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.

 


Two years blogging and bit over three years prepping.

September 22, 2012

Wow what a ride!  I know when I started out prepping I did a lot of stuff assbackwards.  Luckily I had time to learn and get things in the proper order.  Like any well programed American consumer, I was most concerned about how much I could buy as quickly as possible. But the most of big steps are about you becoming a prepper cost no money. But they do cost a lot of time and energy.

The mental, physical and spiritual aspects of prepping are really the most important things.  Not the stuff you buy or store Food, water, fuel are just things that can make the survival easier.  The top ten of Kellene’s preping can really help you to prioritize. With my handicap I walk about 4-5 miles 5 days a week. Yes I have to use a walker to do it but I know on fairly level terrain I can do at least 5 miles a day. How many people know they can do that?

I also know that physically moving all the water I used was exhausting. I thought my five day water test would be a walk in the park. I had to quit on day four because I just started to shut down physically and mentally.  Okay I know this will happen so how can I avoid that in the future.  Using some little battery powered water pumps, heat one 5 gallon batch of hot water rather than a smaller batches. Don’t be afraid to use a smaller pitcher to move water rather than trying to manhandle a five gallon jug.  Plan your water use the night before and get it in place before going to bed.  Your body can use that sleep time to recover. Works a lot better for me than moving and heating water as I go through the day.  Practice and see what works best for you. Trust me even doing a day or two without using tap water, washer and dishwasher is a very good learning experience.

Another big item for me was learning to bake bread. Oh sure it sounds easy but it takes a few bad loves to get a feel for making a good loaf of bread.  Growing a garden or a little kitchen herb garden. All of these things are simple. That does not mean they are easy!  You have to practice them so they become second nature.

I think my last big skill I learned was brewing beer. Yes if you can boil water you too can brew beer.  A few basic steps practiced and it becomes simple over time. It’s going to be really cool doing an all-grain because there is no waste and I can give my Mom the leftover grains for her chickens after I have done the basics of getting the sugars out of the grain.

Outside of suffering massive head trauma I will always have these 3 simple skills.  I only need a few tools and basic ingredients and I can always make those little things like a loaf of bread, a bottle of beer and a salad from the garden.  These things/skills become multi-taskers.  I have a pasta machine if I have  a few basics I have fresh noodles.

I think the best lesson I have learned is I will never stop learning since becoming a prepper! I think I found a way to knit using a loom type setup and not needles. I have to cheat a bit because my hands are not good for fine muscle control.  You can whine and piss and moan about how life is unfair or things are hard. Or you can make the best of what you got to work with and spit in the eye of fate and make the very best life you are capable of living!


Feeling darned pleased with how the shopping turned out

September 20, 2012

As you know I’m skipping silver this month to get some additional things like the grinder and the rototiller. I’m happy to say both should be here next week.  I know going electric power is not a perfect solution,  but it’s something that I can work at producing my on my own energy.  So that takes care of the big purchase for prepping this month.

I was out about for my grocery shopping and Albertson’s is doing one day sales and it was coffee on the 19th. Limit 1 big can but it was only $3.99 each. Thankfully I live really close to the store and I stopped by 3 different times for a can.  So that helped me to restock the coffee a lot faster than I had anticipated.  I got all of the pork chops wrapped up and in the freezer and the additional boxes of saran wrap in the pantry.

Talked it over with Mom and she’s going to focus on bulk dry goods and I’ll focus on meat. I got a five pound bag of lentils for her, but C&C was out of the split peas but they have some coming in so I’ll grab the peas when I gas up the Kia.  We each have our favorite stores to shop at based mostly on location so we try and pickup whatever is on sale for each other and then deliver when we go for a walk.

I got the big Binder clips for holding the bag for the all grain beer. It seems it’s important to keep the bag off the bottom of the kettle.  With the clips and an insert I think I have everything I need for the first batch.  Picked up the last of the 15 gallon water storage barrels from the beer lady.  These will be additional water for me or a for the “idiot children” to cover water needs for a week or two.  At 120 pounds per barrel  full, they are heavy but I know we could get them into a vehicle and take them to a house without to much trouble.  I was going to store them in my shop but it’s not insulated and I have no idea how long it would take for a 120 pound chunk of ice to thaw at room temp. So I’ll be storing it in the house and stacking a few item on top of them.  These barrels are a great size for stashing in a closet!

Added another full propane tank for my heater and stove so good for over a month of fuel for cooking and heating.  October I will focus on fuel as the PTBs are trying to hold down the cost on oil.  Yes,  I know it’s probably for the election but I don’t care why they do something  as long as it gives me a better price.

Bills are all paid, quite a bit of prepping hardware is either here at my little house or is on the way.  I got a much better price on all I bought along with some pleasant surprises and a little cash leftover to stuff in the piggy bank.  A new project to try out on all grain brewing, that’s saves money and the grain leftovers can be used productively as animal feed.  All in All a pretty good month!


Everything is based on Logitics

August 24, 2012

I’m ex military so I tend to use Military terminology so I’ll give you my definitions and how I think about prepping as it relates to the terminology.

Strategy: It’s your end goal, what you want to accomplish.  It might be as simple as having a 72 hour BOB or 10 years of food. But it’s still the primary goal you have set.

Tactics: Now this is how you will reach that goal you set in your strategy.  For a BOB it might be getting 10 packages of ramen noodles and instant oatmeal.

Logistics: is how you get and maintain the resources to meet both your tactics and your strategic goal.  For example if you decide that 10 packages of ramen noodles and oatmeal is your food plan for your BOB you must dedicate your resources to purchasing those items  also the water required to cook those meal, a stove and fuel to heat the water, an easy carry bag to contain the water, stove fuel and food as well as eating utensils and a way to safely clean your plate or dispose of the trash.  You have to consider the weight of the water and would a filter be a good choice, do you have a water source?  If the zombies smell food how will you protect it? It’s a dark cold rainy night and all you have is your BOB do you have a flashlight, rain gear, a shelter and dry clothes to change into? How will you light the fire and keep the fuel burning?

As you can see the logistical challenges expand as you try to meet just a simple goal of a 72 hour bag and it just preparing something simple like ramen noodles or instant oatmeal. The making of a simple meal from your BOB can give you great insight on what you will need for the long haul. All you need to is keep adding more days and more comforts and using your resourses wisely.

This is why great generals always study logistics and bad/arm chair generals study only tactics. Remember each goal can be broken down this way.

For instance My Water needs for my area.

  1. I live in High desert so summers will have very little rain water to harvest but we have months in both fall and the spring that I could store over 6000 gallons based on average rainfall via a 100sq. foot  roof and a big enough storage tank.  So  I need at least 1 gallon a day for one person for at least 3 months and that’s 90 gallons.  I know from my water test that after 3 days I need 3-5 gallons to stay clean, keep the house somewhat clean, wash clothes and water plants. So for 90 days in the dry season  I need 450 gallons of water to get me through the dry season at 5 gallons per day,  and that is only for 1 person.  I can’t afford a 6000 gallons storage tank nor do I think the city would be happy code wise. But I can easily get 4 or more rain barrels in the 50-60 gallon range and use that water for flushing, and sanitation needs after running it through a filter and boiling it I could use it for everything.  I keep over 260 gallons of water that is good for drinking. With the four rain barrels, three sixty gallon potable  water barrels, as well as smaller camp jugs, tarps and buckets I could stay home never venture out for water and I should be okay. So my logistics for water is great if I can stay home and protect my water supply. Even if city water is cut off.   Please look at your kids and or your spouse before you decide you don’t have room to store it and ask your self if really want to watch someone die of dehydration as it’s not pretty. Store it under the bed, get rid of some shoes and stuff and store it in a closet.  Put it in your garage as three sixty gallon barrels of water will fit on a simple 4 foot by four foot pallet with room to spare for an additional 3-4 camp jugs.
  2. You probably stored some dehydrated food, milk and other items so you need water to make that powdered milk good or any freeze dried meal. Add in some kool-aid, Tang or powder drink mix. A glass gallon jar, tea bags and you got sun tea. While you may not be able to go the store for Coke, Pepsi or soda. You can have coffee on hand to take care of any caffeine addiction symptoms.  If you are a coffee drinker get a “French Press” coffee maker. They are simple to use and don’t need to be monitored like a percolator on a stove.

I hope I have given you a different way of thinking about your goals and how to meet them.  I’ve only covered a bit about water and there is more as far as sanitation and cooking.  Tap water is super cheap as well as bleach. You can buy Brita water pitchers for about $15.00 and 3- 5 of the filters on sale that will let you have not only clean water when sanitized but good tasting water.  You have time to buy some powder drink mix that can break the monotony but give you good stuff like vitamin C from Tang or great herbal stuff from green tea to your herb garden.

You must have clean safe drinking water no mater what or you will be dead in 13 days,  either from dehydration 1-3 days or from nasty bugs like Dysentery, Typhus or diarrhea in 2 weeks as you lose fluids.  Have a few gallons of safe water to start for each person, have a filter and a way to boil/sanitize next and then have a way to collect more water.


Getting a new water jug next week.

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!


Time to test if you are prepared!

June 30, 2012

I have not had a lack of disasters to post about lately. As we wrap up the interesting  month of June  I have posted about the economic disaster of Greece/EU, the Bugout because of the Colorado fires and just to finish we have a massive wind storm smash the east along with 100+ temps and drought.  Riverrider is up to his ears in the latest bit of eastern weather fun and posted he’s okay and ready to handle what’s thrown at him.  But we already have several dead and injured because of the wind storms and power will be out for quites some time.  Start thinking about days if not weeks without power. There is another bank of storms coming so if you have not been hit yet, get prepared just in case.

Water/Sanitation: If  you have water fill everything that can hold water with cool water: Buckets, sinks, tubs, Big pots or pans.  Get those kiddy pools filled up, clean garbage cans (not for Drinking) can help to keep you cool.  Some of the water treatment and sewage plants are already down so you are going to need water for Sanitation needs. So time to get out the porta-potty/bucket, solar shower, dish tubs and laundry buckets ready to go if needed.  If you still have power get the house clean and start the laundry and dishwasher!

Food Preparations:  Cook outside to keep the house cool. Keep your fridge and freezer closed and if your stores are open, fill up on Ice and Dry ice. Get those camp coolers out and read the instructions if handling dry ice. Getting regular ice gives you extra water as it melts so no dumping the coolers of water!  Use paper plates and utensils to save water from doing dishes. Use dishpans for doing dishes and reuse the water for flushing or the rinse water for the lawn or garden and washing hands.

 Power outage:  Round up your flashlights and check the batteries. If you have LED lanterns use those instead of candles and open flame lamps to reduce adding heat and for safety.  Make sure your phone, laptop and stuff is fully charged. Test your generator and run it only 4-6 hours per day to conserve gas. That should be enough to keep the fridge and or freezer cold. Don’t overload the generator’s power specifications.  You can use your car as a generator as long as the battery is kept charged and you have gas. So if you have a power adapter charge your phone and or laptop via the car battery.

Stay Home: Leave only if there is an emergency. If the power is down forget about getting gas, money from the ATM or the stores.  Don’t get caught out with a bunch of hot, cranky folks who are not able to buy stuff they want/need. Wait at least a couple of days for the panic to calm down.  If you must leave for a shelter (NO WATER or FOOD)  listen to the news on where they are located.  It’s going to get very dark in cities without power so don’t freak out and don’t stand out. Only run your generator when you hear others are running. Keep your head and your feet cool, drink plenty of water, stay in the shade watch for heat injuries.  People survived for thousands of years without AC you can too!

What I’m doing for my test: I hooked a Box Fan to my little power pack got about 30 minutes, the power pak was partially discharged. I can get a 12volt DC fan to fan to run about 2 days on a full charge, so running the 120 volt  big  fans won’t work with the little power pak.

Tested my modified swamp cooler made with Burlap bag, a bucket of water and a fan and It’s okay if not great and could provide a little relief/comfort.  The burlap does wick enough to soak up some water for evaporation cooling.  I don’t have to worry to much about staying cool as my basement stays about 65-70 degrees.

Stay safe folks!


Big storm blew through last night

June 5, 2012

The storm came in last night about 7PM and we saw almost a 40 degree drop in temps between Monday and Tuesdays Highs. Some gusty winds up to 60-65 mph.  I know for some of you folks that’s just a breeze but did do a little destruction here.  Mostly tree limbs down in few spots but Our grid had some major outages and Twin Falls had power knocked out to its water plant. Power was restored but everything had to shut down water usage , Farm irrigation, Industry as well as homes. They placed a ban on water lawns till Thursday and asked folks to conserve water as much as possible!

I think this is a good example on how fragile our water systems are as well as how quickly even a short term interruption can have on our lives.  We have to have irrigation here in Southern Idaho because of the Hi-desert climate and without water the harvest is toast.  Please folks I can’t say this enough of getting your water needs taken care of before summer starts straining the system!

I did find some cool water pump/watering systems for rain barrels at Amazon.com. You can use your garden hose and sprayer just like normal as long as the water holds out.  If your gravity feed system isn’t providing enough pressure to get out to what you have to water, having one of these might be an answer.  Just search solar water pumps on Amazon and you will find the pumps.


Had a good day shopping and other stuff

April 19, 2012

Got that 5 gallon Igloo drink jug today.  So I’m set for my little modified “Hot water tanks” in case I lose access to city water. I already have a smaller 2 gallon Kitchen aid  jug,  but I think the Igloos are better insulated especially at the lid.  I will be able to have almost 10 gallons of warm to hot water through out the day if I pre-heat all my insulated jugs and thermoses the night before and fill them up.  That’s more than enough for my needs.

Cash & Carry was my main shopping spot today and the Igloo  jug was only $23.00.  Along with another 12 pounds of elbow macaroni and I splurged on some smoke Kielbasa that I like so much that’s kind of my little treat for myself.

Stopped by my favorite pawn shop for a couple more stripper clips with 20 rounds for Sasha and a little junk silver. I’m focusing on the junk silver as I think it may work out as a good barter item at least for the short term or for daily purposes compared to 1 oz. of silver.  I got some nice pre 64 dimes already but I’d like to grab a 50 count roll of pre 64’s this next check.

Did up some turkey stock from the Taxday party. The party went really well and the beers were a hit as well as the turkey! Met some good folks and hopefully we can start building more on our “Tribe” as well as help folks out and teach them to do for themselves. I think I have a better than average audience here in Idaho for folks wanting to be self-reliant, but it still a bit of a hard sell.  I think I over did just a bit as it was a long day though a lot of fun. I sometimes forget that I’ll get knocked down hard for overdoing.  I ran a little fever Monday and seemed to have caught a little 48 hour bug or I had a flare sometimes it’s hard to tell.  But I was a little sick the next 2 days, which made me feel bad as I wanted to help clean up.

I’ll freeze up the the stock , plus I need to get some onions dehydrated as well as freeze up a few pounds of bacon. So it looks like the rest of the week will be getting foods ready for long term storage and then onto planting the garden.  We also have a couple of big Bike events coming up. I want to do a setup on my “trike” for the Armageddon bike that will cover all the basics of prepping and making the bike a true BOV.

 


Finished up my Government Paperwork

April 6, 2012

Taxes are done and sent off.  I was able to use the 1040 EZ form which saved a little bit of money on my tax software so that was nice.  I don’t pay income tax and I don’t get or take the EIC that a lot of folks get this time of year.  I’m “below poverty level ” just barely as a single person but that’s okay I’m getting along and have all I really need with a little left over. On the Idaho state form they give out a standard credit of $80.00 for grocery sales tax but that’s it for me.

I have to rework the budget again for increases for my home owners insurance and my internet bill. Not a lot of change but it’s additional $20.00 every month along with water is going up or at least mine did. I wonder if it’s all those water barrels I filled?  LOL  Hopefully I’ll make up the costs on my irrigation bill this summer.  I think I’ll be able to swing both rain barrels this upcoming check and add one five gallon Igloo insulated water jug as my my modified hot water tank.  That will take me to 500 gallons total water on hand when I add the RV’s tank.  I’m feeling confident that I should be able to handle all my water needs for at least 6 months and I can  stay at home rather than venturing out among the barbarian hordes for water.

I got another 5 pack of Brita water filters. I even scrounged my change jar of a couple of dollars in quarters to get enough to pay for them.  Down on my saved cash for the house but I’m good on filters for over a year now. I’m saving a few of them as I saw a way to re use them on the internet by adding fresh activated charcoal.  I figure it’s worth the effort to see if I can use them.  Got a couple of  ideas kicking around in my brain of using stacked buckets some sand, activated charcoal and cheese cloth.  I already have everything on hand so It’s just needs to be put together and tested.

That should finish up all the water needs I have to take care of and the next mission will be getting wood and all of the parts for the wood stove.  That will be the big project for this year, but if I figured everything correctly the wood stove should pay for itself within 3 years and I’ll have a solid backup to my electric furnace, oven and water heater.

I am not sure how long we may have to prepare for a full blown collapse that I expect to happen. I hope that I’m totally off-base and everything will work out just fine.  I’d sure like some more time and want to be totally wrong on my prediction for the USA.  I’ll keep puttering along planning for the worst and hoping for the best and if I am wrong and everything recovers in the economy I’ll go to work on paying off my house and then I’ll be debt free.


Bouncing back and have a plan

March 9, 2012

I’m feeling a lot better after a full day of rest. Still not at my 100% but feeling good if a little weak.  I did find a cool little gadget at Sportsmanguide. com that is a propane portable shower and includes a battery powered pump.  It’s only $100.00 and I think that it could be a huge help to me.  Sometimes I have a hard time being disabled getting all the things done I want to do physically.  So you put your mind to work and sometimes your pocketbook to find a work around to what ever your issue is for the day.  I think that little pump could be a useful addition all around the house and if I need to get water from an open source I just toss in the pump and let fill my buckets and jugs.  I can go with rechargeable batteries and my Solar panels it should be sustainable.

I want to finish up my total water plan this month as well as pay off my rifle.  As of right now it looks as if Europe has managed to kick the can a little farther but we won’t know for sure until the week of the 19th-23rd as quite a lot will be happening that week as far as numbers and reports.  I’d stay cash as much as possible and we may see a sale in PM if you are into that sort of thing.  I’m hoping to pick up a little “junk silver” to add to my little collection at the end of the month.

Don’t get crazy or panic. As they say “just keep stacking” be it canned goods, water jugs, ammo or PMs.  I believe if the the economy collapses it would make the Great Depression look like a mild annoyance.  The PTBs are working very hard not to see that happen. Not to help the average Joe but simply to protect themselves.  You must protect your self so if you use a bank I’d first recommend get into a Credit union as the come under different rules than a bank.  Keep just enough in the bank/CU to cover you checks or electronic withdrawals for bills and take the rest out in cash to do your shopping.  If you are like me it’s a lot harder to break a $20.00 bill compared to swiping my Debit card and you may find you save money or get more bang for your buck.

The world will not end as far as I know though we may have to scale back to more of an 1800’s  idea of technology. Your preps will give you time to make the transition. We have gardens to plant and plenty to do.  People have survived worse and we will survive this as well.  Get that bike out, chat with your neighbors, enjoy life. Take joy in the little things you do through out the day. This too shall pass. Besides if I’m completely wrong on everything I will have a kick ass tailgating/camping  setup.