Submissions     Contact     Advertise     Donate     BlogRoll     Subscribe                         

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Audio Podcast: Episode-663- Modern Survival Ways to Save Money Part Two

podcast_subscribeImage by derrickkwa via Flickr

Original Article

Today is the first in a miniseries on saving money and 100% of the tips, suggestions and resources come from you, the audience.  My hope is that with this series the average listener can reclaim 100-300 dollars a month of their hard earned money and then use it to further their individual independence.  Today’s show [...]


Amazing Whole Wheat Bread Recipe

Wheat.Image via Wikipedia

Original Article

One of the mistakesthat beginning preppers make is to not use their stored food supply.  It’s easy to forget when food is stored out of sight.  Make a point to go to your storage area once a month to inventory supplies and bring the food stuffs that are nearing expiration.
Those of you who have stored flour know that it expires more quickly than storing wheat berries.  Therefore, to prevent bug infestations and expiration dates, begin using your stored flour.

Here is a simple bread recipe that can be used.  It’s mellow and sweet; and is the best tasting wheat bread recipe I have found.
 Simple Wheat Bread
  •  5 c. wheat flour (or 2 c. white flour and 3 c. whole wheat)
  • 2 c. water (at 100 degrees)
  • 1/3 c. sugar
  • 1/3 c. honey
  • 3 tbls. olive oil
  • 4 tsp. yeast
(makes 2 loaves)
Stir in yeast to water in a small bowl and set aside to allow yeast to activate.
Mix the rest of ingredients in a bowl except for flour.
When all ingredients are mixed, throw flour in and yeast/water on top and mix thoroughly.
Allow bread to rest and rise for about 2 hours (I use my microwave).
After bread has risen, punch bread down and knead dough about 2 minutes.  Shape dough to form 2 loaves.

 Allow bread to rest in oven for another hour.  Hint* – Placing bread in oven with a bowl of hot water helps the dough rise faster.
Cook bread at 400 degrees for 30 minutes.
Once the bread is removed from the oven, allow to cool for 10 minutes and enjoy!

Saturday, May 28, 2011


Original Article

I've never really been around a bunch of mosquitoes.  Where I live there are very few.  When we went to Hawaii half of our group got bit, half didn't.  I was in the half that didn't so I never really worry about mosquito protection.  For work we've been given bee/mosquito veils to wear if we need it.  I did notice when I was at the bug-out place that there are mosquitoes.  My renter friends have complained about them somewhat. 

With the wet weather we had this winter I have noticed more mosquitoes around here.  Now that the rains are over we are on a mission to eliminate the places where mosquitoes breed.  Toys, buckets, even a shovel lying on the ground can hold enough water.  Even a spoonful of water, if it's pooled for a week is enough water and time for eggs to hatch and the larvae to mature.  All you can do is clean up your property; you can't really deal with the stuff on the neighbor's property so you will have mosquitoes no matter how much you clean your place up. 

After Rourkes column today about his discovery of a mosquito repellent that seems to work well according to Rourke and Amazon's product reviewers, it got me to thinking about natural and non-natural repellents.  The one Rourke discussed needs butane and repellent pads. I don't know how long that lasts, and what the daily cost is.  I do know that it works over a 10-15 foot area so you could sit at a table in the evening and not be attacked by mosquitoes. 

At work, when I'm in areas that are highly infested with mosquitoes and other bugs I spray on Sawyers mosquito repellent.  It gets sprayed on clothing.  I bought the hand pump bottle and refills a couple years ago.  This way, I can keep it in my truck and not worry about an aerosol can exploding in the heat.   It works pretty well, too. I've never had to break out the netting.  We are supposed to keep it on us in case we stumble upon bees.

Anyway, back to mosquito repellent.  I did have a zapper light that worked pretty well.  It needed electricity.  I gave it to either the bug-out renters or my oldest daughter, I think.  All I know is that it isn't here anymore.  I was thinking about getting some more zappers and having them run off a solar panel and a battery.  I wonder how much power that would take? 

What about having a several year supply of mosquito repellent?  I have that for myself with the Sawyers except I don't use it all the time.  What about if I needed it daily?  How much would I need for myself, or for a dozen people?  Should I buy it or is it something that I can make?  There are many home recipes but I really don't know how effective they are. 

I'll list them anyway. 
1.  10-25 drops of essential oil, 2 tablespoons of a carrier oil or alcohol.  Rub onto skin or clothing (although I don't really think rubbing oil onto clothes is a good idea)
essential oil - cinnamon, lemon eucalyptus, citronella, castor, basil, cedarwood, juniper, lemon, myrrh, pine, rose geranium and/or rosemary 
carrier oil or alcohol - olive oil, sunflower oil, and other cooking oil, witch hazel, vodka

2.  Garlic - eating it so it permeates through your pores.

3.  Our animal water tanks all have goldfish in them.  One of the tanks has some other kind of fish.  I don't know how we got those but they are there.  They look like the little mosquito eating fish.

4.  Having a light on in the chicken coop, especially one that is low to the ground will attract swarms of bugs.  The chickens will be happy to eat them.

5.  Bats.  These wonderful creatures will eat up to 10,000 mosquitoes per day.  Amazing!  (Although if other bugs are around they'd prefer them)

6.  Citronella candles and oil.  Lighting these works well.  It's not too hard to stock up on the oil or the candles.  I did have a bunch of the candles but they somehow evaporated away.  I'm not sure what happened there!

7.  Rose-scented geraniums, catnip, basil, lemon grass, and lemon balm growing in your yard are all reported to help keep mosquitoes at bay. 

8. Using a fan while you are sitting on the patio.

9. 1/2 vanilla, 1/2 water.  This one would be really, really expensive!

I think we will plant many of the mosquito repelling plants at the bug-out place this year.  Now is the best time to figure this out.  Next year may be too late.

Audio Podcast: Episode-662- Modern Survival Ways to Save Money Part One

podcast_subscribeImage by derrickkwa via Flickr

Original Article

Today is the first in a miniseries on saving money and 100% of the tips, suggestions and resources come from you, the audience.  My hope is that with this series the average listener can reclaim 100-300 dollars a month of their hard earned money and then use it to further their individual independence.  Today’s show [...]


Thursday, May 26, 2011

Audio Podcast: Episode-661- The Future for Silver as an Investment

podcast_subscribeImage by derrickkwa via Flickr

Original Article

Silver is up, now it is down, record high, another record high, drops, now to the moon, then a massive drop, a minor recovery.  So what in the world is going on with the “white medal” the little sister of gold?  Today I will try to get past the hype, dig deeper into the reality [...]


When The Power Goes Out

Nice ATMImage via Wikipedia

Original Article

Where I work there are two ATM machines, just so happen both were down and out of service for unknown reasons and they were going to be down till Monday, mind you it was Saturday. So many people rely on these money machines, as I watched and observed truck loads of sheeple trying to extract funds from these machines I could not help but think how prudent to have had money, cash stashed away on the side in the home for things of this nature. But, who am I kidding (lol) no one really thinks this way nor does it. As far as I know I'm the only one here that does it. I may be wrong, there may be others but I'm positive they are few far and wide. I don't even have a debit card and my bank card, I have no idea what the pin number is because I don't use it. If I need money I always have cash on hand 24-7. Hubby restricts me from using my credit card with good reason and I am more than thankful for his strict direction in usage of a menace that literally ruins peoples credit beyond repair. And no, mines is not ruined beyond repair.

Now, in the event there is a power outage, statewide or globally everyone will be SOL for not preparing ahead of time for unexpected events that have happened time and time again before but only on a smaller scale. You'd think all the previous ATM shutdowns would wise a few sheeples up but as history always repeats itself things of this nature is predictable in response of sheeple habit. I have no idea why people would not have at least an extra stash of cash on hand just in case. Because when you think about it, if there was ever a major disaster and the grid went down for an unspecified amount of time, businesses will not be taking credit cards, debit cards and checks how could they without electricity? The only people that will be able to make purchases will be those that have cash and cash only. Now, if we're talking a longer period of time without power the bartering system will be kicking in very shortly if not immediately.

When the dollar crashes completely more than likely everyone's financial situations will come crashing down as well. Get yourself situated in gold and silver and keep all those pennies and not just any penny I'm talking about the wheat penny, the one that says "one cent" with wheat on each side. Currently these are worth 3 cents a piece so save all you can on these. In these particular pennies the amount of copper is in the 90% plus range, so that means it's worth far more than the rest of the average pennies that you see and have in your pocket. Aside from having different types of funds don't forget to have food storage because having a sound food storage plan will help you and your family get through some of the greatest challenges that we are all about to face in the very near and dear future. And when the power goes out you're going to want to be prepared and ready at all costs don't be caught off guard and ill prepared, do the preparations now while there is still enough ample time and don't forget to always have cash on hand at all times always.

Join the APN Forum at
Visit the Hawaii Forum at

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Beaver Mat Shelter

Original Article

Beaver Mat Shelters by DAN BEARD
The Outing magazine, 1904
Ever since our aboreal ancestors with prehensile toes scampered among the branches of the pre-glacial forests men have built brush shelters for camps or temporary refuge, and I make no claim to inventing this time-honored style of forest home. The truth is that no contrivance of any description is ever invented at once in its entirety, but everything is evolved from something else, everything grows. Not only is this true of plants, animals and men, but it also holds good with men’s clothes, tools and houses, all are products of evolution.
Our birds never invented their wonderful nests, they have but modified and improved the cruder nests of their more undeveloped ancestors.

So the brush huts here given are evolved from the shacks and camps familiar to everyone who visits our north woods, but the application of the beaver-mat and the mat itself is new.
These camps are shingled with birch bark, spruce bark or covered with brush. Even a novice can cut birch bark, but might fail to get the same results from the spruce tree. Let the beginner hunt through the wood for a comparatively smooth spruce tree, and when a suitable one is found, cut a ring around the bottom and another about five feet above the first; then cut a perpendicular slit connecting the two rings; it is now a simple matter to peel off the section of bark by the careful use of the hatchet and the help of a comrade to hold on to the edge of the bark.
In this way enough pieces can soon be secured to roof the shack, but it is to be supposed that you know all this and also how to lay the bark, beginning at the bottom and working up, so that each layer overlaps the lower one and breaks joints with the ones below it; also, it is to be supposed that you know how to weight down the bark with poles laid from the ground at intervals so that their top ends protrude over the open front of the camp. Loose brush is used in the old-time camp to set up against and inclose the two ends of the shack, leaving the broad front open. This is the well-known Adirondack camp of former days, now generally superseded by structures of similar form built of logs, but unless logs are used a much neater, more durable and a better protection from the rain and weather can be obtained by building
A camp of beaver mats similar in form to the one shown by Figrs. 1, 2 and 3. The roof, by the way, should be much steeper than Fig. 1 and more like that shown in the profile view of Fig. 3. After you have erected the framework or skeleton of the camp, shown in the above diagrams, make four triangles to correspond with ABC (Fig. 3); do this by fastening the ends of three poles together, Fig. 5.
Next nail some branches from side to side of the triangle, as shown by Fig. 6, then, with the triangle flat on the ground, cover the frame with selected brush, being careful that it is placed in an orderly manner, with the tips pointing down and, overhanging the stick, AC, as is shown at D, Fig. 7. Over this lay another layer of brush in the same manner (E, Fig. 7), and, over the second layer put a third (F, Fig. 7), as one would shingle a house. Continue in this manner until you have a triangular mat a foot or more thick.
Next make a duplicate frame (Fig. 6), but with the cross sticks placed up and down in place of horizontal, as in Fig. 6. Fit the second triangle over the first, Fig. 8, and lash the corners together, using sufficient pressure to make the mattings between the two frames hard and compact. One side of your camp is now ready to set in place, but another beaver mat must be made for the opposite side, and then both can be set up against the ends of the camp, where they were intended to fit. The roof may be made of a beaver mat of rectangular form constructed with diagonal braces, like those shown by G H F E L M K J, or D C B A of Fig. 10.
After the mats are in place the whole thing should be thatched by inserting the end of a layer of small flat brush near the bottom of the mat, then one above overlapping the first and so on until the top is reached. A carefully built beaver mat lean-to, with thatch of palm leaves, if in the South, or pine, spruce, hemlock, or sweet-smelling balsam thatch, if in the North, can shield you from a hard shower of rain, and in cold weather offer a wind shield which will be appreciated by the tired hunter.
It does not take long to make beaver mats, but it does require care to make good ones; however, one who loves woodcraft will love to work with the twigs of evergreen, and one who loves his task may be trusted to do good work. If the reader is indolent he had better keep out of the woods altogether, or travel with a valet and a bunch of guides, being careful to sleep only in the well-built houses paradoxically called camps. But this sort of man will probably not read this sort of an article, and I can assume that the reader loves the woods for their own sake, loves the hardships and exertion of travel and making camp, loves the glow of the campfire and the nights under a birch-bark roof, or even with no shelter but the trees overhead, where he can watch through the interlacing branches the twinkling of the distant campfires of heaven.
But even the true-hearted woodsman and seasoned camper may wish to make a more artistic abode than that offered by a brush lean-to. He may expect to receive ladies at camp, his mother and sisters, for instance,

possibly accompanied by some other fellow’s sister, in which case he can exercise his artistic ability by constructing a beaver mat cottage for the ladies, which will be certain to find favor and win the feminine approval of the woods for a vacation. Fig. 4 shows a very plain and simple beaver mat hut, but one which can be embellished with quaint little hooded windows, a comfortable veranda, and as many other improvements as the time and inclination of the builder will allow.
The Wicks Frame shown by Fig. 9 is suitable for a detached open dining-room, a general camp assembly-room, or it may be made of smaller dimensions and used as a camp cottage.
The rafters (F) may be cut off just below the eaves (G), and the frame covered with beaver mats, or the sides may be used for the front and rear ends of a hut, in which case the two uprights on one side may be made tall, for the front, and the two rear ones cut short for the rear, which will give the colonial type of roof (Fig. 4), such as the old Dutchmen of New York used on their quaint dwellings, and such as may still be found on ancient houses both in New England and on Long Island.
To make the beaver mats very large is not a very practicable idea. Rather make them smaller and build your house as a child does a house of blocks. Fig. 10 shows a wall of four mats with a window opening. Fig. 11 shows a bow stick, pointed at both ends, to be used for a window hood. Fig. 12 shows the frame work of the hood, and Fig. 13 the hooded window when finished.
The window hood sticks are held in place simply by forcing their ends into the compact mass of the beaver mats, the hood is then thatched by forcing the ends of branches in above the window, so that the twigs rest on the hoops as the plain sticks do in Fig. 12. Over these first row of branches a shorter lot is laid with their ends thrust into the beaver mats like the first, and over these a still shorter lot until the hood is covered with a thick, green thatch.

Book Review: How to Survive The End of the World as We Know It

Original Article


It is not too often that I read a book where I feel totally on the same wave length as the author.  This recently happened to me when I read “How to Survive the End of the World As We Know It” by James Wesley, Rawles who is also founder – one of our favorite websites.

Sort of a funny story how I came across this book, I recently had a birthday and was visiting my in-laws back in Wisconsin.  My mother-in-law surprised me with Mr. Rawles’ book and I said to her “Oh ya, this guy runs the most popular Survivalist blog in the world.”  And then she frowned and said “I hope that it is OK that I bought his book for you.”  Like somehow James Wesley, Rawles is the enemy because we both have survival websites, not the case.  I was thrilled.
By the time I read the 2nd page I was hooked, by the time I reached the 15th page I realized that James Wesley Rawles JWRRawles and I might be brothers from a different mother.  We share a favorite quote on the topic of firearms “Better to have a gun and not need it than to need a gun and not have it.” He picked up the quote from his father, I picked it up from Christian Slater in the movie “True Romance.”  I have been saying that quote since 1993 when the movie first came out and this was the first time I ever heard anyone else use it, written or said.

The book covers preparation from A to Z for a SHTF event or even TEOWAWKI with a focus on JWR survivalblog.comyour Bug Out Location or Survival Retreat.  Mr. Rawles doesn’t just gloss over areas that he covers in this book.  Each section is given proper attention and he tells you where to get more information if you require it.  Throughout the book, Mr. Rawles encourages his readers to “Live in your retreat”, obviously that does not work for a lot of people who have high paying jobs in the city but he makes some points on this topic which are worth considering.
About the Author

(From Wikipedia) James Wesley, Rawles is a TEOTWAWKIsurvivalist-fiction author, blogger, and survival retreat consultant. Rawles is a Christian conservative. He was a United States Army Military Intelligence officer, serving from 1984 to 1993.  He is the editor of, a blog on survival and preparedness topics. Rawles is the author of the survivalist novel Patriots: A Novel of Survival in the Coming Collapse.
Favorite Part

I really enjoyed reading this book.  A lot of his ideas on “defense in depth” for your survival retreat including razor wire, sand bags, natural barriers and road cables are things that I have been thinking about for sometime but haven’t heard a lot of people talk about them or explore the topic like JWR does in this book.  It is nice to know that there is at least one other person as crazy as I am in this world.  I also liked the fact that he covered charity, giving some of your stored supplies to neighbors, friends, and people in need during a crisis.  I never thought of this before and for most survivalist that goes against common sense.  However Mr. Rawles covers ways to properly give to charity while keeping OPSEC on how much stuff you have stored up.   One such method he recommends is using intermediaries such as your local church to pass along the extra supplies to those in need.  The other great thing about this book is that Mr. Rawles names names.  He tells you what brands he thinks are the best and why, where to get them and why you want to stay away from other brands.  Not too many people go into that much detail in books.

There was not a whole lot that I disliked about this book and this is not so much a dislike as an observation.  If you are struggling to put food on the table every MD Creekmorenight or living on a fixed income, this might not be the survival book for you.  Maybe check out MD Creekmore’s “Dirt Cheap Survival Retreat.”  It might be a better fit.
Mr. Rawles’ book is for the dedicated survivalist who makes preparedness part of his/her life style.  This book is about commitment to the modern preparedness movement from alternative energy to canning food.  If you are committed to a self reliant style of living in case of a “grid down” event, then I highly recommend you pick up “How To Survive The End Of The World As We Know It” by James Wesley, Rawles.  You won’t be disappointed.

Photos by:


MD Creekmore

Penguin Books

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Apartment Survival: People

Original Article

As important as food, water, shelter, and security are, I’ve been discussing them largely in the absence of what is likely the very most important factor in apartment survival. That factor is the presence of the other people in your apartment complex. Depending on the circumstances, those other people may be a help, hindrance, or outright danger to you. The other people in your complex will determine the longer term viability of bugging in to an apartment.

First, let’s look at some broad classifications of people that you’re going to have at your apartment building. The first type will be those that believe everything will be better tomorrow morning. They will wait for the water and power to be restored, and are sure that the bus service will resume tomorrow so that they can go to the grocery store. They may also be extremely frightened and agitated, and could be dangerous if armed. I would expect this group to have the lowest overall survival rate.

The second type will be the G.O.O.D. type, whether they are preppers or not. As a crisis looms and deepens, they will pack up and head off to find safer, better situations somewhere else. They may or may not take all of their resources, and if you have exposed possessions, they may or may not take some of yours. What is more, they might not stay gone. It is entirely possible that a proportion of them will find nothing better out there and survive long enough to make it back ‘home.’

The third group are the ones that while perhaps not prepped, are proactive and coping as best they can. They will be among the first to start pilfering empty apartments for food, water and resources. They may be jerry-rigging solutions to things like heat and water purification, and they might even be a bit territorial, and perhaps somewhat aggressive in some circumstances. I would expect this group to do better than either of the others.

Finally, there are you and hopefully one or two more people like you. But there are no guarantees of that.
So for you, the first question is to find out who stayed and who left. When you know who is left, you can assess them as to whether they are threats or possible comrades. Remember, threats need not be limited to actions directly against you. It might well be that the neighbours are being a threat because they will not make proper sanitary arrangements, or making too much noise or light which may attract unwelcome attention.

It is imperative that you find like minded people in your building as soon as possible. Everything I’ve discussed can be done more easily by a small to medium sized group than can be done alone. This may require you to make the first overture, and will likely necessitate you taking a leadership role. Depending on the depth of the crisis, you may need to make decisions (or guide your group into making the decisions) for everything from defense and rationing to water and sanitation. This doesn’t give you license to become a feudal baron, but you will find that in a crisis, people will rally behind someone that is willing to step up to make those decisions, as long as the decisions are sound.

A small group working together will greatly increase your chances of survival, and group pressure will likely bring the ‘unwilling’ into line and into your group. The flip side is that a building full of uncooperative individuals makes it almost certain that all will fail. Despite everything you try, you may fail to weld the remaining people in your apartment into a cohesive group.

I see no easy answer to this, short of relocation. If you cannot get everyone in your building on side very quickly, the viability of staying at your apartment is severely diminished. Whether it is an empty building or storefront, an abandoned house, or a multiple unit such as a four-plex from which all have fled, you and whoever is like-minded need to go. You may even be able to find a building that is working together to join, but I believe strangers will have a difficult time getting in to a functioning group unless you possess goods or skills that are needed.

In the final analysis, the determining factor as to whether or not apartment survival is a viable option will come down to who is left in your apartment, and whether a community can be created from a collection of what were likely strangers before the crisis.

It is on this that all of your other efforts rest.

Plant these Companions with Tomatoes

Original Article

COMPANION PLANTING: Many plants have natural substances in their roots, flowers, and leaves that can repel or attract insects. In some situations they can also enhance the growth rate and flavor of other varieties. Using companion planting through out the landscape is an effective form of pest management, allowing nature to do its’ job. By using companion planting, many gardeners find that they can discourage harmful pests without losing the beneficial allies.
There are many varieties of herbs, flowers, etc. that can be used for companion plants and could be used as a border, backdrop or inter-planting in your vegetable beds.
TOMATOES: Tomato allies are many: asparagus, basil, bean, celery, chive, cucumber, garlic, head lettuce, marigold, mint, nasturtium, onion, parsley, pea, pepper, and sow thistle.

Basil repels flies and mosquitoes, improves growth and flavor. Bee balm, chives and mint improve health and flavor. Borage deters tomato worm, improves growth and flavor. Dill, until mature, improves growth and health, mature dill retards tomato growth.
Enemies: corn and tomato are attacked by the same worm. Kohlrabi stunts tomato growth. Keep potatoes and tomatoes apart as they both can get early and late blight contaminating each other. Keep apricot, dill, fennel, cabbage and cauliflower away from them. Don’t plant them under walnut trees as they will get walnut wilt: a disease that attacks tomatoes growing underneath these trees.

Consider planting these easy companions with your tomatoes

BASIL: Plant with tomatoes to improve growth and flavor. Basil also does well with peppers, oregano, asparagus and petunias. Basil can be helpful in repelling thrips. It is said to repel flies and mosquitoes. Do not plant near rue or sage.
CHIVES: Improves growth and flavor of carrots and tomatoes. A friend to apples, carrots, tomatoes, brassica (broccoli, cabbage, mustard, etc) and many others. Help to keep aphids away from tomatoes, mums and sunflowers. Chives may drive away Japanese beetles and carrot rust fly.
FRENCH MARIGOLD: They have roots that exude a substance which spreads in their immediate vicinity killing nematodes. For nematode control you want to plant dense areas of them. There have been some studies done that proved this nematode killing effect lasted for several years after the plants died back. These marigolds also help to deter whiteflies when planted around tomatoes and can be used in greenhouses for the same purpose. Whiteflies hate the smell of marigolds. Do not plant French marigolds next to bean plants.

PEPPERS, BELL (Sweet Peppers): Plant peppers near tomatoes. Harvesting tip: The traditional bell pepper, for example, is harvested green, even though most varieties will mature red, orange, or yellow. Peppers can be harvested at any stage of growth, but their flavor doesn’t fully develop until maturity.

If you enjoyed this, or topics of preparedness or current events risk awareness, consider our survival blog RSS feed, new posts by E-mail, or bookmark us at Modern Survival Blog

Modern Survival Blog related posts

Incoming search terms:
  • grow wheat at home
  • safe distance tomatoes and potatoes

Monday, May 23, 2011

Homemade Fireless Cookers

Original Article

[Adapted from the USDA Farmers Bulletin #771]

The principle employed in the fireless cooker has long been known and may be briefly stated as follows: If a hot body is protected by a suitable covering the heat in it will be retained for a long time instead of being dissipated by radiation or conduction. In using a fireless cooker the food is first heated on the stove until the cooking has begun and then it is placed in the fireless cooker, a tight receptacle in which the food is completely surrounded by some insulating substance, which prevents the rapid escape of the heat so that it is retained in the food in sufficient quantity to complete the cooking. Sometimes an additional source of heat, such as a hot soapstone, or brick is put into the cooker with the food where a higher cooking temperature is desired. The same principle is also employed in other ways in cookery. For example, in camps, beans are often baked by burying the pots overnight with hot stones and ashes, the whole being covered with earth, and in the “clam bakes” on the Atlantic coast, the damp seaweed spread over the embers and the clams prevents the escape of the heat during cooking. The peasants in some parts of Europe were said to have started their dinner cooking and then put it into hay boxes or between feather beds so that the cooking may be completed while the family is absent in the fields.
One of the chief advantages of the fireless cooker is that it accomplishes a saving in fuel, especially where gas, kerosene, or electric stoves are used. Where coal or wood is the fuel, the fire in the range is often kept up most of the day and the saving of fuel is less. In summer or when the kitchen fire is not needed for heating purposes, the dinner can be started on the stove early in the morning and then placed in the fireless cooker, the fire in the range being allowed to go out. During hot weather the use of a kerosene or other liquid fuel stove and a fireless cooker is a great convenience, since it not only accomplishes a saving in fuel but helps to keep the kitchen cooler. As would be expected, the saving in fuel resulting from the use of a fireless cooker is greatest in the preparation of foods like stews, which require long and slow cooking.
The great convenience of the fireless cooker is that it saves time, for foods cooked in it do not require watching and may be left to themselves while the cook is occupied with other duties, or the family is away from home, without danger from fires or overcooking the food. Its use, therefore, may enable a family to have home cooking instead of boarding, or hot meals instead of cold foods. Another advantage of the use of the fireless cooker is that it makes it easier to utilize cheaper cuts of meat, which, although not having as fine a texture or flavor, are fully as nutritious, pound for pound, as the more expensive cuts. Long cooking at relatively low temperature, such as is given foods in the fireless cooker, improves the texture and flavor of these tougher cuts of meat.

While there are many good fireless cookers on the market, it is possible to construct a homemade cooker which, if properly built, will give very satisfactory results and is cheaper than one which is purchased. The materials needed are a box or some other outside container, some good insulating or packing material, a kettle for holding the food, a container for the kettle or a lining for the nest in which the kettle is to be placed, and a cushion or pad of insulating material to cover the top of the kettle.
For the outside container a tightly built wooden box, such as that shown in figure 1. is probably the most satisfactory. An old trunk, a small barrel, or a large butter or lard firkin or tin may be used. Another possibility is a galvanized-iron bucket with a closely fitting cover; this latter has the advantage of being fireproof. A shoe box 15 by 15 by 28 inches is convenient in size, since it may be divided into two compartments. The box should have a hinged cover, and at the front side a hook and staple or some other device to hold the cover down; an ordinary clamp window fastener answers the latter purpose very well. Whatever the container used, its size, which depends upon the size of the kettle used, should be large enough to allow for at least 4 inches of packing material all around the nest in which the kettle is placed.
Fig. 1.—Homemade fireless cooker, showing outside container and cushion for filling space above the cooking vessel.

The kettles used for cooking should be durable and free from seams or crevices, which are hard to clean. They should have perpendicular sides and the covers should be as flat as possible and provided with a deep rim shutting well down into the kettle to retain the steam. (See fig. 2.) It is possible to buy kettles made especially for use in fireless cookers; these are provided with covers which can be clamped on tightly. The size of the kettle should be determined by the quantity of food to be cooked. Small amounts of food ca not be cooked satisfactorily in large kettles, and it is therefore an advantage to have a cooker with compartments of two or more different sizes. Kettles holding about 6 quarts are of convenient sizefor general use, Tinned iron kettles should not be used in a fireless cooker, for, although cheap, they are very apt to rust from the confined moisture. Enameled ware kettles are satisfactory, especially if the covers are of the same material. Aluminum vessels may be purchased in shapes which make them especially well adapted for use in fireless cookers and, like enameled ware, they do not rust.
Fireless cookers are adapted to a much wider range of cooking if they are provided with an extra source of heat, since a higher cooking temperature nun’ thus be obtained than if hot water is depended upon as the sole source of heat. Obviously this introduces a possible danger from fire in case the hot stone or other substance should come into direct contact with inflammable packing material like excelsior or paper. To avoid this danger a metal lining must be provided for the nest in which the cooking vessel and stone are to be put. As an extra source of heat a piece of soapstone, brick, or an iron plate, such as a stove lid, may be used. This is heated and placed in the nest under the cooking vessel; sometimes an additional stone is put over the cooking vessel.

Fig. 2-Cover provided with deep rim shutting down into the kettle to retain the steam.
The container for the cooking vessel, or the lining for the nest in which it is to be put, should be cylindrical in shape; should be deep enough to hold the cooking kettle and stone, if one is used; and should fit as snugly as possible to the cooking vessel, but at the same time should allow the latter to be moved in and out freely. If the cylinder is too large the air space between it and the kettle will tend to cool the food. For this purpose a galvanized iron or other metal bucket may be used or, better still, a tinsmith can make a lining of galvanized iron or zinc which can be provided with a rim to cover the packing material (as shown in fig. 3). In case no hot stone or plate is to be used in the cooker, the lining can be made of strong cardboard.

Fig 3.—Metal lining for nest of fireless cooker: A, Rim to cover packing material. B, Metal container for cooking kettle and hot stone.

For the packing and insulating material, a variety of substances may be used. Asbestos and mineral wool are undoubtedly the best, and have the additional advantage that they do not burn. Ground cork, hay, excelsior, Spanish moss, wool, and crumpled paper may also be used satisfactorily. Of the inexpensive materials that can be obtained easily, crumpled paper is probably the most satisfactory, since it is clean and odorless and, if properly packed, will hold the heat better than some of the others. To pack the container with paper, crush single sheets of newspaper between the hands. Pack a layer at least 4 inches deep over the bottom of the outside container, tramping it in or pounding it in with a heavy stick of wood. Stand the container for the cooking vessel, or the lining for the nest, in the center of this layer and pack more crushed papers about it as solidly as possible. The method of packing with paper is illustrated in figure 4. If other packing, such as excelsior, hay, or cork dust, is used, it should be packed in a similar way. Where an extra source of heat is to be used, it is much safer to pack the fireless cooker with some noninflammable material, such as asbestos or mineral wood. A cheap and easily obtained substitute are the small cinders sifted from coal ashes, preferably those from soft coal, which may be obtained at the boiler house of any mill. The cinders from hard coal burned in the kitchen range will do, however. Experiments with this material made in this office showed that it is very nearly as satisfactory as crumpled paper as a packing material. If a fireproof packing material is not used a heavy pad of asbestos paper should be put at the bottom of the metal nest and a sheet or two of asbestos paper should be placed between the lining of the nest and the packing material. Whatever packing material is used, it should come to the top of the container for the kettle, and the box should lack about 4 inches of being full. A cushion or pad must be provided to fill completely the space between the top of the packing and the cover of the box after the hot kettles are put in place. (See fig. 1,) This should be made of some heavy goods, such as denim, and stuffed with cotton, crumpled paper, or excelsior. Hay may be used, but will be found more or less odorous. Figure 5 shows the vertical cross section of a homemade fireless cooker.

Obviously the fireless cooker must be to obtain the best results. It is best which require boiling, steaming, or long, slow cooking in a moist heat. Foods cannot be fried in it, pies cannot be baked successfully in the ordinary fireless cooker, nor can any cooking be done which requires a high, dry heat for browning. Meats, however, may be partially roasted in the oven and finished in the cooker, or may be begun in the cooker and finished in the oven with much the same results as if they were roasted in the oven entirely. The classes of food best adapted to the cooker are cereals, soups, meats, vegetables, dried fruits, steamed breads, and puddings.
When different foods are cooked together in the fireless cooker they must be such as require the same amount of cooking, since the cooker cannot be opened to take out food without allowing the escape of a large amount of heat and making it necessary to reheat the contents. It would not do to put foods which need about one and one-half hours to cook into the cooker with a piece of meat which would stay several hours.

Fig 5.—longitudinal section through tireless cooker, showing details of the construction: A, Outside container (wooden box, old trunk, etc.) B, Padding or Insulating material (crumpled paper, cinders, etc.). C, Metal lining of nest D, Cooking kettle E, Soapstone plate, or other source of heat, f, Pad of excelsior for covering top O, Hinged cover of outside container.

The size of the container used in cooking with the fireless cooker should be governed according to the amount of food to be cooked. Small quantities of food cannot be cooked satisfactorily in a large kettle in the fireless cooker. If a large kettle must be used better results will be obtained if some other material which holds heat fairly well is used to fill up the empty space. This may be accomplished in several ways. One is to put the small quantity of food to be cooked into a smaller, tightly closed kettle, fill the large kettle with boiling water and put the small kettle into it, standing it on an inverted bowl or some other suitable support. This boiling water will take up and hold the heat better than air would. Several smaller dishes (if tightly covered) may be placed in the kettle surrounded by boiling water. Baking powder or other tins often are found useful for this purpose. Another way is to place one food in a basin which just fits into the top of a large kettle and to let some other material, some vegetable perhaps, cook in the water in the bottom of the kettle. Two or more flat, shallow kettles placed one on top of the other so as to fill the cooker enable one to cook small amounts of different foods successfully. Such kettles, made especially for use in fireless cookers, may be purchased.
The time which each kind of food should stay in the cooker depends both on the nature of the food and on the temperature at which it remains inside the cooker, and before recipes for use with the fireless cooker can be prepared one must have some means of knowing how temperatures are preserved in it. In experiments made in this office a 6-quart kettle was filled with boiling water and put into the cooker, the packing of which happened to be newspaper. The temperature of the water, which was 212° F. when put into the cooker, was found to be 172° F. after four hours had elapsed and 155° F. after eight hours had elapsed. This shows the advisability of the common custom of allowing food to remain undisturbed in the cooker for at least six or eight hours, or in some cases overnight. If a soapstone, hot brick, or other extra source of heat is used, less time will be required. Materials which are denser than water (sugar syrup as used in cooking dried fruit), and therefore can be heated to a higher degree, will keep up the temperature longer when put into the cooker. Thus the density of the food material, as well as the amount and the length of time that the apparatus retains the heat, must be taken into consideration in determining how long different materials must be cooked in the cooker.
The recipes for dishes to be prepared in the fireless cooker differ somewhat from those for foods cooked in the ordinary way, chiefly in the amount of water or other liquids called for. Less liquid should be put into the food to be prepared in an ordinary fireless cooker, since there is no chance for water to evaporate. The cook must be guided largely by experience in deciding how long the food should be heated before being put into the cooker and how long it should be allowed to remain there.