Happy Birthday to me and taking stock of what I have done and what’s next

October 12, 2012

I’m 46 today and my life sure did not go as I planned but so far so good!  I have much to be thankful for including just being alive.  I have learned and I have a  purpose in life.  It took me over forty years to learn and get rid of all the crap I bought into, but I feel I’m on the path of learning just for the joy of it!  Plus I have so much more I want to do in life.

I completed almost all my goals  this year and a few goals expanded quite a lot through the year.  I even managed a few items I did not put on my goal list because the list seemed darn full already and I didn’t think I could accomplish these want to have items for preparing. Somehow it all worked out and I feel I can say I prepared, now I have to move towards true self reliance.  Over all I’m pleased with how much I’ve accomplished paying in cash or layaway and being just marginally above the poverty level and disabled. I don’t just have stuff but I have learned many skills this year.

I got a lot of my panic out last year about this time. Perhaps because I did not feel ready or in control. I needed to learn and do more to feel more secure. I needed to trust myself and trust God that I did as much as I could not just with the simple things I need today but for the future.  Being fearful and without prospects to make tomorrow, next week or next year better for yourself is not good plan and I felt a quiet desperation that what I was doing was not going to be good enough to survive a collapse. I feared for family members that refuse to wake up and I could not help them, my neighbors as well. Though my neighbors are actually in good shape with many skills though I’m not sure how full the pantry is,  they can  garden,  hunt, know critters, work hard and have fruit trees planted.

I can give non-preppers (sheeple) a little water, a week of food and have them move along to the FEMA camps and that no longer bothers me.  If all the disasters that have happened in the last 3 years have not woke people up, I can’t add much to try and convince them.  They are “willfully ignorant” and they must save themselves not me.  I will assist folks that have skills I need or can do physical work but I won’t put myself at risk. Besides if I can prepare on my income and being disabled almost anyone can prep.

So to all the preppers, survivalists, gun nuts, tinfoil hat crowd and all who helped me get prepare in all ways! Thank you! Life and a shot another year is truly the best Birthday present!

Using kerosene for lights and heating

October 10, 2012

1 lamp will give about 5 hours of light per 1 gallon of kerosene fuel per month. 1 kerosene heater will provide  about 12 hours per day on 1 gallons a day or 7  gallons a week.  Once we get into winter I’ll do a test and see if these are good numbers for heating  my house.

So if I need two Kerosene lamps to be lit for a min. of 5 hours per day for a year. That is about 24 gallons of kerosene per year for lamps.  You will need the lamps less in summer but more in winter.  Now the cost of 1 gallon of Kerosene is about $11.00 per gallon so 2 lamps for a year would cost about $264.00 for a year.  I check what Lowe’s is selling kerosene at $11.00, but  I get a 10% discount as a Vet so it’s $238. 00 per year. You might get a better price buying kerosene in bulk 5 gallon containers but let’s use $11.00 a gallon for planning your shopping list. For me I could use my 2 kerosene lamps, 5 hours a day for about $20.00 per month.  I live in a cheap electricity state and I’m pretty sure that $20.00 is about even cost I pay for light each month. Yes, electricity is more convenient and gives off better light when you have it but a couple of kerosene lamps might make a good back up source of light.

Kerosene heaters are great for heating a large space.  Kerosene heaters do give off carbon monoxide and will eat oxygen in a small room so you will want to place the heater where it can heat several rooms, open a window about an inch for ventilation and never run a kerosene heater while you are asleep. Now based on running the heater 12 hours per day you will need about 1 gallons a day or 7 gallons per week  to run your heater. I don’t think I would have to run the heater for 12 hours in a day to keep my house warm as my home is well insulated and I have warm clothes I don’t mind dressing layers. But let’s say the experts are correct and I need the heater for 12 hours everyday for heat 6 months of the year.  I’m going to test my heater and see how much kerosene is needed per day and per week and see exactly how much fuel is needed to keep the house warm during the winter.

I focused on propane for heating and cooking only and figured I need about 2-3 gallons of propane per day and that did not include using propane for lights.  The total cost per month using propane was at least $120.00 per month not counting the cost of a small tank or using propane for lights.

I’m not knocking any fuel or saying kerosene is perfect for a prepper. But kerosene is darn nice choice as a fuel and you get a lot of heat and light for a relatively small cost. We don’t know what fuel will be best in the future but I do know most everything in the US army ran on JP-8 which is  kerosene so you might be able to trade with soldiers. Yes soldier’s will trade with the population. When I was stationed in Germany doing field training, we often traded MRE’s for home cooked food and other stuff with the civilians. I don’t think the US military has many things that run on propane.

I know I was quite surprised on how far a little kerosene will go if you have a couple of lamps and a kerosene heater. Based on the cost factor alone, I’ll be adding more kerosene to my fuel stash as it has a good “bang for the buck”.  Plus having multiple types of fuel you can use I figure is a big deal. Wood, butane, propane and now storing kerosene gives me flexibility to react and buy what is available or cheap.

Obama’s EPA is on a “Green Agenda” bender and I can say that Obama is keeping his promise of energy prices must skyrocket in cost for his agenda what ever it is he has planned.  It is happening now,  so you must have backups to your backups.  A mix of a small gas generator, Solar energy for charging batteries and small electronics or lights. A big kerosene heater and a few lamps and add a little propane stove ans solar oven.  This type of energy set up will give you a lot of flexibility and I didn’t even touch on using a wood stove because a wood stove needs to be installed properly to be safe and that is kind of expensive.  You can get a kerosene stove at a yard sale and fuel at your local hardware store and it is ready to use without meeting a city code.

Last but not least,  I can use my propane exclusively for cooking and the kerosene for most of the lighting and heat for the house. No need to spend over a $1000.00 for a wood stove and installation or get permits and deal with winter burn bans on fireplaces.

Back to the future! Adapting 1800’s tech to use today.

October 9, 2012

I’m getting fired up about this idea of adapting so many cool inventions to work for a modern self-reliance!  I love history and just glancing back through the inventions of the 1800’s is fascinating.  I’m learning so much but I’m going to learn a lot more going from theory to an everyday adaptation that uses fuel/energy I can make at home on a city lot.

I’m seeing a lot of  bloggers that I read are getting into mixing hi-tech and old tech together. Six bears had a great post on this idea on the 8th of Oct. 2012. If you have read his blog it is intriguing how he uses all kinds of technology to live his life, from his little  sail boat to solar, his veggie oil burning truck and RV made from a used ambulance.  Modern day Redneck does a lot with the same concept of mixing old and new tech to make a life worth living.

Oh sure you can get some food in buckets and water barrels and all the stuff you can buy, but after you have a most the basics then what?  I mean I finally felt confident in my stored prep items at the six month point and I did not stop preparing!  My preps really started to save me money at that point and I could have just cruised along and be happy with what I had accomplished.  But I felt this urge to be more than just a prepper and become as self reliant as possible and there is a big difference in my mind between a prepper and a self reliant person though there is some overlap.  Remember this how I define myself and not some book definition.  But I know I have moved beyond being just a prepper and working toward self reliance.

I’m looking at the next couple of months of 2012 to get better prepared.  Doing some maintenance work on the lawn mower, getting tires for the mini-van and adding some more bits to make my solar power as complete on the cheap and as a way to learn how these things are done.  In 2013 I will be getting a small working steam engine from American Science and Supply(AS&S) I have to put together that should give me a better understanding of steam engines.  I built a muzzle loader from a kit and I learned a lot about the work that goes into a simple weapon. So I hope building a small steam engine will help me getting the concepts of a boiler and understanding the pressure created and how it will power stuff while being small enough I don’t have to worry to much about a boiler exploding from pressure.

AS&S has some other small setups for distilling to mini-catapults and trebuchets for education purposes.  If you are home schooling your kids it a great place to get education kits that cover everything from solar, wind and steam energy to robotics, geology and all kinds of hands on learning kits.

I think once I get some basic working knowledge I’ll be able to harness at least some older tech ideas to work around the the house.

Filling the 15 gallon water barrels

October 8, 2012

Thrilling title I know, took almost a second to come up with it!  I filled  three 15 gallon water barrels using a sink adapter and my RV water hose which is much easier than filling the barrels using jugs so that part was very easy. The hard part is that I still had to move the barrels about 15 feet by hand. That was also part of the test as how easy these barrels would be to move using muscle power and a dolly.  Not to bad at all to move with a small dolly and I can drag or walk the barrels that 15 feet if that’s as far as I had to go.

The weight of the barrels full is about 120 pounds and they are 14 inches across and about 25 inches high. so they can easily fit in a corner or in a closet. The large 55-60 gallon barrels weight 450-480 pounds so they are not very mobile and tend to stay in a spot after filling.  But the 15 gallons could be put in truck, mini-van or trunk of car by 2 people and transported to someone that needs water.  The 15 gallon barrels I got from my Beer Lady used but clean for $25.00 each.

The reason I got these smaller barrels is for some of my non-prepping family members and or neighbors in case of a water or power outage longer than a couple of days or up to a week.  This is about the best compromise I can come up with between cost, amount of water and mobility. I don’t want to watch someone die of dehydration, but there is also a limit on what I can afford to do to help out and not put myself at risk.  If they have some bottled water or some water in a hot water tank this could easily give them some time to adapt to no tap water on hand. If they “wake up” and prepare, I can use these barrels for my water prep.

I know I preach about storing water a lot since my water test.  I don’t think I was all that unusual believing the one gallon per day per person as a plan was good enough for preparing.  But I think the minimum amount of water for storage is two gallons a day and 3-5 gallons is more realistic, if you have a place to store it safely.  If you put a small 15 gallon barrel in each family member’s bedroom closet that is  a week of water and if you have a 40 gallon water tank that would give you well over 2 weeks of water for a family of 4  with very little up front cost($100.00) or taking up a lot of floor space!

Once you have those two weeks taken care of you can add some rain barrels for plants and flushing the toilet and getting your good  water filter and bleach or iodine for purifying collected water.  Heck even hanging up a tarp and using a couple of five gallon bucket to collect rain water would stretch your water supplies.

You don’t want to be Bear Grylls and drinking your own urine which can kill you. There is a reason your body gets rid of urine it has ammonia, salts and minerals in it. Even people that use Humanure compost it for a year or dilute urine with 7-10 parts water for use on plants.  Tap water is cheap and good water filters will give you a lot of safe water for what they cost.

Working on BOBs

October 7, 2012

I’m starting a new BOB for just my pets.  With my BOB I always add some dry pet food and stuff.  But I want an extra bag with a little wet food, extra collars/leashes, blankets and additional shelter for them to be warm and safe that’s just for the pets. Probably we will pile together to share body heat and a feeling of safety, but  it never hurts to have a few extra items if you can carry it.  I’m figuring out a setup for my trike that will have the basics for 72 hours if I can’t use the RV for a bugout vehicle.

I need one more pet carrier for the cat and some bungie cords to strap everything to the rear basket. I think I have most everything I need on hand except some repair parts for the bike and scabbards for the shotgun and rifle.  It will have to be loaded when it’s needed as I use it for shopping and getting around on short trips. I now have a spot for storing that stuff in the shop when I need it and it can go in the mini- van or the bike depending on the situation!

I don’t think I would do very well because of my handicap if I have to bugout.  My odds for survival would probably be low, but if the disaster is a MUST bugout situation I want to give myself at least some kind chance even if it’s a small one. Everything I do for prepping is about trying to stack the odds as much as I can in my favor even if it’s just a little  improvement it’s worth the work.  Because you don’t know what can make the difference when you are trying to survive.

I found a cool little stove that runs on butane which will be perfect for the bike. Butane cans are small and not to expensive and will give me another cooking/heat source that I can use at home as well as bugging out.  With my mess kit, metal cup and water bottles in my BugOut Bag I should be set for cooking.  I’m looking at some folding solar panels for charging batteries, phone or laptop if possible. I have extra windup radios and flashlights if it doesn’t work.

The BOB is super in a lot of ways. If you are at home when a disaster hits you have extra stuff and you can take it with you if you have to leave. Or you have stuff to get home or hunker down for a couple of days if it’s needed, for example you get caught in a snow storm at work and can’t get home right away. You could go to your car and make a cup of tea have some stuff to stay warm if you are sheltered from wind and rain/snow. Some light so you don’t stumble around and a radio and somethings to keep yourself  informed. I think a lot of people will freak out without any electronics or being in the dark listening to the quiet. A deck of cards and a notepad for keeping score playing some games will be a huge morale booster! I add  crossword puzzles and couple of books I like to read, that keeps me entertained.

So how ready your BOB and BOV for winter?

All-grain beer update.

October 7, 2012

So far so good, I just moved the the beer to the secondary fermenter, using the Hydrometer the brown ale is at 1.014 which is dead on  what the recipe calls for as a Final gravity.  I’ll check again and make sure it’s keeps that measurement and then I’ll bottle and let it condition a couple of weeks.

I haven’t used a secondary fermenter when I brewed my LME.  So I get to see if that gives me a clearer finish product.

Final step will be the taste test, but I’m pleased on how it seems to be progressing.

Cleaning up the shop

October 5, 2012

I have a large detached shop at my house but it’s not insulated or heated so today was a great day to just putter, clean and arrange it so I can know where everything is located.  I also took a little time to look at what I have stored and separated Mom and my stuff.  Most of our stuff will be shared but I think it’s best to have things separated so everyone can do a quick inventory so they know what they have and what they need!  Plus if you have just dropped stuff where it will be out of the way. You often find treasures you have forgotten to organize which makes for some happy surprises!  I found a couple of small bottles of Sta-bil and we are doing much better on stored gasoline than I originally though.t  So it’s a great time to use up the older gas and replace it with some new non-ethanol gas while prices are under $4.00 a gallon before winter.

I’m not trying to cheat anyone but some of this stuff I moved I can’t remember if I bought it or Mom bought it and I’m storing it for her!  My Dad is not totally on-board on prepping so I  store a lot of Mom’s stuff.  I also have a lot of storage space compared to the family and just about dead center point for all the family members as far as travel/mileage so “TAG, You’re It” for being the storage/supply  point.  I have been grabbing some pallets and I have separated the fuel as best as I can remember, though I do have a nagging feeling I am off on a 40 pound bag of charcoal, a can of gas and a jug of kerosene.  Not to bad for playing catch up and probably won’t matter in the long run if the SHTF.  I don’t want to say something is mine if I didn’t buy it. I get a great deal of satisfaction of what I have on hand and seeing how far I have come in the last few years.  There are not many “atta boys” or pats on the back being a prepper.  Quite a few folks are actively hostile to preparing and at best, friends and family think you are a bit loopy. So having stuff stored properly and a quick look gives you an inventory of what you have on hand is about the only pat on the back you will get prepping.  I want to be honest but I’m often forgetful. Mom and I shall have to work a bit of a breakdown on the stuff we have both forgotten.

We will work it out, Mom may get an extra can of gas or a shift of kerosene and I’ll probably end up extra bag of charcoal. Since we are are solid on food, water, fuel and sanitation it’s no big deal.  Don’t sweat the small stuff and when you are a prepper trading 40 pounds of charcoal for 4-6 gallons of gas or kerosene is small stuff.

I think this new system will work better as I have separated my storage and Mom’s and I need to get another pallet for Mom’s storage as she has filled the pallet I got for her stuff.  Now she and I can look very quickly and see where we are at for total fuel. As well as what we need to get  for our future needs for those “Idiot children”.  Since my shop is detached and quite large I don’t have to worry quite so much about fuel, fumes or a fire burning down my home, as the shop is a good 20 feet or more away from my home.  I do my best to store fuel safely and I have to say getting caught in an a gas-air explosion or Fire ball is way at the bottom of my to do list.

I also cleared quite a lot of bench/work space so I can start adding some basic hand tools and a place to work on stuff.  I have to say I just stored stuff willy-nilly because I need it under cover or my family members needed a spot for storage.  But since I want to explore the tech of the 1800’s  make stuff and learn how to make stuff work for a modern prepper. I need work space and not have my life clogged up with crap and geegaws that take up space for no purpose.


Great buys in Oct. at True Value Hardware

October 3, 2012

This sale starts on the 17th of Oct. and the big item that caught my eye is the mid-size Mr. Heater for $80.00.  I don’t think this version comes with a fan like the Big Buddy heater. I tested my older Mr. Buddy (Pawn shop $48.00) during winter this  year in Jan. or Feb..  It heated my house from about 50 degrees F to 65 in about 45 min. on the high setting then turned to low and the small 1 pound tank lasted about 6 hours, it was 18 degrees F. outside during the test.  I had the heater in the back room and measured the temp in the living room so it heated about 800 square ft of my home when I added a little fan to push the heat out.  This version can attach to a larger propane tank with an optional hose you can use a larger tank instead of just the 1 pound tanks.  So if you are looking for a backup/emergency heat source that does not require a big investment and is relatively safe using common sense.  I’d recommend the Mr. Buddy heater!

True value also has some great buys on a carbon monoxide and smoke detector that are AC /DC powered.  Plastic film for insulating window and all kinds of stuff for insulating your house.  Plus a good buy on 5 quarts of oil for $13.00 that has a $5.00 rebate.  I hate rebates but I want to have at least 2.5 gallons of oil on hand for the generators and the car if I need to change the oil myself.  Generators that are run for several hours need basic maintenance and have a low oil shutoff  to prevent damage so make sure you are ready for that in a power outage!

They have some other great bargains from a 16 Foot ladder for $80.00 to screens that are great if for preventing leaves blocking your gutters for $1.79 for a 6 inch by 20 foot strip.  Life is hard enough as it is,  if you can get a few things in place that save you hours of work and physical energy I’d say spend a little money if you can and not worry about it of for a few years.

I can swing the Mr. Buddy heater.  I want another backup and this will give me 2 and I have a big Kerosene heater if I need it but I prefer to use my Kerosene for lighting in a power outage.  Get some small mirrors to place behind lamps and candles to reflect out more light. I’m getting some new tire for the mini-van so I can’t go crazy and get all I want but I can add a few things to my little budget.

I don’t know where you are at in your preps. Hopefully you have all of the basics and you are adding things that make life good as you can while getting more as you can afford it. I was lucky on this ad because it has many of the things I need and I can afford to get them and make use of them. You can have the greatest stove in the world but if you have no fuel it’s nothing but an expensive paperweight.

This ad runs through the 28th of October so you have a little time to adjust your budget and the 5 quarts oil price is good until the 31st.

Shopping the case lot sale at Pauls

October 2, 2012

What a great shopping day! I had my little walker stacked with cases of canned veggies and milk. Got a 25 pound bag of sugar and some nice pork roasts for Mom.  I had quite a bit of cash leftover because I forgot the case of tuna. This it is great because Paul’s is doing this for another week and added some other great buys that I can get on Wed.

Just getting the veggies added another 45 pounds total to my pantry.  I have a warm and fuzzy feeling that I made my veggie quota for a year of storage and some extra. As you know it’s a happy day when I can say I have one year of an item.

Next will be working on canned fruits, four cases  should be what I need at min. I have several fruit trees and a grape arbor to provide fruits in season.

Adding  eggs, a great buy on Ibuprofen and few cans of stew for an easy to cook meal. I know this is a short post for me but I was just so thrilled by all that I accomplished. I just had to share.

Lessons learned, shopping and more learning to be self reliant.

October 1, 2012

The all grain beer will take a little time to see  if it worked but so far so good as the yeast seems to be working.  If you use this method and decide to dry the leftover grains do it outside as it gives off an odor. Not really unpleasant but very noticeable and pungent.

I got a little bit of shopping done at Cash & Carry. Almost 17 pounds of  Tri-tip sirloin for $2.88 a pound and 5 pounds of shredded mild cheddar for about $11.00. At Big Lot’s they had 24 of the double rolls of TP for $8.00. These rolls will last more than a week for a female household.  Not super  soft but good strength and I think quite comfortable to use. If you figure a min. of 1 roll per person per week you need about 200 rolls for 1 year for a family of 4. So if you go with the Big Lot’s TP about $70.00 should give you enough TP for a year.  Heck a lot of people spend that much for Internet,  Sat/cable TV for a month or Dinner and a movie.

Female stuff coming up so guys avert your eyes on the next paragraph!

Bought some extra feminine napkins at Big Lots that are supposed to be similar to Always napkins. I  shall test and see how they actually work for me. I’m entering menopause so my body is all over the place and it’s hard to judge what I will need monthly. But pads can be great multi-taskers for bandages or barter items.  I can’t see me using a Diva cup or buying similar product as my body is going through “the change”.  If you are female 25-30 getting a Diva cup you can use it might be a great investment for your preps.  I also have fabric and safety pins  along with some stuff that is long term with washing,  if  TP or napkins can’t be bought long term. Plan for the worst when buying and you will never be disappointed.

It seems my lawn mower needs a bit of carburetor work. I have a little Tecumseh I bought at Fred Meyer’s over 9 years ago so I can’t really complain as it has been a great little mower and ran like a champ. But it needs a bit of repair or at least a good cleaning of the carb.  I’ll take a swing at repairing/cleaning the carburetor  myself  and if I screw up I can take it to shop. Worse thing happens and  I have to buy a new mower. Nine years with minimal upkeep and I bought the mower for $179.00. I don’t think I can say I did not get my money’s worth.  The timing kind of sucks , stuff happens and I can’t say I’m really surprised other than it has run so good over the last 9 years. I need to get more tools that are beyond your basics of a socket, screwdriver and wrench set.

I really want to get is a small little riding lawn mower/tractor. But that will cost over $1200.00 but it would make my life easier for mowing and upkeep of the yard. That will take a bit of saving and will have to be put off to 2013.  Oh don’t worry about me.  I could sell off a bit of silver to get the tractor if  it was a critical need, but it’s not and I won’t sell my silver for a want to have and not a need to have. Besides I have a great opportunity to learn about fixing a small engine carburetor with no downside. If I fix it, or spend less than a $100.00 at a repair shop great !  If  that doesn’t work I’ll need to adjust.