Prepping, homesteading and living the simple, green, independent life.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

I've Never Enjoyed Badger Hair So Much

Just before Christmas, after about 4 years of use, my can of shaving cream was about dry.
Around the same time I'd read on Cam Mather's blog how he shaves only with olive oil.  I'm not brave enough to try that yet out when my wife asked me what I'd like for Christmas I asked for a shaving kit.
My wife gave it a good try but it seems like nobody sells shaving kits anymore.  Fortunately they still sell the brushes and soap individually and I got my Grandfather's old shaving mug from my Grandmother.  You could probably use any old mug though. 
Then I had to find the  aftershave. They don't make High Karate anymore so I was tempted to go for Aquavelva but since I had my Grandpa's old mug I decided to use his aftershave too: Old Spice.  If it's good enough for hobos it's good enough for me.
Using a shaving mug and soap instead of canned shaving cream took a little getting used to.  The lather doesn't last as long and is more watery so it drips a bit.  Because of this I divided my face into sections and do one at a time.  Neck, left cheek, right cheek, chin then upper lip.
To make the lather you don't need much water.  I just run hot water over the brush for a couple seconds and then stir away.  One of the nice things about shaving this way is that the lather feels warm on your skin.  Plus I find it gives me a much closer shave.  Maybe the hairs in the brush lift up my stubble somehow?
Although this doesn't have much to do with prepping or energy efficiency I think shaving with a mug and soap is better for the environment in the long run.  Those aerosol shaving cream cans can't be recycled but the good old shaving soap comes in a small recyclable (or compostable) paper box and is probably healthier than whatever chemical makes the canned lather last for hours.  Plus my soap is made in Montreal and I suspect a the canned cream comes from China (or if it doesn't it probably soon will).

Sunday, February 6, 2011

This Topic Sucks

I finally got around to using the Foodsaver vacuum seal system that I got for Christmas and I love it!

I've been trying to dehydrated a lot of food and so far I've been storing it in mason jars with oxygen absorber packs. These O2 absorbers do the trick but they lose their efficiency the longer they have contact with air. This makes it tricky to store them. If you don't seal them up airtight, when you go to use them again they won't work anymore.

A vacuum sealer though can take the place of these O2 absorbers and you'll never have to worry about them going stale or running out. The O2 packs aren't expensive to buy, I paid about 30 bucks for 100, but its nice to never have to buy them again.

I'm sure most people are familiar with these type of vacuum sealers. Typically they seal food in plastic bags by sucking the air out and melting the end of the bags so air can't get back in. The company claims frozen vacuum sealed steak will last up to two years without freezer burn!

The model I have comes with an accessory hose which is where things really get fancy. There's all kinds of accessories; wine bottle toppers, meat marinaders, leftover containers, even a mason jar sealer.

What I have however are the vacuum canisters that come in 3 sizes.

The canisters are meant to actually hold food but somebody on The Survival Podcast forum had recommended these over the mason jar attachment because you can vacuum seal almost any jar inside them.

Basically you just loosely place the lid on the mason jar, put it in the canister, hook it up to the tube and turn the machine on.

The machine is rather loud but as air in the canister decreases it gets quieter for about 10 second, when it shuts off. This means the air is gone.

The vacuum in the canister removes the air from the mason jar and seals the lid tight. You can double check the seals by pressing the lids to see if they "pop". No pop means no air.

I've also read people claiming that this method will seal foods like pickles and jam in the original factory jar but I haven't tried this yet.

I really like it so far and recommend a Foodsaver to anybody who's looking to store food. The only problem I have now is that I've run out of mason jars!