The Survival Buzz #156

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 my preps were so memorable that I forgot what they were.  Seriously.  The reality is that I spent a good deal of time maintaining the status quo.  No one ever said this preparedness stuff was easy so just like you, I put one foot forward each day and do what I can to prevail.

Happy Valentines Day from Backdoor Survival

Four things of note:

I continue to make bar soap from both scraps of half used bars as well as from Kirk’s castile soap.  I had a near perfect batch of Peppermint Soap going until I whipped it into a foamy mess.  So again, back to the drawing board.

The “Using essential oils to control blood pressure” experiment is going extremely well.  Shelly sees his cardiologist next week and we plan to show him the chart we have been tracking for almost a month.  We hope to get his blessing to cut back on the BP meds but even without that, if the trend continues, I will write the results – and the recipe – up for early March.  This is truly promising!

Clearly, you want to learn more about Cayenne Salve so I will continue working on that project as well.  Can you tell I have a lot of projects going?

And finally, Happy Valentine’s Day everyone.  I have nothing special planned since I will be traveling by vehicle most of the day.  Just me, my sweetie, and Tucker the Dog; not a bad combination.

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


About a month ago, a reader indicated he was confused about sealing bulk foods in a mason jar using a FoodSaver jar attachment.  If one person is confused, then there is a strong likelihood that someone else is also confused.  Here I break down the steps.

1.  Fill your jar with dry goods
2.  Place a canning lid on the jar (I find that small jars need 2 with one acting as a shim)
3.  Place the FoodSaver jar attachment over the lid of the jar.  The canning lids will be enclosed in the jar attachment
4.  Secure the locking lever on the FoodSaver
5.  Press the button on the FoodSaver unit.  On mine, it is labeled “canister” which simply means that the heat seal strip will not be activated
6.  When done, unlock the level on the FoodSaver
7.  Remove the jar attachment from your jar
8.  The canning lid will now be tight – very tight.  I always need to get a spoon or other lever to pry it off
9.  If the seal did not take, try again using two lids.  As mentioned in #2 above, it will act as a shim
10.  If you wish, you may now place a ring on the jar.  This is more as insurance as anything else.  Rarely, the jars will not hold their seal.  What I do is set my sealed jars aside for a few days then test the seal.  If all is good, I store my filled jars.  If not, I start over, ensuring that there are no defects on the rim of the jar itself.  99% of the time, the seal is fine.

Here is a tip from Kathy on storing chocolate.  The perfect tip for Valentine’s Day, right?

. . . Make sure you have the chocolate away from any heat source. Having run a candy store, I have found chocolate will get a whitish bloom on it which is due to the fat rising in the piece(s) when it gets warm not enough to melt it but enough that the fat will start to rise.

I have been storing chocolate in the “root cellar” (two years now) in food saver bags in Snap ware containers and so far since the room they are in has never gone over 60 degrees, it’s been fine. In fact before Christmas DaHubs (DH) was looking for some candy and I pulled a bit out from storage and he thought I had just bought some that week :). Hope that helps

By the way, I have made calls to a few chocolate companies and none have responded to my request for their official take on the long term storage of chocolate.  I avoided the gourmet brands but am thinking it is time to kick things up a notch and call one of the top tier brands.


I have two extremely popular giveaways running this week.  You are going to want to enter both!

BDS Book Festival 7: Liberators by James Wesley Rawles + Giveaway

Free Food Friday: Mountain House Emergency Food Kit Giveaway

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.

Speaking of giveaways, in case you did not notice, I have moved the weekly Book Festival and giveaway to Wednesdays. Also, as I may have mentioned last week, I currently have giveaways scheduled for every Friday through April.  Be sure to check in each week and score some free stuff!


Hot of the press!

The new Respire Stix takes eliminates making your own balm and and is easy to use on the go. This is a super easy way to utilize the Spark Naturals respiratory blend,.”Respire”.

Refresh Stick

To use Respire Stix, rub some below your nose and on your upper lip.  You can also use it on your chest if you do not want to make your own Vapor Rub.  The price is a modest $8.99.  On the other hand, I don’t know why you would not want to make your own Vapor Rub using the directions I wrote about earlier this week in Survival First Aid: DIY Healing Vapor Rub for Coughs & Congestion.

If you decide to make a purchase, remember to use the code BACKDOORSURVIVAL for an additional 10% off your entire order.


Big news from Ron Brown.  A totally new version of the best-selling book, The New 2000-Hour Flashlight has been released in eBook format.  This is a complete re-write and although I can’t take credit for a lot, I once again did provide input into this new version.

The first edition had 54 photos; this new edition has 128.  Not only that, it shows how to modify various brands of flashlights and not just the Eveready. Only 99 cents and a must have if I do say so myself!  Watch for the updated print version in about a month.


As this week winds down, I am getting ready to get on a plane and head for warmer weather for most of the week.  I will be holding down the fort from afar so I may not be around to answer emails and respond to comments but rest assured,I do read every single one.

Now it is your turn.  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 Backdoor Survival 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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For your discernment, here are of some items mentioned today as well as some personal and BDS reader favorites.

FoodSaver Wide Mouth Jar Sealer: Have FoodSaver? If so, check out this jar sealer which can be used to vacuum seal your Mason jars. This is a great option for short to mid term storage of items such as beans, rice, sugar and salt. Store your jars in a cool, dark place and you are set with the added advantage of removing a small amount for current use without having to disrupt your large Mylar bag or bucket of food.  There is also a version for regular sized jarsSee Fast Track Tip #4: How to Use a FoodSaver for Vacuum Canning.

Tac Force TF-705BK Tactical Assisted Opening Folding Knife 4.5-Inch Closed: This is a great knife that is currently priced at about $8.60 with free shipping.  Not only that, it is ranked as the #1 best seller  in both the camping and hunting knives categories.  The reviews raved about this knife so I bought one, used it, and and can recommend it.  See The Inexpensive Tac-Force Speedster Outdoor Knife.

Note:  the price can vary by color so if you are not particular, scroll through the colors and safe a couple of bucks.

The Easy Way to Sharpen a Knife Without Spending a Lot of Money   Backdoor Survival

Smith’s PP1 Pocket Pal Multifunction Sharpener:  I wrote about this is in the article The Easy Way to Sharpen a Knife Without Spending a Lot of Money.  It sharpens everything from pocket knives to kitchen blades.  Portable and easy to use and for about $9.

Maximal Power battery charger from Amazon

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. Yes it really works, even under solar power. To learn more, read How to Recharge Alkaline Batteries.

Alkaline Battery after recharging

SE BT20 9-Volt Battery Tester: I do not know anyone that is sorry they purchased or gifted an inexpensive battery tester.  Mine sits in my desk drawer and is used 3 or 4 times a week.

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



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Updated Jul 4, 2019

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8 Responses to “The Survival Buzz #156”

  1. Once AGAIN organized the one side of garage with the food storage & bins. Refilled water containers with fresh water, refilled gas containers with fresh gas, tried to make a round loaf of bread in my outdoor dutch oven encompassed in the volcano stove with 9 charcoal underneath. I did use the cover as well. Cooked for abt 40-45 min, cooked on outside but was not cooked well in center. Also burned on the bottom. Was following someone elses instructions as there arn’t any real good conversion instructions on how many coals “less” to use when putting dutch oven inside the Volcano stove. So.. trial & error till I get it right! Next I will put in regular bread tin so bottom less likely to burn and see what happens.

  2. I am going to try this!!

  3. Awesome!!

  4. I replenished my bug out bag with three days of food, breakfast, lunch and dinner and some chocolate to perk up my mood.
    I find that I need a bigger bag with outside bungee type storage pockets for an axe, shovel and saw.
    I live near an Army Surplus store, I think I’ll check there first to see if I can add on to my existing bag.

  5. I have been working on my barn…hung up a feeder for the hens, put the two bunnies into new cages, brought hay for the hens to scratch around in, and bundled empty feed bags for recycling.

  6. thanks for the heads up about storing chocolate. They said on the news last night, a blight or something has hit the trees in Africa so chocolate will be going sky high in price. We chocoholics have to have our share. Now we know how to store it right. 😉 Everyone take a break and enjoy a holiday weekend. 🙂

  7. Gaye, i save my soap pieces too and have been doing this for years. I break them up in to small pieces and put them in a small foil pan or a 8X8 pyrex dish and pour hot water over it and let it sit until dry. The pieces will melt together and the you can cut them into bars. Sometimes I will do the hot water twice. It takes around a week to completely dry out before you cut. This works great!

  8. I finally found some time to go canvas the Goodwill and Salvation Army Stores to see what I could find. Nothing yet but I am going to stop in at least twice a month to see what they have I can use for my preps. Garage sale season will be upon us in a couple more months in my part of the country. Don’t really go to them but will start just to see what I can find. Time to shop around for the winter clothes that are getting very marked down. Need to add some things in that area. Watching for sales at four grocery stores for canned goods and some boxed items. Checked out the new Field & Stream store that opened in the area and picked up some items on sale. The new Bass Pro Shop and Cabella’s is also coming to our area in a few months, can’t wait to see what they have. Big box stores are starting to get camping items in and I make sure to make the rounds of those stores. May be getting a son-in-law soon and need to get his go bag together. He actually has some items to go in it and we have been looking at our existing bags so he can add items we don’t have to the list. More than one perspective really helps out on planning. Now all I need is lots of money and even more time. One day at a time is the best anyone can do to get prepared. I have been adding to my preps for several years.


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