by Todd Walker
You’ll never be the best, but you can be good enough.
Lay aside your dreams of grandeur for a moment. At one point I wanted to write a book. Dreams of being a bestselling author use to bounce around in my head. Then I woke up. I don’t have what it takes. Maybe I do. I haven’t tried it yet. I’ve been writing this blog for less than a year. What makes me think that I could write stuff that millions of folks would line up to buy? I’d settle for hundreds.
Yep, I’ve come to a place of reality. I no longer have to write my masterpiece. What a relief. My mind bending activity focuses on being good enough now. The same goes for preparedness. My survival is not dependent on my being the best survivalist on the planet.
Is mediocre good enough?
In my Preparedness Wheel analogy, spokes (individually weak) intersect at the hub to strengthen the wheel. I mentioned this concept the other day when I told you about Dirt Road Girl’s radiation treatments. Weak beams of radiation are directed towards the tumor in several directions. One beam is so weak it causes little to no damage (according to our doctor) as it passes through healthy tissue. But when all the beams intersect at the target, the dosage is multiplied many times. It’s like a horrible car crash of radiation beams delivering devastation and destruction. The tumor screams in agony and dies.
Even our weakest attempts to prep for emergencies can add power to our IPP (Individual Preparedness Plan). Instead of causing a pile of twisted metal and mangled bodies, minor preps help us navigate safely through deadly crossroads. Over time, and with proper aim, the little stuff starts to build strength. Preparedness and self-reliance happens at the intersection of ‘weak’ preps.
Your individual needs will determine the nature and scope of the spokes in your Preparedness Wheel. We will all have a different looking wheel. Before you build a fancy wheel with lots of bling, make sure you have the basic spokes. Once your wheel is rolling, customize it to your individual needs.
Here is the first spoke to help you on your journey to preparedness and self-reliance.
Water is life
Our bodies, depending on age, gender, and body type, are made of between 77% to 45% water. We need it to function. We can’t survive without it. When building this spoke, consider your activity level, availability, storage capabilities, and climate.
I’m a Container Freak. How important are they? Whole civilizations have been built around containers. For thousands of years lumps of clay on a potter’s wheel has been turned into bottles, jars, and jugs to store liquids. You don’t have a potter’s wheel? No problem. Simply save used food grade containers. I’ve got empty plastic coffee containers (with handles) hanging from a string under my shop. DRG wonders how I’ll ever use all these. They could be forced into service as water containers. I mostly use them now for odd hardware storage in my shop. But you never know, right. Below are some options for getting your drink on.
- Used drink containers: Two liter soda containers can be cleaned and re-purposed. I’ve got an unlimited supply of one gallon jugs from my school. The concession stand sells a sugary, frozen slushy type drink to unsuspecting student consumers to wash down the SAD (Standard American Diet) meals from the lunch line. The artificial flavoring comes in 4 – 1 gallon jugs per case. They are HDPE (High Density PolyEthylene) and coded with a #2 inside the recycle symbol on the bottom of the container. I collect these when they’re empty, place them into their handy shipping box, and take them home. I clean them with hot soapy water and refill with tap water. They stack very well in the boxes. The boxes also block light to prevent algae growth in my liquid storage. I’ve tasted water from these jugs with hardly a hint of flavoring. I’m ahead of the curve when it comes to buying expensive “flavored” water WTSHTF.
- Emergency water:Don’t forget that your hot water heater contains 40 gallons (depending on the size) of potable water. In an emergency, simply shut off the power source (gas shut off or electrical). Electrical should be labeled in the breaker box. If not, identify the correct breaker and label with a permanent marker. Even if the power is out at your house, it’s wise to take this step. If the power is restored to your empty water heater, you’ll be replacing the heating elements. Next, attach a garden hose to the bottom valve. Open the pressure relief valve on top of the water heater and fill those used drink containers you’ve been hoarding. Don’t forget these sources below either…
- Toilet tank water. A typical tank (NOT the bowl) will hold will hold over 3 gallons of water. Even the government regulated 1.6 gallon/flush toilets hold that much. To keep from stirring up the sediment in the tank by scooping the water out when needed, disconnect the fill-line from the bottom of the tank. Unless the connector nut is really tight, you should be able to use your super-human strength to loosen it. If not, use a pair of pliers. Sit a container under the outlet and collect the water. Yes, it’s potable – unless you put bowl cleaning chemical cakes in the tank. If in doubt. Don’t drink from the toilet tank. Reconnect the fill line so you can still use the toilet to flush waste with a bucket of water you scooped from the tub or other source. With a bucket/container, refill the tank with water. Now you’ve still got the convenience of flushing with the handle. The ladies will appreciate the extra effort.
- Bath Tub. Plug your tub and fill it with water if you have an early warning of possible disasters bearing down on you. This water can be used, as mentioned above, to flush toilet, personal hygiene, and even drinking. If you have to resort to drinking from the tub, you’ll want to disinfect the water by boiling and chemical treatment. You do have an alternative method of cooking, right? Don’t want to drink from the container (tub) after all those dirty showers? Try this…
- Water BOB. For $30.00 you can add 100 gallons of potable water to you bath tub. I haven’t tried one of these yet. I’d love to hear feedback for any who has.
- Drain your pipes. In a two story home, open the tap on the upper floor and collect the water in the pipes from the lowest faucet in your home. On single story homes, find the lowest water spigot (usually an outside garden hose bib) and follow the same advice in the previous line.
- Mosquito pools. Bird baths, kiddy pools, and other outside containers can be tapped in an absolute emergency. Be sure to filter, boil and disinfect water from these sources before drinking.
- Make your own potable water. I’ve got a MSR (Mountain Survival Research) brand filter for my hiking/BOB. For the home, it’s wise to have a gravity fed filter in case electricity is lost. Yes, it takes electricity over at the city water works to pump H2O to your tap. Even if you have well water, power is need to pressurize your water lines – unless you have a manual hand pump. Then forget what I just said. Can’t afford the Royal Berkey? Buy the filters and make your own. Or try this one. Also, Prepper Helper has an article comparing common water filtration systems. You can read it here.
- Lightweight Collapsible Container. Creek Stewart, author of Build the Perfect Bug Out Bag, has a great article on water storage containers on his site Willow Haven Outdoors.
- Pictured below is my mobile filtration system. I keep these in my BOB (Bug Out Bag). They are lightweight, durable, and functional.
- Yard Sale Containers. I picked up these two blue containers at a yard sale for $2.00. The previous owner said she used them one time on a hunting trip and threw them in the corner of her garage. They hold 7 gallons each. Lots of emergency storage solutions can be found at yard/estate sales.
Preparedness and self-reliance, like any other skill, takes time. It’s more of a marathon than a sprint. For those waking up to our fragile world and the need to prepare for uncertain times, information overload is a real threat to your success. Your fears are only heightened by the gap between your new-found knowledge and your needed action steps. The last thing you need is fear mongering and ‘experts’ berating you for not being prepared for TEOTWAWKI. [Sarcasm on] No worries my friend, they’ll sell you an all-you’ll-ever-need-kit to get you through the zombie apocalypse [Sarcasm off]. I’m a huge fan of free-markets. Just beware of who you get your advice from. What we all needed is a healthy dose of sensible, practical, Regular Guy common sense on our journey together. Here are few of my Regular Guy & Gal resources. Check out my Blogroll & Resources tab for more.
Perhaps you found this helpful. Next week we’ll continue the Individual Preparedness Plan series by adding another spoke to our Preparedness Wheel: Food Storage – How hard can it be?
If you found this info helpful, I sure would appreciate y’all sharing it with family, friends, and social networks.
Keep Doing the Stuff of Self-Reliance,
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