Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Topic #3 is Non-Food items

So far we've covered Food & water.  The last item for storage is Non-Food items.   Again Folks tend to think of stuff like Toilet paper, shampoo, soap, etc.  But this catagory covers so much more so this will be another long entery.   

First you need to think of how you would cook that food you have stored if you have no power.  We've cooked over those little emergency heaters we made out of toilet paper and soaked in rubbing alcohol.   I set two cans of shortening on either side and laid a cooling rack over it and heated food up using that.  another option you can use inside is the little Sterno single burner folding stoves.  Now there are other ways to cook but most have to be done outside.  If you have a grill then you could use that.  You can use a camp stove.  you can get a simple one with one or two burners or you can get one of the Camp Chef oven units with 2 burners & a small oven.  You could make yourself a Rocket stove.  You can "google" rocket stoves and find many sites that show you how to make your own.  You can get or make a solar oven.  I have loved my Global Sun Oven but after 10 years worth of use it's about done in.  Food cooked in my sun oven tastes so much better than it does in the regular oven or crock pot.  I have also found a site that shows you how to make a solar cooker that will go up to around 300 degrees:  http://rimstar.org/renewnrg/modified_cookit_solar_cooker.htm     The other item you can make is a hay box cooker.  This comes from back in the pioneer days.  As wagon trains made their way west they needed to make meal times easier.  They used a box which back then were made out of wood and lined it with hay.  At breakfast they would start a stew or soup cooking in their dutch oven and after it got boiling they would drop the dutch oven into the center of the hay box and then cover it well with heavy quilts.  It would stay hot for hours and when they stopped for the night they could get dinner ready very quickly by reheating the stew/soup and making biscuits or what ever bread they wanted.  By the time the men had the livestock taken care of they could have a hot meal and get to bed.  This is a way to cook and save energy.  I made a hay box using a round plastic tub and two small bean bag chairs.  I put the first one in and then add the dutch oven and top it tightly with the second one and it cooks very well for several hours.  You can do a google search if you want to see how others made their hay boxes.  Try it now so you know how to best use it in a crisis.  Having several cooking options is a wise thing to do.  No matter what you should be able to cook some how.   Just make sure you have fuel for what ever options you decide to use.

How will you keep thing cold if the fridge isn't working?   We used ice chests during the 3 week ice storm but you can't count on it always being winter time when the fridge goes out.  Root cellars and spring houses are nice but most folks don't have such things these days.    Two systems out of Africa work very well.  The Zeer cooler uses two unglazed clay pots, one smaller than the other.  They pack sand on the bottom and then put in the second pot and pack sand around the sides.  Then you can put your food in the inside pot and cover it and pour water over the sand.  the wet sand soaks the pots and then wind blows over it and it cools right down and keeps produce etc nice and cool.   The second is and evaporation refrigerator.  This is listed on page 42 of the same manual that had the water filter.  This book is well worth the $11.75 or worth printing out if you choose to do the free download.  https://providentliving.lds.org/bc/providentliving/content/english/self-reliance/health/pdf/basic-physical-health-limited-resources-eng.pdf?lang=eng&icid=osd            I would make this fridge out of PVC pipe instead of wood.

The other thing people do around where I live is to bury old freezers in the ground with the door opening at ground level.  They pack straw bales on top of it during the warm months.  If you have kids in the area you might want to install a pad lock to keep them out of it.   A friend of ours has several of these and he makes big ice blocks all winter long and then when it starts warming up he packs them into his freezers and packs saw dust around them.  He has ice all summer long and a nice cold place to put stuff too!

Now maybe I should just make a list of items but there is so much more to include!   Personal care times like body wash, shampoo, razors, sanitary napkins, toilet paper, tooth brushes & tooth paste.  Clothing:  material, patterns, sewing needles, thread, laundry soap, clothes line and clothes pins.  ( I made a simple washing machine out of a 5 gallon bucket with a small hole in the center of the lids and a simple toilet plunger with a few holes cut out.  You can add water, soap and clothes and plunge away!)  ( I also made a toilet paper replacement kit for each family member.  I use a simple plastic ice cream bucket and put in a small sponge and 16 double layered flannel cots sewn together.  You can wipe with the flannels and then wash them to use again.)   Flash lights and batteries, candles and matches, lamps with extra wicks and lots of lamp oil.  diapers, pet supplies, medications, first aid supplies, water filters, some way to generate electric if you require it.  There are so many things you use!  Take a day and mark down everything you use and then make sure you have extra in your storage.  If you have kids you might want to make sure you have plenty of family games and puzzles.  It might help them as they go through withdrawals from their video games and TV shows.  

So this one wasn't even close to being as long as the one on water but I decided to not go totally crazy on getting everything down.  But you should have enough ideas to get you thinking!  

So hopefully you get some ideas this week and come up with a plan.   I hope everyone works toward having a years supply of what they need.  The exception to that is those who live in apartments or a major city.  If anything goes really wrong you will want to get out of Dodge right fast.  That means you will need a bug out plan and location.  You should still have 2 weeks to 3 months worth of supplies on hand in your apartment.  Then you will be covered for short term emergencies and budget crisis.  If you have to bug out you will want to carry supplies with you and get out as quickly as you can before most realize there is a problem.  

Have fun as you think about your situation and get prepared to handle anything that comes your way.

brchbell@ yahoo.com

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Storing water

** I tried to add pictures in today but the solar flares are really messing with anything satelitte this weekend.  You can see the pictures online in the books I've listed. 

Most people forget about storing water.  You should always have 1 gallon per person per day for 2 weeks.  14 gallons per person, minimum stored.   That may seem like a lot but most people go through 100 gallons per day.  1 gallon gives you drinking water plus water to cook with and to wash up with if you are careful.  I would suggest storing more if at all possible.  We buy drinking water in gallon containers, 3 to a box and store those.  We store 5 boxes per person.  Plus we have two 55 gallon food grade barrels giving us 110 extra gallons.  I'm hoping to add a couple more barrels into our storage soon.  But no matter how much you store you need to have a plan to replace it once it's gone.  There are some amazing filters out there today but they can be expensive and the filters they use can be even more expensive.  

The ones that caught my eye are the pens/straws you can use in an emergency to draw up up and it turns it to clean drinking water.  Of course those have a much shorter life span when in use.  The other is the AquaPails that are now out.  I watched them take water from a mud puddle in the parking lot and pour it in and out came clean water that actually tasted good.  But again once you use it up it's gone.  But those are fairly cheap so you can lay in several of them and they range in gluons from 250 gallons up to several thousand of gallons.  Berkey's are wonderful but very expensive and the replacement filters are too.  Most filters "remove" the harmful stuff.  Aquapail "kills" it instead.  For a long term solution I store 1-micron industrial Liquid filter bags. We use these to pour our pond water into over a clean bucket.  These filters will remove all the debris and 99% of any bacteria in the water.  (Most bacteria will cling to debris)  then we treat the water with either chlorine, iodine crystals, 0r Calcium Hypochlorite (pool shock).   I buy our filters wholesale at around $3 a piece at this company:  http://www.tfsi1.com/Portals/3/Documents/branch-contact-list.pdf       As you can see they have locations all over the country.  Just tell them you need them to filter water on your farm and they will sell to you.   I think you can buy as little as 10 of them at a time.  They will come Fed-ex and you will be clueless of the total shipping price until they actually ship.  It's never been very much and they will call you to tell you what it is IF you request that ahead of time.  

Here is a filter you can make yourself and have the materials to make more of them cheaply.:
This comes from a manual sold by the LDS Church and is available to buy for $11.75  but you can also download it free of charge at the same site you buy it : Basic Physical Health with Limited Resources  (go to LDS.org and click on resources and then "order church materials".  At store site click on "Self-Reliance"  and then scroll down until you find this book and click on it to get options)
A guide to help people improve their physical health, even when resources are limited. The guide includes information on disease prevention, cleanliness and sanitation, nutrition, family food production, and basic family medical care.
This simple filter is made of two clean plastic containers such as buckets or trash cans. One should be smaller so that it will fit inside the larger container with at least 21⁄2 centimeters of space around the outer edge.
To build a water filter, follow these steps:
  1. Study the picture of the filter. 
  2. Punch or drill holes in the bottom of the smaller container. They should be at least 1⁄2 centimeter in diameter so that the water can flow freely from the inner to the outer container. 
  3. You may want to use a faucet or spigot to draw off the purified water. If you do, drill or punch a hole in the side of the outer container. The hole should be a little above where the sand and charcoal will be. Install the faucet with rubber or plastic washers or plastic gasket cement. 
  4. Place gravel in the bottom of the large container. Put in enough so that the top of the inner container will be even with the top of the larger container. 
  5. Put the smaller container on the gravel. Fill it about half full with fine sand. Cover the sand with about five centimeters of gravel to hold the sand in place when you pour water into the filter. 
  6. Fill the lower portion of the space between the containers with crushed charcoal. Cover it with about five centimeters of sand to keep charcoal particles from floating to the surface. 
Using the Water Filter
Clean the filter before you use it. Pour water into the smaller container and draw it off with the faucet until the water comes out clear. Then run eight liters of water that has two teaspoons of chlorine bleach in it through the filter. Then run eight liters of water without chlorine bleach through the filter. The filter is now ready for regular use.

Having filters in place to keep you going indefinitely is very important.  It's true that most emergencies we face will end fairly quickly but I learned the hard way that on occasion they can last a little longer than you had planned on.  In December 2008 we faced a very severe ice storm that left over 8 states without power.  Our farm went 3 weeks without power with the highest temperature of +8 and most temps were in the minus range.  We made it the first 2 weeks  ok but then ran out of water.  We had to tie a long rope to the deck and slide down the hill to the pond and break ice and haul water back up to the house to purify.  This was not a pleasant experience and we immediately made changes so we could go at least a month without running water .   

How did we make drinking water out of our pond water?  We filtered it with a filter and then boiled it for 15 minutes and then we cooled it down.  I would pour it between two glasses to add oxygen back into it to improve the taste.  At this point I can tell you everyone in my family became very frugal with the use of our water supply.  It was a blessed event when our power came back on December 23rd.   

One of the things we instituted was flushing the toilet only when we had to.  So perhaps I should bring up the next major thing people don't think about.   Where does your waste water drain out too?   You can call your city and ask if you need to.  Our local towns use pumps to send the water to sewage lagoons.  If there is no power the pumps can not work and they will quickly back up into homes.   We have our own sewage lagoon and it uses no pumps so we can dump buckets of water to flush as needed.  But you really should find out now so you can to avoid a crisis you really don't want to face!  Having a portable Loo can be a life saver if you find out you need to make other arrangements.  

Now if you need a filter to filter out radiation there is a simple filter you can make but you should have everything on hand just in case you ever need it.  http://www.nukepills.com/docs/nuclear_war_survival_skills.pdf

I've given up trying to upload the picture of this filter.  It's near the end of the chapter on water so you can see it from the link I have listed just above here.

To make the simple, effective filter shown in Fig. 8.11, the only materials needed are those found in and around the home. This expedient filter can be built easily by proceeding as follows:
1. Perforate the bottom of a 5-gallon can, a large bucket, a watertight wastebasket, or a similar container with about a dozen nail holes. Punch the holes from the bottom upward, staying within about 2 inches of the center.
2. Place a layer about 1 inches thick of washed pebbles or small stones on the bottom of the can. If pebbles are not available, twisted coat-hanger wires or small sticks can be used.
3. Cover the pebbles with one thickness of terrycloth towel, burlap sackcloth, or other quite porous cloth. Cut the cloth in a roughly circular shape about 3 inches larger than the diameter of the can.
4. Take soil containing some clay almost any soil will do from at least 4 inches below the surface of the ground. (Nearly all fallout particles remain near the surface except after deposition on sand or gravel.)
5. Pulverize the soil, then gently press it in layers over the cloth that covers the pebbles, so that the cloth is held snugly against the sides of the can. Do not use pure clay (not porous enough) or sand (too porous). The soil in the can should be 6 to 7 inches thick.  (We bought artist's clay and bagged sand to mix together)
6. Completely cover the surface of the soil layer with one thickness of fabric as porous as a bath towel. This is to keep the soil from being eroded as water is poured into the filtering can. The cloth also will remove some of the particles from the water. A dozen small stones placed on the cloth near its edges will secure it adequately.
7. Support the filter can on rods or sticks placed across the top of a container that is larger in diameter than the filter can. (A dishpan will do.)
The contaminated water should be poured into the filter can, preferably after allowing it to settle as described below. The filtered water should be disinfected by one of the previously described methods.
If the 6 or 7 inches of filtering soil is a sandy clay loam, the filter initially will deliver about 6 quarts of clear water per hour. (If the filtration rate is faster than about 1 quart in 10 minutes, remove the upper fabric and recompress the soil.) After several hours, the rate will be reduced to about 2 quarts per hour.
When the filtering rate becomes too slow, it can be increased by removing and rinsing the surface fabric, removing about 1 inch of soil, and then replacing the fabric. The life of a filter is extended and its efficiency increased if muddy water is first allowed to settle for several hours in a separate container, as described below. After about 50 quarts have been filtered, rebuild the filter by replacing the used soil with fresh soil.
I found so many interesting articles in this book I'm glad I bought it.  You can read it online at the link I gave you above but make sure you print out the important info and keep it in a special binder so you have it should you ever need it.  I have a hard time believing anyone would ever set off a nuclear bomb but after 9/11 you never know who or what will strike us next.  

Now I need to digress again because I haven't mentioned all the ways to purify water.  I've already mentioned boiling.  But there are other ways.  Most everyone knows about using chlorine bleach but most don't realize bleach has a very limited shelf life.  I've actually called and talked the the fine folks at Clorox and they told me that once the bleach goes in to the bottle is is good for 3 years.  They suggested that once we buy it, it really needed to be used within 1 year to allow for storage time in warehouses.  It will still smell like bleach but it will no longer kill those germs or whiten, etc and we will be totally clueless that it's not working.  So now you know that rotation is very important for your bleach.  But there are still other things you can use.  Pool Shock is a way to store bleach that will stay stable over a long time.   It is important that you make sure of what you are getting.  You do not want an algaecide or other chemicals mixed in with the calcium hypochlorite-  those are not safe for human consumption.  Adding 1/8 oz  (about 3/4 teaspoon) of the 65% available chlorine powder to a gallon of water will create full strength bleach.  This bleach can then be used at a rate of about 8-16 drops of bleach added to each gallon of collected water.  At this level of usage, each pound of powdered chlorine will produce approximately 128 gallons of prepared bleach, which will in turn purify thousands of gallons of water.  What a Godsend you could be to your family and neighbors in preventing water-borne disease!
It is important to note that cloudy or off-smelling water should get additional drops of bleach.  Shake it well and then wait 30 minutes for the microbes to die.  While it is considered safe to drink the water after the half hour is up, the smell and taste will usually dissipate overnight if it is left to stand uncovered.
When purifying water in a container that you will drink out of later, such as a bottle or jug, be sure to allow some of the chlorinated water to cover the rim. The easiest way to do this is to loosely put the cap on the bottle and shake it. This will allow some of the contained water to splash out on to the rim. You can then tighten it. This will kill the microbes on the surface of the rim so won’t accidentally consume contaminated water.
Chlorine is generally considered a better option than iodine since iodine does not break down chemically and often has a strong unpleasant taste.  
MAKE SURE YOU VACUUM SEAL ANY STORED POOL SHOCK INTO GLASS CANNING JARS!  Plastic allows moisture to seep in and turns the pool shook into a toxic chemical.  Stored in sealed glass canning jars prevents this from ever happening.  
Now the other way is to store and use Iodine crystals.  It does leave a funny taste but Polar Pure (Iodine Crystals) last forever so we store lots of that. Each bottle tells you how to use it.  You add so much water to the bottle and shake it and then pour it into the water to be purified.  then seal the bottle back up and store for next use.  We've taken this on back country hiking trips because it is very small and easy to carry in a back pack.  While it leaves a funny taste we found it to be an acceptable alternative to bleach or boiling.  I think each little bottle purifies 2,000 gallons of water. I would also think using iodine would be a plus if radiation is ever a problem.  I prefer to store several sources of items so we always have options if it is needed.  

I know this blog entry is much longer than the ones I usually post but I always feel that water is the most important thing about storage and so many don't hardly even think about it.   Just remember if you have no water you won't survive very long!  


Saturday, October 5, 2013

3 categories of storage for you to ponder

There are essentially three catagories of supplies that you should lay in for emergency use.  The first one is the one most think about first:  Food/meals.  Second is water and third is all the non-food items.  Today we'll talk about food.

Everyone seems to get different ideas about what to store.  That's because we are all different.  We have different tastes, different likes and dislikes, some have food allergies, some make all their meals from scratch and others live on junk food.  So there is no one program fits all thing to turn to.  But some companies may make you think so!  Getting meals ready to eat or freeze dried foods may sound like the way to go for some, I would caution them to only get a short supply of such foods.  MRE's (meals ready to eat)  Have lots of chemicals and salts in them.  Freeze dried or dehydrated foods take a lot of water to make them useable.  So I suggest a 2 to 4 week supply of those foods at most.  For most of your foods I suggest you use your own recipes to plan what you should store.  Picking 5 to 14 meals that you normally eat can make living through a crisis much easier.  These should be the meals that are the most shelf stable.  One that uses a lot of fresh produce like lettuce would not be a good choice.  But one like spaghetti would be very stable.  I can ground beef so it's ready to use.  Then your canned tomatoes and spices are ready to use and of course the dried pasta and canister or parmesan cheese.  So you get the idea or how to pick the right meals.  Maybe you don't can.  You can find chicken and other meats canned at the grocery store.  Canned meats are already cooked so they are easy to work with in a recipe.  If you don't cook very much but use hamburger helper type meals then I suggest you learn to can your hamburger into canning jars or find a friend who can do it for you.  I've never seen hamburger canned at the store but I do see beef along with chicken, tuna, etc.   But no matter what you decide to store it will be foods you like and are use to.  That is the important thing to remember.  In a crisis, having the foods you like and are use to is important!  And don't forget some treats.  Vacuum sealing favorite cookies or crackers into canning jars not to mention candy too can really give your family a boost during your crisis!  Make sure you stock up on spices and vacuum seal those into canning jars so they stay fresh.  Spices can really give a bland meal some zip and excitement!   

While you plan out your food storage you can start by getting a few extras while at the store, like spaghetti sauce, chili, soups, tuna, beef stew, etc.  

Next time I move on to a different part of storage.


Thursday, October 3, 2013

Can I "afford to get" food storage should say"can I afford not to?"

Putting away food stores has been going on since old testament Bible times.  W e all remember Joseph in Egypt putting away in times of plenty.  But even in New testament times people gathered to bring in the harvest so they could have grain to eat until the next harvest season.  In the dark ages villages gathered in the harvest so they might not know hunger in the winter months.  In China, villagers knew if the rice harvest failed their little ones and old ones would not make it through the winter month's.  In early America the settlers knew they had to import or grow their crops and store them aside until the next years harvest.  Even pre- World War 2 most American's canned and stored for the coming winter month's and into the Spring time.   Now we have gotten use to having everything we want right when we need it.  Many shop daily and rarely have anything stored aside.  When a freak winter storm comes people panic and empty the store shelves leaving late comers with nothing to buy.   What if something worse happens and you are not ready for it?

Can you afford to not have anything set aside with everything getting crazier by the day?  If you have nothing at all, please at least set a week of dry goods aside so that you might survive at least a winter storm.  2 weeks is even better and then work on getting a month's supply.  You know what you like, canned soups, rice & beans, Spaghettio's .     Just some extra stuff so you can avoid the store when a storm is coming.  I even buy some of those shelf stable milks each Fall and replace them as needed during the winter.

Next time I will talk about the different kinds of things we should store but for now just make sure you can survive short term if one of those freak storms hit you this winter.