Monthly Archives: November 2012

How to Make Homemade Dog Food

How do we feed our pets when there is no dog food at the grocery or pet stores? Do we give up our pets or panic? Neither, we go back in the days before Iams or Purina and do what our grandparents did to feed their dogs. Now we can fed our pets in a balanced and considered way from what is now known about pet nutrition.

So what did people fed their dogs? People fed mostly table scraps or their developed their own recipes. There weren’t the hundreds of dog food varieties as there are now.

After World War II, Gaines and Kennel Ration began the pet food trend with canned horse meat. Mostly as a way of getting rid of surplus horses and using up cans made for the war effort. It wasn’t until the 1960s and 1970s when dog food really come into its own.

The ironic trend is now going back to natural dog food. After the poisoned grain episode from China and the increasing cost of dog food. My dog, Adam, who I adopted came with multiple bags of very expensive sensitive stomach dog food (that he upchucked anyway). I decided I’d try my friend’s homemade dog food recipe she used.

With a degree in Animal Science, I decided to put my education to a practical use. So after several versions of the following recipe, here is the most balanced one. My German Shepherd dogs love it. My pup Adam went from 56 to 104 pounds and his liver functions have improved 100 points. This recipe is simple and versatile and far less expensive than canned or dry food.

I call it the “Third Recipe”, because all the portions are in roughly thirds; Rice, Vegetables and Meat. Once you get into the routine, it is very easy and you’ll know what amounts you are regularly using.

Important point to remember is dogs are omnivores, not carnivores, which mean they eat all sorts of stuff, not just meat. A meat protein diet will make a dog hyper and overly aggressive plus damage their kidneys. Feeding dogs is being sold as an “exact” science now. The basics of good nutrition are covered in this formula and inexpensive to feed.

The “Third Recipe” for Dogs

  • White rice boiled with an optional chicken bullion cube – carbohydrates for energy, easy digestion and bullion cube for favor. You can substitute potatoes occasionally. No pasta, will ruin a dog’s teeth.
  • Vegetables – frozen or canned or fresh – green beans or peas/carrots or mixed vegetables – I prefer frozen over canned – and green beans are best. Easily digested and have fiber.
  • Meat – chicken, turkey, tuna or beef or wild game or eggs
  • Two half meals – morning and evening- and the cup portions depend on the size of your dog(s).  All ingredients are roughly in thirds, but if you have an active dog, use more rice.

The most inexpensive way is to buy 25 to 50 pounds of rice is from Costco or similar retail outlet. Those little bags in the grocery store are quite pricey. I store rice in “Vittle Vaults” porthole screw top lid hard plastic dog food containers. Buy on these storage units on–the least expensive and free shipping and you use these for all sorts of bulk food storage.

You’ll need to make more rice every third day as it gets watery and becomes a great bacteria medium. You can use a rice cooker, which I don’t like to clean. Or make it from scratch in a stock pot. White rice recipe is usually 2 cups of water for every cup of rice.

If you are not used making rice, it takes a little effort at first.  So for two big German shepherds, I make four cups of rice at a time – eight plus cups of water, bring to a boil with a bullion cube and then add 4 cups of rice. I have on designated big stock pot Brown rice is harder to digest, tastes like cardboard and the point of the white rice is carbs for energy and easy digestion.

Green beans are the best all around vegetable. Green beans are fibrous, full of nutrients and pulls particles through the digestive tract. Mixed vegetables, peas and carrots are fine also. Vegetables, like corn and lima beans, aren’t broken down in the digestive tract and a waste of money. Shop around for the lowest frozen vegetables or seal-a-meal or can your own. Broccoli is fine if you are willing to perish from dog gas attacks.

You can use a variety of meats in this food. It depends what your dog will tolerate. Be careful not to rotate types of meat until you have a feel for what your dog can tolerate. I always cook the meat. There is too much contamination to take a chance on causing a hemorrhagic intestinal bug from raw meat. When adding to food, cut or pull the meat into smaller portions for better digestion.

Eggs are a very cheap and inexpensive protein. I hard boil the eggs and add one or two to the meal. You can fry or scramble if you want to spoil your pooches. Eggs and rice are the ingredients of expensive ID (intestinal diet) dog food from the veterinarian.

Chicken – is great, it is easy to digest and inexpensive. I crock pot or broil a $5 pallet of 10 chicken thighs from Wal-Mart. Chicken thighs have lots of meat and only one bone to remove. I add one chicken thigh per meal serving for my German Shepherds. When traveling I bring cheaper canned chicken breast to open and add. Chicken with bones removed is the perfect meat.

Turkey is inexpensive. Cook a turkey up when they are on sale, then package the meat into portions, freeze and take out as needed.

Tuna – I give this for only one meal a week. It is inexpensive if you buy the store brand and the oil/water is good for their coats. Too much processed ocean fish has mercury. So limit the amount.  Fish oil capsules from what fish? Goldfish? Natural fish is best.

Beef – Beef is hard for dogs to digest. Crock pot up beef stew meat until tender and broken down. So if you insist on feeding beef, crock pot for tenderizing and easier digestion. Hamburger is fine in limited amounts, but can be it is a little greasy and pricey to feed regularly.

Wild Game– Feeding your dog, venison or other game is okay. Just make sure it is thoroughly cooked. You don’t want your pet to get sick from some weird intestinal bacteria or parasite. Some wild game is very rich and less is more with pets. Just make sure your pet can tolerate this meat to avoid diarrhea and other intestinal episodes.

You can supplement your dog’s nutrition with a daily over the pet counter vitamin. A money saving tip is to buy the senior dog vitamins. They contain twice as much vitamin per pill. So, buy the senior dog vitamins, break them in half and you get two vitamins for the price of one.

As in all things in life, balance is the key. Dogs don’t mind eating the same thing daily. Do not give your dog gravy or lots of fatty food, as this can cause pancreatitis and could kill your pet.

This food can be put it into zip lock bags and frozen. Don’t blend this food into a paste that is bad for the dog’s teeth and causes the food to lose all the nutritional value.

Dry Dog Food
I do have some dry crunchy kibble dog food out. I prefer Purina, mostly because they are an all American ingredient dog food and never had recalls from overseas tainting like Iams or other brands. Purina One chicken and rice is a good all around dry dog food. Old Roy is a suspect dog food made in China. Science Diet is mostly corn based and not as digestible. Friend with kennels call Science Diet the poop making food, since it all gets eliminated. Eukanuba is a very fatty dog food and should only be fed to active bird dogs or dog with similar energy burn levels.

For three days with two meals a day, it costs me about 75 cents a day per dog on average. This is for the rice, green beans and chicken, even less with eggs or more with beef. Once you get into the routine, making your own dog food it is a very healthy and economical solution and better for your pet’s health.

via:  survivalblog


Home defense layers

Layer 1: The Outside Layer                                           

  • Reinforced doors and locks.  There is only 1 ” of wood protecting you in normal door locks.
  • Invest in heavy duty door hinges and secure door frames with 3 ” screws.
  • Barred windows or European-style security/storm shutters.
  • Doors that are not glass or see through.
  • Install a peep hole for the door.
  • Never rely on a chain latch as an effective barrier (they are easily broken if the door is kicked in).
  • Install infrared flood lights, or motion detector lights around the perimeter of the home.
  • A gate at the front of the driveway that has spikes at the top to prevent someone from jumping over the fence
  • Never leave a spare key hidden under a rock or door mat.  Too many people do this and it is the first place a criminal is going to look.
  • Cut back large trees or bushes near the windows to provide concealment.  Additionally, putting thorn bushes and other types of plants to further secure the home would be advantageous.
  • Have a guard dog trained to attack.  And place “beware of dog” signs in the front and side gates of the home.

Layer 2: The Inside Layer

  • Consider investing in an alarm and advertise that you have one by placing stickers in windows and signs in the yard.
  • Consider adding a 2-way voice feature to the existing alarm system.  This feature enables your security system to communicate directly through the control panel.  This feature also allows you to call into your system and be able to listen to any activity or speak to your child or other family members who are home.
  • Position web cams strategically in hidden areas.  Place the computer that is monitoring the locations in a hidden spot so the criminals do not walk off with the computer.
  • Have emergency plans and protocols set up where children or teens can see them.  Additionally, have important contact phone numbers next to the plan.
  • Teach the household how to call 9-1-1, and have a script ready for them to read to the dispatcher.  This will help keep them explain calmly to the dispatcher what the emergency situation is.
  • Teach members of the home different escape routes to use in case they need to leave the home, as well as a code word to use for the family to immediately leave the home to go to a safe location.
  • Close all curtains and blinds at nighttime and set the alarm.
  • Keep purses, car keys, money and jewelry away from windows were burglars can look in and see.  This only makes them want to break in more.
  • If a gun is in the home, have it locked up or put away so that smaller children do not try to use it.

Layer 3: The Personal Layer

This is the most critical layer.

  • Teach family members to be observant of their surroundings when coming home and be aware of suspicious activity.
  • Never open the door to strangers.  Teach children not to be easily persuaded by strangers who look professional or have badges.
  • Teach chidren to call “safe” adults, such as neighbors for help in cases where parents are not home.
  • Get to know your neighbors and have their phone numbers on hand in case the child needs help from a nearby adult.
  • Or, arrange a neighborhood watch program.
  • Never be afraid to call the police if a stranger or solicitor is acting suspiciously.
  • Teach children how to use the security alarm and where the panic button is.
  • Find a bug out location for family members to go to for safety.
  • If someone is trying to break into your home, activate your car alarm or panic button on the security alarm to draw attention from the neighbors.
  • As a last resort, teach older members of the home and older children how to use weapons against intruders.

It’s not enough these days to tell those who are home alone to have the doors and windows locked at all times or to not open doors for strangers.  Parents need to thoroughly discuss emergency and safety plans with those living in the home, as well as protocols on how to handle certain dangers.  A person who is prepared for a possible run in with a burglar or home invader is well equipped with knowledge on the home’s security features, knowledge on how to get additional family members to safety, get help, and as a last resort know how to use a weapon. Teaching members of the family what a home invasion is and the dangers associated with it will help them understand that invaders will not be kind, that they are intending to hurt persons who are inside, and will stop at nothing to get what they want.

When an emergency arises, adrenaline is kicks in, and triggers the fight-or-flight response, causing a rush of emotion, anxiety and for some, panic.  Practising emergency plans can help a family know exactly what to do and how to stay calm doing it.  Dangers such as home invasions and burglaries are occurring more frequently, thus causing those who are home alone to be more at risk.  Having layers of security features in and outside of the home can keep those inside the home safer.

via:  readynutrition


Homemade Nutella

I am kind of freaking out at the moment. In a good way. Freaking out because I have a ton of posts lined up, and I want to show them all to you NOW. I sat at my computer this morning, downing coffee and staring at all of my unpublished image folders, contemplating which one to choose. Should I sneak some syrup from one of the three shrubs that are steeping in my pantry at the moment, and photograph it before the season has passed for its star fruit? Or should I snap some pictures of the recently bottled homemade version of everyone’s favorite spicy sauce? They were all so tempting, but this nutella won out in the end. And that’s because there’s a follow-up post. One that involves nutella contained within something. And pumpkin. And maybe also the words “doughnut” and “muffin.” OH YES. Pumpkin fever is upon us, and I’m ready to embrace the madness. So please, join me — let’s loosen our belts, hide our scales, and ready…set…TREATS!

Was nutella something that you grew up with? I didn’t even know it existed until I visited Germany the summer before my sophomore year of college. At the time, I was vegetarian. And my friend Fabian’s mother was pretty much mystified. (I remember she’d bought me this block of cheese filled with vegetables — I think it horrified both me and her equally.) So for the two weeks I was there, I lived off of yogurt (that came from a room-temperature cabinet), strawberries, grey bread, veggie-free cheese, and nutella. When I returned, I excitedly recounted tales of this delicious nutty chocolate spread in a white-labeled jar with red letters, until someone finally realized what I was talking about and said, “uh, yeah, we have that here too.” Really? It’s here? Where do I get it? The grocery store?! Seriously?!? TAKE ME THERE AT ONCE.

I bought a jar the next chance I had. As soon as I got back from the store, I popped it open, spread a healthy dollop over a slice of bread, took a bite, and…it wasn’t as good. I didn’t understand. Why was it not as amazing as I’d remembered? Was their nutella different in Germany? Did it simply seem delicious in comparison to scary vegetable cheese? And then I realized, it was the bread. Sturdy, hearty, slightly sour grey bread. That’s what was missing.

UPDATE: A reader has since informed me that American Nutella is, in fact, different from European Nutella! (This is good news, because I remember being very confused when I bought the American version in a plastic container, when I could have sworn what I was eating in Germany was in a glass jar.) Read more about the difference here, and find a history and side-by-side comparison here. And, if you’re looking to get your hands on the real thing, buy it here! (Thank you again, Robi!)

With the excitement suddenly crushed by unexpected disappointment, nutella and I parted ways. I just couldn’t deal. But then, over the past few years, I’d seen recipes for homemade versions popping up on various food blogs. My intrigue returned. I’d bought hazelnuts for a batch of bitters, and when I realized I had far more than I needed, the obvious choice for the leftovers was nutella. I was excited! But I was also lacking ingredients (mainly, semisweet/bittersweet chocolate), and I couldn’t be bothered with running to the store. So I googled, “homemade nutella cocoa powder,” and found this recipe from The Kitchn. Alas, I had no canola oil. But then I realized I had something better: coconut oil. This was going to be the best pantry-friendly nutella EVER. And it almost was. Almost.

The hazelnuts were peeled and toasted with relative ease (thanks to this neat trick). Into the food processor they went, followed by the rest of the ingredients. I blended everything up, and it was looking great. I excitedly removed the lid of the food processor, stuck my finger a nice clean spoon in, tasted the end result, and…oh god…why did it taste like bitter chocolate chalk paste? What in the world did I do?? I frantically looked around at all of my ingredients, until my eyes settled on the jar of white, powdery stuff that I’d assumed was confectionery sugar. I unscrewed the cap, took a small taste, and yep…cornstarch. Awesome.

Despite the horrible, unsweetened chalkiness, I could taste the potential. Soon enough, I had more hazelnuts, a bag of confectionery sugar, and I was ready for round two. And this time, it was good. So good. I really think that the coconut oil plays a big role in taking this stuff to the next level. Oh and BONUS ALERT: It’s vegan! (Provided you can find vegan powdered sugar, which shouldn’t be too difficult to come by in any natural foods store, and possibly even in some grocery stores. Look for evaporated cane juice. If you can’t find a powdered version, you can always buy granulated and pulse it in your food processor to make it finer.) Just a note about consistency: This nutella has a tendency to become pretty solid in the fridge, but rather liquid-y if left at room temperature for too long. To get it to the perfect, spreadable consistency, I leave it out at room temp for around an hour, then give it a good stir.

Homemade Nutella
(slightly adapted from The Kitchn)

makes: 6 ounces

  • 1 cup of hazelnuts, peeled and toasted
  • 1/4 cup of unsweetened cocoa powder (high quality cocoa powder is key! I used Valrhona)
  • 1/2 cup of powdered sugar
  • 3/4 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/4 tsp kosher salt
  • 4 tbsp coconut oil

Place hazelnuts in the food processor and blend continuously until a smooth butter forms (around 3 minutes). Add the rest of the ingredients and continue blending until the mixture is smooth and creamy.

Store for up to 2 weeks in the fridge. (I actually think it’s possible this could last longer, considering that there’s no dairy. But best to err on the side of caution.)

Enjoy on toast, waffles, spoons, fingers, etc.

Via: reclaimingprovincial


Alternate Flour Sources

Wheat allergies are among the top 8 food allergens that people suffer from in the United States.  The allergy is mainly due to the gluten.  People with this allergy are looking at different sources to grains to get around this problem.

Wheat Alternatives

Most wheat alternatives are gluten free with the exception of barley and rye.  The list below are both wheat and gluten free.  Note: flours that do not have gluten will cause breads not to rise.  Unleavened breads can still be made.

  • Arrowroot Flour- This type of flour is ground from the root of the Arrowroot plant.  It is tasteless and ideal to use as a thickener.
  • Brown Rice Flour – Brown rice flour has a higher nutritional base compared to white rice flour.  It is much heavier in comparison to white rice flour.  And is suggested not to buy this in bulk as it is better used when it is fresh.
  • Buckwheat Flour – The small seeds of the rhubarb plant are ground to make this flour type.  It has a strong nutty flavor that tends to overpower itself in the recipes.
  • Corn Flour – Corn is ground into a very fine powder. It has a bland taste and is therefore good to use for multiple recipes.
  • Corn Meal – Cornmeal is much heavier and courser than corn flour.
  • Nut Meals – Such as almonds, hazelnuts or walnuts can provide rich flavor as well as a good flour substitute for cookies and cakes.  Their shelf life is brief and should be stored correctly.  Most nut meals require a bonding agent such as eggs.  Note: chestnut flour has a longer shelf life.
  • Potato Flour – potato flour is not potato starch flour.  It does have a stronger flavor compared to other wheat alternatives.  Due to the heaviness, a little can go a long way.  The shelf life for this type of flour is not very long, so long term storage could be a problem.
  • Potato Starch Powder – This has a lighter potato flavor which is hardly detectable in recipes.  This type of flour keeps very well.
  • Quinoa Flour – “The Mother Seed” as the Incas call this has a large variety of vitamins and is high in protein.  Quinoa flour is not readily available in many stores, so locating this could pose a problem.
  • Soy Flour – This flour is a fine powder ground from soy beans.  It adds a pleasant texture to different recipes and is also high in protein and a good vitamin source.
  • Tampioca Flour – Tapioca flour adds chewiness to baking and is a good thickening agency.  It also stores well.
  • White Rice Flour –  this type flour does not have a high nutritional value.  The taste is bland and ideal for recipes that require light texture.  The shelf life is adequate as long as it is stored properly.



Single Use Antibiotic Packs

DIY Single Use Antibiotic Pouches

The ongoing trend in the consumer market of providing small, ready-to-go, individual size packages of consumables has been a win-win for the lightweight and ultralight backpacking communities. Always looking to shave a few extra ounces or grams off of our overall pack weight, these individual servings are the perfect fit for trail snacks, drinks, condiments – you name it.

However, these nicely packaged individual servings can come at a premium. They can often be pricy or difficult to find without going online and ordering in bulk +shipping. That’s when the creative types among us come up with ingenious solutions that lets us make our own alternatives using things we usually have lying around.

Neosporin (Neo To Go)

Which brings me to today’s topic – individual size packages of antibiotic cream. I’ve carried a few of the Neo-to-go (Neosporin) packets with me as part of my first aid kit for quite some time. They’re small, handy and easy to use, but they have some downsides. Firstly they are expensive, secondly each packet contains way more ointment than I need for a small cut or graze – an awful lot more and once it’s been opened it shouldn’t be reused or saved.

DIY Single Use Antibiotic Pouches

I recently stumbled upon a really clever solution to this problem that involves a tube of antibiotic ointment (generic), a plastic drinking straw, a Bic lighter and a pair of needle-nose pliers (I use my Leatherman Squirt PS4). For the life of me I can’t find the website that I saw the original version of this on so I’m going to repeat it as best I can remember – apologies to the original author.

We’re going to make very small, single use packets of antibiotic ointment using a generic alternative to Neosporin and a clean (unused) drinking straw. If you’re like me and have kids, chances are very good that you have an open tube of antibiotic ointment in your medical cabinet. On its own it is too large to carry on a backpacking trip, so we’re going to re purpose it.

DIY Single Use Antibiotic Pouches

Place the straw over the opening of the ointment tube and carefully squeeze in a small amount of the ointment that is approximately one quarter of an inch in length. You’ll notice that transparent straws work best for this.

Use your fingers to squeeze the end of the straw so that it pushes the ointment further up inside the plastic straw. This will provide a clean area for sealing the end of the straw without having the ointment ooze out while you are holding it with your pliers.

DIY Single Use Antibiotic Pouches

Hold the end of the straw with your needle-nose pliers so that a small amount of the straw is protruding. This will be used to melt and seal the end of the straw. Take your Bic lighter and carefully melt the end of the straw so that it forms a seal. I like to quickly pinch the melted end with my pliers to ensure a good seal.

DIY Single Use Antibiotic Pouches

Turn the straw around and find the point where the ointment went up to inside the straw. Pinch just past that with your needle-nose pliers and cut off the excess straw with a pair of scissors making sure to leave a small amount of the straw protruding for sealing with your lighter just as you did in the first step.

DIY Single Use Antibiotic Pouches

Now you have a single use packet of antibiotic ointment that you can carry with you as part of your UL backpacking first aid kit. These are also perfect for EDC carry in a pocket or even your wallet.

DIY Single Use Antibiotic Pouches

I’ve yet to have one of these burst or fail on me. Simple, affordable, and very convenient. A great way to make use of those open tubes that are lying around with just a small amount of ointment left in them. Pretty clever idea that can be used for other purposes, what do you think?



Emergency Drinking Water

During our everyday lives, most of us take water for granted. But that’s often not the case following a major disaster, whether storm, earthquake, or flood. And today even a terrorist or lone nut could easily sabotage most cities water supplies; a chemical spill or other accident is all it would take to make city water supplies dangerous to use. If you’re to survive any of the disasters you’re concerned about, it’s essential that you have drinking water.

Having a supply of water in or near your home during an emergency could save you a lot of drudgery. With the average person using tens of gallons of water a day for drinking, washing, and flushing stools, the prospect of having to carry water from a nearby spring, river, or lake is almost impossible to imagine without making a major change in your life style.

Yet, for most people, that’s just what would happen in a disaster. The local water works shuts down and they’re without water, at the mercy of merchants who charge exorbitant prices for the bottled water they have in stock or government distribution which may–or may not–show up in time to keep you from dying of thirst.

Getting an “in house” (or close-to-the-house) source of water would greatly improve your self-sufficiency potential and save a lot of time that would otherwise be spent hauling water during a disaster; time which might be better spent working at producing food, helping rebuild your home, or any of a number of other important tasks.

A few lucky souls have a nearby spring or creek from which water can be diverted into their living area. If this is the case for you, it may be that simply adding some plastic pipe (perhaps with an electric pump to help the water along its way) is all you need. An electric pump coupled with a small generator, or even a hand pump (source of which will be given below) might be just the ticket to get a good supply of water to your living area during an emergency.

Another storage system is the cistern. This consists of a large storage tank which is fed by water running from the water gutters on your home. Old timers made cisterns from stone lined holes located under a “pump house” with a hand pump stationed over the tank. To get water, the mistress of the house stepped out the kitchen with a bucket and went to the pump house to get a gallon or two for cooking, washing dishes, or whatever. Those who “thought ahead” built the cistern under their home to make the process easier.

Of course a stone-lined cistern often had lots of problems. Sparrows often built nests in rain gutter drainage pipes and, if a proper “filter” wasn’t placed in the line leading to the water, the little birds ended up in the cistern after the first big rain storm (along with the occasional mouse and who-knows-what). Consequently water supplies often became less than ideal for obvious reasons.

However, during an emergency when you’ll be treating water, the drain pipes from your rain gutters could become a good source of water for non-drinking use, for watering a “survival garden” during a protracted disaster, or even for providing drinking water for your pets. So you’d do well to have a large “rain barrel” that you can move outside and place under the drain pipe during an emergency in order to capture a little extra water.

Unfortunately most of us don’t have a near-by creek or spring and many areas don’t have enough rainfall to make a cistern–or even a rain barrel–of much use. In such cases, you’re most likely connected into a municipal or rural water system that could be seriously disrupted by a major disaster. If this is the situation, your best bet is to store plenty of water for an emergency.

If you have your own pump and water well, then you need to create a system that makes it possible to run the pump during an emergency. This might mean a gas-operated pump or a generator to run the electric motor powering the pump that’s in place; if your budget is limited, then a hand pump that can be attached to the well head during a protracted electrical outage could be a life saver.

A gas-powered pump can also be put to a number of other purposes that might be important during an emergency. One obvious use is in fighting fires; if you have a source of water like a stream, lake, or swimming pool, a gas-operated water pump could enable you to fight a fire when the city water lines dropped or failed due to breaks in the line or heavy use by the fire department.

If you purchase a pump capable of propelling liquids containing mud and sand (often known as “trash pumps”), you could also employ the pump as an emergency sump pump to remove water from a basement or other area during flooding. While you can’t keep such work up indefinitely during a flood produced by a river or the like, if your problem is simply water run-off, backed up sewers, or the like, then having a pump that can be fired up to empty your basement and keep the water level from rising enough to damage anything you have in the basement would be a big plus. (And would save you from a lot of cleanup headaches in the way of stench and mildew down the road.)

A trip to a large hardware store will often reward you with a choice of several gasoline-operated pumps. A good mail-order source is Harbor Freight Tools (3491 Mission Oaks Blvd., Camarillo, CA 93011 800-423-2567) which has a number of heavy duty, self-priming centrifugal pumps that are ideal for emergency use, including several heavy duty trash pumps. Costs run from $289 to $1,799 depending on the volume flow and other capabilities of the pump.

Of course if you use a pump to lift water out of a basement or other area, great care must be exercised to sterilize and clean the pump before employing it to pump drinking water.

If you are on a city or rural water supply line, then you might still consider creating an alternate supply of water. Some people have connected a hand or motorized pump to their swimming pool, thereby creating a source of water that can be employed for washing clothing and running the plumbing or–if properly processed (as outlined in a moment)–for drinking and food preparations. You should also avoid water sources that may contain contaminates or chemicals added to kill algae or other plants since such water sources might be poisonous to drink.

Lacking a source of water, you’ll need to store water for your family. The first question is much water do you need?

Water needs are fairly easy to figure, but you must bear in mind that you’ll need more water in hot weather or when doing strenuous work. Too, water will be needed for cleanup, food preparation, and accidental loss of water due to spills, broken containers, and other unforeseen happenstance. Therefore, when storing water, always give yourself a bit extra. It’s better to have too much than not enough.

That said, plan on providing a gallon of water per person per day just for drinking in extremely hot weather. Cooking and bathing will call for even more water per person. And you should try to save a little extra water in case you need to supply your neighbors or have relatives who’ve dropped in from out of state when a disaster occurs.

How many days do you need to have water for?

The bare minimum is four to seven days of water. But given the degree of damage that a riot, hurricane, or major earthquake might cause to a densely settled area, it’s a good plan to have considerably more than this with a month seeming like a minimum that you should store just in case you end up in the middle of a major disaster.

One month’s worth of drinking water comes to 60 gallons per person. That’s a lot of water (and makes finding a source of water near your home a more attractive proposition–more on this in a bit). Storing this much water can be a task, but there are a number of ways to accomplish this.

At least part of the water in your storage system should be easy to get to and should be in containers that are easily transported and transferred from. This will make it easy for you to cope with a short-term disaster and make things considerably more convenient for you during the initial time following a major disaster.

If you store some of your water in especially large containers, sure that they are anchored so they can not shift during an earthquake or tornado. The lower they are in your house the better, since a container of water is potentially dangerous if it should fall from un upper floor–a distinct possibility during a disaster that shakes or damages your home.

The water containers will ideally be placed close to the floor in the room they are stored in as well for the same reason. A tall stack of water bottles is potentially lethal if it tumbles over. This is especially important to remember if you have small children who might be tempted to climb a stack of bottles or other containers.

Plastic containers are first choice for water storage because they are tough and won’t break into dangerous shards if dropped. Glass containers should be avoided for water storage because they are so dangerous.

If your family drinks pop, you can obtain a supply of tough containers that are perfect for water storage if you purchase your beverages in two-liter plastic bottles. These bottles come with screw-top lids, are designed for use with food, and are very tough. They’re also easy to move and handle; a string can allow them to be carried on a belt as an improvised canteen. If they tip over, they don’t break.

The two-liter bottles have another plus. If you don’t fill them to the brim and instead leave an air space in their tops, they can withstand freezing without rupturing. That makes them ideal for water storage in cold climates and also makes it possible to keep a couple in the freezer where they’ll extend the storage time of food in your refrigerator if the power goes off for an extended time. While the food in the freezer compartment won’t last a long time, having two or three bottles of ice in the freezer can extend it by a number of hours, making it possible to eat an extra meal or two from what’s in the freezer rather than being forced to throw the food out. Best of all, two-liter pop bottles cost you nothing if your family already is drinking pop.

Don’t use plastic milk containers since they split easily and spring leaks over time due to the “environmental friendly” use of biodegradable plastic in most of these containers.

There are a few other “free” sources of water storage containers that are fairly good. Many restaurants, donut shops, dairy queens, and fast food stores are sources of plastic containers that can be used. These are often just a few phone calls away. Once you’ve located sources of plastic containers which are free (or can be purchased for a nominal price), collect them, rinse them carefully, and put your water into them.

If you’re “scrounging” for water containers, be sure to avoid those which were not designed for food or water storage. Many of these will have plastic that leaches dangerous chemicals into water stored in them. Likewise, be sure to avoid containers in which toxic materials like gasoline, paint, antifreeze, or solvents were stored. Any of these will contaminate water cached in them.

Storing water in metal containers is generally not too great, either. The water often causes rust or takes on the tastes of the metal used in the container.

Many of the companies selling freeze-dried and dehydrated foods also sell plastic water containers. Unfortunately, these carry rather hefty price tags. But if your time is worth much, simply buying these outright rather than trying to locate “free” containers, obtain them, and clean them may be a more sensible route to take.

Many commercial water containers come in several sizes. The smaller 5-gallon containers are easier to work with; the larger 40- and 55-gallon barrels offer a savings in cost per gallon stored. You’ll have to decide which is best for your needs. (Costs run from around $14 for a 5-gallon drum to about $50 for a heavy-duty plastic 55-gallon drum.)

One interesting innovation in water storage is the “Bag ‘n Box”. This consists of a mylar plastic bag that nestles into a cardboard box. The metal-coated plastic contains the water and protects it from light (to prevent the growth of algae or bacteria) while the box supports the weight of the water in the bag. These bags are quite inexpensive and often take less space per gallon than other stored water since they’re rectangular and pack into many spaces more readily.

If you are forced to carry water to your house because you didn’t store enough, you can create a similar Bag ‘n Box with two large plastic garbage bags nestled inside a pillow case or gunny sack. If care is taken in making these, the cloth will support the plastic bags while the plastic retains the water.

These bags aren’t perfect. They’re awkward and will occasionally break or be dropped–be prepared to spill some water from time to time if you use them. And care must be taken to tie the opening closed. An important note: Most modern garbage bags are treated to discourage vermin from biting into the bags. Consequently water transported in a garbage bag should be used for non-drinking purposes only and should not be used for preparing food. This water would be ideal for bathing or non-dietary purposes, however.

When working with any container of water, remember that it could become dangerous if it were dislodged from a shelve or other area during a storm or earthquake. Because of this potential danger, all water containers (as well as other heavy containers) must either be secured to a wall to prevent it from tipping over or placed directly on the floor.

Also be sure to put large containers exactly where you want them before filling them with water–they get super heavy when full. Also, don’t forget that vessels can split open if they freeze. If you live in an area where temperatures dip well below freezing for extended periods of time, then you need to take care to keep large containers of water from freezing.

If you’ve used large drums for storage, retrieving water from the container can be a problem. Flexible plastic tubing can extract the water from such drums. Hand pumps that can be coupled to tubing are available many hardware stores. The prices for the plastic pumps range from $10 to $30 and tubing is nominal when you purchase the pump.

Of course it’s also possible to remove water from containers without using a pump. You can simply siphon it. To siphon, all that’s required is a length of plastic or rubber tubing. The water container must have its water level above the point the water is being delivered to. One end of the tubing is submerged in the water and the other end in the empty container. By sucking on the end of the tube until the air is pulled from it, you can create a vacuum in it that pulls water from the container, through the tube, and into the empty container. Once the water starts traveling through the tube, gravity and the vacuum created behind it keep the water flowing.

To stop the flow, you can pinch off the tube (a clamp works well) or–if you wish to stop it altogether–simply lift the free end above the water source’s level.

To minimize the water needed for non-drinking purposes, premoistened towelettes are ideal. These can be utilized for a variety of cleansing chores. The towelettes have chemicals to cut through grime and grease. They’re readily available in most grocery stores around the baby food section (they’re used for cleaning babies).

It should be noted that there are other sources of water in most homes that may be “tapped.”

If you’re at home when a disaster hits, you can secure a large amount of water by turning off the water intake valve of your home or the water main outside your house. Doing this will keep the water in the home’s plumbing from being siphoned as water leaks from the municipal supply (this will also prevent it from being contaminated by later water that may contain dirt or other foreign materials due to leaks and other problems when the system comes back on).

A considerable amount of water will be trapped in your home even if you fail to get the water turned off immediately following a disaster. Your hot water heater holds 20 to 40 gallons of water (which can be accessed via the drain valve toward the front, bottom of the water heater).

Another source of water which may not be suitable for drinking due to sediment or mold in it, but which can be expended for many other purposes is located in the water storage tank of bathroom stools. Unlike water in the bowl of a stool, the tank water is relatively free of bacteria. Provided it doesn’t have a “freshener” chemical added to it, it’s relatively clean and free of contaminants.

Additional water will be contained in the pipes of the home if you turn them off immediately after any disaster that might affect the water supply. This water can be drained from the lowest facet in the home (opening a valve on an upper level of the house will speed up the flow of the water from the lowest facet).

If your area may be facing freezing temperatures and you’re unable to heat your home, then you should be sure to drain the water from all pipes as well as the hot water heater to avoid damage due to frozen pipes. The “traditional” method of sterilizing water, and still one of the best, is to boil it. It leaves the water tasting flat, but is the most effective way to kill the germs. In order to kill all the bacteria and viruses in the water, be sure the water is at a FULL boil for at least 15 minutes AND add 5 minutes to the boiling time for every 1,000 feet you are above sea level. Less time, and you’ll not necessarily kill all the harmful germs. Boiling water is a safe practice with water that was fresh and safe when stored in bottles. But boiling will not kill spores. Therefore, if you’re forced to use water from outdoor sources such as springs, ponds, or rivers, or your municipal water may have been contaminated by sewage run off, then you might have “beasties” in the water that boiling won’t kill in their dormant forms. In such a case, the best way to sterilize water is to use iodine compounds designed specifically for this purpose. Iodine compounds are found in are the “tetraglycine hydroperiodide” water purification tablets. These are sold under the trade names of “Potable Aqua”, “Globaline”, and “Coghlan’s” with Potable Aqua being the most common in the US. A good place to find these is a local outdoors/camping/sporting goods store or in the outdoor department of a large store.

The shelf life for tetraglycine hydroperiodide tablets is up to four years IF they are kept sealed, not exposed to bright light, and kept cool. Be sure to replace them after they exceed there expiration date. Follow the directions on the container when using these tablets and be sure to allow the full time called for before drinking the water since purification isn’t instantaneous. Several other sources of iodine can be used for water purification. But they aren’t nearly as easy to use. One is two percent tincture of iodine and the other is iodine crystals. Two percent tincture of iodine can be used at the rate of 5 drops per quart of water being sterilized. Double the amount if the water is cloudy or smells bad. Since the killing of the bacteria is not instantaneous, you must be sure to let the water stand for a half hour before drinking it. Iodine will give a strange taste to water; this is normal with this method of sterilization. Iodine crystals can be utilized to sterilize water, but they not practical and potentially dangerous as well since it’s easy to add them in the wrong proportion and the crystals give off poisonous fumes when being mixed with the water. If you’re forced to use iodine crystals because nothing else is available, employ a measuring cup graduated in grams. Measure 4 to 8 grams of the iodine crystals and add these to ONE ounce of water. Stir for three minutes, being careful not to inhale the poisonous fumes. After stirring, allow the crystals that have not dissolved to sink to the bottom of the container.

Do not drink this water. Instead, remove 7 milliliters of the liquid from the TOP of the clear solution you’ve created. Use this liquid removed from the top to treat each quart of your water. Do NOT allow any undissolved crystals in the solution to escape into the water you’re sterilizing. Ingesting just one tiny crystal will cause violent illness. Iodine crystals or tincture of iodine must be replaced every few years since both lose their potency over time. If you’re using old chemicals, you can increase the dosage to compensate for the loss of potency–but be very cautious with the iodine crystals. Also, remember that all iodine compounds are poisonous; keep them out of your children’s reach.

Another family of chemicals that can be used to sterilize water are chlorine compounds. Unfortunately, these do not kill all viruses and amoebic cysts. Therefore, the use of these should be avoided if possible or, at least, limited to use with water that was sterile when stored. The most easily utilized of the chorine compounds are Halazone tablets. These have a shelf life of only 2 years if kept cool and sealed airtight, making them inferior to iodine purification tablets both in terms of shelf life as well as their ability to sterilize contaminated water. If you’re using these purification tablets, follow the directions on the container. (Chlorine tablets are generally used 5 per quart–but be sure to check.) Double the number of tablets for hazy or foul smelling water. Wait for 30 minutes after the tablet has dissolved before using the water.

Sodium hypochlorite the active ingredient found in household bleach–can also be used to sterilize water. Again, since this is a chloride compound, is will NOT kill all organisms and should be employed only with water that was sterile when it went into containers and ONLY if iodine tablets or the like aren’t available. Use 5.25% sodium hypochlorite solution -bleach -at the rate of 2 or 3 drops per quart of water; double the amount if the water is cloudy or smells bad.

It should be noted that boiling or chemical sterilization ONLY kills organisms in the water. Neither extracts harmful chemicals or other contaminants. This could be an important point if you’re getting water from a source that might contain contaminants. Following a major disaster, it’s possible that damaged chemical plants, underground storage tanks, or the like might release their contents into aquifers, lakes, wells, or other sources of drinking water. In such a case, sterilizing water would not make it fit for use.

Via:  Duncan Long

How to Stay Warm During a Winter Power Outage

Now that the winter months are upon us, we need to be prepared for power outages. How do you stay warm if the power goes out during a cold winter storm? Here are some points to consider:

Move to One Room
Instead of trying to heat the whole house, focus your attention on heating just one room of the house. Everyone’s body heat in one room is a great help to keeping everyone warm. Try to pick a room that gets a lot of natural sunlight and has a heating source. Ideally, you would pick a windowed room on the southwest side of your home.

“We’re Not Heating the Neighborhood!”
Like your parents yelled at you as a kid, “We’re not trying to heat the neighborhood!” Try to plug up all those leaks where the heat is seeping out of the room. Stuff towels and small blankets into window sills, door frames and other areas where the heat is leaking out.

Shower Curtains Over Windows
You’ll want to keep heat in your room but still allow natural light to enter the room from a window. A great way to help you do that is with a shower curtain. Remove the shower curtain from the bathroom – without power no one is going to want to take a cold shower anyways. Carefully tape or attach the clear shower curtain to the wall so that natural light can come through the curtain but it prevents hot air from leaving through the window.

Rugs or Carpet
Make sure that heat isn’t escaping through the floor either. Take rugs and mats from around the home and lay them down in your room. Add a few layers between you and the cold floor.

Tents in the Living Room
A great idea that we have seen is to set up tents inside your living room. One family had a tent for the boys and a tent for the girls. This trapped in the heat to an even more confined area inside their living room.

Put on a Hat
“[The] reason we lose heat through our head is because most of the time when we’re … in the cold, we’re clothed,” said Richard Ingebretsen, adjunct instructor at the University of Utah School of Medicine. “If you don’t have a hat on, you lose heat through your head, just as you would lose heat through your legs if you were wearing shorts.”

Leave During the Day
You don’t want your home to become a cold dungeon. Make the family go outside and soak up the rays during the day. Obviously, if there is a winter storm, you’ll have to stay indoors. But make the house a warm location to return to at the end of the day instead of a cold jail.

Eat Before You Go To Bed
By eating before you go to bed, your body will be digesting during the night time – keeping you a little warmer than normal as you sleep.

Via: thereadystore

10 Awesome Uses for Tin Foil

Tinfoil has many uses. While most people use it for cooking and storing leftovers, there are a number of other uses that make this household product worth adding to your emergency preparedness plans. Here are our top 10 favorite uses.

1. Sharpen Scissors
Yes, you read that right. To do it you will first need to smooth the foil out followed by fold the sheets into strips making several layers. Next grab your scissors and start cutting. Eight or nine passes of the foil sheet should do the trick!

2. Clean jewelry and silverware
Line a bowl with aluminum foil and fill it up with hot water. Next add 1 tablespoon of bleach-free powdered (not liquid) laundry detergent. Then simply place the jewelry or silverware in the solution for one minute. After the time has passed remove the items, rinse in water, and then lay out to air dry. The ion exchange chemical process cleans your items all by itself.

3. Keep birds away from your fruit trees
Similar to dangling a CD disk from a branch, you can dangle strips of tinfoil from the limbs with fishing line. The light reflections scare the birds so they will simply go somewhere else. My in-laws in Arizona have been using this technique to keep their orange trees bird-free for many years now.

4. Clean your grill
After the last burger has been pulled off the grill lay a flat sheet of tin foil over the grill. This will help redirect the heat passing through the grill back through it a second time. Leave the foil on the grill until the next use when you simply wad the foil into a ball and run it back and forth against the tough burnt on grease, like you would with a wire brush.

5. Lure a fish
I grew up fishing in a little pond near my home. We would take my Dad’s gear and catch bluegill. The only down side of the trips were when lures would get snagged and we had to cut the line.

After a little while we realized this particular fish wasn’t all that smart. We could simply throw in an empty silver or gold colored treble hook (unbaited) and they would still strike. We noticed over time that the brighter the reflection from the hook the more bluegills/crappie would come.

Using this concept you could take tin foil and attach small wads near a swivel then run a short leader with your hook or lure of choice. The extra reflection (at least with this species of fish) would bring even more attention to your offering.

6. Keep matches dry
Wrap your matches in aluminum foil. Stuff them in your pack and the next time you need a reliable way to light a fire, pull out the dry matches and get that fire going. No more worrying if the matches are wet from the thunderstorm that just passed.

7. Make a funnel
Need to route liquid into a certain spot such as adding oil to an engine block? Sure you can buy a plastic funnel for a couple bucks but you could also tear off 10 inches of foil and mold it into a funnel shape and use aluminum foil instead.

8. Make a frying pan
Don’t want to lug a heavy frying pan the next time you’re venturing into the great outdoors? Grab a branch that forks, tear off a sheet of ton foil a little wider than the width of the forking branches then wrap the ends around the two limbs to create a flat pan like surface in between the two branches. If the food items you are cooking are not too heavy you can hover the food above the fire, if it is too heavy arrange the burning wood to lay flatter then lower the “frying pan” onto the top logs.

9. Campfire cooking
Most people reading this have probably had the privilege of making a tin foil BBQ dinner. If not give this a try! Simply place chicken or ground beef in the shape of a patty in the middle of a sheet of tin foil. Next add carrots, onions, potatoes, other veggies, and season to taste. A helpful tip is to cut the veggies thin so all of the items are good to eat at the same time. Next fold the ends of the foil over the food, encompassing it entirely. Flip the silvery puck over and put another layer of tin foil folding it back over the other way. The multiple layers will make sure the food doesn’t burn. Cook time should be 20-30 minutes in the coals.

10. Build a seed incubator
Help jump start your gardening. Line a shoe box or other similar shaped box with foil (shiny side up) making sure the foil extends a couple inches past the top of the box. Next poke a couple drainage holes in the bottom of the foil. Next fill the box about half way with potting soil and plant your seeds. Place the box near a window that gets good amounts of sunlight. It works because the inside layer will redirect heat to the seeds while the foil layer extending past the top of the box will help redirect sunlight back into the box.

These are just a 10 uses for tin foil but we know there are hundreds more.

Via: thereadystore

Quick tip for more light.

This is a quick tip way to get more light from your headlamp.

When camping, stick a headlamp around a gallon of water and it will light up the tent.

Make a candle out of Crisco or Olive Oil.


1 Can Crisco


1-3 Wicks (need to be longer than height of can, cut to match)



1)  Open a can of Crisco. The bigger the can, the better.

2) Insert the candle wick into the center of the can of Crisco. If the can has a large diameter, multiple wicks can be inserted. Leave a quarter of an inch of wick showing above the Crisco to make sure the flame is a manageable size.

3) Even out the top of the Crisco so the candle is smooth.

4) Light the wick and enjoy the candle.



If you’re worried about the possible combustion of the shortening container which is made of Aluminum foil covered cardboard, transfer the shortening into a #10 can, a large can like is used in tomato sauce or is used in large cans of vegetables. Use 1/8″ to ¼” cotton rope / twine weighted / tied at the bottom of what will be your wick with an old washer / nut or a short nail. Only use cotton line / twine or rope for your wicks, no cotton blend stuff, cotton only.

Virtually any hardware store or hardware / camping / boating section of a store will carry 100% cotton line / rope. Any large margartine tub 3 Lb lid will fit a #10 can perfectly.

Common lard will also work in a #10 can with a cotton wick for your candle fuel.

You can use whatever you want for a wick, a string will work just fine, its all a matter of how much work you want to make for yourself and the metal base just makes it easier, trying to push a string centered down the candle so it will not not burn at odd angles would be difficult.
To use home cotton string and make it into a good wick this is what i do.

1. Cut three strips of cotton string to the length of the candle plus 4 inches.

2. Mix 1 tbsp. salt, 3 tbsp. boric acid and 1 cup of water in a bowl. Soak the strips in the mixture for 12 hours. Soak more strips if you are making more candles.

3. Dry the strings by hanging them or laying them out in the sun. Drying times depends on how warm the air is.

4. Braid three strips together tightly. Tape the end of the three strands to a flat surface to keep the braid from unraveling at one end. It also makes it easier to pull tightly.

5. Saturate the wick by dipping it in wax. Dipping the wick in wax makes it stiff. The wax coating also makes lighting easier. Use scissors to hold the wick to avoid burns. Let the wick dry.

6. Tie the wick to the metal or paper piece. This piece holds the wick in place when the wax is poured.

Another option is to make candles out of Olive Oil.

It’s a good idea to be able to know how to create your own light sources in case you ever need them. This is a simple candle that you can put together with things that you already have laying around the kitchen (besides the wick, but I’d recommend keeping that as a regular stockpiled item anyways!)

What you need:

  • Jar
  • Olive Oil
  • Wire or Paper Clip
  • Wick

Depending on how long you want your candle to burn you can pick different thicknesses of wick. The one I used here is the one I had on hand but I think for next time I will get some thicker wick or even lantern wick so it provides for light and burns longer.

Cut the wick a couple inches long. Wrap part of the wire or paper clip wire around one end of the wick. Wrap it tight enough that the wick can’t fall down but no so tight that you can’t move the wick up when you need to.

Bend the wire so it hooks onto the side of the jar.

Here’s a close up of the wick in the middle. You don’t want too much sticking above the oil because it needs to be able to soak the oil all the way up the wick to burn.

Add your olive oil and that’s it! To save money on olive oil you could buy the expired oils from surplus stores.

The awesome thing about this candle/lantern is that olive oil burns clean and doesn’t smoke. You can make these lanterns in any size of jar that you have on hand (the one I used here is a half pint). You may want to stick with a wide mouth jar though to make it easier to fix the wick when you need to. Also, if you want them to be scented you could just add essential oils (or even dried or fresh herbs!) right to the oil.

Via: greatnorthernprepper , littlehouseliving