Fri. Sept. 20, 2019 – so I learned some things…

77F and wet.  Probably.

Boy did we get some rain yesterday.  And I got stuck at the kids’ school, where I was able to help out, and everything worked out ok, but…

Turns out there are some holes in my vehicular preps, and in aspects of my current habits and lifestyle.  NB-I don’t typically carry a BOB or GHB or any other specific bag in my truck.  I’ve got a couple of totes in the back with extra stuff, and my EDC.  I thought that was pretty good, and it is.

I usually have some additional supplements like energy bars tucked away, but I ate them.  Day before yesterday and I didn’t replace them.  I usually refill my gas tank whenever there is a storm coming, and whenever it gets low.  I didn’t notice the level on Wednesday, and it beeped at me on the way to school- 50 miles to empty.  No problem, I’ll fill up on the way home.  Except what if I get stuck in the water on the way and need to wait out the flooding?  Not enough gas to do that.  My friend took 3 hours to get home with his kids.   I certainly didn’t have 3 hours worth of gas, to go less than 5 miles.

I have shirts, sweatshirts, pullover windbreakers, and long pants in the truck.  I’ve got hat and mittens when it’s cold.  I’ve got yellow plastic rain gear, ponchos, and even a set of FroggToggs.  No socks.  No dry shoes.  That’s a big oversight.

I don’t carry my ‘daddy bag’ anymore, so I don’t have a change of clothes for the kids.  It’s been a long time since one had an ‘accident’.

A couple of days ago, I had a case of Mountain House in the truck.  Yesterday I had only two expired MREs (the date doesn’t bother me) and USCG approved lifeboat survival bars.  Plenty of water, soda, and cans of flavored water… and I’d even added instant iced tea to put in the plain water.  I did so and drank that during the afternoon.  Had we been stranded at school overnight (and we have school friends in walking distance, so that was EXTREMELY unlikely) the kids and I would have eaten MREs in the truck while everyone else dined on microwave popcorn.  I did share a big Costco bag of candy that I was taking to my gunstore buddy.  Daughter used it to earn points with her friends.

The biggest problem is that there are only two real driveable ways into the school’s neighborhood, and BOTH are subject to flooding.  If we were desperate, I would have taken the chance on the deeper intersection.   I could see vehicles making it through and had a good idea of depth, but I also couldn’t get good info about the next step in my route.  I retreated to safety and comfort, deciding that the unknown and risk was not worth it to sit at home for the afternoon.

The situation might have been different if I was trying to GET to school and pick them up in an emergency.  This was not an emergency.  No one should have wrecked a car in an attempt to pick up the kids from a fully functional school, in the middle of the day.

It’s amazing the speed and reckless regard with which some people entered the high water.  They didn’t even wait to see how the guy in front of them made out.  Some pulled out around me, while I was watching the other guy go, and sped on ahead.  No way could they have seen the other guys success or failure before entering.  Dumb doesn’t even begin to cover it.

This being Houston, one of the items in my tote is a professional personal flotation device, designed for people who work on the water.  It will auto inflate, but most of the time stays out of your way.  It’s the first item in the tote.  If there ever came a day when I felt compelled to enter high water, I can at least gear up first.  I have a short rescue rope on top too.

My Expy is currently full of cr@p to the point I couldn’t have taken 2 extra kids with me, only one.  I’ve got a lot of auction stuff piled in the back and on the back seat.  That stuff needs to get out of my truck.

I need to add some Mountain House, durable snacks, and kid clothes to the tote.  I need to move a pair of sturdy shoes and a good pair of socks to the tote.   I may even set up a 3 gallon bucket as a toilet for the truck, and leave it in there.   (the 5 gallon with the seat only goes with us when I think or know we’ll want it.  Like 4 hours in a parking lot, watching fireworks,  It’s too big to live in my truck 24/7.)

The kids have grown, and I haven’t changed my truck pack much.

Meanwhile, my wife was stuck at her work.  I reminded her that there were at least a couple of powerbars in the ‘resource kit’ in her minivan.  She decided to stay at work, where they had food, light, AC, and work to do, rather than move through flooded streets.  Maybe I’ll be able to stash a bit more in her vehicle, ‘for the children’ now.  (FWIW, the thing we’ve used most often from her kit is fire starter and matches.)  She waited for clear streets and drove home without incident.

We’re supposed to get more rain.  I hope not, but I guess we’ll see.  This was a good opportunity to find holes in my preps without any resulting drama…and I’m going to use the gift to get better.

nick

Sun. Sept. 1, 2019 – yikes, we’re headed for fall

Cool and humid, I’m guessing.  [90F in the shade, 100F in the driveway at noon.]

It did get hot yesterday, but locally spotty rain and high winds kept temps down.  It was relatively cool at my secondary location, which gave me a chance to work on restacking stuff that needed restacking.

I found a package of Kirkland AAA batteries, labeled “good til 2023” that all burst and grew big mounds of gunk by their ends.  That will be going back to Costco.  I’m keeping rough track of my spoilage as I go through the stuff I put up in 2014 during Ebola 1.  So far, it’s the batteries and two cases of UHT milk.  The milk is a fairly short lived product, not suited to long term storage.  $36 gone so far.  I put it up for fairly immediate use, and because of the kids, but I haven’t put any milk in long or even medium term storage in a couple years.  I do still have some liter boxes, but they are really only backup for cereal if I miss a trip to the grocery store.  I’ve got Nido powder on the shelf for long term.

I’ve shifted away from the Nestle’ canned “medium table cream” too.  It will turn to a block of cheese-like substance in the can if it sits too long.  I have been stocking powdered cream instead.

I suppose I should count the case of instant mashed potatoes too, since they died in the garage storage.

Maybe I’ll try a carton of hash browns this morning… they are from the same period and are probably high in fat.  High fat items seem to fare the worst.

The prepper bible says ‘store what you eat, eat from your stores’ and that will help you rotate your food.  I’ve known from the beginning that there were items I stored that we do not normally eat, or that we eat in much too small a quantity to ever keep up with the rotation.  Most of those items are shelf stable meals (which are generally horrible tasting) in my ‘medium term’ stores, or bulk items like rice and flour, salt and sugar.  The shelf stable meals aren’t cheap, but they do go on sale.  The flour and rice are  so cheap I don’t mind replacing them (although the totals will add up.)  Salt and sugar don’t go bad if vermin are kept out.

My storage conditions are far from ideal, but having food and getting some spoilage is much preferred to not having food that doesn’t spoil.  So I deal with it and accept that there will be losses.

What isn’t good form is losing track of it.  I’ve got a lot of improperly stored panic buys at my secondary location.  Ebola spooked the heck out of me last time around so I was just throwing food into storage.  I’ll be going through it as I dig it out over the next few weeks.

I’ll be sharing the results so all y’all can benefit too.

And now, I better go cook some breakfast.

 

n

 

Fri. Aug. 10, 2018 – prepper fail!

Back in the swamp, I mean Tree City USA, I mean Bayou City, I mean… Houston. 80F at 8am.

So. Prepper fail.

Yep. I left my carry on bag at the house we were staying at. My airline ‘bug out bag’. My ‘get home bag’. I left it. Sitting on the bedroom floor. Didn’t realize until returning the rental car, and that was too late. I’ll get it UPS’d to me next week, but I was NAKED for my flight.

What didn’t I have?

No change of shirts and underwear
No ‘one day’ of meds
No reading glasses
No blow out kit
No boo boo kit
No first responder IDs (CERT, ham radio, Constable’s program)
No snacks or water bottle
No electronics- 2 kindles and a tablet
No chargers or batteries
No noise cancelling headphones
No shortwave radio or dual band ham radio
No backup money, $1000 in cash, 1 oz gold in coins, extra clean credit card
No loyalty cards
No toys for the kids (2x nintendo DS)
No rain jacket

Like I said, NAKED.

And I made it home fine. I was almost caught by irony as there was a hail storm in Houston that could have messed up my travel, exactly the sort of thing my bag is meant to make more tolerable. Imagine that I needed all that crap for once and didn’t have it because I’m an idiot. Fortunately it didn’t.

Home safe, but VERY weird to be on an airplane without the comfort and convenience stuff I’ve become accustom to.

Because I AM a prepper, I did have my ID, money, phone, and FLASHLIGHT. I always carry that on my person. Especially on a plane, you need that base level of stuff on you. DON’T put it in your bag. If you have to get off the plane in a hurry, you won’t be allowed to bring your bag. Then you’ll be sitting in a shelter area without your id, money, or phone.

LEARN from my stupidity! Double check. Even a seasoned traveler can have a lapse.

n

Fri. May 11, 2018 – again?

72F and humid, but clear skies. Should be another hot sweaty day here in Houston.

Friday again. More school activities. More stuff to do around the house. More, more, more…

This week I ordered (and received some) parts to rebuild the Portacool cooler I pulled from the trash. It should help me work outside in the heat, so I’m calling that a prep. It’s the reciprocal of making sure you have heat in the winter for those of us in a warm climate.

I think I won this round with the caterpillars that would eat my grape vines. I’ll keep an eye on them. Not sure what to do if you don’t have the right pest control. Soapy water and picking them off by hand seem to be the recommendation. Growing food takes a lot of time and effort if you don’t have access to modern tools. There’s a reason farm employment is down to like 1% of the population here.

The rats continue to make their presence known. I’m VERY reluctant to re-establish my shelves of food while I know there are some around. So the food sits in big black bins in stacks in the driveway. Even though it’s not as much food as I’d like, it still takes up more space than you’d think, stacked in the driveway. It’s also more difficult to USE the food when it’s in random stacked bins.

What have I learned from the rats? For canned food, a simple sheet of cardboard on top of the flat of cans would have kept the rat ‘debris’ off the can tops.

For boxed food, I’m not buying any more unless the contents are in plastic bags. The packaging can get ‘wet’ or otherwise damaged, and the food stays usable. Cheap pasta seems to be the biggest issue, with the pasta just in the treated cardboard.

For cases of plastic containers, like fruit cups, rotation is key. The damnable rats ate into the case from the rear, ate out the contents, and I never saw an indication… but when I went to pick up the case, it was nothing but an empty box, filled with empty cups and ‘debris’.

Rats are smart, adaptable, and seem to communicate. You probably won’t be able to get them with the same trick twice. This means lots of different control strategies.

Be aggressive in your response. I was tepid, let them get established, and they ate some very expensive food (and a ton of cheap food too). I’m still fighting them. They will eat your cooking oil, flavor packets, sauce mixes, shelf stable, pouch meals, boxed food, and anything else they can get their teeth through. They will ruin you cans if it goes on too long, even if they can’t eat them. Man up and KILL the little thieves.

So, what have you done or learned this week?

n

Monday, 17 July 2017

09:06 – It was 78.7F (26C) when I took Colin out at 0800, bright and partly cloudy. That’s the latest Colin has let me sleep in for at least several months.

Barbara spent all day yesterday doing a deep clean to get rid of the drywall dust, which was everywhere. I spent an hour or so wiping down the kitchen cabinets and counters. She’s satisfied now with the whole house, other than the LTS food room and unfinished basement area, which still need some work.

Speaking of LTS, Barbara made up a box of Kraft macaroni and cheese the other night. As she was making it, she commented that the best-by date was three years ago, in the summer of 2014, and asked if it would be okay. I told her it would be fine. As we were eating dinner, she commented that it tasted a bit “off” to her, and asked what I thought. I told her it tasted the same to me as it always had, which was to say not very good. I’ve never liked it. Their powdered cheese sauce sucks, especially compared with the similar Velveeta product, which is actual sauce in a foil packet.

She said she’d just pitch what we had left, which is probably a couple of dozen boxes. I told her the pasta was perfectly fine, but to go ahead and pitch the cheese sauce packets if she wanted to. So we’ll open the boxes, transfer the pasta to a #10 can or whatever, and discard the cheese packets.

Email overnight from Kathy. Still no Mylar bags or oxygen absorbers from LDS, so she decided to transfer as much of the cornmeal as they had 1-liter bottles for. It comes in paper sacks, so even without an oxygen absorber it’s better stored in PET bottles than paper. And they have a continuing supply of those 1-liter bottles and use cornmeal only a cup or two at a time, so one liter is a good size container for it.


10:06 – I just signed up for Netflix DVD’s, two-at-a-time plan. The last time we got DVD’s from Netflix was five years ago. Since then, we’ve used only Netflix and Amazon Prime streaming.

There’s not much left on Netflix streaming we want to watch, other than some of the series Barbara follows. Most of those are also available on DVD. There are some interesting exceptions. For example, she follows Blue Bloods, which is currently available through season 7 on streaming, but only season 6 on disc, presumably because S7 hasn’t yet been released on DVD. Also, Heartland (which I first discovered on Netflix DVD) now has zero seasons available on DVD. That doesn’t matter. I BT current episodes as they’re released, collect them to watch all at once when the season is complete, usually in April or May, and then buy the DVD set when it becomes available, usually in September.

There’s a ton of stuff we’d like to watch that’s on DVD but not available on NF or Amazon streaming, including all seasons of the Australian series A Place to Call Home and the New Zealand series The Brokenwood Mysteries. I also added one to our DVD queue that Barbara has been waiting to watch since the last time we were getting DVDs. It’s about Mist, a BC puppy. It’s currently listed as “very long wait”, so I put it at the top of our queue, assuming that as new members we’ll get preference in getting it shipped to us.


The last time I made caramel sauce, it was good but never really set up. That was fine, because I was using it on ice cream. Last night, we made up another batch to a different recipe. A cup of brown sugar (we actually used a cup of white sugar and a tablespoon of molasses), half a cup of butter (one stick), a quarter cup of milk. Bring to a boil, simmer for three or four minutes, turn off the heat, and add a teaspoon of vanilla extract.

Boy, did that one ever set up. It was still warm and flowed easily when I tried it on ice cream last night. As soon as it hit the ice cream, it solidified into a chewy mass. It tasted fine, but I prefer my caramel sauce a bit less solid.

Wednesday, 5 July 2017

08:58 – It was 68.0F (20C) when I took Colin out at 0710, partly cloudy. We had about 1.4 inches (3.5 cm) of rain overnight. Fortunately, the rain came in in the late evening, putting a stop to the fireworks that were terrifying Colin. More work on science kits today.

The caramel sauce turned out okay, although I had some problems with it. Firstly, I simmered the sugar/salt/water for about 15 or 20 minutes and very little color change occurred. So I added a blurp of molasses, not so much for flavor as to catalyze the caramelization reaction, and continued simmering for a few more minutes.

A few minutes of simmering, even at neutral pH, should be enough to hydrolyze the sucrose into its component simple sugars, fructose and glucose. Fructose caramelizes at 110C, and with that much dissolved solids the boiling solution should have been at least 110C due to boiling point elevation. It didn’t get anywhere near the 150C required to caramelize glucose.

But after standing there for the better part of half an hour stirring and then swirling, I was tired of doing that. So I added the 12-ounce can of evaporated milk (best-by date August 2014) and continued the process. I then added the 1.5 teaspoons of vanilla extract, but the bottle blurped and I ended up adding probably twice that.

I then allowed it to cool to about 50C and transferred it to two pint canning jars, one full and the second about half full. At that point, the liquid was no longer thin and runny like water, but it hadn’t set up much. So I put the jars in the refrigerator to cool. Barbara tasted the result. Her only comment was “too much vanilla”. I tasted it, and indeed it was strongly vanilla flavored, but I thought it tasted pretty good. I had it on ice cream last night, and it was actually pretty good. Runny, but good. I’m going to call it a fail, because Barbara said she didn’t want to use it.


I’ve been following the McEnroe/Williams thing. As I told Barbara when the story broke, McEnroe was being extraordinarily generous when he said that Serena would be about #700 on the men’s tennis tour. In fact, as McEnroe is fully aware, there are many high-school boys who would beat Serena. She’d rank more like #70,000 on a unisex tennis tour, if that.

There was an article on Takimag that quoted Serena from a Letterman appearance four years ago when she said she wouldn’t play an exhibition against Andy Murray because he’s a boy and she’s a girl. FTA:

For me, men’s tennis and women’s tennis are completely, almost, two separate sports. If I were to play Andy Murray, I would lose 6-0, 6-0 in five to six minutes, maybe 10 minutes. No, it’s true. It’s a completely different sport. The men are a lot faster and they serve harder, they hit harder, it’s just a different game. I love to play women’s tennis. I only want to play girls, because I don’t want to be embarrassed.

She was speaking honestly and literally. It’s unlikely she’d have taken a point from Murray, let alone a game. I actually had almost the same conversation with Jim Elliott, one of our astronomy observing buddies, at a club observation up at the Wake Forest cabin probably a dozen years ago. The Williams sisters were at their peaks, and I told him that they were extremely good tennis players, for girls. Probably not as good as either Martina Navratilova or Steffi Graff, but good.

I went on to say that at my peak, in my late teens and early 20’s, I would have blown any of them off the court, as would any of the guys I played regularly with. He ridiculed me for that statement. I told him pretty much the same thing that Serena told Letterman, that there was just a world of difference between how strong, fast, and hard-hitting men were compared to women. I told him that my brother, at his peak, had played Chris Evert at her peak, and blew her off the court 6-0. I told him that when I was about 15, before my peak, I’d played a set against Peaches Bartkowitz, who was at the time ranked #9, and she didn’t take a point from me. But he just didn’t get it. Men and women are physically different, and there’s no way a woman can compete physically with a man. That should be obvious to anyone who’s not severely retarded.

Wednesday, 5 October 2016

09:40 – Barbara is down in Winston today, running errands and having lunch with a friend. As usual when she’s gone, it’s wild women and parties for Colin and me.

Most people really are stupid. I was just reading an article about Hurricane Matthew, the strongest storm to affect Florida in more than a decade. As usual, everyone panics and heads for the supermarkets and hardware stores to lay in supplies. One stupid woman who was interviewed had gone to her local Publix supermarket, in search of bottled water. She was upset to find that they were sold out of the store brand stuff and had only the more expensive name-brand bottled water left in stock. The article wasn’t clear about her actions, other than that for some reason she lay down on the empty shelf where the cheaper bottled water had been. Presumably, she left without any bottled water because it cost a few cents a bottle more than the house-brand stuff. Jesus wept.

As is usual this time of year, my component inventory system has completely broken down. The problem, as always, is that we’re doing so many things at once, and updating component inventory is often overlooked. For example, we’ll be running short of biology kits and are out of chemical bags for them. So I check inventory and find out that we have only eighteen bottles in stock of the limiting chemical. So we build 18 of the chemical bags and start assembling more biology kits. Meanwhile, we get a bulk order for chemistry kits. We ship those and realize that we’re now short on chemical bags for those kits. So we check our inventory and see that it shows that we should have 27 of the limiting chemical for those kits. But it turns out that another chemical is really the limiting chemical because I hadn’t updated the inventory records after we used 18 bottles of it to make up biology chemical bags. It turns out that instead of having enough to make up 27 chemistry kit chemical bags, we actually have only 11 of that second chemical. So we make up 11 chemistry chemical bags and start building kits. As Barbara is assembling those, I make up the solution for the chemical bottles we’d run out of. So it’s really a matter of us having so many things going on at the same time that stuff slips through the cracks. Multiply that confusion by the scores of different chemicals included in the various kits, with significant overlap between types of kits, and things quickly turn chaotic. Fortunately, things have now settled down to a dull roar, so we’ll have time to rectify the inventory count again by physically counting all of our component inventory SKUs.

With Barbara away for the day, I’m going to spend some time washing and sanitizing bottles that will contain bulk staples. I wish Coke were still sold in 3-liter bottles, because their wider mouths mean they’re immensely better than 2-liter bottles for repackaging LTS bulk foods. Someone mentioned that dollar stores still carry off-brand soft drinks in 3-liter bottles. I may pick up a couple of those to try, because I’d really like to have more 3-liter bottles. I much prefer them to foil-laminate Mylar bags for LTS food storage.

In fact, nearly all of our repackaged LTS food is in PET bottles. We use them for just about everything other than bulk storage of oxygen absorbers, for which we use glass canning jars.


11:32 – Ooh. Almost a prepper fail.

I just started a load of laundry, darks and towels. We use Chlorox II rather than chlorine bleach. When we moved up here, we knew nothing at all about septic tank care, and I decided not to risk killing the beneficial bacteria in the septic tank by using chlorine bleach. Granted, I’d only be using a cup (250 mL) or so a week, but chlorine bleach is an extremely effective bacteria killer. In retrospect, I suppose I should have run the numbers. Assuming a 1,500 gallon septic tank, I’d be adding 1/16 of a gallon of bleach, or one part 5% hypochlorite bleach to 24,000 parts water, assuming the tank is full. Call it maybe 2 ppm. Not enough to kill many bacteria, but probably enough to make them feel unwell.

I have another load of laundry queued up. All of our whites, none of which have been washed with chlorine bleach since last November. Chlorine-free bleach just doesn’t cut it for whites. All of our white underwear, socks, t-shirts, etc. are starting to have a faint yellow cast, which is what happens when you don’t use real bleach on them. So, since I was going to use a mixture of dishwashing liquid and chlorine bleach in the kitchen sinks to wash and sanitize 3-liter bottles, I went off in search of the chlorine bleach. I couldn’t find it anywhere. It wasn’t on the laundry room shelves. It wasn’t under the kitchen sink, where Barbara used to keep a supply of it for sanitizing work surfaces. It wasn’t under the sinks in any of the bathrooms. It wasn’t downstairs anywhere, including in the unfinished area.

I have enough calcium hypochlorite (pool shock) stored with the prepping supplies to make up about 30 gallons of bleach, but I didn’t want to open it. I was actually considering walking down to the convenience store across the road to buy some, but I thought to look in the cabinet under the laundry room sink. Sure enough, there was an unopened gallon of chlorine bleach nestled behind a bunch of 2-liter bottles filled with water.

The takeaway here is that if you don’t know where something is stored, you don’t have actually have it even if it’s listed in your inventory records.

Thursday, 18 August 2016 — Oh goody, a list!

Preppers love lists. And here is a TOP 50 list, hurray! Get this stuff and you’re set! Problem is, it’s a fantasy. It’s supposed to be Survival Items, but quickly devolves into comfort items and lifestyle items. It fails to acknowledge hard truths about a survival situation. In fact, there is so much wrong with it, I had to chime in. My comments in [ xxxx] snips with ….

Our Top 50 TEOTWAWKI Survival Items List

[SURVIVAL- not comfort, not rebuild society. That should be the final determination of whether something makes a SURVIVAL list.]

Rubbing alcohol: Not only is rubbing alcohol good for disinfect­ing, it can also be used as a great ice pack when combined 1:2 with water. Rubbing alcohol also works as a fire starter, cleaning and disinfecting tools and more. Just don’t use it for mixed drinks!

[so, primary use is icepack? Icepack is a survival item? Where will you cool it down? Rubbing alcohol is a USEFUL and cheap thing to store. Store the highest strength you can, and save it for disinfecting. NOT useful as a firestarter.]

Yarn: Having wool-yielding animals, processing wool, and spinning yarn is laborious, and unless you’re already an expert your future learn­ing curve will thank you for having a supply of yarns on hand for knitting warm clothing and making repairs.

[not survival- noted as NS! from here on out, lifestyle and requires a skill- noted as LS! Better to store warm clothing, extra items. You do not have the time or energy in a survival situation to knit!]

First aid ointment: A simple cut can result in serious infection if not treated properly. And because tubes of first aid ointment usually only contain an ounce, make sure you have plenty on your survival items list.

[oh for Pete’s sake, you need a bunch of medical supplies. You need references and training. A couple of bandaids and some ointment are NS! Better- make sure your survival med kit includes AB ointment, burn cream, suture alternatives like Steristrips, skin glue, or tape. You will need WAY MORE supplies for wound treatment than you think, stock up!]

Anti-diarrhea medications: Diar­rhea … regularly kills folks… [FIFY]

[meds, yes AD meds. Yes all of the OTC meds. AD meds can be survival, and you need salt replacement tabs or ORS electrolyte solutions too. Better get some anti-biotics too, not having them could kill you.]

Arnica: This homeopathic remedy [!!]… used as a home remedy for bruises and sprains. …

[OFP’sS! Lights are on people, stock the real stuff. Add some tiger balm to your medical preps if you are worried about bruises. NS! ]

Toiletries, deodorant, beauty products: …

[NS!!!!!]

Bleach: The importance of clean­liness and disinfection of cooking utensils, the home, garden tools, animal holdings, and more will in­crease as diseases increase in a TEOTWAWKI scenario. You should have lots of this on hand.

[can’t argue this, get bleach, get the powder to make more. Stored liquid bleach degrades in strength over time.  When you run out, salt has been used as a cleaner throughout history.]

Books of all sorts, in print: … entertainment. …

[a good reference library is vital for long term survival. First Aid could be vital for short term. Entertainment is NS! Yes, you should include the great works. NS! ]

Brewing/alcohol making sup­plies: …

[nice idea, NS! LS! needs knowledge and skills. Can be improvised with the knowledge and skills, WAY more useful as sterilizer and anesthetic than as recreation or trade item.]

Ammunition reloading equip­ment: A lot of people have a stored supply of ammunition, but once that runs out, will more be available at stores?

[stores?? wtf? survival!]

… could save a lot of money by investing in a reloading press.

[save money?? LS! needs knowledge and skills. STOCK UP NOW! Unless you are running and gunning, (in which case you aren’t saving your brass) you will use your ammo for hunting, which might be 50 rounds a year of the big stuff and more of 22. Better would be learn about traps, snares, and alternative QUIETER methods of taking game. If your focus is long term grid down, get some black power arms and learn to use them.]

Citric acid: It comes in canisters large or small, and is important for food preservation, cleaning, and as an additive for nutritious seed sprout­ing. It also acts as a meat tenderizer for the inevitable tough meats you’ll be eating, and can be used to flavor beverages. You can buy it in bulk online for your survival items list.

[right thing, wrong reasons, NS!]

Cocoa nibs: The health benefits of quality, unsweetened cocoa are well documented, and it will be worth its weight in gold as a cherished ingredient for sweets and treats. It can be used as a valuable barter item, but because of its storage abilities and ability to bring joy to a dreary existence, we recommend keeping it for yourself. And store more. Nibs can be used in themselves or ground into powder, so having nibs on hand is more versatile.

[OMFG. NS! LS! Survival does NOT mean sitting on the porch with a cup of cocoa!]

Paracord: You’ll need to tie things up and genuine milspec Paracord is stronger, lighter and more versa­tile than rope. Plus, the seven inner strands of Paracord can also be sepa­rated and utilized for another variety of uses only adds to its handiness and the importance of always keeping it with you. (We’ve used Paracord to lace up our hiking boots. Heck, you can even floss with one of the inner threads of Paracord! Can you tell we love this stuff?)

[paracord is a legitimate survival item, IF YOU KNOW WHAT you can use it for. Wearing the bracelet won’t save you. Long term survival– better is storing cordage of all kinds. Block and tackle, tow ropes, string, cord, thread, rope is a vital tool in a muscle powered world.]

Dates: Dried dates are a very nourishing, and very storable, food. They are very sweet, which will be welcome when sweeteners become scarce.

[WTF?- NS!]

MRE (Meals Ready to Eat): Grow­ing vegetables and hunting game are essential skills, but on the slow days, it’s good to have some back up. High-quality MRE has an extremely long shelf life and come in a variety of tasty flavors, so you’ll have variety on your survival items list.

[having some food, readily available, is a great survival tool. You can go a long time without food if you aren’t doing anything, and are sheltered. Not so true if you are doing heavy work or exposed to the elements. You will increase your short term chances the more you have readily available. I’ll leave discussion of whether MREs are tasty to those with extensive experience, but I’ve never heard them described that way. Better for the average person to store freeze dried backpacking meals, retort meals, or even protein powder shakes than MREs, and you better have much more than just enough for the occasional day when the garden isn’t producing or the game is scarce (ie MOST days.)]

Epsom salt: Epsom salts contain important magnesium, which is use­ful for soaking sore muscles, soothing sprains, and more. Epsom salt is also useful in the garden to help increase vegetable yields.

[again, like most of this list, NOT survival NS!]

Fabric: Chances are you’re forgetting some key, long-term items in your holdings, like fabric and the skills to make new clothing as your current stock wears out. In a bad sce­nario, your clothing will take much more of a beating than it currently does now, and you’ll wish you had denim, cotton, and more available for repairs or making new clothes.

[NS!! LS! assumes you’ve also got the knowledge and skill and other infrastructure to make clothes, as well as the time and energy. Better to store more clothes. SOME fabric is useful, mostly canvas, denim, etc, and was a staple of frontier life, but they bought clothes when they could afford it, because they were better than homemade. For long term survival– better to be sure you have replacement clothes for all the members of your group in appropriate sizes and for the various seasons.]

Feminine supplies: If you’re a woman or have women in the household, feminine supplies will be essential to have on hand, how­ever, we don’t recommend tampons. Why? One average female in the U.S. will use between 10,000 and 15,000 disposable tampons or pads in a lifetime, meaning there is no way to stock enough. Instead, stock reus­able sea sponges and reusable pads, which can be cleaned, disinfected, and reused.

[I’ll leave this for someone with experience, but there are other products that are better than “sea sponge” and many were used throughout history. For immediate survival, a good supply of feminine hygiene will help morale and health. Long term, NS!]

Nail files and nail clippers: Poor foot and nail maintenance and health can cause serious problems and in­fections later. Don’t underestimate the importance of caring for your feet and hands, arguably the most important tools you’ll have. [emp added]

[better to say for long term survival– store the grooming tools you need, razors, scissors, clippers, etc. Short term NS!!! Recommended– putting away sturdy boots, and all different kinds of gloves, and USE THEM to protect yourself.]

Water filtration and water puri­fication: Water is essential for life so you’ll need several gallons a day per person. So even if you store enough for a year, what about year two? It’s a good idea to have a good filtration system, as well as water purification tablets as backup.

[FINALLY we get to water. And, “it’s a good idea”??? It’s CRITICAL that you have water to drink and for sanitation. Tabs, filters, bleach, boiled, or irradiated, you need to get it, treat it, store it, use it. FIRST NEED is water.]

Medicinal houseplants: Aloe vera’s medicinal uses are wonderful, so we recommend having renewable resource of medicinal houseplants like aloe vera and citronella. Can’t grow houseplants? Now is the time to learn. Collect medicinal houseplants and make sure you know how to grow them effectively for the home medicine arsenal.

[oh jeez, more amateur NOT survival lifestyle crap. Much more effective things are available right now, stock up! Sure, plant the garden, but medicinal use of plants is lifestyle and again depends on skills and knowledge. Add some books to your reference library.]

Games: Along with good books, games are more important than you think to keep the family sane. TVs and DVD players breakdown in time, but Uno, poker, chess, and checkers never wear down and are always available to you and your family when it’s too dark and cold outside to do anything else. Winters will be longer than you think without entertainment.

[ok, I’m gonna be kind and put this as Nice to Have, for long term survival. Distracting the kids is ok, but it’s not gonna feed them or keep them safe.]

Garlic: As a valuable flavor en­hancer and for its medicinal and healing properties, there is no way you can have enough. We also recom­mend storing and regularly rotating bulbs for growing garlic of your own when stored supplies run low.

[someone is confused about the hobby homesteader and SURVIVING THE END OF THE WORLD. NS!]

Ichthamol ointment: This sticky, dark, slightly stinky goop is also known as drawing salve and it works incredibly well for extracting splin­ters. Just a dab will do ya, so a one-ounce tube of it will last years. Every medicine cabinet should have this.

[no idea what this is, but a magnifying glass, AB cream, and tweezers work great, are quick, and should be part of medical preps. No need to stock something else. Oh, and NS!]

Hand tools: Repairs to your shel­ter and anything else will be neces­sary. There are many antique and new hand tools that will drill, dovetail, saw, and plane wood for shelter maintenance. Invest in the basics.

[This is a whole post right here. Yes, hand tools, but also POWERED TOOLS for as long as you can. Also needs a ton of skills and knowledge to be put to use. Long term only.]

Hemp seeds: Hemp is good for fiber for nets and rope, can be woven into excellent fabric, and can be used to make a good milk product. No, it won’t make you high.

[No you won’t be making fiber and rope. NS!]

Honey: It has an indefinite shelf life (honey has been found in Egyp­tian tombs and is still perfectly ed­ible) and is important as a sweetener. You’ll also need honey’s antibacterial properties to heal wounds. Make sure it’s 100 percent pure honey.

[NS! No one ever died because they didn’t have sweetener. Not a bad idea to put up honey though, for the reasons listed, just not a survival item.]

Potassium iodate (KIO3): Potas­sium iodate is a critical item to have in the event of a nuclear disaster. Ra­dioactive fallout can travel thousands of miles and if you’re in the zone where it occurs, you can be sickened and die in short order. KIO3 protects your sensitive thyroid gland from the effects of radioactive iodine, meaning you don’t want to be without this important precaution.

[I’ll leave this to RBT to comment, but I get the feeling the author has no knowledge or experience and is just parroting this.  And how will he know to take the pills unless he’s got monitoring equipment?]

Compost pile: Composting is environmentally friendly and will enrich your soil to help plants grow. You can throw any vegetable waste in your compost pile (and even coffee grounds and egg shells), but abso­lutely no meat, fat or sweet things that might attract rodents or bugs. Locate your compost pile well away from the house, keep it moist and turn it over regularly.

[OMFG NS! Not even long term. Nice to have, not critical.]

Loom: Storing fabric is impor­tant, but having a loom available for weaving blankets, clothing, and more will be important. A large loom is not necessary; even small woven squares can be stitched together into larger items.

[argg. hippy hobbyist. NO NOT A SURVIVAL ITEM.]

Lye: Lye is used in soap making and to preserve or prepare certain types of food, like hominy, curing olives, or making century eggs. It will also be impossible to make soap without lye. Historically, lye was made using wood ashes, but this process takes time to learn to do cor­rectly, and some woods work better than others.

[ok might be a long term item, but can be made onsite. If you are making soap post SHTF, you can make lye.]

Needles/thread: Don’t underesti­mate the amount of thread that will be necessary for clothing repair, and how easily needles can break when being used regularly. During the Revolutionary War, sewing needles were a trade item among women. It’s a good idea to stock different thicknesses of thread, making sure not to neglect heavy-duty thread for repairing jeans or leather items. And knitting needles will enable you to make sweaters, mittens and blankets to a host of other items. Sewing and knitting are essential skills.

[I’ve got a sturdy threaded needle in my everyday carry, so I’m gonna say it can be appropriate for a survival list. Small, light, and useful. Store a bunch.]

Oil press: Oil is not only for cook­ing, it is also for soap making, food preservation, and health and skin care. The problem is that oil doesn’t store well. An oil press will allow you to extract oils from nuts or seeds.

[Long term? IDK, but not something on everyone’s mind. I’m thinking animal fat is way more plentiful and useful. ]

Old medical books: While treat­ments can be found in old medical books, they’re most important use is to diagnose disease symptoms. Many diseases have been near eradicated and medical books no longer teach students what they look like. These diseases will likely reemerge in a TEOTWAWKI scenario.

[Falls under reference library. And if you get the right books, modern books DO have diagnostic info, as well as modern treatment. Does you no good to know Johnny has croup if you don’t know what to do about it.]

Pencils/pens/paper: We hardly use them anymore, but they will become more desirable and more valuable later. Make sure you have enough.

[I’ve got a pencil and some paper in my kit, so ok, but generally not a survival item. USEFUL as all get out, not critical.]

Reading glasses: We age and along with that comes reading diffi­culties once we hit middle age. Keep several pair, in case you lose or break them… which you will.

[long term. Spare prescription glasses if you use them should be MUCH higher up your list. You can’t IFF before shooting if you can’t see.]

Salt: No, you’re not storing enough for eating or food preserva­tion. It never goes bad. Store more.

[FINALLY, a good item, long term, not short]

Shoes for children: …

[covered before]

Slingshot: Silent, deadly, and accurate with practice, the sling shot is a way to defend yourself and hunt small game, even when ammo runs out. Rocks can be used effectively if you have practice under your belt. Make sure everyone in your group has at least one.

[Not silent, Not deadly.  The rubber bands degrade rapidly. If you think you’ll be hunting with a slingshot, you better learn to use a sling, or an arrow thrower too. gahh.]

Soap: Cleanliness will be para­mount as basic societal conditions decline. [no it won’t] While you can make your own bar soap, make sure you have enough soap of all kinds, like soap flakes for laundry [just shredded bar soap], or ammonia, to keep up with the cleaning demands. Cleanliness is one of the most impor­tant things to pay attention to. [no, not really, water, food, and security rank a lot higher.]

Socks:… [already covered under clothes and shoes]

Sundried tomatoes: …..

[OMFG. SO NOT survival.]

Stainless steel buckets, milk pails, etc.: Stainless steel will almost last forever. Buckets and milk pails are easy to disinfect and clean, too. Forget plastic in the home—it de­grades and becomes increasingly difficult to keep sterile and clean.

[WTF? NOT SURVIVAL!!! Hobby farmer!]

Tea tree oil: Due to its long shelf life (indefinite) and ability to assist with wound healing and disinfec­tion, tea tree oil is an essential item to have in your medicine cabinet. It can be used alone or added to other skin preparations.

[what is with this guy? get some AB cream!]

Heirloom seeds: Why heirloom seeds? Because you’ll be able to save the seed year-after-year for continued harvests. GMO and hybridized seeds won’t produce viable offspring, and many times the resulting seed won’t even germinate. A good heirloom-based seed bank is paramount.

[ok, long term. Define “good” though.]

Tobacco seeds: Growing tobacco for trade will give you an edge, and it has uses as a plant for making re­pellants in the garden for problems such as aphids, borers, rodents, and more.

[I’ll let RBT address this, since he’s gonna do the experiment, but NS! I’ll note that production of tobacco historically needed a lot of workers, and takes them away from food production.]

Seed-starting supplies: … [nice, not critical]

Vitamin C: …for scurvy prevention.

[Just about any dark green veg has this, as well as tomatoes, citrus, etc. in other words, unless you are in a cave eating hard tack you probably don’t need to worry about scurvy. Long term, stock a couple of jars of multivitamins. That will address any other deficiencies you have too.]

Alternate energy sources: Elec­tricity and natural gas may not be available from the utility company during a bad situation. [ MAY NOT?????] Think about how else to heat the house (such as a wood stove) and provide electrical power (e.g. windmill, solar panels).

[long term you are back to the traditional sources, heat, muscle, wind, water, chemical.  Make sure you can utilize them.]

Animals: The amount of wild game available will likely dwindle with time.

[there will be NONE in most of the likely SHTF scenarios, see any account from WWI or WWII or Selco about cities or countryside during wartime, nor will there be any dogs or cats.]

Having livestock such as sheep and goats will enable you to sustain yourself with meat, milk and fiber. Not everyone has the room for animals on their property, but if you can, do it.

[almost no one has room, or knowledge, better to raise chickens or rabbits if this is a concern for you.]

 

 

So much fail in a single list. Oh, it might have been ok if the list was titled “50 things you might have forgotten, and would be nice to have if SHTF” but it was titled SURVIVAL.

The list is more telling about the person who wrote it, than a guide for essentials. NOT ONE mention of defense against hostile people or animals. Lots of airy fairy new age-y items. Several items that evoke a hobby farm or gentleman farmer lifestyle. An emphasis on comfort and continuing a modern lifestyle. This author is not gonna make it through a TEOTWAWKI event. He clearly hasn’t considered it from an urban or even suburban perspective, nor does he sound willing to make hard choices.

Part of his problem is that you have short- and long- term survival and the problems and needs are different. Worst case is a short term event that results in a long term situation, like a plague that kills a large percentage of the population, or a surprise attack that results in a technological collapse. First you have to survive the event, then you have to find a way to live in the aftermath. Different skills, different stuff.  It also helps to define the requirements by deciding what your goals are. Do you want to just survive for a period of time until outside help arrives or rebuild a society?

Your answers are going to shape your preps.  In the mean time, use his list as a nudge about some things you may have forgotten about, but other than water, food, and salt, there’s not much here that will help you survive.

nick

Thursday, 12 May 2016

07:58 – Well, yesterday morning I made rice, intending to make pork fried rice for dinner last night, but it turned out that we were out of soy sauce. I just added a new category: prepping fail

Next time we make a Costco run, I’ll pick up one or two of the half-gallon jugs of soy sauce. We had one of those before. Barbara hated it because it leaked, so she started buying the smaller glass bottles of soy sauce.

More work on science kits today. We got a lot of bottles filled and capped yesterday. More of that today and for the next several days. Then we can start making up chemical bags for kits.