Turn a Car Battery Into an Emergency Power Source For the Home

Fergus Mason
By Fergus Mason December 21, 2017 08:27

Turn a Car Battery Into an Emergency Power Source For the Home

Most preppers have some kind of plan for an emergency power source after the SHTF. It might be a generator, wind turbine or solar panels. If you have a river on your land, maybe you’ve set up a water wheel. There are plenty of ways to provide yourself with a reliable source of post-disaster electricity. But what if, for some reason, it’s not available to you?

There are all sorts of reasons why your power supply might not work. What if a stronger than expected EMP damaged your generator? Or maybe you’re downwind of a city that’s been set on fire by a nuke, and no sunlight is reaching your solar panels. Even in less drastic circumstances you could find yourself without power, so it’s always good to have a backup available.

Related: 9 Places Where You Can Find Energy After An EMP

Luckily there’s a simple, easily obtained and fairly cheap item that can be adapted into a good emergency power source – a simple car battery. With a few extra components, and a handful of basic tools, you can easily convert a standard vehicle battery into a power pack that will let you get some essentials running again. You won’t be able to power your house off it, but if you urgently need to use your tools this method will let you do that. Alternatively, you can run a few lamps to provide light while you sit out a storm in your root shelter. A power system based on a car battery is quite versatile and useful, and as long as you remember its capacity isn’t limitless it can be a real bonus in an emergency.

What you need

Before you do anything involving electricity, it’s important to have the right tools. Mistakes can be fatal, even if you’re not dealing with house current – a car battery stores a lot of energy, and the DC power it delivers packs a real wallop. Keeping your work tidy matters with electricity, because sloppy connections increase the risk of electrifying something you don’t want to.

This basic tool kit will handle most jobs:

  • multimeter Turn a Car Battery Into an Emergency Power Source For the HomeA multimeter. This will let you test circuits, find problems and check that stray currents aren’t flowing through anything they shouldn’t be.
  • Flashlight and candle. If you’re working to fix the lamps in the dark, some light is essential. A flashlight is ideal, but keep a candle and box of matches in your kit just in case the flashlight is disabled.
  • Electrical tape. Look for a UL rating. Insulating tape lets you create safe connections.
  • Wire cutters. You’ll need these to cut wire to the right length, and they also help keep connections tidy. Surplus wire can make unwanted contacts.
  • Crimping tools.
  • Screwdrivers (Straight and Philips)
  • Measuring tape

Power Inverter Turn a Car Battery Into an Emergency Power Source For the Home

Now that you have the right tools, you’ll need two components. The first is a power invertor. These can be picked up for under $30 on Amazon, and they’re very useful things to have around, so get a couple of them. Look for one that has a cable with crocodile clips; some just have a plug for a lighter socket, and unless you plan to use it in the car that won’t do you a lot of good.

What invertors basically do is turn the current from the battery into a form that all your appliances can use. Car batteries put out 12-volt DC current, which is no use. The voltage is far too low; most tools, appliances and even light bulbs need 110 volts. AC power is dangerous. Because the output is constant, it will kill at a much lower voltage than DC. An invertor converts the battery’s steady output to AC, and also steps it up to 110-volt. Finally, the outlet also has a standard power outlet you can plug things into.

Related: Emergency Bag to Keep in Your Car in Case of an EMP

Hooking it up

Connecting it all up is usually very simple. Identify the positive and negative terminals of your battery by the markings embossed on beside the terminals. Attack the black lead from the invertor to the negative terminal, then the red lead to the positive. That’s basically it. Now you can plug in your circular saw or lamp, and the invertor will work like a regular power outlet.

There are a few safety points to watch out for when you’re running things off a battery. First, make sure the battery is in a safe location. Keep metal away from the terminals, because if something conductive touches both terminals at once you risk a short circuit; that can blow up the battery in a hurry, possibly spraying acid everywhere. Water is also bad news. If the ground is wet, put the battery on a stable platform to keep it dry. It’s best if you can arrange a foot of clear space all round the battery and above it.

Next, be careful not to overload it. Running a single power tool or a couple of lamps is fine, but if you plug in the fridge you’ll pull far too much current from the battery. If you’re lucky, the battery will go flat in a hurry. If you’re unlucky it can overheat – and because modern car batteries are usually sealed, meaning pressure can’t escape, it might even explode.

Don’t daisy-chain extension leads from your invertor. A single bar adapter with two or three 40-watt lamps plugged in should be okay, but anything more than that – trying to run a drill and saw at the same time, for example – is risking an overload.

Related: How To Hot-Wire A Car When The SHTF (with pictures)

To improve your power reserve you can wire multiple batteries together in parallel. This has a couple of advantages. First, you increase the total storage capacity, so your appliances will run for longer. Secondly, the total current from the system is equal to the total current of each battery. That means you can draw more current without risking an overload. To wire in parallel, all you have to do is connect matching terminals. If you have two batteries, set them up beside each other and wire the negative terminals together, then the positive ones. Next, connect the invertor to the terminals of the first battery and you’re good to go. If you find a third battery you can attach it to the second one, again wiring matching terminals together.

No matter how many car batteries you connect in parallel, the output will always be 12 volts, and the invertor can handle that. Don’t connect car batteries in series (with the positive of one battery connected to the negative of the next, and the invertor connecting the first and last batteries to close the circuit). If you do that, the output is the total of all the batteries; two batteries gives 24 volts, three gives 36V. You’ll almost certainly destroy the invertor, and you don’t have to add many batteries to be putting out a lethal dose of DC current. Always use parallel.

Car batteries aren’t expensive, and if you can scrounge a decent one from an old car they’re free. Despite that, they make a great power source. They’re rugged, easy to work with and hold a decent amount of charge. In the long run they’re no substitute for the ability to generate your own power, but if you need electricity in a hurry a good battery setup is your simplest and most effective option.

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Fergus Mason
By Fergus Mason December 21, 2017 08:27
Write a comment


  1. elen tzi December 21, 14:23

    very nice article. one question what can we do with a dead battery. if you use one too often one day eventually it will kiss you good buy. are there any parts of the battery its self that can be used after that or you just through it away?

    Reply to this comment
    • eric the red December 23, 16:08

      If it is a lead acid battery, like most car batteries are, you can scavenge the lead to make shot with.

      Reply to this comment
      • Clergylady December 26, 06:00

        Red, lead is handy but don’t overlook the battery acid. IT can charge a battery, change soil ph, tan hides if properly diluted. Probably more if you think about it.

        Reply to this comment
    • Jojo November 12, 05:59

      Actually i just had a comment of my own, not a reply to yours sorry. I thought you hook up positive(red) first and then negative(black). And vice versa on unplugging, black then red.

      Reply to this comment
  2. Confirmed Idiot December 21, 14:29

    There is a lot of truth to this article. However, there is a lot of variables that are not said. The biggest is how long will you be able to power anything with the inverter if you do not a method of recharging the car battery? (i.e. solar, wind or water generator) Just curious. I never find this answer when I read an article on this topic. Perhaps that question has never been asked?

    Reply to this comment
    • Proteus December 21, 16:09

      Use is measured in available “amp-hours”. A car battery rated at 80 amp-hrs will theoretically give you 12 volts (nominal) at 80 amps for one hour or 8 amps for 10 hours. A 120 volt inverter will use roughly 10 times the amperage off the battery to power it’s load. Example…to power a 120v, 100 watt bulb pulls about .8 amps at 120v or 8 amps off the 12v battery. In theory, you could run the light for 10 hours before draining the battery to “dead” at about 11 volts.

      Reply to this comment
    • Rich December 21, 21:32

      Yes it has been asked, but it’s not that simple.
      The charged life of the BATTERY depends on it’s amp hour rating and how much current you are drawing from the battery. ie. If the battery is rated for 200 amp hours you can draw 200 amps for 1 hour. (The battery must be completely charged) If you have used the battery for other purposes, and have not recharged it completely, the battery will be discharged by the amount of current you used and the charged life would be less.
      Next, The efficency and duty cycle of the inverter.
      The inverter will convert the 12VDC to 115VAC. However, what is important is the power rating of the inverter. if you have a 1000 Watt inverter, the output would be 8.69 amps at 115VAC but the input to the inverter will be 83.33 Amps at 12VDC. which means that a 200 Amp hour battery will only last 2.4 hours before having to recharge. P input = P output – circuit losses. (These calculation do not include the losses). If you have a 2000 Watt inverter you can see that the inverter input current would be 166.6 amps. you would only get 1.2 hours of life from the battery before you would have to recharge.
      Two additional points I should make here is the size of the wire connecting the battery to the inverter and the duty cycle of the inverter. You can not use sizes 14, 12, 10 and 8 to connect the battery to the inverter if you want to use the inverter at full power. these wire sizes are not large enough to handle the 83.33 Amps of current required. I use welding cable to hook them up to minimize the losses. Also, keep the input cables as short as possible.
      The second point is that the inverters have a duty cycle rating which means how long they can be on continuously. Keep this in mind so you don’t over heat and burn out the inverter. Some inverters have large heat sinks to minimize this problem.

      Reply to this comment
    • Kari February 22, 13:44

      I have bought a solar 100 watt panel and a 500w generator/inverter. Today I received the semi traction battery of 105 Ah and maybe you could give me some good advice on how to connect them together. I would like the battery and the generator to stand inside just under the windowsill if that is Ok The solarpanel which is portable would be placed on the outside of the window on the balcony. With thanks, Kari.
      Ps if necessary the battery could also be placed outside.

      Reply to this comment
  3. Charles E. December 21, 14:34

    In setting up your battery storage for safety, you failed to add ventilation so that any hydrogen gas is not accumulating in a closed space. Anyone that I know who run batteries off grid have the setup located in a shed outside of their domicile, just for that reason.

    Reply to this comment
    • Rick Fortune December 21, 15:59

      In addition, I have commented many times about candles. Batteries give off vapor that is very explosive. People of our age don’t know how to behave with candles. Use a flashlight.

      Reply to this comment
  4. Punk December 21, 14:47

    The inverter turns it to AC current not DC, AC being more dangerous then DC current

    Reply to this comment
    • Rich December 21, 18:57

      the amperage is what is dangerous with either. DC can kill.

      Reply to this comment
    • Auckland Escapee December 21, 21:00

      DC or AC are harmless if the voltage is low, if it is high they both can be lethal, think about this, Electric Chairs are DC, and they’re not harmless.

      Reply to this comment
    • Preferred Customer December 22, 12:27

      spoken like an Edison. um no, actually AC is safer. an AC arc is self extinguishing. a DC arc is not. AC gives you 120 opportunities per second (60 cycles) to let go if shocked, DC can cause paralysis so you cannot let go and you may slowly cook. i could go on and razzle dazzle you with my superior electrical knowledge, but I’m too tired. i deal with this idiotic notion all the time. my life’s purpose isn’t to educate the ignorant… good luck with that “more dangerous” alternating current..

      Reply to this comment
    • George Waters February 23, 00:12

      Why are electric chairs always DC? If it is so harmless.

      Reply to this comment
  5. Gary December 21, 15:38

    I was taught to always connect the positive first and the negative last.

    Reply to this comment
  6. left coast chuck December 21, 23:02

    As cheap and as plentiful as they have become, the source for light after an event, in my opinion, is solar lights. While it is true that they only charge in sunlight or light overcast, if you have backup lights, you can charge the light for as many days as necessary. In addition, using the on/of switch, one should be able to turn the light off when retiring for the night. You can even use them to charge batteries to use in other battery powered devices. For the cost of the set-up this article discusses, a deep cycle 12V battery, inverter and cables, you can buy twenty solar garden lights, more than enough to light your way in the dark. Moreover, you don’t want your house lit up in an EOTW situation like the prize winning house in the Christmas light contest. You want to preserve your night vision and you don’t want to attract predators. Bright lights defeat your night vision and attract the wrong kind of attention.

    Reply to this comment
  7. DJnRF December 21, 23:49

    Not mentioned is the fact that a $30 inverter is not enough wattage to run a power saw, and many other things. Look at your appliances, and tools to see what watts are needed. Then look to see if a 200 to 300 watt inverter will handle it. Most things will not work. It does work for some lights. And, car batteries will have to be charged often, which destroys them as they are not designed to be used as deep cycle batteries. A good deep cycle battery that most of you can find are golf cart, or fork lift batteries, but they do cost much more. Used ones from those sources will usually work well for a long time as they are designed for deep cycle charge uses. Before you invest in such things do a bunch of study on what it takes. You can download info on wattages needed for most home appliances and things from many places. Use that as a guide as to the needed size for your inverter, and then look to batteries. If you expect to be able to use most things in your home you will need large enough inverter(s), batteries, and if you have the charging method, charge controller. The available methods for charging are solar, wind, water, and gas generators. If two good batteries are used one 100 amp solar panel, and a simple charge controller, plus the needed wiring from the solar panel to the charge controller is also needed. (It usually takes large enough wires with special connectors.) Such a system can handle most things well for an emergency loss of power, but can cost you. I recently installed such a simple system. Two deep cycle, 100 Ah batteries, one 100 Watt solar panel, an inexpensive charge controller, and a 5,000 watt Pure Sine Wave inverter. It has been checked to handle the house with the most used items at any given time and can run them all for more than 12 hours before the batteries should be charged. With less running it can last much longer. The cost for the system materials was $650.00. Of course, with a little planning for your needs, you can spread the cost over two or more months. A pure sine wave inverter is the same type of power given by power companies. A cheap inverter does not give pure sine wave, but a modified sine wave, which will not run some things. the 5,000 watt inverter used in the system was a China model that cost just over $200. So far in testing, and use it has performed well. If you go for the best, a 5,000 watt inverter can run over $1k. Don’t think you can get off cheap, or your results will be not much better than $50 worth of LED flashlights.

    Reply to this comment
    • DJnRF December 21, 23:56

      ADDED: FYI, the marine batteries that are claimed to be Deep Cycle, are not really a true deep cycle battery. They cannot be discharged over about one volt before needing to be recharged. To go lower on these, and car batteries shortens their life. Instead of about five or more years of working, they will need to be replace every year, or more.

      Reply to this comment
    • Farmer December 22, 03:10

      I bought 750 watt modified sine wave (MSW) inverters at Sam’s a few years back for $19/ per…. granted, 750 watts is not a lot, but one can run my refrigerator, another my lights, and another my computer. MSW is not ideal for all applications, but works for most. There is nothing to say you cannot run 2 or ten inverters off of one battery bank; given enough reserve amp-hours.

      Reply to this comment
      • WMH Cheryl December 22, 06:33

        Farmer, have you actually successfully ran your refrigerator off a 750 watt inverter? If so I would like the brand and model. I have a small chest freezer that never pulls more than 63 watts. When my 250 watt, then 800 watt, then 1000 watt inverters all failed to ruun it I discovered that there is a huge start up spike for a couple milliseconds that my meter couldn’t detect. It usually takes a 1500-2000 watt inverter to run an AC refrigerator or freezer.

        Reply to this comment
        • Farmer December 23, 21:37

          WMH … sorry, I don’t recall the make of the inverter … .it was on a yacht I lived on years ago. The fridge was an 11 cu ft apartment size unit that ate 210 watts while running. If your freezer pulls 63 watts and trips all those inverters, I’d suggest there is another problem. Starting currents of 5 times running are “normal” …. ex: 63 watts at 120 vac is about 1/2 amp …. so pulling 2.5 or 3 amps at start would be normal and a 400 or 500 watt inverter should handle it. If you want to keep that freezer, you might try a Hard Start Kit, for an AC Compressor. Look at: https://www.grainger.com/product/SUPCO-Hard-Start-Kit-4E240 …. also, modified sine wave inverters are not blessed with great overload capacity. You can do better with pure sine wave if you obtain a low frequency unit. Those use a fairly large transformer but will also take a fairly large chunk out of your wallet. An LF unit will typically provide a 5 fold factor for starting load; i.e. a 2000 watt unit should handle a 10KW start. High frequency pure sine wave inverters use all solid state switching and cannot tolerate the same starting loads that a low frequency inverter can. I hope some of this helps … but it’s so easy for me to spend other people’s money.

          Reply to this comment
    • Bill July 8, 19:09

      The system DjnRF talks about I also developed, with the addition of one more deep cycle battery (3 total), two inverters totalling about 1500 watts, a charge controller, 100 watt panel and all attachments in a portable housing you can see at powerfromsun.com. It truly does handle everything in the house for a fairly long period of time and would even longer if there were more panels, available today at about $1 watt (mine 180 watts).. The DIY manual is only $29, illustrated. I agree pretty much with the components cost, maybe around $750, max $1000.

      Reply to this comment
  8. BOB December 22, 02:52


    Reply to this comment
    • Proteus December 22, 03:22

      an old plumber once told me that the formula was … .waste in equals waste out plus waste left in the tube! If you want to suck 10 amps per hour out of a battery, then you need to put that much back in …. solar panels are rated for Voltage, open circuit …or VOC. a typical 12 volt panel is rated at 19 to 21 VOC in full sun. If you buy a 100 watt panel, at 20 VOC, the rated full output current will be about 5 amps … or 100 watts/20 v = 5 amps. When you knock the panel voltage down to the battery charging voltage of 14.6v, you still get 5 amps max … but now the total deliverable wattage is 14.6 times 5 equals 73 watts. when the battery reaches full charge, the voltage demanded drops, current drops and delivered wattage drops. If you want to pull 200 amp hours from the battery through an inverter (120 v/12 v is 10 times the amp draw) then you will need to put 200 amp hours back in … you’ll need to pump 14.6 volts at 5 amps back in for several hours without drawing on the battery. Look at how yachts are managed on 12 volts.

      Reply to this comment
    • DJnRF December 22, 07:58

      Bob, if you really want a good backup power system and are going to use solar, you should consider first looking into what your average use is in any given hour of your day. The maximum average of watts per hour is what you would need in solar panels to work for a full power backup.

      Now, if you are only going to need temporary power for just a few hours for outages, you can get by for lighting, a couple of fans, and a few other things with a 2500 watt modified sine wave inverter, and a couple 100 watt solar panels, and two 75 Ah batteries. Personally, I would go no lower than 55 Ah batteries. If you intend on being ‘off grid’ for power in a SHTF disaster, you would need at least four solar panels, and four + batteries, and 3k or more pure sine wave inverter(s), plus a good charge controller.

      Before you buy anything, you should read all you can on building up a system. It is not as simple as just plugging in to a generator, and firing it up. Also, a gas generator can be a very costly way for much more than a day or so power. At the price of gas today, which may not be available in a disaster, a gallon and hour is just too much cost. You could buy a reasonably good solar system for a 168 hours of gas costs if you plan it well.

      Get some of the lists for calculating watt usage, and look at your appliances to see what they take, then work out your needs. Take your time to do it right. Then you will know what you need, and can start looking for the costs of things. Do not rush into panels, inverters, and batteries. Depending upon where you are, you may need to order all to be shipped in to you. I was a dealer for years, and I can’t find things here, so I have to order. You can find some panels, inverters and batteries online in eBay, and other places. You can ‘stack’ inverters to get more power, but you may have to separate some of your circuits to attach to individual inverters.

      There are some ‘portable’ solar systems, which are good just for a small amount of electrical extra beyond some lights, but not so great for any extended period. Harbor Freight has a 45 watt portable system for around $200, but 45 watts isn’t going to handle much of anything other than some lights, plus a battery to last some of a night.

      You must do a bunch of real study into any of the things offered in here as for help as they simplify it to the point of only a value to one who is used to having an outhouse at home instead of indoor facilities. To do a good job it is not so simple, or cheap. If you take the time to investigate, and have in mind exactly what you will need, you can buy one thing a month and in a few months will have an excellent system you can always add onto as you wish. The cost can be spread out over a reasonable period of time.

      Reply to this comment
  9. WMH Cheryl December 22, 06:34

    Farmer, have you actually successfully ran your refrigerator off a 750 watt inverter? If so I would like the brand and model. I have a small chest freezer that never pulls more than 63 watts. When my 250 watt, then 800 watt, then 1000 watt inverters all failed to ruun it I discovered that there is a huge start up spike for a couple milliseconds that my meter couldn’t detect. It usually takes a 1500-2000 watt inverter to run an AC refrigerator or freezer.

    Reply to this comment
  10. Clergylady December 22, 19:28

    Hope the sun keeps shining. I can and dehydrate more than freeze. Evaporation can keep food cool if you learn and plan ahead.
    I have solar lights that charge both AAA and AA batteries. My camper has a three way refrigerator- propane, 12v and 120v ac. I have motion lights, in the room where my rabbits live, that are solar powered on a panel near the door.
    I garden, gather wild, hunt and raise chickens and rabbits. Several months food minimum on hand. Wood and pellet rocket stoves are great for heating and cooking. I also have a solar oven, outdoor Adobe oven, and more things planned. I even have a fan that is activated by heat to circulate the heat through my home. A garden with both pit and raised gardening areas, cold frames, greenhhouse with heat mass wall, two wells, one one electricity, snd one setup with a hand winch. You can get 12v winches too. Rain water Barrels at my sheds, 100 Gal open trough with water attachment on a bottom edge. Plan to put that in the greenhouse. Heirloom seeds and wild vegetable and medicine plant seeds. And more and more…either started or planned to add a bit at a time.
    Isn’t knowledge, intuition, and elbo grease how things get done?
    Don’t short change yourself or endanger your life trying to stick to what you always have had. If a real SHTF situation changes how we live… be prepared to live with less stuff and more work. Maybe you need a good pair of work boots for everyone and a supply of work gloves. Then figure out how to live with less stuff like a freezer… and how to have more foods without it.

    Reply to this comment
    • DJnRF December 23, 18:06

      Lady, You have gone far beyond what most will take any time to do. You are setting yourself up to be a true out of door survivalist, that is able to live completely off-grid.

      In this day and age people just do not understand that we all will be forced to live in the same manner as our forefathers did in the 17 and 1800’s with any catastrophic disaster that we are likely to have. What most do not understand is that the degree of probability is very high while the possibility in the minds of people is very unlikely. If more people do not understand that their ‘wishful’ thinking this way is very likely going to cause them to not survive in such situation. Most talk today is one more of some combat issue, and that is how most think of preparing.

      The problem with this ‘combat’ thinking is that they always fail to learn what they really need to know. Instead they prepare for doing what they should work
      hard to avoid. They fail to prepare to make their own home the best place to survive without the ‘bug out’ idea unless it is absolutely necessary for life safety. If they think in terms of combat, they will never be fully prepared to survive.

      In my lectures, teachings and writings, I have always stressed that the things one buys as needed for a survival situation are just to help make things easier, but the real need is knowledge. With knowledge one can survive because they will know how to prepare best for such catastrophic situations.

      In my earlier writings I have always given the four rules for survival as; “Food, Water, Shelter, and Protection – protection from the elements of nature, and the nature of man.”. You seem to have covered these things well in your preparedness.

      I always suggest these ways, along with that IF you are threatened by others to avoid any combat engagements, and to leave far enough away from your base/ home to watch until the threat has departed, then return later. Not to engage if it can be avoided.

      Preparedness is the answer through knowledge, then actions such as yours. Congratulations on the most intelligent thinking and preparedness I have seen or heard in all of these blogs and posts.

      Reply to this comment
      • Clergylady December 23, 20:21

        I’m assuming you are complimenting me. I grew up with parents, in laws, and a grandmoth who survived the great depression in very different areas of the U.S.. Each survived in different was but it all boiled down to hard work. My mother’s mother was born in 1876 in Bucks County Pennsylvania and married in 1896 As a farm wife. She often told me about how they lived and did things. Hard work, fun times, church, family and community were all important to life. She was never afraid of hard work. She built her own stone spring house and stored milk, butter, cream, eggs in water glass and many vegetables in that cool place. She described how her husband made their smokehouse. She canned fruits and jams, sun dried many fruits and vegetables spread on clean bedsheets in the bright sun. She laugh when she also told me that was how they dried the laundry and bleached whites in the sun. Mom told be about raising a few pigs and calves to butcher in the cool fall and salt them down in Barrels of salt. The hams and wild turkeys were often smoked and wrapped in cheese cloth. She would be sent to get slices for meal preperation. The rest stayed in the smokehouse hanging year around. By the next fall the meat yhere was very dry and used to boil with vegetables, pot roast style roasting, or thrown into a pot of beans.
        I am also part Native American. We gathered wild fruits, nuts, greens, and medicines. I even save seed for things I will use most often. Those things are just thrown in an area near a garden water faucet with a hose. I give the area a quick spray whenever the faucet is turned on. Lambsquarter grew there already. I have a 12 oz Olive jar full of this year’s best lambsquarter plants seeds. Also mullen and more. I gather seed from the best Dock plants I see along the roads out in the hills. I have started a thicket of wild plums, choke cherrys, wild gooseberries, and some seedling apples, seedling peaches, and an ancient, hugh, Spanish seedling apricot tree.
        Mom told about drying green beans that were blanched 1 minute then cut lengthwise almost to the stem end then hung on twine tied between trees to dry. They called them Dutchmens breeches. When boiled with chopped onions they taste rather meaty and my kids loved them. Dried corn on the cob became seed, corn meal, sand could be boiled in as soup. Even better in soups was roasted corn on the cob dried then cournels can be boiled or added to soups and cooked till tender. Even pop corn makes a good corn meal. Cournels that dont pop or partly pop are good ground and eaten with milk as a cold cereal.
        Mom taught me to make buttermilk, butter, clotted cream, sour cream, cottage cheese, soft fresh cheeses, and yogurt. All easy to do if you have milk available. Sheep, goat or cows milk all work.
        I raise chickens, ducks, and rabbits. All provide meat or meat and eggs. I like rabbit fur in winter mittens or as linings for boots, jackets, et to keep warm. Even an old fashioned fur muff is wonderful. I need to make another. It is good when walking around. Mine had a neck hanging string so I could work then put my hands back in it. Once I made a sweatshirt with lined pockets for the same thing.
        I still think, the best prep is knowledge added to hard work and willingness to improvise.
        Listen, ask, watch, learn, apply that to life. I have firearms and can shoot ok. … …but I dont want a gun battle. I prefere to look not too inviting, grow thorny, edible, things along fences, and for now no trespassing signs abound. In a bad time they will come down to not look too inviting.
        Your brain is the best prepping tool and best defense tool you have. I was a winning archer when I was young. I think I’d like to try a crossbow. In bad times arrows are easier to make than ammunition when supplies are no longer available. A crossbow will kill the elk on the mountain nearby as well as the rabbits that eat my garden plot. I used to snare rabbits. Today I raise them. A plot of alfalfa and a plot of grass make for happy chickens, ducks, and rabbits, fowels need grains also. Sprouts in pans in winter make them perk up. I eat sprouts also. Alfalfa growing tips, with the mint that now grows wild along a small irrigation ditch, makes a pleasant tea. A leaf or two from my stevia plants makes it special.
        You don’t have to be born in the country to learn. I was born in Washington DC, and lived in Seattle and LA growing up. If we had some side or back yard there was a garden. When I lived in Albuquerque, in an apartment, I had lettuce, Bush beans, edible flowers, and zuchinni growing in the flower beds. I was the manager and shared with anyone that was interested.
        We always looked for farmers markets, roadside stands et. to get the best fresh vegetables possible . When my kids were young the backyard was garden, a side yard and parks were for play. We all cooked and grew food together. Everyone cooked, washed, planted, pulled weeds, canned, dried or whatever together. A weekly leftovers soup at home grew into a twice weekly hot lunch at church. Seasonings became the key to making spaghetti and mixed veggies work with taco meat or roast venison. Several men cutting wood or making pottery soon joined for the hot meal. They would bring venison, bear, or fresh fish for our dinner in exchange for a hot lunch twice a week. Parents added things and I grew or bought canned vegetables on sale to put together. Rather like the children’s story of stone soup. These were mostly Spanish or Native American families that live in close knit communities. The local mining jobs had closed and everyone was having a hard time right then.
        I can invision groups working together again if times get really hard again.
        And yes I operated a church school for over 20 years and I am still a teacher at heart. Now it may be sewing or painting. But more and more I am asked to teach about wild foods or medicines.
        I always share from my heart and experiences on these sites. At 70 I may be here another 30 years or just the next few minutes. I have out lived two husbands and miscarried two babies and raised for beautiful children. Life is both a strong force and a fragile thing.
        I’m verbose but it’s because my heart is in those words. Prepping is about life.

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        • DJnRF December 26, 03:02

          Lady, you are a real dream. I sincerely hope that most that read this will copy it down and give to their wives to keep and learn from your wealth of knowledge. You have covered more much more fully than I ever have in classes I have taught. My thinking is that even though I profess to teach, I do not believe I can ever teach anything if people do not want to learn. I can make the information available, but I cannot force them to learn.

          Your ‘lessons’ take my teachings to the next level. I have found that 82 percent of the people only ‘think’ they know how to survive, but all have the wrong idea.
          I have always tried to instill enough awareness through examples and give just some of your type of information in the hope that they will take it to heart and really learn, and keep learning. The learning process always begins with awareness first. If a person is not aware, they can never recognize any problems to be able to search for solutions to the problems they might identify. The lack of a proper awareness causes people to end up with a focus upon only the one thing, or two that they do recognize. Unfortunately, without the proper awareness of how to recognize any problem, and the method to find proper solution, and how to implement it, they never will even get to the most valuable information they need, and that is what you have to offer.

          Not many are reasonably adept with a firearm, a bow, and snares. The mentality just isn’t there to learn much different. Unfortunately, every year a great number of people who consider themselves as ready to cope with anything die when they had everything they needed to live other than the real knowledge they should have had. Over a twenty year period, the records show that 82% of those people will die when suddenly thrust into such a catastrophic situation because they just are not as prepared with the knowledge they really needed.

          Every state, business, FEMA, the Red Cross are always telling people what they need to buy. A vast majority of the products being sold are not what is really needed. As I always state, “Knowledge will insure your survival. Other ‘things’ may just make it easier.”

          Firearms are great to have and be able to use well for
          protection, and for collecting game for food. However, they should never be for combat situations. A good
          survivalist in life knows that his best chance is to avoid any combat encounters. To try to look the least of a problem to anyone, and to have nothing of any apparent value to those who would live only by taking from others is a much better way to insure survival.

          If one is forced to live in wilderness, or thinks that is the best place for them they had better learn and know what you have to offer. You keep it up girl. It is the greatest.

          I guess we ‘elders’ have learned much from our forefathers that has been lost to any who are much less of age than us. It is just a shame that our age is slowing us down in the doing that we know to do.

          I have you beat by a few years, but have learned much of this as had my wife (now deceased at 75). I wish I could meet you. You deserve my respect. (Dave)

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  11. ClergyladyC December 26, 06:43

    Thanks Dave.
    My parents were lifelong learners. I still read to Learn and try new things. I love food Cooked outdoors and other simple pleasures. I thrill to the first twin leaves peaking through the dirt signaling a New gardening season. Hard work brings the reward of a good night’s sleep and a successfully completed project brings satisfaction. Good friends and good food makes me happy. Planning new projects and experiments keeps life interesting. I find things here that catch my imagination and I will try them.
    This article has me intrigued. I Would not be cought attempting to run a freezer off of a car battery but it has me thinking …. A trickle charger, a battery, and lights for my greenhouse just might be worth playing with. It almost feels magical to walk in the building with my rabbits and wave my arm to have lights come on. If the battery idea doesn’t work out then I already know a solar motion light will.

    Reply to this comment
    • DJnRF December 26, 15:17

      Lady, your mind is the most valuable asset to have, and yours works extremely well. Yes, a battery and a solar trickle charger can work well. It just depends upon how much your lights drain your battery as to how fast, and how much daylight is needed for the recharge. I can give a lot more on that if you would like. My ‘nic’ in here at yahoo dot com is the address to get to me. I have used this addy for many years now. Actually, the DJ are my name initials. It is a Relative Factor that always is a part of everything we consider and do. I would be very pleased to hear from you. Dave.

      Reply to this comment
      • Clergylady December 26, 17:44

        I have a 5 Gal bucket of old theater walk way lights. Very small lights on low,voltage set behind .5″ thick domed glass to magnify the lights. FREE! Thinking small led lights set in a few of those two light set ups would do for what I want. Even the tiny solar path light with magnification might be fun to play with.
        I have solar spotlights in two places in my yard. They are blinding if you look directly at them. I have them aimed at the fronts of sheds from across the driveway. I wonder if a dome would magnify that more or diffuse the light to cover a larger area. Hmmm
        Our world is truly a wonderland where I can play to my hearts content.
        Solar trickle chargers and reconditioned batteries, solar lights from tiny path lights to motion sensor and spotlights mean I can have lights anywhere I want one, as bright as I want to go. Daylight LEDS defiantly light up my light. The wires from solar lights to their charger panels are long enough to run indoors. You can get them as dusk to dawn, motion sensor, or with on an off switch, and none are too expensive. I happen to get mine at Harbor freight. I have this thing for tools. 🙂 when I was working I used buy only one expensive, lifetime guaranteed brand. All of those were stolen a few yearsago and I have less income so I have the discount membership at Harbor freight and make it worth my while in toys to play with that will serve my needs. I have an electric chainsaw. “Cheap” but a rechargeable would be liberating. I can run it from my welder generator if I get that going again. If we truly loose electricity for a long time a bucksaw resharpened will do what I need.
        I have a large winch to mount on my flatbed trailer. Soon I will aim to buy the 12v remote control for it. That will run from dual sourced 12v power. One will be a solar charged truck battery in a mounted toolbox. The other will be my trucks battery plugged into power with a “lighter” power hookup.
        There are three residences here on my property. The electric bill was often $300- $600 a month. With all LED bulbs, and everyone still using a bathroom Heater to supplement heat and lots of added outdoor lights and an on demand water pump without a pressure tank we are down to $144 in the summer and $245 winter. That includes my newer freezer and watering the garden.
        I just bought a very large propane tank from the family of a neighbor that passed away recently. Empty it weighs 2200 lb and sits almost end to end on my 16′ flatbed trailer. After the first I’ll see about new valves and pressure testing it. All I can use propane for right now is a water heater, my kitchen stove and a dryer I have never bothered to hook up since I moved back. Not sure if I’ll update then sell or sell for scrap. A much small tank would take care of my needs till I plan and execute solar hotwater. I still hope to find a repairable wood cookstove. Or I might just shelter my outdoor cook area and stick to improving it for my kitchen. For now a 5 Gal bottle keeps me cooking for a long time and I just heat water on the stove for bathing and washing dishes. I haven’t lit the Water Heater for a while. The big tank was to help the neighbors with funeral expenses.
        My old refrigerator is about done for. I just bought a newer one from somebody moving. Buy good, but who says we have to go in debt for new? The only thing new I plan to buy soon is a mattress.
        Another “soon” item will be two or three large clay flower pots that will nest with a 1″-2″ space around each pot. That will make my summer refrigerator in the outside cooking area. I know that works but my neighbor purchased my old ones when I was moving. When my kids were young my winter refrigerator here was an old non running refrigerator sitting by the backdoor. The summer refrigerator was a mix of two old clay flower pots set up to use and a “rootceller” in a burried trashcan in a shady spot. On the farm where Mom grew up they had the spring house far from the house and a cool cellar, and an extra never fired up smokehouse near the house that they used in the wintertime. The cellar was for canned goods and fresh fruits and vegetables. The “smokehouse” held the smaller barrels of salt pork and salt beef they refilled from the cold barrels at the springhouse. My winter this year is cool but not cold. Days in 40-50s but nights below freezing. An outside shaded refrigerator not opened much is cool enough to keep things a few days at most. Normal winters meats, milk. cooked things and big pressure canner of beans to reheat from would have had hints of ice in the food.
        I have acquired a mobile freezer made to sit in a pickup bed like a camper. It runs on 12v or 110. The 2nd compressor is an old square mounted Ford compressor from a truck. It is thick walled fiberglass construction. I’m wondering if it couldn’t be half burried and covered in dirt except the compressor units and door. Less obvious and even better insulated.? How much fun can great grandma’s Have?

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  12. Jesusfreak December 26, 14:49

    SSince you can now buy 12 volt microware ovens and other appliances, why buy an inverter. Spend you money and energy on recharging your battery. For lighting, think 12 volt bulbs like the one in your cars dome light. That bulb will light up a room.

    Reply to this comment
    • Farmer December 26, 15:42

      I suspect the reason that people don’t use 12 vdc appliances is their poor efficiency. A 1000 watt microwave would pull 80+ amps at 12 volts. That is dangerous current. Lots more boat fires were caused by 12 volt high current loads than 120 volt ac loads. If you want a lot of light using 12 vdc, think about LED flood lights used for off road vehicles … low current and daylight effects … of course in TEOTWAWKI situation… you would be visible for miles!

      Reply to this comment
      • Clergylady December 26, 19:29

        A microwave is actually a luxury not a necessity. I have one but it only gets used for warming up leftovers or cold coffee.
        Other than mug cake, does anyone actually cook with their microwave?
        I like it just fine but I didn’t have one ’til
        I was in my 30s. I could live without it just fine.
        How long does it take to heat water in a pan or warm a pie pan of leftovers in the oven? Not long….

        Reply to this comment
  13. Clergylady December 26, 19:14

    Good ideas Farmer but there are solar LED floodlights in the $10 range at Wal-Mart. I have two in my yard. HARBOR Freight has solar lights also. I have lights mounted on shop and storage buildings, along pathways. There are even solar lights indoors here. Small path lights sit in glasses on window sills. My husband has dementia and I need night lights for him. I have a motion sensor solar light in the room for my rabbits. The solar panel attached to it is mounted near the door. I just ran it through a tiny hole in the wall and pluged it back together. Seal the hole and enjoy.
    I found very bright LED flashlights with reflective areas to multiply the flashlights at Tractor Supply Co. Those flash lights, last year’s ran on three AA batteries. This year’s use AAA batteries. There is a hanging hook, two different magnets and there different light areas for about $6. My pathway light recharge AA and AAA batteries. Wal-Mart Sells packs of those rechargeable batteries that are inexpensive.
    Simple, anywhere, soft to bright lights, solar powered, solved. If I wire for a longer run I will have solar lights for shop work areas. Daylight flood lights will be more than enough for where I repair equipment or where my neighbor now does a lot of repairs for me. I already use those bulbs in outdoor lighting here.
    Florescent lights are ok but not so good for my older eyes. LED lighing and solar power are really quite an efficient combination for most applications.
    I like all the thought I see going into things here but so much has already been done for us and suddenly the prices are becoming affordable. Good LED bulbs are still a bit high but they last almost forever. A few purchased now and then add up to a lot of practical savings. I just sold a set up with 5 daylight bulbs and two small solar panels for a portable worklight to keep in my truck. A friend is now lighting his workshop and I need to assemble a new one. I need one for a thank you gift for a friend who has kept my vehicles going for the last 35 years without charge. I buy parts, he does the work. Once in a while I buy him a New set of good tools for Christmas.
    This year he, his wife and grandson became homeless when they lost the business they had run for the last 16 years. I moved them into a mobile Home on my property and their kids all helped repair and paint it. I had just evicted a stepson that was stealing and selling my tools, lifelong book collection, family heirlooms et to support his drug habit.
    It’s wonderful having good friends so near. They grew up with my older kids. I bought the makings of Thanksgiving dinner and most of Christmas dinner. She cooked and we ate there. I took home enough for us another meal and left them the leftovers.
    He is hauling wood for heat and to sell. She is operating a tiny craftshop her aunt had for years. It’s keeping them in food, heat, gas money and their share of the electric bill. My gift was new tools and no electric bill for Nov, Dec.
    He will help repair or maintain anything we need help with. What a blessing they are to me. My husband has dementia and is noticeably getting worse and more frail. His help and her friendship are worth more than I can repay.
    I want to surprise him with the solar light setup. He was delighted when I built the last one and before I could use it I was offered almost 10 times what it cost me to built. The next one is his and the next one after that is probably mine. I had it set up to charge in the back window of the truck. It can be used on a telescoping stand I found in the trash when a neighbor was moving. Super easy. I’ll need to figure out another stand for my friend. The first one is now mounted through the workshop wall and bolted to the wall.
    We don’t need to reinvent cheap solar lights. We just need to be inventive in how we use those things.

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  14. Farmer December 26, 22:17

    Great stories ClergyLady … sorry about your step son … i’ve been through that with relatives before … they don’t change and regardless of how much it hurts, you’ve got to throw them out. My inside light setup keeps the cabin bright when power goes out … it’s not as economical as solar garden lights, but quite efficient. I use a 100w solar panel made in Italy (eBay), a 12 volt AGM battery fed through an inexpensive charge controller (PWM, not MPPT). The batteries feed a boat switch panel which contains circuit breakers, a 12 volt cigarette lighter socket, meter and 2 USB charging ports. The switches run to 4 separate LED flood lights (20w equivalent) that light up my kitchen, hall, mud room, and bathroom. It prevents me from burning down the house with candles and when the power goes out, I just hit a switch. We have a rescue farm so animals a-plenty. All buildings capture rain water which is stored in one 1100 gallon and 8 sixty gal barrels. I have a number of purifier rigs to clean the water up. Awaiting installation are 10 250 watt 39 volt (VOC) panels, a Midnight Solar controller and homemade combiner board and switchboard to the inverter. I’m hoping to see some of my LED lights burn out in 22.8 years, but at 70 … I may be wishing.

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    • Clergylady December 27, 12:24

      My Dr tells me we are Al
      ?l living longer. I actually plan to be here to start replacing lights. Grandma was 94, Mom was 96, grandma’s sister 102, their mom was 103. A 10x gr grandma was 108. Not sure I want to live longer than 108.

      Reply to this comment
      • DJnRF December 27, 15:22

        Yes, the average age of people has gotten longer. However, It is still not close to those numbers. It took quite a few years for medical science to gather enough to finally come up with the actual average age in our society today, which is also that for all people in the world today. That age is 78.

        Now, we can relate to that age from an old expression that I am sure most have heard. “Life begins at 40”. In medicine, that is also provable. What is half of 78? 39, of course. So, life does begin at 40 going downhill very fast. lol Anyway, the figures I have given are correct. The average age was announced in late 2015.

        But, your family age longevity is close to that of my grandfather and his brother. We, of our family, do not really know how old gramps was when he died. He never talked about it, nor did ‘uncle’ Abe. Both came from Russia when Czar Nicolas was wreaking havoc with the population. Since the whole city, all the people,(including his family) and everything was destroyed, we can’t even find any records of the time to verify anything. We know where the town was, but there is nothing there remaining.

        We had a terrible time trying to find anything of him and Abe when he died. All records of the ship, Ellis Island, and even in New York had been destroyed by fires. As such there was only guess work to approximate his age at death. From things he and Abe had said we finally decided that he died at 103. As for Abe when he died, we decided that was when he was 108.

        After a lot of remembering, and comparing things that had been talked about with the both of them before, we think that the ages of their former ancestors was close to that of what we figured them to have been at death. All from their family all seemed also to have lived very long lives.

        I am not one to think I shall live so long. Even though I don’t have any serious issues in my health, I just don’t think I will live longer than another couple of years at best. Probably somewhere around 80. My good fortune is that I am a licensed medic for a fire department these days, and have all at my disposal to watch my health, and get any needed treatments as needed.

        I still go out and practice most of the skills I have taught over the years. Although, it is getting much harder for me to be out for weekend winters, and even sleeping on the ground. And, finding the many foods available during winter months can be a hassle. Of course, this type of survival is only a very last resort. Bugging out should never be forefront in the thinking.

        Since I live in a small village and in my own home, I do have areas ‘spotted’ that could be ‘unoccupied’ by those that might ‘bug out’. The habits of most would not really like these areas, but are just fine for those who know how to live without any modern luxuries for long periods. Heck, who knows? Things might become a SHTF situation and such an area becomes my grave.
        i wouldn’t might that. A real back to nature.

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        • Clergylady December 27, 18:39

          Well Dave sounds like good genes.
          Native Americans in this area still bury their dead simply wrapped in a blanket. Now that is back to nature. No fiberglass grave liner, no metal box, no embalming. I have a registered family plot here. My best friend, my parents and late husband are all burried there. Each was dressed in their favorite outfit, wrapped in a New blanket and the hole dug for the cost of fuel with a county backhoe. Except my late husbands. The sons and church members hand dug it 4’x7’x6’deep.
          I live in a small village also. On the mountain above me are the remains of an old stone sheep Corale and nearby is an ancient pit house that could be used with a simple roof. Both are near running water from a small spring higher on the mountain. The pit house is our meeting spot if ever we all had to run for our lives.
          Winter would be survivable with shelter and a fire but I’d sure choose staying home and laying low if possible. High mountain desert here. Green trees on the mountain. Plenty cold and usually snow. This year is Warmer and dry for now.
          There are some wild edibles in winter but not enough here to live without successful hunting. Natives here were very early farmer, hunter, gatherers. They stored food for the winter from ancient times to now. Winter is severe in high mountain desert climates. Seeds from grasses to pinion pine nuts were stored as were corn, beans, a kind of grey Hubbard squash, and dried meats. The natives here made seed pots with small openings to keep rodents out of the food.
          They made a low fitted boot style moccasin worn with thick leg wrappings to protect their feet and legs. Grass was sometimes stuffed in the moccasin to keep warmer. The sole was rawhide formed over a wooden form that matched the foot it was being made for.
          Wild sage and juniper berries were common medicines, seasoning, or stew ingredients. A regional salt lake was sourced for family needs and a trade commodity.
          Flint was knapped for arrowheads or hand knives. I still find some in protected draws or shallow caves. We find pottery shards and flint chips near old dwellings. Most were low stone walled shelters with just two rooms and one entrance. Covered with sticks thickly making a domed roof and plastered with mud. Second room was food and womens room. Room at door was men and boys room. The stone remains look almost like a figure 8. Floor dug out. Stone walls just a foot or so on the edges of the shallow pits. A home to crawl in, not walk in. Practical for the harsh climate. Older than that are pit houses dug 4-6 deep with a central fire pit. Juniper branches acted as trusses to support brush roofing. Let’s you know dirt is a great insulator and you need a heat source.
          Winter survival here without food stores is very short term.
          There are lots of Spring to Fall wild foods and medicines.
          My tiny off site caches have seeds, a bit of cash, a good folding knife, a salt shaker, bullion cubes, 2 survival blankets, an 8’x8′ thin waterproof camo print cloth, a wire saw, a small roll of thin strong flexable wire fit for snare making, all in a pint sized cookpot with lid. All burried in familiar spots on the mountain. Nothing too special or valuable. If I find a good multitool that will fit the pots I’d like to add those. Most are a bit too long.
          The old pit house has a shaped bench seat along the wall. That would be my bed choice. My son and I discussed making our own pit mostly covered with the removed dirt over branches large enough to support the weight. I have seen caves here with a wall and angled opening to give shelter right on a cliff face. I’m not into cliff climbing these days.
          I’d like to build a smaller pit house here as a teaching tool or practice camp. My land isn’t large but there is plenty for a teaching area. Being a caretaker limits getting out in too hard a place for the time being.

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          • Farmer December 28, 00:46

            Love your stories … now don’t laugh at me … good multitool? Try Walmart … $3.87 for one that looks like a Gerber Skeleton. I’ve used several and they’re tough enough.

            Reply to this comment
          • DJnRF December 28, 17:06

            It does appear that some are taking an interest in our posts. Farmer has replied with his input of liking what you say.
            Mulit-tools are nice to have. I have a small one. One thing I have found though is that most of them are such that they would need to be used very carefully as they are not really constructed of the best of materials without getting expensive. I have found a knife I like. It is a folder type of ‘switch blade’, but is constructed well. One place that had it for ‘free’ with a $9.95 shipping cost has a new one I am not impressed with. I looked until I found the old ad for them, and ordered another to make three I now have. I just got it yesterday.
            I had also gotten three of the small ‘bug out bags’ to keep at ready for some simple emergency preparedness bags. One of the knives will be in each.
            I do have my military pack and sleeping bag for the extreme cold weather use. It has several ways it can be used in all weather. I keep two of these bags packed 24/7 and change them out twice each year; Spring for warm summer, and Fall for winter weather. I also have the Type 1, CMU-33A survival vest that is also packed for use 24/7. On it (besides what I have in pockets, and attached items) is the matching holster for my Mk II Ruger .22, plus the original AF survival knife.
            My packs and the vest add quite a bit of weight to me being about 55 pounds, but are all well set up for survival for a good while all independent of any fixed location. I can set up a new home just with the supplies and equipment carried this way.
            The smaller bags, of which I have three, are just for help fast and to allow to set up a better place in an emergency. Since they are much smaller, and less equipped, knowledge is very important.
            I do like all the military clothing, and equipment I have as it is really designed well for such use. Whereas I do have a bunch of firearms, I am more inclined to just use
            the AR-7 survival rifle and the Ruger Mk II as they both use the same .22 ammo and a lot of that can be carried without adding much weight. After all, it is not my intent to get into any combat situation. Where I may not carry my Armalite .5.56, do carry the bayonet on my pistol belt with canteens. The belt attaches to my vest. The vest and one of the small bags is good for a lot of situations while not being much weight. It just does not have all the extras, sleeping bags, and clothing of the full pack.
            Your mention of bullion cubes is something that most will never consider. Those can be the best to use when one finds themselves thrust into a bad situation away from home or a base camp. A good, hot broth can help to calm down to think, and provide great nourishment to be able to perform whatever is needed. One can really lose any of a panic thinking to best think to provide a good chance at survival.
            Your preparedness of having remotely stocked supplies is the best. I wish I had the area(s) where I could do the same. Preparation at the home is even something that most will not do well, but you are well prepared with that as well as the remote sites. I am looking for an area out in my fire district that I can have as a remote area. Since, even though there is much wooded area, and a couple of public conservation areas, I hope to find a good enough tract I can buy where this remote and hidden storage can be done. On most wooded areas there are just too many using them for their parties, camping, and hunting to keep things hidden well. Plus there just is not anything but mostly low area, close to the river flood plains where people don’t use for much.
            I do have a small solar charger and battery where I can use for charging small things, and to also use for lighting with, or without a small inverter. I have used it for a small heater for water, or soups. That does take the battery down to need recharge for much more than an LED light. All of that takes little space, and weight is very small in addition to my small packs. In having three of these small packs, they all have to be set up the same, and one at home, one in the car, and one at the station. In that way I am always close to one, or two.
            Unfortunate for me at present is that having just lost my wife this year, I am running behind on things. I still have not reloaded my packs for winter. I have been busy at trying to get rid of all her things, and to reorganize here. In running behind I know that I can grab one pack if I must leave here. We never can be sure when something might happen.
            The big and most likely to happen disaster is the New Madrid earthquake. It is a bit behind the normal activity of being +/- every 200 years. The last was Dec 16, 1811, and carried over until March 2012. The damage always has been to cover over 600,000 sq. miles. In 1811 it rang church bells in Boston, and even woke the President in Washington. Afterwards he sent out people to find out what had happened. As a result, he enacted the very first earthquake legislation for that in our country. The really bad part is that all the oil and gas pipelines run through New Madrid, Mo. We will be without lights, heat, gasoline, oils, electricity and all associated for as much as years, depending upon the damage. The likelihood of it has been predicted a year ago at being within the next five years. I have been studying this and watching it for a long time. I still don’t feel I am as well prepared as I should be for that. We will be living as our forefathers did in the 1700’s. Many will die. I don’t think most understand how much more serious this can be, not even a war can’t be as bad.

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  15. Clergylady December 28, 17:22

    LOL. Farmer, I have one sitting on my table right now but it is too long to fit into the small cookpans I have cached. Probably could have fit in a swiss army knife but they arent cheap nor are they my favorite thing to carry in a pocket. I want things I like to use and are comfortable for me.
    Thinking I may use a pasta sauce can. I can use a can opener that lifts, not cuts, the end of the can. Easy enough to reseal that. Add a wire and nail to the contents and bury with or near the pots already out there. A multitool of course… then just gather items for one can at a time and do it. Can would become a bucket or cooking vessel with a wire bail, top still useable.
    Ok Farmer, thanks for a new tangent to follow.

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  16. Clergylady December 28, 22:27

    Hi Dave, I am sorry about you loss.

    I have several packs ready to grab at any time. Don’t want to go that route but can if needed.

    1: full surgical pack with suture kits, iodine, alcohol, antibiotic ointments, a100 blade scalple set, gauze, cotton pads, tampons, sling, stretch wraps, bandaids, tape, several essential oils, forcepts, surgical scissors, hard candy, bullion cubes and tea bags, hard candy😊, lighter and matches, a battery opperated radio, and much more. I plan one addition: sanitized new white shoelaces, a receiving blanket, olive oil, cotton balls a bulb type suction syringe, surgical scissors, a larger blanket and a scented trash bag.

    2: paracord, carabinares, extra leather belts, wind and waterproof material, thin jackets, and ponchos. Survival blankets, small LED flashlights, 2 metal cups, knives for butchering and skinning,, a hatchet, wire saw, matches and lighter, mixes herbs, dried wild coata tea, hard candy, essential oils, long stretchy bands for carrying sticks or splinting an injury. Camo material to enclose a blind that looks like leaves- like a ghilly suit. Extra pocket knives, stretch hair ties, and more.

    3: hatchet, knives, matches and lighter a change of warm clothing to fit each of us, 6 pr socks each and some underwear, survival blankets, a wire saw, snare wire, needle nose pliers, a 4×8 water and windproof cloth material, tea tree oil, bullion cubes, hard candies and more..

    4: dry food paks that prepare with hot water, jerkey, bullion, trail mix, hatchet, knives, wire saw, 2 deep metal cups, matches, lighter, flashlights, solar path lights without the stakes, Mylar/foil meals ready to heat in the pack..were restaurant prepared food samples… Canned tuna, roast beef, roll of foil for reflective cooking and multiplied heat from a fire, new cooking mit that looks like rubber, salt and seasonings, 2 metal spoons and forks, 2 old metal pie pans for cooking or eating on. Hard candy, herb teas and dried wild cota tea. Instant coffee, powdered milk, light weight nonstick cooking rack for grilling meats or veggies over a fire, a radio with magneto wind up charger.

    5: warm material to wrap with, gloves, blanket/throw, 5×8 waterproof tarp, survival blankets, 2 metal cups, teas, bullion cubes, hot chocolate, hard candies, matches, lighters, small LED flashlights and headlamps, dry soup mixes, army can opener, 2 cans of chicken noodle soup, a larger can of beans and a pasta sauce can. Once used the cans can become 2 small cookstoves efficiently burning twigs.
    A can opener like you’d use on a can of juice can create vents if needed in the cans.
    All packs have matches and a lighter. All packs have hard candies. Most pepper mint but caramels or hard fruit flavors too. All have flashlights, two have radios, all have knives, all have 2 thin metal cups. Most have a wire saw and snare wires.
    If we bugged out in a vehicle there would be TP and bottles of water. Without TP a cut up undershirt that can be washed and sun dried will do if you have a camp. On the run … weeds and grasses would suffice.
    If we head for the mountain there are a few springs year around and digging in a dry stream bed at deep spots or bends you will often find water or moisture to harvest by sun and condensation on foil or sheet plastic.
    I can’t carry a lot of water but a few bottles tucked in the outer pockets of my backpacks would be handy. So would my favorite camp coffee pot, sleeping bags, and pack tent. They could be tied onto packs.
    I’d have to choose packs to grab by situation or take all in a vehicle.
    I have fishing gear but not packed, as going to the mountain rules out fishing here.
    No real weather packs as nights over 6000 ft are still much cooler than days so they feel cold. Winter just takes more planning and more layers. Hopefully you leave dressed in appropriate clothing. Add or subtract layers as needed.
    Hard candy will quiet a child, moisten your mouth, taste good, change your attitude, carry you when you can’t stop to eat, help hypoglycemic or diabetics bring up low blood sugar, reward a childs good behavior occasionally. Comfort yourself too. One piece, not the whole bag. 🤗
    Hopefully we can all stay home and enjoy a few more good years in relative comfort.

    Reply to this comment
  17. Clergylady December 28, 22:44

    Hi Dave, I am sorry about you loss.

    I have several packs ready to grab at any time. Don’t want to go that route but can if needed.

    1: full surgical pack with suture kits, iodine, alcohol, antibiotic ointments, a100 blade scalple set, gauze, cotton pads, tampons, sling, stretch wraps, bandaids, tape, several essential oils, forcepts, surgical scissors, hard candy, bullion cubes and tea bags, hard candy😊, lighter and matches, a battery opperated radio, and much more. I plan one addition: sanitized new white shoelaces, a receiving blanket, olive oil, cotton balls a bulb type suction syringe, surgical scissors, a larger blanket and a scented trash bag.

    2: paracord, carabinares, extra leather belts, wind and waterproof material, thin jackets, and ponchos. Survival blankets, small LED flashlights, 2 metal cups, knives for butchering and skinning,, a hatchet, wire saw, matches and lighter, mixes herbs, dried wild coata tea, hard candy, essential oils, long stretchy bands for carrying sticks or splinting an injury. Camo material to enclose a blind that looks like leaves- like a ghilly suit. Extra pocket knives, stretch hair ties, and more.

    3: hatchet, knives, matches and lighter a change of warm clothing to fit each of us, 6 pr socks each and some underwear, survival blankets, a wire saw, snare wire, needle nose pliers, a 4×8 water and windproof cloth material, tea tree oil, bullion cubes, hard candies and more..

    4: dry food paks that prepare with hot water, jerkey, bullion, trail mix, hatchet, knives, wire saw, 2 deep metal cups, matches, lighter, flashlights, solar path lights without the stakes, Mylar/foil meals ready to heat in the pack..were restaurant prepared food samples… Canned tuna, roast beef, roll of foil for reflective cooking and multiplied heat from a fire, new cooking mit that looks like rubber, salt and seasonings, 2 metal spoons and forks, 2 old metal pie pans for cooking or eating on. Hard candy, herb teas and dried wild cota tea. Instant coffee, powdered milk, light weight nonstick cooking rack for grilling meats or veggies over a fire, a radio with magneto wind up charger.

    5: warm material to wrap with, gloves, blanket/throw, 5×8 waterproof tarp, survival blankets, 2 metal cups, teas, bullion cubes, hot chocolate, hard candies, matches, lighters, small LED flashlights and headlamps, dry soup mixes, army can opener, 2 cans of chicken noodle soup, a larger can of beans and a pasta sauce can. Once used the cans can become 2 small cookstoves efficiently burning twigs.
    A can opener like you’d use on a can of juice can create vents if needed in the cans.
    All packs have matches and a lighter. All packs have hard candies. Most pepper mint but caramels or hard fruit flavors too. All have flashlights, two have radios, all have knives, all have 2 thin metal cups. Most have a wire saw and snare wires.
    If we bugged out in a vehicle there would be TP and bottles of water. Without TP a cut up undershirt that can be washed and sun dried will do if you have a camp. On the run … weeds and grasses would suffice.
    If we head for the mountain there are a few springs year around and digging in a dry stream bed at deep spots or bends you will often find water or moisture to harvest by sun and condensation on foil or sheet plastic.
    I can’t carry a lot of water but a few bottles tucked in the outer pockets of my backpacks would be handy. So would my favorite camp coffee pot, sleeping bags, and pack tent. They could be tied onto packs.
    I’d have to choose packs to grab by situation or take all in a vehicle.
    I have fishing gear but not packed, as going to the mountain rules out fishing here.
    No real weather packs as nights over 6000 ft are still much cooler than days so they feel cold. Winter just takes more planning and more layers. Hopefully you leave dressed in appropriate clothing. Add or subtract layers as needed.
    Hard candy will quiet a child, moisten your mouth, taste good, change your attitude, carry you when you can’t stop to eat, help hypoglycemic or diabetics bring up low blood sugar, reward a childs good behavior occasionally. Comfort yourself too. One piece, not the whole bag. 🤗
    Hopefully we can all stay home and enjoy a few more good years in relative comfort.
    If we last long enough I’ll suck hard candies and tell youngsters about the unsure times that will be forgotten much as we have put the nuclear fears of the 60s behind us.
    My kids keep asking for a book that contains all the family history and tips. I might just have to sit down once the necessary repairs here are done. That won’t be for a while. Time and vandalism make for a lot of work.

    Reply to this comment
  18. Clergylady December 29, 08:33

    Sorry about the large duplicate post.

    I know a bit about survival. I lived alone in the woods near a tiny stream in California when I was 21. Long story, but I made it to the wooded area I knew from my teens, after three days of walking at night and sleeping by day. I had and extra , jeans, a shirt and a pair of socks in a paper bag. In my pocket were a half book of matches and a dull pocket knife. March to November seemed like a long time. My prized possession became a rusty can.
    I was incredibly greatful for my mother’s interest in wild foods. Dad making me learn to think out problems for workable solutions and some construction experience …. They saved my life.
    As the weather cooled I wore two shirts. I had rabbit skins for my bed and even inside my shirt and boots. I’d figured out how to snare rabbits with elastic from my underwear, sharpened my knife on a granite boulder, and made teas in the can that was also my cup and cook pot. I even drank creek water with minnows and Polly woggs in it. I tried eating almost anything that moved but usually cooked it on a stick over my fire. I did decide you can’t eat salamanders.
    I discovered my way of saving hot coals when I moved from camp to camp every day or so, then back to other places I had camped. My underwear soaked in the creek, a thick layer of white ash from the fire then hot coals. Roll up and coat about 1″ thick with mud. At the next camp prepare a new fire then open the dried mud and uncover the hot coals. Place in leaves or tiny twigs under the well laid wood. Blow on the coals till flames show.
    Cook in the can, on a flat rock, on a stick, et. A lot of green things became my main food sources. Pine needles make tea but growing tender tips are the best. Yarrow makes an ok tea even though it is usually a medicine. I must have eaten half a ton of miners lettuce raw, cooked, and in soups of sorts. There were beautiful blackberries near the stream. I gained 10 lbs out there but lost one pants size. Muscles…
    I don’t recommend hitting the woods with so little but a lot of luck, mild climate, and some knowledge and a lot of prayer got me through it alive.
    Almost 50 years later I know much more but have less stamina. Could I do it now? Good question. In that position I’d try, but God, weather, and luck carry more of that equation than my determination would.
    Really some supplies, knowledge and preperation would swing the equation more in my favor.
    It was a really hard time but making it through that time left me confident that God and I could do anything and I’d survive just fine.
    Will we really end up living so primativly in the future? I hope not… but it’s possible. Having a cache here and there on the mountain is comforting.
    My BOB’s are useful at home. First aid supplies and my butchering supplies are handy to grab. The food pack has to be updated periodically. It’s handy if I have company. I’m confident there is something handy and fast. In bad weather the camping and clothing bags go in the truck or car with me.
    I have never again been in such a hard place but with food, clothing, and some basic supplies I don’t worry about what happens…if ??? I have been snowed in my car overnight. I had food, water, clothing, blankets and it was ok. By midmorning the roads were open again and I went home. I have slid off the road in an ice storm. With rock salt and carpet scraps I was able to get back on the road and on to work. I was 7 miles out of town on a dirt road just a couple of miles from home. But it would have been over 12 hours overnight before I’d have been missed. Preperation applies to safety on the road, feeding visitors, your own survival, handy first aid supplies, pretty much anything.
    For me a lot of what others see as prepping is just frugal life. Not so much about what I’ll do if power goes off as how to save money and have more right now. That makes me look for ways to live better on less. I look for ways to meet both needs and desires with little or no budget. Solar lights et are cost effective measures for daily life. The less I’m dependant on things that cost money the freeer I live. I grow heirloom vegetables because I’m convinced they are healthier and saved seed follows true to type.
    Recent fires have reminded me of how fragile our way of life is. Homes lost so quickly means support systems are really strained, especially when there are so many people effected. We can do things that aliviate our situation. Folks that grabbed a bag and drove away were ahead of those with empty hands.
    If that New Madrid fault slips and the long expected earthquake happens the folks with some basic supplies and a plan will be the ones in a better position. A fire here would mean grab family, bags, and get out. In that order. Copies of important papers and flash drives with pictures will help with getting back to normal.
    What if “normal” is gone? Then all that preparing, planning, stocking up and learning will mean survival.

    Reply to this comment
  19. DJnRF December 29, 19:08

    You, dear gal, are the ideal “Prepper”. Not so much as the things you have accumulated for emergencies, but the knowledge you have intently learned. I have always been frustrated in these recent times about all the so-called survivalists online. Most do nothing to the knowledge/ education needed for survival. Their only real goal is money from what they can sell.

    There have been some who host ‘so-called’ survival classes, but they are far from what is really needed for survival. The money charged, again, is far too much for what they actually give. Aborigine survival that focuses on things from foreign lands does nothing for what may be needed most in our own country. That type of class is geared to causing “oohs and ahhs” and not really things that most can use in most situations here.

    Then there is the ones that always must stress combat type situations. Those types live far outside of reality. Now, I am not saying that a person would not encounter such a situation, but their mindset is to engage, not evade. And, large wild animal attack where high powered firearms are needed? How often does that happen when a person has the proper knowledge? Many millions of people go out into the wild and return home without having encountered such a problem before even one person does encounter it. Ok, so get a .44 magnum handgun with a small box of ammo; 20 rounds is more than enough since it will only be used against the big, attacking wild game. For food collection? A .22 LR ammo can handle that with little added weight, and enough oomph to get the food. It is also more that sufficient for personal protection, if one is good with the weapon. I might add my .38 Air-weight handgun with a box of ammo, if I have the space, and the added weight of the ammo isn’t a factor for me. But, that is only an afterthought. No one in their right mind for true survival should need thousands of rounds, and many ‘guns’ for everything they can imagine.

    Just like Bear Grylls on TV. His shows are just made to entice people to watch more, and buy products. I have seen many times when he was very lucky to have had help with him as if it were real he would have died. His shows are more of a commercial reality. Not true survival for the average person in our society. Now, Les Stroud is a totally different matter. He films his own show and survival situation in areas where the average person might find themselves. And he has gotten into bad situations where he could have died had he not the knowledge and ability to cope with it, and overcome the problem. He never had any help with him. He put himself in situations where anyone could end up with no help. It was actual reality. Good lessons could be gained from his shows.

    Every day I get emails of all the commercial entities that want to sell me something that is really useless for good preparedness. I would need a large convoy to carry all that these places suggest I buy. Useless nonsense!

    I agree fully with the way you have learned and prepared. Every year I have studied and learned some new things. Each year, preferably, four times each year, I like to go out to practice those new things. At least a full 3 day experience. At times it can be a week or more. Although, these days it is getting much more difficult for an old man to get out like that. With the bitter cold we have right now, I am just not going to go out. Temperatures below zero, and no higher than about 15 are just not good for me these days. It is bad enough with my knees bad, and Titanium in my back that when I get down, it is a chore to get back up. I just don’t ‘spring’ back up nowadays.

    You had mentioned metal cups, stove methods, and lights that I will comment on here.

    I hope you have stainless steel cups. Aluminum is not so great. Aluminum is very easily damaged from open fires, and can become useless too soon. I have used the Olicamp cup with folding handles that I put in an acrylic jar with screw on lid made up as a survival kit.
    The cup fits inside the 4″ diameter jar, at the bottom and things are added into it and up to the top. (I will list supplies later). My general carry cup is the one issued by the army. It fits the canteen, has folding handle/s and is a great stainless steel of a 24 oz capacity. I prefer the one from WW2 era, and shortly after rather than the new ones of today. The folding handles today that wrap around the cup are a pain when trying to handle the cup when hot, and on a fire. The handle on the old ones folds down and snaps around and onto the cup bottom. When opened it sticks out away from the cup and locks into position well. One doesn’t have to fumble with swinging handles. You can even grab the handle with heavy gloves on.

    Next, the small, fold up pocket stove that uses fuel tabs is good for cooking quick and small amount things. Cheap, very light, and taking up very little space is great for ‘go-bags’. Also, I have the larger model of the Sterno Camp Stove Kit. This is nice as it has a good size pan with it, and a cup. I have used small sticks and other things for a fire under the frame, but it is designed for use of the fuel cans. It is larger to pack, but not too bad. Put together it is about 8 inches tall.

    I also have a small Peak 1 stove I use. That works very well, and I have also used it for heating a very cold tent area. It can knock down the bitter temps well, but you do have to watch the fire in a tent. It does work well though for cooking things.

    For lighting I have flashlights and lanterns. For years I have always use the typical Coleman lanterns. When pumped up well the put out a very bright light, but are hot, and can go through fuel fast. They are also just too much bulk for packing. Instead I have three of the collapsible LED panel lights as advertised on TV. I got a special on them where I ended up with 3, plus the 3-AAA LED hand flashlight. That is very bright, and has 5 different light options. I got the single battery that replaces the triple A’s and also a charger for them. It is then easy to recharge them with a solar charger. The 3-AAAs are heck to charge all at once in the carrier for them

    I also have found a very small LED, 12V light just like the large outdoor, multiple LED lights. This thing is only about 2 x 2 inches in size and puts out almost as much light as a 30 W LED flood. For very little battery drain I can light up a very large area of a campsite.

    I use a Kilo-Watt meter for 110 volt test for current use. Where it can’t be used for 12 V tests on this, It can give the overall drain when used with an inverter, and battery. It shows only about 10 watts use that way.

    Oh, and the knife I had mentioned in my other post where they had replaced the one, and I had ordered the one I had gotten before, the price of that for shipping was only 4.95. The one new is 9.95. The knife is a folder with a belt clip, all black, solid aluminum, and a good, thick black stainless blade. It has a spring action, a part serrated edge, glass break end, and a rope/ belt cutter. Over all length is 4 1/2 inches.

    Ahhh, there is just so much more. But, from your knowledge I expect that you already have tried, heard about, or learned from experience. That is much unlike most I encounter online, or in person. People who read your posts here should copy them to learn from. It is just so very refreshing to hear from a person who really does have the needed knowledge of survival. If I were there I would end up spending almost forever learning more, and practicing everything. I would never find it boring, or not welcome with enthusiasm. You have even covered much more of things than myself. Where I have concentrated on survival is not the same as having really thought out so many other methods of the same idea but by a new approach.

    I wish I had the area where I could lay out emergency supplies in duplicate as much as yourself. That, and you are great. Where I and most will only have one, or two emergency packs, and stock of supplies you are prepared with many in different locations.

    Earlier I had mentioned a small survival kit I had built up. It is nothing more than what I had taught for the State of IL, LE Div of Conservation as a Kit in a Can. I just wanted one that would be reasonably water resistant, would float, and contained enough that, with the proper knowledge, would be a great help in having with all the time and to benefit greatly in a situation. Where it can have different things I have one list that I use most for most issues. What it contains follows:
    Cup – stainless steel
    Bullion cubes
    Tea bags
    Fishing line & fish hooks
    Matchbox & matches
    Waxed cotton cord 3 in legths
    Fire Starter
    Safety pins
    Water purification tablets
    Picture hanging wire – snares
    Sewing kit
    Antiseptic ointment
    Iodine prep pads
    Alcohol prep pads
    Emergency Blanket
    Signal mirror

    This list can be adjusted to other specific needs, but does have enough to start a proper survival situation. Since fire, shelter and food are of critical importance there is enough in this for a person to get rest, and nourishment along with a fire to take stock, think and plan. To forget the panic, and prepare for rescue, whether self-rescue, or that by others.

    I do like the 3 inch waxed cotton cord. That stuff burns much longer than any match, and can start fires well. It sure can save on butane fuel.

    A kit like this can be placed in several places. It can be a bit costly if more expensive supplies are used, but I prefer it that way. Even the jar is expensive from the manufacturer. About $10 each. By the time I was done with my first one, I had about $70 in it. I keep one in my vehicles, one at home, and one in a pack that I can leave anywhere. When I was teaching it I made these with the old 2 pound coffee cans.

    How good are you at making a fire with a bow? That can be a real chore.

    Reply to this comment
    • Clergylady December 29, 22:28

      Starting fire with a bow…just once to say I did it. Same with a cheap firestarter. They work…
      I do have an ancient bow but not positive if it was fire starter or a drill for bead making. It was found somewhere on the mountain here. It was a gift from a friends. I also have a warclub stone and a grinding stone. Also gifts.
      I have the caches as sort of a security blanket. I put in things I had most wished for when in that situation. Same with my backpacks.
      I grew up camping with Coleman stoves and lanterns, air mattresses and army surplus wool blankets on a wood folding cot. I loved camping. With my kids we had a three room tent and folding tables, Coleman lanterns and stoves and more.
      I can’t afford that much these days but I did buy a magneto wind up LED lantern that can also charge a phone. My metal cups are mostly stainless steel ones. My forks and spoons are silver plated. Any antibiotic action from silver is welcome. My materials today come from inexpensive or secondhand sources. I have battery operated lanterns with LED lights and one that I use at home that is a rechargable. I have two different heaters that operate on propane and a two burner camp stove and a 4 burner for catering at camps that was a gift. All nice but useless in a run for your life situation. Who carries around propane bottles or 5 gallons of water?
      My favorite folding knives come from NRA banquets ( I’m a life member) or from my usual Tractor Supply store. My hatchets are from Harbor freight and I use one regularly when I’m butchering. My machete, that is in my kitchen 😉, is also Harbor Freight. I don’t look for anything special but it answers the question… Will this fulfill a real need?
      That goes for things at home and for cache or inclusion in a backpack. Many times something just speaks to me… something I’d wished for or needed during that 10 months. I haven’t yet included any books but I think I will. I went over and over things I’d read or memorized as a kid. Maybe an epic poem I haven’t taken time to read yet but for sure something that includes Psalms and Proverbs. Probably a magnifying glass for a pocket Bible or New Testament with Psalms and Proverbs. I love books and reading but without one I learned a lot about me.
      Not sure a real survival situation would leave time for reading. Food and warmth or shelter was an all consuming focus. Being comfortable is a relative thing and takes more time. Happiness and hope for a more normal future came with the realization I could do this. I was blessed to be in a mild climate. The -10 nights that are normal here in December to February would have been impossible with the little I had with me. That’s the importance of cahed items and the backpacks. I still had nights that dipped to the upper 20s f. Cold or heat in extremes require different preparations but each must have the basics you teach, shelter, food, water, and the “illusion of” security.
      We all need to think we ‘are safe’, or ‘will be ok’. I guess that is why preppers prep.
      That 10 months was tough but it prepared me for life. Now I understand something about why my Lakotah male ancestors were driven to a fasting vision quest. You learn what is important to you. They sought a totem animal or bird. They learned being hungry isn’t necessarily deadly. Pushing yourself past your comfort zone is empowering. They learned to be more and do more than they thought they were capable of.
      Ok…enough philosophy.
      All the buckets of “prepper” food are still just mixes or the equivalent of canned stew. Buy what you will use and can afford. Vinegars will last almost forever and aren’t priced according to usefulness. Baking soda is worth its weight in gold. I can’t eat gold :). I can brush my teeth, deodorize, drink or eat things containing baking soda and scrub my frying pan with it. It’s easy to carry and cheap. Now if I could find a useable, powered, vinegar….

      Reply to this comment
  20. Clergylady December 29, 23:43

    I remember my mother making hardtack from an old immigrant recipe that included rye flower. Hard and not quite tasteless. I liked it with a tomato based soup to soak it in. I could soak it in a cup of hot bullion and dry it would keep almost forever. Pemican will give you calories and keep you alive but even with dried berries in it, it is just emergency food for the short term. Every race has something they depended on for hard times. Those things would be worth learning… but.. like energy bars they have to be in your pocket to do you any good. Here jerky would have been that food. A smooth stone in your mouth will help keep your mouth moist on the desert but won’t replace water to keep you alive. Lots worth learning but learn foods and medicines that will take care of you past the initial day or two.
    Meats are ok but you’ll find green foods and fruits easier and faster. Like a good diet at home now, you need a variety of sources and colors to stay healthy. Almost anything edible actually has some protene in it. You can get what you need from plants, fruits, nuts, bugs, minnows, tadpoles and easier to obtain things. If you’re picky kiss life good by.
    I’ve talked to gals, and guys, that can’t imagine life without TP. Or how about your favorite femine product. There was a time weeds, rags, or cataloges were what everyone had. I have tampons in the first aid bag…. for puncture wounds or a broken nose thank you.
    If we really face traumatic life changes we need to get over being so spoiled. I know young people that don’t equate the contents of the butcher’s case in a grocery store, with dead animals. Farm folks and hunters know that truth by now.
    Survival today means you face a big learning curve because we are far removed from that way of life. Too many are looking for ways to keep today’s living standard when it may be really gone, for a time anyway.
    You that teach, help others know survival is not a flavored coffee drink charged on your favorite cc. It’s hard work and quite different from our affluent way of life. It may feel like a pre-development society. You may have to be your medical person. You may be the scavenger gathering foods. You may have to build your shelter.
    Our ancestors have all done it. Everyone eventually found a specialty they were good at. Bargains, trading, and working together may be the solution.
    We can hope any troubles are really temporary. That would certainly be my preference.

    Reply to this comment
  21. Clergylady December 30, 13:53

    I had a private message asking about a pellet capable rocket stove. Answering here.
    I am saving up to order one from
    Sky Huddleston in Burbon, MO. Liberator, LLC.
    Not cheap but well thought out. The top of the heat collection chamber can reach a bit over 600 degrees in the center of the flat top. Cooking can be done around that hot center and it’s designed to heat 2000 sq ft. More than enough for me. I have a camp oven so I could bake on top as well. We are arrid so I like a pan of water on my wood stove.
    Marey makes a 4.5 GPM on demand propane water heater with ignition available either 110v or using 2 D batteries. I’m thinking of going with the batteries. I like the convenience of hot running water but hate the gas consumption of the standard propane water heater. I also hate relighting it. Electronic ignition instead of a pilot light makes sense to me. I can recharge batteries it just won’t light with a dead battery. I just don’t bother with my standard Water Heater because it’s expensive to use and a pain to light.
    Any input about those choices is welcome.
    I changed every lightbulb on the property except a streetlight on the shop building. That made an immediate savings of about $100 on three residences and a large shop building. That paid for the bulbs in less than 2 months . Then I added a lot of solar motion lighting outside. That helped slow thefts along with open carrying a 38 pistol after sunset. I let it be known that my stepsons drug friends are no longer using my property as a free store to raise drug money. I have barking dogs also.
    We have taped drafty windows and covered them with 6-8 mil plastic sheets. Even my sliding doors are taped and covered for winter. I have newer doors to put in later. We hunted down drafts and have solved most of that problem. One trailer heats with portable electric heaters. Another with a wall propane unit. I heat with pellets and a bathroom heater in my bedroom for now. Still power consumption is less than half of what it was. Im still aiming to get it lower. The trailer with electric heaters now has my woodstove. Just need an elbo for the stovepipe and a supply of wood. He has a chainsaw. I have a truck.
    I hope changing to a different main source of heat will get rid of the heater for my bedroom. It does all add up. The rocket heater I want is woodburning, pellet capable with the included hopper. My old homemade one was ok but I want the newer one with the pellet hopper. Chopping wood is getting harder. I’ll still burn twinges. I have lots from clean up here. Use them for heat and put away the chipper for now.
    You guys seem to know electricity. Other than changing a breaker, a switch, a light fixture or adding a fan… I’m lost. Any more saving suggestions?

    Reply to this comment
    • DJnRF December 30, 16:05

      I had lived a year and a half in a small Shasta camper. I had all the conveniences of any home, even hot water. What I had done was to look for a water heater ‘on demand’ style. I finally found one that works well for me. It is a 110 V unit, but since it only works when I turn on the faucet, the electric demand is low enough to use a solar setup and inverter.

      The most frustrating problem for me was to hook up the hoses so as to have hot water flow through the unit when I wanted, and for cold water to bypass the unit when I wanted cold. The electric was just as simple as if it were a 12 V system.

      There are many units out there, and it took me a lot of looking and comparisons before I found one I could afford. It was less than $100, and works well. It does not have a huge volume flow, but works well enough to wash dishes, take a shower, or fill pots with hot water.

      Since I have a mess around here from reorganizing due to the death of my wife, I am not able to lay my hands on the booklet for it to know the make and model at the moment. I will have to go out to the camper and get that info to post as soon as I can. I will also look back to when I had purchased it to find info on where I had gotten it.

      It is a small unit, and does not store water. The water is instantly heated when demand is made by turning on the water. It is not larger than one of the old 2 pound coffee cans. A small space needed is always great for something you can take with you if you move somewhere. Your water source to supply it if more of an issue. I used a 20 gal. water tank. Keeping it full was a much more of a hassle when i had to use a lot of water for something. It was not so bad to carry when empty, but again, how often might one need to make such a home move?

      Reply to this comment
  22. Clergylady December 30, 20:25

    That setup sounds interesting. I might even do one and another later. It’s for my home. I don’t run a lot of hot water at a time.
    We had looked at an expensive electric unit at our other home. Moving back here means lots of repairs and work! That stepson I evicted had his step kids all moved here without my knowledge. They were all a bit like an invasion of locusts. They took anything they wanted and destroyed things for fun.
    It will be a long time till this property looks good or things run as they should. It looks like a dump with old furniture and piles of trash.
    They were even digging up electrical wiring to melt and sell the metal. My breaker box is supposed to have a ground and two hot lines coming in. I have a ground and on pieced together hot line. So I’m careful with consumption in here.
    I looked at propane on demand waterheaters because that is my usual heat source. Something that could do the job on solar panels would be awesome. Whatever i use will go into my current water lines from the big propane waterheater. I could even do a second one at another spot if I need more. Thinking bathroom/ laundry. Later kitchen and 2nd bathroom if it needs to split later on. That could also do nicely on my camper. Then I’d have it for a shower when camping. I don’t use a lot of hot water. One may do here just fine. We would only run hot water at one spot at a time anyway. If it’s small and easy to disconnect it could be put in the camper if needed.
    Thanks for the answer.

    Reply to this comment
    • DJnRF January 2, 08:17

      Lady, I still haven’t gone out to check the info on the heater I got, but I found out there are many listed today. When I got mine back in 2013, there were hardly any listed anywhere other than the large ones for homes.

      Amazon has many types shown at all kinds of prices. One thing I noticed is that for around +/- $50 there are now shower head heaters, and sink faucet heaters. For around $100 you can have one at each place, separate from each other. Even eBay has listings for them.

      What was difficult to find before is now very easy to find. The sky is the limit today. Prices run from around $150 up to over $1k. Most any 110V unit w/ 1.5 to 3 gpm flow and less than 2400 W can be run from an inverter, solar panel, and also best with battery.

      There are many ways to figure out the what, and how’s for a system and just all depends upon the selection of a unit. I am looking into several to determine which to shy away from, and which would be good to have. So….. still looking.

      Reply to this comment
      • Clergylady January 2, 21:58

        Thank you Dave.
        I do need to find something. Hot running water for a shower and to do dishes would be wonderful.
        We are pretty spoiled, aren’t We?
        Friday I got sick. I was a surprised by how fast it caught me. But here it is Tuesday and I’m up and feeling better. I spent 3 days in bed. Last night I suddenly started feeling better but not good enough to stand at the stove so I sat and just made tuna sandwiches for us. My friends spent the last three days bring in pellets and chicken soup and pancakes yesterday morning. What a blessing to have such wonderful friends. Most people in the area are down for about three weeks along with a round of antibiotics. I’m so glad this was much shorter.
        I appreciate you help. Anxious to see your suggestions.

        Reply to this comment
        • DJnRF January 2, 22:57

          Mary! Dang! I had thought we have much in common in our thinking. Now, it is even more real for me. My wife was also named Mary. She, too, had much of the same thoughts as you, just not as fully knowledgeable in all the things as you. She was also raised on a farm, and learned much of the ways needed for survival living. She was the editorial research assistant to George in the firearms testing and evaluations. She also did much of the book editing, which gave her an increased knowledge of what we wrote about. She liked shooting the Thompson, even though it was a bit heavy for her, but her favorite weapon the .44 Automag.

          She always understood my going out by myself to practice things I had learned, even though I might be away at certain times I probably shouldn’t have. I was away the first eighteen years of our marriage on our anniversary day. Since us men are usually lousy at remembering such a date, we were married on my birthday. Yet, I was still away on that day for so many years.

          She had always coped with whatever situation we had with no complaints. Many times she would apply much of what we had learned so as to view every day as a survival situation, even though it wasn’t. The down-to-earth thinking of how to cope with anything was always ever present. It is why I have come to relate so well to
          what you say, and do as well as your thinking of your preparations.

          Be Prepared is the Boy Scout Motto. You are a great example of one who follows that motto even though you may not be registered in the Boy Scout program. It is a shame as you would make an excellent leader and teacher in much of the program.

          My self, I live in Central IL where it is the home of the founder of the BSA. We have a good Council here, and have had many good people over the years. My most recent work has been one on the Commissioner staff as a volunteer. The Scouting program was the main influence in my life that guided me into the real meaning of being prepared.

          Were I able I would find it a very interesting thing to visit you. Alas, I just could not afford to do so without a good pre-planning for such a trip. But, I am very pleased to have this contact with you in all you have provided about your endeavors on the subject.

          As for your illness, I do sincerely hope that you are not just in part of the incubation stage of whatever it may be to have caused you to have a bad time. I do hope it is clear of you.

          I, too, have felt bad for the past couple of days. Even with so many years as a medic, these things are very
          difficult to identify. Like the common cold, there is no sure way to do so, or even any sure cure. The old ways always seem to work best anyway. Many of the “old wives tales” are always to be considered for remedy.

          It is much like the 16th century doctor that was known far and wide for his help for women to control their pain in childbirth. He called it the Willow treatment. He just had those chew the bark of the Willow tree. Why? The bark of the Willow is just pure, natural aspirin. Aspirin today is the best natural NSAID on the market today. It beat the heck out of all others, and has fewer side affects than all the prescribed medications. Actually, it only has one side affect, and that is prevented by using milk, or some other form of it to prevent stomach ulcers if taken in the extreme, or for long periods. The coating of the stomach by milk at the time it is taken, prevents damage to the lining of the stomach.

          Another use for the aspirin other than to control pain is to help prevent heart attack. Doctors today always say to take a low dose aspirin each day. In reality, one low dose aspirin per day can only help to prevent a Second Heart Attack; not a first. The prevention of a first is to take one whole, 325 mg aspirin per day. In an ambulance we give four low dose, (81 mg) aspirins for anyone having symptoms of possible heart issues. The only reason for the low dose is that they are chewable while most cannot stand to chew up a full aspirin.

          When not using milk, the use of a coated or buffered aspirin helps to prevent ulcers. I have never had a heart attack, but did have a heart problem from having too small heart arteries. All were replaced with ones from my body that were very clean, very elastic, and slightly oversized. Each year I go in for more tests to determine if I have any problems. This year I was told to keep doing whatever I was as everything looks perfect yet. My surgery was back in 2011. So, with no heart attack or other damage, I am the same as what I was after the surgery without change. The surgeon had said that my heart just doesn’t know what to do with so much good blood. lol.

          Anyway, I am hoping my present seeming ailment is not going to get any worse, and will be gone in the next day at the longest.

          If you want to add or ask anything at any time, do not hesitate to contact me at DJnRF@yahoo.com. I have had that addy for many years.

          And, I am still looking for more info on suggestions for a water heater, and how I would set it up for use. There are just so many now, it is taking me a good while to find what is good for what we would need with our particular ideas.

          Take good care, and get well fast,

          Reply to this comment
          • Clergylady January 3, 23:32

            Aspirin/willow bark is good. I take a daily aspirin but no problems. Dr just suggested it as a preventative.
            My Uncle loved going to scout camps for boys and girls. He’d talk about wild food, campcraft and being a hobo. He lived a lot of his life in Tolido, Oh.
            He was famous/notorious enough they made a PBS movie about him. I didnt grow up around him but surprisingly, we had a lot of interests in common.
            I chewed vitamin C and took Zink when I started feeling bad. It is already passing. Not 100% yet but defiantly better. The cough sounds worse than I feel.
            I’ve seen -46 one night but most winters we do get a bit below zero and occasionally we see a few weeks above 100 degrees in the summer. All nights drop 40 or more degrees. This is a record warm winter here. Also far dryer than normal.
            My Dad grew up in western Kansas. He liked willow bark tea and made willow bark whistles. I haven’t made that tea in a lot of years. We had lots of willows at the reservation we lived on for a while in California.
            I bet your Mary was quit a lady.

            Reply to this comment
            • DJnRF January 7, 18:19

              Hi Mary, Well, things here have not gone so well. Lots of accidents, many stupid people, and a very large fire that took several departments, and a full day to stop. On top of that I have not been up to snuff. Nothing specific, but sure am run down to the point of the expression of ‘dead on my feet’. I just can’t get any energy. Age sure isn’t helping either. I wish I had not lost my ‘partner’. She was a great help and support to me and everything.

              One way to really cover what may come and if able to stay in our ‘home base’ is to go all solar, with added wind. power. The good part about a solar system is that you can just keep adding on panels and batteries. The panels are easy, but batteries are a different story. Car batteries just won’t work. Unless you want to change them several times each year, that is.

              A car battery is not designed to the discharge cycle for long term use on a system that is draining it without an alternator continuously charging it without letting it get below 11 volts at the lowest. Each time a car battery is discharged lower than that causes damage to the battery. Soon it can’t be charged more than 8 to 9 volts, and soon will not take any charge. They just won’t cycle in the way of a proper deep cycle battery that is designed for such use. Not even the so-called deep cycle marine batteries are not true deep cycle. Those are not designed for the heavy loads that are required of off-grid systems.

              Actual solar batteries that are used commercially are very expensive things. They don’t even look like the batteries we are used to seeing, but they will last for many years in a full battery bank. So that only leaves the batteries that are used in equipment that run on batteries with no, or low recharge methods. Golf carts, and Fork truck batteries are all that is left. Then what we get must be designed for the load we will place on them, and the method we use to recharge them. There are many worksheets for calculations, but here is a site online that gives the basics of what to do>

              Basically, you must figure out how many watts you use in a days time, and then convert to amps. From that you can begin to calculate the number of solar panels you would need for your area for full off-grid, or just partially so. Of course, the fact one can start out small, and add to the system is a big help in reducing the cost at any specific time. One can go to a dealer and have a full system installed right away, and spend the next ten or more years paying it off, or you can start small and keep adding as you can afford to do.

              You must first calculate a whole system so that you can then decide on your batteries. When figuring your system you must also decide if you are going to make it a 12, 24, or 48 volt system. Each has advantages and disadvantages. And, of course, the charge controller you get is important, but again, you can start out with one, and later upgrade to much better.

              In this home I started with just one 100W panel, but set it up right at the start for the addition later of three additional panels. All that entailed was just the wire to the charge controller. Now, I can add the three panels, and order more interconnecting cables to add another four panels.

              One can always get 200 W panels, and put up eight panels for a 1600W system. The more watts you will draw just means the larger the system you will need.
              All you need to do is just keep adding and/ or changing.

              Now, about batteries. When getting batteries the first thing to remember is to not mix batteries, and get them in pairs. It is not really so great with the addition of batteries later as the ‘weak’ part of the system voltage
              affects the entire system. Actually, it is the amp current and not the voltage, but we usually read it in voltage.

              Now, a small system can get by with 75 AH batteries. A good ‘norm’ is to use 100 AH batteries. The glass mat (AGM) batteries are great, but the Gel types work well too. The typical lead acid ones are not great,and give off fumes to where they must be vented very well. The one battery I have used is the Mighty Max Solar 100AH AGM battery for off grid use. The cost from MM Solar is $190 each. You can start with one, but I suggest two at a time. The battery costs more than the 100W solar panel that I got.

              One solar panel I have used is the one on Amazon at:
              https://www.amazon.com/mighty-max-solar-panel/s?ie=UTF8&page=1&rh=i%3Aaps%2Ck%3Amighty%20max%20solar%20panel. It is a 100W Polycrystaline panel. Not the best, but not bad either. The cost is only $109. You can order extra length cables the TEMCo MC4 cables are what is needed. You must first decide how distant your panel will be from where you mount the charge controller. I had to get 50 ft to get from my roof to inside where i needed them. You can get by the foot, or ready made in 12ga, or 10ga. The more load you have, you may need the 10ga, and those wires are not cheap, and have the special ends to match the solar panel connectors. eBay has those at: https://www.ebay.com/sch/sis.html?_id=282347770427&_nkw=TEMCo+MC4+Solar+Panel+Extension+Connector+10+or+12+AWG+PV+Cable+Wire&_pgn=3&_skc=100&rt=nc

              I might as well list the one Pure Sine wave inverter I got. I have several others, but this one I am using to try is new. Also from eBay. NEW ADVANCED PURE SINE WAVE POWER INVERTER 5000/10000 WATT 12VDC TO 120V AC!
              Most at the moment are to bid for, with some Buy it Now for a very high price with an option for an offer. I got mine with a fixed $275 price.
              Pure Since Wave is what you get from the power company. The cheaper inverters are modified sine wave. Where they work for some things such as lights, you will not get them to work on other things such as the fridge. They will heat up too much from the mostly square wave.

              I bought panels first. I got a cheap charge controller with the panel. I would like to get a good MPPT one. I then bought the cables after measuring what I needed.
              Then later the batteries. It took about 3 months to get it all, but I did have some work to do to prepare. I will follow up with more later. DJnRF@yahoo.com.

              Reply to this comment
            • DJnRF January 7, 21:08

              I had written a lengthy reply here, but somehow it got lost. I will cover it again later. It was on the solar panels I use ($109 each) the inverter (5,000-10,000W Pure Sine) the cabling link to the solar panels (TEMCo) and batteries (Mighty Max 100A).

              One thing I had not mentioned was the fact that you can supplement electric power from the wind with a generator for wind use. ($149.) Of course, you must be out in the clear to catch the wind, or build some tower to get above the tree height. (Average here is 60 ft). The winds are always much stronger the higher you go. You would need a way to cut off the generator when it is producing more electric than you need for use, or charging. You would need a large enough battery bank to have power with little to no sun at times. Cloudy days do not stop from charging as the ultra-violet rays of the sun are not blocked by clouds. They still will charge, but may be at a slightly reduced rate. (DJnRF@ yahoo.com)

              Reply to this comment
  23. Enigma January 7, 11:18

    Might be that Clergylady should have written the OP?

    However, as people who have lived aboard ocean-capable sailboats know, 12-VDC may be used for almost everything electrical. Exceptions are appliances using electric motors which must turn heavier masses.

    On my 41′ ketch there were cheap 6-VDC golf-cart batteries, which can cycle more deeply and more often than expensive marine batteries. Two 6-DC batteries in series adds up to a 12-DC ‘unit’, which then connect to parallel buses along with several other such ‘units’.

    By shopping carefully at RV vendors, nigh every 120-AC device can be had in a 12-DC form. But you will want also an Inverter-converter (+2,000-watt) for powering a few things which women like, such as hair-dryers.

    Real issue with living off-the-grid is electrical generation. May get expensive in places with little solar exposure. Also leads to prolix discussions about water-heads, prevailing winds, steam engines, etc.

    With an ocean yacht, one just fires up a diesel motor and recharges all batteries. As long as the fuel lasts…

    Reply to this comment
  24. Enigma January 7, 11:20

    BTW, a digital multimeter may get fried during an EMP event.

    Reply to this comment
    • DJnRF January 11, 06:45

      0Myths abound in EMP understanding. I quote here an excerpt from the Oak Ridge NationalLaboratories/
      Metatech EMP Report ……
      “Most EMP myths originate because people do not understand about the three components of nuclear EMP. The difference between E1 and E3 is especially important. I have a separate page explaining E1, E2 and E3. To a certain extent, all nuclear weapons will generate all of these components of EMP, especially when detonated at high altitude. It is especially important to note that solar storms are only known to produce an E3 component at ground level. (Solar storms can damage electronics in space, but the mechanism is different from the nuclear weapon mechanism for generating E1.) A severe solar storm could knock the large sections of the electrical power grid out for years, but solar storms would not damage electronics equipment at ground level that is not connected to the electrical power grid or other very long lines.”

      The entire report and the associated remarks can be found at: http://www.futurescience.com/emp/EMP-myths.html

      Most is very highly confusing without an associated degree in such things, but one can elicit enough for a better understanding of how the 3 types of EMP affects things. A short copper wire most likely will not be affected, but the long lines out on poles would be. Just don’t attach a long antenna wire to your short wave radio, or it can be knocked out.

      Reply to this comment
      • Enigma January 12, 18:31

        Good link, DjnRF.

        A properly-set-up shortwave radio has an elevated antenna, and a rather long lead back to the equipment. Should be kept disconnected / manually switched (knife switches) except when in active use.

        Safest arrangement for any equipment and appliances incorporating Integrated Circuits is for them to be enclosed in a grounded Faraday Cage. Or subsurface (buried) with a grounded metal mesh above them. Better safe than very -very- sorry.

        Problem with so much of the gear now being provided is that it _requires_ data connections so as to work. After an EMP or CME (Coronal Mass Ejection), good chance all your ‘cloud’ stuff will be unavailable.

        Little can be done for modern autos which have plastic or fiberglass panels. An all-steel or -aluminum shelled auto is an ungrounded Faraday Cage. Vehicles containing ICs should be parked in underground garages, not outdoors nor in wooden structures.

        Killing off all human life on Earth may be possible via biowarfare, but not with nuclear devices (at least, not via any sort of such weapons that humanity has so far deployed). As bad as things got during the Cold War, the biological weapons of the Soviet Union (and others) posed more of a threat to humanity than all of the nuclear weapons on both sides.

        For North America, and for the planet, the greatest dangers arrive, as ever, from sources exterior to Terra. A Solar CME which happened to cross the Terran orbit (unlikely) would be catastrophic for all technologies based on electronics.

        An asteroid of the size associated with the dinosaurean extinction would cause mechanical damage to Terra via its tectonic plates and oceans.

        The one thing humanity need not worry about is Anthropogenic Climate Change. But climate change caused by the SUN is another thing entirely.

        Reply to this comment
  25. Clergylady January 7, 23:53

    We average about 300 sun days a year so solar is very popular here. Living at the base of a mountain in the foothills, the morning and evening thermals would make wind generation a smart part of over all planning.
    Today I’m needing to turn my pellet stove so I can get the information from it to order parts to repair the stove. I spent yesterday afternoon spoonfeeding it pellets to stay warm. I may be able to do the work if I can get parts for it. I don’t have the money saved up to order the pellet capable rocket stove…yet.
    I live simple but moving and repairs and a lawyer have not been cheap.
    I hate to use a propane heater but I guess that will be it until I can do something else. I want the rocket stove. No electricity, no moving parts, and I can use pellets instead of chopping wood. And the bonus of weighing around 100 lb instead of hundreds of lb. I can use the same pipes that I have on this old pellet stove.
    I’m still chewing vit C and taking zink. Sipping hot honey and apple cider vinegar. Also sipping other hot teas. Glad I had fresh chicken noodle soup and ham and split soup. Still weak but not feeling sick anymore.
    Looking forward to more recommendations for possibly going solar for hot water.
    I own an old 22 Lg rifle, bolt action. It was a gift for my 18th birthday. I won a Tarus Judge, 410/45 pistol at an NRA banquet. What I carry is usually an old 5 shot 38cal revolver. I gave a son my 1917 303 Enfield. I bought a wrist rocket type slingshot a while back. Need to practice with it. May adapt it for arrows. Fun to play with anyway. I don’t actively hunt anymore. Plenty to butcher if I keep rabbits multiplying.
    I just defrosted a package of rabbit hind legs to make a Cajun stew. Neighbor kids love it so I’ll share.
    Time to go feed critters and bring in the propane heater from a storage shed.
    Hope you’re feeling better Dave.
    Love the comments everyone.

    Reply to this comment
    • Enigma January 10, 15:55

      Sophisticated solar installations, and inverters & chargers, may get ‘fried’ during an EMP event. Or during a Solar Flare. There were allegedly some tremendous ones during the early 1800s, but nobody was using electricity via outdoor above-ground wires back then

      Solar however can be quiet and discreet, unlike wind generators. Dutch-style sail blades may attract undesirable attention; did for coastal folk during Medieval times. Modern large ones may be very noisy. Arabs invented a kind (for powering gristmills) nigh entirely enclosed in squat towers, cutting down some on ambient sound, but there’s still noise as blades pass openings. Beware of positioning windmills in migratory bird flyways.

      .22LR bolt action one of the more practical tools for subsistence hunting. Really skilled and careful hunters can use it for anything under the bison/elk/bear size. .38 wheelguns kind of under-powered for my taste, but forged (not cast) frame ones are truly reliable. Anyone thinking of a new buy shouldget .357 models but feed .38 for ordinary uses. For anti-personnel uses, spare cylinders holding .357 jacketed and/or hollow-points may discourage invaders.

      Best quiet multipurpose weapons are crossbows. Quarrels/bolts may be made of most anything narrow, straight, strong, and over 20″ long. Depending on your crossbow design. (Romans used huge ones for warfare.)

      Zinc supplements are generally useful for promoting all healing. Rabbits however lack fats, and should not be relied upon for mainstay proteins.

      Folk over 65 are able to get free or low-cost anti-flu and anti-pneumonia injections at drug stores and clinics. Suggest spacing such out, so body gets accustomed to making antibodies based on vaccina.

      Reply to this comment
  26. DJnRF January 8, 00:31

    Mary, Yes, an attorney can be expensive. I never worry about that as most things I am able to handle myself as I do have a law degree. IF, or when I might have some court case as a suit, or IF I would have some suit against me I would still have an attorney to work for me. That is one thing I learned in law school; “He who represents himself in court has a fool for an attorney.” (Clarence Darrow) I do draw up all of my own legal documents, and for others, and take care of any filing. I have represented others in court actions, but it isn’t a good thing to do for oneself.

    As some of our conversations in here are a good way off topic, It would be better on many things if we just used email for such communications. If needed, I also have made a special room where it is by invite only so that there is no disturbance if I am in it with someone where the ‘chat’ is not something for all others. It is in a chat community, and at times rooms there get so crowded it is difficult to discuss a particular topic in detail. I have used it for some legal stuff, and some medical issues as well. Otherwise I go into one room of 40’s through 60’s and more. It is just a fun room where everyone is nice, or they get booted out.

    For wind generators, the one I priced is about like any car alternator, but is used for wind generation. Of course a charge controller is needed as well as the inverter. It is a bit different on the controller than one used for solar, but not so expensive either. Blades are also not too bad in price for the new poly ones. Bushings and the swivels for tower tops are also needed. Of course, the cables to transfer the electric. I am not sure as to how large those might be as it all depends upon the distance, and the amount of current generated. I would have to dig out some of my books from when I was a dealer to be sure anyways. lol

    I have never tried a pellet stove. If really cold and I need to warm things up a bit that my sleeping gear can’t handle, I have used open, reflector fires, and even a Peak One stove. lol

    My sleep gear is the Arctic military good for -40, and wet weather. I also have one of the old bed warmers, and several of the old fuel hand warmers. Those things have served me well. If it gets too cold, well, …… Where there is no sense, there is no feeling. That is me. lol

    It is great to hear from you. I always enjoy your input. I am always intent on the learning. Thanks, much.

    Take care,

    Reply to this comment
  27. Clergylady January 10, 21:12

    I have a refrigerator, freezer, electronic ignition propane stove, a small washing machine, tv, coffee maker and led lights. I’m gathering more jars so I can do more canning and soon close down the freezer. I’m working on cutting down use in each residence but maintaining quality of life.
    We all hang our laundry on shared lines with shared bags of clothes pins. I supplied everyone with LED bulbs. We use water from a well with an On demand pump without a pressure tank. I use solar lights, some are motion activated. Pathway lights in my Windows so my husband has night lights. I even have a motion activated solar light in the rabbit room. I plan a solar light for each shed with an off and on switch. My work areas that require more light have or will have LED daylight bulbs charge by outside small solar panels.
    I’d like solar power to charge or run some tools and sewing machines, 3 refrigerators, 3 small ondemand water heaters, 3 washing machines, the ondemand water pump, and some LED lights in each home. Each home can be set up indepndant of the others and the well could be a separate set up. My freezer will be sold when emptied.
    Since my Pellet stove needs expensive repairs I will soon order the rocket stove with pellet hopper to cover both heating and most cooking needs. I may modify a method of heating water to circulate through my large propane water heater. With a waterheater blanket it could be fairly efficient.
    I like solar power but I still prefere a small foot print. I also want to get each residence off propane water heaters which are expensive. We will cook with propane but I’ll cook on the wood burning heat stove also. In the summer I mostly cook outside using branches from cleaning up and trimming trees. I have a homemade bbq that is a half barrel in a metal frame with expanded metal over the fire. I also have three firepits. You could cook on two of them.
    Any suggestions for the solar needs of each residence. I don’t mind if they are one instalation or separate by different groupings …. waterheater, lights, refrigerator, phone chargers, sewing machine, wash in machine, tv… most things at used at separate times. It will have to be accomplished in steps anyway.
    This falls back to the subject of the original post. But not a temp fix. I want real change.

    Reply to this comment
    • Enigma January 12, 17:24

      Sounds like your critical failure point is that water pump and its source. Better to have 2 or 3 sources and separate extraction / pumping methods.

      As for solar electric, or for anything else on which folk may rely, better to have separate installations for each abode/site. Switchable feeds to a central shared bus maybe OK, so that if one installation fails, then others can provide, albeit at a lesser level. Buried electrical buses best; less exposed to EMP and malicious damage.

      During Summers, an uninsulated water tank can absorb Sun and ambient heat before its feed water goes into a propane water heater. Before freezing periods, such a tank can be cut off and drained using valves. Will reduce gas usage. Bit of a plumbing project, but not complex.

      Reply to this comment
  28. Clergylady January 11, 16:25

    Enigma, I appreciate the mention of rabbit not having fat. Fully true. It is part but not total of my diet. We eat other meats plus eggs and dairy products. Vitamins can be either fat or water soluable so you need both to be healthy.
    I also I include beans and whole grains for a balanced diet. If there is one thing I try to eat everyday it is dark greens. I still have boc Choy, Chard and a few Beets in the garden that are producing fresh leaves in spite of single diget nights.
    The old 38 I sometimes carry is my husband’s. The only shells he had were hollow points. They kill dogs that kill my chickens, just fine. 😆 it’s just easier to kill a dog running inside the chicken pen with the pistol. But I did “kill” an expensive waterer when a dog ran behind it. 😂 I got the dog with the second shot.
    I’m very interested in trying a crossbow. I used to have a 90 lb recurve and a 75 lb long bow. They were stolen and just never replaced. Turning 71 this month so not too sure I’d still be up to that pull weight unless it were the new pully system bows. I know my son uses leg strength to pull his crossbow. I’ll have to see if he will bring it out so I can try it. I like the practicality of a bow. I used to make and fletch my arrows. I can see doing that with a crossbow.
    I tried my new slingshot with a bearing and a smooth stone. Both work ok. I hadnt used one since childhood when we made them with a simple forked stick and bicycle inner tubes.
    I’m still intrigued with the idea of using arrows with it. The modification isn’t hard and arrow points for hunting are practical.
    Glad for a cup of hot coffee this morning. The house is cold. I miss having a heater. The little camp propane heater helps a bit but it’s still in the 50s in here. It is made to warm a tent not a home. I hope to squeeze out enough $ with what I’d saved and skipping my electric bill for a month, so I can order the new heating stove next week. Of course winter would be the time for the pellet stove augur to stop working. The blower works and I can spoon feed pellets into the burn basket and get the place warmer. I’ll probably do that for a while but I can’t sit all day just feeding a hungry fire. If I step away to get a drink or cook, the fire goes out. 🙁
    Makes me wish for solar power to already be in place so I could have a space heater or a hot shower. It will come. I need to decide where to start.. after I have a new heating stove in place!
    This move was not part of my plans. It has been very expensive and hard work. Everyone said fill your trailer full and just make a few trips. Easier said than done.
    My husband has little stamina and many things are too heavy for me alone. Packing was slow and I couldn’t stack heavy things so it took many trips. I don’t want to do that again! Glad that’s past and some repairs done. The first thing was to replace every waterline so we could have running water. For a while running water was a hose at a faucet in the yard. Then it was a longer hose that would reach the back steps where we refilled Containers every couple of days.
    What a luxury running water is.
    I’m enjoying reading all the comments and suggestions here. Some of it will be very helpful.

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  29. Enigma January 12, 17:45


    Remark about rabbits more for others than you. Your history very likely to prepare you in re nutrition. Might consider a Winter greenhouse since you like dark greens. Could even nurture some flowers…

    Crossbows come in a variety of designs. One ancient one uses a lever mechanism to cock, so physical strength need not be huge issue.

    Any heating method which depends on two parallel energy feeds so as to work is dangerous. Was in Toronto during 2013 for its Icemageddon, and abode had water- and house-heating methods which required electricity as well as natural gas. Ice brought down wires and caused catastrophic transformer failures.

    Many folk had to go to mass shelters. That city, and likely all North American cities, unready for any real challenge.

    Water indeed heavy. Old formula is ‘a pound per pint’. So dragging gallons around contraindicated for children and elders. Piped water not a mere luxury.

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  30. Clergylady January 12, 20:09

    My property has two wells. One Set up on an ondemand electric pump. The other set up with the old manual pulley from a boat trailer. Water not so much of a problem.
    Heat is a current problem but I still have power and about half a ton of heating pellets. If I had feed the pellet stove for a while i can get that area up to 72 degrees. Not ideal but defiantly survivable till I can order the stove I want. No electricity, no moving parts, can burn wood, chips from my chipper, or commercial pellets. And I can cook on it. That suits me just fine.
    Right now it’s a matter of $ to get things done. It will come.
    I’m getting 3-5 eggs a day for now. When I save up a dozen more than we’re eating I share them with my neighbors. My husband loves potatoes with bell peppers and onions. Just cook them in my cast iron skillet then break a few eggs on top. Put on the lid and turn off the fire. In a few minutes they are set. Add a sprinkle of cheese and enjoy.
    I haven’t grown potatoes here but I may try them next year. Peppers and small tomatoes produced bumper crops in my hurried up small raised bed garden while we moved. I canned tomatoes and froze and dried bell peppers. The greens and herbs were thriving on my neglect while we moved. I mixed in marigolds for pretty flowers and bug repellant. The wild lambsquarter benefited from a spray of water whenever I turned on the hose to water the garden. I’m going to spread rabbit droppings there. Anything green grows like crazy with rabbit droppings. One guy over in Texas Sells rabbit dropping tea in 55 gal drums for $300 to use as a liquid fertilizer on fields. It can be diluted 15/1 in a sprinkler system. I get the stuff in abundance for the cost of cleaning cages. 😁
    I did transplant my rhubarb and asparagus to new beds here. They looked better here after being moved than they did in my old garden. I did plant dwarf sweetcorn interspersed with the asperagus. I planted blue Hubbard squash at the empty end of a row where they thrived on the bit of water from the corn and asparagus. I gave away some and weve eaten some. There are 6 more in a box in a cool place. I’ll plant earlier this spring. It was going into summer when I planted three plants last year. Just testing viability of 12 year old seed.
    I protect purslane and lambsquarter plants when they come up in my garden. Such good eating. I started a plot of spearmint for my mother years ago. It has spread into an irrigation ditch that flows along the fence on my neighbors aside of the fence. Where it cuts across the corner of my property there is alfalfa in abundance and usually some mullen. I’m already looking forward to spring.
    I do have materials for a greenhouse but it will come after necessary repairs to this old double wide. I had, hot beds, a Greenhouse, and a pit greenhouse before the move. I hope to have the same here. We had a -45* night that killed fruit trees one year but the things growing in the pit with just plastic to cover survived. Hot beds were simply glass doors laid on cinder blocks 2 rows tall in a rectangle to fit the doors. I had a stick in the holes of two blocks to act as a stop for the doors. I could raise them, propped on another stick to vent when they got too hot inside. I kept a thermometer inside each one. I started plants in them and kept some tomatoes there into early winter to extend the season. Later the pit became the winter garden. Just sun heat but at 5′ deep they didn’t freeze.
    Getting away from both the grid and propane dependence is imperative. I’m working on it. I just finished moving 3 weeks ago. It’s been a process that took months instead of weeks. I’m not planning to ever do that again but we were able to move the storage and shop buildings and gather materials a bit at a time thanks to Craigslist. I even found the shed Movers on Craigslist. Much cheaper to move than build or buy sheds.

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  31. Enigma January 14, 06:04


    Sound like, failing any remarkable and enduring weather event, or marauders, you’ve got things handled. Much more so than circa 300 million other Americans.

    Yet I’d suggest more insulation for abodes, and air-lock arrangements for adits (entrances/exits). A well-insulated structure works fine with just body heat – a properly-fed bare human body puts off circa 600 BTU/hour. Then additional heat is more a luxury, then the issue becomes that of warming incoming fresh air.

    Old issues of Mother Earth, Popular Science, and Popular Mechanix long ago had plans for heat-exchangers; such aren’t rocket science. A 12-VDC fan exhausts stale hot air from the upper portion of an enclosed space, while that outgoing air warms incoming fresh air.

    Potatoes may be grown in straw piles. If ranchers and like folk have old hay bales they don’t want to feed their animals, they may sell it cheap or even give it away (just to get rid of it).

    I advocate ‘cooking’ hay in 55-gallon barrels or under black plastic sheeting before using it, so as to kill weed seeds. Then one plants potato ‘eyes’ in low-waled enclosures or mounds of hay, maybe fertilizes situation a bit, and beaucoup potatoes result. Straw gets wet down occasionally, but otherwise ignored. Wilting potato-plant leaves signal need for a watering occasion.

    Rabbit droppings are rich in Vit-B, which is why rabbits eat their droppings. Since they don’t have the coinvolute digestive systems of ungulates (cattle, bison, deer, antelopes, elk, etc.) they must.

    Thing about squash, nigh any kind of squash, is that one all at once winds up with an over-blessing thereof. But one occasionally hankers after fried squash and onions with frying-pan corn bread.

    Reckon, energy-wise, getting off the gird is a best first priority. Propane tanks one may go get for self at discreet times, but an elevated electrical wire leads right to wherever you’re living.

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  32. Clergylady January 14, 11:19

    I’m one step closer to getting the heating stove. I recently bought a very old., very large, propane tank from a neighbor that was raising cash to pay for a funeral. I offered my friend 1/3 of the sale if he would take the tank to the flea market and sell it for me today. I gave him $20 to pay for the $10 space and a bit of gas in my truck. The tank was still on my trailer from hauling it home. He sold and deliverd it this afternoon. My share goes toward HEAT! I’m glad he took it and delivered it. Empty that monster weighed 2,200 lb according to the tag on it. I couldn’t have unloaded it. He used the pipes I had used as rollers when we loaded it on the trailer.
    I’ll probably sell the pellet stove “as is ” with an honest disclosure that it needs repaired. I just want to get away from the need to have electricity to have heat.
    I was looking at plans for a heat exchanger with rocks, air space and dirt acting as collector. Interesting. I used to make a heat collector box for a passive dehydrator. Glass front with rocks and the inside of the box painted mat black.
    It worked really well.
    Growing in hay bales is interesting. Friends grew a whole vegetable garden in bales last year. No weeds was one advantage. All I’ve used hay for is covering strawberries to protect them through a really cold winter. And for an ok fashioned hay cooker. In a cast iron pot, Brown your meat, add vegetables, liquid, and seasoning, bring to a boil. Put cover on the dutch oven. Burry deep in hay in a box and leave it till dinner time. It will be hot and everything cooked. Grandma taught me that.

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  33. Enigma January 17, 18:09

    Tank weighing a metric tonne either vary large or has unnecessarily-thick walls. Y’all maybe well-rid of it, although an ingenious person might have made a water cistern or water preheat tank of it instead. Way y’all went about shedding it rather convolute.

    There’s a way of making something like a Roman hypocaust, when you have plenty of downslope space away from a building’s South and West side. Using stone-walled channels circa 12″ square, and roofed with air-tight paving stones or large tiles. Or just by using large hollow tiles. Top should be painted some dark color.

    Channels go some feet away from structure to be heated, and end in screened openings which face so as to prevent visiting vermin and flooding. Structure channels ends may open under its floor, or better, open within a Trombe wall.

    Air heated by Sun flows naturally upslope into space between Trombe wall’s (two or more) courses. A proper Trombe wall (outside covered by glass sheets) which garners direct westering sunlight can remarkably heat a space. Overheat in Summer, so there must be a way of shedding the heat or using it to preheat potable water.

    Hay bales have many uses. There’s a way of building cheap housing using them. Post-n-beam barn-style frame, post interstices filled with bales stacked and pressed down between moveable cement forms. With real eves (circa 3′ / 1 meter out from final exterior), adobe or soil cement may be used for exteriors in most any climate. Within such a structure, bales may be covered with any number of materials, but electrical and gas conduits MUST be exposed, likely by following frame elements.

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  34. Clergylady January 17, 20:45

    The tank was way too heavy for me to handle and I really need some cash. My friends needed money desperatly and together they could unload my trailer. I can’t. Selling helped us all.
    The heat exchanger I interesting.

    Reply to this comment
  35. Enigma January 19, 14:34

    My analysis: Your friends have brawn, but ain’t too swift in t’head. So your brains and connections got them off the dime, and eventually you got a management-marketing fee.

    Solar hypocaust is a heat-collector suitable for places with usually-clear skies, as in high deserts. Would need ‘valves’ and diversion panels to sometimes dump excess heat, and at times close channel ends. Clever person might use thermostats, DC motors, and 12-VDC system to actuate ‘valves’.

    Hypocaust channels best large-dimensioned so heating air may flow naturally with little turbulence. Yet large interior dimensions also enable critters.

    An abode’s heat-exchanger recycles heated interior air so as to preheat exterior (inflowing) air. Reverses a vehicle radiator; its inflowing air cools a fluid which in turn cools certain engine sections.

    Suppose radiators would work in Space and airless environments; those in shadow used for cooling, and those exposed to Sol providing heating. But I reckon humanity should stay home on Terra and mind their own business.

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  36. Clergylady January 20, 13:55

    Yearsago I designed my dream home with a greenhouse and fish pond on the south side. Closable vents high and low on the common wall. Passive heat and cooling system. It would have added some humidity that we are missing most of the time. My husband had the audacity to get sick and die. 🙁 so it never happened.
    I’d still like to incorporate some of that into my home now that I’ve moved back.
    Earth is both a good insulator and heat bank. Water is a good heat absorber also and it releases heat as it cools and evaporates onto its surroundings also. Good for a greenhouse and some is good for a home in such dry country. Many people keep a teakettle on their woodstove for that purpose.
    Moving warmed air can both heat and cool if planned for. Always use screens or vent covers to keep unwanted creatures out. I’m working on evicting a squirrel that had taken up residence in tis trailer in my absence. I think between the dog and the cat they have won that battle for me. 🙂
    Your suggestions give me food for thought.
    I have an abundance of radiators, tires, and assorted abandoned furniture in my yard. 🙁 rather than hauling everything to a landfill I’m looking go ways to make use of some of it. I’m going to tare the couches down to their frames and choose the best to use pallet wood and make benches for my yard. I’ve taken two Tires and set water pans inside to help keep them from freezing so quickly on cold nights. The chickens appreciated that. When I tear up the couches I’ll reinsulate the burried bucket that encloses my water cutoff. I pulled all the insulation out this morning to turn off the water to repair a broken water connection that froze. Cloth and padding will do the job until the next leak that soakes the yard.
    Repairs inside have to be made then I’ll start on the outside. I have doors to replace two old sliding glass patio doors. They are single panes and leak air. I was given a pair of beautiful prehung French doors that will go in the den. I have a nice enough solid core door to replace the sliding doors in the master bedroom. That will mean framing in part of the wall but I’ll add a window while I’m at it. I have already put up the new front door and added a peep hole. The home needs more insulation and Adobe’s can do that and make it look better. The gardens and greenhouses need to be dome fairly soon. The new quarters for the ducks, chickens and rabbits should be done before another winter. Lots to do. So I’ll just plod along and keep at it. I’m not so fast or strong anymore but I can still accomplish a lot if I stay at it.
    It’s a good thing I like staying busy. I don’t see a stopping spot here.
    New ideas and suggest welcome. 🙂

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  37. Clergylady January 20, 14:17

    Auto spell needs English lessons. It is continually changing words and spellings without rhyme or reason.
    I like it adding apostraphies and such but I’d love to have the programmer in a class on words that sound alike or endings to leave on words. Lol… I want to teach my phone new tricks.

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  38. Enigma January 21, 22:09

    I use a computer which has a built-in sharable dictionary. (It still doesn’t know as many words as I…) Never use anything like a ‘smart’ phone, since such are trackable. Older laptops running Linux work just fine at free WiFi ‘hot-spots’. Close to unhackable too.

    Non-rich must work with what they have and can afford. Actually, wealth can tempt people to going too large and making mistakes which enhance visibility. A big bank of solar panels which sometimes reflect Sunlight toward a road is a no-no. As is a tall windmill – constant motion may attract undesired attention.

    Squirrels etc. may become part of a stew. If your little predators don’t first resolve such situations.

    Tires may be used to stabilize an erosion situation. If possible to terrace using them, half openings can be used to plant flowering verbena or some medicinal / food vines.

    Insulation per se may not prevent freezing. Especially if said insulation material gets soaked with water. Recycling solid furniture frames to build well-head and valve covers an idea. A water feature prone to leak or freeze might be incorporated into a greenhouse.

    Since auto radiators may contain lead solder and noxious residues, best they never get used for anything potable. In rural Old South, some ambitious types would poison selves and customers using such radiators as part of their stills. (An old cast-iron heating radiator perhaps a different story.)

    Unless your abode’s interior is unsafe (ie., open holes in deck, exposed hot wires, constant water drip…) you’ll save more money preventing escape of heat from it. Sealing against Summer heat also very beneficial.

    Combining shelter for small livestock with greenhouses an idea. Likely best to position such a shelter on a upslope side so manure may be pushed into a greenhouse.

    When working mostly by yourself, ‘working smart’ may seem ‘lazy’ to some, but there will be sickish and hurting days when obviating effort a real plus. Keeping interested also; sounds like you’ve got that covered.

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  39. Clergylady January 22, 14:19

    Keeping interest up is not a problem. I love problem solving and up to a point I especially have interest in things I can make or build with my hands.
    My unnfulfilled childhood dream had been to be a civil engineer building bridges. Bridges and trusses span spaces and carry loads in unique ways. I designed the two types of trusses used but I had to get an engineers stamp to submit them with our home drawn plans for the church building. It passed and we were given a building permit without a single change .
    Radiators here would only be used in heating or cooling projects or will go into the piles of sorted scrap metal as I clean up my property.
    My planned “critter housing” is in the east end of an abandoned mobile Home. The middle will house part of the greenhouse and the West end will be for storage and potting area. The rest of that greenhouse will be leanto made with recycled materials. I have enough clear corrugated uv rated roofing material to do a 10×20 area.
    The inside work in the mobile Home is mostly cleaning out lots of abandoned junk inside. The leanto greenhouse will be added where I open up part of a wall at a group of broken windows. I’ll bring power back into the mobile Home but just enough for lighting only or solar lights with daylight bulbs. I think old florescent lighting would be good in the greenhouse to extend the growing season. Heatbank will be black 55gal Barrels of water and possibly a half burried swimming pool if I add aquaponics to the mix. That’s interesting but I haven’t made a decision about that. I was given a good sized pool and the pump and sand filter that went with it. That might go in the pit garden when it’s dug. There is less chance of freezing in that. My second well will be in or next to the pit greenhouse. There is power to that well but I have it set up with a small winch to draw water rather than a pump. Digging the pit garden there is a matter of space. If the pit is dug up to or to include the well I don’t gave to rebuild a well house that someone tore down and drawing water as needed in the pit will be easier.
    Composted chicken manure will be used in the pit greenhouse for both heat and fertilizer. It’s downhill and off to the side from the planned chicken pen. Rabbit manure will be used at the leanto green house. It’s is best for starting plants or just green growth like spinach or herbs. Outdoor gardens beds get fertalized according to what is being planted in them.
    Old tires will be used in building plantable low retaining walls or building projects that will be earth filled. I have used stacked tires for planters for potatoes. I can start with two tires with dirt 1 1/2 tires deep and a plastic covering in early spring. As they sprout and weather warms add another tire and more dirt to force more growth. I stopped at four tires tall. Smaller car tires were best for that for me because harvest time means removing a tire at a time and retrieving the potatoes from the stack. It saved digging. Tires and dirt are reusable with a bit of new fertilized added.
    I can think of or plan more than I can accomplish alone but with time I’ll get it done. Luckily I have a well used tractor with a front loader and a backhoe on it.
    That does the digging and some of the lifting for me. It also clears the driveways if we get a good snow. This year has been strange. We just had our first snow this weekend. Usually this area gets the first snow about the last week of October.
    Actually the proposed power this article started with would do for a few hours a night of florescent lighting in the greenhouse. But I’d use several used truck batteries in series.
    I wish I’d moved the last old bales of hay with me. If I plant strawberries they need to be covered with about 8″ of loose hay in freezing weather to protect the roots.. It also keeps down weeds. I have several very determined swiss chard and a large boc choy plant that have survived minus zero nights and keep on living. With some shelter or hay over them part of the time, they would be giving me greens right now. They have had little water and no protection. If they make it through to make seed in spring I’ll save seeds from them. They would be worth investing time in. They are from saved seed that my Mom had in sandwich bags when she passed away. She lived in a milder climate so I had no idea they were so hardy. I had planted some quickly made raised beds to enclose a little fenced yard for my small dog. I planted a mix of flowers and vegetables, small yellow and red tomatoes and green herbs. The beds were filled with a mix of heavy clay soil, a few bags of cheap potting soil and several feed sacks of rabbit droppings. They grew a green jungle.
    I have appointments away from home today but my husband wants to stay home in case the new heating stove arrives today. It was shipped Friday. It was promised to a different customer but the promised cashier’s check didn’t arrive when promised so that stove was shipped to me. I had prepaid with a debit card. They will have a new shipment arriving in about another week. I’ll be glad to get it installed as quick as it can get here. I’m tired of being cold. I had figured on having to wait for the new shipment so the email Friday evening was a pleasant surprise.
    I sold my broken thirdhanded pellet stove to a friend for his offered $. I took it to him Saturday and his son rebuilt it with parts he had in his shop and installed it Monday afternoon. He was using it when he called last night. He’s getting too old to chop wood and was really struggling to keep enough chopped and carried in for heat. The big pellet Stove was heating his trailer just fine. Glad it worked out for him. I’d have needed to spend a few hundred on parts and do the work. I wanted to put the money into a totally new source of heat here. It’s a Rocket style heater with a removable hopper for pellets. No moveable parts and no electricity needed. I can burn the dry branches when I do clean up here and pellets the rest of the time. In not into hauling wood or chopping a lot either.
    Forty yearsago cutting trees, blocking to stove length, then at home splitting it, made a great time out of doors. Today I just see that as a pain.

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    • Farmer January 23, 00:51

      Have you thought about adding an aquaponics system to your greenhouse? 5 or 600 gallons of water and rock grow beds would provide a fair amount of heat sink. I use a 300 gallon rubbermaid stock tank and 2 100 gallon wing tanks for “constant height in fish tank” My grow beds are 40 and 50 gallon stock tanks (rubber) with pea gravel, lava and hydroton …. I get a full crop of swiss chard all winter.

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  40. Enigma January 22, 17:43


    Glad to hear stove situation worked out well for everyone. Gravity feed for fuel very much superior to any requiring electricity – Gravity Never Sleeps. Yet relying on manufactured pellets is an exposure; during any extended crisis, supply likely to cease.

    Must discourage using florescents for greenhouses. Bulbs lighting plants must output in the 3200-3400 Kelvin (Sunlight) range, and florescent tubes doing that usually more expensive. Maybe cannabis farmers can afford, but contraindicated for subsistence folk. Of course, maybe sheriff’s sales of confiscated gear maybe a cheap source…

    Better to find incandescent and LED bulbs which feed directly off 12VDC. Then battery bank and 120VAC-12VDC charger arrangements make sense. 12VDC batteries wired in parallel, not series. Basically, there’s a ‘plus’ bus and a ‘negative’ bus which then go to a double-knife switch. Or better, to a double-pole circuit-breaker.

    6-VDC golf-cart batteries get wired in 2-unit series, and thus each pair produces in total 12VDC. They may cycle deeper than truck batteries – almost as well as commercial marine batteries. Solar panels and wind-gen maybe later additions.

    As for wells, important to ensure that surface water cannot enter. Especially not water polluted with manure, fertilizers, and detergents. In fact, back-flow preventers and air-gaps (as in modern washers) are also good ideas.

    Seems you’ve got the old tires situation sorted. Might be all sorts of root veggies (radishes, turnips, parsnips…) might join your potatoes. Don’t forget Serrano and Thai chili peppers. As we age, better to substitute spicy peppers for salt.

    Recall bok choy being originally a northern Chinese discovery which then got spread all over Orient. I frequently cook with baby bok choy, onions, Pad Thai noodles, and some bits of meat. Saute veggies and meat together with a dusting of Chinese 5- or 12-spice compound. A single Thai chili warms situation, saute whole with veggies for a little burn, dice in raw just before table for a lot.

    Important to let manure ‘ferment’ in confinement vessels or in a compost pile so that E. Coli and other microbes get suppressed. Mix in a few fishing worms, and they will colonize area.

    Another idea is a wind-break; staggered line of evergreen shrubs or trees upwind of your site. Wonder how holly bushes with semi-succulent leaves would do in an arid place.

    I too am a frustrated builder, although I’ve helped renovate a few houses, and to build a couple large structures from scratch. Instead I garnered a good income by being a 30+ year IT person. Began with Hollerith cards and 7-track tapes and ended with gigabyte DVDs and terabyte sealed media.

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  41. Clergylady January 23, 03:00

    Farmer: I am very interested in aquaponics. Time will tell what I can accomplish this year.
    Enigma: I am quite fond of Thai chili’s and LED lights. Not fond of fluorescent as they are very hard on my eyes.
    Thinking simply of using the batteries here in abandoned vehicles as a starting point.
    I do hope to get warm enough to really work in my home so I can start on the yard and greenhouse this summer. I do need to work on cleaning out the trailer where I’m planning to move the critters and starting the first greenhouse area here.
    I hate starting over again but I’m making plans and collecting materials a bit at a time … mostly from Craigslist.
    The heater will burn pellets, sticks, dry corn, and even chips from my chipper when I clean up the yard. I have lots of smaller diameter limbs that I can burn in addition to all the trash wood cleaned up from limbs.
    I have a compost pile and a barrel on a stand that rotates. The pile has quite a few worms but I’d like to add more.
    The wells are both protected from surface water. That was required when they were drilled because I had a church and school here at that time.
    It is miserably cold even indoors right now. That is the reason for a new heat source. Also important in the choice was no working parts, no electricity, several different burnable fuels, not just pellets. Also the ability to cook on a flat surface helped sell it. I’ve had wood cookstoves enough to enjoy a pot of beans or soup cooking on the stove and a hot tea kettle putting moisture in the air. I’m hoping for that as well as heat.

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  42. Farmer January 23, 03:27

    @ClergyLady …. check out this link …. tells more than you need to know, but a fun read on a wintry night. http://www.backyardaquaponics.com/Travis/IBCofAquaponics1.pdf

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  43. Clergylady January 23, 04:28

    Thanks Farmer. I’ll have to look at that and the tracking info on my heating stone. Both will be interesting reads.

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  44. Enigma January 25, 17:52


    You’ve repeatedly complained of being cold. Hopefully that’s no longer the case inside your abode. When Summer’s real heat comes, chills may become fond memories.

    Too bad we can’t save up the chills of Winter and the heats of Summer. Surface features chill down and warm up all too quickly. Maybe why distant ancients spent so much time in caves? Often think that all new abodes should be underground or at least bermed.

    Mentioned the evergreen windbreak notion since such can help fend off icy winds. Of course that’s a 15+ year project, and rainfall an issue. Irrigating trees generally a nonstarter, unless you’re planting orchards and groves.

    (Despise those places where, if you sit still for 30 minutes or so, you’re like to die. Spent circa 15 years -off and on- in southern Ontario, and hated every Winter with a passion. Thar’s Cold in them thar hills…)

    I well recall old wood stoves, types with those round iron ‘eyelets’ which looked down into the firebox itself. Folk cooked all sorts of savory stuff on those Women who also had side ovens were ‘styling’, for then roasted cornbread (or pone), pies and cakes were possible.

    Now I’m hungry for skillet cornbread and varmint stew with white beans. So long ago and far away…

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  45. Enigma January 25, 18:33

    Cheaply converting a basement into a root cellar:


    Author is very much into barter and ‘making do’. (I had forgotten about rutabagas.)

    Problem with aquaponics is that, unlike fowl and mammals, fish are endothermic. So, most sorts of aquaculture are better suited to subtropical and tropical climates.

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  46. Clergylady January 26, 04:26

    Stove arrived today . I need a 6″ to 4″ reducer for the Stove pipe. Then hopefully we can try this thing out.
    I lived for a while on a reservation in northern California. I had a wonderful old wood cookstove. White enameled, three sectioned warming ovens on top, 6 burners and a water heater section. Awesome breads and biscuits. Stews or beans simmering on top for hours. Love skillet cornbread. Hated to move and leave that stove.
    Nights in the single digets make me anxious to get the new stove going.
    Without power I’ve been making boiled coffee. Almost forgot how much I love camp cooking. No fancy appliances. Gradma’s old trick of adding an egg shell to the pot settles the grounds to the bottom so we don’t drink so many coffee grounds. Pretty tasty on a cold morning with a stack of scratch made pancakes. I like a bit of vanilla and cinnamon in them.
    I’ll be glad when the electrical problems get resolved. That puts a whole new wrinkle in life. I am doing fine but my poor husband has dementia and can’t remember the power is off or why it’s off. He misses tv. I like tv for a few things but I’m fine without it. It sort of feels like we’ve had our own little hurricane of problems lately. Now it a man caused problem. Vandalism to the electrical box for all the residences and well. Now have to replace everything and finish repairing the old vandalism to the wires to my double wide. Old vandalism was stepson. Digging up wires, stripping them, melting and selling metal. I think the new vandalism was his stepson but of course no proof and since the deputy in our area liked my stepson ( the drug dealer and thief) there will be no report and no investigation.
    If we get power back fairly soon I’ll be happy. Forget who did it and go on. I’m trying to figure out what to sell or buy to resell and raise money again like I did for the stove. It always works out. Makes me more determined to go solar. Hate to make repairs now when I’d like to invest in solar. I’ll get there. Always do somehow.
    Friend is giving me her old’s generator from when they had a motor Home. I’ll run a bit to keep freezer cold then a while to keep refrigerator cold. Might let hubby watch some tv. All it needs is basic service and a spark plug. Nice gift.
    If I’m lucky I’ll get some laundry washed. I hang to dry anyway.
    As we get settled back in here a lot of the suggestions I’m getting will be used. It just moves slowly getting things done. Too much to do.
    I’m up by lantern light but I need to be up early so good night all.

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  47. Enigma January 27, 16:26


    Congrats on generator friend, and stove. Hope that ‘reducer’ is from a 4″ stove output to a 6″ take-away, and thus an expander. Ungood to vent hot smoke into a reduction. CO and CO2 ungood in a well-sealed abode. CO collects in lower areas of such. Better to arrange a new take-away.

    Full-featured Res stove and prior good things: so long ago and far away. Boiled coffee not so bad, at least you can have coffee. I mostly drink green tea, but sometimes use a French press.

    Fresh-made pancakes with dried blueberries in batter also good stuff. Maybe I’ll get ambitious today. Peanut butter on whole-wheat with wine also a good snack.

    Sad about husband’s dementia. Subsistence life already hard enough without adding that and a drug-using relative. Stepson can’t be a ‘successful’ dealer if he’s stealing copper. Especially copper for which he must work so hard to extract, and damage relatives to get.

    Reckon I’d arrange a TWEP for someone like that. A useless layabout is one thing, but a vandal who preys on older folk (and children?) can’t be tolerated. And a crooked cop is even less tolerable. Feral dog aided and abetted by feral swine.

    Unsafe to ‘forget and forgive’ because that kind of vandal will be back. Any solar setup will be equally as vulnerable. Even more valuable than stripped copper.

    Friends are relatives by choice – the real friends, but disloyal ‘relatives’ whom you inherit; well – de trop. First recommendation is ask nicely that such problems get sent away. Second, well – deserts are vast and some coulees have overhanging banks. Dig out the bullets first.

    Reply to this comment
    • Clergylady January 27, 23:19

      I Like green tea and wine in either order but consume more tea.
      Wire being stripped wasn’t even copper…it was aluminium.
      Good friends are like great family. A thief is worse than a toothache.
      I understand about the reducer but proper size will have to wait on $.
      If I see the thief I’d be very tempted to shoot, scream stay back, leave me alone, shoot again…lol. not really but it sounds good. But if really threatened I’ll shoot.
      The next social security check will have to cover enough 6″ black Stove pipe to finish the job. I just don’t have it right now.
      Not too far off now.
      Electrical repairs will be expensive but with the backhoe on the tractor we’ll dig the trench and I have some 2.0 copper that will be used for the meter loop. Every little bit helps.
      I’m anxious for spring. I want to start my greenhouses here and planting my raised beds that I started while moving, will be a joy. I had the pit greenhouse doing well before this move and I had gathered a lot of the materials for a leanto that I will go ahead with here. A new pit greenhouse will come a little down the road.
      The home I’m in foreclosure on was late 2009 on 2 1/3 acres. Beautiful view across a wide valley into the snowcovered mountains beyond. Young fruit trees were just getting to bearing age. I lost it all thanks to the usless one. But I was able to help a disabled son and good friends with this move so it isn’t all bad. Just more work than I had planned on and lots more expense.
      It is hardest on my husband with failing health and a failing mind. He had some hard days dealing with it. He loved the home we had. He forgets this is home.
      I believe somewhere down the road justice is handed out. It will come.
      Friend is digging up the wires and it’s going well. Dirty job but he will soon have power. Mine will take a bit longer. I’ll make sure their grandkids living there are taken care of.

      Reply to this comment
      • Enigma January 30, 00:26

        Aluminum wire. Now for a thief that’s pitiful. Glad you’re replacing with copper. But you’ve got to get rid of that vandal-thief. Done enough damage; he’ll be back.

        Removing abusers not about emotion, but the same thing as killing an animal. Except you can’t (well – shouldn’t) eat an abuser. Might harbor parasites…

        Smoke take-away – not jesting. No future projects for the dead, and if you’re not among the victims, guilt can be huge.

        Bank managers are so damned stupid. Rather than accept reduced payments, they allow a property to get destroyed. Absolute abuse not only of payors but also of investors.

        So many unnecessarily empty and looted properties across Middle America, simply because managers unwilling to renegotiate based on changed circumstances. If a mortgage is ‘under water’, then a manager should accept whatever it takes to keep it performing in the changed environment. Matters can be reviewed annually.

        There are those who believe in Karma. I reckon Karma needs a helping hand.

        So that restorative justice comes during the lives of victimized folk. Who cannot operate in any milieu wherein each ‘day’ equals a thousand years.

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  48. Clergylady January 29, 13:48

    Well, to say the least, January has been eventful. My waterheater stopped lighting, pellet stove stopped working, power off, and I turned 71. This has been a month that will be remembered!
    Heat water on the stove…ok
    Used camp propane heaters, not great but ok. Bought a new heating stove and sold the broken one. Just need some more 6″ stove pipe. Working out ok.
    Power out until major repairs are done and inspected. Working on it. It will get done. Friend living here is hauling water for both homes and digging ditches. Others friends have loaned or given us both generators. I need a new sparkplug for the one I’ll be using and need to put some alcohol in it to clean up the old gas. I can do that. It’s a temporary but liveable fix.
    Turning 71, I’ll take it over the alternative. Actually it doesn’t feel any different. I just have to remember a new number to write on forms. It’s ok.
    I wish power were as easy as a car battery. But it won’t keep my well pumping out precious water. It won’t keep a kiln fireing for my friends only income. It might keep on some 12 volt lights or appliances for very short periods of time after a charge. I need something permanent and bigger to live with. It will come.
    I’ve just finished moving back. Almost 5 weeks since the last load. It will come but for now the immediate needs and legal requirements take precidence.
    What will happen when it happens to everyone and not just one property?
    How many will make do?, How many will actually be prepard? vs How many will go crazy looting and robbing?
    Food for serious thought.
    It’s the unprepared, scared, crazys I’d worry about.

    Reply to this comment
  49. Enigma January 30, 00:46

    Unprepared and crazy: your local vandal-thief comes to mind. Will sell you and other folk out instantly.

    Older spark-plugs may be cleaned and re-gapped. Cleaning may be done with a small wire brush or chemically. Depends on design.

    Well-pumps are a vulnerability and thus a problem. Ever the case, unless you’re living beneath an artesian spring, or a mountain bench. Even a hillside or mountainside rivulet is a problem, since it must be filtered due to Giardia and like paramecium from animals.

    Don’t know what to do during a crisis, except join people whom I know are principled, and kill the rest. Which latter action those principled folk won’t like. Like keeping a tiger, one supposes…

    I never write an age on forms; only a fictitious birth-date. If you reverse month and day, but write the correct year, they may assume a mistake or senility. Let them work it out; ‘age’ changes every year, but a birthday never. (Unless you want it to do so…)

    Never tell any government official or their minions the complete facts or truth. In a socialist regime, they are part of the enemy. Quislings at best.

    Reply to this comment
    • DJnRF January 30, 05:44

      “Don’t know what to do during a crisis”
      Many ask this. Many also already think they know what they will do. Those think in only one of two ways. First is
      that the will ‘but out’ somewhere. They think they need a lot of guns and ammo. Most all of heir ‘preparedness’ is with so much that there is no way they could carry it. They merely assume they will be able to drive some 4×4 to some place. Most don’t know exactly where, but even if they did there is no way they can know that it has not been taken over by others. They talk, and look as if they are going into a combat role.

      Next are the people that think they will just side with others they know and combine their preparedness. That preparedness is geared at staying put in their home or neighborhood with friends. The don’t have, or maybe even consider protection from the nature of man. They believe they will be ok by their choice and everything will be ‘hunky dory’.

      Both of these situations are wrong! There is something more that is critically needed to survive when a SHTF situation occurs. It doesn’t come from all the proposed
      things you can buy, or how many guns you have. The
      very first thing you must have is Knowledge! Knowledge of how to actually survive if you are suddenly thrust into living as people did in the 1700’s, and without all the common luxuries of today. Knowledge of how to protect yourself from the elements of nature. And, knowledge of how to protect yourself from the nature of man.
      Now, the last bit of knowledge you must have is the ability to recognize all types of hazards before they exist!

      Why would you think that people that train in the many fields of emergency service continuously train in all types of things? Whether it be military, police, fire, EMS,
      Civil Actions, or anything else, they must learn and train all the time. Who are you that think you have all you need, and don’t have time for this continual training anyway. Maybe you think you don’t even know where to go to get this training. What kind of nincompoop are you?

      When you get tired looking to the sublime, look to the ridiculous.

      Buy a Boy Scout Field Book, and a Handbook. Study those. Affiliate with the Boy Scouts, or find one in your neighborhood that can give you some ideas, pointers, or point you to one of his leaders to help. Look to an
      affiliation with agencies such as the Red Cross, or your local county readiness agency or other such organizations in your area. Volunteer with any and all of them. Take some time. There are 168 hours in every week. If you examine the actual time spent at things you can find several hours each week for such things. Just adjust your time.

      Survival in a SHTF situation, which may come from a natural disaster, or one by man is no more than Creative Problem Solving. Of course, how can one really solve any problem without first recognition of all types of problems? What comes first? Recognition that such a problem can exist! How many are there? An infinite number, so how are you going to learn to prepare for all situations if you can’t recognize many, many types? They can appear as simple ones or very complex ones.

      How many ways do you know to start a fire? How many ways do you know how to get safe water? How many ways do you know to make a shelter? (Shelter from the elements of nature, and the nature of man) How many ways do you know to get food? Do you actually think you can just read a book when you are already in such a situation? Can you actually do what you have read about? Think you can? Try the fire starting method of rubbing two sticks together to make one. Bet without reading about it, and a bunch of practice you could never do it. But, it could be a way you might need.

      If you can’t do all of these things you will not be able to survive by providing yourself with the things you must have to survive. What are they?

      Food, water, shelter, and protection (from the elements of nature, and the nature of man.) You must have all of these, not just part of them.

      You cannot carry enough things in any pack to last long. You would need a large convoy of trucks for that.
      Do you have a well built, and prepared survival shelter?
      How long is it stocked for? How do you know that others could never find it to take it over for themselves?
      As General Patton had said; Fixed fortifications are monuments of the stupidity of man. If one is that stupid they are not going to survive anyway. You must be able
      to make your ‘home’ where ever you are. First would be to stay put, and not ‘bug out’ anywhere. Second would be to not have the appearance that you have anything that anyone would want. Don’t talk about what you have, and don’t let it show in any way.

      I have written on, lectured on, and taught this stuff for over fifty years. Even the small survival kits I make would require a person to really know what they are doing to use them, but they are set up so that many
      can survive with what is in them. The whole key is
      not what you buy, but what you know. “Knowledge will insure your survival. What you buy might just make it a bit easier.” What you get will depend upon your knowledge.

      Statistics have shown that in such a catastrophic disaster 82% of the people will die. So if you don’t know all you should, don’t even try to prepare because you can’t make it. Old ant and grasshopper story?

      Reply to this comment
  50. Clergylady January 31, 03:57

    I made it d 10 months in a very mild climate with just an extra shirt and pants, a pocketknife, and half a book of matches. A lot I learned and some I figured out but knowledge and problem solving skills my dad made me learn growing up helped me survive without a jacket, a sleeping bag or man-made shelter.
    I was 21 and determined to make it. It was lonesome but I found my mind was never still so it was good company. Things I’d read and memorized helped.
    All the badges I’d earned in knots, campcraft, et really helped. My mother’s great interest in wild foods and medicines and a medicine man grandfather helped with more knowledge than I realized I had soaked up.
    My grandmother talked a lot about old time ways and that added to the knowledge base I didn’t know I had. Gather dry wood from the lower branches of evergreens even in snow or rain. Tea of growing tips of pines. Miners lettuce, lambsquarter, yarrow, wild berries, and much more saved my life. Ghost plant ashes for seasoning if you don’t have salt. White oak acorns soaked along a flowing stream or after a few spring rains when they get ready to sprout .. get sweet and are good to peel and eat.
    Cook in the fire, on a flat rock, on a stick, with reflected heat, in a container if you have one. My prized possession was an old can someone carelessly threw away. I boiled water, made teas, and cooked in it.
    I figured out how to carry hot coals from camp to camp each day. After 10 months I still had 4 matches left from the half book I started with. The other trick had been to build a good fire, with good fine kindling under it and space to place the hot coals under it so I could blow on them to start the new fire.
    Knowledge with some practice is life saving.

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  51. Clergylady January 31, 04:35

    My new rocket stove/pellet stove is fired up and taking the chill off of my home. Works easy.
    Trench is dug for first power installation and hole for a new pole is ready. Hope the 200 amp box is installed real soon.
    I talked to a solar installer today. He said we would eventually need a 200 amp box..that was already what I’d requested. Ground install. We will dig the trenches. I’m aiming to go big enough enough to cover my full needs for two mobile homes, a well and an electric kiln.
    I’ll have to decide soon between installing my own or having it installed. Doing mine would truly be off grid and need batteries. If they do it I get a 30% tax credit and use the power company as the battery bank earning credits that I can use on cloudy days or at night. They don’t pay for excess production but any production above use becomes credits.
    But of course if a company installs it, it is expensive. Each choice has drawbacks and benefits.

    Reply to this comment
  52. Enigma February 1, 01:05

    Do you have appreciative acolytes whom you can teach what you know? Shame for all that knowledge and experience to die with you.

    Good to hear y’all are warm again. Hope the CO and CO2 are venting easily. You know about tar build-up from coniferous wood when smoke slows down.

    200 Amp: Whenever burying any facility, whether electrical or piping, generally good idea to go a bit larger than current projected need. With larger contacts and wires, less internal resistance and thus heat waste.

    Likely better to install your own solar etc. using kits. Kit providers should supply illustrated instructions. Real issue is fact that panels, copper, and batteries are all valuable.

    Batteries best in locked shelter. 6-VDC golf-cart batteries a bit lighter to handle, and have been cheaper on a unit basis (so many are made they’re a commodity item) but each pair entails an extra series strap.

    What would you be doing with a kiln? Seems to me that anything occasionally needing such heat better with propane.

    Reply to this comment
  53. Clergylady February 1, 02:21

    Proper 6″ pipes being installed right now. My friend here is cutting the hole in the wall larger. He hunted up an armful of pipe and I bought a cap, the triple insulated piece to go through the wall and a damper. We will have it together soon. Then put the cement board back on the wall with a larger hole cut it it, dry stack the bricks again. They look better than old cement board. 🙂 and light a fire.
    I’ll probably do my own solar with kits or something along that line. I can build a storage shed for the batteries. I’d be real happy after all this to go totally solar and never use power from the co-op again. I’ll just get something along as I can raise funds. Eventually the total instalation can be something nice.
    I’ve taught many and I’d really like to be where I can teach classes or have apprentices here to learn and work. I love teaching. I’ve taught Bible and K-12 school for most of the last 41 years. I also have shared about gardening, canning, dehydrating, cold and hot smoking meats and salting meats to keep them. Lots of crops have had classes about local wild edibles and medicines. I mostly know plants here or a couple of other areas. Lush green places have much more in both abundance of crops and abundance of varieties and I only know some thing there. I live in high mountain desert country above 6000 ft.
    Survival means learning the ways that apply everywhere in fire building or cooking methods. Then learn what grows in your area and how to prepare it. Learn shelters, beds on or off the ground, how to stay dry, how to get warm or cool depending on the weather. Learn both to start fires in multiple ways but how to keep a fire, carry hot coals, and how to start a new fire with hot coals.
    Learn how to bathe for your climate. You still need to keep reasonably clean for health. Learn how to protect your skin from the elements where you are. Most of the time that means rubbing in some kind of grease. 🙂
    Learn knots, direction, and how to recognise which way is what. Learn how to be found or how not to be found. My 10 months was spent trying hard to be invisible..
    Learn to like your own company. It’s ok to talk to yourself. Learn to look for thing as you can improve, avoid, change.. become a problem solver. You’ll find it applies to your whole life.
    Well enough of that my next project is finding out more about solar.

    Reply to this comment
  54. Enigma February 4, 21:04

    6″ smoke take-away: Excellent. The more sealed a structure, the more important it becomes to get fiddly details right. Backing bricks or ashlar stones even better than metal.

    Back in the days of log cabins and dry-stacked stones, there was enough airflow to freeze your back yet keep fireplaces and stoves a-roarin’. Reckon we both remember those days.

    Battery shed’s roof might mount solar panels, unless you want a phototropic setup. (Phototropic: device automatically presents moveable panels to Sun as do sunflower heads.)

    Arrangement with no moving parts has many more panels; (Northern Hemisphere) of the entire set 1/3d tilting slightly South-southeast, 1/3d tilting slightly South at local Noon, and 1/3d tilting Southwest. There are books on the subject; having the shortest possible wires to the batteries cause least line-loss. So does using larger-gauge copper wires.

    Yet all that creates a very attractive target for vandal-thieves. InfoSec important. Also best that such things be concealed from, and even distant from, any roads. May complicate construction.

    High desert only less hostile than Arctic and Antarctic; I frankly avoid anyplace North (or South) of 30, and higher elevations. On the other hand, below 15′ above local sea-level, best to live aboard a cruiser sailing vessel. Have never understood folk who build (or buy) abodes on floodplains or in valleys known to have flash-floods. Geologists and hydrologists can easily tell novices where NOT to live.

    On hygiene, reckon females should teach females. My philosophy is, if folk can smell your presence, that’s a problem. Eating local foods tends to help with that too; if all locals themselves smell a bit of curry, then you’re part of their environment when you do too.

    Knots: serious sailors know several, but I reckon ‘bowline on a bight’ superior to all. The worst (may sound like an off-color joke but ain’t) is a wet granny. (Failure to tie a proper square.)

    If someone can’t stand to be alone for extended periods, they’ve a serious problem. Mental, moral, who knows?

    But I’ve got to have books. There are novels / authors which / who keep on giving. Really good books contain details which refresh each reading. And, as you gain experience, after a year or so, you may bring changed eyes to a text.

    And, of course, everyone needs an accurate Bible translation. (NWT and the 1960s Jerusalem Bible are two such which respect the original.) Plus, a KJV, since it’s embedded in English-American literature.

    Reply to this comment
    • Clergylady February 8, 17:21

      Power on property almost done. Awaiting inspection. Then meter and power. Then finish hooking up well and with more trench and wire hook up my trailer.
      Other buildings here will be solar as $ and time allow. Some areas only need light and minimal 110 available occassionally.
      I may try a trickle charger for a battery and some lights in the new greenhouse and small critter area. The need there isn’t large.
      Have a gallon of water heating on the New heating stove to wash dishes in a while. Breakfast will be simple… pancakes with cinnamon and vanilla in the batter and stewed apples on top. Boiled coffee.
      Sorting mail. Time to get busy again..

      Reply to this comment
  55. Enigma February 8, 22:44

    Progress, eh? Any plans for the vandal?

    Hot-cakes with fresh or dried fruit. Good show. Have you ever tried 50% corn meal mixed with 50% unbleached flour? (Bleached flours not good for human systems…)

    I like ‘breads’ yeast-raised overnight. They go with dried beans boiled, water-exchanged, boiled again, and then left to soak in that water overnight with an added tablespoon of vinegar.

    I drink more green tea, wine, and Bourbon than coffee. A Sumatran varietal once per month maybe. Kenyan coffee no longer safe to buy. (Place rapidly going to Hell because of Kenyatta and his competitors.)

    Reply to this comment
  56. Clergylady February 8, 22:57

    I like green tea and wine or a descent single malt whiskey. But hubby likes beer and plenty of hot coffee.
    Pancakes are unbleached flour, whole wheat flour, corn meal, and rolled oats in one mixture or another according to what is on hand or what I feel like mixing up. I’ve even added ground flax seed or ground nuts.
    I love homemade breads. A bowl of beans and some fresh bread makes fine eating on a cold evening. Overnight breads are handy.

    Reply to this comment
  57. DJnRF February 9, 19:33

    No one can actually know who they may ‘bug out’ with. Plans such as that can only serve no one effectively. It seems a great idea, but reality is never comes out of a great idea.

    Furthermore, the FM21-76 is so old and out of date that it isn’t even published any longer. Copies can be found, or even a very few reprints, but that is all. Also, most of the Gov manuals are designed for the military, and not for individual civilians. The Gov Field Guide is designed for application by organizations in wide spread disaster.

    Each and all of these publications can provide some good information, but keep in mine that the average citizen doesn’t even have enough knowledge to apply what they read about if it is not in conjunction with a class they are taking. Just reading about something is not good enough when it comes to actual application, and how many ‘average citizens’ will actually go out on their own to practice what they read about? That would be wishful thinking alone. Put all of those wishes in a paper bag and the entire worth is just that of the paper bag.

    It is much like the practice needed with a firearm. If you are not doing it often, you don’t know enough to do it in an emergency. When I fired pro I had to shoot every day. I would take 500 rounds to the range and fire all day. One gets very good with what they do that way. BTW, how often do you actually go out to practice what you talk about? Anyone can talk or write about things they read, but most will never be able to do them in an emergency. The almost, or half-way methods only can cause more problems.

    I used to study all I could, and even insure they were committed to memory regularly by verbally reciting while I went through the motions of a home made scenario. I would do this for a couple of months, then go out and practice what I had learned. I did this a minimum of four times each year, and many times more, like every month. I am now getting quite old and not so able as I used to be. I always now say that “Pushing 80 is exercise enough”. I may not go out in the cold winter as I used to, but still go out as often as I can. I have gear for just about any climate, and use it as that is what I would do in an emergency.

    I have spent many years with the BSA, and have a good method of going out to practice and teach the things I have learned. I have also been teaching military cadets, and a local reserve unit. When you have the actual knowledge there is no better way to practice than doing it in teaching.

    I always meet many who talk a lot, but never ‘do’ any of what they talk about. I always learn the good ways from the bad that way, too. It doesn’t take very long to find the ones that talk from the ones that do.

    Myself, I consider to be a ‘has been’ as I just can’t do all I used to do. So, what can I really teach? Nothing but awareness. I can give examples and show many things and ways, but will never again be as good as I used to. Due to that now, I always like to have students think and offer ideas of what might also work, and then to show me if it will work. I can learn from them as well.

    I have done all of this now for over 50 years, and even some before I was commissioned in the Army Rangers.
    I have spent some months out seeking my ability to survive. I had split it up to the summer, fall, and part of the winter before I came back to my life. About four months less than was done by Clergylady, but done it nonetheless. Have you? Experience beats out all the reading in the world.

    I have also been a solar dealer and installer, and in the radio communications business. Now I try to keep up with what the average person can do in those fields with knowledge and the use of both for emergencies.

    When dealing, and working with average citizens, you cannot teach them much of the Sublime in anything until they actually go out and practice enough. For most people today you would not waste your time and give them all they really want by printing up a numerical list of things to do in the field, with just a little of the ‘how to’ of it all. If they are truly interested they will look up more on their own to practice, or ask for a class. Don’t even think of saying any of the ‘why’ to do something as they will have their own idea on that. Just remember, the statistics are that if there is some very catastrophic disaster of any kind, 82% of the people in society today will perish. Many will also perish at the hands of people that they know.

    Yes, I do tend to “rant”, but still most never learn as they are always talking of things they really can’t do themselves.

    Reply to this comment
  58. Clergylady February 9, 23:47

    State inspector Tuesday. Mobile Home inspector no date set yet. Then meter and power. What a pain…
    Vandals needs to just disappear… life isn’t that easy but a gal can wish, can’t she? I’d best not catch any of the bunch I evicted when I’m out walking the property after dark. That could be a mistake we’d all regret. Self preservation is part instinct and part learned reaction. I like staying alive. I don’t trust any of them, stepson, wife, or her three thieving druggy kids. It’s the second son that is most likely around. He convinced all his druggy friends around here that I’m a mean lady for making him leave. He still visits around here a lot.
    The most petty thing is whoever is taking the clothes pins from the two bags my friend and I share. We leave them out so whoever needs to use them had them available. So far we’ve lost close to 300 clothes pins. My husband suggestion might get used if it happens again. Full the bags with dog dung and lay a few pins on top. 🙂
    My friend here and all three of the grandkids here are interested in prepping, gardening, canning, wild foods et. They already know more than most. They are native Americans born in this area. Reservation life already reached a lot of what they need to know. This summer if the kids stay here we will do some training on the mountain.
    I found a nice pressure canner, free, because it doesn’t have the weight. It’s fairly new so parts can be ordered. I have it to my friends. She was thrilled to get it. Hers was taken while they were moving out here. They will order the new part. She cooks large one dish meals or soups for a Tuesday evening study group and likes to pressure cook beans for the family meals. Beans take almost forever to cook at this altitude. Under pressure they are tender in 45 minutes . Add seasoning and salt and boil 20 minutes without pressure, then enjoy. A beef stew is my favorite meal from a pressure cooker. Brown the meat in a bit of oil. Add cubes potatoes, diced carrots, corsely chopped onions, a mashed clove of garlic or two, salt and. Pepper to taste, sometimes some tomatoes. Then bring up to pressure, cook 5 minutes, cool with cold running water, unopened, till pressure releases, open and thicken a bit if desired. Great with fresh home made bread.
    Grandson is here to visit. Talk again later.
    Any suggestions for real solar power are welcome. I’ll tell the state and co-op bye bye as soon as possible.

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  59. Enigma February 15, 07:01

    On vandals, I suggested a ‘solution’. They’ve no loyalty to each other, so if one absolutely disappears, no blowback likely.

    I hear tell that some fentanyl in their dope provides an ‘explanation’ which ‘authority’ understands and expects. So a heroin baggie in a clothespin bag’s bottom may remove problems; however, such things are like bombs – indiscriminate. Medici princesses and Isabella of Castile liked such ‘solutions’ but they were careless about consequences.

    Governmental inspectors should be kept in the dark as much as possible. They too aren’t anyone’s friends, and usually they’re lazy and uninterested anyway.

    Beans may be soaked in boiled water and some vinegar overnight, but a pressure-cooker works for folk in a hurry. I add a single Thai or Serrano pepper in the second soak water, then meat chunks for the final cooking per your suggestion. Sometimes diced tomatoes as well as those onions and garlic.

    So many additives for a Mulligan stew. Any root veggies may be added. I also like Borscht, but it’s all beets and like roots plus vinegar and whole black pepper kernels. Austrian style uses paprika instead, and a dollop of sour cream atop each bowl. Wonder how yogurt might work…

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    • Clergylady July 7, 19:19

      You might try a dollop of thicker Greek yogurt. Or try plain yogurt set in a cheesecloth lined strainer to drain for a while. It really gets thicker and for some dishes replaces sour cream quite well.

      Reply to this comment
  60. Mark February 20, 08:15


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  61. Mark J. Garvey February 22, 17:50

    Fergus, Nice article. I am an outdoor enthusiast. Thus, often I face weird situation. I never try to learn that car battery can be used in this type emergency situation. Thanks for the idea.

    Reply to this comment
  62. Clergylady July 6, 17:22

    A car battery is ok to power a lamp or two for a little while. Nothing big and never for long.

    Reply to this comment
    • Enigma July 7, 09:11

      I lived aboard a sailboat for some years. A bank of deep-cycle 6-VDC golf-cart batteries will last for many days if you use LED lights; such only sip at the juice. There are also 50-watt incandescents purpose-made for DC applications, but LED ‘bulbs’ are best and can work for many years.

      What really sucks electricity are motors and resistance wires like those in heaters. No particular use for latter in tropical places but boats need pump (bilge and take-away) motors.

      Battery banks may be charged by running a diesel engine (used for moving a sailboat from and into harbors / marinas). On land, water- and windmill-driven generators and solar phalanxes can keep such batteries charged. With a 120VAC to 13.8-VDC converter-inverter, all sorts of chargers and appliances may be used. Probably available from RV as well as marine vendors; RV places likely cheaper…

      Reply to this comment
  63. Clergylady July 7, 18:49

    I have all led lights. Changed every bulb on the property. Made a big difference in power consumption. Also solar powered lights where ever possible. That helps as well.
    Home will be off grid solar about the first of August. Putting it on grid or found off grid solar not too far apart in price. I also have most of the parts and pieces to put solar power into two sheds that don’t need large power supplies. Just lights for the most part. Next will by a 12v submersible pump, pressure tank and solar set up for the well nearest my newer mobile Home. For now I’ll use the other well on grid.
    Fun learning and purposeful play, going solar, project by project. I don’t have the cash to take the property totally solar all at once. So I’m doing it bits at a time. Home going with a contractor because of the tough local requirements. Other things I’ll do an area at a time and perhaps come back and add panels or batteries in the future.
    I still enjoy learning. Slowing down on the doing but if I do something everyday projects still get done. Working to rebuild stamina after injuries, infection and surgery.

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  64. Clergylady July 7, 19:13

    I have two gas generators that would be able to run my home and well or charge batteries to supliment solar. I plan to add wind power as a supplement and aim to never fire up a gas generator except for maintainable.
    I found a new to me plastic 55 gallon barrel with removable lid and a band to hold it closed. $10. Buried that will make my root cellar for this year. More planned but going far slower than planned. Glad to be still going. Guess I was pretty close to checking out 6 weeks ago.
    Looking forward to watching the contractor put in the solar for my home. See if I can pick up some pointers on expanding the setup later. Starting with 4, 335 watt panels and 2 large batteries, plus stand ground mount.
    My set that will start at the sheds and grow to include the well is going to be pole ground mounted with spaces to add panels and a place made to keep batteries, controllers, a pure sien inverter et. A planned wind generator will also tie into that set up. Later we’ll add one to the home charging set up once I’m sure of what we want.
    Interesting learning.

    Reply to this comment
    • Enigma July 9, 13:26

      Sorry to hear about your health challenge(s).

      All you seek is rational. Everyone in a rural setting should imitate.

      Pure sine-wave converter-inverters usually more expensive, but better for electronics. Square-wave units work OK for all else.

      Reply to this comment
  65. Enigma July 9, 13:36

    Gasoline, diesel, and natural-gas generators are good for last-ditch situations. Such as many days without wind and solar inputs.

    A well-sealed and buried plastic barrel works for root veggies. Might want to have separate one for dried fruit.

    Another ploy for folk who want a fall-back option for preserving electronics is a partially-buried sealable steel barrel. Serves as a Faraday Cage for extra electronics (radios etc.) in case of an EMP or a CME.

    Actually, a gradualist policy is better than a one-shot one. Only the wealthy or fanatical likely can afford a one-size-fits-all implementation. A ‘one and done’ implementation likely to yield unpleasing surprises during challenges

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  66. Enigma July 9, 13:41

    Often use whole-milk yogurt as a bowl topping instead of sour cream. Ultimately more flexible; may be used in many contexts.

    Reply to this comment
    • Clergylady July 9, 22:49

      I grew up making yogurt from nonfat dry milk that was reconstituted with water. My parents both were unable to use fresh whole milk in their diet. Two different problems but both situations exacerbated by lactose. We had buttermilk and yogurt as a regular part of the diet. I still love plain yogurt with home canned or fresh fruit. No added sugar. Sometimes a tiny drizzle of honey. A slice or two of toasted homemade bread, and that’s supper
      I like a 6 qt pressure cooker of pinto beans with 1/4-1/2 lb ground beef stirred through and a halved peeled onion and either a jalapeno or other very hot chili laid in on the top of the beans. Bring to pressure and cook 45 minutes then cool to release pressure. Stir the meat, onion, chili, and add salt to taste and simmer without the lid for at least 20 minutes to get salt cooked into the beans. Or start beans, meat, onion, and chili in the evening in a slowcooker. About noon stir in salt and more chili if desired. Cover and cook till dinner time, adding more liquid if needed. Any bread and a salad or pan of fried potatoes makes a meal that always made my family happy. Just two of us now. I still cook a full pot then freeze in two serving portions. I then think of that as fast food. 🙂
      Yogurt drained to thicken is most often used in place of sourcream.
      My daughter in law loves that thick yogurt with some garlic powder stirred in and a bit of lemon zest and juice. We use it as a dip with celery sticks, radishes, strips of bell peppers ECT. A bit of thick homemade mayonnaise seasoned that way is good also.
      Her favorite desert is a few halves of home canned cinnamon flavored peaches, a large dollop of thick yogurt, and crumbled ginger snaps over the top.
      At over 6,000 ft elevation I tend to used the pressure cooker or Slow cooker even more than I did at much lower elevations. It speeds up the process and saves on electricity or propane.

      Reply to this comment
      • Enigma July 10, 12:16

        All agreed on yogurt. Useful in so many ways. Dislike milk aftertaste so no drinking or on cereal, but use plain yogurt, k’fer, cheeses, etc

        Since you like spicy, might try a Habanero (habanjero) pepper. Or yellow Macedonian ones. (Masochists use Bird’s-eye -size like BB- peppers.) Burns so good, and you’ll likely use less salt.

        I pre-boil and pre-soak dried beans. Beans in pot with water, bring to boil, turn off ‘fire’, and let set until cool.. When cool/cold, pour off that first water along with empty skins and debris, reboil briefly with water and some vinegar, repeat cooling-soak process. Pour off that water too, again discarding any empty hulls & debris.

        Finally comes cooking process and pressure or slow cooker good when you have such. Cooking point is time for adding chili powder, garlic, (maybe some ginger & cinnamon), and meat. Coarsely diced potatoes if desired.

        I like adding onions, pepper(s), and any tomatoes last to preserve their characters. Peppers become flavor ‘surprises’. Folk who can’t endure truly spicy may add whole-kernel black pepper here. Folk may salt to taste at table.

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  67. Clergylady July 9, 23:09

    My first two 100 watt solar panels, pure seinwave inverter, solar charge controller, and two deep cycle batteries are here. Still need more things but getting excited to start working on _my_ first installation of solar. Some fitting and wire will be ordered soon.
    I’m saving up or selling things to get bits at a time. Moving into a 1 bedroom, 1 bath mobile home means there will be lots of stuff that won’t fit. I will store some, and some will be used in the sheds instead of extra bedrooms. I have new things to try and other things to recreate here. I brought the materials for my greenhouses. One a leanto and the other a pit with a covering. Wishing for a basement but trailers don’t seem to come with them. I’ll work on that. Right now getting the home ready to move in and everything hooked up come first.
    A big yard sale is in the planning. Then new things to learn and do. That m a me a living worthwhile.

    Reply to this comment
  68. Enigma July 10, 12:38

    Semi-buried and buried greenhouses best in cold country. Roofed with framed glass, plastic, or Lexan (latter nigh bulletproof but expensive) ‘dome’. Some folk simply build an open frame over pit(s) and stretch cheap food-wrap plastic over frame(s). Greenhouse adit(s) (doors, storage areas, and passages) built more robustly due human traffic

    If planning to grow stuff in dimmer and Winter months, 3200K lighting necessary; some kind of opaque cover useful. Casual passersby then won’t know greenhouses are there.

    Instead of a basement, rows of semi-buried large plastic or metal barrels can work. If something goes bad in one barrel, others likely unaffected. Might look into making Korean-style kimchi; basically any root and leafy green can be made into kimchi.

    Have some mustard-green kimchi in refeer right now. Nice accent for something blander.

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