rounds of hollow point ammo (two boxes of 50 each, 3 magazines with 10 each), a universal gun cleaning kit, 225 gun patches, a dozen Remoil gun wipes, and a can of Remoil aerosol.

I believe I will be able to squeeze in another 50-round box and a couple more magazines if I jostle stuff around just right. I think I'll add some Q-tips and a rag as well.

Each pistol I own that might be taken during a bug out now has its own box.  If we are forced to evacuate on foot, this still gives me the ability to grab what I need for a particular gun and stuff it into a BOB, and not be searching high and low for a needed item.

The box was $7, cleaning kit was $8, Remoil patches were $4, Remoil spray was $5 and the cleaning patches were $3.  It won't cost you an arm and a leg to put these together.

Another thing about this is that it doesn't scream, "GUN!"  If we were forced to evacuate and our public servants decided to take an non-Fourth Amendment compliant looksee in my car, it would look like a regular old tool chest used to fix the car.  A tacti-cool case and 5.11 gear would be like calling a buzzard to road kill.

Yes, part of our updated plan is to remove all labels from the box as it's placed in the car.

More on tripwires:  My area of the country is subject to 3 major types of natural disasters:  Flooding, earthquakes and wild fires.  The tripwires dictate the direction and timing of our evacuation.  Flooding - which levees are at risk, where are they in relation to our home, when are high tides?  Earthquake - where is major damage to infrastructure, where are bridges?  Fire - how close, what direction/speed of wind, in what general direction is the fire burning?

Other tripwires include civil unrest and toxic air releases (I have refineries, power plants and chemical plants all within 15 miles, some within 5 miles, and train tracks within 2 miles).

Accept The Challenge

Putting together an evacuation plan will take you a bit of time, but is well worth the effort.  Your neck of the woods may be concerned with hurricanes or tornadoes.  Perhaps ice storms or a nuclear power plant emergency.

The point is, every place in this country is subject to some sort of event that could result in the need (or order) to evacuate.  Your success in dealing with - and recovering from - such an event is predicated upon the idea that you will do everything in your power to not become dependent upon the good graces of some government agency for your well-being.

Go read the three linked posts on putting a plan together.  Ensure the 12 Impacts are all addressed.  Tweak and upgrade when needed.

Go on, git!  You've got some work to do!

Copyright 2013 Bison Risk Management Associates. All rights reserved. Please note that in addition to owning Bison Risk Management, Chief Instructor is also a partner in a precious metals business. You are encouraged to repost this information so long as it is credited to Bison Risk Management Associates.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

The Cost Of Using A Gun - What Ya Gonna Do?

Disclosure:  I have a new business venture which will be announced in a week or so that pertains to this issue.  I found this article, and it was just too perfect not to discuss.

You've got access to a gun.  You see a crime being committed.  This Daily Caller article titled, "Should you use your gun to stop a crime?" poses an important consideration -
Before carrying your gun again in public, ask yourself whether or not you are prepared to go to jail to stop a crime.  Most concealed gun carriers will risk their lives and freedom to defend themselves and their immediate family.  But defending others, even when the use of deadly force is warranted, ups the ante.  Is it your moral obligation to step in and help when a crime is in progress?
Defending others.  Where's the line between self-appointed wanna-be cop and publicly spirited citizen?  What will a jury think?

In my firearms training classes, I tell my students to get their heads ready, now.  If you shoot someone,  regardless of the circumstances, expect to be arrested.  If you resist, you're going to be bound and gagged, and hauled away with additional charges piled on. 

You will have gone from good guy to bad guy in the blink of an eye.  Is it your stated intent (after you've been arrested) or your actions that will carry the day in court?

In my advanced, Practical Defensive Pistol class, right in my class description, I tell my students that I want no part of their decision on when to discharge their weapon - 
We will not make any recommendations regarding WHEN to use a firearm for self-defense.  The laws in California are simply too vaguely written.  We will provide each student with a copy of the California DOJ Firearms Law Summary section titled, "The Use Of Firearms In Defense Of Life And Property".  Students are strongly encouraged to read and understand this information, and to consult their own attorney if they have any questions.
I've had this in my class description since 2009, well before incidents such as the Zimmerman/Martin case made the headlines.  The Zimmerman/Martin shooting could not have been a more clear-cut case of self-defense, plus it occured in a pro-gun state, arguably the most pro-gun state.

Yet George Zimmerman was put through an emotional and financial gauntlet - because of politics, in this case.  What would have happened in an anti-gun state such as California, New York or Illinois?

There is the legal concept of curtilage.  It's a very important one, especially in a state such as California where guns are so highly regulated.  In short, curtilage is the physical space which defines your home.  This is hugely important in a state where the only two places you can carry a gun without a CCW permit are your home and your business, AND where obtaining a permit is near impossible.

Scenario:  You're sitting in your back yard, sippin' a cool one - all safe in your curtilage bubble -  and hear some yelling from across the street.  You have no idea what's going on.  Sounds like some sort of screaming match between the folks that just moved in a few weeks ago.

It rapidly escalates.  Plates and glass start breaking.  You and other neighbors call 911.  Suddenly, the wife from across the street comes running out of her house, screaming unintelligibly.  She has blood on her face and hands.  The husband is in pursuit, also covered with blood.  He grabs her, and drags her back into the house. 

What do you do?

You know - hope - the police are on the way, but you don't hear any sirens coming.

The sounds of breaking glass continue.  The screams get louder, and at least to your ear, become more desperate.

What do you do?

She starts screaming for help.  It sounds like she's losing strength.

What do you do?

They come tumbling out of the doorway, both covered in blood.  You can now hear sirens in the distance.  Perhaps 45 seconds away.

What do you do?

The husband throws the wife on the ground, sits on her chest, and starts open-hand slapping her face.   You see a pistol tucked into the back of his waistband.  Police are 30 seconds away.

What do you do?

Remember, step on to the street with a gun, and you've lost your legal protection of curtilage.

If you interject into this argument, you have the potential to end up in jail, particularly if you use your gun in any way.

If you don't interject, the wife may end up dead, but you're off the hook legally.

From the article -
These questions get to the heart of how prepared you are to stop a crime, even when your life may not be immediately in danger but someone else’s is.  In Arizona, for example, people are legally authorized to use deadly force to stop a crime in progress if another person’s life is at risk.  What about your state?  Does your state offer protections to “Good Samaritans” that use their gun to stop a crime?  Does your state provide you with legal protections, or will it leave you with the risk of being thrown in jail for the rest of your life, for the crime of protecting someone else’s life?
Again, as Zimmerman/Martin showed us, even when clearly acting in defense of yourself - let alone in defense of someone else - you risk being tried for murder.

Accept The Challenge

We make mistakes - sometimes mistakes which will result in the forfeiture of our personal wealth and liberty - most often when we act impulsively.  Most folks gut, primal reaction would be to go club the bastard to death.  If he had a gun, blow his brains out.

Conversely, too much hesitation in defending yourself or another because you're worried about lawsuits and liability can result in your death or injury, or the death or injury of others.

Think through scenarios before you're put into a real-life situation.

What are you going to say, what are you going to do, if:
Someone breaks into your house
You see a hold-up happening at a gas station
You see a woman being raped in an alley by one man.  By 3 men.
You see 4 teens beating someone unconscious with bats and fists
You see 4 adults beating someone unconscious with bats and fists
The laws are different for different states with regards to the "good Samaritan" laws.  How does your state stack up?

Get informed on your state's laws, and walk through some scenarios now, while you're cool, calm and collected.  To do otherwise could result in the loss of your freedom and fortune.

Copyright 2013 Bison Risk Management Associates. All rights reserved. Please note that in addition to owning Bison Risk Management, Chief Instructor is also a partner in a precious metals business. You are encouraged to repost this information so long as it is credited to Bison Risk Management Associates.

Monday, September 2, 2013

Some Projects For You To Labor Upon

Happy Labor Day, by the way....

Maybe a couple of these ideas found at will click in your head as a way to make a couple of bucks on your way to developing a second stream of income, or to help your preps be more productive or and less costly.

This is a great example of using a bit of elbow grease and only a little bit of money to seriously upgrade and improve an existing pile of crap.

This smoker went from this $5 garage sale find:

To this - dare I say - smokin' work of art:

Think you could make a couple of bucks selling this?

If you've got some welding skills and a bit of artistic flare, this Instructable details how to turn a bit of square tubing and flagstone into some remarkable - and unique - tables.

Based on the information in the Instructable, the materials for this table cost less than $50.  That's an easy $500 table, and some of them online go for north of a thousand bucks.

Perhaps you're like me and you work with wood.  So make an oak base!

On the prepper's side, one of the big contributors to Instructables is this guy named the King Of Random.  This guy is unreal.  He has posts on everything from homemade stuff that goes 'boom' to a post like this that shows you how to very easily make a water pump from PVC pipe.

Finally, this last one is a big time saver for those of you with gardens.  Many of you may already know of this trick, but it's a new one to me.

Get your seeds to sprout faster  - as in overnight - by abusing them!

Using a technique called, "scarification", you remove part of the seed hull before you apply water for them to sprout -

He claims he gets a 60% overnight success rate....

Now, get a-laborin'!

Copyright 2013 Bison Risk Management Associates. All rights reserved. Please note that in addition to owning Bison Risk Management, Chief Instructor is also a partner in a precious metals business. You are encouraged to repost this information so long as it is credited to Bison Risk Management Associates.