Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Getting dishpan hands

Prepping to survive.com has a post on the three dishpan method of washing dishes. I got familiar with something similar when the dishwasher died about 18 months ago; two dishpans did it for me. What I've found is that the most important step is before you wash the dishes: scrape them. This is advice people pass out about using a dishwasher, but it also works for hand washing. Scraping allows you to control the waste from the dishes; if you just tossed it out with the wash water, you could increase the potential for insect or rodent attraction, not really something to go after when life has turned upside down.

I don't use three pans, and I don't use bleach. I use one for wash water, and one for rinsing, and add about 1/4 c. vinegar (straight white stuff from the grocery store) to the rinse water. Wash water temperature isn't as important as the rinse water; you can wash dishes in tepid water as well as really hot water with equal efficacy bu the rinse water should be as hot as you can stand. Any dishes with baked-on crud should be at the bottom of the wash dishpan to soak; almost everything will come off if you let it sit and sog awhile.

Vinegar isn't registered with the FDA as an anti-bacterial agent, but it is very effective as a means of sterilizing surfaces and dishes. It also keeps the soap residue down to a dull roar.
Making bleach isn't something I'd want to try at home even on a good day, but making vinegar is definitely worth the effort, and vinegar has so many uses around the house that vinegar-making should be a skill to add to the prepping mix.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Silver coins as potential barter fodder

If very large chunks of [S] hit the fan, barter will likely be a common way of exchanging goods and materials, but there's no good way to determine the comparative value of a bag of potatoes and a yard of cloth.  A common denominator is often something like dollars, or silver coins, or something else of a widely-recognized, standardized value for exchanging goods of differing values.

Silverbarter.com lists some reasons why silver coins are a good medium for barter:

1. Low counterfeit risk: small denomination = discourages counterfeiters
2. Recognition: government minted = high liquidity
3. Convenience: for bartering/trading 
4. Protection: from inflation & deflation
5. Safety: due to "pocket change" appearance. 

Even when the US government is no longer the driving force it once was, silver coins will probably still be recognizable tender for bartering.

There are also currently movements across the US to create local currencies; these are mostly intended to keep money in the community rather than supplant US dollars and cents.  They operate much like a coupon book, and are sold at a discount, except they are accepted at a number of businesses in lieu of cash.  The local money used to purchase them at local banks is kept in the community when businesses that accepted them exchange them for those same local dollars.

This works well for areas with small local businesses like bakeries or coffee shops or artisan shops or galleries, but I bet that the local phone or utility company prefers what they would refer to as 'real' money. 

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Review: The Survivalist Blog

Survival Tips : The Survivalist Blog

As is typical with most 'advice lady' blogs, including the one you're currently reading, The Survivalist Blog (TSB) tries to be many things to many people; in that regard it both succeeds and fails, just as this one does.

If you are looking for general advice on food and water storage or the like, you stand a good chance of finding information on TSB that will help, and there is a goodly amount of that. However, if you want to know what chainsaw to buy or what the best pair of shoes is for hiking in the wilderness, you do yourself a disservice if you think that TSB, or any blog, for that matter, knows. it. all.

No one is an expert on everything.

When you need specific advice about a specific item, TSB or the blog you're reading [TBYAR? ; ) .] are lousy places to look for information. Seriously. If a blog writer hasn't eaten it, worn it, read it or used it, what do they know that you can't get better information from a specific site dedicated to the best PSHTF brassiere or bayonet?

One thing I noted on TSB is that the writer sometimes lets slide questionable practices: someone wanted to create a storage/fallout shelter without anyone (meaning the gov'mint) knowing about it using local day labor. This is not a good idea for a lot of reasons. First and foremost, if the questioner was deliberately trying to skirt the law (building regulations) they put themselves in danger of creating an unsafe space because...no one is an expert on everything. It's the building department's job to see that the building codes are followed, and if you have a problem with that, Google 'Turkey earthquakes' to see pictures of the result of a lax building code and equally lax enforcement thereof. Permits are a pain. A major, major, stressful pain, and I am speaking from current, ongoing experience. But they exist for safety reasons, and TSB ideally should have cautioned the questioner on that score.

That said, on a scale of one to ten I would give The Survivalist Blog a 7.5. That's pretty good, actually, since there are no perfect blogs; I've bookmarked thesurvivalistblog.net and visit it on a regular basis, which is usually my standard of how good a site is, and you should too.