Effective, Affordable, Food Storage/Protection for Home Sale

Effective, Affordable, Food Storage/Protection for Home Sale

It’s simple.  Reduce the air exposure, keep water out and your dry goods will last longer.  You also keep the rodents at bay unless they can smell through tough polyethylene, sealed plastic.   While some rodents are pretty determined, I figure if a bear can’t smell through this stuff, then neither can rodents.  We’ve been using these barrels for Boundary Waters canoe camping since the early 90’s.  they are nice because around the camp, they can be used to sit on or as a work surface.  At night or when you leave camp during the day, you simply stash them by laying them 50 feet away from your campfire , in a slump in the ground.  They you throw some sticks and brush over the top of them to break up their appearance and off you go.  Bears and rodents walk right by.  Pouring down rain is meaningless and short of a flood carrying them away, they are impenetrable.   Bears can get into them, but they have to wail on them for a long time because they are slippery even on rocks.

OK, that is the camping use.  But, what about the overlooked uses for these barrels that REALLY make them worth owning?  They are a ridiculously simple design.  They stack. They do not retain any odors.  So, why can’t you have a half a dozen of these in your basement or one in each closet of your home as a “go bag” with food, clean-dry-warm clothes, a medical kit, water, and everything you’d need for a catastrophe.  Heck, at 60 liters in size, you could pack food for a family of 4 for 7 days with no effort.  You could also have another with clothing and one more with a medical kit.  Lock up a pistol and ammo.  Bugspray.  Rope, a small ax, duct tape, a screwdriver, hunting knife, batteries, small radio, small saw, footwear, and stuff that you need to grab quickly and all in one, durable, waterproof, airtight spot.  Need to go fast?  Grab the barrels and throw them in the box of the truck in the blinding rain.  Need to stash them?  Bury them in the garden or in a ditch.  Come back later for them.

I know this sounds a little extreme, but depending on where you live, a wildfire could wipe you out in a half an hour.  You see it on the news all the time.  People all over the country being mandated to evacuate NOW.  Just think if you had four barrels with everything you need to survive for 7 days all ready to go.  Run down in the basement, grab ’em, throw them in the back of the car and get going, now.  Given just the wildfires in California of the last few years, is this that crazy sounding or is having a little bit of preparedness, the responsible thing to do?  And, I’m not talking about really knocking yourself out doing it.  Put the stuff that you would need to get by in a barrel, lock it up, set it somewhere you can find it fast.  How hard is that to do, really?

It’s just a thought.

The other thing you could do is have your travel gear all locked up in one spot.  If you come to Minnesota every year for a vacation, what if everything you needed to do your trip was replenished and airtight at the end of your trip.  Next year, when the time comes, your tackle, reels, travel rod, plus specific clothing and gear  are all in an  airtight container.  Time to go?  Grab your barrel and head north or south if you are from Canada.

The point is, these barrels are really, really useful and they don’t cost a lot.  And, unless they are filled with gold bullion, they float like a duck.

Who would have thought that something so simple could be so handy, eh?

Order Your 60 Liter Barrels Here 

Refinishing Fun – Like Rolling in Flypaper

It’s a slow day today and I decided to go refinish one of our older Souris River Quetico 18.5’s.  It’s a canoe that I have refinished once before and is in otherwise nice shape other than the outside looking in need of a new shine plus I needed to sand off graphite and epoxy that ran when I did a sloppy skid plate repair 2 years ago to meet an overnight time constraint.

Canoe Refinishing
Canoe Refinishing

So, just like every other refinishing job for a Souris River, it’s pretty straightforward.  Sand the parts that are oxidized and all the parts that are shiny using 80 grit sand paper and a palm sander.  I also removed a few clear epoxy runs from my hasty work a few years ago by leaning on the corner on the bump with the sander.  You have to keep the sander moving somewhat in order for the sanded epoxy dust to fall away and allow the grit to make contact with the hard, non-moving surface.  So, I do little circles on the runs being sure to used other parts of the sand paper on my palm sander.  Also note – do not use any other type of sander other than an orbital design.  If you use a belt sander you are going to end up in a whole world of hurt VERY quickly.  To sand a whole canoe takes about 30-45 minutes depending on your desired end result.    Just get it reasonably smooth, take a  “sander corner” pass over the length of the scratches and that’s it.  I then found my favorite brush that served me for 20 years as an XC Ski wax brush, and swept off the canoe.  I usually watch to see the way the wind is blowing and make sure I’m upwind so I don’t breath in the cloud of cured epoxy dust.

At this point, I put on some disposable gloves, grabbed a charcoal-colored foam roller, mixed up 6 pumps of resin and hardener, stirred it up, waited one minute, and dumped some of  it on the canoe.  Then I drove my roller through the fresh epoxy and I spread it around the canoe.  Pretty basic and quick.  I  rolled right along the bottom edge of the gunwale (which was upside down) and
continued up and down the canoe.  Applying resin to a dusty gray canoe makes it go to a pleasant brown with black stripes – or a  typical Souris River Le Tigre Kevlar.  This improves the look of the canoe about 1000% and I would eestimate that about 90% of all lay canoe paddlers don’t even realize the canoe has even been refinished.  Now, that may sound like a high number, but given my experience of the last 40 years of customers, I’ve decided that they are mostly incapable of noticing much at all.  They don’t notice crooked woodwork, canoe straps flapping in the wind behind a car with a canoe on the roof turned sideways on to the road below,  dangerous waters, or where to park their car based upon all the other  “seed” cars in the extremely obvious and easy areas to park in the lot.

kevlar canoe refinishing
This is a 2012 Le Tigre Kevlar Souris River in 2015.   The grey parts are dust from hitting the ground.  I got them out after the picture was taken.

What they DO notice is only on a brand new, shiny, unscratched canoe.  They go home and take a magnifying glass to the finish to look for the tiniest of imperfections (over every square inch) that don’t mean the most insignificant hill of beans to the operation of the canoe.  They also notice the top handle of a canoe paddle as they over-analyze its feel and try to picture using it on the high seas while standing in the store.   They also do notice when THEY are even slightly uncomfortable or getting rained on.  They do notice hunger, sometimes thirst, and when someone else is annoying them but not the other way around.  And that’s about it for 90% of the population of the world.

Kevlar Canoe Refinishing
And that’s a good thing.   The main reason being as I was refinishing this canoe (it’s going back into rentals), I had pretty much the whole thing coated with fresh epoxy when it slid off of my horses – in slow motion (Ooooooohhhhhh-Noooooooooooooo!)- and landed upright in the gravel, sawdust, leaves, pine needles, dog fur, old bits of dusty of kevlar, and dandelion fluff.  It was very special.   I said some bad words.  Actually, I repeated a choice four letter word loudly – and with relish. The whole event was like dropping freshly unrolled flypaper in sawdust.

So, upon the universal battle cry of refinishing gone wrong, plus the big booming noise a canoe makes when it hits the ground, Jackie came running out and helped me get it back on the horses whereupon I proceeded to ruin a t-shirt with an epoxy/dirt blend.   I then grabbed the roller, finished up the last few areas of that didn’t get covered pre-fall and I shot the pic’s of the finished canoe.  For the occasional bits of debris stuck to it, I’ll just knock those off after it cures.  I noticed that the digital pictures allowed me to see the dust that I missed when wiping off the canoe after the fall, so I went back and took care of that as well.  I couldn’t see it with the bespectacled or even naked eye.

So, my advice to canoe refinishers everywhere:  Don’t drop it in the gravel.

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FREEBOARD – You’re sunk without it

Freeboard in a canoe is the amount of canoe sticking out of the water.

Canoe Freeboard Defined
Canoe Freeboard Defined

Freeboard is a good thing. On a calm day, lack of freeboard in a canoe means less as long as it remains calm out. When the wind picks up and the waves begin to grow, low freeboard combined with a canoe’s inability to rise easily with the waves is generally a bad thing. I’ve been told by some paddlers that the freeboard issue is not so important because they only plan on paddling when the water is calm. They must be planning on using the canoe in their more prdictable bathtub. For the rest of us, hitting rough, ugly, white-capped water is only a matter of time

In rough water there is more going on with a canoe than the average paddler might consider. A canoe with more wetted surface, that is, the bottom of the canoe which is supported by water as the canoe floats on it, will generally float higher than a canoe with less wetted surface. The amount of freeboard that is built into the canoe along with the canoe’s ability to rise on the water’s surface (bouyancy) are the two important factors if you like to stay dry.

A canoe caught broadside to big waves and without realistic freeboard can be a big problem especially if the canoe isn’t a bouyant.

Narrow racing-oriented canoes with shallow-arched bottoms tend to settle into the water deeper when carrying a payload like camping and fishing gear. If that canoe was designed with low freeboard to begin with, it’s going to sit even lower in the water with weight in it. If the canoe is narrow such that the bow seat paddler can’t put both feet side by side in front of him, this canoe will tend to resist riding up with the waves of the lake. Instead, the waves will tend to ride up around the canoe as opposed to lifting it upward because this more “knifelike” hull doesn’t resist the water but instead accepts it. As a result it is less bouyant and less vertically responsive. For racing-oriented canoes which will not be carrying a big load, that may be OK if you don’t mind the increased chances of getting wet. This type of hull will do very well on a calm day. Add a little significant wind and you’ll be riding an unfamiliar, much less predictable canoe.

With regards to decreased bouyancy, several different Brand X kevlar canoes out there are notorius for taking on water from the place you’d least suspect: the stern. Designers of racing-oriented canoe hulls don’t appear to take into consideration that a following sea with big waves can be just as bad and sometimes worse than heading into the wind and waves. Heck, anybody who has real experience in a boat with a motor (that is an actual boat, not the term used for canoes by hip wannabes) in rough water going with the wind knows or learns rather quickly that you need to watch so that you don’t sink the bow under a big wave or have a big wave that’s curling behind you force it’s way over the back of the boat at the same time. You also cannot travel too fast or too slow – well you can, but you’ll run into huge problems really quickly from either end. A canoe is no different and canoe hulls that don’t ride up and over waves will get in trouble VERY quickly from the bow OR the stern. Don’t believe me? Just sit up on Bailey Bay of Basswood Lake when it’s rough and watch the Brand X kevlar canoes and the Souris Rivers cross the water with a big, following northwest wind. Then see which canoes get helped out by passing boats if they’re lucky (again, meaning actual boats here). If you still cannot figure it all out by watching which kevlar canoes go down and which make it across high and dry, there is no helping you. And yes, I am fully aware that several other canoes can and do make it across rough waters, it’s just that I also know that SR’s tend to do a better job with a lot less dunkings.

A canoe with more surface area resting on the water will ride up in waves. It also helps if that canoe has shallow arching on the ends that aid in lifting the bow and stern as need (and the arch adds secondary stability as well). With a sharp knife entry/exit in the stems (the very ends of the canoe) followed by shallow arching, the canoe’s ability to ride up and over waves as opposed to becoming a submarine is increased. Add all this up with realistic freeboard to start and you have a canoe that’s worth owning if you are a non-racer and like to actually use the canoe in a variety of conditions.

And for the last time, just because you’ve paddled a Brand X kevlar for one 5-day trip and never run into these types of problems before doesn’t mean that you’ll never encounter them. It’s only a matter of time.