In the wake of Hurricane Harvey, we are set to get a thorough soaking over the next couple of days “up the hill” from the Houston hell hole.

When the weather turns bad, something I learned from living on a sailboat for more than a decade, is food never tastes so good as in stormy weather.

There’s something about being wet, cold, hungry and getting a good helping of hot “comfort food” that takes a piss-poor situation (or a piss-poured one) and turns it into an “that ain’t so bad” situation.

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It is too late for us to be offering advice on which Rocket Stove to buy – and besides, finding dry fuel can be a challenge.

But we have been fairly steadfast recommending that if you buy a gas BBQ that you get one with a side burner.

Elaine points out we didn’t use our side burner – ever.  But my workaround on that was to get a cast iron griddle to put on top of the regular gas BBQ.

You may wish to measure and make sure it will fit, but we have the Lodge LPGI3 Cast Iron Reversible Grill/Griddle, 20-inch x 10.44-inch, Black and while it doesn’t get much use, I know that either Elaine or I could turn our bacon, eggs, hash browns,  and griddle toast should it come down to now power in the house.  Not cheap – figure $42’ish – but a good breakfast is the cornerstone.

Another prepping option – and I picked this up from my brother in law – a fair number of packets of instant flavored oatmeal.  A bit of Truvia, a splash and canned milk and we could pass on the heavier breakfast.

That will get us to noon.

Sandwiches are the universal fare here.  Keep a couple of those boneless (skinless, too, if you can find them) frozen turkey breasts in the freezer.  If the power goes, some brown and serve rolls and fresh-sliced hot turkey breast with a schmear of mayo will keep you going.  Especially with a one of those chicken “Cup-o-Noodles” packages per person.  Toss in a tablespoon of Smokehouse Almonds and chew with a handful of semi-sweet chocolate morsels and maybe a Constant Comment back of tea (chai tea works well too) and you’re set to work until late in the day.

Then comes dinner.  Bit family style one pot.

To feed a family?

Boil 2-3 gallons of water in a huge pot.  The kind you catch hell for buying when take-out is delivering, but a small canner size is ideal for this kind of emergency.

When you get the pot full of boiling water, toss in two pounds of noodles.  Anything handy.

We’ve used everything from flat Kosher egg noodles to our specially flown-in Rose Brand Chinese Egg Noodles from Rose Brand Products up in Seattle, to linguini, to thin or fat spaghetti, bow-ties, elbows…hell, anything pasta works.

Draining the noodles after they are slightly past done, add two cans of regular condensed cream of mushroom soup and two large cans of meat.  We like the organic canned chicken breast cans but about half the time we have tuna.  Albacore is good. Packed in water, not that oil stuff. Never tried diced Spam, but with a handful a frozen peas…who knows?

You will now season. (Season of the which?)

Our current palate is 8-12 shakes of Worcestershire sauce, a good teaspoon (heaped) of tarragon leaves ground fine, a quarter teaspoon of nutmeg, and a heaping tablespoon or two, of a good mayonnaise.  I like Dukes, since the other brands don’t taste as rich and many have extra vinegar in their mayo (like a Miracle Whip) that just doesn’t work for me.  Three shakes for Cayenne for the brave.  Six shakes for Louisiana visitors.

Mash this around a fair bit.  Toss in some canned milk if too dry.  A handful of any grated cheese, if you have it.

Since this is an old fire-house special, it will feed two or three coast guard search and rescue workers (or rig workers), OR four hungry firemen, OR five policemen, OR six state patrolmen (or one supervisor, ahem), OR 12 ballerinas.

For dessert, something on the Barbie like sweet rolls topped with a can of apple, cherry, or peach pie filling.

Wash it all down with plenty of water, an aspirin or Tylenol from the unaccustomed workout, and remember, drinking a pint and a half of water will generally wake you up around dawn without an alarm clock.

If you need to be up earlier, drink more water.  Nature’s alarm clock. Native American’s didn’t need clocks or batteries.  Who’s the “advanced civilian” again?

Since these meals are fairly high in carbs, do the cleanup right away.  By the time the dishes are done, the carb – loading will kick in and you’ll be sleep walking for the last half hour.

You can adapt this to whatever’s handy.  In my various incarnations I’ve had everything from a simple red sauce (canned, diced tomatoes and some kind of meat) to store-bought spaghetti sauce (Newman’s Own, one Marinara and one Sockarooni sauce is pretty darn good) and whatever’s around for meat.  (Zeus the cat eyes me suspiciously…).

Say, that brings up a discussion of Urban Small Arms – which is what USA stands for, right?

The Art of Air Rifles

The other day while we were watching the front edge of Harvey coming down (Elaine and I were in the gravity loungers on the screen porch) I happened to have the 2-meter ham radio on and hooked up with a fellow whose initials were Toby.

As we got to chatting past weather and such, seems he and his wife were doing much the same thing we were – sitting out of the rain and watching it come down.

Except that they were plinking at one of those cast iron flip-over targets.

So I asked him how he liked his air gun, what it was, and so forth.

Turned out to be a Beeman Sportsman Model QB78-22 Air Rifle– which I had never heard of – so I went shopping on Amazon.  $120. Hmmm…

Our new goodie – with a case of CO2 cartridges and .22 pellets will arrive shortly.  So will the Red and Green Dot Sight Holographic Scope 1X40mm with 11-20mm Rail Mount for Airsoft which we hear will fit the Beeman.  Still, not a bad deal.  I’ll let you know on the sight mounting.

We’ve been using an old $29-dollar pump type for years.  the .177 pellet gun for pest control won’t kill a fly, but honestly, it has lousy groupings and by the time you take your eyes of the game (raccoons tearing up our screens) load, and pump,  the target is gone or already laughing.

If I get after ’em with one of the 9mm’s I figure I’ll rip the tree down with a hollow point…  There’s a balance to this stuff. I don’t like noise.

There are a couple of good reviews on the Beeman, including this one from Hard Air Magazine.

There’s a lot of game in the Outback that can be taken with an air gun and a little patience.  Sure, we could whip out the tactical shotgun, load up “rat shot” in the 9 MMs or the SKS…but seriously, who needs back to back 40 round magazines in the AK-47 to run off raccoons?  For emergency food gathering want to waste “reach out and touch” supplies? No way.

I don’t know if you remember in our earlier adventures at the ranch, but we did a “How many 12 gauge buckshot rounds to bring down a 3” pine report back in 2004, or thereabouts.  Worthless.  The shotgun tears up the wood so you end up with a 20-foot Q-Tip looking thing that is useless, so might as well saw from the git-go.

Got a rabbit problem starting on the “west 12”  Warrens everywhere and tearing up the pasture.

Our historian pro tem, Coy up the road, was telling us recently how “back in the day” there were actually rabbit drives in Texas and up through Kansas and Misery (still spelled Missouri by the slow to catch-on).

I was wondering “You mean fast like a SSD drive?”

I swear I heard him thinking “No, Jack Rabbit Drives like the ones up north of us:”

Oh, those kind.  The brer kind.

Been eyeing this problem in the same category as a good sling shot.

Oh, and speaking of which – have you seen one of these before?  Called the MoreFarther Superpower Stainless Hunting Slingshot Catapult (Kingkong Black) with Laser,4Pcs Replace Rubber Bands, 200Pcs Stainless Slingshots Ammo and sure it will run you $80-bucks, but the cool factor?  Why Q would be proud, James.

I would love to tell you more about Mr. Ure’s fairly good eye with slingshots.

Some of those “adventures” might involve windows and the prehistoric version of Clear Glass Marbles 1/2″ in Diameter 500 Per Package / 4.4 Lbs of Marbles.

Yes, back in the day, we knew that if you wiped down the marbles, and since they were glass which would break on impact with most windows…OMG, there’s an UrbanSurvival confession column starting and we don’t have all day to waste… how ’bout we don’t go there?

Are Houston employers going to dock people for taking time off to go camping with their families like this?  That would be the ‘Mercian way, wouldn’t it?  Insurance companies have monetized disaster, so why not everyone else?


Speaking of monetizing:

Why doesn’t eBay put up a special page so when people move back in, away, or whatever along the gulf coast when this Harvey deal is done, buyers of this and that (like you and me) can click Houston Recovery and give some spending preference to People who really need the help?

(And WTF am I coming up with this kind of obvious stuff for…how much are the PR goons making, anyway?  Fire half, give the dough to recovery…I might buy some shares…)

Write when you get rich,

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