Preparedness Nuggets 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)

Preparedness Nuggets

A Cyberbook of Practical Wisdom for Daily Living

Part the Eighth

The original version of this page was 23 pages in Word Perfect format, 12 point times roman type.

Adult Tricycle

Canning Cakes

Coffee, Soup, Bleach shelf life

Is chlorinated pool water safe to drink?

Drying Potatoes

Dutch Ovens, Iron Cookware

First Aid Kit

Food Sealer

Freezing Pipes

Garbarge or sewer emergency needs immediate community response

Kerosene is very safe

Kerosene Lamps

More on iron cookware

Online health and nutrition newsletter

Diatomaceous Earth


Sample preparation plans


Staying in your community

Christian Homesteading

Things to do list

Think of helping others

Venison recipes

Water filters

Water filters II

Your prep medicine cabinet


Just found out that Folders vacuum packed coffee can last up to 2 years on shelf. Once opened it will be good for about one month. Also, if you want to know how long something will last you can call the 1-800-numbers that are usually on the back of the packages. I called Lipton yesterday and they gave me the shelf life for their soups which where about 3 to 6 months.

Don't forget to stock up on BLEACH!, I called Hylex in St. Paul re longevity, and she said it will retain its 5+% acidity for a year from the manufacturing date. Shelf-life varies w/ termperatur of storage. Their number is 1-651-454-1160 ask for Angie. There are cheap acid testers in a corner drugstore that will give some degree of accuracy of acidity. There are chlorine chemicals that are 15% acidity available at Chemical Co---- remember to use just 1/3 as much.


DUTCH OVENS, IRON COOKWARE TOP Lodge Manufacturing Company, Inc. And to learn such important things such as pre-treating and upkeep (very important!) We use it with charcoal briquettes. Ours is a 12" oven, so we use 15 briquettes around the bottom and 9 on the lid. AWESOME!




Way beforehand (like now) wrap the pipes and insulate the foundation of the house. If you are using some sort of alternative heat, thisll help keep pipes from freezing. This isn't 100% (and it depends upon how cold it is), but it will help. If you think your electric's going off on January 1, 2000, consider having your water turned off so that the pipes don't freeze and burst. You can turn it on again if the power & heat situation are OK. Freezing pipes: There are probably shut-off valves throughout your house. You will shut those off all but where the water enters your house and to the portion of the house which is heated. If shut-off valves are not available throughout critical areas off your house, you may have them installed by yourself or a plumber at a comparatively low cost.

If caught in your unawares, you may allow a trickle of water to run continuously through out the pipes and that will keep the pipes open. We live in a house with a full basement where the water heater is. If it's really cold with no heat or water pressure, I could crack open every tap on every sink and then use the drain on the hot water heater to provide us with the 40 gallons in it as well as all of the water in our plumbing that could have otherwise caused broken pipes. Without water pressure, water trapped in your plumbing is the water you will most likely be drinking.

If we lose utility services, it will also be a good idea to cut off the street water pressure to your house. When service is returned, you will not be able to trust the water in most areas for some time. When city water service pressure is stopped, the system follows the law of gravity and feeds houses in lower areas with gravity feed. I like that, we live in a valley. The bad news is that this creates a vacuum on the higher areas in the system. With any leaks in the system, outside trash and contaminated ground water will be sucked into the water pipes. If these leaks in the water supply pipes happen to be near someone's spilled septic system, etc., you can imagine the outcome. This is why after hurricanes, earthquakes, etc., that people are told to boil the water after interruption of water services.

Getting back to the freezing problem, the elimination of the possibility of getting contaminated water siphoned into your house is a necessity. Shutting off the water utility service valve to your house will also help insure that your pipes will be drained properly. Be careful that any plumbing hidden in outside walls does not have pockets that trap water in low sections of the supply lines causing pockets of ice. Pockets in inside parts of the house are not a problem unless you allow the house to get below freezing.

Some people in situations without utility resources let their houses get really cold for fuel conservation. This technique is not only uncomfortable if carried out to the extreme, it can also contribute to freeze damage in areas that would otherwise be safe. If you have stored freezeable food in a pantry on an outside wall of the house, these things could freeze if the house is so close to freezing that not enough heat reaches these areas. I have also seen pipes in outside walls freeze when the core of the building was nearly 40 degrees but it was extremely cold outside



One problem with trying to store human waste "air-tight" is that its decomposition creates methane gas. I don't know for sure, but it seems likely to me that at some point the container would explode from the gas pressure. Yuck. I think burying is the better option. Bleach would be handy for disinfecting the chamber pots.

Forget port-a-potties. In an emergency situation, all that a port-a-potty or chemical toilet do is postpone the day of reckoning for a few hours, they are designed to be filled and then emptied. It's remarkable quickly disgusting such things can be in only a few hours. In an urban setting, I vote for dug latrines, with regular piling of dirt over the waste. Our recent ancestors were well acquainted with "chamber pots".

This, folks, is one of the areas where I advocate being pro-active in neighborhood leadership. If you are in a city, and the sewers stop working, go door to door and talk to your neighbors. Organize a community meeting and show everybody how to dig a latrine in their back yard. I've been reading up on refugee camps at the University of Wisconsin Disaster Center (a correspondence course in disaster management), and believe me, waste disposal in an emergency situation is one of the most critical problems -- tied with clean water for first place, and ahead of shelter, food, and medical care.

This also applies to trash (which I mentioned in a previous post) -- if trash piles up, organize your neighborhood to take care of it, first of all by reducing what is thrown away, secondly by probably burning in a safe way (or burying, if there is space available).

Cities were once known as places to die, because they concentrated so many people in such unsanitary conditions in small areas. We currently use considerable resources to manage the waste products of our urban concentrations; if anything happens to them, people need to be ready to shift gears via pro-active neighborhood activism to take care of these problems on the day they first surface (that is, the first day the trash isn't picked up. If you wait until the second missed pickup, things will just be worse.)



Dear Friends,

Some of you here may not know this, but we (husband and I, our three children, their spouses, and our six grandchildren) plan to do as the Cassandra Project stresses, that being to stay in our community and work with the community for its survival and ultimately, we hope, our own in the bargain. We have an established bug-out place we can go to if social unrest threatens here in the outer suburbs of Chicago. But we don't plan on buying any farmland least that is not in our plans as of this date. We remain flexible though, willing to change our minds on this matter given good enough reason. But for right now based on the information we have, our decision to stay put derives from our best "prayerfully- arrived-at" guess about how big this will get and what is the right and prudent thing for us to do in response.

Anyway, I am wondering if more and more people are getting seriously concerned about prepping now than we realize.



DE or diatomaceous earth is used at a ratio of 1/2c. to 50# of grain/product. We use this for long term grain storage, insecticide on garden plants (earwigs are our main target), and as a wormer for our goats. Our co-op carries it both in bulk and under the "Concern" label for organic gardening. There are 2 very different types of DE. One that is used as a filtering product (swimming pools) and NOT for animal or human use. It is hazardous to the lungs when breathed. The other is for agricultural purposes and as an additive for feed. The filtering DE is hazardous. The agricultural DE is not because of the different milling procedure. As an insecticide, agricultural DE is a natural product it is safer than a poison.

Here is an article on it that I received from an ag company. It describes the difference. It is natural, non-toxic, and as the article states, very effective.

I have some other info about grain storage and DE (Diatomaceous Earth). It says: Put about 2 inches of grain in the bottom of your 5 gal. bucket. Use 1 and 1/4 cups of DE to a 5 gal. bucket. Have someone sprinkle DE into the bucket as you fill it with grain to be stored. Seal tightly and roll or shake the bucket to cover all of the grain with the powder.

--------- Begin forwarded message ----------

Diatomaceous Earth

by Philip A. Wheeler

If as much time was spent applying diatomaceous earth (DE) to insect infestations as is spent writing about it, the pesticide companies would go out of business However, if someone doesn't keep writing about DE it seems to fade into the background. This could be explained by the fact that Dow, Monsanto, Union Carbide and other manufacturing companies don't really want their profitable poisons replaced by an inexpensive, non-tonic, naturally occurring, low margin material found in 27 countries of the world.

Diatoms Are the grass of the oceans and lakes. Just as green grass is the staple food of earth animals, Diatoms (algae) are the food of the ocean or fresh water grazers. These tiny organisms Are protected by a crystal shell which looks like a miniature sand dollar. When DE organisms die, the shells pile up on the bottom to form deposits. These deposits are then mined from underwater beds or from ancient dried lake bottoms.

Once DE is mined, it can be milled or processed into a myriad of types for an even greater variety of uses. Filtering and filler are the two main uses but DE also ends up in paints, cosmetics, drugs, chemical insecticides, etc. Because the milling produces different sized and shaped particles, it is important not to use the filtering type for agricultural purposes Filter grind has long crystalline structures which will puncture tissue and injure animals which inhale or ingest it.

DE used in agriculture must be milled until it is almost completely amorphous. This means it has no crystalline form left to cause damage to larger organisms Instead, it has small sharp edges which can damage tiny parasites, larvae, on stored grain, in animal manure, on infected plants and in the stomachs of livestock and people. Since it also has an attractive mineral composition, DE users have reported five distinct uses on the farm: grain storage, deworming, mineralization, deodorizing/absorption, and insecticidal dusting. Each use has its own folklore, facts and fiction associated with it so each will be discussed.


The EPA has approved DE as an additive in feed for use as an anti-caking agent and has exempted it from tolerance requirements as an inert, inactive ingredient in chemical pesticides. Any uses other than those presented here are strictly reports of what farmers have done with the material.


DE has been used for at least two decades as a natural wormer for livestock. It is believed that the DE scratches and dehydrates parasites. Some scientists believe that the DE is a de-ionizer or de-energizer of the worms or parasites. Regardless of the method of operation, farmers report definite control. For effective use, the DE must be fed long enough to catch all the newly hatching eggs or cycling of the worms through the lungs and back to the stomach. A minimum of 60 days is suggested at 2% of dry weight of the grain ration. Caution: do not give to very small pregnant animals such as cats, guinea pigs, etc. and do not feed continually to babies or very small adult animals such as cats, hamsters, etc. The material may be fed on a continuous basis to larger livestock for continuous parasite control and mineralization which is the next major use.


If you began feeding DE to your poultry or livestock and noticed a gain in production, what could the gain be attributed to? The obvious answer would be that the DE reduced the parasite population which resulted in decreased stress on the animal and increased food assimilation. But what about the "mineral" content of the DE? If oyster shell meal provides calcium, then finely ground DE may also provide a broad-spectrum of naturally occurring chelated minerals. These include calcium, magnesium,iron, phosphate, sodium, titanium, potassium and others. Numerous reports of gain have been reported when adding DE: to a ration. With lack of mineralization in modern grains, it isn't hard to conceive of mineral benefits from a finely ground natural mineral product. An Alabama study on hogs showed complete stopping of wood feeder chewing when DE was added to the feed ration.

Feeding at 2% of grain ration can take care of both deworming and mineralization. Most livestock will acquire a "taste" for the mineral if a small amount is mixed in with other feed. After acquiring a "taste" for DE they may take it free-choice.


The third major farm use can be an added benefit from the first two uses. Deodorizing and absorption are natural functions of DE. These will continue to happen as undigested DE passes through with manure. Reduced fly hatching is usually observed in manure from livestock fed DE. Some dairy and hog farmers are also spreading it in bedding (for odor and moisture control) in addition to that coming through the manure.


Fly control is a major problem with livestock operations. DE can be placed in tightly woven burlap bags and hung in doorways. Livestock will be attracted to it and work the bag until their heads are covered with powder which repels flies. In closed areas, DE can be fogged with hand cranked or electric foggers to wipe out flies. Livestock need not be removed and contamination of milk or feed is not a concern. Since the DE "kill" is always mechanical in nature, it is important that the material come in direct contact with the insect. Mixing DE with things flies are attracted to around the farm may cause them to ingest DE in their attempts to eat the attractant.

Besides fly control, DE can be used as an insecticide on most crops. In 1943 the USDA found that DE had an 86% mortality against pea weevil. On California cotton fields, DE was found to be more effective than insecticides and the yield was substantially increased (Tucker, 1978).

Other tests indicate that DE is effective in controlling aphids, brown mites, red spider mites, twig bores, oriental fruit moths and coddling moths in orchards (Alien, 1972: DeCrusta, 1979).

Field use of DE had several problems Not sticking to the vegetation is the main one. Apply DE when plants are moist from natural or artificial sources to aid sticking but re-application is usually necessary after a heavy rain. Putting a negative electrostatic charge on the DE has greatly increased in adherence to leaf surfaces. One company which has since gone bankrupt perfected an electrostatic applicator but widespread use never occurred. Adding an attractant may also be useful here and several patents have been issued for that purpose.


The last use to discuss is grain and flour storage. DE offers the only easy answer to chemical contamination of stored grain. Irradiation could be used, but cost and negative health effects make it very undesirable. This writer has kept wheat, oats, and spelt in open bins for two years or more with no insect damage by applying DE at approximately 7 pounds pet ton of stored grain. The DE was sprinkled into the auger by hand As an examination of its effectiveness, it was compared with malathion and untreated grain on 1,000 bushels of wheat by the Agricultural Research Service of the USDA. After 12 months storage, the DE treated material had 15 insects compared to 4884 for malathion and 16,994 for untreated.

Although 7 pounds of DE may lower the commercial grade of wheat immediately after treatment, the wheat maintained its grade longer than other treated or untreated grain. Flour yielding and bread baking qualities are not affected. The new patents allowing DE to be used effectively at 1 to 2 pounds per ton instead of 7 pounds should eliminate any grade deterioration problems. Recent grain board tests in Canada have proven in the field what the patents claimed on paper, i.e. DE protects stored grain without contaminating it. DE is not the same.

Differences have accounted for large variations in past testing on DE as an insecticide which has slowed the universal acceptance of DE for that purpose. This writer prefers fresh water diatoms to sea types for several reasons. The bio-activity seems to be better and the health ramifications of breathing the fine white dust seems to be almost negligible because of its 99% plus amorphous structure compared with a higher percentage crystalline structure. Since we now have electronic testing equipment available it pays to "check it out" before buying and using any DE.

Reprinted by permission of ACRES USA, INC., Kansas City, Missouri

Nutritional Research Assoc. Inc.'s FOSSIL FLOUR is a non-treated, non-milled, non-calcined fresh water form of Diatomaceous Earth. It consists of microscopic fresh water diatoms which were deposited millions of years ago and have since fossilized. Under microscopic examination each particle looks like a tiny glass spear which pricks the outer skin or coating of insects, worms, maggots, etc. causing them to dehydrate and die. The product is a fine powder, white to gray in color. Diatomaceous Earth is approved for use as an anti-caking agent in livestock and poultry feeds. Nutritional Research Assoc., Inc. makes no claims about diatomaceous earth other than for approved uses. Test results (University of Illinois) in 1966 show that the use of the product does not harm animals or leave residues in milk or meat.

FOSSIL FLOUR is packed and priced as follows:

2 Ibs. for $2.75

5 Ibs for $4.40

10 Ibs for $7.80

25 Ibs. for $17.95

50 Ibs. for $33.90

Plus shipping

Nutritional Research Associates Inc.

P.O. Box 354, 407 E. Broad St., South Whitley, IN 48787


--------- End forwarded message ----------



We're going to call a "Disaster Preparedness" meeting of our neighborhood and try to collect information such as how many houses are heated with woodstoves or alternative energy, how many homes have elderly, handicapped, etc., if an MD or someone else in the medical profession lives in the neighborhood, how many have generators, a stream nearby, etc. We will bill it as good info to= have and a good dialog to start anyway in view of all the natural disasters that have occurred in many parts of the country. It may be good to be prepared.

We have also begun to think of our preparations in wider terms, such as, how much food can I store to share, when will I deliver a load to church before New Year's, can I heat my whole house that we can keep more people warm, etc. This really keeps me from worry.

We are also going to bring it up to our pastor and perhaps get permission to address the parish council and heads of various concerns in our parish so that we can at least get people to start making contingency plans.



I ordered through Chuckwagon Supply. The URL is

You can get the phone number off the web page and place an order. I ordered the starter kit ( but because of the big family - 8 people - the gentleman suggested a deep 12") plus a 10" oven. I ordered one of those fireplace cranes for the fireplace and hope to be able to have one oven hanging from the crane and one over coals. I am considering getting another stand for the second oven because just recently I have discovered that we can bake bread in these ovens!! I'd make a 10" round and a 12"round bread in the morning and put on the pots with some sort of main meal after this. If I use the woodburning stove too I can have the option of heating up something else with some heavy cast aluminum pots I have. Also making coffee or tea.

Remember to store enough charcoal. For instance to bake bread you need about 7-8 white hot coals on the bottom and 11-12 on the top. The kit comes with a great little coal starter and the lid lifter.



For us older duffers, an adult tricycle is available from WalMart on-line (about $370). Same health benefits as a bicycle, but less chance of "kissing the pavement"!



Try Sears. That's where I got my vacuum bag sealer. peace, Darlene P.S. QVC home shoppers also sells theses sealers. Just look up QVC on info or Yahoo. ;)



I'm impressed with this little radio from Emergency Essentials - the one that runs on solar, battery, electric or hand crank power. It says to hand crank it for 1-3 minutes. I counted off 1 1/2 minutes cranking on my watch and the radio has been running for a hour so far, better sound than my expensive one!!! And for $22 dollars I got the radio from Emergency Essentials - - for $22. It has AM/FM and works on 4 types of



1. Have chimneys cleaned.

2. Buy fire-safe candle holders.

3. Plan activities for children who have no TV.

4. Buy a cheap non-cordless phone, as cordless ones generally don't work in a power outage. You may still have phone service, but not power.

5. If you withdraw substantial sums of money from the bank, remember that it could make you a prime target for robbery.

6. Install battery operated alarm system on your basement and ground floor windows and doors.

7. Place important paper records (birth certificates, wills, durable power of attorney, trust information, passports, bank statements, insurance policies, etc.) in a fireproof safe. (If you don't have a safe, we've been told that papers stored in a refrigerator or freezer will be safe from fire). An important consideration, with so many fire hazards about (candles, lanterns, wood stoves, etc.),

8) Really cook with the new "appliances."

9) Short wave radio, CB

10) extra fire extinguishers




Here's a First Aid kit for the family that's available to purchase. Put together by a doctor. Could also look at the itemized list and make your own.



Have any of you purchased any supplies from Peace of Mind Essentials?

Of special interest to me are the herbal medical kits, dental and surgical kits, and the Dr. Christopher's Herbal medicines. I was thrilled at their web site, as they carry just about everything we'll need.

I just wanted to know what you thought about your purchases and are your happy w/ what you ordered? I figured it'll cost a good $500.00 to have a decently supplied medicine cabinet which includes supplies to make your own herbal preparations when you run out or need to help your neighbors.

I was thinking that we should also prepare by taking first aide courses and CPR. This could save one of our children's lives or a neighbor. And don't forget midwifery and birth supplies. God always blesses w/ precious babies!:-) This could be a real help if there are no hospitals near by or they are closed down.

From: Penny Witter <>

Date: Wed, 22 Jul 1998 14:02:07 -0500

If you want some excellent herbal and naturopathic remedies, go to the sites mentioned below. Think this will be vital information to have with whatever else is ahead of us. Richard Schulze is one of the foremost naturopathic physicians and gives courses in Europe. We have Dr. Schulze's "Incurables" Video Series, as well as tinctures, tapes, etc. In addition to the online info., one can call 1-888-HERBDOC and get a (at least it used to be free, not sure now) patient handbook, catalogue, and introductory audio tape. He has a new introductory video out for $25.

"Create Your Own Healing Miracle". 310 This will let folks work with their health situation themselves, both now and if/when things get more interesting.


>From the

healthfree newsletter:

If you know anyone who may be interested in receiving our FREE Health Newsletter please e-mail with "subscribe newsletter" in the subject line, and don't forget to write their exact e-mail address.

To receive this newsletter in its entirety send a blank e-mail to The Newsletter will be sent to you by our autoresponder promptly and depending on server traffic you could receive it as fast as 5 minutes.

Online Health & Nutrition Newsletter (Excerpts) TOP

Vol. 2. Issue 5.

Spirit of Health

- Special Triple Edition Report -

We present you highlights of the ninth issue of our online newsletter, "Spirit of Health. To receive the full newsletter please simply send an e-mail to The newsletter will be sent to you immediately by our autoresponder.

We bring you articles, which are always beyond mainstream medical school of thought and may be new to the alternative minded, as well.

If you would like to access back issues of this newsletter you can do so by selecting and choose the Newsletter link.

This special triple issue brings you excerpts from Sam Biser's Newsletter "The LAST CHANCE Health Report" featuring medical Herbalist Dr. Richard Schulze. To subscribe to Sam Biser's Newsletter contact the University of Natural Healing - (804) 973-0262. The cost for one year (12 issues) is $49.50. Two years (24 issues) are $77.00.

Highlights from our new triple edition newsletter.

"Natural healing can cure the medically-incurable. But as currently practiced, it is a disaster. According to Dr. Richard Schulze, "Medical doctors kill you with their treatments. Natural Healers and herbalists kill you with their inexperience, their ignorance, and their impotent therapies and remedies.

"Natural Healing can cure more than you believe it can cure - when done correctly.

Miracle cures are happening. But for hundreds of thousands of people who practice natural healing, miracle cures are NOT happening. I know this because of what readers tell me in letters. Many follow their holistic doctors, but still suffer and die. This is a painful fact I have not wanted to discuss in print - until now.



Sourdough Starter and Sponge

Sourdough starter: Mix 1 cup flour, 1 cup water, 1/2 to 1 package (or cake) of yeast in a pint jar. Let stand in a warm place overnight. =20

Sponge: Empty starter into a bowl. Fill the pint jar with war water (2 cups), empty it into the bowl, add 2 cups flour and eat to a smooth batter. let bowl stand in a warm place overnight. Batter should be thin enough to pour,. If too thick add a little warm water. In the morning, take out 1/4 to 1/2 sup of the sponge, put in clean pint jar, and place in refrigerator or cool place for the next sponge.

A sourdough starter will be good for many years if kept in a cool place and used every week. never add anything to the starter except flour and water.

To carry the starter, or keep it longer than a week, thicken it with flour to form a ball and keep it in the flour or in a covered container. To activate it, thin it out with water.

Sourdough Brown Bread

1 cup sourdough sponge

1 teaspoon salt

2 tablespoons molasses

2 tablespoons fat

2 cups coarse graham flour

To the sourdough sponge add the salt, molasses and fat. Mix well. Add the 2 cups graham flour, or enough to make a stiff dough. Knead lightly. Place in warm greased loaf tin, let stand 1/2 hour, then bake at 375 degrees F. until lightly browned, about 40 minutes. This is a coarse, heavy bread with a good flavor.


Subject: Re: Christian Homesteading/Faheys TOP

From: <>

Date: Wed, 22 Jul 1998 18:13:00 EDT

The Faheys teach a fabulous course on homesteading. They can be reached

at: Christian Homesteading Movement Oxford, NY 13830

Richard occasionally writes for Full of Grace, the Catholic simple living newsletter.



Kerosene is quite safe to store, not nearly as flammable as gasoline, and it doesn't break down over time.

As a boy, we heated our home extensively with kerosene. Kerosene is very safe. To illustrate, my brother and I used to extinguish the match we used to light the kerosene heater in... kerosene. Dumb, yes, (our guardian angels should get a special commendation), but kerosene is not volatile enough to be lit that way. Now, spray it in the air, THAT's another story.



Our whole house is on the inexpensive filter canister/cartridge systems sold at Home Depot. We use the charcoal cartridges after the sediment cartridge --the charcoal makes the water taste better by taking out chlorine.

I have tried using filters like these as gravity flow filters for emergency use and they work fine if you have enough head pressure. If you have a hose attached that is long and tall enough, these filters work for a cheap high volume filter system for basic dish washing and laundry, etc. You have to elevate the fill tube at least one floor above the filter to get adequate flow. We used an RV water hose because they have no plastic taste. The hose fittings are also available at Home Depot to adapt to the 3/4" pipe thread filter housing to a hose. RV hoses are available where camping and marine supplies are sold. I put faucets on food grade Pepsi containers with the filter between them. Put one high and let gravity clean the water going to the lower tank. Equal size tanks makes the job very clean with no spills. I have three tanks so I can rotate two "clean" tanks having a supply of clean water at all times. Clean water is essential when public services fail because things are going to go into creeks and streams that would normally go into sewers. People will purposely empty porta-potties, etc., into the creeks before they will make a latrine. What do you think?

The bulk water can be filtered again with a better, finer filter for drinking purposes only. We have a Basic Designs hand pump filter sold by Target for about $20 that uses a ceramic filter and really gets the water incredibly clean. This portable filter is small enough for a backpack (or bug-out bag) and removes Giardia, Fecal Coliform, Salmonella Typhii, and other pathogens and claims better than 99.99% removal. The filter is rated at 0.9 microns and is capacity rated at 500 gallons. If you used this filter to refilter relatively clean water for drinking only, it could last indefinitely.

When any filter is used, sediment primarily clogs the outer surface. To clean a ceramic filter, you just wipe the outer surface of the element and the filter is clean and ready for use again, unlike disposable filters that are uncleanable. When you clean the ceramic filter, some of the filter actually wipes away exposing new filter media. When the filter is reduced to 1.75 inches diameter, you discard it. New elements are available mail order from the manufacturer for $15. An extra cartridge on hand might not be a bad idea. You could just buy a second complete assembly for about $5 more and have a complete new pump with hoses etc. too. The cartridge is the main item that you are really paying for either way.

I have had several camping filters in the past. Some more compact and all more expensive but this filter is probably the most practical for most applications. Every stroke on the pump handle gives about one ounce in 2 seconds. If you used this filter in conjunction with a bulk sediment and/or charcoal filter, the water would be purer than most water found anywhere, even if you filtered water from a puddle in the street!

Other places have portable filters including REI, Sportsman's Warehouse, etc., but for the money, this Basic Designs ceramic filter bought at Target is hard to beat.



Assure adequate supplies of the very basics. FOOD, WATER, HEAT, ELECTRICITY, MONEY.

1. We have begun a system of food storage and rotation in a basement pantry. Store what you eat and eat what you store.

We will probably wait until Sept 1999 before maximizing the food stores due to expiration dates of regular grocery store items. I don't see any immediate rush to stockpile large quantities at this early date.

2. Water can and has in the past been accessed from the well with the generator to allow for a convenient uninterrupted life style, during short term disruptions. What if the generator goes down? Redundant planning is needed here. I've setup space for 150 gallons of water with provisions for expansion to 300 gallons by December 30, 1999. To insure freshness, I plan on rotating the supply every 3 months with a fresh refill on 12/25/1999. In the event of a broken generator or limited gasoline supply, 300 gallons of water can serve a family of 4 for well over a month.

3. Heat may be disrupted by breakdowns in production or delivery of propane. Redundant backup again is needed. Kerosene heater with 50 gallons of kerosene can keep at least portions of the house warm. I estimate the heater will use 3 gallons of kerosene per day allowing for about a 15 day auxiliary heat supply.

4. Electricity, of course is available through the generator if gasoline is available. I estimate 100 gallons of gasoline will run a generator for 15 days at 7 hours per day, or 30 days at 3 hrs/day. I have taken time and thought to setup a safe storage location for gasoline and have made one trip to the gas station for 20 gallons. I plan on building the store to 40 gallons, then using it for the cars before it sits too long. Again, a rotation system to insure regular usage and replenishment with a final refill some time in December of 1999.

5. Money is a tricky issue. It's embarrassing to take all your money out of a well performing stock market and lose 15 months of interest and dividends. But waiting until after the market corrects, could eat up a portion of your current value, probably equal to or greater than the interest you would have lost. It's a tough time critical decision! My current plan is to wait for the first market correction followed by a second decline or a leveling off. I'll transfer from stocks to money market. This may occur between March and July 1999. The next move would be from money market to regular passbook savings in the local bank. And ultimately from savings account to safe deposit box by Dec 1, 1999 with a months supply of cash in hand. I'm willing to forfeit a month or two of interest to protect the whole of my principle.

The moral of this story is then, Backup the backup!



Water in swimming pools is chlorinated, but it also contains other chemicals that can make it unsafe to drink Therefore, EPA does not recommend drinking pool water. However, any water (even wastewater) can be purified from microorganisms by boiling it at a rolling (vigorous) boil for 10 minutes. (Longer at higher altitudes.)

If you have additional questions, please contact the Safe Drinking Water Hotline by telephone at 1-800-426-4791 [(703) 285- 1098 outside the continental U.S.], by fax at (703) 285-1101 or by email at "".

For more information, please visit EPA's Office of Ground Water and Drinking Water Internet site at "URL=



Fuel: Use #2, water-clear kerosene; tinted/scented lamp oil gives less light, can gum up the wick or smoke up the chimney excessively. Lower grades kerosene with higher number will work but may cause similar problems with wicks and the chimneys will be dirty sooner.

Cost of Fuel: May cost as much as $2.00/gal. Using 5 traditional lamps and a lantern 5 hours /night in the winter will use about 1 gallon/month.

Transferring the fuel, use a cheap bulb siphon and ONLY use it for kerosene (gasoline residues in a kerosene lamp is extremely dangerous). Try not to siphon any of the sludge and throw away the last 1/2 cup in the can.

Siphon outdoors to minimize problem spills. If you spill over several thickness' of newspaper, do not burn in wood burning stove (chimney fire). Lamp: Do not overfill kerosene reservoir. You need air space between the bottom of wick holder and top of the kerosene for good wicking.

When installing a new wick, soak it in kerosene first. You will then burn the kerosene and not the wick. If the top of the wick is dry only ht wick will burn.

Trim the wick occasionally while using it and the first time you use it. A wick trimmed straight across will give a wide, flat-topped flame and will smoke excessively; too pointy of a wick produces a thin flame and little light. You should cut off the corners, and round the top of the wick a bit. After many hours of burning, the top of the wick will get ragged and charred. The flame may even have two lobes. Trim the char off into the shaped that works best for your lamp.

There are two kinds of lamp owners: those who've burned themselves and those who will. Always check before touching the chimney. You cannot see heat.

To light a kerosene lamp, remove the chimney, turn the wick up a bit, and light and replace the chimney. As the wick begins to smoke, turn it down, just enough to keep from smoking. Adjust the wick for max light without smoking.

Extinguish a kerosene lamp by holding your hand just behind and above the chimney top. Adjust the angle of your palm to direct your breath straight down the chimney. Blow against your palm and a quick puff will blow it out.

Maintenance: Cleaning the chimney. Remove soot with a facial tissue and wash in hot, soapy water(Dawn?). Rinse in very hot water, to which baking soda has been added to eliminate spotting and then air dry.

Wicks: Take stub of wick with you when buying a new one. There are circular wicks, and flat wicks, which come in different widths and thicknesses. One that is too thick or thin will not feed through the wick adjuster and may even damage it. It is better to use one that is too narrow than one that is the wrong thickness or width. A narrow wick will not produce as much light, obviously.

Chimneys: Keep spares on hand. A lamp without a chimney is worthless. Thin glass cost less but break easier; frosted diffuse the light but are less bright. Tall, thin straight chimneys produce a thin, very bright flame, while bulbous chimneys produce wider flame and maybe more total light. Different chimney styles means adjusting to trimming the wick differently.

You may eventually have to put on a new wick adjuster through normal usage or by damage by improper wick. You will have to replace the whole burner. Keep an extra one or two on hand.

The best lamp has a heavy glass base which allows you to see how much kerosene is left. The weight of the base gives stability.

Aladdin Lamps: They are more expensive than traditional lamps. They use pressure to volatilize the kerosene and a mantle to distribute and intensify the flame. They use twice as much kero as a traditional lamp and the mantles have to be replaced frequently. The parts of one model of Aladdin lamp may not be interchangeable.



However, as far as filters go, Katadyn makes the best. They offer many models but it seems the most practical for our situation would be the TRK Table Top filter. Retails through Homestead Products for $220.00. I'm sure pool water is no problem for it, as this filter is used in third world countries by agencies like the Red Cross. The water they use sometimes has to be much worse than pool water. For more info, go to:



Venison Jerky> makes enough marinade for 3 pounds boneless meat cut in thin strips

1/2 cup Each soy & teriyaki sauce

2 Tablespoons either brown sugar or steamed cane syrup

garlic powder and onion powder to taste

fresh ground black pepper

Do Not Add Salt & add just enough spice to a bit less than what you like As the jerky dries out the flavors intensify. Just mix all ingredients together marinate over nite. I use meat that has been soaked and cleaned before marinating it ( cuz hubby said to)

Venison & Beans ( serve with cornbread or biscuits)

Soak venison meat ( cut for stew) in a beer & water or vinegar and water mix for a couple hours ( this helps remove "gamey strong taste") in a crock pot ( or Dutch oven) place meat that's been browned well, onions ( or onion soup mix don't add any more salt) carrots in big chunks, and 1 pound of either Lima, Pinto, Roman or Great Northern beans that have been soaked for at least 7 hours ( my family thinks changing the beans radically changes the flavor they call it variety) add 1/4 cup cooked roux**( rue? roo?) and water to cover, cook 8 hours on low ( while you sleep) or 4 hours on high & then 2 hours on low( if I cook it during the day) You can add in potatoes if you like Too - I almost forgot.

** To make Roux ( or rue or roo)

Measure equal parts fat ( butter is our favorite - but you can use olive oil, or any fat your family likes) and flour. Melt the fat over medium heat till really warm ( butter just starts to brown) add flour and reduce heat, stir while cooking till as browned as you like. I make a batch light for fish and poultry and a darker brown ( not black though") for beef, and game.



Applesauce Cake in Jars

Yield: 1 Servings

2/3 c Shortening

2 2/3 c Granulated sugar

4 ea Large eggs

2 c Applesauce

2/3 c Water

3 1/3 c All-purpose flour, sifted

1/2 tsp. Baking powder

2 tsp. Baking soda 1 1/2 tsp. Salt 1 tsp. Ground cinnamon

2 tsp. Ground cloves 2/3 c Nuts; chopped, optional

Sterilize 8 (12 oz Ball Quilted Crystal - #14400-81400) canning jars, lids and rings by boiling for 10 minutes. Remove the jars and allow to air-dry and cool. Leave the lids and rings in the hot water until ready to use.

Once the jars are cool enough to handle, grease them (use a pastry brush) with shortening (DO NOT use Pam or Baker's Secret); set aside. Cream together the shortening and sugar. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, until the mixture is light and fluffy. Add the applesauce and water; set aside.

In another bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon and cloves. Blend dry ingredients into the applesauce mixture. Fold in the nuts. Pour batter into the jars, filling them about 1/2 full. Place jars onto a cookie sheet or they'll fall over. Bake in a preheated 325-degree oven for 35-40 minutes or until a pick inserted deep into the center of each cake comes out clean. Remove jars from the oven, one-at-a-time (use HEAVY-DUTY MITTS, the jars ARE HOT!); place a lid, then a ring on top and screw down tightly.

Place jars onto your counter top to cool. You'll know when the jars have sealed, you'll hear a "plinking" sound. If you missed the sound, test them by pressing down on the lids once the jars have cooled--they shouldn't move at all.

Store jars in a cool, dry place. They should keep for about a year. I've only been able to keep them for a few weeks, they don't last that long around here. They're wonderful for last minute gifts, especially for single friends.

Gingerbread Baked in Jars

Yield: 5 Servings

2 1/4 c Flour (all-purpose)

3/4 c Sugar

1 tsp. Baking soda

1/2 tsp. Baking powder

1/4 tsp. Salt

2 tsp. Ginger (ground)

1 tsp. Cinnamon (ground)

1/2 tsp. Cloves (ground)

3/4 c Margarine (softened)

3/4 c Water

1/2 c Molasses

Preheat oven to 325-degrees (NO higher).

Sterilize 5 (12 oz) Ball Quilted Crystal (#14400-81400) jam/jelly canning jars, lids and rings by boiling them for 15 minutes. Remove the jars from water and allow to air-dry on your counter top; leave the lids and rings in the hot water until you're ready to use them.

Once the jars are cool enough to handle, use a pastry brush to grease them with shortening (DO NOT use butter, margarine, PAM or Baker's Secret); set aside.

In a large bowl, combine flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder, salt, ginger, cinnamon and cloves. Stir in margarine, water and molasses until well blended. Divide batter among the 5 jars (they should be about full). Place jars onto a cookie sheet or they'll tip over.

Bake in preheated 325-degree oven for 35 minutes or until cake tester inserted in center comes out clean. Move the jars around in the oven while they're baking, so they'll bake evenly.

Have your HOT lids ready. Using HEAVY-DUTY MITTS (the jars ARE HOT!) Take one jar at a time from the oven and place a lid on, then the ring. Tightly screw on lids--do it FAST because the lid gets REAL hot! Allow jars to cool on your countertop.

Once the jars are cool, decorate with round pieces of cloth. Unscrew the ring (the lid should be sealed by now) and place a few cotton balls or a wad of batting on top of the lid (makes it poof-y on top), then a piece of cloth (about 3" larger than the lid) on top and screw the ring back on.

Decorate as desired. I used pinking shears to cut the cloth rounds out, otherwise some material will start to unravel. --glue on dried flowers, bows, ribbons, etc....

Apple Cake in a Jar

Yield: 1 Servings

2/3 c Shortening

1 1/2 tsp. Salt

2 2/3 c Sugar

3 c Flour

4 ea Eggs

2/3 c Water

1 tsp. Cinnamon

3 c Apples; grated

2 tsp. Baking soda

2/3 c Raisins

1/2 tsp. Baking powder

2/3 c Chopped nuts

Mix the ingredients together in the order given. sterilize 7 to 9 wide mouth pint jars and lids. Grease them with shortening. Fill the jars half full and bake on the middle wire rack in the oven.

Bake for 45 minutes at 325 degrees. as soon as the cake is done, remove the bottles from the oven one at a time.

Wipe the rim of the bottle clean with cloth and put on the hot sterilized Lids. Screw down the bands and let cool.

Important-- do not use small mouth jars. do not add any other ingredients.

As the cake cools in the sealed jar, it will pull away from the sides of the jar and come out easily when ready to serve. Slice and serve with lemon sauce.


2 Tbs.. cornstarch

2 Tbs.. butter

1/2 cup sugar

4 1/2 tsp. Finely grated lemon rind pinch of salt 2 Tbs. lemon juice 1 cup boiling water in a pan, thoroughly stir together the corn starch, sugar, and salt.

Gradually stir in the boiling water, stirring constantly to keep it smooth. Continue stirring and cook over moderate heat until boiling. Boil gently for 20 minutes. remove from heat, add butter, lemon rind and juice. Stir thoroughly. Serve hot over apple cake in a jar. Makes about 1 -1/4 cups. This sauce is thicker and more tart than the usual lemon sauce.

Cake in a Jar

1 Servings

ANY quick bread-type cake can be baked in canning jars. I usually bake one jar first -- you have to know how high the batter rises. I usually fill ONE jar 1/2 full then bake it to see how high it rises, then go from there. You don't want the cake to come out of the top of the jar, only to within 1/4 to 1/2 inch from the lip of the jar. Write it down on your recipe (how far you filled the jars)! Once you've established how high the cake rises, you can go from there. The first time is tricky because you won't know how many jars you'll need. MOST of the recipes I've tried I end up using around 8. Sterilize as many jars as you think you'll need and go from there. Make sure your LIDS are new, the rings don't have to be As the jars do seal, the cakes are as moist as the day you put them into the jars--sometimes MORESO.

The baking times will vary -- the moistness of each cake recipe will determine the time. MOST of the recipes I've tried bake in 35-40 minutes.

Start checking the cakes at 25- 30 minutes and go from there. YES, the cakes DO slide easily out of the jars IF you use the jars I've listed. They're Ball 12-oz Quilted Crystal Canning Jars (#14400-81400). They can be found at most grocery stores next to the pectin and other canning supplies. Also, I've seen the 12 oz straight-sided (plain) jars (# ?) at Smart & Final. The plain jars work fine too but they're not as pretty and you have to make your own labels--the jars I use come with decorative labels.

One IMPORTANT tip--get your jars NOW! Once summer's over with they're = very hard to find. Also, when you can, ask for the jars back, they're NOT cheap. Most folks don't mind returning them though, they usually want refills! <G>

There will be a little condensation on the lids and some in the jars so when you seal them it's trapped inside. Don't worry about getting the water off of the lids before placing them onto the jars, the added moisture doesn't hurt the cakes in the slightest. Quick bread-type cakes work = best, I've found that lighter cakes tend to fall when the jars seal.

I'm trying to address every question that's been asked of me before, I hope I've done that. If I've missed anything or if anyone has any questions, don't hesitate to ask. These make WONDERFUL gifts and you can start NOW! Single friends really appreciate these because each jar makes enough for one or two people. I'll post the recipes I've made in my next notes. Try them, they're FUN and delicious to boot! Be right back with a few more tips...

Several folks have asked me how long the cakes can be safely stored...I'm not sure. The longest I've been able to keep them (without getting eaten) is 6 months. The jars DO seal, like any canned good. No need to refrigerate the jars, just keep them in a COOL, dark, dry place. I've only had 6 jars go bad on me: my fault...I put them in a cupboard that got too hot and the seals broke. I now check the jars at least once a week by pushing down on the lid (in the middle); if the lid moves up and down, that means the seal has broken. If you've checked the jars frequently, they're safe to eat; otherwise, toss the cake. I've been making cakes in canning jars for over 3 years and haven't poisoned anyone.

If you give the jars away, be sure to tell the person to check the jar periodically (if they plan on storing it for any length of time).

Not only are the cakes tasty, they're very pretty to decorate. You can glue on dried flowers, ribbons, dough-art name it, it can be glued onto the lid, ring and side of the jar. I usually cut out a piece of cloth (about 3 inches larger in circumference than the lid), using pinking shears (so the cloth doesn't unravel), place a wad of cotton or batting in the center of the lid (take the ring off -- the jar lid should be sealed by now), then place the piece of cloth on top and replace the ring. Decorate to your heart's desire!

There are probably a few more tips I've forgotten...if anyone has any questions, don't hesitate to ask. Don't limit yourself to the recipes I've given you...ANY quick-bread type cake can be baked in canning jars.

Lighter cakes tend to fall once the jar seals.

Pumpkin Spice Cake in Jars Yield: 8 Servings






1/2 tsp. SALT







16 oz Canned PUMPKIN

Preheat oven to 325-degrees.

Sterilize 8 (12 oz) Ball Quilted Crystal Canning Jars (14400-81400), lids and rings by boiling them for 10 minutes. Leave the lids and rings in the hot water until you're ready to use them; remove jars and allow the jars to air-dry and cool. Prepare batter in the meantime. Using a pastry brush, brush the inside of the cooled jars with shortening (DO NOT use Pam or Baker's Secret); set aside.

Coarsely chop the raisins and walnuts; set aside. Sift together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, cloves, cinnamon and ginger in a large bowl. Add raisins and walnuts; toss to lightly combine.

In another large bowl, beat eggs at high speed until thick and yellow (2-3 minutes). Gradually beat in the sugar until thick and light. At low speed, beat in the oil and pumpkin; blend well. Gradually stir in the flour mixture until well blended.

Divide among the 8 canning jars (should be slightly less than 1/2 full. Wipe the sides of the jar off (inside/ outside) in case you slop or it'll burn. Place jars onto a cookie sheet or they'll tip over. Bake 35 to 40 minutes or until a pick inserted into the center of each jar comes out clean.

Have your lids and rings ready. Take one jar at a time from the oven; place a lid and ring on and screw down tightly. Use HEAVY-DUTY mitts--the jars are HOT! Place the jars onto your counter top too cool. You'll know when they've sealed, you'll hear a "plinking sound".



I found this in my dehydrater book.

Preparation; Peel, wash and slice 1/4 to 3/8 inch thick or shoestring

3/16 inch thick , or grate or dice depending on how the dried potato is to be used. Pretreatment: Steam blanch over water containing 1 tsp. sodium bisulfite per cup of water 4 to 6 minutes or until translucent but still firm. Rinse well in cold water to remove gelled starch.

Drying Temperature: 160F for 1 to 2 hours, or until done. How to use: Grate slices and rehydreate for hash brown potatoes.

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)