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November 14, 2010 at 3:50 pm #36757
What a great site you have here!! informative!! while I plan to go off grid sooner or later,Many things I had not considered or planned on have been addressed here in my short time browsing this forum. Knowledge is the best tip for going off grid as I see it. applying that knowledge would be second. while my off grid adventure will involve hunting for game so maybe we could get some ideas on this. Im pro-gun, pro enviroment…but i have no short list of govt entities I despise or eco agenda, im just about living a self sufficient life as much as possible.November 14, 2010 at 7:06 pm #41122
Off gridders who also plan to go hunting may need to give some extra thoughts to power for refrigeration at least during the early stages of meat storage.
Although the area I live in is almost an off grid community as least according to how ‘off-grid’ seems to be defined by users of this forum and website. We have no municipal services except for electricity but not for all residents. Many homes are not served by power lines either. Hunting and dressing of large game such as deer, moose or elk, is as often as not done out the back yard. One essential is a tripod or frame for hanging the whole carcass to drain and while you skin it. Building a garage is low on the priority list for most off grid home builders. One of our neighbors does have a car port so he places S hooks on the rafters. Then uses block and tackle for hoisting the carcass to drain. Another neighbour hangs Moose carcasses from the teeth of the bucket on his farm tractor. The bucket can be lifted high enough to bring the carcass well off the ground away from volves and bears looking for an easy meal.
Once the carcass is drained then you can quarter it and this is when power for a deep freezer becomes essential. Quarters can be smoke cured bu unless you really like this style of meat preservation; freezing is the way to go.
Canning is not really practical for large quantity of meat and is very time consuming.
The other alternative is to take the carcass to a custom butcher who will cut and dress everything for you including wrapping individual roasts etc. It’s expensive and you get frozen packages that require continued refrigeration which need power.
The bottom line being if you really plan to do it yourself, best be prepared ahead of time and know what method of food preservation is going to work for you in your location. Cooling down large quantities of fresh cut meat will require a lot more power for a freezer unit that if it is simply maintaining already frozen meat that you bring home from a grocery store.
Sun drying and smoking is certainly a couple of options but even here you need to have the drying racks and smokers ready to use before you bring home the fresh kill.
If you live within 50 miles of a major urban center (driving range during which the dry ice will not melt too much) where a welding gaz supply shop like Liquid Carbonic or PraxAir can provide dry ice you have a non powered source of freezing. A few 5 pound blocks of dry ice will flash freeze the meat in an insulated chest. you can bring the dry ice home in a well insulated ice chest then pack the fresh meat in the dry ice. We used to use small packets of dry ice on sailboats which did not have refrigeration. One caution. Be careful and not let the meat come into contact wdirectly with the dry ice. It burns the contact location thus ruining that part of the meat.
Hang the Dry ice in a basket and let the ice cold vapours fall down to surround the warm meat being chilled.
Failing that you can use the CO2 bottles used to provide the fuzz to soft drink fountains. We once built an environmental test chamber that could pull down to -60F on a hot august day. construction was plywood and 6″ thick styrofoam walls, to and bottom as well. A CO2 bottle mormally used to provide gas to a drink fountain was metered into the chamber to maintain a set cold temerature to demonstrate our equipment was functional during outdoor winter conditions.
So even off grid there are options as long as you plan ahead.November 14, 2010 at 8:24 pm #41123
6gun911 wrote: my off grid adventure will involve hunting for game so maybe we could get some ideas on this.
A good knife or knives is as important when hunting as is a good gun.
While you see a lot of flashy knives in hardware stores and definitely at flea markets and sports stores, most of these are not worth getting.
Urban police forces tend to take a dim view of people carrying long blades over 4″ around. Consequently the majority of stores display and sell only knives that are legal to carry in an urban environment. Or else so obviously meant only for ornamentation. Who the heck is going to walk around carrying a samurai sword set in ordinary life or when hunting? < grin>
When you are dressing down 1000+ pounds of moose a dinky 4″ blade only 1/16″ thick is a toy and will not do the job. You need several knife blades to accomplish all the needed tasks. First you need to cut the throat to bleed the carcass, You need a stout blade for skinning and the best shape is one that is shorter and stubbier than what was good for cutting a threat to bleed it. The hair on moose, elk or winter deer rapidly dull even sharp knives so the metal of a good knife must be able to take an edge and stay sharp as long as possible.
The so called stainless steel used in many modern knives is not so good for a working knife. It looks pretty and stays shiny but goes dull even when lying in a drawer. The best steels for taking and keeing an edge, are high carbon and will stain or even rust if not cared for. But so will a good gun.
If you plan on hunting and dressing your own kills,read up on what makes a good working knife. Be prepared to spend at least $100 and upwards for a half decent working tool that wiil last a long time.
Small thin and delicate blades have their place when dressing small game and fowl but at some point you need a substantial blade that is 1/4″ thick and about 8″ long plus handle. A Handle should be textured so it does not become slippery when wet with blood and gore. The joint between handle and blade should have a decent finger guard so your hand does not slip onto the blade portion when you are busy curring the carcass apart. Virtually none of the modern junk knives I see have this feature any more.
I became an amateur knifemaker as well as a collector because I was not impressed with what was currently on the market that I could afford. Jim Loveless makes a beautiful dropped point hunter but I can’t afford his products. And if I could I would be afraid of dropping such a work of art in the field.
There are dozens of good custom knife makers around (one even posted on this forum) but you will not see their products selling for $100 or less in competition with the cheap chinese crap flooding the market. To get decent quality knives be it a folder or sheath knife I make a point of combing the flea markets and garage sales. I am looking for older quality names of true artisans and craftsmen who really knew how to make a good knife. I would rather restore and refurbish an 50 year old knife than buy the junk currently being flogged.
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