Letter Re: Alternative to Creosote for Preserving Wood?

I have taken a leave and am now caught back up on the blog. I was away and talked to my wife every night and she always stated that I must be going crazy not reading SurvivalBlog every night! She was right! Upon returning home, did I return my calls, e-mails, or mail first,.hardly, it was a crash course of GBID (get back into Dodge) mentally by reading what I had missed on Survivalblog. A few topics have arisen that I wanted to comment on (FWIW).

I have had the benefit of picking the pocket of an old timer that owns and operates a saw mill. He states that the unique properties of White Oak offer a huge resistance to insects and rot. He gives a 15 year “warranty” on 4″ diameter and larger posts. He claims to get 25 years out of a 6″ post. Both buried in the ground with no topical treatment process. He recommended adding gravel at the base and around the post for added longevity.
He also mentioned that longer lengths are getting harder to get, (i.e.- 16 feet). The disadvantage is the hardness of the item. In a cattle/livestock operation he almost instantly recommended the soft wood poplar or cottonwood as good (give/take) type fences. Not hard and brittle, but fairly resilient.
I know that utility companies are pulling out the “evil” creosote poles and replacing with green treated or chromated copper arsenate (CCA) impregnated posts. These are very inadequate comparably. Talk to your local utilities. Ask if you can get on the list to receive these used poles for next to nothing or free. You may have to sign a waiver that you will not hold the company responsible if you use these for structural purposes, (i.e.- Morton building), etc.
I personally can attest that the worst part of these poles is the part that is highest in the air. You can typically get four very heavy duty corner posts out of each pole. Not to mention the copper staples and wire that is still attached to them for reclaiming at the steel yard.
Another thought just came to mind. In the event of TEOTWAWKI, communication lines would likely be down. If running long strands of hardwire, (such as field phones, intercoms, etc.) Why not use ultimate caution and attach your wire to the “worthless” utility company poles until a later time when you can “trench” in your wire? You may be able to connect to a neighbor or a far end of your property without the labor of digging a lengthy trench to bury the wire in. This could get you up and running very quickly rather than weeks of excavation. Safety would have to be a must, instead of using a ladder that you can reach up to the danger height of electrical wire contact, dedicate a short ladder that gets your communication wire just above reaching height without the inherent dangers of contacting the power lines. This suggestion of course is a last recourse and is intended to be of benefit to you in the event of a GRID DOWN situation where the power lines would likely have been rendered inert. Please use your head.

A fellow blog reader mentioned something about a survival game. I have purchased one and am not giving it my recommendation yet, but would be interested in knowing if the information is in fact accurate and applicable. The name of the game is: “The Worst-Case Scenario Game” by University Games. It has approximately 600 questions that are noteworthy if accurate. My family very much enjoys playing the game, however we find more enjoyment in just reading the cards as almost no one scores well. (This is a good thing as we are learning from it). Even the repeat questions are a good thing. I would recommend separating the cards into four equal groups. Wrap a rubber band around each of the four. Put three bundles of cards into a Ziploc baggie, and concentrate on the first group. It may prove more retention if the same card is asked twice at some point. This keeps things interesting for all age groups.

I have read varying opinions on the reality of the warnings about landscaping mulch coming from the disease and termite infested regions of New Orleans, or other such disaster affected areas. A person would be ignorant to think that micro-organisms could not exist in a plastic bag that is placed in the sun for weeks and delivered across the U.S.A. Last time I opened a bag of mulch, it was soaked with condensation, (prime breeding grounds for disease in my opinion). What the extent of these organisms are, would be, or could be, are open for discussion. I don’t know if termites could survive the packaging/processing, but it IS possible in my opinion (i.e.- tears in bags). This cause for concern should follow right into purchasing vehicles, appliances, furniture, or any used home furnishings that may emerge from disaster areas. Do the research, eBay can be great, ask for a copy of the title or registration, and verify that this vehicle was not registered in those regions.

Again, wishes of success during your transition into full time blogging. It is a selfish wish along with a supportive wish. The practical information I receive does not have a dollar amount on it. Thank You! – The Wanderer