Archive for July, 2011


I am not ‘rich’ by any means… I have no savings what-so-ever, credit card debt (thank goodness not that much, way under 5k and paying them off rapidly and not using them at all and yes, they are still in my wallet), not a lot in tangible assets that are worth anything of value, student loans, two businesses that are supported through the law of supply and demand, 3 cars (yes I do have 3 but 2 are paid for and both are at least 10 years old) a home that I owe a mortgage on for the next 28 years and this morning, I was smacked into financial reality, yet again…the mortgage is due and when I pay it, I will have only $100 left until my customers pay me and I need to go to the grocery store, never mind the rest of the bills that are coming due. Today I feel like I am gambling and on the loosing end of the stick.

 This is situation NORMAL for me but yet, each time I come face to face with this ‘normal’, I get a bit nervous, okay, more than a bit nervous if you want the truth. I really don’t want to go into my stash of food because it would be like admitting something is definately wrong with this picture. I really don’t want to have start selling things off to make the bills either, but you know, I just may have to if things don’t get turned around just a bit. Used to be that I could at least count on positive cash flow from one of my businesses to at least meet the basics, (never mind anything ‘extra’) but right now, hmm, not so reliable, rather sporadic and it bothers me greatly…fear creeps into me…So what the heck do I do?

I will tell what I do(what I AM doing right this moment as I write) when I come face to face with the uncertainity in my life…I get a grip, yep, get a grip. I am blessed to own my own home which is not upside-down nor am I behind in payments, the power is on, I own vehicles outright that do run and nothing is in cut-off status (yet). I am not ‘sick’ per se, though I live thyroid disease and my children are for the moment, healthy. My dogs run in the front yard and aren’t starving or sick…I do have food in the house thanks to being ‘prepared’ just in case something happens and worst case crash, drop dead senario, I do have tangible assets worth money that I could sell. So my pitty potty time is brief. I count my blessings and remember that I enjoy an abundance that millions of others in this country no longer enjoy. I remember that I can create money from the work of my own hands, and I am smart and savvy (okay, not all the time but forgive me for being human) and can work and will work and DO work long hours leaving the dirty dishes in the sink until I have to go make dinner. And after dinner and finishing up a bit more business related work I get to go inside and take a shower and go to sleep in a warm bed. Thank goodness I am not homeless, without a way to earn money and I am not tottering on the edge of some giganitc financial cliff (yet) from which there is no return. There is still room to wiggle. I actually still have a pretty ‘normal’ middle class life.

I get a grip remembering that for me, the NORMAL is that things change on the dime and sitting here worrying only occupies my mind and time allowing for no positive forward thinking or getting things done and makes me sick, literally. For me, sitting here worrying is a distraction and a waste of energy that is better spent doing what I can when and where I can to cut bills down, taking care of customers quickly and putting more effort into my work (that just happens to pay the bills). Worry can quickly turn into depression, anxiety and dispair if I don’t get a grip and wrap my head around gratitude and acceptance…so I work on that today…can’t change what is in this moment but I surely can be grateful what I do have instead of spending time lamenting to myself about what I can’t do today and over what I have no control over. And in a SHTF senario, worry, anxiety, depression and dispair can get you dead real quick…it can immobilize you when you need to get digging deeper or become more creative in how to deal with a situation and it WILL cause grief into the future because when you worry you start creating from FEAR and THAT is a big mistake. While I don’t suggest putting on rose colored glasses or sticking your head in the sand, I do try to remember that the REASON WHY I have choosen to get prepared is to avoid this very thing called worry and fear…and I am to some degree, prepared.

I get a grip on the idea (which then turns into a feeling) that I AM OKAY TODAY, no matter what my bank account says. Adjust Laura, adjust and get a grip, it will all be okay. It may not be what I want it to be, but it will all be okay, just get a grip, you ain’t something ‘special’ and you aren’t alone in this…so get a grip and carry on, its all good.

Just for some perspective I offer this:

Car Sleepers, the New Homeless

This is a ‘come over’ from my survivalmedicineblog.com site- sorry for the repeat facebook fans 🙂 but I thought it would bear a reappearance on this one too!

Many preppers and survivalists focus on the beans and bullets aspect of being prepared. They often just say ‘get a good first aid kit’ and call it good. Some go so far as to say get medical equipment and stockpile antibiotics, there are many ideas about what a ‘good’ kit is and list upon lists of what you will need in the event you are ‘forced’ to go it alone in taking care of your own healthcare needs…and then their is the camp that goes so far as to get the training or finds doctors and nurses to include in their ‘group’ But let’s face it, the fact is this: most of us wouldn’t know what the heck to do with most modern medical supplies or medicine or how to propperly use anything beyond a basic bandaid…even if we could our hands on more than the basic band aid and topical cream. Training can be expensive and/or inconvient and hard to come by and sometimes, doing things we have no idea about is more dangerous than doing nothing at all. And most doctors and nurses I know (including my own family) are not preparedness fans let alone self-help types, they rely upon the system and just can’t grasp the idea that being prepared beyond 3-7 days is something worth while. Yes, there are professionals out there who ‘believe’ but again, let’s face it, most don’t.

I am all for having a good first aid kit and modern medical supplies that I am comfortable using, I am also a big one on avoiding doctors and modern medical intervention whenever possible (and my family is FULL of doctors and nurses!)  A lot of my attitude, admittedly, comes from years of not having medical insurance and not exactly being made of money. I was ‘forced’ into finding alternatives in caring for my health needs and just how much I can indeed handle myself.  Over the years, I have become pretty well versed on caring for myself, family and friends and have found that alternatives such as herbalism, homeopathy and essential oils can, when used correctly be just as effective if not more so than modern medicine. I fully recognize that there are limitations to these alternatives and when necessary seek out modern medical intervention, but I have also come to recognize that many of our most basic healthcare needs can be met at home and through the use of alternatives.

There are basic ‘rules of the road’ to taking care of yourself and family that are actually easy to follow if you dare to try it. It’s a mind set mostly, and I hope that you something useful from them that will help you get ready for whatever may come-

Simple rules of the road for taking control of your health needs:

Sanitation/Hygiene– this should be a no-brainer but many infections are spread through bad hygiene habits. Keep your hands clean (either the hand sanitizers or good hand washing with soap and water…and if all else fails, use a baby wipe!) Keep all food handling and prep areas clean. If someone is sick, keep them isolated. I can’t tell you how many times my kids have come home from school sick or I have gotten sick because someone came to school or work sick when they should have stayed home. Make sure you are as clean as possible with your own body and if you get a cut or scrape…clean it asap! Same goes for bites and other wounds…simple, through cleaning of wounds, bites, hands and surfaces goes a long, long way to preventing infections and make sure after helping someone who does have an infection that you wash your hand BEFORE AND AFTER helping them…and by the way…keep your hand out of your mouth, nose and eyes. And for goodness sakes, after using the bathroom or changing a diaper or cleaning up vomit, clean up! Basic stuff folks, but extremely important to prevent infections and disease and in a situation where you are mostly or completely on your own, this ‘simple’ mindset/action could be a life saver.

Be Vigilant and Pay Attention– this is another no-brainer, but I know that many of us get so caught up in what is going on around us that we simply don’t pay attention to our bodies or our children’s behavior (most children will not ‘complain’ or the complaint is very vague). Pay attention to how you feel physically…if you feel warm (without a good reason) or there is pain somewhere, take the time to check it out. If your children are whiny for no reason take the time to find out why. If you child is listless or flushed, take the time to figure out why. If you are tired for no ‘reason’ take the time to figure out why. If there is a little red around a wound or any heat around an area, take the time to take care of it. My point is this, in many instances the body lets you know one way or the other that something is up and the sooner you pay attention to your body and what it is trying to tell you, the better off you will be and the sooner you can do something about it. Time is of the Essence- this goes hand in hand with being vigilant and paying attention…the faster you start doing something about the issue, the less likely it will turn into a life threatening situation. This also goes to preventing things from happening…don’t put off doing what you need to do toady in order to help yourself, from taking care of that cut to fixing that fence or filling up the gas tank…be prepared! Don’t let it go ‘until’, in a SHTF situation, letting it ‘go’ might get you dead…help could be forever in coming, far away or non-existent, so get on it immediately. And one last thing on this subject of being vigilant and paying attention- keep your eye on what is going on around you health wise…lots of coughing? fevers? there might be a time that you being watchful and mindful of your ‘health’ surroundings could save your life (think pandemic) or at the very least, keep you from getting sick yourself.

Have the Knowledge and Experience Beforehand to Help Yourself– it does no good if you stock up on supplies, medicines, herbals, homeopathics and books if you don’t know how to use them, aren’t comfortable using them and don’t know where to find the information in those books that you have spent so much money on when you need it…take the time now to try simple remedies and simple self-medicating/self-help techniques so that you are familiar with them and comfortable in handling a non-emergency situation on your own. After all, if it doesn’t work, you still have plan B…intervention of your doctor (at least for now).  Trying to learn and practice self-help under stressful situations is a disaster waiting to happen. Do it NOW so that you feel confident and sure of yourself…but also note this… Its all well and good to think, ‘well, if the SHTF I will just grow my own medicine’ or ‘I have the book on that! I will be okay!’…many herbal plants need to be grown for several years before they can used. Did you know the best time to harvest? To plant? How to identify them in the wild? Dosage? How to actually use them? Tinctures take 6 weeks or more to make and teas are used for one thing, decoctions for another and tinctures…well, they can be used in a million and one ways…also, will you even try to make your own? Or stock up on pre-made remedies and plants? homeopathic remedies can actually produce symptoms (called a proving) if they are not the correct remedy and some essential oils (just like herbs) can interact with pharmaceuticals, and some essential oils are caustic when used undiluted on the skin or membranes and some oils are best used without dilution…do you know what to do in case an oil gets in your eye or someplace else it doesn’t belong? How to store the herbs, homeopathics and oils? see, you need the knowledge, practice and experience now, before you really need it, so that in a bad situation you are ready to take care of yourself without undue stress. Doctors and nurses trained for years, why not you? Self-care is learned through practice, practice, practice and not just reading about it once.

Be Persistent and Committed! I will be the first to admit that much of the self-help outside of modern medicine is tedious and time consuming and it is definitely not like having to remember to pop a pill once a day and it may not necessary repress symptoms while it is solving the issue at hand. It takes time, effort and a commitment to helping yourself get better without outside intervention in order to make it ‘work’. Often, self-reliance in taking care of your own healthcare matters means doing more than ‘taking’ something. It takes a willingness to take care of yourself and that may mean not doing it all, nor expecting a miracle to happen over night. It may mean that you have to stop what you are doing that seems so important at that moment and doing several things in order to stop a problem before it becomes a problem. Even modern docs now recognize that lifestyle changes, eating habits and exercise patterns are better at preventing many health problems than taking a pill and that just ‘taking’ something often doesn’t ‘cure’ the problem. Be patient, follow instructions to the T, including how much (more is definitely NOT better) and how often to do or take something. Just like most modern medicines that we use today, if not taken correctly it can either harm or not help at all…both of which are not good. Commitment yourself to being self-reliant, learning and being persistent and you will be in good shape for what may come.

Do Not Get Overwhelmed– for many who were raised to be dependant upon the system for their every need in their well-being, it can be scary to break away and become more self-reliant in taking care of their own needs. It can be a daunting task when you first begin to investigate or even begin to take care of yourself and healthcare needs. But by taking it one-step at a time, one thing at a time, one need at a time, and making ‘easy does it’ a part of your mindset you will soon be amazed at just how much you can be in control of your healthcare needs.

Just like most other aspects of being prepared and prepped, you don’t have to do it all at one time and remember, you are not alone…ask for help and make friends who know more than you about it and just do it, make it apart of your preparedness lifestyle and in the end, even if it doesn’t hit the fan and the world suddenly does an about face and everything comes up roses, you will be better for taking control of your own health and well-being.

And lastly, recognize that sometimes you won’t be able to take care of yourself and you might need to ask for help.

PS…if you have a life threatening illness already, by all means necessary, try to stock up on your medication and supplies that you need to take care of yourself…sometimes there is a need for modern medicine…but I also encourage you to do a bit of research and see what else might help you to reduce your dependence upon modern meds. NEVER ever stop taking your medication and switch over to an alternative without the help of your doctor…I love my alternatives but am wise enough to know their limitations.

God bless

This morning while listening to CNN (okay, I am a CNN news junkie…it gets rather boring sitting at my computer all day long working without something going on in the background and for me, it helps me focus) I snapped to attention when an ad for Lending Tree came on offering…of all things…’new’ adjustable rate mortgages! yes, sir, one of the very same companies that I hold responsible for some of the mess we are in is back in ‘business’ with lines such as NEW LOW RATES OF 3.85% (um excuse me but whats wrong with a 4.5 % rate? or even a 5.5 % rate that is fixed?) and GAURENTEED UNTIL 2018 (yeah and then you will HIKE IT THROUGH THE ROOF based upon what fictional ‘basis’?) and then it will adjust ONLY ONCE A YEAR AFTER THAT (umm…yeah, so for the remainder of the life of the 30 year loan I can count on my mortgage rate going up anywhere from 1-5% a year and forbid that my credit rating starts having problems!) BUT WHY PAY THOUSANDS OF EXTRA DOLLARS IN INTEREST ON A HOME THAT YOU PROBABLY WON”T BE IN IN A FEW YEARS…are they KIDDING ME?!?! the market is in the dumps, foreclosures on the market that the banks refuse to sell at market rates and homeowners are upside in many markets and homes sit on average on the market for AT LEAST 9 MONTHS NOW? and you want me to get an ARM and think that I will be able to sell in the future to get out from under the ARM with ease and grace into something bigger and better? Um, excuse me, while I recognize that I am ‘just’ some ignorant homeowner who works for herself and has (apparently to them) no clue about the economic situation in this country, isn’t this an example of EXACTLY what got us here to begin with? (okay, I admit, it is a small part of it, but really!) I am really starting to feel like bankers are insane creatures who have no clue about what they did a few years ago (okay, I am giving them no credit for their intelligence, the DID KNOW and went after the quick buck and just figured they would be able to sell distressed properties to the next sucker when they repo’d it) but greed, I recognize has no boundaries it seems…so they and the powers that be it seems, have decided that in order to ‘sell’ overpriced houses they will give teaser rates again, but this time we will make sure they can afford it (uh, yeah, at the teaser rate) and cross our fingers that the snow blowing around about the economy will clear up soon. Sounds like a receipe for another meltdown…and btw…of interest is a builder in Florida who is so desperate to sell houses that he is letting people in with no money down and special financing again…

Me, I stay put and watch the warning signs and get myself and my family prepared to weather the coming storm…its kinda like watching a hurricane form on the weather radar in many respects…but I have to ask this one question:

ARE THEY SERIOUS?

Just another day?

Just another day today. Get up, get kids out the door or settled down, me out to work, get mail done, edit websites and spend time doing what needs doing around the house…but today something really got my attention while on the way to the babysitters house. There was a man, on a bike, on the side of the road with a broom stick fishing rod. (Don’t really know why, it just did). Neat in appearance, very unassuming with a bed roll on sitting next to his bike. Now, for some, seeing someone like this could be ‘normal’, maybe in an older urban area where homelessness in good times is still around, but out here where I live, this is unusual, and it is especially unusual ON MY ROAD out in the middle of nowhere. Where did this guy come from? I have seen him on several different occassions and honestly, thought nothing about him, just a guy riding his bike with a homemade fishing pole…hmm, maybe homeless, maybe not…I would look right at him and he would look away, but today, as I drove by him, he kinda straightened up from what he was doing and looked right back at me. Almost daring me to stop and say something. I kept on going. But this got me really thinking, its not the norm to see the homeless out in the country, out in the open, especially in a small town setting. (And I would consider anyone with a bed roll next to a bike homeless, why else would they have it?) The cops don’t dig it and people around here are bit suspicious of anyone they don’t know, still friendly, but wary if you catch my drift.  And come to think of it, I have seen, a few times, people walking up the sides of the road with children in tow behind them and no broken down car behind them. Not real often, but just enough for me to remember it.

I don’t know why I am even bothering to write about this, but something is very unsettling about where my brain is taking me with these seemingly unrelated and uneventful occurances. I used to live in a city where I saw things like this or similar to them all the time. It was what it was you know? What you expected to see in the city. But to see it out here leaves me with a feeling that I can’t quite explain except that it is unsettling and it makes me wonder how bad it is in the city closest to me. There are no real jobs out where I live, they are in the city and suburbs of the city…so why am I seeing this out here now? In some ways it confirms what I already know, that its coming…’it’ being a further decline in our country and economy (remember my SHTF senario of a slow roiling boil?) and it makes me very much aware that I need to be paying more attention to my surroundings when out and about, even on my property…’the stranger’ is coming to a place near me sooner rather than later. This isn’t paranoid thinking, this is the pattern of behavior in countries where the economy is shot to hell in a hand basket…they leave the city because the myth is that things are better ‘out in the country side’…Thinking about this today has shifted something within my mind and is nibbling away at my feelings of security (one reason why I moved out where I am, to get further away from what could get ugly). There have been a few other things that have happened in my small town over the past month or so that compound this ‘feeling’ I have that its getting worse and its probably much worse than I am aware of if the movement is beginning to start from the cities out into the countryside both in terms of the homeless and in terms of crime…this is just sitting there in front of my face today, in my awareness now, on a day that just started off as just another day.

Water is essential to human life…heck, all ‘life’. It is needed for even the most mundane things that we do in life..cooking, cleaning, brush our teeth, flushing the toliet. We use water all the time and it is extremely important to have on hand for emergency or SHTF use…Where I live in the woods of Virginia it seems like everytime a storm comes through the power goes out…no joke…no power, no water (I have a well and electric pump and haven’t gotten around to solving this situation since its expensive to do so)…and this means no bathing, no drinking, no flushing of toliets…not to mention no coffee in the morning, but that’s for another time, either way its not fun and this happens even with no emergency. But it has brought to my attention just how much my family depends upon water and how much we use it…

While I know there is a ton of information out there on water and how much to store it is so important that I feel it necessary to repeat it here for your ready pleasure or perhaps, this ‘getting ready’ for what ever may come is all new to you, either way…it bears repeating:

A normally active person needs to drink at least two quarts of water each day. Hot environments can double that amount. Children, nursing mothers and ill people will need even more. You will also need water for food preparation and hygiene. Store a total of at least one gallon per person, per day. You should store at least a one month supply of water for each member of your family.

If supplies run low, never ration drinking water. Drink the amount you need today, and try to find more for tomorrow. You can minimize the amount of water your body needs by reducing activity and staying cool. However, do reduce the using of water for other things in order to conserve.

Amount of Emergency Water to Store

Whereas a quart of water or other fluid daily will sustain life, according to the Department of Defense and the Office of Civil Defense, it is recommended that a gallon of water per day per person be stored for food preparation and drinking. A gallon provides added comfort and accommodates increased fluid needs at higher altitudes or warm climates. An additional one-half to 1 gallon per day is recommended for bathing and hygiene, and to wash dishes.

So this brings us to almost 2 gallons of water per day per person in order to be ‘comfortable’. Bathing is ‘wash pan’ bathing, not a shower or bath.

How much water should I store?

 The rule of thumb is to store at least one gallon per person per day for at least 3 days (for earthquake preparedness). That’s 2 quarts for drinking and 2 quarts for food preparation and sanitation. A family of four should store a minimum of 12 gallons of water.

Personally, I recommend at least a 30 day supply to fit all of your needs…drinking, cooking, cleaning, hygienic purposes. So, that is about 60 gallons per person to get you to 30 days.

Use the following guidelines when storing water:

1. Store drinking water in carefully cleaned, non-corrosive, tightly covered containers.

2. Store containers in a cool dark place. DO NOT store in direct sunlight. Polyethylene plastics (prepackaged milk and water bottles) are somewhat permeable to hydrocarbon vapors. Keep away from stored gasoline, kerosene, pesticides, or similar substances.

3. Stored tap water should be rotated every 6 months. Prepackaged bottled water should be rotated once a year. Check the pull date on the container. Be sure it didn’t sit on the store’s shelf for a year before you purchased it. Self Serve Bottled Water should be rotated once a year, as long as the water treatment process includes ozonation.

4. Rotate your stored water with the water you use on a regular basis. This practice helps insure you don’t have water stored longer than one year.

Containers That Can be Used for Water Storage

Food-grade plastic or glass containers are suitable for storing water. One-, three- and five-gallon water containers can be purchased from most outdoor or hardware stores. Any plastic or glass container that previously held food or beverages such as 2-liter soda bottles or water, juice, punch or milk jugs, also may be used. Stainless steel can be used to store water which has not been or will not be treated with chlorine; chlorine is corrosive to most metals.

55 gal drums, designed specifically for water storage can be difficult to transport, if the need arises, but are of a tremendous value in an emergency .When looking for additional food grade containers, the bottom will be stamped with HDPE (High Density PolyEthylene) and coded with the recycle symbol and a “2″ inside. HDPE containers are FDA-approved for food. Containers without these designations aren’t OK because of possible chemical interactions between the water and the plastic.

Clean used containers and lids with hot soapy water. Once the containers have been thoroughly cleaned, rinse them with water and sanitize the containers and lids by rinsing them with a solution of 1 tablespoon chlorine bleach per gallon of water. Leave the containers wet for two minutes, then rinse them again with water. Remember to remove the paper or plastic lid liners before washing the lids. It is very difficult to effectively remove all residue from many containers, so carefully clean hard-to-reach places like the handles of milk jugs. To sanitize stainless steel containers, place the container in boiling water for 10 minutes. Never use containers that previously held chemicals.

Do I Need to Treat Water?

Once you properly clean containers, fill them with potable, or safe, drinking water. All public water supplies are already treated and should be free of harmful bacteria. However, as an additional precaution, it is recommended that you add 5-7 drops, about 1/8 teaspoon, of chlorine bleach per gallon of water stored. This precaution protects you against any lingering organisms in storage containers that may have been inadvertently missed during the cleaning process. For a quart of water use only 2 drops.

 NOTE: Bleach has an expiration DATE! Be sure to rotate it OR keep pool shock on hand for disinfecting your water.

Where to Store Water

Clearly label all water containers “drinking water” with the current date. Store the water in a cool, dry place away from direct sunlight and heat sources. Do not store it near gasoline, kerosene, pesticides or similar substances.

When potable water is properly stored, it should have an indefinite shelf life; however, it’s a good idea to use and replace the stored water every 6 – 12 months. Rotating water this way provides you with an opportunity to experiment and check the amount of stored water against what you require. It also serves as an additional precaution against bacteria or viruses growing in containers which may not have been thoroughly or properly cleaned and sanitized.

If you have freezer space, storing some water in the freezer is a good idea. If you lose electricity, the frozen water will help keep foods in your freezer frozen until the power is restored. Make sure you leave 2 to 3 inches of space in containers because water expands as it freezes.

Emergency Sources of Water

In an emergency, if you have not previously stored water and commercial or public sources of water are not available, drain water from your plumbing system. Unless you are advised that the public water supply has been contaminated and is not safe, open the drain valve at the bottom of the water heater and salvage the water stored in the heater. A typical water heater holds 30-60 gallons of water. Discard the first few gallons if they contain rust or sediment. Let the water heater cool before draining it from the heater so it does not scald you. Turn off the electricity or gas to the water heater to prevent the heater from operating without water. Once water has been drained into clean, sanitized containers, add 5-7 drops of chlorine bleach* per gallon of water, and stir or shake the solution to mix it. Let it set 30 minutes before use.

Emergency Outdoor Water Sources

If you need to find water outside your home, you can use these sources. Be sure to treat the water first. Additional sources include:

Rainwater Streams, rivers and other moving bodies of water Ponds and lakes Natural springs Avoid water with floating material, an odor or dark color. Use saltwater only if you distill it first. You should not drink flood water.

Hidden Water Sources in Your Home

If a disaster catches you without a stored supply of clean water, you can use the water in your hot-water tank, pipes and ice cubes. As a last resort, you can use water in the reservoir tank of your toilet (not the bowl).

Do you know the location of your incoming water valve? You’ll need to shut it off to stop contaminated water from entering your home if you hear reports of broken water or sewage lines.

To use the water in your pipes, let air into the plumbing by turning on the faucet in your house at the highest level. A small amount of water will trickle out. Then obtain water from the lowest faucet in the house.

To use the water in your hot-water tank, be sure the electricity or gas is off, and open the drain at the bottom of the tank. Start the water flowing by turning off the water intake valve and turning on a hot-water faucet. Do not turn on the gas or electricity when the tank is empty.

Using Swimming Pool Water

You should always view your pool as “backup” water; keep the water treated; you never know when it will be needed! The maintenance of the free chlorine residual will prevent establishment of any microorganisms. The maintenance level should be kept about 3-5ppm free chlorine. If other stored water stocks are not available, remove the necessary pool water and boil it or just treat with chlorine to the normal 5ppm. It is best to err on the side of caution.

Covering the pool at all times when not in use is a very good idea. Try to keep the cover clean and wash the area you put it on when removing it from the pool.

I personally do have a pool but don’t count it in my ‘drinkable’ water, category, but do include in my water storage program simply because it can be used for other things such as washing clothes, flushing toilets (septic only), and other uses of water that don’t involve consuming it after cleaning it (but for flushing who cares what is in it!)

If you MUST use pool water for drinking then purify it first, which may mean filtering, boiling and then adding a disinfectant depending on the condition of the pool water.

When and How to Treat Water for Storage

In an emergency, if you do not have water that you know is safe, it’s possible to purify water for drinking. Start with the cleanest water you can find and treat with one of the following methods:

Boiling and chlorinating: Water can be purified by boiling. Boiling times may vary from state to state, depending on altitude. InColorado, the water is safe to use once after it has been boiled for three to five minutes and has cooled. If you plan to store boiled water, pour it into clean, sanitized containers and let it cool to room temperature. Then add 5-7 drops, or 1/8 teaspoon, of chlorine bleach* per gallon of water (1/2 teaspoon per 5 gallons). Stir or shake the solution to mix it. Cap the containers and store them in a cool, dry place.

Filtering and chlorinating: You can filter water if you have a commercial or backpack filter that filters to 1 micron. These are available in sporting good stores and are recommended for use when back-packing. They are not recommended to clean large volumes of water. Filtering eliminates parasites such as giardia and cryptosporidium, but it may not eliminate all bacteria and viruses. Therefore, it’s recommended that 5-7 drops (1/8 teaspoon) of chlorine bleach* be added per gallon of filtered water (1/2 teaspoon for 5 gallons). Stir or shake the solution to mix it. Wait 30 minutes before using the water, or cap the containers and store them in a cool, dry place.

How to Disinfect Water Using Calcium Hypochlorite (or pool shock)

Using granular calcium hypochlorite to disinfect water is a two step process.

To make a stock of chlorine solution (do not drink this!) dissolve 1 heaping teaspoon (about one-quarter of an ounce) of high-test (78%) granular calcium hypochlorite for each two gallons (eight liters) of water.

To disinfect water add one part of the chlorine solution to 100 parts water to be treated.

Let the mixture sit for at least one-half hour before drinking.

Be sure to obtain the dry granular calcium hypochlorite since once it is made into a liquid solution it will begin to degrade and eventually become useless as a disinfecting agent. This also means you should make your treated drinking water in small batches, for example enough for a few weeks at a time at most.

Calcium hypochlorite will store for a long period of time and remain effective as a chemical drinking water treatment.

*Use liquid household bleach that contains 5.25 percent hypochlorite. Do not use bleaches with fresheners or scents as they may not be safe to consume. The above treatment methods use a two-step approach so less bleach is needed, yet giardia and cryptosporidium are destroyed through boiling or eliminated by filtering. Chlorine may not be effective against these parasites. Since adding too much chlorine to water can be harmful, it’s important to be as accurate as possible when measuring.

Distillation Distillation involves boiling water and then collecting the vapor that condenses back to water. The condensed vapor will not include salt and other impurities. To distill, fill a pot halfway with water. Tie a cup to the handle on the pot’s lid so that the cup will hang right-side-up when the lid is upside-down (make sure the cup is not dangling into the water) and boil the water for 20 minutes. The water that drips from the lid into the cup is distilled.

Most water filtration devices are designed for use on microbiologically safe water. Don’t assume they are safe to use on contaminated water. Check with the manufacturer to be sure. If you are truly concerned about the ability to have safe water for extended periods of time be sure to get a water purifier and filtration system that will treat for microbes and other undesirable items.

Water is important!! and while it may seem ‘bulky’ to store, especially for a month per person, you can find inventative ways to do so…under the beds, in closets, garages, etc. I am lucky in that I have a pool to draw upon if things get really bad and we are looking at a long-term grid down situation so that I don’t have to store a lot of potable drinking water, but for those of you who don’t have this luxury, start storing it. Start small and managable, say enough water per person for 3 days, and then go to 7 days and keep going from there, you can do it and you will sleep better at night, I promise!

For more information on Water Storage and Purification visit:

http://www.captaindaves.com/guide/water.htm#Purification

The above was taken in whole or partially from http://www.nationalterroralert.com/safewater/

Just for today, take a deep breath and clear your mind and relax. Too often in our lives we get too busy getting ‘ready’ and ‘getting prepared’ for what may come that we forget that we have only today in which to live. The past has come and gone and from the past we can learn. The future is not yet here and while we are indeed to get ready for tomorrow it is all for not if we cannot be present in the moment. For truly, we only have today.

Today I am spending the day with my family (in between doing this and that for work) but will include them in getting ready for tomorrow. Having family on board with plans and preparing is a fundamental part of being prepared so I will be including them today in the ‘doings’ of getting prepared. Showing my children (that are old enough) how to cut up food and use the dehydrator and letting them sample the food when it is done. And while we are doing this together it is a chance to make the connections that are needed in order to build a strong family. We can talk about whatever may come up and just be together without the TV or distractions of other electronic media. Just for today, we will be present together as we get prepared for the coming storm. We can go out together into the garden and look things over, and I can take the time to show them what is a ‘weed’ (not wanted in the garden) and explain to them what this or that is. In this way I am helping them learn how to garden and be more self-reliant in the future. But we are also practicing being in the moment and present to what IS RIGHT NOW instead of being caught up in what may or may not happen.

For we only have today, we learn from the past and get ready for the future, but being present and in the moment is the most important skill that we can acquire. It saves us from unnecessary fear, keeps us in balance and focused and helps us to be prepared for when the SHTF really hits, for we will need the ability to be present in the moment in order to survive. The ability to keep the mind focused on the here and now is key to any survival situation. So just for today, I will remain focused on where my hands are at and help to teach my children this skill and in the process make my family stronger by doing ‘things’ together. And just for today, be the example of calm in the storm.

Great leaders know this:

Just for today: I will try to live through this day only,
and not tackle all my problems at once.
Just for today: I will be happy. Abraham Lincoln said,
*Most folks are as happy as they make up their
minds to be.*

Just for today: I will adjust myself to what is,
and not try to adjust everything to my own desires. I will
Take my *luck* as it comes, and fit myself into it

Just for today:I will try to strengthen my mind. I will study.
I will not be a mental loafer.
I will read something that requires effort.
Thought and concentration.

Just for today: I will exercise my soul
in three ways: it will do somebody a good turn
and not get found out; if anybody know of it, it
will not count. I will do at least two things I
don’t want to do– just for exercise. I will
not show anyone that my feelings are hurt: they may
be hurt but today I will not show it.

Just for today: I will be agreeable. I will
look as well as I can, dress becomingly, keep my voice
low, be courteous, and criticize not one bit. I won’t find
fault with anything, nor try to improve or regulate
anybody else but myself.

Just for today: I will have a plan..
I may not follow it exactly, but I will have it.
I will save myself from two pests: Hurry and Indecision’s.

Just for today: I will have a quiet half
hour all by myself, and relax. During this half hour,
sometime I will try to get a better perspective of
my life.

Just for today: I will be un-afraid.
Especially I will not be afraid to enjoy what
is beautiful,and to believe that as I give to the
world, so the world will give back to me.

Have a great Sunday, enjoy your life and your family.