Tag Archive: how to

no ebola

Its germ season and with the growing concerns over Ebola spreading within the United States I thought it might be wise to discuss PREVENTION verses what to do ‘if’ as prevention is obviously our first line of defense.

Soap and hot water are our obvious first bet as always. Several times a day. But I know and understand that this isn’t always possible so alternatives to keeping our hands as germ free as possible are next in line. I will speak directly to viruses (and this includes Ebola) as not all alternatives are good for bacterial disinfection.

According to the MSDS and The Canadian Centers for Disease Control there are basically 4 ways to kill ‘enveloped’ viruses such as the flu, ebola and many ‘stomach bugs’ that are emerging right now.

Phenolic compounds which are found in many of our everyday items we use such as: They can be toxic at certain levels, though hospitals still use phenolic compounds to clean floors, bed railings and tables. You will know you have a sanitizing phenolic compound if you see the ‘phenol’ in any part of the ingredients. A few that I found were: ortho-phenylphenol, ortho-benzyl-para-chlorophenol, ortho-phenylphenol, para-tertiary-amylpheno.
Typically phenolic sanitizers will need to be left to dry for at least 10 minutes (typical time to work to ‘inactive’ a virus) Do NOT get on the skin or inhale the vapors (such as in air ‘sanitizers’). You should also not use these products containing phenolic compounds around babies or young children nor on surfaces where food may touch.

Ethyl or Isopropal alcohols
. These are found in hand sanitizers and common rubbing alcohol…but here is the catch. NOT ALL hand sanitizers have their main ingredient as ethyl alcohol. Remember the big scare about children eating hand sanitizer and getting sick? Some of the more popular brands changed their formulations and do NOT have ethyl alcohol as its active ingredient. So be sure you look at the ingredient list on the hand sanitizer you buy and make SURE it says Ethyl alcohol. And it must be at least 62% but no more than 70%.
As for rubbing alcohol, you can use this on surfaces, your hands or body. But here is the catch: it has to be 60 to 70 percent isopropyl alcohol. If any higher it will not as effective. Science has shown that to kill enveloped viruses such as Ebola, MRSA, and Influenza you must have water to penetrate the virus. They love water! So, the more water the rubbing alcohol is diluted in the better the kill rate. Optimal is 60-70 percent of isopropyl rubbing alcohol. Do NOT ingest any of type of ethyl or rubbing alcohol.

Next, and most prolific in disinfectants and used in hospitals are the Ammonium Chlorides. Look for cleaning, disinfecting/sanitizing products with the words ammonium chloride in the ingredients as these will kill any enveloped virus…ebola, flu, HIV, etc. It can be found in sanitizing wipes, many surface cleaners and in fact, is the main chemical used by hair stylists for disinfecting there clippers and scissors. Goes by the brand name Hydrocide which is readily available to the public. Clorox wipes contain ammonium chloride. NOTE OF CAUTION. If you are going to use a product with ammonium chloride you allow to air dry. Do not wipe dry. Also, if you will be using on surfaces where you cook, after allowing to air dry it is advised to use plain water to wipe afterwards (10 to 15 minutes after using product) so that you do not eat this as it can build up in the body and cause a toxic reaction. Same goes for the aerosolized versions you find in disinfectant sprays…don’t breath it in.

Bleach is next on killing all sorts of viruses and bacteria and is a traditional stand by. However, I would not use on the skin as allergic reactions can occur and contact dermatitis can occur over repeated exposure to bleach. A 10% solution will work for hard, non-porous surfaces. Do NOT use on rubber as over time it will break it down.

Finally, we come to good old fashioned vinegar. According to the MSDS vinegar even at 3% dilution will kill ebola, influenza and many other enveloped viruses. Yes, that is SCIENCE. Often times you will see vinegar in homemade cleaning solutions. But personally I would just use it straight and it is safe for SKIN too!

As a note: you may also use a 50/50 combination of hydrogen peroxide and vinegar for cleaning hard surfaces as a disinfectant. This also has been shown to kill many viruses including ebola.

Stay safe, be prepared and get the knowledge to be panic free!





Click to access InfectionControl_GF_DisinfectntSelectnGuidelines_nov0503.pdf

shelter in placeOkay, so you have come to the conclusion that it would be a very smart idea to get some supplies together. But where to start? Below is just a jump start to get you going. Your personal circumstances will dictate what you can and cannot do.

Just think this way: if you knew a hurricane or blizzard was coming what would you get from the store? And then make sure you get enough for at LEAST one month if not three months (which is where I would personally be most comfortable starting from nothing). Tess Pennington has a great resource for what to buy if you can do so. But there are a lot of options including 30 day buckets made by various emergency preparedness companies that range from $60 to over $200 per person. Keep in mind these bucket NEED WATER and some way of cooking/heating.

Short term food supply

Long term food supply

Both of the links above will take you to Ready Nutrition

For those on a tight budget facing potential mandatory lockdown (or voluntary if you are smart in live in a high risk area) you can subsist on peanut butter, crackers, tuna, and other canned foods that can be bought cheaply. This is something only you can decide on since YOU know your circumstances. But lay in your food storage now before real fear sets in. Remember your pet too. Do what you can with what you can when purchasing your food items. And buy only what you WILL EAT.

Do you have a way of cooking outside of the microwave or your stove? Do you have enough ‘fuel’ to last and sit out in isolation for a few weeks to possibly months? And the biggest question, is do you know how to use that alternative cooking method. If you answer no to any of these questions then now is the time to either get one you can work (NO CAMPING STOVES INSIDE THE HOUSE!!!) and make sure you know how to use it now and have enough fuel on hand for daily use for at least a month. Personally if I lived in a city or other highly populated area I would go for minimal cooking. Less noticeable.

Do you have water? We use so much water in our daily lives to do so many things…cooking, cleaning, washing. The school of thought is 1 gallon minimum per day per person/animal. Frankly, I like to get 3 gallons going per person just to have extra. I learned this after going through Irene with no power for a week. Water is KING. Yes, right now you have electricity and the water is flowing…but the idea is not to wait for it to stop flowing before being ready for it not be flowing.

First Aid items. What is in YOUR house? The last place you want to be going in case of an outbreak or potential one is the doctors office, ER or Urgent Care especially if you can take care of it at home yourself. Most coughs, sniffles, bumps and bruises and other things can safely be handled at home. If you are sure, get a good home first aid book to walk you through things. But remember, have the little things ON HAND. There is no going out remember? Not unless you absolutely have to do so. Isolation is the only sure fire method of prevention. Again, Tess Pennington has a great ‘get you started list’.

First Layer of First Aid

More First Aid

Medications that you take regularly. Is that prescription filled? Keep it filled and don’t wait until the last moment to do so. I know and understand that many medications are only dispensed one month at a time, but see if that is due to pharmacy regulations/FDA/DEA regulations or if its an insurance thing. If its an insurance thing then you may want to go ahead and pay out of pocket for that extra refill before its due. Don’t hesitate to ask the pharmacy if they have some sort of discount card available as many do. If things start to look ugly, don’t hesitate to contact your private doctor and discuss options with them. It does not hurt to ask!

Sanitation is how you plan on keeping things clean and the garbage taken care of. This is a tough one for those who live in cities. We can all think back to when the garbage workers went on strike in New York. YUCK! So it would be best to minimize garbage, but on the otherhand, if water becomes an issue then you will need to go to using disposable items (or better yet, eat out of the can, yeah, I know gross, but we are talking drop dead situation here, no pun intended). If you have power and sewage still going on then you don’t need to worry about mother nature, but what about Toilet Paper? Got enough for a while? And what if that good ole toilet stops working for some reason? Need to plan for that too and there are many ways of dealing with this issue. Don’t forget cleaning supplies too. I always keep waterless ways of cleaning on hand such as surface spray and those moist floor cloths (found at dollar store). And use paper towels.

Again, I will refer to Tess Pennington’s 52 Weeks to Preparedness:

Sanitation 1
Sanitation 2

This is just a start up to get you thinking about what you would need in an isolation/mandatory quarantine situation so that you do not have to go out. While we have not come to that point where it is happening, the potential is there and I hope you understand the potential threat and take action now. Hey, look at it this way, you get something together now and if you don’t need it great! Then when the next storm comes around you can sit back and relax…you got it covered!

Don’t forget to visit Tess’s website for even more information on how to prepare for any situation. She is an awesome lady with tons of great, reliable information.

God bless and stay safe!


The more I get into the great outdoors the more respect I have for the ‘old timers’ and am amazed that human beings, before organized agriculture survived and thrived enough to bring us to the point where we have 7 billion people on this planet.

Hunting, fishing, gardening, plant identification (wild edibles), and making do with what was found in your local environment…woah…lots of work, patience and knowledge is needed for it all! And HOMESTEADERS way back in the day did by themselves with knowledge learned the hard way (hit and miss, mostly miss) or learning by/from example through practical knowledge and know how learned from the elders or just from someone who has more miles than you do on a particular subject.


Personally, I prefer to learn the easy way…from others. The advent of printing and finally the internet we have access to so much information/knowledge that I believe many are falling prey to THINKING they know how to do something or could do it, after all, it all sounds so easy But applying that knowledge in a hands on situation is another matter entirely. Finding someone who already has that hands on know how, well, that can be a daunting task, but it sure makes it a lot easier, especially when you learn from someone who will let you learn how you need to learn instead of by a strict set of rules. Guidelines are great, ridgity is not when you are trying to learn a new skill, unless it’s a safety rule.


Case in point, my partner in crime who has had the pleasure of trying to teach me how to hunt and track has taken on the challenge of teaching me how to fish. Now, you might think that fishing is easy and honestly, its easier than hunting! But there are so many ‘things’ involved in being successful (you can see his posts here on fishing at VaCreepinOutdoors) that its crazy, at least to me, but on the otherhand, me being an herbalist/homeopath I am sure he feels the same way about trying to learn from me about what I do well. And sometimes, just plain luck is involved too. I have spent hours just learning how to cast the line and am now comfortable enough that I am practicing getting it under trees. VCO showed me the basics and then let me run with it. Even got a compliment Saturday that I actually looked like I knew what I was doing!


Well, we went out carp fishing this past weekend and he cast in, first cast he caught a channel cat. Here I am sitting going: ‘reel it in! reel it in!’ and to me it looks like he is playing with it, letting it run out, reeling it in, letting the fish run back out, reeling it back in. This went on for a few minutes with him telling me that he didn’t want to bring the fish in with it ‘still green’. What the HECK DID THAT MEAN???? It was a nice size catfish, big enough for eating (wound up releasing it) but why in the world did he let it run? I mean, you hook the thing and bring it in right? That’s what you do with blue gill and the other smaller fish so why not these bigger guys?


Fast forward an hour or so, we’re just standing there with bread on the hook doing not much but watching the line for movement (there is a trick to ‘hooking’ a fish too by the way) and I am thinking, screw this and told him “I bet if I sit down I’ll hook a carp” he laughed and said, ‘yeah, then you get to figure out how to stand up with that thing pulling!’ I thought, ‘whatever’ and proceeded to sit down and dang it, do you know that within minutes my line was busy running out really fast and I am sitting on the ground trying to reel who knows what back in from the sitting position? He’s telling me to let it run out and then reel back in and all I can think is ‘gotta land this sucker’. But I slowed down, followed his directions (kinda) and lo and behold, after a good fight out comes this 4 lb carp! Big fish, strong and a fighter. It was kinda fun, but man! Reeling that thing in was like trying to keep two pitbulls apart that wanted to fight each other.

So, I learned something…what it means to ‘not reel a fish in green’. It means that you let it wear itself out (kinda like putting the 2 year old outside to run around) before trying to bring it onto land. A fish flopping around crazy on the ground is not fun to get your hands on as many of them have fins that will cut you or the darn thing will flop back into the water (have that happen to me before). And getting the hook out so you can put it on a stringer…well, its better, easier and much less painful to let that fish wear itself out than to fight it on land too. Lesson learned about ‘green fish’. The fight was fun and now I am hooked, but next time, I will let it run and fight in the water until it almost gives up. And it was released. Yes, it was pretty small compared to what a lot of people catch size wise but lesson learned about big fish fishing…let them run, play with them. Much less tiring that way and you are less likely to get hurt and keep the fish too or get the hook out with minimal damage to the fish. Btw, I still let him take the hooks out if he’s around.


Just for fun…I learned there are no hard and fast rules about bait that day too, you can catch bass with bread. I did it that same day. VaCreepinOutdoors calls it top water fishing…but with bread? He said he’d never heard of such thing…guess the joke was on him that day. Granted it was only a 4 inch big mouth, but by bouncing the bread through the water, it jumped right on.


Have fun, get out there and learn! Now I gotta figure out how to get new line on the reel.

liquid soap

Liquid castile so very versatile and can be used for almost everything. You will see that I reference it in many homemade, all natural products for cleaning. Hence, I thought it wise to share how to make it.

What you will need:
1 bar of Kirks Original ‘coco’ Castile Soap
Mason Jar/Bucket/Container with lid
Way to heat water

Now here’s where it gets fun:
For different uses you will need different dilutions of soap to water, but here is the fastest and best way to make it quickly. You can dilute with more or less water as needed for other purposes.

Basic Liquid Castile Soap for Cleaning around the House:
1 Quart Mason Jar
1 Bar of Kirks Castile Soap
2 and 3/4 cups hot water

Bring your water to a boil.
While waiting for water to boil chop up your bar of castile soap or grate it. It will be very easy to do since it is very soft.
Put the chopped up/grated soap bar (yes all of it) into the mason jar.
When the water has come to a gentle boil pour into the mason jar over the soap.
Put lid on Mason Jar and let sit.
It will natural melt because this soap is oil based. Should take 10-20 minutes.
If some stubborn chunks remain at the bottom after 10 minutes, simply stir a bit.

All DONE! Now you have your liquid castile soap base for making cleaning products for the home.

Will be posting more ways to use around the home and for yourself as time permits and updating this page for other ways of making for various purposes as time permits.