The Most Important Thing That Is Missing From Your Stockpile

Rich M.
By Rich M. June 26, 2020 08:40

The Most Important Thing That Is Missing From Your Stockpile

As you’ve built your stockpile, I’m sure you’ve seen countless articles which made recommendations to you. We all see those articles and we all read them, just to be sure that we haven’t missed something important. But no matter how good our stockpile gets, there’s always room for improvement. Specifically, there’s room for the items we forgot.

I don’t know about you, but I’m constantly reviewing my stockpile, trying to find the things I’ve missed. The recent pandemic is an ideal example. When the Ebola outbreak happened in 2014, I made sure to buy PPE and disinfectants, in case it managed to come across the ocean.

While we did have a few cases here in the US, we never really had an outbreak. So I kept those supplies and thought I was good, until COVID-19 came along and I found that I didn’t have enough PPE or disinfectants and the stores ran out.

I’ll be ready for the next pandemic though, or the next phase of this one, whichever comes first.  Now that those items are back in stock, I’ve made sure that I’m stocked up on them. But what else am I missing? That is the question.

If I was to look for the things most likely to be missing from someone’s stockpile, these are the places I’d look:

A First Investment Worth Making

Ok, maybe this isn’t something that you’ve ever thought of having in your stockpile. But it’s there, nevertheless. Or, should I say that all that you have is in your stockpile. The question then becomes, is that enough?

Survival is an all-encompassing task, when the time comes. But the more experience you have, the easier it becomes. Really, that’s just like anything else in life. The more you do it, the more experience you gain and the more experience you gain, the easier it is to do and the better results you get.

The problem is that our day-to-day lives don’t normally lead us to do the same tasks necessary for survival. So we have to be deliberate about them, if we want to gain experience. That means making time in your schedule and using that time to practice your survival skills. It’s an investment worth making.

A Second Important Thing To Have

Yeah, this is another one of those that most people don’t think of having in their stockpile; but just like experience, it’s essential. Actually, confidence comes with experience. That’s why elite military units have a lot of confidence. They know how well they’re trained and how well they can perform their work. That makes them confident and that confidence helps them stay alive.

You and I need that same level of confidence. Knowing that we will survive will help us through the hard times, so that we can survive. If we’re unsure of ourselves, it’s much too easy to give up. But that confidence will motivate us to power through and do everything we need to do.

One More Non-Physical Item

There’s no such thing as too many survival skills. But that’s really not why I put this here. Yes, we need to have our survival skills down pat; but that’s not really what I’m talking about here. I’m more referring to the kinds of skills which make us self-sufficient, rather than basic survival skills. I assume you’ve already got those down pat.

But what are you going to do, when you need things and can’t just go out to buy them? Those are the kind of skills I’m talking about. I guess you’d call them old-time trade skills and/or homesteading skills. I’ve been working on learning as many of those as I can, over the last few years. When push comes to shove and I can’t buy a pair of shoes or even the leather to make them, I want to be able to take care of that myself.

Nutritious Food

There was some teaching going around the prepping and survival community a few years ago, saying to stockpile whatever foods you like. Considering that most of us don’t eat a very healthy diet, that’s dangerous. I’ve also seen a number of food lists, showing people how to build a survival pantry for $200 or something like that. Of course, they do that by stockpiling mostly carbohydrates, ignoring the other nutrients we need.

You can get by for about 30 days on a survival diet that’s high in carbs, fats and protein, but that’s about it. If you go any farther than that, you’ll run the risk of denying your body essential nutrients that it needs to have, in order to maintain its health. So if you’ve got one of those $200 stockpiles, I highly recommend adding a bunch of canned goods to it, especially vegetables and meats. Make sure that everything you have is packaged to last a good 20 years, so that it will be ready when you need it.

Vitamins

Speaking of nutrition, here’s something I rarely see anyone put in their survival stockpile: vitamins. Granted, good vitamins are expensive, so I can see why it’s something that most people put off. But if you’re going to be in a long-term survival situation, those vitamins just might be what you need to keep yourself alive and healthy.

Even a low-cost vitamin is better than nothing. But if you can afford the good ones, then I’d recommend spending the extra money. Start slowly, just like you did with everything else in your stockpile, and build your stock of vitamins up slowly.

Related: How to Make Bannock the Survival Food Rich in Vitamin C

You Can Never Have Too Much Of This

If there’s any one thing I see missing in most people’s stockpile, more than anything else, it’s salt. I’m not talking about having a couple of those 26 oz. round containers of salt, I’m talking about hundreds of pounds of it. If you’re ever in a long-term survival situation, you’re going to need lots of it.

Salt is used in almost every form of food preservation, from canning, to smoking, to dehydrating. So if you’re planning on growing or hunting your own food in a post-disaster world, you’re going to need a lot of salt. How much salt do you need to smoke an entire steer? How much to make salt fish? Unless you have a salt mine or salt lick available to you, you’re probably going to be in trouble.

I’m fortunate, in that I live on the coast. So I can always extract salt from the ocean by allowing salt water to evaporate. But that’s a lengthy process. So, while I’m planning on using it, I’ve still got a couple of hundred pounds of salt stashed away in five gallon buckets.

Additional Parts

If you’ve got something that you’re depending on using in a post-disaster world, you’d better be ready to repair it. I don’t care if we’re talking about your favorite gun or the pressure pump for your Coleman lantern. If it can break, then you have to assume that it will sometime.

I make it a habit to buy repair parts for a wide variety of things, shortly after buying them. As an engineer, I’m accustomed to looking at things and seeing what parts are likely to cause problems. So I buy power switches, bearings, belts, springs, pins and filters all the time, filling up a cabinet in my workshop with those parts. If I have to use something in there to make a repair, I make sure I replace it; usually with two, just to be sure.

Related: Survival Uses for Your Good Old Leather Belt

Lumber & Hardware

Speaking of fixing things, are you ready to repair your home? Many natural disaster scenarios can cause serious damage to your home and you may not be able to get it repaired right away. I’ve seen tarps on roofs for six to nine months after a hail storm, just because it took that long for the local roofing companies to get around to all the houses they had to repair.

Not only are you going to have to make repairs, there’s a good chance that you’re going to have to make other useful things; things that you don’t need now, but you’ll find you need in a post-disaster world.

Take cooking, for example. We all cook in our kitchens now, but we might find ourselves cooking outside, over a fire. Are you ready for that? Do you have a table out by your grille, which you can use when you’re cooking? Do you have a lamp stand, so that you can get the best out of whatever lantern you’re going to be using?

Not only do you need the lumber and hardware to do these things, you need to make sure you have manual tools to work with. We’re all so accustomed to using power tools, that we’re going to be in trouble when we have to drill a hole without our cordless drill. Make sure you’ve got at least the basics and that you know how to use them.

When You Need To Keep Quiet

I’m a gun buff, but I recognize the limits of handguns and rifles. There are times when they aren’t the ideal thing to use, like when you need stealth. Even with a really good suppressor on the gun, it’s going to be heard from a long way.

The bow has survived for millennia because it is such a good weapon. It is effective for both hunting and fighting. While it can’t really hold a candle up to a good rifle for distance and firepower, it’s probably the next best thing. Not only that, but you can reuse arrows and make your own, if you have to.

Yes, it takes time to learn to use a bow properly and accurately. But it’s time well spent. Besides, shooting a bow is just about as much fun as shooting a gun, and you can do it in your backyard. Try that with your guns and you’ll probably be getting a visit from the boys in blue.

One More Important Thing

Fuel is one of those things I see people short-changing themselves on all the time. I don’t care if we’re talking about gasoline for their chainsaw and other tools or firewood to heat their homes. For that matter, they might have oil lamps, but only a couple of bottles of oil.

If you’re planning on heating your home with wood, then you’d better plan on four to six cords of wood to get you through the winter. That’s good hardwood too, not pine. If you want to try to use pine (not something I recommend), you’d better count on needing twice that.

Gasoline is hard to store, because the most volatile hydrocarbons evaporate first, reducing the effectiveness of the fuel. It’s normally only good for about six months or 12 months if you add a fuel extender to it. But that doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t store gasoline. It’s just a matter of figuring out how to do so effectively.

I keep a 55 gallon drum of gasoline in my garden shed, laid on its side on a steel rack I built for it. That allows me to fill it easily through the larger bung hole and siphon off gas through a brass valve through the small bung hole (which is located at the bottom). I keep my gasoline fresh by siphoning off a take full every month and burning it in my car. I then replace that fuel with fresh gas, which means that I replace everything in the drum about every four months.

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Rich M.
By Rich M. June 26, 2020 08:40
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63 Comments

  1. tnandy June 26, 11:37

    Gasoline will store in sealed (no vent) 55gal drums for up to 6 years if you use PRI-G, maybe longer, but I’ve done 6yrs and it runs just fine. Just make SURE you use PRI product, not Seafoam, not Stabil…..neither of them come close to PRI. (because I tried both of those others and they are good for maybe a year)

    Hardwood is the best firewood, but ALL wood contains the same BTU value per pound. Hardwood is better because the wood is usually denser, so you get more pounds in a smaller volume. If buying by volume, like a cord, you get more BTU per unit with hardwood.

    But if pine (or other softwoods) is what you have, pine is what you burn. I happen to live in the middle of the Appalachian Hardwood Belt, so my ‘go to’ woods are hickory and oak….but many live in areas where softwoods (pine/sprue/fir) are all they have.

    Despite the long running old wives tale that pine will produce more creosote, that is not true, and was proven in a University of Wisconsin study in the 70’s. Creosote is a factor of the moisture content of the wood AND the amount of air used to burn it. Oak will produce a world of creosote if burned too wet and the air cranked down on a stove to “simmer”.

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    • Consco June 26, 13:03

      I need to find that study about creosote buildup. All of my neighbors in WA state say we will get that buildup if we burn too much of the local wood supply. I agree that it needs to be dried/seasoned for sure.
      Thanks for the info

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    • lattelady9 June 26, 13:44

      What is PRI-G??? And what kind of drums do you use??

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      • left coast chuck June 27, 00:38

        Pri-G is a gasoline preservative. There are several on the market but it seems the consensus says that Pri-G is the best product. Pri-D is for diesel.

        One can purchase 55 gallon steel drums with lids. Usually the spigots that were described are extra. U-Line sells new 55 gallon drums. Sometimes one can purchase used 55 gallon drums. If there is a fairly large automotive repair shop near you, you might inquire of them if they get petroleum products in 55 gallon drums and if they are willing to let you acquire however many you need. I would go to U-Line or other retailers of 55 gallon drums which you can find on line and see how much a new drum costs and that will give you an idea how much a used one is worth. Keep in mind that if it has had something other than gasoline in it it will need to be cleaned of whatever was in it before you put in the gasoline.

        See my post below about possible city or county restrictions on how much gasoline you can store without having to get into special permits or take special precautions regarding its storage.

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  2. Tasha June 26, 14:39

    Ok prepper nerds… hold up! All you think about it yourselves, but what about the females you will be living with. YES, you will! And how about their regular “needs”? I NEVER SEE preppers discuss How to take care of THAT monthly problem in a survival situation! 🤣

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    • linza June 26, 18:06

      Rags, cat tail fluff and anything to make a soft belt. Plastic will also help or bees wax coating on the bottom of the rag. Make a pad shaped tube, line bottom with water prof material and stuff the tube with cat tail fluff or something else that can absorb moisture.

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    • City Chick June 26, 18:35

      We ladies have to learn take care of ourselves here. They generally have no clue as to what we would require or prefer and that should not be held against them. That said, I do believe that they do stock these types of products for really bad wounds and bloody noses. Years ago my military officer husband wanted me to pack his bag for tour. I told him no way! Anything you need to pack let me know and I will get it. Write a list and consider it done. No way was I gonna be responsible if he didn’t have what he needed! How was I to know what that would be. Two rules in my house. First you pack your own bag. Second, you carry it!

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      • Scooter June 26, 22:03

        Ladies – Look into using a menstrual cup – washable, re-usable. Lots of types available, you just need to experiment to find one that is comfortable.

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        • Tasha June 27, 17:38

          My only issue with the menstrual cup is longevity. Sure, I can get one, sure I can use it. But it WILL break down. It WILL NOT last forever. Dunno about you ladies, but I’m all for surviving for DECADES, not years! Time to look up some old native people tricks….

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        • kim June 30, 15:28

          great way to get a bacterial infection.. NO

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    • Gail June 26, 21:41

      Purchase Menstrual cups. They hold more than a tampon & come in several sizes. There are also re-washable fabric pads that can be purchased that you can stash to use when your store bought supplies are exhausted.

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      • left coast chuck June 26, 21:54

        Good suggestion, Gail. I was going to suggest menstrual cups also.

        Regular Kotex type napkins can be washed out and reused. It is only in the late 20th century that womenfolk started disposing of the items they used during their monthly cycle. It may not be appealing, but people used to wash out cloth diapers too and that is really not too appealing either. My wife and I both washed out cloth diapers for both our kids. We were too poor to be able to afford diaper service.

        There were home delivery serviced that picked up soild diapers and delivered freshly laundered ones for the folks who could afford the service. If one were poor, mother and sometimes father did dirty diaper duty.

        For folks who may be of child-bearing age a supply of cloth diapers will certainly be welcome in the event of a new addition to the family. One might consider baby bottles and nipples. The nipples will have to be stored in a cool dry place (remember the article just this past week about meds?) If the nipples have deteriorated due to age, a cloth diaper can be dipped in whatever liquid diet the infant is on to allow the infant to suck the milk from the diaper (after it is cleaned and boiled.)

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    • Govtgirl June 27, 10:57

      When I lived in tie-dyed Eugene OR there were a number of stores that sold reusable cloths for that. Always thought it was gross, but if SHTF then disposable pads, and things like Pampers will have to go by the wayside. Also, whenever I see an ad for samples for pads or disposable diapers, I get one. Terrific bandages.

      Reply to this comment
  3. left coast chuck June 26, 14:57

    If someone is storing 55 gallons of gasoline on their property in a drum, if they are in any urban area at all, they are probably in violation of some ordinance limiting the amount of gasoline that can be stored.

    It’s all well and good to ignore laws if you know the full extent of that law and the consequences of violating it. Then you can make a judgment about whether the benefit of violation is worth the possible consequences.

    If you don’t know the exact wording of a law and the consequences of violating that law, then you are flying blind.

    With that preamble, I would suggest if you are going to store a 55 gallon drum of gasoline on your property you had better check local ordinances first to see if you can do that. Don’t just ask some fireman or policeman. Dig around yourself, look through the county ordinances or city ordinances if you live in town limits. If you can’t find anything or you don’t know how to wade through the verbiage of arcane laws, pay a lawyer to research it for you. It will be worth the investment to pay a lawyer $500 to save a $10,000 fine.

    The next thing you have to do is to research your home owners policy to see what it has to say about storing flammables on your property. If there are exclusions in your policy against storage of flammables, make sure you either get a rider to cover it or don’t store the flammables. You don’t want to have a fire and find out that your insurance policy specifically excluded storing more than 20 gallons of flammables (in total: paint thinner, alcohol, perhaps even paint, insecticides if they are flammable) on your property. If there is an exclusion, you are not covered.

    Always remember, the insurance company no matter what they say about good hands or whatever else is in the ad, is not in the business of paying claims. They are in the business of selling policies. Paying claims is a cost of doing business. Every business tries its best to reduce cost of doing business. The insurance industry is no different.

    It doesn’t matter what the TV ad says, the insurance policy is the binding legal document and the insurance company knows every single word in it.

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    • Older Prepper June 26, 18:54

      OH, Chuck. This is about survival. you think people will be following laws?

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      • left coast chuck June 26, 21:43

        After the end of the world, perhaps not, but up until that happens, as I tried to point out in my post which you apparently missed, if you are going to ignore the laws it behooves you to know what you are ignoring.

        Ignorance of the law is not bliss. You are held liable even if you had no clue that you weren’t allowed to store 55 gallons of gasoline in a metal tank in a storage shed on your property and the fine is $5,000.00.

        You can choose to ignore it or not, but my suggestion is to find out what the downside is of ignoring that prohibition. Of course one can say, “Well, people ignore it all the time.”

        True and my rejoinder is “People rob banks every day too. It’s a great way to pick up some quick cash. It is also important to know what the downside is if you are going to pick up cash that way.”

        I do know that many locales have a maximum amount of gasoline that one may store without meeting stringent fire regulations. There are far too many cities and counties in the U.S. for me to enumerate which ones have ordinances and which do not. You have to do your own research. It also behoves you to research your insurance policy.

        Of course, after the EOTW it won’t matter what your policy says, you won’t have any coverage anyway but before that event it would be nice to know that if your house happened to burn down in, say, a wildfire, you would still have coverage and it wouldn’t be denied because you had more flammables than your policy allowed.

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        • red June 27, 06:14

          chuck: It’s hard to get a lot of people to obey the law now. It’s a game I used to play, as well, to see how far I could push till it started to get hot. The cure was I got older and got some wisdom. Given that kids are mollycoddled and called children till they’re 18, always expect the worse. niio

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          • left coast chuck June 28, 19:12

            Red: Ignoring bureaucratic dictates is fine and dandy and I am the last one who would suggest that we live in such a hide-bound, restricted way. However, that said, I have always believed that I should know the downside to such free-style living. In order to know what the downside is, I have to know what the bureaucratese says, hence reading the particular bureaucratic folderol for myself. I learned many years ago not to trust to somebody else’s interpretation of what some rule said unless that somebody else had particular training in how to interpret the special language used by bureaucrats and politicians everywhere to keep the intent of their machinations obscure. That somebody would be an enrolled tax agent, perhaps a CPA, but not all CPAs are as conversant with taxes as an enrolled agent and finally, the group we love to hate, attorneys. I always liken attorneys to hired guns. You don’t want your daughter marrying a professional hit man, but when you need a hit man, you want the best in the business. It doesn’t matter if he is butt ugly, has bad manners and dresses poorly. All you care about is if he can do the job for which he was hired. Same thing for attorneys. You might not want your daughter to marry one and you don’t care if he has a nasty disposition and is abrupt and rude if he can get the job done.

            So, I think my advice is valid. We all have heard that various political bodies may have rules about how much gasoline one may store on one’s own property without permits and special fire protection, etc., Armed with that knowledge, I think it behooves the prudent prepper to know what the rules are in his particular locale and what the downside to not observing those rules may be. As peppers we want to avoid bureaucratic minions tromping over our real estate, poking their noses where they shouldn’t be poked. In my opinion knowing what the rule are, helps one avoid such intrusions.

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            • red June 29, 04:04

              chuck: I never doubted you. I’m not about to break the law like some weak-will anarchist. I obey because I was taught to respect the rule of law. I have commendations from a wide variety of police organizations for that, and for helping people to obey. One bad cop does not make all rotten. keep writing, it’s always good. niio

              Reply to this comment
  4. left coast chuck June 26, 15:09

    Rich speaks casually about manufacturing salt from sea water like it is no big deal. I recently watched a 45 minute program on NHK about a man who is still making salt by evaporating sea water. It is hard work. You just don’t put some ocean water in a bucket or pan and let it sit in the sun. The water has to be strained first, otherwise you get all the junk that is in the sea water in your salt. He is taking ocean water from a remote region of Japan, so the water doesn’t have the vast amounts of pollution present in the ocean off Tokyo/Yokohama or Kobe. But it still needs to be purified before it is usable.

    If your survival plan includes getting salt from the sea, I would strongly recommend that you not wait until the end of the world to get into salt production. I would recommend that you start gathering literature now in hard copy on how to produce clean salt. Those are the operative words, clean salt from ocean water.

    Keep in mind after an EOTW event, the ocean is going to become the cesspool it was before we started cleaning up our act and not dumping everything into the river that ran into the ocean.

    Especially after an EOTW event, the oceans off any group of people are going to be highly polluted. That water is going to have to be treated just like water from a lake or a river. People will revert to the easiest method — throw it in the river or lake or ocean.

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    • red June 27, 06:19

      chuck: Most are polluted now. But, the old-fashioned way of making salt is still by evaporation, something pretty easy in a desert or in winter in colder areas; and two, boil it down. Definitely yes, filter it. On a trip to Jersey shore, we brought back gallons of sea water for a friend’s sweat lodge (very healing). He stored it near the shack and within weeks it had a lot of unpleasant things growing in it. The more pollution, the more growth. I know of people who will add a cup of sea water to a stew instead of wasting salt. niio

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      • left coast chuck June 28, 03:02

        Surfers on the left coast regularly get skin and ear infections from surfing in the salt water off the coast of the PDRK.

        The Hyperion sewage treatment plant, were it owned by a private company would have been shut down years ago and all the corporate officers sentenced to life imprisonment for the number of times it has dumped raw effluent into the bay it fronts on.

        People fish off the coast for halibut and sand dabs. There is no way I would eat any fish caught less than twenty miles off the coast, especially bottom fish. All the rivers which are actually sewers and all the street storm drains all dump in the ocean. They even mark them that they drain to the ocean. Paint being much cheaper than routing the sewers to a treatment plant where it is at least filtered before being dumped in the ocean.

        Every time there is a rain storm public officials warn folks not to go in the ocean because all the crap that has gathered between rain storms is washed into the ocean along with all the dog and other animal droppings, yard chemicals, whatever chemicals drip on the roads from motor vehicles, whatever trash is dumped into the barrancas and open channels is all washed down into the ocean after a rain storm. We haven’t advanced past 14th century Europe in that regard.

        To use untreated ocean water in lieu of salt — braver or dumber man than I, Gunga Din. My EOTW scenario involves using filtered, boiled vigorously ocean water for purposes other than cooking or drinking, but it certainly is going to be filtered and boiled before it touches anything that I own.

        Just merely allowing the ocean water to evaporate in the sunlight isn’t going to take care of everything we dump into the ocean these days. Back when the salt flats around San Francisco were being used for salt production we weren’t dumping oregano-phosphates into the ocean. We weren’t dumping esoteric heavy metals and other poisonous elemental materials into the ocean. While theoretically we are not dumping radioactive materials into the ocean, It wouldn’t surprise me to find high concentrations of radioactivity in certain locales in the ocean off the left coast.

        So while ocean water in the San Francisco Bay was used to make salt in huge evaporation ponds, it is my opinion today that making use of salt produced by that means today would soon result in some interesting biological problems that couldn’t be addressed by the medical facilities that would be available after the EOTW.

        Especially after the EOTW when all the sewage plants will be shut down, there will be fires with the release of who knows what chemicals, folks will be resorting to throwing anything and everything into the ocean, so that for a few years after a civilization ending event, most water sources will have to be treated massively in order to be drinkable. That includes the ocean water. Perhaps some isolated stretches will be all right to use, but if they are that isolated, folks won’t be around.

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        • red June 28, 18:03

          chuck: You said it! Just on what’s downstream of all those tent cities is bad enough. Morton Salt sold off it’s property in sou kali and moved. Even filtered the water was bad. One point against using evaporation to make fresh water for sou kali is that they would have to go too far off shores to find ‘clean’ water to use. there is talk of condensing steam from geo-thermal plants, which was super heated, but donno if that would destroy the chemicals found in kali’s seas..

          People who use sea water use it from uninhabited areas. A cousin’s wife, a Hawaiian, uses it when she visits family on Nihau. It’s traditional to never take water from below the village 🙂 I have had it, and seen in used as a brine (when cooked down). With everything, caution is wisdom. Stay wise. We love your posts. niio

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        • Govtgirl June 29, 09:41

          Where I live, small town in Puget Sound area, there are blue enamel lozenges affixed to top of curb near drains with a wave symbol to remind you that it drains directly into the water which means any lawn treatments, etc. go into the water. Washing your car in your driveway is frowned on. So it is not just big cities that do that.
          I did a quick check on natural sources for salt and there were mainly two-oceans and deposits near saline waters. Looked at substitutes and there wasn’t much. Several sources mentioned that there are small amounts of salt in some veggies and even fruits but not much. I have hbp so tried once to cut out all salt and felt very ill.
          Did a cursory check on salt substitutes and it was not good. Potassium chloride seems to be main one and it is worse for you than salt.
          Native American techniques like smoking and drying thin strips in sun seemed the best way for meat preservation, but what to do about salt needed for health?
          So, I guess those two cylinders and one box of kosher are woefully inadequate. Obviously I had not looked further than salt as a basic seasoning.
          Also we have small boat and fish, but have never pulled a Home Depot bucket of water out and brought it back to see how much salt it yielded. Will check out YouTube on desalinization techniques and yields. Thanks for the heads up on this. Cheap and desirable bartering commodity.

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          • red June 29, 13:45

            Gov: Texas has salt springs and salt deposits! Most American Indians cannot tolerate a lot of salt. Bean plants were burned and the ashes used for the potassium and flavoring, or hardwood ashes. When making kraut, no salt was used, only clean water (I use distilled). Pickles can be fermented without salt, but need more care and then have to be canned. Summer (salt free) kraut is usually frozen now day.
            Like chuck said, that salt form the sound will be dirty no matter what you do. Sea water is 3.5%, so you’ll get about 4 oz of salt per gallon. That’s why a pound of salt 200 years back cost a small fortune.
            A lot of plants like some salt. Celery and so on. Ask a dietitian about it. Most sea food is high in salt, and even landlocked salmon accumulate it. niio

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            • Govtgirl June 30, 04:11

              Very interesting, red. And here we’ve been trying to eat more fish, usually salmon. Guess I’ll move where we can lake fish and catch my favorite, blue gill.

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              • red June 30, 06:18

                Gov: Bluegills, carp, and so on. Carp are best smoked. Tastes like smoked salmon , but lighter in color. BTW, mesquite is one of the best for that, along with pecan wood 🙂 niio

                Reply to this comment
  5. Curious June 26, 15:52

    Regarding the ‘monthly needs’ of women, one good idea is to save your soft cotton worn clothing and sew some “pad-like”
    rectanges with open ends that can be filled with folded wool. The wool can be removed and rinsed separately to make sure both cotton covering and wool are thoroughly cleaned between uses. Remember the old soft wool diaper covers from the 80s? They would work well as the inserts.
    When all else fails, moss will work as well, and is still used by rural women in india….they just wrap a soft piece of cloth around the moss before use and toss the moss afterward.
    I am sure there are other clever methods that women used before today’s pads and tampons became ubiquitous. Regarding menstrual pain and cramping, white willow bark tea was the most popular herb for this use and can be made into a tincture for long term storage. Worth keeping around for other pain alleviation too. When properly prepared, herbal tinctures and extracts can last for many years – I still use some of mine that have lasted more than 10 years with no problem. Just keep them in a tightly closed dark glass container with a normal lid. Rubber stoppers go bad after a while, so for long term storage you need to store the dropper assembly separately.

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    • jim June 26, 22:11

      there is a reason it was called “being on the rag” about mortified my mom when we went to grandmas and i asked what those rags were hangin over there…. i was 3 lol

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  6. Clergylady June 26, 16:43

    Feminine products can bet bought ahead and stored in a dry area out of direct sunlight for years. Sunlight will degrade the packaging with time. There are natural things women have used for centuries. They call it being on the rag for a reason. Absorbent rags were used, washed, and reused before the modern products were available. Absorbent thick dry mosses were before that. Even dried green pond sum has been used. Long hanging southern tree moss. Many items have been used. If you want modern products then get stocked up and store in dry containers.

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    • Govtgirl June 30, 04:22

      Clergy lady! Finally! I have always believed that there is a purpose for everything God put on this earth, but hadn’t come up with one for kudzu. Thank you!

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      • red June 30, 06:00

        Gov: Pardon me for butting in, but kudzu is a good source of greens and the root is starch.As well as other uses, of course! Cousins in the southeast said many a time during the Depression (FDR’s and Carter’s) that was all they had to live on, with a few rabbits and squirrels. niio

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        • Govtgirl July 1, 09:37

          Please do butt in, red. I never knew that! We lived in Florida for a long time and the kudzu was so pervasive you felt like you’d be covered over if you just stopped a moment.

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          • red July 2, 10:29

            Gov: We play the cards we’re dealt. I saw and was shocked when heading down to Ft. Jackson decades ago. Cousins in NC are grazing livestock on it, and it’s as good as alfalfa, without the alkaloids that can cause kidney damage. Hogs will root it out as deep as they can dig and fatten on it. Poultry love. It was a major mistake bringing it into the country, but the West suffers more from that dem stupidity. Look on it as a sort of blessing, and see the good, as well as the damage. niio

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            • Govtgirl July 3, 08:38

              Thanks, red. Forgot my own rule that God placed everything on this planet for a reason. Your response prompted me to look up scotch broom, another plant I thought was useless and was amazed that it has some medicinal properties. Need to see the possibilities.

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  7. Clergylady June 26, 16:54

    By the way some feminine products are also good for first aid. I keep small tampons in the first aid bug out bag. I’ve seen them used for a bloody broken nose. Even with other wounds they are quite absorbent. Pads can be used with very bloody wounds as pressure bandages to help stop heavy bleeding. I have a package with the suture kits and scalpel blades.

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  8. DannySea June 26, 17:07

    There is a generalized, but vague insinuation about lumber, but no added sage words: fasteners.
    I stock several pounds each of miscellaneous nails and screws . I even stock a half dozen of the more common galvanized sizes of nails in my BOB bag. These I tape together in a bundle. It keeps them together and from putting holes in my bag, as well as rattling around when stealth may be an issue.
    Other hardware to consider are pulleys and hooks of every shape and size. But these must be rust resistant, also.
    And then don’t forget about PVC pipe and fittings for your future homestead. Multiple sizes for both water supply and waste lines. Don’t forget about shutoffs and other fittings. AND plenty of cleaner and glue!
    And as a plumbing sub category, pick up a double female hose fitting, or if you are on a budget, then a clothes washer hose as it is already set up. You will need hose washers by the container-full. And of course extra water hoses (keep all pvc and hoses in a dark place, as they are not UV resistant. And don’t forget about under-sink shutoffs and if you have a running water regular toilet, then you will need a couple water fill valve kits for your specific toilet.
    Use the same kind of psyche when you think about electrics. It does not matter how off-grid you are, you will need wiring, bulbs, switches, breakers, etc.
    A rule of thumb is to walk the big box stores. The electrics, plumbing, etc. are all in their respective departments. Ask yourself, DO I NEED THAT? And budget accordingly. You will be served best by multiple trips to these stores, so no matter your budget keep addressing the same category as mentioned above.
    You will be surprised at what you can find on eBay and Amazon. Have the time to shop online, but no loot at the moment? Put it on a list. The site will keep track of item(s), and will tell you if item is no longer available. Do not eliminate these items, as they are a “don’t forget” item(s), more than a specific brand.

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    • Luckywaterrat June 28, 16:00

      Great comment! Several stores carry little kits of various sizes (nuts & bots, screws, washers, springs, etc.), and of course the big box stores carry the big boxes of various size screws. I always have tons around, so no matter what project or repair pops up, I usually “go shopping” in my garage.

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      • Govtgirl June 29, 09:54

        Hi, Luckywaterrat,
        This is an eye opener. My husband has all these boxes with teeny drawers filled with what I thought was junk. Always thought it was silly. Much easier to hand me a nut and send me down to the hardware store for that 2″ bolt. Never thought of it as an important resource.

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  9. red June 26, 18:08

    Yo, thanks for this, Rich!

    Ebola: Not for lack of trying. We did, though almost have an epidemic of Marburg Ebola from an animal handling facility in Virginia. A cousin said it was fascinating the way all those simians just melted inside and crashed. She’s a forensic scientist and that’s how she is. But, in Marburg, GR, 25% death rate, not the 100% here the Dems were hoping for. They do love a crisis.

    Confidence: “Let not your hearts be troubled.” The Bible is the original book of psychology and was deeply studied by Freud and Jung in college. Even if a non-believer, it still makes a great study guide to how low–and yet how great–we can get. If a believer, then if you allow yourself to be afraid, then you sin against yourself and God.

    Trading Skills: This is considered a game in most nations and our own ancestors loved it. When a scammer contacts you, play along and (never giving any real info!) you can scam them. It hones your skills working against masters of the game. They can make some used car salesmen and politicians we’ve known look humane. I have two on the line now, now down to almost pleading for a few bucks. N matter how badly you want it, remember, you do not need it! Maybe it’s junk. Even if gold plated and rare, it’s junk. Not bad junk, interesting junk, but something you can live without. Go too far, you might lose it, but need it and he sees, you just blew your last handful of beans on a dead cow, Jack.

    Good Nutrition: Obey your body’s needs or you wind up eating ‘reindeer salad.’ No, you do not want to know what that is, but you can live on it, but it tastes like caca–please excuse my dirty Spanish. Pearl S Buck wrote about a famine in China where a farm family was reduced to eating it to survive, and they stayed healthy on it. Must be cooked! Fresh animal fat usually has all you need, but often not enough.

    Vitamins: And that’s why we stockpile vitamins. Dried moringa and a few other plants are high enough drying doesn’t destroy the vitamins. Yeast, dead, in wine and beer are loaded with B vitamins. Most veggies are high in A and C; D comes from the sun, but you need calcium and phosphorus to make it work. Both come from bones and dairy. And reindeer salad, of course.

    Spares: Always buy a spare part to have in the back of the closet. Stockpile! When buying new tires, I keep the best one and give the others away. Do this often, and you have a fair set of spare tires, and good will from decent folks. Do good or do bad, somehow, some way, you will be repaid in kind.

    Lumber et al: Ancients built cities with wood and stone tools and sheer willpower. Many of these places are still standing. Have spare hand tools always! I ‘collect’ old tools that still have some life in them. Very often, people give them to me because they’re junk. A double bit ax with a chip out of it and broken handle. Hatchets. Sledgehammers, tools, rusty cast iron, old canning jars. I’ve had livestock offered to me because the owner had no idea how to handle fractious animals. A very expensive large fish tank for a few dollars. The owner didn’t tell me his fish died of a fungal disease. When we got some feeder fish for the kids to goggle over, they got white gill. A couple of copper pennies in the filter and a tab of elocone cream, no more disease and it cleaned the tank, too. After the water was changed a few times, it was used to fertigate peppers and so on.

    Quiet: Always. The BoI (AKA the FBI) handbook stated in the 1920s, even a blackjack can’t open a redskin’s mouth when he clams up. Be like that. You suffered worse. A few cracked ribs and black eye aren’t going to kill you, but you could save the lives of people precious to you. I have 3 bows but no arrows (in sight). One is for a man, a manzanita; next, English longbow of yew and it has a very long range, and I’m told was outlawed because it can send an arrow to puncture Medieval armor. Smallest bow is 25 pound, and good for hunting if you know how to stalk. It’s a kid’s bow, but it works. I have shells for a .22 given me, but no gun (in sight). The less they know, the greater your chances. The first ones to die are always those who look like survivalist. Me, I’m harmless, an old fart, overweight and easy going. Our women call men’s scars beauty marks. I must be a candidate for Miz America.

    Fuel: if it rots, it can be fermented for alcohol. There are plenty of on-line sites teaching how-to, and a solar still is easy enough if you want to learn about them. No muss, no smell of something cooking off. If you start with clean produce or grain, you wind up with food grade yeast which is 38% digestible protein and high in B 12 and so on. Do not use steel. I know, it’s allowable, but if you want the yeast for yourself of livestock feed, stay safe, use oak to ferment and store. A solar still is sealed wood and glass.

    A neighbor replaced his roof, I now have enough scrap to build some forms. He was real happy he didn’t have to take it to the dump and brought it over, stacking it for me. Get free brush and grass clippings, and a lot more just by being a friend. I’ve refused to take a nickle for taking it, and most haul it too me and still want to pay me. Handshake is plenty, thanks. Free cactus apple cuttings, a truckload of them from a friend who brought them to me. The fruit costs 5/lb in the store even here. Free firewood, garden produce, fruit, grain, beans. Like Dad said, be a ‘hand. Volunteer and get to know the neighbors as friends.

    niio

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    • IvyMike June 27, 00:21

      In addition to a knowledgeable and entertaining response to a good article you have broken some new ground by referring to yourself as an old fart. I also am an old fart, at a certain age a man looks at himself and his life and thinks, yup, I’m an old fart. But I’ve never wanted to say it out loud here, all (almost) of the comments are so good natured and polite. We need a vote! Cool to refer to self as old fart?
      Psalm 22 and Psalm 118 for the believer who is in a bad way.
      On youtube check out ‘Arrows vs Armour-Medieval Myth Busting’, watching that guy accurately shoot a 165 lb bow is a trip.

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      • red June 27, 07:06

        Mike: Speak for yourself, I’m only 17 (and holding 🙂
        Thanks for the vid. It’s always good to learn new things. what the arrow did to the maille was something. You can see why Normans outlawed peasants owning them and outlaws the yew to grow anywhere but a churchyard.
        did you see the movie, the Cowboys? John Wayne showed the boys two bulls fighting. One was old and the other young. The young one had the strength, but the old bull the knowledge and wisdom. Old fart is allowable so long as we don’t become old fools. Stay wide but stay young and the power is yours. niio

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      • Govtgirl June 30, 04:28

        IvyMike, Men improve with age so I’m partial to old farts.

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  10. left coast chuck June 27, 02:20

    An interesting comment by Ron Melchiore in the book, “The Self-Sufficient Backtyard” is that throughout his, basically, lifetime of living off the grid, he has never used gasoline preservative in that amount of time, which if I recall correctly, is something like 40 years. Of course 40 years ago gasoline was formulated differently from what is available today and further, I don’t know if gasoline in Canada is different from gasoline sold in SoCal. I have a suspicion that it is significantly different, but you now have the full extent of my expertise on the matter.

    I thought that was an interesting note, however, that he has never used gasoline stabilizer in all that time even though some of his smaller engines sit over winter which in Saskatchewan was a fairly long period of time.

    It would be an interesting experiment to see just how long a small amount of gasoline could sit in a gas tank before it was useless as a fuel. However, it would mean that the gas tank, line, fuel filter if there is one, the carburetor if there is one and possible the engine would have to be cleaned out at some expense.

    I am not sure what test parameters would be necessary to determine how long gasoline remained usable in a small engine gas tank. Perhaps someone who has an organic chemistry background could outline how one would go about determining the actual useful life of gasoline.

    Would SoCal have a shorter life than, say, Tennessee? How about SoCal vs. North Dakota? Is there a federal standard? Most time where there is a federal standard if the state has stricter standards the state can impose them and exceed the federal standards. Is Canadian gas in Saskatchewan significantly different from gas in most states?

    Maybe Pri-G isn’t necessary unless one is going to store gasoline for more than some period of time. Is there some test one can use other than putting some in the tank and seeing if the engine will start to determine if the gas is still “good”? Do small engines like chainsaw or generator need better gasoline than say a Ford F150? Can a 2000 car run on slightly aged gasoline better than a 2020 car?

    If someone has some real expertise in the field that would make an interesting article for all of us. I certainly don’t know any answers. I am certain I don’t even know all the questions

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    • IvyMike June 28, 00:34

      My small engine equipment and gas cans get shoved into the shed in October with whatever gas is in the tanks, no draining or stabilizing. April comes around and I pull everything out, never had a problem with anything starting or not running well. Years ago I had the good luck of finding a 54 Chevy pickup with unbroken cameo windows sitting in a farmer’s field, brush grown up around it higher than the bed. I aired up the tires, stuck a battery in it and it fired right up, no telling how old the gas was. Paid the farmer 250.00 for it but my ex wife made me get rid of it cause I loved it more than I loved her. It had that old 4 speed rock crusher transmission and a solid steel driveshaft, what woman could compare?
      I never change the oil in my equipment, just keep an eye on the levels. Ugly black oil appears to work as well as that clear amber hi dollar synthetic stuff. And I quit changing the oil on my vehicles after they’re paid off. The V8 in my favorite P.U. has 360,000 miles on it, doesn’t leak or burn a drop.

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    • Black Swan July 3, 20:31

      Not sure I can help with the answers, but here are a few of the questions:

      1) Do the reactions that degrade gasoline proceed faster at higher storage temperatures? This is reasonable to ask, since the speed of many chemical reactions differs with temperature. If so, the gasoline in Saskatchewan will survive a winter better than the same stuff in Tennessee or other Points South. This assumes that it won’t go bad if it freezes.

      2) Does the ethanol content of your gasoline affect its shelf life? We have to keep all water vapor away from gasoline that has a lot of ethanol in it, because the ethanol will grab onto the water and hang onto it. That water in turn will increase the chance of corrosion in your storage tank as well as decrease your miles per gallon.

      3) Even if you can exclude water from e10 or e15 (or greater!) gasoline in your storage, what if it came with some already in it? Does that Drygas stuff I used to add to our six vehicles’ gas tanks now and then back in the day solve this problem, or even if it does, will it create other issues?

      I don’t know the answers to these questions, and since I only keep two five-gallon containers of gasoline around, they’re not an issue for me. I intend to go gasoline-free ASAP in almost any EOTW scenario. The small containers are for short-term use only.

      I’m not telling anyone else how to prep, or to live in general, but I sure hope everyone who stores massive amounts of gasoline has thought through everything that can go wrong, including tank corrosion or even breakage due to a tree landing badly as it falls. Not likely, but I suspect Mr. Murphy will still be with us after EOTW.

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  11. Bad Medicin June 27, 06:28

    Any one who is planning on heating with wood should go on you tube and checkout Rocket Mass Heaters. Also known as J stoves. Properly constructed they use almost 90% less wood and you can get away with using branches that your local competition for fire wood will be turning their noses up at. If there are a lot of trees in your area you would likely be able to get a significant portion of your your fuel picking up downed branches after a wind storm.

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  12. Govtgirl June 27, 11:00

    Liked this article very much as it picks up where the lists leave off. Would just add 2 things: baseball bats as an alternative to blowing somebody’s head off and when gun not close by. We have one at front and back door and duct tape.

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    • red June 27, 22:18

      Gov: Are you American Indian? Baseball bat: Redneck husband tamer for times Daddy forgets the good manners his mama beat into him.
      Never had a bat broken over me, but did a few broom (man, that stings). An uncle had a bat broken on him by Nana, his mother, for cussing around her. She added a little mean to it by making him buy my brother a new bat.
      I’ll feel better for you folks when you relocate to adult county. Chuck worries me, but he’s a wise old codger and wang leather. niio

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    • Black Swan July 3, 19:43

      You can use a large cast iron skillet the same way as that bat, and it does double duty because you can also cook in it. At our second home, we had a huge one on a shelf in the kitchen near the back door, and we all called it the Burglar Swatter.

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  13. Govtgirl June 28, 04:49

    Thanks, Red. Unfortunately, I am not American Indian, but fierce enough to hit a perp out of the park. Another thing to add to the list of requirements for a suitable home: must be a stand your ground state.

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  14. red June 28, 18:19

    Gov: Native American, then 🙂 You’ll ‘Git the Irish up in ya.” I’ve seen new brides given baseball bats at the gift-opening ceremony. There’s an old story of a widow who got tired of not having a husband, but as eldest daughter (head of her family clan), she didn’t want to be second wife to a younger sister and all the other men were too closely related. She went out with a war party ion a raid to a distant country (probably Delaware Lenape) and caught a man, who she married. He made a song to joke about how he loved his new wife, even if she was an enemy, “Oh, what’s a man to do with this one? She may not be the prettiest of women but when her knife is at my throat, what’s a man to do but love this one.” niio

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  15. Survivormann99 June 28, 22:07

    On which shelf in my “stockpile” should practicing skills be placed?

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  16. Govtgirl July 4, 05:37

    Well, red, the jury is still out. Here is what I discovered which is precious little. WebMD mentioned it could be used for some things like a diuretic, but stressed the cons more than the pros. I believe they are biased against natural preparations, though. Another site, Bontanicals.com said the tops could be used for a number of things and had been since the 15th century, ( but so was arsenic.). That site mentioned using the tops as a diuretic and a number of other ailments but went into little detail. Also it said the bark made a good fiber. What frustrates me is that practically all the research has been in controlling it instead of looking for a commercial use. Used to drive past hillside after hillside in Oregon,yellow as can be, thinking there had to be something in it. Reminds me of those children traveling on the Oregon Trail who collected those shiny, heavy golden pebbles in the stream to use as sinkers for fishing.

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    • red July 4, 13:35

      Gov: what we learn, we pass on to the rest so all may live a little better, be a little stronger. It was hardly a failure, but you instead taught us.
      Gold? It’s pretty and we used stuff like that for children’s toys. I’ve seen things from Mexico, toys, with opals for eyes, Turquoise beads, silver beaten into nice things for the kids. Mink furs used as blankets for the kids. In desperate times, your knowledge is more valuable than gold, your wisdom is like rubies. You’re a sister to great and important people like Clergy Lady and Miz Kitty. Much thanks for sharing a little with us. niio

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