Tuesday, December 29, 2009

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Water Storage Options

Re-post courtesy of MatthiasJ from Kentucky Preppers Network

There are a lot of options out there when trying to decide how to store your water. Regardless of the method you choose, water is extremely important and your water storage needs to match your food storage. Your method of water storage will depend on your living arrangements, and should be tailored to your location and housing situation.

First there is the water barrel. Available in sizes from 15 - 55 gallons, these are pretty easy to store and are very versatile. *Note: One thing to consider is that water weighs almost 8.5 pounds per gallon. A 55 gallon drum filled would weigh over 450 pounds. Make sure they're supported on a sturdy surface. The best thing to do is get the barrels used. Syrup at cola bottling plants come in these containers, as well as other food related liquids. You can get these for free sometimes if you talk to the right person, they usually throw them out. If you can't find free ones my local Rural King sells them used for $12. Check locally but if all else fails you can always order offline.

If you get creative you can find places around the house to hind them in plain sight. One of these in the living room with a piece of plywood on top (cut in a circle) with a sheet draped over it would look like a regular table. On the Preparedness Pro Facebook Page there is a photo posted of using them to create a bed with wood on top of the barrels then the mattress and sheets. I've also heard of people using them for a computer desk. It would make them easy to get to if they were in the living room or bedroom. Just make sure you have a good hand pump to get the water out.

There is a company that makes a product called the Water Bob. It is a large plastic bag designed to fit in a bathtub. The bag is made of strong, and safe plastic with a hole to fill it with. The idea is that in the event of an emergency, you put it in the bathtub and can fill it with up to 100 gallons of water. This is a great product, and for the price it's great to have in the closet. They fold down into a small box to there's no problem storing them. The only problem is see is if you wake up with no water at all then you can't fill them up. This would be great to have along with your existing water storage just to give you a few extra gallons in the event you might need it.

At most Wal-Mart's you can purchase these 7 gallon Reliance water containers. They're blue containers that come with a pour spout and a convenient carrying handle. They usually run around $12 each and I have quite a few of these full of water. They are great quality and are a great way to store water in small amounts. Even if you have all your water in 55 gallon barrels you can keep a few of these to transport water. They will sit on a table and you can use the included spout to pour water with ease.

I talked about this in my post about "Free Water Storage" but I will mention it again. If you drink a lot of juice (and you should) then you're going to end up with a lot of empty jugs. Juice bottles are perfect because they are easy to clean, just wash and fill with tap water. These will store for years and is a great way to add just that much more water to your water storage without costing you any additional money.

One thing to also remember is that your hot water heater is essentially a tank full of water. In an emergency this can also be tapped into for drinking and cooking. Most hot water heaters have a valve and nozzle at the bottom for draining. It would be a good idea to have an attachment with a hose on hand so you could dispense the water without risking a spill.

There are also larger water storage solutions available if you have the space. You can get containers from 100 to 300 gallons or more. If you have a barn, or garage with the space this might not be a bad idea. Just make sure you have a way to transport the water into your house for use.

There are probably a few things I missed but this should give you an idea on how to store your water. Water is more important than having food. You can go 3 weeks without food but won't last 3 days without water.

Homesteading General

Posting Courtesy PioneerLiving.net

Homesteading General

To The Land

People are leaving the cities and moving to a life of self-sufficiency. They are buying small and large parcels (1 to 40) acres. Some can abandon city jobs, while most others commute to work, enjoying a blend of rural life. The rewards can be great with a more independence, family togetherness, lifestyle, and freedom with less stress.

There is nothing better then a year-round garden and greenhouse; keeping chickens, ducks, rabbits, and fruit trees. Going back to mother nature and back to basics is true independence.

Land Hints

Your selection of land is very, very important to your success. Practical characteristics should out weigh esthetics, even though both are important.

The first thing you need is to make a list of your needs; timber, pasture, flood zone, creeks, water quality, availability of water, and neighbors to name a few.
Note: Land further away from populated areas is generally preferred.

Now, you will probably need to make some compromises but this is and or will be a life style change, if you are from the city.

Whatever your needs, check growing seasons and local climate, water availability, soil types, roads, and in some cases required well depth if needed.

Please consider your age and physical condition as well in regard to the amount of work you can handle, do not commit yourself to a larger place then you can keep up and enjoy. Also something else to consider; is this going to be a full time self-sufficiency with a income-producing work or a part time hobby?

Survivalist 101

Re-post courtesy Riverwalker's Stealth Survival

The term survivalist is a label placed on a part of our society that has been largely ridiculed for a number of things. We’ve been called “whacko gun nuts”, “food hoarding freaks”, and just plain crazy. Perhaps if we did a better job of informing people of our true objectives, people might have a better view of survivalists and what we are attempting to accomplish.

What makes a person a survivalist? Does surviving a bad car accident or a serious illness make you a survivalist? No. It makes you a survivor and in most cases it makes you very lucky, but it doesn’t make you a survivalist. A true survivalist won’t trust his or her life and the life of their family to luck.

A true survivalist doesn’t trust luck to always be in their favor. A lot of people have “bad” luck, as well as “good” luck. What makes a person a survivalist is the enduring mindset and preparation ahead of time that makes them refuse to be a victim. The mere thought of being a victim of something that could have been avoided with a little advanced preparation is totally repugnant to most survivalists. They don’t trust their luck to see them safely through an emergency or natural disaster. They put their trust in their skills and abilities. They make advance preparations to deal with the everyday occurrences that can affect their life and their family. They simply refuse to become a victim of circumstances, whether natural or man-made, by being knowledgeable about how they can be avoided or minimized to limit the effects on them and their families.

Too many people prepare for the simple things because they refuse to realize that it’s the bigger events that will cause the more serious problems. They carry a spare tire in their vehicles because they refuse to be a victim that has been stranded by a flat tire. Why? Because they fear the ridicule they might suffer if someone found out they didn’t have a working spare tire. They will probably wind up with several labels as a result. They may be called silly, foolish or perhaps just plain ignorant. A true survivalist would see this in a different light. They see it as a failure to prepare in advance in order to avoid being a victim. They know that a flat tire, late at night, and in the middle of a cold, dark night in a strange area or neighborhood could be a life threatening event for them and their family. Tires go flat and cars break down all the time, but what if it happens at the “wrong” time and in the “wrong” place? Are you prepared to survive? Or will you become a victim?

Do you fear the label “survivalist”? Labels are really good things when you think about them. They tell you what’s in the food you eat and the drinks you consume. They tell you what’s in the books you read. They allow you to recognize family and friends when you call them by name. Labels are a good thing!

My name is Riverwalker. I am a survivalist and I refuse to be a victim!

Staying above the water line!


Basic Guide to Knives

Re-post courtesy Riverwalker's Stealth Survival

Knives come in a multitude of shapes, sizes, types and functions. Knowing the basic types and styles of knives available will allow you to determine which knives will best suit your own needs. The following is a very basic description of several different types and styles of knives that are available.

Fixed Blade Knives

A fixed-blade knife is a solid piece of steel anchored to the handle. This is a type of blade that is usually the most trusted for the tougher jobs and more rugged use. For most hunting and camping activities, a fixed blade knife will be the best choice. Fixed blades are durable and hold up to the elements well because of their straight, simple construction without any of the various folding-type mechanisms. In fixed blade knives, the knife blade is one piece of metal that runs the length of the knife. When the knife blade reaches the beginning of the handle, it can either taper into a “rat tail” that is surrounded by the handle or continue as a tang that is covered on either side by handle pieces or what is commonly referred to as “slabs”.

Folding Knives

Folding blade knives are generally not quite as durable as fixed blade knives, but provide safety and the convenience of compact size. Folding blade knives come in a variety of configurations, some of which may even lock into place. Locking folders allow much of the same confidence of a fixed blade while letting you close the knife blade into the handle for safety.

Pocket Knives

Old fashioned pocket knives are still high on the list as everyone’s favorite. These can be great to carry in your pocket for all the times you might need a knife. Not all models lock in an open position. This does not affect their main use as a basic knife for a variety of uses. Some pocket knives offer multiple knife blades for different uses.

Lock Back Knives

A lock back knife is a type of folding knife that locks in an open position. Locking folders provide much of the confidence of a fixed blade knife when open; yet they enable you to fold the blade for your safety and carrying convenience. A lock back gets its name from a rocking lock plate visible on the back of the handle. Opening the knife blade causes the “rocker” to lock against the blade so that it locks open. Pushing down on the “rocker” at the back of the handle releases it. This enables you to close the blade. Lock back knives generally require two hands in order to close them.

Single Hand Operation Knives

Many knife users are looking for the convenience of a knife that opens and closes with one hand and that also provides additional safety by being locked when open. For climbing and activities where one hand is occupied, a knife that can be operated with a single hand is considered essential by many people. For other types of activities, a single hand knife may be simply a personal preference. There are many types of knives that allow single hand operation. It is important to choose one that fits your activities. This type of knife is often referred to as a “one hander”.

Liner Lock Knives

A liner lock knife is a folding knife that locks open by means of a tensioned metal liner inside the handle. This is similar to a lock back knife. Opening the blade will activate the lock. Unlocking is achieved by placing your thumb on the front part of the liner and pushing to the left. This releases the blade. A liner lock enables you to close the blade with one hand. A thumb hole or thumb stud in the knife blade is typically used to allow single hand operation.

Frame Lock Knives

A Frame Lock knife operates similar to a liner lock. The main difference is the lock is a tensioned part of the handle frame with an open channel. When the knife blade opens, the frame lock moves into the handle opening and locks against the blade. Pushing to the left releases it from its “locked” position so you can close the blade.

Assisted Opening Knives

Assisted Opening knives are the ultimate in knives offering the convenience of single hand operation. They also use a liner lock for locking the blade open. To open, release the safety, and then push the blade release ridge. After the knife blade starts opening, the assisted opening mechanism completes the knife blade opening, which releases the liner to lock the blade open. To close, push left on the front of the liner lock to unlock it, close the knife blade and engage the safety on top of the handle.

Special Note: These knives are illegal in many areas. Check the applicable laws in your area.

Due to the complex and changing nature of knife laws, it is your responsibility to investigate and comply with all federal, state and local laws relating to the possession, use, or transport of knives.

Staying above the water line!


A guide to pressure canning

Re-post courtesy of MatthiasJ from Kentucky Preppers Network

I have never done any pressure canning myself, but if you have a garden it's a great way to preserve and store your own homegrown food for later use. Pressure canning is fairly simple and can be used to can just about anything. With a little studying and practice you can be canning the food from your garden in no time. Below is a guide to pressure canning written by the Utah State University Extension. A PDF version of the guide can be viewed here.

Why Choose Pressure Canning to Preserve Food?

Pressure canning is a safe and economical method of preserving low acid foods which has been used for decades, especially by home gardeners and others interested in providing food storage for their families where quality control of the food is in one's own hands. Home food preservation also promotes a sense of personal satisfaction and accomplishment. Further, the guess-work is taken out of being able to provide a safe food supply at home when guidelines for operating a pressure canner are followed exactly, scientifically tested/approved recipes are utilized, and high quality equipment, supplies and produce are used.

What Foods Are Typically Processed/Preserved Using a Pressure Canner and Why?

Low acid foods require a higher temperature when processing than can be reached by placing them in jars immersed by boiling water. To kill harmful bacteria (such as those associated with botulism) use of pressure canning ensures the safety of the preserved produce. Foods such as red meats, sea food, poultry, milk, and all fresh vegetables, with the exception of most tomatoes, fit into the low acid group since they have an acidity, or pH level, of 4.6 or higher. The temperature which must be reached and maintained (for a specified amount of time) to kill the bacteria is 240 F. This temperature can be reached only by creating steam under pressure.

Becoming Familiar with the Parts of a Pressure Canner


Older model pressure canners (made before 1970) were heavy-walled kettles with clamp-on or turn-on lids fitted with a dial-type gauges. A vent port, in the form of a petcock or counterweight, and a safety fuse were also present. Modern pressure canners are lightweight, thin-walled kettles and most have turn-on lids. They usually have a perforated metal rack or basket with handles, rubber gasket, a dial or weighted gauge, an automatic vent/cover lock, a vent port (steam vent) to be closed with a counterweight or weighted gauge, and a safety fuse.

Note: When purchasing a used pressure canner, make certain all parts are accounted for and in good condition. It is nearly impossible to find replacement parts for older models.

Selecting The Correct Processing Time and Pressure

To ensure the safety of food processed in the pressure canner, use processing times listed for scientifically-tested recipes (dated 1988 or later) and adjust for altitude using the chart below. Keep in mind that failing to follow proper processing times and pressure recommendations may result in spoiled food (mold, bacteria, and other microorganisms) and possibly fatal food poisoning.

Steam-Pressure Canner Altitude Chart

The steam-pressure method is used for low-acid foods. Normally, the pressure given for low acid foods in canning guides is for weighted-gauge canners at altitudes at or below 1,000 feet above sea level. At altitudes of 1,001 feet of above, adjust the processing pressure according to the Steam-Pressure Canner chart for the type of steam-pressure canner being used.
Altitude (feet) Weighted Gauge Dial Gauge
0 - 1,000 10 11
1,001 - 2,000 15 11
2,001 - 4,000 15 12
4,001 - 6,000 15 13
6,001 - 8,000 15 14
8,001 - 10,000 15 15

Steps for Successful Steam-Pressure Canning

1. Put 2-3 inches of hot water in canner. Place filled jars on the rack, using a jar lifter. Fasten canner lid securely.

2. Leave weight off vent port or open petcock. Heat at the highest setting until steam flows from the petcock or vent port.

3. Maintain high heat setting, exhaust steam 10 minutes, and then place weight on vent port or close petcock. The canner will pressurize during the next 3 to 5 minutes.

4. Start timing the process when the pressure reading on the dial gauge indicates that the recommended pressure has been reached, or when the weighted gauge begins to jiggle/ rock.

5. Regulate heat under the canner to maintain a steady pressure at or slightly above the correct gauge pressure. If the pressure reading goes below the recommended pressure, you must bring the pressure back up and start the timing process over again from the beginning.

6. When timed processing is completed, turn off the heat, remove canner from heat (if electric range), and let the canner "depressurize" at room temperature. (dial needle moves back to "0" or no steam sounds when weight is gently nudged). Do not force-cool the canner. Releasing pressure from a partially opened vent or placing the canner under cool water will result in under-processing. It may also cause unsealed jars and loss of liquid from the jars. Quick-cooling can also warp the canner lid of older model canners.

7. After the canner is depressurized, remove the weight from the vent port or open the petcock. Wait 2 minutes, unfasten the lid, and remove it carefully. Lift the lid away from you so that the steam does not burn your face.

8. Remove jars with a lifter, and place on towel or cooling rack, if desired. Do not set on a cold surface or expose to breezy conditions.

Additional Safety/Operating Tips

Gauges: Check dial gauges for accuracy before use each year and replace if they read high by more than 1-2 pound pressure. Gauges may be checked at most county Cooperative Extension offices. Replacement gauges and other parts for canners are often available at stores offering canning equipment or from canner manufacturers. When ordering parts, it will be helpful to know the model number of your canner.

Gaskets: Handle canner lid gaskets carefully and clean them according to the manufacturer's directions. Nicked or dried gaskets will allow steam leaks during pressurization of canners and should be replaced. Keep gaskets clean between uses. A lid which is difficult to remove after cooling may indicate a gummy, or dry gasket and is reason to replace it.

Gear Review: Katadyn Combi Water Filter

Re-post courtesy of MatthiasJ from Kentucky Preppers Network

Katadyn makes some of the best backpacking filters on the market. They have a lot of different models that would fit nearly anyone's hiking or backpacking needs. These filters are well made, durable, and hold up while on the trail. With a Katadyn hiking filter, all you need is a decent water source and you can have all the clean drinking water that you can pump out. These are perfect for your Get Home Bag, Bug Out Bag, or Get Out Of Dodge Bag. They're small, lightweight, and remove the need to carry water, which is very heavy.

Out of all the models of filters Katadyn makes I wanted to choose a filter that was within my budget range and also had a filter that would last a long time. There are a lot of filters on the market that you can get for fairly cheap but most will only filter a couple hundred gallons at the most. If you're using a filter for your Get Home Bag, you want something that has a filter that will filter enough water as long as you're out with your bag. The Katadyn Combi was the filter I settled on.

The Katadyn Combi is part of Katadyn's Endurance Series of filters. The endurance series of filters are designed for 1 - 4 people to use, have an extremely long life and are for extremely dirty water. It's filter combines a silver impregnated ceramic element and a refillable, activated carbon cartridge. It is effective against bacteria and protozoa and also reduces chemicals and bad taste. The ceramic element filters down to 0.2 microns which will remove 99.9% of all bacteria. The ceramic element is washable which will prolong the life of the filter. The activated carbon isn't required for the filter to work but will make the taste and smell of the water a lot better.

The ceramic element will filter around 13,000 gallons (depending on water quality) and the activated carbon will last for 100 gallons before needing to be replaced. The unit itself is only 12" long and less than 3" in diameter. It will will filter around 1 liter of water per minute (hand pumping it) and weighing in at less than 21 ounces it is the perfect backpack filter. The housing is made of durable plastic and is built to last.

The unit comes with a quality carrying bag, 1 ceramic element, 2 packs of activated carbon, and a bottle adapter to attach the filter on top of any standard water bottle (Nalgene). There is a optional water faucet adapter that allows the Combi to be used in a camper, cottage, or a boat. This filter would also be great for a pop-up camper or a small camping setup without a filter in the camper.

The Combi comes with a 1 year warranty and the list price is $159.99 without the faucet adapter. The cheapest place to get the Combi is eBay for around $135.00. The faucet adapter is around $40.00 from Amazon, which is the cheapest. I don't have the faucet adapter but I did purchase an extra filter so I have the ability to filter around 26,000 gallons of water. I do need to get a few more packs of the activated carbon, but as stated above you can use the filter without the carbon.