Thursday, May 30, 2013

Solar Hot Water Heaters

     The first time I heard the phrase 'Solar Hot Water Heater', my mom and grandmother were reminiscing about when they first came to live in St. Petersburg.  They had been packed up by My grandfather and moved south without a say so.  Men made decisions, then.  Women followed.  The thinking was they would move in with an elderly Uncle and wait him out until the reading of the will.  Apparently, the grandfather I met twice in my life, was a bit of a mercenary and the uncle knew it.  He was left nothing.  BUT, the hot water heater was a bit of fascinating technology the uncle had in his home.
     Mother remembered the almost unlimited amount of hot water, something she didn't remember enjoying in Pennsylvania.  Gram remembered it was just a huge copper tank positioned on top of the house with copper pipes that went through the roof and into the house. This tank was found in a UK gas appliance catalog and is used to recover steam in a closed heating system or to hold any other overflow.  I suppose you could find one  a similar US appliance website.

      When mom couldn't recall the tank, Gram told her it was not a big round 50+ gallon barrel, it was a tank that measured just about 12" deep and almost four' by six' across it's face.  You hardly noticed it against the green shingles of the roof as it weathered to a verde gris color.  She thought it was just some bit of salvage he rescued from the early days of the railroads in Florida but, she wasn't sure.  What she did know for sure was the water was very warm and never very hot.  It was perfect for bathing but needed heat to make coffee, even her favorite instant, and to rinse the dishes, but with a supply of very warm water, it took less time to come to a boil for any reason.  

     We have probably all seen a solar shower from the camp store.  It is just a bag that absorbs sun rays to warm the water in the bag.  It really helps to heat the water in one of those camp showers if you squeeze the bag a couple times throughout the day to stir the water so it is all an even temperature.  

      A tank that both gathers the heat, stores the water and delivers the water through gravity is probably the most Passive Solar water heating system.  However, a Passive system just means basically, there is no circulating pump for the water.
     Any tank that holds water in close proximity to a heat source is a 'system'.      I go to a powwow with the family that is held in a huge hay field after the hay is cut.  The promoters provide a solar shower for the campers.  It is just two large copper tanks (drum shaped 100 gallon tanks).  The tanks were perched on top of what used to be an old horse shed.  A garden hose is connected to the spigot.  It fills one tank that is connected to another with a copper pipe.  When tank one is full, it over flows into the other tank.  When the two tanks are full, they turn off the hose, there is NO high end plumbing fill valves or cut off float valves used here!  

    The tanks are exposed to the sun, the wooden shed frame is roofed with tin.  The pipes that deliver the hot water to the shower are copper and are attached to the under side of the roof.  The cold water is delivered through a system of garden hoses and zip ties!  It is crazy!  There are two shower heads that allow the water to overlap as it rains down on you.  You adjust the cold and hot, then get in and good luck!  The best time to shower is mid afternoon, the water is boiling by then and the tourists have had their cool morning showers!
Illustration of a passive, batch solar water heater. Cold water enters a pipe and can either enter a solar storage/backup water heater tank or the batch collector, depending on which bypass valve is opened. If the valve to the batch collector is open, a vertical pipe (which also has a spigot drain valve for cold climates) carries the water up into the batch collector. The batch collector is a large box holding a tank and covered with a glaze that faces the sun. Water is heated in this tank, and another pipe takes the heated water from the batch collector into the solar storage/backup water heater, where it is then carried to the house.

Illustration of an active, closed loop solar water heater. A large, flat panel called a flat plate collector is connected to a tank called a solar storage/backup water heater by two pipes. One of these pipes is runs through a cylindrical pump into the bottom of the tank, where it becomes a coil called a double-wall heat exchanger. This coil runs up through the tank and out again to the flat plate collector. Antifreeze fluid runs only through this collector loop. Two pipes run out the top of the water heater tank; one is a cold water supply into the tank, and the other sends hot water to the house.
     Today, we use solar panels or reflective panels with pipes of fluid that is heated to circulate through the tank that holds the water.  The Active system includes the use of pumps to to keep the fluid circulating from the heat source to the water holding system and back to the heating panel.  
This coil of hot fluid replaces the gas heated or electric coil that heats your water now.  

I have included two graphics here from  Just to show the next steps in a simplified form.  

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

52 Weeks of Prep minus 21 so far

     At the beginning of the new year, I posted a proposal that would make prepping easier, financially.  The theory is that is you pay the prep fund first, a consistent amount, that soon the funds grow and you can buy the things you cannot make or acquire through work.  You could spend this money weekly or monthly, as long as you only spent it on prep goods.

     My personal number is $15.  $15 times the twenty one weeks of this year adds up to $315.  Now, that sounds like a LOT of money to put in a pantry for food you are not going to eat for at least a year.  It is.  $315 represents approximately 75 lbs of rice, 50 lbs of beans( red beans, pinto beans and navy beans as well as lentils), 10 lbs of salt and two pounds of pepper, a #10 can of butter beads, two #10 cans of potato buds, a #10 cans of dehydrated beef, three one pound cans of ham, 30 packets of dehydrated soup, 15 lbs of sugar, 10 lbs of honey, three lbs of coffee and five pounds of tea, 30 one dollar items from the dollar store first aid department (band-aids, cough syrup, Tylenol,iodine, triple antibiotic cream, icy hot, a thermometer, etc.), a water filter kit that fits into a gallon water bottle, flashlights and batteries, and three one gallon  water bottles.  I spent every penny and packed it well with dates on the items, in the ledger and in the storage containers.  

     I am mostly prepping for myself alone in this formula for the purpose of proving my point in these posts.  I know I need more and I need more of the same.  I also know that before this list started I already had vegetables, vitamins, and more of the same listed above.  The point is....this is a lot of money and a lot of stuff for one person.  It is not enough to keep a person alive and nourished for a year, but the year isn't over and I am not finished.  

     I still have work to do refining the method of packing the supplies.  I originally packed as I purchased.   At first, I thought I can get to everything or get to it and move everything whenever I needed.  That was a foolish thought.  

     I have since realized, in a push comes to shove scenario, I need to be able to grab a container and know there is enough to survive on it's contents as a unit.  Then if I am safely able to move another, that is a container for a week's goods and so on.  If for some reason I have to stop packing, or moving and really get out....I would not be stuck with a container of rice and beans and no first aid supplies or vice versa.   

     Fifty two weeks will come and go, twenty one have already passed.  A lot could have been done.  A lot more needs doing.  If you haven't started, get started.  If you have....keep up the good work.  Every week puts you closer to survival.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

The Seeds of Panic are Sewn.....again

     I got home from work, turned on the television for some background noise and the first commercial featured ,Gloom AND Doom!  Weather Watch 2013!  Will this be the year we repeat 2002?  Is there another Hurricane Charlie in our future?  Tune in tonight for an update on the tropics. 

     What a load of manure, load of horse hockey, a bunch of bologna!

     Tonight on the local news and weather, the update will be:  hurricane season starts on Saturday.  There are no storms currently brewing in the tropics off the coast of Africa and the conditions are not right for a storm to form anywhere and strike the next few weeks.  

     This is exactly what makes the conditions right for more harm than good.  By making up news where there is none and making a panic when calm and continued preparation are the order of the day, these so called news outlets cry "wolf!" until no one listens.  By desensitizing the public and warning of, well, really, nothing....when a storm does form and track our way, people will not listen until it is too late to really prepare.  

     This is also why I preach a doctrine of know what to expect in your area and start there.  If you live in snow country and survive annual storms and blizzards and long periods of power outages and dangerous travelling conditions, start there.  Prepare for that.  If you live along a river that has been known to flood, watch the rainfall up river and be prepared for that!  

     I see people on the news who live in such places and because it has not flooded in a few years or even a few decades, they are surprised when it finally does flood.  Maybe they, too were desensitized by constant media Wolf cries.  I didn't know there were awards for graphics in the news but, apparently one of our local stations won this award and keeps bragging about it.  I saw one of this years 'special graphics' today.  It was bright and stunning and the words of the announcer were repeated in large yellow letters....Are YOU prepared to SURVIVE a storm?  I have not paid mind to these mindless cries for attention until I saw a reporter ask a survivor what they thought about the last tropical storm we had here and he said, "I didn't know it could be like this, I thought they were exaggerating when I listened to the weather warnings."

     Poor, guy!  He thought they were just making noise!  He tuned them out and ended up sitting on top of his car with his dog being whipped by rain and 45 MPH winds.  He looked terrified, even after his rescue.  What a shame.

    So, the seeds of panic are sewn in the name of ratings and not enough news to fill the time set aside for the news.  For the sake of ratings now, there will be fewer listeners when the danger is near and more people clinging to their pets praying just to survive.  


Monday, May 27, 2013

Memorial Day

I never say, "Happy Memorial Day".  IT isn't a happy day.  It is a day of solemn remembering.  
Thank you to All who some gave All.

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Too Much Talk About Rain

     I have noticed a following of my blog by people from other areas of the U.S. and countries around the world.  I don't really pay attention to the numbers of people from foreign countries. It just doesn't have any real meaning for me.  It just is.  Mother and I were talking and she asked about the comments they send or if the people from around the world like my style of writing.  My mother doesn't understand the world wide web is uhhhhhm, available around the world to anyone who can afford a connection.

     This is a blog that allows me the space I need to get the information I have learned our of my head and into the heads of my friends and family without making 13 phone calls of equal length and duplicate conversation.   There are sites to meet new and interesting people and be asked for money for airline tickets by perfect strangers, and this is not that.  Mom doesn't understand that I do not write this blog to recruit new friends or pen pals.  

     I like comments because they help me know if I am making a point or just rambling.  I bock all comments that appear to be advertising, and there have been many.  Do you really want to see the comment "ohh.  I didn't know that" under a banner advertising some kind of plastic coated drywall in Denmark?  

typhoon: Information from
    I have noticed however, that when I am posting warnings about hurricanes, the number of international views decline.  I figure whoever is viewing from Russia feels they will never suffer such a disaster and this information is irrelevant.  I think views from the Pacific rim decline because I use the word Hurricane and NOT the word Typhoon.  When I was a child I was confused that the storms in the Atlantic were called hurricane, but the same storm with it's same properties, if occurring in the Pacific is called a typhoon.  It was like the Jim Crow Laws of weather!  I remember the teachers treating typhoon, in tone, as if it were lesser or beneath.  You have NO idea how much CONTEMPT for others I have had to try to filter out of my early teachings. 

     I can understand the viewers from Northern Europe and Russia bailing on a conversation about a lot of rain coming down in Florida.  It is difficult to empathize with things you have never experienced.  So, let me share a little story.

    I have a sister and I love her, but I am going to tell this story any way.  She is the youngest of my generation and the most hard headed sure of herself person.  She makes up her mind and that is IT!  She was born and raised in Central Florida, traveled once to Delaware in the Summer  as a child.  

    One day she joined the ARMY.  oh, yes, Miss Rocky Horror Picture Show and Bay City Rollers joined the US ARMY!  She was stationed in New Jersey for her A school.  Classes were called one day on account of snow.  She went about squaring away her area and when done, she realized she could be shipped anywhere in the world when her training was done, maybe even back to Florida, so, this might be the only time she would ever see real snow.  At the age of nineteen, she had never built a snow man and this might be her only chance, so out she went to build her first snowman.  

   After a short time, she had built a small man and wondered what all the fuss about the cold was.  She didn't feel cold, even though she was not in long sleeves or a parka.  Just about the time she felt she had seen all the snow she cared to see, she heard a voice, "Soldier!  What are you doing?" It  sounded authoritative so she answered, "Building my first snowman, SGT!" 

   "That's Captain, soldier!  And Again, What are you doing outside in a blizzard?"  She answered, "What is a blizzard, Captain?"  Well, the poor man almost suffered a mental meltdown, muttering guttural sounds.   When he could make out real words, he told her to look up.  She saw snow swirling around above her head in little tornado shapes skipping around the parking lot now covered in a blanket of white.  She commented how pretty it was. He asked her unit designation and told her to point out her barrack to him.  She looked around and turned around looking for the door she had come out of, which could only be twenty feet away and could not see it.   He watched her spinning and when she was just about to step away from him, in panic, he took her by the arm and turned her.  He counted out loud as he said, ' right face, twenty paces, one, two, three....'  they stumbled up the steps and into the building.  

    Once they were inside, she realized she couldn't hear what people were saying, it was dark and she could blink away the darkness, she was wet and started to shake violently when blankets came out of no where and smothered her as they rubbed her all over. 

     When she recovered her hearing, and some of her vision, she heard other soldiers cursing her for getting them ripped for loosing the stupid girl in the snow!  She heard talk of an ambulance and hypothermia as the Captain was on the phone in the next room. There were threats of courts martial and she was completely confused.  She wasn't sure who was in the most trouble.

     When she was able to stand she was called in to talk to the Captain.  He then explained to her, there were rules and he was not allowed to lay angry hands on a soldier in this New Army, and he needed her statement to keep him from loosing his career just because she was dying in the snow.  She just didn't understand.  

     The SGT at the CQ asked her where she was from.  She said Florida.  He asked her if she knew how dangerous it is to play outside in a hurricane.  She told him sure, that would be stupid.  He explained New Jersey was currently experiencing a blizzard, which is basically a hurricane with rain you can see because it is frozen and white.  He told her how the wind speed had picked up and the temperature had dropped in the twenty minutes she was outside.  He told her she didn't even have a temperature when the Captain first dragged her inside and he had to tell her an ambulance wouldn't even come because of the winds. 

    She had no concept of her own mortality and how close she came to dying of being nineteen years old.  Of course she made a grateful statement favoring the Captain.  She was called in to be questioned several times after that to verify she had not been forced to make the statement favorable.   Each time the person questioning her, laughed at her for her nearly fatal stupidity.  WE still bring it up at holidays, in front of her children!

     So, I talk about hurricanes and loose the attention of people who experience typhoons and blizzards.  But, I am telling you from my sisters' personal experience, the only difference between the three is location and temperature.  Another grave difference is experiencing these weather disasters in ignorance.  Preparing for foul and deadly weather tips tend to be universal.    

As I have used my sister  as an example of a funny story when we face new and dangerous weather, I would like to add this....

     Thank you, Ann, for serving.  

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Summer is Nigh on Upon Us

     As this is Memorial Day Weekend, many people consider this to be the beginning of summer and summer activities. Many people are enjoying a long three day weekend.  Public Schools are coming to the close of the year.  The weather is warming up.  Winter clothes are missing us, stored away in the back of closets and under beds.  Gardens are shifting in color, needs and output.  Yes, Summer cometh, though not in the same manner for all of us! 
     My grand daughters are waiting to find out if the snow days have been calculated correctly and which day their school will end.  They live in the cold part of the country.  While, here, there are three sets of swim trunks on the line for my son and grandson, they have gone to the pool every day this week and they are there now.  My Spring garden is wilting, having given up all it's early tomatoes, and is waiting for me to decide which day I will pull them and toss them in the compost pile.   

     The Orlando Sentinel is publishing this years' Channel 35 Hurricane guide.  It will also be available for free download and print in PDF form at

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The Weather Channel Alerts

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     Since this is a prep blog, I'd like to keep on track today!  All the local information outlets are updating their websites with hurricane preparedness information. The Orlando Sentinel, Channel 9 WFTV and WESH 2 have downloadable, printable maps and tips pages and offer Hurricane tracker APPS.  Look to your local weather outlet for apps, alerts and printable information.

     If you are the sort of person who waits till the last minute to prepare, you definitely need the app!  Because hurricanes are formed hundreds, if not thousands of miles from shore and move relatively slowly toward land it is easy to ignore warnings until the threat is on your head.  It is possible we tune out all the noise from gloom and doom reporters as if they were all crying wolf.  

     With the recent news of destructive tornadoes in Moore, Oklahoma I would be remiss if I did not repeat... Hurricanes spawn tornadoes.  Prepare now!   It is my opinion that the warning system, or rather the warning language can be confusing.  Conversations I recall tend to argue over which is worse, a warning or a watch.  WARNING! is the answer.  For tornadoes, a watch means look at the sky and look out, get your ducks in a row, we haven't seen one, but the conditions are right!  A warning means a tornado or funnel cloud has been seen.  Danger is imminent!   During a warning, you should already know where to go and be there.

It looks like this three afternoons
out of the week during the rainy part of spring
     I have a family on my client list that are hard working, hard playing, good decent people.  They don't like bugs, uneven grass or heat.  They have no idea where they are in the world or what they should do if their routine is interrupted.  Their idea of preparing for another round of storms like the ones in 2002, is to bring the generator from the office storage so Carol (me) can clean the house!  Seriously, that is there plan.  They actually said it out loud. 

     When they moved in to the new house, they just changed address.  They went on with their life.  One day we were under a tornado watch while I was there and I couldn't believe they didn't move or change in any way.  The kids were annoyed the sound of the weather alert was interrupting their cartoons. 

     When the alert changed to a warning, I had to go and get the mom and tell her it's a warning now.  She asked if that was a problem.  She just didn't get it.  I told her she had to get her kids and go sit in the pantry.  It was built in under the stairs.  She did what I said, but when she got to the kitchen and saw I had already taken stuff out of the pantry to make room for them, she was confused.  We got the kids in and waited.  The storm passed us by.  There was high wind and hail damage just blocks away.  

     After it was all over and I was putting the extra party accessories back into the pantry, she asked me how I knew that was where we were supposed to go.  She thought she was supposed to wait for the sound of the train, then sit under the dining table.  I weep for these people.  They are so lovely and so uninformed.  Why would anyone want to sit under a mid-century modern spindle legged table centered under a four foot by three foot 18 light chandelier with thirty six glass drops ( I dust this thing, remember?), three feet from two bay windows, exposed on two sides to the open hall and great room, the great room sided with a set of double french doors?  Why would anyone wait till the housekeeper tells you take cover?  Why would you let your kids sit on a couch two feet from a sliding glass door as the wind whistles and builds?  
Yup!  She needs the weather app!   

     Do you?  Do you know where the strongest, best constructed part of your home is located?  Can you get to it in a hurry?  Can you keep your kids in there and keep them calm?  There is no way to prepare for every possible hardship that may come your way.  But, I wonder, if you know there is a possibility for strong daily storms and hurricanes and tornadoes, why are you not informed and prepared?

     I, too, believe in a loving protecting God, but, I was taught HE helps them who help themselves.





Friday, May 24, 2013

Memorial Day Weekend


      I was at the grocery store picking up a few perishable items.  A quick run through the store assaulted my eyes and sensibilities.  There were flags everywhere.  

     They had hang tags on them "made in China", and not made very well.  There were tables thrown out in the aisle encouraging people to buy Red, White & Blue paper plates, Styrofoam cups and paper napkins.  They were also all imported from China.  

     There was bunting and balloons and my stomach turned a bit when I saw a small group of women talking among themselves as they looked over the accessories on the tables.  They were a family of possibly illegals who assumed I flunked my high school Spanish class and forgot everything I learned living in Texas.  

     They decided to buy one of everything so they could look more American.  I felt sorry for them wasting money they didn't have to spend on frivolous junk. I was embarrassed that they thought to be more like ME, more like a native, they had to drape themselves in imported disposable God-only-knows -what-chemicals-are-in-the painted junk.

     I rarely post anything you could call political.  I don't like to provoke confrontation and I don't poke at other people's religion or politics, as a rule.  I certainly do not go out of my way to rattle the cages of people who are strange to me.  But.....My Facebook page is filling up with posts pleading with friends to remember the definition of the word Memorial.  It is NOT National BBQ Day.  I concur.  So, here, tonight, I would like to post some thought provoking art.  

Feel free to copy and post.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Stretching the Food Dollar

     Of course, we have all seen those ladies with nothing better to do all day than clip coupons and hold up the line at the grocery store.  But is that really what we are seeing?  I think occasionally you will luck out and get in line when you are in a hurry and anyone who slows you down gets the 'look' and a negative judgement.  

     Calm down and look again!  I was in my local Walgreens Last weekend.  I was in line behind three men.  Line time for me is meditation free-time.  I try to zone out, breathe slow and evenly and think about being somewhere else.  But, this trip put me in line to an eye opener.  All three men had coupons for their purchases and all three of the had their Walgreen's discount card.  

     Coupon clipping in the past may have been the pass time of stay at home wives who were putting away a little savings for a rainy day.  But today, it is a sport!  These guys were talking like they were in a high school locker room.  They were cheering each other on and congratulating the guy in front for the deep discount.  He doubled his savings by combining a weekly store sales flyer coupon with a manufacturers coupon.  Woo Whoo!  When he finished his purchase, he waited to see what the next guy had in his bag of tricks.  Guy number two had a buy one get one free coupon and a manufacturers coupon.  

     Apparently, guy number two won!  He got twice as much for half the price and $1 off his vitamins!  Guy number three moaned a little because his wife only gave him one coupon and the other two set him straight about how to work the scissors and paper cutting concept or stepping up to I phone coupon clicking.  When they noticed me standing there with one eyebrow up and a smile, I just said, "Welcome to my world, newbies!"  


                            Hard Times Turn Coupon Clipping Into the Newest Extreme Sport

     I am posting this picture because the headline for this Wall Street Journal article summarizes today's post in a nutshell.  Coupon clipping is no longer a dirty little secret.  It is a sport.  It is addictive, so be careful not to fall down that rabbit hole!  

More tips for couponing:

Be sure to open a junk email account NOT connected to business to receive coupon offers.  Junk mail will follow.  

Be sure to sign up for sale and coupon alerts from favorite stores.  GFS (bulk supply) offers a monthly $5 off coupon when purchasing 50 every month with their e sale flyer.  

Be sure to file coupons by date of expiration as well as type of item.  They do check those dates at the registers.

Be sure to remember charities kindly.  If you have an opportunity to acquire an item you don't use or like (for free)  get it and donate it immediately.  Charities do not have time to shop, they are counting on you.  

Coupon clipping services may send you lots of coupons, but do your own homework and save the cost of the service and possible disappointment.  

Stealing your neighbors Sunday paper sales flyers is still stealing....I know this chick and,!

If you get into couponing as a sport, be sportsman like.  Do your shopping at NON-peak shopping hours so as to let those harried people get home with their tired little kids!  Tell the person behind you in the line that you have a lot of coupons.  

Just for fun, Google 'coupon clipping men' and read some of these articles.  You will learn a lot of the how to from people who have tried to stretch their dollars as far as they will go!  If you are a man, you will relate.  If your are a mom, you will smile and say, "Welcome to my world, little buddy!"  


There is more than one type of bucket!

     I have posted a picture and instructions on how to turn a five gallon bucket into a washer for clothes, with the use of a plunger.  With the cost of the bucket, lid and plunger, it seemed like a waste of a good five gallon bucket, but still, it is do-able!  The drawback to this method of cleaning is you have to wring out the clothes by hand.

Dover Parkersburg PTR12N 13-Quart Mop Wringer Bucket
     Today, I was walking the cleaning supply aisle of Wal Mart, when it dawned on me, there is more than one type of bucket.  Right in front of me was a mop bucket!  The least expensive, is this galvanized steel bucket with a 4 gallon water capacity.  I thought, I could wash clothes in this, the drawback being it is foot operated wringer.  I would have to bend over and at my age, I hardly ever enjoy my head being lower than my rear!  
Genuine Joe Splash Guard Mop Bucket/Wringer, Yellow/black

     Then, I spotted this yellow bucket with casters that could be removed and the bucket would easily fit on a sink counter area or in a large sink.  The positive to this one is it has a hand crank.  For around $50 this is a simple electricity free machine for washing clothes.  Just fill the bucket with water and a small amount of soap.  Add clothes and agitate with a plunger or use a washboard to scrub stains.  Place the clothes in the mop wringer area and press out the soapy water.  When all clothes are clean dump the grey water in the garden and fill the bucket with clean rinse water and repeat the process.  

     This process beats the price of a wringer washer ($800-$900) and the price of the hand cranked wringer alone ($140).  My mop bucket will live happily in my storage unit packed with bags of phosphate free detergent.  I will pack both upper and lower sections with soap then wrap them in plastic wrap till needed.  

Buckets inside Buckets

     I also have ordered some smaller food grade buckets to go inside my five gallon buckets.  I make red beans and rice and sometimes black beans and rice.  I thought it would be a good idea to pack one bucket with beans and fill the larger bucket with rice.  I took the thought a step further by packing containers of dehydrated onions, bell peppers and salt and pepper in a small butter tub.  If I run out of time to load up the getaway vehicle with ALL of my supplies in a bug out now situation, I will have meals in buckets, not just a lot of rice.  

     Buckets also come in other shapes!  I have a supplier of Tidy Cat litter boxes.  I get about four of them a year for free.  If I have run out of round buckets and store food stuffs in these buckets, I line them with Mylar even though I know I have cleaned them.  I am not sure of the quality of litter buckets but you can search the web for square food grade buckets.

     Square buckets take up less storage space and fit into corners so you can use all of your storage area.  Apparently, if you do the bulk food storage math, four gallon square buckets hold the same as a five gallon round bucket. Also, you may find you have a connection with someone who works in a Deli or a Bakery and you can get your food grade buckets for little or nothing.  

  So, think buckets.  Square, round, big, small, utility, free or online it doesn't matter.  Just think buckets. 


Tuesday, May 21, 2013

More Things you can do with a Five Gallon Bucket

Previously, I have posted some things Five gallon buckets can do beside hold liquids and prep food supplies.  I suggested they make planters, stilts, clothes washers, and nests in the coop.  Tonight I have a few more suggestions for buckets.
The Bug Out Bag not sturdy enough?  These organizers are available from sporting goods stores and hardware stores, or you could make your own.  Cut a slit the size of your webbing and strap military pouches to the bucket, putting organizing pockets on the outside.   

     There are free patterns and blogs that show how to make your own organizer.  It pays to know someone who sews, or to learn to sew.
     Girl Scouts make a craft called a sit upon.  It is a basic cushion the girls sit on in their listening and sharing circles.  This picture is a sit upon made from taping vinyl over stuffing on the lid to create a 'tuffet' and Contact paper used to decorate the bucket.  Duct tape comes in cammie colors, too.  Either a Girl craft, or a boy craft with cammie tape, this is a great way to get the kids making their own little storm supply bucket or their own disaster readiness bucket.  They can get prepared without fear, this is fun!  

     This is also a great way to teach the kids to pack their own blanket, change of clothes, spare shoes, extra socks, first aid kit, flashlight MREs, snacks and go spend the night away from home.  You can find out how much weight and how far they will carry it on an afternoon hike.  

     This bucket per child tool is also a training tool for kids with too much stuff.  Give them a small toy bucket.  The XBox, tablet, family computer are tools not toys.  Books don't go in here.  Give them a bucket and tell them more toys than this is too many and they have to pick their favorites, the ones they actually play with go in the bucket to keep.  After they have picked up their toys and decided what is important to them, you can give the rest to charity or help them throw their own little yard sale to learn how to make their own money.  I know you love your little rug rats, but, imagine their room with three buckets and no clutter!   And, as long as we are talking kid clutter, one bucket should be used for all those crayons, markers, stickers, paper and coloring books.
     Speaking of clutter, Grown ups have their own toys!  Put them in buckets with this garage bucket organizer.  Also take a lesson from this design blog site.  You can wire or zip tie buckets together to organize that play room, even the one you call a den!

Uses for cracked or leaky buckets:  

A shower for you or the garden.

Toy and tool organizer.

Any use (above) that doesn't need to be kept air tight.

Fill with sand or cement and use as a post support, as in a flag pole support or the upright of a canopy.  Fill with cement, sink a can or pipe slightly larger than the pole all the way to the bottom.  

                                Container garden.

                                Trash can.

                                Clothes hamper.

I love buckets!

Monday, May 20, 2013

Second Income

     It is in the prepper on a shoestrings' best interest to create a second income.  I do not encourage anyone to get involved in any get rich quick scheme or to believe they must take from the family income to invest in this new source of income.  This income must be secondary to what ever way you support yourself and your family.  

tips for avoiding a disorganized garage
     I am a housekeeper.  I am able to make some extra money from time to time doing extra work along the lines of my field.  When I am asked if I clean closets, I respond, "Sure, as a side job, on a weekend."  It is the same answer for cleaning out a garage or helping someone to pack to move or to throw a yard sale.  I don't work for free and if you pay me to clean your house, I don't throw in a garage because I like you.  

     In looking for a second income, look for opportunities within your field first.  If you are a painter, or lawn care provider, a handy man job is an extra chance for extra dollars.  A weekly lawn care provider must charge extra for taking out plants and replanting a decorative plot.  If a service was not included in an original agreement, you must be paid for extra work.  

     Painters have a skill that is usually included in the price of a house painting job.  A painter pressure washes a building before painting it.  You could advertise a power wash as a means to preserve the paint job on a house.  Roofs need power washing.  Trees rain down leaves and pollen that rot on a roof discoloring it or damaging it.  A painter could advertise power washing a roof to add visual value to a home and preserve the investment.  Painters also repair cracks and damaged pieces of wood.  Advertising or offering these extra skills to make extra money.  Some of these same skills are possessed by roofers, handymen and general laborers.

     A homemade computer printed business card is a good way to start advertising, as well as this site that offers free business cards.  

    For those who think they have no skill, let me tell you something.  I used to work in a factory organizing and assembling small electronic parts.  I take instruction well.  My job now is as it was then, all about the little details.  

     If you are general office help, not working a full week, type Temporary Professional Service in your search engine.  Take on one or two days a week as a temp.  If you let yourself shine, you may be offered a better job than the one you have, I was.  What about those moms you know who have to work weekends to keep their jobs?  Why aren't you babysitting their children?  

     I know a nurse who works her two twelve hour shifts on her two days on and two days off schedule, then she watches the two children of her nurse friend for six hours a day till her husband picks them up. It works for both of them and gets her some extra money while her friend doesn't worry about her children for her two days.  I also know a woman who was complaining about the school her children attended and a teacher whop was cut back out of her job.  I put the two of them in touch and now the children are home schooled with a proper tutor who is making more than she made in public school as the mom is paying less than a private school.  You can use your skills to make money,too.

     If you are still convinced you have no marketable skills or you are tied to the home for one reason or another, clean your closet, your garage and the kids old clothes and toys and have a yard sale.  Babysit for one or two on a week end night or a Tuesday mom's day out.  Then, when you have some confidence, offer to do the same for a neighbor.

     After my grandmother retired, she made more money babysitting three days a week for five hours than she made working a forty hour week.  She did two Mom's day out jobs and a Friday night out.  She was booked every week for over a decade.  The only time she wasn't booked was for her own holidays and vacations.  

prgrsvimg     Maybe kids and home skills are not your forte.  Raise a rare breed of small animal within the legal guidelines of your state or community.  My sister has a gift with small animals and almost cornered the market on fancy finches in pairs.  I know a lot of people who used to or guy sells fancy guppies he raises in three 50 gallon tanks in his home.  It's a hobby that pays for itself and some extra....A lady who scans up people family photo albums.  She doesn't 'fix' the pics, she just scans them and gives them back with a thumb drive of photos....

      For those with actual training (military) maybe you could advertise personal camping skill training or get involved in the local woodland hiking crowd and offer training for surviving a fall or being lost.  My former Marine goes to the state funded gun range from time to time.  Our hunting licenses pay for it, so we go.  EVERY time he goes, he ends up with someone asking for some training or asking how he made his target stands, or where he got the range is hot red flag.  (His mom taught him to sew) He never fires without raising a warning flag.  Neither should you and he takes along an extra for anyone who offers to purchase one of their own.  

     Maybe you have over purchased a few first aid items.  You could assemble your own first aid kit and sell them at your yard sale, then a flea market if you want to go in to business for yourself.  

     You may be a survivor entrepreneur waiting to happen.  You may be the new yard sale queen or the new clean roof king.  Whatever you find that is right for you, look for that second income inside of you and invest it in your future survival.