Whether you are preparing for life post-collapse or are simply giving easy-living a go, you will need to be preparing to live with far fewer modern conveniences. Those of us who are preparing to become official off-grid dwellers had better well learned to get down with the notion that these unnecessary conveniences are superficial and even, at times, harmful.
Refrigeration (Or Lack Thereof)
If anyone has ever said to you, “life without a refrigerator is impossible”, they were lying like a no-legged dog. If anyone has told you it is easy as pie, then they may just be driving their chickens to the wrong market.
There are any number of reasons why you may have to make it without the beneficial backing of your cold fridge; a few reasons were mentioned in part 1. Grid-failure, simply off-grid living, storm surges, temporary outages due to electric companies faulty equipment, among a slew of other potential cases. The solutions to these cases, are not impossible, and may simply require just a smidgen of preparation.
Depending upon your region’s weather habits, keeping foods chilled can be as simple as keeping it in a very shady place (a root cellar…etc.). If you are far enough north, in a moderately chilly climate, you can get away with burying an old, junked fridge in the backyard; use it to store vegetables and grains and fresh meats. Even your vehicle can be used as a “freezer” on those cold December nights.
Cold Basement/Root Cellar
A root cellar will keep things like grains and vegetables fresh for quite some time.
Grab some lids and a shovel, and get to work. Dig a few holes for the buckets to fit in up to the top lip. Fill in the open edges with dirt, tucking the bucket in nicely. Load it up with the goods, slap the lid on, and cover it the tops with something to repel any sunlight.
A good short-term fix would be to use coolers. If you happen to have a creek, stream, river or some other source of cold, fresh water nearby, you can (upon sealing the cooler shut) sink them in the cold water. This will work very well. It is also an outstanding option for keeping beverages colder than a well digger’s…well, you get my point. My recommendation is to get this one, it never failed me so far.
These are powered by kerosene, that miracle petroleum we talked about back in part one. These appliances run at the same capacity as a regular refrigerator. On average the kerosene refrigerators are a bit smaller than their conventional counterparts, but on the plus side, they will last to be as old as Methuselah.
Portable Battery-Powered Fridge
Though not as cold as what you may be used to, these small refrigerators will keep their contents around 40-degrees cooler than whatever the outside temperature is. The plus side to these miniature jewels is that they can be powered off both DC and AC power (meaning you can plug it into your car, through the cigarette lighter outlet, charging off a car’s battery).
So the power went out in the night, it’s projected to be off a couple days or so, and you have just gone through breaking the bank for all the fresh cut meat that frozenly glisten in your chest freezer. There are a few steps that you’ll need to take immediately. First, cover it with a blanket; this will help preserve the cold that is still in there. Next, add a bag of dry ice. These two things alone can help your frozen goods stay that way for a week or so.
Get to canning
Remember in the cooking section, the Dutch Oven, the campsite cooking, the propane camp stoves? They will now come into play dandily. Get out the pressure cooker, some jars, and the propane tank; it’s time to get to work. Each quart jar (unless you go bigger!) holds roughly three pounds of meat.
Related reading: How To Live Without Refrigeration
Face it, if you rely on electricity, it is easy to see how you could find yourself up Schitt’s Creek, right after the SHTF. The best preparation for this section should be done when building the house; however, even in a pinch, you can make things work for next to nothing.
Here are a handful of methods:
Wood Stove Heating
Nearly as ancient as the sun, woodstove heating is a popular alternative heat source. And given where we are in the world’s unfoldment, wood stoves have become comfortably convenient to use. A brand spanking new stove will range anywhere from a hundred bucks to several thousand, depending upon many facets. A good stove will hold heat longer and, in some cases, allow you to use less wood while producing more heat.
Though don’t get me wrong, some of the most rudimentary, diminutive stoves can really get the job done. If you have the opportunity to secure your own wood, you’ll want to invest in a decent chainsaw. Keep some spare chains laying around as well as some lubricant, and don’t forget to respect that piece of equipment (and yourself, for that matter). You will save a hell of a lot of money on heating costs, but you’ll trade that for a major increase in your physical labor. I am sure you can see both sides of that fence, hope your scale is good and calibrated!
If you don’t have the capability of cutting your own wood, depending upon your locale, you should be able to find some good ole boy selling bed-fulls of stove fuel by the pick-up load. You’ll want to do some “shopping around” and find the best wood at the best price. It won’t take you long. If you are attempting to heat a large home, figure on needing several cords (truck bed’s worth) to last through the winter. Always look for hardwoods, and stay clear of resinous woods, such as pine or spruce.
Rocket Stove/Stone Mass
A rocket stove could possibly be the cleanest and most sustainable way to heat any ordinary home. It has been reported that some users of this method have used nothing more than yard debris (dead branches and sticks and twigs) that fell from their trees. They burn so clean, in fact, that more people are using them illicitly in cities. Once fired up and hot, the heat produced by these apparatus is copious. Another option is to go with a fireplace what has a Heatform insert built into it.
If you place the fireplace in the center of your dwelling and install vents on each side of the mass rock chamber, the warm air will be easily moved throughout the rooms. Each room, in turn, should be vented to return cool air to the fireplace (convection will keep the air inside the house circulating).
That type of fireplace will act as an indirect heating and cooling system. During the cold seasons, the rock will heat up after around 36 hours of continuous fire, and will remain warm to touch nearly all winter (even when the fireplace is not in use); in the warm season, the rock stays cooler than the air which in turn helps to keep the inside temperature at minimum bearable, even on those swamp-sweaty days.
Suggested reading: Picking The Right Wood To Build A Fire In The Wild
A propane heater can be mounted on the wall or installed as fancy-looking fireplaces with imitation logs. A wide range of variety is available across a broad market. The propane company you choose will do most of the installation for you (for a small “charge”, of course). The cost of propane varies and has been seen at prices from $0.84 to $3.69 (a three dollar averages holds at this time).
You’ll need to be sure you have good ventilation, as these heaters are freestanding and burn kerosene in a lamp-like, cylinder encasement, and there is a potential for carbon monoxide buildup. Kerosene runs about $2.25 per gallon.
Better titled, natural heat, solar heat can be scooped up and bottled in your house any time the sun is out in full. Given the correct placement and position of your house, even in the dead of winter, you can notice a difference in the temperature of rooms. Ceramic flooring retains heat, and also do wonders in the winter. Another extremely interesting “natural source” is to use a flat black trash can filled with water and placed in the most sunny
Shut them Doors!
Get a load of this one! A shockingly (ahem, ha) efficient way to save/use heat wisely is to plainly close off rooms that are not in use. If you have no door, hang a curtain, throw up a blanket; this will help keep the heat in the room that you are actually Often, the combined body heat of the family in one room will help to keep the interior comfortable.
Cooling your home on those hot summer days demands as much thought and preparation as winter heating. There are several ways to help ensure that your pad will stay, at a minimum, comfortable and livable. Simply shading your windows using fast-growing vines or bean varieties or trees like poplars shading the yard out for maximum chill can make differences you wouldn’t believe. Solar-powered fans can help by keeping the air moving and cutting down on stifling temperatures.
Misty Breeze Way
If your area is known for some swell, summer gales, soak a sheet, wring it out, and hang it in front of a breezy window. When the wind hits that baby, it cools down drastically, in turn helping to cool off your stuffy room.
You house should be designed (especially if you are specifically attempting to “do it right” and build off the grid) with great ventilation. Heat rises, and so it should be made easy for extreme heat to escape through the attic and open windows.
In Bangladesh, a wild recently-new method of cooling is now being conjectured. While building their homes, they create a panel of flues made of recycled plastic bottles, among other materials. The bottles compress the warm air flowing in, then, during its sudden release, the air is cooled as it enters the home.
Again, back to the design of the home. Skylights can work either way, for heat or for If it is correctly designed, the skylight can provide you with cool air while simultaneously pushing the warmer top layer of air out. Lower level doors and windows work the same way. This natural, thermal conditioning doesn’t cost you a nickel (aside from its installation), is nice a quiet, and is far more healthy than most electronic conventional alternatives.
Here comes the fun part; hold on tight, it may get slippery! Ah, the old suds-o-matic and the aero-dry-namic. What to do when one or the other decides to go caplooy on you? (This is, in fact, what struck me to write this portion!). Could you handle keeping your clothes fresh and clean? Several handy methods are well worth looking into and possibly adding to your prep list. First, however, let’s check out these hot facts about electric dryers:
The National Fire Protection Association reports that nearly 17,000 home clothes dryer fires occur each year. That’s right, it may not have happened to you, but that is a rather large statistic (a statistic nonetheless…). Just something to think about (and to investigate yourself).
Some solutions to off-grid clothes scrubbing:
Bucket and Plunger
This little knack is extremely effective for “small loads” or campsite laundry, or if you have some severely soiled articles. Simply fill the bucket with water and soap, put the clothes in, go to town with the plunger. Wring the clothes then place them in a bucket with fresh water to soak/rinse. Any plunger will do. However, they do make ones specifically intended for washing. You can use this same method in a bathtub (you can get a bigger load done this way!).
This is an old-timer recipe, handed down from great granny to granddaughter on her wedding day. May legends never die: Build a large fire to heat kettle of rainwater. Set tubs so smoke won’t blow in eyes if the wind is part. Shave a whole cake of lie soap in boilin’ water. Take white things, rub dirty spots on board, scrub hard, and boil, then rub colored don’t boil just wrench and starch. To make starch, stir flour in cool water to smooth, then thin down with boiling water. Take things out of kettle with broom stick handle, then wrench, and starch. Pour wrench water in flower bed. Scrub porch and chicken coop with hot soapy water. Turn tubs upside down. Brew a cup of hard tea, sit and rock a spell.
A hand crank apparatus, with which you simply add hot water and detergent. Give the handle a couple of minutes of elbow-greased cranking, drain the water, crank again until your clothes are rinsed. The wonderwash is truly an amazing device for those who have to do laundry on a daily basis while living off-grid.
Drying Options for Wet Clothes:
- Line Drying- Just hang ‘em and pin ‘em. (Pro-tip= try planting a little herb garden under the line, viola, irrigation system, two birds one stone, yeah yeah yeah.
- Half-Arsed Washer- If your old/busted washer still works a bit, you can try to use its spin-cycle.
- Old-Style Wringers- Though slightly dangerous, this method is highly effective and efficient to the max. Simply be careful if little ones are running about.
- Good Ole Hand Wringing- Truly the most effective of approaches. Grab up each article and give a little twist.
Related article: How To Deal With Laundry In Survival Or Primitive Situations
Here we come to another closing, and I hope we can all see the importance of understanding our way around all those unnecessary, contrived conveniences that seem to plague our everyday existence.
Saving money, saving nature, and saving your soul can all three be accomplished by taking some simple steps in your day-to-day living. Become a part of the change that is meant to be better! Perhaps stop attempting to continuously beef-up those lower levels of Maslow’s Hierarchy and move on to more critical thoughts and meditations!
This article has been written by Jonathan Blaylock for Prepper’s Will.