Preparedness Tip Wednesday: DIY Camping Stove from an Aluminum Can

Today's post is a video that shows how you can turn any aluminum can into a stove. You can whip one of these up in a matter of minutes.  They’re so easy to make and they work really well.  

You will need:
beverage can
thumb tack/sharp object
pure alcohol (rubbing alcohol, medical alcohol)

This is an inexpensive way to be prepared in the event of a power outage as these stoves give off a lot of heat and have the ability to cook large meals.

Thanks for sharing this tip True Activist


Preparedness Tip Wednesday: 7 Mistakes of Food Storage

I found this article very helpful and wanted to share it with our readers, enjoy!

7 Mistakes of food storage

By Vicki Tate

Issue #55 • January/February, 1999

If you are going to store food, make sure that the food you store is adequate for the need you and your family anticipate. This may not be as easy as to achieve as many people think, because the facts are that most people make serious errors when storing food—errors that will come back to haunt them when the food they've stored is the only thing that stands between them and their empty, dissatisfied, bellies.
There are seven common mistakes people make when storing food. They are:

1. Variety

Most people don't have enough variety in their storage. 95% of the people I've worked with have only stored four basic items: wheat, milk, honey, and salt. Statistics show most of us won't survive on such a diet for several reasons. a) Many people are allergic to wheat and may not be aware of it until they are eating it meal after meal. b) Wheat is too harsh for young children. They can tolerate it in small amounts but not as their main staple. c) We get tired of eating the same foods over and over and many times prefer to not eat, then to sample that particular food again. This is called appetite fatigue. Young children and older people are particularly susceptible to it. Store less wheat than is generally suggested and put the difference into a variety of other grains, particularly ones your family likes to eat. Also store a variety of beans, as this will add color, texture, and flavor. Variety is the key to a successful storage program. It is essential that you store flavorings such as tomato, bouillon, cheese, and onion.
Drawing of woman baking bread and muffins.
Also, include a good supply of the spices you like to cook with. These flavorings and spices allow you to do many creative things with your grains and beans. Without them you are severely limited. One of the best suggestions I can give you is buy a good food storage cookbook, go through it, and see what your family would really eat. Notice the ingredients as you do it. This will help you more than anything else to know what items to store.

2. Extended staples

Never put all your eggs in one basket. Store dehydrated and/or freeze dried foods as well as home canned and "store bought" canned goods. Make sure you add cooking oil, shortening, baking powder, soda, yeast, and powdered eggs. You can't cook even the most basic recipes without these items.

3. Vitamins

Vitamins are important, especially if you have children, since children do not store body reserves of nutrients as adults do. A good quality multi-vitamin and vitamin C are the most vital. Others might be added as your budget permits.

4. Quick and easy and "psychological foods"

Quick and easy foods help you through times when you are psychologically or physically unable to prepare your basic storage items. "No cook" foods such as freeze-dried are wonderful since they require little preparation, MREs (Meal Ready to Eat), such as many preparedness outlets carry, canned goods, etc. are also very good. "Psychological foods" are the goodies—Jello, pudding, candy, etc.—you should add to your storage. These may sound frivolous, but through the years I've talked with many people who have lived entirely on their storage for extended periods of time. Nearly all of them say these were the most helpful items in their storage to "normalize" their situations and make it more bearable. These are especially important if you have children.

5. Balance

Time and time again I've seen families buy all of their wheat, then buy all of another item and so on. Don't do that. It's important to keep well-balanced as you build your storage. Buy several items, rather than a large quantity of one item. If something happens and you have to live on your present storage, you'll fare much better having a one month supply of a variety of items than a year's supply of two or three items.

6. Containers

Always store your bulk foods in food storage containers. I have seen literally tons and tons of food thrown away because they were left in sacks, where they became highly susceptible to moisture, insects, and rodents. If you are using plastic buckets make sure they are lined with a food grade plastic liner available from companies that carry packaging supplies. Never use trash can liners as these are treated with pesticides. Don't stack them too high. In an earthquake they may topple, the lids pop open, or they may crack. A better container is the #10 tin can which most preparedness companies use when they package their foods.

7. Use your storage

In all the years I've worked with preparedness one of the biggest problems I've seen is people storing food and not knowing what to do with it. It's vital that you and your family become familiar with the things you are storing. You need to know how to prepare these foods. This is not something you want to have to learn under stress. Your family needs to be used to eating these foods. A stressful period is not a good time to totally change your diet. Get a good food storage cookbook and learn to use these foods! It's better to find out the mistakes you'll make now while there's still time to make corrections.
It's easy to take basic food storage and add the essentials that make it tasty, and it needs to be done. As I did the research for my cookbook, Cooking with Home Storage, I wanted to include recipes that gave help to families no matter what they had stored. As I put the material together it was fascinating to discover what the pioneers ate compared to the types of things we store. If you have stored only the basics, there's very little you can do with it. By adding even just a few things, it greatly increases your options, and the prospect of your family surviving on it. As I studied how the pioneers lived and ate, my whole feeling for food storage changed. I realized our storage is what most of the world has always lived on. If it's put together the right way we are returning to good basic food with a few goodies thrown in.


Preparedness Tip Wednesday: 30 Emergency Tips

I found this list and I thought it was important to share. These are 30 great preparedness tips.

Preparedness Tip #1
Take a moment to imagine that there is an emergency, like a fire in your home, and you need to leave quickly. What are the best escape routes from your home? Find at least two ways out of each room. Now, write it down — you’ve got the beginning of a plan.

Preparedness Tip #2
Pick a place to meet after a disaster. Designate two meeting places. Choose one right outside your home, in case of a sudden household emergency, such as a fire. The second place you choose needs to be outside your neighborhood, in the event that it is not safe to stay near or return to your home.

Preparedness Tip #3
Choose an emergency contact person outside your area because it may be easier to call long distance than locally after a local/regional disaster. Take a minute now to call or e-mail an out-of-town friend or family member to ask him or her to be your family’s designated contact in the event of an emergency. Be sure to share the contact's phone number with everyone in the family. During an emergency, you can call your contact who can share with other family members where you are; how you are doing; and how to get in contact with you.

Preparedness Tip #4
Complete an emergency contact card and make copies for each member of your family to carry with them. Be sure to include an out-of-town contact on your contact card. It may be easier to reach someone out of town if local phone lines are out of service or overloaded. You should also have at least one traditionally wired landline phone, as cordless or cellular phones may not work in an emergency. Visit or for sample emergency contact cards.

Preparedness Tip #5
Dogs may be man’s best friend, but due to health regulations, most emergency shelters cannot house animals. Find out in advance how to care for your pets and working animals when disaster strikes. Pets should not be left behind, but could be taken to a veterinary office, family member’s home or animal shelter during an emergency. Also be sure to store extra food and water for pets. For more information, visit the Animal Safety section on or visit the Humane Society Web site at

Preparedness Tip #6
Go through your calendar now, and put a reminder on it — every six months — to review your plan, update numbers, and check supplies to be sure nothing has expired, spoiled, or changed. Also remember to practice your tornado, fire escape or other disaster plans.

Preparedness Tip #7
Check your child’s school Web site or call the school office to request a copy of the school’s emergency plan. Keep a copy at home and work or other places where you spend a lot of your time and make sure the school’s plan is incorporated into your family’s emergency plan. Also, learn about the disaster plans at your workplace or other places where you and your family spend time.

Preparedness Tip #8
Teach your children how and when to call 9-1-1 or your local Emergency Medical Services number for help. Post these and other emergency telephone numbers by telephones.

Preparedness Tip #9
Practice. Conduct fire drills and practice evacuating your home twice a year. Drive your planned evacuation route and plot alternate routes on a map in case main roads are blocked or gridlocked. Practice earthquake and tornado drills at home, school and work. Commit a weekend to update telephone numbers, emergency supplies and review your plan with everyone.

Preparedness Tip #10
A community working together during an emergency makes sense.
Talk to your neighbors about how you can work together during an emergency.
Find out if anyone has specialized equipment like a power generator, or expertise such as medical knowledge, that might help in a crisis.
Decide who will check on elderly or disabled neighbors.

Make back-up plans for children in case you can't get home in an emergency. Sharing plans and communicating in advance is a good strategy

Preparedness Tip #11
What if disaster strikes while you’re at work? Do you know the emergency preparedness plan for your workplace? While many companies have been more alert and pro-active in preparing for disasters of all types since the September 11, 2001 attacks, a national survey indicates that many employees still don’t know what their workplace plan is for major or minor disasters. If you don’t know yours, make a point to ask. Know multiple ways to exit your building, participate in workplace evacuation drills, and consider keeping some emergency supplies at the office. Visit and click on Ready Business for more information about business preparedness.

Preparedness Tip #12
You should keep enough supplies in your home to meet the needs of you and your family for at least three days. Build an emergency supply kit to take with you in an evacuation. The basics to stock in your portable kit include: water, food, battery-powered radio and flashlight with extra batteries, first aid supplies, change of clothing, blanket or sleeping bag, wrench or pliers, whistle, dust mask, plastic sheeting and duct tape, trash bags, map, a manual can opener for canned food and special items for infants, elderly, the sick or people with disabilities. Keep these items in an easy to carry container such as a covered trash container, a large backpack, or a duffle bag.

Preparedness Tip #13
Preparing for emergencies needn’t be expensive if you’re thinking ahead and buying small quantities at a time. Make a list of some foods that:
Have a long shelf-life and will not spoil (non-perishable).
You and your family like.

Do not require cooking.
Can be easily stored.
Have a low salt content as salty foods will make you more thirsty.
Keep the list in your purse or wallet and pick up a few items each time you’re shopping and/or see a sale until you have built up a well-stocked supply that can sustain each member of your family for at least three days following an emergency.

Preparedness Tip #14
Take a minute to check your family’s first aid kit, and note any depleted items — then, add them to your shopping list. Don’t have a first aid kit? Add that to the list or build a kit yourself. Just add the following items to your shopping list and assemble a first aid kit. Consider creating a kit for each vehicle as well:
First Aid Kits - Assemble a first aid kit for your home and one for each car. (20) adhesive bandages, various sizes
(1) 5" x 9" sterile dressing
(1) conforming roller gauze bandage

(2) triangular bandages
(2) 3 x 3 sterile gauze pads
(2) 4 x 4 sterile gauze pads
(1) roll 3" cohesive bandage
(2) germicidal hand wipes or waterless alcohol-based hand sanitizer
(6) antiseptic wipes
(2) pair large medical grade non-latex gloves
Adhesive tape, 2" width
Anti-bacterial ointment
Cold pack
Scissors (small, personal)
CPR breathing barrier, such as a face shield
First Aid Manual
Non-Prescription and Prescription Drugs
Aspirin or non-aspirin pain reliever
Anti-diarrhea medication
Antacid (for stomach upset)
Syrup of Ipecac (use to induce vomiting if advised by the Poison Control Center) Laxative
Activated charcoal (use if advised by the Poison Control Center)
Prescription drugs, as recommended by your physician, and copies of the prescriptions in case they need to be replaced For more information about first aid kits, visit

Preparedness Tip #15
Keep at least a three-day supply of water per person. Store a minimum of one gallon of water per person per day (two quarts for drinking, two quarts for food preparation and sanitation). Store water in plastic containers such as soft drink bottles. Avoid using containers that will decompose or break, such as milk cartons or glass bottles. A normally active person needs to drink at least two quarts of water each day. Hot environments and strenuous activity can double that amount. Children, nursing mothers, and people who are sick will also need more.

Preparedness Tip #16
One of the easiest ways you can prepare for emergencies is to keep some supplies readily available. Every kit is unique and can be tailored to meet the specific needs of your family, but below is a general list of supplies you may want to consider:
Tools and Supplies (Essential Items are Marked with an Asterisk *)

Mess kits, or paper cups, plates, and plastic utensils
Emergency preparedness manual and a copy of your disaster plan, including your emergency contacts list Battery-operated radio and extra batteries*
Flashlight and extra batteries*
Cash or traveler's checks, change*
Non-electric can opener, utility knife*
Fire extinguisher: small ABC type stored near where fires are likely to occur such as a kitchen, or near a fireplace. It should not be kept in the disaster supplies kit.
Tube tent
Duct Tape*
Matches in a waterproof container
Aluminum foil
Plastic storage containers
Signal flare
Paper, pencil*
Needles, thread
Medicine dropper
Shut-off wrench or pliers, to turn off household gas and water
Plastic sheeting*
Map of the area (for locating shelters and evacuation routes)
(Continued in the next tip)

Preparedness Tip #17
Also include items for sanitation in your emergency supply kit. Consider the following: Sanitation (Essential Items are Marked with an Asterisk *)
Toilet paper, towelettes*
Soap, liquid detergent*

Feminine supplies*
Personal hygiene items*
Plastic garbage bags, ties (for personal sanitation uses)* Plastic bucket with tight lid
Household chlorine bleach

(Continued in the next tip)

Preparedness Tip #18
Include at least one complete change of clothing and footwear per person in your emergency supply kit. We suggest long pants and long sleeves for additional protection after a disaster.
Clothing and Bedding (Essential Items are Marked with an Asterisk *

Sturdy shoes or work boots* Rain gear*
Blankets or sleeping bags* Hat and gloves
Thermal underwear
Preparedness Tip #19
You should also keep a smaller version of your emergency supply kit in your vehicle, in case you are commuting or traveling when disaster strikes.

Emergency Kit For Your Vehicle
Bottled water and non-perishable high energy foods, such as granola bars, raisins and peanut butter Flashlight and extra batteries
Booster cables
Fire extinguisher (5 lb., A-B-C type)
First aid kit and manual
Tire repair kit and pump
Flares or other emergency marking devices

Preparedness Tip #20
Teach children how to dial 9-1-1 in an emergency. Review emergency action steps with all family members:
Check the scene and the victim
Call 9-1-1 or your local emergency number posted by the telephone
Care for the victim
Help your children learn more about emergencies by visiting Red Cross' "Masters of Disaster."

Preparedness Tip #21
Read the information on your city, county and/or state government Web sites as well as the “Be Prepared” section of or and print emergency preparedness information. Be sure to keep a copy with your disaster supplies kit. It can provide telephone numbers, addresses and other information you need when electronic connections are not available options for obtaining the information.

Preparedness Tip #22
When water is of questionable purity, it is easiest to use bottled water for drinking and cooking if it is available. When it’s not available, it is important to know how to treat contaminated water. In addition to having a bad odor and taste, water from questionable sources may be contaminated by a variety of microorganisms, including, bacteria and parasites that cause diseases such as dysentery, cholera, typhoid, and hepatitis. All water of uncertain purity should be treated before use. Use one or a combination of these treatments:
Filter: Filter the water using a piece of cloth or coffee filter to remove solid particles.
Boil: Bring it to a rolling boil for about one full minute. Cool it and pour it back and forth between two clean containers to improve its taste before drinking it.

Add 16 drops (1/8 teaspoon) of liquid chlorine bleach per gallon of water. Stir to mix. Sodium hypochlorite of the concentration of 5.25% to 6% should be the only active ingredient in the bleach. There should not be any added soap or fragrances. A major bleach manufacturer has also added Sodium Hydroxide as an active ingredient, which they state does not pose a health risk for water treatment.
Let stand 30 minutes.

If it smells of chlorine. You can use it. If it does not smell of chlorine, add 16 more drops (1/8 teaspoon) of chlorine bleach per gallon of water, let stand 30 minutes, and smell it again. If it smells of chlorine, you can use it. If it does not smell of chlorine, discard it and find another source of water.
Flood water can also be contaminated by toxic chemicals. Do NOT try to treat flood water.

Preparedness Tip #23
In some emergencies you may be required to turn off your utilities. To prepare for this type of event: Locate the electric, gas and water shut-off valves.
Keep necessary tools near gas and water shut-off valves
Teach adult family members how to turn off utilities.
If you turn off the gas, a professional must turn it back on. Do not attempt to do this yourself.

Preparedness Tip #24
Understand that during an emergency you may be asked to “shelter-in-place” or evacuate. Plan for both possibilities and be prepared to listen to instructions from your local emergency management officials. Visit and for more information on sheltering-in-place.

Preparedness Tip #25
A disaster can cause significant financial loss. Your apartment or home may be severely damaged or destroyed. You may be forced to live in temporary housing. Income may be cut off or significantly reduced. Important financial records could be destroyed. Take the time now to assess your situation and ask questions.
To help you, consider using the Emergency Financial First Aid Kit (EFFAK), a tool developed by Operation Hope, FEMA and Citizen Corps or contact your local Red Cross chapter for Disasters and Financial Planning: A Guide for Preparedness.

Preparedness Tip #26
Learn if earthquakes are a risk in your area by contacting your local emergency management office, local American Red Cross chapter, or state geological survey or department of natural resources. Information about earthquake risk is also available from the U.S. Geological Survey National Seismic Hazards project.

Preparedness Tip #27
Floods are among the most frequent and costly natural disasters in terms of human hardship and economic loss. As much as 90 percent of the damage related to all natural disasters (excluding draught) is caused by floods and associated debris flow. Most communities in the United States can experience some kind of flooding. Melting snow can combine with rain in the winter and early spring; severe thunderstorms can bring heavy rain in the spring or summer; or hurricanes can bring intense rainfall to coastal and inland states in the summer and fall. Regardless of how a flood occurs, the rule for being safe is simple: head for higher ground and stay away from floodwater. Even a shallow depth of fast-moving floodwater produces more force than most people imagine. You can protect yourself by being prepared and having time to act. Local radio or television stations or a NOAA Weather Radio are the best sources of information in a flood situation.

Preparedness Tip #28
When there is concern about a potential exposure to a chemical or other airborne hazard, local officials may advise you to "shelter-in-place “ and “seal the room.” This is different from taking shelter on the lowest level of your home in case of a natural disaster like a tornado. If you believe the air may be badly contaminated or if you are instructed by local officials, follow the instructions below to create a temporary barrier between you and the contaminated air outside.
To shelter-in-place and seal-the-room:
Close and lock all windows and exterior doors.
Turn off all fans, heating and air conditioning systems.
Close the fireplace damper.
Get your disaster supplies kit and turn on your battery-powered radio.
Go to an interior room that is above ground level and without windows, if possible. In the case of a chemical threat, an above-ground location is preferable because some chemicals are heavier than air, and may seep into basements even if the windows are closed.

If directed by local authorities on the radio, use duct tape to seal all cracks around the door and any vents into the room. Tape plastic sheeting, such as heavy-duty plastic garbage bags, over any windows.
Listen to your radio or television for further instructions. Local officials will tell you when you can leave the room in which you are sheltering, or they may call for evacuation in specific areas at greatest risk in your community

Preparedness Tip #29
If there is an explosion:
Take shelter against your desk or a sturdy table. Exit the building immediately.
Do not use elevators.
Check for fire and other hazards.
Take your emergency supply kit if time allows.

If there is a fire:
Exit the building immediately.
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If there is smoke, crawl under the smoke to the nearest exit and use a cloth, if possible, to cover your nose and mouth.Use the back of your hand to feel the upper, lower, and middle parts of closed doors. If the door is not hot, brace yourself against it and open slowly.
If the door is hot, do not open it. Look for another way out.
Do not use elevators.

If your clothes catch on fire, stop-drop-and-roll to put out the fire. Do not run. If you are at home, go to your previously designated outside meeting place. Account for your family members and carefully supervise small children. GET OUT and STAY OUT. Never go back into a burning building.
Call 9-1-1 or your local emergency number.

Preparedness Tip #30
Unlike an explosion, a biological attack may or may not be immediately obvious. Most likely local health care workers will report a pattern of unusual illness or a wave of sick people seeking medical attention. The best source of information will be radio or television reports.
Understand that some biological agents, such as anthrax, do not cause contagious diseases. Others, like the smallpox virus, can result in diseases you can catch from other people.
In the event of a biological attack, public health officials may not immediately be able to provide information on what you should do. It will take time to determine exactly what the illness is, how it should be treated, and who may have been exposed.
You should watch TV, listen to the radio, or check the Internet for official news including the following: Are you in the group or area authorities believe may have been exposed?
What are the signs and symptoms of the disease?
Are medications or vaccines being distributed?

Where? Who should get them and how?
Where should you seek emergency medical care if you become sick?

During a declared biological emergency:
If a family member becomes sick, it is important to be suspicious.
Do not assume, however, that you should go to a hospital emergency room or that any illness is the result of the biological attack. Symptoms of many common illnesses may overlap.
Use common sense, practice good hygiene and cleanliness to avoid spreading germs, and seek medical advice. Consider if you are in the group or area authorities believe to be in danger.
If your symptoms match those described and you are in the group considered at risk, immediately seek emergency medical attention.

If you are potentially exposed:
Follow instructions of doctors and other public health officials.
If the disease is contagious expect to receive medical evaluation and treatment. You may be advised to stay away from others or even deliberately quarantined.
For non-contagious diseases, expect to receive medical evaluation and treatment.

If you become aware of an unusual and suspicious substance nearby:
Quickly get away.
Protect yourself. Cover your mouth and nose with layers of fabric that can filter the air but still allow breathing. Examples include two to three layers of cotton such as a t-shirt, handkerchief or towel. Otherwise, several layers of tissue or paper towels may help.
Wash with soap and water.
Contact authorities.
Watch TV, listen to the radio, or check the Internet for official news and information including what the signs and symptoms of the disease are, if medications or vaccinations are being distributed and where you should seek medical attention if you become sick.
If you become sick seek emergency medical attention. 


Preparedness Tip Wednesday: Tips for Families

As a prepper with a family to worry about I thought these were some great tips to help you and your family be prepared.

Emergency Preparedness Tips for Families

Don't wait until an emergency to have an emergency preparedness plan. There's nothing like an emergency to reveal how prepared - or unprepared - you are for situations beyond your control. September is National Preparedness Month, and the Home Safety Council (HSC) is urging families to have plans, contact information and supplies in place for emergencies, such as floods, major storms, fires or other disasters.
The HSC recommends that all families have a communication plan in case of an emergency that separates family members. Write down the following information on individual cards and give one to each member of your family to keep with them:
• Places both in and outside of your community where your family can meet;
• Phone numbers of people in your community that you can contact in an emergency; and
• An address and phone number of an out-of-town friend or relative.
Be Ready to Go
Keep two sets of emergency supplies ready: one of things you'll need if you have to stay in your house, and another of things you'll need if you have to leave home.
HSC and others recommend keeping the following "Ready-to-Go Kit" items in a backpack or duffel bag in case you're forced out of your home:
• One gallon of water per person
• Food that doesn't have to be refrigerated
• A manual can opener
• Plastic/paper plates, cups and silverware
• Flashlights and extra batteries
• Battery-operated radio
• A change of clothes
• A card with your contact information and the number of someone out of state to call
• Pet food and supplies for one or more days (if you have pets)
• Small first-aid kit
• Personal hygiene items, soap and hand sanitizer
• Needed medications (store these near your Ready-to-Go Kit so you can access them quickly)
• A list of other things to grab that you use every day, such as your cell phone, wallet, eyeglasses, etc.
Be Ready to Hunker Down
If an emergency forces your family to remain at home, or be confined to a portion of your home, for a lengthy period of time, keep the following "Ready-to-Stay Kit" supplies in a plastic tub or special cabinet:
• Three gallons of water for each family member (note the expiration dates on purchased containers of water)
• Canned food and snacks for at least three days
• Manual can opener
• First-aid kit
• Medicine you routinely take
• Toilet paper
• Clothes for each family member
• Blankets
• Books and games to keep you busy
• Paper and pencils
• Pet food and supplies for three days
• Unscented bleach
Talking to Your Kids
HSC recommends that you talk with your children about the different kinds of weather or other emergencies that could affect your community. Reassure them that you or another adult, such as a firefighter, police officer, neighbor or physician, will be there to help them in an emergency. And put a list of emergency numbers, and the work and cell phone numbers of family members, by each telephone in your house.


Preparedness Tip Wednesday: DIY Water Filtration

I found this DIY on making a cheap, effective water Filtration--100 Gallons per Day and I thought I would share it with our readers.

DIY Water Filtration

Homespun Environmental is pleased to present an unpowered water filtration device that can generate over a hundred gallons of potable water per day from just about any fresh water source (pond, lake, stream, or river) using a single 5 gallon bucket and ceramic water filter cartridges.  The amount of water produced works well for multi-family, church group, or commercial/barter applications. 


If you’ve got a Big Berkey sitting around your house, you’re well aware of the high cost associated with it.  I own one, and I love it.  However, I don’t love the $60 price tag on the Berkey filters.  I have two sets of black ceramic filters that came with my Berk, but I have 3 kits on my shelf from Homespun Environmental as replacements and bartering items.  The cost of Homespun’s ceramic filters are only about $17, with the entire kit costing about $24.  You do the math.  I enjoy the convenience of using my Berkey as the standing unit that holds water, but I love the fact I can purchase 3 kits from Russ at Homespun for the cost of ONE set elsewhere.  Had I met Russ before I purchased my Berkey, I would have simply ordered the entire kit from him and made my own counter-top water filter.  He now stocks FLUORIDE and ARSENIC filters, plus a new, mini-filter for camping and hiking!
System Description 
The water barter system is made from 3 ceramic filter cartridges mounted in a 5 gallon bucket (as shown here).  It is also equipped with a Schrader valve and a lid that is capable of maintaining a small amount of air pressure.   The air pressure is applied by means of a manual bicycle tire pump that comes with the kit.  Siphons also come with the kit that can be used to increase the capacity of the system without the need for manual air pumping   The bucket can be hung using the handle or a stand to set the system on can be custom made by the end user.  If a stand is used it should be tall enough so that water containers can be placed under it while they are being filled.   Pre-filter socks are also supplied with the kit for use with water with lots of particulates in it. 
How does it work?
The ceramic cartridges provide a triple filtering capability in a small package.   First, the outer sock will filter out particulates in the water such as sediments, eggs, feces, etc.   The sock can be rinsed out and reused indefinitely.   Second, the ceramic shell filters out smaller biological elements such as bacteria and cysts.  It is effective as long as the shell remains intact.  The shell can be cleaned off using semi abrasive materials (e.g. Scotchbrite pads).  Third, inside each ceramic shell is enough activated carbon to last for roughly 3000 gallons (9000 gallons for the system).  The activated carbon adsorbs chemicals in the water but it cannot be replaced and thus sets the lifespan of the filters.

How much water?   

Click to Enlarge
If the system is set up for maximum output with pressurization and siphons it is possible to get over 200 gallons/day (with steady pumping and refilling of the bucket).   A more practical assumption is no pressurization/pumping but with siphons installed and a steady refill.  This configuration would deliver roughly 100 gallons per day.  The table below gives some estimates with different configuration options.   Note again that these life spans are for the chemical adsorption portion of the filters, the bacterial filtering will last as long as the ceramic shells are intact.

Community Applications   
This system is designed for small group applications as it can create a lot more water than is typically needed by an individual or family.   In emergency situations such as has been seen with recent hurricanes and other natural disasters this could be used to provide water for neighbors or church members as well as yourself.   Basically this device goes beyond the typical individual survival thinking and looks to community service and missions outreach in crisis situations. In case of an “end of the world as we know it” event, this device can be used to create a valuable commodity that can be bartered for other goods and services that you lack (or run out of).  Other derivatives of this idea can also be created; for example using larger containers such as barrels to decrease the amount of refilling required.  Larger containers would also allow for even more filters to be installed and more water to be produced.
This paper has presented a low tech water filter device that enables daily production of 100 or more gallons of potable water from fresh water sources.  A kit to create this device is available on the internet at
Homespun Environmental is a small business catering to the DIY ‘prepper’ market for ceramic water filters.  DIY (Doing it yourself) allows for much lower prices and systems that can be customized to particular circumstances and needs.    They offer individual components, affordable, emergency water filter kits, and systems for the outdoor sportsman.


Preparedness Tip Wednesday: How to Prepare for Power Outages

It is a wet rainy week here in the DFW area this week. Any time there is a storm of any kind there is a risk of losing power. 

Here are some tips for how to prepare when power outages are a concern:
  1. Save important phone numbers to your phone, or write them down, especially for your power company. They will sometimes have a separate number to call in times of emergency so make sure you have the best number to reach them.
  2. Make sure you have a battery powered radio so you can stay updated on what is going on with the weather and what else you can expect.
  3. Stay away from any downed lines that you may come across. 
  4. Do not use candles for a light source as they are a fire hazard. Use flashlights or other battery powered light sources. Make sure to have plenty of extra batteries on hand.
  5. If you lose power, turn off major appliances such as heat pumps, water heaters and stoves. Unplug other appliances such as TVs, stereos, microwaves and computers. This will prevent damage to appliances and possible overloads when power is restored.


Preparedness Tip Wednesday: Emergency Prep for Diabetics

Emergency Prep for Diabetics 

We have always needed to be ready for emergencies. Wherever you live, there is the chance of something happening to disrupt your daily life, whether it's a hurricane, an earthquake, a tornado, or a blizzard.
Recent concerns about terrorist attacks have simply increased our awareness of the need to be prepared if a disaster strikes.

Have a Plan

Everyone is now advised to have a plan in place in the case of an emergency, and people with diabetes must consider proper diabetes care when they make emergency plans.

Emergency Supplies

Consider storing three days worth of diabetes supplies, which, depending on how you take care of your diabetes, could include oral medication, insulin, insulin delivery supplies, lancets, extra batteries for your meter and/or pump, and a quick-acting source of glucose. You may also want to have an extra glucagon emergency kit.
All these items should be kept in an easy-to-identify container, and stored in a location that is easy to get to in an emergency.

Emergency Contacts

Your emergency supply kit should also contain a list of emergency contacts and, if you are a parent of a child in school or daycare, physician's orders that may be on file with your child's school or day care provider. As always, it is a good idea to wear medical identification that will enable colleagues, school staff members, or emergency medical personnel to identify and address your medical needs.
If you are a parent of a child with diabetes, it is important that your child's school has clearly identified the school staff members who will assist your child in the event of an emergency evacuation.
For those who are away from home, consider informing your colleagues, friends, and family members about your diabetes and where your emergency supply kit is kept.
Taking a few minutes right now to gather supplies and inform those around you about your diabetes, may make a world of difference in maintaining blood glucose control and staying healthy under stressful circumstances.


Preparedness Tip Wednesday: Edible and Medicinal Plants

Edible and Medicinal Plants

In an emergency situation you might need to rely on nature to help you survive. Here is a list of things you might want to plant or look for near by and be able to recognize.

A nutritious source of protein, 100 grams of shelled white oak acorns contain 500 calories and 30 grams of fatty oils. The acorns can be eaten whole or ground into a flour or meal for pan bread and is also a food staple that can be stored.

Given their flexibility and multiple purposes, cattails have been referred to as the supermarket of the wild. The rootstalk can be eaten raw or boiled to extract the root starch, or roasted for good caloric value.

Chickweed is most often chopped when consumed due to its stringy consistency. The consumption of chickweed is said to treat stomach problems, lung diseases, several skin conditions, as well as numerous other disorders.

Kudzu Vine

Most of the Kudzu vine is edible except for the pods and seeds. In the east, Kudzu is used to treat a number of aliments from allergies and headaches to intestinal problems and blood pressure.

The entire dandelion plant can be eaten raw or cooked. The dandelion leaves are packed with iron, containing even more of the nutrient than spinach. One of the best things about harvesting dandelion is that there are no poisonous look a-likes, which makes for an easy harvest.

Ground Nut
The American groundnut is a hearty source of protein often found near moisture-rich soil, producing starchy tubers that when boiled or roasted taste like a white potato.

Shepard's Purse
Although not scientifically proven, it is said that Shepard's Purse is used as an alternative medicine to treat anything from heart and circulatory issues to headaches and problems associated with menstruation. Shepard's Purse can be applied directly to the skin to alleviate superficial burns and bleeding skin injuries.

Wild Onion
Wild onion can be eaten raw or used in soups, salads, and stews. Historically, Indian tribes would use wild onion medicinally, crushing the onion and applying it to the skin to alleviate bug bites and bee stings.

Spiderwort stalks cook well like asparagus and the leaves can be used in salads, soups, omelets, and stews. The sap of the Spiderwort can be used on skin conditions. Herbalists have also used Spiderwort as an alternative medicine as an anti-diarrheal, analgesic, astringent, expectorant treatment as well.

Stinging Nettle
While handling these plants without gloves can produce terrible discomfort, stinging nettles have incredible nutritional clout. The leaves, once free of their stinging, bristly hairs, can be steamed, sautéed, or boiled and worked into a meal or soup. The leaves can also be made into a nutrient packed tea. Not to mention they're a surprisingly great source of protein.


Preparedness Tip Wednesday: Plant Your Own Survival Garden

My family was watching Doomsday Castle on Discovery Channel recently and they had to build a Survival Garden. I wanted to share with you the tips they gave. A standard garden with rows stands out and people will come looking for your food when they run out of their food. The way this garden is set up it camouflages your food to protect it.

Imagine a garden that takes up very little space, but grows five times more food per square inch than a traditional garden. A garden that you plant once in your lifetime, but provides food for 30 years without any fertilization, pesticides, or weeding... and it's all disguised to look like overgrown underbrush!
In a future world where there is potentially no electricity or refrigeration, no super markets or seed stores, and no fertilizers or pesticides, it makes sense to look at people who have managed to live successfully for generations without these “conveniences.” Studies of native indigenous people around the world (people who have lived off the land for generations without electricity, refrigeration, commercial agriculture, pesticides, or insecticides) showed that these people lived primarily on perennials (plants that grow year after year without replanting) as opposed to annuals such as typical grocery store vegetables (crops that must be replanted each year).
Simply put, perennials only have to be planted once and they will produce food for a lifetime. Whereas, garden vegetables (annuals), have to be replanted year after year from seed. And because of the natural life-cycle of perennials, they have the time to put down deeper and longer roots, which makes them able to get more nutrients, reach water deeper in the soil, and makes them less susceptible to seasonal variations in sunshine, rainfall, cold and heat than an annual plant.
In nature, plants don’t grow in rows and don’t need to be cultivated, trimmed, weeded, or treated with pesticides. Yet nature has been growing fruits, nuts, berries and herbs successfully for millions of years without man’s help. In fact, many plants often maintain symbiotic relationships where each plant benefits by being with the other. Our Secret Garden of Survival mimics the way that plants grow in nature. And in nature, plants grow together in three dimensions: some taller, some shorter, and they grow in a way where all plants get adequate sun, air, rain, and oftentimes share nutrients and benefit from natural pest control.
Plants in nature often grow in concentric circles where the tallest plant (often a fruit or nut tree) provides shade underneath it for shade-seeking plants, and outside of that shade, a layer of shrubs like blueberries and blackberries can grow. Outside of that circle of shrubs, herbs can grow. Herbs in this position have the added benefit of attracting insect pollinators as well as predatory wasps, which will feed on many of the “bad” bugs that would normally attack the fruit on the central tree and berry bushes. These herbs, in a way, provide a defensive perimeter around the fruit, nuts, and berries that bad bugs must cross at their own peril. Finally, around the herb layer is a lower level of ground cover, which often accumulates nitrogen (a natural fertilizer) that these plants take from the air, and make it available to the surrounding plants.
Because we are growing in three dimensions, we can produce five times more food in the same space that you would plant a traditional garden. And because these plants all grow together, and are in some cases intertwined, it does not look like a traditional garden, but instead looks “natural”- like overgrown underbrush, which camouflages the garden from marauders.
One of the biggest benefits of this type of garden for preppers is that it is almost no work to maintain, compared to gardening with annual vegetables. And in a doomsday scenario, preppers are going to have enough work to do, without having to tend to a garden every day, while exposing themselves to potential enemies. Further, by planting primarily perennials- and a large variety of them- you will always have food for you and your family each year, no matter what the short term summer weather brings.

Secret Garden
A garden disguised to look like overgrown underbrush.

Strategic Layers
Plants grown together in three dimensions.

Start in the center with Fruit/Nut Trees, then around that plant your berry bushes, then around that you have your herb layer with your cooking herbs and medicinal herbs and then the ground cover layer which can be anything from clover to strawberries.

How it works-
The herb layer attracts pollinators and predator wasps that kill "bad bugs." It is a natural pesticide, if you have these plants in place you don't have to worry about it.

Sharing Space
Mint, Comfrey, Mountain Mint, Cucumbers, Beans, Peanuts, Oats and Clover, all growing together in this 2 x 2 ft. square space.

Growing together
Grapes grow on apple trees in the secret survival garden. They actually grow better together than by themselves. These produce 7 times more fruit that grapes that are growing on trellis. 

To learn more, check out Rick Austin's book Secret Garden of Survival.

For more detailed information on how you can grow this kind of garden and get the book, go to Rick Austin’s website,

What a Secret Garden Looks Like and Why It's Important with Rick Austin from Sean Tounn on Vimeo.

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