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Old 12-07-2012, 02:27 PM   #1
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Prep now, enjoy later

When we talk about prepping, I always see the usual items and storage ideas, which while all good, do not address a few things that I believe could be the difference between having to work extremely hard doing back breaking work that machines used to do, or being able to "pay" others to do, saving my back and my families time for other tasks.

I am talking about vices. Alcohol, cigarettes, etc.

We planted some tobacco this year, and while it didn't do nearly as well as I supposed it would, we still got fourteen pounds of cured leaf. That's between twenty five and thirty cartons of spikes folks, all for the planting of a few seeds. When the balloon goes up, smokers will be in a world of hurt when they have to go cold turkey.......or do they?

Same with alcohol. Federal law is a little cloudy here, but as long as it is for "personal consumption", the brewing of alcohol is legal. You just can't sell it.

What I have proposed to my group here where I live is that we plan to be able to support the smoking and drinking habits of those with weak constitutions, and have them do our ass busting work in trade. For instance, for a pound of tobacco, I will require two days of working in my garden turning soil or weeding, or two days cutting firewood. Same for booze. A gallon of wine for two days labor.

those who cannot or will not do without will have precious few options here. We have enough tobacco seeds to plant about one acre if we chose to, giving us several seasons worth of seed. Each season, we simply let a few plants go to seed and collect them for another crop. Booze is self explanatory. Here in Florida, wild citrus is literally everywhere and makes a palatable wine if done correctly, so that part is easy enough. In addition, I have [for decorative purposes mind you] a number of papaver somniferum seeds that could be planted to "beautify" the place.

We already store about a hundred of those little airplane sized bottles of booze for trading, and have successfully grown two types of Virginia tobacco, so we're on our way.

Any other ideas?
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Old 12-07-2012, 02:42 PM   #2
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http://www.survivalistboards.com/sho...ghlight=barter

http://www.survivalistboards.com/sho...ghlight=barter

http://www.survivalistboards.com/sho...ghlight=barter

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Old 12-07-2012, 03:33 PM   #3
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That first list is by far the best. I hadn't really thought about tools, but now that I do, I can't count the number of times I have seen slightly used hand tools at garage sales for fifty cents or a buck. Back in the day, I bought a large coffee can full of Craftsman sockets and built four comprehensive sets from it and I only paid two or three dollars for it. Same goes for rip saws and crosscut saws. As long as the rust is only light cosmetic rust that can be cleaned off with steel wool, and there are no pits, they will last forever if treated with respect.

Fire. Missed that one as a barter item, although it may sound evil, if I have fire and you do not, I now have the upper hand. While they may be ubiquitous right now, lighters will rapidly disappear when the balloon goes up. Wooden strike-anywhere matches can be dipped in liquified parafin to waterproof them and traded individually or in small packs of ten or something.

Food. Well, I am not big on letting on that I have excess food at first. I will wait and see how many leaves fall from the tree and whether things will stabilize enough to trade food. I don't want a path to get worn to my door. Although if offered gold or silver, I might be persuaded to do a trade at a neutral ground somewhere, but I don't want to barter/trade in my own yard.
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Old 12-08-2012, 12:30 PM   #4
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Papver somneriferum will grow in FL? I thought it was kind of a cold loving plant. Should you ever do a test planting of your ornamental, do let us know if it grows OK.

Saludos from Peru my friends!

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Old 12-08-2012, 01:24 PM   #5
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It prefers a cooler climate and likes adversity. This makes the winter garden perfect for them. For ornamental purposes only mind you, ornamental only.

; - )
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Old 12-08-2012, 05:26 PM   #6
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Wow. We are on the same page. Exactly.

I was just thinking about posting the benefits of taking up a hobby like growing tobacco or brewing. I'm a brewer and make beer and wine. I have always thought that it would be an incredible plus if SHTF.

I have been thinking of growing tobacco for the past few years and I will give it a go this year. What variety did you grow? Do you have a link for good seeds? I'm not a cigarette smoker, but I do like some pipe tobacco once in a while... either in a pipe or rolled into a cigarette. It's right up there with booze on my SHTF barter list.

I've added lighters to my list after reading the link posted here a while back about Bosnia... I recall that the author survived by refilling bic lighters from a large propane tank (BBQ grill size, I guess).

Great post. I'd like to hear more about your tobacco growing, though. I'm really interested in getting that going this year.

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Old 12-08-2012, 05:27 PM   #7
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BTW, I grow my own hops for beer and a variety of fruits that I make wine from.

Cheap, easy, useful.

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Old 12-09-2012, 10:07 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by ancona View Post:
...
Fire. Missed that one as a barter item, although it may sound evil, if I have fire and you do not, I now have the upper hand. While they may be ubiquitous right now, lighters will rapidly disappear when the balloon goes up. Wooden strike-anywhere matches can be dipped in liquified parafin to waterproof them and traded individually or in small packs of ten or something.
Lighters require fuel. A good magnifying glass only requires some sunlight.

wrt tools -> for the last couple of years, I have been making an earnest effort to only acquire manual tools (ie. tools that don't require electricity to work). Trying to imagine life without a power grid.
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Old 12-09-2012, 10:30 AM   #9
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Back in the way-back days, I took actual wood-shop in school, and we were actually permitted to use sharp edged tools. We were taught how to prevent damage and corrosion on steel hand tools. In the eight grade, we had a semester long project whereby we all built our own block plane. It was elegant in its simplicity, using a simple block of beech wood and a cut out bit of steel from a used circular saw blade. We were made to do it all by hand. We bored the main orifice using a brace and gradually larger bits, then we shaped the angle of the blade deck with chisels. Angles were checked with a T-bevel and discovered using a steel protractor. When the angle was correct, we used a wood threading bit to thread our keeper hole. A small beech wedge was placed over the hand sharpened and shaped blade which we tempered in a little open-hearth gas fired asbestos box, and the threaded rod was twisted against it.

I'll never forget the lessons we learned form our shop teacher, whose sole credentials at the time were that "He's just always been here". He retired during my sophomore year in high school with 40 years of service to the district.

Doing the math, and knowing that I was a sophomore in 1978, he would have started teaching shop in 1938, when there were only around three dozen total students in the school system.

I would propose that older folks will bring something more valuable than all the beef jerky in Florida, they will bring a lifetime of experience and knowledge. These folks grew up without beepers, mobile phones, calculators, computers, flat screen TV sets, cablevision, MTV, Makita cordless drills, laser levels, Bic lighters, cappuccino machines, and on and on and on. New words meant new things and a new way of doing things, usually easier than before.

When I look back over time, I remember my wonder and excitement as new machine names entered our lexicon, making us more productive and reducing the effort required for so many tasks. Now, to Google is to look for information, something I do regularly now, but a mere twenty years ago, not even a neuron in a college boys head.

Many folks look at a collapse as something to be feared, abhorred and avoided at any and all costs. They watch movies on the idiot box purporting to illustrate the dark, dangerous dystopia that awaits us if and when our paradigm shifts. I say we should embrace a more simple life, within which we produce more of what we need with our own hands. I believe that a world where more is made by hand and where community becomes and important part of our social construct, we as a society will flourish. This current paradigm of selfish want and personal gain has stripped us of our humanity and caused us to lose sight of what we built this nation from.
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Old 12-09-2012, 11:40 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by ancona View Post:
...
Many folks look at a collapse as something to be feared, abhorred and avoided at any and all costs. They watch movies on the idiot box purporting to illustrate the dark, dangerous dystopia that awaits us if and when our paradigm shifts. I say we should embrace a more simple life, within which we produce more of what we need with our own hands. ...
People riot in the streets over expensive sneakers and Black Friday specials. They are not spiritually ready for a simple life.
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Old 12-09-2012, 11:58 AM   #11
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This is my exact point. "Things" have become far too important to "people" and the want of same has led us to a bad place.

I try to teach my daughter about what is truly important and to show her that tangible articles are just that, stuff, which can always be replaced if broken, lost or stolen. I refuse to allow her to learn that having things is the end all be all, and that friends, family and righteous living is the great reward in life. Through education in a privatge institution and a little bit of "churching up", she has become quite the confident and intelligent young woman, and a valuable member of our future.
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Old 12-10-2012, 06:49 AM   #12
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think skills like plugging holes in teeth, herbal and homeopathic healing stuff, for pretty basic things, could be useful too.

Kind of thing that could keep you from getting targeted as a nasty home grown terrorist hoardster, cos the knowledge is what makes it all work and why would you want to take out the local healer .... or let them starve ?

Could such a cunning plan that makes you useful to others, be better protection than guns and ammo ?
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Old 12-10-2012, 10:32 AM   #13
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Being useful to others, if they are around at all, is probably good in most cases. You wouldn't want to be useful as a tool to a villain, however. I have healing skills, but guns/ammo still seem handy as well - it depends on what you encounter, being ready for one scenario doesn't help unless that's the one you are in.

Where I live, I kind of doubt we see the scenarios so popular on TV, since we just don't have the required population density - but I might really want a good rifle etc for hunting should I need the meat, and not be too worried that a rifle shot tells everyone for miles there's a working rifle and ammo around to steal.

I also have a solar powered more or less complete machine shop that isn't going down just because the grid does - nor will my ability to freeze food. A neighbour with a really serious wood shop is also going solar. I own a car that doesn't need anything but solar power to go. A little welding or other fabrication on demand for the locals already makes me useful.

And yes, a metric crap-ton of ways to make fire. I like hot food, if nothing else.

I already know the people I'd be trading with, and already trade with them. Where you choose to live is, in my mind, almost the entire deal here - get thee to a good place with good people first, then worry the rest. Places where density is low and people are already "close to the earth" and pretty independent already should be very high on anyone's prep list.
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Old 12-10-2012, 03:55 PM   #14
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Re: hand tools, for " grid down" scenario. Why don't consider battery operated tools? I am a kind of general "DIY" guy, and worked my way up - as a kid/teenager, could only afford hand tools. Good thing, since you learn the basics, and it makes you resourceful and self reliant. But it is such a productivity boon, to use electric drill, for example, or circular saws - you simply cannot do some things without them, practically speaking.

Thus my take on this is: high quality, battery operated tools. If things go sour, I can always hack together few car batteries on the hand cart, and have some cord hacked from them, to my now-cordless tools. So it would make them cord-cordless ;-) . Plus one not necessarily very powerful nor expensive PV panel, to keep this homemade "UPS" juiced between the jobs.

For this reason, ideal would be 24V tools, since 2 car batteries in series would match working voltage perfectly. And there are tons of 12V solar battery chargers out there, waiting to be used - one just needs to rewire them in parallel for charging.

Unfortunately, before considering that, I went 18 V route, and thus I would need to use 3 x 6V batteries in series to get 18V, and have more hassle with charging. But still doable in a day - two. My best bet would be to use 6 x 6V batteries, paired in series, giving three 12V pairs, and then all three pairs connected in parallel for charging. And the opposite for work - two sets of three batts in series, giving 18V each, and connected in parallel.

Clear as mud I suppose ;-) . but trust me it will work, and call me spoiled, but if I can finish project in 1/2 or 1/3 time by using power tools, I'll take it. Especially, if things are sour, and I have to barter my skills/tools, for necessities

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Old 12-10-2012, 04:33 PM   #15
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I certainly didn't mean to discount the possibility of using electric tools, merely to point out the unending utility of hand tools in general. While many tasks will take significantly longer, even become nearly inpossible without electricity, hand tools are a critical part of preps if only for just a few of our many tasks. I like the idea of building an "UPS" unit for battery tools, especially with the longevity of cycle one would get using a car battery with a portable drill or some other 12 - 24 volt tool.
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Old 12-10-2012, 05:01 PM   #16
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Car batteries are not so good for slow and continuous discharge duties.
They have lots of plates with a microfilm of lead sprayed on em and are designed to give a lot of output for a short time.
Ive seen too many good batteries destroyed by drainage crews running pipe lasers all day and have given up trying to explain ....

Leisure batteries, the kind of thing you buy for camper vans / caravans have the right ingreedients but like all batteries need careful management for long life and good output.

They are expensive by comparison as the lead plates are much thicker.
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Old 12-10-2012, 05:04 PM   #17
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Rechargeable batteries don't last forever. I wouldn't want to be dependent upon them when they fail.
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Old 12-10-2012, 05:06 PM   #18
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Just wire your solar UPS for any common system voltage (12,24,36,48, 60v) and use an inverter with the existing hand-tool battery charger. Simpler and more portable, not to mention cheaper - now and later, with more versatility. The biz has gone *far* beyond 12v systems, since a kw at 12v is nearly 80 amps - that's why everyone has moved to 24v or more (including me, like 2-3 decades ago). 24v also runs a lot of milsurp gear you can still find around.

Don't use maintenance-proof lead-calcium car batteries. Every cycle takes almost half off their capacity - permanently. Get the good deep cycle types.

As it turns out, my Volt is actually the most efficient gasoline battery charger I've ever owned, FWIW. Things like variable cam timing and computer control blow the doors off 100% of other available generator sets. And I can also charge that off the solar (and do - it's never had a power company charge since I got it).
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Old 12-12-2012, 08:40 AM   #19
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Originally Posted by PMBug View Post:
Rechargeable batteries don't last forever. I wouldn't want to be dependent upon them when they fail.
...that is why I have envisioned steampunk "UPS" wired system above - when my state of the art Li-Ions eventually fail, and I won't be able to replace them. Some kind of a basic battery, will be available - there's nothing so much high tech in many of them. They were available since 1800+, after all (I just refuse to go back to pre-industrial era, wherever I can avoid it with reasonable degree of fail-tolerance).

Originally Posted by DCFusor View Post:
Just wire your solar UPS for any common system voltage (12,24,36,48, 60v) and use an inverter with the existing hand-tool battery charger. (...)
Don't use maintenance-proof lead-calcium car batteries. Every cycle takes almost half off their capacity - permanently. Get the good deep cycle types.
I hear you regarding deep-cycle batts, this is the advice I read everywhere - don't buy cheap ones, you will be buying twice, and ending up with expensive ones anyway.

I was also wandering about the viability of converting some of basic utilities into DC powered ones (fridge, freezer, wash machine). Of course electronics are always powered by DC there, so it is a non issue (just matching the voltage), and some of the motors are also DC ones (new washers often use DC steppers, controlled by the mobo), but replacing the motors in fridge/freezer compressors with DC ones might be challenging (if interesting) project. Any thoughts on that, DCFusor - do you think it might be worth the effort, given the possible efficiency gains (using DC directly, instead of introducing loses on inverter, and then back, in individual trafos in the appliances?)

Originally Posted by DCFusor View Post:
As it turns out, my Volt is actually the most efficient gasoline battery charger I've ever owned, FWIW. Things like variable cam timing and computer control blow the doors off 100% of other available generator sets. And I can also charge that off the solar (and do - it's never had a power company charge since I got it).
It is interesting RE:Volt. I was also musing about hacking together some small electric car (mainly for tax purposes/fuel prices vs. electricity price today, and possible fuel-less operation tomorrow, when I am on my (more or less) self-sufficient, off grid turf), with relatively small range, AND a diesel pusher, like the one here:
http://www.mrsharkey.com/pusher.htm

After sleeping on the idea, it is actually quite a good one, for a "hack it together" type of DIY guy, like myself (and I believe Volt's drive train is more or less, an integrated & sophisticated version of the above - i.e., petrol engine is used to push the car, when it is needed - rather than relying on petrol->generator->motors path, which introduces few steps in the process between fuel and the tarmac, thus wasting energy on energy conversions)

cheers,
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Old 12-12-2012, 08:47 AM   #20
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Silly questions, but....

1) What are you prepping for?
Monetary collapse? Civil war? Natural disaster?

2) What duration?
2 weeks, 6 months, 5 years?
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