Welcome to this week’s Survival Buzz with an update on my own preps and announcements from the Backdoor Survival blog.
Once again, this week I am going to answer questions posed during the March Lifestraw Go Giveaway. Before I do, I want to remind you that I do not consider myself an expert. A lot of what I share comes from my own personal experience and research. Admittedly, I like to think that I know a lot more than many, but realistically, I also know that there are many that know a lot more than me.
Learning is constant. In the pursuit of knowledge I devour books, including post-dystopian fiction, as well as books on self-sufficiency. I do the best I can given my time, budget, and skill set. I try to make it fun but sometimes it is a drag. Perhaps this sounds like you?
I tell you this because I view myself as a cheerleader of sorts. My goal is to teach the world and in doing so, encourage you to think. Sadly, this is not a popular place to be in the preparedness blogging world. I get emails and comments telling me what useless drivel I pitch and that this site is not at all informative. So be it. My website, my content. At the point where I can only write about the “20 Best Uses of Toilet Paper for Survival” I will quit.
Young or old, we need to exercise our brains and practice critical thinking. Understanding ourselves and the motivation of others will always, in my opinion, be the key to survival. I don’t know about you, but as unpleasant as it may be, I could survive without toilet paper.
On the other hand, as a collective whole, we can not survive without clear, level headed use of the brain matter between our ears.
You Ask, I Answer: Adapting to a Change in Location
There were a number of questions posed relating to my recent, short term, move to Arizona. I have picked two, one relating to the challenges of relocation and the other a bit more personal in nature.
1. Moving from the PNW to the desert SW must have been a real change. What is the biggest adjustment you have made in terms of your life and your preps?
2. If you were only able to be in one place year round, would you prefer your Pacific Northwest home or the new Arizona home?
The challenges of relocating whether by choice or by happenstance, are many. Setting aside the familiar, often a move will involve a completely different climate and cultural environment. Thus was the case in moving from the sea and the forest in Washington State, to the desert in foothills outside of Peoria, Arizona.
As someone who does not like change, I knew there would be adjustments. One of the most surprising was the expectation that we would have daylight well into the evening, just like the summertime in Washington. Seriously though, from a prepping point of view, the top three things that caught me by surprise were:
1. 99% of the people I met were clueless regarding preparedness. I mean clueless. Is this because natural disasters are rare in that part of the country? Or simply indicative of the social group I hung with?
With all deference to those of you in the Greater Phoenix area, not a single person other than my hairdresser was interested in learning about prepping. And the hairdresser? She was young, hip, and, along with her husband, really into prepping!
2. Finding biomass for rocket stoves was challenging. It is there but you need to be mindful of snakes. You also need to know what is legal and what is not; many native plants are protected species.
3. Sources of water are few and far between so be prepared to walk some distance with a cart to retrieve it. Also hope that you do not have to because the process will be arduous at best. One of the first things we did is purchase two 160 gallon water tanks from Emergency Essentials!
On the positive side of the ledger, being in a suburban location rather than off-shore meant access to supermarkets and big box stores. It was easy to stock up on supplies. That said, I was very careful with my prepping purchases and still made most of them online.
As far as my preferred location? There is a saying that you bloom where you are planted. I was very homesick for the wooded, seaside trails, the abundance of greenery, and the comfort of have a fully stocked survival platform back “at home”. On the other hand, my Arizona home is large and filled with abundant sunlight. The people are very friendly (even though they do not prep), and you can’t beat the weather for getting outdoors to hone your survival skills.
At the end of the day, it all gets down to living your life, doesn’t it? None of us has a crystal ball telling us when the end of the world as we know it will descend upon us. In many respects, I feel it already has. The move was a personal one and we treated it as the grand adventure it was.
I bloomed where I was planted. That is the best you can do when adapting to change. And for now, that is all I am going to say about that.
Backdoor Survival Mail Bag & Reader Tips
If the concept of a waterless toilet for SHTF is appealing to you, Trent offers the following:
We’ve used home-made waterless composting toilets now for 3 years (just a wooden box with a toilet seat, and a 5-gallon bucket inside). Just think of all that saved water!! We went to a local sawmill to stock up on sawdust for the toilets.
Now, instead of wasting valuable water each time, we just use a scoop of sawdust (or peat moss)…no smell at all (except that of pine wood, which is nice). When it’s getting full, we put it in a normal-looking compost heap in the back yard and cover with a thick layer of loose straw. One or two years later we have nice black good-smelling soil for our plants.
There’s a lot of info about this online (particularly, look up “humanure handbook”)…if done correctly, there’s no danger of spreading pathogens. It may just be the way to save the world…or at least your family in an emergency. 🙂
I did find these instructions for making your own DIY Loo online: Make Your Own Humanure Toilet. In addition, the Humanure Handbook is available to read for free online with each chapter available as a printable PDF. Plus, Amazon.com has a number of books and eBooks available for purchase.
A print version is also available for purchase.
Current Backdoor Survival Giveaways
Backdoor Survival is kicking off the Summer giveaway season with a fantastic review of the Enerplex Commandr 20 and Generatr S100. I have done my share of reviews on solar panels but this combo actually has enough power AND battery storage ability to charge a laptop. Not only that, there is one up for grabs in a giveaway. Total value is $650. You are going to want to enter (and win) this one!
With all giveaways, winners are notified by email and have 48 hours to claim their prize or an alternate will be selected. Once selected, the names of winners are also displayed in the Rafflecopter on the original giveaway article. This usually happens on the Friday following the end of the giveaway.
The Final Word
As I consider the editorial calendar going forward, I can not help but recall what I said earlier:
“None of us has a crystal ball telling us when the end of the world as we know it will descend upon us. In many respects, I feel it already has.”
This will continue to shape the content going forward and I stress living a strategic life. I will continue to bring in some of the brightest minds (George Ure, Richard Broome, Joe Alton, and others) to help me coach you in your journey.
We are citizens of the world that are living through an era of rapid change. Technology is reaching it’s tentacles into every aspect of our life yet we know we must cling to the old ways. Technology and the power to fuel it are not guaranteed. And so we prep.
In my humble opinion, this is the right thing to do. So what about you – what did you do to prep this week?
Enjoy your next adventure through common sense and thoughtful preparation!
You can also vote for Backdoor Survival daily at Top Prepper Websites!
Bargain Bin: In addition to items related to this Buzz, I am sharing some of my favorite food storage items. I used to write a lot about food storage but lately, not so much. That said, whether you are just getting started or a seasoned pro, here are the items you will need when purchasing food in bulk for long term, storage needs.
LifeStraw Go Water Bottle with Integrated 1000-Liter LifeStraw Filter: The Lifestraw Go integrates the fantastic LifeStraw Personal Water Filter with a sippy-type bottle. It is like getting two for the price of one. The included carabiner hook makes it easy to attach the LifeStraw Go to your pack.
Emergency Essentials 320 Gallon Ultimate Water Reserve Combo: Yes, it is pricey to purchase this much water storage but if you are not served by a well and don’t have ponds, lakes, or streams nearby, having auxiliary water tanks, is, in my opinion, important.
Mylar bags & Oxygen Absorbers: What I love about Mylar bags and oxygen absorbers is they protect against every single one of the food storage enemies. Prices do vary but for the most part, they are inexpensive and easy to keep on hand. And while you can seal them up with a FoodSaver, some tubing and a common clothes iron, I find it infinitely easier with a cheap hair straightening iron that you can pick up $20 or less.
FoodSaver Vacuum Sealer: As long as the unit has an accessory port (and this one does), an in expensive FoodSaver will work just as well as the fancier models. That is my two cents, at least.
FoodSaver Wide Mouth Jar Sealer: Already have a FoodSaver? If so, check out this jar sealer which can be used to vacuum seal your Mason jars. This is a great option for short to mid term storage of items such as beans, rice, sugar and salt. Store your jars in a cool, dark place and you are set with the added advantage of removing a small amount for current use without having to disrupt your large Mylar bag or bucket of food. There is also a version for regular sized jars. See Fast Track Tip #4: How to Use a FoodSaver for Vacuum Canning.
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What are the best oils for your survival kit? Here are my top picks.
An Update on the Oil of the Month Club
There is some exciting news for essential oils enthusiasts. Spark Naturals has introduced a Premium Oil of the Month Club that features the higher priced oils at the bargain price of $24.99 with free shipping. To give you an example of the savings, the May oil is a 15ML bottle of Frankincense, normally $70. That is a discount of almost 65%.
If you would like to learn more about the Oil of the Month Club, visit the page I created for you (shown below) or head on over to Spark Naturals web site.
Additional Reading: Spark Naturals Oil of the Month Club