Return to Preparedness Nuggets Index

Better Times Cookbook V | Justpeace | Better Times | | Access to Energy Conservation | On Pilgrimage in Oklahoma City | Bookstore | Better Times II | Bulgar Bugle | Mutual Aid (Grassroots home and community scale disaster preparations)

Preparedness Nuggets

A Cyberbook of Practical Wisdom for Daily Living

Part the Third

Acorns and Cattails

Alternative Power Explained

Eating Dandelions

Flowers but no Tomatoes?

Free internet classified ads

Free Plastic Buckets

Goats Milk Baby Formula

How to hook up a generator to your household electrical system

How to Sell Your Home

Mulching with Hay

Oxygen Absorbers

Out of Print Books

Planting in Leaf Mulch

Quick and Easy Greenhouse

Underground House

Use all the fruit, including the apple cores and peach skins

Using Rainwater

Wild Onions

Wind Power



1. Did we eat the flowers....YES, the bigger the flower the better. You want to get them early in the spring.

2. I did not eat the greens but my neighbor did and says the fresh tender spring greens are best....they get bitter the longer they grow.

3. I don't know about using the leaves for tea....all the medicinal herb books I have say to use the fresh or dried root for tea.

4. Yes, you can cook the greens. The Southern way is to wilt them in bacon grease...I would just saut them in butter or oil and garlic.



In regards to those wild onions....I use to use the greens all the time in TN. Sometimes they were all over our yard. I even transplanted them in a patch close to the house for cutting so dear hubby didn't mow over my ready supply. The bulb is quite strong in flavor but great for soups, stews and chilies....a little bulb goes a long way



You get 16' concrete rebar, stick one end into the ground, and bend it over and stick it into the ground 12' away... make these hoops until you have it long enough for the size greenhouse you want, cover with clear plastic, and VOILA! Instant greenhouse! it WOULD BE A GOOD IDEA TO STOCK UP ON BOTH CLEAR PLASTIC AND BLACK PLASTIC, FOR GARDENING PURPOSES POST-TEOTWAKI.



I just wanted to let everyone know that I have just begun hosting a free classified ad page for anyone(no porn, etc.) to advertise businesses, land, or whatever they wish. I hope this is very useful to many people. You can find them at



I have been getting free plastic buckets with rubber seals from our local grocery bakery dept. We use these buckets and other food grade buckets and the slight odor never affects our grains at all.



You might try mulching heavy or find some way to keep them cooler. Tomato pollen won't work right over about 92 degrees so you get no tomatoes. If you want a real good crop, just go out and occasionally "thump" the plants when they are blooming. Not hard, just enough to make the pollen dislodge. (Maybe "tapping" is a better word :) When I do this, the tomatoes line up like grapes in a bunch.



You can get the 02 absorber at the Mormon Bishops' storehouses for $8 per 100.



From: (Donald J. Cassidy)

I am reading W. Effros book, "How to Sell Your Home in 5 Days". It is so interesting. We are wondering how many of you have used his plan and your outcome. It seems pretty scary to carry it out, although he says the seller is always in control. How did it pan out for you all ? Did you really get 40 families for the inspection ? Did you set your price LOW and have bidding wars to up the price ? Did you sell your house Sunday night ? Did you get the price you wanted ? Any regrets ? Please feel free to email me privately if this isn't appropriate for the digest.



I came across an interesting on-line catalog which actually has factual, explanatory material on alternative power sources: wind, solar, and water. The prices seem very high to me (I have found some of their products elsewhere for a lot less money), BUT the information is free and seems pretty comprehensive given the limitations of length.



From: Frank Trozzo <Pearl@CITCOM.NET>

I've been generating now for about four years, mostly for convenience knowing that it would only be a matter of a day or two before the power returned. SO I would like to share some info as to how to hook up a system. It can be very confusing and cause more problems as well as electrical accidents. Several important issues need to be addressed.

Power Requirements

Look into your fuse box for the largest size breaker. AC units are usually the largest at 40 amps. Well pump 20 or 30 amps. Dryer 20 amps, Stove maybe 30 amps. Examine all your circuits and clearly label them. Write down all the breaker sizes and what they supply.

A 20 amp, 220 volt breaker that runs a well pump for instance requires 4,400 watts or 4 kilowatts (kW). 20 x 220 A 20 amp, 110 volt breaker that maybe runs a refrigerator requires 2,200 watts. etc. etc. etc.

If you are on well water, the 5 kW generator will run the well pump alone, but if you have electric water heater with a 30 amp breaker, you'll need 6,600 watts. A 5 kW generator will barely do the job. You need at least a 10 kW generator if you're an electric household. Same goes for heat pumps usually requiring 8,800 watts. 10 kW units are very expensive, $5,000 and up.

If you're on gas, you can do it with a 5kW unit and will be able to run all your appliances one at a time. A gas furnace only needs about 2,200 watts to run its blower motor, so you can have heat no sweat. A gas water heater needs no power, you only have to run your well pump to have a hot shower.

The main deal here is to establish your needs and determine how many watts you need to run at any one time, to establish the generator size.

A standard Coleman or DeVilbiss 5kW unit with a seven gallon tank is available for $500. If you want electric start plan on $1500 and up.


Herein lies a problem. Utility companies and building codes require a fail safe switching device to go between the generator and the power panel. Guess how much? $250 + $250 to install !!! You just doubled your cost. UNLESS you know how to backfeed you power panel safely and can follow a disciplined procedure, usually while in the dark.


You need a 220 volt breaker installed in your panel, with a 220 receptacle positioned near where you want your generator usually on an outside wall. You can tell the electrician you'll be doing some welding. The dangerous part is that you need a 220v - 10 gauge extension with male plugs on each end. One goes into the generator the other into the wall outlet.

Now, the 220 breaker becomes you backup main breaker after the main is thrown off. Your panel is now energized and ready to feed any other circuit by selectively throwing the individual breakers.

I have written an emergency backup power procedure and placed it inside my panel box. It is as follows.

"Backup PowerUp Procedure"

1. Try to remember which lights and appliances were on in the house when the power went off and turn them OFF.

2. Throw Main Breaker to "OFF"

3. Turn "OFF" the 220v backup main power breaker

4. Turn "OFF" nonessential circuits. Anything you know you won't need, you can label them "NE" in red

5. Turn "OFF" Optional circuits. Those circuits you know you'll be using, label them "OPT" in blue

6. Unplug Driveway lights, Humidifier, and Air exchanger. These are units in my home that are plugged into my furnace and refrigerator circuits which need to be unplugged manually. Look for yours!

7. Bring Generator up to full speed -- 2 to 3 minute warmup to stabilize the voltage.

8. Plug extension cord into 220 volt wall receptacle

9. Plug extension cord into generator

10. Turn "ON" 220v backup circuit breaker Label this "Backup Main" in bold black letters


12. Turn "ON" optional circuits as needed

The easiest way I've found is to turn off everything in your whole panel box, except the lights which are colored green. When the generator is running smooth, throw the backup main. Then pick among the optional circuits colored blue.

NOTES: These are specific to my house but illustrate how to choose among the optional circuits.

2. In order TO RUN WELLPUMP, leave the pump breaker "ON". Turn "OFF", both refrigerators, and furnace. Do NOT use washer, dryer, range or microwave.

3. In order TO RUN FURNACE, Turn "OFF" Wellpump, both Refrigerators, and do NOT use washer, dryer, microwave and range.

4. Label all your light circuits "LITES" in green and leave them on at the panel but off at the upstairs switches. This will allow you to go into any given room and just turn on the lights, generally one room at a time. Very convenient !!

"Power Down Procedure"

Use if generator runs out of gas while supplying house

1. Turn "OFF" optional circuits

2. Turn "OFF" the 220v backup main breaker

3. Refuel and restart generator until running smoothly.

4. Turn "ON" 220v backup breaker

5. Turn "ON" optional circuits as needed.

"Switching Back To Utility Power"

1. Stop generator

2. Unplug at generator

3. Unplug at wall receptacle

4. Throw Main Breaker to "ON"

5. Turn "ON" all breakers.


A double throw disconnect switch is a 3 position switch that has a top, middle and bottom position, which would be for "utility power", "off" and "Generator". This would be fail-safe if you were to throw it to utility it automatically cuts off the generator and visa versa.

Backfeeding allows the possibility of accidentally throwing the main while feeding into the backup line simultaneously. Bad News here..... We're talking potential for big explosion !!!!!!

The next consideration is an extension with male plugs on both ends. Again Potentially very unsafe. If left plugged into the wall outlet and the backup main is turned on, you have 220 volts on the end of an exposed plug. Be very careful not to let that happen.

I hope this is helpful to you all. It illustrates the fact that you really just can't go out to Wal-Mart and buy a generator and come home and plug it in and go, without some important preparation and considerations.




I make apple butter from just the peels and core of the apples, so peach jelly from the skins would not be too much of a stretch. Put the skins in a large pan, just cover with water. Bring to a boil. Boil it til the skins are really depleted looking, til the pulp is all off them and they are shriveled to almost nothing. Then strain them in a cheese cloth. Let them drip over night. Next day, throw away the skins and put the juice in a large pan. Bring to a boil again. Taste it. If it is not strong enough, boil it down a little. Keep tasting til it tastes right.

When it is like you want it to taste, add sugar according to the instructions on the pectin box. Then proceed as indicated on the pectin box recipe.




I homestead here in VT. My name is Wendy. Our growing season varies from 90-120 days. One summer we had a frost every two or three weeks!

I live in an underground house back in the woods. We built it ourselves using the $50 and Up Underground House book by Mike Oehler. The main house is 14x48ft, with a 12x48ft attached solar greenhouse and an 8x8 root cellar. We use a home-made composting toilet (5 gal bucket in a wooden cabinet with a vent pipe). We dump the full bucket into 55 gallon drums with covers. These rot for 2 years and become beautiful compost that we use to fertilize flowers and to put around the orchard trees. (Do not use in such a way that it would touch a food crop, e.g. not around your strawberries!)

There is 100 feet of black hose curled up on a greenhouse bench for hot water in the summer. In winter the water runs through a box on the woodstove. We took an old cast iron bathtub, coated the bottom with tar and sunk it into a bed of sand in the bathroom. This takes only a small amount of hot water to keep nice and warm. I developed a spring uphill from the house. It's gravity fed inside.

Wendy Martin, Peace and Carrots Farm VT



I have been told by midwifes that Goat milk is lacking in sufficient amounts of folic acid and iron. If you choose to use goat milk.....get a liquid iron supplement.

Goat's Milk Formula

2 c. raw certified goat's milk

1 cup distilled water

1 1/2 Tbs.. lactose sugar

1/8 tsp. cod liver oil, mint flavored, the Vitamin D helps the baby absorb the calcium and the mint aids in digestion

You can also add blackstrap molasses to add more vitamins.

When we lived in WA I ran a licensed daycare. Several of the children were on goats milk instead of formula....most recommend, raw and fresh from the goat...not the stuff you get at the grocery store.



I read this book not long ago about a man who owns a shredder, and instead of shredding Little Rock papers, he shreds leaves. And instead of merely using the shredded leaves for mulch, he uses them for his soil. That's right. He makes them about a foot deep and uses no dirt. He lets the leaves rot into a soil-like product. Each year he adds a new layer of leaves. He says he gets fantastic results because the moisture is retained very well by this method. He furthermore states that he gets no weeds, diseases, and/or bugs. He had a screen on top, to keep the leaves from blowing away. I think the idea has merit because the last thing you want in an emergency situation is a failed garden due to bugs or disease.



We have been mulching ALL garden beds with hay for approximately 3 years now. The hay we use is old and partly rotten, as it had been sitting on a neighboring farmers land, in bales, for some time.

This has been very successful in retaining moisture, stifling weeds and -dah dah - encouraging earthworms!

What we do is lay thick newspapers (not glossy prints) over the area for the bed, add manure of any kind (chicken is good - TURKEY is better!), or, if you don't have manure, (we have not always had chickens) - we use blood and bone, then we add the hay.

We lay the hay in 'biscuits' across the area, carefully overlapping each other, somewhat like a shingled roof. We break the biscuits up around existing plants.

So far - so good. Perhaps the seed is dead when we lay the hay? We have, in the past, used 'commercial', finely chopped hay for mulching. However, we have experienced weed seeds in this and prefer the plain, semi-rotted bales for this reason. Furthermore, it is far easier to spread in "biscuits."



To save list band width please contact me about this off the list with the subject of acorns or cattails. I will post the results and a few URLs about using these plants then.

<>< John Goude ><> ham: KE6VUB

Yucaipa, CA 92399-5605






Rain is funneled from the roof into gutters and from there into a holding tank (a cistern). The water will keep best if it's underground (cool & out of the sun) -- even so, the first couple minutes of a rain should be channeled away from the tank so that the roof can be washed off, and clean water enter the tank. Filtration can take place right at your sink with a portable camp filter or a more elaborate (non electric!) system. Clothes washing and showers can be done without filtration, as long as the water smells okay and looks clear -- any water that touches food or your hands should go through the filter.

In our area, the best rainwater is spring and fall waters; summer water is considered pretty poor, easily goes moldy, and tastes bad -- something to do with the bacteria and heat. If you have reasonable rain during the cooler seasons, you can store excess water (chlorine bleach comes in handy) for the dry seasons.

If you store water in an underground tank, you'll need a simple hand-pump to draw it up -- they run around $50 here. Alternatively, you could just lower a (clean) bucket into the water by rope and haul it up.

Anyway, the system will work! You'll probably have more water available by this cistern system than you realize. Plus, it's relatively cheap to set up.

How to build a rain water filtering system.



Going completely solar is cost prohibitive, we found. We were quoted $75,000 to have a solar system that would keep us off the grid. =:-o

Wind seems to be the best bet...but it'll only work in certain areas of the country. Check out the wind map at --Wind Resource Database -- to see if you are in an area that is efficient for wind.

A great site to check out is World Power Technologies, Inc for more information on wind turbines. They sell one of the best...the Whisper. They also have lots of links on their resource page. Home Power Magazine, the hands-on journal of ...just did an article this month on how to pick a wind turbine. It's in Adobe (which I have successfully downloaded!!! YEAH!!!) and was very helpful.

It looks like we'll be able to set up a complete power system (wind, with solar as a backup for windless days) for around $7,000...and that will keep us off the grid.

For much greater detail about my plans for adapting my "urban homestead" to meet the looming challenges of peak oil, climate instability, and economic irrationality, see Gatewood Urban Homestead, the permaculture design for my home.

Better Times Cookbook V | Justpeace | Better Times | | Access to Energy Conservation | On Pilgrimage in Oklahoma City | Bookstore | Better Times II | Bulgar Bugle | Mutual Aid (Grassroots home and community scale disaster preparations)