Monthly Archives: May 2012

Water Ban!

On Tuesday this week, a water main broke at one of the biggest reservoirs serving our area. We were originally on a water restriction that has now been replaced with a ban. Our city still has tap water but a lot of the smaller towns right around us don’t even have that.

According to our local media, our city uses on average 140 million liters of water per day (about 40 million gallons) but yesterday, our city used 200 million liters (about 53 million gallons). People were seen watering their lawns, washing their driveways and running sprinklers for their children.

Most people in my area do not have a water storage and now a lot of grocery stores are low or out of bottled water.  We haven’t had a water ban since 1998.We are surrounded by the Great Lakes so who would think you would need it, I guess is what most people think. BUT:

– this past weekend was Victoria Day, a long weekend that has long been the ‘safe point’ to start your gardening in our area. Many people that participated in the water ban now have dead plants because they don’t have a rain barrel or don’t use their grey water.

– the next town over has no tap water so no showers, no drinking water, no dishwasher and so on. Do you have enough water stored for at least three days of drinking, watering your veggie garden and  giving to your pets?

The weather was 30*C  (86 F ) yesterday and muggy, I can understand people want to cool down. Here’s a few ideas (based on what I saw in my neighborhood and on social media) for water conservation.

Instead of filling the pool or running the sprinkler for the kids, give them a popsicle, they’ll love you for it!

Stay indoors between the hours of 11-3 when the sun is at its hottest.

As a lesser evil, turn on your air conditioning unit rather than leaving water running.

Take a shorter shower (or use the dry shampoo recipe I gave a few posts ago)

Use paper plates or eat out of the pots that you cook in.

When you shower, leave the plug in and collect the water for use in your garden (grey water)

Buy (or make) a rain barrel

Don’t water your lawn, it will make it grow and then you have to cut it!

Moral of the story: you should probably have some cases of bottled water put aside for drinking and a rain barrel or grey water system (or both!) for your veggies.

Dehydrating Onions

Dehydrating Onions

Onions are such a versatile vegetable. They are cheap and add so much flavor, just about any savory recipe is better when onions are added.  Dehydrating onions is quick and easy.

Begin by chopping your onions to the desired size. I usually do large flakes so the pieces don’t fall through the holes on my dehydrator but you could always mince them. Try to remove the thin pieces of skin that clings between the layers.

Dunk your onion pieces into boiling water for about 30 seconds to a minute. They will turn slightly translucent when they are ready and they will be softer. Put them in a strainer and run cold water over them to stop the cooking process.

Pat the pieces dry with some paper towel and remove any extra bits of the skin (which will now be mushy and easy to remove). Arrange the pieces in a single layer on your dehydrator and turn it on.

My dehydrator doesn’t have a temperature control so I just let it run for about 5 hours to have the onions as dry as I need them. They end up paper thin. Now here’s a recipe you can use your onions for:

Dry Onion Soup Mix

1 cup dehydrated onion flakes

1/3 c bouillon

1/4 tsp sugar

1 tsp parsley

Store the ingredients in an airtight jar until ready for use.  I also like to throw in some other dehydrated veggies (carrots, garlic, celery and whatever else catches your fancy.) To make into soup, add 4 c of water, or for dip, add to a tub of sour cream.

Hair in Emergencies

I’d like to thank Sandy for pointing out the hair aspect of a SHTF scenario.

Personally, I plan to either cut my hair very short or shave it to cut down on the possibility of lice, fleas and other parasites that might like to live in it. This might not appeal to you and then, if you do it, what happens when your hair grows back?

Well, you can keep it short or you can try and keep it clean. I have bottles of shampoo put aside just in case but I also keep small sample size bottles in our bug out bags. I can use them or there is always the potential for barter or just giving away to those that might be in need.

An easy way to keep your hair clean (well, cleanER) is to use a dry shampoo. This is great for conserving your precious water supplies as well.

To use a dry or waterless shampoo, put the powder in your hair, let it sit a few minutes and then brush it out.

A simple recipe is just using corn starch or baby powder (I’ve also used arrowroot powder) mixed with a few drops of essential oils – citrus is good for absorbing oils, tea tree is good for deterring bugs and lavender is anti-septic and anti-bacterial.

You can also keep a few hairbrushes and hair ties in your preparations as well as some razors if you decide to shave your head or to barter with.

Commonly Overlooked Preps Part 2

Here’s part two of the list I posted earlier.

Soil – I know people that have tens of thousands of seeds but no soil. What happens if you have to plant inside? Or if the soil where you are is too sandy or too much clay? A couple bags of decent quality potting soil are a good idea to keep around. I recently got 10 20 liter bags of soil for $10.

Pets- please don’t forget your four legged friends! Make sure you have food and water put aside for them. You can put aside a couple of bags of kibble that your animals usually eat but you can also make your own dehydrated pet foods. I have also begun to see dehydrated animal food at the specialty pet stores. Just remember if you’re using dehydrated foods to have enough water to rehydrate. Which brings me to the next point.

Water – Yes, most of us have enough to drink but a lot of preppers have dehydrated foods. You need to consider how much water these things will take to rehydrate. What about gardening? There’s really no way to calculate how much water you would need for gardening but using a rain barrel can offset that. But keep in mind, there could always be a drought and if you’re counting on a garden as a large part of your food you better have a back up plan.

Garbage Bags – most people plan to burn their garbage, which is fine. But how about disposing of a body? You don’t necessarily want to be handling that. Or if you have lice, you can bag your clothing and bedding for a couple weeks to kill the lice. You can also use it for quarantine purposes. Make your ill person strip down, bag the clothes and get them into something clean. How about blacking out windows? Using a heavy duty garbage bag taped over windows can help to hide any light showing through (you may have to double up though)