Saturday, June 30, 2012

Preparedness Peter Pan Problem Prevention

I suspect there is a Peter Pan problem with a lot of preppers. I also enjoy alliteration for no particular reason. :-) This is very very bad for a TEOTAWKI situation. (I mean the Peter Pan thing, but maybe the other is bad too.)

Very few of us are fortunate enough to have a good supply of Fairy Dust available to prevent aging. The ability to perform hard work and manage stairs and ladders usually decreases along with aging. 

It is necessary to give consideration to aging, disability, or injuries in your preparedness. If you are not doing this already, you have a gaping hole in your disaster preparedness.

I have little idea of much of the demographics of my blog readers, but since there are a lot of Baby Boomers worldwide, they are probably represented among readers. If you are a Baby Boomer, you have even more necessity to plan for decreased strength and agility in your plans.

Like many other types of planning, taking aging, etc. into account can seem overwhelming if taken on all at once. This too, can be broken down into bite-sized chunks.

If you have 100 pound containers of food in your storage, you can plan to break them down into smaller units. You can  get large scoops that will enable you to empty those larger containers into smaller ones without lifting them. You can build ramps instead of stairs in new construction, or as repairs are needed.

Converting your garden area into raised beds, narrow enough to reach the middle easily from the sides, is a change that you can make gradually. 

I am not talking about short raised beds here. I mean beds that are high enough to comfortably sit on the sides and tend plants. Plants at this height can also be easily tended from a wheel chair.

Doorways should not be too narrow to get through in a wheel chair. Bathrooms are often overlooked for convenient doorway width. This can be an expensive alteration, but it will be even more expensive post TEOTAWKI. 

Toilets, showers and bathtubs need to be easily accessible. Showers need to be large enough to fit more than one person or someone in a wheeled bath chair. Showering may require assistance.

It is possible to use chamber pots and sponge baths to avoid such changes. You don't need to despair if the alterations are not possible for you. It will be much easier and less time-consuming if you are able to make these accessibility changes, however.

I like to take the saying, "A failure to plan, is a plan to fail", to heart. I prefer to prepare for less agility and strength in myself and others as I go. It is easier and cheaper than modifications later.

Friday, June 29, 2012

Coping With PTSD 5

If you are familiar with my blog, you know that I have been posting about coping with PTSD interspersed with posts on other preparedness subjects. My apologies, if numbering this as five in this series of posts on coping with PTSD, is confusing. This is only the fifth post in this series, but it is the sixth in the list of things to do to cope.

Please learn a little about PTSD because most people in disasters have it to some degree. It can continue to be a problem long after the disaster is over. 

Here goes the PTSD post:
6. Give yourself a break. PTSD is an injury or sickness. Just because no blood is visible does not mean PTSD is not as real as a broken leg. PTSD is like a very bad sprain or bruise on your spirit or emotions. Your PTSD injury takes some time to heal. 

Just as you know it is not good to use a broken or sprained leg too soon, so you have to go easy on your PTSD injury until it is ready for load bearing again.

Getting tired too soon or for no "good" reason is part of your PTSD healing process. You have to know when to rest or take a break when you are recovering from PTSD. Sometimes you can feel overwhelmed and need to lie down for a while. This does not have to be for a long time. A minute or an hour or something in between is a good time frame for when you are somewhat recovered.

I like to set a timer or alarm to stop resting and get back to work. Sometimes I have to resort to the snooze button several times, but it helps anyway.

Part of how to give yourself a break is to take some time to enjoy life. You need a list of things that you enjoy doing and that make you feel good. When you are feeling at your worst is not a good time to try to figure out something that will make you feel better. Once you have a list of what makes you feel good, you can simply pick something off of your list to do. 

If you feel bad enough it is possible that nothing will look good to do, or you won't be able to even think of something that you might like to do. The list eliminates these problems. Just pick the most appealing thing to do on your list or the easiest one to do.

An example of this is, that I like to knit or crochet. One of these is not a good choice to make me feel good, unless I already have a simple project going. This is because feeling bad can make it too hard for me to plan and start a project. If the projects I have going require too much concentration, I could get too frustrated to do them. If this is the case, then another item on my list of good things to do is better.

I used to live in San Francisco when I was having trouble with PTSD. I  had a plan for a really good day on my list of good things to do. 

It started with taking a street car to a drugstore that had especially good ice cream, that was also very cheap. The scoops were big enough for a meal. That was lunch. 

When I finished the ice cream, I got back on the street car and went around to the wharves and watched the mimes and musicians for a while. I went home on the Cable Car for an amusement park ride. That day was inexpensive enough for financial hard times and always made me feel good. It was not too difficult to do and didn't require a lot of concentration. That day plan was perfect for my list of good things to do to make me feel better.

Taking a walk is another thing on my list. Reading a fun book is another one. Eating popcorn while watching a video movie has been added to my list  recently. 

Sometimes making something or finishing up a project can be on my list. One of these is making and decorating a box to use for storing and organizing. I rip out pictures from magazines and junk mail to use for this purpose. I always have a file folder full of pictures.

One of my boxes that I made this way is for organizing my outgoing letters. I keep stamps, envelopes, my own address labels and those of people I write to frequently, in the box. I decorated it with pictures that I liked. I just used a glue stick to put the pictures on the box after I cut them out. It makes me feel good to even look at the box for my mail. 

Some other ways that I have made my storage boxes is by painting the whole box and labelling the contents. I may or may not further decorate the box. Another way to decorate these boxes is by covering it with wrapping paper or wall paper. Occasionally I will use Contact paper or fabric to cover a box.

I have other boxes that I have done this way, and will probably have more. It is not a bad idea to use your list of things you like to do, even when you don't feel bad, or have a problem with PTSD. Once your PTSD is better, your list is simply a good tool for enjoying life.

One of the things to remember when you are dealing with PTSD is that it will get better. 

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Use Of The Internet For The Most Essential Part of Disaster Preparedness

No matter what kind of disaster preparations you have made, they will do you no good unless you know when a disaster is here. 

It is easy to see how blithely going about your business, when a tsunami is approaching your area, could prove fatal. It is not as easy to see how some other kinds of disasters could prove fatal, if you don't know they are imminent. If you have trouble with this idea, it is a good thing to think about.

This blog post is not for the purpose of persuading you of the need for knowing a disaster is at hand. I am making the assumption for now that you are reading this because you already know that.

You probably have a good radio with multiple forms of power sources. That is not the best you can do. You also need to try to know as far in advance as possible what disasters are most likely to affect you. It is even better to have some idea of when one of these disasters will strike your area.

The internet is a tool that you can use to stay informed of when a disaster might affect your area and you. Depending on regular media, such as newspapers, television, and radio to keep you well informed about some kinds of disasters could get you into deep trouble. 

I hope that you are staying informed about world financial problems. Many powerful countries are experiencing financial difficulties. These financial crises have already affected millions of people. If you are fortunate enough not to be one of those already affected, it is unlikely that such good fortune will continue much longer.

I have already posted about the crisis developing in the international competition for rights to the oil and minerals in the area of the North Pole. That problem has not gone away. It is worse. A Shell ship is heading toward the Arctic to begin drilling for oil this summer. That could precipitate a nuclear war. 

No matter who starts nuking who, we already know radiation does not respect boundaries.

We also have information on the internet, for those who choose to be aware of it, that other international nuclear crises are developing. Russia and China have both said that they will use all weapons, including nuclear, in certain circumstances.

There is not enough evidence on the internet to make a court case of it, but it looks a lot like the USA is preparing to use CIA drones to unleash a plague that would prove fatal to millions of people. This was discovered by countries that are friendly or neutral to the USA. I think that would get the USA nuked.

If you don't know about any of this, then you have a big hole in your disaster preparedness. 

I like to take a look at news from countries other than the USA. I think it is a good idea to do the same, no matter what country you live in. Reuters, BBC News, Pravda, and Al Jazeera are worth taking a look at for starters. Internet bloggers and internet news are also good.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Coping With PTSD 4

Disaster preparedness is not complete unless you take PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder), into account. PTSD is very common among people who are in or have been in a disaster. This is the third in my series of posts about ideas for helping to cope with PTSD. 

I will only try to do 1 to 3 things in a day, if my PTSD is pretty bad. You can tell this if you can't do things or keep focused or remember very well. I try doing 3 things a day. If that is not working at all well, I will drop back to 1 thing to get done in a day.

I write the one thing to get done for the day on one or more post-it notes. It depends on how I am feeling, as to how many notes I use for the day and what I do with them. I may stick the notes in places where I will see them a lot during the day. I usually have one to keep with me. 

I use a fanny pack to carry keys and other things that I might lose and I put the post-it note on top of the fanny pack or on a wrist band or watch. Sometimes I put the post-it on a pocket flap. I make sure that I look at the post-it and read it frequently, to help me to stay focused on the job to get done that day. 

The places in my home where I have stuck up extra post-it notes are: The bathroom mirror, where I will see it when I wash my hands or brush my teeth. The refrigerator is another good place for post-its. I like a spot like the handle or at eye level on the door.

The kitchen sink or curtain or window in front of it is another place to put post-it notes. The front door at eye level or on the handle is another place. My computer monitor and my keyboard are other places. Sometimes it is my coffee or tea or hot chocolate mug. The cat does not work for post-it notes. :-p

Light switches have worked. Sometimes the toilet tank or handle has worked. I have put it on my pillow, or where I will see it as soon as I wake up.

If I do not manage to get my one important thing done in a day, I put it on the schedule for the next day. A note goes where I will see it first thing the next day. That can be on the places already mentioned, or the coffee pot or my bathrobe, or shoes or clothing for the next morning. Sometimes it has been my cereal bowl.

If I still do not get it done the next day, I will not make myself feel bad by saying bad things about myself. I will just give myself an encouraging pep talk or think  silent encouragement and put it on the schedule again. 

If this goes on too long, I will think about why it is not getting done. Is this too hard for me to manage right now? Do I need to postpone this and do something easier, and come back to the harder thing later?

Sometimes doing something easier will encourage me and help me to get the hard thing done next.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Learn From Ants For Risk Reduction

Disaster risk reduction is not necessarily rocket science. Some of it is pretty obvious. The hard to understand part is why people keep doing stupid stuff and expecting it to turn out well. This is the kind of behavior that gives FEMA and Red Cross, (NGOs), employees job security. 

One of the cities that I know about that is this way, is where I lived in California. It has a population bigger than the whole state of Alaska has. There are probably more people there now.

That city has no evacuation plan. I talked to four mayors, trying to persuade them to make a disaster plan. The last one spoke to me when she had lost the last election and was serving the remainder of her term. 

She was more frank than the previous mayors had been. She said that evacuation of the town was impossible because of the number of people in town and the limited number of roads out. She said she had been trying to get at least one more road out built, but it was being stonewalled because of NIMBY, (Not In My Back Yard), issues.

The town was on a flood plain. There were a lot of old earthen dams in the hills around the town. The earthen dams were not being maintained. Many areas of the town would not be covered by flood insurance from any but special government insurance. Some areas, the government insurance would not even cover.

People keep buying property in the really bad flood zones. If even the last ditch government insurance will not cover a flood zone, you might think there is a big risk of having a flood there. The flood has not happened yet, but it seems as if it will, eventually.

Other parts of the US have similar situations. People put another mobile home on a site destroyed by a tornado in "Tornado Alley". People rebuild a home that has already been destroyed twice by hurricanes. 

I can see why this might happen in a place like Bangladesh with people so impoverished that they have no other choice. I don't see why it is happening in the US now. 

I had a garden occupied by a large ant hill. Every time I watered it, the ant hill was flooded. The ants would rush around and evacuate all the eggs and other young and the queens. Before I watered again the ant hill would be back in business.

It would be nice to see Americans use their brains enough to do better than ants. I believe we can do it.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Coping With PTSD 3

Please learn something about dealing with PTSD as part of your disaster preparedness. Even if you are correct that you will never be troubled with it regardless of your circumstances, you are likely to have to deal with it in someone else. PTSD is extremely common in people who are in a disaster.

Yoga is also helpful for dealing with PTSD. I can not usually manage this in my worst phases of PTSD, but everyone is different. Yoga might work for you at any stage of PTSD. Yoga classes are all over, including through YMCAs and Senior Centers. There are also reasonably priced videos, CDs and DVDs. I learned it from a book. 

Remember that as long as it doesn't hurt you, there is no wrong way to do yoga. It is doing it that is important, not how you do it, or how you look while you do it.

You do not have to have the right clothes to do yoga. If you are alone and won't be interrupted, you do not need to wear anything. Wearing sweats or old underwear is fine. It only needs to be comfortable and let you move freely.

4. I sometimes have had thoughts coming into my mind repeatedly that were harmful and slowed or stopped my recovery. Sometimes the thought was a replay of something that caused the PTSD. Other times the thought was something negative about myself.

I found a way to almost entirely stop those negative thoughts in about 6 months. It is so simple it is kind of stupid, but it works.

I got a cloth covered elastic meant for holding hair back and put it on my wrist. Every time one of those negative thoughts came into my mind, I snapped the elastic. It was not a hard snap. It does not require a lot of pain to train your brain. The most important part is to do it a lot. 

After a little while the negative thoughts came less often. After I had done this for about 6 months, the thoughts were not coming much. I could get rid of them without the elastic. Every once in a while the thoughts will start coming back. If it is very bad, I use the elastic again for a while, until it is better.

5. No matter how bad off we are, we usually have some things we must get done to keep our lives going. Part of your recovery will be finding ways to get these important things done.

I used to cut up small pieces of paper and write the important things I had to get done on the paper. I have since discovered post it notes. I like those because they come in different sizes and colors and you can get a lot of them cheap. The small ones that are only about the size of 4 postage stamps are good for when your PTSD is still pretty bad.

This seems like another place to break this subject and continue in another post.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Becoming Your Own Survival Expert

Even the youtube survivalists and preppers who appear to be experts disagree on what items are important to survival. You need to become your own expert. Only you know what is most important to you. Bear that in mind as you watch and you will enjoy it a lot more.

There are enough different survival kits on youtube to thoroughly confuse you, if you let it happen. I suggest, that if you want to look at some or all of them, that you consider that some of them may not have a high level of expertise. 

There are many more survival/preparedness experts than can be found on youtube. I am partial to some of the Native American experts on survival who do not appear on youtube. These are beginning to show up on youtube as well, however. Traditional Native American youtube. :-)

Here is one of my favorite survival experts. Some of the reasons I like him are that he is very honest and real. He also clearly enjoys what he shows us. This makes his videos fun to watch. He usually has a different approach to things. Even if you don't want to exactly follow what he does, you can learn whatever you want to do from watching him. He often adds little asides that might save your life some day. It is a good idea to watch his videos more than once and pay very close attention.

Here is his youtube name: 
His Channel on youtube is:

Fun In The Woods

He currently has 60 videos on his channel. I have not seen all of them yet, but I plan to. I like to take notes on his videos and practice what I learn from him.

Another site that I really like is Native Tech. This site is so big and has so much good information, that it can be overwhelming. You can avoid being overwhelmed by picking the kind of information that you are looking for, to use right now, and studying only that kind of information. Later you can pick another subject and do the same thing.

The authors on Native Tech usually have survival skills for using handmade tools and equipment. Their survival skills have been handed down and refined for many generations. 

It is like getting a university education in survival, by using these sites and others like them. We are very fortunate to have the opportunity to use these sites now. Use them while you can. 

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Coping With PTSD 2

This post continues the series on coping with PTSD. I am assuming that you will get professional help if you need it. My suggestions are things that have worked to get me functioning again, and helped others as well.

2. Art or music can also help. They can help to vent your strong negative emotions. I have occasionally punched a pillow or stuffed animal for this purpose. If you are very strong, a pair of boxing gloves and a heavy bag might be a good idea. If you have no access to these, you could wrap your hands to protect them and slug away at a tree or brick wall.

Art and music can help you express your feelings in a less physical way. Artistic ability is not required for this to work. You can either try actual objects or scenes to represent something or just go for making marks on paper, canvas or fabric or make something three dimensional like carving, clay, weaving or knotting.

Remember that your purpose is not the art itself, but your feelings. It is good no matter how it looks if it makes you feel better.

3. Exercise is also very cathartic. It helps to get bad feelings out of you. You will have to decide whether you need to walk alone or with company. When I am having a very bad time with PTSD, I usually want to walk alone. When I feel better, I am more likely to enjoy company. 

Having a dog to walk with is very good for me during PTSD recovery. Being able to take care of an animal may be too difficult to manage during the worst part of your PTSD. In that case, neighbors may like you offering free dog walking. The dog will certainly like it. If the dog you are walking is older, you may have to arrange shifts for the dog and find a spare dog to walk. It can take a lot of walking to get you through PTSD.

If you are feeling agraphobic, or a fear of open spaces, as part of your PTSD, you may want to just walk laps inside or back and forth, or use a treadmill or stationary bike or mini-trampoline. If you are going for the laps or back and forth, you may wear out a carpet. It would be a good idea to find some way of protecting the carpet. One way could be plastic runners that are meant to protect carpet from wear and dirt.

This is one of my longer posts, so must be continued again.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Examples Of Reasons For Disaster Preparedness

Please bear with the PTSD posts if they don't particularly interest you at the moment. They are quite relevant to disaster preparedness, because most people get PTSD during and after a disaster. If you are in a disaster, you will be very likely to need to deal with your own PTSD or other people's PTSD.

Readers drop off precipitously when I post a series on the same subject. That apparently includes posts on PTSD. Therefore I am going to intersperse the PTSD posts with other subjects. Please bear with me if you are especially interested in the PTSD posts. They are already written and I will keep them coming.

Now back to our irregularly scheduled interruption: 

Natural disasters are increasing in frequency and occurring in places that did not have them before. 

Some examples of this are the "swarms" of tornadoes that have occurred lately in the USA. Upward of 100 tornadoes have happened in a relatively small area over a short period of time. Some of the areas affected used to be considered safe from tornadoes.

Another example is earthquakes. The USA has had them recently in areas populated by people who felt sure they did not have to worry about earthquakes there. Earthquakes have affected other areas of the globe that were considered safe from them as well. 

The earthquake that hit Pakistan and Northern India in 2005 was particularly destructive. "This earthquake, which registered 7.6 on the Richter scale and was felt across much of Pakistan and northern India, killed more than 80,000 people, injured almost 70,000, and destroyed thousands of structures. Landslides, rockfalls, and crumbled buildings left an estimated four million people homeless and cut off access to some areas for several days."

The earthquake that triggered the biggest tsunami in recorded history was pretty impressive: 

Indonesia: December 26, 2004

"This massive earthquake just off the west coast of the island of Sumatra, and the tsunami that followed, killed at least 230,000 (and perhaps as many as 290,000) people in 12 countries -- including about 168,000 in Indonesia alone. It registered 9.1 on the Richter scale and will long be remembered for the devastating waves that brought fatalities to countries all around the Indian Ocean. Scientists say the tremor was so strong that it wobbled Earth's rotation on its axis by almost an inch."

That quote came from the same site as the one about the Pakistan earthquake. 

I just wanted to show that disaster preparedness is getting to be a good idea. 

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

New And Improved TEOTAWKI Laundry

It has been a while since I regularly did laundry by hand. One of the reasons that it has been so long is that it is kind of a pain to do, it also takes a while and you can't do something else like you can while the washer or dryer is running. Another problem with it is that you have laundry taking up a lot of space while it is drying. 

I have one wooden rack to sit in my bathtub and dry laundry on. That does not begin to be enough space to get all the laundry dry. I just got another laundry rack. This one is partly metal. I suspect the parts that actually hold the wet clothes on it are fiberglass. 

I am interested to see whether it will hold up to wet laundry on it most of the time. It cost about twice as much as an all wood rack next to it on the store shelf. If the new rack holds up better than wood, it may be worth the extra money.

Laundry racks made entirely from wood do not do so well when in constant use. They warp and split, then break and they mildew.

My previous laundry racks came pre- assembled. This one did not. I liked tinker toys ok, but maybe not now. It was a lot cheaper than the pre-assembled ones. I guess it is ok to put it together rather than pay a lot more. There is a $40 difference in a pre-assembled one I saw. 

This isn't a big problem as long as all of the parts are there. That is one of the things I hate most about build-it-yourself stuff. Missing parts are pretty sure to involve another trip to exchange it or go to a hardware store for parts.

While doing laundry regularly this time, I noticed something I forgot to tell you about TEOTAWKI Laundry. I used to use a pair of extra long nitrile gloves to do laundry. Doing laundry by hand is very hard on your hands. 

Even if you don't care how your hands look, it can become a health problem and make it difficult to get things done if your hands are damaged. My hands used to get so dry and irritated from the soap and other laundry substances that the skin on them cracked and bled.

Nitrile gloves are made for handling chemicals, and that is what laundry soap and other laundry substances are. I like extra long gloves because they keep the water with the chemicals in it from running down your arm and back into the gloves. 

Keeping the water out of your gloves is especially hard when you are handling big items like sheets and blankets. I made myself a waterproof apron when I used to do laundry by hand all the time. I expect I will do that again. That waterproof apron made life easier.

I am not sure whether readers will think the reason for a waterproof apron for hand laundry is a good idea. If you don't like chemicals on your hands, then you probably don't want them on the rest of you. 

I forgot to explain the extra drying rack. If you have two you can take the whole rack, damp laundry and all, out of the tub and put it somewhere else to finish drying. I wait until it is no longer dripping, and then take it out. That means you have room in the bathtub for another rack to put more dripping  laundry on. 

You may have a real chance to keep up your laundry that way. I will see what happens. I am far behind at this point. I have been thinking that three racks may be required. I will let you know how it turns out.

How To Cope With PTSD 1

Post Traumatic Stress Disorder is sometimes called Battle Shock or Battle Fatigue. It is caused by stress like seeing a friend die, or be badly injured. It is not limited to soldiers in battle.

Women and children who have been abused often have PTSD. Civilians living in, or near fighting often have PTSD. PTSD is common among disaster survivors. 

The severity of PTSD can vary a lot. It is possible to become completely non-functional or be almost normal with PTSD.

Regardless of how severe your PTSD is, coping with the effects can be difficult. The passage of time will help, but it is possible to do things that will help you recover better and sooner and be able to get important things done meanwhile.

I can not say what will work for everyone, but I can offer what has worked for me. I hope it will help readers. I have had numerous bouts with PTSD  during my life so have had way too much opportunity to work out how to deal with it.

Sometimes we do not have the luxury of a lot of recovery time and we still have to function as best we can, in spite of having PTSD. It is better to take whatever recovery time you can manage before you start trying to function too much.

Find something that makes you feel better and enjoy a lot of it for a while. Repetition of something soothing has been very helpful to me. Some examples to get you started finding what might work for you are: 
1. Games. I have used the old single player computer battleship that Windows used to come with. I am not sure whether bloody video games will help or not. You will have to test how you react to them to know. They could cause flashbacks. I have also used a deck of playing cards to play solitaire over and over. If you use this one, you will probably need extra decks of playing cards because you will wear them out. Jigsaw puzzles can also help, as long as your mind and hands are up to them. Do not use these if you get frustrated from them.

This is a very long post, so it is necessary to break it up into several posts. 

Monday, June 18, 2012

Organization Is A Survival/Preparedness Skill

I am an expert on the problems due to lack of organization, not so much on being organized. I have, however, read a lot about getting or being organized and am in a constant search for this elusive state.

If you are not organized it does not help your preparedness and does not help  with disaster risk reduction. I am happy to share some of the results for my search for organization and we can continue the pursuit, together.

One of my goals for preparedness is a spreadsheet file of all of my disaster preparedness supplies. I have enough now that it has gotten past keeping them all in my head. I do have a spreadsheet with some of my supplies on it, so that is a start, at least. 

Rotation of food into my daily diet and replacement of them is one of my bigger successes for preparedness organization.

I also keep adding skills and practicing some of the ones that are more theoretical. This is an area that I believe to be more essential, especially on a budget.

My preparedness knowledge, in general, is rapidly improving, thanks largely to doing research for this blog. 

My current major prepardness project involves researching and making a very compact basic survival kit that I am able to carry with me at all times. I intend to make one of these for all my immediate family members as well. 

Oddly enough, there is a lot of disagreement as to what survival basics are. This means a lot of research and refinement of what my personal idea of what survival basics are. I already posted some mini-survival kit ideas and links in one of my earlier posts. 

I don't believe you can ever rest on your laurels and declare that you have the ultimate end of basic survival kits ready. Someone always has an idea that will improve on what you already have made up. When I get my latest version ready, I will share it here. This may take a while, because this is something that I believe must be put to use to test it.

I don't have anything fancy in mind, but there are a lot of different fire making systems available for emergencies, for example. I already made my own waterproof matches and put them in a waterproof container. I also have some more methods available that will allow more long-term use than a finite supply of matches. 

I have run across some intriguing new bits of information that I would like to consider incorporating into my basic kit and have to find out more about them and pick what I like the best. Meanwhile you could use your summer, if you have it now, to practice making fires when you have a campfire or barbeque. If not, you could be testing cold weather gear.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Preparedness Book Review

Free preparedness books was the subject of a recent post. If you are interested please read the earlier post on it. This post is about one of those free books that I think you should get and read.

The book is, "What You Should Do To Prepare For And Respond To Chemical, Radiological, Nuclear, And Biological Terrorist Attacks".

The book mentioned above has a very long title, but is a very short book and you can read it fast. It does not go into much detail. It only tells you about how to recognize an attack, determine what kind of attack it is, and then the first things to do about it to be safe.

It suggests that you not wait until an attack happens to prepare for it, but does not go into any detail about what that preparation might be.

Most people will not read about preparedness at all, let alone something long. This book solves that problem and is free as well. It is one of the free books offered on Amazon. 

If you want to read this book, all you have to do is go to the Amazon Kindle site and download the app that will work on whatever you use to access the internet. They have all different kinds of apps, PC, Apple, phone, etc. All of the software for reading Kindle books is free on the Amazon Kindle site.

Once you download the app to be able to read the Kindle books, you can download the free book listed at the top of this page. It will probably only take you a few minutes to read once you have it downloaded. This free book is worth your time. It may save your life and the lives of your loved ones.

Friday, June 15, 2012

Save Money On Your Food Bill Through Emergency Preparedness

Preparedness can save you money on your food bill all the time when you do it right. There are many ways that this can happen. The easiest way to know about how this works is you already know that the price of food keeps going up. When you buy enough food to last a few months, you will save the difference between the cost of the food when you bought it, and the raise in price before you eat all of it.

Another way that you will save is in trips to the store buying a little bit of food at a time. You must spend time and money each time you go to the store and back home. One trip to buy a lot of food at one time is cheaper than many trips.

It is common for people to spend money on fast food when they do not have food at home and do not want to go shopping.  Having food on hand at home all of the time will save on buying expensive fast food.

In order for your preparedness food storage to save you money, you have to eat it as part of your regular diet. Some people waste their preparedness food supplies by letting them get too old or spoiled to eat.

The right way to use your preparedness food storage food supplies is to use the oldest food in your storage for your daily meals. As you use your older stored foods, you buy new food to replace it. This rotation will always keep your stored food fresh, so it will never spoil or go stale.

You do not have to make your own mixes like cake mixes, pancake or biscuit mixes. It is just a good idea to save more money. Factory made mixes cost a lot of money to buy from the store. 

You can get healthier food from the mixes by picking what you put in the homemade mixes, and they will not have a lot of chemicals and preservatives. I use whole wheat flour for my mixes, and reduce salt, to make them healthier. 

You can make mixes to suit the special needs of family members. An example of this is reduced calorie mixes, for a diabetic or someone who wants to lose weight.

Packaging your mixes may help you. In an emergency you will be tired and distracted, so mixes that are packaged in the amounts that you will need will help.  This could be individual servings for drink mixes or soup mix to serve the whole family one meal.

Here is a site with a lot of nice mixes on it:

There are many other sites with recipes for making your own mixes, but this one has more variety than most.

Making your own mixes will save you a very large amount of money. It is hard to understand how much money until you try it for a little while. If you do this your food costs will drop a lot.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Survival Advantages In Being A Jack/Jill Of All Trades

Even if you don't get out much, you probably know that modern civilization is increasingly specialized. Brace yourself, joke coming.

Nowadays people are so specialized, they know more and more about practically nothing. 

That isn't me. I am a Jill of all trades, so that means I know less and less about almost everything. 

A person who is well prepared for long term or TEOTAWKI (The End Of The World As We Know It), disasters, has to be a jack of all trades. You probably won't have a phone book to use even if you do have a phone to call a plumber or a vet. The chances that you will even be able to call a doctor, are also slim.

This means if you want that kind of work done, you will have to do it yourself. You will have to decide what your priorities are in order to make best use of your time. No matter how fast you read and learn, you will probably not be able to learn everything that you might find useful.

Medicine is one of the types of learning that I have given some priority to. I don't plan to do brain surgery, but I am learning as much preventive medicine as I can manage, along with uses of plants native to my area or plants that are 
easy to get seeds for and grow.

I used Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs to help me make decisions about what subjects to learn first and spend more time on. This is reflected in my choices of posts for this blog. Even if your ideas of what kinds of knowledge are most important vary from mine, we most likely agree in general about the things that are in the top area of our hierarchy.

I have not covered much about clothing in my blog posts, although I do put it up there fairly high on my hierarchy of needs. I have put a fair amount of time for many years into learning enough to clothe myself and others from head to foot, for warmth and protection.

If you manage to learn to produce one type of clothing, headgear, or footwear that is acceptable, then you have a chance that you may be able to trade it for other items that you do not make. I think it is a good idea to take that approach and then add something else that you can make, one at a time.

The Paris fashion designers can breathe easy as far as I am concerned, but I can cut out basic patterns for most simple clothing. There have been periods of history where a single garment or outfit would have to last a lifetime for each person. Bear that in mind to take a lot of pressure off of yourself for clothing needs. The same idea might help with the rest of your hierarchy of needs. You only need to learn enough to get by.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Preventable Skin Cancer Epidemic

There is an epidemic going on right now that most people do not even notice. It is skin cancer. Children who grow up exposed to more UVA and UVB rays for their entire life have a much greater chance of getting skin cancer in their lifetimes. That does not mean the rest of us are not at risk, it is just a little lower than for children.

This epidemic of skin cancer is happening all over the world and affects dark-skinned people as well as pale-skinned people. The worst part about it is that it does not have to be so bad.

Preventive measures can greatly lower your risk of getting skin cancer. The simplest and most obvious prevention for skin cancer is to cover up when you go out in the sun. This means wearing a hat, sunglasses, long sleeves and covering your legs. There should be sun block on any skin not covered.

Your sunglasses should block 100% of UVA and UVB rays from reaching your eyes. They should wrap around or have shields to prevent UVA  and UVB from reaching you around the sides, bottom and top of the lenses.

Skin specialists recommend that people stay out of the sun between the hours of 10 am. to 4 pm. It is suggested that you wear a sun block, reapplying it frequently. An SPF, or Sun Protection Factor, of 15 or higher used to be recommended. It seems to have gone up lately. SPF goes up as high as 110.

There seems to be disagreement among experts as to the safety of some kinds of sun blocks. Some are believed to cause blocked pores, resulting in acne, blackheads, etc. The chemicals in some kinds of sun block are questioned by some people. Acne is not as bad as skin cancer. Read up on what kind of sun block you like the best and use it.

The CDC (Center for Disease Control -they handle epidemics), and the National Cancer Society did a study that shows there is an epidemic of cancer among young adults. This is due mostly to lack of protection from sunburn and sun exposure and use of tanning beds. The World Health Organization declared tanning devices to be carcinogenic (they cause cancer).

What good will it do to be prepared for emergencies if you die of malignant melanoma or have to have cancers cut off of you all the time? My father did not even use a tanning bed, and he has dark skin. He had over 150 skin cancers cut off of his face and neck. Younger people can expect worse than that.

I could not resist sharing a Saturday Night Live skit about "the tanning mom".

Here is a link to the CDC site about skin cancer:

The information above does not take into account the holes in the ozone layers above the Arctic and Antarctic areas. When one of the holes in the ozone layer passes over areas where people live, the rate of skin cancer skyrockets.

Australia is currently dealing with a very high rate of skin cancer due to having the Antarctic hole in the ozone layer above their country so much of the time. 

Australia schools will not allow children to attend schools unless they come to school wearing hats, sunglasses and long sleeves and have their legs covered. The USA and other countries should follow their good example.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Why Does It Matter That The Ozone Layer Is Thinning?

There are three main problems that I believe will affect your health, due to the thinning of the ozone layer. One is more risk of skin cancer. The rate of skin cancer in the population has gone up so much that some experts have already called it an epidemic. It is expected to increase even more in the near future.

A second health problem that the ozone layer thinning will cause is with your eyes. People get more cataracts, which eventually require surgery, when exposed to more UV (Ultraviolet light).

The third one is one scientists are not satisfied with yet, but I think we had better deal with right away and not wait for them to catch up. The third one is genetics. Most changes in genes, or mutations, are caused by ultraviolet light. I think if we are exposed to more UV by a thinning ozone layer, we can expect more genetic mutations.

Most genetic mutations are not helpful. The people that have them die before birth, or don't live long enough to reproduce. Once in a while a genetic mutation is helpful. Some genetic changes let someone live, but have health problems for their entire life.

I believe that part of the indication of how civilized a culture is can be seen by how disabled persons are treated. If we are willing to commit resources to keeping disabled people alive and comfortable, then we are more civilized than another culture that kills disabled individuals at birth. That does not mean that I think we should aim to cause more individuals to become disabled.

I do not know exactly what would be required to protect our collective genetic material from UV caused mutation. I can make a guess at what might work. I don't believe women of child-bearing age should be unnecessarily exposed to UV light. The same would apply to girls who will become mothers. 

I have friends who were exposed to Agent Orange in Vietnam. They believe their children and grandchildren are getting cancer and have disabilities as a result of their exposure to Agent Orange. There is a lot of evidence to back them up in this idea. The same is true of Desert Shield veterans and their exposure to toxins. Their descendants are also suffering from their exposure.

Because of the information in the last paragraph, I am concerned that males may also need to be careful about UV exposure. It is probably less danger for men than women.

I do not care to encourage panic about excessive UV exposure due to the thinning of the ozone layer. We don't have any statics or studies to let us know what to think about this matter. I do think we need to exercise caution on such a serious matter. We also need to insist that this matter be studied. 

Part of the reason for my concern about this matter is information about frogs. They lay eggs in water that is exposed to a lot of UV light. Frogs are dying off all over the world. This is only what made me start thinking about UV and genetics, there is a lot more than will fit here. Humans protect our ova and sperm with our bodies and do not expose them the way frogs do. That is slightly reassuring. 

UV light, however, is listed as a major cause of genetic mutation in all species. That is not so reassuring. I really hate seeing young women with tans. It concerns me for the future of the human race. The current fad for tanning beds is not only a risk for the person using the tanning bed, (due to increased risk of skin cancer), but perhaps for their future children as well. The future health of the human species concerns us all.

Monday, June 11, 2012

TEOTAWKI Laundry Continued

This post is a continuation of yesterday's post on doing laundry after a disaster with no electricity. 

I am assuming that you can figure out that you may have to haul water from somewhere if your tap is not working and heating it on a rocket stove or whatever kind of stove you use. 

The hardest part of getting your clothes dry after you wash them by hand is wringing them out enough so they will dry in a reasonable amount of time. I suggest you practice this ahead of time. It is not something you learn overnight.

I use the bathtub or shower for really heavy items. I put them in the bottom of the tub or shower and bunch them up. Then I walk on them, shifting my weight in the direction of the drain. You want to direct the water out of the fabric and down the drain. Otherwise the water will just soak back into the fabric. Be very careful not to fall. The last thing you need during a disaster is a broken leg or arm or a concussion.

Getting as much water as possible out of the fabric in your laundry is critical in humid areas. If you do not get enough water out, the items could mildew before they dry. It is common for laundry to take over three days to dry even if wrung out fairly well.

You need a plan for how and where to dry your laundry. Keeping the wet laundry indoors may be necessary because of theft. I have had neighbors steal laundry off my outdoor clothesline even without a disaster situation. (This happened in another state.) The chances of this happening after a disaster would be greater.

There are several items you may purchase for drying laundry to keep among your preparedness supplies. One of these is a wooden rack that folds up. They have a whole range of similar items, in various price ranges. I bought one to fit inside my tub, so the dripping water will not be a problem.

If you put your laundry rack in areas where dripping water can be a problem, you can put a piece of plastic underneath it with absorbent material like newspapers or towels under the rack, but on top of the plastic. Without the absorbent material, the water will probably run off the plastic. You will probably have to wring out the absorbent material or replace it several times before the laundry is dry. A lot of water drips off wet laundry, even if you wring it out well.

There are retractable clotheslines that attach to a hook on the other side of the drying area. You can take them down between loads of laundry. I am not sure I see the point in these, because when you do laundry by hand you almost always have wet laundry drying.

Hand laundry usually takes less power from running the machine, but uses more water for rinsing, and maybe washing. The savings from a drier is the largest amount for home laundry by hand.

The good part about practicing TEOTAWKI laundry techniques is that every time you do it, you can use the laundry money you save from the laundromat or washing by hand, for something else. Perhaps you could use the money to buy more preparedness supplies.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Save Money With TEOTAWKI Laundry Techniques

Clothes, bedding and other items get dirty whether there is a disaster or not. You will still have to do laundry after a disaster. Planning for that is an important part of your preparedness. Getting sheets and jeans into a bathroom sink and scrubbing them by hand and getting them dry afterwards is very hard work.

Anything that you can do to make laundry easier after a disaster is going to improve your chances of survival. If you do laundry efficiently, that will give you more energy to get food and water, for example. If you do not do laundry after a disaster, you will be more likely to get parasites or disease. That can be a threat to your survival.

Many hardware stores still sell washboards. This is a corrugated piece of metal or glass in a wooden frame. You rub the items to be washed on the washboard after wetting them in soapy water. It does not require a lot of rubbing to get the laundry clean. One rub in each area of the piece of laundry will be enough. This is more scrubbing than happens inside a washing machine.

If you rub the piece of laundry on the washboard too much, you can wear holes in it and make it wear out much faster than normal. Restrain yourself in case you can not replace the item. rubbing too much robs you of energy to do other things as well. Making yourself unnecessarily tired is much like throwing away food. It required eating food to give you that energy.

You will probably get your clothing dirtier after a disaster than you normally do. Because of this, you may wish to lightly scrub the especially dirty areas a little extra. Apply a little extra soap on those dirty areas if you can spare the soap, or let the whole item soak a little longer, before you do the extra scrub.

Another way to plan to do your laundry is to use a 5 gallon bucket or other large container, and a clean toilet plunger for a "washing machine". I have not tried this yet, but just bought a new toilet plunger. I also got a long dowel about the diameter of the one that came with the plunger. This is so that I will not have to bend over so much when washing with the plunger. 

I already have a washboard and am quite good at using it. That does not mean I like using the washboard. 

This post got too long, so I am cutting it in half here and will publish the other half tomorrow.

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Garden As If Your Life Depends On It

One easy thing to predict about after TEOTAWKI (The End Of The World As We Know It), survival is that you will need to provide your own food. Even if you are the best hunter in the world, you are going to want some green stuff and maybe some grains. 

Since most grocery stores won't exist, won't be able to get groceries, or both, if you want to eat it, you will have to grow it. If ,like most of the people in the world, you don't know much about gardening, it might be a good idea to learn it ahead of time. 

Green thumbs can take a while to develop. If you make a very bad mistake in your gardening, you may have to wait another year to do a better job. It could take years to really get the hang of it. You could get pretty hungry during the learning process.

You don't have to have a vast plantation to learn how to garden. Anything that you learn now is bound to help when we get TEOTAWKI.

You may not be able to afford all of the seeds that you might want, but you can make a wish list and start out with the most important seeds. If you have not read many of my previous posts, you need to learn more about kinds of seeds. 

The short version is, heirloom seeds can be saved from year to year, saving you the cost of buying more seeds every year. This will be even more important after TEOTAWKI because you may not be able to buy any seeds, so the only way to get them will be by saving your own seeds.

In a TEOTAWKI  situation, you may not be able to find seeds. It is good to have them before the need arises, and you will have them every year.

A plan ahead item for post TEOTAWKI is to always keep a reserve of seeds in case of crop failure. If you have a crop failure, the reserve seeds will still be there for the following year and all the years after that.

Seeds keep better if they are cool. When seeds get constant cycles of cooling and heating, a certain percentage of them will not germinate. Ten percent failure to germinate is the usual amount to figure. If you do not keep your seeds cool, you may not have any that will germinate after ten years.

A glass jar with a tight lid is a good seed container to protect them. Some of my family members have kept their reserve seeds in a  glass jar buried in the ground to keep them cool. They have grown after many, many years, when stored that way.

Since I have a freezer now, I like to keep seeds in a glass jar in my freezer. Putting seeds in a freezer improves the germination rate according to some things that I read. Seed banks do that to preserve seeds for a TEOTAWKI world. They keep their seeds at very low temperatures, but we have to use what we have available.

Friday, June 8, 2012

Saving Money Through Internet Reviews

I want to tell you about a way to save money for your preparedness and the rest of your life, as well. It is through reviews. These are reviews on the internet, of products that you want to buy. 

No matter how much money you have, you probably don't think you have enough. That means you like to save money on your emergency preparedness. 

It costs you money when you buy something that does not work. Even if the seller gives you all of your money back, as well as return postage, it takes time that you could be using in a better way.

Reading what people say about a product before you buy it, can often let you know whether it is good to spend your money or not. This is one of the things that I especially like about Amazon. They have an excellent review system and almost everything in their system already has reviews, or soon will. 

The reviews are even useful if you disagree with the people who wrote them. You can usually tell a lot about a product even if you will like something the reviewer hates, or vice versa. This is because they will talk about what it is they like or dislike. 

I even look on Amazon sometimes for products that I intend to buy locally, at times. This is because of their reviews. This research on Amazon lets me know what a good price range is as well. I may not buy something locally unless the local price makes it cheaper than Amazon.

There are some things that I have no intention of buying on Amazon even if they have a much better price than the local folks. An example of this is shoes. I have a hard time finding comfortable shoes that fit me right.

There are internet sites that do nothing but offer reviews of products. You can use a search engine to get reviews of almost anything. Many types of products have sites that are dedicated to reviewing that kind of product. 

Some of the reviews are done by professionals who have expertise in that type of product. An example of this is computer products. There are a lot of sites that review only computer products. I find it useful to look at several sites to compare information, especially if the product is expensive or important to me.

Reviews are one of the many ways that I like to use my computer for a preparedness tool and in my daily life.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Eating Cheaper Is A Survival Advantage

Most people, like you, who can afford to be on the internet are probably well fed and are able to eat things you don't really need to survive. In a The End Of the World As We Know It (TEOTAWKI), situation, this could be a disadvantage. As soon as you know you can't have something that you like to eat, you are likely to start craving it. This can be very hard to deal with. Americans often do this when they travel outside the USA. 

I enjoy asking people what they miss eating. The most common American answer is hamburgers. Ice cream is usually next and then ethnic fast food from their part of the USA. I think Mexican Food is the most common of those. That is what it was for me. I just thought I was dying for a spicy burrito. 

I made up a saying for myself that I use to explain some things. It is, "Get more or want less." If you simplify your food and other needs now, you will miss them less when you can't have them. This will also lower chances that you will face a nuclear disaster as soon.

When you have x resources and x+ people want to use them, people are more likely to fight over them. Bearing that in mind, I have deliberately reduced the level of resources required for what I regularly eat. This means that I eat more one dish meals and I use more simple ingredients that I might be able to grow myself or get locally. I eat more food made with basic staple ingredients like beans and rice. I have also learned to make more of my own Mexican food.

"Eat local, think global", is a saying that will help you understand how to do this. When you eat food that is grown closer to you, it takes less fuel to get it to you. You are using less resources.

None of this means that you have to eat food that is not tasty or satisfying. I have learned to eat well, even though it is simpler and costs less.

You can learn cooking techniques that allow you to eat less prepared foods. I do grind my own flour some of the time, for example. That is really basic, but it also saves a lot of money. Grain is a lot cheaper than flour, and fresh ground is better nutrition and tastes better.

Making your own mixes is another way that you can eat more simply and save money as well. There are a lot of nice sites on the internet that have great recipes for making your own mixes for just about anything.

Before all of the sites with mixes were available, I bought a book about making your own mixes. It is called "Make-A-Mix", by Karine Eliason, Nevada Harward, and Madeline Westover. 

You can look at the recipes you use the most and see what dry ingredients are in them. Once you do that, you can invent mixes for your favorite foods. 

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Preparing For The End Of The World As We Know It, TEOTAWKI

This blog started with mostly short term preparedness posts. My personal idea of preparedness is more oriented towards long term preparedness needs. 

That is because possible disasters and their likelihood, are much more likely to eventually give us disasters that will last for a long time. Many have the potential to cause "The End Of The World As We Know It", or TEOTAWKI as many survivalists and preppers, refer to it.

Most people accept that nuclear strikes or a nuclear war are probably going to happen. Everyone has seen what an effect Chernobyl and Daichi Fukushima have had on the world. More nukes will have a greater effect. That makes large changes in a way of life, TEOTAWKI, in other words.

People are not moving back into Chernobyl or Daichi Fukushima. Having big uninhabitable holes in your country makes change inevitable. Planning accordingly just makes sense.

I would like to encourage you to begin thinking in terms of disasters that will cause TEOTAWKI. You will need to think what TEOTAWKI will mean to you and your family. You will need to think what you can do to plan ahead to cope with such big changes in your lives. 

I posted a diagram on Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs in a previous post.
It is probably worthwhile to review Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs to plan what you will need to survive in a TEOTAWKI world.

Some of these changes will be obvious, like cars becoming rare or nonexistent, or not having electricity. Living under these circumstances is entirely different than a weekend camping trip with no cars or electricity.

Every person and family is different about what they can tolerate and what they consider to be most important. It is up to you to decide what you need to cope with a permanent condition of no electricity or cars. 

You might think fresh juice is very important to your life, so maybe you want to get a manual juicer. Ok. That is a good idea for starters, but where are you going to get the fruit or vegetables to juice? Maybe you need some trees in your yard, and a garden to practice your food crop skills? 

Gardening is not something that everyone is born knowing how to do. It is partly a skill that is developed by study and practice. Would you want to bet your life on you being able to produce enough of a garden to feed you and your family without any practice?

If you cannot make a fire without a cigarette lighter or the knob on a stove, then you have some work to do. My blog is only a starting place, but it does contain links to very good resources to help you learn what you need for TEOTAWKI.

Monday, June 4, 2012

Free Books For Preparedness

There is an endless supply of things that might be good to know in the event of a long term disaster, or The End Of The World As We Know It, (TEOTAWKI). In the time we have left before something like this happens to us, we can't possibly learn everything we might like to know.

I have suggested Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs as a starting place to decide what order to work on your preparedness. It is not the only way to go about it, and not everyone agrees with him on what order to place our needs. Even so, Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs gives you someplace to start. You can always rearrange or add things to suit yourself.

Once you decide what you need to learn most, you can start learning or even getting books or materials to allow you to learn less immediate needs after TEOTAWKI.

I must remind you, (and myself,) that it is easier to carry more inside your head than on your back. If you have to bug out or evacuate, you probably will not be able to carry a very large library. If you have a Bug Out Location, you will probably want to have an adequate library, but you have to leave room for other things, including yourself.

The endless nature of good things to know for TEOTAWKI can make your library a financial problem. That is why I found lots of nice places to get free information to use for preparedness.

The most recent one that I am enjoying is Amazon Kindle Books. You do not have to invest in a Kindle to read their books. You can download different free versions of software that will allow you to read Kindle books on a PC, an Apple, an ipod, etc.

I got the PC version, and I love it. Amazon has a large library of preparedness books that you can download for free. Below is a link to download the app for reading Kindle on your PC. Don't worry if you don't have a PC.  All of the other downloads for other ways to read Kindle books are there too.

Here is another link to Kindle and links to free book collections. Some of the other libraries besides Kindle's own, may cost you something to access through Kindle. I believe you can go to some of the sites and download their own reader software and avoid charges. Please check this to make sure.

There is one disadvantage of Kindle free books. You do not get to keep them forever. They go away after a while. You also agree not to print them out when you receive them from Kindle.

There are ways to avoid paying for a Kindle free book if you decide that you want to keep it. Many of them come from sites that offer them for free. The conditions for downloading or printing the book may be less restrictive than Kindle's. They may give you permission to print, pass them on to others, or save them permanently in a digital format.

If you live in a country besides the USA, it may cost you to download books, including Kindle. If that is the case, you may be able to avoid this by getting free books from Google.

Sunday, June 3, 2012

More Cheap Long Term Food Storage

This post is about preparing your own food for long term storage. It is continued from a previous post. 

Sometimes I used paper in between the iron and the plastic to protect the iron from getting scorched plastic all over it. You can get the iron hotter if you use brown paper that comes from wrapping things or from paper bags.

I found that it was easier to have the iron hotter because it seals faster and you don't have to hold the plastic together as long. I used chopsticks to hold the plastic closed while ironing it to seal it.

I sealed my dried foods into serving sized packages. I often sealed a batch of serving sized packages into a larger bag.

This method is ideal for using up fruits or vegetables that might spoil before you  can use them up. That last bit of celery is good for at least a meal of soup, if you dry it and seal it, for example.

I also find it convenient to tuck a serving sized packet of fruit into a pocket along with some nuts and crackers to eat for lunch when I can't get home. This combination can be a balanced meal. 

This saves a lot of money, not only because of not having to buy lunch, but because you don't spend extra money because you are  not shopping when you are hungry.

If you decide to carry dried food with you for a meal or snack, please remember to chew it thoroughly and drink it with lots of fluids. The dried food will expand back to normal size once it is inside you and is moist again. Water will be pulled out of your body if you don't drink enough while eating your dried food. This could cause you to become dehydrated or eat too much. 

It is very easy to eat too much dried food because it is small and does not take long to eat. Once the dried food returns to its un-dried size, you could also have a terrible stomach ache from it. A whole banana can be only a handful of banana chips when dried, but when it gets inside you it will still be a whole banana. It is easy to down three or more dried bananas in a few minutes.

Shopping when you are hungry, makes you more likely to buy things you don't really need and ruin your budget. I have done previous posts on this subject. Many studies have been done on the buying habits of shoppers and I gave links to some of them.

I would mostly rather have some food that will last me for a while than some kind of junk food that will be gone in a minute or so, and probably be unhealthy for me as well. An example of this is that a large container of old fashioned rolled oats will usually cost less than a bag of cookies or potato chips. (Potato chips are called crisps in many countries.) The oats will last for many meals, the cookies or potato chips may provide only a snack or a few of them, at most.

During an emergency, measuring out serving portions of foods may add to your stress by making meal preparation more difficult. Emergencies are stressful enough, so planning to lessen this by making your food preparation easier will help you.

Saturday, June 2, 2012

A Cheap Way To Prepare Food For Long Term Storage

One of the reasons for the high cost of food, that is meant to last during long term storage, is spoilage. It costs more to package the food to keep it from spoiling while it is stored for years. 

The two main problems that must be dealt with for long term food storage are oxygen and bugs. If you can get all of the oxygen out of the food, and keep it out, that will usually also eliminate the bug problem.

It will save you a lot of money to package your own food instead of buying food that someone else has already packaged for you. 

This is going to be a lot of work and you may decide that you need special and perhaps expensive, equipment to prepare your food for storage. 

I have watched videos where people have done their own food storage without a lot of expensive equipment. The main equipment they used were a clothing iron and a bicycle pump. 

They also used some supplies. These were large plastic buckets with tight fitting lids, mylar bags, and oxygen absorbers.

I have sealed some of my dried foods that I dehydrated myself, using even less supplies and equipment. I kept some of it in storage for as long as three years and it was still good.

The equipment I used was a clothing iron. I used recycled plastic bags for supplies. I did not even use a bicycle pump to get the air out. I simply squeezed the air out of the plastic as best I could. 

I cut the plastic bags to the approximate size of the food to be stored. One side of the plastic was folded over, leaving only three sides to seal. I sealed two of the remaining sides of plastic before putting the food in it. Then I squeezed the air out of the bag as well as I could manage and sealed the remaining side.

I suggest that if you want to do this, you practice a few times on pieces of plastic, before you involve any food. It takes a little practice to know how hot to get your iron and how long to hold it on the plastic. 

This post is getting too long, so I will continue it.