Archive for the ‘prepper’ Category

I am starting my research into Solar Power and I am just generating lots of questions.

How much Juice do I need?

I am surprised how much my total kilowatt hours (kWh) jumps around from month to month.  No surprise the summer months use the most juice at around 600 kWh.

electricbill

Based on the info above I think I should try to make a solar system that generates 200kWh a month.   But how do I break that down by day?   If a kilowatt hour is equal to 1000 watt hours, does that mean I need 4 separate 50 Watt solar panels to equal 200kWh a month?  I read the Wikipedia entry on kilowatt hour but it just made me more confused.

How much will this cost?

The cost might add up to somewhere between $15,000 to $30,000.  The Fed. Gov. helps somewhat, currently 30% of the cost of the system can be used for a tax credit. Arizonagoessolar outlines Arizona incentives.   A post- incentive price tag of $15,000 to $20,000 gets mentioned a lot in the random examples.   This is a lot of money, it is also possible to lease a system, would this be better?

What type of system is better Grid-tie or Off-the grid?

Grid-tied are hooked into the grid.  During the day, the power generated goes into the grid and at night I pull of the grid.  Some companies have “net metering” which is if your system generates more than you use you get paid by the power company.  It looks like SRP (my local company) has a plan like this in place.  SRP also has a incentive plan to help lower the cost of installing the system.

Off the grid systems are not hooked onto the grid. Because you are now dealing with own storage they seem to be a little harder to figure out at first, but I would expect might be worth it. After all, the Grid-tied system makes you still dependent on the electric company system. In my mind a big hunk of a reason to go through all the trouble of building a solar system is to free oneself. Figuring out how to have both grid-tied and off-the-grid systems just overwhelms me.

One site said if your monthly bill is not at $75 or above, than the cost of establishing the systems may not be worth it.   Plus a full solar panel system on top off a house is like a giant ad to the post-APO hungry hordes. Maybe I should just get a back-up emergency solar system, like this one they had at Fry’s electronics…

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I wonder if the 2011 Survival conference is worth going to.

Marks against it

#1 It is in Dallas.

#2 It will be people pitching me a bunch of stuff to buy.  Much of it will seem necessary at the time.  Even putting aside the obvious thoughts on how easy it is to sell fear, it is money I don’t really have to spend.

#3 While the conference and hotel is cheap, the airfare makes it debatable.

Marks for it

#1 I would learn a ton.

#2 It is fun to window shop.

#3 Dallas can’t be all bad.  Sure it might have a tangled history with guns, but so does Tucson, and I can tell you that Tucson is a wonderful town.

Finally a use of duck tape

Posted: March 15, 2011 in prepper, repair
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After 2.5 months of learning how to get ready and doing multiple experiments I came up with a need for  duck tape.  You would think that duck tape is one of the first things to stockpile or at least have around when doing prep work for the end times.  After all, it is one of Uncle Sam’s (or at least FEMA‘s) recommendations.

The garden hose is leaking too close to the faucet.  Need to replace a hole but I don’t have any ducktape in the house.  It surprised me that I had not needed some until now.  Either duck tape is not nearly as necessary as one thinks it is or my experiments have just been at the most basic level.  I suspect the latter.

I joined the American Prepper Network’s online forum.  A “prepper” is a person who spends time and money on “prepping” for the end of the world as we know it (commonly referred to in these communities as TEOTWAWKI.)   On a side note, a lot of acronyms  float around this community, orginally I figured this might be the heavy ex-military influence on this community, but now I think it is because they write a lot of stuff down and acronyms are easier.

I used the image below as my icon.

I like how this image sums up the loneliness someone will be after society crumbles.  It comes from the comic strip Garfield minus Garfield, a site “dedicated to removing Garfield from the Garfield comic strips in order to reveal the existential angst of a certain young Mr. Jon Arbuckle. It is a journey deep into the mind of an isolated young everyman as he fights a losing battle against loneliness and depression in a quiet American suburb.”

From what I have seen so far, the community of people preparing for civilization’s curtains tend to be a conservative bunch. You know, lots of people with family values (see every Post-APO movie ever to see the importance of keeping hope alive), ex-military types, apostles, doomsayers and pro-gun lobbyists.

Not they are a bad bunch, in fact if the end of the world happens there is no one else I would better like to hang out with.  See Rule 1: Get along with your neighbors.

I suspect I might swing a little more left than most in the group of preppers.   They speak often of looking for “like-minded” people.  My guess is they have grown tired of people thinking they are “tinfoil hat wearing fanatics.”    If hanging out with the weirdos of the Phoenix arts community has taught me one thing, it is that no one, especially weirdos, likes to have someone laugh at them for being a weirdo.  And the more one thinks differently than mainstream society the more one wants to find people who think like themselves.

They tend to look for “like-minded people,” a term you hear a lot among them.  And who is to blame them? Aren’t we all in our own crazy way?

One of the rules or expressions among the preppers is “eat what you store and store what you eat.” Another sentiment is “practice is better than just reading,” which I totally agree with. With those two ideas in mind the Survival Mom challenges her readers to a monthly challenge or skill. January’s was to bake a loaf of bread from scratch.  

Last night I was talking with my old friend “J” who is quite the foodie, and has been trying all sorts of delicious baking experiments in the last couple of years.  She commented on how she had enjoyed my solar oven posts  because she is going to build a solar oven in order to bake bread in, which I think is awesome.  I told her about the Survival Mom’s challenge because there are (currently) 71 responses to her challenge and some of them would be quite useful for my friends goal.

I did not have a lot of success with my experiments over the weekend. On Saturday I dug a shallow bath-tub size hole, put six handfuls of weeds in the hole, and covered it with clear plastic. This was my first attempt at a solar still.

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Water did collect on the bottom of the plastic, but did not drop into the collection device.  On the next attempt, I am going to put more weeds in the hole, and try to tap the plastic before I remove it. 

I was also unsuccessful at rubbing two sticks together to start a fire. I think I failed for two reasons. One: I was feeling very lazy having just dug the hole for the solar still and only tried for like 3 minutes. Second: My drill was pine. The drill has to be harder than the fireboard.  So I am going to keep my eye out for a good hard drill.

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I did however gather or make all the other necessary ingredients  for my second attempt: different types of tinder, a fireboard, and a coal catcher.

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The weekend was not a total wash, I was succesful in one thing. I successfully melted wax in the solar oven. I figure this is a good way to recycle the nubs of used candles to make new candles.

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Books are heavy. Libraries are worth having. At some point after society breaks down I will probably most have likely to wander at some point and carry all of my shit.  Again books are heavy. To be willing to sacrifice the energy needed to carry it’s weight the book better include some useful knowledge and a lot of it.

From my current bookshelf I only think I got two books that could meet that criteria. One because it is lightweight. One because of the content per ounce.

First, is the “Marine Battle Skills Training Handbook: Individual Combat Basic Tasks”. Best book to have in a pinch. Hands down. At some point one better be prepared to kill after the apocalypse. Just don’t practice the skills too late.

Second is by Paul Tawrell, Camping and Wilderness Survival. It is a bit thick and heavy, when considering whether it is worth its weight in water or dried beans. But it has how to trap an animal for every sort of climate on planet earth. Which is useful , because one does not know what the weather will be like after millions have died. It could be colder or maybe hotter. My guess is on colder.

After extensive internet searching it looks like the next book I should study is Emergency: This Book Will Save Your life to pick up some skills. Even though the author, Neil Strauss is seen as a sleazeball by some because of his other books of how to pick up some skills.

Also recommended by friends is Reader’s Digest: Back to Basics, which I have their construction book and I like it.  Very clear and straight.  This looks like a good solid book.

Above: Not a useful book for the Apocalypse.