PREPPER EMERGENCY ESSENTIALS
Just the other day I ran across yet another last minute desperate attempt at separating the rubs from their discretionary spending, a book on low tech illumination. You know, for all those Amish types who insist on ONLY burning kerosene rather than evil high technology Light Emitting Diode lights. Once you embrace LED’s, it is only a matter of time before Skynet takes over, evidently. Now, I don’t necessarily have a love affair with either high or low tech. I just want what works best. I don’t really care for high tech high cap Rambo killing machine semi-automatics, but I’ll use the latest computers. It isn’t that I think 100 year gun designs are necessarily better, just that pretty much every design since WWII is a tweak instead of a breakthrough. It is nice to have plastics and alloys reduce weight, but those don’t translate into a homestead repair very well. And I don’t embrace the newest computer because it is faster, but because the design is much better and they use far less energy ( important on your very low watt alternate energy system ). But as far as low tech being better than high in illumination, I think the lamp oil users are both full of crap and quite foolish. Back in the day when Rockefeller stuck a few wells into shallow oil deposits up in GottDamnYankeeLand and the petroleum gushed in torrents, using oil for light was both great and relatively cheap compared to squeezing the last ounce of lard from the last whale in the ocean. Now, not so cheap. Nor very low tech.
Nowadays, we get some South American tar that used to not even be classified as oil at all ( but now is, along with Canadian tar sand so that the world can feel warm and snuggly about our petroleum reserves ) shipped up to us to refine- and it takes extra work and energy to get all that sulfur out, along with extra wear and tear on the pipes- and we transfer the kerosene to the retail outlets and some long hair hippie buys it and lights his hovel. He feels good about not crapping on Mother Earth since he didn’t use polluting computer chips for light. What? Petroleum isn’t polluting? Petroleum doesn’t use massive industrial complexes to extract, ship and refine its product? An LED light is far more benign in total, from manufacture to the end of its life. You use one LED and a few batteries for thousands of hours of light. How many gallons of petroleum do you need to duplicate that? How many barrels? How many Third World peasants had to go without power so you could instead use that fuel to feel good about using lower tech? Idiot. For half the cost of ONE quality oil lamp you can have a dozen LED lights, a dozen rechargeable batteries and a solar recharger. And you don’t have to stockpile fuel.
Manual Laundry Washing
Most of my writing is based on resurrecting old ideas that where put forth back in the day before Yuppie Scum roamed the earth and most folks didn’t actually have dozens of credit cards falling out of their ass. They were poor, even if working. They had to do their shopping wisely rather than frivolously. I don’t have too many of my own original ideas. Other than Thermos Coffee and Nuke Bread, about the only other thing I can claim is The Jim Washer. I always wanted a James Washer, those nifty half barrel on a stand agitator manual washers. Alas, each was plated with gold and studded with rubies as they cost something like $300 and if you had the idea to actually wring out the clothes you needed an additional $200. And this was way back when oil was being given away for $20. Gold was $400, wheat was $5 a bag and five pound sacks of flour sometimes went on sale for 79 cents. I would be afraid to price them today. So, I tried to get enough sleep and drank extra coffee and after a few years of exhaustive pondering I finally hit on the idea of the Jim Washer. Take yourself a container, most likely five gallon poly buckets with the screw type lids. Place your clothes and water with soap inside. Secure the container(s) into the seat of a rocking chair. Those truck bed tie-downs would work splendidly. Then, placing the chair in front of the sofa ( if you can do this inside without splashing- otherwise keep this on the porch ), sit while watching TV or reading a book and with your foot keep the chair rocking to agitate the clothes. Rinse a few times, then wring out. For wringing, use a plastic mop bucket ( about $40 new from China Mart ) and use that mop wringer for your clothes ( I learned about the wringer idea from a gal who had gone through the multiple Florida hurricanes ).
Most folks want you to use a five gallon bucket with a hole in the lid, using a toilet plunger to agitate the clothes. Well, that is a real nice theory. Until you realize that your leg muscles are a lot stronger than your arms ( unless you are a Mr. Universe contestant ). Okay, if you can’t find a used rocking chair cheap enough, the plunger idea will have to do. But you won’t tire yourself out nearly as bad if you use your legs. As far as the “vacuum” type washer sold for $50, it won’t work without hot water. In case that isn’t always available, I wouldn’t rely on that. If your only fuel is barely enough to heat and eat with, and you can’t spare hot water for both your skin AND clothes, you don’t want to limit your options.
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