The Survival Buzz #163

Gaye LevyGaye Levy | Jul 4, 2019
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Here we are again with another Survival Buzz and an update on preps as wells and news and announcements.

I experienced a couple of prepping bloopers this week.  But first, on the positive side, I put some chocolate kisses into a “time capsule” that will not get opened for two years.  The idea is to see if chocolate can be stored for the long term.

I put the chocolate kisses in a mason jar with an O2 absorber, then sealed it with my Food Saver jar attachment.  A year from now, I will break the seal, try to eat just one or two, then seal it up for another year.  I used chocolate kisses because they are individually wrapped and relatively inexpensive.  Speaking of which, has a great deal going right now; a huge bag of Hershey’s Chocolate Kisses.

Adding Chocolate Kisses to Food Storage - Backdoor Survival

Blooper wise, I opened a new package of BIC lighters that had been sitting in storage for a while and the first one out of the pack did not work.  Moral of the story?  Have spares (I do) but even for something as ubiquitous as a BIC, test your preps.  I should know better but come on, it was a BIC and they always work.

The huge disappointment is that I got my supplies together and set everything up to create some “survival straws” to share in a DIY on the blog.  For those of you that do not know what a survival straw is, it is a fat drinking straw stuffed with preps of one sort or another.  After stuffing your item of choice inside the straw, you cut it down to size then seal the ends with a lighter or other types of flame.  The end result, if all goes well, is a nice little packet of fire starter, matches, Tylenol, salve, salt, sugar, meds you name it.

Survival Straws - A Total Failure - Backdoor Survival

I tried.  I really did.

Huge fail – for me at least.  I simply could not get the ends to seal and believe me, I tried.  I used a different BIC lighter, one of those butane wands, and even a hair iron.  The straw either crumbled up and burned or it failed to seal.

I have watched at least 5 or 6 of those YouTube videos on making survival straws and feel pretty stupid and frustrated for not getting it.  Have you made some?  If you have, please tell me how you did it or even better, send over some directions and a photo.  I will be grateful

Other preps included making up a refill batch of DIY laundry soap.  If you have not tried it, you should.  This is one of the easiest ways to save a bunch of money.  Have you seen the prices of laundry detergent lately?

That about covers it for me this week.  I am going to keep things short today because I need to crack open my Tech License Study Guide so I am ready for the HAM radio licensing test on the 18th.

Current Giveaways

Here are this week’s giveaways.

Review: Inflatable Solar Air Lantern for Emergencies + Giveaway (10 Winners!!)

Prepper Book Festival 8: The Survival Savvy Family + 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.

The Home Grown Food Summit Starts This Week

The 2015 Home Grown Food Summit begins on April 6th and I don’t know about you, but I can’t wait.  Given my own love/hate relationship with my garden, I need all of the help that I can get.

Register the Free Online Home Grown Food Summit

The way it will work is that you can watch all of the presentations or just those that interest you – the choice is yours.  From what I understand, each day there will be 4 or 5 presentations available starting a 9AM Eastern time.  The daily presentations will be live for a full 24 hours so you can watch them anytime you want during the 24 hour period.

Although the Summit is 100% free, if you can’t attend some or all of the free presentations (or you would like to have them to refer to any time you want), they are being offered at a special 30% off pre-sale rate until Sunday, April 5th at midnight.  Read more about it and get this special offer here:  2015 HGFS Digital Pre-Sale Offer.

Essential Oils: Tip of the Week

Peppermint essential oil is one of the core oils to have on hand and of course, it is one of the ingredients in my DIY Healing Salve.  I thought you might be interested in three other ways to incorporate Peppermint essential oil into your routine.

1. Excellent for staying alert while driving.  Keep a bottle of Peppermint close by for those times you become sleepy while driving. Inhale it ~ rub it on the back of your neck (roller bottle would be great for this), or drop 2 drops on your floorboard so that the aroma continues to drift up and around you.

2. At the first sign of a pressure headache, apply a few drops to the temples and the back of your neck.  Be mindful not to get it near your eyes, however.

3. Preparing for a test, a job interview, or just need to simply wake up for the midday slump?  Keep a small 5 ml bottle of Peppermint in your pocket and inhale straight from the bottle for an immediate pick me up.

There are more ideas here:  The Miracle of Peppermint Oil: 20 Practical Uses for Survival


If you had your eye on a diffuser, Spark Naturals just came up with a surprise “Easter” sale.  All ’diffusers are 10% off through April 5th.  Couple that with coupon code BACKDOORSURVIVAL and you will get 20% off.

Diffuser Sale 380


Other Announcements

A warm welcome to our newest sponsor, Proforce Equipment Inc. They have a huge assortment of survival and prepping gear, including Aquatabs.  Be sure to visit them as well as the other sponsors that allow me to keep Backdoor Survival free for everyone.

The Final Word

That’s a wrap for this week.  Over to 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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The Survival Buzz ALMOST FREE Department

This week I feature the newest book in Ron Brown’s series on non-electric lighting.  It was just released in eBook format for and promises to deliver tons of useful lighting information for a mere 99 cents.

If you already own kerosene lamps or plan to get some (new or used) for survival purposes, you will want this book for the advice Ron shares on using and maintaining your lamps.


 Here are items related to today’s article plus a few classic favorites.

Hershey’s Milk Chocolate Kisses Party Bag:  Here they are, at a bargain price to boot.  These are milk chocolate.  For those purple candies you see in the photo, you want these:  Hershey’s Kisses – Special Dark Chocolate.

Holding tight after being sealed with the FS Jar Attachment

FoodSaver Wide-Mouth Jar Sealer: Have a 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. Add an oxygen absorber and your jars will be good for long term storage as well.  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 jars.

100-Pack Oxygen Absorber, 100cc:  I always have these available.  At less than 10 cents each, I consider adding a 100 cc oxygen absorber to a mason jar is cheap insurance that ensures that my vacuum sealed food will remain nice and fresh – even five years later.

BIC Classic Lighters (12): A dozen full-size BIC lighters at a bargain price with free shipping. Don’t forget to test them to ensure they work! Yes, all of them!!

Peppermint Essential Oil:  One of my faves from Spark Naturals.  Remember, you get an additional 10% off using coupon code BACKDOORSURVIVAL at checkout.

LifeStraw Personal Water FilterThe Amazon Top Ten Most Wanted Survival and Outdoor Items Backdoor Survival:  The LifeStraw is considered the most advanced, compact, ultralight personal water filter available. It contains no chemicals or iodinated resin, no batteries and no moving parts to break or wear out.  It weighs only 2oz. making it perfect for the prepper. There is also a larger sized LifeStraw Family currently available with free shipping.

Coghlan’s Waterproof Matches 10-pack: There are 10 boxes of 40 matches.  That is a good deal for 400 waterproof matches.

Morakniv Craftline Q Allround Fixed Blade Utility Knife: FAVORITE! Also known as the Mora 511, this is now my favorite knife. It is made of Swedish steel and is super sharp.  Many Backdoor Survival have emailed me indicating this is now their favorite knife too.

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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25 Responses to “The Survival Buzz #163”

  1. I had trouble with the straws too. I found out all straws are not equal. I had some large blue ones out of polar pop cups from a gas station and they worked best. Also I held the straws with tongs close to the end where I was melting ,so after It melted I used the tongs to get a better seal. This helped but after all that my fire starter didn’t work at all:( Hope this helps

  2. My daughter in Utah was having some elective surgery and I had promised to come help her with the children. Me being in my 70’s and retired with nothing better to do, left home in February to go visit relatives. I had also told my friend of 30 years that I would attend his wedding in Vegas in March.
    I first visited an uncle in Alabama which was great. I then went to Utah and helped my daughter with my grand kids, which was great. She was doing so great with her recovery, and I had some time to kill until Tony’s wedding, I decided to visit Front Sight for another 4 day class on hand guns. That was great.
    Time to go to Vegas. Met up with Tony and got my room. He decided that we, and some of his other friends should go out honky-tonkin before his wedding.
    Now those of you that have followed my posting know that I gave up alcohol over 2 years ago. Did you also know that in Vegas, that if you played the one-armed bandits, these scantly clad girls with legs that go all the way up to their armpits will bring you all the FREE drinks that you can drink. Free is the magic word. I was hooked.
    Fast forward a few days, I dont know how many. I woke up with a head that felt it was about to explode. As I tried to raise up I noticed someone in my bed. OH NO JOHN, WHAT HAVE YOU DONE? As I still tried to get up, her eyes opened and then the biggest smile, with the whitest, brightest teeth that would put your eyes out, she says “good morning husband”. SAY WHAT? HUSBAND? I think that is what she said. She didn’t speak good English. She next said for me to go to the bathroom and she would order breakfast. She got up to go to the phone and I couldn’t help but notice her cute little tush. OK John, what have you gotten yourself into?
    I got back in bed and she started rubbing my back and massaging my sore head until the food came. I tried to call Tony to see what happened and all I got out of him was uncontrolled laughter. I listen to that for over 2 minutes and finally hung up the phone.
    After the food and the massage I began to get my bearings. She showed me a marriage license from an Elvis wedding chapel. I kind of remember Elvis singing.
    I figured if I did in fact marry this girl, I couldn’t kick her out, so we decided to get in the car and travel back to Ky. During the trip I learned she was a Russian mail order bride. When she arrived in this country, her new husband to be met her and took her home. Before they were married, he died. I’m not straight on how he died.
    This is my message to you Gaye. If you dont keep seeing me making posting, call the Henderson County Corner’s office and see if I am dead. If so, ask if I have a smile on my face. If so, all is OK. If no smile, have him to check for some exotic Russian poison in my blood.
    Gaye, I know you have been looking for me a wife, but put that on hold for a while.
    PS. Tony still only laughs when I call him.

    • Thanks for the laugh John. LOL So many things could be said, but I’m laughing too much. LOL Congrats.

    • Ummm, is this an April Fools tale or for real? Either way, good job.

  3. One other thing I did was I used a candle to melt the ends because I am too cheap to waste my bic that many times ,but the candle worked well

  4. I have to say, I admire your restraint! First, putting chocolate aside for the future instead of eating it! Secondly, to open it in a year and only take one or two out to try and then resealing! In the time it will take you to read this post I would have polished those kisses off. My hubby tried to put some up one time but I found the buggers and ate them. Good luck with yours!

  5. I attempted to make laundry soap the other day, I had kept all my suuplies in our garage. I quickly found that the bar soap was too soft so I had to chop it into small pieces and leave it to dry before going any further. Then I found that my boxes of the other ingredients had hardened to a brick, so I beat on them for a bit. Finally got one batch of soap completed; it wasn’t pretty! I have since relocated all of the supplies and, once my frustration has abated, I will attempt the process again. Hopefully, in a much shorter time frame and with better results. 🙂

    • I use liquid Dawn in my laundry soap. The version with grated Fels Naptha never really got my clothes clean and they smelled funny. Something I do, however, is store the borax and washing soda in my cold garage which is detached from the house. I keep them in these huge mason jars I purchased online and seal them with my Foodsaver. No clumps.

      I have this vision of you beating on your brick like laundry soap ingredients. Made me smile.

  6. Milk chocolate kisses are the junk food of chocolate. Dark chocolate is much better for you than milk chocolate and organic chocolate is much, much better than Hershey’s. Good, organic, dark chocolate is actually good for you with lots of antioxidants. Quality chocolate will last a couple years without any special preparations as long as you keep in in a cool, dry place. It might oxidize a little (outside turns white), but it still tastes great!

    For fire starters to put in bug out bags, shtf preparations, etc. I strong recommend a fire steel with a magnesium tinder rod in place of or in addition to matches, lighters, etc. I get my fire steels and magnesium rods from I have no affiliation with the company, I just really like their products and they are a US company based in New Hampshire where I live. It takes longer to make a fire with a fire steel and it can be tricky (one of the reasons I always keep a magnesium rod to create shavings to use for tinder with each of my fire steels) but the fire steel will ALWAYS create sparks. No matter how old the rod is (matches and bic lighters left in packs for a long time can wear out or fail even if they haven’t been used) or how cold it is (butane lighters might not work in very cold temperatures). A fire steel will also last for hundreds or thousands of fires (depending on the size of the fire steel). To me it’s a no-brainer. I keep a fire steel next to the wood stove in my house and occasionally use it to start the stove. That way I’ll be more comfortable if I ever have to use one in a shtf situation.

    Another fire starting trick is to keep a small container of petroleum jelly soaked cotton balls in your fire starting kit. It takes very little effort to get the cotton ball burning and one cotton ball will burn for a minute or two, giving you time to build up your fire.

  7. Totally agree with your about the Hersheys but for food storage, they are perfect. Those kisses in the purple wrappers are dark chocolate, by the way. I keep the good stuff in the drawer next to my bed. I think the brand I get is “Endangered Species” or something like that. Free trade and 1005 organic and lots of flavors to choose from.

    As far as petroleum jelly soaked cotton balls – that is what I had stuffed into my ill-fated survival straws 🙂

  8. Gaye I use staws to store a lot of diffent items. I buy the largest diameter heavy vinyl straws I can find. I use needle nosed pliers to squeeze the straw ends and melt with a flame. You will discover many items that you can store this way. If you could only Can them then to make them last longer!

  9. You could try your food saver for sealing the ends if the straws. That might work but I haven’t personally tried, so…good luck.

  10. i had the same problem with straws, and learned that when they wouldn’t seal it was because both ends of the seal weren’t completely closed. i was using needle nosed pliers, and the end nearer the handle was completely closed, but the other wasn’t. i had some luck closing the smaller straws (from fast food places) with a hairpin, but had to be very careful with the flame that close to my fingers. for the bigger straws (from supermarket) i put the straw as close as possible to the end of the pliers, so the end of the straw is closed all the way across when i get it close to the flame to seal it. sorry–i’m not very good at explaining physical things verbally, but the key is to have the whole end of the straw completely closed as you seal it with the flame.

  11. Use a refillable jet type butane lighter for like a half a second.

  12. Why wouldn’t you use Super Glue on the straws instead of flame?
    Or, use a dab to hold the straw closed while you melt the end?

    This week I tested a can of pizza sauce which expired in 2012. Surprisingly, it was just fine.

    I also gave a quality Winter jacket to a young relative so when they knock on my door at least they have a chance not to be shivering cold.

    …However; did you know that many (most? all?) teenagers these days do not wear coats in the Winter? They run around without coats while wearing shorts and flip flops,… in Winter. With snow on the ground. With sub-zero temps, even.
    Go figure?

  13. Sealing straws: I have had some success using a candle flame to melt the straw & squeezing the melted end shut with a small pair of needle nose pliers. However – sometimes I just can’t get it sealed.

    Fire Starters: My sons and I have been practicing with magnesium rods and our current ‘fave’ is using empty toilet paper/paper towel rolls & stuffing them with dryer lint & used softener sheets. We fold the ends in and make a tiny package that does a nice job starting a fire. Tip: leave a small bit of material as a ‘wick’ because the cardboard tube is slow to ignite by spark. These don’t take much space, are easy to make & we have re-purposed some items that would normally be thrown away.

  14. FYI: if you’re making firestarters with lint or petroleum jelly, remember to use those outside. Although if the lint comes only after drying cotton or natural fibers, it’s ok for indoor use. Synthetic fibers and petroleum jelly may have or are petroleum based therefore may give off carbon monoxide whereas natural cotton or fibers won’t. So my choice is to color code for indoors and/or outdoors. I won’t do this to straws, too many other things go in those straw that can also go in my mouth. 😉 LOL

    • Yeah, petroleum products might give off carbon monoxide, that’s why we don’t have gas stoves, or gas furnaces, or… I’m sorry, but the amount of carbon monoxide that might be given off by a single fire starter that you are using in a properly vented wood stove or fireplace wouldn’t be a problem. If your wood stove or fireplace is not properly vented or you’re using the fire starters somewhere inside other than a wood stove or fireplace then you have much bigger problems than what fire starters you use.

    • I understand what you’re saying. I have to disagree because of past experience; this can happen to even the most experienced person. In a grid down situation, the stress can alter thinking enough to make mistakes we wouldn’t normally make, plus the fact that being human we are subject to mistakes. There are varying degrees of preppers who read this. Having a heads up is better than experiencing what it’s like to go through this and live, let alone lose someone because of a malfunction of some sort.
      Hoping Gaye doesn’t mind.

    • Dee, I’m very sorry for your loss. You are right in that ANY time you have combustion occurring in your house (and it happens a lot!) there is some level of risk of carbon monoxide poisoning and you should always be aware of the possible risks and the symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning. One mitigating factor – install at least one carbon monoxide detector, with battery backup, on each floor of your house and change the batteries and test them just like you do with your smoke detectors.

  15. How exciting that you are getting your HAM radio certificate, good luck on your test!

    Enjoying your updates and learning how to avoid pitfalls of prepping. Keep up your awesome work!

  16. Gaye,
    Just remember to keep the jar in a cool place. The chocolate may get a whitish bloom on it due to the fats rising to the surface but if its powdery and dry toss it, that’s a sign it’s gone bad. I ran a candy store for years and that is what I was taught from the chocolatier

  17. For the straws Gaye, try heating some tongs or pliers.
    I have tried a set of cold pliers and a heated wire cutter. But as someone else said, not all the straws are the same. i go for thicker plastic ones.

  18. I vacuum sealed some chocolate chips with my first vacuum sealer about 15 years ago. I left them alone for about a year and when I opened the jar the chips were covered with a white powder. They still tasted good, and were okay in cookies but they looked really weird.

  19. The chocolate should store just fine….I am just finishing up a box of Hershey Milk Chocolate bars dated APR2011 and there was no bloom and the taste was spot on. I realize the wrapper is better on the bars, but I stored my bars in the original cardboard box in a New England basement without further protection. Your mason jar with o2 absorber should do a great job for the kisses, but it’s always fun to run the experiment and do the taste testing at the designated intervals. 😉

    For firestarters I have two Zippo lighters and a bunch of extra wicks, flints and liquid butane to refill them for years. I also have a LOT of matches that I have just put into freezer ziplock bags to help keep them dry. Of course I have a few magnesium and flint contraptions and lots of dryer lint again stored in freezer ziplock baggies, but that’s only if I get desperate….And don’t forget a magnifying glass. Easy enough to light some fluff in sunny conditions without wasting any matches or lighter fuel, and most houses already have a few magnifying glasses hanging around.

    Thanks for the great posts!


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