The Sunday Survival Buzz #128

Gaye LevyGaye Levy | Jul 4, 2019
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Welcome to this week’s all-new Sunday Survival Buzz with an update on my own preps and announcements from the Backdoor Survival blog.

What a crazy and wild week.  We lost power about 2:30 AM one night and our house generator automatically kicked it. Shelly jumped up and said, “WTF, something is wrong with our generator”! LOL, I told him to relax; it was doing what it was supposed to do! Anyway, he traipsed outside to shut it off since it is wasteful to run a generator in the middle of the night. Even generators need practice and this little episode was a perfect drill.

Anne Mark DInner

The highlight of the week was dinner with Anne Watson and Aaron Shephard.  You are familiar with Aaron who, under the pen name of Mark Shephard, is the editor of the book Phoenix Island.  This is a bit self-serving but one of the best parts of the evening (and there were many) was that Anne has offered to teach me to make soap using the techniques in her book, Smart Soapmaking.  Not only that, we are considering doing a video as well!  Both books are currently available in eBook format for only 99 cents.

My Amazon order this week included some Pool Shock.  I know you are thinking “it is about time”.  I plan on mixing up a proper dilution so that I can give up my reliance on bleach which for one, has a six to twelve-month shelf life and for two, is becoming difficult to find in some areas where only the “ultra-concentrated” or scented versions are available.

I also ordered some additional N100 masks.   Still, with the Ebola mess, it can’t hurt to be prudent and have some extra N95s or N100’s on hand.

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


Tana asked via email:

What is the best, reasonably priced backpack? Since school supplies are out now there are more options available right now. I just found your website today and it sounds more in line with what I can do and why I would need it. Any help is appreciated.

I thought the rest of you might be interested in my response:

There are so many purposes for backpacks (bug out, vehicle, evacuation to a shelter or friend’s home) that I am hard pressed to make a specific recommendation. I am pretty small so I prefer the Rothco Medium Transport pack because it holds a ton and yet, with its narrow profile, is easy for me to manage.

My recommendation is to find something relative light weight with lots of compartments for sorting your stuff. Go for comfort and don’t let anyone talk you into spending more than you can afford. You can always upgrade later.

Tony asked a question about the Lifestraw water filter:

Hello, I can not find any info of longevity or shelf life once water has been pulled thru it and then put back in storage.

My Response:

The LifeStraw will filter 1000 liters of water, which is 264 gallons. After that, it will simply quit working. Lifestraw has recently updated their technical specs to indicate that there is no “shelf life” to the Lifestraw when stored at room temperature.

From Nora in response to the article Seven Facts You Should Know About Ebola:

The information you wrote is essentially correct.

However, I want to clarify one thing regarding transmission. Even small droplets of exhaled, sneezed or coughed fluid can carry the disease. For example, one of the women who had the disease refused treatment, left the clinic, and got in a jitney cab with multiple passengers. Four additional women contracted Ebola and have since died.

I suspect that Ebola is not as difficult to contract as we have been led to believe. With an incubation period of up to 21 days and relatively minor initial symptoms, people could travel across the world and potentially infect others. Just my thoughts.

Sobering thoughts, indeed.  I will have a special report on Ebola coming up on Tuesday along with an article reflecting my own “hunker down in isolation” preps on Wednesday.  Stay tuned for those and as always, I will try to post important updates over on my Facebook page.


The following giveaways are active and awaiting your entry!

Summer 2014 Book Festival: Duct Tape 911-The Many Amazing Medical Things You Can Do to Tape Yourself Together

Summer Survival Blast: Infidel Body Armor Review + Giveaway


Remember the Titan Ready giveaway?  The winners have finally been announced.  They are Judy S., Michael E., Jill S., and Jane B. All of the winners have claimed their prize but if one of you is a Backdoor Survival reader, be sure to check in and let the rest of us know.

In addition, the winner of Sara Hathaway’s book, “Day After Disaster” is Monty.  The winning entry was the “Free entry for everyone!”  You have been notified by email and have 48 hours to claim your prize.


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

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The print version of “The Prepper’s Guide to Food Storage” is now linked up properly to the eBook version.  In addition, I have added the option where you can get the eBook for just 99 cents if you have already purchased the print version.

The other thing and I am not quite sure how this works, but Amazon floats the price of the print book.   I guess I still have a lot to learn about self-publishing.


I have a confession to make.  I have over-committed and am suffering from review and giveaway burnout.  Alas, I have already committed to a lot of great stuff and do intend to play things out for a while.  In the meantime, I am more than a little bit anxious to do some real writing so please bear with me for a while longer, okay?  I plan to take a “giveaway” break in the fall.

So what about you – 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.

The Sunday ALMOST FREE Department

10 flashlights AlmostFree 380

10 Pack Mini LED Flashlights

These arrived very quickly; I was surprised.  They are bright and with the included batteries, are a real bargain.


Bargain Bin:  Here are some of the items mentioned in today’s article.

Smart Soapmaking: The Simple Guide to Making Traditional Handmade Soap:  The title says it all.  Anne Watson, the author, is going to teach me to make soap using the techniques in this book.  The eBook is only 99 cents but if you can afford it, get the print book.

Ultima Pool Shock:  I could not find a local source for unadulterated pool shock so this is what I ordered from Amazon.  It contains 73% Calcium Hypochlorite.  I had to dig around at the manufacturer’s web site to ensure that there were no additives other than inert ingredients.

3M N95 Particulate & Respirator Mask: This is an inexpensive mask that can be used in a variety of emergency situations. They come in a box of 20 and are NIOSH-certified. The molded cone design is fluid and splash resistant and will greatly reduce your exposure to airborne particles.

Moldex 2730 N100 Respirator Mask:  Do not confuse P100 masks with the N100s.  N100 is what you want since the P100’s are used to filter particulate only and not gasses and vapors.

LifeStraw Family 1.0 Water PurifierClean, Drinkable Water LifeStraw Family Review Backdoor Survival:  The Lifestraw Family contains no chemicals, no batteries, and no moving parts to wear out. It features a high flow rate and is the perfect solution to your portable water purification needs – whether bugging in or bugging out. As of this writing, shipping is free.

Bug Out Bag

Rothco Medium Transport Pack: What I really like about these Rothco packs is the narrow profile.  As you can see in the picture, it is only as wide as my body.  Sure, it sticks out a bit in back but at least I do not bump into things.  There are lots of compartments and pouches and it by far, the most comfortable pack I have ever worn.  I actually own 3 Rothco packs, 2 in the medium size and one large.  I keep one pack permanently in my vehicle.


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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.

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Updated Jul 4, 2019

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22 Responses to “The Sunday Survival Buzz #128”

  1. Not a lot of prepping this week, due to my sister and her granddaughter visiting. We spent one full day at the diamond crater in Arkansas slogging through the sticky mud. No diamond, but a lot of outdoor exercise. I did receive an order of Mountain House freeze dried food the day before my sis got here. And I managed to vote BDS every day at Top Prepper.

    • Oh – I forgot – I also ordered a “SlimJim” 2 meter roll up antenna for my ham radio. Kinda forget that my ham radio hobby is also prepping! 🙂

  2. Good morning Gaye. Glad your generator test worked so well and in non-dire circumstances!

    This week I ordered a box of N95 masks after the fourth consective news story about Ebola. I have an upcoming flight next weekend and am fairly certain I will be one of those people wearing a mask in the airport.(along with nitrile gloves.)

    Also got several more packs of disposeable lighters (wrapped them all in 4 foot lengths of duct tape) and added to the stash. Also hit the back to school sales for more pens, pencils and notebooks.

    Almost finished one of the patchwork quilts for our BOL made up of old fabric I had laying around the house. It feels good to repurpose the old sheets, curtains, tablecloths and clothes just like my Grandma did back in the day.

    Today I am going to make up some home-baked bread to keep my skills up to par. Its something I only do a few times a year, but each time I get better at it.

    I’ve also signed up for a 90 health challenge at my gym. I’ve gotten in fairly fit shape over the past year, but there is always room for improvement. I’m going to focus on building core and back strength so I can keep chopping wood and hauling heavy loads up at the Homestead for years to come.

    Have a great week!

  3. I had planned on going to a family reunion this week, but my sister from California had to cancel. Her husband, being a federal immigration judge, was called to the Mexican border. My sister in NC had to cancel because a flash flood got her car, so I am staying home. My poor crop of tomatoes this year, after my goats got out and eat the tops out of the plants, produced enough tomatoes that I canned 8 pints of salsa. I sent in my request for my classes at Front Sight. My grandson, his father, and me going to 2 classes in Oct. A 4 day handgun class as well as a 2 day rifle class. Also, for the first time ever, FedEx lost, they said it was delivered to my side door, and I don’t have a side door, an important order. Life sucks, then you die.

  4. “Tony asked a question about the Lifestraw water filter:

    Hello, I can not find any info of longevity or shelf life once water has been pulled thru it and then put back in storage.”

    Tony’s question wasn’t answered. He, as I, would like to know what is the shelf life of the “Lifestraw” AFTER you have used it once or twice and THEN stored it.

    I can remember reading in the instructions of some water filters that if you use them, you must remove the filter element and make sure it is thoroughly dry before storage. If not bacteria will build up inside the filter.


    • Actually, my response does answer the question. Even after being used to pull water through the filter, the Lifestraw can be set aside and used again later. This can be done again and again until 1000 liters have been filtered. At that time it will simply quit working.

      Perhaps I am not saying this very clearly but the shelf life is measured in how much water is filtered and not in time.

    • Thank you, in the past (20+ years ago) filters had to be dried, stored in the fridge or frozen to keep them from plugging with algae and bacteria.

    • you wouldn’t want to freeze a lifestraw! not that you suggested it; i’m just adding my two cents worth. if you let a lifestraw (or sawyer mini, or other ceramic-type filter) freeze when it’s wet, it will crack and be ruined. you have to make sure it’s dry before storing in a car, for example, where it might freeze. if you’re using it regularly in freezing weather, you could always wear it around your neck under your clothes to keep it from freezing. happy sipping!

  5. I received my new dehydrator this week and tried drying tomatoes, summer squash, cucumbers, green beans and bell peppers. The one thing I thought was not going to be that great was the cucumbers. They were awesome, just as a snack. Also smoked and dried my first batch of cayenne peppers. Garden is going good. I got new tires on my utility trailer. I will also be getting chains for it before winter. This houses my tools, but will also take our important possessions to our BOL.

  6. Gaye – next time you talk with Aaron please let him know that I am enjoying “Phoenix Island”. Due to so many other things going on I’m not reading as fast as I normally would, just up to where they are starting to have trouble with the feral dogs. Really enjoying it! Thanks for the giveaway!

  7. I made another dent in my food-pantry shopping list–I bought oats, pasta, pasta sauce, baking soda, a few spices, and cooking oil. (Thanks for “20 Items to Kick Start Your Food Storage Plan,” Gaye–I’m almost there!) I also bought nine gallon jugs of water, bringing my stored total to 32 gallons. I think that’s all the water I can store in my one-bedroom apartment, so I’ll be ordering an AquaPod soon. I’m kicking myself for not ordering some masks before the price jumped–I should’ve known that would happen!

    • Laurel – you may want to check at automotive paint and body shops. I know most of them have N95 and they may have N100 masks. They are used there to filter out the over spray from painting a car. Whether the price has jumped at those places I don’t know.

  8. The N95 mask will NOT filter viruses. If Ebola came to one’s area only a full face mask like ones seen in the pictures would be sufficient. If coughing is a symptom, the virus can be spread by aerosol droplets and the eyes are extremely permeable without eye protection. I’m not sure about Ebola, but some
    viruses can survive in dried body fluids and be re-activated with moisture. I
    have an infection control background from hospital practice of many years.

    And because this outbreak is so fast spreading, CDC is going to see if the virus may have evolved and has become more easily communicable than in the past. If this spread out of Africa, this could be as bad as the world wide flu pandemic in the early 1900’s.

    • According to articles I have read, it has mutated. One article said it is 97% the same as Zaire Ebola,but has three mutations that they have found. This is likely why it is spreading faster and why it is apparently more communicable, and why doctors who have worked with Ebola in the past have caught it and died from it.
      And the articles also say that this virus is like those you describe, which can survive in dried body fluids, say on furniture, bedding, door knobs, etc, for an extended period of time, and be reactivated with moisture.
      Also, the virus does not die when the host dies, which is one reason it is spreading so quickly in Africa where family members insist on traditional washing of the body before burial. They then become infected from handling the body and the body fluids on the body.
      One of my friends suggests if it comes to America (and they brought the American doctor to the US yesterday, the other American is being brought later this week) that if it starts spreading to shelter down as long as it takes to get the disease under control. And she says she thinks it would be prudent to start now, if you go to the store, get a shopping cart out of the parking lot, where the rays from the sun should have killed most of the germs off the handles. We are prepping up to shelter down and I expect we will have her extended family and some of the staff from her clinic sheltering with us. All of us have started taking elderberry and other natural immune system builders. You don’t want to wait until it gets here to get ready to deal with it.
      BTW – my grandfather died at the age of 22 in that worldwide Swine Flu epidemic in 1918. My mother was a new born and has no memory of him whatsoever.

  9. Question about your pool shock you purchased. Once opening the pouch how will you store the remaining product? I read someplace that the product is corrosive and has a vapor that comes off of it. Also how much of the pool shock do you use to make a one gallon container and what percent is it? I think we may need an article on this.

    • @Marilee – That is the plan. There seems to be a lot of vagueness and conflicting information when it comes to the use of pool shock. I won’t know the answers until I do my own testing. And yes, there will definitely be an article. Stay tuned.

  10. Hopefully you’ll consider the perspective of Jon Rappoport in these four blog entries:

    Ebola: covert op in a hypnotized world


    What are US biowar researchers doing in the Ebola zone?


    Ebola 2: here come the “global pandemic” promoters


    Is it Ebola or is it psychological warfare?


    The facts there about Ebola seem Very counter to what I’m reading in many instances. It’s worth a quick read, imho.

    Here’s a question about water filters I have yet to find an answer for:

    Do all water filters have the following limitation?:

    In the directions for the Sawyer Mini Water Filtration System I bought, it says not to use the unit if it freezes.

    I tried asking the company about this but received no response.

    Is this just when there is water in the filter, or even when it’s bone dry?

    Such a hangup could make this a worthless bit of equipment if a simple freeze disables it. Wouldn’t you say?

    RE: Pool shock.
    I read on the back of box once that if it is exposed to moisture (gets wet?) it will catch on fire, or something to that effect. Was that for only one brand/type, or all brands, and if so, what kind of container to you keep it in, and where? I didn’t purchase any for that reason. My basement gets kind of damp sometimes.

    This weeks prep was small. I bought a quality used hatchet at a garage sale. It was rusted up a bit so I sanded it down, put an edge on it, and painted it.

    • re: sawyer filters……if the filter is exposed to freezing temps when wet, the ceramic element will crack, making it useless for filtering. if it’s dry, freezing temps won’t hurt it. this is true of lifestraws too, and any filter that uses a ceramic filtering mechanism. if you’re using the filter regularly in very cold weather, you could wear it under you clothes to keep it from freezing. hope this answers your question.

  11. Also, I’ve seen a lot of people mentioning the 1918 flu epidemic as of late, here’s something to consider about that:

    Did 1918 Spanish Flu Deaths Result From Aspirin-Induced Scurvy (Vitamin C Deficiency)?


  12. Hi Gaye, About the life straw question…I understood Tony’s question to be…How long would the water keep on the shelf “after” it had been filtered through the straw,not the straw itself after use. I may be wrong in my understanding of the question though.

  13. Smart family! A backup home generator is a great investment. Plus the initiative to get up in the middle of the night to turn it off is impressive. A company I worked for in the past had a switch installed inside the building to turn on, and off the generator. Does your generator have anything like that? Also how loud would you say your generator is?

    • It is in an enclosure but even then, somewhat loud. That said, with the windows closed, not too bad. Of course this time of year, the windows are open LOL. We do have a master switch in the house but to be honest, I am not technical enough to want to fiddle with it since the electricians have it set up to work the way it is supposed to. I need to ask Shelly abut it.

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