Survival Buzz #199: Have An Eyes Wide Open Approach to Prepping

Gaye LevyGaye Levy | Jul 2, 2019

The Backdoor Survival mailbag runneth over.  Some days there are hundreds of emails and although I don’t have the time to personally respond to each, I do take up to an hour a day to read every single one.  And that includes those giveaway questions.

This week I share some items from the mail bag.  But first, let me share my thoughts of the moment.

Have An Eyes Wide Open Approach to Prepping | Backdoor Survival

When I was chatting with Daisy Luther yesterday, she mentioned “I never expected the SHTF event to be a Muslim Jihad”.  Indeed.  Keep your eyes wide open, everyone.  Be wary of your surroundings and stay safe this holiday season.

As I like to say: Always have an eyes wide open approach to prepping and expect the unexpected when a disaster or disruptive event occurs.

Backdoor Survival Mail Bag & Reader Tips

Have you ever wondered how much water you can recover while harvesting rainwater?  Reader “Shootit” came up with the following.  Note his bit of advice at the end.

We installed a 300 gallon tank this summer to harvest rainwater from one of our horse sheds (metal roof) to use for gardening or emergencies. The following is a formula to calculate the number of gallons collected based on rainfall.

Square footage of roof x inches of rainfall x conversion factor (.623) = gallons of water.

A gallon of water weighs about 8.3 lbs. per gallon. If need be we could boil/filter/treat the water for drinking. You have to remember that bird poop will end up in water harvested from roofs.


How many times have I suggested that you perform a drill with a grid-down weekend?  I don’t think I have that many fingers.  Anyhow, this came in last month from “Noelia”.

I love the United States, so this is NOT trashing you guys.

I’m from Dominican Republic, in the Caribbean, born and raised and still living here, and let me tell you, I feel sorry for you when natural disasters happen over there or just a simple power outage.

The other day we (me and my husband) had an outage in our neighborhood due to a storm and the power was out for like two days or so and our inverter ran out of juice.

My husband (American and used to A/C) didn’t know what to do with himself when it was time to go to sleep and there wasn’t even a fan on (we have two of those running simultaneously with the A/C). It was actually a cool night because it was still raining from the storm and all the windows were open so we could get some nice breeze but he was still suffering and wanted to go to a Motel to “sleep properly”.

I wasn’t bothered by it as much as him ’cause I grew up with 12 hours a day of NO POWER thanks to our amazing government. As long as I have running water, I’m good!!!

I tell you this basically to corroborate Gaye’s proposition of no power for a whole weekend to know where you stand in terms of endurance and to adjust from there, to know what you and your family will need when that kind of disaster happens.  No, of course is not a walk in the park (I think now-a-days a walk in the park is more dangerous anyway!!), but if you don’t panic or get desperate and you have the essential for survival you will get through it like us people in third world countries do.

And even thou I live in a island that the big bad guys of this Earth probably don’t even know about, I am a prepper and we have our own bad guys, a stupid government and suffer LOADS of Mother Nature’s temper tantrums, so we know a thing or two about surviving and prepping for when SHTF.

Because I am somewhat of a frugalista, I keep our thermostat here in Arizona set at 78 to mitigate the cost of electricity which is 22 cents a KW during prime time.  Outrageous.  We are still waiting for our solar system to be cut over so we can build up power credits.  No, this is not an off-grid solar system but we are working on it.


Can you believe it is two years since I first shared the DIY Miracle Healing Salve?  As of this moment, there are 174 comments to that article and I have received hundreds of emails citing customized uses of the slave.  Me thinks it is time for an update and I was planning to do so this month but I have been procrastinating.

Annie offers this tip which I think is a great one!

I love this stuff! I personally omit the beeswax altogether and keep it as a liquid oil in a glass bottle in my bathroom.

I find it absorbs faster and cleaner into my skin without the wax. I use it on everything from mosquito bites to sunburn, and I even find it helps with period cramps when I rub it into my lower abdomen.


This came in from Deb.  Can anyone offer up some suggestions?

I went online yesterday to figure out what other uses I can find for a 65 count container of Cascade Platinum dishwasher action pods I received free from a P & G giveaway (list price $18!)

I don’t use a dishwasher since it’s little ‘ol me and few dishes, but the pods have Dawn dish liquid in them and found others just dissolved them in water to do greasy cleaning around the house! I’ll do the same with the clothes detergent pods I received from them (Tide).

If anyone has unique uses for these dish washing and detergent pods I’d appreciate it. Some people have had issues with them dissolving properly in their machines but I don’t want to throw them out–always looking to repurpose things you know!


I am still getting a lot of questions relative to how the giveaways work.  Leslie asked:

You always say to look on the Rafflecopter but I have no idea what it is or where it is. For those of us that are tech challenged could you make it more apparent.

Here was my response:

In the giveaway section of the article (usually marked with a header saying “The Giveaway”, there is a widget/form that shows the prize and the options you have for making an entry. You must sign in using your email address or Facebook. That is so I have some way to reach you if you are the winner.

After signing in, you will see the option. There is always a question (which I call the giveaway question) that is equal to 5 entries. Woot woot. That said, if you don’t want to bother, there is a free entry – all you need to do is click – and a bunch of others.

At the end of the giveaway, a winner is selected at random. Unless it is a “free for everyone entry”, I verify that it is valid. For example, if someone says they left a comment, I check. No cheaters allowed and sometimes I do find some.

I hope this explanation is helpful. Good luck!


Quite a few of you have asked about a meet-up here in Arizona.  I very much appreciate your interest and hope you will understand that for now, that is not something I am planning to do.  For the time being, I want to stay under the radar screen and maintain some semblance of privacy.  My location in Washington is very public and while that has only been a problem on one occasion, I wish to remain an anonymous resident at my desert location – at least for now.

That is not to say that things might not change, but for now, I am hoping to get some down time without being so much of a public figure.  Very difficult to explain and things may change before I leave to go home.  I hope you understand.

News Flash!  Articles from Around the Web

I am getting off to a slow start with this feature so bear with me.  Here are a couple, however, to get you started.

Did you know that 80% of the world’s garlic is from China? The standards in China are different and not in a good way. First off, they fertilize with raw human sewage, and secondly, the garlic has been soaked in bleach. (I guess it would have to be.) Yuck. This article tells you how to spot the higher quality American-grown garlic and avoid the junk from China.

The website Ready Tribe did a round-up of the top 20 prepper articles of the year. I was very flattered to see that an article from Backdoor Survival made the list. Be sure and read the entries and let me know which was your favorite.

Prepping Gear That I Love

This week I have been playing around with a new, battery operated, collapsible lantern from BYB.  I have another, similar lantern that Shelly has swiped for his own use so having a second one seemed like a good idea.

What can I say?  It works.  It is extremely bright (much brighter than Shelly’s ha ha ha) and in my own trial, it ran 12 hours on 3 rechargeable AA batteries.  At the end of 12 hours it was not much brighter than a night light but still usable.

BYB Collapsible Lantern

It gets pretty dark out here in the desert at night and oddly, unlike Washington, I don’t see a lot of stars.  I liked that I could both hang the lantern from a tree limb or set it on a table.  By now you know that pitch blackness is not my thing.

To turn the lantern on, you extend it from its base (it is extended in the photo above) and then, to turn if off, you drop it back down in the base.  The handles flip down as well.  When closed, it stands just under five inches.

Priced at under $14, I think it is a good value.  The fact that it works with rechargeable batteries is, for me, a bonus.

Current Backdoor Survival Giveaway

Kerosene Pressure Lanterns | Backdoor Suvival

Prepper Book Festival 10: Kerosene Pressure Lanterns (The Non-Electric Lighting Series) + Giveaway

Ron has set aside five copies of his book for this giveaway and even if you think Kerosene Pressure Lanterns is something you already know about, be sure to read the interview.  It is exceptional.

With all giveaways, winners are notified by email and have 48 hours to claim their prize or an alternate will be selected.  Once selected, the names of winners are also displayed in the Rafflecopter on the original giveaway article.  This usually happens on the Friday following the end of the giveaway.

What Am I Reading?

Since I am in a newsy mood today, I thought you might be interested in what I am currently reading.  Two things.

First is the audiobook version of The Gemini Virus.  You might recall that reading a “survival fiction” book was on my list of short term goals for the month.

The other book I am reading is Growing Up in the Great Depression by Delores Mixer.  This book is her personal account of growing up during hard times. The book was just published so she must be in her nineties; I believe she said she was born in 1922.

I am learning what she did as a child to contribute to the family “kitty” as her mother called it.  This is a fascinating read.  I happened to pick it up when it was “free at the moment” but it is well worth paying for.

The Final Word

Want another little anecdote relative to life in the desert?  It is an out of sight out of mind thing.  My mind knows that it is windy, cold, and stormy back at home, but while waking up to sunshine each morning, I tend to forget.  This is what normalcy bias is all about.

Here is how normalcy bias is defined at Wikipedia:

The assumption that is made in the case of the normalcy bias is that since a disaster never has occurred, it never will occur. It can result in the inability of people to cope with a disaster once it occurs.

People with a normalcy bias have difficulties reacting to something they have not experienced before. People also tend to interpret warnings in the most optimistic way possible, seizing on any ambiguities to infer a less serious situation.

Keep this in mind this holiday season while you are out and about in public places.  A threat can be anywhere, no so more than ever.  Don’t be afraid to continue to lead a normal life but do remember that crazy terrorists are counting upon the surprise factor,

Always, no matter where you are, have multiple routes to make your way back home.  Just sayin’.

Enjoy your next adventure through common sense and thoughtful preparation!

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Bargain Bin:  You know the drill.  Here are items related to today’s article as well as selections from the Prepper’s Holiday Gift Guide.

BYB 300 Lumen Collapsible LED Camping Lantern:  I love this lantern and think you will too.  Very bright plus it uses standard AA batteries, including rechargeables.

The Gemini Virus:  A pandemic is very much something I fear since preparing in advance is limited to practicing good sanitation and having sick room supplies at the ready.  I am listening to the audiobook version and so far, it has my captivated attention.

Book 6: Kerosene Pressure Lanterns (The Non-Electric Lighting Series): All of Ron’s books are good and this is no exception.  It is a bit more technical than his other books but only because the topic is 2 bit more technical.  He also writes about Aladdin Lamps which are not a pressure lantern.  Hint hint wink wink.  Guess who has an Aladdin Lamp review and giveaway coming up?  Let’s see how many of you catch this!

Growing Up in the Great Depression: If you liked Clara’s Kitchen, you are going to love this book.  Written by 93 year old Delores Mixer, learn about her life growing up during the Great Depression.  The ways that she and her brother contributed to the family “kitty” are ingenious.  (Going to the Ice Warehouse, picking up pieces that fell off the ramp, then selling them to neighbors for a few cents a chunk – that is just one example.)

Preppers Holiday Gift Guide | Backdoor Survival

DIY Miracle Healing SalveAs far as I am concerned, a gift of a jar or two of handcrafted healing salve should be the top gift on this list.  You can make it yourself using these instructions than pass along the directions so that the recipient can continue the tradition.

Preppers Holiday Gift Guide | Backdoor Survival

Luci EMRG Inflatable Solar Lantern:  This is the original Luci EMRG Solar lantern. I have put mine through its paces and it is one tough cookie.  It has weathered both a wind storm and rain storm while hanging outdoors for a month.  Lightweight, waterproof and shatterproof, Luci EMRG provides ultra-bright, reliable light to guide your way indoors and out, through blackouts or extreme weather conditions.

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


Essential Oils: Deal of the Week

Each week I update a special page with the Spark Naturals item of the week?  You can find it here:  Essential Oils from Spark Naturals – Weekly Deals. Every once in awhile there will be free shipping or a free gift offered as well as a product discount.

20% Off Discount Code:  BACKDOORSURVIVAL
This is the sale you have been waiting for!Spark Naturals Anniversary Sale | Backdoor Survival

And remember, you can always use the code BACKDOORSURVIVAL for an additional 10% off your entire SN order.  When it comes to saving money, every little bit helps.



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3 Responses to “Survival Buzz #199: Have An Eyes Wide Open Approach to Prepping”

  1. One thing I want to compliment you on – your posts always contain so much information without making me feel like I’m watching an “Oxy-Clean commercial with Billy Mays”. I have no problem with people trying to make a buck but sometimes their whole post seems a little contrived toward nothing more than selling me something. Anyway, a big THANK YOU & MERRY CHRISTMAS!

  2. I’ve spent 12 years RVing full-time in Arizona and California, so I know why you’re not seeing the stars at night. Originally, the stars were unbelievably vivid every night, but with the recent huge increase in chemtrails, that is no longer the case. AZ and CA, in particular, have been just BLASTED with them for the last several years. It is truly a crime! Two winters ago, when the chemtrails were the worst I’d ever seen out there, I got sick three or four times within 9 months while traveling in those states. The illnesses stopped when I went to Minneapolis for a long visit. I adore the Southwest, but am leery of returning there this January. Even so, I envy your living in that beautiful state. You may even become a desert rat, as do most of us who stay there long enough! Enjoy your new home and have a great holiday season!

    • I am not sure I like your explanation, Gail, but I guess I have to live with it. I am so accustomed to massive stars up on San Juan Island that this came as quite the surprise. Back in Washington, the sunsets are breathtaking. Here, it is the dawn.

      I am learning to recognize the howl of a coyote. They seem to be singing nightly.

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