SUPER items to prep and store

Friday, April 5, 2013

Water filters for Camping, Living and Surviving.

     Yesterday my post was for water filters like the Big Berkey and the Big Berkey itself.  Today, I'd like to offer more filters and filter outlets.

These are portable and personal filters:

Katadyn Combi Endurance Microfilter System - Black
     I have found the Katdyn brand filter online in prices ranging from $144 to $219.  Let me tell you about the one for $144.  It's the same as the higher priced site, but currently out of stock at this website I am posting here.  Let us all be patient and kind and keep them in our favorites list since this is a site for JUST filters.

     Certainly, if time is of the essence and money is not an object, there are other sites like:  Not a bad place to go, all products currently available, easy to navigate site, you can pick your price range in the search feature.  Also an easy affordable site with other brands like Camelbak and more. 

But, there is nothing stopping any of us from going direct to the maker at and

     Of the above sites, I think you will find the most, possibly the best, personal portable filters at MSR.  Msr sells tents, cookware, stoves, tents and gear for the cold weather hiker at  Should you think you will ever need to travel after the stuff hits the fan, this site is somewhere to go to look now. 

 Ceramic Water Filters:

Item No: MW1 
Manufacturer: MSR
MiniWorks Portable Ceramic Filtration System
Price: $95.00
Detailed Description
The Best of the Best in Portable Water Filtration Systems. This unit is for the next time the power goes out in Cleveland or Detroit and the water from the tap is undrinkable. Or when the next earthquake, tsunami or hurricane hits. Don't wait for an "American Haiti" disaster before you invest in a life-saving tool such as this item. Truly a small investment in preparation for a time of need.

Bacteria Removing Ceramic Element for WaterWorks II and MiniWorks Handheld Filters
Price: $39.95
This site also has Gallons of info articles to click on, product made in the USA is US Marine Corps standard issue. Offering cutaway views of their product on the home page to show you what they make from the inside out!

Portable Simple Emergency Water Filter
Item Number: W-P-4X4
Unit Price: $19.98
29 In Stock

Friday, November 30, 2012

RICE in bulk

      Statistics can be found on numerous websites tallying the amount of food stuffs consumed by the “Average American Family”. I looked to find the answer to my question on rice consumption.  I quickly became bored by repeated failures.  It is possible that the average American Family does not consume enough rice to be worthy of top billing in my search engine.  

     Also, I thought rice consumption is greater and lesser in families that are not representative of the average American.  I imagine the families of Asian descent consume greater quantities than those of us who were raised on meat and potatoes.  Following that logic, I suppose there must be families that eat no rice at all.  

     I personally like rice for its ability to sit quietly in a storage container for eons waiting for archaeologists to dig up and admire its freshness.  I like the many ways rice can be stored for disaster preppers.   In a worst case scenario, consider the long term storability of rice, A five gallon bucket holds 45 lbs. when packed loose and about 5 lbs. less when stored in original plastic bags. See more on the subject of buckets in a later blog.  Rice can store in plastic bottles according to FEMA, but I am concerned about BPA and use only food safe bottles that have never been heated and i will store them in a cool storage area.

     Rice will be there years later when kept dry and longer when kept cool, dark and dry.   But, how much?  How much is enough?  How much does the average family consume?  How much do I need?  Unable to find a good guide online, I have done my own math for my own needs. 
     I think anyone can use these basic numbers to gauge their own needs.  1 cup rice plus 2 cups water for cooking, serves 4 people at ½ cup serving each as a side dish with a meat and vegetable.  This makes a balanced plate.  In a peaceful world this is the best case serving size.   A worst case scenario for measuring rice multiplies when rice is not a side dish but a staple.  
     1 cup rice can serve two a single meal or serve one person for a day.  1 cup rice for 2 persons three times a week for 52 weeks equals 78 lbs.
     Four people eating 2 cups of rice (raw measure) three times a week for 52 weeks equals 156 lbs., 5 times a week in the same amount is 195 lbs per year.  
    This is my math, or better stated, this is MY math for ME.  You have to do your own math for your own needs.  Trust me any starving person will eat anything you offer.  Any reasonable person will eat what they can acquire.  In troubled times, acquiring any food cannot be guaranteed.  
     1 cup of rice equals 1/2lb.       2cups rice per 1lb. bag 
     Rice is currently $9.99 for a twenty pound bag and $18.99 for a fifty lb. bag at GFS Marketplace, $4.99 for a ten lb. bag at Savealot and $.99 to $1.79 per one pound bag at most grocers in central Florida depending on variety and brand.  As always, do the math.    
     Storing rice while it is fairly inexpensive is a consideration.  Storing rice while it is available is a prepper’s consideration.  Of course, you can grow our own.  I happen to know you can grow rice in containers.  However, a five gallon bucket of rice in the garden will only barely make one meal.  

Tuesday, December 11, 2012


     Sugar comes from sugar cane and is not white or naturally granulated.  Cane sugar is brown and sticky.  Sugar goes through a series of refinements to become the stuff you buy at the grocery store.  In the colonial past, sugar was referred to in recipes and journals as a sugarloaf.  It was generally sold in a cone shape made that way for ease of stacking in shipment from country to country.  It was wrapped in cheesecloth or paper to keep it from sticking to its neighbor.   A sugar loaf may have been sold in two pound to ten pound cones.  Once you got it home, you shaved off the sugar and crushed it as needed.             
     From most of my research I find sugar recipes from the early American days the sugar was a light brown sugar.  This means it still contained an amount of molasses.  If you have a recipe that requires brown sugar and you have none, use white sugar and a teaspoon of molasses.  Just remember to reduce the liquid ingredients by the same amount!  There, you have brown sugar!

     Have you ever noticed the Xs on the sacks of sugar in the cartoons (if you are my age)?  Perhaps you noticed it in the background of the general store in the TV show, Little House on the Prairie, perhaps not.  Anyway, Ten X sugar is powdered sugar.  This means the table sugar you buy at the grocer’s has been sent through an industrial blender pulsing and beating the grains into dust.  You can do this at home in your blender!  You cannot do this by hand with a hand beater!  

     If you are storing sugar for your long term prep needs or you keep your sugar in the refrigerator to avoid ants and you check in on your supplies, don’t toss the sugar if it is hard or stuck together.  As a matter of fact, I prefer to store sugar in a sugarloaf.  I add a few drops of water for each pound or so and stir it.  I take out a measured portion that will fit into the recesses of a cupcake baking pan, usually one half cup.  I then press it into the cupcake pan with the back of a spoon to make it tight and level.  Let it air dry.  The water evaporates leaving you with hardened sugar loafs that stack and store easily.  Keep it air tight in a container or plastic bag.  To use sugar in a smaller amount, grate on a cheese grater before measuring and adding to your recipes.  

   If you are planning to put up fruits in jams and jellies you can measure sugar into zippered plastic bags and mark the outside showing how many cups or how many pounds with a dark permanent marker. These can be left to be used only when putting up your fruits.  This is a visual aid to teach you how to plan for future uses and to learn what are your true needs.  This method of storing also allows for packing sugar into the edges of any container.  Putting a rectangular bag of sugar in a round five gallon bucket wastes space.  The baggie method lets you fill every square inch.

     Just for fun, you should know the only difference between a peppermint and a caramel candy is flavoring and temperature.  Caramel is butter and sugar and stirring and stopping at the proper temperature.  Pepper-mints are just sugar and flavoring and stirring and stopping at the proper temperature.  If you do not pack a candy thermometer in your prep kitchen, just drop some sugar into cold (icy) water and roll the sugar in your fingers, when it makes a soft ball, the caramel is done, if it turns into threads that are brittle, it is a hard candy!  

Thursday, January 31, 2013


$6.25 -
     According to Wikipedia : Vinegar is a liquid substance consisting mainly of acetic acid (CH3CO2H) and water, the acetic acid being produced through the fermentation of ethanol by acetic acid bacteria.

     Vinegar is a spice, a preservative, a medicine, and a cleaning product.  Do you have enough for all the uses you could have for vinegar?  

     I am listing here a very few of the uses for vinegar here. 

     I have used vinegar on a cotton pad to dab at the oily spots in the T zone on my face and to dry up an outbreak of pimples.  

     A cup of vinegar in a quart of water cleans windows, counters, and mirrors.  A cup of vinegar in a gallon of water cleans tile floors and no wax floors.

     Put a half teaspoon of baking soda down a bathroom sink drain and slowly pour full strength vinegar down after it.  The bubbling will loosen gunk and the vinegar will help to break down the fats and oils in the hand creams and makeup in that bathroom sink, also the smell is much improved, instantly.
     Clean the coffee maker with ½ cup vinegar and a pot of water running it through its cycle and rinse with a second cycle of just water. 

     Vinegar is the pickling solution for cucumbers, cabbages, pickle relishes, corn relishes and meats.  Corned beef is pickled in spice and vinegar.  

     Vinegar is salad dressing (vinegar and oil), and the base to many more complicated dressings.

     Add a teaspoon of vinegar to whole milk to sour the milk for certain recipes.  My Gram’s Prince of Wales cake is made with sour milk.  When you don’t have sour milk, we sour it with the vinegar.

     Sunburn can be treated by sprinkling baking soda on the burn and laying a towel soaked in vinegar on top of it.  The bubbles will get the salt from a seaside sunburn out of the skin and the vinegar takes away the sting.

    There was no shampoo before 1900.  Vinegar rinses did the trick to rinse out the soap you may use if your hair was greasy.   In the olden days (when I was young) we would rinse our hair with vinegar to get all the soap residue out of it.  I worked an entire Little League baseball season running the burger grill.  Trust me, vinegar rinses got out the grease.

     If you are planning and prepping, do the math.  If you use one bottle of vinegar a month for all of your cleaning, science experiments and cooking, then get two for each month you think you will be without access to a grocery store.  There are hundreds of uses and a bottle only goes as far as your imagination and need!

Thursday, March 21, 2013

More on Vinegar Making and using

     Most of the sites I have visited looking for vinegar, how to make, send me to people who make red wine vinegar from "leftover" wine.  Okay, I suppose, if you want to waste wine with making vinegar!  
      Honestly, though, red wine vinegar is great to have when cooking.  It is also a good way to get yourself to break the habit of fatty sauces, dressings and other condiments.  All vinegars are known to help lower cholesterol and it contains potassium for lowering blood pressure.  So, here are some sites and info on red wine vinegar.
Start with:  This is a fact filled step by step with good pictures of what to expect.  The first time I actually SAW mother of vinegar, I freaked a little.  I was glad of these pictures!  It was supposed to look like that!  Also, I found this article comforting as she thought of the movie Aliens, when mother was mentioned to her!

So, basically you need, a clean jar, cool storage place, air and wither apple cider vinegar or red wine and water to begin making your own vinegar.   

What I really wanted was a tutorial in how to make the apple cider to get the white vinegar from.  I use a lot of white vinegar for a lot of different chores.  I clean with it, cook with it, use it to set the dye on Easter eggs, and many more uses.  I finally found simple and direct instructions at this site:  This included the steps of adding yeast to begin the fermentation and then pasteurization before jarring to store the vinegar.
     Mother Earth News offers a good easy to follow instructional that only uses apples, sugar and water in an article named "Apple vinegar from peels and cores."
If you would like to read these articles for yourself, copy and paste the above addresses into your browser and click GO!

Friday, May 3, 2013

Super Items for Prepping

I always like to get double duty out of a product or item that I store but there are some Super Items.   These are inexpensive to acquire mega-multi-purpose items.  These are items that by themselves have many purposes, but when combined with other items of equally inexpensive or simple nature make even greater contributions to the prepper's home.

Here are my top three for the home:
Vinegar  Vinegar has many uses when used straight and even when diluted.  It is a household cleaner; a disinfectant for wooden cutting boards, a tile floor cleaner, polish for chrome, deodorize drains, and clean glass.  For medicinal purposes, it is used as a treatment for acne, warts, a sore throat gargle and upset stomach.  When combined with baking soda it becomes a foaming drain cleaner, a carpet stain remover and the lava for your science project as well as the propellant for a submarine my brother sent away for with cereal box tops.  In cooking, vinegar sours milk to start the curdling process, it combines with baking soda to raise the cake, and tenderize meats.  You need vinegar for pickling and preserving.
Baking Soda  Baking soda on its own is a cleaning product.  Its slight abrasive nature will clean a sink or as a face and body scrub.  On it's own it is a toothpaste or a gargle, with peroxide, it is a whitening tooth paste.  It is good for rashes and poison ivy.  Baking soda is a pest treatment, sprinkled in dark cracks to kill roaches.  As a deodorizer it works in shoes, boots, refrigerators, carpets, and on pet fur before you brush them.  Baking soda in a glass of water for heart burn, a hair rinse, a pre soak for stinky socks.  Added to the bath for skin irritations.  Thousands of uses on its own and used in cooking as a leavening agent.
Salt  salt licks for animals, salt for seasoning, salt for brining, salt for de-icing cars and roads. You need salt to cure and preserve foods. Salt lowers the boiling point of water and speeds up the process.  Salted water keeps potatoes from browning before cooking.  Salt will starve a fire of oxygen.  Salt is a gentle abrasive for cleaning pots and pans.  Make a salt water soak for blood stains and sweat stains.  Salt sets dye in fabrics so they don't run.  Salt across the doorway will deter ants.  Salt is a  weed killer.  Careful not to spread it where you want things to grow.  It is a teeth cleaner, and a good gargle for sore throat.  

These are my top three super items.  I use them for cleaning, healing, and cooking as well as in the yard and garage.  I don't think I ever have enough because I use these items daily.  You could reduce the cost of cleaning by switching to vinegar, baking soda paste and the vinegar and baking soda mixes.  The money you save will buy more vinegar, baking soda and salt.

Ammonia, another super prep item

     Ammonia is another super prep item.  With it's many uses, ammonia is another item that serves many purposes and may be hard to come by in a crunched economy.  And, no. and I mean NO, to the son who will suggest I pee.....yeah, no, I am not cleaning windows with THAT!  it is not the same, son!
Regular cleaning ammonia is 5 - 10% ammonia and the rest water.  Industrial ammonia is about 25% ammonia.  The stronger the concentration of ammonia, the more corrosive and the more dangerous to use without a gas mask.  caution must be taken at all times.  Never mix with bleach.  Do not breathe vapors.

household ammonia      First, if you have stored enough concentrated ammonia purchased from a cleaning supply store, you can make your own sudsing ammonia for cleaning.  Fill a new unused cleaning spray bottle with about 15-20 ounces of water.  Add a third of a cup of ammonia to the water(not the other way round, to avoid splashing or breathing vapors as you fill the bottle).  Add one short squirt or about half a teaspoon of dish washing liquid.  Place spray to on, make sure it is set to the off position and rock it back and forth to mix.  Vigorous shaking not required.  Mark the bottle with a permanent marker to read:  Sudsing Ammonia Do Not Mix with Bleach.

     In the garden, use ammonia on cucumbers to give them a boost of nitrogen.  Dilute a quarter cup of household ammonia in one gallon of water.  Be careful not to spray ammonia undiluted onto anything, ever and wash cukes before eating.  

mark all containers WELL and never
 mix with chlorine
     Ammonia is a mildew remover.  On wicker furniture, use two tbs  to one gallon water.  use a squirter bottle to get into those crevices and rinse well, then air dry.

     Stains on concrete, use one cup ammonia to one gallon water.  Brush on and rinse.  

     Keep animals out of the trash by spraying cans with half strength ammonia and water.  Or, use a household strength ammonia cleaner on the outside of the bags as you take them out each night.  

     If you can't reach the wasp and hornet spray, grab the household strength ammonia and use the spray to shoo them away from you, then soak the nest. Later when they are all gone, knock down the nest and clean the place it was attached to with more ammonia cleaner.  

It's just ammonia in aa applicator
     For mosquito stings to stop the itching, use one drop or two directly on the bite.  Do not apply to a bite that has been scratched open....It will burn like nobody's business!  

     Remove wax build up in the corner of floors with a strong solution of ammonia.  Let it sit for a few minutes then wipe with a scrubbing sponge.  

     Clean gold and silver jewelry by soaking in a solution of 1/2 cup ammonia in 1/2 cup water for 10 minutes, wipe with a soft cloth and air dry.  Never use ammonia on pearls or jewelry containing pearls.

     Clean brass and silver items with a soft brush dipped in ammonia.  Wipe with soft cloth. 

     Grease stains can be pre-treated with a solution of half and half ammonia and water before washing.  Soak greasy spot, rub in, let sit and wash.  

     For a load of greasy work clothes, add a cup of ammonia to the washer and use the pre-soak cycle.  

Used with caution, ammonia is the go to cleaner.  Store lots.


Duct Tape, stock PLENTY !
     Originally developed by a company owned by Johnson and Johnson, duct tape was a rubber based adhesive applied to duck cloth and was used to seal ammunition cases.  It is a pressure sensitive tape now backed with polyethylene,  a variation of which is heat sensitive tape used to seal heating and air conditioning ducts.  So, call it Duct tape or Duck tape, it is a super prep item. When you think you have enough, you will find another use for it and need more.  

     Duct tape leaves sticky residue behind when removed so, knowing how to clean up or realizing duct tape is a done deal, pick your battle.  I found a compound bow for sale at a yard sale for $5 that had been poorly wrapped with camouflage patterned duct tape.  I passed it up.  My choice was cover the bow again with a better wrapping or take the time, take it all off, scrape it as clean as I could then remove the adhesive residue with WD-40 or GooGone, an orange oil based cleaner.

     Use Duct Tape as a remedy for sewing problems...Hem a pair of pants or a skirt.....use the tape to remove lint from clothes...Mend a bath mat or fraying carpet, tape the canvas back, cut away the frays....make the inside of a hat fit better with a couple layers of tape inside the rim...

     As a patch, you can use it on a pool, inflatable toys, hoses both in the garden and an emergency heater hose to get to the parts store, Tape up a vacuum cleaner hose, patch a reinforce a grommet worn out on a shower curtain, reinforce a book binding, make a temporary roof shingle to patch a leak till you can get a shingle in place, patch a tent, canoe, sleeping bag, whatever has a puncture or small tear.....including you!  You can use a bit of duct tape for a cut, just fold some paper towel or tissue over the bloody part and tape it down. 

     Use Duct tape as Fly Paper, cut a few strips and hang at the top of a tent or from the rafters to catch flying insects.

     If you need to get out a splinter, apply duct tape and press it to secure the end jutting out, make sure you pull in the right direction!
      My sons have used duct ape for almost all of the above and I have seen the painter mend shoes, and make a belt on the job site.  The duct taped shoes ended up screwed to a couple of buckets to make a pair of stilts.  A year later, they still work!  The belt was an emergency job and was cast off.  The former Marine is ready to bandage you and tape a couple of poles together to make a travois.  Number three's son would rather have a roll of duct tape and a couple of PVC pipe scraps  than play with his Wii!  He turned in a sculpture of a dragon for his last school project that was duct tape, PVC pipe scraps and red spray paint.  He got an A.  The youngest is ready to tape his kids to a wall  BUT DON"T !!  it's illegal or at least immoral. 

     Make loads of other things by using duct tape to create the fabric.  Lay out strips of tape and apply another to the sticky side of it.  For wider pieces, lay tape sticky side up, overlay another piece on top of it until you have the length and width you need, then go back and place another layer on top sticky side down.  

For more ideas go to or for 
Survival uses got to

Get Home Bag

At the storage unit sorting things
I am going on a trip this week.  I am not panicking or freaking, but details must be tended to immediately.  On top of that, I have to rework my get home gear.  I will be traveling with trusted family to a large gathering of in laws that I do not know.  If anything happens on the way there, over the halfway point, I will travel toward the gathering, less than halfway and it is country roads going home.  
 Any disaster occurring while traveling in a car starts with staying with that vehicle for as long as possible in order to cover as many miles as possible.  After a vehicle is rendered useless from lack of fuel or function, it is up to the person, gear and their desire to make it, to get all the way home.  

What I will need will now depend on getting home over a long distance. This is a different set of gear than just making it through eight to ten miles of city streets and sprawling suburbs if something happened while I was at work.  I have a couple of routes planned that will take me off the asphalt and get me home and my get home bag is equipped for that trip.

Reconsidering and updating a get home bag might make you want to make up several bags, one for local workaday use and one to take along on vacations or other long trips.  I am pretty sure that is the way I am going.  I really do not want to undo all the work and planning I have done to create a bag that suits my everyday needs.  

My get home bag for a local trip is two days of food and water, water filter bottle, a change of shoes, several pairs of socks and a change of clothes (very drab but still city clothes)and a first aid kit.  That's pretty much all I need besides some protection and a desire to get home, to cover ten miles or so.

For this longer trip, I have added a few things I might want to also add to the short term bag,like; water purifier tablets, toilet paper, a poncho liner, small (4'x6') brown tarp, legal weapons to carry at this time without a permit( knife, small crossbow, and taser) batteries, a radio scanner, solar phone/mp3/battery charger. led flashlight, compass, gear repair kit,wire saw, multi hatchet tool and multi tool.  

As you see in this photo, I laid out three forms of shelter.  There is a hammock, a tube tent and an emergency mylar blanket.  There are water tabs and purified water pouches.  There is a baby booboo first aid kit and serious cut and gash bandaging.  There are full day energy/calorie bars and two Mountain House meals for four as well as snacks.  There are waterproof matches, a lighter and a magnesium fire starter.  There is a compass as well as a well fitted survival knife that has a compass on the hilt, a wire saw and fishing line inside the handle, too.  There are several items that are duplicated by another's presence.  If one is lost, another takes it's place.  If one is bartered, nothing is lost.  I don't feel any of these items are frivolous.

     I have a camp coffee pot included in the photo.  It is light weight and very handy when boiling water for any reason, but in the get home bag, it is filled with all the small items and anything that may be crushed by the weight of something else. Also, note: there is a Mylar food storage bag in the backpack seen at the lower left corner of photo.  Even with small similar items encased in  zipper bags, I hate wet clothes, wet food, wet-wet.  That Mylar bag can keep my feet warm, hold fresh killed meat away from contents of the bag, or many other uses, but it's purpose is to keep my good stuff dry.    

I have learned a lot by laying things out and examining and reexamining their worth and weight.   this bag is packed in balance so it doesn't work against the frame when you walk.  It weighs, with frame, a bit under 17 pounds.  What's in your get home bag?
Here are some from the net: 

My Original Get Home Bag Contents{14599a59-4422-4454-9ab5-e2ebb7ae583e}&q=get+home+bag

No comments: