Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Home chemistry basics - you may want to get some of these supplies now

Chemistry. Say the word, and the average survivalist might cringe. It brings up memories of a boring teacher in high school, or images of mad scientist lab with all sorts of beakers and tubes and glassware or long complicated formulas with strange symbols.

In reality, chemistry can help every survivalist have an ace up their sleeve. It’s just a matter of knowing a few tricks of the trade. You don’t have to know how to build a rifle to fire it well, or how to run a large farm to have a garden. It’s a matter of fundamentals, of simple things right there in front of your eyes.

Safety Proviso: This information is provided for educational purposes only. While this information is scientifically sound, any experimentation with chemicals is dangerous. Any attempt to use this information is at your own risk and I take no liability or responsibility for your actions.

There has been talk in SurvivalBlog and in books about some aspects of this idea from articles about stills and making your own drinking alcohol to biodiesel. You can read about soap making, and learn about lye. But, what is left out is, where are you going to get the materials to do these things? All of these articles presume a level of social collapse or destruction to put you or your group on a high self sufficiency level, not a 2 weeks and we get back to normal production situation, but do not take the next step to help the average survivalist find what they need.

For the purpose of this article, I create the following scenario: You and your group have emerged from the initial danger period. The looters have for the most part been driven off, gone away, died off, or are not a high level threat. But, there will be no normal level of resupply or production for any foreseeable future if at all. And while stores have been looted, there may still be a number of valuable items to look for, if you know what they are and what you can do with them and it is assumed you don’t have any of these items on hand. Now is the time for a forage party to head out.

The first thing to look for is the “tools“ of the trade, starting with a still.

A still is key for making drinking alcohol, along with its use in distilling water. You can find plans for all types in many survival articles and books, but for this purpose I will keep it as simple as I can, literally. Yes, a standard #10 juice can opened in the traditional manner by a “church key” leaving a triangular opening on each side. Next you need a number of items that if you find them, take as many as you can carry. First is a metal tube. You’ll find one, if no place else, in any electric percolator in any looted store. No one would take one of those. Next is a little trickier. You need a candy thermometer. Odds are no looter wanted one of them and you’ll find it in your housewares section of a number of store chains. Now, look for rubber tubing with the inside diameter to fit over the metal tube. This you can find at the auto section or an auto supply store. Do NOT use them from any vehicle as they have carried in them poisonous materials. Lastly, you need a child’s toy plastic bucket, or if nothing like that can be found, the bottom of an empty bleach bottle.

Assembly is easy. Place whatever is to be distilled inside the can. (Picking up a few funnels along the way wouldn’t hurt any.) Cut the metal tube to a 2 inch piece. Put the rubber tubing over 1 inch of the tubing. Place in the other triangular opening so that the rubber tubing seals it also. Now, the placement of the candy thermometer will vary with the type. If it is a spike/dial version, plug the one triangular opening with a cork, or piece of doubled rubber tubing, and stick the thermometer directly through the can lid. If it is a board mounted type, remove it from the board, insert through a 1 inch piece of the rubber tubing and place in the triangular opening so that you can see the 200 degree mark.

If you are using a gallon bleach bottle, cut the bottle at the point where the neck meets the bottom. Save the top part; it also is useful as a large funnel. With either container, make an x cut in the side about ¼ inch from the bottom a little smaller than the outside diameter of your rubber hose. With one end of the rubber hose attached to the can, push the other end through from the inside; the hose will seal the hole. Coil the rest of the hose in the container. Add water for cooling. The water need not be drinkable. Put the can over your heat source, be it a grill, a wood fire, or a camp stove burner. Plan on making different stills for different purposes, as some will be for items you will consume, such as water or drinking alcohol, others will be for poisonous, but useful items.

In the pet supply section, look for an air stone used in aquariums. It is a short tube that leads into a porous stone end. Take any plastic tubing and connections there are. If you find any coffee filters--the ones used in the coffee makers--buy as many as you can, as well as any Pyrex measuring cups and glass bowls you can get. And from the hardware or automotive section, try to find a pair of goggles or a face shield.

While there are even more items to be found for your “lab“, these will do for the purposes of what you are about to make.

As it has been written about in numerous places, you can make your own alcohol. But fermenting a “mash” out of various scrap items and yeast takes practice. While you are getting the hang of it, you need not go without. Even if you and your group don’t drink, alcohol has many other uses from medicinal to trade goods and is an ingredient in biodiesel also. So then, where to get it?

The looters would have stripped any liquor from any bar, or store. But, if you go to your dollar type discount store and check out the back storage area, odds are you will find a case or two of cheap mouthwash which is about 20% drinking alcohol (40 proof give or take). This means a pint (16oz) is about 3 oz of somewhere near 180 proof. Add that 3 oz to 5 oz of water and you have 8 oz of somewhere near 60-70 proof. If you use a quart of cheap mouthwash, you can get a pint. Remember this is “meatball” chemistry; we don’t try for anything near lab standards.

But, how do you get it? Ah, to the still! Add the mouthwash, and place over the heat source. The trick here is to get the mouthwash to about 200 degrees F., so the raw alcohol evaporates but not 212 degrees, so the water does not . Depending on your heat source, this can be done a number of ways, usually using blocks or bricks to get the right level. Use a measuring cup on the other end to receive the fluid and stop when you get near 3 oz. for the pint and 6 oz per quart. (Add 10 oz of water for the 6 oz)

Now in soap making, you’ll find lye mentioned. It is also an ingredient in biodiesel making. So then, how to get it?

The first place to look is in the drain cleaner area of the stores and look for cans marked LYE. Wear rubber gloves in case the cans or containers have been broken open as lye will severely burn the skin. But, if for some reason you can’t find any lye, you can revert back to the pioneer days. Take wood ash, place in a non metal bucket or your bottom of the bleach bottle after you first make your x like for the still, and place a short 2 inch piece of rubber tubing in it. Then pour 2 quarts of water, clear but not necessarily drinkable, in from the top. Use a plastic bucket to receive the fluid that comes out. This will be lye, so treat it with respect!

Even this method has its limits, as there may not be that much wood ash available after the first two or three productions. What then?? Well it’s time to go “shopping” to your nearest building supply center. What you are looking for is lime, also known as slaked lime or hydrated lime. You will find it in as large as 50 lbs bags, and I doubt any looter would have touched it. If none is there, you can use quicklime. Then it’s off to your various stores, especial your dollar type discount store. What you are looking for is plain washing soda (Sodium Carbonate or Sodium Bicarbonate). There are a number of store brands along with the familiar name brands. Look around now so will recognize it later. Take all you can find.

With your rubber gloves, and your goggles or face shield on, you are ready to mix the ingredients. If you use quicklime, you have to mix it with an equal part of water first. BE CAREFUL! This mix gives off a fair amount of heat. Mix the lime and washing soda together with an equal amount of water, example 1 cup lime or quicklime in water + 1 cup washing soda + 2 cups water (1 cup if you have used the quicklime/ water mix) in a large 4 cup Pyrex measuring cup. Heat slightly while stirring. Once the lime, washing soda, and water are well mixed, there will be created a liquid (Lye) and a solid (Calcium Carbonate). Using an empty, clean plastic milk jug and a funnel lined with a coffee filter, slowly pour the mix in. The filter paper will trap the solid, which you can let dry and store in any glass jar with a lid. Using this method on a large scale you can get a lot more yield than by wood ash.

Last, but never least, is liquid bleach.

For a time it will be generally plentiful and available, but what then? Once more we go “shopping” for the two items we need. The first is sold under the trade name Saniflush, and can be found almost in every store in the drain cleaner section. There are others also that can be used, but you can spot this one right off. Next is a variety of powdered bleaches or pool chemicals that have chlorine in them.

With your rubber gloves on, mix one cup Saniflush in an equal amount of water in a 2 cup Pyrex measuring cup. BE CAREFUL, this also heats up. Pour it into a clean plastic milk jug. Get a cork from an old wine bottle, clean it and make a hole in it for a plastic tube. You can use the tube from a plastic eye dropper with the dropper end cut off. Then, take your rubber hose and add to one end your air stone, and put the other on the plastic tube. Place the air stone end into a small plastic tub. Put into the tub a mix of 9 parts water to 1 part lye. Now, carefully crush the pool tablets into a fine powder, or use already powdered bleach and with a clean funnel add one cup to the Saniflush mix. QUICKLY cork the jug as the chlorine gas is immediately released! The gas will bubble up into the lye water creating bleach. As this is “meatball “ chemistry, it will be a lot stronger that your regular store bleach.

Now you have some “building blocks“ to play with. With your lye, you can now make soap if you have the animal fat. You can also experiment with a form of biodiesel with the lye, alcohol and old cooking oils. Then, there is an important item you can make easily. Take one part bleach and one part alcohol and simmer in an open container, such as an old pot. No cover will be needed but be careful of the fumes. This should be done in the open or with plenty of ventilation. Let it heat until you can see some small surface stirring, but do NOT let it boil. Continue for 5 minutes. The result is Chloroform, valuable in many emergency medical situations.

In summation, there are many usable items overlooked in the survival area because of the belief that you have to be a chemist to know, use or make them. While there are many articles on homemade explosives, there are fewer on non-weapon improvised chemical uses. Used C and D batteries, for example, can provide a number of valuable chemicals. For those of you who would like to learn more, I refer you to The Golden Book of Chemistry Experiments, a book written for an 8th grade level reader, now out of print, but available as a download on eBay and other sources.

It has been said, your mind is your primary weapon for survival; feed it with basic useful knowledge.

Securing your stuff

As I was stocking some canned goods the other day; I noticed that if we were to experience an earthquake, my mirrored doors would be broken by the flying debris...not good if I am trying to hide my stuff from Obama's Army and Zombie biker dudes comin' looking for "free" stuff.

soooooooooo..... I went to Wally World and picked up some cheap truck nets.

The nets almost fit perfectly wall to wall inside the closet.
Mission Complete!

The wife's (my) new S&W M&P 45

Here is a great link about the Smith & Wesson M&P 45 by Shootingtimes.com.  My wife got hers at the Bass Pro Shop.  The sales guy was very knowledgable and was very helpful.

My wifes brand new Smith & Wesson M&P 45 in it's case. 
You will also see 2 (of 7) magazines loaded with hollow points and extra grips.

Pull the slide fully tot he rear, press upward ont he slidestop while letting the slide move slightly forward thereby locking the slide open.

Frame tool

To access the frame tool, rotate it 1/4 turn in either direction and pull it out of the frame.

View from the top - through the ejection port with the slide locked open 

The manual says to use the frame tool to lower the sear deactivation lever down into the magazine well. 
I'd use some other tool to do that.  If you keep pulling the frame tool out, it could become loose and fall out of your weapon.

Rotate the take down lever clockwise

Remove the slide from the frame by pulling it slightly rearward then forward while being creful to retain the recoil spring and guide rode assembly.

Remove the recoil spring from below the barrel and then remove the barrel from the bottom of the slide.
These are the parts you will have after field stripping

Right out of the box, the pistol was great to shoot.  The grip felt very nice in the hand and the slide lock and magazine release are both in comfortable reach.  Get to the range and do some shooting.  To become comfortable shooting under stress, you need to train your muscles how to do it when your brain is thinking about what your enemy is trying to do.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Every three months...

Every three months, I have a routine...pull weeds, PMCS on the vehicles, change the water filter, air filters in the house, "spring cleaning", buy some canned foods and heirloom seeds, run the generator, go shooting, and clean all the guns...

After I ran the generator; I changed the oil, added some oil and fuel treatment, and ran the generator again with some Sta-Bil in it so the fuel lines don't clog up.

Are you taking care of your generator too?

Get out of the house and explore your area

I am finally home on R&R after another 3 months in Ass-crack-istan....The weather is beautiful so I decided to go out and explore while my wife went to work...

When was the last time you got out of the house and "headed for the hills"?  Folks, you have to get out of the house and practice your skills...knowing your environment is part of that too.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Don't feel bad about your debt

The catch phrase of the new millennium … “how to survive in __”. Although 2010 has a nice ring to it, any year for the next five to ten will work. It seems that everybody is an expert, and there are quite a few opinions out there. And it‘s unanimous that we are all ready for change and want to believe and have faith that our system will take care of us, after all, we are part of the greatest country in the world; it couldn’t possibly let us down…

Well, I’m certainly not going to claim to be an expert here, and although I have my own opinion, I’m not going to try to convince anyone to even listen to it even though I’ve been forced to listen to everyone else’s. My intention is to present only the cold hard facts here, and to lead by example. Take it or leave it, I’ve been there and done that.

Right up front, I am not your average Joe. Life for me has been nothing but a series of challenges and freakin’ heartache. In a way, I am grateful for these experiences as they have served to make me a better person, whether or not I enjoyed them, good and bad, what didn’t kill me, has made me stronger.

Wall Street, Big business, big banks and big government are responsible for creating and manipulating the money system to favor just a select few individuals. Forget the “Golden Rule” here folks… He who has the gold, makes the rules, baby!!! They spend a good amount of money in ways to convince us that you (we) are the problem, but I’m here to tell you that it is in fact the other way around.

Servitude is this millenniums new buzz word. The plan of your government is to step on you to the point of bleeding. The costs and fees for freedom are deliberately manipulated in a fashion so as to keep you from getting even the slightest bit ahead of the game. Repress the masses into submission! Today the government talks of making our great grandchildren pay for their debts… the same debts they forced us into. Used to be that the laws, which still exist, protected us from these issues, but none of the powers that be, regardless of the fact that they are aware, will do anything about it. Who has control around here anyway?

This America of ours today is not the same America That I was born into. Go look up the definition of the word fascism. What happened to the American Dream? Kids today are being indoctrinated to believe that this is what America is and they are accepting it as fact. Long term debt and other people’s problems are all they have to look forward to.

History always repeats itself. I really don’t have to say it, but America is in serious trouble.

We’ve seen our heyday come and go. I like many others still have hope, but find myself saying more and more prayers every day. The Great Depression could be very easily over shadowed if things don’t turn around here and soon. Unfortunately, the good old fashioned American ways of solving problems, “just throw some money at it and it will go away” or “starting the old war machine to stimulate the economy” just don’t work anymore. If you have any memory at all of what you were taught in high school history class, you would see the parallels, to other empires come and gone, just like handwriting on the wall.

When it comes to your personal debt; doing what you have to do to survive is nothing to feel guilty about. You have debtor’s rights and they who own your debt do not want you to know what they are. Deceit is their main weapon and they are not afraid to use it every chance they have. We live in a credit based society, and they would have you believe that whatever mistakes you do in their credit world is punishable by money. And they employ multiple means to cause you to pay more when you don’t have it in the first place, a catch 22 of sorts, create an escalation of debt so as it can never be paid off, add penalties and interest to seal the deal, in a deliberate effort to control and or destroy and then take whatever is left. And you still have to pay and pay more. You have to recognize this for what it is, and take control of it early on. Prioritize anything you have left, and attack them where you can. This is war, us against them.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Getting your Emergency supplies in order

Preparedness used to be a word reserved for “conspiracy theorists.” People would think you were a little strange if you were ready at a moment’s notice to evacuate with an emergency kit, or if you stored extra food and water in case the stores shut down due to a natural disaster. That’s no longer the case. The Federal Emergency Management Agency, state emergency management agencies, the American Red Cross, and other leading government and non-profit agencies are consistently delivering the same message to the public: Be prepared.

Your Responsibility for Emergency Preparedness

It’s your responsibility and yours alone to prepare yourself and your family for emergencies. There’s no escaping the fact that everyone is at risk. Earthquakes and hurricanes do not discriminate. There are also the everyday disasters that you hear about on the news, such fires and floods that wipe out the home of an entire family and cause serious injuries or death to those who were not prepared. Disasters can strike any region. The Department of Homeland Security continues to issue alerts and warn citizens about emergency preparedness. You cannot rely on others to bail you out of an emergency, and you’ve been warned by the very agencies that might come to your aid that they may not be able to help you. You are responsible for purchasing preparedness kits and supplies for your family to overcome and survive disasters.

Where to Purchase Supplies

There are four things to look for before selecting a company to buy your preparedness supplies:

• Trusted brand

• Expanding line of products

• Education for customers

• One stop shop

Let’s take a look at each of these in more detail

Trusted Brand

You don’t want to go with a fly-by-night seller for your preparedness supplies. Those companies buy and resell junk to customers with a shorter or expiring shelf life. For example, if you buy an emergency kit with a food bar and water, the supplies may expire within months, or they may have already expired. A company with a trusted brand will offer quality products, and the contents of the kit will have a shelf life of five or more years.

Expanded Line of Products

You first step to be prepared is to an buy emergency kit. It’s a great start, but it’s not sufficient for all of your needs beyond the first three days of an emergency. To extend your supplies to last you two, four, eight weeks or more, you’ll need to buy more products. The same company you buy your emergency kits from should have an ever expanding line of products to choose from. New and cutting edge tools and supplies may improve your state of preparedness, but if you buy from a “stale” company, you won’t know that more options exist.

Education for Consumers

The information on the Internet and in well-intentioned books can be overwhelming for the beginner. A catalog of supplies does you no good if you don’t know how to prepare for emergencies and why you need certain things. A company who is dedicated to educating its customers will be tremendous resource and guide to helping you make the right buying decisions.

One Stop Shop

The last thing you have time for is to hunt down hard-to-find preparedness supplies. You end up paying more because of inconsistent shipping costs and purchase prices. It’s not only convenient to have everything in one place, it also saves you money.

1-800-PREPARE.com excels in all of these. They are your one stop shop for preparedness supplies and education, they offer an ever-expanding line of products, and you’ll be buying a brand you can trust. 1-800-PREPARE.com is dedicated to being the solution to all your preparedness needs. Visit the website, make the call, and get prepared.  Can you take care of your family in an emergency. Be Ready. Be Prepared. Enter coupon code: MAY10 for 10% off any order of $250.00 or more when you order from 1800PREPARE. (CLICK HERE)