The Survival Buzz # 153

Gaye LevyGaye Levy | Jul 4, 2019

Welcome to this week’s Survival Buzz with an update on my own preps and announcements from the Backdoor Survival blog.

This week was extremely busy as I have tried to tie up lose ends and make progress on the various projects I have going.  Now that I think about it, all weeks are extremely busy and my projects still are not done!

Anyway, gardening has been on my mind because if I plan on starting my own tomatoes, I need to get going.  I did want to mention that if you stockpile seeds as I do (I belong to the Seeds of the Month Club), you should also get your hands on a few seed catalogs that feature heirloom seeds.  That way, when the time comes and you need to use your precious seeds, you will have some guidance and growing recommendations to supplement both the commercial seed packets and those packets of seeds you have saved yourself for previous harvests.

Save heirloom seed catalogs with your seed storage - Backdoor Survival

Also related to gardening, I broke out my copy of the Gardening Notebook and am using it to get organized much the same way that the Preparedness Planner is helping me organize my food storage, essential oils, firearms, and ammo.

I packaged more wheat and rice in 6 gallon buckets.  I used 2000 cc oxygen absorbers in each but skipped the Mylar bag insert.  I know that a few of you have had problems with mice eating through plastic, but I have never had a problem with my own heavy duty buckets.

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


Here is a tip from longtime reader Russ:

Gaye, please pass on to your readers that using quality Airsoft replicas of “real steel” guns is a viable training alternative to scarce / expensive ammunition.

Most pistols, especially Glock, 1911, and M9 styles, have airsoft counterparts.

Whenever possible, I recommend the “blowback” models, which have operable slides that provide some recoil.  These quietly shoot 6mm (.24 cal) plastic BBs that are surprisingly accurate.

Even our military and police commonly train with airsoft rifles and handguns!  As an NRA Range Safety Officer, I use these quite extensively in my training classes at and through our networking group, //  Folks with questions can contact me at [email protected] .

This is something Shelly and I have talked about in the past.  We are looking at the Airsoft Glock 19 replica.


The following article includes a giveaway for a copy of “Good Crazy” by Richard Earl Broome.

BDS Book Festival 7: Good Crazy by Richard Earl Broome

Free Food Friday: Win an Emergency Food Supply Kit from Survival Based

As a reminder, the deadline for all giveaway entries is 6:00 PM Pacific on Tuesdays.  In addition, all 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.


My guess is that you are wondering about the blood pressure lowering experiment I started a couple of weeks back (see The Survival Buzz #150).  The long and the short of it is that Mr. Shelly, aka the Survival Husband, snuck out and purchased some Robitussin cough syrup and used almost two bottles before telling me.  The bottle says “do not use if you have high blood pressure”.  Well duh and yes, we had words.

Anyway, it has taken some time for the cough syrup to work its way out of his system.  We plan to start up the essential oil blood pressure protocol next week.  I just hate it when I have to start all over again.


This week I have a few deals and promotions for you.

Tropical Traditions, my favorite source for coconut oil, is offering free shipping through Monday.  Use coupon code 15261 at checkout and you will receive FREE ground shipping on orders of $19.00 or more! Note that Hawaii and Alaska are included in this promotion.

I highly recommend the Tropical Traditions honey which is 50% off.  I am not normally a honey lover but when a friend recommended their Organic Raw Honey, I was hooked.  This is the best honey I have ever eaten and yes, I sometimes even spoon some out of the jar and eat it as is.  It is that good!

CONFLICTED: The Survival Card Game:  All 5 winners have all claimed their prize but for the rest of you, Survivalogics has set up a special 20% discount code that you can use between now and the end of the month.  All you need to do is use the discount code BDS2015 at checkout.  This is a great opportunity to get one or more of these thought provoking card decks at a bargain price.

The Ultimate DIY Bundle:  If you are a crafter or do-it-yourselfer, you will want to check out the Ultimate DIY Bundle which will be available until Monday, January 26.


I have been spending some time on website improvements.  You can expect to see some improved menu options.  As an example, the recent Propane for Preppers series is now listed under the Best of Backdoor Survival menu.

Something else I am doing is expanding the Survival Basics series so that it becomes easier to find those evergreen articles you love so much.  It is slow going, but so worth it because I will then be able to gather them together in a downloadable PDF you can print out and keep.

And finally, I have gathered some fantastic new content from some of my writer friends.  These are colleagues that have expertise in areas where my own experience is lacking or less than stellar.  I can’t remember whether I mentioned this last week but, in any event, expect some of this all new-material to roll out next month.

And finally, let’s talk giveaways.  So far I have some incredible giveaways lined up every other Friday between now and April.  Be sure to check in on Fridays to learn about the latest stuff up for grabs.  And, if you have not already subscribed, consider subscribing now to email updates.


I would like to close with a word or two about the serious and even dark overtone of some of my recent articles.  My intent was not to be depressing so I hope you have not read too much into them.  On the other hand, I am feeling a tremendous amount of angst about the train wreck that is headed our way.  I worry, and since I feel like a Mom to all of you, I question whether I am doing enough or even the right thing as I pick and chose the variety of topics to share here on the website.

I am also feeling more than a little bit of angst over the crass commercialism within the niche.  Did I mention that last week too?

For those of you that follow Backdoor Survival on Facebook, you will know that I am sharing fewer “free at the moment” eBooks and that those that I do share are personally previewed in advance.  Quality not quantity, right?

Anyway, let us end on a positive note.  Spring is around the corner as is the nice weather.  Let us keep on prepping and keep on taking steps to ensure our safety and health going forward.  So 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.

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Below you will find the materials I used to make DIY  Healing Lotion Bars.  If you have not tried “lotion in a bar” you are in for a treat.

DIY Healing Lotion Bars - Backdoor Survival

Freshware 6-Cavity Daisy Flower Silicone Mold and Baking Pan:  I simply love my daisy mold!  Made of silicone, it can be used for forming lotion bars, soaps, cakes, anything.    My lotion bars simply popped out cleanly leaving no mess.  So inexpensive, too, that I also purchased the oval version.  Up next?  Hand crafted soap!

Silicon Mold for Lotion Bars - Backdoor Survival

100% Pure Unrefined Raw Shea Butter:  This is the Shea butter I used and am happy that it was not gritty.  I don’t have experience with other brands so I don’t know if my success was due to technique or the Shea butter itself.

Coconut Oil:  Coconut Oil from Tropical Traditions is my preferred coconut oil.  I love it so much I purchased a 5 gallon tub.  Really, I did!  I find it very silky to work with and love the taste when used in cooking.  Note that no refrigeration is required and although it solid at room temperature, it melts at 76 degrees.  The Nutiva brand from Costco works well too.

Every Prepper Needs Coconut Oil in Their Pantry | Backdoor Survival

Spark Naturals Essential Oils:  These are what you need for the healing lotion bars: Lavender essential oil,  Rosemary essential oil, and Peppermint essential oil. Enjoy a 10% discount on your Spark Naturals order with code BACKDOORSURVIVAL at checkout.

NOW Foods Essential Oils:  I use essential oils from Spark Naturals.  For healing purposes, I feel they are superior.  On the other hand, NOW Foods has decent essential oils at a budget price.  Here are a few to get you started:  NOW Foods Rosemary Oil, NOW Foods Peppermint Oil, and Now Foods Lavender Oil.

Stakich Pure BEESWAX Pellets:  This is my second order of beeswax pellets (also called pastilles) from this company.  They melt quickly and I am happy with them.

Deodorant Containers, New & Empty; Pack of 5:  These are 2.5 ounces each.  I prefer these mini-tubes purchased from Spark Naturals for just 95 cents each.

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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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Spark Naturals Oil of the Month Club | Backdoor Survival

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Best Food Types, Storage Methods and Exactly What to Buy

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Updated Jul 4, 2019

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31 Responses to “The Survival Buzz # 153”

  1. I also have high blood pressure. Tell Shelly never to buy otc medications without checking with the pharmacist. Many have warnings – if you can read the tiny print- lol but not all do. The pharmacist can quickly scan the active ingredients and tell you if a medication is ok.

  2. I’m up early this morning and my household is quiet. 🙂 I see you have a picture of the Baker Creek Heirloom seed book…they’re just down the highway from us and we love to visit their pioneer village & store! Great seed company! Another heirloom seed company I like is Seed Savers Exchange, and they are now offering fruit trees!

  3. My husband has high BP and meds and vegan diet helped. We had hoped just a vegan diet would do it, but it is something his whole family is troubled with so he must take meds as well. We would rather go natural so we anxiously await your experiment. We made a batch of your healing sauve and it has miraculously cleared up my eczema and hubby uses it on his feet which crack all winter long. It really is like a miracle cream! Threw my tubes of steroid creams away after two years!

    By the way, you and I both know men do not read labels! (Or read instructions or ask for directions!). They are handy though for lots of other stuff! LOL !!

    Also, that angst you feel about the world situation is real for a lot of us. It is why we all prepare. The air is thick with it right now and I think protective intuition is kicking in. Prepare! Prepare!

    Thanks for all you do. We appreciate it and welcome your willingness to help others.


  4. About all I was able to do this week was to make up another 7 jars of Miracle Healing Salve. It seems that everyone that knows of it seems to think I will make it up for them. Yes, I’m a push over and I do.
    I tried to order from the Sparks monthly club, but they wouldn’t accept BACKDOORSURVIVAL as a viable discount code. I will call them later.

    • John – The oils in the OOTM are already discounted plus shipping is free so the additional 10% does not apply. If you use the link from my site, I still get the brownie points. I have been meaning to write about each monthly oil as it comes up. That plus my email course which is still in outline form.

  5. You mentioned eating a spoonful of honey. For over a year now I’ve been eating a teaspoon of locally grown honey at breakfast upon the recommendation of a nurse at a small clinic near me. She said taking honey raised within 25 miles can act in a similar way to allergy shots by helping build the immune system. It takes a long time for it to take affect, and I’m not sure how helpful it is for me; but it can’t hurt. Honey has other health benefits, so I figure I can’t lose.

    • John – Good to see you here; it has been awhile. It is true that local honey has antibodies that are passed on during consumption. I wish I had the space for bees because as much as I love Tropical Traditions, I am told local honey right from the hive is unbeatable.

    • I have many allergies, I tried shots, pills, etc. The only thing that has ever helped it doing the nasal flushes with normal saline and eating honey. But it does need to be honey from the local area and I think it needs to be non-processed honey. My supplier sells at a local farmers’ market and he extracts the honey and bottles it….not like the honey you find in grocery stores.

    • what honey has is very small amounts of pollens. if you’re allergic to other things, like peanuts, milk or latex, for example, honey won’t help you. but if you’re allergic to pollens, the ones in honey will help your immune system learn to tolerate them, which is exactly what allergy shots do. i don’t think you have to get honey from a 25-mile radius for it to work; you just have to get honey from a place that has the same plants whose pollen you react to. for example, i’m allergic to various tree pollens and ragweed, but i don’t need long island honey for that, because those plants grow all over the eastern seaboard. i get it from new jersey.

    • It isn’t just about it being local honey. You need to know what season and the type of pollen the bees collect. There is a local plant named fireweed which the 2 beekeepers I buy from have their bees gather. It’s only available in the fall and only for a short time. To be sure, I buy enough for a few years. You see, one of it’s components assists the respiratory system whether asthma, cold or flu. Each season the bees collect differently so getting to know the beekeeper clues you into which type of raw honey works for you and your family. AN added plus, they sell their wax too. 🙂 My dad loved the red clover honey, it too, has medicinal benefits. I love that and the blackberry but my fav is the fireweed because it’s not quite so sweet to my tastebuds. For honey, I’m more than willing to allow someone else to do that work and barter for it. 😉

  6. I too have been getting my gardening wheels turning this week. I wanted to pass along a little tidbit to the group. Now I know that heirloom seeds are very important, that is what my main gardening consists of, BUT in the spirit of 2 is 1 and 1 is none and all that, here is something that people might want to know if things go really bad and you have to make due with what you have. The beans that most preppers have tucked away in their food supply will grow plants. Yep, I tested this out last summer in my own garden so I can tell you it worked beautifully. I just took a handful of ordinary pinto beans and planted a row of them. I just let them go until the seed pods were well dried out and brown, then shelled them and tucked them away. From the handful of seeds planted, I harvested about a one pound bag. Not a bad ROI in my book. Also, I really like that tip from Russ…thanks for passing it along. For what it’s worth, I definitely look to you in a mom-ish sort of way, and very much appreciate all you do to keep us informed and prod us along the preparedness path. On a darker note, I was enlightened this week about something called Range-R and it’s possible future use on drones. I don’t want to go into it on here but it sent a chill down my spine and I would recommend you look on their company website especially at the FAQ’s. Lastly, I am pleased to report that I have been using tea tree oil and oregano oil for several things lately and I am tickled with how well they are working. I did learn a valuable lesson though, DON’T put tea tree oil in a plastic container. I wanted to take a little dab out of the glass vial it comes in to put into another location. I had the cutest little plastic bottle that allows dispensing a controlled droplet and a snug fitting lid. The next day when I went to use it, the oil had eaten a hole in the container, sealed off the droplet opening, and eaten a hole through the lid! lesson learned.

    • I have done the seed starting from beans I eat. I like mayacoba beans so this last planting I tried those, no success but for sure will try again. Thumbs up.

  7. I’m a 57 year old Baptist Pastor that can see clearly where our country is heading… fast. Yes, I still have my faith and I am not fearful, but I was given a brain and He expects me to use it.
    Your articles on propane gas was excellent… I ordered two of the brass fittings for refilling. I had not heard about the coconut oil either… where have I been? That article was also excellent and will be ordering some to try. If it is that good… I will order the 5 gallon bucket too. I had already found the 5 and 6 gallon food grade buckets with the screw type gamma lids. We have begun to fill them with essentials in sealable mylar bags. Thanks for such a good site with great info and great input! Keep the faith.

  8. One of your readers pointed out that the Airsoft pistols are a less expensive alternative with which to practice. You need to tell you readers that these pistols should have BLAZE ORANGE barrel parts to identify them as air guns. If there is an issue and the Police arrive, the Police will not be able to tell the Airsoft pistols from the real thing. That’s what makes them good for practice. We have seen a number of “accidental” deaths because the person raised the pistol at the policeman and the policeman returned fire killing the person. ALL weapons should be treated as loaded and dangerous ALL the time. Remember to follow good shooting range rules whenever shooting, Airsoft or not. Others will NOT know it is only a BB gun.

  9. We have air pellet guns for target practice…..real ammo is very expensive and it isn’t practical to use all the time. So we use the air pellet guns for a practice or two and then practice with real ammo.
    I am not a hunter, just want to be able to hit anyone crawling thru my windows… long distance shooting skills aren’t as important to me. Hope to work up to that sort of shooting.

    • real ammo also contains lead. there have been cases of people who work at shooting ranges or do a lot of shooting getting lead poisoning.

  10. I’ve been making some personal care products (about half for gifts) and enjoy knowing what ingredients I’m using on my body. I had a question about soap. I’d love to have soap bars with different essential oils for different uses, for example a hair shampoo bar or a good disinfectant soap. I really don’t want to deal with lye, though.

    Gayle, what do you or your readers think of buying some natural soap bars (on sale of course :-), grating and melting them, adding the essential oils I want and remolding them – perhaps into smaller sizes?

  11. Barbara – Yes yes yes! I have done it and have an article in the works. I need to move it up the queue. Castile soap (i.e. Kirks) works superbly and the resulting soap lasts and lasts and does not seem to get slimy over time. You can also use scraps of leftover soap.

    I will try to get my article finalized and scheduled for the next week or two. You are going to love it. BTW, this is called re-batching and in addition to essential oils, you can add herbs, flowers, oatmeal etc. Why have I not finished this article????

    • Thanks, Gaye! (note correct spelling this time :-/) I’m really looking forward to the article. I have quite a few of those beautifully packages European large soap bars that I will never use as they are. I also have a stash of Castile soap as well. As soon as I see it, I’ll print it out and take off for the kitchen. I love repurposing things I don’t use. 🙂

  12. Check if your community has a seed exchange. Phoenix, AZ has one. Not only is it an opportunity to exchange seeds you have harvested, it is a great way to exchange information. If you are near a reservation, find out if they participate in efforts to reintroduce native/heirloom plants.

  13. Gaye, I made the lotion bars and LOVE them! Thank you for the recipe!
    I just made soap for the first time, using melt and pour base. I added essential oils (Spark!) and I like them a lot!
    Keep up the great work and thank you for all that you do!

  14. Thanks for your site, Gaye, lot’s of great info! I wanted to comment on the fact that you said you are sealing food in 5 gal buckets without mylar bags. There is a reason to use the bags besides rodent protection. When we started putting food away a few years ago I came across a site that said that the plastic that the food grade buckets are made out of are not completely impenetrable to the outside environment, meaning they are somewhat porous. The site stated that within three years, the internal environment in the bucket will be the same as outside. Sorry, but I can’t recall the site to reference it here, but it was impetuous enough for us to decide on using the backs for extra long term storage. You might want to research that issue.

    • I have heard that before but I have yet to find a credible source that documents this fact. If you do find a link to the site where you read this, please pass it on. In the meantime, I will see if I can locate a manufacturer of food grade buckets and see what they have to say about this.

  15. Wonderful column today Gaye, I came across a YouTube video on how to seal mason jars without a food saver or electricity.
    Just this week I received my order from Amazon, I purchased a food dehydrator and a Ziplock vacuum system.
    The website for directions is;
    This is amazing since I have a plethora of canning jars and can now use them for beans and rice.
    I couldn’t afford the foodsaver sealer at this point in time, but the Ziplock system is only $6.00 and it works!
    I also have been saving my own seeds from food eaten during the week, I have them drying on the window seal and put them in small containers and label them. Last year we had a rogue tomato plant that harvested over 100 tomatoes, not bad for a compost plant.
    I enjoy the comment section of your blog as much as your articles, keep um comin!

  16. I am continuing to learn more about fermenting foods for use later. Also why they can be healthy for us, especially during the winter or stressful times. I have plans for building a solar dehydrator but that’s on hold as I plan for my herbs and yarden. I’m told I can begin to plant peas here next month. Just thinking of fresh peas makes my mouth water. lol Prepping this week? That would be me sharing info with some interested people. Getting those ducks lined up don’t you know! As to the world spinning darkly…consider more press went out this past week about a football game and it’s balls than most know about what went on in the world. Like you, I may see thru a glass darkly but I won’t be the frog in the pot which doesn’t know it’s being boiled. 🙂

  17. Hi Gaye. This week I learned that although I do want to learn more about EOs and herbal medicine in pursuit of a more sustainable medicine cabinet, there IS a time and place for OTC cold medicines. Oy! I got whatever cold virus is going around and it laid me flatter-than-flat for five days straight.

    I drank all the tea, with all the honey. I took all the steamy showers and inhaled all the essential oils in steamy basins of water. All those holistic methods didn’t touch the symptoms and I had to scrounge around my house to find one, lone packet of sinus medicine. It was out of date by 9 years! Did I still take some? oh yes i DID! and it helped! Even old, out of date medicine is better than no medicine.

    Lesson learned: herbs good. EOs good. Rest, tea, homemade chicken soup good. Sinus medicine when you absolutely, positively need it? Even better. When I can finally leave the house, I am going to buy a ton more. Yes indeedy. If you have some suggestions on what the best way to store these sorts of OTC, I would love to hear them.

    • Interesting that you would mention this because I just completed a draft of the first chapter of my essentials oils course. In it I talk about essential oils and natural remedies being wonderful but that there is a time and a place for OTCs, pharmaceuticals, and Western medicine. Being a martyr and staying sick because you do not want to use modern medicine is just plain silly.

      Anyway, right now my OTCs are in a box in the closet. Our home is kept cool (about 65 degrees) and is not humid. Still, your question got me thinking. I need to get them out and organized. My recommendation: store them the same way you would store food, being mindful of the six enemies (heat, light, temperature, pests, etc.)

  18. My biggest concern is having no space to store water. I live in a small motorhome and have food stored in every square inch, but there’s no space for more than two weeks of water.

    • I’m looking at a motorhome as one possible bug out vehicle. Even with 2 weeks of water, is that for just one person? What happens if you pick up someone? I could be wrong, but do you also have a 72 hr bag you could grab n go if you had to leave your motorhome? That’s my plan. So…that being said, I would have in that BOB at least 2, better still 3 ways of getting water. Gaye has done a great job in other articles about this. The key is not to rely on just having that motorhome, it’s also planning, just in case you need to leave it and go it on foot or whatever. Which, depending on what climate you’re in, will also be a part of what methods you have available. IMO

  19. My wife and I bought a large selection of “heirloom” seed and packaged them in a vacumn Food Saver bag for future ‘just in case”……might not be a bad idea to rotate every few years to make sure they are viable.

  20. i’m not surprised that you have a feeling of foreboding. maybe it’s just the effect of winter weather, but i think the stock market has more to do with it. trading has been getting pretty frenetic, which in the past has led to crashes. since our economy has taken several major hits starting with 9/11, i don’t think it can survive another one right now. of course, an economic crises is my personal bugaboo, so who knows? but anything that gets our prepping gears going (without making our heads explode) is probably a useful thing. and i think your articles lately have been very good, not too dark at all.


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