18 Vintage Homesteading Tools to Search for at Garage Sales

Rich M.
By Rich M. November 29, 2018 07:46

18 Vintage Homesteading Tools to Search for at Garage Sales

I’ve discovered something that was rather surprising – that the ways we do things today aren’t necessarily the best ways to do them. As we look back in time we see that our ancestors had many ways of doing thing that have been lost to us today. While today’s methods meet today’s needs, they may not be the best ones around. There are many cases where the tools our ancestors used produced better results than what we manage today.

You can still find many of these tools, often at garage sales and flea markets. People look at them as novelties today, but if we ever had to return to a simpler way of life – such as after the destruction of our electric grid – those methods would be the only way that we could do many things. Therefore, it makes sense for us to prepare today, buying the tools and learning how to use them.

While there are still places where these tools can be bought new, they can also be found at garage sales and especially at estate sales. Often, the people who have them have no idea what it is that they have, so they are willing to let them go cheap. That gives you and I a chance to pick them up at a great price.

Kitchen Tools

Since we’re talking about homesteading, let’s start out with kitchen tools; there are a lot of them. An incredible amount of effort has gone into making the job of the homemaker easier, mostly because it is very profitable to do so. So the modern kitchen is filled with electronic appliances, many of which are highly specialized devices. But that doesn’t mean they are the best way to go.

Cast-iron Dutch Oven

Cooking outdoors on the grill is one of the great American pastimes, especially in warm weather. It’s a great time to get together with family and friends over some good food. Cooking outdoors makes it especially nice, because we don’t have to heat up our kitchens. Only. . . we still heat up our kitchens.Maybe the meat gets cooked outdoors, but we still cook a lot in the kitchen. Why not cook all the rest of that food over the fire as well? With a cast-iron Dutch oven that’s easy, as it won’t be damaged by the heat from the coals. You can even bake in one, heaping coals on the lid so that the baked goods are surrounded by heat.

Pressure Cooker

When I was young, before the time of microwave ovens, pressure cookers were still fairly commonplace. Cooking under pressure causes water to boil at a higher temperature, cooking food faster. While it is not as fast as a microwave, the food comes out tasting a whole lot better.

Food Mill

Anyone who is growing vegetables in their garden needs a food mill. This isn’t anything like a food processor, but rather more like a strainer with some emphasis on it. Purees, like puree of tomato, is pushed through the cone-shaped screen, providing an easy way of filtering out seeds, skins, stems and other solids. Not only does it work well, but it’s fast too.

Meat Grinder

18 Vintage Homesteading Tools to Search for at Garage Sales meat grinder

Whatever happened to the meat grinder? Once upon a time, you couldn’t have a kitchen without one. Not only did people make their own ground beef, but they used it to make sausage.

The meat would be ground, seasonings added, and the meat run back through the grinder to stuff it into the sausage casing.

Just about any type of sausage or lunchmeat can be made the same way. Salami, in all its variations, is essentially nothing more than a sausage that has been made this way, then left to cure. The salt and nitrates in the mixture are what cures the meat, preserving it.

Lever-arm Juicer

I’ve used many a juicer in my day and I don’t like any of them. At least, I didn’t until I brought a lever-arm juicer back from Mexico. Rather than using a motor or depending on your muscle power to squeeze the juice out over a ribbed cone, my lever-arm juicer is a squeezer, with the advantage of having leverage to squeeze out the juice from oranges and other citrus. Faster and easier than an electric juicer, it also gets more juice out of the orange.

French Press

If you go to a fancy coffee shop, and want a “fancy” cup of coffee that’s not espresso based, it’s probably going to be made in a French press. This is one of the easiest ways there is to make coffee, but few kitchens have one anymore.

The French Press is nothing more than a glass container with a plunger that has a screen on it. Coffee grounds and hot water are put into the press and allowed to sit for four minutes (I usually shave this considerably). Then the plunger is pressed down (hence the name), pushing all the coffee grinds to the bottom so the coffee can be poured off. Quick and easy, and even better coffee.


Long before anyone invented the food processor, there was the grater. Food items were pushed across a variety of different sorts of blades, set into a stainless steel plate. The better graters had four sides, with different types of blades on each side. Food was shredded as desired, depending on the blade used.

While modern food processors can do the same thing, most people just seem to use the chopping blades. Then they have to clean the whole thing up, which is much more work than cleaning a grater.

Apple Slicer & Corer

18 Vintage Homesteading Tools to Search for at Garage Sales apple slicerSlicing apples is a pain, one that we put up with regularly. Yet this problem was solved long ago by using an apple slicer and corer.

This simple device consists of a number of blades, mounted into a handle. All one needs to do is center it over an apple’s core and press down. Presto! Apple slices, with no core.

Manual Eggbeater

I don’t remember when the last time was that I saw someone use a manual eggbeater. Today we break out the electric mixer for just about anything, even if it is to just beat two eggs. To me, it’s much easier to break out a manual eggbeater and give it a spin. Not only does it do a great job, but it’s less cumbersome than getting out the electric one and putting the beaters in. If you put it in water right away, giving it a few revolutions, it just about cleans itself.

Meat Hammer

The meat hammer is something else that’s rarely seen in the modern kitchen. Instead, we use chemicals to tenderize our meat – chemicals that really aren’t all that good for us. It would be a whole lot healthier and not a whole lot harder to use a meat hammer to break down the meat’s natural fiber and tenderize it.

Related: 5 Lost Survival Lessons I Learned from the Amish

Workshop Tools

Since homesteading is about being self-sufficient, most especially in growing your own food, it only makes sense to look at tools which will help with building things and gardening. If we’re going to be self-sufficient we need to be able to make what we need, as much as possible, rather than running out to the store to buy it. That takes knowledge, skills and the right tools.

Blacksmith Forge & Anvil

Back before there were hardware stores everywhere, filled with factory-made tools and hardware, you couldn’t count on just hopping on your horse and running across town to buy what you wanted. Rather, you’d go to the blacksmith and order the hinges for your door, a pair of pliers, or andirons for your fireplace. He’d make them to your order, having them for you in just a few days.

I’ve seen blacksmiths at work; my dad was trained as one. It’s amazing what they can do with a forge and anvil. While the blacksmith was the expert, there’s a lot that people can do themselves if they have a forge and anvil. That was common on homesteads and ranches. Granted, we might not be able to do artistic work, but we can build a lot of basic things we need.

Wood Splitting Wedges

If you don’t have a sawmill available to you, wood splitting wedges allow you to split logs, either for making split log floors and furniture, or to turn them into rough-hewn boards.


Once logs are split you need to straighten and smooth the surface. This is where the adze comes in. This tool looks like a big flat scoop, mounted at right angles to the handle. Used with a swinging motion, it cuts out the high points on that split log, making it possible to flatten and smooth it.18 Vintage Homesteading Tools to Search for at Garage Sales


The drawknife is an incredibly useful tool for working with logs of all types. With it, you can strip bark, smooth a log, shape it into an axe handle and even make wheel spokes.18 Vintage Homesteading Tools to Search for at Garage Sales drawknife


Gimlets have to be the simplest way there is of drilling a small hole. They are essentially drill bits, permanently mounted to a D handle. Usually limited to a maximum size of ¼”, you can drill holes into wood faster with a gimlet than you can get your cordless drill set up and into action.18 Vintage Homesteading Tools to Search for at Garage Sales gimlet

Carpenter’s Brace

For heavy-duty drilling, the carpenter’s brace is the way to go. A two-handed tool, one hand provides downward pressure, while the other hand is the “motor.” Even though you can’t drill as fast as you can with an electric drill, you don’t have to run extension cords or recharge the battery. When the power goes out, the carpenter’s brace will replace the cordless drill as the tool of choice.

Sewing Awl

Leather has long been a useful material for making a variety of things. Stitching leather can be hard, though, especially if you aren’t used to it. The sewing awl makes this much easier, combining the functions of the awl and the sewing needle.18 Vintage Homesteading Tools to Search for at Garage Sales Sewing AwlYou literally stitch as you make the holes. That makes it much faster to stitch leather together. It can also be used for other heavy materials, such as canvas.

Old-time Nail Puller

I’ve had plenty of frustration pulling nails out of boards so that I could reuse them. If you’ve done any carpentry work, you have too. The claws on a hammer just don’t do the job. But back in the 1800s they had a nail puller that worked, even on nails without heads. It combined the jaws of pliers with leverage. Puling the handle both tightened the grip of the pliers on the nail’s shaft or head and provided the leverage to pull it out. It works better than anything invented since.

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Rich M.
By Rich M. November 29, 2018 07:46
Write a comment


  1. Hoosier Homesteader November 29, 16:06

    Having an axe and a buck saw could keep your household warm in a SHTF situation.
    Don’t be caught without them.

    Reply to this comment
  2. left coast chuck November 29, 16:21

    I would add one more class of hand tools: Hand saws. You need two types, a log cutting saw and a finish saw. You will need the log cutting saw to cut felled trees into usable lengths and the finish saw for all your other sawing needs.

    Reply to this comment
    • Armin November 29, 19:18

      And maybe even more important, Chuck, some way to re-sharpen them and keep them oiled to stop them from rusting. Obviously it goes without saying. Maybe I’m stating the obvious but many people might get all the tools they need and then find they have no way to sharpen them or re-set the kerf. A full set of good files and a saw set will be worth their weight in gold in a shtf sit. I’ve always sharpened my own saws, especially my crosscut saw and have never have any problems. Just takes a little time and patience. It’s not difficult. 🙂

      Reply to this comment
      • left coast chuck December 1, 03:43

        I agree, Armin. However, I would posit that sharpening a saw is not quite so simple for some of us as it is for you. If you want to see a perfectly good saw ruined, all you have to do is set me to the task. I might add that I am probably in a class all by myself when it come to ruining the edge on chisels, planes, adzes, saws, hoes — about the only edge I have not ruined is the edge on my pick mattock. If you want a chisel turned into a butter knife, just turn me loose with it and a file. In no time I will have that instrument rendered into a device where there is no discernible edge.

        There is no professional saw sharpener in my town. The only saw sharpening company still left only sharpens rotary blades. They send handsaws out someplace, perhaps to you. It take about three weeks and costs more than the saw did new to get a handsaw sharpened. That’s why the one or two old timers who still use a handsaw probably sharpen it themselves or just throw it away and buy an import.

        Reply to this comment
        • Jack January 18, 03:34

          Like most things.. a little patience goes a long ways! My saw setting tool has an adjustable stop so all you have to do on a saw is to set each tooth after you file it.. (A vice is indispensable for sharpening your saws… and chainsaw!). I use a hand guide for chainsaws. My dad used to be so practiced he didn’t need a guide (I grew up in almond country.. and late fall was pruning season, thus chainsaws, pole saws, etc.). After 3 generation of farming, the land became suburbs of the east bay. I moved north.. and more north, eventually!
          Iv been looking for a GOOD egg beater, preferably stainless.. for a long time. Everyone I see seems to be China import.. and is forever getting jammed.
          I need to find a good adz as well. Most today are again, Chinese imported junk.
          If any of you find an old, round stone that is of the type that runs in a tray of water on the bottom.. THESE are treasures for sharpening axes and such! The bane of rapid sharpening such as with a power grinder is HEAT.. it kills the temper of the metal.. especially on the thin edge of the knife/axe, etc. The continuous wetting of the stone prevents excessive heat.. Im still watching for one after many years. When I see one.. they are usually out of round.. at any price!.
          The key to hand sharpening a quality knife is being able to keep the angle of the blade the same on each stroke. When hunting/packing I would try to sharpen (carefully!) with the stone in my hand or on my leg. Pressure would change the stone’s angle. One day I eliminated my variable factors.. and I started getting RAZOR SHARP knives. I also use progressive finer stones.. up to 3 grades and the finest is so fine it doesn’t look like a stone.. something like a #2,000 grit. I use any oil to help float away particles, leaving the grit as open as I can.. Vegetable oil is preferred .. should it somehow contaminate foods, its less toxic potential.
          Blades from knives, axes, etc.. can be ground so they taper outward, straight, or inward. I forget the names but straight is a wedge and inward is hollow ground.. Hollow is probably the most popular as it leaves reasonably good support behind the cutting edge.. but leave less contact when it comes to removing metal in the sharpening process, making sharpening easier.
          The very edge is generally of more angle.. leaving your sharpening tooling to clear the rest of the metal behind the edge. (as always, a picture is worth a thousand words!) Anyway, the bottom line in blade sharpening is maintaining the same angle thru the whole stroke!
          My anvil to be.. will be a piece of railroad track.. cut and finished. Unless I find something better! This stuff is becoming hard to find!

          Reply to this comment
          • Jack December 28, 03:19

            Id also like to add to this..
            In learning about machining, Iv spent a little time reading about CHIP formation (or shaving). This explores the actual cutting process and might be very helpful to understand what you are trying to do when you sharpen of form the cutting tooth, blade, tool. Rake and relief angles.. Its very interesting.. and enlightening… and I think a little research and reading may very well help all around when it comes to sharpening. Different angles can change a chainsaw tooth from cross cut to ripping. Same in a circular saw. Of course, different angles often bring different tooth dimensions/shape.
            My studies have taken me to many subjects and many I have pursued extensively. This is not one of them but I DO find most things come back to basic fundamentals… and I think understanding about cutting will help any of us trying to survive. Obviously, in a post SHTF world, the ability to just toss a saw to buy another (import especially), isn’t likely to go very far! Hacksaw blades? I would stock up on a few! Thanks for the reminder!!

            Reply to this comment
          • City Chick August 9, 01:43

            Just saw a Amish USA made stainless steel egg beater in the online Lehman’s Store Catalog. Pretty expensive, but I bet it’ll last a long time and it’s worth every penny!

            Reply to this comment
            • Jack August 10, 06:04

              City Chick,
              Iv been gathering stuff for decades.. and I usually comment on radio electronics, EMP, and firearms.. but ALL survival related stuff is of interest. So I will comment here.
              It has been my personal experience in trying to find a manually operated egg beater; I have bought what APPEARS to be this exact egg beater a couple times. Both times it worked very well… for a while. Then it started jamming up. Both of them. Now, they were not bought thru Lehman’s but appears to be the same unit. Iv had far better quality in the “vintage” style. If I could find it in stainless, Id be on it in a second! But, refusing to buy yet another of this unit, Iv kept an eye out for a good one for several years now! A few months back someone must have donated a whole box of egg beaters to Value Pillage.. I mean, Village.. and got a chance to choose from MANY vintage egg beaters! I chose one I liked.. I was disappointed it was a slow ratio only to find if I moved a little part it went into a different ratio. Wonderful, reliable, quality unit.
              Many if not most of the stuff you find at Lehman’s you can find the exact same make/model for much less elsewhere. How long do they warranty it for? Shop carefully from Lehman’s!.. buy something to do the job.. but keep an eye out at 2nd hand stores, garage and yard sales..
              Many of the items in my stash were second hand. Many I have bought and rebuilt or repaired!
              Good luck! Let us all know how that Lehman’s unit holds up! Amish store, not necessarily Amish made!
              Iv purchased from Lehman’s a few times.. have never found their quality to be any better for the price, just higher priced. They offer some unusual stuff not easily found elsewhere..

              Reply to this comment
              • City Chick August 10, 14:38

                It’s funny, but all the strange thing we had at home that I never saw at Macy’s are in the Lehmans Catalogue! I understand what you mean about price, but I don’t mind doing my part once in a while to keep them in business. Unless you go upstate or travel to New England, you’re not going to find much that isn’t over priced in second hand stores. Here we call it all antiques and that ups the price! I am fortunate to have inherited two really really good egg beaters! Always knew they were special. Now I know they are also priceless! Makes the best whipped cream!! Good luck in your hunt! I wish you every success in finding what you need!

                Reply to this comment
          • Jay L. Stern December 18, 19:09

            Jack, finding segments of railroad rail to turn into an anvil is difficult. There is a place in Chatsworth, CA, that sells used ties and some other used railroad equipment, but refuses to sell rail! What I did was to go to Industrial Metal Supply in Sunland and search their remnants for steel beam cut-offs. I bought a length about 3 ft long for around $2.50/ lb. It is either 6 or 8 inches wide. I use it mainly as a flat surface for hammering. One day I’ll modify it by welding on what will pass for a horn.
            I also once built a reverbatory furnace using fire brick. It was the type described in technical books of the mid 1800’s. Yes, they are available and I treasure the ones I have.
            As for knife sharpening — also drill and lathe bits — I am a frustrated man. I think I’ve watched every video and read every instuction on how to sharpen and I’m STILL the world’s worst at it! I see all these demonstrations where a knife will not slice a sheet of paper, and after a few strokes with their proprietary sharpening stone, or hard-steel hone, it is of surgical quality! I’ve bought a ton of sharpening devices — also for chain saws — and I still have trouble slicing anything more challenging than warm butter…..
            And one more thng, Jack. The type of steel matters. Some cutting tools are made of steel that is sharp when new out ot the box, but rapidly loses its edge and defies attempts to resharpen. I’m a chemical engineer and I’ve studied properties of materials. I understand composition, manufacturing practice and use/sharpening technique. I think I could take a tool with an edge as keen as freshly chipped obsidian and a HRC of maybe 62, and in no time turn it into a highly polished steel peg.

            Reply to this comment
            • red December 19, 06:24

              Jay: If you can find one, grab a sandstone wheel that will run thru a tank of water. Water keeps the stone from filling with dirt, and it should last a few generations. Dad always touched up blades with a very fine grit emery cloth. It kept an edge almost like good flint. niio

              Reply to this comment
      • Bill December 5, 00:11

        Gotta have quality files, coarse ones for the first filing, then finer ones for finishing the sharpening. Cheap files will become ineffective in a short period of time. No matter the situation, buy quality tools. You will never regret it.

        Reply to this comment
    • Eddie Sasquatch November 30, 07:29

      347-794-4124. Where could I get good quality (least price) saws and tree working tools. I am only on a tiny disability in a small shed trying to learn as quickly as I can get past mold, chemical, assault, poisonings, and theft of wages and item sickness

      Reply to this comment
      • Azriel Collier December 1, 03:48

        Best source is going to farm auctions. I understand about being on a disability based income. We are a family of five on $750/mo. But due to getting some tools, I am able to produce a small side income for us. Most of the tools I got came from farm auctions.

        Reply to this comment
      • Jack August 10, 19:52

        Just saw this.. and I should have looked at the any responses before writing.. Oh well!
        Have you tried looking thru “Wood Working” Magazine? I like the large gouges (and chisels) you can pound with a mallet (good for working cabin logs).. and the large deep tooth one or two man saws.. and have seen them in them advertised in that magazine…

        Reply to this comment
        • kurt August 13, 21:14

          come out to west virgini and the western part of virgini and talk to the farmers look through their barns they will bepleased for a few $$$$

          Reply to this comment
  3. Hamakabi November 29, 16:25

    I would add a flower sifter to your list. If you are grinding your own flower or mixing in baking powder etc. It will come in very handy.

    Reply to this comment
    • Nita November 30, 10:57

      You can find sifters at thrift stores.

      Reply to this comment
    • Jack January 18, 03:46

      One thing I did not see listed.. is a Squeezo.
      This item is great for seeded produce.. I first fell in love with this tool for putting raspberries and blackberries away.. it has a progressively tighter screw type auger with a spring loaded screen over it… and a tray under the screen that funnels the pulp and juice into a separate container.. and as the seeds collect at the end of the auger, eventually they push the spring loaded screen out a little where they extrude into a separate bowl. There are at least 3 screens of different sized holes.. and its great for making purees, salsas and all manner of food processing. It is NOT a food grinder; we have a separate unit for that.
      I store wheat in sealed #10 cans.. Each can has an oxygen absorber in it and is suitable for 30 years. I store little flour as its density makes it harder for absorbing O2. But, you need a flour mill. CountryLiving makes a pretty decent one.. and comes with different tooling so you can make flour from beans for low gluten diets.
      If you have not ground your own flour by hand.. its a backup! but its easier to grind to a course wheat. then regrind to fine flour… but it WILL grind to a fine flour!

      Reply to this comment
  4. MadFiddler November 29, 16:27

    Seems like a lot of the population of the Industrialized nations have traded self-reliance for reliance on systems we neither control nor understand. There are so many conveniences and tools and appliances that will stop working because of the failure of a part costing a few pennies to manufacture, and most of us – myself included – have neither the knowledge nor the tools to effect a repair. I began learning self-reliance skills decades back, yet *I* am still a beginner. Among my acquaintances from the high-tech industries in Silicon Valley, only a handful ever cultivated a garden, or canned fruits & vegetables. The only animals most folks have are pets, not livestock. We are poorly prepared for any interruption to services longer than a few hours. How do you convince people of our vulnerability to events that have happened in the past and are certain to happen again in the future?

    Reply to this comment
    • Hacksaw November 29, 18:39

      The people that you are referring to are basically lazy and prefer to exchange their freedom for services provided by a government. It is clearly evident that these people could not care less about fending for themselves, much less acquire the needed skills. I look at it like this: Those who are not prepared for a SHTF scenario are targets of opportunity for obtaining resources by those of who are prepared when the S does hit the fan. Those who can’t survive a minute away from their cell phone or other modern conveniences won’t last one second in a SHTF scenario. Why waste your time worrying about these people? I can guarantee you that they have never given a thought about your welfare.

      Reply to this comment
      • Claude Davis November 29, 20:04

        It’s true enough that too many people expect the government to take care of them, but when it comes to old tools I think there’s a different explanation. Modern tools ARE better; there’s no getting away from that. I’ve drilled plenty holes with a bit and brace, and if I have the choice I’ll take my cordless drill every time. The thing is I might not always have that choice, so I keep the bit and brace to fall back on. Where other people go wrong is they assume the modern tools will always be there, so they never think how they’d get by without them.

        Reply to this comment
        • left coast chuck November 30, 04:16

          I wonder if solar units can be modified to charge cordless tools? It seems as if it would be possible. Can one charge an 18 volt device using a 12 volt charger? I know if it is possible it would take longer than using an 18 volt charger but would it even charge without some modification?

          If one could charge 18 volt devices with a solar charger, it might be worthwhile to keep the cordless tools on hand. As Claude pointed out, it is a whole lot easier drilling holes with a cordless drill than it is with a brace and bit. Having been there and done that, I can second Claude’s comment.

          Reply to this comment
          • cb01 November 30, 13:22

            If you have an inverter (suggest you get one) you can attach it to your battery and plug in your charger.

            Reply to this comment
            • left coast chuck December 1, 03:54

              Doesn’t the inverter have to convert the current from whatever the charging source is to whatever current the device you are charging uses? For example, if you have a 12 volt solar panel, you would need a 12 vole to18 volt inverter in order to charge the battery operated piece of equipment.

              Without an inverter that converted directly from whatever current the solar panel produced to whatever current the battery operated device used, it seems to me you would have a kluge arrangement of converter/inverters and the reduction in charging energy finally reaching the device would require an inordinate amount to time in order to charge the device.

              Reply to this comment
              • cb01 December 1, 13:59

                You are making this more complicated than it is. When you plug a charger into a wall the 120 volt currant is converted by the charger to what it needs to be.It’s the same principle with an inverter.

                Reply to this comment
              • Armin December 2, 07:27

                You may have the wrong idea about an inverter, Chuck. All these things that need their batteries charged use a battery charger plugged into a 120 volt outlet. It’s the battery charger that coverts it from 120 volts to whatever voltage that particular battery needs. As long as we have electricity. What an inverter does is take a direct current source (such as solar panels running into a battery) and converts it into an alternating current at 60 hertz (the North American standard) and 120 volts. I think Europe may run at 50 hertz but I’m not 100% sure. Because a solar panel setup needs a battery to store the power produced by the sun what an inverter does is use the battery power to produce 120 volts at 60 hertz and as long as the inverter has the capacity, measured in watts (which is the product of voltage X current or amps) then you can power whatever you have bought the inverter for. But you just can’t run the power from solar panels directly into a battery. You need another piece of equipment between the panels and the battery and unfortunately I forget what it’s called right now. It does something like balance all the inputs from the different solar panels going into the battery. Someone more familiar with solar panels would know better. Typically an inverter will be rated at around 1500 watts (which is a pretty good inverter) and will give you 120 volts at 60 hertz (frequency) and is able to give you about 12/13 amps which is ample for most applications. If you want something a little more robust and are planning for the future and have your solar panel system set up then go for an inverter rated at 3000 watts (your toaster will typically use 1200 watts) which will allow you to run your fridge and one or two other necessary appliances. A fridge or a freezer would come in mighty handy in SHTF. A 3000 watt inverter will typically run you around 4 or 500 bucks. Hope this helps you. 🙂

                Reply to this comment
                • cb01 December 2, 14:04

                  Armin, I believe what you are speaking of is an optimizer. It balances the voltage of the panels.you are correct about battery placement in the system. I should have been more specific. cb01

                  Reply to this comment
                  • cb01 December 2, 16:45

                    can also be referred to as a voltage regulator

                    Reply to this comment
                    • Jack January 18, 04:51

                      MPPT is most common these days..
                      BTW, most solar panels for “12 volts” will put out up to about 18-19 volts, depending on panel. Each cell in the panel puts out right at 0.5 volt and they wire them in series to build the voltage.
                      Once current starts flowing, voltage goes down… but you will want to be able to maintain at least 14 volts input from panels, particularly if you don’t use an MPPT and are charging batteries directly.
                      I prefer 12vdc systems as all my emergency gear (powered of course) runs on 12 volts. Or should I say, “12v dc NOMINAL”.. which means about 13.6v… however beware, finding 24 volt setup is VASTLY more common. I do it because I can do more to make it work in a crisis… but not to many have my background and knowledge (just being honest).

                  • QArmin December 3, 00:19

                    Thank you, cb01. I knew there was something else involved with solar panels just couldn’t remember it. Optimizer. Voltage regulator. Makes perfect sense. Have also looked into solar panels and was surprised there was more to it than I had anticipated. I’ve heard some rumours that there is a new type of very efficient solar panel available. But you would probably know more about that than I. Once I can get a little extra money together I have the perfect spot in the garden where I can set them up. Thank you for your help, sir.

                    Reply to this comment
                • Jack December 27, 09:10

                  Haven’t been to this page for a while.. until I got notice of a comment!
                  Was thinking about things said about electrical.
                  This write up is about AC compared to DC, and how power is transformed .. and how inverters work….Hope it helps folks not familiar with electricity/electronics.
                  I have often asked folks “what the difference between AC and DC?” The usual answer is “AC is Alternating Current and DC is Direct Current!” Well, yes, but WHAT is Alternating Current? And I usually get a dumbfound stare.
                  We all .. well, most of us, see a sinewave here or there…. Its a picture of what the voltage or current is doing over time, time progressing left to right.
                  The voltage, or pressure rises with the electron flow going in one direction.. then the pressure (voltage) drops, crosses the ZERO volts line and starts growing in the negative.. and once again dropping back to the zero line and again progressing in the positive direction. The voltage reversed its direction 120 times per second in a 60 cycle per second (Hertz) system like in North America. This is why you do not hear of “Positive” and “negative” in your AC power systems.. as it is always reversing. Now, about the 120 reverses.. It has to reverse TWICE to complete ONE cycle.
                  DC is not transformable. You can drop the voltage of DC can be dropped in voltage with no problem.. but taking it UP in voltage is a whole nother matter! There are many compact units for DC to DC on the market.. and I expect they make a waveform and fold it back on itself. But EVERY 2X of voltage will take AT LEAST a 1/2 X of amps. As previously stated by another, WATTS. Its AMPS times voltage. 5 volts doubled to 10 volts will require twice the amps at 5 volts as you will have available at 10 volts (The “at least” is in accounting for losses). While most inverters use transformers, the wattage , current and amps, still follow the same math.
                  Now a word about transformers .. and even generators. Voltage is generated by lines of magnetic force. Specifically, 100,000 lines of force over one loop of a winding will generate ONE volt. To get more volts, increase the magnetic lines of force or increase the windings the force goes thru, What you MUST understand is the lines of force must be MOVING. Expanding and collapsing. Or, the windings must be moving THRU the stationary magnetic field. This is how generators/alternators work. Most of them have a steady magnetic field… and a voltage regulator, which controls a small current on the field is “watching” the OUTPUT voltage of the alternator/generator, making small changes in the field to change the much greater output power voltage. While this is, for lack of a better definition, an ACTIVE voltage regulator. In electronic circuits, you might call those regulators “Passive”. They are not quite the same. This is already kind of deep for those unfamiliar, and long. And Im not yet done!
                  What Im trying to paint is that DC cannot be transformed because it only creates a steady field, not moving except for its initial building, upon application of power to the coil, and its collapse upon removal of the power.
                  Back to winding ratio. First, to many this maybe a surprise but the electricity going into one side of a regular transformer (Primary side), it not connected to the output side (Secondary). (this excludes auto transformers and common connections like bonding and grounding.. which is yet another ball of yarn to unravel). The principal of operation is what Im trying to explain. If you run your AC power into the primary with “X” number of turns (loops of wire).. and the SECONDARY is wound with twice as many windings, the result is the secondary will deliver twice the voltage. (and as the math above, half the current will be available). 12 volts in… 120 volts out. In an inverter they take the 12 volts DC… and electronically make it into AC, so it can be transformed up in voltage.
                  There is many issues dealing with AC.. reactive factors (well beyond this write up), efficiency.. (inductive and capacitive elements for the most part)..
                  A bit more. AC power must be generator, or made electronically. (or, like the earlier radios of old, they had a vibrator … used to buzz when turned on. this was a mechanical vibrator unit that turned the DC on and off.. or reversed it back and forth.. to make it “AC” so it could be transformed up to voltages for the tubes they used. Generators. Most small gasoline generators generate one cycle per revolution, so, they run at 3600 rpm. (60 turns per second). Typically diesel generators will generate 2 cycles per revolution so the diesel engine runs at 1800 rpm. Much easier on the diesel. Many of the newer, fuel saver generators I see today generate DC and the DC is fed to an inverter. With DC the production of AC is not dependent on engine speed as the output frequency is electronically produced. but when the load is increased, the engine rpm is increased to produce more power.. to supply the inverter and its output. A standard generator MUST run FULL SPEED at all times, even if you only are running an alarm clock… because its speed is directly related to the rpm.

                  Iv written on Faraday cages and EMP, Ham and other radio,.. . Hoping it helps someone.out there.
                  Sorry to be so long. Tech writes are always going to be long, however!

                  Blessings to all!

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                  • red December 27, 14:56

                    Jack: I’m happy if i can pug something in and it works. My stepfather, an electrician, tried to teach me more than how to wire a house. But, I’m learning. I like DC because family in Europe say DC is better, and AC can damage a unit because it runs hotter or something. Much thanks for the lesson! Happy New Year. May your inverted never dry.

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            • TexasTroy December 17, 05:29

              You are exactly correct cb01,
              I have a small solar charger setup with a deep cycle battery, and power inverter. Everything (except the small solar panel) is in a plastic 50cal ammo can.
              -Totally portable.
              It doesn’t make a lot of power….but it works!

              Reply to this comment
          • Big Dave December 4, 04:19

            simple power inverters to convert 12 volt DC to 120 volt AC Are readily available so campers can run small appliances off their cars battery, Any of them should allow you to use your regular charger to recharge power tool batteries. If you are truly prepping, 2 or 3 of these with a solar charger and 12 volt batteries is a good thing to have. Handyman friend uses one on remote job sites all the time rather than always hauling around a generator.

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          • Jack January 18, 04:34

            Find a “Yankee screwdriver”. Many have hollow handles .. with different bits. I have a couple and both have special bits for drilling small holes.
            I see these sometimes at thrift shops.. garage sales, etc. They are pretty handy but if you need to drill a larger hold, you will need the brace and bit.

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          • JR March 17, 01:57

            Ryobi makes, or used to, a car charger for their 18v batteries. It plugs into the lighter socket. The charge controllers that come with the Harbor Freight solar kits have 12v sockets on them.

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      • Jack January 18, 04:26

        Iv written a good deal.. mostly on technical manners like EMP.. and a few post on guns.
        iv been doing this for a LONG time.. most of my life even. From before I left the farm.. Iv always wanted to live in the woods.. and a lot of it put me interested in off grid stuff. But I like many modern conveniences as well..so I have also followed issues of how to make power (beside being into radio for decades, I also became licensed as a commercial/industrial electrician).
        In this process, not so long ago .. I read a very good book called “One Second After”…
        When an EMP hit, all the cars stopped running, except a few old beast of yesteryear (without computers, etc.). Power was knocked out.. as was all radio and communications, save a very few that some had stored in Faraday cages. With no sewage pumps in the valley there was sewage backups.. and no fresh water pumps left a lot of suburban homes high and DRY.
        Many old folks dies due to lack of ventilation in old folks homes.. Insulin soon expired due to lack of refrigeration.. Fuel dried up leaving generators worthless..
        Once food became scarce, some people formed groups.. roamed the region.. finding those who had prepared.. often by seeing lights on in the homes..(kerosene lamps, etc.).. and would burn them out.. shooting the adults AND children as they ran for their lives… then pillaging as they pleased. No one could call the police.. IF there was someone still there, not with their own families.. Fire Department likewise.. IF there was anyone there, IF you could call them.. they had no diesel for engines.. and no water to pump.
        What here is not likely??
        The more people who DO prepare.. the stronger we all are.
        When I talk to some and they tell me they will wait until it happens to get ready.. and that is the person who will be robbing my place because HE is hungry.. and it hurts to see his own kids crying for hunger… HE will be the guy I will end up shooting in the chaos that ensues.
        When this all happens.. many will go into collectives to survive.. if it gets that bad. We can protect our families and supplies much easier in a group than individually. Grouping is also very likely.
        If you and your neighbor of like mindedness are together.. If you are armed.. I HIGHLY recommend a common round of ammo. And I highly recommend a common gun type, at least a common magazine! Taking cartridges out of your neighbors Mini 14 magazine to put in your AR15 magazine WHILE SOMEONE IS SHOOTING AT YOU.. sucks! (if you don’t get shot while you are out of service!
        AR’s parts are largely interchangeable making it easier to replace parts or combined parts from other ARs..
        I prefer the 223/5.56mm NATO round.. Not only is it very light and you can pack more ammo in the same weight.. Its a very capable round, even for hunting (many states its illegal to take a deer with this round.. but I don’t thing it will matter at such a time!). And in such a time of chaos, finding ammo will be tough. Or powder/primers to load more ammo. But the 5.56 is a common MILITARY round and is about as widely available round as you will find. I think in all cases the AR15 chambered in 5.56 (basically same as 223.. (there is a little difference in the chamber but the cartridge is the same.. as I recall) .. you can shoot either. Just make sure you have a barrel chambered for both.
        Anyway, as always I go further then started.. but I hope this will give good reason to TRY to get others to be prepared.
        I would encourage reading “The Patriot” after reading “One Second After”. Both are good reading.. but they have many scenarios that we all can learn from. I don’t read much fiction at all.. but I think these are WELL worth it for ALL.. especially those who have never had a Party line wall phone… and think a cell phone would be of value in a faraday cage for communications after an EMP! (get a CB radio and put IT in a faraday cage. Make sure others do as well!).(ham is better.. IF you learn to use it BEFORE you need it. They are FAR more complex than CB’s!.. BTW, you wont get much use out of either for a while if there is a nuke blast. The noise and disturbance will kill communications for a good while, depending on many factors).

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    • Consco November 29, 18:46

      Yes we have same issue of convincing anyone that if the power goes off long term you have a real problem. I am in construction and have hand tools than most and there are still some I do not know how to use. Next thing is learning how to can. Already have the ability, space, know how to grow a good garden and fruit trees. Already have the property and we are about 1/2 done with a VERY solid house. 16 inch thick walls. But there is still so much we don’t know it is daunting. We are all so specialized anymore. All we can do is keep putting away, foods that we eat. Seeds we can grow. And Fish antibiotics and continue down the path of learning. Not everyone in the old days was an expert at everything either. Remember that!

      Reply to this comment
    • Armin November 29, 19:30

      Frankly, MadFiddler, the saying is that those who forget the past, or maybe more importantly, don’t learn from the past are doomed to repeat it. We can’t save everyone no matter how much we would like to. We can help those that are willing to make a bit of an effort on their own but as for the rest. The hell with them. Cannon fodder and extra helpings at Sunday dinner for the rest of us. H’mmm. Yum. Yum. LOL!

      Reply to this comment
  5. Al November 29, 16:31

    Thanks for these items look forward to searching for them

    Reply to this comment
    • Claude Davis November 30, 14:13

      It’s good to hear you’re inspired to get yourself some traditional tools! This is a long way from an exhaustive list, though. I love garage sales, because you never know what you’re going to find that can help you be more self-sufficient and prepared.

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  6. Lin November 29, 16:46

    Try Lehman’s out of Ohio. Amish and Mennonite area. It can be expensive but I’ve found a lot of tools there. You should also mention a scythe.

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    • left coast chuck November 30, 04:10

      Garrett Wade, an on line outfit has a small supply of hand tools such as gimlets and Yankee screw drivers and some other small hand tools. Expensive, but then sales of such items is limited and thus price is higher due to limited production and sales.

      Reply to this comment
    • ezntn November 30, 08:20

      Four years ago Lehman’s was my vacation destination.
      Absolutely awesome place to shop.

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  7. Robert McFate November 29, 18:45

    Should have added a cross cut and rip saw to your wood tools. Also a bow saw, comes in hand if you need a little fire wood.

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    • Claude Davis December 3, 15:57

      Those are all essential tools, but do you really need to search for them at a yard sale? Personally I’d get new ones at a hardware store. The interesting thing about yard sales is how you can pick up stuff that’s still useful, but either isn’t made anymore or is getting hard to find.

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      • Jack January 18, 05:12

        Claude, one thing about buying new stuff today, especially mechanical stuff.. is it just isn’t made the way it was many years ago.
        Lehmans carries a NEW treadle sewing machine.. while I don’t have one of theirs, it is made using wood for supports for the treadle itself.. and it is so hard to get away from pressed wood. I searched .. a lot on eBay back when they were reasonable.. and found the cast iron base, a decent top cover.. and sets of drawers (3 on each side plus the middle).. I put it together with a model 66T.. and its a very nice, WELL BUILT Singer machine. I have nearly every foot for it, needles, embroidery stuff for it.. but I also have a 319 as well and it has EVERY accessory to be able to do almost anything… and will mount in the cabinet.
        My point is I find more reliability in older/antique stuff then much of today’s stuff.
        I also have a “White Mountain” (Patented 1923) Three way ice cream freezer.. when cranked, the middle paddles turn one way, the second paddles stay stationary.. and the can turns opposite the middle paddles. Modern hand cranks Iv only seen them turn the can only. Both work.. but I think the White mountain will freeze much faster. Had it for years but have yet to use it. You would love my 1892 Kimball pump organ!

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  8. Armin November 29, 19:08

    I’ve been thinking about a pressure cooker for a long time and if electricity prices keep rising I just may have to take the plunge. Just can’t afford it right now. I don’t understand “egg-beater” and why you would need one. You can either throw your eggs in a cool pan and beat them there and then heat the pan or throw the eggs in something like a glass 2-cup measuring cup and then just beat them with a fork. To me “egg-beater” is bogus. You don’t need one. Some time back I got myself a meat grinder and have never looked back. My hamburgers are better than ANYTHING you can get at ANY of the fast food outlets. And they are real hamburgers. I know what’s in them. And I make them in such a way that they end up at least 3/4 of an inch thick AFTER cooking. Now that’s a hamburger! Nothing nicer than a hamburger made of good steak meat when it comes on sale. BTW, grilling is the worst way to cook steak. You’re poisoning yourself. Most people mislabel it as barbecuing but they are totally different ways of cooking things. Grilling is high heat, short time and it tends to produce heterocyclic amines, benzopyrenes, and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons which are all carcinogens. Much better to take the time and cook your meats at a lower temp for a longer time which is proper barbecuing and much, much healthier for you. Surprisingly a lot of the things that Fergus mentions I already have. As for a flour sifter, if you have a dedicated flour sifter. Great! In a pinch any kind of fine net sieve or strainer will do just as well. 🙂 I’m surprised Fergus didn’t mention a mattock. Most people don’t even know what it is. To me an indispensable tool for working large areas of land quickly. As for the silicon valley types most of them wouldn’t know one end of a garden hoe from the other and in a shtf situation good riddance to them. Most of them aren’t interested in getting their soft little hands dirty doing any kind of gardening and wouldn’t even know how to start. In a shtf situation all they’re good for is extra food for the rest of us as we make a tasty stew out of them. There are always exceptions like MadFiddler and thank goodness for that as their expertise will help us get back on our feet faster in a post-shtf sit. As for the others, if they have no interest in making the effort then the hell with them. The extra protein will come in handy. LOL!

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    • Claude Davis November 29, 20:28

      If you know anyone in the military who’s serving in Afghanistan, ask them to get you a pressure cooker out there. They should be able to pick you up a five-quart one for less than $25, and you can get bigger ones as well. I have a three-gallon cooker a friend brought back for me. I paid less than $40 for it.

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      • Armin November 29, 23:44

        Thank you for that Claude but as I’m in Canada I really don’t know ANYONE in Afghanistan. For me just as easy to go to my local Walmart and pick up a fairly good quality pressure cooker when they come on sale. Right now money is really tight because of Christmas and January and February are the two “worst” months of the year. One is house insurance and the other is house taxes. I only get a little relief in March and then it starts all over again in April and June. Basically the first half of the year is toast as far as money is concerned. So much for my “golden years”. LOL! But I thank you for your suggestion, sir, but just as easy to go to Walmart. Or Canadian Tire. Nice to hear from you Claude. Keep doing what you’re doing. You’re helping a lot of people and because of forums like this, if shtf actually happens, then enough of us may actually have a chance of surviving to give the human race a good shot to keep going and help to re-populate the earth. Hopefully we will have learned from our mistakes and will not be so foolish as to repeat them again. Thank you, sir, and god bless. 🙂

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        • Big Dave December 4, 04:34

          Often can find nearly new pressure cookers in for low prices in next to new shops and second hand stores.
          I prefer Mirro Matic brand and have several of different sizes. As my girls grew up and moved out I found cookers for them also. Do not think I ever paid more than 10 bucks for one. With the new electric cookers now in vogue the old stove top ones should be easy to find.

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  9. Mo November 29, 19:09

    I have never succomed to modernized appliances, I grew up on a ranch, when it stormed we did not have power, but the oil lamps and the ever burning kitchen wood stove worked just fine.
    I feel bad for what I call city people, I really have no idea how you guys could get along without all your gadgets… I’m 61, I still do everything by hand, it’s the only way I know…funny how old fashioned is now sought after…

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    • Armin November 30, 00:01

      Thank you for reminding me about that, Mo. Somewhere along the line I have to get the money together to buy a good quality wood stove. The one I want is even good for RV’s. A little pricey but perfectly safe for a house. Only increases my house insurance about $40 per year so it’s definitely doable. I have a good supply of wood and if worse comes to worse I’ll burn the freakin’ furniture before I freeze or starve. LOL! It gets pretty cold where I am and if there is no heat then I just drain the water pipes so that they don’t freeze and burst. Natural gas is a wonderful thing. I’m considering swapping out my electric range for a gas range but I’m going to have to think very carefully about it and do the numbers and see if it’s economically feasible and to my advantage to do so. As long as the gas is flowing the big advantage of a gas range is that it can be used for emergency heating when there is no electricity. Heat is a real problem where I live and the winters can be quite brutal. Apparently the one coming up is going to be a real humdinger. 🙁

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      • Mo November 30, 01:04

        Yes a good stove is a must! Make sure you have a good set of cast iron to go with that stove, modern pans just won’t take it.
        I’ve had barrel stoves in the past and as long as you keep fire brick well up the sides and a good layer on the bottom I never had one burn out, my favorite was a double barrel that had a sand jacket, kept heat forever in the Colorado Rockies.
        I’m looking at wind power my self, because the wind never stops down here…which has been interesting..gonna take some shop time to tinker it out….

        Reply to this comment
        • Armin December 2, 08:00

          Thank you for that, Mo. The cast iron cookware is already stashed away and ready to use. 😉 I already have a lot of the stuff I need. I don’t think any of us can ever be fully prepared. There will always be that one thing that we were just not able to get or have overlooked. And it’s also a matter of money. Right now I’m working on getting a good stash of soap together. Also dishwashing liquid. And the essentials like toilet paper, etc. etc. If it ever comes to pass in my lifetime at some point we will run out of things like toilet paper and for that contingency I have a goodly number of new cloth bar towels. Hygiene will be very important. That’s what people did during the depression. They had to adapt. They couldn’t afford “luxuries” like toilet paper so they used small cloth towels. After you do what you have to do you take the cloth towel and clean it. Have a number of them so that the used ones have a chance to dry. People keep thinking about survival in terms of food and water and weapons but hygiene will be a real problem and needs to be taken into consideration. It will be all these little things that will make the difference. Typically in a war or survival situation the spectre of disease always seems to rear its ugly head and that’s when you get things like Typhus, Cholera and maybe even plague. And then there’s all the people with HIV or Aids who may decide to share it with others if they think it’s the end of the world. Again I say, if SHTF before 2050 (from my perspective), it will be much, much worse than anything we can possibly imagine. The veneer of civilization we wear is very thin and under the right circumstances easily torn. Just as a postscript and some of you MUST be aware Putin is once again making noises on Ukraine’s doorstep. Don’t know what Putin is playing at there. Hopefully it’s just bluff and bluster.

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          • Claude Davis December 3, 17:34

            I totally agree with this. We live in a very hygienic society – maybe TOO hygienic; I think that’s why so many people have allergies now – but a lot of us don’t know how to cope without all the expensive, disposable hygiene products we’re used to.

            As for using towels instead of toilet paper, that works – but cleaning the towels is going to use up resources and time, too. Investigate your local plants for anything with strong leaves that aren’t too smooth!

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    • GoDiva November 30, 01:00

      🎵…country folks can survive….!🎵
      I was reading over the list & have almost all those things plus the hand saws. I prefer to cook over my hand-crafted brick fire tower. There’s an 80-acre wood behind my place & a lot of my yard produces fruits & veges & herbs. I don’t even need to kill animals to survive. I grew up on a cattle & crop farm in Iowa…..This 60-year old country gal can survive. High-five, youngin’

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  10. Dupin November 29, 19:10

    You mentioned the apple slicer/corer. I have two at home, but what I’ve used even more that I picked up a year or so ago is the apple peeler/slicer/corer. It makes easy work on apples before I put them into the dehydrator, and for Thanksgiving, we used it on apples and sweet potatoes (cut the sweet taters in half so they fit) for the sweet potato/apple dish. Made it much easier than peeling/slicing by hand, especially for my 11-year-old, who I had do most of the work.

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  11. Flint November 29, 19:22

    One tool that is seldom mentioned is a good metal file and the knowledge of how to sharpen the teeth of your saws. A simple wood rasp is another tool that seldom gets mentioned but is very handy.

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  12. klingongal November 29, 20:08

    Already have all the kitchen items except the apple corer – I still peel apples and potatoes with a paring knife. Isn’t that funny? I have always used them so they’re not new or anything…probably got most of them from my mom and dad. I’m 55 and just about the only “modern” appliance I use (I mean, other than the stove/fridge and obvious things) is a hand-held blender for making homemade mayo and baby food for the grandkids.

    Reply to this comment
    • Armin November 29, 23:26

      @klingongal I don’t have the dexterity to peel an apple properly with a paring knife. I’m basically a Neanderthal. LOL! I have found that those fancy European potato peelers work wonderfully even for apples and it works for me. They’re so sharp they basically only take the very top layer off the apple and it’s FAST. We try and do what works best for us. Remember your can openers. LOL!

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  13. Bill November 29, 20:46

    Sportsmansguide.com has draw knives, log wedges, etc. at reasonable prices.

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  14. Tony November 29, 22:04

    one thing that is handy and we use it today is a dazey butter churn , you can still buy them on e-bay , I buy heavy cream from the store and at room temp. I can get a lb. of real butter , and guess what ? my butter even melts when putting it on something hot . as a boy Mrs Cole would bring us kids out a piece of buttered bread with sugar in top , that was the first thing I though of when I tasted the real butter . wow , after all them years

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    • Armin November 30, 00:25

      Another good idea, Tony. Now all you need is a good supply of fresh milk in case shtf actually does happen. If you have a dairy farm fairly close to you make it a point to get to know that farmer and if you can, make them your friend. And if it does happen I hope people aren’t stupid enough to slaughter the dairy cows along with the beef cattle. And if you don’t have a proper butter churn and you have access to a steady supply of fresh milk and want butter then you do it like people have made butter for thousands of years. Not always from cow’s milk. That came later. Get a clean bag. Partially fill it with high-fat content milk. Seal it and rock it for a while and after a certain time you have butter. You could also improvise and use a clean container like a clean bucket and an appropriate pole and a little elbow grease. Use the pole to help the milk mix with the air and after a while. Voila! Magic. You have butter. You might have to be very creative if shtf. Resources might just be a little bit scarce. LOL! (Sarcasm) Remember your barter items. During the time of troubles money will obviously be useless.

      Reply to this comment
    • bill December 5, 00:24

      Tony. As a child, I spent a few hours using your butter churn and the old hand crank ice cream maker. It wasn’t for fun, it was part of our farm life for existance. Would really prefer to not having to go through that again. Gods Bless

      Reply to this comment
  15. Mo November 30, 00:56

    I have to say that sometimes I’m surprised at what has been forgotten in such a short time.
    It’s actually pretty sad when you think about it..how everything has become all tech…I’ve always doubted that in whats left of my lifetime, SHTF would happen…but I live on the Texas border and I’m just not so sure anymore.
    I was raised on a ranch as I’ve said before, as a kid it was embarrassing to have nothing but home made clothes, only quilts for blankets and drive and old truck.
    But I look back on it now and realize all that I learned then is still with me.
    I spent a lot of time with Dad in the shop fixing whatever needed doing, canning with my grandmother, ( I still have her 39 cent canning book with her notes) and working the fields, cows and garden…later I worked my own place.
    Learning is in the doing, trial and error. And I’ve learned just because it’s not pretty or perfect, really doesn’t matter as long as it works..
    Keep in mind the important things, learn your plants, they will save yours or someone you loves life.
    Treat your live stock well, for your family depends on them.
    Save your seed, learn how to garden and can and dry your foods. For that freezer will be nothing but mouse proof storage at some point.
    A good wood cook stove is worth the money.
    Cast iron is truly the best cookware, I still have my grandma’s.
    No one can know everything, but if you and your neighbors get together and share your knowledge, the possibilities are endless.
    Keep it simple, less is truly more, and teach your children that a little dirt and hard work won’t kill them!

    Reply to this comment
    • Armin December 2, 08:25

      I hear you, Mo. We were pretty poor growing up but I never thought about it in those terms. My parents worked horribly long hours to make a life for our family so I had to do my share of “chores”. Never thought of them like that. I was glad to do my part to help them and because we were quite poor we learned to fix all our own stuff instead of buying new all the time. I can fix most anything. If I had the specialized tools I could still tear even the modern car engines down and fix them. They’ve just added computers to everything. The nasty EMU. LOL! The basic principles haven’t changed. As long as you know them. I can get most anything running again because I do know the basic principles behind things. I know electrical. I know plumbing. I know gardening. I know how to use a weapon. And in a SHTF situation if someone wants to mess with me I WILL put a bullet through their head. I don’t have time for idiots and I’m not a nice person anymore. One of the results of chronic pain and being an old curmudgeon. LOL! Modern kids know how to text on their phones and play violent video games. I feel very sorry for them if SHTF does come to pass in our lifetimes. I pray to god it never will because if it does we are in deep, deep crap.

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  16. old guy November 30, 01:24

    add to the list a log peavy, long prybar, log tongs,set of (2) block and tackles, files were mentioned but get a good assortment of each and more than one(one is none and 2 is one), crow bar …

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  17. Breck November 30, 04:51

    It’s nice to know there is still enough people who grew up right.

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  18. Get Prepared November 30, 14:13

    One more for folks in the suburbs or country would be an old fashion well bucket. These were used to draw water before well pumps. They could still work in old wells that hadn’t been modernized.
    For new wells you could look at the Emergency Well Tube (www.emergencywelltube.com), which is a slimmed down model of the old galvanized buckets. It is designed to draw water from modern wells, with piping and wiring, if the power is out.

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  19. Powderhorn November 30, 18:45

    Plain power drill bits can be used in a brace by using a strip of used sandpaper or other abrasive wrapped around the bit. Sanding side towards the bit. Just don’t turn as fast or hard. There might be some slippage, but it works. If not, use a hammer and partially flatten the base of the bit.

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  20. Powderhorn November 30, 18:56

    I guess I’ll be bugging in. I could pack a Connestoga and still have non-powered items left. Just in case I have two seperate bug-outs. One for advance notice and one by the door. Last summer, between yard sales and auctions, I spent $45.00 and already have everything on your list except that Food Mill. I’ve been accumulating hand tools for about 45 years. Some for use, others slated for trade items.

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  21. Ivy Mike December 1, 01:21

    if you’ve never used hand tools don’t just go out and buy a mattock and an adze and throw ’em in the garage, you have to use them to learn how to use them, and you’re going to want to build up a bit of muscle and callous before SHTF or your hand tools will kill you. Because hand tools should probably be called back tools. Smoothing out a log with an adze sounds pretty cool, but it’s awkward work and a couple of big knots in that log can ruin your morning. Along with hand tools I recommend a hand lotion with mineral oil like Husker’s, and for the pain associated with the use of hand tools, a couple bottles of the Aspercreme that has Lidocaine, and for those of us who indulge, a couple three shots of your preferred liquor at the end of the work day, good old dark thirty this time of year…

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    • Big Dave December 4, 04:54

      If you have never used an adz, If possible find someone who has to show you how. There is good reason that they were called a shin ax years ago. You NEVER stand in front of the tool and strike toward your shins. Always stand beside your work piece and stroke past. It feels awkward at first but will save on the injuries. Also practice both right and left hand side work to help equalize strain on your muscles.

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  22. Mo December 1, 03:05

    I was looking for the man that commented on the fact this is hard work, not go to the gym kinda work, but back breaking, sweaty bad word knuckle busting work…
    But at the end of the day, you can stop and look at what you did with nothing but your hands and the tools of the people that built this land, and be proud…
    Something I’m not seeing mentioned all that much is barter material..
    Each person can do something very well, be it canning, quilting, makeing medicine from the base plants, leather work, shoe repair, or distilling…
    I’ve found as I get older the knowledge I’ve gained is not of value in the current world..but if I live long enough to see this situation come to pass, I may have somethings to pass on…

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    • Armin December 2, 08:36

      Hey, Mo. Barter materials have been mentioned quite a few times and will obviously be very important during SHTF. Think of things we can’t grow here or are very hard to source in N. America. Sugar, coffee, chocolate, tobacco, booze. SALT! Things like that. I’m seriously considering getting a few sealed cans of tobacco just to barter even though I myself don’t smoke.

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  23. Azriel Collier December 1, 03:06

    Carpenter’s brace, are you referring also to a beam drill/beam auger? That is a two-handed drill that sits on a platform that then sits on the log or beam and can be tilted for an angular hole.

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    • Claude Davis December 3, 17:27

      No, it’s an old non-powered hand drill. It’s basically a cranked steel bar with a chuck at one end and a grip at the other. Use the crank to turn it and you can drill a hole pretty well, and apart from the chuck it has no moving parts, so it’s not going to break anytime soon.

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  24. Mad Fiddler December 2, 15:39

    Along with the various hand tools and craft skills needed in a “grid-down” situation, you will benefit from knowing how to put together a water filtration unit. There are descriptions w diagrams using sand, charcoal, pebbles, etc.

    British Sailors in the era of wooden ships found that tossing a couple of silver coins in the water barrel kept the water “fresh” for a long time. The torpedo-shaped filters that come with the Gravity-Feed systems – distributed to disaster areas and carried by missionaries – use an outer shell of diatomaceous earth, with activated charcoal granules and silver particles. The silver is Antibacterial, the Charcoal absorbs chemicals, and the D.E. physically BLOCKS & filters out the microbes. Get yourself the materials, and you can make a filter in all sorts of configurations – PVC Pipe, Jugs, concrete Tub, etc.

    Just be sure to have a “settling system” – a container where you let the mud and scum settle, BEFORE you try to filter, so you don’t clog everything immediately. A few silver coins at the bottom stage of your filter will help! Good hiding place, too.

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  25. Randini December 2, 19:12

    How about a hand wheat (most non oil seed work) flour grinder. New about $40. Yard sale $5 if they know what it is.

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  26. Mo December 2, 21:39

    I remember as a kid our water came from a well over an acre away. It came to the spring house through the grass ditch.
    Then pumped to the house. Like may other old timers, the way we grew up has well prepared us for this unfortunate foolishness wesee unfolding daily…
    I love coming on here and ready everyone’s thoughts, it’s inspiration to me..thank you all!

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    • Armin December 3, 00:36

      All made possible by Claude, Mo. Forums like this are extremely important. I have learned so much from “talking” with others on this website. And it has changed my mind about so many things. Things I would never have thought of before. Bit of a reality check. And it has strengthened my resolve to be able to do the things that are necessary and in a true SHTF sit. to be able to do the things that are necessary to insure the survival of those I love. No matter how unpalatable. In a true world-wide catastrophe. 7 billion people scrabbling for survival. The mind reels.

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      • Claude Davis December 3, 17:54

        Thanks for that, Armin. One reason I wanted a site like this was that preppers – mostly those who’re new to it – can feel a bit isolated sometimes, and this gives us a place to make contacts and share ideas.

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  27. Mo December 3, 03:19

    It truly is a sad wake up call.
    I feel very bad for those that are not in any way prepared. I think the very hardest thing is going be not helping everyone..
    When I think about it the fact all these people are just going to starve and freeze… but it’s not something I can do anything about..the ones that think I’m just an old woman, are going to have to duck lead..I will protect what’s mine, as we are all going to have to..things will be utter chaos for quite some time I think, until ( I hate to say it) they are no longer a problem… which will happen in the first few months. And that’s gonna bring up a whole nother problem…that I don’t even want to think about but I still must be mentally prepared to confront…
    Well enough of that fun thought, I’m getting a drink and my book…have a good one y’all.

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  28. Linda December 6, 20:26

    subscribe me

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  29. srbenn December 29, 00:42

    Very interesting. My husband and I have many of these items already including a camp stove and oil lamps. However there were some things we were not aware of. Thanks for the great information.

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  30. always Mr. Poole February 5, 16:16

    This article really in-depth, and not for making a casual, simple
    haunted contain. Got to find a happy medium not to mention a program
    to believe in and promote.

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  31. red December 27, 03:24

    this is old stuff? It’s modern enough for me. Good luck finding anything at a yard sale. It gets snapped up by city people to decorate their walls. Most what I do have came from parents and grandparents, including a kraut cutter that was made sometime in the 1800s and is still razor sharp. The wood is American chestnut and the bolts hand-cut. Yep, and it still gets plenty of work without showing a great deal of wear. niio

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  32. Mary September 20, 01:46

    Jack, I read your post with great interest and some (alright, a little) understanding. I just recently began my HAM radio journey. I have been out of school for a few decades and am now kicking my own butt for not paying better attention than I did. Thanks for your informative post. Stay safe out there.

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  33. Katylox November 12, 21:21

    Having small presto cookers will be very valueable. They use less fuel to cook with and can literally tenderize any piece of meat. Cuts your cooking time in half.

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  34. Jay L. Stern December 20, 07:54

    It sounds like everyone writing here has a piece of property large enough to support themselves in one way or another. Consider the apartment dweller, especially in large, multistory buildings. They lack storage space, can’t set up tools — and even if they could, wouldn’t be able to run them without a sustainable source of power. If utilities went down, they would have sanitation problems, food shortages, heating and cooling concerns, etc. Remember that today’s hermetically sealed, multi-family buildings were not designed to withstand long-term emergency situations. These are likely to be the ones who get desperate FAST. What are you going to do? Shoot all of them? Don’t be ridiculous. Claude, how about some articles on how urban dwellers in apartments can at least partially prepare themselves. For example, starting and running community gardens, “off the grid” solar for when they flick the light switch and noting happens, and so forth.

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    • City Chick December 21, 15:54

      Jay L Stern – Not I! I live in the big city. Prepping here is much different than out in the sticks, but as it is there, a lot depends on your location. Many big buildings here are entirely self sufficient. They have dual heating/cooling systems, wood burning fireplaces, roof top gardens, fitness centers, and their own grocery stores. Well managed buildings have generators to back up all systems should power be interrupted. They also have systems in place for water/sewer/trash. Building management/workers live in the building. Lots of owners/tenants are highly skilled medical professionals. Some have offices in the building as well. Prepping is a community thing in the city and it all starts with your location. There are individual things you can do on your own which basically everyone needs to do and can do within there own space. What kind of building, what floor you are on, what are the amenities available to you on/off premise. The possibilities are endless, but you must chose wisely if you chose to be a cliff dweller.

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      • Azriel Collier December 21, 19:13

        The problem with city-dwelling is that in a total economic crash, the infrastructure collapses too. And as cities breed gangs, those who have become targets. And if you are not ready to bug out right away, then you will not be able to bug out later once the gangs have taken over the streets. It is a good idea to have a place outside of the city to go to when the crash comes. Preferred would be those in the “sticks” who are also preppers and are ready to receive you.

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      • Jack December 21, 20:50

        Yes! depends on location.
        Im wondering if you missed something or just didnt go into it..
        Such buildings have rather large electrical needs. (trust me! As a commercial/industrial electrical Im kinda familiar with electrical!). Which brings me to the need to get fresh water.. and remove sewage. Remember; once sewage gets to a low spot you need sewage pumps.
        Fresh water being pumped uphill too. (figure 0.4 pounds per foot of elevation… in addition to whatever the delivery pressure is to be. Typically in a tall building there are pumps every so many floors.
        Other than getting water first to be able to pump second.. and a sewage system. first.. you have a lot of pumps that take considerable power. Generators to handle the needs of the building are not small.. and require fuel. Bigger the building .. the bigger the need, the more fuel it needs.
        When refineries are not operational, where’s the fuel going to come from??
        You need wood for heating your fire? If the generators run out of fuel and you have to pack that wood up.. 6 floors? What a job when the elevator isnt working! Will you have to pack water up to the roof to water that garden??
        Who is hauling that trash out? Are they using a bicycle as there is no fuel… and the trash guys are probably busy trying to take care of their own family and issues…
        These are just a few of the obvious issues.
        I gain NOTHING in suggesting you to read “One Second After”. It does such a great job of making so many of such issues much more plan to see. Would an EMP be absolutely that bad? No one can say for sure. Depends on the location of the detonation, how big it was, how high.. Then, your location relative to it.. and your surrounding to some degree.
        I sound like Im against “cliff dwellers”.. not at all. Just, its a hard row to plow. I grew up in rural America.. but have lived in apartments. .. but not for a few decades.
        Anyway, I see a lot of folks who, when living all their lives in the city just dont realize the “behind the scenes” workings. To many think they are ready because they have a generator an a few gallons of water set aside! Perhaps you are as such.. or perhaps you realize the issues.. just didnt get into them. None the less, I would strongly suggest reading One Second After. Kinda gives an idea of things people never thought to think about.
        Merry Christmas to all!

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    • red December 23, 05:21

      Jay: From what I saw and hear, places like NYC are prepping. Small solar units w/battery backup to run aquaponics units, small livestock, gardens and [parks all over raising food, often edible ornamentals. Cousins in Penna have pick your own farms. Every weekend in season they get swamped with people from the cities buying truckloads of fruit and veggies, eggs, meat, live chickens, pigs and goats. Let someone know you have pastured chickens and you’ll be sold out in one weekend. And, always, people looking for guns and ammo. niio

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      • City Chick December 23, 18:11

        Red – There have always been people who quietly prep in the big city. Now, many more folks have woken-up after events like 9/11 and Sandy. Covid is putting another slant on things so it’s no longer just water, food, flashlights and a heavy blanket! Its all good!

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  35. Jack December 21, 02:33

    Id need to really think of such a situation; there are so many things.. what seems like a problem on steroids is, Im pretty sure, going to be MANY times worse than you might imagine!
    Doing “square foot gardening” (if I have the proper term.. wooden boxes full of soil you can plant your beans, tomato plants, etc. in. Use of old tires for doing potatoes.. where you use shifted soil.. and plant your potatoes in and once the upper of the potatoes grows above surface.. you add another tire and add more sifted soil. Repeat thru the season. Harvesting is sifting the soil. Anything that doesnt go thru is potato! You can produce some produce that way.. for many. Perhaps in colder climate, build a green house.. extend the season. Solar heated water stored inside will retain the days heat, help keep greenhouse warmer thru night.
    But having not only warm water.. but just having water.. is an issue to work out.
    Iv heard of people using rocket stoves in apartments for heat.. I understand the smoke is so clean its not generally detectable. Look into Rocket Mass Heaters.
    One of my issues in Alaska is storing food. For me, canning is very limited. My place is out of reach of utilities. Naturally I use solar power and diesel generator to charge batteries (BTW, Im still building my cabin; this is resolutions Iv worked out from where I am now).. but the issue I see for me is not having the power to run freezers full time.. and the fact that we avoid sugar. Sugar acts as a antifreeze for wet canned goods. Canning without it limits how cold of climate I can store such wet canned goods.
    We bought a Harvest Right freeze drier with the $1500 oil-less vacuum pump.. $4800 out the door for the large model. This allows me to remove the water content of course. The freeze dried foods will soak up moisture out of the air very quickly so must be stored in sealed bags. We use a vacuum sealer, an in making meals (like freeze dried Mountain House back pack meals), we put the appropriate vacuum sealed meal components into a Mylar bag.. and seal it again.
    We have done much dry canning..taking bagged beans, rice, oatmeal, wheat, dried carrots,.. etc. putting them into #10 cans.. adding an O2 absorber in.. and sealing. These canned goods are good for THREE DECADES! 9but, for sugar, do not add O2 absorber! Makes sugar into a huge solid sugar cube!!) We were aloud to use the local LDS facility.. but the government during the Obama administration put a stop to that (but privately still aloud).. but from LDS, cans were only about a buck apiece. Now, shipping them to Alaska puts them at more like $5 each… and getting a #10 can sealer cost about $700. We went to vacuum sealed bags and storing in 5-7 gallon plastic buckets. Some with Gamma lids. I have deeper sealable containers but the many things wont do well on the bottom. Gamma lids are a bit costly so we limit one to each product. Once that bucket is empty, we open a regular lidded bucket and refill the gamma lidded bucket. Multiple removal of regular lid type buckets tears up the contact surfaces. Same with the main lid of the gamma’s so they stay on the same bucket.
    The buckets are to protect my stored foods from rodents and bugs.
    Oxygen is the key that start breaking down the starches, proteins.. and making oils go rancid.. so removal of O2 is essential for extended storage. Iv displaced O2 with Argon (as I have it for my tig welder). However far easier to buy the O2 absorber!.
    OK. This is not exactly where I was planning to go.. but perhaps it will help some… give them ideas.
    Solutions to the “living in an apartment” scenario.. are just as varied as the uniqueness and location of that apartment. My first suggestion is get out of apartments if you possibly can!
    Merry Christmas 2020.

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    • City Chick December 21, 18:52

      Jack – My hats off to you there in AK! That’s one big beautiful place with the best fishing ever. Best tasting tap water too! Been there a couple of times. Just enough to know that there is no way I could make it a go up by you, but that’s not to say I don’t mind coming to visit now and then! Good info you provided though and I will make a note of it for future reference because some of it would also come in handy around here too! Merry Christmas and a Blessed New Year to you!

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    • red December 23, 01:24

      Jack: Got to ask where you are, and why you would need a freezer. My father moved there (post WWII) and worked in a coal mine (lignite or bituminous). he said even in summer, there was ice on the walls and ceiling of the mines, and his landlord used his basement like a freezer. Ice there, as well, fall and spring. Just being nosy. Me? south arizona. Spring started yesterday but it won’t be till April when the snowbirds fly home. niio

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  36. Jack December 24, 03:28

    Well, I live near Wasilla, Alaska.. My property Im working on is NE of Talkeetna. This is is South Central Alaska.
    Weather is funny. a couple years back we had a September that was much more like a December.. and come December it was .. like September! That is, we have subzero temperatures in September and in the 40’s in December!
    Usually, we get spring like weather.. starting in about February or March…. and “greening out” in about May-June… but when it hits, we can go from bare trees to green in days!
    Visited a friend the other day. I stepped out of the car.. it was 4 degrees.. but felt much warmer then our place which was 15 degrees… but more humid. And that’s the nature of the Alaska cold. As it gets colder, the air gets drier. Heck, when it gets cold its impossible to make a snowball. You pick up the snow, try to compress it into a ball.. and when you let go it falls from your hand like so much white dust. Welcome to Alaska!
    We get a beautiful spring.. and as July approaches we gets rainy.. and humidity. August is probably our wettest month. September is a coin toss. October goes from a moderate temperature into a sub-freezing temperatures. By end of November we are getting into our cold season and darkness is falling about 7-8 pm.
    Sunset here is different. Being this far north, unlike Californica where the sun drops on the horizon and sinks.. here is “slices”… Warmer months, when it “touches” the horizon i the west.. it wont disappear until it is in the North West. … about an hour later. In early May the sun is still in full light at 2230 (10:30pm)(and nearly midnight a couple weeks later!). I can read Fur, Fish, & Game on the porch at 1am with ZERO artificial lighting.
    The “slicing” of the sun.. doesnt really allow it to go away completely.. the mountains in the north are back lit in orange for a few hours.. then it starts peaking over them in the east… Depending on where you are at, determines the time of sunrise. We live surrounded by mountains. Palmer has the Chugiak’s immediately to the east.. and for a hundred miles or so to the north. They also go south for about a hundred miles. There is a valley between them and the Talkeetna’s north of Wasilla/Palmer and the Alaska range kind of runs into it.(running from the south end.. from.. I guess it would be Dillingham north thru Mt. McKinley.. and beyond.. about even with Fairbanks, 350 miles north of us)… and these tend to wrap around us here in the Mat-su (Matanuska-Susitna) valley. These mountains shoot to thousands of feet up directly from sea level. They have different looks.
    Alaska is also known as “the Greatland”. For very good reason. It is not unusual to see friends in Faribanks who might be your neighbor.
    Kind of cut and fit with some of this.. but kind of what people to have some knowledge of AK.
    We do get ferocious winds sometimes, mostly seasonally here in the Valley.
    So far as no need of a freezer.. Well, I advocate an outside shed for a freezer in Alaska or somewhere cold… Placing a freezer inside is a waste of energy. First understand freezers, ilk DO NOT MAKE THINGS COLD. They remove heat and release it outside the insulated box. The box is insulated to keep the heat from OUTSIDE from getting inside If your food inside the freezer is at say zero degrees .. and its zero degrees OUTSIDE the freezer.. there is no warmer air to bring the food inside warmer. Heck, you could leave the freezer door open! Wouldnt matter. So, your freezer never gets a call to turn it on. This can go on for most of the winter! And this works for me as winter is the hardest time to get solar energy. Having freezers INSIDE, you are working to heat the outside at an expense.. so you can spend your energy dollar trying to keep the INSIDE of the freezer cold! What a circle of wasted energy!
    As for underground natural “freezers” Not all places have permafrost. Or Simi-permafrost. Before buying my property I looked a lot at permafrost maps.. I have/had many concerns.. trying to dig in permafrost is not fun. Gardening… wanting to have pressurized water and a drain field.. doesnt work in permafrost. There are other systems/options but expensive and ugly.
    Water line options… dont want to require power running indefinitely in a limited power location! It doesnt take much.. running full time.. to leave you with no electricity. Im going to run my water line inside a larger pump with supports to it keeps the line near center.. but not a solid support.. so I can pass air around the water line. This outside coaxial pipe is again coaxial in same manner in a larger yet pipe. This allows me to “pump” warm cabin air from the water line where it comes into my basement.. down along the water pipe.. to the well, then return between the outer pipe and the middle pipe. A little insulation around the outside pump would go a long way. This is my solution for preventing a freeze up. I plan to run a long heat tape along the water pipe.. If I leave for a time I can use it them. It will use power.. but if Im gone my power needs for the cabin are minimum.
    So Red, where is your friend at in Alaska??

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    • red December 24, 20:53

      Jack: Dad left there in the early 50s. He always wanted to go back, but too much family responsibility to do so.

      Our operation is opposite yours in a lot of ways. Come May or June, it’s hitting over 100 and most things die in the heat and wind.

      One of the best family rabbitries I’ve seen here is a woman who had a small herd of California white move into her yard. they feed in the brush and come home at night, where she feeds them treats but nothing else. She livetraps what she wants and lets the rest alone. Even with all the predators around, from hawks to a mountain lion, the adults maintain their numbers.

      Gardening is year-long is done right. Never work animals, especially horses, when the temps hit mid-80s. Always keep an eye out for what’s coming ripe like cactus and mesquite, ironwood beans, Rush Peas, and so on. A pasture is not grass, at least not here. Mesquite, maple, and cactus are.

      Never drink from a spring. You don’t know what my have used it for a toilet, and here, germs don’t die easily as long as they have moisture. There’s several gonorrhea springs near Phoenix, and arsenic wells are always possible.

      Keep up the good job and may you prosper in the new year. niio, walk in beauty

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