The final installment of the eFoodsDirect Fall Survival Guide is a roundup of prepping how-to projects that might just boggle the mind. In just a few short generations, many Americans have become so divorced from the self-reliant mindset and skills of our ancestors that completing a simple home improvement project generates anxiety and a substantial amount of cursing.
Preppers, people who enjoy living off the grid, and homesteading families are fostering a resurgence of interest and respect for those who boast self-reliance skills. As the Smokey and the Bandit theme song reminds us, “We have a long way to go and a short time to get there.” Will enough of the populace awaken to the notion that we need to spend less time on our mobile devices and at the shopping mall and more time becoming aware of the potential disasters on the horizon and preparing to survive them? Only time will tell.
The lone wolf survival concept might work if you are a millionaire living on a fully stocked prepper retreat situated on a few hundred acres, but probably not. The vast majority of us will have neighbors living nearby and will have to deal with starving and panicked members of our community and the proverbial marauding hordes invading our bucolic hamlets as they flee the city.
This prepping how-to guide offers a few new projects that hopefully will help you and yours enhance your self-reliance and survival skills, and in turn teach others to do the same. The more you and those around you are prepared for a disaster, the better the chances of survival are for your loved ones.
How to Make Aspirin
- White willow tree bark
- Dried white willow bark powder
- Medium-sized metal pot and spoon
- Mesh strainer
- Dark glass bottle with a tight-fitting stopper
- Start a fire if in the outdoors or use a camping stove or kitchen stove if one is available.
- Fill pot half full with water.
- Place the willow bark in the water. Use approximately 1 to 2 teaspoons of the bark for every 8 ounces of water.
- Allow the water and bark to simmer in the pot for about 15 minutes.
- Steep the mixture through the strainer as you would with tea for half an hour.
- Store in a dark glass bottle with a tight-fitting stopper until ready to use. The natural remedy should be viable for use for up to two months when stored in a cool dry place.
- This mixture is essentially aspirin and is technically known as salicylic acid. Allow to cool and drink as either a warm or iced tea. Adults can drink up to four cups per day. Children under 16 should not consume this aspirin alternative.
Gastrointestinal irritation and ulcers have sometimes been associated with salicylic compounds. Overdoses of willow bark could cause stomach irritation, kidney inflammation, skin rash, nausea, and ringing in the ears.
How To Use Landscaping To Bolster Home Security
Open Space – Keep 30 to 50 feet of open space along all exterior walls of your home to avoid being surprised by intruders. Bushes tend to allow potential marauders a place to hide. Removing all landscaping from around the home also reduces threats from fire.
Concrete Planters – Skip the expensive and decorative planters and place your edible landscaping and container crops in cinder blocks instead. The concrete blocks provide a decent barrier between the home and intruders and also make it more difficult to drive a vehicle right up to the front door. Creating at least a 1-foot high concrete container wall could also provide cover for members of the family or mutual assistance group if forced to defend the home.
How to Build a Soda Pop Can Solar Heater
The soda pop can solar heater will not warm your entire home but can be used to keep an enclosed porch greenhouse or single room nice and toasty.
- 2X4 boards to built a frame – size of frame is up to you
- 50 aluminum cans
- Plywood to serve as backing to fit frame size
- Screws or nails
- 3/4 of an inch drill press
- Fiberglass sheet to cover the frame
- Black paint – BBQ paint is recommended
- 1 to 1/2 inch drill bit
- Construct a frame for the solar heater by cutting and screwing 2×4 boards onto a piece of plywood to make a sturdy and portable holder. The size of the frame is entirely up to you. We used a 3-foot-wide and 4-foot-tall piece of plywood. A frame large enough to hold five columns of 10 cans is ideal.
- Seal the crease where the 2x4s meet the plywood with caulking to prevent heat from escaping through the tiny cracks.
- Use a drill press and a 3/4” bit to drill a hole into the bottom of the empty soda pop can to allow the warm air to flow freely about the column. Do not drill a hole in the bottom of the cans that are sitting at the base of the frame; air will not be moving beneath these cans, and you do not want any excess holes to misdirect the air flow. Drill a hole on the side near the bottom front of the can to allow air to flow from the intake hose into the column.
- Caulk around the crease in the top of each can to fill the void and to allow the cans to adhere together. Use a liberal amount of caulking because some will be pushed out onto the side of the can as another is placed on top of it to form a column.
- Once the can columns have thoroughly dried, spray paint them black to increase the absorption of the sun’s rays. I used black BBQ paint because of its thick and durable nature.
There should be a space of about two inches between the cans at the top of the column and the wood frame to allow for air flow.
- Drill about a 1 to 1 ½ inch hole in the 2×4 at the top center of the frame.
- Push a piece of hose into the hole to allow the air to flow from the soda pop solar heater to its intended destination. Caulk the hose into place with very little of the hose, about a thumb’s with, visible on the inside. I used a hose from an old shop vac that my husband had out in the garage. It did have a little pinhole in one of its coils, but a piece of duct tape solved that problem to my satisfaction. The hose was black, and I used black permanent marker on my duct tape patch to help attract and absorb the sun’s rays.
- Drill a 1-inch hold onto the back of the plywood near the bottom to use as an inlet hole.
- Caulk the hose into the hole allowing it to go inside the frame but not to dangle down more than a quarter of an inch. If available, use an old vacuum hose attachment with the sweeping collection end facing up to help attract and direct the heat.
- Use caulking to firmly position the columns of cans into their spot in the frame.
- Cut and then caulk a clear piece of plexiglass to fit snugly over the open side of the frame.
- The hose coming out of the top of the frame must be given access to an opening of the space or room to be heated.
- Drill a hole in a piece of the window frame. Another option is to drill a hole in the roof with the frame lying on top of the roof.
- The hole must be caulked or otherwise stuffed with insulation or other firmly packed material to prevent your free heat from the sun from escaping.
If convenient, you can place the soda pop can solar heater on a hand truck or build a holder/carrier out of PVC pipe to make the system portable.
Making multiple soda pop can solar heaters to attach to the barn to protect livestock during extremely cold winters and to help chicks and other newborn critters to survive a chilly spring could also prove advantageous.