Food and water during SHTF

 (Survival Manual/ Prepper articles/ Food and water during SHTF)                  

RainManPost SHTF Food for thought
13 Sep 2013, TheSurvivalistBlog.net, by M.D. Creekmore
Pasted from: http://www.thesurvivalistblog.net/post-shtf-food-for-thought/

This is a guest post by M. Dotson and entry for our non-fiction writing contest.

We are in the post SHTF era, current timeframe, late spring/early summer. Electricity and water are still available and flowing for now. Stores have been picked clean and the population is beginning to get hungry. Most people aren’t working, but looking for food. The inner city population have begun the exodus out of their normal haunts in search of food. Their population is thinning due to the few police and determined resistance from homeowners, but they still present a huge danger. I don’t know how close I am to being right in this, but I’ve been thinking about it for a while now. Pick this scenario apart so we all learn from it.

From your perspective…You and yours have managed to escape the immediate danger. You have bugged in with your food, weapons and knowledge in Suburbia, USA. Your kid and spouse has shown up at your door with their kids and the spouses parents wanting refuge. The kids in-laws cannot stay. You tell them they can stay the night, but they have to move on in the morning.

Next morning the electricity goes out. No problem for now, but how long will that last? You pick up your cell phone to call the problem in to the electric company. Great! They’re working on it, but there are issues everywhere you’re told. It may be a while before service is restored. After breakfast, the in laws of your kid make their teary goodbyes and leave.

Break out the handy-dandy solar cell phone recharger and set it outside in the sun. Check the landline phone and it’s still working. Starting to get warm so let’s get a drink of water… uh oh, no water now. No problem, you break out a jug of water from your stores to quench your thirst.

Curious, you move up and down your street, knocking on doors trying to find out if this water outage is local to you, or the immediate area, or the suburb, or the town. You don’t know all your neighbors, just the ones next door, a few doors down or across the street. Most people have left by now searching for food. Very few people come to answer the door. The few who do don’t know you and demand you leave their property immediately.

Returning to the house you enter a heated argument between the kid and their spouse. It has escalated to your spouse, as well. Why did the in laws get sent away? They have no place to go. That’s why they came here. You didn’t have to do that, there’s plenty of food. You’ve been preparing for years!! Wonderful!

It’s starting to get hot. The AC is off and everyone is cranky and sweating like crazy. Your bodies, used to the wonder of AC, has difficulties adjusting your core temperature and is trying to find balance. You’re hot and the only thing the body knows to do is sweat. AC is also the same thing that drove people inside so they didn’t get to know their neighbors on those warm summer nights. Folks used to sit on their front porch, go for walks or visit friends who had some cool lemonade. AC took care of that.

You have plenty of water, but with all the sweating, it’s going at an alarming rate. The toilets got flushed early in the day and now are not functional other than a container. Lid down, door closed and a towel at the bottom of the bathroom door to keep the smell down. You plan to use the water from the hot water tank to flush once a day. Urinate in the back yard. Girls over there behind the tarp, boys over there by the tree. There’s about 40 gallons of water in the tank. Takes about 3 or 4 gallons to flush the commode so you have ten days or so. Surely the water will be flowing again by then.

You call to find out when the water will be coming back on. You’re told that the electric water pumps will return to service when the electricity comes back on. When will that be? When the lights come on at your house you may get water then. The person hangs up on you angrily. They’re in worse shape than you. They didn’t prepare for this. Their kids are hungry, too, and they are only at work on promises of overtime pay when all this stuff settles down in the next day or two.

Several days go by and still no water or electricity. You have to make plans for the sake of your family. Flushing water from the hot water tank is low. You decide to raid the homes next to you, if the occupants are gone. You don’t consider it stealing, per se. The occupants aren’t going to use it, the only damage you’ll do is to break a window to gain entry and you’ll pay for that in silver or food. By now the water in the tanks is cooled off enough to supplement your drinking water supply. It’s going to rain so everyone is ready with a bar of soap, boys on one side of the house, girls on the other. You set out buckets and pans to catch as much as possible. You use suspended tarps to channel rainwater into anything that will hold water. You get to flush the toilets early today.

‘You gave up calling anyone because no one is manning the phones. The cell phone don’t work now – no service. The only service available to you is the landline and it’s worthless. It’s beginning to smell terrible in the house. The trash is piling up. You don’t want to waste water cleaning out all those empty #10 cans of food. You really don’t want to pile them outside to give away the fact you have food, so you put them in the garage. You have some solar ovens to cook with, but they don’t work so well on cloudy days. So, you make some rocket stoves out of the cans and use cardboard for fuel. Takes care of some of the smell and most of the combustible trash. You have to open windows to let the smoke out.

f&w food1You’re beginning to see activity in your neighborhood. Men are roaming the streets picking over the remains hoping to find some food. They’re kicking in doors in the middle of the night and taking what they can. Your house has been approached several times, but your faithful dog has alerted you every time. You met force with force. You’ve shot at a few and even hit one pretty hard judging by the blood trail you found the next morning. Makes you feel kinda queasy knowing you may have just killed a man, but it was him or you and you were protecting your family.

Late one night you hear your dog howl in pain. Running outside you see men have used a fishing rod and treble hook with a piece of meat. The dog ate the meat, they set the hook and had reeled the animal where they could club him to death. He was going to be several meals, otherwise they would have just used antifreeze or some other poison. You fire several shots to scare the men off.

You wait til morning to bury your friend. While digging the grave a shot rings out and a bullet misses you by mere inches. Retreating to the house, you post your family to have a 360 degree view of the outside of the house and surrounding area. A window is smashed in with a brick and the glass has lacerated your wife pretty badly. She’s bleeding profusely so you have to stitch her up. You break out the first aid kit, clean and dress the wound. You worry about infection. She’s in a great deal of pain and lost a lot of blood so all the self-defense training she has with guns, knives and clubs is pretty much useless for the time being.

More bricks come into the house through the windows. You see a man and open up on him, dropping him in the street. A shot is fired in your direction and ricochets off your homes’ brick siding. You holler out to the assailants that there are children in the house, you have no food and to leave you alone. You’re told to come out with your hands up, get into your vehicle and leave, now. You won’t be harmed.

f&w food2From my perspective….I’m hungry. I’ve been hungry before so used to it. I grew up poor and got mean quick. I was in a gang for a while but they’re mostly gone now. Only a few of us left. The only food we’ve been able to find is when we kick in doors out in the suburbs. Even then food is scarce. We caught a cat once and cooked him. Tasted like crap, but it filled the belly. One of the guys’ grandmothers used to live on a farm so she told us how to do it.

One night while ‘shopping’ at a house one of my guys got shot pretty bad. He died a few days later. We knew where the shot came from so we got to watching the place. Two men, two women, and a couple kids…piece of cake. They also have a dog, a big sucker. Gotta get rid of him before anything else. Hey, I know! I watched Swamp People once where they catch alligators with a big fishing hook. I bet it’d work on a stupid dog.

Went to Wal-Mart and got a big fishing pole. I found out they make some fishing hooks with three points called treble hooks. Then we found an old dead rat and chopped some meat off him for bait, just like in the show. I threw the bait into the backyard. That stupid dog found it and ate it whole. I reeled him in like a fish. He howled a couple of times, but we clubbed him good to shut him up. The old man of the house came running out shooting and yelling at us. We had to run. I didn’t think the dog would howl…the alligators didn’t.

Next morning I was on the roof of a house so I could see into their back yard. The old man came out with a shovel to bury the dog. I shot at him, but missed. My crew was watching the house from the street so we pretty much had the place surrounded. One guy threw a brick into a window. He heard a woman scream in pain. He didn’t know if had hit her or cut her with the broken glass, but everyone grabbed bricks and started throwing them into the windows.

Some shots came from the house and one of my guys went down. He didn’t move again. The old man is a pretty good shot so I open up on him, but miss again. I guess I should have practiced more. I ain’t too good a shot, but he has to be lucky all the time, I only have to be lucky once.

The old man yells out the window he ain’t got any food, but I know he’s lying. I can smell cooking food coming from his house now. I’ve smelled the odor of his cooking fire and seen the smoke coming out of his windows. Let’s see what happens if I offer him a deal….

 .

 B.  Hard core water conservation for when the taps run dry
21 Feb 2014, The DailySheeple, by Lizzie Bennett (Undergound Medic at http://undergroundmedic.com/)
Pasted from: http://www.thedailysheeple.com/hard-core-water-conservation-for-when-the-taps-run-dry_022014

f&w water

At this point drought conditions are devastating crops and even causing shortages of drinking water in California. Texas has also recently experienced a crippling drought that killed tens of thousands of cattle who had no access to drinking water. There are things other than drought that can cause a massive and rapid reduction in the amount of water we have available to us. Water will be a major problem post-collapse, we all know this, and we store water accordingly but we can never, ever have enough stored water to keep us going indefinitely. We are going to have to become very savvy about how we use what we have whilst still trying to maintain enough to drink, to maintain basic bodily hygiene and to prevent major contamination in our homes. This is going to be a major challenge, possibly the biggest challenge we will face in a collapse situation and anything we can do to seek out our supply will be a major boon in what will surely be very difficult times.

We all know the rule of three, three minutes without air, three days without water and three weeks without food. Assuming the air is good enough to breathe water becomes the first thing on the priority list. As much of this precious liquid as possible needs to be saved for drinking so what measures can we employ to make our water last longer and go further?

We all know a good bit about water conservation, showering with a friend, a brick in the toilet cistern and turning off the tap when cleaning out teeth, all saves on our usage. I am interested in what we can do when lowering our usage of what comes out of the tap is not enough, because nothing is coming from the tap.

Rainwater collection methods usually centre around a water butt collecting what comes off the roof, and this is the most effective way of collecting rainwater, but there are other ways. Every drop of rain that lands on your car, the pavement or anywhere else that’s not harvested for watering edibles, drinking or washing is wasted. Children’s paddling pools should be set upon any ground not used for growing, cheap car washing sponges can be put on  shed roofs, brick walls, children’s  play  equipment or anywhere else that will be hit by rain showers and these can be wrung out giving a decent amount to use elsewhere.

People living in low rainfall areas need to be much more mindful of having everything in place for when rain does occur than those of us living where it is pretty much guaranteed  on a regular basis. A decent rain storm or even a heavy shower can prove a Godsend if you are ready to collect it in any way you can.

Little of the rainwater that lands on a tree actually waters the roots of that tree, the branches cause it to drip onto the ground some distance from the trunk, and as little edible produce is grown in the shadow of a tree again the water is wasted. Plant edibles that like cooler shadier conditions in these areas to make better use of the land and the water that drips from the branches. Small raised beds work well as the soil is often impoverished in these areas. All varieties of lettuce do well in cooler conditions and their soft leaves prefer some shade.

Paper plates and plastic cutlery are often sited as they reduce the amount of water needed for washing up. This can be taken a step further by using dry sand to clean out saucepans and skillets as many people in desert countries do. Dry sand is put into and rubbed around a scraped out pot absorbing liquid and acting as a scourer to remove debris. Cleaning done the pot is left to dry out at which point any sand left behind is easily dusted out.

Removing the trap under the sink and placing a bucket underneath means no water at all is wasted transferring from one receptacle to another. A sponge stuffed up the pipe will filter out any debris. You can do several things with this water:

* Flush the toilet (with bleach added)
* Wash down outdoor areas soiled by pets (with bleach added)
* Water the garden
* Soak heavily soiled clothes to remove the bulk of the dirt (with laundry soap added)
* Mop hard floors(with bleach added)

Gardening is going to become the mainstay of survival post-collapse.  The growing season also tends to be the warmest time of year and much of the water we put on the garden is lost to evaporation. Weep pipes that allow water to constantly seep through their sides reduce this, but not enough in a situation where every drop saved may make the difference between life and death. Watering plants where they need it, under the soil is optimum, and this is very easy to achieve cheaply.

Connect a regular hose pipe to a water butt, this can be filled with grey water that has been previously used, or be allowed to fill with rainwater, or even a mixture of both. The hose should then be laid in a trench some six inches deep around the plants you are aiming to water.  That done, cut the hose and make small holes on both sides of it, covering the entire length that will be buried. Using a funnel fill the portion of the hose that will be buried with grit and that done block the open end. Put the hose back in the trench and cover with soil. Turning the tap on the butt (slowly) will allow water to be delivered underground, the grit stops the wet soil from getting into the hose and blocking it. This method prevents water being lost to evaporation and significantly reduces the amount used for irrigation. The same method can be used with a funnel in the end of the pipe allowing for manual watering.

A similar set up can be used in the centre of a group of fruit bushes or near trees. Dig a hole the size of the large lidded buckets that are often used to store rice and grain in. It should be three inches shallower than the bucket so it stands proud making refilling easier. Make some small holes in the bottom, a heated fine knitting needle works well. Put an inch of grit in the bottom and top that with a couple of inches of damp sand, dry sand would just fall between the grit and leach out. Put the bucket in the hole and fill with water before putting the lid on. The water will slowly seep out keeping the roots watered but saving an immense amount as you have not had to wet the top eighteen inches of soil before it gets to them.

A smaller version of this can be made using soda bottles. Make a hole in the cap, fill with water and invert into a hole in the ground, this supports the bottle as well as getting the water deeper into the soil where the plants can better utilise it.

Much is made on survival programmes of building a solar still to produce clean drinking water, and the principle is great and it works. Problem is it takes up a lot of space, has to be dismantled to get to your half cup of water, and there is more condensate on the underside of the plastic than is in your cup. A soda bottle still is far easier, takes less space, involves no digging and is easy to move around.

Take several soda bottles and cut them in half. Set the bottoms aside. Make a few vertical cuts about an inch long from the cut edge of the top section of the soda bottle, this will enable the top to fit easily into the bottom of your still. Put a small container of whatever liquid you are going to evaporate into a small container placed in the bottom of the soda bottle and then slide the top section into it, making sure the slits you have made go down inside the bottom section so water does not seep through them.

Condensate will run down the inside of the bottle into the reservoir…the bottom section of the soda bottle. Just like any other solar still you are never going to have enough to take a bath but when every drop counts it is a way of getting a drink from dirty water.

Anything you like can go into the central pot to be evaporated, coffee grounds, grey water, rain water even urine will evaporate giving clean drinkable condensate. Larger stills will work using organic matter such as grass, leaves and even faeces, all will produce safe drinkable water that requires no boiling or treatment before consumption. Knowing that anything organic, even water from a polluted stream, or stagnant water you have found, can be utilised for a still, is something that could prove very useful long term in areas that are rain deprived, but have sunshine in abundance.

If you are fortunate enough to have trees they too can provide you with drinking water. Strong clear plastic bags, such as large zip locks slipped onto the end of a leafy branch and duct taped or tied with string to hold them there and seal them will cause a decent amount of water to collect in the bag if left over night. To harvest your water make a small hole in the bag near where it is taped/tied and tip the bag up collecting the water as it trickles out. Fold the bag over the hole and hold the fold closed with a paper clip, taping the hole will rip your bag when you go back to it. The water droplets left on the inside of the bag will act like liquid in the still and will form even more condensate than the tree produces on its own, adding to the amount you collect the next day.

Dew collection may sound ridiculous, but it can produce quite a volume of liquid. Most of us have walked through dew covered grass at some point and come out of it wet up to our knees. Laying a sheet or large towel over dew covered grass will collect  enough moisture to have a sponge bath. Rolling across the grass and then using the wet towel may be the nearest thing to a shower we can get if the water supply is compromised.

Where water is concerned nothing should be discounted. We need to think laterally regarding its collection in order to procure as much as possible for drinking. Methods of getting clean drinkable water without having to use fuel to boil it before consumption is the optimum as that also may be in short supply.

This is by no means an exhaustive list, but just suggestions that may help trigger ideas that would work in your own locations. Innovation is going to be key to surviving in a post-collapse society. Thinking about these things now may well save your life in the future.

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