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Sunday, January 31, 2010

Tip of the Week…Winter Storms

With eleven states under a state of emergency today due to severe winter storms it is a good time to review some of the best winter survival tips. Please add your own tips here or in our yahoo group. For those of you not living in these states please send an email to anyone you know in the Midwest or on the east coast who are in the path or snow and ice storms today and through the weekend. There are already thousands without power and thousands more will be before the weekend is over. Now is a great time to send info to those who may have fought you on the idea of preparedness and to introduce them to some basic, easy to understand and easy to implement information. There are already 100,000 without power in Oklahoma alone.
Winter storm can be absolutely beautiful but they can be, and are often, deadly.
1. I have said it before but it is worth repeating, consider what you would be doing tomorrow that takes electricity and do it today. Get caught up on the laundry, for example. You may believe you have more than enough to make it through an  outage but power outages can be much longer than just a day or two, just because you have never experienced one does not mean they don’t happen, and happen often. If your family is like mine you know there are probably socks and other items that have missed the laundry basket. Find them and catch up today.
2. Think about lighting. Collect your flashlights and make sure you have batteries for them. Get out the glow sticks and place one in every room. I hang mine around the door knob where they are easy to find if the lights suddenly go out. Glow sticks are perfect for a night light and don’t run down the batteries in the flashlight while you are sleeping. Do not rely on candles. They can be very dangerous. Never light a candle and leave the room and never place a candle in a candle stick. Use a glass container to hold candles, consider those you normally use outside. If you have solar out door lighting let them get charged while you have sun and bring them in at night as another way to provide a night light and still preserve batteries.
3. Keep your home warm while you have heat. Now is the time to place towels or other fabric under doors or in window sills to keep out the cold air. When the power fails you will want the house nice and warm and you will want to be able to retain that heat as long as possible. Close doors to all rooms in your home and hang a sheet or blanket to block off hallways which steal the heat.
4. If you have a fireplace now is the time to make sure you have a supply of wood in a dry place which is easy to access and as close to the house as possible.
5. If you don’t have a gas stove you will need to prepare for warm food. Get out your camp stove and make sure you have fuel for it. Move the barbecue inside the garage. You will not want to use a barbecue inside the house but it can be used inside the garage IF you take the car out of the garage and keep the garage door open when it is in use and until it is completely cooled down. You may also want to place the barbecue just outside the garage, cook, and them move it back into the garage after it has cooled down. If you live in an apartment, or don’t have any of these items you can make a simple stove.
Take a number ten can or large coffee can, remove labels and wash it well. Using a large nail or a church key can opener poke holes in the side of the can, both 2 inches from the bottom and an inch from the top, be generous. You now have a stove. Light a candle, one contained in a metal or glass container, and invert the can and place over the candle. If the candle does not stay lit then you need more air holes. Use the sink, the stove top, or tile floor for this, never place this stove on a flammable surface. The top of the can is now your cooking surface. A small frying pan or pot will heat up, in fact the stove itself will get very hot so never let a child use this stove and always use a pot holder when moving or removing the pot.
Warm food and drinks are very important during a cold weather power outage.
6. Speaking of hot food. Place a meal in the crock pot today and every day during the storms. The heat will help to warm the room and if the power goes out you will be ready with your first hot meal.
7. If the power does out seal your windows by placing fabric over the window creating a pocket of air between the glass and the window molding. This air pocket will help keep cold air out and will help keep warm air warm as it will not be in contact with the glass which would quickly cool it. Get the mylar blankets out of your 72 hour kits and use these to place over windows. The beauty of mylar blankets is that they are easily held by duct tape and they let in the light while creating the air pocket and providing the protection.
8. Check on the elderly or handicapped in your family or circle of friends. Be sure they have a warm place to go and a way to get there. Remember when the electricity goes down so do portable phone so you may not be able to contact them later. As everyone turns to cell phone to communicate the lines will become overwhelmed.
9. Continuing that theme, get out the old phone now and plug it in. Phones which plug directly into the wall and not into a base station will work during a power outage.
10. Place a do not open sign on the door of the fridge and freezer when the power fails. Foods will remain frozen for up to four days if your freezer is full, only two days if it is not. Make a list before you open the door, get out items quickly, and close the door. Our grandkids still remember the four day power outage during an ice storm in North Carolina and eating chicken nuggets that mom heated in a frying pan, and ice cream for breakfast. They were three and five.
11. Stick it out together. If the power goes out choose one room and stay in that room together. Your body heat will help keep the room warmer than if you all headed to your own bedrooms to curl up under a quilt. Bring all those quilts and sleeping bags into one room and hang out together. At night set up your tent in that room or make a tent under a table, like we did when we were kids, and you will sleep warmer.
There is so much more but that is a start. Help me get the word out and please add your own tips.

Friday, January 29, 2010

Tip of the Week…Travel Smarts

View of apron from top floor observation room,...
Natural disasters can happen anywhere and at any time of the day or year. As we leave home we should always prepare for the possibility that mother nature may choose to interrupt our trip. There are a few very inexpensive things you can do to remain safe.
1. Always leave a complete itinerary with your out of area contact, then should there be a disaster they will know where to begin searching or they will be able to tell other concerned family members that you were not on that leg of your journey.
2. Always carry an emergency card with you. List a contact, doctor’s number, your complete name, and allergies you may have and any medications you are taking,with the dosage.
3. If you are not flying take a glow stick or two with you. If the power should fail during the night and you are in hotel you may become very confused as to how to exit. A glow stick will help to light the way. They are also perfect for signaling to rescuers if you are unable to use the hallway to escape because of fire or because it is blocked. A flashlight will work also but I like glow sticks better because the light is larger and easier to see than what a flashlight puts out. Remember a moving light will attract more attention so if you are signaling move your glow stick back and forth.
4. Pack food. Include a few high calorie energy bars in you suitcase whenever you travel. As we have seen in Haiti food was in short supply. These should be the bars that are rated for long term storage, not your grocery store granola bar. They won’t provide the calories you need during a time of stress and you will feel hunger again in a very short time.
5. When you go to bed keep a full bottle of water next to your bed where it is easy to grab as you exit. If you should be caught in an earthquake hold on to the water and if you should be trapped it will provide you with much needed hydration for a short time, improving your strength.
6. Sleep with a pair of shoes, not slippers or sandals next to your bed. If possible slide them slightly under the bed so debris won’t be caught by them. In most hotels this is impossible but at home …They will protect your feet as you escape. Even if the disaster is “only” a power outage you will not want to be looking for shoes and you definitely will not want to leave your room without them.
We spend so much time in our lives thinking about the trivial. How many hours have you spent planning a Super bowl party, or child’s birthday party, or Christmas dinner. You worry about who will be seated next grandma, what can I serve if Sally comes because she is allergic to everything, what do I do if John’s boss brings wine when we don’t drink? We make lists, shop and then shop again, rearrange the furniture to make room, and on and on. Why then is it so hard for us to think about, and plan for, an emergency that could greatly alter our lives or even cost us our life? Now is the time. Together we can do this and when the Big One comes we will be the resource others turn to for information and advice. We will be the ones who gets to smile and think, not say, I told you so!

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Executive Office of the President, NSRB, Civil...

Survival is about saving

To be prepared for any likely emergency, the first and foremost thing you’re going to need is cash.
Saving your cash and getting on solid financial ground is the foundation of being prepared. Yet, I see so-called survivalists worrying about how to SPEND any few dollars they’ve managed to save. They want to spend it on guns usually, to satisfy their movie-fueled fantasies. YOU want to have the cash to get away from them if necessary.
In most disaster scenarios, cash can make the difference between surviving and not surviving. Of course, there are always a few scenarios where cash won’t work–but in the majority and most likely ones…having enough is what your life might depend on.
Sheltering in place scenarios
This is a disaster where you need to hunker down in your home until the danger has passed or burnt itself out. These include quarantine in case of disease, societal breakdown, financial collapse, EMP or anything else that will collapse the power grids. If you have money and passports, you might have the option to travel out of the affected area–but not in case of quarantine, martial law with travel restrictions or EMP. These are usually the only scenarios traditional survivalists are prepared to survive. Having cash to stock up on food, security and supplies is important. Food is fairly cheap now as are other supplies. Guns are not, but I don’t see an arsenal would be needed unless your fantasy is to go out and find some black people to shoot like most of the traditional survivalists who imagine most blacks as crazed zombies out to get ‘em. It’s far better to keep a low profile and your stores hidden and unlikely along with a good relationship with your neighbors.
Evacuation scenarios
This is one so-called survivalists aren’t prepared to deal with, but frankly, it’s the most likely. The most they think they can do is to relocate to the boonies. But often the boonies will have to evacuate in case of disaster too. We see it happen all the time now. Some scenarios are wildfires, out of control fires, natural disasters such as hurricanes, earthquakes, super volcanoes, bombs, chemical agents, war, biological agents, martial law and confiscation, etc., etc. They’re not going to be able to carry their guns or survival crap with them if they need to flee.
You need to be prepared to get outta Dodge fast and you’re not going to be able to do it without cash.
You need cash no matter what happens
If you have cash, and DON’T live paycheck to paycheck, burdened with debt, your quality of life is simply better. You don’t have the stress. If you get laid off or fired it’s not a disaster. You can maintain until you get another job or another skill.
Why spend money on things you really don’t need? Vow to simplify your life.
Where can you save?
1) Stop spending on anything not vital to your life
2) Create a budget. Know within a few dollars how much money you need to maintain your lifestyle. Then figure out where you can cut if you need funds to save. The big things to look at are housing, transportation, entertainment, and the money spent on eating out and other unnecessary pastimes.
3) Decide what to do about credit and debt. How much is having credit worth to you? Buying on credit isn’t a good thing. In the event of a disaster, credit won’t be worth anything. However, credit is looked at for many things, including job decisions. This is a personal decision, nobody can make it for you.
You need to make a decision…do you want to put your excess money toward becoming debt free, a worthy goal…or do you want to put your money towards survival preparation, e.g. an emergency fund? If it’s the latter and you’re reeling under credit card debt, the time to declare bankruptcy is now. Get a fresh start and save your money from now on out. You might want to hedge your bets and put a percentage toward each goal.
3) Here is your mantra regardless of your decision…save and don’t spend, save and don’t spend, save and don’t spend.
How much money can you free up every month? The way things are going, if I were you, I’d make drastic cuts in my lifestyle and budget for as much as possible.
Assignment: Look over my blog posts labeled frugality and find a few frugality blogs to follow for ideas and advice. Make your budget with a generous amount alloted to emergency fund (the goal is at least 10K per person in your family) and debt repayment if you’re going that route.
Originally posted 2009-08-29 05:56:00.
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Monday, January 25, 2010

Tips for the Garden

Fire Place Ashes -- Use wood ashes from your fire place to control any soft bodied bug such as pear slugs and regular slugs. Sprinkle the powder where ever these creatures travel. The powder dehydrates the slugs and they die.

Low-fat milk For Aphids -- To control aphids apply nonfat dried milk, mixed according to the box, onto the leaves of your plants. The aphids get stuck in the milky residue and perish.

Slug Terminator -- Spray slugs with a mix of 1 part vinegar and 1 part water to terminate your slugs. Mix vinegar and water into a trigger sprayer and spray directly onto the slug. They will die almost immediately. Also spray the ground around your plants and any hidden slugs will come out of the sprayed soil and die.

Drunken Slug -- Set a shallow pan of beer (the darker the better) out into the garden where the slugs hang out. They cannot resist the taste of beer and crawl in and drown.

Slug trap -- Use a plastic pop bottle to catch slugs. Remove the lid, cut the pop bottle just below the curve of the neck all the way around. Invert the neck piece and staple it inside of the main piece. Throw in some slug bait or some beer and set in the garden where the slugs are doing the damage. The slugs can crawl in but don't crawl out.

Slug Stopper -- Sprinkle a ring of moth crystals around the base of your plants to keep the slugs from eating your plants. The slugs as well as cats, dogs and raccoons will stay away from these plants.

Weather Forecasting Crickets-- You can tell the outside temperature in Fahrenheit by counting the number of chirps made by a cricket in 14 seconds then add 40 to it.

Earwig Catcher -- Earwigs like dark, tight places to hide in during the day. Lay some corrugated cardboard out in the garden where you have had earwig damage. The earwigs will climb into the cardboard to hide during the day. Collect the cardboard and burn it.

Codling Moth Broth -- To catch codling moths, use a mixture of 2 parts vinegar and one part molasses. Place this mixture in a tin can and hang it in the apple tree. Clean out the moths and place more mix in the can when needed.

Fly Catcher -- To catch flies, place a piece of meat in a jar. Using a quart jar, place a small piece of meat and ½ inch of water into the jar. Punch a few holes big enough for the flies to crawl in, into the lid of the jar. Screw on the lid and set in a good fly location. When the fly crawls in, it can't get out. Clean out the jar when the smell gets to strong or it gets full of flies.

Yellow Sticky Traps -- To catch white flies, gnats and aphids use STP motor oil treatment or honey. Smear motor oil treatment or honey onto bright yellow plastic and place it amongst your plants with bugs. When the plastic gets full of bugs, wipe them off and reapply STP motor oil treatment or honey and set the trap out again.

How to Get the Skunk Smell off of Your Dog -- 1 quart 3% Hydrogen Peroxide, 1/4 cup baking soda, 2 teaspoons baby shampoo, Mix up solution. Thoroughly wet dog and shampoo in. Let sit for 5 minutes then rinse. Be sure not to get the solution in the dog’s eyes. The percentage of Hydrogen Peroxide is not strong enough to bleach the dog’s hair.

Protect Your Grapes from the Birds --, just before your grapes ripen when the birds start to get into them protect your crop with plastic grocery bags. Punch each bag full of air holes. Slip a bag around each bundle of grapes and staple to hold bag in place.

Spank Your Fruit Trees -- For more fruit production, take a rolled up newspaper and spank the day lights out of the trunk of your fruit trees. This action loosens the cambium layer and more sap will flow up to the tree producing more fruit. This is for more fruit the following year.

Mini Greenhouses -- When you first place your seedlings out you will want to protect them from too much wind, sun or frost. A gallon milk jug with the bottom cut out and the lid off is the perfect mini green house for setting out your plants. If it is going to frost, just put the lid on for the night. If the jug keeps blowing off, cut off the top of the handle. Next run a stick through the handle, this will secure the jug to the stick. Push the stick down into the ground to anchor it. The wind will not pick it up now.

Mini Shade House -- When first setting out seedling the can be wind burned or sunburned. To help them acclimate your plants to the great outdoors you can protect them with a mini shade house. Cut out a 18 inch by 24 inch piece of woven fence material, being sure to leave the extra wire that sticks out when you cut it. Bend it into the shape of an arch. Cut a piece of burlap 20 inches by 26 inches. Hook the burlap over the ends of the fence material. Set the whole unit over your transplanted seedlings. Leave this over them for a week to harden off your plants. This is great for working people because you never build up heat under this covering so you don't have to take it off during the day if the sun shines to hot.

Dress up Your Garden --Use old panty hose for tying up your plants. The panty hose are strong and will not cut into the tender stems. Another use for old panty hose is to place them over the heads of your cabbage. As your cabbage grows the panty hose will stretch.

Canned Corn -- To keep birds and squirrels from eating your corn, place aluminum pop or beer cans on your corn ear. Prepare the cans by cutting off the tab end. Next punch air holes all the way around the can. When you see birds or squirrels getting into your corn, slip a can over each ear until it is ripe.

Eggshell Planters --Eggshells make great plant starters. When you crack your egg, just take off the tip of one end. Rinse out the shell and poke a small drain hole into the bottom of the shell while it is still wet. Fill shell 3/4 full of potting soil and plant seeds. When it is time to plant out just crush the egg shell and plant into the ground. The egg shell adds lime to help feed the soil and plant.

Mildew on Your Peonies -- Sprinkle your peonies with cinnamon to stop molds and fungi. Tokyo researchers have found that fungi will not grow in the presence of cinnamon.

Clothespin for Roses -- To avoid being stuck when working with roses, use a spring type clothes pin to hold the stem instead of your fingers.

Baking Soda Spray -- Use baking soda to control fungal diseases, especially black spot on roses. Dissolve 1 t baking soda in 1 quart of water, add 1t liquid soap. Spray entire leaf surfaces of plants every 3 days for 21 days. Reapply after every rain.

No Room for a Garden? -- If you want to grow a tomato plant or a cucumber plant and you have no room. Get a bale of straw, poke some holes in it and pour compost into the holes. Plant your vegetables right into the bale. Water when needed. The decomposing bale will feed your vegetables all season.

Soak Your Feet or Feed Your Tomatoes -- Epsom salt is great for getting your tomato plants to produce large crops of tomatoes. It also helps to prevent blossom end rot. Use 1/4 cup around the base of each tomato plant every year. Sowing of Small Seeds

Season salt or spice shakers are great to use to sow small seeds. -- Place your tiny seeds in the shakers with some fine sand and shake away. The sand helps to evenly distribute your seeds so they don't end up in one pile.

Quick Sprout Carrots -- Soak your carrot seeds in a glass of warm water for 24 hours. Drain off water and place carrot seeds evenly on several wet paper towels. About ½ inches apart. Layer the paper towels in a glass baking dish. Place a sheet of plastic wrap between the layers. Cover the whole dish with plastic wrap. Place in a warm location for about a week. When you start to see little white sprout coming out of the end of the carrot seed it is time to plant them. Place the paper towel in the garden row. Cover lightly with soil and water lightly. Your carrots should be up in a few days.

Rid Your Sidewalks of Weeds and Grass -- To kill weeds and grass in unwanted places such as the cracks in your sidewalks, pour boiling salt water directly onto the weeds or grass for an instant kill.

Hammer Those Tough Weeds -- For those hard to pull weeds, hook them with the claw end of a hammer and pull.

Pickle Those Weeds -- To kill weeds in areas that you don't plan to plant anything you can use a solution of vinegar and salt. 1/4 cup vinegar, 2 t salt, 1 quart water, Spray weed until soaked. Heat of the day is best.

For more fun and exciting posts, come visit me at Prepare to Survive in California.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Hometown Seeds

Community gardens often have several horticult...
Spring is coming! :)
Get your seeds!

I've mentioned this company before. A very nice product at a reasonable price.

Now for a limited time they are offering our readers a discount on their next purchase.
By entering the coupon code thanks, 10% will be reduced from the total cost of any order.  The code will be good through February 28, 2010.

I highly recommend checking out their Survival seed pack. HomeTown Seeds

The Mom Tool: Leatherman Squirt P4 Review

In my front pocket every day (well, except when I'm wearing a dress) is a handy dandy little tool.  It looks like this:

It's a Leatherman Squirt P4--a little "fits in your pocket or hooks to your keychain" style leatherman (only 2 1/4 inches long total) with the whole gamut of useful tools like pliers, wirecutters, file, knife, screwdrivers, awl. Heavy duty Leatherman-quality tool in a compact size.  I've had mine for about 3 years and put it through a lot of abuse and it's still in great shape (except for the finish that got banged up when I tried to use it as a hammer once--just go get a hammer if you need one, this tool isn't a very good hammer).

Serious mom usefulness for cutting the dumb little ties that hold price tags on, filing the rough spot off your kids' coat zipper so they'll zip their coat up all the way, cutting boxes open and slicing apples in the car, unscrewing battery compartments, and untying the bouquet of balloons that the kids just asked you to tie together (no, I didn't just cut all the balloons with the knife like I wanted to do, I actually used the pliers to untie them).

The blade could stand to be a little bigger (it's only 1 1/2 inches long), but then it would be a regular leatherman and you'd have to carry it in a sheath on your belt which belt I do not wear or in your purse which is already heavy enough and if you're like me it gets forgotten at the house far too often. This little baby goes in your POCKET so it rarely isn't with me. And it comes in Gray, blue, red, or pink. I could seriously be a leatherman salesgirl just for this tool. :)

They have a scissor version (the Squirt S4) and an electrical version (the Squirt E4) with wire strippers, but I wouldn't give up my pliers for scissors especially when the pliers have the wirecutters which cut most things I need to cut and I'd rarely use wire strippers either. So you see, it is an amazingly useful little tool every mom needs. And I suppose it would still be useful if you're not a mom, I just call it my mom tool because it so often is used in my mom duties. Yep, you need one. ;)

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Five Tips for Frugal Meals

One) Practice the art of breadmaking if you don’t already and serve delicious homemade bread with all your meals (the recipe for no knead bread is super easy and takes a lot less yeast). It’s a trick restaurants use. If you fill up on cheaper bread, your family can eat less of the more expensive meat. Stretch your meat budget!
Two) First courses are healthy and frugal. Spending time as a family over a meal will strengthen your bond and more expensive entree portions can be a lot smaller. First courses could be bread and soup in the fall and winter or bread and salad or inexpensive finger vegetables such as carrots and celery with ranch dip in the summer. Bread can be served with butter or margarine, but experiment with making some of the Mediterranean bread dipping oils, usually based on healthy virgin olive oil and salt. Delicious!
Three) Plan your weeks meals out before hand and shop accordingly. Cook ahead of time for those busy, tired days.
Four) Eat more out of your pantry. Plan your menus accordingly to rotate your food storage.

I like to go to farmers markets a little bit before closing and dicker. I got two huge bunches of carrots for a quarter last week! There’s always good deals on the veggies left that farmers don’t want to take home. Check out the local food coops. Sometimes that can be a great deal. If you have a green thumb, consider container gardening or cultivating a small bed in your yard. You can save big money on produce in the summer. Do you have a fruit tree or trees? Learn to can that abundance of summer produce for the colder months like our grandmothers did. My grandmother’s relishes were prized through the county and we feasted the entire year on her jellies and jams
Bonus tip on beverages: Get back to drinking water instead of unhealthy sodas and drink mixes. Ice tea and coffee are fairly frugal, as is good old fashioned lemonade from reconstituted lemon juice. Stretch your gallon milk budget by saving a gallon container and stretching a whole milk gallon into two with mixing with half nonfat powered milk. They won’t be able to tell the difference!
Originally posted 2008-08-14 12:04:00.
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Tuesday, January 19, 2010

An insulin pump and infusion set. The infusion...
Emergency Preparedness for Those With Type-1 Diabetes

People with Type-1 Diabetes are very vulnerable to any type of disaster event. These diabetics are entirely dependant on insulin to live. They are also dependant on battery powered glucose meters/test strips to monitor blood sugar, and battery powered insulin pumps or a supply of syringes to self-medicate. Additionally - insulin supplies must be kept refrigerated or their life expectancy will decrease.

Those with type-1 diabetes are especially challenged when planning their preparations:
  • Supplies - you need to have stocked up enough testing equipment, insulin, and methods of administrating the insulin for however long you anticipate the "event" to take place.
  • Storage of supplies must be correct - all supplies must be kept dry, sanitary and insulin must be refrigerated/cooled.
  • Stress from a disaster situation can cause blood sugars to be erratic - meaning that blood sugars must be monitored closer and more often than during normal times.
First - preparing a "diabetes survival kit" involves having a cooler available to fill with ice/ice packs once the power goes out to store all insulin. Additionally - a 12V refrigerator must be available as a back up to the cooler just in case the power is out past the life of the ice. Modern insulin shelf life is drastically shortened if left at room temperature. 12V refrigerators can be purchased for around $80 and plug into a 12V plug in an automobile. This is critical.
Second - a small backpack or fanny pack filled with the rest of your supplies must be organized. This fanny pack contains syringes, insulin pump sites, insulin cartridges, batteries, alcohol pads, lancets, spare pump, at least 2 glucose meters, test strips, and at least 2 "stickers" for obtaining blood droplet. The total amount of supplies really depends on what you are preparing for.
Third - it is very important that a Glucagon Emergency Kit is available as well as candy or glucose tablets in case blood sugar drops dangerously low.  All members of your group need to know what to do incase blood sugar drops to extreme low numbers.
Anyone that has read the fantastic book “One Second After” clearly understands the importance of stockpiling and maintaining supplies for those type-1 diabetics in your group or family. It is rather simple – without insulin – they will die. Supplies must be stockpiling and backup systems for caring for those supplies must be put in place.
One problem that is confronted by most all "survivalist" diabetics involves getting extra supplies. Due to needing a prescription for insulin - you cannot simply buy extra. Talk to your doctor and ask them to write the prescriptions for a little higher than anticipated use so as to build a back up supply. Extra glucose meters can often be obtained for free from doctors - or purchased for very little money at Wal-Mart, pharmacies, and the internet. Test strips are very expensive. Again - ask your doctor to overwrite your prescription by 50 test strips per month to build your supply. Tell your doctor that you have to supply school as well at home possibly. Often test strips can be found on eBay at a great discount. Also “store brand" testers and test strips can be purchased on sale and on clearance.
Below is an example checklist for a typical person with Type-1 Diabetes considering a 3 month supply level:

2        Glucose Meters w/3 extra batteries
3    months Test Strips (blood tests per day x 90 days = test strip qty)
30   Insulin Insertion Sights
2        Sight Serters
1         Alcohol Pads/box
2        months of insulin used daily
3        month Syringes  (shots per day x 90 days = syringe strip qty)
2        Insulin Pumps – if used
3        months Insulin Cartridges – if used

Some diabetics take more than 1 type of insulin. No matter your regimen, it is important that you have extra supplies as well as a method to safely store them until things return to normal.

On a final note – it is important that diabetics take care of themselves before a disaster strikes as well as after. During a disaster is not the time to begin to experience complications with diabetes that was preventable with the correct behavior before the disaster struck. You also would not want to experience a low blood sugar in the midst of a fire fight either. Checking your blood sugar regularly, eating right, and effective insulin dosing is critical to short term and well as long term health.

Take care all -
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Monday, January 18, 2010

Calculate Solar and Wind Energy Available In Your Backyard

 Please note- I wanted to send a quick shout out to Covertress for first posting this information.

The National Renewable Energy Laboratory has a phenomenal online tool called, In my backyard. This tool will help you estimate how much energy you can produce from either solar or wind resources. The first thing you do is enter your address and a Google earth type map comes up showing a satellite image of your house. You then use the drawing tool to draw the solar arrays or wind mills on to the map and the tool will estimate energy production for your anticipated additions.

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Heating and Lighting in am Emergency Situation
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A human skull

Death and Dying in TEOTWAWKI, by Snowman

Most of the articles focus on the "how tos" of living in or preparing for survival situations. We all understand these needs. However, there has been much less discussion on preparedness for death and dying. I have worked in the medical profession since 1975. I have worked with people in various stages of death and dying in hospitals, hospices, operating rooms, clinics and accident sites. While most of us are doing as much as possible to prepare and stay alive in bad situations we know that our options may be greatly limited in future scenarios. Death and dying are two examples. Initially, I thought that this subject would be too abstract or "soft" in comparison other "how to" articles. However, after some consideration it seems that I was wrong.
Death, dying and bereavement make take very different forms in future scenarios. Our society generally requires a fairly orderly approach to these issues. Much of this process is sanitized in the form of body management and dying locations.. Aside from accidents, civilians usually die in hospitals, hospices, nursing homes or their own residences. We have witnessed many recent natural disasters that displaced thousands. Many of those died in strange or makeshift environments. Families and friends often find closure at a planned funeral. Some have the benefit of resolving bereavement issue with clergy or counselors. How do you suppose that will change in TEOTWAWKI? Many of those services will either be nonexistent or deferred to the most skilled family member. You might be that "go-to" person. The sanitized funerals of today will look very different tomorrow. Death and dying will become a more visible. This is was the case in Europe during the Great Plague in England in the 1600s.

This country has gone through years of pandemic planning in corporate and government sectors. I have been on some of the planning committees at those levels for pandemic preparedness. Government plans for the dead and dying in a full blown pandemic are very real and very ready. Large institutions (i.e. prisons) have purchased or at least budgeted for body bags and other burial supplies for on site mass graves. I never saw these details made public so I can only assume that smarter people didn't want to scare the general public. Although these are largely public health and institutional security issues the same should apply to personal preparedness.

Consider a medication issue: while many may be able to manage various acute medical problems it is unlikely that any will be able to manufacture medications required to sustain life for the long haul. Simply put, a lot of us won't last very long in a TEOTWAWKI or even a protracted natural disaster- regardless of preparedness because our we are living due to modern medications. How long would a fragile insulin dependent diabetic live without insulin? When we look at supply lines we find that much of our generic medications come from foreign nations. Major foreign producers already have major quality control issue with medication production. supply shortages will only worsen any product.

Because of restricted budgets many foreign countries already lack access to medications commonly found in America. Those countries may well be the ultimate survivors, in terms of medication need, as many have already developed and adapted in the absence of modern medicine and limited national budgets. A trip to China, India or any Eastern European nation will demonstrate the point. Could it be that modern medicine has actually placed us behind the curve by making us more dependent on technology? Let's consider practical alternatives.

For starters, take a quick self/family inventory. What will happen to you when your medications are gone? Which of your family members requires meds for diabetes, epilepsy, high blood pressure, cancer, chronic pain,mental illness or chronic infections? Who requires dialysis, oxygen or is bed ridden? Start by talking with your medical provider. Ask for help to prioritize your meds. This is commonly done in clinics because of cost concerns so the question should not seem odd. What would happen if you had to reduce your dose or ran out completely? Your provider should be able to give you planning options. Ask about alternatives for cheaper or more readily available medications. Pharmacists are also excellent resources for these questions. What are your options when the local pharmacy closes? Many now order drugs on line from out of country. Medication planning could help to avoid death in a scenario of limited duration, i.e. natural disaster. The same concerns apply to those dependent on medical devices and related equipment: ventilators, pumps, oxygen, braces and wheelchairs. Many avoid this aspect of preparedness planning as the details can be overwhelming. Despite our best efforts, many will die quickly or painfully because of the lack of medications and medical devices. There are options.

If your health is fine then you are good to go, right? Wrong! What about your spouse, child, friend or pet? The ultimate part of preparedness includes an understanding of death and dying. Although faith is obviously a cornerstone to this discussion it is not the entire story. It is not enough to simply put your loved one in a back room until God decides the time. I have been with many people of faith during their dying time. Responses are varied. Often, the relatives of the dying require just as much care.

Aside from your own discussions with your maker, there are some other practical considerations to a death and dying scenario.
  • Develop an understanding of how your religion or belief system values death and dying.
  • Help those in your community who struggle with health problems, aging, chronic disease or sudden loss. Shovel a neighbor's snow or mow a yard. This will frame your mind for understanding community effort as well as just doing the right thing.
  • Volunteer as a nursing home/hospice visitor. Learn to see dying up close. Make yourself available. Listen to the dying person.
  • Help your neighbor when they lose a member. Take a meal to a friend. Help your sick farm/ranch neighbor with their cattle or crops. Get used to exercising your "volunteer" muscle.
  • If your community is culturally diverse then you will need to at least be aware or cultural requirements for dying/death rituals.
  • At the risk of getting yourself committed, consider talking with your family members about death and dying for the purpose of stimulating their own planning. You have to be careful with this one as many professionals see this as a sign of suicidal intent. This discussion definitely takes planning! Some "loving" members will only be interested in getting your guns and gold after your demise so don't be too surprised. Some will consider you just plain crazy. You might just decide to skip this one.
  • Survival community members may have different ideas about cares for the dead and dying. Planning will help to minimize fights and will develop cohesiveness.
  • Reevaluate your bug out plans. Do you have a contingency plan for a relative who suddenly dies or cannot be transported because of injury or illness? Would you leave that person or pet to die alone? Do you need to add supplies to your BOB for that dying person?
  • Even if not eating or drinking, dying folks continue to require oral and other personal hygiene cares. Helping people to die with dignity often includes helping another with bathing, shaving, dressing, toiletry,, and cleaning up after they drool their food.
  • A bed ridden person requires attention to range of motion and turning. A dying person can develop unnecessary pain and bed sores if these cares are avoided.
  • Address acute and chronic pain as best as possible. Current management of cancer and other end of life pain includes appropriate uses of various medications. Future scenarios would limit access to what is now more readily available. Research your options.
  • Stock a bedpan/urinal. Be prepared to change bedding when needed. Learn to change bed linens with someone in the bed.
  • If at all possible, don't let loved ones die alone. Move beyond your personal fear of death.
  • If death is imminent (particularly in a field situation) ask if there are any special requests. It might be a prayer or last rites. Family members are often greatly comforted by simply knowing that a last request, especially a religious request, was granted. Don't be afraid to say a blessing or prayer over a dead body.
  • Communicate your desires (e.g. CPR) to family and friends. Does your aging grandmother expect you to perform CPR and break all of her ribs when she has the Big One? Again, be careful with this one per the preceding discussion least you get locked up. You can do this in a more acceptable manner if you refer to this as "advance directives". Have a written will. It might be as simple as dividing bullets and beans. It will help to avoid bickering will help to keep the family unit together.
  • Be prepared to deal with a dead body in the absence of a funeral home. Other articles have already addressed this. If possible, be sensitive to cultural codes of body management. Is your retreat space planned for this?
  • State laws require that most deaths be either investigated or reported to the appropriate agency. These especially include infants, accidents,and unexpected deaths (medically unattended).Just be aware of your legal obligations under current laws.
  • Include death and dying books in your library. Also include basic nursing texts that cover care of the dying. Medical texts often omit this chapter as most doctors aren't the ones who provide actual bedside care.
  • Research the role of humor in dying and chronic illness. This could be a very useful and established skill for your tool box.This skill is not overlooked in cancer and pain management centers.
  • Don't be afraid to tell family member, on a regular basis, that you love them. Remember 9-11? Any of those people would have given everything to have been able to have said just those words.
  • Read John Donne's Meditation XVII ("No man is an island"). Donne was an English poet and preacher in the 1600s. Death was then rampant and very visible because of the Great Plague. He describes, from a Christian perspective, man's mortality and how the death of one person affects an entire community.We may well find ourselves returning to that scenario.
  • Never assume that a dying person cannot hear. I have witnessed many folks bad mouthing their comatose relative only to see them walking the hospital hallway the following day- and the still dying person remembered every word!
  • Learn to be a good listener.
For some of us, our ultimate value will be appreciated by how we both lived and died. Dying members of any group will threaten to drain limited resources. However, their death, if handled properly, may ultimately strengthen their community.
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Example of Guideline Daily Amounts as presente...

The Importance of Calories in a Survival Situation, By Keith W.

In this modern world the term “calorie” is almost a bad word. They are things to be limited, controlled and shunned whenever possible. We use terms like “empty” and “wasted” in regards to the consumption of calories. Obesity, the result of the over-consumption of calories, is one of the biggest dangers that we face as Americans. If and when TEOTWAWKI occurs, our thinking needs to change immediately.
The average man doing minimal amounts of work needs about 2500 calories per day to maintain weight and full functionality. Doing moderate physical labor or survival activities can easily increase that number to 3000+. When the calorie intake drops below 1200 (or half of the optimal number of calories for an individual) the body goes into a survival mode in which physical and cognitive functions are impaired. Extreme lethargy, indecisiveness, confusion and excessive sleepiness are some of the symptoms and are not beneficial to dealing with the stresses encountered when our lives are in peril. In a survival situation, therefore, calories are crucial and the more, the better. That is right, fat is your friend; remember that fat has 9 calories per gram, whereas protein and carbohydrates only have 4 calories per gram. If you only have 2 pounds of food at your disposal, what do want the composition of that food to be? Keep this in mind when you are making your preparations.
Canned goods are a cheap and easy to acquire survival staple. They have a decent shelf life, and are usually safe to consume well past their “sell by” dates. Tests run by the FDA, the US Army and Washington State University have found that 40-100 year old canned goods that were still safe to eat barring damage to the container. All canned food is not equal in a survival situation however. Many folks will purchase a case or two of whatever is on sale and consider the number of cans when deciding on the duration of their preparedness. A can of green beans for example, has about 120 calories. It would take 10 cans per day just to meet the basic needs of an average man. Those calories do not include much in the way of protein or fat either- both of which are critical for health. On the other hand, a can of Vienna sausages has about 450 calories and has the requisite protein and fat. Very simply, when you are purchasing canned goods for preparedness, devote at least one-half of your purchases to high calorie choices with ample protein and fat. Include some starches like beans, corn and potatoes, since carbohydrates are easily metabolized and turned into the sugars that our brains require. Fruits and vegetables have fiber and some vitamins that cannot be obtained from other sources, so don’t ignore them.
Drying food is one of the oldest methods of preservation and is still a winner in terms of shelf life and durability. Dehydrated foods can have a shelf life of 20-30 years if properly stored. Visit Grandpappy's web site for more info. While ready packed #10 cans of dehydrated foods are great to have, they are somewhat expensive and hard to transport. On the other hand, 1# bags of rice and dried beans are cheap, filling, and readily-available and supply complete proteins when used together. If you have a vacuum sealing machine, a good “ration pack” can be made by placing 1# of dried beans, 1# of rice, 1/3 cup of dehydrated onions, and 2 tablespoons of a salt-based seasoning in separate bags and sealing them together. The contents of that pack can easily feed 4 people for a day.
In the event that you have meat that is ready to spoil due to a recent hunting success or a prolonged power outage, take a page from our ancestors and dry it. There are several methods for drying meat or anything else with a high moisture content. If you are in an arid environment, drying is dead easy. Cut the meat into ¼" slices, rub it with salt and spices (if desired), and either spread it out on a grating or hang it for 2-3 days in an area with decent air flow. Salt is a cheap and bulky ingredient, so it is ubiquitous in seasoning blends and sauces and aids in the preservation process. A cheap “bullet smoker” can be used as a dryer and smoker. Hang the strips of meat from the grates, using toothpicks or a similar item and build a very small fire in the bottom fire bowl. Ideally, the temperature should remain between 110 and 130 degrees Fahrenheit so the product is truly dried- not cooked. The addition of wood, corn cobs or nut shells will impart smoke, which aids in preservation as well as flavor. Window screens or furnace filters can be used in conjunction with rapidly flowing air to dry foods in a day or so. Get creative! Once the foods are thoroughly dried, store in a closed container with hard sides. Plastic bags hold moisture close to the food and will cause the food to partially hydrate and eventually rot. Dehydrated foods can be rehydrated in hot water and used in soups or stews. The dehydrating process reduces the weight of most meat and produce to about 6-10% of its regular weight, so a lot more food energy can be carried per pound.
An unlikely source of survival rations is your local convenience store. Or more likely, the Big Box store where the convenience store buys its products. Individually packaged snack foods are designed for portability and shelf life. Those preservatives that everyone loves to hate are put there to make the product last for months or years in the vending machine with little discernable loss of flavor. The products also have a very low water content (making them cheaper to ship) and very high energy density. The individual vacuum packs of trail mix, nuts, jerky or individual sausages (such as "Slim-Jim”) make for a readily packable addition to your BOB that provide a lot of calories with minimal weight and space. The individual packs of sports drink powders are also a worthwhile addition. Everyone knows that feeling of lightheadedness and nausea that hits when your blood sugar or electrolyte balance goes low. The electrolytes and sugar in those packets is a quick fix for that. These items may not be part of a perfectly balanced diet, but carrying 9,000 calories in a backpack takes some compromises.
In terms of fresh food, think outside your normal comfort zone. Hunting, fishing and foraging will be necessary to augment your food storage. Many people live in areas that are devoid of large animals like deer or elk. Killing, butchering, processing and preserving large animals is a big effort anyway. What good is 200 pounds of meat for a family of 4 when there is no refrigeration handy and they are on the move? Better is to supplant the above mentioned beans and rice with a couple of pigeons or a squirrel bagged along the way. As the Cajuns say “…anything that flies, walks, crawls or slithers is good for gumbo”. Crickets are good additions to the pot as well, just remove their legs at toast them. Some bugs are indeed poisonous or at least really unpleasant to eat- so do your homework while you still can. There are also plenty of plants that are just ready to be foraged for food. While it would be hard to find enough wild onions to live on them alone, they will greatly improve the taste of a pot of soup. Other plants will give you essential vitamins and ever-important fiber. Regularity is often under-appreciated until you don’t have it. There are hundreds of area-specific guides to edible plants that deserve study and a place in anyone’s library.
The human body has a fantastic calorie storage mechanism built in. Our early ancestors rarely knew when or where their next meal would appear. As such, our body has adapted to store food energy “on site” in fat stores. This mechanism allowed us to get through times of scarcity and replenish during times of plenty. In an extended period of scarcity, fat stores might be the deciding factor of who lives or dies. Every pound of fat contains roughly 4000 calories of energy. A person that is 20 pounds overweight therefore has about 80,000 calories of energy in reserve. While the body’s survival mechanisms do not readily lend themselves to following formulas and everyone’s mileage may vary; that means that an extra 20 pounds will buy you extra time to live.
This is not meant to try and convince anyone to switch to a diet of donuts and bacon. Obesity still carries a major penalty in many other aspects of survival both in our current reality and in a worst-case scenario. The ability to live without medications for hypertension, or cholesterol or diabetes is critical when the pharmacies all shut down. Too much fat will indeed kill you. The focus should be on general health and stamina, especially in terms of manual labor and walking. A person with a large muscle mass and very little fat effectively has a huge engine with a very small gas tank. The big engine is helpful, but the tank must always be refilled. A person with little muscle mass and a lot of fat has a small engine and a huge gas tank. It doesn’t matter how much fuel there is if the engine is too small to do the job. A person with decent muscle mass, good cardiovascular health and a little extra “cushion” is the best suited to prolonged survival. The ability to walk while carrying weight and the ability to do strenuous work are the most vital elements.
In summation, calories are an important and overlooked aspect in any survival plan. Imagine the tasks that will need to be done when the lights go out and stay out for an extended period of time. Nearly every task will involve significantly more energy use than it does in our current reality. In human terms, energy comes exclusively from the burning of food energy in the form of calories. The truly prepared will have enough calories available to do what needs to be done to survive and prosper.
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13 gigs of detailed info on how to live in a low-tech world

I stumbled across this little gem this morning. It's 13 gig of pamphlets, instructional manuals and how-to guides for the third world. A combination of resources by a whole alphabet soup of governments and NGOs like USAID and Peace Corps. You can find detailed, easy to read instructions for raising just about every kind of livestock and edible plant, how to build or make simple farming and building machines and how to build everything from houses to water rams to fish farms.

Your tax dollars probably paid for it, you might as well get some use out of it.

I even learned how to farm snails! Yay! ;)
A typical automotive alternator mounted in a s...

Alternator as an emergency welder

Here is a link on how to use a typical car or truck alternator as an emergency welder using nothing but scrap.

Hope you never need it, but the system does work as described and lays a nice weld.

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Wind generator plans link DIY

Here is a link to how to build a wind generator from junk. I have used this exact model for years and it's a real amp producer and can be almost completely made from second hand parts.

The big thing in this article is the blade design that can be made by a good woodworker. It's the best of any blade we have used and is very quite. Click on the blade design in the upper right to download the detailed file.

Steel wool

Fire From Steel Wool and a Battery

I searched but did not see a post about this. I am sure most here already know this, but for the benefit of those that do not, here you go.

  • Stretch out the Steel Wool. You want it to be about 6 inches long and a ½ inch wide.
  • Rub the battery on the steel wool. Hold the steel wool in one hand and the battery in the other. Any battery will do, but 9 volt batteries work best. Rub the side of the battery with the “contacts” on the wool. The wool will begin to glow and burn. Gently blow on it.

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BRAINERD, MN - JANUARY 25:  Jerry Baumberger c...

It's that time of year......

The holidays are over, hunting season is done and spring turkey season seems to be so far away. The land of 10,000 lakes has its annual change in its waterfront landscape, from crystal clear waters reflecting the clear blue skies to a white canvas dotted with huts, trailers, tents and the occasional igloo, all for the sole purpose of sitting around a 8" hole in the ice hoping for a sizable walleye will gobble up your ice jig and trip the tip-up. Something else happens at this time as well, cold water drownings.

Winter drownings happen most often as the ice first starts to thicken, and avid fishermen cannot wait, and at the beginning of ice-out, when said fish guys just cannot let the season die. Being neither of these gentlemen/ladies, as I like to fish in a pair of shorts w/o the need of a parka, I thought I would post some information on cold water safety.

Cold Water Dangers

* Cold water is any water below 70 degrees Fahrenheit.
* Cold water robs the body of heat 25-30 times faster than air.
* Safety experts estimate that half of all drowning victims die from the fatal effects of hypothermia, not from water in the lungs.

What is Hypothermia?[1]

Hypothermia is severe lowering of the body’s internal temperature. This occurs when the body loses more heat that it can produce, which as a result, prevents the heart and lungs from functioning properly. Hypothermia is caused when the body is exposed to cold, chilling winds or by getting wet. Hypothermia can happen on land or in water and progresses quickly.

Symptoms of Hypothermia:

* Absentmindedness or confusion
* Lack of coordination and weakness
* Difficulty speaking or slurred speech
* Uncontrollable shivering
* Semi-consciousness or unconsciousness

To Prevent Hypothermia:

* Wear layers of warm clothing.
* Protect your head and hands from the elements by wearing winter hats and gloves/mittens.
* Keep as dry as possible.
* Always wear a personal floatation device (PFD) when around cold water.
* Carry matches in a waterproof container.

How to Help Someone with Hypothermia:

* First call for medical help immediately!
* If the situation is safe for you to do so, remove the person from the cold water or cold air.
* Remove wet clothing.
* Keep the victim as dry as possible.
* Wrap the victim in blankets or in a sleeping bag.
* Build a fire to warm the victim.
* Give the victim warm fluids to drink (no alcohol or caffeinated drinks).
* Seat the victim in a warm shower or warm bath with the arms and legs of the victim out of the water. This allows the core of the body to warm first.

How thick is "safe" ice?

Ice on moving water in rivers, streams and brooks is never safe. The thickness of ice on ponds and lakes depends upon water currents or springs, depth and natural objects such as tree stumps or rocks. Daily changes in temperature cause the ice to expand and contract, which affects its strength. Because of these factors, no one can declare the ice to be absolutely “safe”.

Ice Safety Tips

* Never go onto the ice alone. A friend may be able to rescue you or go for help if you fall through the ice.
* Always keep your pets on a leash. If a pet falls through the ice do not attempt to rescue your pet, go for help.
* New ice is usually stronger than old ice. As the ice ages, the bond between the crystals decays, making it weaker, even if melting has not occurred.
* Beware of ice covered with snow. Snow can insulate ice and keep it strong, but can also insulate it to keep it from freezing. Snow can also hide cracks, weaken and open ice.
* Slush is a danger sign, indicating that ice is no longer freezing from the bottom and can be weak or deteriorating.
* Ice formed over flowing water (rivers or lakes containing a large number of springs) is generally 15% weaker.
* Ice seldom freezes or thaws at a uniform rate. It can be one foot thick in one spot and be only one inch thick 10 feet away.

What To Do If Someone Falls Through Ice

* Reach-Throw-Go. If a companion falls through the ice and you are unable to reach that person from shore, throw them something (rope, jumper cables, tree branch, etc.). If this does not work, go for help before you also become a victim. Get medical assistance for the victim immediately.
* If you fall in, try not to panic. Turn toward the direction you came from. Place your hands and arms on the unbroken surface, working forward by kicking your feet. Once out, remain lying on the ice (do not stand) and roll away from the hole. Crawl back to your tracks, keeping your weight distributed until you return to solid ice.

[1]American Red Cross’ Whale Tales Water Safety Education

As a little keeper, here is a download for you to keep in your ice houses and tackle boxes:

Ice Safety Tips

Have a safe ice fishing season!!!

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