The Sunday Survival Buzz – Volume 86

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.

As much as we try to anticipate emergencies and plan for them in advance, sometimes stuff just happens.  Case in point.  After being away for three weeks, I arrived home to find my refrigerator was on the fritz.  I always keep a thermometer inside and when I opened the door, the temperature read a nice cozy 50 degrees.  Cozy for me, that is, but not for my food.  Ouch.

Everything inside had to be dumped.  Luckily, there was no icky smell but still, this was not a happy situation since I was faced with dumping about $150 worth of food and a huge repair bill.  On the positive side of things, the dead space in my garage freezer was filled with juice jugs full of frozen water.  I was able to use these to turn my refrigerator into a giant ice chest so at least I could store my fruit and veggies safely.

Dinner that night and meals throughout the week have consisted of freeze-dried meals, including some of those Mountain House products I purchased last month as well as some spaghetti and canned sauce from my pantry.  What I have learned is that living without a refrigerator is not so bad so long as you have access to your food storage!

Mountain House

Mountain House to the Rescue!

And what about that refrigerator?  The choices are a $900 repair bill or $1,800 for a new refrigerator.  I chose the repair (a new compressor plus labor).  By the way, the refrigerator is only seven years old, and is a US made Amana.  What can I say?  They just don’t make them like they used to.

While I was away, a number of boxes and cartons containing prepping supplies arrived including more FD food plus a bucket and toilet seat combo.  Even while I was gone, the prepping continued.

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


Military Waste and Fraud Continue In the Middle of the Government Shutdown:  There is no question in my mind that our government woes are caused by bad policies supported by both parties.  Or, more succinctly, politics as usual.

Regular readers know that the government shutdown is caused by bad policies supported by both parties, including out-of-control military boondoggles.

We wouldn’t be in this crisis of hitting the debt ceiling in the first place if we hadn’t spent so much money on unnecessary wars … which are horrible for the economy.

But it goes far beyond actual fighting.  We could easily slash the military and security budget without reducing our national security.

For example, homeland security agencies wasted money on seminars like “Did Jesus Die for Klingons Too?” and training for a “zombie apocalypse” instead of actually focusing on anti-terror efforts.

21 Of The Best Comments Posted By Frustrated Americans On The Official Obamacare Facebook Page:  Grab a cup of coffee then sit back and read this one.  It would be funny if it were not so utterly pathetic.

Of Goats And Gardens: Making Sense Of Urban Agriculture In LA: More and more I am seeing articles such as this one that address the issue of urban farming.  Let us be optimistic that this is a step in the right direction.

Fake Service Animals Hurt Real Disabled People:  I share this article because I know it is true.  Heck, I was once “offered” a service dog vest for Tucker so that he could travel with me.  Needless to say, I no longer have a relationship with that person.  (And Tucker the Dog goes to doggie-camp when I travel).  But beyond the service dog issue, there are innumerable ways that self-centered individuals and greedy businesses attempt to take advantage of the disabled.  I do not condone it but of course, complaining these days could get you shot.

Death Panels 101? Chilling High School Assignment Makes Students Decide Who Lives and Who Dies:  This sent chills down my spine.  As rumors of “old people” being denied treatment under Medicare surface, this type of lesson being taught in our high schools makes me wonder what country we are living in.  And what era.

Protect Yourself from Salmonella and E Coli Naturally:  Salmonella and E-Coli can be killers, especially to those with a compromised immune system.  Laurie at Common Sense Homesteading is a great resource for all things natural.  I trust what she writes and this article is no exception.


From Dave via Facebook:

“One thing to remember with cast iron, don’t use metal utensils. You can scrape the seasoning off with them. I use wood mostly, but plastic types are okay too.”

Please heed this advice.  A couple of months ago I read that metal spatulas are best for cast iron so I gave it a try.  Bad advice.  I ended up ruining the seasoning and had to take my skillet down to bare metal and re-season from scratch.

More advice on cast iron, this time from Mark via Facebook:

“Use REAL lard to season with (render your own not the stuff you get in the store). It may take a couple of coats. Bake at 500 for an hour. I started the oven then coated the pan. Put the pan in the oven upside down and propped up a little before it was up to temp. After an hour I just turned it off. HINT – Have your windows OPEN!!!

After I inspected the pan I did it again to get some spots that didn’t quite take. Pans are a nice glossy black now. Once seasoned NEVER was with soap again. Your best bet for iron is old Wagner or Griswold but watch your prices! I understand that Lodge Logic is good and “pre-seasoned” but try and go with Wagner or Griswold if you can.”

From Adrienne:

An absolutely fabulous cough syrup I make for my family (except those under 1 year) is with honey & onions:

-Slice an onion (yellow or white) fairly thin (like you would for burgers) and place in a shallow bowl, rounds are lying flat but can overlap.

-Cover COMPLETELY with honey & tightly cover. (Preferably sealed with a tight lid, but saran wrap will do.)

-Let concoction sit for 1-4 days, in a cool dark place.

-Gently strain resulting liquid into a dark (preferably glass) bottle. (A standard metal sieve works best. Do not use cheesecloth, as the honey will absorb into it!!!) **This will take some time, to ensure that ALL the honey has drained off of the onion pieces!!**

-Administer 1-2 Tbsp. as needed!

I asked about the onion “taste” but apparently the honey does a good job of masking any lingering onion flavor.  Sweet onions work the best for just that reason.

Thanks, everyone, for the tips.  Keep them coming to gaye at backdoorsurvival dot com.


This week I would like to welcome Golden Eagle Coins as our newest sponsor. If you are in the market for gold coins such as the American Gold Eagle, Canadian Maple Leaf, or South African Gold Krugerrand, this is the place to shop.  These coins are only a small sampling of what they have to offer – I encourage you to take a peak.

This week we also welcome back the Seed of the Month Club, your source for quality heirloom seeds that a regionalized for your area and growing season.

And last but not least, Mother Earth Products is celebrating the launch of their new owners and new website with a sale.  You can take 30% off every order places through the end of October by using the coupon code REOPENING SALE during checkout.

Mother Earth 200 x 200

As always, I encourage you to support the sponsors here and on the left side of each page.  It is through their support that Backdoor Survival remains free for everyone – now and always.


Remember the How to Live on 10K eBook giveaway?  There were lots of entries as well as a lively dialog going on among readers in the comments section of the article.  Interestingly enough, the question I asked was taken out of context so many of the answers consisted of suggestions for articles rather than suggestions for giveaway topics.

No worries – it was all very useful.  The three winners are John R, Catherine, and Kathy.  I have send an email out to each of you with instructions for claiming your eBook.

The next Backdoor Survival Book Festival will start on October 19th.  I have some fabulous authors and their books lined up so be sure to check back or better yet, sign up for email updates and never miss another post.


Reminder: if you are interested in finding a past article on a specific topic, you can use the Search box on the right hand side or select SEARCH from the menu bar.


Yes, I was really on vacation and here are a couple of pictures to prove it.  That really is me relaxing for a change!

panama canal 2013_08 small   panama canal 2013_01

With the government shutdown and a planned, nationwide EMP drill for November, there is much speculation as to what is really going on in our country.  All I can say is this:  keep up the preps, practice your self-reliance skills and stay aware.  You can bet that there will be some unexpected events showing up on our doorsteps whether we like it or not.

Until, next time, remember to make every day a prep day!

Enjoy your next adventure through common sense and thoughtful preparation!

If you have not done so already, please be sure to like Backdoor Survival on Facebook to be 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 Pinterest.

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 Backdoor Survival article on DIY cleaning turned out to be hugely popular all around the web. In case 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.

Maximal Power FC999 Universal Battery Charger: This nicely built charger will charge charge AA, AAA, C, D, N, 9V, Ni-MH, Ni-CD, and Alkaline batteries. It has an LED display so that when you first put a battery in the charging bay, you know whether it is viable for charging or simply bad and ready to go back to the recycle box. See How to Recharge Alkaline Batteries.

Blocklite Mini Compact Size Ultra Bright 9V LED Flashlight: One of my readers (James) claims that these work great. 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.

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”.

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 Glycerin Vegetable, 16-Fluid Ounces: 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.

NOW Foods Peppermint Oil: I favor peppermint essential oil (okay, I like lavender too) so this is what I get. 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.

Microfiber “Magic” Rags: No list of 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 green for glass and windows and the other colors for everything else. I love these.

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Emergency Essentials Potty

This month, the Tote-able Toilet with 2 Enzyme Packets is on sale for $14.95.  I priced purchasing the bucket and toilet seat lid separately and found that it was more economical to pick up this kit.  I am planning to fill the bucket with other sanitation supplies plus, of course, plenty of TP.

In the food department, the best sale item this month is the Freeze Dried Chicken Breast Dices with Rib Meat.  The price for a #10 can is $24.99 which represents and amazing discount of 42%.

These are just two of the items on sale this month at Emergency Essentials.  Click on the link below for more great deals from Emergency Essentials.

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20 Responses to “The Sunday Survival Buzz – Volume 86”

  1. I know what you mean about your fridge. I bought a side by side, with spill-proof shelves (my dream fridge), about five years ago. For the past several months, I have to defrost it at least once a month. It is past its warranty, which was five years.
    I paid 1,600 dollars, plus the warranty. I can’t afford to replace it with a new one, so I make do.
    It really gives you an idea of what would happen in a long term power down situation. What happens if you have a fridge full of food, nothing in the stores (or they are closed for some reason), and you have to suddenly take care of this food?
    Sigh… So many things to think of.

  2. Great Sunday blog, only disagreement I have is the military and security spending cuts. If the lock on your front door broke would you not replace it because the door still closes without it? Everyone wants to cut military spending, how about for once we cut the executive branch spending! Instead of the president flying all over the world, pick up the phone! Instead of flying all the congress to Washington, tele conference, or webinar would work. When they are in Washington, let them pay for their parties!
    I could go on and on about not cutting military spending, I have seen our military cut to shreds in the last 20 years and it worries me. You see in the news how it is the end of the quarter or end of the year and spending is crazy. We’ll that is true, but realize we have hoarded our cash all quarter or year, we cannot get more, that is impossible! We only spend on absolute necessities and when the coiffures are about to be replenished we get to restock and prepare for the next hoarding session.
    There are many places for the government to cut spending, I see it every day with Medicare and Medicaid, where fraud and misuse is rampant.

    • Curtiss – You make some excellent points however I believe the gist of the article had more to do with eliminating waste than with eliminating spending completely. Some of the military budget is spent frivolously. We need to reign that it and spend those funds where there will be a positive ROI.

      As with Medicare and Medicaid, there is much fraud in military spending. The entire system is a mess.

      — Gaye

  3. P.S. Let’s bring all our troops from around the world home and in six months see how you feel about getting on a cruise ship.
    Another spending cut would be our embassies, why do we put our people in an embassy where they are in danger? Those countries do not deserve an embassy, shut them down and save the money especially the rescue money.

    • I definitely think too much money is spent on our supposed “leaders.” We have less, while they have the same or more. They get lifetime protection, even after they are out of office. I also agree that too much world travel is going on. We could definitely accomplish the same things without so much…. fluff (?) added to it.

    • Curtiss, I agree with what you say, but let me say this. Our forefathers wrote the constitution and formed the Federal Government. They formed the Federal Government for 3 reasons. 3 reasons only.
      1. To protect our shores.
      2. To settle disputes between the states.
      3. To provide ambassadors to the foreign lands.
      I think the men that wrote our Constitution were very wise. If they think we need ambassadors, then I think we need ambassadors. They didn’t form Department of education, Dept of energy, Dept of interior, Dept of health and human resources, EPA, OHSA, ATF, and on and on. Let’s shut them down and see if life in this good ole USofA doesn’t get better.
      Before I get off my soap box, I think our forefathers turn over in their graves every time Harry Reid opens his mouth.

  4. I dont know if this is the place to put this or not, but…
    This last week I was in Dollar Tree where everything is only a dollar. Sometimes I find good preps in there, so I check every so often. I saw some shelf stable 2% liquid milk in a box quart container with a flip top lid. I was leary, because I tried some bagged coffe there the week before, and honest to God, it did not taste like coffee. I had never seen nor heard of it (you might already know of it) So I bought 2 quarts to give it a try. I got it cold in the fridge, I dont drink milk, but my husband and my sister and her family tried it and all said it tasted just as it should! Like milk, go figure! For only a buck thats $4 a gallon, just about what we pay at the grocery store. I have since Googled it, they make several items, and apparently this is the type of milk a lot of people around the world use. It had a 1 year expiration date. I watched a video online of a prepper who opened hers 15 months past exp. and it was still good. I am going back on Monday to buy all they have! I see they have it on Amazon, but its at an outrageouse price.

    • I forgot to say, its Gossner brand.

    • Oh LeAnn. I have talked to the people at Dollar Tree and my local Dollar Tree, in the past. They tell me they cant get it any more. I think they are saying that they cant make any money selling it at $1. I have bought this from Gossners in Utah and it is great. Shipping sucks. They also have many flavors, including chocolate. I think their whipping cream is divine. When the crap hits I think I will miss my morning coffee with whipping cream as my creamer the most. I have a few cases stored (if I told you how much you would consider me weird), and I would advise you to buy this milk with a great shelf life. Gossners are the ones that make Bordens shelf stable milk, but Bordens is very expensive.

  5. With all of the things happening in the news lately, the probability of an economic crisis/second Depression, seems more and more likely. I thought to myself this morning, “As much as I have tried to prepare, I may not be prepared enough, especially if something big happens in the next few days, weeks, or months.”
    Question for everyone: If you had some way of knowing that a SHTF situation would happen in the next few days, what would you do to prepare right away? What would be your biggest priority, especially with so much to consider?

    • My own preps are short in meat, I guess thats what I would grab first, and get it canned up. Also I would go buy some live chickens and shelter for them, Ive been putting it off until spring, but Im afraid thats going to be my undoing…

    • Maxineowen. With these “simulations” the government will be running in Oct and Nov I think they are telling us that we do have just a few weeks. My biggest priority would be to finish all these projects I have started. My satellite dish solar cooker, that’s setting in my back yard, my rocket mass heater, I have to trip over the parts with which to build it at my basement door, and install my solar panels that are leaning against my greenhouse, still in the box. So much to do, so little time.

    • Although my family has two sources of income, the prepping that I am doing lately cuts into it a bit. Recently, I have been buying extra batteries, tanks of propane for a camp stove and a heater, personal care items, and the normal things like food and water.
      I find it frustrating that I do not see any indication of a pending EMP drill on the news. Most people are unaware.
      To be quite honest, I was caught between telling others in my area, thereby risking losing resources that I may need to pick up – or letting them know and giving them a shot to get ready and not resort to looting.
      After all, we anticipate two days of lights out, but don’t know for sure. Better safe than sorry.
      I posted the New York Times article on my Facebook wall, but no one heeded it. It got no attention. After a couple of hours, I took it down.

    • Dont lose hope! I tell friends and my family constantly about these things on FB, I rarely get a response. But I have watched at least 5 people wake up to what is going on, and a few have started prepping.
      Sadly if its not on one of the major TV networks, most people wont believe it until it happens.

    • Great question for the next giveaway!

  6. I wouldn’t worry about the “Death Panels 101.” It is the same kind of moral exercise I did as a student many, many years ago. They are intended to not only cause one to challenge their personal biases, but to engage in both critical thinking and empathy. Both of those seem to be seriously lacking in our society today, so I applaud the use of this exercise.

  7. Gaye, I have to share my experience with seasoning cast iron….We purchased a large lidded cast iron pot that required seasoning. Due to diet concerns we don’t keep Lard or Crisco in our home. My spouse went shopping and I said I would follow the directions and handle the seasoning of our new pot. All I could find was Extra Virgin Olive Oil, so I preheated the oven to 500, wiped the new pot down with the oil and shoved it in the oven. Went out in the garage to work on another project and when my wife returned, she opened the door and thick smoke came billowing out of the kitchen. At that very moment, the smoke alarms went off and we were able to open the windows and attempt to clear the air. Needless to say, olive oil burns at a very low temperature and it didn’t season a single thing on our cast iron pot. Took weeks to clear the smell from the air, and now we season the cast iron outside in my BBQ pit.

  8. wow, lots of topics in this sunday buzz. we have been using Gosner’s milk for about 7 years now. tadtes just like milk. I bought a dozen carons at the case lit sale in town. the price is
    about the same withing a few cents depending on where you get it. hubby drinks it, I use in cooking.
    the salmonella thing. I have 3 bottles of nutri biotic grapefruit seed extract and add it to my dogs water dishes. what isnt mentioned is food grade hydrogen peroxide is an awesome multi purpose sanitiser, and purifyer for water. and mixed properly is good for consumption and on plants. I have found info on it, but need to find a hard copy book to add to my library. I usually use it in a nasal bottle to spray the back of my throat if i feel a bug trying to inade me.
    yes the govt. spending has been out of control foe some time, and we still need to support our military, troops more so. the last couple of weeks, we have tried some of our freeze dried entree’s, they do taste good. I ordered a can of ice cream sandwhiches too, cant wait to try them. so… I ordered 4 buckets of wheat, so now I myst purchase a grinder. the wonder mill jr. is about 275.00 ouch, but I will need to plant some late season basil. I discovered that you can make mozzarella cheese balls last longer by submerging them in olive oil.

  9. I season my cadt iron wirh coconut oil, last longer, and has a much higher burn point

  10. I live just down the road from where Amana was made. They hit bottom a long time ago. Same with Maytag. Junk. And they were the “Pride of Iowa” at one time. Sturdy, dependable, and lasted forever.
    But you don’t have to spend $2K to get a serviceable fridge. In most areas there are church sponsored training schools for people who have no saleable skills, and are willing to put some effort into it. We bought a good upright freezer for $300 from a Baptist training center, and $25 for in-place delivery. Yeah, uprights are a little less efficient than the chest type, but if you’ll look on Craigslist you’ll find very few of them for sale. Very little of this equipment is made in America-China, Korea, ad absurdum. Hotpoint has gotten strong reviews from Consumers Digest, and so have a couple others.


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