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Thursday, October 14, 2010

6 Ways to Recycle Water

drinking waterImage via Wikipedia
Watching the aftermath unfold during recent major disasters such as  Hurricane Katrina, the Haitian earthquake, and the flooding in Europe, caused many of us to wake up and start finding ways to be more independent.  Additionally, with the nations dwindling water supply, many are beginning to find ways to conserve water for later use.  Instead of looking forward to the future to find the answers, we are turning our heads back to past, to our forefathers.  Many have begun to grow gardenscare for  livestock, and started learning self reliant practices.
Conserving water is an important aspect of homesteading and something that every home should begin practicing.  These conservation methods teach individuals the importance of frugality, prudence and self reliance.  Using  water consumption calculators is a great way to start researching how much water is used on a daily, weekly and monthly basis.  When a person gets an idea as to how much water is used in the home, they can begin making appropriate changes.  Conserving water is something that any family can do.
Here are six easy ways to conserve and recycle water for later use:
1. Use rain collection barrels.  This is one of the most efficient ways of collection water.  The rain collection barrels comes in different sizes.  If a person does not have rain collection barrels, they could use buckets placed out in the yard to collect water.  The stored water can be used for a short or long term emergencies, but can be used for other purposes such as feeding livestock, or watering the garden with.  Rain water is better to use than water from the hose because it is free of chemicals (used to sanitize water in municipal treatment centers).
2. Re-use water that drains out of flower pots.  Depending on the size of the pot, simply place a plastic plate or bucket under the flower pot and any water that drains out can be re-used in the garden.
3.  Save kitchen water.  Water used to clean dishes can be dumped in the toilet bowl for flushing.  Water used to cook vegetables or pasta with can be dumped (the water must be cooled) into the compost pile.  As long as meat was not used in the cooking process, it can be put in the compost pile or in the vermiculture area.  *Make sure the water is cooled so that you do not harm the microorganisms or worms.
4.  Do your own laundry by hand.  This may take more time and elbow grease, but it will cut down on water and energy consumption.
5.  Take baths instead of showers.  Studies show that 7-8 gallons of water is used every 5 minutes that a person takes a shower.  If you decide to take a shower, when allowing the water to warm up, put a bucket in the shower to collect the cooler water.
6.   Water that has been poured in cups and not drank or water bottles with water in them already can be re-used.  Simply boil the water to kill any germs (the boiling method also oxygenates the water and “freshens” it up), and can be used for drinking water.  If this method does not sound kosher, the water could also be used to water house plants.  And the plastic bottles can be used in the garden as miniature water irrigators.

Survival and Physical Fitness - Survival of the Fittest

Marine of the United States Marine Corps runs ...Image via Wikipedia
An area that is often neglected when considering your survival is your level of physical fitness. Being physically fit should have as much priority as having a well stocked pantry. The old saying “Survival of the Fittest” will come back to haunt you if you haven’t maintained a proper level of physical fitness.
It’s not necessary to become a world class marathoner or weightlifter to be physically fit. You just need to make sure that your daily activity levels are such that you can stay in shape physically. A daily exercise routine will go a long ways in this regard and when combined with a healthy diet you can easily reach levels where your physical fitness will be at a satisfactory level. It needs to fit your lifestyle so that it can be incorporated into your daily life and be maintained on a regular and consistent basis.
Almost everyone has some sort of limited physical ability that could adversely affect their survival but even with these limitations there are many types of physical activities that can be used to enhance your level of fitness.
Where do you start? One of the best and easiest things to do that will help increase your fitness level is to do a little extra walking. You may even want to work your way up to the point where you can do a little jogging or run the occasional race. Another great way to increase your fitness levels is to do a little bike riding or simply take a hike.
You can also set a goal to eat a healthier diet and remember to include portion control. Sometimes it’s not a matter of “what” you are eating but of “how much” you are eating. If your caloric intake exceeds the amount of calories burned by your daily activities on a regular basis, you will eventually develop additional health problems that could have been avoided.
If you do have certain physical conditions that may limit your physical abilities, you will need to make any and all necessary adjustments possible so that these will have a reduced impact on your ability to survive. How well can you see without your glasses? How long can you get by without that prescription medicine? These are just some of the questions you need to ask yourself so that you will be prepared.

Got physical fitness?

Staying above the water line!


Pandemic Flu Survival



A pandemic flu happens when a new flu virus appears which the world population has no immunity. Aviation and global transportation, along with crowded living conditions in a growing world, will cause new flu viruses to spread more rapidly than ever before, possibly threatening our survival.
If the pandemic flu is one with a high mortality rate, survival will hinge upon preparedness actions taken far before the onset of the pandemic. In high demand and short supply will be flu vaccines. Antibiotics may be in short supply during a pandemic from treating infections brought on by infected flu patients. Hospital and medical center personnel will be fatigued and extended, and may fall victim to the pandemic flu themselves. Community infrastructure services will suffer from serious shortages of personnel, resulting in substantial shortages of supplies including food and others that your survival may depend upon. People will become afraid for their survival, afraid to go outside, or to stores or areas with other people. In an effort to slow down the progress of the pandemic flu, governments will likely require many businesses to close and ban activities involving congregating people.
During a bad pandemic flu, people will become prisoners within their own homes. Those who have not prepared by having stocked up with enough food and supplies will suffer dearly, and may even lead to their own mortality.
During the Fall and Winter seasons, the flu will appear once again. If it is a new and dangerous flu strain which mutates to the human population, it will likely spread very fast, and within weeks may be too late to control and keep from the rest of the world.

The time to prepare for a pandemic flu is now

Pandemic flu survival requires a person to build up a supply of the day-to-day items that are normally used and consumed. Things like toiletries, personal care items, and soaps are good examples.  Stock up the medicine cabinet. Include an advanced supply of prescription medication. Boost your supply of vitamins, pain relievers, and flu symptom medications.
Definitely get some N95 masks for your protection because flu is mainly spread by droplets made when people cough, sneeze or talk, up to about 6 feet away. Stock up on alcohol based hand rub to reduce chances of picking up the flu from touching a surface that has flu virus on it and then touching the mouth or nose.  And of course, stock up the food pantry not only with extra food, but cooking supplies as well.
Enough food and supplies to last 3 months is a reasonable length of time to plan for in preparation for a worst case pandemic. In fact, having significantly more than a 3 month supply may save your life if something like what occurred in 1918 ever happens again.  All this preparation will help enable your survival at home without having to go out in public where the pandemic flu will be waiting to infect its next victim.
Start thinking about it today.

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Modern Survival Blog

Emergency Toilet Kit on a Budget

Do you have a preparedness or food storage experience, tip, recipe, product review, etc.? Become a guest blogger on Preparedness Pantry and earn a $20 Emergency Essentials gift card! Click here for details.

Emergency Toilet Kit

In an emergency, you'll want the basics: food, water, shelter, and access to a bathroom. If the sewage lines aren't functioning, then using your toilet isn't going to be an option. Having a Plan B beforehand is a very good idea. There are several emergency sanitation kits on the market, but I like having the option of customizing and creating my own. And because I'm also on a pretty tight budget, I don't want to spend a fortune. So I thought I would share how to make your own emergency toilet kit. Have fun!


1. Portable Toilet Kit from Emergency Essentials: $14.95. This really is a great value. It comes with a five-gallon bucket, snap-on toilet lid, and two enzyme packets for deodorizing. It’s the perfect start to creating your own sanitation kit.

2. One box of heavy duty trash bags: $5. Use two of these to line the bucket (or even your own toilet at home, if you have access to it but are unable to flush it). When it gets half-full (or at the end of the day), you can tie it up, discard it into a public trash receptacle (if available), or bury it on your property.

3. One bag of all-natural, biodegradable kitty litter: $6.99. I looked at various methods of deodorizing and sanitizing the waste in the emergency toilet, including using chlorinated lime (I was nervous about storing this long-term), bleach (too messy), and even  sawdust (good idea for absorption, but does nothing for the smell). Then I stumbled across some all-natural, corn-based kitty litter available at my local pet store. It will eventually dissolve in water, so it’s safe to dispose of in a septic system if the city is providing one in an emergency. It will also keep the liquid mess to a minimum, and deodorize the waste.

4. One plastic camper's trowel from Emergency Essentials: $2.50. Keep this with the kitty litter and use it scoop and sprinkle some on top after each use of the toilet. It's also handy if you need to dig a hole.

5. One Bottle of hand sanitizer: $1.00. When water is scarce, this will be a VERY important component of your kit.

6. Several rolls of toilet paper from your own supply around the house.

Total Cost of Emergency Toilet Kit: $30.44

There are an infinite number of emergency or disaster scenarios. It is hard to anticipate when you might need.  But even if you can’t be prepared for every single possibility, just having something will help you rest easier at night.

--Kirstin, Utah

Sewing Survival Skills: Guest post by Julie Anne Eason

Sewing Survival Skills

Guest post by Julie Anne Eason

Maybe dressing snappy isn't at the top of your list of things to do in an emergency. But basic sewing skills like hand-stitching a seam, mending holes and creating makeshift garments are a necessity for survival. Here are a few skills you may want to brush up on now before an emergency strikes and things get out of hand.

Learn some basic hand stitches.
If you're not able to get your hands on a working sewing machine, you're going to have to break out a needle and thread to stitch up a seam. Get acquainted with the running stitch, backstitch, whipstitch and blindstitch, and you'll be able to tackle just about any sewing project without the need for electricity.

Learn to mend both knitted and woven fabrics.
The days of darning socks may not be dead after all. In a survival situation, it's important to keep your clothing, bags and shelters in good repair. Learning to mend means understanding how different fabrics unravel when they're torn. You should know how to darn, patch, applique and repair different seams on apparel fabric, leather and canvas.
Almost all stretchy fabrics are knit. They are made of one long strand knotted over and over. It will unravel by pulling just one string. Darning is the best method for repairing a knit fabric.
Wovens are generally not stretchy and made of hundreds of threads interlaced over and under each other to form a fabric. A tear in a woven fabric can mean quick unraveling if you don't repair it. Patching is usually the best method for fixing a torn woven fabric. The one exception is a felted wool fabric, which won't unravel at all.
Learn how to quilt insulation into garments and blankets.

Quilting involves stitching a fluffy filling in between two layers of fabric. Any quilted fabric will be warmer than a non-quilted one simply because the fluff traps air in between the fibers creating warmth. Quilted blankets are the most obvious use of this skill. But there's also quilted pants, shirts, jackets, socks, petticoats--you name it. You can buy polyester fiberfill for quilting material, but natural sources are much warmer. And they're free if you gather them in the right season.
Wool and cotton are common fillings for traditional quilts, and can be used for garment quilting as well. If you don't raise your own sheep, you may be able to barter for wool from a neighbor.
Goose down is a great insulator, but you can use any fluffy feather as a filler layer. It's easiest to gather the down from nesting areas in the spring after the birds have molted. You can also save feathers from any fowl you kill for food.

Milkweed floss is another great quilting material. Some reports say it's even warmer than feather down, and it has a waxy layer that helps repel water. Gather milkweed in the fall when the pods are dry and open. Or pick the pods just before they open and dry them out in the sun or in a dehydrator.
Take the time to learn these sewing skills now and you'll be rewarded with warm clothing and dry shelter in the years to come.
Julie Anne Eason is a full-time freelance writer. She spends her days creating various crafts, working on her Bernina 950-Tacsew 950 industrial sewing machine, and helping people find the best beginner sewing machine for them. You can contact her through her website SeriousSewing.com