Friday, March 29, 2013

Happy Easter!

Hey all, just a heads up that work picked up this week.  So, I apologize for no new posts this week, but I did want to wish everyone a Happy Easter!  He is risen!

I will try and do better next week.  If there is a specific topic you would like me to cover, then by all means, comment below and let me know.

Friday, March 22, 2013

PIG Full Dexterity Alpha Gloves

I did a review on the PIG Full Dexterity Alpha Gloves on YouTube.  I have posted the video below:


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Starters Strength Routine

A few weeks ago I wrote about the need to start somewhere on your fitness.  The two part series started out with the basics of easing into physical activity and eating healthy.  You can review them here:

If you want to take it to the next level, then I would recommend a strength training routine.  For this post, I am only going to focus on strength training.  I will not be covering nutrition or cardiovascular conditioning.  I will, however, mention that strength training, cardio and healthy eating are the trifecta to getting physically fit and improving overall well being.  I will cover specific ways to train for cardiovascular improvement and different ways to improve on your eating habits in future posts.

You may have read or seen workout sessions that include an arms day, a legs day, etc.  These are what are referred to as "split workouts".  I'm not a huge fan of split workouts for strength gains with one exception which I will mention later on.  What I recommend is doing total body workouts.  This means that you make sure you hit all of your body's muscle groups in one session.  You achieve this by doing what are referred to as compound movements.  Compound movements are any movements that involve multiple joints and/or muscle groups.  For instance, the barbell bench press involves your shoulders and your elbows.  It also targets your chest (pecs) and triceps muscles.  Not only do compound movements target more muscle groups, but by doing so, it actually burns more calories during your workout.  Exercises like bicep curls or tricep extensions are not considered compound movements due to the fact that they only involve a single joint (elbow) and you are specifically targeting only one muscle or a small muscle group.

So, with that in mind, your focus should be on one compound exercises that target your legs, chest, back and core.  You can also think of targeting muscles in terms of legs, a pushing exercise, a pulling exercise and core.  The following is an example of what I do in a typical strength conditioning week

Day 1

  • Barbell Bench Press
  • Barbell Deadlift
  • Barbell or Dumbbell Shoulder Press
  • Wide Grip Pullups


Day 2

  • Squats
  • Barbell Row
  • Pushups
  • Facepull (Cable Row with rope attachment towards the face)


Notice that I try and hit at least the legs, a push and a pulling exercise on each day.  If you are doing the exercises with proper form (i.e. with a tight core throughout the lift), then your core is also worked as well.

I also recommend that you go heavy on at least the Bench Press, Deadlift, Squat, Barbell Row and Shoulder Press.  I typically do 5 sets of 5 repetitions with 3 minutes of rest between sets.  Only lift as much weight as you can while keeping good form.  You will injure yourself if you try and lift too much weight with bad form.  Take it slow.  You will start to learn what limit you can push yourself with out hurting yourself as you accumulate time and experience.

Keep in mind, with all of the advice above that you must remain consistent in your training in order to see results.  If you do not workout on a regular basis, then you will not see the results that you would expect to see.  Persist!

I mentioned earlier that I did not like splits.  However, if you must do a split, then do a upper body routine one day and then a lower body routine the next.  Still keep doing total body exercises during this split.

A final note for any ladies reading this post:  This is the number one way you will achieve that level of fitness and the body you have been wanting.  This will not make you bulky or manly looking.  Women simply do not have enough testosterone in their body for that to happen.  What you will achieve is a fantastic body that is capable and athletic.

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Monday, March 18, 2013

Get Home System: For Times When You Have To Hoof It

The majority of Americans drive on a daily basis.  We drive to get to work, go to school, to the movie theater, and so on.  Some cities like Chicago and New York City have extensive transportation infrastructure.  This allows some of these people to get away with hardly driving and, in some cases, not even having to own a car.  Our reliance on transportation is very heavy in all aspects of our lives.

So, what would happen if we no longer had a reliable, capable means of transportation?

This could occur in our day to day activities.  Cars break down and run out of gas.  The weather stops bus and subway services.  If you were caught away from home when these events occurred, then how would you deal with it?  Your own two feet would have to carry you if you eventually decided you had to get home!

The wake up call for me was about 2 years ago.  I had flown back in from a business trip.  My car was buried under a hill of snow and it took me about an hour to dig it out.  What normally took 20 minutes to drive from the airport to home took me about an hour.  And to top it all off, my car got stuck at the entrance to my neighborhood!  It was 1 in the morning.  In my business clothes, I had to walk with my luggage through my neighborhood to my home.  The streets and the driveway had not been cleared and were about calf deep and knee deep in some places.

I had made it home, but I started to think about what I wished I would have had to make it home if the situation had been more severe.  Aside from replacing the car (I now roll a 4 wheel drive Chevy), a good change of clothes and some supplies would have made it at least possible to walk home had the situation been more dire.

With that in mind, I have put together my own Get Home System.  The idea of the system is to dovetail with what I normally keep in my vehicle in order to cover all the basic necessities.  You will notice that the packing list below is missing some items you might expect to see.  The reason for this is because those items are always in my vehicle.  What I keep in my car and the Get Home System are complimentary systems.  I will be doing another post on what to keep in your vehicle at all times at a later date.

Pack

Eagle Industries A-III Molle Assault Pack

Clothing

  • Smartwool socks
  • Pants 
  • Base Layer
  • Mid Layer
  • Gloves
  • Stocking Cap
Food

  • Nylon Cutlery
  • 1 MRE
  • Cliff Bars
  • Jerky
  • Nuts
Water

  • Canteen
  •  Water Purification Tablets
Shelter

Emergency Bivvy 

Navigation

  • Map
  • Compass
Communication

  • Two Way Radio
  • Signal Mirror
  • Flare
First Aid

  • Sunscreen
  • Chap Stick
  • Benadryl
  • Ibuprofen
  • Band Aids
  • Adventure Medical Kit Trauma Pak
Light

  • Chem Lights
  • Headlamp
  • Lighter
  • Matches
  • Tinder
Misc

  • Cash
  • Chemical Hand Warmers
  • Ball Cap

What would you add to this list?  What would you take away?  Keep in mind weight will play a factor based on your fitness and length of travel.  As always, if you like what you have read, then please share the blog with others.  As always, you can follow me on Twitter @P_Patriot1 and Like the Prairie Patriot FB page.

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Range Report 3-15-2013

As I write this, it is about 40 degrees F in Kansas City.  Mother Nature is fickle in the Midwest.  Not 24 hours ago it was almost 60 degrees F and by the end of the day the high had hit 80 degrees F.  Glad I went to the range on Friday and not Saturday!

My wife came with me this time around.  The Ruger .22 pistol is her's and she had been neglecting practice.  We worked on her trigger control (not letting all the slack out in this case) and her groups were better than the last time we went together.  We did some ball and dummy drills to see if she was flinching at all.  From what I could tell she was not.

She then tried out a couple of the 9's I had brought.  It was interesting to note that her first couple shots from the 9 mm at 7 yards were dead on the X.   The following shots however were a bit more errant.  I suspect that she started anticipating the recoil.  However, I told her that she should focus on using her .22 until her groups were smaller and more consistent.  Eventually, the goal would be for her to be proficient with the 9 mm in order for her to have a good carry option.

As for my performance, it was better than my last few visits to the range.  I started out by running a couple magazines through the Ruger.  I took my time and shot for accuracy.


Both left and right groups were about 2.5 inches at 7 yards.  The middle group was from a .22 rifle that was new out of the box.  I will be sighting it in later.   
As you can see in the picture above, my goal has always been to put all my rounds in the 10 or x rings.  I accomplished that by the skin of my teeth on the right (touching the edge counts in my book).  Unfortunately, my first shot on the left was the furthest from the center.  Still, I was more consistent than I had been in the past.

I then switched to my M&P 9c.  I did not even bother keeping my first target.  It was atrocious.  My shots were all low and not even on the bull in some cases.  I was getting frustrated.  I asked my wife to run the ball and dummy drill with me for a few rounds.  Lo and behold, that did the trick to calm my flinching down.

After the ball and dummy drill, my subsequent strings of fire were much better.
In the picture above, the right bull was my ball and dummy drill.  I punched the X on my first live round.  After a few of these drills I went ahead and ran through a string of ten rounds on the left bull.  Believe me when I say that this was a much better grouping than the first target.  While there is definite room for improvement, I was encouraged to see the group shrink up.  My last group of the day was the bottom center bull.  Both groups were about 2.5 inch groups (assuming I am measuring them correctly).

All in all, not a bad day.  Hat tip goes to my friend Brad who reminded me to try using a ball and dummy drill to get that flinching under control.  I also freely admit that I have not done enough dry fire practice.  Hopefully my range trips can start becoming more frequent with better weather on the way.

Thanks for reading and please share the blog with others if you enjoy the posts.  As always, follow me on Twitter @P_Patriot1 and Like the Prairie Patriot Facebook page.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

The Meats of My Labor

I am happy to report that the pork sausage turned out absolutely fantastic.  When we were butchering we cut a lot of the fat out and this made the sausage the leanest pork sausage I have ever tasted.  It was seasoned with liquid smoke, salt and pepper.  If you did not know what kind of meat it was, then you might even mistake it for ground beef!

Breakfast for dinner before I had to leave for work Sunday night.
On a side note, this week has been a bit out of whack with my schedule.  I have several topics and even some upcoming reviews in the works so stay tuned!  As always please share the blog and follow on Twitter @P_Patriot1 and on the Prairie Patriot FB page.

Friday, March 8, 2013

DIY Unit Doses

I usually have, at the very least, some kind of way to treat minor bumps and aches near me or on me the vast majority of the time.  I try to do this as well when I travel for business and keep what I haul with me to a bare minimum.  Lately, I have been working on a individual first aid kit (IFAK) that I can easily have on me and take with me even if I lose my laptop bag.

For this post, I am going to explain how you can prepare individual unit doses of pills easily without having to lug a bottle of pills in your purse, backpack, etc.  Not only does this cut the weight of a bottle of pills, but it also allows you to put those into any sort of IFAK of your choosing without the pills being loose.

Scissors, a lighter, a sandwich baggy and the pills are all you need.
You can see in the above picture that I have cut a square out of the plastic sandwich bag.  Take that square which was cut out from the bag and using the lighter very carefully singe the edges of the bag together on three of the edges.  Leave the fourth edge open in order to place the pills into the newly created mini-bag.  Now, all you have to do is singe together the last edge.

The end result.

Presto!  You now have packaged up a unit dose of a medication of your choosing.  A few tips for the sealing/singeing part:

  • Try not to hold the flame directly on the plastic material.  It will melt easily if you just put the flame near it.
  • As soon as the plastic starts to curl/melt, use your fingers to mush them together.  The plastic will not be hot enough to burn you.  This helps to create a good seal.
  • Inspect each edge to make sure you have not left an opening.  If you have, then simply give it a little heat and pat the sides together.
And there you have it.  Easy peasy.  I hope this helps you when assembling your own IFAK.

As always, thanks for reading and comment below.  Please share the blog, follow me @P_Patriot1 on Twitter and like the Prairie Patriot FB page.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Pork is a Nice, Sweet Meat

Have you ever wondered what you would do in a situation where there were no modern day comforts such as supermarkets?  I have thought about my father's comments about how in Lebanon he would remember seeing livestock being butchered and they would be eating said livestock that evening.  Talk about fresh meat!  In keeping with my own personal belief in always learning something new I decided to learn how to do this myself.

I was fortunate enough to be able to do this through my brother in law's side of the family.  He had mentioned that he was buying half a pig and wondered if I would be interested in getting some.  I agreed to purchase a quarter of the pig.  He told me that they do all the butchering and processing themselves.  I asked if I could come and help.  The date was set and I made my way down from the Kansas City area to the Moundridge, Ks area for the weekend task.

I arrived on Friday evening with my brother-in-law and almost 3 year old nephew.  There were three sows at 300 lbs each.  The sun was just setting and the temperature was dropping fairly quickly.  It was about 20 degrees F.  I was told that this was ideal since it would act as our natural refrigeration as we butchered and processed the pigs.

Well, doomsday had arrived for these pigs and I will say that it was about what I expected.  The sows were in a horse trailer.  One at a time, each sow was maneuvered into position using a lanyard similar to what a dog catcher would use.  Once they were in position another person would pop a rimfire caliber rifle round into the head.  This did not immediately kill the sows.  To end it as quickly as possibly, the throat was also cut to allow the blood to flow out quickly.  The quicker the blood pressure would drop the less painful for the animal.  I was the "sticker" on the final pig.  I have to say that while it was definitely bloody, it was not like a horror show.  I actually expected a lot more gore.

Once the pig was dead, the head was then removed.  We then cut between the pig's "heels" and their Achilles tendon.  This allowed us to hook in the apparatus that allowed the carcasses to hang upside down.  Once hooked up to the apparatus and chains, a Bobcat was used to move the pig from the trailer to the garage shed where a tarp had been put down and a place to hang the pigs had been set up.  We also scrubbed the pigs' bodies down with a nylon scrubbing brush and water to clean off as much dirt, hay and blood as possible prior to moving them into the garage.

From this point, it was simply a matter of skinning, removing the organs and then splitting the carcasses in two.  It was similar to dressing a deer.  Starting at the anus, cuts were made to disconnect the tissue attaching the organs to the body cavity that they sit in.  We did not keep any of the organs for organ meat.  Once that was complete , the carcasses were then split down the middle using a saw.  That was it for the evening.  We let them hang in order for any excess blood to drain out (which there was not much).  Also, I was told that letting them hang overnight allowed for the meat to become a bit more firm.  This would make the processing in the morning easier when cutting up the carcass into the different cuts of meat.

Pig just hanging out.
The next morning we woke up and ate a quick breakfast.  We then made it out to the shed again and washed down the table we would be working on with disinfectant.  We sharpened our knives and started cutting.

One half of a pig.
We worked on a half a pig at a time.  It was interesting to see exactly where each cut came from.  In the picture above, the end closest (the butt) was where a ham would come from.  We were not going to be sending it off to be cured, so I decided to turn them into pork steaks instead.  The far end (the shoulder area) had roasts carved out.  Meat that was left on the shoulder was cut and trimmed from the bones and thrown into a container to make sausage later.  From one half a pig we were able to get one pork tenderloin, approximately 4 roasts, several steaks, several chops and several pounds of pork sausage.  Unfortunately, I was unable to stick around for the making the sausage and packaging up the meat.

So, how much did this run?  Well, I purchased a quarter of a pig.  That ran me about $50.  And I got a lot of meat for that.  Would I do it again?  You bet.  Not only was it a good learning experience, but it is a good, cheap way to fill your freezer with meat.

As always, please comment below.  Share the blog, follow me @P_Patriot1 on Twitter and Like the Prairie Patriot Facebook page.  Thanks for stopping in!