Recycle and Reuse Series: Glass

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All glass can be recycled and reused.Glass containers are a good recycle resource for preppers because glass can be used over and over again.   That empty spaghetti sauce jar?  Store your dry beans in it.  Plastic bags get nasty over time, your beans will stay fresh longer in the glass jar.  Storage of food and beverage items is only the beginning.  Glass bottles can be converted to drinking glasses.  The discarded top of the bottle can be used for other purposes or melted down.    Those wine bottles?  Use them as candle holders or cut them at the neck and convert them into pencil holders and flower vases and pots.  In the sewing room, they can contain those pesky pin and needles as well as button and other notions that tend to fall to the bottom of the sewing basket.  Outside uses include laying them on their sides like bricks using cement to make a decorative wall.  In the garage they become perfect storage for nails, nuts and bolts and other hard to keep track of items.

Some things to remember when storing glass for recycling or reusing are:  sort according to previous use:  glass used for food storage will have thicker walls, smooth interiors and be free of bubbles inside the glass.  Glass with thin walls breaks easily.  Broken glass any where other than where it needs to be is dangerous.  When you are considering what to do with glass objects, if it has bubbles in the walls, do not use in the oven or fill with hot food.  The bubbles are unpredictable will burst and break the container.

As with any job, the right tools make all the difference.  Glass cutters will help you make desired cuts and sandpaper will smooth sharp edges.  Safety is important too.  When working with and sanding glass always wear eye protection and breathing masks.  The last thing you want is glass in your eyes and lungs.  Your imagination and common sense can tell you what glass does to eyes and lungs.  If you decide to use a heat source to remelt the glass, there is a whole new set of concerns and skills you will need.  See to it that you get them from the best sources and teachers available.  The last thing anyone needs is injuries that can happen to people who are not prepared to work with molten glass.

photo by: gailf548

Free Prepping Series: Part 5: Planning Your Stash

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Earlier we discussed travel routes and the planning required to get out of town in the shortest amount of time possible.  Today we are going to talk about planning your stashes.   Just a reminder, planning costs nothing and help you determine your financial needs and prioritize your goals.  Planning is worth a great deal.  If you have read the primer series, you already have an idea of what you have on hand and what you will be gathering for prepping purposes.

When TSHTF, you may or may not be able to access cash, and even if you do have cash, you may not be able to buy what you need.  It is best to have necessities stashed along the way to your bug out location.  Even if this is all hypothetical for you, it is important to engage in the process of planning.

What goes into your stash containers depends on you and your family’s special needs.  If you know you have to travel further than your fuel tanks hold, you need to plan fuel stashes.  The same goes for water and food stashes to supply one to three days each.  Consider the women in your group that will have female needs.  The point is to meticulously evaluate the needs of each person and compile a list of things each will need to have restocked if you have to bust open a stash.

Once you have the aggregated supply list, figure out which parts can be broken into separate stashes.  Now it is time to devise the containers.  Some people claim to be able to make containers that can’t be detected by metal detectors.  If you can do that, awesome, but I don’t really think you can.  Next time you go to the hardware store, check out the items you would need to make your stash containers.  The idea is to get an idea of the time involved, complexity and the price for making one container.  You still haven’t spent any money, but now you are that much more ready to get prepared.  You have knowledge and skills you didn’t have before.

Now that you know what goes in the containers, how many containers you need, where the containers will be placed, and how much money you need to build and fill each container you are ready to begin preparing the containers as you find the resources.  You can place them when driving your exit routes, or place them as  you build them so they are already in play if you need them.  No matter what, devise a way to remember where you placed them.  They do you no good if you don’t can’t get to them when you need them.

Free Prepping Series, Part 3: Community

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Many preppers think the best policy is to keep prepping secret and to not discuss things with “everyone”.

Here at The Daily Prepper News, we agree and disagree.  There’s a reason the phrase “no man is an island” exists.  No one can do everything on his own.  This is the foundation for every society.

Sure, people can “survive” on their own in the wilderness, if they don’t mind eating bugs and wearing animal skins, if they are available.  Aside from the “eewww” factor, it is just surviving.  Not living.  No enjoyment in life that family and friends bring.  In such an existence every minute is spent either resting when possible, finding food and water and finding shelter.  When SHTF, is it possible the loner will be living a nomadic life finding food, water and shelter wherever possible?  No that sounds like a bunch of living dead.

Prepping in Your Community

Even if your family is prepared for an event, it is just that.

One family.  Everyone needs human interaction with people outside the family unit, especially teenagers.  Without the social aspect problems arise.

If you join a network of like-minded people your skill pool will increase.  The labor force available to you increases as does the labor force of the whole group when you throw your labor into the mix.  This helps get big projects done for more people.  It also serves to teach skills to all members of the group.

Security is one of the main reasons groups band together.  It’s much harder to attack a whole city than a single home.  This is how communities formed from the beginning.  People recognized early on that survival meant helping each other.  Indeed, it is stated in the documents and letters about the forming of a union for the mutual defense of the newly formed states.  They decided to trust each other for this purpose.

Trust is earned over time.  Trust is not always reciprocal.

Not everyone is trustworthy.  Some people can’t tell the difference between those who are trustworthy and those who are not trustworthy.  Some people don’t trust any one for any reason.  Other people trust a person until they are given a reason not to.  In this respect, we agree that you shouldn’t reveal everything.  Some things need to be kept close.

With all that being said, it is important to realize that a network of people will be your best help in a time of crisis.

You can count on them and they can count on you.

If something happens and your stores are destroyed during an event, your group should take you in because they would want you to take them in if it happened to them.  A well organized group will have contingency plans for such events.

While legitimate arguments can be made about each person only using his own preps, one needs to consider their humanity and the person they are at the core of their being.  Sharing with those who share with you is a good thing.  Defending each other against marauders is a good thing.

Meeting other people who prepare for when SHTF doesn’t cost you anything and can have immense rewards.  Just knowing who the go-to people are will be a great bonus for your own prepping experience.  Having them identify you as a go-to person for some skill or knowledge you have will be a bonus to you.  It will be a measurement of how well respected you are in the prepper community.

In the final analysis, finding common ground in your local community where you can meet with other forward planning groups will only enhance your life.  Meetings of this sort happen all the time in local meeting halls or parks.  Nothing says you have to continue with the group if you later decide it isn’t for you.  But if you wait until after SHTF, it will be too late to join a group.  Most people will be not be trusted and will likely be seen as opportunistic and possibly dangerous.

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photo by: nosha

Getting Prepared: A Primer for Beginners Series, part 12

Reliable Transportation for the PreparedThis last installment of the Primer Series will discuss the reliability of available transportation and driving in an emergency situation.

No one really likes to think they won’t be able to use their vehicle to bug out.

But, the plain simple fact is that if your vehicle can’t off-road it in a hurry, you might be stuck where ever you stop.

Assessing your existing vehicles for use as an emergency get-a-way is the first thing you need to do.  What is the mechanical condition?  Has it been maintained well?  How many people do you plan to put in there? How much extra fuel can it carry?  NEVER CARRY FUEL IN THE CABIN!  Once you know what your current transportation can handle, you know if you need a different vehicle.  But, figuring out which one is the most difficult part.

The best case is to already be in your bug-out location if an event happens.  Hunkering down means you don’t have to travel and won’t need to worry about it.  For some of us, that simply isn’t possible.  In those cases, we must be prepared to evacuate to a safe location as far away as an eight hour drive or more.  For us, we leave as early as we know we need to evacuate.  We need all our vehicles to have enough gas to get at least three hours away because that will be the first place it should be safe to stop.  If our vehicles are not prepared in advance, it’s too late when the day comes.

Now, let’s just say you managed to get a dream family bug-out vehicle.  You keep it stocked at all times with your emergency supplies.  It has extra large fuel tanks mounted.  It has extra tough airless tires that won’t blow out if you run over glass, or if someone should happen to deliberately try to puncture one.  Sure, it rides rough, like a big old truck, but it’s safe and faster than walking.  All you have to do now is move it on down the road to your safe house.

And, that is where the trouble could start.

You won’t likely be the only group of people trying to get out of town.

This is where your navigational skills are going to come in handy and your ability to anticipate what other drivers are going to do.  You will need to figure out how to avoid hazards such as crowds, traffic jams, and getting locked into bridges and tunnels or other structures you can’t get around.

Having your routes planned well in advance is of prime importance.  Keep to the right lane as much as possible.  Stay off the main arteries if you can.  Remember, where the most people are, so too will be the most chance of danger, traffic jams, and trouble of the dark kind.  Which brings us to the safety and security of the occupants of the vehicle.

It is important that appropriate security measure be taken, remembering that children’s curiosity is overwhelming at times.  Mirrors need to be large and in extra locations to ensure the widest view.  Tinted windows are helpful to avoid peepers.  The less inviting your vehicle looks to observers the less likely you will have difficulty.

Remembering to keep it safe, secure, and moving will make your vehicle the right choice for you.

photo by: TravOC

Getting Prepared: A Primer for Beginners Series, part 6

Power tools come in a variety of prices and purposes.  Some things to consider when choosing power tools are purpose, frequency of use and affordability.  We have quite a few Dewalt tools, but we also have some lower end power tools. If we know we are going to use it often enough to have significant wear and tear on the equipment, we buy tools by which ever manufacturer that produces the best tool for the job.  However, it is important to know that the lower end tools of any brand are not intended for everyday use.  They will last for years if your purpose is to use them occasionally and not under difficult circumstances.

Power tools are useless if you don’t know how to use them effectively or if you don’t use them at all.  Choose tools for projects you intend to make.  Do some research before you choose the tools.  Check the warranty.  If you choose cordless equipment, it is important to have enough batteries to finish the project.  Unfortunately, the batteries are almost as expensive as the equipment.  Since most of the brands are not interchangeable, that is another consideration when choosing tools.

Air tools are great.  We love them for big jobs.  But our finishing and framing guns are useless if we can’t run the air compressor.  That’s another thing to consider.

Usability during power outages is important.  In my location, if a natural disaster hits, it is likely to be well over a week or maybe a month or two before power is restored to this area.  We need tools that can be used under such conditions.  Unfortunately, they require some manpower.  The wife informed me she is woman power and I can do the manpower stuff.

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Getting Started: A Primer Series for New Preppers, part 5

This portion of the series will focus on hand tools.  It is important to have hand tools that will work without electricity.  Once you have inventoried your supply and sorted them according to usage, you will realize they are mainly for one purpose or another.  Some people have tools mostly for auto mechanics and others have tools for plumbing or carpentry.  The point is that if you have tools for one area only, you need to look at which tools can be used in multiple disciplines and make a list of tools you will need for the kinds of repairs you are likely to make over a period of time if you couldn’t hire someone to do it for you.

We have a collection of mechanics, plumbing and electrical tools and equipment.  We are gathering more carpentry tools since I started doing more home repairs.  Be sure to include your spouse in this plan.  You might find that there is more help available than you think.  When I married my wife, she had more tools in her garage than I did.  Her carpentry collection consisted of regular things like hammers of various sorts.  She also had various hand and electric saws including a miter saw.  She had two chain saws.  She had more than one finish nail gun and wants a construction nail gun.  She had two air compressors.  She knew how to use every one of those tools.  She uses the tools to build things she wants or to repair things.

We have most of the power tools we want, but we would like a few more.  She wants a band saw and a table saw.  I want a lift and a welder.  But, we have put those choices aside for now.  Instead, we are going to use our tool budget to buy more human powered tools.  While they are mainly for when TSHTF, we will be using them now.  It really sucks when you need to do something and have wasted product and time because you don’t have the skills you need.  By making projects with the human powered tools, we will have the skill sets when we need them.  Of course, as long as we have power, we will use power tools to make life easier.

Once you have your tools organized and you know what you have, do a quick search online about basic tool requirements in the various disciplines.  Print the lists you need and check off the items you have. You are left with a list of things you still need.  If you are part of a group of preppers, circulate a copy of the list to each household and ask them do the same thing.  Once the lists are combined you will know what the group needs to acquire.

 

Getting Prepared: A Primer for Beginners Series, part 3

Today’s skills to discuss are mechanics, emergency medical and security.  If you are not mechanically inclined, that doesn’t mean you can’t do it.  It just means that it will take you longer than someone else and that you might fail a few times.  There isn’t anything about engines and motors for our applications that you can’t learn from a repair manual.  If you plan to re-purpose engines and motors for a preparedness purpose, then you need to be able to repair them should they break.  Repairmen won’t be around.  You need someone in your group to repair everything from vehicles and small engines to a bicycle.

Once you know who your repairman and plumbers are, that is only half of it. Your next step is to fully assess the tools and parts available to determine where you stand should you need to make repairs, but we will discuss how to go about it in a later post.

Emergency medical is one of the most important things to consider.  Anything can happen during an event.  People can be injured by the event itself.  They could be injured defending the home.  Children can be injured just doing what children do.  Even if you are not into preparing for a major event, the responsible person should have an emergency medical kit.  A basic kit only contains a few items and the list can be found on the Red Cross website.  But for a sustained amount of time, the list is longer and depends on your individual needs.  Don’t forget to include prescription medications.

There can’t be too much security if an event rocks your world.  Security is one thing you can’t make up on the fly.  You, and everyone in your group, must prepare in advance, refine your procedures and practice your methods.  Practice is important so that everything becomes automatic.  You don’t have to stop to think about what to do next.  You just do it.  You need to have that muscle memory fully developed before you need it.

How’s your notebook look now?  You should have a list of things to inventory, assess and evaluate in your home, garage and your perimeter.  By now, you should also have the information gathered from part one and part two of this series.  Tomorrow we will discuss the gathered information and what to do with it.  Tune in!

 

 

Getting Prepared: A Primer for Beginners Series, part 2

Today, you get to learn more about yourself and those who live with you.  Following is a list of skills your household will need if an event  requires you to survive on your own without outside resources.

  • cooking (from scratch, not convenience foods)
  • sewing
  • mechanics
  • first aid
  • security

This is a partial list of skills needed.  The list will changed based on your situation.  For instance, if you live in a rural setting and have to maintain your water supply system, you will need plumbing skills.  We’ll get more in to situational skills in later issues.  For now, add the assessment of skills inventory to your notebook.

Now we will examine the skills listed above in more depth.  Most people would look at that list and think “no big deal” when it comes to cooking and sewing.  Those people would be mistaken.  My wife is an accomplished cook and seamstress.

My wife can feed a family of five for less than $5.00 and we walk away feeling full and satisfied.  On top of that, she makes delightful dishes to eat.  During the most difficult financial situations, she has been able to put meals on the table when others thought there wasn’t any food in the house.  She is talented at using what we have on hand to come up with a meal for how ever many people happen to be sitting down to dinner.  She knows how to use spices and seasonings to make even the most lowly dishes taste heavenly.

This is all important because in our modern society with financial cutbacks in education, many schools have shut down home economics classes.  Our students are only going to learn these skills in homes where their parents have time to teach them.  While many families do attempt to teach their children how to cook this or that dish, few families actually teach their children how to effectively and efficiently manage a kitchen.  And that is the skill you need in an emergency or survival situation.  You need someone who can manage the most precious resources of food and water.

The only way to get that skill is to learn all you can about cooking and kitchen management.  If you are the person designated to manage the kitchen, read everything you can get your hands on.   Cookbooks are great, but you need food textbooks.  Check around for high school home economics texts from 1940 to 1955.

Now about the sewing, during the years our children were being raised, she sewed all their clothes until they entered junior high school.  The only clothing we purchased for them were shoes, undergarments and jeans.  Actually, she sewed her own clothes since she was in high school.  Her ability to sew saved our family thousands of dollars.  On top of that, the kids enjoyed going with her to choose fabrics and patterns.   Our daughter liked that no one else could ever have the clothes she had.  The boys took pride in that they had custom made clothes.  Even in high school, she made clothes they loved and that other kids asked her to make for them.  I’ve watched my wife sew.  It’s amazing.  She can take a piece of fabric and “see” what it will be and look like when she is finished.  If there is a design she wants. but doesn’t want to pay designer prices, she simply sews it.  She says anyone can sew.  She doesn’t lie.  Anyone can buy fabric and a pattern, then follow the instructions to create clothing.

Tomorrow we will discuss mechanics, first aid and security.  Tune in!