Preparedness Nuggets Home ..Better Times Cookbook V | Justpeace | Better Times | BobWaldrop.net | 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 Seventh

Adding Vitamin E to oils

Bakers Supplies

Basic food storage on a limited budget

Baygen Radios

Buying Bulk Foods

Can dispenser shelves

Canned vs. Dehydrated foods

Canning

Canning Again

Catholic Simple Living URL

Catholic homesteading/spirituality newsletter

Charcoal for dutch ovens

Clay oven baking

Clothing

Cookbook for poor people

Cooking with a thermos

Dutch oven cooking

Fats and oils

Feed four cheaper

Food storage FAQS

Freezing white flour before storing it

Freezing herbs

Freshly ground dried corn and a hoecake recipe

RV sales store as source for solar cell equipment

Buying bulk Herbs and Spices

Homeschooling

Important considerations regarding electrical inverters

Just for fun: GLOOP

Killing critters in bulk items

Learn healthcare skills now

Low cost propane

Low-fuel cooking

LP gas freezers and refrigerators

MORE on canning

More on emergency refrigeration

Nutritious pancake syrup

Off-grid refrigeration

One month food supply in one box, almost

Outdoor bread ovens

Pressure canners

Olive Oil

Re-using newspapers, bags, and tin cans

Refrigerators

Seven major mistakes of food storage

Shelf life of canned goods

Small refrigerator run by a battery

Solar cooker

Start on a new "prep" diet gradually

Storage of canned foods

Tomato and cheese mixes

Trash

Vaccum sealers/packers

Water

Water Wheel Plus

Windmills






BAYGEN RADIOS TOP

Looking for solar-powered radios? Here's a site that sells BayGen radios for $79.95 plus $9 S&H = $88.95

http://www.brightok.net/~unique/baygen/index.htm

This site has a more expensive price for radios, but also offers the BayGen lantern for $79.95

http://www.these-times.com/thelist.html#extras

http://www.ccrane.com/ old-line electronics catalog company. From here I am getting a solar powered nicad battery charger (for D, C, AA, and AAA batteries), some NiCads, plus a step down regulator that allows you to run various things off your car battery (9, 6, 3 volt type stuff). This site is also the place I found the $99 DC to AC inverter, which has been discussed in another thread. It may not be big enough to run a refrigerator, so I have decided to go more low-tech (rechargeable batteries and car batteries) and get a better water filter. I can dowithout electricity, but not without water (grin). Also, this site has a $28 AM-FM hand crank/solar battery charger radio that includes a light. Doesn't have shortwave, but it is a lot cheaper than the Baygen and it includes the light.

-----------------------------------------------------------------

CAN DISPENSER SHELVES TOP

A great idea to help with the rotation of our stored canned goods. When you put together your shelves,attach each right (or left) side just one notch lower than the other side so that there's a slight slant. Also attach with the lip up, not down, to hold cans securely. Lay cans on their side so they roll. It would be best to have only one layer per shelf. The shelves would have to be only about 6-8" apart. Then always remove from lower end and add to upper end to replace. Works sort of like a dispenser.

---------------------------------------------

"FARMETTE" HOMESTEADER TOP

From: patti <Hausmutti@aol.com>

I am new to the list; just discovered it. Let me introduce myself. I am Patti, husband is Stephen. We have 6 children ages 22 down to 4, all homeschooled. We attend the traditional Latin mass in Atlanta, GA. We live about an hour northeast of Atlanta in the foothills on a little over 8 acres on a dirt road. I have been living a "simplified" lifestyle for some 15 years and have been greatly influenced by my Amish and Mennonite friends. We raise most of our meat, our eggs and milk on our little farmette. I'm working on a garden but I'm better with animals. We have ground our own wheat for baking for years, but I replaced my electric grinder with a large hand model. I try to avoid buying anything that isn't eaten or used up unless it relates to self sufficiency. I have been canning lots of goat milk for the months they are dry and more for emergencies. Currently we are in the process of replacing our electric well pump with a hand pump and are looking into de-electrifying our laundry and sewing. I have already disconnected the dryer and am slowly convincing my husband that I have the ability to handle a non-electric clothes washer.

We already heat with wood and are planning to replace the refrigerator with a gas type as we have an underground LP gas tank already.

One of the most important steps for me has been the decluttering process. Sort of like the sacrament of confession! The weight of excess baggage is lifted. There is a man in Scottsville, KY who makes a washer similar to the James, but it's less expensive and sturdier. You can see the James washer either in the Lehman's catalog, the Cumberland General Store catalog, or at the Jade Mountain website. You need a washer, a wringer, and a double tub for rinsing. I have a suburban friend who has her James in the house and runs the drain hose out the front door to her garden.

A group of Catholics puts out a homesteading/spirituality newsletter, TOP called Full of Grace. The address is:

http://expage.com/page/fullofgrace

-----------------------------------------------------------------

LP FREEZERS AND REFRIGERATORS TOP

For anyone in a financial position to buy another appliance, I would suggest looking at the Jade Mountain website for information on LP gas run freezers and refrigerators. They have been in use in motor homes and travel trailers for years and the large ones are super efficient. They only use about two gallons of gas a week in the hottest climates which at a dollar a gallon is much less than running an electric one. LP gas stores for much longer than gasoline which you'd have to store if you had a generator. If you have your own tank keep it topped off and if a shortage hits, you are set for quite a while. Even if a collapse never "hits" , there are sure to be more ice storms and hurricanes which will cut off supplies and electricity. Been there done that - patti

-----------------------------------------

FREEZING HERBS TOP

I put my herbs in a zip lock bag and put it in the freezer without washing it. When I get it out I chop it up to use it when its frozen, rinse it off and it tastes just as if it were just picked! Use the sandwich zip lock for one serving at a time! Diane

----------------------------------------

-----------------------------------------

WINDMILLS TOP

Cumberland General Store has a catalog with lots of windmill information in it: Cumberland General Store,(An hour west of Knoxville) #1Highway 68, Crossville, Tennessee 38555 1-800-334-4640 fax 931-456-1211

http://www.cumberlandgeneral.com

There is also a company called Kansas Wind Power (?) Also there's a windmill research center in Lubbock, TX. The address is:

American Windpower Center PO Box 4666 Lubbock, TX ZIP? 806 -788 -1499

------------------------------------------------

TOMATO AND CHEESE MIXES TOP

Marie at XKLU66A@prodigy.com to request a CATALOG

--------------------------------------------------

CANNING TOP

If you plan to do much canning as part of your prep program, invest in plenty of jar lids. The rings and jars can be used over and over again as long as they are not in bad shape. Jars should not be used if they are chipped around the lip anywhere otherwise you may not get a good seal. However, you should never use lids more than once. The rubber-like lining of lids can deteriorate with time, but you can delay this if you store your unused lids properly...maybe in zip-loc bags.

Also, you can use paraffin to seal your jams and jellies: for these, you can use any type of glass jar that can tolerate heat. Many tomatoes nowadays are low-acid, and citric acid may be added to the jar to increase the acidity, or the low acid should be done with a pressure cooker.

What you are protecting your family from is botulism, which is colorless, odorless and tasteless, but deadly.. It comes from the soil.

-----------------------------------------------

ONE MONTH IN A BOX , submitted by Robert Waldrop TOP

One 20 quart size powdered milk (4 pounds)

One 10 lb bag rice

Two 4 lb bags beans

Two 3 lb bags of macaroni

Three 13 ounce quick oats

Two 5 lb bags flour

One 8 ounce baking cocoa

One 4 lb bag of sugar

One 10 oz baking powder

One 8 oz baking soda

One 4 lb jar of peanut butter

One 1 qt bottle of syrup

30 miscellaneous cans (soups, vegetables, chili, etc.)

One bottle hot sauce

One bottle soy sauce

9 miscellaneous spice bottles

2 vitamin bottles

One 4 ounce bottle of vanilla extract

One 4 ounce bottle of yeast

One 16 oz bottle of jalapeno peppers

One copy Better Times Cookbook and Almanac of Useful Information for Poor People

I found a 23 inches by 21 inches by 10 inches computer box, and all of above food fit into the box, with the lid folding flat and would fit underneath a bed or table. . The above would provide the following daily servings: (for one person)

2-1/2 cups milk

1-1/2 cups cooked rice

1-1/2 cups cooked beans

1-1/2 cups cooked macaroni

1 cup cooked oats

1 cup flour

4 Tbs. peanut butter

1 miscellaneous can of food

Plus daily sugar and spice

I am not in the business of giving nutritional advice, but it seems that if a half gallon or so of cooking oil, another can per day and a serving of fruit juice (equivalent of another can) are added, which wouldn't fit in this space, you'd be all right for a month. Depending on the assortment of cans, a variety of stuff can be made from these ingredients, including cinnamon rolls, oatmeal cookies, peanut butter cookies, tuna casserole, etc.

This box would fit under my bed.-----------Robert Waldrop

CATHOLIC SIMPLE LIVING URL TOP

http://www.justpeace.org/simple.htm

-----------------------------------------------------------------

FEED FOUR CHEAPER TOP

These Times, a Catholic organization which can feed a family of five for $1500/yr with basic foods. They're at http://www.these-times.com/

There is also Wheat Montana at:

http://www.wheatmt.com/ and it supplies buckets of wheat, oats, barley, other grains, legumes, honey, etc. and if one's order is sufficiently large, will deliver it via semi right to one's door. If we have the grain to make a bread or cereal, the legumes, oil, salt, and pure water, we should be able to manage just fine. One can also use sprouting seeds as a terrific source of vitamins and enzymes as they multiply hugely their nutrients within a few days by sprouting. So, a bucket of alfalfa or mixed sprouts would take care of many vitamin needs. For cooking, use a small butane/propane burner, a solar oven, or build your own clay oven which could be used whether or not we experience severe difficulties. http://www.earthovens.com gives a brief introduction to clay oven baking. TOP

My storage priorities are the above, plus: are: macaroni and pasta, beans, rice, powdered milk, condiments (sugar, spices), cheese blend powder, tomato powder. That's what I eat now, plus small amounts of hamburger and chicken, occasionally a little sausage. If I can find a cheap source, I may add some textured vegetable protein.

-----------------------------------------

LOW-FUEL COOKING TOP

use a small butane/propane burner, a solar oven, or build one's own clay oven which could be used whether or not we experience severe difficulties.

http://www.earthovens.com gives a brief introduction to clay oven baking

Another major technique to minimize fuel use is thermal cooking where one brings the pot/pressure cooker up to pressure quickly, then the pot is placed in an insulated container (which can be constructed simply from a box big enough to hold the pot, newspaper for insulation as a "sandwich" between the side of the box and a layer of heavy-duty aluminum foil to reflect the heat back to the pot). Check out the soft-sided insulated picnic devices designed to keep food hot which can be used for this purpose. The food will continue cooking in the box, and with the pressure cooker, even hard beans will be ready in an hour. This allows a lot of cooking with a minimum of fuel. Of course, a wood cookstove may be used, and some folks are building outdoor "summer kitchens"--just an area with a wood-burning cookstove and a food prep area.

--------------------------------------------------

LOW COST PROPANE TOP

The small amount of money I have available for equipment is going into the propane alternative. I bought a small two-burner propane stove at Walmart for about thirty dollars. I had previously bought a small one-burner propane stove from the same source for about $15. (I just loaned that one to a family of seven I came across who are without natural gas or electricity in their home due to extreme poverty. I was also able to make them up a basic packet of groceries from my stored food, which just goes to show how useful food storage is in the interim). I bought a dozen of the propane cylinder for this kind of stove for $10 from Sam's Club, plus 72 hours of canned heat for ten dollars, also from Sam (originally meant for chafing dishes). I am buying larger propane cylinders (20 pounds), one a month, for $20 (new, empty, without the propane), also from Sams.

One of the survival companies I have come across (I think it is B&A out of Oklahoma) offers a handy little device that allows you to run a propane appliance that usually uses the disposable cylinders off of a regular propane tank. That's the next equipment purchase (it is about $15).

I look at the classified ads every day for propane heaters. So far, nothing has turned up, but I have accumulated a list of addresses of places that sell used appliances, and in a week or so I am going to start visiting them looking for a "deal" on two or three propane heaters. My natural gas bills last winter were in excess of $200 a month (and that was closing off half the house and keeping the thermostat below 65) so this next winter I intend to turn the old gravity furnace down to sixty degrees (the lowest it will go) and use the propane heaters. This will tell me approximately how much propane needs to be in tanks in the basement.

In a big pinch, several small candles under a thin aluminum pot will bring the water to boil. Oatmeal can be made in a thermos jug (add hot water and oatmeal). If someone has a lot of sun, solar cookers can be rigged from aluminum foil and cardboard (these were designed for use in refugee camps for cooking beans and rice, largely). A link with plans is on my simple living page.

As for water, if you use 2 liter soda bottles, rinse them, fill them with water, add 8 drops of household unscented chlorine, store them in the dark. ----------------------------------------------------------------------------

CLOTHING TOP

Now is the time to get several pairs of sturdy shoes and boots for all family members, socks, underwear, and sturdy pants (heavy, work-quality.)

----------------------------------------------------------------------------

JUST FOR FUN; GLOOP! TOP

(this recipe makes about 1 c. of gloop)

2 oz. white craft glue

1/4 c. water

poster or tempera paint in a nice, slimy color

1/4 c. warm water

3/8 teaspoon borax powder

1. Pour the glue into a bowl. Add 1/4 c. water and stir until the glue and water blend. Add a few drops of paint, and stir some more until it's mixed well. Set aside.

2. In a small bowl or measuring cup, stir together the warm water and borax powder until the powder dissolves. Slowly pour the borax and water into the glue mixture, stirring constantly for two minutes.

3. The fun part: Knead the sticky gloop with your hands until it's smooth and stretchy. When the kids (or you!) are done playing with it, store gloop in an airtight container.

----------------------------------------------------------------------

START ON YOUR NEW PREP DIET EARLY, AND GRADUALLY TOP

Have you ever eaten an exclusively wheat-based diet? If you've been eating the typical North American diet, even if you think you've been consuming foods "high" in fiber, you're going to get diarrhea like you've never experienced before. And it will last for days (assuming you continue to eat the wheat). Eventually, your colon will adjust, but in an emergency situation, where water may not be readily available, or may be contaminated, thus adding to the effects of the wheat-induced diarrhea, dehydration is going to be a major, possibly fatal, problem.

Yesterday, I ate three thick slices of whole-wheat bread I made from my wheat. Real whole wheat, not the pseudo-whole-wheat you get at the store. Today, well... lets just say I'm glad the restroom is close by. People who traditionally "live on" tortillas, chapatis:, don't get diarrhea or so-called "appetite fatigue" because their foods have spices, which the basic food plans lack, and because they eat it from infancy, which our children do not. And their diet typically includes chicken, pork, and other inexpensive meats, such as fowl and dog, which contributes to the variety needed to avoid appetite fatigue. Personally, I'd rather get some beef TVP before I put ole Shep on the grill. Seriously, I would advise people to get the basic food storage, then immediately begin to add to it according to their needs and tastes. This doesn't need to be difficult or expensive. A jar of chili powder is 89 cents here. Some basic spices, some beef, chicken, and sausage TVP (a #10 can for $7.75 at Walton's), a little bit each month, and you'll have a much better food plan.

And I want to remind people that they should try eating from their food storage regularly to avoid unpleasant side-effects.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------

RE-USING NEWSPAPERS, CANS, PLASTIC BAGS TOP

Roll newspapers into tight rolls, stuff into 1/2 gallon cardboard milk cartons, use as kindling/paper logs. Colored inks and slick papers may contain lead and be toxic when burned, so be careful just to use regular black-and-white newsprint.

Cut bottoms off tin cans. Use shears to slice cans length ways. Tin cans can be used with rivets to patch things, like fenders, aluminum doors, the bottoms of leather shoes, etc.

We used to use plastic bread bags as boot liners in winter - can't exactly recommend the practice, as it made our feet rather damp, but it helped keep our feet warm. To try it out, put on a pair of socks, a bag, and a pair of socks. (Now THIS shows how deep in the woods I lived).

-----------------------------------------------

TRASH TOP

....But if people continue to treat such valuable survival items as trash, then it is imperative that something is done to dispose of it, such as burying. Otherwise, rodents and disease become big problems. If burying is a problem, the best alternative is probably burning it. IMHO, people should be pro-active about this and (e.g.) if in cities the trash stops and begins piling up on curbs, people should go door to door and organize a neighborhood ***safe**** burning of trash, if necessary, in barrels in streets. This should probably begin the first day the trash isn't picked up, because the longer it sits, the worse the situation becomes. Remember that public sanitation in an emergency situation is often a VERY big issue that has a lot of other ramifications down the line, especially in regard to disease and smell.

---------------------------------------------------------

KILL CRITTERS IN BULK ITEMS TOP

When we purchase other dry bulk items-- oats, barley, rice, legumes, etc., we treat with 1/2 c. of food use quality diatomaceous earth to 50#/food. Just put it in the bucket and mix well. It will kill the critters and keep the food dry. It's harmless to humans--helpful in fact as acts as a natural wormer-- and just grinds right or cooks right up with the food. It just looks like a white powder.

---------------------------------------------------

NUTRITIOUS PANCAKE SYRUP TOP

We mix a container of cottage cheese in the food processor with just a little sour cream, a bit of sugar and a little vanilla. Mix till smooth, and then use as a topping with fresh strawberries, blackberries, etc. We also still top with syrups, but having the cheese topping, too, makes a better meal.

-----------------------------------------------------

SOLAR COOKER TOP

the direct URL for the foldout solar cooker for use in refugee camps is. .

http://www.accessone.com/~sbcn/cookit.htm

---------------

BASIC FOOD STORAGE ON A LIMITED BUDGET TOP

Wal-Mart sells a 25# bag of pinto beans for $12, and 20# bags of white rice for $8. For less than $800 you could buy all the beans and rice a family could eat for a year -- and for an extra $200-400, you could add spices, oils, canned fruits, canned meats, powdered milk, vegetables, plus plant a small garden of foods you enjoy.

If an outlay of $800 is too much at one time, you can spend the next year buying a little at a time -- for an extra $20 a week, you can put in all the beans and rice you need in 6 months....IF YOU START NOW!!! Don't wait until the last minute -- supplies from storage food companies are already in short supply, and many have several months of delay before shipments can be fulfilled. Shop during sales, buy two of .everything our family likes, eat one and store one. WE have a discount food shop here in town and I started buying his "bulk" stuff he had too much of. He gave me a big discount for buying it by the box. I bought canned soups at 4 for a dollar. A huge bag of rice for $2.00 and all kinds of peanut butter etc. I told him to keep letting me know when he has a deal for me. It works good for me and him. He says he can't get rid of the stuff when he has so much of it. (its a small town) So now every time I go, I try to get whatever he has that will keep with shelf life and that we like.

Try finding a discount food store in your area and cut a deal with them if your can. its even worth a little drive to do it. Diane

-----------------------------------------------------

CANNED VS DEHYDRATED FOODS TOP

Why would someone choose the dehydrated foods over the canned?

They take up significantly less space.

How do they compare dollars wise, nutritionally, shelf life etc.?

Canned food is less expensive, dehydrated foods are better nutritionally, and if stored in cool, dry conditions both have about the same shelf life

----------------------------------------------------------------------

LEARN HEALTHCARE SKILLS NOW TOP

May I suggest Red Cross "First Aid" courses --usually, these are inexpensive ($35) or free. Also, if one is willing to put in about six months of intensive study (and about $400), an EMT license can be acquired -- EMTs are skilled emergency care personnel (who, incidentally, earn a pretty good living at $12-24/hr, depending on region), who can handle health care problems when a doctor or nurse can't be found. These skills are useful, no matter what happens.

-------------------------------------------------

BULK FOODS TOP

I'm about to call the local Mormon Church to find out if they know of any good local suppliers for bulk foods. I've been buying five pound boxes of macaroni for a little less than $2.00, 5 pound spaghetti is about the same price. Oils and powdered milk are probably the most degradable with time, but I use those regularly and will replace as they are used.

------------------------------------------------

FOOD STORAGE FAQS TOP

Misc. Survivalism's Food Storage FAQ is at:

http://waltonfeed.com/grain/faqs

http://www.providenceco-op.com/house1.htm

-------------------------------------------------------

OUTDOOR BREAD OVENS TOP

For excellent on-line reading about bread ovens, from the construction of to the actually baking of the bread, check out

http://www.tomifobia.com/oven.html . My husband and I are combining the info we received via this article and plans we obtained today to create a custom built oven using local materials, thus substantially reducing the cost of building and improving aesthetics.

A site which will eventually have free plans for an adobe bread oven can be found at http://www.boyd-crick.com/plan.jpg The site currently houses great plans for an adobe grill/roasting oven.

For those with a larger budget and time to participate in an apprenticeship, there is Alan Scott, the guru of the brick bread oven. His site is located at http://www.nbn.com/~ovncraft/ His experience and plan selection are amazing (so are the prices!)

Also, as mentioned in several other posts, http://www.earthovens.com . At this site you can order a book detailing the building of an outdoor clay oven and you can also sign up for a workshop and experience what it is like to bake bread in a clay oven. Lehman's catalog also offers a book. The Bread Book offers instructions for making a woodfired bread oven and instructions for making bread - from the seed to the loaf.

Comment: Ruth had posted an interesting note regarding marketable skills. This is definitely worth considering when building a bread oven. If constructed large enough, you have the capability of baking multiple loaves at a time, which many friends and neighbors might possibly be willing to trade goods or services for. Regardless of what happens, the outdoor oven has many advantages for those with large families or for those of us who truly love to bake. Oh - you would definitely want to keep additional wheat on hand if you re considering the "marketable skill" aspect of outdoor baking.

----------------------------------------------------------

DUTCH OVEN COOKING. TOP

A Dutch Oven with legs is used with coals beneath it and then for certain items, bread/biscuits/, the coals are also piled on top. An aluminum kettle, etc. will possibility burn out with intense use. Someone left a website from the Scouts and there was description there .

As far as baking without power, one can do some things in a Dutch Oven (the #1 thing for any family to have, IMHO) or a cardboard oven. We've baked cakes on trips before with these things. It's basically a cardboard box with some metal skewers in the side (to hold the item in the middle). Then, cover the hole inside with foil. Put a pie tin on the top and bottom with a few pieces of charcoal (or other fuel). It bakes like an oven (remember that it has to have a lid that goes over the whole top (which is now the front).

Also, I don't know if they make them anymore, but we have something called a Zip Stove. It looks like a small camping stove, but instead of propane or white gas it takes whatever you put into it (leaves, etc.) The web for Dutch Oven cooking is

http://www.macscouter.com/Cooking/DutchOven.html

It is provided by the Boy Scouts and offers all the information regarding the preparation of your Dutch Oven, how to cook with as well as recipes (I believe there is even a bread recipe there)

--------------------------------------------------------------

CHARCOAL FOR DUTCH OVENS- TOP

If you have a 6 qt. capacity Dutch oven, this would probably be considered to be the 12 inch size (Lodge Manufacturing). This will typically feed 12-14 people at capacity.

On average, a typical meal will require about 25 briquette coals to do the job of cooking the meal (some less, some more), but use this figure for calculations. 25 coals weighs app.. 1-1/2 lbs. Therefore, you can now plan on how much coal to buy and store.

I know that my local Home Depot here is now selling two (2) twenty pound bags (total of 40 lbs) for about $10.00. Therefore, this 40 lbs would cook about 27 meals in the Dutch Oven, costing about .37 cents each time.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------

HERBS AND SPICES - SAM'S TOP

Our family loves herbs and spices and generally buys them in large quantities and the savings are substantial. Much of what we have purchased comes from Sam's Warehouse (mostly spices, as we grow several herbs and dry them) Here's a sample of some prices as of Saturday:

Cinnamon (1 pound) - $3.99

Chili powder (1 lb 4 oz.) - $3.99

Cajun seasoning (1 lb 3 oz.) - $5.29

Pepper Corns (1 lb 2 oz) - $5.69

There were several other spices that we were in need of that Sam's does not carry, but I have located an excellent site with prices only a few cents more than what Sam's charges (they also sell in lesser quantities for smaller families!). Try http://www.HerbalAdvantage.com for anoutstanding selection of herb and spices!

-------------------------------------------------------------------------

FRESHLY GROUND DRIED CORN TOP

(You can also use ground popcorn) IN honor of freshly ground dried corn, a prep recipe:

Hoe Cakes

1-1/2 cups cornmeal

3 tablespoons self-rising flour (or 3 tablespoons regular flour and a half

teaspoon of baking powder)

1 teaspoon salt (or to taste)

hot water

oil

Combine the salt, flour, and cornmeal in a bowl, add enough hot water to make a batter. Pour a little oil on the griddle. When it sizzles, add half the batter. Allow the cake to brown on one side. then flip to the other side (adding a little more oil first. An easy way to flip the cake is to put a plate on top of it, then lift the griddle and turn it upside down, holding the plate with the other hand. Slide the hoe cake, uncooked side down, back onto the re-oiled griddle. When done, repeat with the other half of the batter.

Traditionally, you're not supposed to cut this, rather, just break it off in pieces. Best cooked on a cast iron griddle that is quite black from use.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------

COOKING WITH A THERMOS TOP

As a substitute crockpot, a good thermos bottle will actually work. E.g., you can put oats and hot water in its overnight and it will be oatmeal in the morning. Beans supposedly also can be cooked this way, although I haven't tried it personally. The idea is to bring the mixture to a boil, then pour immediately into the thermos bottle (the source I read said that a steel lined thermos was necessary, the glass lined don't work as well).

---------------------------------

BAKERS SUPPLIES TOP

The box I've got right now is called "Cheese Tang" and I got it from a Best Buys distributorship in Wisconsin. It seems to be more generally available at baker's supply houses. A National Guard chef that I met recently suggested looking for the Trio Brand, available from commercial food distributors (which also sell to the public). It seems to be a pretty useful product, and it has a lot less fat and cholesterol than regular cheese.

----------------------------------------------------

FATS AND OILS TOP

I've read that shortening in large metal cans (NOT the foil-covered 3 pound cans) will keep the longest of all.

-=-----------------------------------------------------------

OFF-GRID REFRIGERATOR TOP

Jade Mountain has an ad for a solar powered medicine refrigerator, designed primarily for use in vaccination campaigns in rural areas of third world countries where electricity is non-existent. It's very pricey, though, more than $1000.. It might be something, however, that could be suggested to public health authorities, or hospitals, or large clinics, or even organizations of diabetics.

Another alternative would be a kerosene or propane gas refrigerator. Full size, they also cost in excess of a thousand dollars, but there are a lot of smaller ones made for RVs and mobile homes that cost a lot less. The best place to price shop something like that might be RV dealerships.

An even cheaper alternative would be to convert a car into an AC electric generator, by using a DC to AC inverter, which can be bought for less than $100. Crane Company has them for about 89 dollars. They are at:

http://www.ccrane.com/

I should probably mention that this particular option would be kind of an inefficient mechanical monstrosity that would burn gasoline (i.e. by keeping the car running to charge the battery to produce the DC current to convert to AC) and thus hardly can be considered a permanent solution, but it might provide a bridge during power outages that would keep temperatures from fluctuating too much in your regular kitchen refrigerator. But it has the advantage of being really cheap (compared to buying a generator or a propane powered refrigerator). You'll need some large outdoor-style extension cords. The inverter would sit on the front seat, plugged into the cigarette lighter, with the extension chord plugged into the inverter box, and running thence to your regular refrigerator.

IMPORTANT CONSIDERATIONS REGARDING ELECTRICAL INVERTERS TOP

It is important to take load demands into consideration in regard to the use of inverter. A small campus type refrigerator like those sold so reasonably in the stores require at least several hundred watts. The startup loads on an induction type motor may be twice its running load.

That means a 300 watt motor may require a 600 watt or more inverter. Also, no electronic equipment should be run at it's maximum capacity, not to mention that it may be useful to run more than one item off of the inverter at the same time, like extra lamps, two-way radios, etc. Some of the new larger inverters have a 230VAC and 115 VAC output. These could run your well as well as your refrigerator. Without electricity, deep wells are a problem.

The 115 VAC inverters that you see advertised for under $100 are usually in the 75 to 250 watt range and will not perform the required loads needed for the little refrigerators. Companies like Statpower and Whistler make these little inverters and larger sizes that cost a little more but will have the ability to run the small refrigerators, electric drills., etc. without stalling on startup and without premature burnout.

This new generation of inverter is of the high frequency design and are generally smaller and cheaper than the more traditional ferro-resonant types. Some loads are sensitive to the "output wave" of 115VAC. This is the output form of the alternating current that can be seen on an oscilloscope. A waveforin from your local electric utility is a true sine-wave.

The modern high frequency inverters are smaller and lighter than the larger ferro-resonant inverters. However, these inverters do have a drawback. They make what is known as a "modified sine-wave output" unlike the utility grade "true sine-wave output" like the larger, more expensive ferro-resonant type inverters produced from the Heart and Trace brands.

Some computers and other sensitive electronic equipment will not function well or at all on anything but a true sine-wave output. The little high frequency inverters are now starting to become available with true sine-wave outputs but at a much higher price. Some companies now offer both output grades in their selection. Which ever way you go, do not buy the old square wave inverter of a few years ago. You can get them at flea markets, etc. but they are not a bargain at any price. About the only thing they are really good for is incandescent light bulbs. (non-resonant or non-inductive loads, i.e.. no motors!)

I have operated a small refrigerator on occasion with a 600 watt modified sine-wave high frequency inverter and have had no problems. This inverter works at load with over 90% efficiency. Even though the output is "modified sine-wave" I can still use it on sensitive electronics if I use charging transformers to the electronics instead of 115 volt direct connections. This "cleans up" the waveform. This means that you can charge VCR batteries, car batteries,, even laptops if you have a 115V to say a 12 VDC charger cord.

Running a 115V TV directly from the inverter may be a problem. You probably will not damage the TV but you could get lines, snow, reduced picture size, etc. However, this will probably not be your worst prep problem! (:>

For the price difference on the inverter types, the cheaper modified sine-wave inverter make a lot of sense except for only a few applications like the above mentioned.

Inverters make sense in general on loads like a refrigerator that are of inconsistent loads. A refrigerator will not pull any load until the compressor cycles on. To run a refrigerator on a gasoline generator would be terribly inefficient and noisy. An inverter uses current only when a load is present, like when the refrigerator cycles its compressor on. There is a small "idle current" that is required by the inverter in the stand-by mode but the idle current is negligible compared to the inefficiency of a gasoline generator running with no load, not to mention the wear, noise, fumes, fire hazard, etc., of a generator.

Another big advantage of an inverter is that they can run off of a battery that is maintained by a solar panel. FREE electricity from the sun. I don't know the future, but I'm betting that the sun will be here longer than any stored gasoline you have! I have one 45 watt solar panel and I can keep my small fridge going indefinitely if I do not open the door too often. Also, you can effectively double the efficiency of these small refrigerators by taping or gluing 1" Styrofoam on the sides and door to help insulate them. Keep the condenser coil in the back in a free flow of air for better circulation. If your unit has the coil embedded in the side panels, make sure that you do NOT insulate those areas. Those areas needs to be in a good air flow just like an exposed condenser in the back. If you do not see coils in the back on your unit, feel for hot spots on the cover for the condenser and insulate everywhere EXCEPT the hot spots where the condenser is. The hot areas need to be in the best air flow possible and uninsulated.

Even if your refrigerator pulls more watts than the solar panel can replace, the panel will help prolong the time needed between making other types of re-charging necessary, like cranking the car, the portable generator, etc.

For about $1000 you can put together a solar fridge with a large solar panel, high frequency type inverter, and deep cycle battery to keep insulin, etc. for as long as the battery remains serviceable. Even though you are keeping the battery charged, any battery has a finite life and needs to be replaced someday. If you are worried about battery availability in the future, a second deep cycle battery of the dry-charged variety purchased now could sit on your shelf as standby for a long time without degradation. When you finally do put it in service, you add the sulfuric acid electrolyte and charge it at that time. Only then will the life count-down begin on that battery.

I know some of this is confusing but it is really very simple to put this life saving system together without any previous experience. Just make your power available is greater than your power demands and the system cannot fail. Solar panels are good for at least 30 years and have no moving parts to wear out.

Same company also offers a Baygen radio, BTW, that they have converted to also be a lamp by adding a bright white LED flashlight.

Hope this helps. I would trust what your pharmacist has to say about the storage life of insulin. Bringing this to the attention of diabetic organizations could start some contingency planning that could save the lives of a lot of diabetics in the event of widespread power failures.

Also, if the power failures start in January, if you are in a cold area you could pack an insulated container with snow or ice frozen outside, or even keep it on a cold porch or something, which would work at least until summer (one hopes the power is back on before then).

---------------------------------------------

MORE ON REFRIGERATION

Subject: Re: Insulin Storage

From: Mike Aimino <mike.aimino@beasys.com>

Date: Wed, 15 Jul 1998 07:15:42 -0400

At 06:51 PM 7/14/98 EDT, Jaggedrock@aol.com wrote:

"We're desperate for off-grid refrigeration. My wife is an insulin-dependent diabetic, and without refrigeration, insulin has a very short shelf-life--- and my wife would have a very short life. Please help!"

If you have neighbors close by, and if their prep-aware, or at least preparedness types, you might be able to go in with them on a generator. Some one the mid-sized diesel gen-sets provide enough power for several homes. They're expensive, though, so that might not be an option. If you go this route, then you and your neighbors can split the cost of the gen-set, the batteries, the inverter, wiring, fuel, etc.

Another option is a gasoline/propane generator. They're much less expensive, but also have a much shorter lifespan. They also use much more fuel than a diesel.

A third option is to connect an car alternator to a small, lawn mower sized motor. There are special brackets available at The Epicenter at http://www.geoduck.com/epicenter/order.cgi?page=power.html. The Epicenter also has inexpensive inverters on the same page.

Whatever option you go with, you should have a generator, an inverter, and a deep cycle battery to make a complete system. Such a system could easily run your fridge for a year (provided you have enough fuel).

I'm in the process of installing a backup power system, so I'd be happy to answer any questions you might have, direct you to someone who knows the answer, or just commiserate.

-------------------------------------------

MORE ON CANNING TOP

I Do not use those fancy holders for the inside of the pot, using a towel on the bottom instead and only one jar ever broke and nothing else ever chipped. So you don't need to spend a lot to do it. Lots of jars are available at yard sales, check for chips and cracks and buy new lids and rings. I used a cheap aluminum pot I bought for $5 at K-mart to can things in because the boiling water has to cover the jars and I needed a pot large enough. I still use it for canning and it's also a great old thing to take camping.

I will admit that I plan to buy a pressure canner now. I read where someone put up 200 lbs. of beef for Y2K and did it in 21 straight hours. That intrigues me! Is there a pressure canner that exists that will hold quart jars? I can only find smaller ones for pint jars, even at Southern States. They also have great canning supplies, BTW. Someone just asked how to bake bread on a grill: Again, I did lots of research on camp cooking because I wanted to expand my horizons and go beyond roasted marshmallows :-) One evening I made pizza on our 2 burner, gasoline camp stove, using foil as a base for each pizza and an upside down handle-less camping pot as the cover. It wasn't quite like homemade but everyone was hungry enough to enjoy it and gave it rave reviews. You might experiment with upside down disposable roasting pans or old pots and try to cook a round loaf under it on your grill. I understand that using metal boxes over fires, you can even cook cakes while camping. Check out some camp cooking websites or camping books from your library.

Although I don't own one, a Dutch oven looks useful. You put coals on top and underneath and slow-cook so it is like an oven/slow cooker. I would think that this could be done in a fireplace overnight or even a woodstove if you don't plan to keep a fire going all night for warmth. They work best with charcoal. You can also get a stand so you can cook right inside your fireplace if you have one. Also I suggest a cover holder to remove the extremely hot cover easily. Sometimes you need to put some coals on top of the oven. The holder will really help with this. There are some great instructions and recipes at http://www.macscouter.com/cooking/dutchoven.html

http://www.chuckwagonsupply.com

http://www.rmc.net/kampers/index

-------------------------------------

HOMESCHOOLING TOP

There are children's books out on how to build solar projects for an oven and such. I have an old one around that I have to find. We homeschool and I plan to make this our first "science" project of the year. May even be good enough for the science fair later on and useful for camping.

For homeschoolers: This is a terrific learning experience for the whole family. I have told my 12 year old daughter about all but the possibility of rioting and looting. I will cross that bridge when I come to it. My 8 year old son knows some but I don't want to scare him or anyone younger. I am focusing on their spiritual preparation, creating a spirit of poverty, building trust and faith, and a desire to share knowledge now and amenities later. I'm billing this all as an adventure and mixing skills such as "home canning" into the curriculum, as well as learning basics about electricity, solar energy, first aid, etc. All useful knowledge that can flesh out a portfolio.

------------------------------

COOKBOOK FOR POOR PEOPLE TOP

http://www.justpeace.org/better.htm -- Cookbook for poor people

------------------------------------------------------------------

FREEZE WHITE FLOUR BEFORE STORING IT TOP

if you prefer white flour, you can freeze this and kill any eggs in it. I usually buy 25 lb. bags of white and bread flour at Sam's, freeze overnight (you can divide it up and freeze over several days if you have a small freezer) and then we store it in storage containers you can get at Sam's, sometimes taking several months to use it. I have never had a bug problem this way. They sell containers that you could fit several of these bags in. You can't do this with whole wheat flour because it will go rancid.

-------------------------------------

MORE ON EMERGENCY REFRIGERATION TOP

Coleman makes a thermoelectric cooler (12V) which can plug into a cigarette lighter and can keep items inside up to 20 degrees Celsius cooler than external temperatures. One of the coolers can even be stood on its side like a small refrigerator and even has shelves. They also make a 2 liter size. I've seen these coolers at Walmart and seem to think the larger one was @$100.00 (not sure). Hope this is helpful.

------------------------------------------

VACUUM SEALERS-PACKERS TOP

To the question posed regarding vacuum sealer/packers: got

http://www.drystore.com - they also offer high quality dehydrators as well as usage information.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------



WATER TOP

Giardia and Cryptosporidium cysts can be in the drinking water in quantities too small to cause problems. But after lengthy storage, they can multiply to harmful levels. There is no sure way to test for them. The only way to insure safety is to filter ( expensive purchase) or boil FIFTEEN MINUTES.

My three 55 gallon barrels take 10 minutes to fill with the hose. That's close to a gallon of gas to run the generator for a fillup. I bought a small sump pump from Walmart for $29 (runs on 6v lantern battery) It takes 15 minutes to pump out the barrel to a level where it can be rolled over to empty remaining water.

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

My plan for water storage was to find some 55 gallon barrels that were used for transporting fruitj uice. I washed and rinsed them thoroughly and filled them adding 1/4 cup of bleach. I'll wait 6 months, then I'll take samples to the health dept. for a bacterial analysis. Through this I hope to learn how long water can safely keep and as such replenish the stock at safe intervals.

A couple things I learned, or should I say dawned on me. I first thought I'd store the water outside, But 1/1/200 is in the winter!!!! SO I opted to make room in my garage for 200 gallons.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------

TOP

SEVEN MAJOR MISTAKES

"The Seven Major Mistakes of Food Storage" by Vicki Tate

you can get it directly from the author. Also:

New Cookin' With Home Storage Cookbook: $14.95

Shipping and handling First Copy - - - $2.50

Per Additional Copy - - - - - - - - $.75

The New Cookin' With Home Storage

c/o Vickie Tate

302 East 200 North Phone:(801) 835-8283

Manti, UT 84642

Mrs. Tate also has the audio tape "Designing A Livable Food Storage," selling for $7.95, which includes postage and handling.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------

ADD VITAMIN E TOP

I read that you can add Vitamin E to one's oil after opening in order to delay it from going rancid. Well, today I reached for a bottle of Canola oil (Hain brand) that was sitting on a shelf in my fridge and guess what I found listed as an ingredient: "mixed tocopherols (vitamin E) added to preserve quality."

-------------

RE: Olive Oil TOP

I buy it by the gallon ( Bertolli or LaRusaa brands) and if you buy it in the tin it will last at least 1 year ( I found one in the back of my cupboard) Opened about 5 months <IF> you keep it well closed And stored in a dark cool dry location

-------------------------------------------------------------------------

CANNING AGAIN TOP

Anyone interested in canning might want to take a look at the FAQ for the Usenet newsgroup news:rec.food.preserving , which is posted to the group once a month and is available on the web at:

http://www.lib.ox.ac.uk/internet/news/faq/rec.food.preserving.html

The compiler of the FAQ says he'd be *very unhappy* if you used this file as a replacement for such publications as the Ball Blue Book, The USDA Canning Guide, etc. This FAQ is a *complement to* these sources, giving the reader the sense of who has what expertise in the newsgroup, providing you with some great online sources, even giving you an international feel for what's out there in cyberspace. I've tried to give you the icing on the cake--its up to you to get the cake!

Botulism is so deadly that it behooves anyone who cans potentially dangerous foods to read and follow the directions given in the books cited above very carefully.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------

GO TO RV SALES STORE FOR SOLAR POWER! TOP

our local RV sales store told me they build solar panels for RVs all the time. For a smaller one that could run a TV, small refrigerator, radio ... runs $300.00. Anyway, what it does is continues to recharge a BIG battery with an adapter for the plugs of the appliances. I thought that was great! I was wondering if I could put one on my water pump for our well, and/or for a small refrigerator. I will get the web site info on how to build it yourself too. It's at

="http://www.rain.org/~philfear/how2solar.html">"How to make a

solar power generator" They said you can get everything you need at a Radio Shack

---------------------------------------------------------------

WATER WHEEL PLUS TOP

How to make a water-wheel to generate power:

http://www.ata.org.au/51hydro.htm

The rainbow power company sells and promotes energy from solar, wind and water power. The URL is: http://www.rpc.com.au/index.html

They sell a book "Energy from Nature". They also have the following products:

Rainbow Dolphin - rechargeable dolphin torch

BEST Eco Cooker - Fuel efficient stove

Rainbow Hydro - 300w pelton wheel hydro

BEST Combined Heat and Power - Steam Engines

Rainbow Sine - 300w sine wave Inverter

Glockeman - Water powered pump

Rainbow Microgrid - small scale power distribution

Selectronics Inverters - Coming Soon

------------------------------------------------

STORAGE OF CANNED FOODS TOP

you will find storage techniques for canned foods.

http://waltonfeed.com/grain/faqs/

Plus--- there isn't much we want to know that isn't on this "justpeace"

page! http://www.justpeace.org/simple.htm

-------------------------------------

PRESSURE CANNERS TOP

Thought I would share something I learned this AM. I called Presto (1-800-877-0441) after viewing their website for info about pressure cookers and canners.

Pressure canners: The customer service rep. suggested that you buy the small canner if you plan on doing more quarts because both 17qt and 22qt hold the same number of quarts which is 7. The 22qt. one is evidently considerably heavier and she said you would be glad you got the smaller one at the end of the day. However if you plan on putting up mostly pints, the larger holds more and the time savings would make it a better choice despite the weight.

I looked for a metal on metal one which was recommended to me but I ran out of patience so I ordered the Presto which uses gaskets. They said carefully maintained, a gasket lasts 2 yrs and they do not recommend buying them ahead of time.

Pressure cookers: Presto sells stainless steel and aluminum. Stainless is more expensive and stays better looking longer, but aluminum heats much more quickly. Sounds like the better choice for what we may face. Pressure cooking may be a practical option because it uses less fuel and less water.

----PART 2-------

I have a metal-on-metal aluminum pressure cooker which came from Lehman's ((330) 857 - 5757), manufactured by the Wisconsin Aluminum Foundry Co., Inc. ((414) 682-8627). It's the 10-1/2 qt size. The next size up is 15-1/2 qt and like the Presto brand, it holds 7 quart jars. The next size up from that, the 21-1/2 qt, also only holds 7 quart jars, but will also hold 4 half-gallons in case this size of container might be of interest. For those who are interested in the actual numbers for comparison, weights for the WAFC brand from the Lehman's catalog are 12, 15, and 18 pounds, respectively, for the sizes in my first paragraph. That's empty, of course.

-----------------------------------------------------------------

REFRIGERATORS TOP

>

> Subject: Refrigerators

> From: Tom Troncalli <tomtroncalli@mindspring.com>

My wife Diane and I live in North Georgia. I want to address an easily available alternative 115V source of power. Not only is having 115V available a luxury that we all appreciate, but storing food and medicine by refrigeration can be vital.

An "Inverter" is something that converts 115V alternating current (like a house has) from a direct current (DC) source. The DC source can be typically 12, 24 or 48 volts. A car type battery is roughly 12 volts direct current. Some inverter systems use batteries running in series for their power source end to end like a flashlight, to get 24 volts or more, depending on the number of batteries. There are advantages on a house installation to have higher DC voltages by series connecting the batteries but for easy preparation, it is probably easier to work with 12 volts for a number of reasons.

Many low voltage appliances are available that either charge or run off of 12DC volts making the battery source for the inverter a direct power source for these appliances also. On the market are 12DC solder irons and other shop equipment. You can find travel hair blowers. shavers, reading lamps, etc., that are 12DC also. Just about everything we use as consumers is either 115 AC or 12V DC.

Because of the popularity of 12 volts, 12V DC inverters cost less than the higher voltage input inverters and are available from many more sources.

If you want a larger, longer lasting charge of available 12 power, which is rated as "amp hours," you can combine similar batteries in parallel. Parallel is side by side battery connection instead of end to end in the serial type connection. In a two battery parallel connection, the battery voltage stays the same going to the inverter but the endurance of a charge is doubled with both batteries contributing. The actual amount of work done, (watts,) is the same for both systems but because of the practicality of working with such a common voltage as 12 volts this is probably the best method for most prep applications.

Without getting too technical, higher voltages can transfer more power for longer distances because the line loss is less with higher voltages. That is why those utility grid system wires stretched across America carry many thousands of volts. (Not too practical in a house, though!)

A transformer in your neighborhood reduces the incredible voltages down to manageable lower voltages to your telephone pole near you. Another transformer on the pole drops the voltage again to two 115V AC voltages that are 180 degrees out of phase with each other. Even though they are each 115 volts, the difference between them is 230V which is what your well pump, air conditioner and electric range run on. The higher the voltage, the more efficient the line transmission. That is why the cross country lines are such a high voltage. Line loses go down with higher voltages.

For short runs where everything is close together, like in a refrigerator system where the battery, inverter, charging system and refrigerator are probably close together, line loss is not a big problem. I think the advantages of 12V outweigh the disadvantages for such a system. If you are going to go all out with big bucks and do your whole house on solar, the higher voltages are more efficient.

Please let me know if I can address any detailed situation regarding this stuff. The Sunelco company has about the best catalog and info that I have ever found. Their catalog is worth the $4 for the info alone. (Unless you are a technoid, it can also be pretty deep!) - Tom

----------------------------------------------------------------------------

SHELF LIFE

Here is an extremely informative site: TOP

http://www.ces.uga.edu/pubcd/b914-w.html

--------------------------------------------------------------------------

SMALL REFRIGERATOR WITH BATTERY TOP

From: Tom Troncalli

tomtroncalli@mindspring.com>

I have been lurking in the shadows and have read several contributions regarding questions about storage of meds that require refrigeration. Some have mentioned using small refrigerators with a battery and inverter.

It is important to take load demands into consideration in regard to the use of inverter. A small campus type refrigerator like those sold so reasonably in the stores require at least several hundred watts. The startup loads on an induction type motor may be twice its running load. That means a 300 watt motor may require a 600 watt or more inverter. Also, no electronic equipment should be run at it's maximum capacity, not to mention that it may be useful to run more than one item off of the inverter at the same time, like extra lamps, two-way radios, etc. Some of the new larger inverters have a 230VAC and 115 VAC output. These could run your well as well as your refrigerator. Without electricity, deep wells are a problem.

The 115 VAC inverters that you see advertised for under $100 are usually in the 75 to 250 watt range and will not perform the required loads needed for the little refrigerators. Companies like Statpower and Whistler make these little inverters and larger sizes that cost a little more but will have the ability to run the small fridges, electric drills., etc. without stalling on startup and without premature burnout.

This new generation of inverter is of the high frequency design and are generally smaller and cheaper than the more traditional ferro-resonant types. Some loads are sensitive to the "output wave" of 115VAC. This is the output form of the alternating current that can be seen on an oscilloscope. A waveform from your local electric utility is a true sine-wave.

The modern high frequency inverters are smaller and lighter than the larger ferro-resonant inverters. However, these inverters do have a drawback. They make a "modified sine-wave output" unlike the utility grade "true sine-wave output" like the larger, more expensive ferro-resonant type inverters produced from the Heart and Trace brands.

Some computers and other sensitive electronic equipment will not function well or at all on anything but a true sine-wave output. The little high frequency inverters are now starting to become available with true sine-wave outputs but at a much higher price. Some companies now offer both output grades in their selection. Which ever way you go, do not buy the old square wave inverter of a few years ago. You can get them at flea markets, etc. but they are not a bargain at any price. About the only thing they are really good for is incandescent light bulbs. (non-resonant or non-inductive loads, i.e.. no motors!)

I have operated a small refrigerator on occasion with a 600 watt modified sine-wave high frequency inverter and have had no problems. This inverter works at load with over 90% efficiency. Even though the output is "modified sine-wave" I can still use it on sensitive electronics if I use charging transformers to the electronics instead of 115 volt direct connections. This "cleans up" the waveform. This means that you can charge VCR batteries, car batteries,, even laptops if you have a 115V to say a 12 VDC charger cord.

Running a 115V TV directly from the inverter may be a problem. You probably will not damage the TV but you could get lines, snow, reduced picture size, etc. However, this will probably not be your worst prep problem! (:>

For the price difference on the inverter types, the cheaper modified sine-wave inverter make a lot of sense except for only a few applications like the above mentioned.

Inverters make sense in general on loads like a refrigerator that are of inconsistent loads. A refrigerator will not pull any load until the compressor cycles on. To run a refrigerator on a gasoline generator would be terribly inefficient and noisy. An inverter uses current only when a load is present, like when the refrigerator cycles on. There is a small "idle current" that is required by the inverter in the stand-by mode but the idle current is negligible compared to the inefficiency of a gasoline generator running with no load, not to mention the wear, noise, fumes, fire hazard, etc., of a generator.

Another big advantage of an inverter is that they can run off of a battery that is maintained by a solar panel. FREE electricity from the sun. I don't know, but I'm betting that the sun will be here longer than any stored gasoline you have! I have one 45 watt solar panel and I can keep my small fridge going indefinitely if I do not open the door too often. Also, you can effectively double the efficiency of these small refrigerators by taping or gluing 1" Styrofoam on the sides and door to help insulate them. Keep the condenser coil in the back in a free flow of air for better circulation. If your unit has the coil embedded in the side panels, make sure that you do NOT insulate those areas. Those areas needs to be in a good air flow just like an exposed condenser in the back. If you do not see coils in the back on your unit, feel for hot spots on the cover for the condenser and insulate everywhere EXCEPT the hot spots where the condenser is. The hot areas need to be in the best air flow possible and uninsulated.

Even if your refrigerator pulls more watts than the solar panel can replace, the panel will help prolong the time needed between making other types of re-charging necessary, like cranking the car, the portable generator, etc.

For about $1000 you can put together a solar fridge with a large solar panel, high frequency type inverter, and deep cycle battery to keep insulin, etc. for as long as the battery remains serviceable. Even though you are keeping the battery charged, any battery has a finite life and needs to be replaced someday. If you're worried about battery availability in the future, a second deep cycle battery of the dry-charged variety purchased now could sit on your shelf as standby for a long time without degradation. When you do put it in service, you add the sulfuric acid electrolyte and charge it at that time. Only then will the life count-down begin on that battery.

I know some of this is confusing but it is really very simple to put this life saving system together without any previous experience. Just make your power available is greater than your power demands and the system cannot fail. Solar panels are good for at least 30 years and have no moving parts to wear out.

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