The Survival Buzz #142

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Welcome to this week’s Survival Buzz with an update on my own preps and announcements from the Backdoor Survival blog.

The big news on the home front is that after 11 days without running water, things are almost back to normal.  I say “almost” because we had a toilet failure when the water came back on. Expect the unexpected right?  As I mentioned last week, during these 11 days we had plenty of stored water plus an unlimited supply of raw water available via pump right outside our front door.  That said, there were still some important lessons learned that I will share in an upcoming article.

Most of my preps this week had to do with purchasing items for future testing and review purposes. I am not going to list them because they may or may not work out.  In addition, I purchased some shea butter plus some additional beeswax pastilles and essential oils for use in this weeks DIY project:  Lotion Bars with Healing Oils!  If they turn out as expected, I will share my how-to-do-it in plenty of time for you to make some up as holiday gifts.

Lotion Bars Coming Soon

That about covers it for me this week.  Now for some announcements.


A couple of years ago, my friend George Ure and I authored a book, 11 Steps to Living a Strategic Life.  The book had its roots in an article I had originally written for the blog.  Long story short, we have just dropped the price from $2.99 to 99 cents so if you do not have a copy, you can get it now at a bargain price!


The following article includes a giveaway to win a copy of Ebola: Understanding and Preparing for an Outbreak by Alex Smith.  Note that the deadline for entries is 6:00 PM Pacific next Wednesday

Pandemic Readiness: Understanding and Preparing For Ebola

As a reminder, all 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.


There is still time left to get in on the Item of the Week from Spark Naturals.

Spark Naturals Weekly Sales | Backdoor Survival


As of today, there are over 12,500 readers who have opted in to receive an email whenever new articles are posted.  Some subscribers receive an email whenever a new article is published while others have chosen a weekly update.

Where am I going with this?  If you are a weekly subscriber, I am changing the day of the week from Wednesday to Monday so that you have more time to enter Backdoor Survival giveaways.

By the way, if you would like to change your delivery options, you can do so by clicking on the “update profile” link that appears at the bottom of each email.


Last week I reported that starting this week, I was going to take weekends off.  Oh. My. Gosh.  I received dozens of email and comments supporting my decision.  I am so very grateful that you are continuing to hang with me and want to say this again:

Backdoor Survival readers are the best blog followers on the planet!

Now it is your turn.  What did you do to prep this week?

Enjoy your next adventure through common sense and thoughtful preparation!

If you enjoyed this article, consider voting for me daily at Top Prepper Websites!  In addition, SUBSCRIBE to email updates  and receive a free, downloadable copy of my e-book The Emergency Food Buyer’s Guide.

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Bargain Bin: The article I wrote on DIY cleaning turned out to be hugely popular all around the web. In cased you missed it, here is a link to the article Prepper Checklist: DIY Cleaning Supplies and to some of the products that I use to make my own cleaners.

Amazon Basics Microfiber Cleaning Cloth, (Pack of 36): No list of DIY cleaning supplies would be complete without these wonderful microfiber cloths. They will last you for years and will allow you to replace paper towels forever. Truly. I color code using blue for glass and windows and the other colors for everything else. I love these.

Dr. Bronner’s Sal Suds Liquid Cleanser: I know that Dr. Bronner’s Magic Castile soaps have a cult-like following but I prefer the Sal Suds. I call my DIY cleaner “Sudsy Sal”.

Dr. Bronner’s Magic Soaps Pure-Castile Soap: Of all of the Dr. Bronner’s castile soaps, peppermint is my favorite.   I use it to make “Peppermint Magic”, an all purposed cleaner.

Soft ‘n Style 8 oz. Spray Bottles: I happen to like these smaller bottles and you can not beat the price for a set of 3. Likewise for these Pump Dispensers.

NOW Solutions Vegetable Glycerin: You will need this for your Dirt Cheap Soft Soap. I paid almost as much for only 4 ounces locally. This is a great price and 16 ounces will last forever.

Peppermint Essential Oil: I favor peppermint and tea tree (Melaleuca) essential oil in my cleaning supplies. But there are many types of essential oils to choose from. Take your pick. One thing you will find is that a little goes a long way.  The nice thing about essential oils from Spark Naturals  is that they are also excellent for therapeutic and healing use and well as for use in DIY cleaning supplies.  Just remember to use the code BACKDOORSURVIVAL at checkout to get 10% off your order.

Budget Essential Oils:  For the budget minded – and especially for use in cleaning supplies – consider NOW Foods Essential Oils.

Mobile Washer

Mobile Washer: This is hand operated washing machine. Like a plunger, it uses a technique of pushing and pulling the water through clothes to clean them well without wearing them out. It uses a minimum of water and less soap due to the agitation motion. Use in a bucket (5-gallon suggested), sink or tub. The best part is that it is only $14.95.


Shop Emergency Essentials Sales for Fantastic Deals!

For over 25 years Emergency Essentials has been providing the highest quality preparedness products at great prices.  Plus, each month they feature sales that quite honestly are fantastic.  This month note the great sale prices two of my favorites, the Mobile Washer (Hand Operated Washing Machine) now only $14.95 and the Tote-able Toilet Seat and Lid, now only $11.79.



Need something from Amazon (and who doesn’t)? I earn a small commission from purchases made when you begin your Amazon shopping experience here. You still get great Amazon service and the price is the same, no matter what.

Amazon has feature called Shop Amazon – Most Wished For Items. This is an easy tool for finding products that people are ‘wishing” for and in this way you know what the top products are.  All you need to do is select the category from the left hand side of the screen.

The Amazon Top Most Wished For and Best Selling Outdoor Items
Emergency Preparedness Items from

Help support Backdoor Survival. Purchases earn a small commission and for that I thank you!


The Survival Buzz #142 — 27 Comments

  1. Good morning Gaye! I am so pleased you were able to stick with your plan to take the weekends off, but I suspect you are still reading our comments, even if it is a Saturday! 😉

    This week Hubby and I began our Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) Training and we are absolutely LOVING it! I know quite a few of your other readers have taken this free training in their own communities and would love to hear their thoughts on the program. It has been eye opening, to be sure. As part of that, we have laid in a few more supplies to go in our response packs: nitrile gloves, more N95 masks, construction garbage bags, duct tape and paracord.

    The weekly thrift store treasure hunt netted the board game Risk. Hubby and I have plans for epic battles for world domination during the winter up at the BOL Homestead Cabin when the chores of the day have been done.

    As I mentioned in an earlier post, I have assembled the supplies necessary to sew up a Wonder Bag Oven. Once I determine the amount of time and effort involved in making them, I will see it it makes sense to sell them here for less than one can spend online. 🙂

    Enjoy your weekend Gaye. Looking forward to hearing about the lessons learned during your Waterpocalypse.

    • LOL – You know me well. Indeed, I am reading emails and comments over my morning latte (which we make at home ourselves).

      Something I learned during the Water Apocalypse: I have been using way too much TP. Not to be gross but as I was disposing of the used tissues in a wastepaper basket, I realized that I was flipping a huge amount off the roll and most was unused. That was wasteful and if supplies ever become scarce, I will want to conserve. Better to learn good habits now, right?

      • I recently read a post on one of the blogging sites that took a 1 gallon garden sprayer and bent the end of it into sort of a hook. She had this setting beside her 5 gallon bucket. With the nozzle still adjustable from a stream to a spray, she used this as a poor man’s bidet. I suppose you could put some smell purty or some cleaner in it if you were so inclined.
        This would be a TP saver.

        • That’s an excellent idea, John R. !

          Might be a good idea to have a few extra O-rings around to fit the sprayer? I read that the O-rings wear out, but I have no idea how long they last.

          • To cover my butt, I would need the “wide angle spray”, so I would need a good O ring. You wouldn’t need an O ring for a straight spray. I have never used one, (or a bidet) so I couldn’t advise on that.
            I did buy the soft toilet seat to fit over the 5 gallon bucket.

      • I saw an idea I’m incorporating. 2 buckets, one for urine and one for solids. The urine can be spread around since plants need the nitrogen that’s in urine. The second takes more time but can be composted down. BTW: I use the orange buckets from Home Depot so there aren’t any misunderstandings as to the uses. 😉 I’ve used one of those sprays for yardens, they work great. Perhaps not as clean as tp but rainwater could be used w/o needing to filter in a grid down situation. I’m also working on personal wipes which can be washed and reused. Hey water may become scarce, ever have to haul water? or carry from a spring/creek? 😉 Just saying lol

  2. this week I have been looking into different ways to make solar refrigerators and other ways of keeping things cool off grid. So far the DIY’s I’ve found seem either over my head or not capable of cooling the quantity or low enough temp that I’m interested in. If anybody here has something working for them in their BOL or off grid cabin i’d like any tips. Also, i’m looking for ideas for keeping ambient air a little cooler during summer heat. I know this seems off season but since we heat with wood heat I’m not worried about keeping warm in the winter. btw… I cant find a reliable answer, but does anybody here have any idea if small engines like chainsaws and tillers would work post EMP?

    • I saw once a small refrigerator for sale from Sears that ran on such a low wattage that about any size solar panel with a battery and converter would run it. Most all campers I know of have a multiple use refrigerator. Electric, gas, and 12 volt. You can pick up old campers with these refrigerators in them for a song. Worth a try.

      • I saw a write-up online about converting a small chest freezer into a refrigerator. (It shouldn’t be too hard to search online for it.) It required buying a small circuit board of some kind, but it seemed easy enough. Plus, with a chest freezer/refrigerator, when you open the door all the cold stays inside, making it much more efficient. I think efficiency would be key when working with solar, but I have no experience with that.
        Getting one of those set up is on my list of Things To Do, unfortunately, it’s way at the bottom.
        It seems like it would be a good thing to have.

  3. It’s getting colder here, and the frosts have started arriving. The garden is picked, the green house shut down, the outdoor dog, rabbit & my chickens have fresh straw packed into their houses, and the heated water bowls are plugged into thermostats & into electricity. (If people are not using thermostats to regulate when their heated water comes on & goes off then they are really wasting a LOT of electricity = money). I’ve also been listing things on eBay to try to make some extra money.

    BTW, I used to sell Jordan Essentials Bath & Body products (well, I’m still a rep, just not a very active one) and they make lotion bars. Lotion bars made with beeswax are absolutely wonderful for winter skin, and the beeswax seals in your skin’s moisture without clogging your pores. I found an application would last through about 3 hand washes before needing reapplication. I never liked the ones with shea butter in them, though, they just felt weird, and sometimes shea butter doesn’t melt into the beeswax smoothly and it turns grainy. 🙁 Just some experiences I’ve had with a similar product.

    • I considered using cocoa butter instead of shea butter but really do no care for the odor and thought it would overpower the essential oils. In my research, I have learned that a quick cooling of the shea butter will prevent crystallization. Clearly, I need to experiment a bit especially since I want the recipe I publish to be fool-proof.

  4. 12,500 I think that is great Gaye. Congratulations. As far as preps, my Fed Ex man came lugging in 1500 rounds of 40 cal to replace some of the ammo I used at Front Sight.

  5. Went to the range for more practice with hubby. Bought more ammo and did some more organization. Just as a side note, it is getting close to deer season here. A lot of men take their wives out the first day and go the next few weeks themselves. They bring their wives to the range for practice once or twice before they go. They don’t shoot all year and after an hour at the range brushing up they take them into the woods!! With guns!! I have seen them misfire, jam, and walk around waving weapons with the safety off! Hubby and I pack up when we see them coming. If you have purchases weapons as part of your home defense, please train everyone in the household. Practice often and stay safe!!

  6. I’m so happy you’ve now got water running again. My thought/question: did your experience suggest keeping an extra toilet on hand, just in case?
    I’ve been learning about composting toilets and how to incorporate the waste into the land. Who better to learn from than farmers who are doing it, while they have the means for testing for any water/soil contamination!
    I’ve also been checking on my local foraging supplies/plants to find what’s around this season. In doing so, I discovered a naturally flowing water resource I hadn’t considered.
    The big thing though, I was getting overwhelmed with all I had on my plate, so getting to study the wildlife around me was key. BUT when I got back, I collected the mylar bags which I’ve been saving from my chocolate chips (thus have recycled). I made up a new recipe of my double chocolate instant hot drink mix ( don’t have the name just right yet). Having read one of your readers’ comments about the shelf life of chocolate chips, I’ve included these to make it a double chocolate which is deep in cocoa with less milk, less sugar, more healthy and (there once was a coffee commercial which said good to the last drop) this hot chocolate–that last drop is the prize with the smooth warmed chips which haven’t all melted. 😉 Of course, it’s not truly worth doing until it’s taste tested……so I’ve been sharing ‘cups of.’ Now, I’ve used a set of long nosed pliers to heat n’seal the bags without shortening. (This way in emergencies, only warm or hot water and pour into the bag ahhhhh the enjoyment of a healthy drink. I’ve also done the research to know how heart healthy and this also works for diabetics too. 🙂 Win win and an extra win for a chocoholic like me. 🙂 Next on the list, to try some variations by adding different flavors. O and I’m separating them in groups of 5 for trading/bartering. 🙂

    • an idea about the composting toilet: several years ago I heard of a company in Japan that collected human waste from the farmers put it in rows added worms that would eat the waste then they would sell the compost back to the farmers. worms is the answer, they will dispose of the waste then you can add the extra worms to your garden.

  7. Gaye,
    12,500!! that is so awesome, of course because you are awesome. Sorry that you had ti be without running water, and for 11 days, oh and toilet problems. Winter is knocking at our door, so have been prepping for that, and cleanup after several wind storms. Spent half a day target practicing several items, amd will do it again soon. I just ordered more supplies from Emergency Essentials, and Tattler lids and rings for my canning supplies. Will be canning Butter in the next few weeks. Will be going to costco and feed store on the mainland in about 10 days. Aside from that, we’ve been working on the house addition, taking inventory for what to order next.

    • Hi Eve – long time no talk. What feed store do you go to? I want to get some vet wrap bandages. I purchased some from Amazon but want to get larger rolls for my backup supply. The waterworks gave us a $140 off the sewer portion of our October bill. Technically, they don’t do that but we are blessed to have established a good relationship with the folks that work there.

      • Gaye,
        Yes, way too long. Have lots to catch up on. The feed store we go to in mount vernon is Central farm and ranch. when I go, I will look for som vet wrap bandagese for you, and for us too. Are they anything special, or just like ace bandages? they have a website now too. I will be purchasing 3 big bags of dog food, treats, some other things there. Some of their items are lower, some are higher, but I havent found the dog food any cheaper than at Central. I should call you tomorrow and chat for a bit. If its not raning/storming tomorrow, I’ll be splitting more wood.

  8. Oh I’m still messing around with that old oil lamp. At one point it got to be very noxious. I thought to myself, “How can people stand these things?!” Eventually it got to the point where I felt like I was riding in a car with an exhaust leak and the fumes were being pumped into the passenger compartment. So I decided something HAS to be wrong here. I unscrewed the top of the no-name oil lamp and replaced it (the head?) with another one I had on hand, a MacBeth Nu-Type, while re-using the old wick. It made ALL the difference in the world. Finally, a level of exhaust I found acceptable.

    I looked at the no-name head with a magnifying glass and saw what looked like rust pin holes, or maybe they were part of the design, I couldn’t tell which. I’m not sure if it’s fixable, or worthwhile to do so. I may try, someday. IF that really even was the cause. I just don’t know. The MacBeth head has many more slots around the rim in nearly the same location, so I don’t quite get how the rust pin holes would be the problem.

    Anyway, I did notice that even the fumes from the MacBeth were a bit – to ever so slightly – intense at first (but nothing close to what the no-name head produced!) however; after a half an hour or so it got Much better. Almost to the point there was none.

    I also learned, well, I suspect, that a flickering light on one of these is caused by a dirty wick. (The flickering can get to be REALLY annoying after awhile.) I found that if I lifted the chimney about two inches while the lamp was lit the flickering would go away. As the chimney is lifted, the flame changes color, it’s not as bright was and more of an orange color. I’m not sure what that means in relation to the flicker. I just know it stopped flickering when I replaced the old wick with a new one… the dirty wick flickered on both heads.

    I read on a blog about Aladdin oil lamps that a flicker on those types of lamps can be caused by a draft hitting the top of the chimney, but that wasn’t the case for me, it wasn’t an Aladdin lamp and there was no draft. [Oh those Aladdin lamps sure do look nice, but boy are they expensive, wow.]

    Several other blogs suggested trimming the wick to eliminate the flicker, but that didn’t change anything on mine, that’s why I think the flickering was caused by a dirty wick. Now I just have to see if I can clean the old wick. …Just to know.

    I’m going to have to keep an eye out for another one of those MacBeth Nu-Type heads, the design is different from the no-name head and seems like it’s built quite a bit better in design and quality.

    I bought a white frosted chimney for 50 Cents as a complement to the clear glass chimney in order to diffuse the light some if I ever want to have light and not broadcast it so much out the windows.
    I also picked up an old fashioned type of weed whacker for super cheap, the kind you swing back and forth. It was practically brand spankin’ new. I already have enough experience with one of those from years and years ago so I didn’t feel the need to practice.

    I brought in some herbs that I grew outside this Summer. Last year all of them but one died off. They Really do Not like the florescent lights and the low levels of sun they get through the partially opened blind, nor the times when I forget to water them. (I tried the globe watering thingies, it didn’t work so well for me.) With the amount of product I get from the herbs I think they are not very cost efficient. But, they are better than having none, come Springtime. And, I’m slowly – and somewhat reluctantly – learning more about them.

    • Don’t feel so badly about the herbs, I didn’t have much luck with mine this year either. Sure gives me pause to wonder about storing more for those years like this growing season past when the plants don’t want to cooperate with us. 😉 What a score with the weed wacker though! I used to know about those lamps but it’s one thing I’ve forgotten. Sorry. Still, you might check around you to see what Mother Nature has provided in the way of herbs and nuts. 🙂

  9. this week I got a few boxes of pasta, towles set aside in plastic bins, and I read the book alone. I think that is one of the books that all should read.

  10. Well, that’s interesting. Middle of the night, I can’t sleep, I try to send Jody a reply and say that’s cool, etc…. and try to tell Dee, Thanks for that, etc… I get this message:

    ERROR: please enter a valid email address.

    I clicked the, ‘Confirm you are NOT a spammer’ check box, and my email IS correct,…now just wait, tomorrow there’ll be three posts from me?
    If so, pardon me.
    If not,… something for the webmaster to ponder.
    Or, maybe I just got a computer virus? IDK.

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