Apr. 4, 2015

Post-3-Days-of-Darkness-Homesteading-Survival Tips

Nancy G:  Here are some handy tips I found on the internet:

1. To Keep Mosquitos Away:

-Add bundles of sage to campfire to keep mosquitos away 

 -For Mosquito season. This is an easy recipe you can make at home:

 Combine in a 16 oz bottle:

15 drops lavender oil
3-4 Tbsp of vanilla extract
1/4 Cup lemon juice. 
Fill bottle with water. 
Shake.  Ready to use.

2.  Toilet and Hygiene Solutions:

Use a bucket and a milk crate for a toilet

Bring microfiber towels — they’re super absorbent and lightweight.


3.  Portable and Sure-Thing Fire Starters:

- Cotton pads dipped in wax are a crazy easy way to make portable fire starters.

 -Make emergency light sources out of an Altoids tin, cardboard, and wax.

-Make an easy-to-carry fire starter with a cardboard-only egg carton and match light charcoal.

-You just have to light the carton and the fire will catch on to the charcoal.

4.  Campfire Cookery:

Forgo the meat marinade and put the rosemary right on the coals.

-Make pancakes with pre-made pancake mix using shortening and dry milk, which don’t need to be refrigerated.

-You can also find powdered eggs at most grocery stores (if you don’t shudder at the thought)

5.  Laundry Matters:

-Make a portable washing machine with a plunger and a bucket.

The first thing you need to do is obtain a suitable bucket. The place where I work often has empty 18.9L (5 US gallon) detergent buckets, so I popped over to pick one up. Total cost to me? $0

These buckets are great because the cover already has a small lidded opening in the cover — you will want to use it with the cover on to avoid splashing. For optimum efficiency, it’s best to have the hole centered in the lid, but I was coming at it from the “ease of construction” angle. ;)

The other thing you need is a traditional-style toilet plunger. I found one at a local building supply store for around $6.00.

The plunger, and the plunging action employed through good old elbow grease, act as the agitator in your washing machine. Depending on the style of your plunger, you may want to cut away the extra rubber flap inside — this can contribute to overly sudsy wash water, which is something best avoided when washing cloth diapers as it requires much more rinsing.

As an extra step to prevent this problem, you will want to cut between 3 – 6 quarter-sized holes around the perimeter of the plunger. It doesn’t have to be perfect — mine clearly isn’t! I found that three holes wasn’t enough, so I went for the full six.

Be very careful when cutting these holes — I found the squishy, thick rubber quite difficult to deal with, even using a very sharp knife. Remember to practice safe knife practices when cutting these — SAFETY CIRCLE, Everyone! :)

The next step is putting it through a trial run.

I opted to start with otherwise clean but freshly tie-dyed diapers, before moving onto washing today’s dirties. I added my detergent (1/2 what I’d use in our regular washer) to the bottom of the bucket and then filled the bucket half-full with very hot water. I dumped in the diapers (about 8 flats, plus wipes and homemade fleece liners) and started plunging. In hindsight, I could have used a bit less detergent, as it required two rinses, but they got good and clean in very little time.

After the final rinse, I pulled them out of the bucket, wrung out as much water as possible, and hung them on the line. The rinse water went straight onto my flower beds, where my roses gratefully drank it up.

Overall, it went together quickly and was very easy to use. I stood the bucket on a knee-high step to facilitate the plunging, but I think I will get a longer handle for the plunger so I can set the bucket flat on the ground.


 MJJP:  Great ideas, Nancy!  Thanks for passing them along.  The toilet plunger and bucket is a great thing to get ready now.  The idea of inserting a longer handle into the plunger is SO SMART.  

Could we do something similar for a butter churner?   Have we all sourced out our nearest cow(s)?

 As the mosquitos come around this summer, let's write back on how useful the recipe above is.  As these are disease carriers, we should focus on a natural solution that is easy to make.