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Saturday, April 30, 2011

Audio Podcast: Episode-643- Modern Financial Survival

Modified Podcast Logo with My Headphones Photo...Image by Colleen AF Venable via Flickr

Original Article

Financial survival is something that we often hear main stream pay lip service to.   There are countless main stream experts with the formula for a happy retirement and profitable investing on the news and on day time talk shows all the time.  Each claims to have the code cracked yet they all pretty much [...]


A Little Head Lice?

Original Article

I was talking to my Oklahoma friend today and was told that their entire family had somehow contracted a case of head lice.  It seems to be going around their school and their sixth grade daughter brought it home for the family. 

Head lice can be found on the human scalp: on the head, eyebrows, and eyelashes.  They feed on human blood several times a day.   Head lice move my crawling.  They don’t hop or fly.  They are often spread by contacting someone’s hat, coat, comb, brush, or towel that is used by someone affected by the insect.

Head lice have three forms: the egg (or nit), the nymph, and the adult.  The CDC website has a good photo of the actual size of these three forms.  The egg is laid on the hair shaft near the scalp.  The nits hatch in about 8 days.  It takes about a week and a half for the nymph to reach maturity.  They can do so only on a diet of human blood.  The adult must also feed on blood.  They only live about a month as adults but lay about six eggs each day.  If the lice falls off the persons head (or is on a brush, pillow, etc.) it will only live for about two days unless there is another head that it comes in contact with.

Imagine you just went to the doctor’s office, or the bank, or a restaurant.  You sit down on their nice comfortable chair and sink yourself in.  Your head rests against the nice cushioned chair.  Finally you get to relax a bit while you wait.  But what if the person before you had head lice?  Or a person from the prior day?  What if the kids at school hang their coats up on hooks and they all get piled on top of each other? 

It’s no big deal.  Perhaps it will be just one little louse.  But what if that one was a female, just reaching adulthood?  She could lay six eggs a day for a month.  They won’t even start hatching and you’d have no idea you were infected with them until you had 75 or 80 on you.  Even then, you may itch for a second or two but you’ll just sluff it off.  In her month long life of laying eggs she will lay around 180 eggs.  If all 180 hatch and half are female, then in a couple of weeks 90 more lice will start laying eggs.  In one month, and before you really realize what’s happening you can have over 16,000 lice sucking the blood from your scalp!  If you don’t get them taken care of in another month you will have almost three million disgusting creatures on you.  Now, I’ve never heard of anyone having three million lice.  You’d probably die of anemia by then! 

How do you make sure you get rid of them in your house?  You don’t need to fumigate the house.  The lice aren’t going to live more than a couple days without sucking blood so if you just stay off the fabric sofa and chair, change and wash the sheets on your bed each day for a few days, wash all clothes that you’ve been wearing for the last couple days and vacuum your house you should be good.  Have the wash water greater than 130 degrees.  The lice don’t just walk around, they usually cling to hair that fell off your head and they just had the misfortune to be clinging to that particular piece.  Although lice and nits don’t like cold temperatures, you’d have to have something in the freezer for a couple of days for it to kill them. 

There are over the counter and prescription medications.  There are also home remedies available.  I’ll go over a few:
  1. Pyrethrins.  (Rid) These use the pyrethroid extract from chrysanthemum flowers.  Pyrethrins are safe and effective when used as directed but only kill the live lice.  You have to do a second treatment to kill newly hatched eggs.  If you are allergic to chrysanthemum or ragweed this is not the remedy for you.
  2. Permethrin. (Nix) This is a synthetic pyrethroid.  This too doesn’t kill the eggs so a second treatment is necessary.  This one is not approved for kids under two.
  3. Malathion lotion. (Ovide) Same malathion used to kill mosquitos and bugs in the yard.  You need a doctor’s prescription for this one.  It kills the live lice and some eggs so a second treatment will probably be necessary. 
  4. Benzyl alcohol lotion. (Ulesfia) It only kills live lice so a second treatment is necessary.  It’s approved for children over six months.  This needs a prescription.
  5. Lindane shampoo.  This needs a prescription but it’s not recommended since it can be toxic to the brain and other parts of the nervous system. 
  6. Lice Shield Shampoo and Leave In Spray. Lice Shield is formulated with a blend of citronella, eucalyptus and rosemary essential oils. Found at Walmart, Walgreens, etc.
  7. Listerine.  Soak your hair in Listerine.  Put on a plastic shower cap.  Wear this overnight. 
  8. Vinegar.  Wash your hair in vinegar.
  9. Oil or Mayonnaise.  Rub this into your hair.  After it’s been on your hair for two hours wash it out.    
  10. Iron. Use a flat iron daily.
  11. Spend hours combing the nits out of each strand of hair.  Use little metal lice combs.  Get several!    
Figure out how you are going to control this creature and prepare.  My friend had to drive 45 miles from home to find a store that carried Rid or Nix because of the local outbreak.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Guerrilla Hoarding

Original Article

I came across a article on my facebook page which was very interesting , discussing food storage & the history of things that went down in the USA in prior bad times check it out It Came from / I can see this happenning again very soon...........

The headlines scream, "Is this Baby in Danger Due to Hoarding Grandma?"; "The Horrors of Hoarding"; and "Animal 'Hoarding' Often Tied to Mental Illness." Meanwhile, a popular TV series entitled Hoarders focuses upon people whose "inability to part with their belongings is so out of control that they are on the verge of a personal crisis"; like drug addicts, they require an intervention. The vilification of hoarders as mentally ill, child-endangering animal abusers is in full swing.

What is this vile and dangerous thing called hoarding? The noun "hoard" is defined as "a store of money or valued objects, typically one that is secret or carefully guarded." The verb means to "save up as for future use." In common usage, anyone who stores more of a good than their neighbors do is often viewed as a "hoarder."

A common example of hoarding is stocking up on durable grocery items — such as canned goods, rice, or pasta — when they are on sale, so that your family has a year's supply of staples in the house. In rural areas, this is known as "keeping a good pantry."

Historically, governments have frowned upon hoarding. Especially in bad economic times, stigmatizing the hoarder for "causing" high prices or shortages because he buys more than his "share" serves a useful political purpose. They divert attention away from government policies, such as tariffs, that are the true cause of empty shelves and high prices. By stirring up resentment toward neighbors who own one more can of peas than you do, politicians avoid the full and just brunt of public anger.

In times of economic crisis, when governments flirt with rationing and price controls, the frown can turn into a scowl; laws against hoarding are then passed and goods are sometimes confiscated. The most notorious confiscation in America came in 1933 when President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed Executive Order 6102, ostensibly as a measure to combat the Great Depression. The order commanded the American people (with a few exceptions) to relinquish all but a still-permitted $100 worth of gold coins, bullion, and certificates to the Federal Reserve in exchange for a payment of $20.67 per troy ounce. Less than a year later, the government raised the trade rate to $35 per troy ounce. Thus, the government reaped huge profits at the expense of private investors and savers — a.k.a. hoarders of gold.

Hoarding, like any other human activity, can become obsessive. But in its common form, hoarding is nothing more than preparing for the future by laying aside a store of items you and your family may need. This is an especially valuable practice during economic instability, when necessary supplies can become scarce or suddenly double in price.

The Austrian investment counselor Jack Pugsley once explained another perspective on hoarding: it is an investment. A low-income family may not be able to afford precious metals, but they can afford to invest in dry or canned consumables. Last year, with some frequency, my grocery store sold a 900-gram package of pasta for 99¢. With wheat shortages, and with the American government diverting almost 30 percent of corn crops into producing ethanol, food products dependent on grain have skyrocketed. The same package of pasta now regularly costs $2.99. If a struggling family bought 60 packages of the 99¢ pasta for a future consumption of one package a week, then their hoarding would have knocked perhaps $100 off their grocery bill. By consistently buying more than they immediately need of bargain items, the family can build a solid pantry to sustain them through unemployment, inflation or scarcity.

Unfortunately, during economic crises, the government also acquires an interest in hoarding — specifically, in punishing the hoarder as unpatriotic. A historical example is the Food and Fuel Control Act, which became law in 1917, during World War I; the acts official name was "An Act to Provide Further for the National Security and Defense by Encouraging the Production, Conserving the Supply, and Controlling the Distribution of Food Products and Fuel." In short, the government became a food dictator, and anyone possessing more than a 30-day supply of food (which was considered reasonable by food administrator Herbert Hoover) could be arrested.

The May 30, 1918, New York Times carried the headline, "Navy Man Indicted for Food Hoarding." It reported on a man who had invested his wife's inheritance in a year's food for storage; and so they were held on a $3,000 bail each. The food was confiscated.

The navy man's fate is a cautionary tale in more than one way. The store of food for his family was discovered because a grocer and neighbors informed upon him. Thus, a sad corollary to the wisdom of hoarding food for your family is the need to do so with discretion. This is sad, because the natural impulse of people in a community is to assist those in need. Measures like the Food and Fuel Control Act mean that sharing food with a neighbor who has hungry children is no longer simply a gesture of compassion and generosity; such government acts make sharing into a danger to your safety and your own children's well-being.

There is still time to hoard the items upon which your family depends. Prices are rising, to be sure, but the full force of inflation and shortages is probably several months in the future. Hoard now; hoard quietly

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Episode 101 - Repacking for Food Storage, Part 1

Modified Podcast Logo with My Headphones Photo...Image by Colleen AF Venable via Flickr

Original Article

Up until recently, most of my food storage has been of the “pantry” storage type. Meaning, most of the foods that we eat on a regular basis bought from the grocery store. We have some long term storage foods in our storage plan, but recently, and for obvious reasons, I’ve started to increase these. I had some specific ideas on how I wanted to repack some of this food, but it didn’t go the way I had hoped.

Up to now, all of the long term food items that I had were packed in cans, most of them factory sealed. This time, I’ve decided to buy bulk food and repackage it myself in order to take advantage of lower costs and stretch my food budget. While I started my plan of increasing what I had, the first step was really to take an inventory of what I had. During this inventory, I opened a couple of cans and was surprised on what I found. Let’s just say that you should plan on storing more than you think you need.

Anyway, this is part one of the three part series on Repacking for Food Storage.


Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Simple Survival Tips - Treating Infected Wounds

Original Article

Survival conditions often require safe, effective, inexpensive, easy to use and non-toxic methods for the treatment of wounds and injuries that may become infected. A lack of resources or services to properly treat simple medical conditions could become a life-threatening situation to your survival. Quite often simple resources are overlooked when seeking a solution to problems that can affect your survival.

One of the simplest solutions to this problem is sugar. Sugar has been used to treat wounds for thousands of years by many different cultures. Sugar was used widely by early Egyptians to treat wounds and the infections that often occurred as a result. Sugar can be used to kill bacteria and germs in open and infected wounds almost as effectively as the best antibiotics available today.

Sugar will also help speed up the healing process of the damaged skin tissue and reduce any inflammation that may be present. This is in addition to its antimicrobial action which kills bacteria and germs. This is accomplished by the osmosis and capillary action of the sugar granules. Powdered forms of sugar will be somewhat less effective and will require more frequent treatment and changes of bandages to achieve similar results.

Simply clean the wound area thoroughly and sprinkle sugar over the cut or scrape until it is completely covered. This can be aided by using a cream (such as petroleum jelly) around the outside perimeter of the wound to keep the sugar granules in place. Then cover the wound with a clean bandage. Use gloves if possible or thoroughly clean your hands to keep conditions as sterile as possible when treating the cut, scrape or wound.

Most injuries will require the wound to be cleaned, re-treated with sugar granules and a clean bandage applied every 4 to 6 hours to obtain the maximum healing benefits. Make sure the wound is covered completely and evenly with sugar granules and covered with a clean, fresh dressing each time.

Caution: Sugar should never be applied to openly bleeding wounds as it may actually increase the blood flow and further complicate your condition.

Sugar can be used to sweeten your tea or coffee but it can also help you as a first aid treatment for infections in a survival situation.

Disclaimer: This information is provided for informative purposes only and should not be considered medical advice of any kind. Always seek qualified professional medical help when needed.

Staying above the water line!


Apartment Survival: Food

Original Article

Assuming that you have your water supply squared away, it is now time to think about food. Again, the absolute minimum recommended by authorities is three days worth of food, but given what we’ve seen in Japan, where it has taken ten days or more to reach some communities, my personal recommendation is to have at least three weeks of food and water on hand. If you can store more than that, then by all means do so.

There are as many schools of thought about what you should set aside as there are types of food. One option beloved by the camo crowd is the military field ration. Known as MREs in the US and IMPs in Canada, these are pre-packed rations intended for troops in the field. They tend to be somewhat bulky until field stripped, may not be considered tasty by all, and their storage life can be considerably compromised by high temperatures. The advantage is that they may be eaten cold or hot (some come with a chemical heater) and each ration is about 1200 calories, with a complete set of breakfast, lunch and dinner giving you roughly 3600 calories. They are pretty much nutritionally complete for the short term, although they can be deficient in some elements (Canadian IMPs do not have enough folic acid or calcium to meet requirements long term, for example).

Another option is commercial freeze dried hiking/camping food. These usually come in packages of two or four portions, and generally require significant amounts of water to make them palatable. Add to the fact that in my opinion that they are fairly bulky versus the calories they contain, plus their high cost per serving, they would not be my preferred option. In their favor is a long shelf life, and that they are widely available everywhere from camping supply stores to Walmart.

If you decide on a commercial product as part of your storage, consider something like Datrex emergency rations. They are small in size, high in calories, and reasonable in storage life (5 year). Remember that you are always trying to get the most calories for the smallest size (and price). You will need to do some research to see what is most appropriate for your situation.

Then there is the bucket brigade, those storing buckets of wheat or beans and other things in food grade buckets, complete with oxygen absorbers, mylar bags and/or CO2 filling. While this option can be cost effective (bulk buying) and great for long term storage (25 years is claimed for wheat stored properly), the sheer weight and bulk of these buckets may make it a difficult option for the apartment prepper with limited storage.

An easy way to start storing for emergencies is to store what you eat now. It’s easy enough to buy three instead of two cans of tomato sauce or an extra package of noodles the next time you go shopping, and if you stick with a weekly buying program you will build up an impressive amount of food very quickly. The downside of this is that you’ll need to create a rotation system to ensure older stock gets used and replaced, but this is relatively easy to do.

I believe that if you are trying to get some serious food in reserve as an apartment occupant, your initial focus should be on the conditions in your living space. If you are in an apartment that swelters in the summer, you will not want to store foods that have their storage life adversely affected. The second thing to look at is your storage space. It might be damp, prone to insects or rodents (I’m thinking storage lockers here), or have other conditions that must be reckoned with.

All of this should help you decide on what type of food you store, whether IMPs or cans of tuna, and what you store it in. Don’t be discouraged if your space is limited as there are likely spaces you haven’t thought of using, For example, simple things like plastic containers that slide under your bed will allow you to store an impressive amount of food and not compromise your living space. Dual purpose wherever you can. A blanket chest holding a single layer of cans of tuna under your spare bedding is now a blanket chest plus!

Storing food is only one aspect of preparing to sit it out in your apartment. If you have good sunlight exposure, there is no reason not to be growing herbs by your windows. If you have a balcony, you are better off than you imagine. Using square foot gardening techniques (look it up) and containers, you can raise an impressive amount of food for the space available to you. I have seen one arrangement that used a bleacher like structure of containers that maximized both sun exposure and storage. Remember that in certain situations, a balcony full of tomato plants might make you attractive to others, so caution must be exercised.

Again, getting access to the roof of your apartment is a must. While caution must be used in loading the roof with the weight of containers, soil, and plants, there is likely a lot of unused space getting a lot of sunshine up there. You might even be able to get access now, and get practiced at container gardening.

Other usable room might be available if there are abandoned apartments in the building. This might give you additional balconies to use, or you might even have your own greenhouse of sorts if there is enough light and warmth.

The grounds around your apartment building bear looking at as well. There may be space where a garden plot might be dug. Gardening may be difficult if the area is not protected from animal or human poachers. Still, it is worth looking at if you are going to be in your apartment through the growing season. If so, you need to be prepared preserve your harvest. There is little point to going through all the trouble if what you grew rots before you can eat it. Remember that canning/preserving, like gardening, are skills you need to learn now, before they are absolutely critical.

Another thing to check on is the possibility of there being edible landscaping on the building grounds or on local streets. In my on neighbourhood, there are Nanking cherries, crabapples, and lingon-berries on public property within a block of me. Others may also be seeking the same supply, so cooperation might be necessary if there are a number of you trying to harvest the same resource.

A better strategy might be to go after wild edibles. Depending on where you live, there will be a variety of ‘weeds’ that are edible and contribute necessary nutrients to the diet. There are things like purslane with its high iron content, or the Vitamin C content of wild rosehips, as well as things like burdock and cattails that can supply some starch to the diet. Proper identification is the key to safe consumption, as nearly seventy-five percent of all plants are toxic to humans to some extent and even some edibles (like acorns) need processing for safe eating. Again, it is a skill you need to acquire now, not after your judgment is clouded by hunger.

Finally, consider doing some guerilla gardening right now. This can take a variety of forms. One is to garden a little plot in an out of the way spot. It might be the space between two buildings, a vacant lot or similar spot but it will allow you to practice technique as well as seeing where you can garden undisturbed. This should be at some remove from your apartment to avoid leading folk right to your home. Another is by planting certain crops in out of the way areas. The plants are then ignored and left to fend for them selves. My favorite for this is Jerusalem artichoke, a very hardy plant that will self propagate and has an edible root that stores very well. I’ve also done this with different varieties of squash, but with less success. The final method is to try to spread wild edibles. My choice for this is burdock, which I’ve managed to establish in several ‘secret’ locations by harvesting seed and planting it.

It might not be five acres and self-sufficiency, but I believe you can bug in to your apartment without sentencing yourself to death by starvation. It takes work, forethought and lots of practice, but you can develop a storage and gardening program that will boost your survivability.

Next, apartments as shelter.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Mugging examples and what to do to avoid them

Original Article

My wife went to the gym yesterday and some acquaintances told her of muggings they have recently suffered.
These occurred during daytime, the first during the morning and the second one about 4 PM. Keep in mind that this is my neighborhood, what is considered “very good” in local terms since we have private security in most of the street corners. These incidents occur usually in the blocks that still don’t have security, when the guard left momentarily for whatever reason (bathroom for example) or it just occurs in spite of the guards, the mugging being pretty fast.
In the first case this woman was walking calmly in the sidewalk. As she passed by a young kid walking the opposite direction, this kid about 14 or so simply turned around hit her in the back of the head, sending her to the floor. She was dizzy and had a hard time getting up. she said she started chasing this kid that took her purse before she realized she had a hard time keeping her balance. “ I can barely stand, what the heck am I doing chasing this mugger?” She said to my wife.
In the second case, a couple, man and woman, walking on the same sidewalk but opposite direction, both young, well dressed, fake surprise as they get near the victim “Oh! How are you doing!? Its been so long since we last saw you!”. Before the women even has a chance to figure out if she knows them, they both close in and hug her. As the couple hugs the surprised woman, she feels an object pressed against her side as someone whispers in her ear “If you move I shoot you”. She stays put, her purse is taken away from her, and the couple walks away. To the eyes of people just a few yards away, the scene is just a woman that happened to come across a couple old friends.

What to do?

These are probably the hardest type of crime to avoid. If the criminal acts normal, dresses well, you simply don’t have any warning signs because its just a person like everybody else. He’s not a dirty junky or gang member, but Average Joe and Soccer mom walking around.
When streets are fairly deserted and someone approaches, what I do is no matter what, if it’s people coming close I accept the possibility of them being up to no good. I just don’t like having people walk on my back, the sounds of footsteps coming from the blind spot feels uncomfortable. What I do is slow around, move towards the street (don’t do it in the other direction or you corner yourself) so as to leave enough space for the person to pass while I turn towards him. Usually it makes people feel uncomfortable when you do so but I try pretending I’m looking at something else or crossing the street. I’m not talking of hostile body language or anything, just moving to a side to leave space, stopping and turning toward them. Most people will think its strange but just hurry pass you. If it’s a criminal he may just be surprised and look for someone less aware, or if he goes for it at least you have more space to either run or fight. In any case you’re not caught by surprise and that’s good.
If its someone walking towards me I move so as to leave as much space as the sidewalk allows, and keep an eye on the person as he walks by, just turning your head and torso a bit allows you to keep an eye on the person as he or she walks five or six yards pass you. Also keep in mind the sound of the footsteps. Those usually give you some information. If as you keep walking and turn your head back to the direction you’re going you hear a fast pace of footsteps then turn back in case their moving against you. These are all very natural, basic instinctive things but as rational creatures we’ve been trying for generations to shut down this basic instinct because its considered impolite. Survival instincts may not be very polite at times but they have their reasons.
A woman who’s husband works for the local municipal government told my wife that they are going to implement “safe corridors” from schools to train stations and other points of public transportation. Seems that kids and parents are being attacked when picking the kids from school so they will post military personal (gendarmeria) to create safe corridors.
The rest of the neighborhood? Better stick to the blocks that are guarded.
Take care folks,

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Friday, April 22, 2011

10 Suburban Safety Tips

Original Article

We are currently house sitting for the next few weeks, firmly ensconced in upper middle class suburbia land. Each morning I take a three mile walk around the neighborhood and there are a few things that bother me here, safety wise.
  1. I noticed that the same half dozen home owners open their garage doors in the early morning and leave them open all day. I don't see the occupants outside so I assume they are in their house. I hope they at least keep the door from the garage to the house locked but still, leaving a garage full of possessions open to the public, even in what is considered a very safe neighborhood, is asking for trouble. What's to stop someone from stealing the stuff in the garage or worse, going into the garage, closing the garage door, using the tools hanging on the wall in the garage to break into the house and robbing the place or worse?
  2. There are quite a few walkers and runners enjoying the safe, nearly car-free streets of the neighborhood. Unfortunately many are wearing their iPods and wouldn't hear a truck if it was bearing down on them. In the gym I like listening to my iPod when I work out, however outside, it is very important to be able to hear what is going on around you for your safety.
  3. It appears that this neighborhood is keeping more than a dozen service industries in business. Throughout the day you will see vehicles for yard guys, pool guys, housekeepers, bug guys, nannys, home maintenance/repair folks, etc. coming and going. With all of these people, it is hard to tell who belongs here and who doesn't and it would be quite easy for someone to put on a uniform of some sort and "blend in" for nefarious purposes.
  4. On a few occasions I have seen individual children walking by themselves and waiting by themselves at bus stops. It appears that most children are driven to school but I have some concern about kids waiting by themselves in the early morning, even though it is a safe neighborhood.
  5. Nearly every home has a home security system in place. I have no idea if they are used or not but I find many people with these systems who live in what are considered safe neighborhoods become lax at using them.
  6. It appears that many people who live here work in the city. With 9 to 5 jobs and long commute times, it is quite predictable, should someone want to plan a burglary, to note when people leave and when they come home, and plan accordingly. Being predictably unpredictable is a good thing.
  7. Some homes appear to be a beacon to thieves and others who could do the homeowners harm. There is a Mercedes in the driveway instead of kept in the garage. Window shades are often left open after dark so a potential burglar can easily look in and practically make a shopping list (56" big screen. Check. Two Apple MacBooks on the dining room table, Check.). Recycling left on the curb each week can provide more than enough information about the homeowners (one family appears to eat take out pizza daily, another has a box from a new Apple computer in the recycle bin). I'm a big fan of keeping things--from my possessions to my habits--private.
  8. Even though there are sidewalks, big beautiful homes, and friendly neighbors, there are always hazards that can threaten your safety if not your piece of mind. Loose dogs, cars backing up and not seeing you, new teenage drivers who think the quiet, straight roads would make a perfect place to practice for their future NASCAR careers, tots who get away from their harried parent/nanny and wander into the road, etc. In other words, even though you aren't on alert like you would be in the city, there are still many things you need to be aware of.
  9. Then there are the hidden safety risks such as teens at home when parents are working all day or gone for the weekend (drugs and teen pregnancy are well documented problems in the inner city but can be just as likely to happen in the suburbs) and houses left empty due to the recent spate of foreclosures (like many areas, this neighborhood has a handful of houses that now sit empty and unattended).
  10. Complacency may be the biggest threat to people's safety in this area. When an area is considered "safe", people automatically let their guard down which, maybe 90% of the time, isn't be a problem. It is the other 10% of the time, when the statistical aberration occurs, that something bad happens and people make the evening news saying something like "I never thought something like that would happen here."

No matter where you live, it is important to take safety precautions seriously, even if you live in a "good" part of town.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Audio Podcast: Episode-636- The Time to Store Food is Now

Modified Podcast Logo with My Headphones Photo...Image by Colleen AF Venable via Flickr

Original Article

Sure I always tell you that it is a good idea to store food but today I want to get you really serious about doing this both to mitigate threats and to enhance your life on an everyday basis. While I strive to keep the tone of TSP upbeat once in a while we must [...]


Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Guest Post: Firestorm Chapter 14a, by Christopher Young

Dora The Explora 

Flexing first her fingers, then her toes Dora let out a
soft groan and wondered yet again, if she had the strength
to make it to the safe haven offered by Chris so many
months ago. Still drowsy, her mind replayed the horrors
of the last few days. Dark men with turbans had come to the
diner. They spoke broken English, and had bad attitudes.
Ate big stacks of pancakes, no sausage or bacon. And they
scared the life out of her. Nothing she could identify, but
they were terrifying.

Dora had left the diner at midnight, when the diner closed.
Found that her car had two flat tires. Waitress made so
little money, there was never enough money to buy tires,
or maintain the car. And there was no one available to
help her. The phones were dead, and the other servers
lived only a couple houses away. She chatted with the
girls, and they suggested it was only a mile or two,
how about walk. Dora said yeah, she could probably do
that. One of the girls said "it would be just like
bugging out!". That tripped a memory. Bugging out.
Bug out bag.

Dora went back to the diner, and unlocked the front door.
Went to the closet with the coats, and found the knapsack
of stuff, where she had carelessly cast it aside. Chris
had given it to her for Christmas. Dora sadly remembered
how she had thought it such a stupid idea. Most customers
gave the waitress money, chocolates, or a couple beers for
Christmas. She read the 8 pages of instructions back at
Christmas time. Found them so absurd, and so paranoid. She
read them aloud to the other servers, "Oh this is great"
Dora exclaimed choking with laughter " Move at night and
sleep during the day" and "This guy is a real Rambo"
Laughter echoed off the walls. But, Chris and Dora were
having the last laugh, tonight.

Dora unzipped the backpack, and pulled out the crank up flash
light. She cranked it for several seconds, and then tried the
on button. It threw out enough light to walk safely. The long
walk home from the Diner took about an hour. As she rounded the
last curve, only to find the small farmhouse in ashes and her
beloved animals gone. The absolute panic when it sank in
that life would never be the same. She should have taken
Chris and his quiet insistence on the principles of living
a prepared life seriously. Should have had off site backups,
and everything else Chris had said.

Dora wasn't the only person having a hard time adjusting.
Jade and Madison had been fighting nearly full time, since
their parents had been killed. Martha was wise enough to know
it was just account of the stress. She knew they would calm
down after a day or two.

Just the opposite, Heather's crew had been first rate. The
kids knew each other from way back, and had been the best of
friends. Heather was getting worried. She hadn't heard from
Chris and Gomer, in a while. The phones had been dead.

Adjusting. Well, that's what Dora would have to do. She
sat down under a tree, and started to read the eight sheets
of printed material. Page two mentioned something called a
"space blanket" in case she got cold. After dark, New York
sure did get plenty cold. She pointed the flash light into
the bag again, and there was the space blanket. Opening the
package, it crinkled and wrinkled. Felt flimsy and junky.
But everything else Chris had said, had been true. She
wrapped the blanket around her shoulders and instantly
felt the warmth. Dora found an outdoor chair, behind the
house, and sat down to consider things. Sleep gently over
took her, and she slept the night.

With an exasperated sigh Dora scrambled out of the mylar
foil blanket, and stretched in the afternoon breeze.
The smouldering embers reminded her of what used to be
her home. She shook her head ruefully at the memory of
her less than enthusiastic response when Chris had
presented her with "Just a basic BOB" last Christmas.
Most regular customers gave their favorite waitress a
hefty tip for the holidays....

The big problem would be the inverted sleep schedule.
Dora realized she had to travel at night. With the new
daylight, she poked at the ashes of her house.
She found several items that she'd bought because they
looked so rustic. Out in the back yard was an old axe,
that looked neat. And a wood saw. Well, they would be
useful again.

Primitve pretty well described Sam's new farm. About the
time Dora was waking up from her sleep (no alarm clock
to wake her before she good and wanted to wake up). And
at that time Brenda was driving her carful of people to
the farm gates. Chris was right behind, in the Blazer.
Gomer was zoned out, brain sucked into the video game.

Dora carefully opened a box of water and shook in the
flavor powder, shook it up and took a sip as she read with
interest the eight pages of detailed instructions. She and
the other girls at the diner laughed over nearly a year
ago, "Thank you Chris, Thank you" she whispered as she
began to gather her few things into the now beloved "Just
a basic BOB". Unwrapping a piece of ER BAR Dora moved
to the edge of the pile of smouldering ashes, and looked
to see what she might save. Not much. She decided to head
back to the diner. See if anyone could help her fix the
car tires, and use the last of the gasoline to get to Chris's

But, that meant more walk. Dora walked about half an hour.
She went a couple feet into the woods and sat behind
a large tree muching as she carefully watched up and
down the asphalt two lane. Listening carefully as Chris
had written. Trying to be sure she was alone as she
rested, and prepared to continue her journey. Just a
bit farther, she thought to herself. Just got to make
it to Chris place, and I will be safe. Dora looked into
the BOB, and found a battery radio. Put the ear pieces
in, as she was out of sight.

What Dora had no way to know. Was that Chris was in Ohio at
this moment, listening to a truck radio. The radio announcer
out of Cleveland was more information this time. The Muslim
uprising is a coordinated global uprising after the fall of
Israel (during the multi-nation Arab terrorist and Iran
state attack) in a massive nuclear exchange-the Muslims
eventually declared victory. But Israel wipes out about
50-60 % percent of the Arab nations as well as
destroying Mecca and Medina; this final act ignites the
world Infatada. Indonesia is predominately Muslim and
other nations in North Africa and other African nations
are supplying Muslims. Dora was trying to get to an unoccupied

Make Your Own Gravity Fed Home Water Filtration System

Original Article

Note from Nick: Thanks to Cash for contributing this great article. I personally own the Royal Berkey system from Jeff “The Berkey Guy” at Directive 21 and think it is a great addition to any home from both a practical standpoint and aesthetic standpoint, however if you have been looking to make a quick little project and save some money this is a great way to make your own Berkey-Style water filter. Not to mention that home filtration is a basic prep I think everyone should have. If you end up getting the fitlers from Jeff over at Directive 21 please tell them that you are purchasing because of Save Our Skills and that would help to support the efforts of this website.

Thank you!
- Nick LaDieu

By Cash Olsen from KD5SSJ Solder Paste, Solder Tools and Solder Kits
I just made a water filtration system similar to the commercial units, cost about $100.
There is nothing real difficult, drills and hole saw. I have seen the details of a similar system, elsewhere. The major difference in my unit is that I used a Gamma lid in the top bucket for easy access to the filter elements and clean out of any silt and debris. The top bucket to bottom lid is carefully sealed with silicon caulk to make sure that no unfiltered water can dribble down the outside of the top bucket when being filled. The bottom bucket has a replacement spigot purchased for other water containers.
I purchased 4 sterasyl ceramic filter and installed two in this filter and will save two for future replacement. The filters are the same as used in the commercial units. Cost was $35 dollars each. So my total cost comes in right about $100. All the specifications of my bucket would also be the same as a commercial unit because the critical components are the same.
This was what my 5 gallon filter looks like.

This is the first bucket with the Gamma lid mounting ring attached. This should be done first because it must be driven on with a rubber mallet or hammer with wood to protect the ring from marring. This requires about 6 -7 sharp raps of the mallet around the ring with the lid removed.

This is the bucket with the Gamma lid in place. This should be removed for further assembly.
The next step is to mount a normal lid to the bottom of the bucket. This is rather critical. First apply a bead of silicon bathtub caulking around the inside recess of the lid so that when the bucket is set into it it will seal the bucket to the lid. Then apply another bead of silicon bathtub caulking around the bottom of the bucket just above the lid. This is important because you don’t want any contaminated water which might run down the side of the top bucket to be able to get into the lower bucket, that’s why it needs a very good water tight seal. Allow the silicon caulk to dry at least overnight, the instructions say that it is shower ready in 3 hours but this only means that the surface is skimmed over.

I measured 3″ from the center of the lid to the and marked two places, one on either side of the center. Use as small drill bit < 1/8″ (0.125″) and drill two pilot holes at each of the marked places. Drill as straight and perpendicular to the lid, as possible, through the lid and into the bottom of the bucket. Using the 1 1/2″ (1.50″) hole saw, picture 100_0117.JPG, enlarge the the whole in the bucket lid in both places. Using a 1/2″ (0.500″) drill bit drill two holes through the bottom of the bucket. The plastic lid and bucket are very easy to drill but be careful not to enlarge the 1/2″ hole size because this will only make it more difficult to seal the filter candle to the bucket in the next step.

From the top of the bucket mount the Sterasyl filters in the bucket. The rubber seal goes on the bottom of the filter and to the bottom of the bucket. Thread the wing nut onto the threads of the filter from the other side of the lid as shown in picture 100_0106 and tighten it good by hand. I used rubber gloves while installing the filter candles so as to avoid oils and other contaminants on the ceramic surface. There is a significant gap between the bottom of the top bucket and the lid, this is why it’s necessary to get a good seal and also the enlarged hole to give access to the wing nut.

shows the filter candles mounted in the top bucket. Picture 100_0112.JPG is a closer view of one candle mounted in the top bucket.

shows the bottom bucket with the drain cock, I have not yet mounted it at the time of this picture. Drill an appropriate hole for the grommet and mount it very near the bottom of the second (lower) bucket.

Shows the finished 5 gallon filter completed stack. I removed the locking ring and I have not yet determined if I want to seat the lid on the second bucket. I have found it to be very handy to be able to unstack the system and carry each bucket by it’s bail handle.
I purchased the buckets and lids (including Gamma lid) from and I purchased the 4 x Doulton Super Sterasyl Ceramic Filter Candle 10″ @ $35.00 10 Long Mount W9121709 total including shipping was $141.99 from . I have a spare set of ceramic filters for replacement. I’m sure that there are other sources for all of the components.
Note from Nick: I talked with Cash and he agreed that Super Sterasyl Ceramic filters from Directive 21 was a better deal (saving about $10)
Follow the instructions with your filters candles for the initial use and restarting after prolonged lack of use.
Remove the Gamma lid to fill the top bucket and replace it loosely while the filtration is taking place. At the rate of 1 liter per hour (gravity feed) for each filter you should expect 5 gallons (18.9 liters) to take about 9 1/2 to 10 hours, or 10 gallons per day (two 5 gallon runs in 24 hours).
If you have any questions or suggestions, please leave a comment below.

Food Storage Hunt: Food Storage Made Easy

Original Article

Julie from Food Storage Made Easy is here today to share her food storage space.

Here are some tips that I have found have made my food storage more
organized, useful, and rotated. I find building and using your food
storage to be an ever changing thing, and I keep adapting as I learn
more. I have a food storage area in an unfinished part of my basement
(I know we're lucky to have basements). I also have a little cupboard
space upstairs I use for day to day cooking.

MY FOOD STORAGE AREA: I call this my food storage
area, because it's just against a wall in my basement. In my "dream"
home, I'll have a whole dedicated room, with all sorts of super cool
shelves and stuff, but for now this is like heaven compared to my
condo before. I have three areas along the wall. One is for long term
foods, the shelves are for three month supply, and I have an area for
water. Ok- ok, I have a fourth area - it's called a big fat pile of
non-food items, and appliances that are waiting for a new shelf area
I also keep some water and my 72 hour kits upstairs in case we had to
evacuate, or my whole basement got smooshed in a disaster. Oh and this
reminds me, I need to put up a blanket against that window to block
light from getting onto my long term food. I just moved everything
around and before this wasn't an issue. Light makes food go bad

storage room downstairs I try to keep like foods together on shelves.
That way I can quickly get stuff assessed and know where everything is
easily. I like to keep fats together, sugars together, condiments,
and all sorts of other logical (to me) groupings.

the ingredients I need for making bread on one shelf in one of my
cupboards. That way when it's bread making day, I just pull all the
things off that one shelf and I'm ready to go. Having to dig, and push
through other ingredients is something I have always hated about
baking, so this way I'm ready to go right away.

cans in my upstairs pantry. How is this Food Storage? Well you see by
keeping very, very few of my three month supply types of foods
upstairs, I am FORCED to go downstairs to get food out of my food
storage and use it. When I go grocery shopping, I come STRAIGHT home
and put my food in the basement. Then when I need food, I have to go
down there (send one of my cute little kids) to get it. I know it
sounds annoying, but if I don't do it this way, I'd end up using
everything I just barely bought first, and my food storage in the
basement would just collect dust.

encourage myself to use my long term food storage such as grains and
legumes is I keep smaller containers of them upstairs. I know this
contradicts my previous tip a little - but it's different- trust me. I
save containers from nuts I get at Costco and use them to store the
smaller quantities of my long term foods. This makes making pancakes,
or muffins and all that kind of stuff with whole grains a lot easier.
I also use my legumes a lot more in soups and chili's.

conveniently on a work table right next to the food storage is a pad
of paper for me to write down things I take out of my food storage so
I can replace them next time I'm shopping, or next time there is a
sale. My dear husband knows if he takes something off a shelf he BEST
be writing it down on that paper - or else ;)

HEY WAIT! How did this get in here. Ok fine- when I
go grocery shopping I DON'T immediately put the food in the basement.
I put it on the stairs DOWN to the basement and deal with it later.

For anyone feeling OVERWHELMED right now- here's a
look at what my food storage area looked like 3 years ago. THIS was my
before and after. Through a lot of time, dedication, and sacrifice (no
Disney trips for us) I have been able to build it up to a little less
sad than it was.

Thanks Julie! What an inspiration. With sacrifice and hard work, you can have a great food storage just like hers. Be sure to check out Food Storage Made Easy for more great tips and ideas.