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Last minute tips for parents when the SHTF

 
Anonymous Coward
User ID: 1110734
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09/09/2012 04:03 PM
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Re: Last minute tips for parents when the SHTF
Persimmons and medical uses for them by the First People:
[link to www.texasbeyondhistory.net]

Mostly they were used to treat canker sores in the mouth, hemmaroids from the tannins in unripened ones (but remember jewelweed too), and to heartburn.

More on Asian uses for Persimmons, which includes Chinese medicine and Kampo (Japanese medicine)
[link to www.kakishibu.co.jp]
Anonymous Coward
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09/10/2012 03:12 PM
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Re: Last minute tips for parents when the SHTF
Using human urine as garden fertilizer

If you've been reading my posts, then you know that I've mentioned saving human urine by teaching people to separate that out in one bucket, and saving fecal matter for disposal in another. This is done on rural villages by making a different reservoir and the urine is diverted there, and the other is composted.

Composting human feces is difficult to do for two reasons. They've found heavy metal elements in some of that, which you do not want at all in your garden, for that will be absorbed into plants. The other is that while urine is usually sterile, fecal matter is full of pathogens, and proper disposal is a must as those can poison any wells or contaminate the garden's produce. It is possible, but a complex long term project to compost human feces, and not something that will occur right away post-collapse.

If urine and fecal matter are mixed, that natural process of decay is halted, as it interferes with the bacteria's environment, and hence the smell will be overwhelming and take much longer to decay, and a worse issue with sanitation. This is a teachable moment to help the entire neighborhood as sanitation will be a planned activity or else the entire surroundings will become contaminated. One family in a rural area equals little issues. Twenty families in a suburb equals a big issue.

Here's a Scientific American link about a study which found that using urine or urine/wood ash as a superior alternative to using store bought chemical/mineral fertilizers. In every way, the urine provided the nitrogen/phosphorus/potash that make up the components that are needed by plants.

So, getting past the "yuck" factor of mixing it and then spreading it late post-harvest, then it will be an important alternative that will save lives by increasing the chemical composition of the garden and therefore increasing yields in size of produce, the overall health of the plants, and in the amount of produce created.

For someone reading this who isn't a gardener, and they're thinking, "I can't do that...", well, yes you will. Each season as you grow your vegetables and herbs, those plants will pull the essential elements from the soil and make it less fertile. This is why soil additives must be mixed back in.

The first people and ancient civilizations found that by adding composted cow manure to both sweeten the soil (raise the pH) to around 7, that their plants grew better. Or if the plants needed acidic soil, to add things like decaying leaves or some plants that produce acids to lower the pH below 7.

It's not just the pH, but also the plants needed nutrients. Think about it, urine contains mostly amines (NH2). These amines are on the ends of amino acids that make up protein. The body breaks them down biochemically, and then the kidneys grab two of those amines to urine. That means a great source of nitrogen, just as composted cow manure is too.

Now you must not just add something to soil for no reason, but test the soil to see what amounts need to be added that are lacking. This means that you MUST by a soil test kit now, post collapse. They can usually be purchased for under ten dollars, and that's an important investment for the future so you'll know when to add those things back in as you garden.

Note, if someone has a bladder or kidney infection, then obviously do not use that urine but discard it elsewhere as that isn't sterile but contains large amounts of colonized pathogens.

[link to www.scientificamerican.com]
Anonymous Coward
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09/11/2012 02:24 AM
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Re: Last minute tips for parents when the SHTF
Learning practical skills post-collapse: resoling shoes

Good footwear is important in the wild, just ask any hiker who's put many miles on their shoes. Often a hiker of the Appalachian Trail will wear out many soles as they travel, and so they have to have someone either send them shoes along maildrops on the route, or else purchase from a limited selection along that journey.

Now image post-collapse how important your boots and sandals are going to be. Modern soles are made from rubber and special plastics in order to be durable, tough to penetrate, yet light as possible. Since we don't have rubber trees or a way of making plastics, that means replacing those soles as they wear out.

Yes, in the old days, they made moccasins from leather. As there are limited animals to hunt, and because tanning hides is not a well known art, then while some people may make them again, probably for the most of us, it's not going to happen. Still, for those lucky rural folks (like me), here's a video showing a basic moccasin being made. The advantage is that the thinness of the sole allows for good stalking as you feel the earth beneath you and can be quieter than a boot plus leave little trace as you walk. The disadvantage is that the thinness makes it colder in winter, it's less waterproof, and they wear out quickly. Having a pair of moccasins would be a good thing for specialized use.


Now for everyone else, one very simple method that used in 3rd world nations is using old discarded tires as the material for replacing the sole. That material while it can be heavier for sure, it is extremely durable. It does mean that you will be best served by having tools, heavy thread, glues or silastic (silicone sealant) to apply them and then ensure that the new sole stays in place.

If you can learn this simple skill, then as a “cobbler” you'll have a very useful barter skill in the future.


[link to www.hollowtop.com]

There are many links that you can find about using tires in this way since recycling them is a major issues ordinarily. Look around and see what you can find yourself. Personally I think it'll be a common business.
Anonymous Coward
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09/11/2012 02:38 AM
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Re: Last minute tips for parents when the SHTF
Learning practical skills post-collapse: making leather gloves

Now the reason that I think that leather won't be used on shoes by making moccasins is that another need will far outweigh that: glovemaking.

If you've done any work at all outside, then you've invested in at least three pairs of gloves: common gardening gloves, tough leather gloves for handling a lot of material, and rubberized gloves for working out in the wet and cold. Often welders will have special long durable gloves to protect themselves from burns, and these would be also important and very practical to have too. It goes without saying that you'll need warm gloves for hunting, and often these are thinner so you can be pretty dextrous while doing that kind of activity.

These should be in your supplies as they're every day items that you'll be using. Working in the cold or wet very long, your hands will get stiff and easily wounded, and in a survival situation the loss of your hands equals death.

In a collapse, a lot of people will NOT have gloves and as such there will be a huge amount of injuries. All it takes is a simple infected wound to fester, and then fever and septicemia follow.

Those who end up making it will badly need gloves, and so whatever leather can be tanned from either livestock or deer will be made into gloves in my opinion.

If you can learn this skill and can also patch old ones, then you'll have a very useful barter skill. Most likely you can also be the one to process hides as the kills come in, and be saving tannic acid from acorn production too towards that purpose. Yes, you can brain tan, but that spoils quickly.
[link to www.renaissancetailor.com]

There's several links on historical glove making from that site.
Anonymous Coward
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09/12/2012 06:20 PM
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Re: Last minute tips for parents when the SHTF
Useful wild edibles: Rose Hips

Here's a very good recent article on rose hips and a method of making syrup from them, something that was done in wartime England in order to prevent scurvy.
[link to self-sufficientinsuburbia.blogspot.com]


This video originally appears on the link above.

Rosehips are easily harvested, but the seeds are irritating and must be removed before use.

It's been used since ancient times to help with osteoarthritis. It may be one of the few medicines which we'll have post-collapse.
[link to www.webmd.com]

[link to www.vegetarian-nutrition.info]

A glance from google books to see their many uses:
[link to books.google.com]

Some general information:
[link to en.wikipedia.org]

Because birds love them, you could use this as bait to trap them too.

Since the harvest for various species comes and then is gone, you need multiple sources of medicines and vitamins in order to always have a source for your needs. Don't think that since this is available, I won't need that. It may be that animals get that harvest, or you use up that supply, or the neighbors use it, so learn multiple ones.
Anonymous Coward
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09/13/2012 11:08 AM
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Re: Last minute tips for parents when the SHTF
Useful wild edibles: Pine Cambium

During the famine in Ethiopia, people resorted to eating almost anything. At one point they were eating blades of grass, which as you can imagine is almost useless since we're not ruminants (cows with multiple sections of stomach for digesting it). You've probably read some things and thought, "I'd never be that desperate that I'd eat grasshoppers, wild violets, or grass seed in order to survive".

Well, the First People in North America sometimes when things were desperate, would peel away the outer layers of a pine tree, and getting into the cambium layer, take that and boil or fry it, and use that as food. According to Green Dean," a pound of it contains as much protein as nine cups of whole milk". It is however nearly flavorless. Either method will produce something edible, and it will keep you going, but of course will most certainly kill the tree. Peeling back that much will expose the tree to the elements, so such a decision would be used when only so desperate that you had no other choice. As pine is easily identifiable, it's a reasonable option.

Now what some people did was convert that to a flour, and by doing so, they extended their bread making supply. Spruce is also used, as are many things I've detailed earlier like white clover. Still, you must always minimize calories used to gain the most calories, and that means simply eating it instead.

Many links follow, including a serious ethnobotanical discussion of the practice among the Native Americans:


[link to www.ruralvermont.com]

[link to www.ehow.com]

[link to www.eattheweeds.com]

[link to ethnobiology.org]

Oh yeah, it's not actually eating the pine "bark". People hear that and think that's possible. Obviously the cambium is the inner section of the tree that is actually carrying water and nutrients and not the hard exoskeleton of the tree (the actual bark).
Anonymous Coward
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09/13/2012 11:28 AM
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Re: Last minute tips for parents when the SHTF
Useful wild edibles: Pecans

Now a wonderful wild edible is the pecan. To me, it's the most delicious nut of them all. In the Southern portion of the US, pecans can begin to be harvested in September depending upon local climate and elevation. As the nutmeat is so excellent tasting, you'll be competing with almost every kind of wild game animal or bird, so you have to work diligently and quickly. Worm larva will also eat them.

A cup of pecans contains a whopping 753 calories, and the fat is full of helpful antioxidants and half of the thiamine we need each day. Yes, not a great food to eat every day when trying to lose weight, but excellent survival food. It's thought that the plant's phytochemicals may help in dementia related disease states.

Here's a most excellent link which shows all the aspects of harvesting and including a video link. By the way,that site has many useful articles on how to do all sorts of things.
[link to nutritiondata.self.com]
[link to www.wikihow.com]
Anonymous Coward
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09/13/2012 12:08 PM
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Re: Last minute tips for parents when the SHTF
The Daylily

Now the daylily is not a a native species to the USA, but it is commonly found everywhere as a cultivated species of flower that is a perennial. It produces both an edible flower but more importantly a tuber which can be harvested in the fall. In Asian cooking, it's used frequently, but it's not something that most people will consider food. That said, it does contain good nutritional content and it harvested simply. This means very little work for you post-collapse when you're scouring through cities trying to find anything to eat, and most likely most people will NOT think to eat them.

[link to en.wikipedia.org]

[link to www.tacticalintelligence.net]

[link to www.onlyfoods.net]



DON'T eat the leaves.
Anonymous Coward
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09/13/2012 02:04 PM
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Re: Last minute tips for parents when the SHTF
Highly plausible but unusual seachange in US/Israeli foreign policy

Here's a very scary war scenario about how the use of a theoretical EMP weapon (which it entirely possible to create but not yet used) and deployed by Israel might cause the US to intercept its usage:
[link to johngaltfla.com]

I don't usually use this topic for that sort of thing, but the saber rattling has gotten deafening.
Anonymous Coward
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09/13/2012 03:35 PM
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Re: Last minute tips for parents when the SHTF
Useful trees to harvest from: Basswood

In the US, particularly in the South, a Basswood is known as a Bee tree. Bees will seek it out as some prefer that kind of fragrant flowers. It's also called an American linden or in England or perhaps Canada called a Lime tree.

Now most people don't know this, but is you take a young tree, one that's well beyond the sapling stage, then you can peel away the bark, on one particular layer will produce the very best cordage. That malleability made it ideal for weaving clothing in Japan. Some First People used cedar for that purpose too.

Here's a link from an excellent site which shows how to do that. All of his articles are wonderful. Note: especially read about how he steams woods (like Ash trees) for bending as that has many applications for making skis and canoes and perhaps bows.
[link to www.bushcraft.ridgeonnet.com]

[link to en.wikipedia.org]

Basswood was frequently used for tool handles. It also was utilized to create shields during the early medieval period. It is still used to make both woodwind and stringed instruments today.

The Basswood has medicinal properties as the hardwood is good for charcoal and the flowers for reducing high blood pressure.
Anonymous Coward
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09/13/2012 07:32 PM
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Re: Last minute tips for parents when the SHTF
Useful wild edibles: Chestnuts

Chestnuts are one of those unusual nuts in that they are low in fat. A cup has only 350 calories and 3 grams of fat, half of a cup of pecans. They are high in vitamin C and B6 too. It's more like eating a sweet potato than eating a nut and of course they must be picked before the cold in order to get the best taste. They're roasted to prepare them. The skin should be removed due to the tannins.

Score a crisscross pattern in all but one chestnut. That will be you temperature indicator, and will "pop" when the batch is done.

Here's some information about harvesting them. You should definitely do this as many people will simply ignore them as a food source.

Since they have a high sugar content, they've been used as a sweetener and as a fermentable item for brewing.

Medicinally, the chestnut's bark is soaked and boiled in water, and that high tannin liquid is consumed to rid bloody dysentery, a very useful medicine indeed. Many times more soldiers died of this plague than being injured.

Believe it or not, the leaves have been used to lighten hair color, something a woman may be very interested in using when there are no longer ways to handle dark roots.



[link to www.ehow.com]

[link to www.ehow.com]

[link to www.botanical-online.com]

[link to nutritiondata.self.com]
Anonymous Coward
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09/15/2012 03:17 PM
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Re: Last minute tips for parents when the SHTF
Understanding bacterial infections

If you've ever watched a historical drama, or better actually read some books and journal articles about times past, then you know that far more people died of infections than in wars. The reason is simple, our bodies have colonized many types of bacteria, and with good diet, a stout constitutional makeup, cleanliness, soap, hot water, and antibiotics, we've managed to hold the colonies in check. We can't eradicate them, and some are very beneficial, so the best that we can do is hold them at bay.

Have you ever wondered why that is? Think about that, with all these many decades of not only first generation antibiotics, but many new varieties, and additives, and advanced medicine, and new ideas, why is it that we haven't eradicated all of the bacterial infections completely?

Colonies of bacteria are not stable, but reproducing based upon what they can feed upon, and based upon being cleansed away. Most die, but the ones that remain reproduce. The reasons they remained were they didn't get removed by soaps and water and other cleaners or products that created hostile pH levels and stayed in hidden areas. Most often those are your hair or nether regions or body orifices. They've made a home there, a relatively safe abode, and even if you scrubbed with sandpaper and acids, they'd come back, and worse you would have ruined the skin barrier and the infection would go deeper still.

The advent of anti-bacterial soap was supposed to kill them, wasn't it? The only thing such soap create are a few survivors, and those develop resistance to the agents added to them. Think on this, despite the harsh phenol of mouth washes and rinses, the same bacteria comes back hours later. It's inside you, and you cannot eradicate it.

Because of that, some bacteria, most especially from inside your nose will multiple and a little sniffle, a little detritus from mucus membrane secretions, and you'll rub your face and hands, and spread it. Then you'll pick up a tool, or some clothing, or prepare a meal, and give your bacteria colony to someone else.

In a collapse, with a loss of utilities, then the absence of hot water or water at all, electricity, natural or propane gas, then you cannot remove these bacterial colonies easily. Water is precious, and mostly used to prevent dehydration and cooking, and then used for cleaning. Then whatever water is saved from those processes is used for flushing, and of course that water is very dirty and loaded with...bacteria.

Because you'll become a hunter gatherer, you'll be harvesting foods from outside, and of course they have their own bacteria and other contaminants. Then if you harvest animal and insect protein sources, you'll get even different bacteria from the interiors of those species. Not washing carefully, and hurriedly preparing foods, you'll ingest them, and end up with higher than normal bacteria counts in your stomach acid. Despite the acid being strong enough to dissolve nails, the mucus in your system shields your stomach lining, and coats the bacteria as it travels down, and while much is killed, some will cause internal infections.

Far before that happens, you'll develop a nasty skin boil on your face, and some people will get impetigo, a mixed bacterial infection of Strep and Staph bacteria. It was endemic (always present and ready to flare up) to most medieval and frontier cultures as cleanliness was always an issue, and so people walked around with raging infections all the time on their bodies and faces. History today as depicted on television and film heavily sanitizes the appearance of people from history. They were not all beautiful, at least by post-modern standards, and even if their bacterial infections were held in check, they still were carriers. One visiting a new place, would bring their “critters” with them, and so, either the introduction of their ideas, weapons, war, or bacteria would eventually colonize that new people.

This means that the only thing you can do today is prepare by figuring out ways to maintain hot water, soaps, herbs to treat disease states, cleansers from plants, lye from ashes, etc in order to protect yourself as well as you can.

Even if you are very altruistic, the people around you will most probably NOT prepare, and they'll be subject to loads of infections far exceeding the norm, and any contact with them will potentially make you sick. They won't have a regular ability to make hot water, they'll have run out of soap and cleaners, they'll be getting skin infections, and they'll be malnourished with depressed immune systems, and they'll be carriers of disease.

Many of them will be regularly sick from ill-prepared food. The reasons spices were so popular in the old days was that it hid the flavor of meat and animal products that had spoiled.

This means that all precautions must be taken in a collapse with strangers. It's not being unfriendly, it's being practical. It's not only bad intentions that are an issue, it's their illnesses too. This means that if you let someone inside to be kind, say a child that's starving and who's been on their own for a time, then you have to clean them up carefully, and perhaps isolate them before bringing them in. If not, then all of your preparations may have been in vain, for you may infect everyone. Isolating someone for three days minimum is a very good idea, for that coupled with a new good diet for them plus cleanliness, will get rid of most issues in minimal time.

It's important to ask them about any signs or symptoms they've experienced in the last three days, and to ask that casually and without frightening them or yourself. After people have been sick for awhile, they fail to report all of their problems as they've had to ignore them, or perhaps since they're in a weak mental state from very low blood sugar. They might collapse on your property.

Even healthy looking neighbors who you've banded together with, should be asked polite questions about their health. Most people will volunteer information, and if you've been gathering wild edibles and herbs, then treating them may be in your best interest too. If they are healthy, then you'll be healthy, because if you're depending upon them for X, and in trade you give them Y, then you're passing bacteria around anyway.

An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Imagine not being able to get any medicines other than what You make. If even your vitamin C level is low, then you'll open up yourself to infection. A very likely case is that the strongest member of the tribe gets sick from overexertion, or the healer gets sick from helping everyone else, or exhaustion depresses immune systems of anyone.

Children do not clean themselves unless taught very well. Most adults assume they know, or that they learned in school, and this failure to communicate will severely hurt your tribe. Then, you'll have a sick child with vomiting and diarrhea, and huge mess to deal with, or perhaps a long term issue with impetigo, and constant shedding of bacteria. Such an issue with the absence of antibiotics might last for six or more months, and if it happens in Winter, then it could mean death as the food runs out, and as the cold comes in.
Anonymous Coward
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09/15/2012 07:05 PM
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Re: Last minute tips for parents when the SHTF
Common Items to Stock, as they're not possible to acquire

Here's a list of very simple cheap items that you should have in your home as they're impossible to acquire in a collapse.

Salt
Unless one lives close to the ocean, it's extremely difficult to harvest. It's cheap, will preserve all kinds of foods, you can clean with it, acts as a mordant, use as a gargling aid for bacterial infections, and mix with other items. It must be in your preps and won't set you back for much. Remember too, that most salt has iodine, a difficult to acquire nutrient unless one lives close to the sea.

Coffee
If you vacuum pack the beans, they'll last a long time. Steeping them longer in a French Press or otherwise will make you maximize the caffeine. Caffeine potentiates (increases the power) many drugs like aspirin, making the effect more intense, a useful property when you have very few medicines in your toolkit. Alternative black tea will work as it's more caffeine per ounce as long as you steep it longer than normal

Baking Soda
You can't make this at home. This and some tartaric acid makes baking powder for leavening. Very useful as a neutralizer, odorizer, cleaning agent, etc.

Vinegar with mother in it
This is a kind of vinegar with the bacteria culture intact. If you save the mother and add it to fresh material that is fermenting, then you can make more...and endless amount as long as you use it up and keep adding to it. Vinegar is essential for pickling, something you'll be doing to extend your harvest. You won't have canning lids, but you can pickle to last a bit longer.

Hydrogen peroxide
Impossible to make. Cheap. Perfect for first aid. The extra oxygen isn't stable so it vents off. It's a very low concentration of it truly. The extra oxygen comes off and it kills bacteria and doesn't sting as most disinfectants do, which makes it ideal for children's wounds. Don't swish it in your mouth as that's not safe and a surprising amount of tissue damage can occur.

Rubbing alcohol
While ethanol can be made, any alcohol is very flammable. Rubbing alcohol is not ethanol, so you can't drink it. It cleans very well to breakdown many substances and of course as a disinfectant. The distilling temperature is different than ethanol, so while it's possible, it's very unlikely for this to be made.

Black pepper
Pepper was used traditionally in medieval times to disguise bad tasting meat. While there are lots of things that taste hot, few things spice the same as black (or white) peppercorns. Grind it up as needed to make it last longer.

Matches
Can't be made, but of course you can make tinderboxes as previously detailed. Still, a good box of waterproof matches is a wonderful luxury item.

Bullets
Can be made, but requires a lot of chemistry to make black powder, and even then the actual shell is needed. Lots of people reload, but those supplies will run out. A real art to mixing loads to achieve velocity and stopping power.

Pool Shock
This substance is used to chlorinate a pool. If you buy bleach, it will lose it's chemical composition in a short time. Pool shock is cheap and can be added to water to make your own bleach. You'll use that often to treat water as a final means of killing pathogens. Even the best biosand filter kills/filters only 97%. A very mild bleach “squirt” should be added to dishwater to kill bacteria since you'll be minimizing water use. Kills the staph and E coli that are the main two bacteria that colonize meats, so you treat the cutting board area after to prevent illness. Hard if not impossible to keep anything white in the laundry without bleaching agents in a collapse.

Any unusual spice you like as those always comes from very far away. Sometimes a little change in the same old beans and rice helps immensely.

Wheat
While wheat can be grown, it takes a lot of time and trouble. If you have a handmill, then you can grind what you need upon demand, and keep the rest sealed. As it's the only grain that will interact with yeast because of gluten, you'll never ever eat flour that is solely wheat. You'll add to it to stretch it as long as possible, then pray that someone can raise it and harvest it. A handmill is essential equipment as it takes a huge amount of time to do that by hand, and while something can be made, it can't be made easily.

Antibiotics
Expensive. Impossible to make. Some well meaning folks have mentioned bread mold. There's lots of kinds of useless bread molds. An incredible number of deaths from common bacterial infections will happen since there will be zero antibiotics. Animal antibiotics are very similar in composition but lacking the quality control.

Canned meat
While canning can happen over and over with reusable lids, most people don't have them due to expense. Hunting is an intense activity and luck is almost as important as skill. We don't have tons of game animals of any size for everyone to start hunting again. Raising livestock is a huge amount of work and investment. Canned meat lasts a long time. A little goes a long way, especially if you stock dehydrated bouillion or soup mixes to stretch it.

Vitamins
While many vitamins (A, C, D, K and some B vitamins) are easy to get, a lot of them are not, and trace minerals can be hard to acquire. They are water and fat soluble, which means that they are best taken with a meal that has some fat in it so that they are bioavailable for digestion. You may not have calories from food, but you probably can drink plenty of water, eat some wild edible, and then taking a vitamin, hold off malnutrition for a short period. Eventually insufficient protein will cause marasmus or kwaishikor,two different disease states that were seen in history, usually in war time.

Protein powder
This can be mixed into liquid, and added to any food to boost it. This means if you had nothing but sweet relish or a can of veggies or fruit, or ketchup, then you could make it into a meal. Not a healthy meal, but one that would give you some calories and protein. Some people might store instant milk for this reason to mix in the protein as well as calcium.

Inexpensive soap
While soap can be made, the issue is finding enough fat, as whatever fat you find on an animal will be accidentally lost by grilling, or it will be saved and used as calories. Soap is cheap, and if you buy one that's concentrated, then you can make whatever soap solution strength you need.

Rice
This is not easily grown. Wild Rice can be harvested from creeks sometimes if you're lucky, but it's not true rice. Rice is grown in paddies, and requires lots of manure. Most of the US is not suited for rice production. It's cheap, easily to carry, and nutritious when mixed with other items to make a complete protein. Mostly we'll be eating corn and soybeans and pinto beans as they're easy to grow in the US.

Sugar
While sorghum can be grown, it will take some time for that to occur. Sugar takes work to granulate. There are many natural sweeteners, but more trouble and expensive than sugar. Honey is an excellent food, but not for infants due to botulism spores. When the sugar runs out, then things will be a lot less sweet. Sugar, if we have it at all, will be made from beets.
Anonymous Coward
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09/16/2012 05:20 PM
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Re: Last minute tips for parents when the SHTF
Who will die first in a collapse?

We're used to watching post-apocalyptic films and reading dystopian books. It's been a genre forever, and moved from fringe culture and entered into mainstream awareness. Because of that, a lot of people have odd ideas about what a breakdown of civilization would look like. They imagine immediate chaos, something that's within the realm of possibility, but not probable. Things take some time to completely unwind and then disintegrate. People slowly panic, but I admit some will move into that zone faster than others.

Usually the ones who do that, they're the ones who are the least prepared because regular life has either thrown them a lot of curve balls, or they're perpetually on the edge of stress and unable to cope, or a sudden disaster happens that ruins whatever preparations they've made. These are the folks who I think will have the initial issues in a collapse. They don't have anything worth trading. They don't know skills that are practical, only the ones that help them in a civilized world. They don't have a backup supply of food, water, and first aid. They can't protect themselves.

Still, because this group frequently has to deal with high stress and low supplies and money, this group is the most likely to lower their morals in order to cope, and as such a potentially dangerous group. Because they need supplies as much as anyone, and perhaps used to some agency or government to take care of them, then they'll look for supplies, and justify whatever means is necessary to acquire them. Because that's a risky means of achieving that goal, they can expect a high chance of violence to cause them harm, and they will be the ones highly likely to use violence in order to fulfill their short term supplies. Even if they get them in criminal ways, they'd have to get good at being criminals very quickly, and probably will die.

Because a lot of people are weakened by illness: mentally, spiritually, or physically, a lot of people will be susceptible to the feral group. Some people never learned to protect themselves, don't practice self-care by eating right or exercising or carrying something heavy or taking their medicines when they should have. As such, their bodies,or souls, or minds are weaker than they could be, and this vulnerability will probably cause a showdown to make them falter. They could die as they defend what few supplies they have.

Some people are very defensive. They look at folks with suspicion, and perhaps have some mental issues. I'm not saying that they're mentally ill, but they can't cope with people very well. An incident may cause them to overreact, and as such, some of them may die as they inflict more force than necessary or because they leave their homes to check out what's going on needlessly.

Some people will leave their cities because of a lack of infrastructure. Maybe it starts by a severe loss of jobs, and it becomes apparent that the local government services will be disrupted in a hit or miss fashion. That increases so much that they fear what will happen, and they have no real plan, just an idea to leave. Since you can't carry much when leaving in a hurry, and you can't take a lot of supplies no matter what, they'll run out or them as they leave and get further from home. Few places will have supplies, and being in a strange place, not knowing anyone, and encountering the three groups above, they'll clash with them.

Other people will have already left. They'll leave earlier because they anticipate issues, maybe they're even a little prophetic in that way, but unless they have a well executed plan, a homestead to go to, a cache of supplies, and can band together with a local family in that new area, then they'll die too. It takes a long amount of time to forage and hunt and trap and fish and also to apply skills learned in a book. Simple errors will kill them, maybe more than violence.

Some people will be better prepared. They have skills and supplies and live in rural areas, but as the exodus occurs, based upon their location, some of them will encounter the people above. If they sit tight and quietly are watchful, and can avoid violence whenever necessary, then they may make it. If the season is right, and they don't have supply issues or illness, and can get in a crop and forage some, and don't fall prey to accidents, they might make it.

Some people live in very remote areas. Maybe you'd have to take multiple exits over and over to get to their place and then only after driving for a long period, and then perhaps enter their property. That remoteness will help, unless they get sick. Hopefully they know their neighbors and get along with them. They know skills because they've learned them to survive and thrive. They won't be able to resupply, so if they run out of something, then they have to be fabricators or very creative. If they can get along with each other, and their harvest doesn't fail, then they can eek an existence while the collapse is occurring.
Anonymous Coward
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09/16/2012 10:57 PM
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Re: Last minute tips for parents when the SHTF
Edibles to consume when desperate: Earthworms

One of the protein sources that you can find almost anywhere is the common earthworm. The First People often harvested them, since just about every creature around ate them as well. They must be collected and put in water for several hours, and once you do that, they purge their long alimentary tracts. Then they can be boiled to removed the mucus that they create, and then eaten or cooked again. Since they contain mostly protein, it a good source, though of course a grim one.

The harvested earthworm could be dried, and this is the easiest way to add a protein powder to something else, and then out of sight, out of mind, and no one else is the wiser about what you're eating.

Here's two links. Since the earthworm has a short life span of 80 days, one could take some black walnut husks, immerse that in water, and then pour that upon a moist area, and then the earthworms in that area will come up for air. Then you clean them, and place them in some dirt with food waste, and raise some earthworms for later consumption. Then harvesting them slowly, have a constant protein source. No one said dealing with a collapse would be easy.

[link to www.redwormcomposting.com]

[link to www.eattheweeds.com]
Anonymous Coward
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So how long can a family really hold out before starving?

So, you've been reading my posts, and you possess a theoretical knowledge of pioneer or tribal skills. You're a traditional family of four: a husband, wife, and two young children. You're concerned about all of the things you read and see on television, but...you don't really prepare, and have about a normal amount of food at home. No extra water to speak of, and a regular stash of common items at home. You live in an average town, not much larger than 50,000, and you think, well if worse comes to worse, then you'll scavenge and find food and water somehow.

It's the first week of November , and after the elections, and some global event triggers a severe world war coupled with an economic crisis. The utilities are beginning to be sporadic, and despite all the films you've seen, you know in your heart that you can't just take off. You have no place to go.

You head to the grocery store one last time. Most of the regular items are gone. You get what you can, but you're out of money, and they're not taking anything but cash. The ATMs don't work.

Some people are leaving, but your wife doesn't want to, or your kids, and well...you don't want to upset the apple cart. You haven't gone to work in days, no one has, nor has anyone sent their kids to school.

It's pretty quiet. Sometimes you hear some arguing outside. Some yelling. Maybe an occasional car crash or gun fire in the distance. There's a lot of police and fire sirens each day, but then less and less.

Some of your neighbors have knocked on your door. You don't know them well. You've been to a party once, or seen them getting their mail, or seen them at the grocery. The neighbors seem spooked. Some of the older ones are very worried.

The foods getting low. You're concerned because the power has flickered way more than what you've experienced during a bad storm. Once you woke up at 2am when the power went out, and it stayed out until 6am. That starts to happen routinely.

You think, “We better eat what's in the refrigerator and freezer....”, and for several days, you eat a mix of frozen waffles and peas and ice cream. Thaw some meat and grill it. The milk and bread have been gone for days.

The water pressure seems less and less. It scares you. You turn on the tap and fill up buckets and pans. So does everyone in your city, and the water trickles down to nothing.

The power shuts off soon thereafter. You bundle up the kids, but the chill won't go away. You make them put on layers of clothing, and they know that's not normal. There's some tears and sniffling. You wake to the cold and mill around the house in the cold and sleep again in the cold.

The food starts to go bad in the refrigerator. You salvage what you can and feast on weird mixes of food that you heat up on the grill. The propane is all gone from the grill.

You open the cabinets, and it's the cans that have been sitting in there that no one wants. There's not much to choose from, and there's a lot of complaining at meal time.

You're not sleeping through the night. It's too quiet, and there's no television. You can hear the radio, but it means running down the car battery to listen, and you're afraid of doing that too often. When you come inside, your wife says that you look ashen.

It's been eight days since the power went off, and maybe late in the second week of November. You're hungry and so is your wife. You both haven't been eating but giving that food to your kids. You've been giving them a children's vitamin every day, like they always have taken, but now you're both taking one too since you're not eating.

The water in the buckets are gone. It went fast. Both of the kids used some to flush, and now you think that was a bad idea as you could have used dishwater instead. You decide to use the water in the hot water heater. Calculating it out, that'll last about 13 days. Everyone is stinky, no one has had a bath, but you've made them wipe off with washcloths and some hand soap.

There's a handful of cans left. No pasta or rice or mac and cheese. You ask about making bread since you have flour and some yeast. You experiment and think you can make some. It's cold in the house so you're worried if it will rise. During the day you look around the neighborhood for some branches to burn in the grill to cook it.

There no soft drinks left, or juice or coffee, but some tea. You haven't had more than one meal a day for many days. You feel weak. The bread burned when you cooked it, and it wasn't great, and you wished you'd learned to cook more.

You have some spices and some chicken bouillon, and some bread you make. There's not many branches to burn. The neighbors who stayed have been burning them too. The rest are in trees and green wood and everyone knows they won't burn well. There's been some arguing when neighbors entered other people's yards looking for firewood. You burn some old newspapers and magazines, then some books you don't like anyway.

It's getting colder. You don't have a fireplace; no way to heat the house unless you burn some books inside, and you're worried about fumes. All the candles are gone, and the flashlight batteries drained. The nights are dark, and you've all been sleeping in one large room to stay warmer and since the kids are scared.

It's the third week, and you've run out of food for everyone. The water is almost gone. Neighbors have been knocking on doors begging for food. One gets adamant and you almost come to blows. The kids are weak from hunger and so is your wife. They look pale. Late in the week, one of your children gets sick. They're hot and you give them some medicine and thankfully the fever is gone in the morning.

You're resolved to find food and water, and you go to several neighbors homes and band together. You walk to the grocery. It looks like a war zone inside. The glass is broken. There's nothing inside worth eating.

You pass a lake or river and fill buckets, then struggle to carry them. Your party resolves to bring a cart next time. You boil it, then pass it through some handkerchiefs, then through some coffee filters. It tastes terrible.

You don't have a gun. You've never been hunting. You haven't fished since you were a boy. There are people trying to fish at the water source, a lot of them, but not many catching anything. Someone whacked the ducks with branches and killed them long ago. There's piles of feathers where it happened. You think it's weird that you wish you'd been the one to get them.

It's the fourth week. Your wife is sick. She's weak from hunger. The kids won't wake up. They mostly sleep. So does she. You barely have the effort to get water. You have to, or else they'll die.
Anonymous Coward
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09/17/2012 03:08 AM
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Re: Last minute tips for parents when the SHTF
What's easier?

Now let's imagine that you're like that family in the previous story. What's easier, prepping for three months of food and water filtration, or slow dehydration and starvation? What's easier, trying to harvest acorns and persimmons, or having food and a way to heat it? What's easier, eating grasshoppers and earthworms, or buying extra canned goods that you already eat anyway? What's easier, scavenging for what few branches you can find for the fireplace you never use, or ordering many cords of firewood and planning to use it this winter if it gets cold? What's easier, sitting in a gloomy dark room every night, or buying oil lamps, extra flashlights, and candles?

It's that simple folks. While all the skills are great and essential, imagine that you have enough supplies to last several months. If you do, and survive, then the ones that don't will have died, and it might be that you use your skills and we harvest what we can, and rebuild later once things have settled down a mite.

You're still going to use these new skills, because it'll be up to us to raise whatever produce we can, learn how to hunt, fish, trap, raise animals, re-sole shoes, sew, dye fabric, make torches, weave, build baskets, etc. All of those things will be required, but we can specialize some, and trade with each other. It's not hard, it's perhaps easier than life is now, and probably a richer more fulfilling life too.
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Making pita bread to survive

In a collapse, when the food begins to run out, pita bread can easily be made. It's not a bread that some Americans are used to eating, since we expect to eat sliced bread from loaves, but it's way easier to cook and prepare than bread loves, and forms a pocket in which other food can be placed inside to make a simple meal.

Because yeast and flour will be in short supply, you'll need to ration it. Generally you can other grains or wild flours like acorn meal or earthworm protein or corn meal or cattail pollen or root, and it will rise just fine due to the gluten in the wheat. Maybe you only have a couple of packets of yeast. What you'll do is knead the dough very well, and then save a bit of it for the next day. Then mix that yeasty bread dough in with the new batch without yeast, but kneading it well and letting the yeast do it's magic. In this way, you stretch it out, and keep making bread for a long time.

If it's winter, then you can use the cold to refrigerate the dough into a stasis (for a bit) and then cook what you need ever other day or longer as pita keeps well.

If you have a pizza stone, which I recommend you purchase, then you can place that on the grill, and bake directly upon that, and cook the pita. By heating up the brick, then it holds the temperature and bakes it versus grilling it. You probably could fashion something with some harvested bricks in a collapse, but be careful doing that with stone, as they are porous and can explode and shatter. So can brick, so use common sense.

Here a recipe:
[link to www.thekitchn.com]

Cooking this way is way easier and makes less dishes to wash too. I have often used pita bread camping as it's ideal.
Anonymous Coward
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09/17/2012 11:48 PM
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Reality Check

One of the most common insights that preparedness experts make is that if the power and water ever shut off some day, it might never come back on. People imagine that if we have a huge pandemic or an EMP, that you know, a month later, we'll be back to normal.

It won't work that way, not by a long shot, and even if things get settled down, and some organization begins again, then it will be in very unique locations based upon two main criteria: the ratio of agricultural workers and the ratio of technicians, and the availability of manufactured inventory that's operational. That's it, in a nutshell, because if there's no power, it means that some crucial element, say coal or oil or trained workers or whatever isn't around.

It might be for a variety of reasons. Maybe the local industry owners and the government are bankrupt. If so, as long as everyone will take whatever currency is created, then trade will go on. But it means people actually trust again for that to happen. We have lots of natural resources in most countries, but many of those are in the ground or in various stages of assembly. Educated workers, but maybe it's been a long time since any one worked in those trades.

If we lose a lot of people for whatever reason, then whatever occupations they performed will have a critical shortage. It's like Registered Nurses, the need is great, but there just aren't enough to do the job, despite the high pay. So, imagine we'll always need health care workers. If things are unstable, really unstable, and you're afraid that if you go to work, as critical infrastructure, they might not let you leave. Are you that hard core and or altruistic that you'll go to work and deal with the stress of no medicines or equipment to diagnose or tests and then not be paid or allowed to go to your family too?

No when things fall apart, they might truly fall apart. Things might return to some new paradigm, but never like they used to be. We'll bemoan the fact that once there were 100 varieties of breakfast cereal, but the real concern is actually finding wheat to eat or even seeds to plant. Complicated items with lots of suppliers and niche industries that made them possible will probably not happen in a long long time.

Now imagine a country like Japan. They've got several nuclear reactors with ongoing issues into perpetuity. They have few natural resources but a highly educated work force. Even fresh water is an issue, and the condensed population into tiny area, with no way to feed them all....it's a worse case scenario for them.

Or imagine an arid country like Saudi Arabia. They've got wealth in petroleum, but the second biggest export is used clothing and dates. They have to import their workers as the local people can't or won't perform the jobs that they have. What do you do when manufacturing pretty much ceases and oil becomes less important then it is now? How do you provide water without desalinization plants? How to feed the people without good land to raise crops upon or livestock areas?

No, once things shut down, it will take forever to begin again. Which means that you'd better have no only supplies, but skills because once the supplies run out, it's not eating earthworms that will fill your belly. It's planting and harvesting crops and raising rabbits and goats. Small scale agriculture and aquaculture to provide enough food in very miniscule operations.

No one else can feed you. No government in the world has enough to constant provide MREs to any segment save some critical infrastructure workers like soldiers, firemen, and health care workers. The rest better stop worrying about the power coming on, and figure out how to stay warm and filter water.
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09/18/2012 06:21 AM
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Edibles to consume when desperate: Wood lice

Yes, that's right, the common rolly polly bugs that you found under the pieces of wood in your yard are edible. They're not bugs really, but a form of crustacean, in the same family as crawdads or shrimp. Believe it or not, they have a shrimp like flavor and Green Dean says they make a superior fish like sauce.

Because they eat rotting wood or what ever is spoiled from the garden, you could simply raise them with ease. See the links below on how to do just that.

The issue if finding enough for a meal, but it's just a matter of flipping over enough logs, then boiling them thoroughly as they like all species may be contaminated with parasites (so are pigs).





[link to huntergathercook.typepad.com]

[link to www.eattheweeds.com]

[link to chamownersweb.net]

Wouldn't it be easier to eat some good old beef stew from a can? Naw, that's mean prepping.
Melkeveien
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09/18/2012 06:28 AM
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There are many free homeschooling sites with pdf files. It would be great to have them just in case there are issues.

Get medications that your kids need. See if your doctor will prescribe 3 months supplies for them.

Get some presents tomorrow for Christmas. Little gifts that you could give out not only then, but throughout the year as incentives. They'll really appreciate them.

Children can thrive in the woods as long as they have calm parents. They cannot keep up with your pace up and down tails. You've got to plan adequately if you do have to walk some.

Kids are used to incorrectly using a backpack since kids at school wear them in the wrong fashion, which adds too much stress to their lower back. You'll have to reteach them how to buckle it properly and position it higher than they used to wearing it.

Try to make gathering wood into a game. Teach them as much about nature as possible. Being quiet is as important as talking.

Kids love open fires. Tell stories. It can simply be times when they did wonderful things when they were younger. They love hearing how much you love and adore them. Even teens.

Hug and kiss them often. Be generous with your affection. Lavish it on them
 Quoting: Anonymous Coward 1496915


These are all so great. Thank you for sharing. It doesn't have to be a fearful thing, it can be an adventure! We'll learn about ourselves and our family and earth again. Who is packed and ready to go home?
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09/18/2012 06:32 AM
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These are all so great. Thank you for sharing. It doesn't have to be a fearful thing, it can be an adventure! We'll learn about ourselves and our family and earth again. Who is packed and ready to go home?
 Quoting: Melkeveien 3743904


Thanks for the kind words!
Anonymous Coward
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09/18/2012 06:38 AM
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Edibles to consume when desperate: June Bugs

Remember collecting June Bugs as a kid, and then typing a bit of thread to the legs and watching them fly around? Remember how many you collected in a short time. We sure did, filling big jar of them easily by throwing a cloth over them as they flew or simply picking them up while they buzzed on the ground.

Turns out some tribes of the First People roasted them like popcorn. And this interesting character who runs a website actually has the nutritional information. Not surprising as it would only make sense to raise bugs for food in a starving world. June Bugs possess 13.4 grams of protein per 100 grams of them, and quite a bit of calcium and Iron too.

[link to edibug.wordpress.com]

I know, you're thinking I'm crazy. Well, wait until you're like that family a couple of posts back and looking for anything to eat whatsoever. You'll be glad for a meal when that happens.
Anonymous Coward
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09/18/2012 04:22 PM
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If China goes to war with Japan....?

Can you imagine the situation in China right now? They've had incredible growth due to the movement of industry to their country for the last 30 some years. With their natural resources, enormous population, and cheap labor, they've been sitting pretty for a long time, so much so that they've purchased US Treasuries and Note and funding the wild government spending that we have.

Now things are cooling down, and people are not buying goods, but the debt is still running away at breakneck speed, while mortgages plummet. So we use the Federal Reserve to create money, as we truly are with Quantitative Easing, and bolster government security sales, and it's a foolish shell game. Imagine your China, and looking at that? How long do you wait before you invade Japan and the West Coast of the USA?

Already there are signs of that ramping up with the Japanese disputing islands, a long running argument, plus a missile defense shield going up there. A lot of the valuable agricultural land was ruined in Japan because of the Fukushima nuclear accident, and continues to poison the surrounding of Asia and the world with all kinds of isotopes, and they can't seem to do anything to abate the issue. They could easily use these as excuses for war.

I wouldn't want to be on the West Coast of the US for anything. California is bankrupt, badly so, and has for years had such high real estate prices. It's a terrible place to be if the economy tanks, the Chinese get adventurous.

Say Israel decides they must stop Iran's nuclear forays? They deploy an EMP weapon, and every country has to chose up sides. It's Armageddon then, as Russian and China have invested money in Syria and Iran, and we have money in Saudi Arabia and Israel foreign aid.

We live in dangerous times, and not prepping now is extremely foolish. It's not hard to buy extra food that you're going to eat anyway. It's so easy to have some personal protection so you can project power versus depending upon your fists. It's simple to learn practical skills so you can rely upon yourself.

Or listen, if you're a kind altruistic sort, become a sheepdog. Do these things because the sheep can't protect themselves. The wolves may come, and they sheep will bleat, but that won't repel the wolves at all.
Anonymous Coward
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09/18/2012 06:18 PM
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A way to charge an Ipod with common everyday items

Early, I posted a youtube link on how to make a battery from an aluminum can, a bit of charcoal, and wood ashes made into an electrolyte paste...


Now, you can use this same principal to charge up an Ipod. There's a lot of silly videos on charging an Ipod if you have salts and a fruit or onion, but chances are you won't have those in a collapse. You'll have eaten them way before, but there's a reasonable chance you could have a conducting piece of metal scrap, and of course I've detailed how to make charcoal here, and wood ashes will always be around from cooking and heating fires too.

Now, you're saying, so what? So I can play music. Yeah, that will be nice and enjoyable, but an Ipod is a portable hard drive, a way of storing information, say an MP3 file, or text, or whatever. This means it's eminently useful, because maybe you're trying to learn a language, or pass along critical information, or learn a skill, and therefore an Ipod now becomes a very useful portable device and not just for entertainment.

Yeah, you can do this as a trade, but you've also got a great new skill that will be needed to.

Here's a video on charging an Ipod with an onion, just use the homemade battery instead.
Anonymous Coward
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09/18/2012 06:31 PM
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Making a crystal radio

Here's a video on making a crystal radio. It allows you to tune it, and pick up the AM band, which broadcasts over a very large geographical area, especially in the evenings.

Now you're probably asking why? Why bother? Well, the main one is no batteries are needed at all. Lots of people have a cheap radio at home, but their batteries will wear out. So if you can make something that will work, then you have a trade item you can exchange for other goods.


Someone somewhere will be broadcasting on the AM band. It's the most likely candidate as it's so common versus HAM. Also, someone might get the bright idea to make a small scale AM transmitter that has very low power. That could act as a way to pass along information to receivers in a neighborhood, and that way, a tribe has a simple communications network. In the absence of telephones, a simple way of immediately transmitting information will become vital.

More detailed information:
[link to scitoys.com]

If you can do this once, you could become a simple communications technician and help other tribes set up their systems too.
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09/18/2012 06:42 PM
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Making a inexpensive windmill from common items

If you live in a windy area, then you might consider fabricating a small scale windmill using this website. It would be great for trickle charging a battery and using that to power up dc devices and with an inverter to power up some ac devices. There will be days with no sun, so despite having a small solar panel, harnessing the wind will also be useful.
[link to www.mdpub.com]

Note that whatever set up you have, make it with fast quick disconnects so you can rapidly remove the windmill when the winds are too rapid, else you'll damage them. You also will need to do this in very cold weather as it makes them brittle or ice could damage it too.

Windmills were often used to either pump water or grind grain, two very practical things that we'll need post-collapse. Here's a link which describes how to do just that.

[link to www.backwoodshome.com]
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09/18/2012 06:51 PM
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Making a Cistern

Here's an ancient article from Mother Earth News on making a cistern. It's a reservoir for rainwater, something that every tribe will make several for catching the excess water. If you make one above ground then that volume acts as force pressed upon by gravity, and as such creates flow. If you make it below ground, you may find it to be cheaper to make, but then of course, it must be pumped somehow.

As a very large reservoir, it saves you from trying to run around and catch a little rain, and then you have a large surplus to pull from in case of drought.

[link to www.motherearthnews.com]
Anonymous Coward
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09/18/2012 07:18 PM
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Why you should be worried about the proximity of prisons

We put a lot of people in prison in the United States. In 2010, we had a prison population of 2.25 million, and a parole population of almost 5 million. Because it's become a big business, and one that seldom rehabilitates, those prison facilities are everywhere. That's equivalent to 3% of the US population, and yet they commit a huge amount of violence, rape, drug sales, etc.

If we have a collapse, there's a good possibility that either prisoners will be "retired" in one way or another. Since the correctional officers may decide it's not in their best interest to come to work, or may decide to harvest a lot of inventory, the prisoners may either die in mysterious ways or get released early. If the latter happens, then you have a trained population that will most likely create gangs of marauders, and this bodes poorly for anyone in their path.

That population knows others who've been released, and those folks may join up with them, and then...mayhem.

It would be very wise to do some inquires to note how close you are to a facility, the relative population incarcerated there, and the most likely direction that they might travel.
Anonymous Coward
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09/19/2012 02:32 AM
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Even among preppers, there's a surprising lack of knowledge of essential skills

While there's quite a prepper community, and I'm speaking broadly and including survivalists and homesteaders, and even some agricultural people, there's a big gap between what people should know, and what they actually know.

There are many who know how to shoot and break down their weapons, even repair or reloading too. There are some who know how much food they need and rotate it. There's some who know how to hunt and fish. I've met some bushcraft folks who know the old skills and can identify and trap and make fire and tools (and many would never label themselves preppers). But there are few people who know all of that, plus how to work a farm and raise crops and animals and can and cook. We're a nation of specialists, and when we enjoy some activity, then we focus on that one thing.

That's actually wrong for frontier living. True, you probably won't learn something like blacksmithing, or advanced glazing techniques in pottery. However, the people on the frontier, or the First People, or most tribal people were generalists. They knew a little of everything, and bushcraft or the arts of identifying plants and tracking, those skills must be learned.

You harvest from the Earth, and you grow things and take from the bounty of the sweat of your brow. It's both/and, not either/or. I've met some people, well meaning ones, that had books on plants, but couldn't actually identify them. Troubling, because unless you're growing the herbs you need, or plants for dying your fabrics, or medicinals, not to mention wood types for tools, then you must be able to identify a tree, shrub, or herb from bark, flowers, and growth patterns.

You cannot raise enough livestock alone, nor hunt enough, nor fish or trap enough. You'll be doing all of them, so that means learning how to do all of them slowly. Focusing on every single kind of weapon, and not knowing common plantain, well... that won't work.

Try it this weekend. Think like a generalist, and walk the forests and meadows and try to see it all, not merely focusing on a single animal track, but noticing the strategic importance of an elevated position, the flight patterns of turkey vultures giving you clues about nearby carrion, the whirling crowns of sumacs in a meadow and what to make with them, etc. That's how we'll need to be post-collapse, otherwise you'd better be in a community of people who can fulfill the roles you're not skilled in.