There is some new information here in spite of this newsletter looking like the last two so please read it all.
I know most of you have already done this buy just in case any of you haven't already downloaded my FREE eBOOK I'm including a link for those of you who have already signed up for my newsletter to be able to download your free copy of Bugging In: What To Do When TSHTF and You Live In Suburbia. While many of you have read sample chapters of this book in my Dying Time Newsletter the entire book has been edited, revised and updated to reflect my current research into new and better products as well as my own experiences using them.It comes complete with active links to products, books and articles as well as practical, common sense, specific advise on how to be prepared for emergency situations. Whether you are a full-fledged Prepper living in the suburbs or someone who wants to be ready for the next hurricane, ice storm, tornado or other localized disaster, this book tells you how to provide for and protect your family.
Anyhow, get your FREE eBOOK by clicking the link below.
If you're one those Preppers whose family thinks you're a tad "off" because you believe in being prepared this is the book for you. More specifically, it's a great book to give them since it's full of down to Earth information they could use to keep themselves relatively secure in an emergency.
While this ebook is free to you, since you are a subscriber, it only costs anyone else you recommend it to 0.99 on Amazon, Smashwords and elsewhere. Or you could just direct them to my website where they can sign up for my newsletter and get it for free.
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Personal Update: My wife is back in the hospital for the seventh time in the past seven months. This time she's getting a feeding tube installed to combat the persistent nausea that has cost her one third of her body weight. Since I spend virtually all of my time with her I am not getting any writing done. I would greatly appreciate your prayers for her full recovery.
In the meantime I hope you'll give my latest books a try. And if you do, don't be shy. Tell me what you think about them and post reviews on Amazon and GoodReads, okay? The reason these books are being released is because I'd already written them years ago so all I had to do was a bit of updating and formatting to get them on Amazon.
The first book in The War Corps series, a terrorist thriller titled Tap Doubt: Your Next Drink of Water Could Kill you is available on Amazon now. The second book in that series, American Jihad, will be released in a month or two.
I've resumed editing the second book in the War Corps series, titled American Jihad so, barring more medical problems, it will be available in April or May.
Given the fact that it's spring I really wanted to write an article on gardening but as I mentioned above life has intervened. Maybe next month.
Composting Toilets and Outhouses
Whether you live in town and are hooked up to a municipal sewage system, or out in the country with a septic system you need to have a backup plan for what to do in emergency situations when your normal supply of running water isn’t flowing. If you are fortunate enough to live near a pond, lake, creek river or other surface water supply you can haul water to your toilet and keep it going for awhile but eventually, if power and running water is off long enough, the sewer system will back up or your septic tank will need to be pumped out. Besides, if your emergency occurs during the depths of winter chopping through ice to get to water will be a chore best avoided.
There are all kinds of short term options available to keep things sanitary, ranging from cat holes or poop tubes to toilet buckets, latrine trenches or outhouses. But by far the best option, especially for a long term emergency is a Composting toilet.
My wife and I used an outhouse at our Colorado mountain property for years with no sanitation problems. We kept a bag of lime and a bucket of wood stove ashes in the outhouse and after every use we’d sprinkle some of each down the hole. No odor, even on hot days. We also kept the odor down by peeing in the woods most of the time. Still, anytime the temps were below freezing trips to the outhouse were uncomfortable to say the least. But I digress.
If your power is off and/or your water isn’t running for some other reason you still have to dispose of bodily wastes in a sanitary fashion. Otherwise you or your family will end up dying from dysentery, cholera or any number of other fun diseases. Or you could get parasitic worms and simply wish you were dead. All of this is especially true if you live in suburbia and plan on riding out the emergency in your home. After all, even if you are being responsible and properly disposing of your wastes, your neighbors may not be. And in a true crap hits the fan situation there could be dead bodies polluting your local water supply adding such delights as typhoid fever to your survival woes.
So sanitation is a MUST and, as I said previously, the best solution is a composting toilet. Why? Because it requires no running water and turns your waste into fertilizer for your garden. If you can install one legally—see your local ordinances—it will even cut down on your water bill. If you live in the country or off grid, even better as you’ll have fewer regulatory obstacles to deal with.
Some folks have replaced their flush toilets with Composting toilets in their RV’s or sailing ships. It is far easier to occasionally empty a composter than it is to deal with hooking and unhooking all the lines to pump out your onboard holding tanks. And let’s not even get into the hassles of cleaning out stinking waste lines.
A word of warning. Good quality composting toilets are not cheap. Even the smaller units intended for RV’s and boats run upwards of $800. Units for full-sized homes capable of dealing with a family of four (for instance) cost$1600 to $2600.
If that hasn’t scared you off, you might ask how do composting toilets work? Waste, even solid waste, is mostly water (around 90%) so there are three things any composting toilet must do to be effective.
First, it must allow the liquid in the waste to evaporate—without odor.
Second, it must allow the waste and TP to decompose quickly while venting any odor outside.
Third, it must be designed such that the composted waste is both safe and easy to handle and dispose of.
Here’s a quick tutorial on how composting toilets work.
Envirolet is another good company with time tested products. Their Waterless Self-Contained unit is great for homes built on slabs or for bathrooms with little or no space below (basement or crawl space) for a remote composting unit.
Phoenix Composting Toilets is another company with a good reputation. None of their toilets will work if your home is built on a slab. They are designed for remote composting and thus require a basement or crawlspace.
Now, aside from some basic carpentry skills—basically just enough knowledge to build a big box with a bench seat and a door—the only thing you need is the ability to dig a hole for the box to cover. The box doesn’t even have to be airtight and, in fact, it’s better if it isn’t—since a bit of breeze flowing through will keep any smell small. The aforementioned wood stove ash and lime will not only limit the stink but will do a decent job of discouraging flies as well.
I always built two-holers, not that my wife and I ever shared the outhouse at the same time, but we could have done so if we needed to.
I roofed mine with 30-pound felt paper (two layers) and topped that with 90-pound mineral paper (aka roll roofing). Our original outhouse had door hinges made from pieces of cut tire tread and they worked well enough I didn’t replace them. But when I built a new one I hung the door with metal hinges. To secure the door, a simple piece of wood that twisted sideways across the sill was adequate to keep the door from swinging open. A piece of waxed floss or string attached to one end of that wood and threaded through a hole to the inside the outhouse kept a guy from getting locked in, which actually happened to me once.
I was sitting in the outhouse during a particularly violent mountain thunderstorm when I realized there was NO PAPER! I yelled down the hill to my wife, who was comfortably ensconced in our cabin and she, being a true sweetheart, popped open an umbrella and brought me some.
Then without her even thinking about it she latched the door closed as she left. Force of habit, pure and simple. By this time the thunder was so loud she couldn’t hear me yelling. (She swore she didn’t do it on purpose—all the while rolling on the floor laughing about it).
Anyhow, out came my pocketknife, which barely fit between the door and the jamb and, after several tries, I was able to raise the latch and escape. As soon as the rain let up I bored a hole and installed the latch string.
A can of Raid flying insect killer can also come in handy on occasion.
Now, if you do decide to build an outhouse the most important tools you will need (along with a hammer, saw, tape measure, carpenter’s pencil, drill, screwdriver and square) are a level and a plumb bob. Trust me, you don’t want your outhouse to be out of level as you don’t want to be fighting gravity while taking a sit down. And if your walls aren’t plumb your door won’t hang right and you’ll end up cursing yourself as you fix the problem.
A toilet seat cut out of one or two inch Styrofoam will be greatly increase your comfort level on cold days.
Sawhorses and power tools will make your job faster and easier.
I made my outhouses four feet wide, three feet deep and seven feet tall at the high point of a shed style sloping roof. I always dug the hole at least three feet deep and went four feet down when rocks permitted it.
It is important to site your outhouse on a level spot that is as far away from any water source as you can manage, since you really don't want to deal with contaminated water, diseases and intestinal parasites.
Final advice: when all is said and done, if you can afford a composting toilet, that’s the way to go.
That's it for this month folks. Hopefully my wife will heal up and I will be able to get back to writing next month.