Wouldn’t it be great if you could actually save some money/get paid to buy all your survival and prepper gear? One way I have learned is to buy through Ebates. Every time you buy something through Ebates you earn a percentage back of what you spend. For example, if you buy through Amazon.com you earn up to 3% cash back, or better still if you use MyFoodStorage.com to buy your food preps you will get 8% cash back! Seriously, it’s like getting an easy 8-10% off of every order. It’s not like you might get it off, or you have to order certain things. You’re guaranteed to get it off of every single order.
How It Works
Here’s how it works…. after you sign up to be a member of Ebates (which by the way is totally FREE) all you do is pick your favorite store through the Ebates website and start shopping. When you pick the store it automatically generates a ticket number and adds it to your order so you get your credit. They add your savings in your Ebates account within 2-3 days and every 3 months they will send you out a check or either deposit your money into Paypal if you prefer.
The minimum payout is only $5.01 and of course if you haven’t saved that much (why the heck not?!) it will be carried over to the next payout date. You can VERY easily save that much with just one or two orders.That’s one, maybe two orders from your favorite stores over a three month timespan. I think we all do that.
Ebates has great customer service too. I have dealt with them personally and have never had any trouble getting my issues resolved.
Waste Not, Want Not
Once again, Ebates is great if you do pretty much any online shopping, and who doesn’t these days. It’ll save you money on things you are going to buy anyways so why not get on the Ebates money train and start saving a wad of cash?
Building rabbit cages, chicken coops, or any sort of PVC frame is simple, fast, and will last a very long time. Below I’m going to show you how I would build a rabbit hutch out of PVC. It uses 1 1/2 SCH 40 pipe and is about 8′ x 6′ x 3′ deep. It can hold up to six rabbit cages. Why six and not four like most? If you get a sick rabbit or two or ever plan to breed your rabbits you’ll appreciate the extra cages.
There are several PVC rabbit hutch plans online, but really, just go to Home Depot and stare at the PVC connectors for a while. Lets be honest, this is child’s play if you’ve ever worked with PVC before. You’ll be inspired in no time. If you’re one of those that like some instructions or would like some plans before you start then here’s a cool design that I like.
My design is modular unlike other PVC frame designs on the web, meaning you can continue building length·wise however long you want. Need 8 cages instead of 6? no problem! How about 12? Easy as pie.
My design, like most, will hold two tiers of cages as this is a very efficient way to stack rabbits. However each cage will need a slanted roof made out of corrugated plastic or other material. Corrugated plastic is easy to clean, but wood works too. I would avoid metal as it could get pretty hot. This slanted roof will help protect the rabbits from the elements as well as direct the rabbit droppings from the top tiers into an optional worm bed under the cages (think wooden rectangle made of 2×6′s under your cages).
Here’s what you’ll need
PVC Saw (or hacksaw)
PVC Cleaner And Cement
Sandpaper or debur tool
Materials Needed (all is 1 1/2″ PVC):
80 feet – 1 1/2 in. PVC Sch 40. Sch 20 will be too thin.
6 – Caps
2 – Couplers
4 – Elbows
14 – Tees
2 – X’s (4-way couplers)
PVC Cut List:
4 – 17 1/2 inch
4 – 18 inch
4 – 13 1/2 inch
6 – 19 1/4 inch
2 – 37 3/4 inch
2 – 14 3/4 inch
4 – 36 inch
8 – 48 inch
1. Cut your PVC pipe to correct lengths as per my cut list, and debur all the ends with sandpaper or a debur tool. A debur tool works better.
2. Assemble the middle legs, 2 total:
- Start with a cap, then add a 37 3/4″ PVC. Then add a 4-way connector.
- Stick a 8 3/4″ PVC into the connector and put a Coupler on and add a 19 1/4″ PVC.
- Finally add a Tee, oriented the same way as the 4-way connector. You’re done.
3. Assemble the Style 1 end legs, 2 total:
- Start with a elbow, then insert a 19 1/4″ PVC, put a Tee longwise on the other end of the pipe 90 degrees from the elbow TO THE LEFT.
- Next insert a 13 1/2″ PVC into the Tee and add a second Tee that is 90 degrees from the first T.
- Now insert a 18″ PVC into your second Tee and add one more Tee aligned with the first Tee.
- Stick a 17 1/2″ PVC into the Tee and add a end cap. You’re done.
4. Assemble the Style 2 end legs, 2 total:
- Start with a elbow, then insert a 19 1/4″ PVC, put a Tee longwise on the other end of the pipe 90 degrees from the elbow TO THE RIGHT.
- Next insert a 13 1/2″ PVC into the Tee and add a second Tee that is 90 degrees from the first T.
- Now insert a 18″ PVC into your second Tee and add one more Tee aligned with the first Tee.
- Stick a 17 1/2″ PVC into the Tee and add a end cap. You’re done.
5. Glue two 36″ PVC piece to a Style 1 end leg and a Style 2 end leg. Repeat on the other set of end legs. This will make two “Double-H” shaped ends.
6. Insert and glue two 48″ PVC arms into the top and middle section of an end leg “Double-H” section. Repeat on all four end legs.
7. Insert and glue the middle legs to one set of the 48″ PVC now connected to the “Double-H” sides.
8. Glue the remaining 48″ PVC pieces into the middle legs. Don’t try to get ahead of yourself here, once you get one piece in you have to go for it or the glue will harden before it’s in all the way.
9. (optional) To Make It Modular - If you would like to make a modular design, make two more middle legs and cut four more pieces of 48″ PVC. Add them between the first set of middle legs and one set of the end legs. Do this as many times as you need. Optionally you can also replace the elbows and middle couplings on the end legs and continue adding 48″ PVC pipes and another set of end legs to build as many as you want. This way you can try not gluing these together so you could add or remove them as your rabbit herd size changes.
Now that your frame is finished it’s ready to hold up to six rabbit cages.
Like all things survival you need to LIVE IT day to day, not just stick it in a closet and hope you never have to use it! If you’re storing wheat and all hell breaks loose….what do you do? Bake bread of course! But do you know how?
If you are new to baking your own bread it can seem like a daunting task but it really isn’t. You don’t need yeast, sugar, baking soda, or really anything but flour and water. Everything else is optional. Here’s a basic recipe to get you started.
Super Easy Survival Bread (SESB)
1 cup of fine whole wheat flour (buy from store or grind your own)
2 tbsp. of olive oil (optional, also regular vegetable oil works too)
1 tsp. salt (optional, add more or less to taste)
1/2 cup of water
Mix all the ingredients in a bowl and scoop it togther into a ball. Lightly dust a cookie sheet, rock, or other flat surface with flour. Pour the dough ball out and knead for 5 mins. Roll out to about 1/8″ thin and bake at 350F for 20 mins.
Powers out? No oven? Put it in a dutch oven instead and cook it over a fire. No dutch oven? Throw it on a heated flat rock – or even in the ashes if you don’t mind some grit and charcoal flavoring - and flip it a couple of times till lightly brown and firm.
This will serve about 3-4 people if eaten as a side with a meal, or make about 2 sandwiches. The below nutritional info is for the entire loaf.
Nutritional info without olive oil
Nutritional info with olive oil
Rabbits are an excellent small livestock to get started with. Even if you don’t have the ability to move to the country, you can still gain many valuable skills by raising a few rabbits in your backyard. For info on raising rabbits check out my previous post, Raising Rabbits For Tough Times.
I have found butchering rabbits to be much quicker than butchering chickens because a rabbits skin is extremely loose. I can skin a rabbit much faster than I can pluck a chicken. No, it is not pleasant to butcher any animal. But there is a certain sense of satisfaction knowing you can feed your family even if the grocery store shelves are bare.
Because of their small size, rabbits are easy to handle and easy to butcher. The trick is to handle them very firmly. A rabbit held tightly by the scruff with one hand and the other hand supporting its feet will not kick and thrash. Don’t be timid, but hold your rabbit firmly to avoid getting scratched by the toenails on their powerful hind legs.
Below is a great video that shows the entire process from slaughter to finished meat. If you just wandered into this post from Google, I should warn you that it’s a wee bit graphic and might scare a sheeple or two. For those serious about homesteading however, it’s a perfect tutorial.
In the late 1930s, the Great Depression was in full swing. Many families raised rabbits in pens in their backyards to supplement the backyard garden or meager grocery budget. They would gather grass or spent vegetables to feed their rabbits. As we can learn from our parents and Grandparents, rabbits can be a good source of protein for your family during tough times. They multiply quickly, don’t need much space, don’t eat much food, produce excellent manure, and are easy to handle and butcher.
Rabbits are one animal that most anyone can start raising right now, and keeping them with worms adds a double punch to your preps. A rabbit-worm combo cage give you several advantages. Not only does it mean less cage cleaning, but it makes a complete ecosystem. The rabbits feed the worms, the worms feed the garden, and the garden feeds the rabbits. You can be built a rabbit-worm cage out of inexpensive wood or even pvp pipe.
Building The Cages & Care
A generously sized rabbit pen is two feet square. The rabbit hutch should be positioned at least 3 foot above the ground and use ½ inch wire mesh floor so rabbit droppings can fall through easily but their legs cannot get stuck. You will need at least two pens. One for the male rabbit (buck) and one for the female (doe) and her babies as adult rabbits are extremely territorial and will kill each other in defense of their territory. If you live in the south make sure you place your cages in a shady spot in the back yard. They can stand cold temperatures fairly well, but will die quikly trapped in a cage in the hot sun on a summer day.
Underneath your small rabbit hutchs build an inexpensive wood frame worm bed about 12 inches deep. Add bedding material to the bed: Good bedding can be any combination of carbon: shredded paper products, decomposing leaves, hay, straw, peat moss etc. Start with a 3 to 4 inch layer on the bottom for your worm bed. Moisten the bedding with water and let your rabbits do their thing until the surface is covered with 1 to 2 inches layer of rabbit manure.
Mix the rabbit manure and bedding material together and wet it down thoroughly. Also note that the worms cannot eat dry, piled-up rabbit manure. Maintain moisture levels so that you can squeeze one to two drops of water out of a handful of bedding. Be sure to keep your rabbits dry when wetting down the beds or they could get sick.
Breedin’, Feedin’, And Eatin’
Rabbits are very fast and heavy breeders. A doe can produce five to six (five being more common) litters a year. An average litter is seven to eight bunnies. Expect 35-40 rabbits per doe per year. Butcher the bunnies at eight weeks old, after that the food-to-meat ratio drops and the meat gets tougher.
Most people feed rabbits commercial pellets as they are convenient and fairly inexpensive to feed. But in tough times you will have to raise your rabbits on forage alone. Remember the rabbit-worm-garden ecosystem I was talking about eariler? The problem is, today’s rabbits have been bred to thrive on a pellet diet. You’ll have to grow or forage a few extras for your rabbits to make up for this - weeds, green twigs cut from safe trees, garden refuse, grains and hay are all good for your herd.
Remember that a diet of rabbit meat alone will cause diarrhea, due to its leanness. Be sure to balance your diet with fresh vegetables, chickens, or other sources of fats and nutrients to avoid “rabbit starvation” (also known as protein poisoning), which can cause death in less than a week. Also eating excessive protein forces your body to use more water than usual, which can lead to dehydration. Make sure you have plenty of water and fats avaliable if you choose to make rabbit one of your survival meats.
Related Post: Butchering Homegrown Rabbits For Meat
As the global economy continues to tumble, many people across this great country are just now seeing the light and beginning to prepare. For many of these newcomers the question of where to begin is ever present, as well as how to afford all these new expenses. The very reason most newcomers want to prepare (economical troubles) make it difficult to buy the equipment necessary to be prepared, a catch 22. The solution is to start small, as small as $2.75 a day.
$2.75 can’t do much…in fact it’s hard to even buy a cup of coffee for $2.75 now! So how can you buy expensive gear and equipment for so little? Save it! You would be suprised how fast it adds up, and before you know it you can have a nice wad of cash to spend on your preps…with only $2.75 a day.
Let’s assume you save just $2.75 a day, or less than $20 a week. In a year you will have over $1,000 to put into your preps! $1,003.75 to be exact. So what can you do with your newly saved $1,000?
Here are my recommendations
Water ($50)– Minimum 1 gallon per-day
- Store it in bulk – gallons of spring/drinking water are easy to buy, but at $1.00 per gallon they can be expensive.
- Buy several 55 gallon plastic drums off craigslist (about $15 each) and fill them up. Don’t forget a hand pump too ($10)!
- Save soft drink containers, rinse them out and fill with tap water (less than $.05 a gallon), add 3-4 drops of unscented bleach and mark them with the date.
Food ($350)– 1,500 calories per day
- Purchase in quantity what you normally eat. A good idea would be to sit down with a notepad and pen and meal plan for two weeks.
- Remember that there may be no electricity so all food items in the meal plan have to come from the pantry, don’t forget a manual can opener too.
- Next – take that 2 week meal plan and make a list of all items and use that as your shopping list. If you are able to buy 2 of everything listed – that would be a one month supply.
- Do not forget cooking oil (essential fats) that you may need to complete your meal. Don’t forget about spices and other condiments.
- Ramen soup, rice, lintils, and beans are cheap and easy bulk foods.
- Powered milk, honey, and salt should also be on the list.
- Wheat is great, but is harder to find and requires a mill.
- Consider shelf life (aim for at least 1 year out).
- Buy store brands and buy on sale to maximize your available funds.
Light ($30) – Your light in shining darkness
- Pick up a few quality hand crank LED flashlights. [LED will give you long bulb life & super long batttery life]
- Buy a bunch of candles at the dollar store or local discount store, as well as some matches and lighters
- Pick up a hand crank LED lantern, oil lamp, or propane lantern. Your choice. Make sure your propane lantern can be supported without a 1lb bottle (you will be using an adapter hose instead). A simple metal hook, special stand or propane “tree” works well.
- Get extra alkaline batteries for your old flashlights if needed.
Medical/First Aid ($20)– Don’t forget the band-aids
- Make sure you are up to date on all prescriptions.
- Get a decent first aid kit – usually around $5.00 to $10.00 .
- Pick up extra supplies like band-aids, burn ointment, diarrhea medicine, pain killers, triple antibiotic, cold medicine, etc.
Household Supplies ($60)- For cleaning and sanitation
- Basic’s here. Dish soap, toilet paper, a few basic cleaning supplies, bleach.
- Get toiltries such as deodorant, shampoo, soap, hand sanitizer, shaving creme, and razors.
Self-Defense ($250)– Just as important as your supplies
- Think self defence and hunting when it comes to guns. 12 gauge shotgun and a .22 rifle.
- Check out the used gun selection at your local pawn and gun shops. Gun shows are a great place to shop too.
- You should be able to pick up used 12 gauged shotgun as well as some shells for around $150.
- Try to find a decent rimfire like the Ruger 10/22 along with a brick of ammunition for the other $100.
- Alternativly you can also spend your extra $100 on 12 gauge ammo and accessories.
Fuel ($90)– Extra gas & propane
- 10 gallons of gas + sta-bil treatment is running around $35.00 at the moment.
- Getting a 20-lb propane tank filled costs around $15.00.
- Buy an extra 20lb propane tank if you can.
- Buy a 20lb to 1lb adapter hose. They can be had for $15.
Heating & Cooking ($150) - Indoor & outdoor flame
- Buy an indoor-safe propane heater for warmth.
- Get a propane stove burner for cooking.
- Buy a camp grill if you have access to small twigs and leaves to help save your precious fuel.
- Blankets, blankets…….and more blankets. Emergency space blankets too!
- Stock up on gloves and thermal underwear.
- Already have a propane heater? Get more fuel.
Well – that’s our $1,000.00 dollars. Start saving your $2.75 a day and soon you’ll have your very own stockpile to fall back on during tough times.
Remember you can adjust this list to fit your situation. If you already has a gun, then spend that money somewhere else. If you live in the desert, buy more water and less heaters. You get the picture, the same goes for every other category.
So how would YOU spend $1000 in preps? Any thoughts? Comment below and help others.
Feeding chickens solely on pasture can be tricky, but isn’t impossible. Chickens can find their own feed, but each chicken needs a considerable amount of room. Chickens can’t eat what isn’t there, and the more chickens you have the less food there is for each chicken. You have to match the number chickens to your pasture size or they will die from poor health and starvation.
How It Was Done In The Old Days
In the old days people didn’t feed their hens at all. Much of the hen’s diet was provided by poor sanitation. People would throw their garbage out on the streets or around the outside of the house. The cows would spill grain. Manure was all over the place and was full of free lunch - maggots. Even with all this extra food the number of hens that could be kept healthy without supplemental feeding of grains was limited.
A farmer of the 1800′s might have kept a dozen hens and a rooster through the winter. The following spring the hens would hatch a brood of chicks, giving the farmer about 72 chicks plus the original hens and rooster made for 85 birds total. After the chicks had hatched the old rooster would be sold or eaten. Most of the young chickens and their mothers would be harvested in the fall. One new rooster and twelve young hens would be kept through the following winter, completing the cycle. By having 85 chickens during the summer and only 13 during the lean months of winter, the amount of grain needed for the chickens would be minimal.
This Always Meant Manlnutrition
A flock of 13 chickens could survive the winter on a small handful of grain, usually spilled by the farmer when feeding the cows. Add to that a bit of hay and whatever else they could find and they could get by. They would not be healthy, but they would live to see another summer. This winter diet would be nutritionally poor in vitamins and proteins. Because of this lean diet the hens would lay no eggs during the winter, but they would recover once spring started and the grass turned green again, and the cycle could repeat.
The More Chickens, The More Malnutrition
I’ve heard people say that you can only support 1-2 free range hens per acre, and others say they keep a dozen in a 10×10 coop. I think it depends on how much time you are willing to put into your chickens. If you’re willing to move them daily in a chicken tractor and buy (or grow) them a supplimental feed, then there’s no reason you can’t have a decent size flock.
Chickens are picky eaters as well. As your chickens begin to overpopulate your farm they first eat up the supply of high-calorie feeds such as seeds, then they move on to the supply of high-protein feeds such as bugs and clover. Finally, they exaust all the high-vitamin feeds such as green grass. It’s nearly impossible to tell what stage your forage is in, except for the last stages, when all the green plants disappear.
It Always Pays Off To Provide a Supplemental Diet
The increased production of eggs and larger hens always pays for the increased feed. The feed diet should be adjusted to reflect what the chickens can find as they forage. You can usually leave out vitamins (if they have greens) and proteins (if they have plenty of bugs or clover). In general, for the sustainable homesteader, grain may be all they need supplemented for the summer.
But enough dry summer days in a row browns the grass and makes it useless to the chickens, so this method has its risks. Also in the winter there will be no greens and very little bugs for them so they will need more suplemental grain. A store bought grain really works best here, but during a SHTF situation you may not have that luxery, so do what you can get to get them more grain. This is not ideal, and you may have to harvest a few cickens to make it work, but the bottom line is the flock will make it to the next spring.
If we can’t see what our chickens are eating it’s hard to determin what nutrients they are getting. Many of the things hens eat are so tiny that we can’t see them – tiny seeds, bugs, and worms. Fortunately for the homesteader, hens prefer fresh, natural feeds to processed chicken feed. They will eat their fill on natural foods before going to the store-bought feed whenever they have the chance. This makes it pretty easy to feed your chickens correctly, just follow the golden rule….
Offer your chickens as much chicken feed or homegrown grain as they want, and then let them eat however much pasture they want.
This will help to maximize production and save as much grain for the cows as possible. During hard times you can still get some eggs out of your flock without hurting your hens but you won’t get very many. Don’t plan your meals around fat chickens, plan them for the lean days and be happy with the excess during the summer.
We are now three to five generations removed from the rural life that helped make America great. We have migrated to big cities and left our self-sustained lives behind. These mega-cities have caused our general well-being to decline, with suicide rates increasing across the world. Crowded conditions and economic problems have led to rampant crime, pollution, and a dog-eat-dog mentality.
You will find that most of these tips will save you money and some will even save you time. The closer you get to true self-sufficiency you will save more and more money. Many find that the money saved alows them to cut down on overtime or even quit work altogether, allowing them to truely be free from the system and to become a homesteader. Saving money comes hand in hand with self-sufficiency and homesteading. Your labor is much cheaper than someone else’s and the money you save from gas and utility bills will go a long way towards paying down debts or buying more equipment for your homestead.
Here’s a list of 52 things you can do to become more self-sufficient. You would be one busy beaver, but you could even try doing one a week and in a year you will be closer to self-sufficiency than you ever thought possible. I recommend you learn the basics of your current project before moving on to the next.
- Plant your own vegetable garden.
- Change your own oil on your car or truck.
- Cut your own firewood.
- Collect and use rain water instead of municiple or well water.
- Supplement your house’s heating system with solar heating panels.
- Supplement your hot water needs with a solar water heater.
- Mulch your garden with local organic mulch instead of store bought products.
- Raise your own rabbits with worm beds underneath.
- Use home-made compost and free manure to enrich your garden’s soil.
- Grow non-hybrid vegetables and save the seeds for next year’s planting.
- Grow potatoes and save the fingerlings for next years planting.
- Use biointensive gardening techniques to grow lots of vegetables in small places.
- Build a greenhouse to extend your growing season.
- Build a root cellar (above or below ground) to store your harvest.
- Start a small orchard for a variety of fruits.
- Learn how to preserve food by canning.
- Raise bees to help pollination and for honey.
- Raise chickens for meat and eggs.
- Raise sheep for wool and meat.
- Raise goats or a dairy cow for dairy products.
- Preserve vegetables by sun drying them.
- Spin wool into yarn for making clothes.
- Make your own furniture out of tree branches.
- Preserve vegetables by freezing them.
- Grow herbs for cooking and medicinal purposes.
- Use edible wild plants to supplement one’s diet (Find a guide for your area first!).
- Use containers to grow vegetables in small places.
- Use chicken manure (composted) to help fertilize your garden.
- Use, use and reuse as much as possible before throwing away.
- Conserve electricity whenever possible.
- Tune-up your own car or truck.
- Sharpen your own tools.
- Build your own home or shed.
- Grow grapes for preserves or raisins or make your own wine.
- Build a pond and raise fish for food.
- Use solar and wind power to supplement your energy needs.
- Learn how to use a welder.
- Use clothes lines to dry clothes instead of a mechanical dryer.
- Grow grains to feed your own livestock.
- Grow alfalfa to return nitrogen to the soil.
- Use a generator for emergency and supplemental power.
- Dig or drive your own well.
- Bake your own bread.
- Do your own plumbing.
- Do your own electrical work.
- Run a small business from your home.
- Barter goods and services with your neighbors.
- Use a push mower instead of a gas or electric mower, or let the goats handle it.
- Use a bicycle (whenever possible) instead of a motorized vehicle.
- Make vegetables a large part of your diet.
- Make your own syrup from Maple trees as a sugar substitute.
- Supplement your diet by hunting game.
Becoming more self sufficient isn’t all about raising chickens, or getting up at 4:00AM. It’s about consuming smarter and producing for your own daily needs. And that might mean you choose to raise chickens and get up at 4:00AM, but it doesn’t mean you have to. If you need any convincing simply read below.
10 Reasons to Become Self-Sufficient
- Increasing health and wellness – Alot of the “organic” items you see in the grocery store have been falsely labeled. Add to that a large precentage of brands that claim to be “GMO-free” are NOT and you really don’t know what you’re eating anymore. GMO food lacks the nutritional value of what can grow yourself. GMO mega-corporation, Monsanto, has a sordid history of lies, corruption, and has downright been plain evil in every sense of the word. They continuously trampled on our trust, showing through their actions that they would rather make a few more dollars than help save millions (billions?) of starving people on this planet (some right here in the United States). Growing food for yourself makes you healthier and takes companies like Monsanto out of your loop.
- Working for yourself – Lets face it, being someone elses paid slave sucks. Working hours are increasing, pay is decreasing (thank you inflation), and corporate executives are taking bigger bonuses than ever. The middle class is turning into the poor class as the executives in charge are the only ones that can afford to retire. This is leading to a prevailing disgust, as people are being forced to admit that they are living lives of near slaves to their next paycheck, their boss, and their debt. Even for those not working in corporations, working for someone else is (VERY) rarely as satisfying as creating and working for something where every minute you spend is yours alone.
- Having more free time – Life on a farm has been portrayed arduous sun up sun down drudgery where you collapse at the end of the day. This picture mostly comes from the 50′s, the 1850′s! This is not the case anymore. As technology has changed everything else, so as it changed farming and homesteading. Sure, the setup of any farm or homestead is often time-consuming and laborious, but new technologies and new skills of manufacturing food via permaculture and aquaponics are offering low-cost start up and minimal maintenance. You can easily live on 15 acres of land nearly 100% self sustained, with only 1 of those acres actually needing what most consider “farm work”. Some people even do it on 1/4 of an acre, total!
- Generating food and energy - Our coal and oil-soaked way of life could run out rather soon. While the time we have left varies from study to study from 30 years to 100, nearly every scientists in the world agrees that the next generation or two will see the end of oil and a return to life as it was post-oil (and gas, and fertilizer, and plastic, and everything else petroleum based). By using solar and wind power you can wean yourself from the energy grid.
- Hedging against inflation – Have you noticed the price of gold lately? What about groceries? Even Wal-Mart and Costco are raising their prices. The current increases are sign of hyperinflation and there is no signs of change in the foreseeable future. People might have a choice whether or not to buy stocks or gold, but we must eat. Coming corn and grain shortages could make the problem much worse.
- Freedom from market manipulation - Capatilism is a great economical system, and it’s what makes America great. The problem arises when traders and banking institutions begin controlling the vast majority of the system as they do now. The debacle of the private Federal Reserve Bank is just the icing on the cake to a previous decade full of Ponzi-type schemes. Now, the institutionalized looting of retirement money is being planned.
- Building family strength – In these trying times, it is your family that can offer the best support. 60-hour work weeks and grabbing fast food meals on the go take us away from our loves ones, mentally and physically. With no time to interact with our immediate family, it is no wonder why many people report feeling disconnected and unloved.
- Becoming a producer, not a consumer – This is the best way to reduce your cost of living and increase your self-sufficiency. In the past 30 years we have seen corporations race to find the lowest cost production overseas despite desperate people here in America desperate for jobs. Every single one of us has exploited the Third World to clothe, feed, and entertain us and at the same time we are supporting middle-class job being taken from Americans (ever shop at wal-mart? buy a pair of tennis shoes? buy ANYTHING made in china?). The further we walk away from this lifestyle the more we will be rewarded, that is a truth you can hang your hat on.
- Restoring balance – It seems like everything in our socity is on the edge about to tip over. The systems we have in place to check these balanaces has long fell into corruption and dissarray. We have to take it upon ourselves to restore these balances. We may not be able to keep everyone from falling over the edge, but we can protect ourselves by stepping away from the “cliff” and taking on a more self-sustained lifestyle.
- Acquiring an appreciation for life - Creating a garden, working hard to select the best for harvest, and prepared food for your family that you have grown yourself is one of the great joys in life. While a window garden can give you a tiny piece of this world, you can not truely appreicate it until you step outside and transform a small part of your backyard into a beautiful garden.
According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the average US family uses 400 gallons of water per day. Most of that goes to watering lawns and gardens. During a disaster, the grass can die, but the garden will need water.
Today I want to share with you a great method for driving your own water well that was developed by the U.S. Army. If you can drive a nail into a board, you have the skills to augment your water supply. Drilling companies charge thousands of dollars to tap ground water sources that you can often reach yourself with a few common tools and about two weekends of work.
Also, if you’re worried about losing power to your well pump in a grid-down emergency, it is pretty simple and comparatively inexpensive to rig a solar panel to a water pump to transfer water into a holding tank and then feed that into your home plumbing. Best results are achieved if the holding tank is elevated, thereby providing a gravity feed to your pipes. Such a setup really is an emergency preparation we should all be working toward.
At the turn of the century the U.S. Army developed a fast, effective method to provide troops with water that did not involve a lot of expensive, cumbersome equipment. Soldiers simply drove a pipe into the ground with a sledgehammer until they reached the aquifer. Subsequently, it has proven to be ideal for supplying water to homesteads, second homes, and remote villages in developing nations.
If driving a pipe 75 feet or so into the earth sounds like a job for Superman, I’ve given you the wrong impression. Too hard of a blow can damage pipe threads. It’s better to soften the ground as much as possible before you begin. I recommend digging a hole at the site you’ve selected and allowing water to settle in it for a week. The softer the ground, the easier the work. A shallow hole (5 to 10 feet) is best because deep ones too often need reinforcement to prevent them from collapsing.
You should also check with your neighbors. Neighbors, particularly old-timers, can often give you some idea of what lies beneath the subsoil. A weight on the end of a string dropped down a neighbor’s well can give you a rough estimate of how far down you will have to go (measure to the point where the string becomes wet). If that doesn’t work for you, pick a spot outside the drip line of a large hickory, walnut, butternut, white oak, or hornbeam tree that is not being irrigated. Since these types of trees have tap roots (maples, among others, do not), the fact that they are doing well without irrigation indicates that their tap roots are anchored in an aquifer. I live in a community where the street trees are immense despite the fact that they receive negligible rainfall and quite often aren’t being irrigated. Common sense told me that the water table could not be more than 80 feet below the surface.
As with everything there are laws and taxes telling you how you can dig on your own property. It’s best to play the game and keep under the radar, so check with county health officials concerning regulations and permit requirements. County officials do have access to well logs and other geological data and can be of great help to you. They can advise you as to subsurface composition (silt, sand, and decomposed granite are suitable for driven wells; hard clay or rock may prove difficult or impossible to penetrate), the approximate depth at which you can expect to find water, and the quality of the aquifer beneath your site. Choose a location as far as possible from septic tanks, sewer lines, chemical storage tanks, animal pens, and other potential contaminants.
To Get Started
You’ll need a 2-inch drivepoint with screen (a hollow, conically shaped metal point adjoined to a fine mesh screen), several spools of teflon tape, 2-inch galvanized couplings to attatch pipe lengths together, 5-foot-long threaded lengths of 2-inch galvanized Schedule 40 pipe, 2-inch galvanized caps for the pipe, concrete mix, a weight, a foot valve, and 85 feet of 1/2 inch inside diameter, thick-walled, flexible, UV resistant, flexible polyethylene tubing.
Dig a 5 foot deep pit, fill it with water, and allow the water to percolate into the ground so as to softens the subsoil. Make sure the drivepoint is perpendicular to the ground—check it frequently with a level. If it is not straight, pull it out and start again. A slanted well wastes pipe and may be difficult to pump.
Use a heavy wooden mallet or maul to drive the capped galvanized pipe into the ground. When the cap becomes cracked or dented, discard it and screw on a new one. Establish a steady rhythm and the work will go easier. When the cap is about even with the bottom of the pit, unscrew it and screw on a coupling and a new length of pipe. Use teflon tape on the pipe threads, and make certain all connections are tightened securely with a pipe wrench. You may occasionally need to work from a step ladder in order to reach the cap with the maul. When going through clay or shale, you may find it easier to use a sledgehammer, but be careful not to overdo it.
If the drivepoint hits a large rock, pull the point out and start again in a new location. It won’t drive through it and you could destroy your point if you try to break through. I know how horrible it can be to get 50ft down and have to start over, but such is the way of a driven well. You have to know when to quit. To pull out the drivepoint, place two hydraulic automobile jacks on opposite sides of the pipe. Attatch a pipe clamp to the pipe for the jacks to lift against. Once the drivepoint lifts a few inches, it should be easy to remove.
When you believe you have reached water, tie a weight onto a length of string and lower it into the pipe (remember the tip above?). If it comes out wet, repeat the test several times over the next two days, and if the results are the same, you’ve found water. Drive the pipe down some more to compensate for seasonal fluctuations and periods of drought.
The last step is adding a sanitary seal to prevent surface runoff from contaminating the aquifer. Lengthen the pipe to a height approximately 3 feet above the surface of the ground and fill the pit with the original soil. To protect your water supply and anchor your well, pour a small concrete slab into forms made of used 2-by-4′s or 2-by-6′s centered around the pipe at the surface. Install insulation around the pipes to protect your well from damage if the temperature where you live drops below freezing in winter.
Pitcher pumps are ideal for shallow wells. At depths greater than 25 feet, however, they stop working due to the limitations of atmospheric pressure. Inertia pumps (one-way footvalves attatched to flexible irrigation tubing) are the simplest (they contain only one moving part) and least expensive (under $20) manual deep well pump. Instead of a hand powered pump, a solar powered unit could be installed and the solar cells could be placed on top of the pump house.
Studies from developing nations show that 90% hand powered water pumps break down within 3 years. This is mainly due to worn out or broken parts. In the case of hand powered pumps, what you pay for may very well be what you get. So if you plan on installing a hand powered water pump, do not buy the cheapest product on the market.