Posts Tagged ‘free’

By Andrew McKirdy
Whiskey Barrel TablesUpcycling is the process of converting waste materials or useless products into new materials or products of better quality or for better environmental value.
 
This DIY project started when I sat down for a drink at Rock Bottom Brewery in Denver, Colorado.  I noticed several old whiskey barrels being used for decoration.  I asked my waitress if I could have one, and a few days later the brewmaster and I were loading two freshly used barrels into a borrowed car for transport.   They’d been emptied, but I could still hear swishing when I moved them.  One had been used for a raspberry saison and the other for an ale.  I don’t have a shop, but thankfully a friend let me use his patio to begin work.  I decided I wanted to keep one barrel whole and use it as a kitchen table.  The other I would cut in half and turn into two side tables.  I used a handsaw for accuracy, and finished with a powered skill saw.  For the whole barrel, I drilled a small opening in the bottom to drain the remaining contents.  I scraped the insides with a chisel, removing any loose wood chips.  Then I poured vinegar in the barrels to kill bacteria and prevent future growth.  This also helped get rid of the funky raspberry smell. 
 
I sanded, then dusted off both barrels, to prep them for stain.  I came back the next day, but the stench of high VOCs (nasty chemicals called volatile organic compounds) reeked.  I realized I would need to seal them up.  This would stop the smell, and provide an excellent sheen.  I found a low VOC polyurethane which worked wonders.  Lastly, were the rusty metal hoops, which I wanted black.  After those were painted I priced around for the most affordable glass company.  I was told I needed a tempered piece of glass which cost twice as much, but is infinitely safer and stronger.  Finally the project was complete.  I had taken something that was going to be destroyed, and given it new life in my home.  I researched the name on the barrel and found out it came from the oldest and smallest distillery in Kentucky, originating in 1797.  The Woodford Distillery is in fact a National Historic Landmark.  I have a real piece of Americana.
Vintage Oak BarrelsOak Whiskey Barrels to be upcycled

By Cameron McKirdy

A friend was generous enough to give me a bag full of fresh Rosemary.  Her plant produced incredible amounts, more than she needed.  My stash has been drying in the dark pantry, on the water heater, ready to be utilized.  The day came, and man did it improve the meal.  

Fresh Rosemary

After plucking it from the stem, Survival Bros tossed several teaspoons in to boil with the potatoes.  It gave them a sweet taste, that was way better than ordinary spuds.  

Boiling Potatoes with Rosemary

Then we cooked chicken with a few pinches of fresh Rosemary on top.  Now I don’t want to cook without it.  It also pairs well with lemon.  Tell me that doesn’t look succulent!Rosemary ChickenI’ve also been trying out shampoo and conditioner harnessing the power of both Rosemary and Mint.  I think this Suave product works really well.  I hope you can get a hold of some of this special herb.  For more on the uses and cultural significance of Rosemary, read all about it on Wikipedia here.  Thanks for visiting the blog.  Make sure to read some of our other posts.  %^).

rosemary suave shampooRosemary in Latin translates to “dew of the sea.”  It is said to improve memory, and has additional medicinal uses.

Produced by Cameron McKirdy

Watch me get as many complementary samples as possible.  SPOILER ALERT: I score a free trial of sausage, cheese, lotion, cologne, ice cream, vitamins, purified water, and even ukulele entertainment.  I also considered using the mall’s power to charge my cell phone.  At a larger shopping center I’m sure you could eat the equivalent of a meal by sampling grub at all the food court’s restaurants.  This was simply a fun exercise of frugality.  Cheers!

free ice cream sampleCam poised to strike the ice cream vendor for freebies

By Cameron McKirdy

Let me start by saying Happy Holidays!  I wish you the best, and hope you give more than you get.  Having said that, my fam was in town for Thanksgiving, and Black Friday shopping/trampling.  Before my Dad and I set out to hike near Mount St. Helens, they invited me into their hotel for a free deluxe continental breakfast.  The feast was on.

The hotel had waffles to make, yogurt, fruit, hash browns, juice, coffee, cereal, eggs, sausage, everything!  I can’t say I’ve ever sneaked into a hotel for a free breakfast (before this), but I would if I was hungry.  However, when I am a legit guest I do take goodies for the road.  Trust me, my pockets get filled with honey packets, peanut butter, whatever.  My brother use to creep into fine hotels in Eugene about twice a month to get his fill before class.  Andrew blogged about it here on Survival Bros.  It’s funny.  But I’m not advising you to steal, just sharing a survival tactic for if you’re about to die and need food energy.

You can see in the HD video above I loaded up on the complementary grub, and took it back to their room.  I scarfed it, and sipped dank coffee.  Then I scoured for other freebies like shampoo, soap, packaged coffee, plus sugars, creamers, straws, napkins, and a new roll of toilet paper.  It’s not much, but it will help me get through another day.  Being a scavenger is key to survival.  Work on that skill just in case.  Please visit here regularly.  I will be blogging about my 10 mile Mt. St. Helens hike soon.  Take care of yourself, and each other.  And question authority!

hotel waffle

Produced By Cameron McKirdy

In this HD video Survival Bros tests the SteriPEN Sidewinder UV Water Purification System.  It’s hand powered, meaning it’s battery-free.  I think it’s light-weight at 16.6 ounces, and compact enough to fit in a backpack with a height of 8.6 inches.  The Sidewinder is perfect for camping, and emergency preparedness.  Their moto is “safe drinking water anywhere.”  That’s a noble mission, and one we can all appreciate.

Imagine knowing a hurricane is about to devastate your area, and seeing this on your shelf.  I can’t picture a prep that would bring more peace of mind than the SteriPEN Sidewinder.  This tool disinfects 8,000 liters of water that could be contaminated with bacteria, protozoa, and viruses.  Those potentially harmful risks are getting eliminated thanks to the powerful UV lamp.  Even a kid could operate this purifier.  All you have to do is fill it, flip it, crank it, and drink it.  In 90 seconds you have water you don’t have to worry about.  Survival Bros is also grateful that the bottle is BPA-free, so you won’t be drinking chemicals that way.  In the box you get the 1L container, water-tight bottle lid, and Pre-Filter for particulate removal.

The SterPEN Sidewinder is one of those products a prepper really needs.  It’s a good backup to have, in case your regular water source is compromised, or you’re just off the grid.  I have no complaints with this system.  It feels well made, it works, and will continue to keep me safe for many years.  They even offer a 3 year warranty.  Plus, they are an American company.  Check out their full line of gear at http://www.steripen.com  There’s an ultraviolet light solution right for you.  I’m sure you’ll see us testing more SteriPEN products in the future.  We approve 100%!

SteriPEN Sidewinder UVSteriPEN Sidewinder UV Water Purification System for Emergency Preparedness

Survival Bros Founder Cameron McKirdy suggests you take advantage of free trial memberships at local gyms.  Some fitness centers will give you a week, or up to a month of access at no cost to you.  If you’re homeless, at least you can workout, stay warm, get water, socialize, and take a hot shower.  Now you don’t have an excuse to train, even if you are broke.

cam jumping rope

Cam jumping rope for free

Mt. Hood Summer 2013

Survival Bros recently had the opportunity to tour The Fruit Loop near Mt. Hood. This abundant area is less than 1 hour from Portland. We checked out farms, orchards, vineyards, lavender fields, and even an alpaca ranch. It was a scrumptious trip. I stocked up on all sorts of goodies, and tried every free sample imaginable.

Mt. View Orchards Inc. The first spot we rolled up on was Mt. View Orchards Inc. My parents have been there before, and already knew they had some of the best prices on fresh fruit. We were in the market for a variety of apples, blueberries, and peaches specifically, since they are in season now and being celebrated. This fruit stand is located in Parkdale, with a spectacular view of Mt. Hood. The fruit looked even better, and I took the opportunity to use a fruit picker to snag the choicest peaches growing on huge, abundant trees. There were several types to try, including excellent tiny donut-shaped peaches. After picking a box full, we headed to the store there to pay and try all the samples. There was apple cider, dried pears with cinnamon-sugar, raw honey, fudge, and every kind of jam and peppered jelly you could imagine. Calorie restriction didn’t cross my mind. Before we bounced to the next farm, I examined and swooped up six ears of sweet corn for a buck.

Cameron McKirdy picks fruit

mt view corn

Next stop was Draper Girls Country Farm. They offer U-pick and We-pick varieties of cherries, nectarines, pears, prunes, etc. However, Survival Bros and Co. were more interested in the goats and pigs. They are USDA approved, and so damn cute. We said hi to them, snapped pictures, tried their fruit samples, and rolled on. We got most of our fruit at the first stop. Draper Girls were pretty proud of their bounty, but it’s still cheaper than the grocery store. Fun place, and beautiful. They made me crave some fresh goat milk for sure. If you’re looking for a vacation, Draper Girls rents out the farm house year round.

Draper Girl's Fruit Stand

Draper Girls Country Farm

Draper Girl's Goat Farm

A short drive down the road was Cascade Alpacas and Foothills Yarn & Fiber. Can’t say I’d seen an alpaca before. These goofy creatures have a purpose though. They produce soft yarn for knitting, crocheting, weaving, and spinning. The yarn shop had a huge selection of equipment, and gifts. I liked the beanies and socks, but spent my money on feeding the alpacas instead. They were hungrier than me! So I fattened them up with alfalfa pellets. I did try to eat an alpaca, but the owner said no. That would be like eating a horse. Which way to the BBQ? The alpaca farm was worth the trip. We even got to see some babies. They sheer the young ones for yarn after just a few weeks.

Cascade Alpacas and Foothills

Cascade Alpacas Owner

After nearly biting into an alpaca, I needed to relax. The Hood River Lavender Farms were next. It features epic views of Mt. Adams, Hood, and the Hood River Valley. The small gift shop had Lavender Oil, lotions, and other products derived from the 70+ types of certified organic lavender grown there. We didn’t stay long, or even pick a bouquet, but it was interesting. They were also growing hops on the shop, which was cool.

Hood River Lavender Farms

About this time we got hungry and ate lunch in town at an authentic Mexican joint. Then Survival Bros went to the Apple Valley Country Store and Bakery. I regret not getting their BBQ. How about some cherry-wood smoked ribs? Instead I opted for marionberry pie with Tillamook vanilla ice cream. Here they had tons of free samples. Below is a photo of us putting apple butter on a cracker. I’d go back to this country store.

Apple Valley Country Store & Bakery

We made a quick stop at the Mt. Hood Winery. They had live music, and a big tasting room that wasn’t too crowded. I didn’t feel like spending $7 on a glass of Pinot Gris, Pinot Noir, Riesling, or anything else. I had a taste, but I think it was just too hot out, and my belly had had enough. I was most impressed with the vintage James Bond movie posters in the men’s restroom. I almost busted the camera out for those, but decided against the bathroom photography. It’s a nice place. Finally we traveled to The Gorge White House, where they serve Mt. Hood wines, and some 25 other local bottles. This historic home sits on a century old working farm. My crew sipped their hard ciders. I enjoyed the mixed berry variety. In The Gorge White House we drank a “Heritage Pear Wine.” It was tasty, so I took a bottle home for $19. There was lots going on here, between a bridal shower, the store, a food cart, tasting rooms, and a massive flower garden to explore. You’ll want to visit this farm. All said and done, nothing beats the splendor of Oregon’s Hood River County Fruit Loop. It’s 35 miles of vast orchards, farms, fruit stands and kind people. I did all this in a day, but you could easily spend two full days leisurely strolling along this community. Visit www.hoodriverfruitloop.com for more info. Thanks for stopping by the Survival Bros blog.

The Gorge White House U-Pick fields

PRODUCED BY CAMERON McKIRDY

WARNING – BLOG IS GRAPHIC, AND MAY NOT BE SUITABLE FOR CHILDREN.

Survivalism is hardcore. Man has to eat. My bro Tactical Gypsy took matters into his own hands, and seized an opportunity yesterday, killing a wild rabbit and cooking it on a beach bonfire in Oregon. He’s on the Paleo diet, and needs lots of protein to stay lean and healthy. He popped the furry friend with his Glock 40 upon first sight. One bullet put it down. Roger never knew what hit him.

dead bunny rabbit rogerNext, Tactical Gypsy had to clean the cottontail rabbit with the knife shown above. He also removed the cute little feet. It took about 45 minutes to smoke on the fire with some PBR baste. It’s a hearty meal for at least two. To cut up wood, the survivalist and former Marine battoned wood into small chunks with the Coast Products FX350. He is proud to rock this knife as part of this every day carry or EDC. It’s held up remarkably well, considering the tremendous beating Survival Bros has put on it. Great work demonstrating your ability to be self-sufficient Tactical Gypsy. Thanks for the story and picture. Survival Bros salutes you.

If you would like to share a story, photo, or idea with Cameron McKirdy at Survival Bros, please email thesurvivalbros@gmail.com. You’re awesome.

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Produced by Cameron McKirdy

When you are in the field, your gear has to work.  That’s why I pack the best in my bag.  I’ve been testing both the Dukjug, and H2O Lite bottles from GSI Outdoors, featured in the HD video review above.  I hiked out to Cape Falcon in Oswald West State Park.  This Oregon State Park is wondrous, with vast ocean views, and wide waterfalls.  The trail was muddy though, but I live to get dirty.  It’s 2.10 miles to Cape Falcon from the parking lot on Highway 101.  So it took about 45 minutes to get to where I filmed the product review.

The Dukjug is my favorite bottle.  It’s stainless steel, and holds 1 liter.  The design is fun, and colorful.  It’s covered in peace signs, and funky tye dye, so this container fits my hippie personality.  GSI Outdoors makes other designs of this jug too, and even a plastic version, all of which are BPA-free.  Their Dukjug is unique, because it stores duct tape under the rubber band on the outside.  Of course every prepper should have extra tape on hand just in case.  I’d use this bottle for hot liquids, and mixing up drinks, like instant coffee or tea.  It has a wide lid, so you can store anything inside, even food.  The Dukjug tips the scales at 10.1 oz, and retails for $19.95.  That’s a value, because unless you drop it off a cliff, it will last a lifetime.

The H2O Lite is super handy to have around.  It’s collapsible, and weighs next to nothing, only 0.9 oz.  I can just roll it up, and shove it in my backpack.  It takes up virtually no space.  I like that you can write on it, and date it.  Plus, it has a cool cap so it doesn’t leak.  When you want a cold drink, just pop the top, and squirt it in your pie hole.  Graduations are marked on the back too, which could help with cooking when you need to use a precise amount of water.  GSI Outdoors makes smaller versions as well.  I would want to bring one of those on my shorter day trips when I’m going ultralight.  If you need quality camping gear, look no further than this American company.  They have a huge product line you have to check out.  More reviews soon.  Thanks for visiting Survival Bros.  Don’t forget to subscribe to the blog.  Peace and love.Cam @ Cape Falcon

If you haven’t been to the wonderous, massive, Tillamook Cheese Factory, drop the can of Cheez Whiz and go. I went for the free samples, and damn did I score. Plus, I got some epic cheese for later, and fresh jerky for my bug out bag. Pictured below was my lunch; three huge scoops in a chocolate waffle bowl with peanuts including: Grandma’s Cake batter ice cream, Marionberry Pie with chunks of crust, and Mint Chocolate Chip. I nearly died grubbing down on this, but it was heaven. I also snagged free samples of fudge.

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Tillamook County in Oregon has the best dairy in America. Nobody cares about heifers from Wisconsin. So with that in mind, I pillaged the village! Once at the famous Cheese Factory, I scurried to the self guided cheese sampling line. I grabbed a tooth pick, and began stabbing square chunks. So moist. Flavors dancing on the trampoline that is my tongue. There were 7 scrumptious varieties to try. I made the most out of it, and picked up two of the biggest nuggets in the dish each time. My mouth is bigger than most, so it’s only fair I take more. My favorite may be the smoked garlic and white cheddar cheese. You also have to try the legendary squeaky cheese sold only at the Tillamook Cheese Factory. It makes you sound like a hyper chipmunk when you chew it. I went through the line twice.

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From upstairs you can watch the cheese-makers create huge 40 pound blocks to package. It’s fascinating. The famous factory was packed with fanatics. It’s a must see in Oregon. Just down the road was a deal on smoked, natural, turkey and beef jerky. This is the perfect food to stockpile for an emergency. It will last awhile, and it’s a good source of protein. I picked up a stick, and a few bags. It was a great price, and tender. Mmmmm. Cheese, jerky, and ice cream. That’s a Survival Bros adventure.

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Produced by Cameron McKirdy