The Sunday Survival Buzz Volume 101

Gaye LevyGaye Levy | Jun 27, 2019



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Welcome to this week’s Sunday Survival Buzz – a roundup of preparedness news, tips, articles and recommendations from around the web. But first, an update on my own preps.

The big prepping news around here is that my rain barrel arrived and it is much better than I expected for the price.  Shelly will be getting some cement blocks this week so we can mount it high enough to get some pressure when connecting it to a hose.


I also spent some time this week playing with the credit card survival knife I purchased from Survival Life.  So far I have used in to cut branches from shrubs in my yard, open cardboard boxes and as a letter opener. Small things, I know, but useful.  A couple of readers let me know that they were able to get them through TSA inspection at the airport which to me is bonus.

credit card survival knife

Yesterday I made a big batch of Dirt Cheap Soft Soap.  I have not poured it into bottles yet but I am thinking about adding both lavender and lemon essential oils for fragrance.  And by the way, I will probably use the cheap essential oils from Amazon for this because it is going to be washed down the drain anyway.

Which reminds me that I want to reinforce that while I believe in using high quality essential oils for healing and therapeutic purposes (I like Spark Naturals), for cleaning supplies and especially soaps, I personally don’t think it makes that much difference.

Okay, enough about me.  Let’s get on to the Sunday Survival Buzz.


Medical marijuana could save my daughter’s life:  Talk about a political football.  Regardless of how you feel about medical marijuana, you should read this.  Here is what Mom says: “My child doesn’t want to get high, she wants to get better. She can’t do that while weed remains criminalized in most of the US.”  And speaking of football, go Seahawks!

Seattle Fishmonger: No Need To Worry About Radiation In Pacific Salmon:  Now this guy must be smoking some of that medical marijuana for recreation.  If you want a good laugh, read some of the comments.  On the other hand, one commenter said “WHY on earth would the Gov do the testing? They have nothing to gain and EVERYTHING to lose”.  Amen.

Fukushima Radiation More Than 10 Times The Normal Level Is Detected On California Beaches: And then there is this from Michael Snyder.

If He Was Around Today, Thomas Jefferson Would Be Considered A Tea Party Extremist:  Here is another good article from Michael Snyder.

10 Reasons to NOT be PREPared:  I know I am preaching the choir with this one. From Jane, a member of my Prepared Bloggers Group.

Presto or All American Pressure Canners – Which is Best?:  The answer is, it depends.  If you have not purchased a canner yet (and I still need to replace the one I order that was too tall for my stove), this article will help sort through the pros and cons.  One thing I have determined is that I want the weighted gauge type which is available from both manufacturers. From Sharon, also a member of my Prepared Bloggers Group.

Build the Ultimate Fire Starting Kit: As Jeremy says “There’s no need to make starting a fire any tougher than it already is. Can I start one with primitive techniques? Sure, but why the Hell would I want to?”


From Sharon:

I have been gardening for about 10 years now without my Dad to go to for advice.  About 6 years ago I started growing my own starts, tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, onions, anything that needs a head start and can’t be direct seeded in the ground.

I started with just a small table in front of a south-facing window.  A couple of years later my hubby bought me a mini greenhouse, again in the south-facing window. Two years ago I got a small plastic greenhouse (about 6×8) from Sam’s Club for only $99. This lasted me two full years (I don’t recommend overwintering it outdoors…big mistake) and this year it looks like something a little more permanent is going up! (Very excited about that!)

Anyway, I always grow heirloom veggies from our local seed company (Baker Creek) and find I always really look forward to spring for this reason. If you haven’t ordered your seeds, get started right away! Popular varieties DO sell out!

Long-growing season veggies such as tomatoes, peppers, eggplant and some onions need to be started in a greenhouse SOON, so they’re ready to go in the garden after last frost. And if you don’t know what to plant or when your frost dates are, check with your local Extension services, local nurseries, or if you’re luck, like us, your local seed growers.

But don’t wait for a disaster to start a garden, you will regret it…gardening has a huge learning curve and takes MANY years of experimenting to get it right. 🙂

In one of the recent giveaways, numerous commenters indicated desire to learn to garden and to grow veggies.  I have been doing so myself for years, sometimes with good luck and other times not so much.  My current situation is one with limited space and limited sunlight.

So here is the deal.  This year I am going to start all over as though I am a newbie.  New seeds, new garden beds and perhaps some new ways of doing things.  One way or another I am going to get started right along with you, as though I am a newbie.  My personal challenge is going to be to keep up with the notes and photos and to get back to you with timely reports.

So thanks, Sharon, for sharing!


We have three winners today.

First, the winner of a copy of Recipes and Tips for Sustainable Living by Stacy Harris is Dana R.  Here is her response to the question “What are you doing – large or small – to live a sustainable life?”

Well, I still feel new to all this, but I have plans for the coming year that we are busy prepping for.

A new greenhouse and cold frame are awaiting my new sprouts. Organic/ vertical gardening enough to eat this year and can for the next year. I hope to save the heirloom seeds from the plants we are growing this year.

I am studying bees and planning to build some apiaries while protecting them from the Japanese Hornets that we have seen in the area.

Already making my own “Miracle salve” (thanks for the recipe Gaye), laundry soap, shampoo, bath soap and salts as well as candles.

We are saving our grey water in non potable containers to use for non sterile uses such as flushing and watering plants (as long as the plants are OK with the chemicals from the previous use).

Oh, and I am planning on raising chickens next year. (Didn’t want to overload my plate for this year) Not too shabby for a newbie.

Next, the lucky winner of the LifeStraw Family 1.0 is “K H”.  Here is how the question “How will a LifeStraw Family fit into your overall water storage strategy?” was answered:

Wow, this would be a blessing. I’ve been cramming my brain with research on water filters. We are close to a creek and in emergency could use this water.  I save water in bottles but would love to run it through this to be safe after it sits for so long.

And finally, the winner of a copy of Rivers by Michael Farris Smith is “Kenneth B”.  Here is his answer to the question “If your home became a no-man’s land, would you stay or leave?”.

I believe the best move is to have a preplanned remote site. Buy a small isolated cabin or something similar.

I believe that if you stay anywhere in a reasonably populated area, you are prone to fail due to human nature and the abundance of people in any populated area. People will all try to survive and they will be after your resources. This will happen quickly in the beginning because most will not be prepared and will be takers.

After a while the takers will be thinned out by attrition and then the survivors will start to work together to increase the quality of life.

Congratulations to all the winners.  You have been notified by email and should get back to me within 48 hours with mailing instructions.


I am pleased to announce three new sponsors, Prepared Planet, Sun Oven, and H&H Medical.

PreparedPlanet-Backdoor Survival   SO_Animated_Looping_200x200   H&H Backdoor Survival

Each has prepared a special message for you that I will be sharing over the next couple of weeks, starting with today’s message from Prepared Planet.

Prepared Planet started back in 2006 as one of the premier emergency preparedness stores on the internet. We started long before emergency preparedness became a popular movement and “prepping” became a household word.  Since then, Prepared Planet has undergone many transformations during which time it launched the revolutionary ProPur Water Filter line of water filtration products.

We are now proud and excited to announce our new store with a larger selection of products than ever before. We offer a full line of ProPur NSF Certified water filtration and purification products, as well as the latest in emergency preparedness, prepping supplies and sustainable living items. We also have a new area of our store that is geared towards self reliant living called “Smart Living“, featuring products geared towards the hobby farmer/homesteader.  We are also proud to announce the arrival of SOLVIDA, our line of healthy and locally sourced bulk food items.

At Prepared Planet, are excited about the future and want to share with you what we live.  It is not a philosophy, but a way of life. Whether customers are urban homesteaders, apartment preppers, or hard core survivalists, we’d like to think Prepared Planet can accommodate a wide range of products to suit your needs.


As with all of my sponsors, please pay them a visit and let them know you saw them on Backdoor Survival. Speaking of which, check out the Backdoor Survival Sponsors page and support the fine companies that allow me to keep Backdoor Survival free for everyone.


Some Facebook  fans have asked about an essential oils remedy for cold and flu and also an alternative to flue shots.  Backdoor Survival is a no flu shot zone!  Spark Naturals sells a Cold & Flu Bomb Kit that will knock out cold and flu symptoms fast.  I know because this is what I used the first week of January when I felt something coming on.cold and flu bomb

This kit includes the following oils to help prevent and fight off cold and flu symptoms:

Oregano – Nature’s strongest Antibiotic
Melaleuca – Proven to fight, bacteria, virus and fungi
Shield – a Spark Naturals blend created to support healthy immune function. Kills bacteria, mold and and virus. (This is similar to “thieves oil”.)

I mixed equal amounts of each of the oils in a roller bottle (included in the kit) and applied it to the bottoms of my feet and chest twice a day, morning and night.  Some people use 3 drops of each oil in a gel capsule or in a shot glass of water but I have not tried it myself.

If you want to give this a try, be sure to use the  code “BACKDOORSURVIVAL” to receive a 10% discount.   Note: I receive a small commission with your purchase.


Homeowners Checklist: How to Make Your Home Fire SafeThis free download is chock full of tips for making your home fire safe, both indoors and out.  Take a few moments to walk around your home to determine what you can do to make your home and the surrounding area safe from fire.

For other free downloads, visit the RESOURCES page.


A bunch of readers last week asked that I continue to request comments about your own weekly preps.  This has been an on and off thing: ON because you asked for it and OFF because no one left a comment.

Shall we try again?  What about you – what did you do to prep this week?

Enjoy your next adventure through common sense and thoughtful preparation!

New:  Click Here To Vote For Me at Top Prepper Websites!

If you have not done so already, please be sure to like Facebook which is updated every time there is an awesome new article, news byte, or link to a free survival, prepping or homesteading book on Amazon.  You can also follow Backdoor Survival on Twitter, Pinterest, and Google+ and purchase my book, The Prepper’s Guide to Food Storage from Amazon.

In addition, when you sign up to receive email updates you will receive a free, downloadable copy of my e-book The Emergency Food Buyer’s Guide.

Bargain Bin: The current Amazon Top 10 Most Wished for Items has been updated.  There are a few new items as well as some old favorites and items mentioned today.

Suncast RB50D 50-Gallon Rain Barrel:  I have high hopes for my new rain barrel! The instructions indicate that it must be dumped regularly to prevent algae formation.  I am definitely going to have to keep an eye on things.

NOW Foods Lavender Essential Oil:  This is an inexpensive option for use in cleaning supplies. Also see Lemon Essential Oil.

Morakniv Craftline Q Allround Fixed Blade Utility Knife: Also known as the Mora 511, this is now my favorite knife.  It is made of Swedish steel and is super sharp.

ProForce Commando Wire Saw Bulk, Ideal For Survival Kits:  This new addition that qualifies for the Almost Free page.  Here is what one reviewer had to say:

“When I got the saw, I thought it was a dinky little wire. My expectations were blown away!! I can cut a three inch tree in three min. I would much so recommend that you get this saw.”

Sawyer Products Mini Water Filtration System: This is another new addition. Fans of the Sawyer water filtration systems are evangelistic in their praise.

SABRE RED Police Strength Pepper Spray:  This fits in the palm of your hand and is equipped with a convenient hand strap for immediate deployment.  SABRE delivers a strong ballistic stream to reduce wind blow back and permits safe distance from your threat with its ten (10) foot range.

BaoFeng UV-5R  Dual-Band Ham Radio: These BaoFeng’s are extremely popular with Backdoor Survival readers.  I have two.  The Baofeng UV-5R is a compact hand held transceiver providing 4 watts in the frequency range of 136-174 MHz and 400-480 MHz. It is a compact, economical HT that includes a special VHF receive band from 65 – 108 MHz which includes the regular FM broadcast band. Dual watch and dual reception is supported.  Here is the antenna I ordered:  NAGOYA Antenna for BAOFENG UV-5R .

Blocklite Ultra Bright 9V LED Flashlight: I now own six of these little gems. There is a similar flashlight called the Pak-Lite (which is more expensive) but it does not have a high-low switch like this one. These little flashlights just go and go, plus, they make good use of those re-purposed 9V alkaline batteries that you have recharged with your Maximal Power FC999 Universal Battery Charger.

FordEx Group 300lm Mini Cree Led Flashlight Torch Adjustable Focus Zoom Light Lamp:  Here we go with another flashlight.  It is super mini sized, bright and waterproof.  Plus, it uses a single, standard AA sized battery.


Shop the Emergency Essentials Monthly Specials:  The monthly specials at Emergency Essentials feature discounts of up to 35% off sometimes a bit more.

Emergency Essentials Potty

Every family should have at least one Tote-able Toilet.  I have priced purchasing the bucket and toilet seat lid separately and found that it was more economical to pick up this kit.  I have filled my portable potty with sanitation supplies plus, of course, plenty of TP.

Shop the Emergency Essentials Monthly Specials


I earn a small commission from purchases made when you begin your Amazon shopping experience here.

The Amazon Top Ten Most Wanted Survival and Outdoor Items
Emergency Preparedness Items from
The Amazon Canning Store

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



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Updated Jun 27, 2019

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22 Responses to “The Sunday Survival Buzz Volume 101”

  1. For prepping this week I made my annual trip down to Mansfield, MO and Baker Creek HeirloomSeeds store. I purchased the bulk of my seeds, and will order the rest in a week or two.My goal this year is to harvest my seeds to plant next year. I have only done this a couple of different times, but the prices of seed is getting crazy…and heirloom seeds can be saved and replanted as long as they don’t “cross”. My daughter and I are also starting a farmers mkt business…cut herbs and flowers. We have both started some of our seeds already. 🙂 was wondering, is there a way to email photos to you, Gaye?

    • Sure thing abut the photos. Go to my contact page for info: // I also just sent you an email.

  2. We have a number of rain barrels like the one you have just purchased. The earlier ones are doing fine (we have 5 plumbed together that Are 3 years old) the other 3 are 2 years old and we have had leaks in 2 of them. The leak appears at the bottom at the base of one of the dips where the reinforcing rib starts. One of these has been repared using gorilla duct tape and is holding now about 9 months later. I think they went with a thinner wall thickness and that is what caused the problem. Just a heads up in case yours starts to leak.

    • Another thing to use to patch a rain barrel is marine grade epoxy type stuff. I think J.B. Weld brand makes one, as do a few other companies. It sticks to plastic pretty good. I replaced the plastic spigot in mine with a heavy duty brass one but it leaked around the seal. I put some of that marine grade epoxy putty around it and it lasted all Summer and Fall.

      9 months using duct tape is pretty impressive though, too.

    • Oh I forgot too mention, the reason I swapped out the plastic valve for the brass one was because the better half found the plastic one too difficult to grasp and turn. I’m glad I found that out before I let it fill with water.

      I used one similar to this:


      I put a large washer between the valve and the rain barrel in order to spread out the force from turning it on and off. I think perhaps using that washer was why I had the leak?

  3. sent a comment on using duck tape to repair rain barrell

  4. We have been using or food preps for the past 7 months, since I was laid off. This week we are going to see if we can start to replenish so of what we’ve used. Such a blessing to have something set aside for when you need it!

  5. I have been voting for you every chance I get. My prep this week includes making your Miracle Balm. Thank you for the responses to my questions. It turned out great and I have been using it on my posterior area which breaks down quite often. It is truly a “miracle” ointment. I also have been making washable “sanitary pads” which will save on buying them. My mother uses them for an incontinence problem and with the cost and the unknown contents that are in them, homemade makes more sense and saves trees too. I will continue to stock my pantry with items for when the SHTF and can’t wait until I can get out and start my garden.

  6. I ordered 6 Survival Life credit card knives for Christmas gifts and was looking forward to using them. Unfortunately they did not arrive (address mix up). I did receive an envelope in the mail yesterday addressed from Survival Life but it had been torn in half and the knives are gone. Hopefully the issue can be resolved because I am recalling forward to using them.

    • I am sure Survival Life will help you if you call their customer service number. They are very good about these things. So do you think someone at USPS helped themselves to your knives?

    • Nothing would surprise me. Our local post office is not known for its stellar service. I read your blog faithfully and enjoy (and use) your advice. Thanks.

  7. LifeStraw is perfect for my vehicles and Grab and Go bags. There’s never enough storage in one’s car for a safety kit and pounds equals pain in a pack. These are ideal because they are small, light weight and filter a large volume of water. I plan on purchasing 12 total, one for each person’s bag, 4 in two different vehicles.

  8. This week I learned to make yogurt at home without a yogurt machine. I also went to costco and bought a large bag of salt, half of which I sealed in jars. The other half I sealed in bags with my food saver.

  9. This week my prep really isn’t mine. I purchased paracord, dental floss, locking pliers and some additional meds for the “emergency bags” I made for my sister and her husband {they don’t prep} and for my son and his family who do. I am working to have them set for at least 3 days which would be enough time for them to join us. Making 3 days worth of food pouches next week for each bag. I feel better knowing they all have a chance to survive an emergency no matter where it comes from.

  10. From what I’ve been told, it’s not a good idea to store plastic items directly on concrete if you want them to last very long. How true is that? I don’t know for certain. Are you putting something down between your rain barrel and the concrete? I have an old living-room table I bought for two bucks at a yard sale. I took the glass top off and cut some 2″x1″ boards for a top. There’s a small gap between the boards so rainwater can get through and the boards don’t warp or rot like they would if I’d used a piece of plywood. It’s up high enough I can hook a garden hose up to it and water my flower pots of lettuce and such without having to fill up a watering can. Using a watering can, can become quite the chore.

    Are you going to leave it out all Winter? If so, do you plan on putting one of those fish tank or livestock tank heaters into it to keep it from freezing? Or do you not have to worry about that where you are?
    It is a pain to bring one inside every Fall.

    I’m not fearful of the radiation from Japan like so many appear to be, especially after reading this article which had, among many, one really interesting tidbit:

    Fukushima Fear and Fallout

    “Through the past six decades, the Radiation Effects Research Foundation (RERF) has meticulously chronicled the medical histories of more than 100,000 A-bomb survivors. […] something interesting has happened among survivors who received doses less than 200 mSv. Their cancer mortality rates are lower than those of unexposed control groups”….


    There was a lot of other interesting things in that article. Do check it out.

    If radioactive material from Fukushima is washing up on our shores, wouldn’t it be showing up in Tokyo as well?

    Monday, January 13, 2014
    Results of Geiger Counter Use in Tokyo

    “I finally got my Geiger counter! It arrived in the mail three days ago. I’ve been running around all over Tokyo with it, wherever I go, looking for hidden, deadly, mutating radiation.

    Ai-yai-yai-yai…. So far, no luck. […] You can read more techy stuff about radiation measurements here. If you check the link at the top of the page of this blog, you can see what the daily levels of radiation are in Tokyo as read by a private scientific institution.

    The level of radiation in Tokyo today, even after this March 11 disaster, is still lower than Rome, Italy or Hong Kong.” …


    I don’t smoke medical or recreational marijuana – and I certainly do not trust what the gooberment says – but I found that what the fisherman from Seattle said made pretty good sense. I cannot view the comments. I wonder what was in them that was so funny?

    Anyway, I’m more concerned about the fallout from geo-engineering, it seems like a greater threat than anything coming from Japan or from underwater volcanoes:


    Pressure cookers…
    I noticed a great comment on Amazon while looking for a new gauge (I bought a used one with a rusty gauge and was told it’s a good idea to replace it) the woman wrote about turning the old All-American pressure cookers into the newer type using the weighted gauge. It was a lot less expensive to get a few new parts than it is to get a whole new pressure cooker, that’s for sure.

    Acting like you’re new to seedlings…
    I wonder if you’ll cover cheap auto watering systems when you set up your seedlings and such? Too many times I forgot to water mine or they got too much water. I intend to look into it one of these days.Perhaps use a pump from a cheap water fountain thingie I come across at the Goodwill Store now and then? Or an old washer fluid pump from a car?… Maybe hook it up to a solar panel?
    If I had to do it all over again I’d mix my potting soil with some regular dirt, to get some of the beneficial critters from the soil, and to help keep moisture in the pots. It seems like the potting soils dry out too fast compared to the one pot I have with just regular dirt.

    Anyway, that’s a nice rain barrel you got. I almost bought one at an auction once, but I got out bid.

  11. Hi Gaye, I didn’t do much prepping this week other than purchasing some shelving for all our can goods and home canned produce. But I do have a question for other preppers. I read every so often about the Dak hams (I think that’s right). I have never come across those particular hams but have found and purchased Brookdale canned hams from Aldi for $2.99 each. We haven’t tried these yet but was wondering if any other readers have bought/eaten this brand, and what they thought of them. I tend to find a lot of good deals at Aldi.
    I have been rotating some of my stores out to my son who is going through his own personal economic collapse. I hope to restock in a couple of weeks. I’m glad I have something to share with him.
    Thanks you for your blog, it’s down to earth. Some of the other prepping blogs make me feel like I’m intruding on a private group.

    • I tried the Brookdale ham. It’s not what I would call, “good”. It Is sustenance though, and better than nothing, or maybe even better for you than a double cheeseburger at Mac Donald’s? However; I think that of most of what Aldi has. Your taste may vary? I would suggest eating one to find out for yourself before you got more? There are a couple of Brookdale products I would not buy again. Sorry (thankfully) I forget which. But some of their products weren’t all that bad. If that’s any help?
      I imagine a hungry person would add something to it and be just fine.

      That said. I tend to view canned goods as a last resort thing. There are many people who say eating from cans is bad for you. I tend to agree. As a result, I no longer rotate. For the most part.

      I keep thinking about some ship that sank in the 1880’s(?) in the Missouri(?) River. It had canned goods on it. The ‘scientists’ tested it and found it safe to eat. Since reading that, I don’t pay much attention to dates on cans, just dents and where they are, but I do still practice first in, first out.

      The gooberment websites say goods in jars are only good for about a year. I wonder if that’s not true and goods in jars are good as long as canned goods? I suppose it’s what’s inside that matters most, and if they pass the sniff test?

      Anyway, personally, I’d skip a meal to avoid canned goods and get fresh produce and things like meats cured without nitrates instead, but that’s just me.

      …The wind sure is howling tonight.

  12. This week we started seriously looking at making bug out bags. Bought a new tactical bag with the molle system and a bunch of paracord. Now I can start organizing all our stuff into one bag for each of us instead of being stashed all over.

  13. My preps this week have been in the realm of health. I visited my daughter, SIL and grandchildren over the weekend and both GC were sick with coughs and fevers. I came home (well, I stopped at my local co-op first and purchased some add’l essential oils) and made ups some thieves oil (a blend of a number of essential oils) for my diffuser. This works to purify the air so that I don’t get sick as well. Prepping is not all about food and water, guns and ammo. It is also about staying healthy. Gaye, I know your favorite EO is lavender as mine is but this thieves oil blend is pretty good as well. I will try to remember to let everyone know if it keeps me healthy or not.

    • Spark Naturals has a blend similar to Thieves called “Shield”. Thieves is clove, lemon, eucalyptus and rosemary correct? I also have the individual oils and would love your recipe!

  14. Backdoor Survival,

    FALSE FLAG: serious fact-based fiction about the 9/11 cover-up – Story vs. Denial


  15. Your buzz got me inquiring and I found this. It’s info for Oregon but can adapted to state and local codes. The info is good for figuring how much you need, set up, filters, pipes, pressure etc. Hope this helps.


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