June 22, 2014
I have been enjoying the yard and garden a lot this year. There are many reasons but overall the work I do outside does not seem like a chore but is a lot of fun. One of the most enjoyable things is to just sit on the patio after doing all that work. Today I had to do some cleaning in the house and while it needed to be done all I could think about is sitting outside.
I did get to do a little bit of work on the front yard mowing and getting the lawn watered. I dug out a soaker hose from last year and tried watering from the normal irrigation water thinking the soaker hose would do a bit better under pressure compared to using the rain barrels. Even under pressure the soaker hose did not spray out water it just did a faster soak compared to the barrels. This is good news, I can lay down the soaker hose on the edible front yard garden beds and then cover it with some straw mulch. That should water the front beds using the rain barrel water exclusivly! It won’t quite be a drip irrigation system but I hope to see similar results.
I moved back indoors and got a wheat beer started. I think the German style wheat beer is my favorite for summer. I’m getting better at cooling the wort. A good trick is add ice on the outside of the pot once you get below 100 degree F. using a wort chiller. At a higher temp the ice bath is sort of wasted effort for me. My Amber lager is still bubbling away and I hope within the next few days to get it bottled. The outdoor kitchen is now a high priority job. The new exhaust fan helped a lot to keep the kitchen temp down but brewing beer will increase the house temp. noticibly. Electric costs doing a brew job is darn noticible if done during a week day. I’m no fan of ” smart meters” but I have to say being able to call up my electric useage has helped me reduce my costs.
The big indoor cleanup was changing out all the curtains, blankets and linens and washing them up. I checked the weather forecast and it was clear as a bell until Thursday and then today the clouds started rolling in along with a forecast of rain. I would not mind the rain but the cloud cover prevents it cooling off at night. I may have to run the A/C unit tonight and I was hoping to put it off using the A/C a bit longer. Of course my mindset has changed radically about what is an acceptable monthly electric bill. I do seem to handle the summer heat much better this year.
Quite a lot got done this weekend. I’m working smarter not harder but I think the new vitamins are helping a lot with recovery. I have a good tired, rather than being completely wiped out and down for a day or two for recovery.
January 26, 2014
Heading into the the last 24 hours of the test. Dad thinks the plumber should get everything done by 3:00 PM on Monday. The RV is parked out front so the plumbers have plenty of room to dig the trench for the pipe. Using the collapsible rain barrels need to be re- thought as the have bonded with the pallet I had them sitting on. I will empty the barrels once it warms up and add 2 to the RV for water collection in case of bug out and store the other in the shop that I’ll use for any last minute rain storm in addition to my rigid rain barrels. It looks like the Ice house idea is a bit of bust for this year but I’ll keep thinking how I might be able to save some ice in the future.
Tried one of the little siphon hoses with the water barrels and while it worked, be prepared to age filling a 5 gallon camp jug. I’m adding the small siphon to my BOB it should be fine filling a water bottle. I tried out some food grade plastic tubing that is a 1/2 in in diameter and it quickly filled a camp jug or stock pot. If you are using 15 gallon barrels or larger I would get some practice siphoning the water and use a large diameter siphon hose to make the water transfer go quickly. Watching a bucket fill with water has to rank close to watching paint dry!
I’ve been taking a bath in the morning and while it use a lot of water I have put it to good use flushing the toilet. The water test shines a light on just how much good water is wasted to flush a toilet. I have seen some systems that diverts the drain water from a sink to flush and it’s something to think about doing that would save both water and money. I didn’t go into ration mode doing this test as I wanted to see how much water I would use if I kept my day to day life as normal as possible and I figure I’m using an average of 15 gallons per day. It seems like a lot of water when you compare it the standard of a gallon a day that most preppers/ FEMA recommend but 15 gallons is a small amount when you consider the average American uses 100-300 gallons a day. Since I will be able to refill my water barrels and use the sewage system so the high usage isn’t a problem. If I had to go without the sewage system or I was unsure about replacing the water I would go to my 1-3 gallon a day plan.
Overall this water test has gone much better than the first one I tried to do. The wood stove has been a huge energy saver for heating water. The two igloo jugs have worked out well as a backup hot water storage tank and last but not least using the 15 gallon water barrels and five gallon camp jugs have worked for moving water around efficiently. I am looking forward to Monday and life getting back to normal because things easier on this test is not the same thing as easy.
With the West Virginia chemical spill and California declaring a water emergency having a solid water plan and making it work is critical. Hopefully you can get some ideas that work for you. Learn from what went right and what went wrong from my little test. I feel much more confident on handling any short term water emergency and I can keep my life close to normal.
September 9, 2012
I have few items I really want to get this month especially the “Wheat cooking starter kit” from Emergency Essentials for $56.00 counting shipping. That’s the usual cost for just the grinder, for me the grinder will be a muscle powered back up. I have a few energy backups for electric grinders via a generator and solar power. That should take care of all the grain needs for the short term, though I’m still hoping to find a nice grinder on sale or second hand. I got an idea for getting some of those collapsible Rain barrels they have on Amazon. I want to set up the 3 rain barrels I have that are heavy duty and then daisy chain a few of the collapsible barrels to be moved between the sunny side of the house to the shady side depending on the season. If I did the math correctly, my roof could provide up to 2000-3000 gallons of water per year on average if I have a way to store it. This water would have to be filtered and treated before drinking but I’d do that for any water I got from an open source. I have two different types of powder sanitizer, one is acid based and one is chlorine based. I should be able to sanitize about 50,000 gallons total for drinking and food prep. I think that should be enough for my needs and have a little left over for barter or trade. LOL
I need to call the utility companies and have them mark all pipes and stuff on my property. There is a very neat Humanure pit that is supposed to be good for about 25-30 people that is about 8 foot by 8 foot and 8 foot deep that has been tested by Peace Corps/UN organizations, a couple of those per block of single family homes would work great if the city sanitation system went down for a week or more. With a little prior planning you can keep folks healthy using low tech alternatives. The PTBs want all control so they can be seen as the provider of all things good of civilization and if you find out you can get by without them they lose power over you! No I don’t want to use a poo bucket or an outhouse but I want to know I can and make it safe for myself and my neighbors. Bugs, vermin and microbes never respect property lines!
Next is fuel I’ll be getting another small(20 pound) propane tank for cooking and heating. Mom got some cool kerosene lanterns and together we have several backups for heating and cooking for the knucklehead kids. I will be getting my fuel cans rotated and refilled. I’m saving up to get some tires in Oct. and some extra parts on hand for my gas engine stuff. That’s whats stopping me from going to the Spokane prepper’s fair and visiting Miss Violet at the Traditional skills blog site. Sure it would be fun, but needs come first before vacations and there is always next year!
Buying up plenty of toilet paper I got a little low of having only 40 rolls on hand waiting for sales. I like the Big Lots 12 double rolls for $5.00 but Walgreen’s has a sale on Angel soft tp at $4.00 for 12 rolls that I want to try out. Yes 40 + rolls for me means it’s time to shop for more as I’m to low
Oh sure I’m stocking up for and “Economic Collapse” of some sort, deflationary or hyper inflation but life goes on. The whole point of prepping is to have a buffer for hard times no matter what happens, you and your “tribe” can ride it out if not comfort at least with minimal discomfort. I’m thinking it will be hyper inflation rather than a deflation, but unless wages start getting inflationary as well hyper inflation can’t take off and you are looking at the stagflation of the late 70’s.
July 11, 2012
This will be a 15 gallon blue barrel and I’m getting it from the Beer Lady for $25.00. Close to the same water barrel at emergency essentials that costs $47.00 but with no shipping costs. This is a compromise on being able to move a good amount of water fairly easily with my little dolly and I can put it in my RV to fill up for an extended stay out and about. I have six 5 gallon camp jugs for around the house, my big Igloo drink cooler for my modified hot water tank and my big 60 gallon barrels I got at D&B our local farm store as well as the rain barrels.
I feel this gives me a little more flexibility in the water storage area since no one can tell what will happen in the future. Ever since the water test I have wanted to get about 500 gallons total water stored, split between drinking water and the rain barrels. I can fit all the drinking water on a normal size pallet (3 big barrels and several camp jugs) These 15 gallon barrels have a slightly larger footprint than a 5 gallon camp jug though taller, about hip high to me (I’m 5′”6″) so you could store them in a closet fairly easily by taking some boxes or shoes off the floor and put those on the barrel. These barrels save you a ton of floor/storage space compared to the soda bottle method.
Of course I have a several food safe buckets that I’ll use to collect additional rain water. I do need to get some additional bungie cords for attaching a tarp to the fence to direct more water into the buckets. Bungie cords will make for a quicker setup and take down compared to tying the tarps off with rope. It is amazing the amount of water you can collect during a rain if you just get enough surface area working for you. One inch of rain falling on a 1000 square foot roof could theoretically be 600 gallons if you can collect and store it.
I became very aware of how much water I used when I did all the work carrying, heating and disposing of water. I always thought I was good at conserving water but after my little test I’m just a piker at conservation. To this day I’m better at saving water because of that water test compared to all the Helpful hints I saw on the internet. Heck I saved and conserved water just to save doing any physical labor! Necessity is the mother of invention is a lie, it’s laziness!
I saw some little free standing misters for the patio that would be great for staying cool, if I can figure out fixing up a pump that runs on solar power. No battery needed as I’d only use the pump during the day. I read about a person in Texas that used a soaker hoses to help cool his roof. The evaporation process cooled his home almost 10 degrees. You would loose a bit of water to evaporation but what a great way to use any extra rain water you have stored as most of the water would run back into the barrels. Might help protect your home if you live in an area prone to wild fires!