About gDonna
The photo is my son and myself. Now days you can get a photo made to look old like this one. This photo was taken when this was the new look.

Harry S Truman was president when I was born and world war II had ended. I grew up in a time when lunch was put in a brown paper bag and a sandwich was wrapped with wax paper. There was no such thing as pantyhose, we wore stockings that attached to the rubbery clippy things that attached to the girdle. Convenience stores were not common and when we took a trip we packed a picnic basket because many places did not have fast food. Highways had places to pull over and stop, some with picnic tables. Read more ....
 

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Comments On Article: Be The Strong

1,672 posts (admin)
Thu Jun 20, 24 7:33 PM CST

If you would like to share your comments for article Be the Strong, this is where to do it! 

Click the Reply To This Topic button below to post yours.

M
20 posts
Thu Jun 20, 24 8:45 PM CST

During the 1995-6 drought here in NC my spring ran dry. I had to wait five months for a well. Now I have two wells plus I left my spring where I can access it if I need to. We also have a creek and that is where I got water during the drought to flush the toilet and water my animals. During the fall I fill my rain barrels and leave them in my home built greenhouse to keep it warm and to water my plants. It works really well except on the coldest days. I’m grateful I live in the country because we have a lot of options folks in the city don’t. If I lived in town I would use my lawn to grow food, plant fruit trees, and learn where to forage for berries and such. And I would invest in rain barrels and can water. 

G
307 posts (admin)
Thu Jun 20, 24 9:12 PM CST

GRANDMA DONNA WROTE, Matty H, did you have to purchase water for drinking?  Was the creek water clean enough to bathe?  Just wondering how that part went.  Reading what you wrote puts the lake house (Madge's house) back on the possibility of some decision making. The well pump is out there but there is access to county water.  The lake is just below and a spring nearby the property.  With your experience during time the spring went dry and getting the well, you must have gotten a lot of practice and knowledge from this. That can make it a good experience. :)

M
20 posts
Thu Jun 20, 24 9:24 PM CST

We bought water for drinking and took what we called “tramp baths” several nights a week. Since then I learned about how to clean the creek water so it is potable. I have a solar oven and can use that for water purification. There are also special straws to filter water. I also keep bleach on hand to clean the water. One thing I did was to participate in a soil and water conservation program that repaired my stream banks and fenced my livestock off the creek so they use waterers. That keeps water cleaner too. Especially if other folks along the waterway do the same. We have friends who have a solar generator! I’d like one someday! If your well water is usable, it might be worth reopening it. The pump can run on a generator or, if the well isn’t too deep, you can add a hand pump to bring water to the surface. That’s our next goal. 

G
307 posts (admin)
Thu Jun 20, 24 9:41 PM CST

GRANDMA DONNA WROTE,  Matty H, we want to put a hand pump in the well, we called a well driller but we have not met with him up there as of yet for him to check out the well because we had a storm that did some damage that we had to have repaired.  If at all possible there will be a hand pump.  I do feel though that it will have to be electric because that is a deep well but at least it is still a good well. I feel we need to do this not just for our benefit but because it would be helpful for the neighbors should something serious happen and a resource for drinking water.  We do have a solar generator we bought two years ago for the little Myrtle tiny house we built that we were going to use to help Madge, life is full of change. I like the term Tramp Baths lol.  I guess that is something we all need to learn more about turning lake, creek, river water into potable water.  I will study up on that.

M
20 posts
Thu Jun 20, 24 9:59 PM CST

I hope you will share what you learn! There always is something new to learn! 

A
16 posts
Thu Jun 20, 24 10:24 PM CST

When my sister and I were teens and had two cousins visiting, we spent the day playing Tarzan in the pasture and using vines to swing across the creek -- well sometimes we made it across!  Anyway, when we returned to the house mom was upset at how dirty we were because the well was out.  She took water from the toilet tank (not bowl!) and we each got about a quart for a "spit" bath.  

A couple years before that when staying with an aunt and uncle their well was out and we went to bed dirty.  Disgusting situation but needs must.

I have a full unfinished basement, so I store water in empty bleach, milk, soda, juice and vinegar bottles.  I store them low so if they leak nothing else is bothered and the water runs to the sump.  I plan that water for flushing and washing.  It would be safe to drink with addition of bleach or boiling so I store bleach.  I have gas kitchen stove so electricity would not be needed for boiling.  I do, however, also buy a few gallons of potable water to have on hand.

Having been without water briefly numerous times and a couple of extended times plus often days of boil orders, I now keep two Britta pitchers on the counter full at all times and a two-quart kettle on the stove.  When a boil order is issued, I immediately fill a large soup kettle and boil it.  It takes a soup kettle a while to boil and a longer while to cool to drinkable but the Britta pitchers and kettle on the stove provide plenty until the soup kettle cools.  I used to store packages of bottled water, but they are too heavy for me, so I now store the single gallons.  I think a single gallon container also uses less plastic.

Dish pans should be in every home.  Washing dishes by hand in a dish pan uses less water than in the larger sink.  One to wash and one to rinse.  The dish water can also be used again to flush the toilet or to water outside plants.  My grandmother used to throw her dishwater over her rose bush by the backdoor and that was the healthiest rose bush I ever saw.  Dish pans can also be used to do small laundry, soak dirty items, take a "spit" bath and to put garden produce in when picking.  If you buy several plastic pans at one time, they will be the same size and stack easily.  They also have the bonus of being cheap.  I have two Rubbermaid that are better quality/strength that I prefer for doing dishes.  Maybe a half dozen of cheaper lighter plastic for various uses.  When I cut out several sewing projects at a time, I store each project in its own dishpan.  

A deep well pump needs a lot of power on start-up so would require a fairly large generator.

K
79 posts
Fri Jun 21, 24 12:30 AM CST

An article out by CNN today is about nano and micro plastics in our water and how bad it is to buy water bottled in plastic bottles.

Bottled water packed with nanoplastics, study finds

By , CNN

I hope it's ok to put this here.

For all drinking water I boil it.

Karen NZ

H
9 posts
Fri Jun 21, 24 6:32 AM CST
Grandma Donna wrote:

GRANDMA DONNA WROTE, Matty H, did you have to purchase water for drinking?  Was the creek water clean enough to bathe?  Just wondering how that part went.  Reading what you wrote puts the lake house (Madge's house) back on the possibility of some decision making. The well pump is out there but there is access to county water.  The lake is just below and a spring nearby the property.  With your experience during time the spring went dry and getting the well, you must have gotten a lot of practice and knowledge from this. That can make it a good experience. :)

You can also make a water filter with three 5 gallon buckets. Drill a hole down the center of each bucket and lid, except the top lid. Place two cinder blocks upright with a board across with a hole under the buckets. ( or whatever you have to elevate them) The bottom bucket is filled with charcoal, middle sand, top pea gravel. Elevate them so you can place a jug/ another 5 gallon bucket, or whatever you want to catch the clean water in. So, remove the top lid, pour in water you need to filter, and place lid back on so nothing gets in. 

Edited Fri Jun 21, 24 6:34 AM by Holly D
G
307 posts (admin)
Fri Jun 21, 24 7:40 AM CST

GRANDMA DONNA WROTE, Ann W and Holly D,  thank you for sharing your experiences.  It is so so nice here in the forum to read everyone's comments because it gives us different perspectives how we can do things. 

Karen S, it is very concerning about plastic, I am very concerned for the children growing up with so much plastic exposure.  The ocean is a mess too. Thank you for commenting.

C
11 posts
Fri Jun 21, 24 8:23 AM CST
Karen S wrote:

An article out by CNN today is about nano and micro plastics in our water and how bad it is to buy water bottled in plastic bottles.

Bottled water packed with nanoplastics, study finds

By , CNN

I hope it's ok to put this here.

For all drinking water I boil it.

Karen NZ

Thank you for that!  I was unaware.  Good idea about boiling water for drinking.

C
11 posts
Fri Jun 21, 24 8:27 AM CST

We use the solar light sticks out in the yard to light the path but they are also available when there is no power.  They last a long time during the night.  Most all night!  We usually get the dollar tree ones too.  We also have some of those lanterns that are solar powered to light the steps in front of the house and they are great for power outages as well.  I also have battery powered ones inside for decor and if the power goes out!  LOL!  I have children....we don't like dark nights here I suppose!

Yes.  Keep learning about ways to do things in order to have knowledge.  Good post Grandma Donna.

J
64 posts
Fri Jun 21, 24 8:39 AM CST

I had a plumber who promised to put a hand pump on our well, which is a shallow well as many in Florida are, however, he never came back in spite of several calls.  I'm trying to find someone else who knows how to do it.  If I can get a hand pump, that will ease my mind for water in a power outage, but my refrigerator and freezer are my main concerns after that.  We had a portable generator but it no longer works.  It's hard to find gas to run one after a hurricane (I know this first hand), so to get a new generator, I would need to get a "dual-fuel" type that runs on propane and I would need to install a propane tank - $$$$.  A whole-house generator is prohibitively expensive for us and would also require setting up propane, as we don't have access to natural gas.  The small solar generators are expensive and don't run that long, according to what I read and hear.  If anyone has experience with those, I'd love to hear about it.   I won't often have enough access to ice to pack my freezer and refrigerator, so I'm stumped.  I'm open to suggestions from everyone here! 

Thank you for this post.  Uneasy times or not, power outages are a certainty here in Florida, from storms, hurricanes, tree limbs, you name it.

T
48 posts
Fri Jun 21, 24 9:31 AM CST

One thing I do that saves a lot of water and electricity, is keep my water heater shut off most of the time.  It takes a little getting used to, but I quickly learned that at least 90% of what I had been using hot water for was "out of habit" or because it was more comfortable on my hands, and not because cold wouldn't do the job just as well.  I heat small amounts of water on the stove for certain things, like washing particularly greasy dishes, but have found I don't need to do that nearly as often as expected.  And as far as the water heater itself, I basically only turn it on now when I need to bathe a dog, and when/if it ever breaks, I don't plan on even replacing it.

It's so true what you write about common sense preparedness.  I think one thing a lot of people still don't fully comprehend is that the "just on time" supply chain that has become the norm in recent decades, means it doesn't even take a particularly severe emergency to effect the availability of goods.  It's not like the grocery store has weeks' worth of food hidden in the back room - even without panic buying, everything would run out within a few days, because that's when they were expecting the next shipment.  So far society has overall gotten very lucky, in that the long-term shortages have effected only certain commodities, but we can't expect that luck to hold out forever.


G
307 posts (admin)
Fri Jun 21, 24 1:09 PM CST

GRANDMA DONNA WROTE, Christina A, the outdoor solar lights are very good to have and great that each day they charge up again and can be brought inside if necessary.

Joan S, I do understand the hurricane outages and one of the main reasons I went back to canning and dehydrating.  It is heart breaking to loose food that is in a freezer or fridge.  We have a propane stove that will handle a pressure canner if needed to save some food but it still comes back to reducing our electrical and fuel need.  I hope you can find another well driller to put in a hand pump.  I hope maybe others might have some suggestions on what they do during hurricane season or other times that there are power or water outages. 

Tea S, We did the year without hot water heater study and we simply got used to it in a few weeks into the study. We did this study during one of our world war 2 studies.  I now laugh at some of my water reduction studies that I posted about, some of them seem silly now but they all helped me to get to where we are now. Our thought after the year without it was, do we really want to turn it back on?  I was happy with the kettle to heat water and the black bucket that sat out in the sun.  Everyone needs to do studies because learning through a study holds us accountable to continuing and that is when we learn so much.  I understand your saying that you don't even know if you would replace it. It is all about getting back to basic isn't it.  

Thank you for your comments, keep them coming.

M
14 posts
Fri Jun 21, 24 1:11 PM CST

I am going to try the bucket baths, I am having a issue with super dry skin (menopause!) and I am trying everything to help it. I am also researching rechargeable light bulb. I did find that there has been a recall on certain ones as well as a warning for those that use lithium ion batteries. They are causing many many spontaneous fires, like on airplanes, homes etc. They are heavily used nowadays, but from what I read it is because the batteries store a lot of energy in a small space, so when the energy is uncontrollably released, heat is generated. This heat can turn some internal batteries into  releasing a toxic gas. It was terrifying to watch an electric scooter just go up in flames while charging. I have no idea what the answer is! It seems every time they try to replace the old things (because they find fault with the energy used or something else) the replacement is more dangerous! I guess we do what we can do and try our best! You have wonderful and helpful ideas! Thank you!!

K
79 posts
Fri Jun 21, 24 2:43 PM CST
Joan S wrote:

I had a plumber who promised to put a hand pump on our well, which is a shallow well as many in Florida are, however, he never came back in spite of several calls.  I'm trying to find someone else who knows how to do it.  If I can get a hand pump, that will ease my mind for water in a power outage, but my refrigerator and freezer are my main concerns after that.  We had a portable generator but it no longer works.  It's hard to find gas to run one after a hurricane (I know this first hand), so to get a new generator, I would need to get a "dual-fuel" type that runs on propane and I would need to install a propane tank - $$$$.  A whole-house generator is prohibitively expensive for us and would also require setting up propane, as we don't have access to natural gas.  The small solar generators are expensive and don't run that long, according to what I read and hear.  If anyone has experience with those, I'd love to hear about it.   I won't often have enough access to ice to pack my freezer and refrigerator, so I'm stumped.  I'm open to suggestions from everyone here! 

Thank you for this post.  Uneasy times or not, power outages are a certainty here in Florida, from storms, hurricanes, tree limbs, you name it.

We had a cyclone here in NZ about 18 months ago. Our power was out for a week. We were the last to have it restored where we live even though it was just a blown pole fuse!

I had insight to go to the supermarket and get many bags of ice after 4 days and put it all in the freezer with the meat and we lost none. However the freezer full of vegetables, soups etc were all lost.

Canning is the answer. In jars the foods will not be lost. Just have to make sure the cupboards they're stored in are bolted to the wall and the doors have a lock on them to prevent them opening. 


M
14 posts
Fri Jun 21, 24 4:45 PM CST
Tea S wrote:

One thing I do that saves a lot of water and electricity, is keep my water heater shut off most of the time.  It takes a little getting used to, but I quickly learned that at least 90% of what I had been using hot water for was "out of habit" or because it was more comfortable on my hands, and not because cold wouldn't do the job just as well.  I heat small amounts of water on the stove for certain things, like washing particularly greasy dishes, but have found I don't need to do that nearly as often as expected.  And as far as the water heater itself, I basically only turn it on now when I need to bathe a dog, and when/if it ever breaks, I don't plan on even replacing it.

It's so true what you write about common sense preparedness.  I think one thing a lot of people still don't fully comprehend is that the "just on time" supply chain that has become the norm in recent decades, means it doesn't even take a particularly severe emergency to effect the availability of goods.  It's not like the grocery store has weeks' worth of food hidden in the back room - even without panic buying, everything would run out within a few days, because that's when they were expecting the next shipment.  So far society has overall gotten very lucky, in that the long-term shortages have effected only certain commodities, but we can't expect that luck to hold out forever.


I find this very interesting!!  I have a gas water heater and it's just left "on" so, my question, how do you turn it off and on without the pilot being an issue? I am not the most comfortable with natural gas anything, to begin with, but I would probably only need the hot water on for showers and dog baths. I could just warm up water to clean with. I have never turned it off and on before. Do you know if they make a timer or something that can do it automatically? I think that would be great! Never thought about doing this before. Thanks!!!
L
3 posts
Fri Jun 21, 24 4:47 PM CST

Thanks for this reminder. Last year we moved back to the states after living in Asia 35+ years. There electricity and water were not to be depended on. They were appreciated when you had it but everyone knew how to live without them. 

T
48 posts
Fri Jun 21, 24 7:22 PM CST

Michelle L., 

Mine is electric, which makes switching it on and off easy.  

I've never had natural gas, but I'm thinking you would NOT want to shut the gas to it off completely, and have to re-light the pilot every time, which would be dangerous!  

Instead, you might consider looking for a temperature control on it, and just turning it down as far as possible when not in use.  Some newer models even have a "vacation mode" that turns the temperature all the way down to 50 F., so while the unit is still technically "on" it doesn't heat the water until you turn the temperature back up.

M
14 posts
Fri Jun 21, 24 7:41 PM CST
Tea S wrote:

Michelle L., 

Mine is electric, which makes switching it on and off easy.  

I've never had natural gas, but I'm thinking you would NOT want to shut the gas to it off completely, and have to re-light the pilot every time, which would be dangerous!  

Instead, you might consider looking for a temperature control on it, and just turning it down as far as possible when not in use.  Some newer models even have a "vacation mode" that turns the temperature all the way down to 50 F., so while the unit is still technically "on" it doesn't heat the water until you turn the temperature back up.

Thanks so much! I am absolutely looking into it!

G
307 posts (admin)
Fri Jun 21, 24 9:21 PM CST

GRANDMA DONNA WROTE,  Michelle L, talk with your gas company and learn all you can about how to turn off your hot water heater.  Some people have vacation homes and turn off their hot water heaters before they leave, gas or electric so there will be a proper way to do this for either one.  We turn off the hot water heater at Madge's house each time we leave and here at our house we turned it off for an entire year but both are electric.  There is a way to do this with yours but make sure to do it the way that the gas company can tell you what to do.  

G
307 posts (admin)
Fri Jun 21, 24 9:30 PM CST

GRANDMA DONNA WROTE, Lori B you said, "They were appreciated when you had it but everyone knew how to live without them."     This is the most important part of all of this topic, we need to know how to live without it.   We want that comfort, to keep it how we are used to it.  If we want to be somewhat comfortable, then we truly have to practice living without it so we can figure out how to do this before we find ourselves in an "At Need" situation.

J
64 posts
Tue Jun 25, 24 2:17 PM CST
Karen S wrote:

We had a cyclone here in NZ about 18 months ago. Our power was out for a week. We were the last to have it restored where we live even though it was just a blown pole fuse!

I had insight to go to the supermarket and get many bags of ice after 4 days and put it all in the freezer with the meat and we lost none. However the freezer full of vegetables, soups etc were all lost.

Canning is the answer. In jars the foods will not be lost. Just have to make sure the cupboards they're stored in are bolted to the wall and the doors have a lock on them to prevent them opening. 


I do have some meats and vegetables already canned, but I don't care to eat canned meat or vegetables most of the time.  I have those set aside to survive a power outage.  Going to the store and getting ice after a natural disaster is not possible here, the ice has to be bought before the storm hits, or there will be none to buy when one goes to the store.  I went before the last hurricane hit us, but could only get enough to save my freezer, not my refrigerator; there were limits on bags.  My concern is how to save the meat cuts, fresh-frozen fruits and veggies, frozen herbs and frozen cheeses that I keep in the freezer, (because I don't want to can all of that),  and my fresh stuff in my refrigerator without emptying my savings or going into debt.  I think I may be dreaming of something that doesn't exist, though.  

G
307 posts (admin)
Tue Jun 25, 24 4:06 PM CST

GRANDMA DONNA WROTE, Joan S,  we have the canned meat and veggies too but this year we are reducing what we keep refrigerated and also the freezer.  We have been eating strictly out of the freezer the past several weeks.  We are condensing down what we have in the fridge and freezer.  We are even thinking of getting back to the small college dorm fridge but that is another subject.  We will have less to lose in an outage if we do not have a lot of cold items stored during hurricane season. I understand what you are saying that we are dreaming of something that does not exist but it is like the saying we do not need a bigger house, we need less stuff.  When we are clear of hurricanes then maybe build back up but the weather is so crazy I feel we have to look at this from a different perspective now.  Just this week I watched a lady talk about they do not have a refrigerator by choice and yet another thing to ponder if we find that we start getting more outages.  Keep thinking. :)

S
17 posts
Wed Jun 26, 24 8:33 AM CST
Grandma Donna wrote:

GRANDMA DONNA WROTE, Lori B you said, "They were appreciated when you had it but everyone knew how to live without them."     This is the most important part of all of this topic, we need to know how to live without it.   We want that comfort, to keep it how we are used to it.  If we want to be somewhat comfortable, then we truly have to practice living without it so we can figure out how to do this before we find ourselves in an "At Need" situation.

This is SO true Grandma Donna!  I was reading a camper van FB post the other day and the poster mentioned that all her fears about starting camper van life were about experiencing the discomfort that goes alongside giving up 'sticks and bricks' living.  I live in a converted portacabin (although I have plumbed in water and electricity), so the lack of space isn't daunting but going without running water? Then I remembered that I worked for a year in a caravan that had no plumbed in water supply.  So, I had to very quickly get used to fetching all my water from an outside tap and using a portaloo. I've already proved I can do this!  But our fears are disabling, until we try and realise just how much we can cope with and what  we are capable of achieving.

Edited Wed Jun 26, 24 8:34 AM by Sheryl C
G
307 posts (admin)
Wed Jun 26, 24 10:01 AM CST

GRANDMA DONNA WROTE. Sheryl C, my grandparents lived a very simple life, I learned so much life experience from them just by being around them, watching them, listening to them and most part working beside them. I learned how empowering it is to know as you put it, what we ae capable of achieving. The day that I realized I can have portable running water just by using a simple picnic lemonade jar was a life changer. :)

T
48 posts
Wed Jun 26, 24 11:46 AM CST

Joan S.,

I hear you on the freezer issue, and unfortunately when it comes to long-term outages, came to the conclusion that I had only three options: 

1.  Get a generator that would have cost far more to buy, maintain, and fuel (in both financial and environmental terms) than the food in my freezer is actually worth.  I came to the conclusion that this would have been an emotional over-response to fear of wasting food, and not actually a responsible choice in my situation. (And doesn't sound like it would be in yours, either.)

2.  If friends or relatives within reasonable distance have power, load everything up and drive it to their house.  This is "plan A" for an extended outage, but of course only works if roads are passable and the outage isn't too widespread.

3.  Make peace with the possibility of at some point losing a freezer full of food.  I think I've achieved this, but it hasn't actually been tested yet!  I'm sure I'd end up feeling fairly bummed out about it when it happened, but on an intellectual level, I've decided the pros of freezer use in terms of nutrition and convenience far outweigh the one major con of potential loss. 

For a short-term outage, something that can buy a couple of extra days for a well-packed freezer, is to insulate it with everything you've got - blankets, sleeping bags, yoga mats, rugs, couch cushions, et cetera.  Be sure to unplug it before doing this, because when the power comes back on, you don't want the freezer trying to run until you get the insulating layers off of it.  (And then don't forget to plug it back in!!!)

L
8 posts
Tue Jul 16, 24 4:58 AM CST

Hi Grandma Donna, 

I still remember way back when I was so amazed at the fact that nobody in the States appeared to know what a bucket bath was.  That's all we do, and have ever done. Among the rich, showers and bathtubs have come into their own, but honestly most of us love our bucket baths. Cooking from scratch, recycling, not changing furniture around once we've bought or inherited it, making do with all we have, handing down clothing, and the like, are part of everyone's life except the young urbanites.  I do confess to being worried about them.

I live in Kerala where there's no winter, so heating water is hardly an option unless you're old or sick, or an infant, or have just delivered a baby. While those who can afford it have water heaters in the bathrooms, people are very careful about using them because of the high energy charges. 

I love reading about the ways you save and conserve. But the price of canning materials is so high, I don't think I'll ever do that here. I pondered a dehydrator, but again, it's expensive. Having said that, I think our lifestyle is fairly sensible and very affordable. Kerala, and especially Calicut, is a very budget-friendly place to live if you want to make it work. The climate plays a huge role. We don't have hurricanes or cyclones, but the torrential monsoon rains do bring floods and landslides in the hilly regions. Fires are very rare. 

Thanks to everyone for the tips and comments. This site is my all-time favorite!

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