A new preppers thoughts on prepping, preparedness and survival

This is a guest post and entry in our non-fiction writing contest  by Deb H

I am new to prepping. Brand new, “just started” new. I’ve put a lot of time and energy into planning and researching, but renting a condo has not allowed me to really begin lying in supplies on a large-scale.

We just bought a house in central Ohio, in a town of about 18,000 people. We haven’t even moved in yet – can’t do that until mid-April. But I’m making plans, lots and lots of plans. I think any number of disasters can and will happen, but Pandemic is where my money is.

Let me say here It will be me, my husband and his adult son living in the house, with room for about 5-6 more people when necessary, and even more if we don’t mind being crowded. I’m the prepper; my husband and stepson humor me and help when I need it, but I’m the catalyst and the only one who will see that it gets done.

First thing will be having a well dug in the back yard & put up privacy fencing. I’ve started my heirloom vegetables from seeds, and will transplant to raised beds in my new yard; hope to have all of that done by May 1st. Then it’s build a solar water heater and install rain barrels. I’ll install a one way valve in the central sewer line, so stuff can only travel away from the house, not back into the house – pretty important since we plan on sheltering in place.

You see, we were living on Lido Key in Florida about 6-7 years ago, and we had to evacuate for a hurricane. We were kept off the island for 4 days, but no shelter would take us because we had dogs and a parrot. We lived in our car in the shelter parking lot, and only went in the shelter to use the bathrooms. It sucked BIG TIME. After that ordeal I decided I would never leave my home again – I will prepare the best I can and weather it out at home. What happens, happens. I’ve earned the right to stay in my home if that’s what I choose to do.

OK. Next, install an incinerating toilet in the basement, with a bicycle-driven generator to burn the waste. If you have to use the toilet, hop on the bike when you’re done. I think that’s fair, don’t you? We have a full basement (about 1000 sq ft), so there is room for the toilet. The root cellar will go in the windowless northeast corner of the basement. Shelf stable foods will go in the laundry area and in the huge pantry off the 1st floor kitchen. Installation of a wood burning stove in the living room fire-place will be done by the end of summer, and possibly another installed in the kitchen too – I need to do further research on that one.

Solar panels will be installed on the roof of the house, but I probably won’t be able to go completely off grid for another year or so due to the total cost. Need to lay in more lamp oil, matches and candles; I keep an oil lamp in every room in the house just in case. My stepson is going to build a solar food dehydrator so I’m not dependent on electricity to dry foods. I do have an electric dehydrator but would prefer to use solar whenever possible.

I’ve made my own bread for sometime now, and I finally bought a Country Living brand grain mill (http://countrylivinggrainmills.com/). I LOVE it! Sometimes they have models with cosmetic issues (such as paint finish) that still work fine and are covered by the warranty. I bought one of these and saved $70.00, so it was well worth the email I sent asking about 2nds. If you’ve considered buying one, DO IT. You won’t regret it.

My husband and I really enjoy reading for both knowledge and pleasure, and I’ve been working on increasing our library by hitting library sales, estate sales, etc. When we lose cable TV and the internet (I don’t doubt for a heartbeat we will lose these services) we will be able to read by lamplight in the evenings.

We also have a good supply of playing cards, poker chips and board games for entertainment. I sew and spend the winter months making quilts. They will never win a prize at the County Fair, but they will keep us warm! I use a treadle sewing machine whenever possible. I’ve accumulated more cast iron cookware, as it can be used over an open fire and holds heat for a long period. Don’t get me wrong – I love my copper pots and pans, but ANY food turns into comfort food when cooked in cast iron.

We will need to replace the back door to the house for security reasons; it’s a nice old wooden door with a great big window you could easily crawl thru after you break it. We have a double door front entry, so if you make it thru one door you still have to make it thru another, so no problem then. Maybe a razor wire bale to put between the doors when the SHTF? I want to install a security door at the top of the basement stairs, and window protection on the first floor.

I need to research beefing up the basement ceiling so if a tornado hits, the basement will still be livable. We also have a gas stove and sink in the basement which I will use as my “summer kitchen” for canning this year. I want to be able to live in the basement if we have to. Ideally I would like to be able to stay home continuously for at least 6 months, and hope to expand that to 12 months in the near future.

I haven’t mentioned weapons or defensive tools yet. We will arm up this summer (guns, knives, crossbows and body armor ) and do whatever is necessary to develop adequate skills. My husband & stepson are behind me 100% on this issue, which is fortunate – it can be a deal breaker otherwise.

I will discreetly put out feelers for like-minded neighbors after we move in; I do believe there is strength and safety in numbers. However, I am normally a somewhat guarded person and imagine that will only get worse under duress. We have extended family members who live between 600-1400 miles from us.

If they can get here, they will be welcome with open arms (after quarantine, of course). I’d love to hear about like-minded folks in the prepper community for ideas regarding sheltering in place in a small/medium sized town. BTW I am a 57 year old mom & grandma, and USAF Veteran. My husband, stepson and I work from home but are internet dependent for work.

This is an entry in our non-fiction writing contest where you could win:

First Prize) Winner will receive a Stealth Body Armor Level II vest courtesy of SafeGuard ARMOR™ LLC and a $150 gift certificate for Wolf Ammo courtesy of LuckyGunner.com   A total prize value of over $600.

Second Prize) Winner will receive a Wise Essentials Kit courtesy of LPC Survival and an EcoZoom’s Versa Stove courtesy of EcoZoom stoves.. A value of over $300.

Third Prize) Winner will receive copies of both of my books “31 Days to Survival: A Complete Plan for Emergency Preparedness” and “Dirt-Cheap Survival Retreat: One Man’s Solution” A total prize value of $28.

Contest ends on June 5 2012.

About M.D. Creekmore

M.D. Creekmore is the owner and editor of TheSurvivalistBlog.net. He is the author of four prepper related books and is regarded as one of the nations top survival and emergency preparedness experts. Read more about him here.


  1. JP in MT says:

    Deb H:
    Great article. Looks like you have a good plan in the making.
    With your experience you have a personal perspective that most don’t have. My experiences have been very minor with things like power outages and bad weather where travel is restricted. I just have to use my overactive imagination.

  2. I apologize in advance if I come across as overly critical. It is admirable that you are preparing, particularly since you do not have strong family support. I wish you well.
    And now, the comments:
    1. You did not mention water which is more important than all the rest combined.
    2. You did not mention what foods you are storing and how much you have. A crucial issue if you are expecting 3 to 9 people. The logistical difference between 3 and 9 is staggering. And food is just the start, think of the extra toilet paper, soap, water, bedding etc. necessary.
    3. You appear to expect your garden to supply a lot of food. This is unlikely. You do not appear to have much experience growing food (an assumption on my part since you mentioned living in a condo.). It is harder than it looks in magazines and on tv. And you have moved to a new climate. This makes the knowledge that you did have from living in Florida fairly useless, that is your weather, growing season, soil, and appropriate crops and crop varieties will be different.
    4. You are way too tech dependent. The goodies are nice, can you repair them? Do you have ordinary tools? Do you have the skills to use the tools you have?
    5. You did not mention medical kit or training. Get both.
    6. A tip from a person who has spent his entire life in tornado country. The odds of being hit by a tornado are incredibly low. Beefing up your basement is likely to be a waste of resources. Get some tarps and rope to keep the rain out after wind, downed tree etc damage. Tarps are multi use and more likely to be of value (needed and used) than a reinforced basement.
    7. Lastly, think multi use for tools and equipment, skills for yourself, and your minimum requirements for food and water in your planning.

    • Ragnar

      “6. A tip from a person who has spent his entire life in tornado country. The odds of being hit by a tornado are incredibly low.”

      Tell that to the 550 people that died from one last year.

      I have to take exception to your comment since I have had two encounters with tornadoes. The first one was when I was returning from onsite work when the tornado hit the airfield that I was driving by. The second is a tornado did a line drive on the apartment complex I had just moved out of.

      Deb H,

      Unless your main floor has steel I beams for support and the outer walls of your main floor constructed of reinforced concrete, there isn’t much that you are going to be able to do to reinforce your main floor. Given the standard building codes used in constructing houses and builders’ desire to cut costs, a direct hit from a tornado (upper end EF2 or lower end EF3) is pretty much going to lay waste to your house. If you are going to reinforce your basement by building a storm shelter, reinforce the northeast corner of your basement. Reason for the northeast corner is to let the rest of your house act as a meat shield for your storm room.

      The storm shelter in your basement cannot be attached to the basement ceiling. The storm room should be kept fairly small around 14′ W x 14′ L x 8′ H max (typical is 8’ W x 8’ L). The walls of your storm room will be constructed out of reinforced concrete, concrete/rebar filled cinder block, or wood/metal. The door jam and door will be metal. To retrofit a basement for a storm room that does not have one will require quite a bit of anchoring into the basement floor or outright replacing a good chunk of the basement floor with new concrete reinforced with rebar (not recommended if you are unfamiliar in working with cement).

      In my opinion, constructing your storm room out of reinforced concrete will give you the best odds of surviving a tornado unscathed. The concrete’s rating needs to be 3000 psi or better (Home depot sells Quikrete cement with 4000 psi and 5000 psi ratings if this is a do-it-yourself project). If the walls of your storm room are done in a tradition, uniform, flat wall then the thickness of the walls and ceiling needs only be 4″ to 6″ thick. If an ICF waffle grid design (which I am not in favor of) is used then the wall has to be 8″ thick. A flat wall needs #4 1/2 inch thick rebar every 12″ vertically and horizontally (I recommend using #5 5/8 inch thick rebar every 12” vertically and horizontally for increased structural strength. Given the cost differences between the two, go with #5). The rebar needs to be rated at 60000 psi. The corners of your storm room and where the length of rebar ends there will be an overlap of two feet with the next piece.

      The door jams will be made out of steel and anchored to your cement walls from both sides of the wall. The metal storm door to have a honey comb construction internally and three grade 1 locks on it. The door can be 36 inches wide, but it is recommended that you go with a narrower door. I suggest making the door open inward so that debris will not block your exit and trap you inside the shelter. Depending on your comfort level, you might want to weld brackets onto the door jams so you can lodge a metal bar in place to help keep the door from being forced open. The storm room walls cannot have any breaks in length shorter than 3.5 feet for structural reasons (door placement distance from corners of storm room and, if installed, vent pipes and fans).

      If cement is not your thing or a doable solution, then a storm room made out of metal and wood is a possible option. FEMA states that a storm room made of the following layers: 2 outer layers of ¾” plywood sheets cross-grained against each other, 14 gauge sheet of metal, supported by a frame of 4×4 beams or double 2x4s with dry wall as an interior finish all anchored into the floor is enough to survive a tornado with little to no injury. Keep in mind this is the bare minimum required by FEMA for a storm room. (If this was my storm room, I’d be adding another layer of 14 gauge sheet of metal or better to the outside of those plywood sheets. The plywood sheets would have one or more layers of ballistic/stab/spike grade Kevlar, Twaron, carbon fiber, or hybrid cloth epoxied to them… And for my peace of mind, I’d add a layer of Lexan into that mix for good measure. FEMA’s little to no injury comment doesn’t settle well with me. It should be no injuries at all.)

      • Hunker-Down says:


        Years ago I helped clean up our town after a tornado. 22 people were killed. The houses that had older roofs and windows imploded into the basement.

        The newer, tighter housed exploded and the debris was scattered over several blocks. None of the building materials made it into the basement. I saw several with 5 feet of water in the basement with riped out natural gas lines bubbling up through the water.
        Cars were rolled off the highway and there was a body in one.
        I stood on a toppled fireplace, and the next day a woman’s body was found under it.

        If a tornado hits our house, I don’t know if it would explode or implode, but we will be hunkered down there with a crowbar and a whistle. The funnel will probably take out the electric transformers and our generator will kick in and electrocute us due to the rising water.

        • Pineslayer says:

          H-D, that got me laughing. Positive thinking! You need a cut off switch in your basement bunker. Got me thinking about it.

        • With your observation, if a tornado is on the ground in your area, I’d recommend hitting the shutoff valves for your natural gas and water before hunkering down.

    • Deb Hawkins says:

      Hi Ragnar – You are right on with your comments. I just re-read my post and I’m kind of all over the place! My mind races with this stuff – so much to do and I consider it all urgent. Let me see if I can address the points you made:
      1. Water – We live in an area where water isn’t too far below the surface. The well will be drilled (I said dug – sorry) and operated via hand pump. We have water filtration taken care of too.
      2. I’m storing bulk ingredient type items, i.e. wheat berries, sugar, oats, beans & powdered dairy items, etc. I’m working on increasing quantities.
      3. This is the first time in 30 years I’ve lived somewhere (condo) I can’t have a vegetable garden; I have extensive experience gardening and enjoy it too.
      4. I know we are too tech dependent. I need to address this, but expect an uphill battle as my husband’s business depends on it right now.
      5. I went to nursing school & have extensive Military & Civilian medical experience.
      6. I agree with the use of tarps – need to have more on hand.
      7. We are tool freaks – we own lots of tools and know how to use them. We even have treadle powered tools that we use, and have another treadle base to convert; I’m voting for a drill press, but that’s just me.

      Prep On – Deb

  3. I have a “Napoleon” wood stove, brand new, never installed…….half price

  4. I’m sorry if I wasn’t clear on #1. You did say that you will be digging a well. My point is that the need for water is immediate. It has to be stored now and alternate current sources were not mentioned.

  5. Deb this is a great article. I was new to prepping not too long ago and have documented it on my site at


    I’ve had neighbors use the site to begin their prepping which is really why I started it. I truly believe having a community is key to survival. It sounds like you are preparing the right way (and quickly I may add) and your experience in Florida will help you greatly.

    Best of luck with your prepping and would love to hear updates on how it’s going.

    • Hey Mike-
      Just checked out your website real quick, I really like how much info you have on it. I bookmarked it and will definitely be checking back! Thank you!

    • Hey Mike, just checked out your site for the first time, very cool. Thanks for what you do.

  6. axelsteve says:

    Welcome aboard DEB !!! You will enjoy it here very much as I have. You will get to know some fine like minded people.One thing that I wish that I would have is a basement.Not many in my area since I live near a lake,and the ones that do seem to flood in the winter.My grandparents were from Kansas and they had to have a cellar or basement in there houses even after they moved from Kansas during ww2.Do not fear firearms they are like any tool if you handle them with common sense and respect they will not hurt you.

  7. Deb, I would have to say that it seems you have all bases covered with the exception of forming your own survival community. In this case I would have to advise you to use extreme caution. You state you are in your fifties and previous military experience so you know by experience how many people you come in contact with can assume a false front and keep it up for a long while. I am twenty years older than you and I have seen this facade fall on a number of people including family members who not only destroyed what secrecy I previously had but also looted my stash. I have had to considerably reestablish my survival plans in a different direction and plan on hunkering down in place with the option of bolting to an alternate location with supplies just in case it becomes prudent to do so. Our community of around 18,000 people has about a fifty percent parasitic population that half of would stoop at nothing to deprive you of your existence since they have the entitlement mentality that goes a little farther than the government owing it to them. They also believe that if you have it you owe it to them.

    • charlie (NC) says:

      Harold you make a good point. I have a neighbor who has been a trusted friend for 25 years or more. He is as aware of the dangers we face as I am but had not done anything toward prepping. Since he is not one that I could turn away in a disaster I talked to him and got him started. He’s kept what he has done secret from me (well I haven’t asked and won’t and he hasn’t volunteered) but I know he has done some things.
      Last week I was talking to his SIL who lives about 90 miles away and I told him how important it was for him to keep shelf stable groceries in his home. He replied with “yeah, Joe (not real te of FIL) has been talking to us about that.” Then he blurted out. “he told us about that arsenal you have!”
      Well in fact I don’t have an arsenal. I barely have enough firearms to protect my family and for hunting. I really don’t have any back ups. Almost all of my guns are old. The average age of my guns is 45 years. As it turns out “Joe” has more guns now than I do and almost all of his are new. I do have a fair amount of ammo but not enough to call an arsenal. Luckily I have hunted all of my life so I don’t have to waste a lot of rounds learning how to shoot. If I did, I’d have to buy more.

      My point is that these are good, reliable folks but already this young man who does not fully understand the world yet is probably telling all of his young buddies about this man that lives near his FIL who has an arsenal. I view that as a threat, not a major threat or one that I can’t handle but a one I wish I didn’t have. One more thing to be concerned about when tshtf.
      The kid probably thinks I have unlimited food supplies too when in fact the bad economy has almost completely stopped my prepping for the last year and I’m struggling just to keep up with the out of date stuff I rotate out of my supply. The only thing I’ve added to my food supply for a year is stuff I’ve canned from my garden and not much of that since dry weather got my garden last year.

    • SurvivorDan says:

      Have had the same problems with building a survival/prepping group here. The two originals expanded to seven recruiting long term close friends of good character. We are now back to the original two as the others failed to accomplish even the most basic goals as they could not commit to making even small sacrifices to get there. They appeared content to let the original two do all the heavy lifting. And some helped to destroy our Opsec but chatting about specific plans with Others. Very difficult to establish a survival community that is more of a benefit than a detriment. But good luck.
      That said….like your drive and determination, Deb H.
      Hope all your plans work out. You go! Nice article.

  8. Hi Deb-
    Congratulations on the new house! Sounds incredible… a dream come true for any of us, and it is good to see someone so well-outfitted to weather whatever comes down the pike.
    It seems you have thought of everything. What is telling is that you are a Vet… with life experiences outside of our borders and life survival skills as taught by our gubm’t to one of their own, who once in civillian life has chosen to embrace fully the prepper mindset and put such extensive (and expensive!) resources into their home. It is interesting how many Vets find their way here. Should be an eye-opener to the non-prepping world that there are things they are not aware of out there… and that we are not crazy.
    Please keep us updated on your progress prepperizing your home! Most of us can only dream of building the kind of infrastructure you have, and at least we can live vicariously through your experiences.
    Blessings and Happiness to you and your family,

  9. Auntie Commie says:

    Prep for the worst, pray for the best.
    2012 will be the year that the second American Civil War starts

    • BamaBecca says:

      funny, I just told my dh the same thing this afternoon. ESPECIALLY if our current “leader” is re-elected”, because imho if he his…it WONT be by popular vote.

      • axelsteve says:

        If he wins it may be another election the Dems stole with phony ballots

        • Hunker-Down says:


          We need voter ID.

          • Rich Muszynski says:

            greetings. what good would voter ID do when the votes are counted by the government? doesn’t matter if you are positively ID’d, they only count the votes they want counted. and from what i get off the net the elections are stolen due to the electronic voting machines that are government controlled and hackable by them. make them give any results they want regardless of the votes cast. and if that doesn’t work then they simply have the Supreme Court put their candidate in power like they did with Bush.

  10. Like anything else .
    #1. dont let it controle your life
    #2. Know when to walk away from it for a while until your mindset improves .
    # 3. Get a life , yes get a life , something totally unrelated to doom , gloom , negativity . This includes doing things , hanging with different people , going places , etc .
    #4 . Understand that our ” community ” is very possibly wrong about everything . This is why I always urge people that are thinking of doing this to think of prepping more like a Mormon would , and avoid the Doomer mentality . If you read some far fetched conspiracy article , keep in mind that its probably the mental workings of a person that sees the bogie man behind every grain of sand , few have multiple hard facts to support them , keep in mind its nothing but opinion , the writers have no high level security clearance , or access to hard documentation to back up their claims , almost none are eye witnesses to anything . Just read it for the theory or entertainment and leave it at that , like a discussion around the water cooler at break time .

  11. Wow! You sound very ambitious for a newbie. My advice would be to take things in steps, not necessarily slower, just an organized approach. It sounds like what you’re planning to do is create in 6 months what has taken many of us years to approach (and we’re not there yet). If you have the money and strength to do it then go for it but, beware, if you run out of energy or money mid-way through and give up then you will actually be worse off.

  12. I would recommend drilling a well instead of digging one. A drilled well, with a proper casing, screen and bentonite seal, will be much more secure to surface and other contamination.

    • Rich Muszynski says:

      greetings. plus digging a well is limited to about 20 feet down, more then that and the ordinary small pump can’t pump the water up to the home. note also that digging a well is a very dangerous business with cave in or collapse of the sides of the well you are digging a very real hazard. and in a cave in you do not have to be buried to be killed. only need to be buried up to your diaphragm and you will strangle because your lungs can’t expand any longer. Normal in most of the country is a water table much beyond digging a well depth, unless you live in a low lying area, which does not seem the case since you have a basement so the water table is much lower then the basement. drilling a well costs a fortune. luckily you have a unlimited cash supply. you can check with your new neighbors to find out how deep they had to drill to get water, chances are you will have to go as deep to hit water. also note that many of the major disease outbreaks in the world occur from contaminated well water that is open to the surface. note even the military is incapable of predicting water supplies. note the problems being uncovered in the Marine base in the Carolina’s.

  13. Anonymous says:

    Ok – loved your article – very close to several friends of mine. I played RPG games and was in the military – and have been a prepper since they were called survivalist. My father told me in the 80’s “being prepared is more than the boy scouts motto – its a man’s responsiblity to his family” my friends often ask me about there preps and the first thing I ask is what are your worries?

    To your article I can only mention three things that might have been over looked (if not – disregard):
    1) Hurricane shelter – there is a new type that replaces your driveway and or garage and puts in a roll top entrance. – with that being said Having roll shutters for all windows and outside doors seems like a good investment. Also a roll door for the basement would be a good slow down for hime invaders. Personally I have solid wood/metal security doors and door jam armor on all inside doors (eash room can be secured)

    2) You spoke of a gas stove – If you lived elsewhere in the country I would also suppose that heating wood also be used. The point of problem becomes the tank. I must be accessible to be filled yet secure from theft and damage. My thought is a second tank in a sunken area below the primary (say having two 250 gal tanks) with and sturdy but main just disguise shed around the top one. Have the shed appear to house a 500 gal one and no one will notice that the charging truck is charging both (just have the valves setup to auto matically over fill to the bottom one) – If the primary is destroyed or damaged the below ground one will still be functional ( just think about what ever damages the top doesn;t take out the bottom one too.)

    3) power – with gas available a propane generator is awesome, but also look into the new helix wind turbine. They are most decorative and resonably priced. Algong with a battery /invertor room set up you can combine with the solor you are palnning -maybe even sell back to the grid (most states require the power company to buy power – although it is at a bulk not retail rate.)

    Thats all to my rant – good article
    just sayin….

  14. Deb,

    If you don’t mind telling, which central Ohio county?

    Also, a good alternative to the incinerating toilet is a composting toilet, like the Clivus Multrum, and I would not underestimate the amount of peddling it might take to run the incinerator. Also, unless you’re actually living within the city limits, a septic system can provide years of service without issues for all of your waste water requirements.

    Otherwise, it sounds like a plan, which puts you way ahead of most if the rest of the folks (the pack excluded of course)

    • Rich Muszynski says:

      greetings. the book “The Humanure Handbook” a guide to composting human manure by Joseph Jenkins. instead of the super high cost of a composting toilet, that really doesn’t do that, it simply accumulates the waste. with a humanure compost toilet there is next to no cost, and no need for a septic tank. even if money is no concern at all do you realize what a septic system costs to put in? i had one put in several years ago and even then it ran me $3,000! and the installation is not the end of the cost, you have to have the septic tank pumped out when it fills. another $600 for the last time we had ours pumped. and note when it fills it will no longer allow you to flush the human waste and water into it. and it will also have a drain field that could very likely contaminate your dug well. a septic system is only a holding system and does not compost the waste at all, just stores it and drains off the contaminated water to seep into the ground through the drain field. get the book or maybe check it out in a local library and see what they have to say. no cost in doing that and you could save a bundle and make your place that much safer to occupy if the electric fails.

      • Rich Muszynski,

        I detail my “Humanure” composting system in my book “Dirt Cheap Survival Retreat” http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1581607474?ie=UTF8&tag=ccsb-20&linkCode=xm2&camp=1789&creativeASIN=1581607474 simple and easy…

        • Rich Muszynski says:

          greetings. checked my copy of your book, “dirt cheap survival retreat” that i got from Paladin press. on page 45 to 47 you mention the humanure method, altered though. you also recommended the humanure book in that section. note under the humanure method you do not use water to carry the waste. you use sawdust or peat moss and put in a handful every time you make a deposit of solid human waste or urine . also the one in the humanure book can also handle household organic waste and the ability of using multiple 5 gallon pails to use in the toilet. and it certainly looks to be the way to go. so one fills up you simply replace the filled one with a fresh one. I have done a number of the tire sidewall cuttings out. i found that i do best with a common razor knife with the replaceable blades instead of the jig saw. doesn’t bind as much and no electric needed. I simply press in on the tire casing near the cut and draw the knife along, making multiple passes till I am completely through the tire. then turn the tire inside out which makes it much stiffer. i have a bunch of them cut and sitting waiting to be used to make some terraced planting areas on the shattered ledge of the land here. cut them out, turn them inside out so the used thread is on the inside. position them and fill them with rocks and here clay. make a long lasting wall that is much easier then trying to build one out of stone alone. if i recall correctly the tire thing was from a pamphlet that was offered through The Mother Earth magazine years ago. still right for use now.

      • Rich,
        Don;t know where you live, but we only pump our septic system every 5-7 years, and it only costs around $150 here. If you’re careful what you put into the system (like single-ply TP) you can extend the time between pumping by a good amount.

        • Rich Muszynski says:

          greetings. still a cost and with no return for the investment. when composed on the other hand, one does not need to use the huge amount of water a toilet uses to flush. and one can use the composted humanure as fertilizer in your garden. human waste is the main fertilizer in most of the world other then the north American continent. but they don’t bother composting it, just use it raw. which is where it gets the bad reputation it has.

          • Rich,
            In general, at least in my situation, I do not worry about the amount of water involved. If one lives where you have a septic system and city water (and those places do exist) or an arid region like the desert southwest, then this is an issue; however, in many cases (mine included) I have an abundance of water right on the property, and all of the effluent eventually leaches back into the aquifer right here on the property. Whichever type of waste system you select should take into account the entire situation from the regional and personal resources and the amount of money available to install the system.

      • charlie (NC) says:

        Rich I can’t completely agree with you. A septic tank functions the same as an anaerobic digester which is a common process for waste disposal even in municipal waste treatment plants.
        The effluent that flows into the drain field is certainly not drinking water but it is relatively free of bacteria if the septic sytem is operating properly. The main purpose of the drain field is to let nitrogen and amonia evaporate from the effluent and filter through the dirt and into the air. By the time the water seeps out of the drain field and a few inches into the soil it is clean enough to drink.

        • charlie (NC) says:

          One other thing. You sould never use chlorine based cleaners in your toilet or bath tub if you have a septic system
          because the chlorine kills benificial bacteria that makes your septic system work.

        • Rich Muszynski says:

          greetings. then it is not necessary to dig a well or to have one drilled if one can simply drink out of the effluent of the septic system. I have a septic system but i do not think i would care to drink the output of the septic tank. but if it really is drinking grade water then why bother with a well at all? just have a closed circuit water supply out of your septic tank. use it, flush into it and then drink it again. endless chain.

          • Charlie (NC) says:

            Rich, that’s not what I said or implied and you know it.
            I’m trying to be helpful and apparently you just want to argue. My comment was in reply to your statement:
            “and it will also have a drain field that could very likely contaminate your dug well. a septic system is only a holding system and does not compost the waste at all, just stores it and drains off the contaminated water to seep into the ground through the drain field”

            There is NO WAY your septic tank is going to contaminate your well IF your septic tank is properly located at the required distance from the well and if your soil type is sufficient to support the use of a septic tank system and your system is operating as designed. I’m assuming you live where they require permits to install septic systems or that in a shtf situation you know enough properly locate the system.

            K Fields commented that it takes more than a few
            inches of sand to sufficiently purify the effluent and I agree with him because I suppose most folks would think that I meant 2 or 3 inches when in fact I would consider a few inches to be more like 18″ or more. I should have made that clear.

            • Rich Muszynski says:

              greetings. of course I realize you did not mean what you wrote. and check and you will find that wells become contaminated with run off from septic tanks very often. especially in a flood where the tank gets submerged and the contents seep out. check New Orleans during their flood. untreated like by composting, human waste is a huge hazard to the health of anyone. Composted and it is no more dangerous then any other compost. and I also was trying to be helpful and not evil minded as you assume just because I drew the conclusion that one who is not conversant with septic systems and read what you wrote would assume. that the septic system would turn human waste and toilet water into drinking water. It won’t. it simply denatures it a little. if you live in a area of high ground water levels you will find that the drain field is fully capable of flowing sideways into a well. especially during a time of heavy rainfalls. I am not against you personally. I do not know you. I am against septic tanks for storing human waste. just a cistern with a second tank and not a treatment installation. so I apologize for ruffling your feathers. note the Marine base atParis Island had their septic systems designed by soil engineers and many of the permanent troops there and their families are now paying the price for that illusion of safety.

            • Charlie (NC) says:

              Rich, I wrote a long reply but accidentally closed the page and lost what I wrote. I don’t feel like doing it over. Suffice to say I have no personal dislike for you.
              I’m just not sure you know what you think you know.

              No big deal. Your intent is good as is mine so we’ll let it go. As for Paris Island, I’ve been there but am not familiar with the place. I do happen to know Cherry Point and Camp Lejeune here in NC like the back of my hand including the sewer plants on those bases. To my knowledge there are no septic tanks aboard either of those bases. They have always had sewer systems but I will tell you that both of those bases were built during WWII and I believe Paris Island was also. Those “engineers” did a lot of things wrong then because they were more worried about winning a war. By the way, I’ve been in places in the Cherry Point sewer plant where you have to wear boots, carry a flash light and a Hydrogen Sulfide monitor and crawl through a 18″ hole to get to.

              You might also want to check the meaning of the word denature. Just saying.

        • +1

        • K Fields says:

          Good description on the septic tank function. The leach field though does more than just let gasses evaporate. If working correctly, the drain lines are built to allow aerobic bacteria to thrive and further break down/clean the effluent, then, as you say, the soil will filters the remaining liquid (though it does take more than a few inches of soil to provide complete filtration.)
          As for pumping septic tanks, they should only be pumped when the solids (dead anaerobic bacteria) have built up enough to allow them to migrate into the 2nd chamber of the tank. This could be every 5 years or every 20 years depending on how much you abuse the system (using a lot of bleach for cleaning, extensive use of garbage disposals instead of composting leftover food, etc.) but pumping should be set by measurement, not the calendar.

          CA waste water treatment operator license (class II), CA waste water treatment design license, COWA/NAWT Inspector license

          • charlie (NC) says:

            Thanks for the follow up K Fields. I was un aware of the
            aerobic activity in the leach fields. That’s good to know.
            I have no training in sewage treatment but worked for many years in industrial construction and maintenance so I’ve been in, around, under and through quite a few systems including some very large municipal and military installation plants. What I know I just picked up on the fly from observation, reading specifications for projects, etc.

      • Not exactly true. My folks have NEVER had their septic tank pumped and I’ve been around for 39 years. My own tank is going on 11 years now.

    • Deb Hawkins says:

      Hi Ohio Prepper –

      We live in Seneca County – where are you if you don’t mind me asking? I have not met one single person in “real life” who admits to prepping; I don’t tell people either so I understand, but it would be great to have someone local to commiserate with.

      BTW, I am a GN (Graduate Nurse; I’m no longer registered), & I do have extensive civilian & military medical experience.

      Prep On… Deb

      • Hello Deb,
        We’re almost neighbors, but not close neighbors since your county is about three counties north of mine (Union), but I would not call your location central Ohio, but more like northern Ohio or perhaps as a stretch, north central Ohio. We don’t get up your way too often, but on occasion do try to get to one of our favorite restaurants; The Pioneer Mill in Tiffin. One of my close friends and a fellow prepper did go to Tiffin rather often since his MIL lived there, but she is having some health problems, and at least for the time being is down this way for treatment. If you ever get down this way drop me a line & we can perhaps touch base. Likewise, the next time we head up to Tiffin I can do the same.

        You can contact me via the link to my OhioPrepper.org website if you’d like, and for OPSEC, anonymous email like gnail, yahoo, etc. is fine. Good luck getting moved in and set up.

        Regards, OP

  15. 1984MSgt says:

    Advice: Get to know your neighbors. Are they what/who they present themselves as? Could they be trustworthy? Do they go to church?

    Are they of the same frame of mind in “Prepping”?

    Do not share your “Prepping” thoughts/preps before they show theirs.

    What advice are they giving? Is it reliable? Check it out

    If they are trustworthy, God fearing Christians, begin to open up and share. Otherwise keep to your selves – share nothing.

    • Rich Muszynski says:

      greetings. I have not noted that church going Christians are any more reliable as people then anyone else. Check and you will find that many of the worlds con men and women are church going Christians. what we used to call Saturday sinners, Sunday saints.

      • charlie (NC) says:

        Rich, 1984MSgt said “God fearing Christians” not church going hypocrites. There is a big difference.

        • Rich Muszynski says:

          greetings. most certainly a huge difference. God Fearing Christians most certainly are different then the phony ones who pose as Christians and then advocate murder for profit. trouble is there are so few who actually are good Christians and follow the teachings in the bible. hard to tell who they are because as they say “Even Satan can quote the bible”

          • Charlie (NC) says:

            Rich, when I was a kid they used to say” it takes one to know one”.

          • Encourager says:

            The preacher talked about this yesterday. If you are a Saturday sinner and sit in the pew on Sunday (and even Wednesday) it does not mean you are a Christian. You aren’t a Christian because you were raised in a Christian family, or have been a member of a church since birth, or mumble certain words every Sunday.

            Sitting in a pew no more makes you a Christian than sitting in a garage makes you a car. There is no such thing as ‘once saved, always saved’.

            Unless you repent (turn away) from your sinning, confess your sins, accept and believe what Jesus paid for on the cross and that He rose again from the dead, get baptized, you are NOT a Christian. You must walk the talk.

            My 2 cents worth.

            • Anonymous says:

              Im not a car….oh that bums me out ……Now what do I do when I get home?

              just sayin…. 🙂

      • +1

    • breadmomma says:

      Some of my best friends are Hindu, Buddists and Jews…my dad was Jewish, my mom was Catholic…I am a believer in God…..BUT having been betrayed by God Fearing Church going Christians…sorry not very trusting anymore…going to church does not guarantee someone that is trustworthy…will not be tipping my hand or my hat to anyone unless I get a looky see at their stuff first…even then, I intend to keep me mouth shut…I DO believe in helping my community and thru those efforts, I am finding a great community of folks that would have my back as I would have theirs…volunteer with the local fire department, or other agency that has the community in mind first…there you will find some VERY great folks to know when the shtf…and chances are you will find a group of folks that can hang together when the going gets tough…

      • Rich Muszynski says:

        greetings. a group needs to be made up of people of different abilities. some of which are very hard to discern by casual contact. one thing needed for a successful survival scenario would be at least one person who is trained and capable of using extreme force. not someone who has watched violent video games but someone who has combat experience, like one of our current crop of betrayed and homeless vets that are now a big proportion of our homeless. People do not trust them because of the very thing that a survival site would need desperately. they have experience under extreme conditions and have learned the hard lessons already. if you have extra room you could take in a Marine or Army vet who has no one and is homeless. show a little compassion and get a ready made defense or attack force for next to no cost. You are a vet, why not give a chance to a vet from a more violent service that could use a chance? weapons are fine. but it is the will to use them and to take life with them that most people choke up on and therefore their weapons are useless. the vets already have that mindset beaten into them.

  16. Total newbie as well. This was great to hear that another is just as overwhelmed as I am, but still trying to plan! Right now the thing that concerns me in terms of firearms, is which one? I know that I should have a shotgun, rifle and a handgun, but resources are limited and I would love some guidance as to what I should purchase for the first one with the idea that gun buildup will be slower than what I would like.

    • Hunker-Down says:


      M.D. has a chapter in his just released book, “31 Days to Survival” that addresses your question.

      You can purchase the book at Paladin Press. He has a link to that site in the upper right column on this blog.

      I am working on the group titled, “I have a full time job” page 109, although I am retired. I saw M. D.’s information on this topic about a year ago, and I still have one to purchase.

      I know this sounds cryptic, but after you read the book and study OPSEC, you will understand why.

    • Rich Muszynski says:

      Greetings. limited resources would dictate getting the cheapest, most reliable weapons available. currently it is the Russian Mosin/Nagant rifle, which is comparable to a American .30/06 which would cost much more. you can get a excellent arsenal restored Mosin/Nagant from the Russian arsenal for usually about $100. Ammo is also cheap, only a fraction the cost of comparable main line calibers. For the .22 Long Rifle I go for the Marlin M60 which is available near everywhere and will last forever. For a pistol I have a Chezk CZ-52 which is in a bottle necked cartridge from the Iron Curtain that is sold cheap as well. it is in 7.62 X 25 M/M caliber and is noted for being able to penetrate body armor like it was simply a cotton t-shirt. a good CZ-52 will set one back about $150 for a arsenal restored one with a extra clip and a leather holster. look around, there are a lot of bargains out there, at least as long as you are looking for quality and not propaganda value.

      • axelsteve says:

        My son has a mosin carbine,model 38 to be exact.Good hard working gun. The trigger on his is pretty good for a surplus rig.

        • Rich Muszynski says:

          greetings. if he put on a aftermarket muzzle gas deflector he would cut down a lot on the really vicious kick of the carbine. a rubber recoil pad would help as well, also a aftermarket item. I redid mine with the muzzle recoil reduction device, the rubber butt pad and altered the sights to use the scout scope system that uses a long eye relief scope mounted on the old rear sight base. that way he can still use the reloading clips and not have to worry about the scope being banged into on empty ejection. beautiful and functional weapons. some think them ugly. but that is like saying a draft horse is ugly because it isn’t a dainty Arabian. beauty is in desired function not cosmetics.

      • Charlie (NC) says:

        Rich, finally something you and I agree on. A Mosin/Nagant rifle is without a doubt the best deal out there now for a high powered rifle. You can buy the rifle and a 440 round sealed can of ammo for about $200 including shipping and the charge your local gun dealer will add to do the paper work. It as accurate as most shooters are capable of shooting. The main problem with them is it awkward to mount a scope on them but that can be worked around. Also for another 80 bucks or so you can get a modern composite stock for it. Once that is installed the rifle looks very much the same as any typical bolt action deer hunting rifle.

        • Rich Muszynski says:

          greetings. better watch it. agreeing with me can be hazardous to your reputation. just kidding. on the scope for the M/N i have a scout scope mount that goes on the base of the rear sight and accepts a long eye relief pistol scope. moves the scope far enough forward so it is not blocking the action and you can still use the stripper clips to reload, as well as leave the sticking out like a sore thumb bolt handle. and target acquisition is much more rapid. cheap scout rifle. and the scout configuration will work for any normal use of the weapon. for long distance sniping the long, short eye relief scopes are better.

          • Rich,
            A long eye releif pistol scope mounted forward of the receiver on a rifle? That’s one I would have never thought of, but in some instances, makes a lot of sense. Although I’ve been prepping and shooting for decades, it’s these little tibits that keep me coming back. Great idea.

            • Rich Muszynski says:

              greetings. not my idea. it goes back to the old gun experts and using the forward mounted pistol scope is what the scout rifle design was based on. Works too. but the commercial scout rifles go for huge amounts of money for some reason. I changed my rifles over to the scout system for about $50 each total for the scope, a 3 X 7 variable and a adapter that replaces the rear sight. the scout system is much quicker in target acquisition then a normal short eye relief scope is. you can see your target right around the scope to get your rough aim and then use the scope for fine aim on target. try it out. bet you end up liking it.

            • charlie (NC) says:

              Ohio, that is pretty much the standard way of mounting a scope on a Mosin Nagant. I tried it on mine but my rail is aluminum and it seemed to flex. I don’t think the scope would ever hold zero. I need to find a stiffer rail. I’ve also thought of having the reciever drilled and taped to accept a side mounted rail. The long eye relief is not a bad idea on a Mosin for another reason. The thing kicks pretty hard. You probably wouldn’t want your eye tucked up tight against a standard rifle scope.

    • Lee (TX) says:

      Mossberg 500 in 12 g or 20 g,extended mag, I perfer rifled barrel for slugs, but you can shoot slugs out of a plain barrel, but you will loose accuracy at distance,,,, Ruger 10-22 or Marlin 60, both in 22 long rifle cal, keep open sights, but put a 4 x 32 scope on it,,,,Ruger, or Taurus, or, Smith & Wesson, in that order of my personal choice,, in 357 mag cal,,,revolver,,,,it will also shoot 38 sp. if 357 mag is too much recoil for you,,,you could add a 357 mag rifle and have the ability to take deer size game out to 150 yards.

    • Newbs,
      Firearms are like any tool and have a functional quality to them. It’s like asking which hammer you should purchase. That too would depend on the purpose, from rough carpentry and framing, to fine metal work or auto body work. Different tools for different functions.
      Since I don’t know your exact situation, let me make some recommendations based on general categories. In a long term situation you would want to have multiples of all three, and we have a saying about handguns that they are a tool you use to fight your way to a long gun, but putting that aside, here are some things to think about if you can only afford a single firearm.

      Rifle – While useful in some cases and depending on the style in close quarter defensive situations, a rifle is generally useful for defense at long distance, or for hunting. If you’re talking a coverage area from perhaps 300 yards down to up close, a semi-automatic carbine (basically a shorter rifle with a 16-18 inch barrel and overall length of 26-30 inches) makes a good starting point. This could be an AR-15/M4, an AK-47/SKS, or any one of a dozen additional carbines in various cartridges and calibers. The downside of a rifle is that it does require significant practice, especially at long range, and if you live in a non-rural community with lots of other houses and buildings, penetration into your neighbors’ home is always a possibility. In that case, keep in mind that you are responsible for the final disposition of each bullet, especially those that leave your house or property.

      Shotgun – If you’re going to be primarily defending your home or property, then the shotgun is probably the least expensive tool in the arsenal, and requires the least amount of practice to use in close quarter situations. Unless you’re using a single projectile like a rifled slug or Sabot/Bullet combination it may not have the same over penetration qualities of the rifle. It can additionally be used for hunting of both large (deer) and small (rabbit, squirrel, pheasant, etc) game, dependent on your local hunting regulations.

      Handgun – If you are primarily looking for a defensive tool that you can have with you all of the time, then the handgun might be your best first firearm, assuming you live in a jurisdiction that allows concealed or open carry. I personally think concealed carry is the best option, since open carry can often signal to the bad guy, “I am a threat so shoot me first”. For defense and even for some types of hunting, the handgun can be a good first firearm. Keep in mind however, that like the rifle, a handgun requires a significant amount of training and practice in order to become safe and proficient.

      In any of these cases, since we’re theoretically talking about your first firearm, and you made no mention of any prior training (from Boy Scouts to Military) you should first make arrangements to get training from a certified instructor or training facility on the proper and legal use of your firearm. After the training, practice, practice, practice is the only way you will get proficient.

      Keep in mind another training maxim that is pretty much true, when a person comes under stress, they do not rise to the occasion, but instead fall to their lowest level of training”. If you train hard, then you fight easy.

    • Encourager says:

      Newbs, welcome to the Wolf Pack. You can search the archives on this site. There has been many, many discussions about firearms, which is best, what to avoid, etc. on this site. Don’t put all your eggs in one basket. You need to prep in other areas as well as firearms. And if you have no experience, the first thing you should do is take a class. I can recommend the NRA classes; they are taught everywhere. That is how I learned and my instructor was the most patient man I have ever met!!

      Just don’t neglect storing water, non-perishable foods, meds, etc. I also recommend M.D.’s book, it is a great place to start and the lists are all done for you!

  17. Yadkin Girl says:

    Sounds as if you have a great plan! Very, very ambitious. It took us years to get to where we are and we try to prioritize. It always seems as if it takes us longer to get something done…longer than we expected!

    Personally, I like the idea of beefing up your basement. We took an old barn basement and reinforced it. Of course, we did this as after accomplishing many other things on our list. We didn’t have to spend a lot of money but put a lot of time into it. For us, it is the last resort and gives us a feeling of safety. It also holds some of our food which will keep well due to the low temperature (about 55 degrees) and low humidity – which we have to battle here in the summer.

    Anyway, sorry for rambling on, good luck and keep us posted on your progress!

  18. CountryGirl says:

    Gardening is a lot of work and in any year one or more of your crops will fail to produce well or even at all. Having said that I can assure you if you plant 6-12 different crops (potatoes, tomatoes, squash, onions, etc.) that they will indeed produce huge amounts of produce. You really can feed yourself from a garden especially if you can and/or have a root cellar. You need to have a big garden for a big family and even a small family needs a lot of square feet. Each plant has it’s special needs or tricks and not every plant will grow well in every part of the country. I can tell you that Ohio is a great climate and soil for gardens. Water is important, more important then fertilizer. You will get a lot of rain in fact you will get downpours so make sure your garden has drainage and that tender plants have something (a frame) so you can cover them. Fertilizer is important but each plant has different needs and over fertilizing will get you in more trouble then under fertilizing. If you have the land plant some fruit trees. If your space is limited plant some dwarf trees. Hint: If you really want to live off your garden it will have to be about twice as big as you think. You can make the calculations and figure out what you need then double it. What will happen is one year your green beans will produce more then you can “can” and you will give a lot away. But at the same time your corn will under produce and even planting twice what you need you won’t have as much as you want. And so it goes, every year one or more of your crops will underproduce and others will over produce. Start with a good tilling, rent a rototiller or even better hire someone with a tractor to deep till your garden. Then find a farmer with a pile of horse sh*t (preferably a year or two old) and spread it all over your garden and till it in. If the sh*t is fresh be careful some of your veggies won’t like it. Weeds: Be aggressive and consistent. Weeds will defeat and destroy you if you don’t stay on top of them. Do bugs “bug you”? Get over it ! Your garden will be bug heaven. Weeding and picking will make all the bigs your intimate friends, so get used to it. Gardening is the most satisfying “prepping” you will ever do. Number two will be canning (well not so much the tedious time consuming actual work involved but the row after row of colorful cans of food). When you get to April, May and June and still have canned apples, peaches, carrots, beans, etc. You will have arrived at self sufficient heaven.

    • Lee (TX) says:

      CG,, dealing with bugs in the garden,, do you just hand kill them or do you try a spray, maybe a Vinegar base spray?

      • George is Learning says:

        Reminds me of some tomato horn worms. one day the plants are all healthy and full of leaves and flowers ready to go to fruit and wham the next day these darn horn worms appeared and destroyed the plants. I mean ate the plants in 24 hours. it was amazing how much vegetation these worms can put away.
        I dont need no stinking sprays, I brought out the binford model 4270 flame thrower and burned the bitches to the ground. 🙂
        Then came the corn worms. These nasty buggers burrow into the corn plant as it grows and feast on every new leaf that grows. in the end it was 4 ears of corn and 56 $ in dam poison. still was defeated. No corn.
        Now its Seven Dust and nothing lives. vegies are great and bugs , well Im sure they remember the flame thrower too but maybe its the seven dust thats keeping them away.

        • George,
          Sevin is one I’ve used in the past with pretty good success; however, keep in mind that it kills all bugs, good and bad, so use it sparingly. Try to selectively apply it in the morning, and keep it off of the blossoms, or you’ll end up killing the beneficial pollinators like honeybees.

  19. Pineslayer says:

    Sounds like you are motivated, awesome. You have a lot of projects ready to blast off. My advice is what carpenters say, measure twice, cut once. Each major project deserves a second opinion or thought. It can seem overwhelming and will lead to jumping in head first. I think you have a great plan and vision. A lot of people above have given great advice, I hope your men get on board fully, soon. Good luck to us all.

  20. Lee (TX) says:

    Deb H
    as stated before, drilling a well is a lot better than digging a shallow well,,but if you are allowed to, I would put in a Rain collecter system,,, gutters and water tanks, 2500 gallon cap,,, around $1000 per tank, put in as many as you need, simple plumbing connecting them,,, inch of rain is a gallon of water per sq foot of roof, of course your gutters probable would not capture all the roof’s rain, but you can see that it adds up to a lot of water.

    Also if allowed, put in a spetic system, there are two types: tank with drain lines and then the aerobic type,,, put in the aerobic and put the discharge on your garden, fertilizer and water at the same time. I know, there is a yuk response, but you are going to wash the produce, correct?
    There is no smell to the aerobic discharge if it is working correctly.

    • Since water is so plentiful here in central OH (almost too plentiful in the recent record setting past), I haven’t heard of any restrictions on rain catchment systems, unless you live in the city or a development with HOA rules, so this could be a viable system, at least for watering your garden.
      Also, it takes about 1.6 inches of water per square foot to make a gallon (231 cubic inches), and you probably want some type of system to drain off the first inch or so of water as it rinses off the bird scat and other contaminants. These systems are generally easy to construct using counter weights, and various construction techniques can be found on the web.

  21. For a fantastic blog on off grid living go to http://www.paratusfamiliablog.com/
    It’s very real and they’ve been doing it for years. You might think you don’t need to read it because off grid is years away for you but it will open your eyes to things that have never crossed your mind, helping you prepare better. It has a lot on their general lives, politics and religeon too. If you’re not into that just pick and choose what you read – type in ‘off grid’ in their search bar. It’s well worth it!

    • The PF blog is worth it just for the wonderful recipes that Enola Gay (the bloggers’ pseudonym) publishes. Everything from main meals to yummy desserts and more recent, articles on cheese making along with lots of photos.

  22. button crazy says:

    Let us know in six months how much of your list you have finished. I think you need to slow down just a little. Things do not work out like you want them to. I live in Ohio. Growing a garden is not as great as you think it will be. Good Luck!!!!!!

  23. Rob in Ontario says:

    Deb– I don’t know much about Ohio or Florida- but I am a carpenter and have done many basements- here in Ontario most of the rural homes have basements and wells- a dug well with a backhoe will get you down to 20 feet or so and with 36 inch concreate tiles gives you a good amont of water plus allows you to use a bucket or a hand pump to get water if no power – – some maps of your local area may have water table levels or even have someone “witch” your well it does work ——and I agree with your making your basement strongermaybe all you have to live in if the top half is gone

  24. Rich Muszynski says:

    greetings. i note you mention kerosene lamps as back ups for power outages. have you ever actually tired to read using a kerosene lamp for illumination? if so you would notice a terrific headache from the flickering light and the spots in front of your eyes from the flame always being visible since you have to have your book right at the lamp. and you would note that the kerosene lamps put out a lot of stench that gets into everything. in a closed room they can actually burn off all the oxygen there. I know, I’ve lived with kerosene light as the only illumination for years and make shades for mine to direct the light down and always keep a window cracked open to allow air flow, even in winter. be interesting to pick a room. shut off the lights in it some night and light a kerosene lamp. then try using that light to do the things you want to do. like reading or knitting or putting together a jigsaw puzzle. see how well it works for you. when it is needed would be a bad time to find out that it does not work as well as people who haven’t lived with them seem to be convinced they do.

    • Rich,
      You need to get some lamps that have been manufactured in the last 30 years. I use Aladdin kerosene lamps with mantles, and they not only don’t flicker, but emit an incredible bright light that’s equivalent to a 75-100 watt light bulb. The high temperature also burns off most if not all of the smelly combustion products, and if you only use K1 kerosene, most of those products have already been filtered out. Also, an upside in winter and possible issue in the summer is that they also radiate about 3000 BTU per hour heat, and setting one on the kitchen table can keep the chill off the room quite nicely.
      You can still buy the cheap ones that have low light output, are smelly, and flicker, but the technology has come a long way.

      • Rich Muszynski says:

        greetings. strange, i bought a pair of Aladins for $50 each and tried them. one they are expensive. two they, or at least the ones i had, have to be adjusted every few minutes. either start to smoke or start to dim. not stable. and they most certainly do create one hell of a stench of burning kerosene and using jet fuel or K-1 as it is commonly called does not really help with the stench problem or the lamp burning up the oxygen in a close room. using one for heat is like using charcoal indoors in a barbeque for heat. Carbon monoxide is a gas given off by both burning kerosene and charcoal, both need to be vented. hint though. if you want heat from a kerosene lantern then try a now Swedish pressure kerosene lamp. (used to be German and are brass plated with really shiny chrome, complete with hoods to direct light down) looks like a chrome plated coleman complete with mantles. that thing gives off a huge amount of white light, burns kero with no problems and gives off more heat then many of the space heaters people use. they are currently being sold as military surplus. Problem with them is like any other kerosene burning light. have to be in a vented room. made for outdoor use and marked for so, as is a Coleman gas lantern.

        • Rich,
          If you keep the wicks cleaned and trimmed on the Aladdin mantle lamps they only require adjustment for the first 5-10 minutes until they’re warmed up to proper operating temperature. After that I’ve never had to adjust them, and I’ve been using them for 30+ years. I discovered them one evening when I went out to a local Amish orchard, and was amazed to see some of the girls out in the barn sorting apples in conditions as bright as any barn I’d been in. They were using 3 Aladdin mantle lamps, and I was hooked. The lamps are a little pricy, and the mantles are a bit of a cost and rather fragile, but no more so than their Coleman cousins and even when used with stock kerosene, they burn hot enough that I’ve never detected much of an odor, although paraffin oil or K1 is probably a little better.

          If you want to give yours another shot, make sure that the air inlet (they perforated metal can that sits inside the round wick) is not clogged, the circular wick is trimmed evenly, and your mantle is in good shape with no holes in it. When you first light it, keep the wick turnd down as low as you can, and then replace the mantle and chimney assembly. Let it burn on low for a while (perhaps 5 minutes) until you start to see the mantle begin to glow. What you’re attempting to do here is get the chimney and internals warmed up to produce a good draft, which is why these lamps have that tall thin glass chimney. At this point, slowly turn up the wick until the mantle is glowing brightly, but not so high that you see flames coming out above the mantle. You may need to adjust it one or two more times to find the sweet spot, but then these should work well after that. The normal spun aluminum base/fuel tank will typically run the lamp for 8-12 hours with little or no adjustment.

          From the ventilation perspective, they burn oxygen and therefore must be used with adequate ventilation; however, they do not produce anything other than carbon dioxide and water vapor when operating properly with adequate oxygen. I would not use one specifically for heat, but the heat given off when used for lighting does help on cold days, and must be accounted for on warm ones.

          As for carbon monoxide, it is not given off by burning anything with the proper air mixture. From my Aladdin to my Propane space heaters, when operating properly with adequate ventilation, they produce primarily carbon dioxide and water vapor. In a low oxygen environment, the lack of oxygen does promote the production of carbon monoxide (CO) instead of carbon dioxide (CO2) and can be a problem with any heat or light source that uses combustion. Charcoal OTOH generally produces CO as a byproduct, because charcoal is designed to smolder and that poor combustion contributes to production of CO.

          • charlie (NC) says:

            Ohio I started to post a similar message about the wicks but I’ve picked on Rich so much lately that I’m sure he thinks I have picked him for a whipping boy or something. I promise you Rich that is not the case.

            You are exactly correct. Properly trimmed they put out a ton of light and heat which can be a good or bad thing depending on the circumstances. I have Dietz lanterns that I ordered from Lehman’s. Unfortunately Dietz is no longer made in USA and they are lighter weight but they are also cheaper now.

            As for fuel, if you have a Lowe’s home improvement store close by they probably have K1 Kerosene in the paint department with the paint thinners. Our store stocks it in 5 gal metal cans. Current price is about $45.00 a five.
            That’s not cheap fuel but it’s really clean burning kero and it is what Deitz and others recommend.

            Cheaper, high sulfur kero not only smells but it makes the wicks gum up.

            • charlie (NC) says:
            • Rich Muszynski says:

              greetings. me again. K-1 kerosene is the same item as JP or Jet Fuel that is used by jet engines. K-1 used to be clear as water. until the government decided that the Korea war was over and opened the emergency jet fuel storage tanks and sold much of it on the civilian market. note that the Jet Fuel was tinted red so that they could tell if a Airman was stealing government jet fuel to use as fuel in their diesel vehicles. You can get K-1 here in Maine at some Gas stations as it is used as a winter fuel in many diesel engines, hard to get though since they are very paranoid on anyone using it might use it for highway use. so have to sign for it. the K-1 sold as lantern and heater fuel has no such restriction even though it is the same thing and is much cheaper then what you pay for it in the big box stores. note. here in the north east fuel oil is the favored winter fuel if one does not burn wood. but according to our government K-1 burns at such a high temperature even when simply burned off a wick that it melted heavy steel beams encased in thick coatings of concrete in the world trade center and got the beams buried in the concrete past their melting temperature so according to our government scientists one cannot use K-1 for a fuel or in a lantern. no one who isn’t a idiot pays any attention to any of the experts any longer. i have never melted a kerosene lamp nor a fuel oil furnace when burning kerosene in the winter from a outdoor fuel tank. and i have some of the old dietz lanterns here and they are at least twice as heavy as the Chinese ones sold in Wal Marts. and much heavier glass as well. i have picked up several aladdins at yard sales. i will try your way of warming them up.

            • charlie,
              Some of our gas stations have both Kerosene and K1 pumps where you can simply purchase it by the gallon. Haven’t priced it in a year or so, but IIRC it’s generally in the same range as diesel.

            • Charlie (NC) says:

              As usual Rich, close but not quite.
              Check these sites:
              You will find the fuel Dietz recommends.
              You will find that there is more than one kind of Jet fuel and some of it is dangerous to inhale the fumes from.
              You will find that lamp oil has to be in a certain flash point range or it is dangerous.

              Finally I just found these on the Lehman’s site.
              Never saw them before. Looks like a good quality lantern. I think they are going on my wish list.

            • Charlie (NC) says:

              Ohio, We have the same here. The K-1 at the stations here generally runs about $1 a gallon more than #2 diesel. I don’t know why. In other areas of the state it is about the same price. I suspect it is because the demand for K-1 is limited to space heaters here and there just isn’t enough demand to push the price down. With that said the K-1 at the pump here is not quite as clean (in my opinion) as that you can buy packaged as paint thinner. Is it worth $4 a gallon more? I don’t know. I doubt it but it’s an alternative source anyway.

  25. Deb, great job and great planning. With my new retreat land I will be undertaking some of the same tasks you are signing up to do. Keep us posted on how things are going.

  26. DissentFromDayOne says:

    I would add some copies of the King James 1611 bible before they are banned.

  27. Welcome to the pack Deb. Great article. I was just at a website called Setyoufreenews.com. It aws talking about the radiation levels they don” want us to know about. And the fish we are getting from Japan. Who knows whats going on? Well I hope everyone has a wonderful Easter. God bless the Pack

    • breadmomma says:

      we are starting to get some interesting things wash up on the beach here on the Oregon coast…just picked up a beautiful red bulb lamp that was most likely from a boat or dock area in Japan…amazingly enough, it was not broken and it had a years growth of barnacles on it…my geiger counter didn’t react to it so it is now a part of my sea drift collection in my garden…
      Happy Easter and Passover to all this weekend..God Bless you all my fellow Wolfpack members

      • Hunker-Down says:


        If you find lots of ‘sea drift’ treasures, maybe you could open a roadside, and online tsunami flea market. The MSM will give you free nationwide advertising.

      • breadmomma,
        You have a Geiger counter? Good for you. I’m seeing too many articles from sources that I don’t necessarily trust talking about all of the radiation coming here from over there, yet all of the “legitimate” radiological monitoring sites I’m familiar with appear to not be alarmed. Perhaps if more people had the right equipment, we could all be more pro-active, and kill or confirm these rumors. I don’t necessarily trust the larger federal government, but I also don’t think that there are conspiracies around every corner.

        • Rich Muszynski says:

          greetings. geiger counters are now being offered by Sportsmans guide. they are the civil defense models that run on D cell batteries. and one should remember that the legitimate radiological monitoring sites are government controlled and censored. note they turned most of them off so that they would not pick up any radiation drifting in to America. sort of like Bush declared that there was no mad cow disease because he forbid any cattle to be tested for it. our present leader declares there is no fall out because the shut down monitoring stations don’t report any. great thinking that.

  28. Hi Deb. I’m pretty new to the game myself, and just having the plan you have is an awesome start. One thing you will find is you can get an answer to any question you have on this blog. The Wolf Pack is awesome. I do a lot more reading here than talking because the people are much smarter about this stuff than I am. Just wanted to say welcome and good luck! Happy Easter pack! Love you guys!

  29. Rich Muszynski says:

    greetings. thought i would mention that we use a well and a osmosis filter system to remove anything in the water. we store water in the 3 liter soda pop bottles that one can get in the supermarkets usually for 99 cents and full of soda like cola or gingerale. have had emergency water stored in them and lined along the aisles in the home for years with never a bad incident from spoilage or picking up plastic taste from the pop bottles.

    • Rich,
      I’ll second the use of a Reverse Osmosis system. We’ve used one for more than 20 years, and have never worried about our drinking water. It’s better than most bottled water, as well as cheaper, but perhaps the most important thing in my house is that the DW says it makes great coffee. I personally don’t drink the stuff, but if momma is happy, …

      • Rich Muszynski says:

        greetings. here we have very hard water with minerals galore in the well water. run through the osmosis filter and it is really pure and free of minerals and our coffee maker doesn’t end up coated with lime in its internal workings. agree with the great coffee with them.

  30. Rob in MPLS says:

    OK, reality check.

    First, no one is going to be banning Bibles. There are simply too many Bibles, and even nominal Christians wouldn’t stand for it. Do you have any idea what a monumental undertaking that would be? Clearly not. The US has not even been able to reduce the flow of drugs, which are used by a much smaller segment of the population, need to be replenished regularly, and carry a social opprobrium Bibles don’t. Even I, a Pagan, would be hiding a few copies if I thought the government was going to ban them. It’s just not gonna happen.

    Second, being Christian (born-again, God-fearing, or any other kind) is no guarantee of good behavior or trustworthiness. Look at any number of politicians… Honorable, trustworthy, honest people can be Christian, atheist, Jew, Buddhist, Wiccan, Muslim, Hindu, or anything else. Those who try to insist that any religion is more likely to be trustworthy than another make me question their powers of observation.

    Third, and on a more practical note, storing lamp oil in every room is asking for your entire house to go up in flames from even a small fire. Store it someplace accessible in a fireproof cabinet. Lamp oil in every room will make the fire dept’s task much harder. If there’s no fire dept (after TSHTF, for example), even more reason to reduce conflagration risks.



  31. I just came across this article. It seems a lot of people have a lot to say. I am no expert by any means but I applaud your willingness to be prepared. Nothing may ever come of it but if it does…well…you will be thankful you took the initiative.

    Good luck.

  32. Deb Hawkins says:

    You understand my post EXACTLY. Thank you.

    • Lee (TX) says:

      Deb H., am I understanding that you do not appreciate other ideas or suggestions? I for one like all ideas and different suggestions to my ideas,,, then decide on the best method. As a little back ground, my famile has owned the same cattle ranch since 1864, we must be doing something right. BUT I have learned a lot in just the short time I have been at this site, thanks to all,,, stay strong, stay safe.

      • Lee (TX) says:

        Deb H. H again, sorry, I posted before reading your response to Ragnar, I am glad to see you are responsive to suggestions,,, as far as “power tools” I am trying to stay with 12 volt or 24 volt,,,, as I can charge these from my Solar and Wind systems. I still have and use 120 volt items, but if the grid goes down, trying to run them from my batteries through an inverter is going to deplete the batteries way to fast.

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