Survivalism & Self Sufficiency Topics > Lady Survivors

After years of prepping and still going - by Victoria

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4bull:
Great work , Victoria
    In the 70's we had a calf bucket ,the one for feeding that i plumbed on a shower head and value on .
thought we had it made. it didnt fit a limb but any board it worked.
 In the army i weilded a bolt on a glow plug and hooked it up to 24 volts for hot coffee in 30 seconds.
Thanks made me smile.
   Ive alwase kept a porta potty around , and lots of 5 gallon buckets.

Victoria:
Peace of mind:  If you are just beginning to secure your existence should an emergency happen, you may be feeling anxious - so much to do and what to do first.  I suggest you first, calmly, evaluate what the most likely emergency might be for you and prepare for that first.  Example:  for me, it's the possibility of a hurricane and that's an every year possibility and it has happened to me numerous times and surely will happen again.  After that, tornados abound in Texas, so that's number two plus tornados are spawned by hurricanes all the time.  After that, the possibility power goes off for a reason other than weather (see example of that below).  After that, who knows what might happen - if you have read any survival books, non-fiction or fiction - you know there are numerous possibilities.  The bottom line is, evaluate your own situation and prioritize the dangers, then start preparing for those possibilities, one at a time. 

An example of my not being properly prepared when an unexpected emergency happened:  This happened when this whole area of a hundred miles or more, mostly north and south and lesser miles east and west, lost power and no one knew why.  It was hot Texas summer, and a few weeks before this happened, my husband had very bad surgery and he was too weak/sick to stay in a very hot house.  I had to get him out of the house to a cool place.  A neighbor said she talked to her sister who lived about 50 miles west and she had power.  We determined to go that direction. 

First, I had to gather what both of us needed to exist since I had no idea why power was off so didn't when it would come back; news from the power company was they didn't know why it went off and didn't know when it would come back (strange situation but it happened).  It was dark in the house - had to find a flashlight, go upstairs and gather clothes, personal supplies, all his necessary medicines and mine, go back downstairs, still using flashlight, grab a gallon jug of water, some kind of food to sustain us in the car since I didn't know how long it would take us to get out of the massive car jam of thousands of people trying to get out of the area and didn't know how far west we would have to go to find lodging once we got in an area with power. Yes, I was frantic inside the dark house trying to find vital items we needed (had to get husband in cool car as fast as possible).  I wasn't even sure where a flashlight was when the power went out.  It was pure luck we had a decent amount of cash and the car had just been filled.  Without power, gas stations couldn't pump gas and no ATM machine worked.  After we made our way west to power, we had to keep going more miles to find a vacancy in a hotel as others had gotten to that area before we did.

Look at all the mistakes I made - my husband's life was truly in jeopardy due to my lack of preparation to be able to leave the house quickly with what we needed and we would have been totally stuck in place if the car had needed gasoline.   I was prepared for staying in place for a hurricane right then but not for quickly leaving my house.  I vowed this would never happen to me again.

Don't let the above happen to you.  You can easily prepare now to leave your house quickly to go to a place of safety.  A simple way to do it, is, gather what's needed for a few days including a change of clothes, every necessary item you would need including water and already prepared food (food items such as those individual packets of tuna with condiments, granola type bars, cheese/cracker packets, etc.), plus a flashlight, pack it in a box and station that box close to the exit you use to get to your car.  Make sure you know where a flashlight is in your house and always keep it in that place with good batteries. 

After researching, I bought two Life Gear's Wings of Life survival backpacks.  Each is a three day survival pack with food, water and essential survival gear.  Won't list what's included in them because the list is extremely long; you can look them up on the web if you want to know.  There is also room to pack a change of clothes and other items you that are essential to you, such as personal medicines.  These two backpacks are in my most secure room fairly near my front door - the bathroom - that's the most secure room in my house in case of a tornado.  If the house falls down and we're still alive in the bathroom, we've got three days of everything we need in those backpacks - and if we need to leave the house quickly at any time, all we need to do is grab those bags and we're gone.  I did prepare another bag (on wheels), with more food and a way to warm it - think soup with meat/veggies and instant oatmeal (yep, the trusty canned heat and Sterno stove for heating/cooking) and other items (one being camping metal plates/cups/utensils, plus a Melitta plastic filter cone and paper filters to make coffee).  That bag is stationed not far from the bathroom to grab and roll out with us and the backpacks.

I sincerely hope you prepare to leave your house quickly so you never have to go through what we did.  Once you have done that, continue to prepare for an emergency when you stay in your house.  The majority of us aren't going to head to the woods to camp when there is an emergency and we don't have a retreat house in the woods to bug out to.  Staying in my house without power, with a low public profile, with enhanced house security and prepared to stay for a very long time, at least a year without having to buy anything and still being comfortable, was and is, my goal and you can do it, too. 

Next are several easy ways to start fire to light canned heat, propane grill, wood, candles, etc.

Victoria:
Ways to Start Fire

OK, maybe I've overdone it with ways to start fire but it's sure I won't be without a way to do it.  Make sure you have at least three ways to allow for failure of two ways.

1.  Strike anywhere matches:  when I began preparing, strike anywhere matches (meaning no need to strike match on box to get match to light) were in abundance in any grocery store.  Now, because whomever doesn't trust us with these matches, it's doubtful you will find them in grocery stores.  Go ahead and look for them and maybe you'll get lucky.  When I bought mine, had no idea they would go away in the future.  I bought a lot of boxes and sealed them in a really big round, metal Christmas can like popcorn comes in (to seal out moisture).  Now days, these metal cans are not as large as the one I used.  If you buy more than today's metal can holds, just buy another can of popcorn (this is not a diet thread so I don't care how much buttery popcorn you eat).  No matter what type matches you get, these metal cans are good, dry, storage cans.  You may use any type good container you want, but put the boxes in one to protect from moisture.

2.  Strike "only on the box" matches.  Because you and I can't be trusted with matches that strike anywhere and light, boxes now in stores require the box to light the match.  If your match box gets wet, the matches will not light and you're out of luck so it's most important these boxes of matches are kept in a dry place and still keep the box dry when you take a box out and use it, or your matches won't light.

3.  Coghlans waterproof matches - a 10 box pack, total 450 matches, can be had at Amazon for less than $5.00.  Yes, they will light even if they get wet.

4 and 5.  Now, we're getting into the real, for sure start a fire no matter what, fire starters.  I did a lot of research on these, and choose two kinds, one really cheap but surely works and one more expensive (which I like the best, naturally).
 
(4) The cheaper but still dependable one, is "Emergency Fire Starter" for less than $5.00 on Amazon.  It's a bar of magnesium with a striker included.  Shave a small amount of magnesium off the bar with the striker, into a small amount of fuel you collected - dry grass or leaves or paper.   Strike the magnesium bar with the striker and sparks will cause the magnesium bits to light and ignite your fuel. 

(5) Now, we have what I consider to be the "ultimate" if you don't have matches: The "Ultimate Survival Technologies Strikeforce Fire Starter".  It's more expensive, between $16 - $22 on Amazon.  It's the orange color that brings the $22 price.  It's bright orange, therefore easier to locate/spot than the dark colored one.  It sparks three times hotter than a standard match.  Is of special alloy flint bar and has steel striker that can be used thousands of times.  Inside a compartment is some "WetFire" tinder and it only takes a tiny bit of that to ignite and start your collected fuel, however, without the WetFire thingy,  the sparks by themselves will ignite any dry fuel you collect.

Do not let your children handle any of the matches or the bar fire starters - don't let your teen age children handle the bar starters inside the house or even outside unless you're with them and I'm totally serious about this.  As for husbands, see true story below:

True story:  If your husband has not had a bar fire starter before, make sure he doesn't test it out in the house as these are major bar fire starters, especially the "Ultimate" one.  So, we're watching TV - two survival type guys are in the wild and neither has anything to start a fire, so they discuss which difficult method they're going to use.  Husband, being cute??,  says, "I've got a fire starter!", picks up his just arrived new "Ultimate" orange bar starter off the coffee table, and runs the steel striker down the bar and a huge number of sparks covering a wide area (can you say lightning hot and big), shower off that bar downward.  Thank God, truly, there was nothing at the end of that bar for those many, mega hot sparks to hit - they would have burned whatever they hit.  It was truly spectacular to see the magnitude of those sparks.  Never again will either of those bars be struck in the house.

Fuel to start your major fuel burning:  There's the magnesium particles and the WetFire tender, but you've got in your house right now a great quick burning starter fuel and you've been throwing this free fuel away for years - it's laundry lint.  Start right now, get a gallon plastic bag, station it close to your dryer and deposit you dryer lint in that bag - in no time you've got lots of great starter fuel.  Another great starter fuel, is cotton balls with an amount of Vaseline inside the ball - doesn't take much Vaseline in there to start burning.  Make up as many of those as you want and remember where you put them.

Now, we have running water, ways to cook and ways to start our cooking fuel.  The big, massive? task of gathering food to last a long time is next, and we'll boil that down so it isn't so massive or hard to do.  As with everything else, there are several ways to do it. 

Victoria:
Food storage and reasons to have it:

We now have water plus running water, ways to cook, ways to start fire, now we need food.

Food for short term power outage:  Why is it, when a hurricane is approaching or a severe freeze warning is issued, people run to the grocery and clean it out?  Because they only have from one to three day's food in their house.  They are no more than three days from starving.  One would think that might make an impression to keep more food in the house all the time, but it doesn't happen - every time a warning goes out, the same behavior.  Look at this another way;  stores use a "just in time" method of re-stocking.  If a food item is cleaned off the shelf, there's no more in the back of the store - no more will be on the shelf until a truck brings it there and if the truck can't get there, that shelf stays empty.  This fact alone should push you to keep more food in your house.  If you want to be scared into storing food, read, "Light's Out" by David Crawford - that will do it - superior book and scary as hell, set right here in Texas around San Antonio.

From experience, I can say the first food you will eat after power goes out, is food in your freezer as it defrosts.  Wow, that's a lot of food at one time that needs to be cooked and eaten.  If you know power is likely to go out due to an oncoming event, and have prepared with ice in a large cooler, you will be able to keep this food from spoiling for days as it defrosts. and can eat this "stash" until it's no longer safe.  You know which canned goods to get for several day's power outage - the usual tuna, Spam types, chili, fruit, etc., etc.  If you have room in freezer, put in a loaf or more, of bread.  I say this due to bread being the last food to come back after five days of loss of power.  I suppose it's because bread is a fresh item, has to be baked every day and those bakeries have to get up and running again.  So, freeze some if you have space.  Always assume you have no power, and keep five days of canned food and packaged food such as your cereal, etc., in your house  You can do that easily and you need to do it now.  If you can't live for five days right now without going to the grocery, fix that problem.  Put a post on this thread when you've done it and we'll all celebrate.

Longer term power outage and/or it isn't safe to go to a grocery store:  Why would it not be safe to go to the grocery?  Answer: public unrest resulting in riots, stealing, killing.  The majority of people are calm, rational, law abiding, civilized, all the time because they have water, food, shelter.  Take any one of those away, and life is threatened causing the thin veneer of civilized behavior to disappear.  Perhaps you think you wouldn't resort to rioting or stealing or worse - yes, you would after no more than two days without water and if you had water but no food, you would do it a several days later.  If something happened to shut down banks, loss of power or other reason (taken a look at our economy recently plus the cost of food?), and there was no money to be had or food cost so much people couldn't buy it, they would storm grocery stores and take what they needed to stay alive.  There's not enough law enforcement personnel to stop that behavior and you don't want to be in the middle of that.  Again, read, "Light's Out" to scare you into preparing.

Perhaps you say, FEMA loves me and will give me water, food, shelter.  Surely your TV works and you've seen long lines of  people waiting for hours for a FEMA bottle of water and a few MRE meals.  I beg you to forget government assistance to save your life - that is depending on someone else to save you and do you know one FEMA official who would make sure you survived over the 300+ million living in this country??  I don't want to be one of those millions - do you?  I might have been able to get a bit of special treatment when George Bush was president, but I'm not on Obama's Christmas card list (more likely on his "dirt" list, but I digress).  Staying alive is not a political issue - take a pledge to be responsible for the safety of your family and store water and food, okay?

How to choose and store food:

There are three major ways to accomplish this if you don't have a self sufficient veggie garden and can your own food and raise food providing animals.  I have gone over and over food storage for years and tried methods that worked and didn't work.  I've thrown out stored food because I screwed up one way or the other.  I've studied the shelf life of every canned food item known to mankind (well maybe not every canned item but it feels that way).   Here are three major ways to store food:

1.  Buy everything in regular grocery store or places like Sams/Costco (no fresh food included).  Re-package anything not in cans so it won't spoil for years (flour, cornmeal, rice, dried beans, etc.).  Buy it over time or mega amounts several times.
2.  Buy it all from a long term food storage company and you're done.
3.  A combination of 1 and 2.  That's what I did.

First, determine the amount of time for which you want to prepare.  If you're just beginning, the easiest method is to prepare for one month of sustainable food.  That one month will give you some security and stop those feelings of panic because you have nothing now.  It also gives you experience in making a plan.  You will screw up somewhere - too much of this and not enough of that - forgot to get this and that.  It's just easier to deal with one month.  Once that month is done, make a plan for another month; you'll likely adjust the first one month plan you made.  A notebook will help you keep your act together.

What is food anyway?  It's what you put in your mouth to give you power in order to breath, move, repair/build cells and resist disease, so foods are made of good chemicals our body uses.  Categories of these foods/chemicals and their state for long term storing, are:

Vegetables - canned, dehydrated, freeze dried
Legumes - beans, canned and dried
Meats - canned, jerky
Fruits - canned, dehydrated
Grains - flour including pasta, cornmeal, oats, rice - especially stored for long life
Nuts - canned, jars peanut butter, peanut butter powder
Eggs - powdered, plus egg substitute for recipes calling for eggs
Dairy - instant and powdered milk, butter powder, canned butter
Sugar in some form for quick energy and sweetening (regular sugar, brown sugar, honey, molasses, candy bars, granola bars, etc.). 
Sauces such as bottled/canned pasta sauce, salsa/picante, gravies, ketchup, mustard, mayo, etc.
Plus chemicals to make flour/cornmeal rise (baking powder, baking soda, plus yeast if you want to make regular bread presuming you have a working oven), iodized salt for iodine and taste appeal, plus seasonings for taste appeal,

Try this:  Assume there is no power but, due to your smarts and planning, you have water and a way to cook (but no oven).  Make a menu for one day, using no fresh food, choosing one breakfast, one lunch and one dinner and any snacks the family might eat in a day.  Record how much of each food you used.  Done that?  Now, make another day's menu and continue until you have 7 days of menus.  Try to vary your meals as much as possible.  Add up the amount of each food you used for that week.  Be sure to add in the amount of sugar, flour, cornmeal, baking powder, baking soda, salt, seasonings, sauces you used.  You can take that week's menus and multiply the amounts by four and have a month's amount of food.  For good measure, add another week's worth. 

Discussion of each food category and how best to store it follows.

ncjeeper:
I have been enjoying this thread, thanks.

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