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Europe facing double whammy over energy

Gossip has it that this fire means there may not be enough power available in the south east if the weather turns bad, Apparently everything is at capacity in the power system now. Plus there is a natural gas shortage across the EU, both issues driving up energy prices very quickly.

 https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-58579829

 https://www.reuters.com/business/energy/expensive-winter-ahead-europes-power-prices-surge-2021-09-10/

 https://www.cnbc.com/2021/09/13/europes-gas-shortage-could-make-the-whole-world-pay-more-to-get-warm-this-winter.html

If there ever was a good example  to develop back up preps for our homes this is it.  Far to many of our utilities are operating near capacity and are under prepared for trouble ( like the TX power stations last year.

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Unexpected link between natural gas and food prices.

Well here is something I did not know, C02  as a byproduct or fertiliser production is used in the humane slaughter of animals and extending the shelf life of food products.

Sooooo in the UK a surge in natural gas prices and  shortages of supply has caused two masive fertiliser plants to simply stop production which means theres a shortage of C02

https://www.gbnews.uk/news/government-says-energy-security-is-absolute-priority-amid-gas-price-spike-and-drops-in-russian-supply/129335

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AA batteries for HT ham radios (particularly Baofengs)

For those of you who use AA battery packs as backup power supplies for your HT radios, particularly Baofengs, what kinds of batteries do you use? Alkaline? Disposable lithium? Rechargeable? How long do they batteries tend to last when powering the radio? (I realize this is dependent on the usage, but some idea would be helpful.) How many sets of batteries do you carry for your radio?

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Utilities shut off – Do you know what to do?

Recently I came across a video that demonstrated how to shut off the water at the street using a street key.  It reminded me that I should have that capability.  What about other utilities?

Water – We have city water which has the meter inside and two ball-type shut-off valves. Every six months, I take my family down to the basement and let them turn off/on the water to the house (they are not mechanically inclined).  As far as the shutoff at the street, the city will be marking where the street shutoff is and I will be purchasing a street key to allow me to shut the water off at the curb if a disaster struck.  I’ll probably also get a silcock key that I could use to get water at a business in an emergency. Gas – I know they make specific tools for gas shutoff, but what cheaper alternatives would you suggest?  I suppose I could use an old crescent wrench, but interested in other ideas. Electricity – I have a 4-pole breaker to shut off the power to the house.  From the outside, I suppose I could pull the meter head.

I also have labels for all of the shutoff valves throughout the house (mostly in the basement).

Do you know how to shut your utilities off?  Do others in your household know?

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How do I care for potted apple seedling during the upcoming winter?

I have a 3-4 month old, 5-6 inch tall, apple seedling that I started growing from an apple I ate, and am worried on what to do with this little guy during the upcoming winter. I live in a 5b growing zone if that helps.

Here are the options I’m thinking about:

Should I plant it in the dirt outside and let it do it’s best to survive? Store it in a garage that isn’t as hot as inside my house, but not as cold as it would be outside. The garage doesn’t have any light however. But if it loses it’s leaves for the winter, it probably doesn’t need light. Bring it inside my house and keep near a sunny window. This may be too warm for it and not put it into a dormant state. Make a small DIY greenhouse around it outside and try and insulate the pot as much as possible with bubble wrap.

I’ve read that apple trees need to go into a dormant state during the winter, so I’m thinking it needs to be cold so it can lose it’s leaves, but not too cold that the roots freeze.

Do I still water it during the winter like I have been during the summer?

This is the first apple tree that I’ve taken cared of, and I don’t know much about how to make them happy. Any other tips would be greatly appreciated! Teach me how to raise this.

Then just for fun, here’s some pictures of it over the past few months.

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Canadian ranchers range management during drought

The Canadians are trying techniques to improve drought management in the prairie.

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/av/world-us-canada-58573877

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Safely dealing with urban sewage during a disaster

Hello. I’m new to the site and recently found an acute need to upgrade my preparedness. I moved to a flood prone urban area with an inadequate sewer/water system.

Flood waters are a combo of actual rain, raw sewage backed up from the sewer system, and the various chemicals and oils from flooded cars.

In a worst case scenario I would be walking through 12 in + of this stuff to get to safety. I also need a way to purify the municipal tap water for drinking. These events damage the water system and boil water warnings can last many days and are issued too late. I think it’s best to assume tap water is contaminated with whatever is in the flood waters as soon as the weather hits.

I have several days water in the recommended containers but that’s too heavy if we have to evac on foot.

What do you think on best PPE for wading through it? I currently have waterproof boots on order but will need something more substantial.

How about purifying the water if we have to leave home? I have a MSR Guardian Gravity purifier but it isn’t rated for chemicals. Maybe adding P&G Purifier of Water solution as an initial step?

At home I would also use a ZeroWater which has a good profile for removing various heavy metals/chemicals.

Thanks a lot. I look forward to being part of this helpful community.

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How Japan is beginning to rediscover self reliance

An Interesting short show on how Covid appears to have become the tipping  point for many urban professionals who are now looking more into leaving the city and becoming self reliant in the Japanese countryside, the countryside in itself has beeen becoming ever more depopulated through urban migration since the end of WW2.

I see the beginning of similar changing perceptions occuring in Europe and America.

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My, how times and attitudes have changed.

Soooooo I just read this insightful article from the TP blog.

https://theprepared.com/blog/new-statistics-on-modern-prepper-demographics-from-fema-and-cornell-university/

And it got me thinking about how WESTERN values, judgements and opinions have changed since 1990.

Back then at the collapse of the Cold war and Soviet Union we holier than thou westerners looked down our collective noses at how the proletariat of the eastern block lived.

“Har Har Har look at those agricultural Lada cars, they have no fuel injection, no ICE or onboard computers, their suspension systems travel 8 inches to cope with the dreaful roads, isnt it funny watching them being repaired in a barn with a hammer and chisel.”

or

” My god look how these peasants live compared to us sophisticated westerners with our modern apartments, electronically managed homes, electrically heated homes, air con in everything with our 24/7s, Deli’s, Coffee bars etc on every corner. “

“Just look at the eastern Europeans with their log piles, wood burning stoves, vegetable gardens,fish ponds, smoke houses, pigs, goats, chickens and cattle. They are having to grow and preserve their own food, they are generating their own power, digging bore holes and wells and having to rely on wind pumps to bring the water up. Just look how primative they are with no doctors in the community, everyone has to have self reliance skills because they cannot rely on the state or the system.”

My how we laughed and mocked those easterners who were NOT reliant on just in time deliveries, supermarkets, cops on speed dial, home with only occasional mains utilities.

“Hah, we have perfectly manicured lawns instead of Veg gardens, We have Poodles, Pekinese and electrically heated and filtered pools whilst they keep chickens, rabbits and pigs. We have boundless supplies of fresh water from the Rockies to water the Napa valley and to keep the golf courses in vegas lush and green”. We tamed our wilderness and turned our forests into parks whilst those ignorant peasants woodlands are used to get firewood, make charcoal, still full of Deer, Wild Board, Turkeys, Grouse, Pheasant, Bears, etc. Heck they dont even have power distribution pylons and masts supplying power 24/7/365 they way we have, They have to be ready to weather frequent power cuts. they are so backward in places they have to make their own diesel and alcohol to power their primative cars.

They are so primative and backwards they have learned NEVER to rely on the State, Government or System to keep them fed, watered, illuminated, cool, warm, healthy, clean and mobile…

Is that a worm I see turning? 🙂

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Ideas on carrying ID in your bug out bag

I pack and expired US passport in my BOB and also have my driver’s license in my wallet, which I carry in my pocket. I’ve been thinking though that ID is so important, I should add it to my flash drive, which I also carry in my BOB. On the other hand, I don’t want my identity to be stolen. What do you do for ID in your bug out prepping?

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Flu season almost upon us

Well folks, it’s that time of year again. Got a letter from my doctor to book a flu vaccine. It’s free for me this time as I now am in the at risk age group (according to the govt) so I went online and have it booked for beginning of October. I was offered an earlier appointment, but wanted to give my body’s immune system chance to calm down after the ravages of Covid before I give it another dose of info to read. I’m also considering paying for the Pneumonia vaccine. 

Anyone else had the call yet?

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Video, Bugging out of coastal cities by boat.

An interesting take on Urban prepping in which  being able to safely flee a city in a disaster is portrayed as being ” Insurance” ( for the wealthy)  rather than prepping.  I suppose it does open up some options and alternatives for the community at large to consider, especially as so many users of TP are urban preppers? Second part looks at those converting old silos into redoubts, a tad OTT for me.

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Small solar set up for short term emergencies

For some years I have had a couple of small solar powered set ups. One is a 12V system, the other 5V.

The 12V consists a 25W 12V solar panel, 20W 12VSealed Gel Battery A 200W inverter. It’s a basic set up that provides sufficient power to illuminate the shed where it resides and I can also use it to charge my laptop, travel kettle and a few other small items.

The 5V system is more portable and I use it when I go camping.

This consists 28W 5v folding solar panel, 2,  20,000mAh power banks an assortment of usb friendly leads to charge any number of usb items, including phone, tablet, I run lights and a fan off the power banks. The power banks are really handy for camping and one lasts me a week. 

Neither were particularly expensive to buy and both have proven handy. 

Thinking about the temperature sensitive medication, you could run a small electric cooler or one of those mini fridges from the 12V version.

Any question s, ask away and I’ll do my best to answer them. 🙂

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Realities of living underground

A lot of preppers fantasize about underground shelters, whether as an emergency-only bunker or a daily home that is both safe and more eco friendly. But it seems that, like most things, fantasy is different from reality.

Found this interesting post where a family moved into their dream underground home, but turned out not to like it. Here’s their reasons why:

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Dutch oven cooking

I’m not an expert with a Dutch oven (camp oven) but I’ve got a good command of the basics.  I’ve recently revived my “hobby” of cooking in a Dutch as I prepare one-pot meal “kits” from dehydrated and canned foods.  Last night I took it all to the outdoors, and what a success! 

There doesn’t seem to be a lot of discussion on the use of a Dutch oven here on TP, at least a search didn’t reveal much.  I can’t think of a better cooking option during a power outage (as long as you can source fuel – we stockpile charcoal, but would have a supply of hardwood as well).  You can cook almost anything in a Dutch – roast, bake, simmer, fry on the upturned lid.  And you can use it in almost any weather, as long as you can keep it dry and sheltered from wind.

The fuel required depends on the size oven one is cooking in, and how long a cooking time.  Last night I used a 10″ oven to cook a four-serving casserole, the fuel consumption was 20 briquettes, and with the “kit” (1 pint jar hamburger, and packets of dehydrated veggies, spices and topping), the cooking length was two refreshing beverages.  Meal preparation time was almost nil, which doesn’t include the time spent in the separate operations of preserving and assembling the ingredients.

My long term goal is to hone my baking skills, maybe try stacking the ovens (did that only once) and continuing to find and “kit up” meals that are quick to prepare and require minimal fuel. (And taste great!!)

So, any other Dutch oven aficionados out there?  Is there a place in your preps for this remarkable tool?

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Staying Prepped – How to stay the course and avoid burnout

I wondered today how many people started prepping in the last year and how many will stay prepped after the pandemic is over.

During a crisis, people discover their vulnerability. 

Empty supermarket shelves, and later on, an empty refrigerator and cupboards drive home just how vulnerable they really are.

During Covid-19, people searched and searched for items they needed, only to find back orders and not in stock or worse, limits on what they purchase. This meant they had to go back again and again during a pandemic and risk contracting a deadly virus every time they went out. It also meant they could bring that virus home and infect their family members.

It happened during the Avian influenza pandemic. It will happen every time there is a disaster.

What I wonder is why don’t people just stay prepped once they discover their vulnerability? They have some preps in place. Why stop?

Do people just lose interest in the absence of a crisis or disaster? Did prepping get to be too much for them and they began to feel overwhelmed? Are they “burned out” from the stress of planning and prepping? 

Is it a matter of money that stops people from continuing to prep? Could it be peer pressure from family or friends who “tolerated” their prepping during the crisis?

Do people believe lightening never strikes twice?

Maybe it happens because they can resume their old lives.

I admit some days I feel like my head is going to explode when I’m trying to decide on something or figure out prepping plans. But you know, the days when I solve a problem or learn a new skill or knowledge are my best days of all.

I can look at my preps or plans and think, yeah, it may be tough some days, but it is so worth it.

How do you stay prepped and avoid burn out? Do you know of other people who prepped and stopped?

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Prepping for disabled mobility

Couple of times over the years I’ve worked with assorted folks with various disabilities, and call me crazy but I like to sniff around to try and find gear or stuff that will improve their lot AND / OR more importantly improve their MOBILITY.

I keep finding interesting designs for gear and snippets that could prove useful.

Here is a tiny fraction FYI

From ABLE magazine a selection of alll terrain wheel chair vehicles.

All-Terrain Wheelchairs: Where The Wild Things Are

I really like the TREKINETIC

Home – Trekinetic

I have even seen a few on the moors here in the UK miles from anywhere and on the most dreadful of tracks, some folks wont let anything stop them.  A couple of them carried their own camping gear with them, truly impressive.

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Screenshot 2021-09-11 at 19-30-14 All-Terrain Wheelchairs Where The Wild Things Are

Food preservation – it makes sense from a survival standpoint

While watching old episodes of Little House on the Prairie (great series if you haven’t seen it before!), something caught my eye that I never had really put too much thought into before. I saw that their sod house out back had baskets of apples and potatoes that just sit there and look to be fine all winter long, yet I struggle to keep apples and potatoes in my house for more than 2-3 weeks without them going bad. Granted this is a TV show, and those apples are probably fake, but it got me thinking about food preservation lately.

Correct me if I’m wrong here, but our ancestors would plant in the spring, grow all summer, harvest in the fall, and then preserve the food in the winter. From a survival perspective, this makes sense. You work hardest during the spring and fall when temperatures are moderate, when it is hot you mostly just let your plants sit there, and then when it is too cold to even go outside you sit inside and work on food preservation. This formula is set up for maximum calorie preservation. You can even go so far of thinking about the fire and heat produced from the canning and other preservation methods blends well with the need to keep the house warm during the winter. I just thought it was a beautiful balance that we may not realize today with tropical fruit shipped in from all over the world every month of the year.

I feel like food preservation is kind of a lost art for many, and most (myself included) were just taught that putting things in the fridge will make them last longer, and putting them in the freezer will make them last even longer. I no longer want to be apart of that crowd though. Call me a rebel, a food preservation rebel! I want to learn how to preserve food without refrigeration like millions before us knew how to do before the invention of the refrigerator. And sure, even on Little House on the Prairie it shows Ma putting some milk in a cold box, and they have the town ice house, but still they knew how to preserve things.

So, smart people of these forums, teach me about food preservation. What kinds are out there? I’m aware of dehydrating and canning, but please teach me about it. What can I preserve using different methods, what gear is involved, how long do things last with each method, etc…

I wanted to get my feet wet in this field, and so I went out and bought a dehydrator. In the comments below, I am going to tell my story of making some homemade beef jerky and some dried blueberries. I want this thread to be mostly teaching me about food preservation, but still wanted to share one of my successes! 

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Americans today Sept 11 2021

OT

Just thinking about you lot across the pond today.

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Emergency evacuations and their funding

https://www.insurancejournal.com/news/southcentral/2021/09/09/630758.htm

Good evening,

Frequently many private citizens do not evacuate to safety after a weather emergency because of the large costs. My agreement on these big costs are 100%.

The above linked article tells of Louisiana initiating a program via their insurance regulations to help fund evac costs.

“Insurance” is a specific category of risk management. From the non-risk management perspective this Louisiana program could be called a “test case”.

As sad as the Louisiana adverse weather situations are, it is like this in most other places – and I know the meaning of “most”.

The article is well worth glancing at.

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Preprogramming ham radios with emergencies in mind

I have two HT radios — the sum total of my radio equipment. One of these is in my BOB and the other in my house, principally for in-home use. I would like to preprogram these radios as much as possible in advance, so that in case of emergency or evacuation I don’t have to fiddle with programming them manually — particularly if I’m out of the area and am not familiar with the local stations.

As a baby ham without many connections in the community, I don’t have default stations, repeaters or organizations that I would be a part of in an emergency. I have a very minimal connection to my local ARES group — I’ve participated in some of their weekly checkins and I know the closest accessible repeater in my area, run by the local ham radio club, of which I’m not a member. That’s about it.

I was thinking to lookup and program a bunch of repeaters in the surrounding larger area, maybe as far as an hour’s drive away, so that a repeater may be reachable even if I’m out of my immediate area. But I’m not sure if it’s worth the effort since I hear that many registered repeaters are inactive for all intents and purposes. Is there something better I can do?

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“Return to Normal” What are your signals/Indicators/metrics?

Similar to how often it is suggested you have a plan/criteria for when to bug out or bunker in… What are your plans and the signals/indicators you’re looking at for a “return to normal” from this past year?  

My own personal thoughts:  I’ve been vaccinated, but I’m also cautious but nature.  And a huge introvert… so not hurting to go out and party like its 2019, exactly.

I’m looking for sustained downward trends in both covid cases and deaths, and I’m looking at local/regional as well as state and national levels.  My region seems to be doing pretty well, seem to be declining to pre-first-wave numbers if the trend hold for a couple more days.  State and national numbers aren’t as great (seem to be at levels from last summer).  The majority of the news I read seems to indicate that the vaccines are fairly effective even with many/most of the variants, keeping my fingers crossed there but paying close attention.

That being said, my cautious nature and general civility towards the mask mandates of my local businesses keep me from acting like this is all over.  I’ve gone back to the gym, but with mask left on at all times and on off peak hours.  Haven’t eaten out yet, but when I do it will probably only be outside for a while.  But I might, and this sounds crazy, hang out unmasked with small groups of friends who have also been vaccinated and are at least moderately responsible.  Probably not at bars/clubs though, more likely outside or private residences.

So just curious, what are your metrics/methods?  Not proposing/wanting to presume anyone to be less safe than they are comfortable with, just curious what your risk threshold is these days.

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One of the best articles I have read about home schooling

Over the 40 odd years I’ve been into prepping/ off gridding/survivalism I have noticed a slow but steady increase in the number of people making great personal sacrifice to home school or local group home school their children.  And like the article below I remember it being mainly hippies and anti establishment types  doing it in the beginning. But that has changed both in the US and abroad. More and more enlightened and concerned parents are now withdrawing their kids from the highly politicised state education systems.

And by pure coincidence I found a home schooling group in a large new garden village only 3 miles from my place. This garden village is full of huge homes and many VERY successful professionals ( its even got its own golf course and spa) Yet these accountants, senior management, lawyers, MDs etc are openly hostile to both STATE and PRIVATE school offerings in this area. Hence multiple families now cooperate with home schooling, even hiring teachers when necessary to teach the kids subjects the parents dont have the skills to do.

Personally I believe through my own personal experiences that home school kids get a broader far reaching education and it creates more questioning minds than state offering do.

I also see the political indoctrination of our children by certain interested parties as a clear threat to our childrens developments.

https://bariweiss.substack.com/p/american-homeschooling-goes-boom

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Food prep inventory tracking

This is similar to brekke’s question about spreadsheets or lists.  How do you all keep track of your food preps?  Any great system or set up to recommend?  I had a go at making a tracking system on google sheets but it seems unwieldy.  I’d like to make sure I have enough, of things we eat, and that I rotate them well (the cooking and menu planning is a real strong point for me–the technology aspect not so much).

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Back up power system/power station for a farm

Hola from The Republic of Panama!

Friends, I approach you with humility in my heart and openness in my mind: my family has a beautiful (IMHO) 20 acre farm in the mountains of Panama and while it does have the foundations of a self-sustaining property (plenty of grazing land, fruit trees, vegetable fields, multiple clean water wells, etc) I feel the one thing that constantly eludes us is an efficient power system that could help us keep the juice flowing during a lights out SHTF. Our KWh a month ranges from 180 to 196. We have about two acres free for use in such a project…but what CAN we do? We tried solar panels…it did not end well. Your thoughts?

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