Three simple molecules, two hydrogen and one oxygen, bind together to form each molecule of water. According to Elson Haas M.D. Staying Healthy with Nutrition, “Pure water does not exist naturally on our planet; water is the universal solvent, and most other substances present on Earth dissolve in it to different degrees. The earth’s natural water varies in mineral content, as does water found within our bodies. Without clean water we cannot experience optimal health.”
Bacteria, viruses and protozoa are different kind of substances, however, unlike mineral which can be dissolved. https://water.usgs.gov/edu/bacteria.html
Could this be an explanation of why bacteria and protozoa love standing, dirty water? It allows them access to growth and reproduction?
“Although the U.S. has one of the safest drinking water systems in the world, there are an estimated 4.32 million cases of acute gastrointestinal illness (AGI) per year from public drinking water systems 1,2. This estimate does not include waterborne illness from non-public drinking water systems (for example, private wells), recreational water, or water for other uses (for example, irrigation, medical uses, or building water systems.) The frequency of disease from all water exposures is likely higher, but the overall prevalence of waterborne illness in the U.S. is unknown. It is important to understand the full scope of waterborne illness in the U.S. so that researchers and public health agencies can assess the public health risk of illness due to contaminated water, advocate for resources, and develop preventive measures.” (https://www.cdc.gov/healthywater/burden/)
Thirst and Dehydration
At just 2% dehydration, thirst is perceived.
At 5% dehydration, a person becomes hot and tired.–strength and endurance becomes decreased.
At 10% dehydration, delirium and blurred vision becomes a problem.
At 20% dehydration, the person dies.
In one day of heavy work the body can lose between 2 to 3 gallons of water through urine, sweat and breathing. If water in the body is not replaced within a matter minutes dehydration begins.
The average adult human can only absorb about 4oz. every 30 minutes. It has been said that people should drink at least 2.75 gallons of water per day, that’s 250 gallons a year.
Water is not changed in the body, it goes in as water and comes out as water. It picks up waste and debris on it’s way out. If you have no water; DO NOT EAT.
But if icky water is all that you have, know what you may be getting into. . .
Cholera and Dysentery are usually thought to be 3rd world diseases as after such disasters like the Haiti earthquake. The real truth is unsanitary conditions can become prevalent after almost any community disaster where standing water and septic overflow occurs. (See section 3, Water and the human body, and section 11, Before the toilet gets nasty, in How to Survive and Thrive When the Power is Out)
Cholera usually begins abruptly when contaminated food and water have been ingested, bringing on watery diarrhea.
Dysentery is characterized by inflammation of the rectum and large intestine with frequent loose bloody stools and mucus. Dysentery is scary due to constant watery diarrhea which causes severe dehydration and eventually death if not treated properly. The elderly and children are most susceptible to the debilitating effects of the constant water lose.
Giardia is not a bacteria or a virus but a protozoa, a tiny animal. It has a crusty hard outer skin that lets it survive outside the body for a short while and because of it’s hard shell it won’t be killed off by putting chlorine drops in your water bottle. Transmission of these parasites comes from contaminated fecal matter in the water. https://www.cdc.gov/parasites/giardia/
Incubation can take up to 2 weeks, but some people never develop symptoms at all. Giardia is recognized by diarrhea, gas, bloating, stomach pain and vomiting, greasy stools and dehydration. This bacteria is less severe in adults but can effect children with many permanent consequences.
Polio virus is seen in contaminated water, untreated sewage and unsanitary living conditions. According to the CDC; Most people who get infected with poliovirus (about 72 out of 100) will not have any visible symptoms.
Polio only infects humans and is very contagious spreading from person to person through personal contact. As with many diseases it is the vulnerable who are most at risk, those with a less or debilitated immune system. Keeping your environment as clean as possible after a crisis is the most important aspect of remaining healthy.
This is only the beginning
This article only covers four of the most often seen diseases after a crisis. With all respect to my audience, might I suggest that you take some time and research further. Other diseases and conditions are as follows;
Botulism- Clostridium botulism bacteria can grow in food and water. Can be deadly.
Typhoid- Salmonella typhi bacteria found in both food and water.
Cryptosporidiosis- Crytosporidium parvum protozoa contaminates many water systems and is resistant to household chlorine.
Hepatitis A- Hepatitis A virus lurks in food and water usually put their by another contaminated person.
New and emerging contaminates from industrial and farm pollutants and runoff. Also, scientists are discovered fish, frogs and other amphibious creatures are morphing into something never before seen on this planet due mostly to birth control pills and antidepressants polluting our once pristine rivers and lakes.
There is a lot to think about within this article, which is in no particular order. But please, please take your situation with the utmost seriousness. Where will you find long term, clean water after the SHTF?
What are your thoughts and comments, please feel free comment below.
You have beans, Band Aids and bullets stored for when the SHTF. You have put some things back for those who didn’t prepare or maybe for anonymous donations to your church congregation. You have a little silver and a box of neat stuff designated for barter. You even remembered to buy extra seed for next years garden and you even thought to put books and games into storage for quiet times. Congratulations, you are a step ahead of 85% of the rest of the country.
Today was a dreary, grey, Sunday morning for April. The temperature was 26 degrees and as I poured my first bitter brew of the day, I witnessed large white snow flakes flying past the window carried on a 20 mile an hour icy wind. I snatched up my warm cup of coffee and headed over to the woodstove, picked up the fire poker and stabbed the fire making sparks float up the chimney. It needed another chunk of tree to keep it burning and warming the house. I put on two medium sized logs. The house was quiet, so I curled up in the easy chair closet to the woodstove with my coffee and allowed my mind to bring me memories of my first year out here in the backwoods. 25 years living out here, how far I have come and I’m amazed at all that I have learned!
If God had chosen a place on earth to live, I serious believe he would have loved it here. His handy work is ever present with thick pine and hardwood forests and abundant animal population of all descriptions, rushing rivers and gushing waterfalls in all the right places. The first time you stand on the edge of a bluff and witness a summer sunset over lake Superior with an intoxicating warm pine scented breeze caressing your check, you will have been permanently embedded on your primal physic consciousness blessings of our ancient ancestors. I fell in love with this very hypnotic reality and have been addicted even sense.
On the flip side there is ‘Mother Nature’ who is less agreeable. She expects you to know your environment and will spank you hard if you don’t take your situation seriously. People have walked off the edge of a cliff by misjudging the beauty of this place and their own ability. A few years ago two sisters left their southern state homes and took a drive to the U.P. to see the sights in April. They drove out into the woods with nothing more than the coats on their backs and a bag of junk food. Confident in their driving skills, the pair drove to the northern most part of the forest on a wilderness back road ending up close to lake Superior in about 3 inches of snow. They stopped to take in the sights and promptly became stuck. Alone and no cell phone service they ended up out there for twenty-one days. The first night stranded in Michigan’s wilderness, it snowed hard and the car was pretty much buried. Long story shortened, they lived and managed to make it out but they were almost done for when they were finally discovered. They had no idea what to expect driving to a different climate, even in what they thought was spring. By the grace of God, their wind shield had reflected a momentary spot of sunshine and a rescue helicopter spotted something shiny. Most people aren’t so lucky. Authorities found a frozen man near a major river just yesterday. He too had wandered off to see the sights.
My first winter alone in my little tar paper cabin out here in the big woods, the jet stream took a right turn to the south. (I was a young 43 years old and fairly fit at the time. Tough as nails I thought.) Artic air dove down from Canada, blew across lake Superior and landed over Michigan’s U.P. at minus 50 degrees. Hell, that is mid winter Alaska temperatures! I went to bed at about 10:00 last night, put a few logs in the woodstove as usual but I didn’t wake up during the night to feed the wood burning beast. That fateful morning I woke up to 26 degrees in my one room cabin. It was so cold, the dogs’ water was frozen, I surmised that the woodstove must have gone out soon after I had gone to bed.
I put on a jacket and boots and went out to the outhouse. On my way back I stopped at the side porch to grab an arm load of wood. WHAT??!!! There was only 4 pieces of wood left. I had run out of heating wood, with no back up heating as I had no electricity and no indoor plumbing. Back inside the house I put on some warmer clothes, grabbed the hand saw and headed for the woods to find some wood to get me through the rest of the day and night.
I began trudging through three feet of snow feeling around in the snow for anything burnable. By now my heart is racing from the stress of the deep snow and cold. I couldn’t find enough wood to do much good, I was about to go into a full blown panic. I gave up and headed back to the house. I wanted to cry but I knew better at minus 50 degrees air temperature.
I struggled to get back to the house with a meager arm load of twigs, hardly enough to get me through the day. I fired up the camp stove to heat some water for another cup of warm coffee and to help clear the cold so I could contemplate my next move. How long could I stay out here in the wilderness without heat? Will they find my cold, dead body in the spring?
Mother nature spanked me good that day! I managed to get through that crisis thanks to a dear neighbor (we call people neighbors out here even when they are miles away instead of blocks away) who was able to get his snow machine up and running. He came to check on me and helped me to secure a load of split wood to get me by until I could find someone to sell me their extras. You can’t thank good neighbors enough.
This is one of the many near misses I experienced while living out here in the backwoods alone without modern stuff back in the early days. I am still here because I learned my lessons and have developed a great respect for what dearest mother nature has to dish out.
In all reality, for those who feel that bugging out to the woods when the SHTF, I’d like to warn you; life in the woods, without electricity and skills will not be easy and could kill you. Many won’t have the stomach for it, I don’t care how much you protest that you could do it. It is not the time to learn as you go. Most TV shows like those reality survival programs are scripted or pretested. Case-in-point–The history channel put on a series where they took a group of young healthy men and put them alone in the wilderness in the Pacific Northwest. Did you see it? They contacted me to audition, but given my age they declined may application. I figured, this little old lady would show up those little boys so they didn’t want to ruin their ratings. You know drama and pain sells. There were several episodes where I couldn’t believe these guys had to tap out. One kid decided to go home and give up the $50,000 prize money because he lost his fire starter and another young guy became sick and went home after drinking stream water, without filtering or boiling it first. But I digress. . .
There has been an influx of people to this area lately, people looking to get out of the city and maybe just a more peaceful existence. Whatever their reason, they are bringing with them huge outdoor mercury lights and paved roads and driveways. In other words, they are bringing modern stuff with them and not learning how to survive as our ancestors did. When the SHTF they will be just as dead as everyone else because they didn’t learn their lessons.
Moral of this story? You have prepared with food, water and other stuff and feel you can survive what a failed society will hand you. But I’m here to tell you, you are not! You need the wherewithal and skills to make it through to the other side. And just because you got stuff, it still may not be enough and will eventually run out, remember this; whatever you got, someone else wants and will take it! You need to fill your head with know-how, and teach your children. Hell, learn together and start them young, you will have past them survival skills as their legacy from you. Much more important than anything you could ever, ever give them. Start now!
Your very first step is to secure a hard copy library. How to books you can pass down to the next generations because who knows if their future will have electricity for their stuff.
Go out into the woods and do it! Or take a survival class. There are classes everywhere for urban and wilderness survival. I took a class set up by 4-H leaders. It was very intense to say the least. One of the things they did to us was blindfold each student, spin you around and lead you out into the forest. One at a time they took us out into the wilderness and left us their to stay the night and find our own way back the next morning. Hey, I love it. I would have liked to stay another night or two but, you know, duty calls.
Practice, practice, practice and then teach others. You learn as you teach. Repetition pays off.
Iron Mountain Michigan– This book has seen phenomenal sales since it’s release in 2015. A handy guide/ personal journal that you will want to keep coming back to when the unexpected occurs. This one would make a terrific gift for your sister or neighbor who just can’t seem to boil water or start a camp fire.
Between it’s pages J.L.Noakes has delightfully captured the know-how from real people who lived before the widespread use of electricity. From their stories of basic daily living without electricity we learn how to keep food cold, meat preservation and recipes, about ladies and babies needs during a power outage, and many herbal remedies, to a heart wrenching interview with a Polish woman in her 90’s about her life in Nazi occupied Poland during WWII. “This woman’s story broke my heart and kept me from sleeping several nights while writing it”, Noakes explains. All these and more are held in this unique, one of a kind book of know-how, preserved now for future generations.
How to Survive and Thrive When the Power is Out offers the best secrets from our ancient sisters to early 1900’s domestic divas. Our great grandmothers kept her family comfortable and healthy without electricity. How did she do it? Every woman with a child will want this one close at hand.
It is a time that has come. Many families today are preparing for an unknown future and others are simply looking for a little more self reliance and peace of mind. This is one of those books that you will toss into your go bag and refer back to many, many times. Also, within each section you will find perfect pages to catalog your own stories and triumphs.
Power outages seem to be a way of life for many of us now, with unpredictable weather, and sabre rattling by out of control groups and governments, one never knows what might be just over the horizon. Be prepared with How to Survive and Thrive When the Power is Out. You can find it on Amazon, also from this site.
Many years ago, the young and adventurous me, discovered a 40 acre parcel of heavily forested property which none of the locals even knew was for sale, smack dab in the middle of a state forest. Deep in the middle of this secluded 40 acre parcel in the wild’s of Michigan’s Upper Peninsula stood a 20’X20′ tar papered shanty I was about to call home. It took every penny I had to buy the property that had unknowingly been up for sale for more than 15 years. I was beside myself with excitement! I was 43.
The cabin/now shanty was built as a hunting camp in 1963 using real saw milled 2X4’s. Sturdy, well built, no electricity or water as there were no power lines out there in the early days. It was dirty, run down and ghost like from all the years of no human intervention. However, a local population of mice and raccoons had made a claim to it over the years, moving in their own families. And really large, gray wart covered wolf spiders inhabited every crack and corner of the tiny, lovable little cabin nestled in amongst the over growth of trees and flora. These guys were the biggest, most horrifying eight legged creatures I had ever witnessed!
I was anxious to get started and arrived early on the day after I had taken procession of my new home. There were no keys handed to me at the time of signing at the bank. Even the realtor was unaware of the shack on the property. Gus, my yellow lab took off to explore his new environment and was no help what so ever helping to unload the boxes of cleaning supplies, hammer, nails, crowbar and a shovel I figured it would take to make this place near as livable as possible. It took me most of that summer to fix up what was to be the most memorable 20 year adventure of my life.
By now it is late fall. My first night alone out here in the woods, in my now cleaned one room shanty found me laying in my bed with my blanket pulled up to my chin with one hand and a flashlight gripped tightly in the other. Listening to the night time parade of mice playing tag in the ceiling and walls, my thoughts turned to; “What the hell am I doing out here 30 miles from town, in the middle of this 1000’s of acres of woods? All alone! Was I nuts?”
“OMG! What’s that noise? Listen, there it is again!”
It sounded like something was actually chewing on my cabin. Sometime during the night I did doze off but only briefly. A thunderstorm demanded that I not get too comfortable. Loud claps and bright lightening fueled my anxiety of this precarious first night in the woods. Then suddenly as a lightening bolt lit up the room, there on the ceiling was a monstrous, wart covered wolf spider the size of my hand, hurriedly making his way in my direction. . .
To make a long story short and the purpose of this post, when the power is out it is quiet! I will be the first to tell you that the constant buzz of human activity, electronic gadgets, cell phones and all sorts of technology along with traffic noise and streetlights are so natural to the every day guy and gal that we just don’t notice the noise, that is, until it is gone. When the electrical plug has been pulled and the power goes out the first sense is that of ahhhhhhh. It actually feels good. (Personally, I miss my days and nights living unattached to the power grid and even today, going into town seems so loud.)It doesn’t take long, however, before you begin to feel withdrawal symptoms, much like that of a cigarette withdrawal. Then night comes, the stillness of the true lightless night becomes the monster in the closet of our childhood.
My first long winter night played games with the stillness of my snow covered wilderness. I suddenly became acutely aware that the moon light uses shadows as an accomplice; it tricks the imagination into seeing beasts stalking the darkness. A wise older man I knew called them hide-behinds. Elusive mystical creatures without true form, created purely from ones own imagination, hiding behind leafless hardwoods, he liked to say. I remembered his words one night as I sat reading quietly by oil lamp, the muted flickering of the yellow flame demanded entrance into the playful party of dancing shadows. At that moment, as I look up from my reading, the icy stillness crept up and stole away with my struggling confidence. A mythical hide-behind ran an icy finger up my spine.
Twenty years have now come and gone since my first night time encounter with the night time hide-behinds deep in my forest. My tiny cabin has given way to a fit a proper homestead and a husband. The moral of this story you may have guessed is that when the lights go out, and they will, it is the quiet people will surrender to. More often that not, even before the lack of food sets in. Humans have adapted to noise, to the hustle of activity and having every desirable electronic device at their finger tips. You can and should prepare for as many physical aspects of the coming take down of the U.S. as possible. But will you be able to survive the quiet? It is truly a possibility that needs to be understood.
History has recorded that silence created a debilitating madness in the unprepared pioneer women during the 1800’s westward movement. Women whose husband had settled them in the prairies of the western U.S. and were left alone for a long periods time often went mad due to the silence. Their only companion was the never ending wind, the mournful song of the elusive wolf and the fear of an Indian raid. Returning husbands sometimes found their wives, if the were lucky, wandering the open prairie looking for another human neighbor.
“The two most important days of your life are the day you were born and the day you find out why.”
This is going to be a long one, probably a good idea to grab a cup of tea and a note pad before diving in.
A Little FYI about how I know what I know, first.
Years ago, long before moving out to the backwoods of Upper Michigan, we lived in north central Indiana. In that part of the state you will find several groups of Amish communities. About a century and a half ago the Amish found the soil in this area to be rich and thick, perfect for the Amish self-reliant way of life. They began to built houses and barns and settled in. Keeping to tradition of maintaining small, workable communities the original settlement of Amish grew too large, consequently dividing into two self-sustaining sections each run basically by it’s own bishop. When those groups got too large they again divided, keeping each unit within a specific number of members close to the newly chosen bishop. Each break away process of expansion takes much effort and about a generation to accomplish. Today there are quite a few Amish communities or groups peacefully living and farming in the northern counties of Indiana.
This article is not a treatise on the Amish faith or culture, however, when the really hard core SHTF these folks will have a leg up on many of us. If left alone they probably won’t feel the crumbling or even notice that America has expired.
I lived and worked many years amongst these God fearing people. Listen up! Hollywood producers would have you believe the Amish are some weird cult group who mistreat their children and farm animals. That is not true, pure and simple. However, they do take their bible, and simple way of life very seriously. Spare the rod spoil the child, sort of thing. Boys have been known to get a trip to the woodshed by the father of the household for serious transgressions. Teen boys are teen boys in about every culture, it seems.
In the community we were familiar with the girl children rarely felt a fast hand to the butt. Mother usually handled their childhood misdeeds. Girl children were generally given extra kitchen duty or other chores such as hand grinding wheat berries for bread, even as young as 3 years old. Hand cranking a grinding mill of wheat for bread is a chore that takes many tedious hours. A chore in which everyone meticulously tries to avoid. Strong family ties and strict adherence to the rules that govern their collective, keep most everyone walking the straight and narrow. Don’t believe that crap they feed you on TV, those are most likely actors. The Amish, as a rule, resent their picture taken because they believe your soul or your life force is captured in that photograph, as I was told by an Amish elder.
When my youngest child was 5, I dropped her off daily to an Amish lady for daycare while I was at work. Wednesday is generally the day for Weddings, so my Amish sitter asked if she could dress my 5 year old daughter in Amish clothes and take her to the wedding. Of course I gave my permission and to celebrate my daughters costume, Katy ran next door and borrowed a camera from her English neighbor to take my daughters picture. Back then we still used polaroid cameras so Katy had the photos ready for me upon my arrival. My baby girl was adorable all dressed up in plain Amish finest. No other people were in the photo, just the oil stove Katy used to heat her house in the back ground.
Besides being massively religious and self-reliant the Amish know how much effort it takes to make a buck. They also know how to make that buck squeal. Unmarried older children (16 to 21) living in the household and working outside of the farm turn over a portion of their paycheck every payday to the head of household, their father. The theory is, as I was told, if children handle their own money at a young age they tend to get into trouble. Never a wiser word spoken, in my opinion.
Each and every household must contribute to the church an unspecified amount (the details were off limits to this English outsider) of their yearly income. The Bishop and Elder council hold this money in trust. When a barn burns down, someone is injured or whatever the crisis or need, the church/community pays for it. It is the Amish equivalent of collective insurance against mishaps. Stuff happens and they are primed and prepared to pitch in and get ‘er done.
The years we lived in Amish country were a wonderful, educational experience. My Amish lady friends weren’t shy about sharing their kitchen secrets, either. Their generous allotment of old world wisdom was the impetus for my survival during the early years out here in the backwoods. There is nothing so welcomingly tasty as their traditional Dutch/German cuisine. Everything about it says family. Add to the off-grid lessons I learned from my Amish friends, my own grandmothers loving command of everything domestic.
My dear grandmother was born a Mennonite, a break away branch of Amish. Mennonites retain the simple life style and teachings of the Amish, but they do allow some of the more modern things such as driving a car and electricity in the home. Grams was born January of 1900 and didn’t own her own pair of shoes until she met my grandfather in 1918. Grams shared her hand-me-downs from an older half-sister and cousins. Her fathers first wife died at an early age, as I seem to recall. My grandmother left the Mennonite community to marry my grandfather in 1919. My dear grandmother lived during a era of many changes in the 96 years on this planet. Over the course of her lifetime she developed a command of everything domestic and taught me so much about life and living. You can see why I feel blessed and very happy to share with you the secrets of all these wonderful people.
Here we go. . .
If you have established your household previous to the coming crisis, hopefully you will be able to hunker down and safely stay in your home when it hits. The kitchen will be the primary gathering place in most households, when there is no electricity it will be the hub that makes the wheel go round.
Since the kitchen is the activities headquarters. With the probability of extra people in the household, we will need to assign sections or quadrants to allow the flow of these activities to move with ease. On a piece of paper draw out your kitchen, labeling the stove, sink, refrigerator etc. Now divide your kitchen into four equal parts, horizontal through the center of the kitchen and a vertical line through the center of the horizontal line. Assign each quarter a title such as, cooking, cleaning section. That section would have the stove and sink in it, for example. Backdoor and table section, storage section, refrigerator and prep section. (This is my kitchen lay out, yours may be of your own design. Use this only as an example.)
My kitchen flow chart begins at the entrance door area and people center;
I noticed how people took off their coat and boots just inside the entrance and generally headed for the kitchen table. I made sure that route stays open, placed coat hooks and boot trays in this area out of the way of traffic. (A rifle/ shot gun rack on the wall under the coats during the day? It could be out of eyesight from the door but easily accessible to keep predators at away. Just a thought.) Keep this area free from debris and sleeping dogs at all times. The kitchen table should have the usual salt and pepper shaker and a light source such as an l.e.d light, solar lamp, an oil lamp or candles. For us older folks, the kitchen table is where you will find our daily supplements or prescriptions and reading glasses.
To the seasoned prepper this information may be a bit redundant, but even in our world of constant and ever changing sabre rattling by various governments and this really scary political season, you may (or may not) be surprised how many young folks never give a thought about life without electricity, the possibility of war, civil unrest, no snap payments or simple food scarcity due to weather anomalies and politics. (This is the target group, 20 to 40 something with children for “How to Survive and Thrive When the Power is Out ” .)
What else would make this section more comfortable or workable?
Battery operated shortwave radio, ham receiver, scanner
Pencils and note paper
Coloring books and crayons, games and books for the kids
Berkey water filtration system standing on a pedestal in the corner
Extra charged car battery, or a marine battery
A schedule of daily tasks and chores for each member
A jar of raw honey. (Manuka is the best) Honey was always on the table in the Amish home and at my grandmothers dinner table. The daily use of honey is the reason, in part, that my grandparents lived mostly illness free into very old age. Honey is an antibiotic and has many beneficial properties. https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/06/100630111037.htm
The next section, food prep section;
This will be a flat surface such as a counter or kitchen island strictly for preparing food meat and fish products.(May be a food prep station set up outdoors, also.) You would be wise to keep this area off limits to other activities for fear of contamination. It will be ten times harder when there is no electricity and running water to keep this area free from insects, rodents, germs and bacteria. My grandmother used an oil cloth over her work area when not in use. Plastic or some other barrier would keep this area free from cross contamination.
In this food prep area you should find;
Sharp knives– paring knives, vegetable peelers, large cutting knives, (serrated and non-serrated), chopping knife or clever and bone cutting saw. And a knife sharpener or three.
Cutting boards, large bowls and pots and pans, manual can opener, trash can and a compost bucket, another bucket here could be useful too for chicken food.
Contrary to that stupid “vegetarian” label on the carton of eggs at the grocery store, chickens are meat eaters. Chickens will eat chopped meat scraps, fish heads and stuff that would be normally thrown away. They will even eat captured and dispatched mice, other rodents, road kill and each other if one of their coop mates should become ill or lame. Oh, how they love that stuff and the extra protein does them good. The last thing you want is to have meat scraps sitting outside in a trash can for every neighborhood dog, raccoon, or worse, finding it. Hey, there’s even the benefit of barter if you don’t have chickens when your neighbor does. Meat scraps and egg shells would make a very good trade for a few eggs. A bowl or pan of clean bleach water to rinse hands and utensils in this area at all times during food prep will help keep down insects and bacteria.
If you have rigged up your coffee pot to some sort of power device, it would fit well off to the side in this area. Once fresh coffee has been brewed put it into a thermos to keep it warm and save your battery. The coffee will keep warm for many hours in the thermos.
As an aside; If you come across this coffee maker at Good Will or some other thrift shop grab it up. I think the Lehman’s catalog ( http://www.lehmans.com ) still offers them too. It makes wonderful coffee when the power is out or during a camping trip and it is surprisingly simple to use.
If your refrigerator is in this area it will make an excellent storage place for flour, rice and other things mice and bugs like to burrow into. Without electricity insects and rodents will be very hard to control. After the power has been out for awhile and you have used up everything that was in the refrigerator, clean it well and use it for storage. Might as well get some use out of it. In the winter months, after the lake has frozen, bring in some large chunks of ice chopped from the lake or put out bottles of water to freeze over night. Put the ice chunks or frozen water bottles in a pan or bowl and place into the cleaned freezer section of the refrigerator. Now you have a cold spot for food items needing cold place to hang out. The melting ice will fill the freezer with lots of cold air for couple of days.
Since we will be unable to run to the store for paper towels a stash of clean rags stored in this area will be very beneficial. Cut up old towels, T-shirts and baby diapers, they make excellent cleaning rags . Reduce, recycle, reuse.
A light source in this area, a battery operated l.e.d is nicer than a kerosene lamp would be, but by all means use what you have.
Other handy items might be salt and seasonings for making jerky, a drying rack and cheese cloth for covering your drying meat. Do you have an outdoor meat and fish smoker? An old or discarded refrigerator makes an excellent smoker. (Check now with youtube for instructions.) For a whole lot more information and jerky recipes check out “How to Survive and Thrive When the Power is Out” on this website. Large stoneware crock for fermenting vegetables, manual food mill, and lots of canning jars. Don’t forget hot water bottles for winter warmth and sick room use.
What other handy items would you suggest for this area?
Next we move over to the cooking and cleaning area;
You have an electric stove you say? There are a few things you can do if you planned ahead. There are tons of great camp stoves on the market today, take your pick, however, you do know that your fuel will run out sooner or later, right? Now what? An old 1970’s fondue pot with a tea light candle will almost boil water. They will warm liquids such as soup but there is not enough heat to cook your steak. For that you could bust up the kitchen chairs and set them on fire in the back yard, if you have a back yard. After that, I hope you have a plan B.
Now those of us with a gas kitchen stove will fare better a little longer at least. You will need a light source here too. Those cheap solar lights you buy at Wal-mart are fantastic in this area when fully charged. Sometimes it’s hard to get a full charge in the winter up here in the U.P., though. Then the l.e.d. light will come in handy as next in line. I try and stay away from flammable lighting around the stove for obvious reasons.
Several years ago I took on a job of in-home-healthcare of elderly people. I love old people! They are so full of information if you take the time to listen.
During this time I had a 98 year old woman as my charge. What a delight she was! Melvina told me a story of her birth as told to her by her mother. Melvina was a preemie, born at about 41/2 pounds, at home. Back in the year she was born there were no such things as infant incubators. The mid-wife that attended the birth took Melvina after a couples hours of snuggling with the new Mom and wrapped her tightly in a blanket and put her in a basket. Next the mid-wife opened the wood cook stove oven door and placed the basket and baby on the oven door. Melvinas’ mother needed rest and tiny infant needed warmth. They kept the fire going in the wood cook stove until Melvina put on some weight and got a little stronger. That was one tough lady, that Melvina!
Back to the kitchen, around the stove area we should find salt, pepper, cooking oil or spray, a timer, bouillon in the various flavors, wooden spoons, hand cranked egg beater, pot holders, a cutting board strictly for vegetables, cast iron skillet and Dutch oven, meat thermometer, measuring cups, mesh herb ball or muslin spice bag, measuring cups and spoons, small containers each of flour, cornstarch, baking soda, spices and herbs, spatulas, tongs, potato masher, rolling pin, sprouting jar, strainers, compost bucket, and popcorn. This isn’t a complete list by any means, add your own handy items and favorites.
On to the cleaning area, namely the sink;
Here you should find– clean, filtered water, dish soap if available, laundry soap if available, baby soap and shampoo if available, dish towels, baby towels, cleaning rags, soap pads and scrapers, dish drying rack, clothes drying rack or clothes line rope and clothes pins, scrub board, large tub or pan for heating water, scrub pan for other household cleaning projects and sick room. You didn’t think living without power was going to be easy did you? Lots of lifting in this area. In the winter, clothes dry better inside. If hung outside in subzero air temperatures, your jeans will break and you will immediately have made shorts.
Last but not least, food storage area;
These will be cupboards, closets or pantries that are designated strictly as storage. Food grade buckets, totes and other plastic or metal containers will be most helpful for storing and organizing your food supplies. Rodents and insects will be a problem when the house goes dark. Most often too, if you have many people at your house you may consider some sort of locking system in this area. With the availability or lack thereof, food will need to be protected from midnight 2, 4 and 8 legged raiders.
Be advised that your groups behavior will dramatically change when hungry tummies and addiction issues become problematic. Arguments over food will be very real as people adjust to junk food, cigarette, alcohol, electronics and drug withdrawal.
Junk food withdrawal is as real as dealing with any other substance abuse withdrawals.
Case in point—Our daughter, her husband and their two dear children had been living in another state far away from us for several years due to his job. Daughters hubby wished to move back to our area to be near family after he had been laid off. They packed up what they could, traveled back to the U.P. and moved in with us for a time while they secured new jobs and a place of their own. They had been here for about two weeks when their behavior seemed uncomfortably different. Almost like they had a burr under their saddle, so to speak. One evening, a couple of hours after dinner, dearest son-in-law jumped up and ran off to the kitchen. When I found him buzzing around the kitchen, he was making a cake. When the cake was done he mixed up a pan of brownies and put them in the oven, too. Dear son-in-law used the excuse he just felt like baking something. Of course, the cake and brownies disappeared very quickly. The next afternoon he loaded up his family and drove them thirty miles into town for a McDonalds meal. Processed junk food is not on the menu out here in the backwoods because we mostly eat what we grow. So before they returned home here, they stopped at Wal-Mart for soft drinks, Twinkies and other nasty’s such as corndogs, tatter tots and frozen pizza to fill our pantry and freezer with. Seems our home cooked real food created four guest monsters. One caveat to this story; our three year old granddaughter had seemed much calmer off the junk food. An average day for this child will find her basically bouncing off the walls, but on real food she had the normal temperament of an average three year old again. The stuff she has been eating is loaded with food dyes and additives she is allergic to. After two weeks most of the nasty junk food toxins were pretty much out of her system. However, that reprieve was most temporary. All it took was one trip to McDonalds and our baby girl was back bouncing off the walls, to the point she was unable to settle down for bed.
I can’t stress enough that junk food withdrawals are as real as any cigarette, alcohol or drug addition withdrawal. Sometimes taking months to overcome. So, when I say your food stores could become an issue, believe me and take precautions now. A lock or two on the pantry door today could mean a fuller belly tomorrow, which could also save dear son-in-law a swift kick in the pants.
I would personally recommend these books and internet links;
“Country Wisdom & Know-How” series put out by the editors of Storey Books.
“Cooking with Home Storage” by Vickie Tate
And of course my book,
“How to Survive and Thrive When the Power is Out” this website.
Check youtube for instructions on making your own portable rock stove mass heater.
Look guys, we can’t know when the next 9-11 will strike. For me, this election has my hair standing on end. I haven’t found the “None of the above” box on the voting ballot, yet. Governments kill people to hold on to power, plain and simple. 2016 has me really worried. October surprise maybe?.
And if this election season weren’t terrifying enough, prophesy, predictions and physics are all pointing to 2020 as the year all hell is unleased on the world, or at least the U.S. Personally, I can’t say with any accuracy but I will predict that it is much better to be prepared for something than to wait for a secretive, corrupt government to take care of me and my family during a (crisis?). Think FEMA camp, eh?
If left alone, many communities will survive. Humans are creative and giving by nature. We can overcome adversity within the confines of family or tribal group due to our diverse labor force, and by handing down or passing on our expertise to the next generation. It is how the little people have made to cut up until now.