Sunday, June 29, 2014

Getting Prepared for Beginners #10 Medical


Disclaimer: I am not a medical professional. This article is provided to get you started thinking about being more prepared. I do not give medical advise and no attempt is made to diagnose or treat any illness or injury.

I hope by now you have realized that I am not a person who preaches beans, bullets, and band aides. Being prepared for the things that are most likely to occur is so much more than that. I have found that medical preparedness is an area that an individual either does nothing or goes way overboard.

Unless you have medical training you do not need a trauma kit, but everyone should have some basic over the counter supplies. Aspirin, ibuprofen, and allergy medicine should be in everyone's supplies as should some type of bandages and topical salves.

Take time to educate yourself on basic first aid. Everyone should know CPR, how to make a splint, and how to apply a tourniquet. Hopefully you will never need these skills, but odds are high you will need some of the skills taught in the CPR course. I have personally assisted in the Heimlich maneuver.

There are lots of herbal remedies that can be made from plants that grow around you everyday, but if you don't know what you are doing you can cause more harm than good. A plant may be a great medicine if prepared properly but if it is not done correctly that same plant could kill someone.

There are several very good books that cover everyday medical needs. You can cover the basics. I know you can.

How much medication should I keep on hand in case of an emergency?

 Several times I have referred the the governmental preparedness site www.ready.gov and their recommendations for basic preparedness. Today I am going to reference another governmental agency. The Center for Disease Control. According to the CDC emergency preparedness guide you should keep a minimum of 7 days of medication on hand in the event of a crisis. I like this recommendation a lot more than the 3 days suggested by ready.gov.

Pain Medications

Pain medications are generally not thought of as life sustaining. They may help you maintain a better quality of life, but normally you will not die if you don't have them. Prescription pain medications tend to be fairly highly regulated due to the likelihood of abuse. In fact, narcotic based pain relievers cannot be refilled until after a certain length of time. This means you will either not be able to have a surplus on hand or it will be more difficult to obtain a surplus. If you are in an emergency situation and you take regular pain medications realize there may come a time when you will simply have to deal with it. I am not saying this is easy and I actually even hate to have to write that, but this situation has been caused by people abusing medications.

Maintenance Medications

Maintenance medications are prescribed for long term chronic illnesses like asthma, diabetes, heart disease and high blood pressure. These are the medicines to not have them could endanger a person's life. These types of medications are much less likely to be abused. To the best of my knowledge none of the true life sustaining medications produce a "high".

Due to the fact that maintenance medications are for many people required to sustain life and few of these medications are abused, many insurance companies will fill a 90 supply. Only one catch. You have to talk to your doctor and ask them to write a 90 day prescription. This action alone will help insure you do not run out of the medication you need.

I also mentioned a very important thing you need to do. Talk to your doctor. If need be refer them to the CDC website and tell them you are trying to build an emergency kit as suggested. Ask your doctor what you should do it an emergency strikes and you are out of medication. I may be that you will have to temporarily adjust your diet or activity level. Your doctor may have other suggestions that will help you get through an emergency.

Documentation

Now for the singly most important thing you can do for your medical preparations. Have a file will all of your pertinent medical information in it. You can have a file one your phone or other digital device, but I suggest very strongly that you have a hard copy.

Things that should be in this documentation package include ALL of your medications, any conditions you may suffer from, ALL known allergies, and contact information for your primary care physician.
If an emergency occurs you may have to leave your home. A little planning can help insure you get to live out your

Rural Dreams and Homestead Wishes



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Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Wild Edibles #5 Queen Anne's Lace or Wild Carrot


Disclaimer: Some wild plants are not only edible but delicious. Other wild plants will kill you if you eat them. Be absolutely certain what a plant is before you eat it. Plant varieties differ from region to region. When in doubt, consult a local expert.

There are at least two species of Queen Anne's Lace in the United States. One is native and one was imported from Europe. Both varieties are also known as Wild Carrot. Wild carrot is a biannual plant. This means that it produces flowers and seed in the second year. The first year wild carrot is characterized by small growth. In Queen Anne's Lace early stages of growth it is very difficult to tell apart from a garden carrot. The fern like leaves when crushed smell just like carrots. In the second year Wild Carrot can grow to about 4 foot in height and has a very characteristic umbrella shaped flower head.

Caution: There is a poisonous plant that looks very similar to Queen Anne's Lace. It is called Poison Hemlock. A small amount can kill a full grown man. Here are this things to consider when trying to tell them apart. One. Wild Carrot has fine little hairs all up and down the stem. If the plant you are looking at does not have these hairs leave it alone. Two. Every part of the Wild Carrot smells like a carrot. You can roll the leaves in your hand, if it smells really bad it is poison DO NOT LICK YOUR HAND!!!!!!! Wash your hands well as soon as you can.

As Food

Nearly every part of this plant is edible. The only part of this plant that is not edible is the stem. The root of the wild carrot is most tender in the first year. During the second year it develops a woody core, which must be cut out for best eating. The second year even after the woody parts are cut out the root is still very tough, cooking can make the root more palatable. The root can be used is stews, soups, or even just boiled. If you have really tough teeth you can eat the root raw.

The leaves can also be eaten raw or cooked, and can be used in all the ways garden carrots greens can. Oh in case you didn't know you can eat the greens of garden carrots as well. The tops of the wild carrot can be eaten in a couple of ways. The tops when fresh can be deep fried or sauteed. As the flower matures it closes up and resembles a bird's nest. The bird's nest is this plants way of protecting the seeds. The dried seeds can be used to add a carrot like flavor to many dishes.

As Medicine

Again every part of this plant can be used for medicinal purposes. The leaves and root of Queen Anne's Lace can be dried and used as a tea that has been used to treat kidney problems including kidney stones, bladder problems, water retention, and to reduce uric acid a primary cause of gout.

Oil from the seeds has been used to treat severe diarrhea, indigestion, and intestinal gas. Seed oil has also been historically used by women to help start menstruation.  

There have been records of this plant being used to treat heart disease, cancer, internal parasites, to calm the nerves, and heck a tea made from the dried leaves has even been used as an aphrodisiac. 

NOTICE According to the Carrot Museum the seeds of Queen Anne's Lace should not be used by pregnant women.

Below is the YouTube video on Queen Anne's Lace 


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Other Posts in this Series: #1 Wood Sorrel#2 Wild Strawberry and WoodberryWild Edibles #3 Dove's Foot Geranium, #4 Broadleaf Plantain

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Getting Prepared for Beginners #9 Security



Security is a little tricky. What I think isn't tricky, but public opinion can be. I really do not care about public opinion in my personal life at all, but for this article we are going try to avoid both extremes of this discussion. Security can be tricky in another way. Unlike all of the other things we have covered up until this point security is unique. If nothing goes wrong a person can live their entire life and never have to think about security. On the other hand if something does go wrong nothing can hurt you as quickly.

Allow me to explain. In normal times security is provided for us by others. Police and even neighborhood watch groups help keep the seedier side of society under control. There are ,however, times and situations when the providers of security may not be there. At this point the divide about security becomes very evident. There are some that fear firearms and there are some that almost worship them. We are not going to cater to either group.

No matter what side of the discussion you fall on I am sure you will find something interesting in this post.
There are things that actually work against us when it comes to security. No, I am not talking about some super secrecy society or some big hidden agenda. Most of us have not had to worry about security for so long that we have developed some bad habits.

Normalcy Bias or The Blinders

Even if this is not you I am sure you have seen someone walking down the street either listening to music or playing around on their phone or other electronic device. A person who does this all the time is oblivious to the world around them. I have been guilty of this myself.

Blinders were invented for horses. Blinders are small pieces of leather that are either built on to the or attach to the bridle. The bridle is the part that fits on the horses head. Blinders keep the horses attention forward. They were designed to keep the horse from getting distracted or frightened.
People put blinders on themselves. This keeps them from seeing things that are out of the ordinary. Another term commonly used is normalcy bias.

Wikipedia has a great definition for normalcy bias. 

The normalcy bias, or normality bias, refers to a mental state people enter when facing a disaster. It causes people to underestimate both the possibility of a disaster occurring and its possible effects. This may result in situations where people fail to adequately prepare for a disaster, and on a larger scale, the failure of governments to include the populace in its disaster preparations.

The assumption that is made in the case of the normalcy bias is that since a disaster never has occurred then it never will occur. It can result in the inability of people to cope with a disaster once it occurs. People with a normalcy bias have difficulties reacting to something they have not experienced before. People also tend to interpret warnings in the most optimistic way possible, seizing on any ambiguities to infer a less serious situation.

Situational Awareness

The cure for blinders or normalcy bias is situational awareness. Notice the world around you. Look for things out of place. There are ways to practice situational awareness everyday. On your way to work, school, or going about your daily activities challenge yourself to notice something you haven't seen before. It could be a house or building off the main road or a vehicle that you have never noticed before.

This should become a habit. Notice odd clothing, a different gate, anything or anyone that appears out of place. This is not paranoia. This is just paying attention plus. Not a single dangerous situation just explodes out of nothing. There are always warning signs. Not one criminal breaks into a house without first trying to learn the schedule of the occupants.

Situational awareness is so much more than paying attention. Situational awareness has an evaluation component. Notice things that are different and determine if there is any cause, or importance to the difference.

Situational awareness applies to a variety of situations. Weather, traffic, and a whole host of other scenarios can be made better by being aware. This applies very heavily to weather. Knowing gives you more time to make last minute preparations.

Security Audit

A security audit should be done regularly. Jack Spirco of The Survival Podcast calls it an, "Am I being stupid?" audit. Allow me to explain. Something as simple as making sure all of the doors are locked could mean a difference. A locked door will not stop determined scum. But it will slow them down.

Secondly, first alert is critical. There are hundreds of products out there that will give you a heads up when someone is approaching your property and some of them are very good. The one I like most is a dog. Unless you are allergic, I think every house should have a dog. Thing is you do not have to have a "guard" dog. Any dog that will bark is an asset. Any pre-warning helps. In a home invasion situation everything counts. 

My wife has wisely said that locks only keep out honest people and for the most part that is true. Locks slow scum down. Determined scum will still get in. Opportunistic scum hate noise. A dog or basic alarm system can many times scare off a would be criminal to flee. I am going to include some links to affordable alarms you can install yourself.

Locked doors slow criminals down, a dog or other alert system will let you know someone is trying to get in your home. 


Defense

Okay, we have slowed the bad guy down, we know he is there, in fact he has gotten into your home. Now what? As I said at the start of this article I am not going to cover deadly force. I may cover that option in a later post if enough interest is shown in the idea.

Let's do an evaluation at this point. What are your assets? What are your strengths? How can you use these to your advantage? What things could you use in your defense?

1. Asset and Strength
You know your home.The invader does not. As a mental exercise think through all of the possible ambush points. Any possible location to surprise your unwelcome guest. 

2. Asset and Possible Strength
Look around for anything that can be used as a weapon. A chair, a knife (though I would not suggest it), a lamp, a belt (a good leather one), anything that can cause pain and/or render someone unconscious or incapacitated. 

At this point you need to make a decision. Are you going to defend or are you just trying to get away? Defense is my automatic response, but everyone is different.

Additional Tools

There are some things you could add to increase your ability to defend your home. Before we dive into those I want to make one thing perfectly clear here. You have done everything right. Your door was locked you had some form of alarm system (hoping to scare the scum away), and someone has gotten in anyway. They have made themselves an invader. That means they are your enemy. In another situation this would probably not be true, but the invader made that so. 

If a person has a real need I believe, no, I know most of you would be willing to lend a helping hand. Sharing produce out of your garden is a time honored tradition. But this is no longer the case when someone breaks into your home. They have proven they would rather take something by force than humble themselves and ask for help and that only applies if there is a REAL need. Stealing your or my TV does not count.




The things that I included are non lethal and if a child messes with any of them they cannot kill themselves. All of these can be an effective deterrent. The bat is self explanatory. 

Pepper spray can be placed all over the the house. Cans can be velcroed under tables or left at several locations around the home. I know that everyone has heard the story about someone who can be sprayed in the face and it does not affect them. People like that are one of a million. I wouldn't worry about that.

A stun gun. You will need to check the laws in your area. A stun gun can incapacitate someone fairly quickly. While my wife and I were researching stun guns she decided she really wanted the one above. The ratings were really good. This unit has a flashlight, an alarm, and a very powerful shock. Any of these will be very valuable tools in protecting your home.

I hope this series has been helpful.

Rural Dreams and Homestead Wishes to you.



You can subscribe to The Rural Economist by email by simply filling out the form at the top right of the page. Your information will never be sold or given to anyone else. You can like The Rural Economist on Facebook follow on The Rural Economist on Gplus. Or you can even follow The Rural Economist on Pintrest. We now have a YouTube channel and are doing a series on wild edible and medicinal plants. Hope on over and check them out, oh and don't forget to subscribe.


Affiliate Link Disclosure: The post contains affiliate links. I may receive compensation for links, endorsements, testimonials, or recommendations for any products mentioned on this blog.

Monday, June 16, 2014

Wild Edibles #4 Broadleaf Plantain




Disclaimer: Some wild plants are not only edible but delicious. Other wild plants will kill you if you eat them. Be absolutely certain what a plant is before you eat it. Plant varieties differ from region to region. When in doubt, consult a local expert.

If I could know about only one wild edible and medicinal plant this one would probably be the one you would choose to know. It has many uses and is great for so many things.

I have known about Broadleaf Plantain for a very long time. My dad introduced me to the plant when I was a young child, but not for eating purposes. I had been stung by a wasp, my dad pulled a leaf, crushed it and placed it on the sting. The pain went away and there was no swelling. Later I got a cut that was bothering me. I tried this plant and guess what? It worked on the cut as well. 

It wasn't til much later that I realized you could eat this plant as well, and let me tell you Broadleaf Plantain is a powerhouse of a food and a medicine. This plant is native to Europe and most of North and Central Asia. It has been widely dispersed throughout the entire world. 

Broadleaf Plantain would be considered a small plant typically not reaching over 8 or 9 inches in height. It has wide leaves that grow from a central root. The leaves are a medium green. The veins of the leave run in a fan like pattern from the base. A stem rises up out of the center which holds the seeds in an almost wheat like fashion. I have never seen anything else that looks close.

Photo bomb by Mittens
As Food
When it comes to eating Broadleaf Plantain it is a nutritional powerhouse. Supplying vitamins A, C, and K not to mention several minerals, iron being one of the primary. Every part of this plant is edible. The leaves taste best when young and tender. As the leaves age they tend to get a little bitter, but not too bad. Best time to harvest is early spring or when new shoots appear after mowing. Dried leaves can be used to make an herbal tea. Even the seeds are edible.This little plant is so widely heralded by foragers that there are even a fairly wide range of recipes for broadleaf plantain. 

As Medicine

Remember at the beginning when I said that I knew this plant for years as the sting plant? Oh it is so much more! This plant has anti-microbial properties "stops nasties from growing and causing infection". Plantain stimulates tissue growth;"things will heal much faster". Also,Plantain reduces pain and discomfort; "actually has a little pain re-leaving properties". You can crush, chew, or make a poultice out of the leaves to unleash all of the above mentioned properties. Tea made from the dried leaves actually helps relieve diarrhea. Talk about a multipurpose plant! 

Here is the kicker. Broadleaf plantain is most likely in your yard right now. Nearly all of the weed and feed products try to kill this beneficial little plant. Show plantain some love and let it grow. If you do it will be there when you need it. Below is the YouTube video on the same plant. 


You can subscribe to The Rural Economist by email by simply filling out the form at the top right of the page. Your information will never be sold or given to anyone else. You can like The Rural Economist on Facebook follow on The Rural Economist on Gplus. Or you can even follow The Rural Economist on Pintrest. You can also subscribe to The Rural Economist Youtube Channel.

Other Posts in this Series: #1 Wood Sorrel#2 Wild Strawberry and WoodberryWild Edibles #3 Dove's Foot Geranium

I wish you
Rural Dreams and Homestead Wishes

Weekly Book Giveaway #3



I just received this book for review this past week. I have not had time to write my review so I have included a review from a fellow blogger. I have read the book and you can expect a review from me soon, but here is a chance for you to win a copy. Without further delay here is the review from a friend.

Far too often the little ones become either scared and confused or left behind while adult family members lead the charge to prepare for an uncertain future. Jake and Miller's Big Adventure: A Prepper's Book for Kids is not only encouraging to help the children want to participate but also helps the parents and grandparents a like to embrace the adventure in prepping!

This comforting story is written from the perspective of both the slightly skittish dog, Miller and Jake, his owner who leads the way and prepares for every adventure!  As they prep, their imaginations take them far, but that's okay because this helps them to better prepare.  From bug spray to water, Jake and Miller are prepared for just about everything! And don't forget that important can opener.

Jake and Miller's Big Adventure: A Prepper's Book for Kids is a short book that is easy for elementary school age children to read, but it's also short enough to be a great read-a-loud at bed time or nap time.  We feel pretty sure this might even become a great show-and-tell book for school! How cool is that?  Your kids can help inspire others!

The author, Bernie Carr ( who also authored the national bestseller: The Prepper's Pocket Guide: 101 Easy Things You Can Do to Ready Your Home for a Disaster) spends time on things that kids really would consider when they set out on an adventure.  And even though the characters may 'prepare for the worst' - Jake's outlook is always hopeful and it helps to calm some of his dog's fears.

After all, isn't this what we want to do with our children, calm their fears, equip them to be well prepared and all the while, not forget that this can be a fun journey!

Enter the giveaway below - this is an Pinteresting Week for our giveaway so get your copy/paste fingers ready! :)

Join us next week for another great book review and giveaway!
________________________
Rural Dreams and Homestead Wishes to you.

You can subscribe to The Rural Economist by email by simply filling out the form at the top right of the page. Your information will never be sold or given to anyone else. You can like The Rural Economist on Facebook follow on The Rural Economist on Gplus. Or you can even follow The Rural Economist on Pintrest. We now have a YouTube channel and are doing a series on wild edible and medicinal plants. Hope on over and check them out, oh and don't forget to subscribe.



Affiliate Link Disclosure: The post contains affiliate links. I may receive compensation for links, endorsements, testimonials, or recommendations for any products mentioned on this blog.

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Wild Edibles #3 Dove's Foot Geranium



Disclaimer: Some wild plants are not only edible but delicious. Other wild plants will kill you if you eat them. Be absolutely certain what a plant is before you eat it. Plant varieties differ from region to region. When in doubt, consult a local expert.

This little plant is known by several names; Dove's Foot Geranium, Dove's Foot Cranesbill, and Geranium Molle just to name a couple. It is native to the Mediterranean but has spread over much of the industrialized world and is considered an invasive species in the Pacific Northwest.

This plant is very willing to fill any bare spot of ground and is not very picky as to the quality of soil. It is an annual but so readily reseeds that for the most part you can count on it returning year after year. The leaves are odd shaped and a little fern like. It produces flowers that range from pink to purple. I have read that this plant can reach 11 inches in height, but I have rarely seen it above say 8. Multiple stems rise from a single root base. The stems and leave are quite hairy. Dove's Foot Geranium blooms start in mid April here in the Southeast and can bloom until early fall. It produces an odd looking fruit the shape of which is where the Cranesbill name comes from.



As Food

Dove's Foot is not very tasty. At least not to me. The leaves can be eaten raw and I have even read of people using the leaves in smoothies. I can find no information as to nutritional value. Just know I have eaten it many times and am still kicking.

Don't worry,there is a lot more to be said for this little plant. Just know if you need something to munch on this plant is there. I would however eat in limited quantities.

As Medicine

This is where the excitement really kicks in for this plant. Historically there are tons of medicinal uses for this plant. Dove's Foot Geranium has been used for the treatment of gout, joint pain, muscle pain, and colic. This plant has been used for the treatment of bruises and bleeding. Extract or decoction of this plant in wine have been used to treat internal injuries.

The praises of this plant medicinally have been around for centuries. Nicholas Culpeper wrote of the benefits of Dove's Foot Geranium in 1654.

Decoction: an essence or extract of something obtained by boiling.

Dove's Foot contains gallic acid. Gallic acid is an astringent and is found in other plants like witch hazel. Gallic acid combines with glucose to create tannic acid. Tannic acid causes blood to clot which may be why it was used to stop internal bleeding. The most common herbal use of Dove's Foot is as a tea or extract.

Tannic acid has also been used to tan leather. I hope you are enjoying learning about the edible and medicinal plants around you.


You can subscribe to The Rural Economist by email by simply filling out the form at the top right of the page. Your information will never be sold or given to anyone else. You can like The Rural Economist on Facebook follow on The Rural Economist on Gplus. Or you can even follow The Rural Economist on Pintrest. You can also subscribe to The Rural Economist Youtube Channel.

Other Posts in this Series: #1 Wood Sorrel, #2 Wild Strawberry and Woodberry

I wish you
Rural Dreams and Homestead Wishes

Monday, June 9, 2014

Getting Prepared for Beginners #8 Water


As I sit here writing this a severe thunderstorm is rolling in. I know it sounds strange, but that helps me focus on my topic. If you have been around a while you know that I lost a business in a tornado in 2011. Now every storm makes my pulse quicken and puts my senses on high alert. I have never really been a fearful person, but I do try to he very observant.

You may remember all the way back in post #2 of the series I said that water wasn't a very high priority in our area. There are several reasons water isn't as high a priority for us as it maybe for you. In our area we still have water towers. Water towers store thousands of gallons of water and use gravity to supply water pressure. As long as the towers are full an entire community will have several days of water at normal usage levels. We are on "city water", not a long term plan, but it is what it is. There are benefits for being on city water. Even when the power goes out the utilities board has huge generators or fuel powered pumps. Does this mean that I do not have any water storage? Of course not. Does this mean that I do not have as much as someone should have that is on a grid powered well or even in the more arid parts of the country? Probably.

Remember our good friends at www.Ready.gov? They suggest having a minimum of a gallon of water per person per day for at least three days. Children, nursing moms, or people who are ill may need more. Also remember the good folks at ready.gov are only interested in you being able to take care of yourself long enough for them to come to the rescue. The one gallon per day recommendation is for both drinking and sanitation. 

Do I have the minimum one gallon per person for three days? Yup. Do I have a little more than that? Yup. Do I have a plan if need be? Oh yes I do. 

Why Store Water?

I know a lot of people who when you talk to them about being more prepared or even more self- reliant look at me like I am growing another head right before their eyes. Even when I point out the government suggests them doing so. A lot of people think major problems only happen somewhere else. That is simply untrue. We are going to cover some reasons storing water is a good idea.

1. Water main break. Nothing catastrophic has happened. The zombies have not risen, just a huge inconvenience of metal fatigue. The utilities company has shut the water off to an entire section of your community to be able to make repairs.It is only going to take a couple of days to repair.

2. A drought had lowered the aquifer and the authorities are telling everyone to boil their water.

3. A severe weather event that knocks out the water supply.

4. A regional flood.

You can see from the list above that you not only have to worry about a lack of water, but too much can be a bigger problem. Contamination is as big a concern as lack of water. Disease caused by contaminated water in many cases kills more people than the event that caused the problems.

Water storage.

If you have read any of the posts in the series, I believe in looking around at what you have or what you can get for free first, then if needed purchase things second. To get to the minimum of 3 days of water for each person we want to look at cheap or free. There are a variety of water storage containers available from several different places. But if you look around there is really good free storage available.

So the requirements for water storage are of course water tight, movable, rugged, and stores easily.

5-Gallon Water Container - Stackable
Do I want any of the 5 gallon stackable storage containers like the one on the right? Yup sure do, and I will get one in the future. But for just getting started I use what is available. If you were going to start saving water tomorrow what is the first thing you would think about using? Most people will first think of a milk jug. Hey, I mean it meets three of the four criteria. Oh but the fourth criteria is the one that dooms the milk jug to failure. 

The problem with a milk jug is it is very thin and gets brittle quickly. I have stored more that a few in the freezer filled with water. I take them out to find that they have busted. I have carried several in my van and had them bust and soak the carpet. They really are just not designed for a very long and productive life.

Enter the hero; the lowly soda bottle. You can get them in 16oz, 20oz, 1 liter, 2 liter, and 3 liters. They are designed to deal with higher pressures caused by carbonation and have been designed to be able to handle the acidic qualities of soda. Soda bottles store well and once you get a layer, just put a board on top and start another layer. The soda bottle meets all of the criteria for good quality water storage. 

If you drink sodas around your house, no problem. Every time you empty a bottle rinse it out well then fill with water and store. That is really all you have to do. If you like you could add one drop of chlorine bleach to the water, but that isn't necessary. Do not store these bottles where they will receive any light. Light promotes algae growth and you do not want that in your water. You can do this till you have your basic storage complete.

Caution:Studies have shown that water stored in plastic containers that have gone through wide temperature swings may contribute to certain types of cancers in women.Do not store water in plastic containers in areas such as vehicles and sheds that will experience wide temperature variations.

Longer Term Water Storage

Some folks want to have a much longer term water storage or may even water self- sufficiency. A very honorable goal indeed. There are all kinds of systems for water catchment, water acquisition and water storage.

Water catchment is when you capture water that would not be available for use. An example would be having rain gutters on your house and instead of those gutters emptying out onto the ground they empty into some type of storage container. Trashcans, 55 gallon barrels, and even larger tanks have been used. For the most part water that has been captured in this way is used for gardening, grey water, and black water purposes, but it can be purified and used for drinking in a pinch.

Grey water: Water that has been used but would not be considered truly contaminated biologically. Examples would be the water that drains from you clothes or dish washer, the water from your tub or shower, and even the water from your sinks.

Black water: water that has been biologically tainted. The water from your toilet being the most commonly thought of black water.

Water acquisition on a home site is typically done by use of a well. Though I have read articles about cisterns and even air wells. There are a few problems with wells. If the power is out how will you get that water? If the local water source has been contaminated, how can you be sure your water source isn't as well? If there is a regional drought it is possible that your well could run dry.

We have a drilled well on our place. Only one problem. We do not have a well pump and it is not on the priorities list right now. Well pumps can be fairly expensive and if the power is out the pump doesn't work anyway. (I know some of you are thinking solar or wind well pumps and they do have their place, but remember for the purpose of this series we are talking a short term even say 10 days or less. We will get to true long term later on.)

This is where a pressure tank comes in. A pressure tank is actually a fairly simple device that as I think about it may be difficult to explain. It is a tank that has a diaphragm or bladder inside. As it fills with water, pressure builds up. The pressure starts immediately. As long as there is any water in the tank at all there will be pressure. Power out no problem. You may have to start conservation procedures, but a 20 gallon tank will provide the recommended 1 gallon of water per person per day for 4 people for 5 days. My grandparents had I believe a 50 gallon pressure tank. For short term outages they acted like normal. They are fairly pricey as well, and again it is on my long term list.

Water Purification

Okay so you have used up your suggested 3 days of water and you have no additional water stores. What do you do? I know there is a pond or creek just over there! STOP! Remember what I said about how many people die from water related illnesses? I tried to find a reference that was not politically motivated that would tell me how much of the world's fresh water was biologically contaminated, but I could not. The percentages I found were between 76 and 99% of the world's fresh water contain some type of biological contamination. One site claimed that if you add chemical contamination the result is 100% of the planets water is bad. So basically consider all water contaminated until treated in some way. I hate the fact that my children have never been able to experience drinking straight from a stream as I did so many times as a child. 

There is a whole host of products available to purify water. You can use iodine tables, personal water filters, or even water filtration systems. All of the ones I included below require no power. If you are only worried about biological contamination all you really have to do is boil the water. I have heard people who acted like experts say you needed to bring the water to a boil and keep it there for 5, 8, and even 10 minutes. That just did not seem right to me. So after a little research I found that I was correct. According to a USA Today article you only need to keep the water at a rolling boil for 1 minute. Anything longer than that you are just wasting water and fuel. You can actually go even less than that. According to Modern Survival Blog as soon as the water comes to a boil it is purified. I tend to agree more with the Modern Survival Blog, but hey if you wish to be extra cautious, we are only talking 60 more seconds.

Now boiling and water purification tablets only deal with biological contamination. Chemical contamination is another story all together. Water purification tablets do nothing to deal with chemical contamination and boiling only makes it worse.

Allow me to explain. When you boil water, you will lose some of the volume of water in the form of steam. It is natural and there is no way to avoid that. The chemicals however do not evaporate as easily, in fact some do not evaporate at all. What you end up with is the same amount of chemicals in less water, so the concentration of these chemicals have gone up. When chemical contamination could be an issue you may want to invest in a filter.



Steps to Purifying Water (Biological)

  1. Get the water. So you have decided to use the water from a local stream or pond. You are going to need a container. Any glass or plastic container that is clean is acceptable at this point.
  2. Filter the water. When you collect the water, no matter what you do you will get several organisms and a lot of sediment in the water. There are ways to make a very effective water filter with stuff you can find around your house, but most of these take a lot of practice. I am just going to cover the basics. You will want to filter out as much of the larger particles from the water before you boil. You can use coffee filters (I would suggest at least 4 of them at once), or even a t-shirt folded several times as your first line filter.  
     
  3. Boil the water. If you are without power and you have a camp stove like I suggested in post #7 Basic Energy, this is no big deal. All you need is a pot, tea kettle, or percolator. If you are having to do this the really old fashioned way, you will need a pot that can handle an open flame. There are several, so I will not cover those.
  4. Allow to cool before you drink. I know this seems obvious to all of us, but remember we live in a world where there are warning labels on everything. I know you have seen on plastic bags "Do not place in cribs". Come on! Who thinks, "Junior needs a toy. Hey I know !I just got back from the store, let's give him one of those bags to play with."?(Sorry for the rant).
  5. If you do not have a way to filter the water before you boil, you can just go ahead and boil then wait for the stuff in the water to settle to the bottom then carefully pour off the clearer water at the top.
I hope you are learning a ton from this series. Maybe you could share these with someone who is on the border of wanting to be more prepared, but concerned that they will look like one of "those people on TV". You comments and question are always appreciated.


Rural Dreams and Homestead Wishes to you.

You can subscribe to The Rural Economist by email by simply filling out the form at the top right of the page. Your information will never be sold or given to anyone else. You can like The Rural Economist on Facebook follow on The Rural Economist on Gplus. Or you can even follow The Rural Economist on Pintrest. We now have a YouTube channel and are doing a series on wild edible and medicinal plants. Hope on over and check them out, oh and don't forget to subscribe.

More Posts in this series:
#17 A Case for Long-Term Preparedness

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Weekly Book Bonanza: Week 2 The Doom and Bloom Survival Medicine Handbook - First Edition


This book is on my absolute must have list. So much so that I wish I could enter this giveaway. But I cannot. I wish you all good luck. If you do not win, this is one book that I strongly encourage you to consider getting.

Week #2 or the Giveaway Extravaganza Weekly Book Bonanza is The Doom and Bloom Survival Medicine Handbook - First Edition.  Keep your Loved Ones Healthy in Every Disaster, from Wildfires to a Complete Societal Collapse.

Written by Joseph Alton, M.D. & Amy Alton A.R.N.P. (aka: Dr. Bones and Nurse Amy of DoomandBloom.net) with the precision of those in the medical field yet in terms any laymen can readily understand, this book covers a wide array of topics! It is an easy read and well formatted for finding what you need to learn.  Every family should have at best a foundation for emergency medical situations.  This book goes beyond the foundation but lays stable ground work on which to build as well.

It is well laid out to compartmentalize issues as you learn how you might be able to treat them.  Sections include:  'Principles of Medical Preparedness', 'Becoming a Medical Resource','Hygiene, Sanitation and Environment', 'Infections', 'Environmental Factors', 'Injuries and Reactions', ' Chronic Medical Problems' and 'Other Important Medical Issues' such as nosebleeds, stockpiling medication, etc.

Each section within The Doom and Bloom Survival Medicine Handbook - First Edition  has multiple sub-sections to help you become better equipped to handle the incidents that can occur during disaster.  From Cellulitis to Snake bites, Dr. Bones and Nurse Amy address so many things in this 419 page book. Many of the things of which you may not have been aware!    The book also includes a Glossary (which can be very helpful to a novice or those unfamiliar with medical terms) and other Medical References.While here is a Second Edition:The Survival Medicine Handbook: A Guide for When Help is Not on the Way  the one we are giving away, is the building blocks to address almost every given emergency and should not be overlooked for the newer version.
This Giveaway is for a first edition copy (The Doom and Bloom Survival Medicine Handbook - First Edition ) which retails on Amazon for about $30.00 before shipping.  Wouldn't it be a great addition to your preparedness library?  You bet it would!  So enter below.

Come back and Tweet daily to increase your chances of winning too!

Working toward
Rural Dreams and Homestead Wishes

You can subscribe to The Rural Economist by email by simply filling out the form at the top right of the page. Your information will never be sold or given to anyone else. You can like The Rural Economist on Facebook follow on The Rural Economist on Gplus. Or you can even follow The Rural Economist on Pintrest.

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Tuesday, June 3, 2014

The Bees' Knees:Oh Honey!





So my next adventure as a new-found ,part-time homesteader is all about those hardworking Anthrophilias,also known as the Honey Bee!

Ok, so we all know how I felt about eating fresh farm chicken eggs (Why Did the Chicken Cross the Road?Don't know,don't care.Just give me your Eggs!) How do you suppose I felt when Dear Ol' Hubby first brought up raising a hive of Honey Bees? I FREAKED! How could he stand the thought of putting us in harm's way of those pesky,angry,ready to sting anything that comes their way critters?
cartoon bee : Angry bee cartoon Illustration


Well of course he'd done this whole " Dances with Honey Bees" routine before.But that was before me.This was whole new territory. And the territory he had previously was more than a half-acre. It was actually a friend's land. He wanted us to be neighbors with the enemy.

Flash forward two years later and we now have a hive,so graciously given to us by a friend we go to church with. Let me say this; my husband did not push this one down my throat.(Ow!That would hurt!) He weighed the options, and educated me on all the benefits of having these little guys (and gals!) around.

Honey Bees are misunderstood.True to the phrase, "Busy as a bee.", these amazing insects live up to the reputation. First off Gregg told me that they will travel for miles to go after pollen.And when they return,they can communicate where the good stuff is to other worker bees! I especially loved watching YouTube videos where the bees place the pollen in little sacks on their legs.Very cool!They have guards watching over the hive,as well as the nursery having a full staff of nannies to tend to future workers and queens.

I have seen how they are diligent.I have stood near their hive and not been afraid. They really aren't concerned with me as long as I don't go poking around. I want them to learn my scent so that they become comfortable with the giant in their area.Gregg has also taught me that as long as the Queen is safe they're pretty docile.We have the Italian Honey Bees,and these are pretty laid back.

It's fascinating to watch these creatures and realize what a key role they play in our environment.Without these guys life would kinda stink. According to the National Resources Defense Council, more than $15 billion worth of crops are pollinated by bees each year in the United States alone.Whoa! These babies are the real deal. And truly, I don't wanna go without foods such as apples, almonds, blueberries, avocados, onions, grapefruit, oranges...well you get the picture.

Now for the best part.The part that Winnie the Pooh dreams of.Yes, the liquid gold of nature. I can't wait til our girls start putting out the Honey!And the beeswax too. I have much to learn about the many uses of it.
Back to the honey. According to people who harvest it, it's not just good for eating. It's also supposedly good for seasonal allergies.The Mayo Clinic is not completely agreeing with that,however they're not disregarding  it either.You can check it out yourself at www.mayoclinic.org/diseases/honey-for-allergies. They do say that the idea isn't far-fetched since honey is used as a cough suppressant and could act as an anti-inflammatory. They also point out that honey contains flower pollen which is commonly used against allergens. I'm no expert, but I'm willing to give it a try. And ladies there are recipes you can find online that are great for the skin. A friend of mine made one,It was awesome!

Another thing to consider is what type of box you want. There are three common types.The Langstroth, the Warre, and the Top Bar. We are as of right now using the former due to the fact when we got the bees they were already placed in it and Gregg didn't want to disturb them. With the Langstroth, you will get more honey with it than a top bar, but less beeswax. Some experts claim the Top Bar is more like their natural habitat which keeps the bees calmer. It really depends on your preference. Next year we will probably try out the Top Bar since we have it.



It's still awhile off until we get our first batch of honey and for all of you newbies out there like me who were cynical and scared, just know that I'm sold out on Honey Bees and I have a new found respect for them and their place in this world. I plan to do a follow up on the harvesting of our first batch of honey. Wish me luck!

Embracing the many adventures of Homesteading.
The Un-Country Country Wife.