Nice to have the plumbing fixed, planning for fall/winter

It was so nice to wassh clothes and dishes without running a hose to drain the washer, have all the drains working properly in the kitchen as well as working bathroom faucet.  I have become very appreciative of modern plumbing and all the ways it makes daily life cleaner and requires much less work.   Because I have gone a week without tap water and had to use work a rounds for sinks, toilets and drains. I have gained a lot of respect for basic plumbing that brings in safe water to drink along with getting rid of waste that can cause disease.  I suppose my biggest fear in any disaster or collapse is lack of clean drinking water and sewage treatment.  After the storm Sandy hit NY people crapped in non-working toilets and then in the hallways/common areas because they could not get rid of human waste. Sewage treatment plants backed up and all of the waste flowed into rivers and low ground surrounding the city. Waste going untreated is all to common following most disasters and creates a breeding ground for diseases,  so it is critical that you have your own waste disposal plan and a way to create more safe drinking water in addition to what you have stored.

Speaking for myself, I underestimated the physical energy required to move water using muscle power during my no tap water/ no water heater tests. A great test is do all your basic chores but use only your stored water rather than your tap water for a day.  Are you planning to use a “water bob” in the bathtub for your emergency water supply? Then use only that water for everything that requires water for a day. Washing dishes/ clothes, drinking/cooking, clean up,  watering your garden, pets and plants.  In winter heating water on a wood or gas stove inside is easy, in the summer you will also heat up the house. Having a way to heat water and cook outdoors will keep the house cooler and more comfortable.  Do you have big pots capable of heating 2-5  gallons of water at a time and are you strong enough to move that much water where you need it?  I recommend getting several of the big 5 gallon Igloo drink jugs for your hot water storage.  These jugs are great multi-taskers that can store cold water and keep it cold or hot water and keep it hot. Also these igloo coolers can store ice and food “in a pinch”.  Almost any insulated cooler with a spigot will work for store hot or cold water but I like the 5 gallon/20 quart type as 40 pounds is about my limit on lifting water.

Dealing with waste I’m planning on using my compost pile and burning “trash” via a “burn barrel”. I am buying “compostable” paper plates and cups to help deal with the waste issue.  I have plans for a small septic tank/field and outhouse for a long term “emergency” but they can’t be done now under city code. If the SHTF and it is a long term “emergency  I will implement stage 2 of my sanitation plan.

It is July and for me it is time to start thinking about getting ready for winter. Things like getting the wood stove cleaned and inspected and start saving up cash to pay for fire wood.  I have some scavenged materials on hand that need to be installed to make my wood storage area a bit drier.  This is a great time to start on your Xmas shopping and getting all the fixings you want for your holiday dinners.  I don’t know about you but I have never cared for the “Holiday rush” nor the full- contact shopping that seems to be a thing these days in the USA.  If you are wondering about a gift for a person you might try a a cool idea of telling that person you got them the perfect gift and have them guess what it is. That way you will have a couple of months to get them a gift they really want, rather than what you think they should want.  If they go a bit to expensive you can always shake your head, say I wish I could give you that gift and say you have a budget  of $…for the “perfect gift”.   Budget for Xmas gifts now in July and you will have lots of time to get the gift and the holiday season will be much less stressful.

Just so I can undo all the good I just mentioned about planning ahead, I want to remind you all about also living in the moment!  This is something I have to work on as I am often mentally somewhere 3-6 months in the future and I forget to enjoy life  in the “here and now”.  Planning ahead and setting goals is important but enjoying what you have and being grateful for the everyday things is also important!

8 Responses to Nice to have the plumbing fixed, planning for fall/winter

  1. Ann says:

    I plan to use a saw dust toilet in a shtf situation. I have several 5 gallon buckets of saw dust and an additional supply of kitty litter and heavy duty plastic bags to use for this. I bought a handicapped commode for $1 to use with the buckets. Cheaper than buying one of the seats made for buckets and much less tippy and more comfortable. I haven’t worked out disposal of the bags although I could dig a big hole in the back yard and bury the waste without the plastic bag and it would decompose.

    • Jamie says:

      Ann: My short term system is similar to yours but for long term we need a simple fix.

      Here are a couple of links that look doable, Above ground composting toilet

      A trench system : Trenching

      Trenches about 1 yard deep and 1 yard wide may be filled with nightsoil to within not less than 300 mm (12 inches)of the top. The trench is then backfilled with excavated soil, which should be well compacted to prevent the emergence of flies or the excreta being dug up by animals (Fig. 6.38). At the end of each day any exposed excreta must be covered with at least 200 mm (10 inches) of soil, well compacted. After backfilling, the trench should remain untouched for at least two years, after which it can be re-excavated for reuse and the contents used as fertilizer. The trenching site should be close to the collection area but away from residential areas. It should have deep and porous soil, be well above the water table, and not be subject to flooding.

      This page covers all kinds of waste removal and gives a lot of options to a person.

      If you go to the link You can find all kinds of good info from raising livestock to farming to starting your own community low tech vo-tech school for just about everything!

  2. Sarah says:

    Great advice. Love the reminder to live in the now.
    Miss you neighbor. Hope the new owners across the street are good to you and your mom.

    • Jamie says:

      Sarah, I saw your house was pending sale and I’m praying it will go through! Mom and I have your “apple shine” in the fridge but we are both a little afraid to try it out on a week day. LOL Perhaps this weekend we will “breech” the bottle as we will have plenty of recovery time.

  3. Sixbears says:

    People underestimate both how heavy water is and how much they use in a day. Nothing brings that home like a real world test.

    I’m a big fan of the 3.5 gallon water bricks. One in each hand is easier to carry than a single 5 gallon jug.

    • Jamie says:

      Six bears: I have not used the Water bricks as most of my stored water is in 15 or 60 gallon water barrels and I use 5 gallon camp jugs to transport for daily use. I’ll probably have to boil water to sanitise it I figured I might as well have the big Igloo jugs to store that “hot water” as long as possible so all that heat/energy does not go to waste!

      A couple of things I forgot to mention in the post was adding in backup hoses and hose repair kits along with smaller buckets and pitchers for moving smaller amounts of water. I picked up a heavy duty hose repair kit at the local harware store and a couple of light weight repair kits at the local dollar store. Add a bit of Super glue, duct tape and some hose clamps, you will have a good repair kit for keeping the water flowing.

      For moving smaller amounts of water, I like a 1/2 gallon pitcher for moving water from my big stock pots to the igloo jug or for filling up the wash tubs. The local dollar store has a nice 2.5 gallon size bucket that will work for water out of the rain barrels to water plants and stuff.

  4. I am not too worried about water. We have about 3 weeks of it put away. Also here in central LA it rains a whole lot, so rigging rain barrels would probably provide all the water we need and there is a fair bit of surface water.

    As to sanitation. That is probably a week point in our current situation. Still we have enough space to run slit trenches and chamber pots for a really long time. This plan needs some work.

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