Sarah Latimer: Unrealized Expectations – Part 2

In continuing with the idea of not relying upon others for the “sweet” wants and needs we have, here are a few more ideas that you can provide for yourself (and feel quite good about your independence in doing so!): Fresh and Dried Fruits and Vegetables– Want organic, highly nutritious fresh or dried fruits and vegetables year around, economically? Plant fruit trees and bushes and grow a garden as well as consider using a greenhouse for winter produce. Then, can, freeze, dehydrate, and/or freeze dry your excess produce for later seasonal use. We are still enjoying freeze-dried cubed tomatoes from …




Letter: Solar Fence Chargers as Alternate Power Supplies

To HJL and JWR:I’m a dry land crop farmer, cattle rancher, and hog producer in Montana. Through my work I find things that make me think I could use WTSHTF. (Yes, I’ve read your books). One thing I wanted to offer up, if you haven’t tried it, is a solar powered electric fence charger. These charges cost from $170 to $500. But to charge a few small items the PV panels on the smaller $170 to $300 models are plenty large enough. The chargers work by solar powering a gel cell battery. The [battery] terminals can be changed with a …




Letter Re: Solar Power Subsidies

HJL, The author of the article on Solar titled Cost Of Defecting From The Grid is a mistaken. It only affects people who are on the grid. It is an economic subsidy problem and should not affect prepping directly. What was happening is that the utilities were forced to buy solar energy at retail, whether they wanted it or not. If you were charged (for example) $0.15/kWh, the utility would have to pay you the same if your meter ran backward. This caused too many people to install solar systems not because they were worried about the grid going down …




Keeping Battery Devices Running In An Austere Environment, by Snaketzu

We all have at least a handful of battery-powered devices that can be very handy in an emergency or even a TEOTWAWKI situation. Weapon sights, flashlights, GPS, handheld radio, a tablet loaded with books and PDFs, night vision gear, and possibly even a cell phone are all things that could be very useful. Although everyone must be prepared to do without these devices, depending on the scenario there is no good reason to believe that these items must be discarded after the initial battery charge fails. Counting on scrounging more batteries or a power source to charge with is a …




Our Family’s Journey to Preparing For an Extended Grid Down Event- Part 1, by Old Man

To paraphrase an old saying, prepping is not a destination but a journey, or rather it’s a lifestyle. In this article I would like to share some highlights of our family’s journey to preparing for an extended grid down event, including what we found works and didn’t work for us. Hopefully, this might help some folks avoid the mistakes we made and stir some ideas for others. When I was a youngster, I joined the Boy Scouts. It was there that I was first bit by the prepping bug. I took to the Boy Scouts motto of “Be Prepared” like …




Solar Power Crash Course, by K.K.

First, this article is for entertainment purposes only. I have used all this equipment in the ways I describe, but I am not a licensed electrician. I am professionally trained in off-grid solar electric systems and have installed, consulted on, or maintained hundreds of systems, the most remote of which were in the jungles of Papua New Guinea. I do not advise setting up your own PV system without consulting an experienced and knowledgeable source. After perusing the survivalblog archives for new ideas and methods in off-grid solar, and finding very little at all in the way of solar power …




A Project to Produce and Store Heat, Energy, Water, and Food, by T.S.

We all know that we can’t survive very long without water, food, and heat. Because we live in uncertain times, the benefits gained by this project would more than offset the initial cost. In a grid down situation, the extra heat, stored water, energy, and food production would be invaluable. The list of benefits include but are not limited to: Heat production to help heat the house. Water storage plus heat storage. Solar energy production and storage. Food production. Three years ago on a sunny winter day, I went out on our south (well, more like a southwest facing) porch, …




A Beginners Guide to Practical Prepping: Lessons From a True Story of Disaster, by R.L.

It was September 1989, a time in history that is forever burned into my memory. I was working as a firefighter in a small town outside Columbia, South Carolina. Hurricane Hugo had developed in the Atlantic, it was ripping apart the Carribean islands and it was headed our way. All the news on television and radio were inundated with updates on this killer storm; we were tuned into the Weather Channel at the firehouse carefully watching and waiting. The original forecast was that the Category 4 hurricane would turn north and only threaten the North Carolina coast. It was assumed …




Scot’s Product Review: SGK 440 Portable Power Solar Go Kit

This is something I wish I had owned back in my old days at the newspaper. We sometimes had to go places where there was no electricity and coming up with power could be a real hassle. As the years rolled by, the need for power got bigger and bigger. When I started, the cameras were mechanical and we shot film. By the end, everything was digital and required batteries, plus we had computers and cell phones too. We often drove around blowing fuses in cars with inverters plugged into the lighter socket in a desperate effort to keep stuff …




Guest Post: Living On The Edge When The Grid Fails, by A.M.

Using Waldon Pond as a guide and an early Banner motor home as an inspiration, 22+ years ago I wired my 2,000 square foot home for 12-volt and 110-volt solar emergency lighting and light work. Pictured is the home-built control center for the three panel system, which is 100 watts. The 300 watt wind turbine can be used for pumping water when hooked to the single battery or it may be used to charge a neighbor’s battery for barter. A short-run gas generator (110 volt 22 amp) handles the heavy loads when the grid is down and is disconnected from …




Scot’s Product Review: Quantum Harvest Model 120

This review is part of my continued exploration of backup power during disruptive times. Life without electricity, even for a few hours, is unpleasant and could even be life threatening. I was reflecting about this during our last Scouting campout as I saw how many battery-operated devices were in evidence. It was mostly flashlights, but there were also two-way radios for communications, cell phones for emergencies, and the like. We are supposed to leave entertainment gadgets behind, but I admit to having a book reader on most trips, and I keep copies of first aid guides and similar materials on …




The Power of Steam – Part 4, by A.Y.

For problems on the engine itself, visual inspections are again the best way to look for problems. Loose bolts, loose or worn bearings, signs of overheating, and clanking and knocking sounds can attest to problems. Signs of overheated metal on the engine can include scarring, discoloration, scraping sounds, and emitting lots of heat from a bearing while in operation. Overheating on the engine itself can usually be attributed to not enough lubrication, so it must be determined why oil and grease are not getting to the affected part. Some engines have mechanical and hydrostatic lubricators that drive oil to moving …




The Power of Steam – Part 3, by A.Y.

Heating the Water While water management is one of the most important aspects of boiler operation, the other is being able to heat the water. Since the age of the steam engine, wood, coal, and oil have been the three main fuels used to boil the water. Each has their advantages and disadvantages, and this must be considered thoroughly for use at a retreat. In this discussion, oil will not be considered as a fuel; the reason for this is, like gasoline, it can be expensive to constantly replenish, needs large volumes of storage space, and takes refineries to process. …




The Power of Steam – Part 2, by A.Y.

Monitoring and Maintaining the Water Level Remembering the most important thing, which is Do NOT EVER let the water drop below the top of the crown sheet, there are sight glasses mounted on the backhead (rear) of the boiler to monitor the amount of water, and these must be watched constantly. Most boilers have two sight glasses; both are connected to the boiler at the top and bottom and have notches in the glass to help observe how much water is in the boiler. They also have drains on the bottom for cleaning out trash in the sight glass. These …




The Power of Steam – Part 1, by A.Y.

You have bullets, beans, band-aids, bibles, bullion, and everything else you can imagine for when the cataclysmic end of society as we know it arrives. You bug out to your retreat and have everything ready to weather the storm of looters, power hungry officials, and no infrastructure, but have you considered an alternative way to pump water? What about an alternative way to power electric generators? An alternative way to power machinery? An alternative way to move heavy equipment place to place? A way to help rebuild your community, using some clean water and anything that will burn? I am …