Welcome to our new Magazine format! All new content will now be brought to you in this easy, new format. All our older content can still be found by scrolling below. Simply click the ">" to start the magazine and navigate via your arrow keys.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Calculate Solar and Wind Energy Available In Your Backyard

 Please note- I wanted to send a quick shout out to Covertress for first posting this information.

The National Renewable Energy Laboratory has a phenomenal online tool called, In my backyard. This tool will help you estimate how much energy you can produce from either solar or wind resources. The first thing you do is enter your address and a Google earth type map comes up showing a satellite image of your house. You then use the drawing tool to draw the solar arrays or wind mills on to the map and the tool will estimate energy production for your anticipated additions.

Related Posts:
Are DIY Solar Kits for real?
Human Powered Generator
DIY Portable Heater
Heating and Lighting in am Emergency Situation
Lights Out-Not if you have an Emergency Restoration Plan

A human skull

Death and Dying in TEOTWAWKI, by Snowman

Most of the SurvivalBlog.com articles focus on the "how tos" of living in or preparing for survival situations. We all understand these needs. However, there has been much less discussion on preparedness for death and dying. I have worked in the medical profession since 1975. I have worked with people in various stages of death and dying in hospitals, hospices, operating rooms, clinics and accident sites. While most of us are doing as much as possible to prepare and stay alive in bad situations we know that our options may be greatly limited in future scenarios. Death and dying are two examples. Initially, I thought that this subject would be too abstract or "soft" in comparison other "how to" articles. However, after some consideration it seems that I was wrong.
Death, dying and bereavement make take very different forms in future scenarios. Our society generally requires a fairly orderly approach to these issues. Much of this process is sanitized in the form of body management and dying locations.. Aside from accidents, civilians usually die in hospitals, hospices, nursing homes or their own residences. We have witnessed many recent natural disasters that displaced thousands. Many of those died in strange or makeshift environments. Families and friends often find closure at a planned funeral. Some have the benefit of resolving bereavement issue with clergy or counselors. How do you suppose that will change in TEOTWAWKI? Many of those services will either be nonexistent or deferred to the most skilled family member. You might be that "go-to" person. The sanitized funerals of today will look very different tomorrow. Death and dying will become a more visible. This is was the case in Europe during the Great Plague in England in the 1600s.

This country has gone through years of pandemic planning in corporate and government sectors. I have been on some of the planning committees at those levels for pandemic preparedness. Government plans for the dead and dying in a full blown pandemic are very real and very ready. Large institutions (i.e. prisons) have purchased or at least budgeted for body bags and other burial supplies for on site mass graves. I never saw these details made public so I can only assume that smarter people didn't want to scare the general public. Although these are largely public health and institutional security issues the same should apply to personal preparedness.

Consider a medication issue: while many may be able to manage various acute medical problems it is unlikely that any will be able to manufacture medications required to sustain life for the long haul. Simply put, a lot of us won't last very long in a TEOTWAWKI or even a protracted natural disaster- regardless of preparedness because our we are living due to modern medications. How long would a fragile insulin dependent diabetic live without insulin? When we look at supply lines we find that much of our generic medications come from foreign nations. Major foreign producers already have major quality control issue with medication production. supply shortages will only worsen any product.

Because of restricted budgets many foreign countries already lack access to medications commonly found in America. Those countries may well be the ultimate survivors, in terms of medication need, as many have already developed and adapted in the absence of modern medicine and limited national budgets. A trip to China, India or any Eastern European nation will demonstrate the point. Could it be that modern medicine has actually placed us behind the curve by making us more dependent on technology? Let's consider practical alternatives.

For starters, take a quick self/family inventory. What will happen to you when your medications are gone? Which of your family members requires meds for diabetes, epilepsy, high blood pressure, cancer, chronic pain,mental illness or chronic infections? Who requires dialysis, oxygen or is bed ridden? Start by talking with your medical provider. Ask for help to prioritize your meds. This is commonly done in clinics because of cost concerns so the question should not seem odd. What would happen if you had to reduce your dose or ran out completely? Your provider should be able to give you planning options. Ask about alternatives for cheaper or more readily available medications. Pharmacists are also excellent resources for these questions. What are your options when the local pharmacy closes? Many now order drugs on line from out of country. Medication planning could help to avoid death in a scenario of limited duration, i.e. natural disaster. The same concerns apply to those dependent on medical devices and related equipment: ventilators, pumps, oxygen, braces and wheelchairs. Many avoid this aspect of preparedness planning as the details can be overwhelming. Despite our best efforts, many will die quickly or painfully because of the lack of medications and medical devices. There are options.

If your health is fine then you are good to go, right? Wrong! What about your spouse, child, friend or pet? The ultimate part of preparedness includes an understanding of death and dying. Although faith is obviously a cornerstone to this discussion it is not the entire story. It is not enough to simply put your loved one in a back room until God decides the time. I have been with many people of faith during their dying time. Responses are varied. Often, the relatives of the dying require just as much care.

Aside from your own discussions with your maker, there are some other practical considerations to a death and dying scenario.
  • Develop an understanding of how your religion or belief system values death and dying.
  • Help those in your community who struggle with health problems, aging, chronic disease or sudden loss. Shovel a neighbor's snow or mow a yard. This will frame your mind for understanding community effort as well as just doing the right thing.
  • Volunteer as a nursing home/hospice visitor. Learn to see dying up close. Make yourself available. Listen to the dying person.
  • Help your neighbor when they lose a member. Take a meal to a friend. Help your sick farm/ranch neighbor with their cattle or crops. Get used to exercising your "volunteer" muscle.
  • If your community is culturally diverse then you will need to at least be aware or cultural requirements for dying/death rituals.
  • At the risk of getting yourself committed, consider talking with your family members about death and dying for the purpose of stimulating their own planning. You have to be careful with this one as many professionals see this as a sign of suicidal intent. This discussion definitely takes planning! Some "loving" members will only be interested in getting your guns and gold after your demise so don't be too surprised. Some will consider you just plain crazy. You might just decide to skip this one.
  • Survival community members may have different ideas about cares for the dead and dying. Planning will help to minimize fights and will develop cohesiveness.
  • Reevaluate your bug out plans. Do you have a contingency plan for a relative who suddenly dies or cannot be transported because of injury or illness? Would you leave that person or pet to die alone? Do you need to add supplies to your BOB for that dying person?
  • Even if not eating or drinking, dying folks continue to require oral and other personal hygiene cares. Helping people to die with dignity often includes helping another with bathing, shaving, dressing, toiletry,, and cleaning up after they drool their food.
  • A bed ridden person requires attention to range of motion and turning. A dying person can develop unnecessary pain and bed sores if these cares are avoided.
  • Address acute and chronic pain as best as possible. Current management of cancer and other end of life pain includes appropriate uses of various medications. Future scenarios would limit access to what is now more readily available. Research your options.
  • Stock a bedpan/urinal. Be prepared to change bedding when needed. Learn to change bed linens with someone in the bed.
  • If at all possible, don't let loved ones die alone. Move beyond your personal fear of death.
  • If death is imminent (particularly in a field situation) ask if there are any special requests. It might be a prayer or last rites. Family members are often greatly comforted by simply knowing that a last request, especially a religious request, was granted. Don't be afraid to say a blessing or prayer over a dead body.
  • Communicate your desires (e.g. CPR) to family and friends. Does your aging grandmother expect you to perform CPR and break all of her ribs when she has the Big One? Again, be careful with this one per the preceding discussion least you get locked up. You can do this in a more acceptable manner if you refer to this as "advance directives". Have a written will. It might be as simple as dividing bullets and beans. It will help to avoid bickering will help to keep the family unit together.
  • Be prepared to deal with a dead body in the absence of a funeral home. Other articles have already addressed this. If possible, be sensitive to cultural codes of body management. Is your retreat space planned for this?
  • State laws require that most deaths be either investigated or reported to the appropriate agency. These especially include infants, accidents,and unexpected deaths (medically unattended).Just be aware of your legal obligations under current laws.
  • Include death and dying books in your library. Also include basic nursing texts that cover care of the dying. Medical texts often omit this chapter as most doctors aren't the ones who provide actual bedside care.
  • Research the role of humor in dying and chronic illness. This could be a very useful and established skill for your tool box.This skill is not overlooked in cancer and pain management centers.
  • Don't be afraid to tell family member, on a regular basis, that you love them. Remember 9-11? Any of those people would have given everything to have been able to have said just those words.
  • Read John Donne's Meditation XVII ("No man is an island"). Donne was an English poet and preacher in the 1600s. Death was then rampant and very visible because of the Great Plague. He describes, from a Christian perspective, man's mortality and how the death of one person affects an entire community.We may well find ourselves returning to that scenario.
  • Never assume that a dying person cannot hear. I have witnessed many folks bad mouthing their comatose relative only to see them walking the hospital hallway the following day- and the still dying person remembered every word!
  • Learn to be a good listener.
For some of us, our ultimate value will be appreciated by how we both lived and died. Dying members of any group will threaten to drain limited resources. However, their death, if handled properly, may ultimately strengthen their community.
Reblog this post [with Zemanta]
Example of Guideline Daily Amounts as presente...

The Importance of Calories in a Survival Situation, By Keith W.

In this modern world the term “calorie” is almost a bad word. They are things to be limited, controlled and shunned whenever possible. We use terms like “empty” and “wasted” in regards to the consumption of calories. Obesity, the result of the over-consumption of calories, is one of the biggest dangers that we face as Americans. If and when TEOTWAWKI occurs, our thinking needs to change immediately.
The average man doing minimal amounts of work needs about 2500 calories per day to maintain weight and full functionality. Doing moderate physical labor or survival activities can easily increase that number to 3000+. When the calorie intake drops below 1200 (or half of the optimal number of calories for an individual) the body goes into a survival mode in which physical and cognitive functions are impaired. Extreme lethargy, indecisiveness, confusion and excessive sleepiness are some of the symptoms and are not beneficial to dealing with the stresses encountered when our lives are in peril. In a survival situation, therefore, calories are crucial and the more, the better. That is right, fat is your friend; remember that fat has 9 calories per gram, whereas protein and carbohydrates only have 4 calories per gram. If you only have 2 pounds of food at your disposal, what do want the composition of that food to be? Keep this in mind when you are making your preparations.
Canned goods are a cheap and easy to acquire survival staple. They have a decent shelf life, and are usually safe to consume well past their “sell by” dates. Tests run by the FDA, the US Army and Washington State University have found that 40-100 year old canned goods that were still safe to eat barring damage to the container. All canned food is not equal in a survival situation however. Many folks will purchase a case or two of whatever is on sale and consider the number of cans when deciding on the duration of their preparedness. A can of green beans for example, has about 120 calories. It would take 10 cans per day just to meet the basic needs of an average man. Those calories do not include much in the way of protein or fat either- both of which are critical for health. On the other hand, a can of Vienna sausages has about 450 calories and has the requisite protein and fat. Very simply, when you are purchasing canned goods for preparedness, devote at least one-half of your purchases to high calorie choices with ample protein and fat. Include some starches like beans, corn and potatoes, since carbohydrates are easily metabolized and turned into the sugars that our brains require. Fruits and vegetables have fiber and some vitamins that cannot be obtained from other sources, so don’t ignore them.
Drying food is one of the oldest methods of preservation and is still a winner in terms of shelf life and durability. Dehydrated foods can have a shelf life of 20-30 years if properly stored. Visit Grandpappy's web site for more info. While ready packed #10 cans of dehydrated foods are great to have, they are somewhat expensive and hard to transport. On the other hand, 1# bags of rice and dried beans are cheap, filling, and readily-available and supply complete proteins when used together. If you have a vacuum sealing machine, a good “ration pack” can be made by placing 1# of dried beans, 1# of rice, 1/3 cup of dehydrated onions, and 2 tablespoons of a salt-based seasoning in separate bags and sealing them together. The contents of that pack can easily feed 4 people for a day.
In the event that you have meat that is ready to spoil due to a recent hunting success or a prolonged power outage, take a page from our ancestors and dry it. There are several methods for drying meat or anything else with a high moisture content. If you are in an arid environment, drying is dead easy. Cut the meat into ¼" slices, rub it with salt and spices (if desired), and either spread it out on a grating or hang it for 2-3 days in an area with decent air flow. Salt is a cheap and bulky ingredient, so it is ubiquitous in seasoning blends and sauces and aids in the preservation process. A cheap “bullet smoker” can be used as a dryer and smoker. Hang the strips of meat from the grates, using toothpicks or a similar item and build a very small fire in the bottom fire bowl. Ideally, the temperature should remain between 110 and 130 degrees Fahrenheit so the product is truly dried- not cooked. The addition of wood, corn cobs or nut shells will impart smoke, which aids in preservation as well as flavor. Window screens or furnace filters can be used in conjunction with rapidly flowing air to dry foods in a day or so. Get creative! Once the foods are thoroughly dried, store in a closed container with hard sides. Plastic bags hold moisture close to the food and will cause the food to partially hydrate and eventually rot. Dehydrated foods can be rehydrated in hot water and used in soups or stews. The dehydrating process reduces the weight of most meat and produce to about 6-10% of its regular weight, so a lot more food energy can be carried per pound.
An unlikely source of survival rations is your local convenience store. Or more likely, the Big Box store where the convenience store buys its products. Individually packaged snack foods are designed for portability and shelf life. Those preservatives that everyone loves to hate are put there to make the product last for months or years in the vending machine with little discernable loss of flavor. The products also have a very low water content (making them cheaper to ship) and very high energy density. The individual vacuum packs of trail mix, nuts, jerky or individual sausages (such as "Slim-Jim”) make for a readily packable addition to your BOB that provide a lot of calories with minimal weight and space. The individual packs of sports drink powders are also a worthwhile addition. Everyone knows that feeling of lightheadedness and nausea that hits when your blood sugar or electrolyte balance goes low. The electrolytes and sugar in those packets is a quick fix for that. These items may not be part of a perfectly balanced diet, but carrying 9,000 calories in a backpack takes some compromises.
In terms of fresh food, think outside your normal comfort zone. Hunting, fishing and foraging will be necessary to augment your food storage. Many people live in areas that are devoid of large animals like deer or elk. Killing, butchering, processing and preserving large animals is a big effort anyway. What good is 200 pounds of meat for a family of 4 when there is no refrigeration handy and they are on the move? Better is to supplant the above mentioned beans and rice with a couple of pigeons or a squirrel bagged along the way. As the Cajuns say “…anything that flies, walks, crawls or slithers is good for gumbo”. Crickets are good additions to the pot as well, just remove their legs at toast them. Some bugs are indeed poisonous or at least really unpleasant to eat- so do your homework while you still can. There are also plenty of plants that are just ready to be foraged for food. While it would be hard to find enough wild onions to live on them alone, they will greatly improve the taste of a pot of soup. Other plants will give you essential vitamins and ever-important fiber. Regularity is often under-appreciated until you don’t have it. There are hundreds of area-specific guides to edible plants that deserve study and a place in anyone’s library.
The human body has a fantastic calorie storage mechanism built in. Our early ancestors rarely knew when or where their next meal would appear. As such, our body has adapted to store food energy “on site” in fat stores. This mechanism allowed us to get through times of scarcity and replenish during times of plenty. In an extended period of scarcity, fat stores might be the deciding factor of who lives or dies. Every pound of fat contains roughly 4000 calories of energy. A person that is 20 pounds overweight therefore has about 80,000 calories of energy in reserve. While the body’s survival mechanisms do not readily lend themselves to following formulas and everyone’s mileage may vary; that means that an extra 20 pounds will buy you extra time to live.
This is not meant to try and convince anyone to switch to a diet of donuts and bacon. Obesity still carries a major penalty in many other aspects of survival both in our current reality and in a worst-case scenario. The ability to live without medications for hypertension, or cholesterol or diabetes is critical when the pharmacies all shut down. Too much fat will indeed kill you. The focus should be on general health and stamina, especially in terms of manual labor and walking. A person with a large muscle mass and very little fat effectively has a huge engine with a very small gas tank. The big engine is helpful, but the tank must always be refilled. A person with little muscle mass and a lot of fat has a small engine and a huge gas tank. It doesn’t matter how much fuel there is if the engine is too small to do the job. A person with decent muscle mass, good cardiovascular health and a little extra “cushion” is the best suited to prolonged survival. The ability to walk while carrying weight and the ability to do strenuous work are the most vital elements.
In summation, calories are an important and overlooked aspect in any survival plan. Imagine the tasks that will need to be done when the lights go out and stay out for an extended period of time. Nearly every task will involve significantly more energy use than it does in our current reality. In human terms, energy comes exclusively from the burning of food energy in the form of calories. The truly prepared will have enough calories available to do what needs to be done to survive and prosper.
Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

13 gigs of detailed info on how to live in a low-tech world

I stumbled across this little gem this morning. It's 13 gig of pamphlets, instructional manuals and how-to guides for the third world. A combination of resources by a whole alphabet soup of governments and NGOs like USAID and Peace Corps. You can find detailed, easy to read instructions for raising just about every kind of livestock and edible plant, how to build or make simple farming and building machines and how to build everything from houses to water rams to fish farms.

Your tax dollars probably paid for it, you might as well get some use out of it.


I even learned how to farm snails! Yay! ;)
A typical automotive alternator mounted in a s...

Alternator as an emergency welder

Here is a link on how to use a typical car or truck alternator as an emergency welder using nothing but scrap.


Hope you never need it, but the system does work as described and lays a nice weld.

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

Wind generator plans link DIY

Here is a link to how to build a wind generator from junk. I have used this exact model for years and it's a real amp producer and can be almost completely made from second hand parts.

The big thing in this article is the blade design that can be made by a good woodworker. It's the best of any blade we have used and is very quite. Click on the blade design in the upper right to download the detailed file.


Steel wool

Fire From Steel Wool and a Battery

I searched but did not see a post about this. I am sure most here already know this, but for the benefit of those that do not, here you go.

  • Stretch out the Steel Wool. You want it to be about 6 inches long and a ½ inch wide.
  • Rub the battery on the steel wool. Hold the steel wool in one hand and the battery in the other. Any battery will do, but 9 volt batteries work best. Rub the side of the battery with the “contacts” on the wool. The wool will begin to glow and burn. Gently blow on it.



Reblog this post [with Zemanta]
BRAINERD, MN - JANUARY 25:  Jerry Baumberger c...

It's that time of year......

The holidays are over, hunting season is done and spring turkey season seems to be so far away. The land of 10,000 lakes has its annual change in its waterfront landscape, from crystal clear waters reflecting the clear blue skies to a white canvas dotted with huts, trailers, tents and the occasional igloo, all for the sole purpose of sitting around a 8" hole in the ice hoping for a sizable walleye will gobble up your ice jig and trip the tip-up. Something else happens at this time as well, cold water drownings.

Winter drownings happen most often as the ice first starts to thicken, and avid fishermen cannot wait, and at the beginning of ice-out, when said fish guys just cannot let the season die. Being neither of these gentlemen/ladies, as I like to fish in a pair of shorts w/o the need of a parka, I thought I would post some information on cold water safety.

Cold Water Dangers

* Cold water is any water below 70 degrees Fahrenheit.
* Cold water robs the body of heat 25-30 times faster than air.
* Safety experts estimate that half of all drowning victims die from the fatal effects of hypothermia, not from water in the lungs.

What is Hypothermia?[1]

Hypothermia is severe lowering of the body’s internal temperature. This occurs when the body loses more heat that it can produce, which as a result, prevents the heart and lungs from functioning properly. Hypothermia is caused when the body is exposed to cold, chilling winds or by getting wet. Hypothermia can happen on land or in water and progresses quickly.

Symptoms of Hypothermia:

* Absentmindedness or confusion
* Lack of coordination and weakness
* Difficulty speaking or slurred speech
* Uncontrollable shivering
* Semi-consciousness or unconsciousness

To Prevent Hypothermia:

* Wear layers of warm clothing.
* Protect your head and hands from the elements by wearing winter hats and gloves/mittens.
* Keep as dry as possible.
* Always wear a personal floatation device (PFD) when around cold water.
* Carry matches in a waterproof container.

How to Help Someone with Hypothermia:

* First call for medical help immediately!
* If the situation is safe for you to do so, remove the person from the cold water or cold air.
* Remove wet clothing.
* Keep the victim as dry as possible.
* Wrap the victim in blankets or in a sleeping bag.
* Build a fire to warm the victim.
* Give the victim warm fluids to drink (no alcohol or caffeinated drinks).
* Seat the victim in a warm shower or warm bath with the arms and legs of the victim out of the water. This allows the core of the body to warm first.

How thick is "safe" ice?

Ice on moving water in rivers, streams and brooks is never safe. The thickness of ice on ponds and lakes depends upon water currents or springs, depth and natural objects such as tree stumps or rocks. Daily changes in temperature cause the ice to expand and contract, which affects its strength. Because of these factors, no one can declare the ice to be absolutely “safe”.

Ice Safety Tips

* Never go onto the ice alone. A friend may be able to rescue you or go for help if you fall through the ice.
* Always keep your pets on a leash. If a pet falls through the ice do not attempt to rescue your pet, go for help.
* New ice is usually stronger than old ice. As the ice ages, the bond between the crystals decays, making it weaker, even if melting has not occurred.
* Beware of ice covered with snow. Snow can insulate ice and keep it strong, but can also insulate it to keep it from freezing. Snow can also hide cracks, weaken and open ice.
* Slush is a danger sign, indicating that ice is no longer freezing from the bottom and can be weak or deteriorating.
* Ice formed over flowing water (rivers or lakes containing a large number of springs) is generally 15% weaker.
* Ice seldom freezes or thaws at a uniform rate. It can be one foot thick in one spot and be only one inch thick 10 feet away.

What To Do If Someone Falls Through Ice

* Reach-Throw-Go. If a companion falls through the ice and you are unable to reach that person from shore, throw them something (rope, jumper cables, tree branch, etc.). If this does not work, go for help before you also become a victim. Get medical assistance for the victim immediately.
* If you fall in, try not to panic. Turn toward the direction you came from. Place your hands and arms on the unbroken surface, working forward by kicking your feet. Once out, remain lying on the ice (do not stand) and roll away from the hole. Crawl back to your tracks, keeping your weight distributed until you return to solid ice.

[1]American Red Cross’ Whale Tales Water Safety Education

As a little keeper, here is a download for you to keep in your ice houses and tackle boxes:

Ice Safety Tips

Have a safe ice fishing season!!!

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]