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Friday, January 7, 2011

FREE practical and how to guides

Volunteers in Technical Assistance (VITA) is a US-based private, nonprofit, international development organization that worked for 42 years helping to empower the poor and fostering self-sufficiency in developing countries, with emphasis on appropriate small-scale technologies for agriculture, food processing, renewable energy, water supply and sanitation, housing and construction, small business development. VITA's worldwide roster of volunteer technical experts responded to thousands of technical inquiries from around the world on development issues and problems each year.

VITA published a wide range of practical guides and how-to's, from a few pages to complete manuals of 200 pages and more, clear instructions and easy-to-follow plans and illustrations. Useful guides on agriculture and animal husbandry, building and construction, business, industry and crafts, communication and transportation, energy, food processing, health and nutrition, stoves, ovens and kilns, water supply, natural resources, conservation.

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VITA publications list

Guest Post: THE CASE FOR DIESEL By Northern Raider

A great post by Northern Raider, partly in response to my leaving diesel users out of my recent poll. :)

Yes I know there are far more people driving Cars, Vans, SUVss , Pick ups, 4X4s  etc with petrol (gasoline) powered  engines than there are driving similar vehicles running Diesel engines, But hang on a moment is that a good thing for us claiming to be switched on survivalists?

Some points I think need chewing over by the preparedness communities especially those with retreats, homesteads, secure homes and bug out plans.

If (or more likely when) TSHTF and fuel availability & storage becomes a major issue what will society in general start doing?

Lets accept that most of us already keep our vehicles topped off most of the time and also keep a few gallons of fuel stored for The Day but nearly all of us must admit that overall we have not got enough fuel cached to get by with.

Question?  What are the general public going to do as soon as finding fuel supplies become difficult ?

Answer, Yes they are going to form huge queues at almost every petrol (gas) station they can, the rest of this tale you already know, huge queues, long waits, rationing, violence, riots, people getting killed for a gallon of fuel. The public will go berserk in next to no time at all.
(This scenario came 100% spot on accurate during the 2005 hurricane season in the US)

So what are the big boys and the prepared people doing?

What do the Railways (Railroads), Truckers, Maritime trade, leisure boats use as fuel? What do farmers choose as fuel for their tractors, ploughs, etc? What do the military choose to power their vehicles?

Diesel, Yes Diesel, This fuel is found almost everywhere a survivalist would choose to look. Its safer to handle and store than petrol, it’s got a better shelf life untreated than petrol and it’s used to power most of our commerce.

So whilst Joe Q public is waiting in the ever growing queues for his ration of petrol, or burning his house down after poorly stored petrol fumes ignited in his garage, the switched on survivalist will have not only more safely stored fuel, but be using the same fuel he will need to run his tractor at his retreat or homestead. He will be able to cache diesel far easier than gasoline, he can ‘OBTAIN’ more from truck depots, rail refueling points, farm supply points, boat yards, truck stops etc. All places that offer nothing to the general public will be good places for survivalists to visit.

Next time you are out and about have a look around and try to identify places you could ‘Source petrol (gas) and diesel. Petrol in general is only available at fuel stations and in other petrol powered vehicles (cars, lawn mowers and jet skis?).It’s only found in fairly small quantities as well. If you are lucky you will be able to fill your vehicle and a few jerry cans from a retail source before government restrictions or shortages become an issue.
But look at places you can find diesel in an emergency and in what quantities? Trucks alone have tanks that carry many hundreds of gallons of diesel, truck stops hold huge amounts in comparison to petrol stations. Look at you local railroad locomotive, even the smallest carry 1500 gallons of diesel whilst the mainline locos can carry as much as 6000 gallons.

Coastal vessels have fuel bunkers of around 500 gallons whilst deep water vessels carry many thousands of gallons, Consider those facts plus the places the trucks, locos and boats refuel at? , buying, storing, caching, scrounging, stealing, and finding you name it diesel has a huge advantage over petrol (gasoline) powered vehicles.

Also in recent years modern diesel engines have advanced technologically, to a point that the power issues that traditionally separated diesel vehicles from petrol (gas) powered vehicles has been eroded. So that unless you are into sports cars a turbo diesel can and will match your gasoline powered car in everything except the 0-60 MPH stakes, plus modern diesels are still more economical than petrol engines.

Then of course when it comes to the reliability and vulnerability aspects of comparing the two types of engine diesel wins hands down.

I am also advised that certain types of heating oil can be used to run a diesel engine. Certainly after the lessons learned from Hurricane Katrina you need to carry enough fuel to travel 3x the distance to your retreat, this allows for diversions and long periods of very slow driving in heavy traffic.

So in closing if you have a rural retreat or bug out plans and you believe that sourcing fuel is going to be a major issue common sense directs you to choose the good old compression ignition engine.

Wet wipes for the Survivalist

By Joseph Parish
One item that my family finds to be almost indispensable while traveling or at home is the popular baby wipes. They would certainly make a great addition to your bug out bag. Wet wipes are known by several different names such as wet towels, wet naps or moist towels. In either case the products are small pre-moistened sections of paper which often is obtained individually folded for your convenience. Such items are for personal cleansing and disinfecting.

In general wipes are produced as small sections of paper which are moistened with a liquid such as isopropyl alcohol depending upon the intended application. It could easily be treated with softeners or lotions as in the case of those intended for infant or baby use. When finished the wipes are usually folded or placed in a dispenser or pocket size package.

Wipes usually serve a vast number of purposes around the household although they are frequently advertised for wiping an infant’s backside after changing their diaper. Our use is for both children and adult during emergency bug out operations. 

The origin of these popular wipes began around the mid 50's as people started to travel excessively. During their trips they desired a simple way to clean up without stopping at a hotel or motel. The very first company to produce these wipes was Nice-Pak who made created napkin sized cloths saturated with scented skin cleanser. From their it was expanded to include products for babies and infants. Our topic today is going to be duplicating these wipes during times of emergencies. 

First off make sure that you save your empty baby wipe containers. Our objective here will be to show you how to make your own with nothing more then some paper towels which have been cut in half and soaked in a mixture of lotion while in the container until such time as they are totally damp. Ultimately these towels will pull up and out in a similar manner as do the commercial versions from the department store.

The exact instruction necessary for creating your own baby wipes is as follows:
Supplies required
1/2 roll of inexpensive paper towels which are cut in half to make half size rolls
1/4 cup of baby shampoo
1/8 cup of vegetable oil
2 cups of lukewarm water
1 used plastic baby wipe container that the above rolls will fit into

Mix all the above liquid ingredients gently and slowly pour the resultant mixture over one half of the paper towel roll that you have placed in the plastic container. When you are using the homemade wipes you should dispense them from center of the roll.

Copyright @2010 Joseph Parish