So, there were a few things we were kind of lacking on when it came to preps. We have the stuff for rain catchment, but it is not fully set-up. One problem with what we have planned is that it is a pain to hook hose connections to the bottom of rain barrels. We finally got a hand pump that screws into the fine and coarse threads of a 55 gallon barrel. We got the EZ-55 pump. This hand pump works great, and was easily able to empty a 55 gallon barrel in about 10 minutes of pumping. That being said, we filled 5 gallon buckets and dumped the water down the storm drain. The barrel in question was not purchased for water, but instead to be used as a compost barrel. This brings us into our next current update on preps.
I began looking for an affordable was to build a composting bin. I found online making a composting bin by cutting a door in the 55 gallon drum and putting hinges and latched on it. Then you cut a piece of PVC in half longways, and bolt it to the interior of the drum. This makes the little tossers inside the composter. The last step is to mount castor wheels to some sort of frame. We used a pallet we picked up because they are built to support some weight and are pretty solid. Our decision to add a couple of composters comes from the addition of goats as well as the increase in the number of chickens we have. Running with the chicken and goat feces with grass clippings and such, we can make some decent fertilizer that we can till into the garden next year.
So know we have covered water and composting. Next, we can talk about cooking. We finally decided that it was time to get a sun oven. That is right, we got an all-american sun oven. This is a pricey prep, but it also seems amazing thus far. We bought the dehydrating and preparedness package. This comes with the double pot, the dehydrating trays, dehydrating and baking trays and the “WAPI(Multi-Fuel Water Pasteurization Indicator.) A WAPI is a reusable transparent tube which contains wax. The wax melts and drops to the bottom of the tube when it reaches 150°F (65°C) for 6 minutes indicating that the water has been pasteurized and is now safe to drink.” (https://www.sunoven.com/product/water-pasteurization-indicator-wapi/).
In our previous preps, we have covered water storage and filtration. The last step is heating to kill any living organisms in the water. This can be done over fire or on a stove top. This WAPI gives the sun oven yet another use (although we have had the sun oven into the 350 degree range, so boiling is also an option, although would be harder on overcast days.) Even on overcast days, we have easily hit 250 degrees.
Another prep, which I call a victim of circumstance, is feed for the animals. Our local feed store is closing down after decades in business. It is cheaper than a lot of the local stores, so we purchased 450 lbs of feed, some feed blocks and other little odds and ends. We have also picked up a decent amount of hay. I don’t have room for 1,000 bales of hay, but we do what we can. Remember, any livestock, big or small, will become a precious commodity if anything terrible comes our way. I mean, chickens will produce eggs for years. This could be really useful while getting gardens producing and other means of food production set-up.
Another type of preps we did recently was with our local ARES (Amateur Radio Emergency Service.) We ran a simplex drill in our county, and I realized that, even running a 25W machine and a 25 foot high antenna, I am not communicating simplex with anybody. Not anyone outside of my AO. This was kind of disappointing at first. Then I realized that this becomes a part of our local security down the road. If our radio traffic cannot leave the little valley we live in, it makes it harder for those outside or this small little town to acknowledge we are here. That being said, HF still allows for outside communication. For this, I am working on a portable HF box made from a Harbor Freight case. This will be utilizing a dipole made from hamsticks. I hope to use this to activate a local park for POTA. I guess we shall see.
That about sums it up for this last week here. My next post will be a little more about politics and the climate in our country as it relates to the need for prepping. Also a bonus will be about canning meats. Stay safe, stay prepared, and hope for the best.