The Survival Buzz #151

Gaye LevyGaye Levy | Jul 4, 2019
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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.

Most of this week was spent working at my J.O.B. (only part time these days), although I did take a little time out to work on my Preparedness Planner a bit.  It sure feels good to get organized!  Speaking of getting organized, the month of January is a great month to find deals on storage tubs.

There was a ton of stuff and if the items work out, I will share them with you later.  One item of note is that I purchased this extra large, extra heavy emergency blanket which should come in handy while waiting at the ferry in this cold weather.

The Survival Buzz Asks: Can you ever have too many flashlights?

The real news this week is that I embarrassed myself by rounding up and counting all of the flashlights I had on my desk.  This happened quite by accident as I was talking on Skype with Todd over at the Prepper Website.  The conversation got around to flashlights so I poked around my desk and came up with all of these.

One is this upgraded version of the Mini-Cree I like so much.  It is slightly larger and more powerful.  You can never have too many flashlights, right?  (Or rechargeable batteries for that matter.)

One significant prep this week is that we have decided to set aside one day a week as bread making day.  Last Saturday we made three loaves of English Muffin bread plus a pan of English muffins.  I will be sharing the recipe later this month.

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


Barbara passed on this tip.  It is a good one.

I got tired of repurchasing one-time use cheesecloth for straining herbs. I tried several other fabrics and found that large squares of voile fabric do very well in straining and can be washed out and reused again and again. And I used my JoAnn 40% off coupon to buy several yards to stock for future use. It isn’t organic but I think it’s a good substitute when cheesecloth isn’t available.

The following tip is my own.  TP takes up a lot of room; here is one way to store it in a more compact form:

One idea is to remove the inner cardboard roll, then scrunch it down using a FoodSaver or other type of vacuum sealer. That is how I store TP in my B.O.B. – works great and saves a lot of space.

Last but not least, here is an important tip from Marilyn for those of you with vehicles that have keyless locks:

Most of us keep our to go bag in the trunk of our cars. Be sure you can open that trunk if your car is “dead”.

My car could not be opened as there was no key entrance and if the electric opener would not work, there was no way to get at my important things in the trunk. I have an opening into the 2nd seat to allow me to insert a 2×4 or such through the trunk into the car.

I attached a wire to the safety opener inside the trunk, ran the wire through the small opening into the back seat and secured it on the head rest in the middle of the back seat. Now, I can just pull the wire and the trunk will open. Hope this helps someone else.


The following article includes a giveaway for a copy of the book, 5 Acres & A Dream The Book: The Challenges of Establishing a Self-Sufficient Homestead by Leigh Tate.  Note that the deadline for entries is 6:00 PM Pacific next Tuesday.

BDS Book Festival 7: 5 Acres & A Dream – The Book + Giveaway

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 and verified, the names of winners are displayed in the Rafflecopter on the original giveaway article.  This usually happens on the Friday following the end of the giveaway.

There were two cheaters this week.  They were disqualified because they indicated they left a comment but did not.  I really do check!


In the beginning, something that was confusing to me about the use of essential oils was “how much should I use”.  Typically you will see dilutions mentioned.  Although I will be getting into this more thoroughly in a blog post and in my new, not done yet, email series, EO dilutions work like this:

1 teaspoon carrier oil to 1 drop essential oil = 1% dilution
1 teaspoon carrier oil to 2 drops essential oil = 2% dilution
1 teaspoon carrier oil to 3 drops essential oil = 3% dilution
. . . and so on.

Typically, for healing purposes, I will use a 5% dilution but sometimes, such as in Shelly’s arthritis formula, I will use a 10% or higher dilution.

All that being said, often I will take a dab of plain salve (also called “naked” salve) into the palm of my hand and add a drop or two of essential oil. I don’t get real scientific about it, I just use it.  Here is a link with instructions for making plain salve:  Plain Ole Salve – An Alternative to Petroleum Jelly

Mostly, however, I will take a teaspoon of plain salve and put it in one of those little 1/2 ounce jars  . Then, for a 5% dilution I will mix in 5 drops of oil or combination of oils. Usually, 5% is enough but sometimes I go as high as 10% which would be 10 drops per teaspoon.

BTW, I measured the actual volume of the jars and they hold 3 teaspoons of salve. So I eyeball things and add my plain salve and oils accordingly. (1/3 jar of salve + 5 to 10 drops of oil.)

I hope this explanation is helpful; as I mentioned, I plan to elaborate in a separate article.  If you are interested in signing up for the email series on essential oils, you can do so by subscribing and checking the box on this form:  Subscribe to Updates.

Or, if you are an existing subscriber, you can return to the signup form, enter your email address and other required fields, then submit the form.   If you are already on the list, a message will appear giving you an opportunity to update your profile.  I realize this is a lot of steps but this is required in order to ensure the security of your profile.


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That about covers it for me this week,  What about you? what did you do to prep this week?

Enjoy your next adventure through common sense and thoughtful preparation!

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close up of wall made of wooden planks


Today is all about flashlights as I continue to feed my thirst for more!  Plus, a great all weather emergency blanket. This one is going into the car.

Grabber Outdoors Original Space Brand All Weather Blanket:  I read all of the reviews and settled on this emergency blanket to supplement the wool blanket in our vehicle.  The nice thing is that it can be used for a lot more than as a blanket.  I know for sure it will come in handy when we want to have a make-shift picnic and the ground is damp.

LSD Newest UltraFire 1600lm CREE XM-L Q5 LED Torch Adjustable Zoomable Flashlight Light Lamp:   It will be heavier because it uses three AAA batteries instead of just one but on the other hand, it is a lot less expensive than my Duracell and MagLite (which is very heavy).

FordEx Group 300lm Mini Cree Led Flashlight: This is my current favorite.  It is super mini sized, bright and waterproof.  Plus, it uses a single, standard AA sized battery. Pictured is one that I own in green but they come in basic black as well as some other colors.

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.

Panasonic eneloop AA New 2100 Cycle Ni-MH Pre-Charged Rechargeable Batteries: In my opinion, without question, these are the best rechargeable batteries out there. I use eneloop’s exclusively.

White Plastic Jar with Dome Lid 2 Oz (12 Per Bag):  I sometimes chose to use these small ointment jars rather than Mason jars for my salve.  I also have similar jars in the 1-ounce size and 1/2 ounce size (my favorite for mixing up various salve and e.o. concoctions).

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5 Responses to “The Survival Buzz #151”

  1. Thank you for all your hard work making this website so helpful and interesting! It may seem like a small thing, but I have to let you know that the easy-to-read font is a blessing to those of us with “mature” eyes. Keep up the great work!!

  2. I ordered more emergency Essential supplies, along with it, I ordered and hand crank flashlight/fire starter. I will email Gaye after I have tested it to see of it is something worthwhile. Also been cleaning out more clutter and making room for more essential items

  3. This week I stocked up on more pinto beans, pasta, canning jars and water. Updated my food inventory. Participated in a Prepper group social.

  4. This week I got a short wave radio, but I still haven’t figured it all out and I haven’t found any ‘prepper talk’ radio. If anybody could recommend a station/time to listen to hear good stuff i’d welcome the advice. thanks

  5. Flashlights? Embarrassed? Piffle, say I, Gaye.

    How could one possibly be embarrassed by having flashlights except by not having enough? I think I have five of them in the truck alone, six when I am in it as I have a little Coast HP1 (runs on a single AA) in the watch pocket of my shorts/jeans.

    Another on the counter by the refrigerator, another on my bedside table, and one on my wife’s bedside table, a couple or three spares in the bathroom cabinet. Two more in my wife’s car, plus another HP1 in her purse.

    I am beginning to think we are approaching flashlight adequacy 🙂

    The little Coasts are very nice flashlights, by the way. So are the bigger ones, for that matter. The HP1 is $9.99 on Amazon, free shipping with Amazon prime. It has a clip attached to a hexagonal ring, so it won’t roll off a table. Like all of the other Coasts it throws a flat light: no hot spot or dark spot in the middle, no dark ring, just a really bright white light, even from side to side.

    In my experience, the weakest part of flashlights is the switch. If you rarely use a flash, the cheaper ones may well be fine as one doesn’t cycle the switch often enough to wear it out. However, if you do use a light a lot, as I do for early morning swap meets, the cheap switches fall apart pretty quickly.

    There are getting to be a lot of good flashlights out there, but for now I prefer the ones which run on ‘get them anywhere’ size batteries: AAA, AA, C, & D. I had a great little light several years ago- wonderful except that it ran on 3 AAAAs, and those are available only at places like Radio Shack, at $2 each.

    Another light which I like a lot is the Duracell Durabeam Ultra 1000 Lumens. CostCo carries them here (Honolulu) for around $20, but probably a little cheaper on the Mainland. Amazon has them for around $28. It runs on four C cells, focuses, has a high beam, low beam, and a strobe if you think you want to either dazzle someone or use it signaling for help. I would actually prefer just a high beam because I have little use for low, and no use for strobe, but have to cycle through all of them to turn it off. That just triples the wear on the switch.

    I have been using one for a few months now, probably cycling the switch around 1000 times per month. Call it 3000 cycles, and it is still working fine. That is probably more than most people other than police or some other professional would do in a lifetime. I’d say the quality is a step down from Coast’s, but these seem to be very good flashlights, a lot better than what most people seem to have, and they are a lot cheaper than Coasts. Like the bigger Coasts, they would make a decent nogginthwacker if that ever were needed. They also have a crenelated rim around the lens for…um…I think the term is ‘collecting DNA’ from an attacker’s scalp. I hope I never need find out how well it works, but it is there if needed.


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