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Friday, October 15, 2010

Keep Gas Can Storage For Disaster



Having gas storage is almost as important as having food and water storage during disasters. It’s all about the gas can and fuel stabilizer. This world runs on gas and you will most certainly need it, especially during the beginning phase of disasters.
If you are away from home during the beginning of a disaster, you will need gas in your car to get home, or to get away. If you are at home, you may need gas in your car to get away, depending. Early in a disaster, even if you are well stocked with food and supplies, a wise thing to do is drive to your nearest gas station and fill your gas tank, provided their is still electricity to run the pumps.
If the disaster is one that triggers your bug-out plan, then you may need a lot of gas in your car to get to your planned bug-out-location or your pre-planned stay at a distant relative or friends house. You may need more gas than your gas tank can hold. This is one reason it is so important to have a number of filled gas cans ready to use.
The plastic gas can is readily available, costs significantly less than metal, and is common in a 5 gallon size. Gas weighs about 6 pounds per gallon, so a 5 gallon gas can will weigh 30 pounds, a manageable weight to lug around. How many gas cans you keep at the ready is your decision. Keep in mind that you can only fit so many gas cans in your car, along with the rest of your things. Gas will become worth a lot of “money” (barter) during a disaster, so having a decent supply will be to your benefit.
Proper gas storage is important for safety sake and for optimizing the length of time before the gas goes bad. Common sense applies to gas storage. Although a properly sealed gas can should not leak vapor, good ventilation in the storage area is wise. Keeping the gas can out of the sun and excessive heat will minimize the expansion and contraction of the can. Use a product like Stabil (STA-BIL) to add to the gas for long term storage, and it will keep the gas fresh for 12 months. When your gas storage approaches 12 months, pour it into your car’s gas tank and refill them with fresh gas.
STA-BIL 22214 Fuel Stabilizer – 32 Fl oz.
On a side note, always keep your car gas tank as full as possible. A good rule is to never let it go below a half tank. Keep in mind that many car gas gauges are not accurate, and for example may remain above the half tank level longer than it should, and then rather quickly drop down to empty. Some might say that this is designed purposely in some cars, to have the driver feel better that there is gas in the car or the appearance of better fuel economy. In any event, when in doubt, fill ‘er up.
Go out this weekend and make a good investment by purchasing a few gas cans. Fill them up, add some Stabil, and tuck them away.

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Modern Survival Blog

Make Vinegar From Apples

An excerpt from The Little House Cookbook: Frontier Foods from Laura Ingalls Wilder’s Classic Stories:
Everything must be saved, nothing wasted of all the summer’s bounty.  Even the apple cores were saved for making vinegar…
- Farmer Boy
A quantity of good vinegar was important to a family that preserved its own meat and vegetables… Since store products might contain dangerous acids, careful housewives made their own vinegar, taking pride in the special flavors they acheived.  They began at preserving time with a clean barrel open at the top for air and receiving and fitted with a bung at the bottom for decanting.  Into the barrel went rain water, some of last year’s vinegar, and the peel and cores from apple canning and drying.  Sweetening might be added in the form of preserve-kettle skimmings, molasses-barrel rinsings, honey, or brown sugar.  In time this mixture fermented, resembling hard cider or wine; in more time-several months-the ferment turned acid and became vinegar.  In spring part of the the batch might be moved to an outdoor barrel and mixed with rainwater and spices to become next seasons pickling vinegar…
Start your vinegar making as soon as the season’s new apple crop is available so you can make several tries if necessary.
For 1/2 gallon of cider vinegar you will need:
  • 1/2 gallon of  spring, rain, or well water
  • 2 c. honey
  • 12 or more apple peels and cores
  • 1/2 package of dry yeast (1 1/2 tsps)
  • 1/2 c. cider vinegar, commercial (for comparison only)
1.  Small barrel or plastic gallon jug (used plastic milk jug); cord or lid; sipping straws.  *If a plastic milk jug is to be used, wash well and scald with hot water to kill any bacteria.
2.  Find a place in the warm kitchen where it can rest on a side, with the narrow opening serving as a bunghole.
3.  Cut an opening on the top surface to receive a wide cork or plastic lid (the closing should not be airtight).
4.  Boil water, pour it in the jug, and stir in honey, peel, and cores.  Cover, set aside.
5.  Check mixture daily for bubbling.  If none occurs in a week, add the yeast.
6.  If mold forms on the surface, skim it off without disturbing the contents.
7.  After 1 month, the bubbling will have stopped and souring begun.  Now it is up to your taste to tell you when the vinegar is ready to use.  To take a sample from the jug, plunge in a sipping straw, close the end with your thumb, and remove the straw half full.  Judge the strength by comparing it with the taste of the commercial vinegar.
8.  In two months the vinegar may be sour enough to use in cooking and salad dressings.  Try to decant a quantity from the bung without shaking up the contents.  Replenish the barrel with any fermented matter on hand.
At some point a milky froth may form on or below the surface of the vinegar in the barrel.  This is called a “mother,” and is a welcome sign of acetic acid bacteria but a possible nuisance.  Best remove it, along with the other solid matter in the barrel.
Use your homemade product wherever vinegar is called for… except for pickling, which requires a vinegar of proven acidity.

An Uncomfortable Subject

When should you loot? Or more palatably, when should you salvage? It’s a little discussed topic in the preparedness world, though almost all of us think about it. Most of the talk and too much of the thought is confined to shooting down the theoretical Rawlesian Golden Horde as they try to seize supplies from those that have prepared for whatever disaster occurs. That said we all realize that at some point we may find ourselves in an extreme situation, and in the case of a big enough crisis, taking goods that are not legally ours may need to be considered. We might well be part of that horde.

The fact is that in a sustained crisis, where the flow of food and manufactured goods might be interrupted for many months or years rather than days, weeks or a few months, you’re going to run out of something you desperately need. The methods you have to obtain that something are these: make, grow, trade…or loot/salvage.

The problem is that you can’t make some things, such as AA batteries. I very much doubt that there will be any for sale or trade either after a few months. So is it okay to loot the AA batteries out of the smoke detectors in an abandoned office building? Is it dependent on whether you want to keep your cool little flashlight working or if that is what you must have to keep your Steripen functioning to supply safe water for your kids?

Then there are things you can’t grow here in Manitoba. Citrus fruits are a good example. If you’re out of Vitamin C and scurvy is rearing it’s ugly head, is it OK to smash the vending machine in the employee’s lounge in that same office building to get at a few cans of 5-Alive or V8?

One can always hope to trade for what you need. I believe that ad hoc marketplaces will spring up pretty quickly, in fact. The trouble is that these will likely deal in goods that are relatively plentiful, otherwise there would be no surplus to trade. The likelihood of finding Amoxicillin, decent painkillers or ammunition will be pretty slim after a while. Since these sorts of high tech goods cannot be made or grown either, you are left with a choice: Do without or loot (or salvage if you prefer).

Sooner or later, unless you and yours are sitting on an honest-to-god mountain of supplies, you will likely face this choice. What you decide is up to you. For myself, I’ll loot if I absolutely must. It’s not a decision I’ve made easily or lightly. My fervent hope is that I have prepared well enough or that the duration of any crisis is short enough that I will not be forced into it.

The reality is that if a crisis is deep enough or long enough, sooner or later I’ll likely be searching abandoned homes for a few Tylenol or a forgotten can of beans. I’ll eventually find myself in that abandoned gas station looking for a patch kit for a tire, or a battery with a charge left in it. I don’t like to think of myself scavenging on the remnants, but I’ll do it if I have to keep myself and my family going. And you need to decide now whether you will or will not scavenge before you have a need to do it.

If you’ve decide to scavenge rather than, to quote Heinlein: “starve like a gentleman”, you need to think about when it is ‘right’ to do so, and what the parameters are going to be. Is it OK to root through the neighbour’s house after they’ve piled everything they can into the car and headed for the hills? How about the batteries and V8 mentioned earlier? Are the abandoned public buildings or businesses in the pool of potential sites? What about gas and batteries in abandoned vehicles and the contents therein? Will you go so far as to loot corpses?

How long will you wait to begin searching? Leave it too late, you may find nothing left. Start too early, the remnants of the civil powers will most likely execute you on the spot. And in between, you’ll be competing with others every bit as desperate as you are for the ever diminishing amount of resources.

It’s not a comfortable subject, but it’s one you need to think about now, not later. Figure out now what level you’re willing to go to for survival. Better yet, use the idea of having to do this to think about exactly what ‘must have’ would send you out into the streets. Is it little Suzy’s asthma medications? Vitamins to fend off deficiency diseases like scurvy? Or something else entirely? Double or triple stock them from your current levels!

If that isn’t possible, consider stocking something as a barter item. Booze and tobacco are likely safest and easiest, but if you have the ability to stockpile something that others likely cannot, consider doing so as a trade good, even if you feel it is unnecessary for you or your group. It’s not a sure thing, but having something to trade might get you the last of what it is you need.

There’s no foolproof way to avoid what I’ve described, but thorough prepping now will reduce the need to do so later if the situation arises.

How to Get Your Doctor to Help You Stockpile Medicine, by Cynthia J. Koelker, MD

Various pills

Picture this: Your doctor enters the room and asks, “How can I help you today?”
“I’d like enough medicine to survive the end of the world as we know it,” you reply.
He narrows his eyes and responds, “Just how much Prozac would you need?”
. . .
Finding a physician to help you stockpile medications will be a challenge. Unless your doctor, too, believes Armageddon is nigh, he’s not likely to grant your request.
Why not? Doctors are responsible for the medications we prescribe and the consequences, intended or unintended. Remember, every medication is a potential poison. You’re probably glad your own physician has sufficient training to possess a valid medical license. Certain problems (and medications) require periodic monitoring regarding their effects on the human body. No doctor wants to be responsible for patients who won’t comply with essential examination and testing. Would a car maker warranty your automobile engine if you refuse to change the oil?
Typically, doctors prescribe enough medication to cover a specific problem for an appropriate length of time. Antibiotics are usually dispensed for 7 to 10 days, blood pressure medicines for 1 to 6 months, diabetic medicines for 1 to 3 months, and pain relievers until the underlying problem has resolved.
Does your doctor prescribe you extra amoxicillin, just in case you get sick later this year? Not likely. When physicians prescribe more medication than is currently necessary, this often amounts to patients playing doctor with themselves or with others. Under our current system, this can be a felony.
At TEOTWAWKI, many survivors will be their own doctor, like it or not. And to do so, you will need a stockpile of medications.
Before I offer advice on how to get your doctor to help you with this stockpile, please realize that there are other obstacles to the acquisition of said drugs. Pharmacists have the right to refuse to fill a prescription that seems unreasonable or potentially harmful. Insurance companies usually limit payments for prescriptions to a 1 to 3 month period at a time. You’ll have to pay out of your own pocket to get more medicine than this. Doctors cannot legally alter their prescriptions to say you are taking more medication than you actually are. Neither would it be ethical for you to lie about the situation.
So, how to get the medicine that you may need?
One option is to convince your doctor that the end of the world is near. That’ll be tough. But think a moment, if your doctor really did think TEOTWAWKI is around the corner, he’d be doing his best to help you prepare.
Doctors do prescribe extra medication, along with directions for use, under special circumstances: antibiotics for potential traveler’s diarrhea, anti-malarials for travel to Africa, six months of medications if you’ll be wintering in Antarctica. Asking for medications for TEOTWAWKI is akin to doing the same for a trip around the world. The way I see it, such a supply would be intended to span a gap of only a year or two only. Some medications probably do have a shelf-life of a decade beyond their expiration date, but hopefully a better solution would be available long before then.
Convincing your doctor to prescribe extra medication depends largely on the doctor-patient relationship. If your doctor trusts you, he or she is much more likely to assist you. Please realize that your doctor will think that he’s doing you a fairly large favor. He may even question the legality of his own prescribing. Don’t forget to be grateful. Also realize that even if a doctor writes more than a year’s worth of refills, pharmacists cannot fill them beyond a year of the original prescribing date. If you are convinced that you need more than a 12-month supply stockpiled, you’ll need to discuss this openly with your doctor. Obviously a person could visit more than one doctor, which I don’t recommend, especially if you don’t tell each and every one of your physicians what you are doing. Dishonesty is a deal-breaker when it comes to getting your doctor to trust you.
In general, medications are prescribed for either acute problems or chronic problems. Acute problems include most infections and injuries. Chronic problems include asthma, diabetes, heart disease, hypothyroidism, mental illness, arthritis, and a host of others. Treatment of chronic conditions also includes modification of risk factors including high cholesterol and high blood pressure. Even antibiotics are sometimes prescribed long-term in certain situations, e.g. acne, rosacea, certain forms of colitis, and recurrent urinary infections.
Medications for acute problems include antibiotics, anti-virals, anti-malarials, antifungals, anti-diarrheals, antiemetics, migraine treatments, pain medications, heartburn relief, albuterol for asthma and COPD, nitroglycerin, corticosteroids, and anti-inflammatories, to name the most common.
Drugs for chronic problems and conditions include birth control pills, antidepressants, allergy medications, inhalers for asthma and COPD, anti-anginal drugs, acid-reducing drugs (proton pump inhibitors, histamine-2 blockers), anti-inflammatories, diabetic meds, thyroid replacement, and many others.
Without specifying which of these meds I’d advise for stockpiling, I’ll tell you exactly how I’d like a patient to approach me to acquire an extra supply, an approach which I believe would work for other doctors as well.
First, begin establishing a trusting relationship with your doctor. If you don’t think your physician even knows who you are, make an appointment for a minor problem. Don't ask about stockpiling at this initial visit.
If your doctor asks you to follow-up for this problem, then do so. Follow directions. Be responsible. If he says no follow-up is needed, no doubt you can find another reason to come in within a month or so. Accompany another family member to their appointment to keep your face fresh in your doctor’s memory. If there are multiple providers in your physician’s office, try to see the same one each time to establish a relationship.
By the third time your doctor has seen you within a time frame of a few months, he’s going to start knowing you, and more importantly, trusting you. You must act in a trustworthy manner by:
  • Showing up for your appointments
  • Not canceling appointments with insufficient warning
  • Arriving on time (even if you must wait on the doctor)
  • Taking your medications properly and knowing their correct names and dosing
  • Trying to do your part in every way
  • Being kind, pleasant, polite, and cheerful.
Of course, this is good advice even if TEOTWAWKI does not occur in our lifetime.
After doing the above, it’s time to consider approaching the topic of TEOTWAWKI.
Say that you have diabetes and want to be prepared. If you ask for a year’s prescription, your doctor may figure you won’t show up again, even though you’ve demonstrated responsibility to date. Ask for an extra three months instead and make 100% sure that you show up for your next scheduled visit. If you don’t, your doctor will decide he cannot trust you. As in every relationship, once trust is broken, it takes much, much longer to reestablish.
Assuming you do keep your scheduled follow-up, remind the doctor that you have put back the extra medication, and that you’d like to have an additional three month’s worth. Reassure him that you will again follow-up whenever he’d like you to return. (And especially for diabetics, do what your doctor suggests regarding blood sugar testing, weight loss, etc. – at the very least, try.) In this fashion by establishing and confirming trust, you can build up an adequate stockpile. If your relationship is strong, he may trust you to get even a year’s worth ahead of time. The same protocol would apply equally well to any of the chronic diseases mentioned above. And if you suffer from any of these, educating yourself is an excellent idea. Learn how to take care of yourself now so you’ll be ready later.
For acute problems, such as bacterial infections, you’ll want a supply of antibiotics on hand. Follow the above directions in establishing a trusting relationship. Then either when you are sick (or when you are not) ask for a supply of one appropriate antibiotic, perhaps a 30-day supply. Reassure your doctor that you will not use this medication as long as he is here to take care of you. If you get sick again, go back to your doctor and remind him of your plan. If he suggests antibiotics, request a new prescription, and perhaps another supply to stockpile. Trust, trust, trust. That’s 99% of the equation.
With 2012 just around the corner, you should start now. None of us knows God’s timeline, but waiting until the last minute is ill-advised.
* * *
What do Armageddon and health reform have in common? Either way, people need to know how to care of themselves with the resources at hand. Written by family physician Cynthia J. Koelker, MD, 101 Ways to Save Money on Health Care explains how to treat over 30 common medical conditions economically, and includes dozens of sections on treating yourself. Available for under $10 online, the book offers practical advice on treating: respiratory infections, pink eye, sore throats, nausea, diarrhea, heartburn, urinary infections, allergies, arthritis, acne, hemorrhoids, dermatitis, skin infection, lacerations, lice, carpal tunnel syndrome, warts, mental illness, asthma, COPD, depression, diabetes, enlarged prostate, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and much more.
Dr. Koelker has recently started a new medical blog on surviving 2012 and TEOTWAWKI, ArmageddonMedicine.com. There is not much posted there yet, but there will be, as she begins answering questions from readers. She welcomes your questions, comments, and critiques.

Treatment for rattlesnake bites for Dogs.


After reading some replies on another post about folks concern for rattle snakes I thought I would pass this on.

Dogs are a utility animal, multi purpose and they are there to buffer the threat level or aid us in our daily work.

On occasion dogs will meet rattle snakes and the outcome might be a snake bite. In a rural setting a vet may not be available or the economics of life do not always justify spending a large amount of money on a vet bill so you may be forced to or choose to treat the snake bite at home.

Now some folks view there pet as an extension of the family and will spend a small fortune on them and that is fine, I have done so before myself.

Dealing with rattle snake bites in the rural area I had the fortune of having a realist Veterinarian that advised us years ago on an effective snake bite treatment when a vet is not available.

*Disclaimer 1* If your dog has been bitten by a rattlesnake seek Veterinarian assistance Immediately.

Upon signs of snake bit or knowledge of snake bite administer;

Diphenhyramine HCI 25mg (benadril)per 100# every 4 hours for 48 hours. Under 100# I will dose with 25mg anyway as smaller dogs are at greater risk from the snake bite. This will reduce the swelling and tissue damage associated with the bite. I have used the liquid as it is easy to administer orally and seems to enter the system faster.

Administer a broad spectrum antibiotic; I have used Oxymycin 200 at .5cc per 10# body weight every 48 hours for 7 days. This is sold at the local feed store, as is penicillin which I have also used. Oxy is about $15 for 100ml, does not require refrigeration and has a multiple year shelf life.

Contain the animal in a small area to reduce activity and monitor condition. Keep the animal warm, Hydration is an issue also so make sure they drink plenty and give them what ever food they will eat.

*Disclaimer*2. This is a raw bones do or die treatment regime and by no means do I guarantee that the survival of the animal if treated according to this treatment regime.