The Survival Buzz #158

Gaye LevyGaye Levy | Updated Nov 6, 2016 (Orig - Feb 28, 2015)

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

This week my efforts turned to gardening.  I am a huge fan of fresh summer flowers but with such limited space, I hate to give up what little sun I have to flowers when fresh tomatoes beckon.  One thing I do have, however, are lots of hydrangeas. We had a sun break so I took the shears and deadheaded old blooms. It just felt good.

Getting to know the AeroGarden - Backdoor Survival

After that, I cleaned out a bunch of tomato pots and readied them for some fresh compost and a layer of additional soil.  I then lined them up in the location where they did best last year.  Fortunately, I took notes and hope to have a bountiful crop this year.

I also got my lettuce pots ready to go.  I have been reading about winter sowing and thought I would try my own version.  Instead of setting up a heat mat and grow lights in my office, I am going to sow lettuce seeds now.  From what I have read, the seeds will lay dormant until just the perfect sprouting time.  That is the theory anyway.  I will keep you posted.

The biggest news of all is that I popped for an AeroGarden.  It was a cinch to set up and according to the reviews, will produce a fantastic indoor bounty without the need for additional sunlight.  If this works,this will be a boon to apartment dwellers and those living in mobile homes and cabins. For starters, I “planted” the included herb pods.  If it all works out, I will get a second unit for tomatoes.  Why are you not surprised? As with my lettuce experiment, I will keep you posted.

Other preps this week included grinding 5 pounds of wheat manually.  This was a first for me and yes, there were a lot of laughs as I had to determine the best way to crank that handle without wearing myself out!  The end result was worth it because I made the best banana bread ever with my fresh flour.

Want the recipe?  Visit the article I posted on the WonderMill Grain Mill Wagon website: 100% Whole Wheat Banana Bread.

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


Karen shared some essential oil tips:

I use Texas Cedarwood oil for a chronic cough (cause unknown, environmental allergy suspected). I apply it and Eucalyptus oil, both neat, to my supper respiratory area and they really help control my cough. I have not noticed any sleep benefits though.

Sometimes my ears get stopped up as well, and the Eucalyptus oil is applied around the outside of the ear (front and back) and down the Eustachian tube area. I learned from someone to put one drop on one finger and place it just barely inside the ear at the same time gently touching the one drop in a north, south, east, west position spreading the single drop of oil around.

It works very well for me and unstops those ears! I’ve read the Eucalyptus is a “hot” oil, so although I use it neat, others should be aware and perhaps use a carrier oil as well.

I made your all purpose salve and use it all the time. I just experienced shingles and after the scabs healed, tremendous itching began; the salve soothes the itch and keeps my skin soft.

I am always gratified to hear anecdotal stories about the DIY Miracle Salve.  Speaking of which, more and more I am using “Plain Ole’ Salve” to make small batch EO concoctions.  Possibly as soon as this upcoming week, I will be updating the original article with new information and rebranding it “BDS Simple Salve”.

Note: If you decide to make a purchase from Spark Naturals, remember to use the code BACKDOORSURVIVAL for an additional 10% off your order.


Ready for some giveaways?  The following two giveaways are currently accepting entries.

Another Free Food Friday: Win a Legacy Foods Breakfast Bucket

BDS Book Festival 7: Preppers History and the Cultural Phenomenon + Giveaway

Remember, 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.


There is still time to register for the free emergency water webinar on March 4th.  I have already sent information out to subscribers but just in case this is the first you have heard about it, you can check it out and register using this link:  Emergency Water webinar with Glenn Meder & Gaye Levy.

Note that more than a few of you have indicated that the timing will not with your schedule.  At this moment I can not say whether or not there will be a replay but just in case there is, I suggest to register anyway so that you will be notified of any sort of follow-up.  I will also try to remember to post an update in the Survival Buzz next week.


I am thrilled to let you know that Backdoor Survival has three new sponsors.  In spite of the trend of many websites to move to a subscription base (or worse, donations aka beg-ware), BDS will always be free for everyone.

Please visit these new sponsors and the others on the left sidebar.  They offer great products and have promised to deliver Backdoor Survival readers fantastic service!


Time continues to be the most precious commodity in my life.  I still have a ton of garden chores to attend to plus I want to get a batch of sourdough starter going so I can succeed at making yeast-free bread.

Something I take time for most mornings is finding free (at the moment) or very inexpensive eBook deals on Amazon.  These get posted on the Backdoor Survival Facebook page. Not to disparage other sites the post free eBooks, but I preview each book before I post it to ensure it is not a lousy cut and past job of 35 pages.  This move to quality over quantity has really paid off for me personally in that I now know those books in my electronic library are worthy of my time and attention down the road.

That about covers is 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!

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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Spotlight:  I am more than a little stoked by my new AeroGarden.  Of course the proof is in the bounty but I should know in a month of so.  Want to give it a try yourself?  Here is a link.

Miracle-Gro AeroGarden Ultra LED Indoor Garden with Gourmet Herb Seed Kit

Bargain Bin: The article I wrote on DIY cleaning turned out to be hugely popular all around the web. In cased 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.

Amazon Basics Microfiber Cleaning Cloth, (Pack of 36): No list of DIY 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 blue for glass and windows and the other colors for everything else. I love these.

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”.

Dr. Bronner’s Magic Soaps Pure-Castile Soap: Of all of the Dr. Bronner’s castile soaps, peppermint is my favorite.   I use it to make “Peppermint Magic”, an all purposed cleaner.

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 Vegetable Glycerin: 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.

Peppermint Essential Oil: I favor peppermint and tea tree (Melaleuca) essential oil in my cleaning supplies. 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.  The nice thing about essential oils from Spark Naturals  is that they are also excellent for therapeutic and healing use and well as for use in DIY cleaning supplies.  Just remember to use the code BACKDOORSURVIVAL at checkout to get 10% off your order.

Budget Essential Oils:  For the budget minded – and especially for use in cleaning supplies – consider NOW Foods Essential Oils.

Mobile Washer

Mobile Washer: This is hand operated washing machine. Like a plunger, it uses a technique of pushing and pulling the water through clothes to clean them well without wearing them out. It uses a minimum of water and less soap due to the agitation motion. Use in a bucket (5-gallon suggested), sink or tub. The best part is that it is only $14.95.


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Emergency Essentials | Backdoor Survival


Need something from Amazon (and who doesn’t)? I earn a small commission from purchases made when you begin your Amazon shopping experience here. You still get great Amazon service and the price is the same, no matter what.

Amazon has feature called Shop Amazon – Most Wished For Items. This is an easy tool for finding products that people are ‘wishing” for and in this way you know what the top products are.  All you need to do is select the category from the left hand side of the screen.

The Amazon Top Most Wished For and Best Selling Outdoor Items
Emergency Preparedness Items from

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


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Updated Nov 6, 2016
Published Feb 28, 2015

15 Responses to “The Survival Buzz #158”

  1. the new Prepper’s History survival book sounds very interesting. looking forward to the time i can get it or to winning it. thanks for the opportunity.

  2. Go ahead and get another Aerogarden. You will love this one. Lettuce herbs and tomatoes are a snap.

  3. I watched a great show on Nat Geo called Life Hacks, this is about electricity going down for three days or more and how you would realistically handle the emotional and physical aspect of being alone.
    Got great tips on using sardine oil for a makeshift candle, a small heat source out of two coffee cans a roll of toilet paper and isopropyl alcohol.
    Also learned how to make a hillbilly air conditioner out of a 5 gallon bucket, frozen gallon jug and a fan.
    Love to learn life hacks and different ways to use common household objects.
    I also worked on survival bracelets, got the rest of my supplies this week.

    • I used quart paint cans, put cheap toilet paper without the cardboard roll in them and filled with 70% isopropyl alcohol and closed the lid. I also taped a quarter to the top with a box of matches. I found that the can did not get hot except around the top of the can. I also found a paint can stabilizer, but have not tried it out.

  4. I am waiting with bated breath for you to review the Aero Garden. Would love to try it for fresh herbs but some negative reviews on Ama. make me hesitant.

  5. This week our MAG group met. We are working on area maps, our emergency communications and putting together supplementary GHB’s. Also worked on our BOL, designing permaculture earthworks to help catch rainwater and provide water for food production.

  6. I am planning my garden, working on timing of planting companion plants and herbs and flowers to minimize pest. I am canning chicken and salmon today. Cataloged my food and supplies. Completed my 4th class for CERT this week. Working on my EO course thru Vintage Remedies. And Saturday attended the Women in Agriculture conference, the topic was on marketing. Finished 2 baby quilts. Aha, spring is in the air and I feel my energy returning.

  7. Food also has a great video for mini grow boxes. I watched the video and it’s very simple to make one if your a scavenger like me.
    I am going to look into the Aero Farm and see if this is applicable for my situation. May be great to start herbs and medicinal plants during the winter months.
    Still looking for creative ways to store water, 55 gallon barrels are great, I have a couple but need containers that take up less space.

  8. This week our cow had her calf and it was a heifer, YEAH!!!!! The calf is out of a milking shorthorn bull so I am so excited about what an awesome milk cow she will be in two years. Time to fire up my cheese making attempts again with all the extra milk now. My last foray into cheese making didn’t thrill me with the results but I don’t give up, just keep tryin. The chickens have increased their laying production now that the days are getting longer. I also canned 10 jars of beef this week, yummy! And I made my own version of Abreva for pennies featuring Tea Tree Oil and the results are beyond my expectations. I would pit my homemade against the store bought any day in a contest.

  9. Just make sure you keep an eye on your aerogarden, my bubbler stopped working and my plants died very quickly after. However their customer service has been great so far and they are sending me a replacement part and new seed pods.

  10. Never heard of an aero garden before. Looks great!

  11. I had an aero garden and got rid of it after a few years. I had problems with the contacts so the water wouldn’t flow. I used steel wool to clean them but after a while that stopped working. I don’t know if they’ve reconfigured the set up or not since I had on one.
    It did work well while it lasted. I loved having fresh lettuce in the middle of winter

  12. Aye, Karen, had shingles! Horrible. After three weeks of torture, experimentation and research, here’s what works to stop them, prevent them and ease the pain of an attack. (Do not let the doc put you on Keflex anti-viral, it is bad news. Put me in the ER with outrageous heart problems and the nurses said it happens a lot.) For shingles, herpes and cold/mouth sores: These are due to viruses that remain a very low levels in our bodies, hiding in nerve endings and certain tissues. They activate due to stress, low immune function, lack of sleep, nutritional imbalances, and incidental to other disease events. Stop/shorten duration/prevent: Take 1500 mg of L-Lysine in any form 3 times a day at the first inkling of an attack or to shorten/stop it. As soon as you feel that weird tingling under the skin or notice small hard white or red bumps, take it right away. Too much arginine from red meat, chocolate, soy, nuts activates viruses; you need more lysine to counteract. Lysine is less prevalent compared to arginine in our diet unless you eat a lot of turkey, so you can take 500-1000 mg a day to prevent outbreaks. Also, take in high quality coconut oil products or pure Lauricidin (or monolaurin) from coconut (increase dosage of monolaurin gradually). Both are highly anti-viral. Take orally a high quality true licorice root extract (the natural form, NOT de-glycyrrhized form), but only if you do not have heart problems or high blood pressure. READ UP on this supplements FIRST to judge if there are any side effects or other issues that might be relevant to you. Licorice root extract is also very good for relieving the pain and itch when applied frequently reapplied topically. Coconut oil applied topically might help too, but I haven’t tried that. I also found that applying providine (from any pharamacy) topically helps with the pain and itch and seems to shorten duration of outbreak. (Do not ingest!!) There are natural creams/gels with lysine and other herbals online and in supplements that are good too. Apply an ice pack intermittently for pain and itch, and to shorten duration. Cover affected area loosely if possible with gauze or band aid prevent irritation. AVOID heat and sun, which prolong the outbreak. If you’ve never had shingles, but have had chicken pox, get the vaccine now. Almost every adult over 65 gets shingles at some point. Not only is it torture, it can cause serious side effects like scarring, blindness, and even brain damage!

  13. Hi Gaye, I have been wanting to try one of those Aero Gardens! Great idea!

  14. I have and aero garden. tomato are good, herbs are ok, lettuce is bitter, i have to do some more experimenting to see why the lettuce is so bitter.


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