Letter Re: Extended Care of the Chronically Ill in TEOTWAWKI

Hello Jim, I am a 10 Cent Challenge subscriber and have looked at your site daily — great job! I have a medical background and would advise readers to consider what gear they will need if a friend, relative or team member becomes ill, hurt, disabled etc. The basic first aid supplies will not provide the level of comfort et cetera needed. We are talking basic nursing care, not “first aid”. Take care, stay safe and God Bless! – Dave T. JWR Replies: Thanks for bringing that subject up again. Aside for fairly some brief mentions (such as photovoltaically-powered CPAP …




Letter Re: Useful LifeHacker Articles

Mr. Rawles: There are so many great and not-so-great ideas on the LifeHacker site including this one I found showing you how to use C cell batteries in place of a D cell compartment in an emergency situation: There are some other interesting things on this site like creating make-shift air conditioning systems using cold well water (others have made emergency air conditioners using beverage coolers, fans and copper coils): DIY Heat Exchanger and Make Your Own Air Conditioner. There is this one showing you how someone made hand washing more efficient while filling the tank of his toilet. [JWR …




Letter Re: How to Make Old Fashioned Homemade Soap

Mr Rawles, I’m looking forward to trying Grandpappy’s wood ash soap making technique. I’ve tried it before, but unfortunately only was only successful once. I might add, although unavailable as Red Devil brand in the grocery stores, lye is easily available from online soap making and chemical supplies. [JWR Adds: It is also available via mail order from Lehman’s–one of our Affiliate advertisers.] Another source, if you live in oilfield country, is to find a friend who works on a[n oil] rig. They get it in 50 pound bags and it’s pure and fine for soap making, hominy making or …




How to Make Old Fashioned Homemade Soap (Part 3 of 3), by Grandpappy

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: How to Render (Melt) Animal Fat: Beef fat is called tallow and pig fat is called lard. Poultry fat is too soft to be used by itself, but it may be used in a ratio of about 10% with tallow or a tallow-lard combination. Bear fat may also be used but it must be melted (rendered) quickly after the bear has been killed because bear fat will quickly become rancid. You may also use the fat from farm animals such as sheep or goats, and a variety of wild animals, such as beaver, opossum, raccoon, and groundhog. If …




How to Make Old Fashioned Homemade Soap (Part 2 of 3), by Grandpappy

How to Make Special Types of Soap using Grandpappy’s Homemade Soap Recipe: All-Purpose Soap and Bath Soap: Use 50% beef tallow and 50% pork lard in Grandpappy’s Homemade Soap Recipe. Facial Soap: Use 25% beef tallow and 75% pork lard in Grandpappy’s Homemade Soap Recipe to make a soft facial soap. Laundry Soap: Use 100% beef tallow in Grandpappy’s Homemade Soap Recipe. Soap Flakes: To make soap flakes, rub a bar of hard soap made from 100% beef tallow (or any other hard fat) over a vegetable or cheese grater (shredder). Soap Powder: To make soap powder, dry the above …




How to Make Old Fashioned Homemade Soap (Part 1 of 3), by Grandpappy

During hard times sooner or later everyone runs out of soap. To make soap you only need three things: 1. Rainwater, 2. Cold ashes from any hardwood fire, and 3. Animal fat from almost any type of animal, such as beef, pork, goat, sheep, bear, beaver, raccoon, opossum, groundhog, etc. All soap consists of the above three ingredients in one form or another, and that includes bath soap, dish soap, laundry soap, and hair shampoo. Soap is not difficult to make and it does not require any special equipment. And soap can be made from things that exist in large …




Letter Re: Garage/Shelter for RVs as a Retreat Option?

Jim- A few days back a contributor asked about hardening up her mobile home. That reminded me of a plan I have been considering over the last couple of years. This might work for those who can’t relocate now to their retreat. I was motivated to write because I just saw a news report of a family offering a considerable reward for the recovery of their ATVs which had been stolen from their vacation cabin.[My idea is to] develop a retreat location with: 1. A water supply and septic tank and [leach] field (all disguised, to discourage squatters.) 2. Underground …




Letter Re: The Formulary Book Mentioned in the Novel “Patriots”

Mr. Rawles: First, I’d like to thank you for your novel “Patriots”. I bought it and read [the 31 chapter edition] in 2002, and loved it. I implemented many of your suggestions, and have my bug out bags prepared and ready. I especially have medical supplies on hand. I have been trying to remember the name and author of a “formulary” book I believe you mention in Patriots. You said it was out of print but showed how to make things like paint, if you had no paint. You said it was a fixture on American farms at the turn …




Letter Re: Chemistry Knowledge is One of the Keys to Survival

JWR: I’ve been thinking about a recent Internet writer who argued that we aren’t headed toward the 1890s [technology/infrastructure] (we should be so lucky); we’re headed toward 10,000 BC! (Due to oil depletion and resultant social chaos and die-off). Regardless of “where we land,” it seems that among all the technologies at the disposal of humans, sustainable and not, chemistry is ubiquitous. Everything, or most everything we do or use involves use of chemical technology. The survival issues involving chemistry are obvious: soap, diesel fuel, disinfectants, water purification/decontamination, powder for ammo, etc, beer and wine, to name just a few. …




Letter Re: Advice on Where to Learn Practical, Tactical Skills

Dear Jim: As my confidence in the dollar depreciates and my desire for skills increases, I’m wanting to convert FRNs into hands-on knowledge. What weeknight or weekend workshops would you recommend? Are there any places where you can learn Army Ranger skills without joining the military? Animal husbandry, and so on? – Spencer JWR Replies: There is a tremendous wealth of free or low-cost classes available–enough to keep you busy every weekend of the year if you are willing to drive a distance. If you have time and just a bit of money, you can get some very well-rounded training …




Three Liabilities Addressed: Refrigeration, Sanitation, and Fuel, by James D.

One of the biggest problems for the survivalist is the lack of refrigeration, since the cost in energy is just prohibitive, especially in the multi-generational scenario. Normal refrigeration uses an electrically driven compressor to compress a refrigerant (a liquid that boils at room temperature) turning gas to a liquid. For the survivalist, ammonia is the refrigerant of choice, and at the proper pressure (since it is normally a gas), it will act as a refrigerant, although other chemicals may be added to improve performance, including water and salts. When the liquid boils it will cool the surface that the refrigerant …




The Next Pandemic: Starvation in a Land of Plenty

At the dawn of the 21st century, we are living in an amazing time of prosperity. Our health care is excellent, our grocery store shelves burgeon with a huge assortment of fresh foods, and our telecommunications systems are lightning fast. We have relatively cheap transportation, and our cities are linked by an elaborate and fairly well-maintained system of roads, rails, canals, seaports, and airports. For the first time in human history, the majority of the world’s population will soon live in cities rather than in the countryside. But the downside to all this abundance is over-complexity, over-specialization, and lengthy supply …




Three Letters Re: Build Your Fallout Shelter From Barter Goods, by Mr. Yankee

Hi Jim. Just felt the need to re-emphasize the point you made with regard to Mr. Yankee’s ideas about an improvised fallout shelter. First, I applaud his view that one should not count on being able to pull together an adequate expedient shelter when the need arises. As simple in theory as it seems, in practice, few would end up with a shelter they would want to rely on to save the lives of their loved ones. Second, as far as the point you made, Jim, it is indeed very important to over-engineer any sort of structure that will be …




Letter Re: Clothes Washing Without Grid Power

James, In reading the letters on this subject, the responses seem to center on alternate technology to complete the task. When I first saw the topic, my thoughts were to my OCS class in Camp Upshur in the summer of 1987. One of the challenges was to keep yourself in clean clothes, given a limited number of washing machines (I think it was maybe 8 machines for a platoon of 55 to 60). I was waiting to do laundry and noticed a long sink with trays by it. We had scrub brushes and laundry detergent, so I took the opportunity …




Letter Re: Clothes Washing Without Grid Power

Mr R.: Saw the post this morning about the large washing machine at Lehman’s Non-Electric. Great catalogue, and obviously a washer for TEOTWAWKI. Let me give a heads-up to a much smaller, portable washer – the Wonder Clean Pressure Washing Machine. The parent company (Wonder Wash Corporation – Mesa, Arizona) developed this nifty little washer. Add in the load ( weighed ), soap, water, close the top, and turn the handle to revolve the washer barrel for a specified time. By their charts 5 pounds ( max load) would be about 10 shirts or two pairs of jeans It’s not …