WELCOME ALL SUBSCRIBERS to Volume 5 of Author Raymond Dean White's Newsletter.
Announcing the Name Book 3 Contest:
As many of you know I'm hard at work on Book 3 of the Dying Time Trilogy. My tentative working title is The Dying Time Reprised, but I'd like to change that to something better and that's where you come in.
I am holding a Name Book 3 Contest to get your suggestions for both the title and the cover art. The winner gets a character named after them in Book 3. You can choose if you want your character to be a good guy or bad guy. The contest winner will be announced in Volume 6 which will come out at the end of April or beginning of May.
I am also open to suggestion regarding plot development and in particular the best and most just way to get rid of Joseph Scarlatti.
Feel free to email me direct or use the contact link on my website.
New subscribers who have missed previous editions of my Newsletter can find the past volumes on my website www.RaymondDeanWhite.com by clicking the Newsletter link.
After The Dying Time (Book Two in The Dying Time Trilogy) is now available.
The Dying Time: Impact is still available for only $1.99 and thanks to many of you it's getting some great five star reviews.
I'm still working on the CreateSpace (print version) of the books and hope to have them out sometime in April.
And now for more of that Prepper content I've been delivering to you. This is an excerpt from a non-fiction book I'm working on titled:
BUGGING IN: WHAT TO DO WHEN TSHTF and YOU LIVE IN SUBURBIA by Raymond Dean White
Seriously? Why is sanitation the next topic? Because, unless zombies are kicking down your door or some intensely nasty natural disaster is piling on, the most likely way you’ll die in a post-SHTF world is from infection or disease (Typhus, Cholera, Dysentery and Typhoid fever to name but a few). So now that I’ve cleared that up…
You’ve restored power to your home but the problems keep on coming. Now there’s no water flowing from the taps. Even though you filled up every conceivable container before your water supply failed, you cannot afford to waste potential drinking water by using it to flush toilets. You may have a bit of trouble getting this idea though to your wife and children, especially if you have a teenaged daughter, but you really must do so.
This is doubly the case if it looks to you like power and water services may not be restored for several days, or weeks, or ever.
“So where do we go if we can’t use the toilet?”
My wife and I have a sort of port-a-potty we got during her last hospital visit. It’s basically a “chair” with a toilet seat that has a plastic lined bucket suspended under it.
If you don’t have one of those, I suggest a five gallon bucket with a trash bag lining its interior and a toilet seat on top. Throw the TP in with it when you’re done. If you have powdered chlorinated lime, wood stove or fireplace ashes, sawdust, kitty litter, or even some dirt, sprinkle some on top of the waste before you close up the bag to control the odor. Now is when bleach, hydrogen peroxide, rubbing alcohol, and waterless hand cleaners can be a lifesaver. Here’s a link to an excellent sawdust toilet for indoor use.
If all you have to do is number one, use a specific area out in your back yard, hopefully down hill from your pool. That area will soon start to smell, but a good rain will deodorize it. If the odor gets too intense cover it with dirt or ashes.
If the emergency goes on for more than a week you may consider digging both a privy hole and a burning pit. You will use the burning pit for burning any trash you can’t recycle into something useful, as well as for the truly disgusting, yet necessary, job of burning your human waste. Nasty as this is, it’s far more sanitary than letting it pile up, and remember, the garbage men won’t be coming around.
You might want to pick up a copy of “It’s a Disaster,,,and what are YOU going to do about it,” by Bill and Janet Liebsch (which can be downloaded as a PDF document), or the Army’s “Field Manual 21-10 (Field Hygiene and Sanitation)” or download the PDF document “Sanitation and Cleanliness for a Healthy Environment” by the Hesperian Foundation. All of them have great information, but “Sanitation and Cleanliness…” may be the most useful because it contains the best outhouse plans I’ve ever seen.
Here are some links to emergency toilets:
Take a look and you will definitely get the idea. Hopefully you will never have to build an outhouse, but knowing how to do it right could be invaluable.
There are other indoor options such as Incinolets and Composting toilets but most of us in suburbia wouldn’t be able to get permits to install such devices. Such a shame that good ideas can be quashed by bureaucratic idiocy.
Toilet Paper: you can’t have too much, but unless you own a warehouse it’s bulky and takes up a large amount of storage space. The average person uses two rolls per week and, as a rule, women use more than men, so figure out how much you should store accordingly. If you switch over to one of the alternative methods discussed below, TP makes a great barter item.
Eventually, no matter how much TP you have in stock, you will run out. Perhaps by that time you will have access to running water or at least plentiful water again and can use a garden hose to clean yourself off. Old paperback books, phone books, newspapers or any other relatively soft, absorbent paper can be substituted, but when the TP runs out it may be better to bite the bullet just start washing your rear end the way most of the rest of the world does--with your hand and lots of water. I’m only semi-joking here. There are other alternatives to TP.
Mullein leaves are broad and soft. Seaweed works. In the long ago years (ancient Rome) people used damp sponges on sticks (from whence came the expression, “getting the shit end of the stick”). More recently folks used rags and had a 10% bleach solution in a container next to them in the outhouse. Women also used “pee rags” to stretch the supply of TP. A hot water bottle could work to hose off your rear.
I’ve heard that a recycled dish soap bottle makes a good bidet/flush bottle, though the first few uses can be awkward. It sounds like a very good idea though. I’d try it before using my hand. Likewise, spray bottles, though they’d be difficult to maneuver in place.
Hypothetically, the absolute best alternative to TP I’ve seen is the Peri Rinse Bottle. It looks a bit like the dish soap bottle, or a Suave shampoo bottle, but the pop up top has several small holes at the tip to deliver a light spray (use WARM water). Women use these after childbirth to clean the perineum and to irrigate other places that may be very tender after giving birth. They are, in essence, a hand-held bidet. Again, they look like it could take some getting used to. I am seriously going to get a few of these things. They are cheaper than TP and might even make a good barter item.
Anyhow, get your behind thoroughly clean and use a terry cloth hand towel to dry yourself off. If you’ve done a good job and the towel looks clean, simply hang it up to dry for reuse. If you see any “left overs” finish wiping yourself clean with the towel then dip it into the 10% bleach solution you keep in a covered coffee can or other sealed container. Boiling these cloths with a bit of bleach and agitation should be sufficient to clean them. Hang the towel outside to dry in the strong UV sunlight.
If I ever find myself in such dire circumstances (out of TP) I think I’d try a solar shower. The long hose with the nozzle tip would be much easier to manipulate in place. After looking at several models of peri-bottle I am wondering why no one ever thought to use a smaller version of the solar shower type hose and nozzle with one. Perhaps I should patent the idea. :)
If you have water to flush with but are out of TP check out this Biffy Bidet (the hand held model with the warmer looks like an outstanding idea).
In the Middle East and Asia many bathrooms do not stock TP. Instead they have a water tap with a hose (basically a hand held bidet) attached to it, and the toilet is a hole you squat over. These are also relatively common in Europe. World travelers often come to prefer bidet-style toilets over the American style.
While all of the above options use some water the peri-bottle doesn’t use very much.
Update: I got a couple of peri bottles and tried them out. I can state that, at least for me, the peri-bottle doesn’t work very well. I’d still have to use a rag and some bleach to finish up.
Dishes, Pots and Pans
The simplest answer to doing dishes in an emergency scenario where conserving water is your first priority is to use paper plates and disposable plastic utensils. (The environmentalists among you are having a cow right now. Too bad. Better to be environmentally irresponsible for a couple of weeks than to waste water that could save your life).
If it’s winter time and it snows where you live then melt snow for dishwater. Likewise if it’s rainy and you can easily resupply the water used for dishes.
In desert environments people have scrubbed their dishes, pots and pans with sand, wiped them off and said good enough for thousands of years.
If you absolutely have to do dishes with water here is a way to do so without wasting much.
First, scrape the debris off the dishes and pans OR let your dog lick them clean (our Weimaraner eagerly volunteers for this duty).
Next, fill a one pint or smaller container with hot soapy water that you heated on a camp stove, a rocket stove, your wood stove, on a grill in your fireplace, on your outdoor grill, in a solar shower or even over a candle.
Place the container in a corner of your sink (unless, of course, your sink is still full of water you may need to drink) OR in a plastic tub.
Use a wash cloth, or better still, a plastic scrubbie to wash each dish and pan. I am always amazed at the number of dishes I can do with so little hot soapy water--scrubbies hold lots of soapy solution.
Dip each cleaned item in a separate tub (or on the other side of your double sink) that has a couple of inches (no more) of plain water in it. Then give each item a final rinse with a spray bottle. Some folks recommend a weak bleach or vinegar solution here. I don’t think either is necessary unless someone in your family is ill or you suspect the dish rinse water of being contaminated with protozoa.
You can also use the hot water in a solar shower for the rinse. At our mountain cabin (rustic, no running water) I often simply used the solar shower to rinse the dog drool off the dishes -- no soap at all. It worked fine. Mechanical scrubbing action and hot water are all that’s required, unless your dishes are greasy--and the dog can usually take care of that.
Place each dish in a rack, cover with a towel and let air dry, or you can set the dish rack out in direct sunlight as the UV will sterilize the surfaces. A bug free solar food dehydrator would be perfect for this use as it would prevent insects from getting on your clean dishes.
The left over water can be used to wash dirty hands or to water plants.
Baths and Showers
Except for a sponge bath or even better, a spray bottle bath, forget baths. They use too much water.
My wife once told me that the $15 I laid out for a solar shower for our cabin was the best money I’d ever spent. She was right. Nothing beats a hot shower when you’re filthy. Few things are better for morale than being able to get clean.
The only drawback to the Solar Shower is its limited water capacity so instruct your family to take “Navy” showers to conserve the water. Do so by getting wet, shutting off the water, soaping up, then turning the water back on and rinsing off. We could usually both get clean on a single, four gallon, solar shower full.
Unless you have extra tall bathroom walls it is easier to use a solar shower outside. The reason is that you need to hang the shower bag high enough above your head to get good flow through the nozzle. Alternatively, you can shower sitting down. Just don’t try hanging the bag from the shower head in your bathroom--it’s too heavy.
My wife and I took hot outside showers in temperatures that were below freezing without getting too cold. We rigged a tarp as a shower stall to keep the wind off us.
Get a solar shower. Just be sure you get one with a good solid handle that goes all the way across the top as this distributes the weight of the water (much more durable). Your family will love you for doing so if TSHTF. Nitro-Pak has a couple of very good ones, including an insulated model.
Eventually, you will run out of bath soap. Back when dinosaurs roamed the earth, I remember my grandmother making hers from scratch with tallow she rendered from animal fat and lye. It was, in a word, harsh. God forbid any of it getting in your eyes.
There are several excellent books on soapmaking but the best book I’ve found is “Smart Soapmaking” by Anne L. Watson. I like it because it contains several recipes and has simple, easy to follow directions for beginners. She uses handheld electric blenders but if you have a hand crank model (remember mom’s old egg-beaters?) you shouldn’t have a problem. Here’s a link to her book.
Learning how to make your own soap could be a valuable skill when TSHTF because people who didn’t have your foresight will always want soap. Here’s a useful link for soapmakers.
Both Lehmans.com and Amazon.com have a variety of hand cranked kitchen tools that will be useful whenever electrical power fails.
Stock up on tampons and pads and anything else your wife and daughter tells you they might need. Better yet, let them do the stocking up.
I strongly suggest you check out the Ladies Section on the American Prepper’s Network Forum.
In the thread titled Tampon/Pad Self-Sufficiency many women recommend something called a mooncup.
My wife is post-menopausal so we don’t have to prep for this but talk about a potentially great barter item. When she was pre-menopausal my wife says she wishes she’d known about these.
Other women recommend sea sponges or cups other than mooncups.
Cleopatra was rumored to have used sea sponges, but sponges, like anything else of this nature that is to be reused must be thoroughly cleaned and disinfected. Most women use a vinegar solution for this purpose.
“On the rag” as the expression goes, allegedly comes from women using homemade cloth sanitary pads. Many women still do because they find tampons or sponges or cups uncomfortable and prefer soft cotton to disposable pads. Here’s a link about making Homemade pads.
If you’re a woman you should be able to take it from here and you know FAR more about these subjects than I do. If you’re a man who is planning on stocking up on these items for your wife and/or daughter, I’m sure you’re smart enough to talk this over with them first. Women can have INTENSE preferences on this subject. Their bodies...their rules, enough said.
Okay, not enough said, even though this is off-topic. It turns out tampons and disposable sanitary pads make good bandages for bleeding wounds. Just tape them on with duct tape. Tampons have been used to plug bullet wounds until better medical care can be obtained since the First World War. They also make great tinder for starting a fire and can be used to filter debris and muddy stuff from drinking water. They don’t purify the water, just make it more palatable. Sort of a multi-tool. That manly enough for you?
First, get some clothespins, then hang up a clothesline. Strong UV from direct sunlight will sterilize the surface of your laundry, which also smells fresher when hung in the open air. My mother hung clothes outside to dry even in winter. First they froze stiff, but then the action of sunshine and wind dried and de-iced them. You can also hang a clothesline indoors if you simply must. The point is, you don’t have electrical power or propane to waste on a clothes dryer.
A quick note about clothespins, get good ones with strong steel springs. The lightweight things you can find in Walmart or Amazon from China do not work well unless you put two or three times as many pins on the item as would otherwise be required. Even then they fall apart easily. The plastic ones break when it’s cold out or after they’ve been beat up by our intense AZ sunshine. I’ve seen vintage clothespins, made of hardwood and with tough steel springs, on Ebay, but nowhere else. The really old fashioned slotted type (mostly now made new in China) split too easily.
You must assume you won’t have running water, at least for long, if you live in a town or city. (Where will the power come from to pump the water into those towers or reservoirs? And who will be there to flip the switch? Few suburban areas enjoy gravity fed water all the way from source to tap).
Therefore you will wear clothes much longer between cleanings than we do now. Water will have to be hauled from some remote location and hauling water is no fun. Ask any farm boy or girl. Laundry will be done in a wash tub, a bath tub, or even a five gallon bucket. A well cleaned and disinfected toilet plunger will likely be the agitator for your new machine and you will supply the agitation (probably generate some of your own along the way). You will also want a separate tub and a separate plunger for the “rinse” cycle -- especially if you are washing toilet wipe rags. A better plunger designed specifically for laundry is available from Lehman’s and here’s a link.
Laundry detergent is much less necessary than we are led to believe. As old timers knew, it is the mechanical action of agitation and water sloshing that actually cleans the clothing. Soaps like Fels Naptha are useful for removing stains. This doesn’t mean you can’t use your favorite detergent, just that you don’t have to do so to get clean clothes. Whatever detergent or soap you use, make sure it works in cold water and, to be fair, some soap usage may reduce the required agitation time. However, using too much soap, as most of us do when doing laundry, means using much more water for rinsing. After all, you need to get the soap out.
In the final analysis, the less detergent you use the better and you will eventually run out anyhow. There are several recipes for making your own laundry detergent, but virtually all of them depend upon supplies such as washing soda (not baking soda), borax and some actual soap like Fels Naptha or Ivory--supplies that will eventually fail. If you stockpile these basic ingredients you can make your supply of detergent last for a very long time. Here is a link to how to make your own detergent. I only use ¼ cup on very dirty loads and as little as two tablespoons for normal loads.
Hint: If your clothes are wet and muddy, hang them on the line until they dry then beat the mud off of them before washing them. You will use much less water that way.
Do you remember wash boards? They are available at Lehman’s Country Store.
If you choose to get one they will require getting used to, as they can be hard on your knuckles. The ones with the spiral crimp (glass, tin or brass) sound better than the galvanized model with the traditional “V” crimp, as they should be easier on your clothes and hands. The glass model is touted as superior to the others since it won’t corrode, but I’d wonder about breakage. Caution: using one of these things is hard work. My grandmother only used hers when she had to get stains out.
And now (as Monty Python, used to say) for something completely different. I originally intended to place this next topic in the chapter on Security, but on second thought decided it belongs in the discussion of Sanitation.
Disposal of Dead Bodies
This is the topic everyone avoids in every “How to Survive” book I’ve ever read. Only Stephen King’s “The Stand” dealt with it in detail and that was a work of fiction.
In any long term catastrophic calamity there will be hordes of dead bodies. This could be true even in your own neighborhood. If you leave them to rot, your neighborhood will soon smell like an abattoir. According to the World Health Organization, provided the people died of trauma or natural causes it is unlikely their bodies will foster the spread of diseases like cholera or typhus. But if they did die of a disease that illness will spread as insects, rodents, and even stray cats and dogs feed on them and come into contact with you. Flies, fleas, mice and rats are especially good vectors.
So, how do you get rid of dead bodies? There is only one safe answer. Cremation; but that takes so much wood or other fuel it is unlikely you will be able to do it unless you have a large fire already burning out of control nearby--in which case you’ll have other priorities.
That leaves burial. You’d better hope you have access to a backhoe and a large plot of land at least 200 feet from any water source and downwind of your area. If you can find a large amount of lye it will help keep the stench down and speed decomposition. Do not dig the pit so deep you encroach on the water table.
Another alternative, horrible as it may sound, is simply removal. This is the least labor-intensive method, lacking the aforementioned backhoe. First, pick a large building with tight windows and doors in a deserted area--and as people flee cities in search of food and water there WILL be empty buildings and even blocks. Second, after you have thoroughly scavenged the place for anything useful, start transporting dead bodies to that building by any means at your disposal. Wear gloves and dust masks or bandanas when handling the corpses. A good dose of mentholated ointment on your upper lip will ease this difficult task. Third, when you’ve removed all the dead you can, seal the building’s doors with chains and padlocks, and put up a sign warning others what is inside.
If you suspect that outside help may arrive someday, those authorities will want to ID those bodies. So, if you have the time to spare and can stomach doing so, try to write down the names of all the victims you can find ID on.
In any hot, dry climate, the bodies will mummify. In moister, cooler climates they probably won’t but at least they will be out of sight and, if you’ve picked a building downwind and that seals well, odorless.
As an aside, if any of the dead got that way at your hand--let’s say some bad people attacked you and your neighbors, trying to steal your supplies--there are two considerations for dealing with their disposal. First, if you really do believe outside help is on the way, cremate your enemies to destroy as much forensic evidence as possible. In this way the authorities may never be able to link their deaths to you. Even better would be to dissolve their bodies in plastic tubs of hydrofluoric acid a la “Breaking Bad” but unless you’re a chemist that’s probably out.
And now a few words about cannibalism. If you would even entertain such a notion I don’t want to know you.
See you next month--and I would definitely appreciate any feedback you can give me on either Bugging In or my Dying Time Trilogy.
I AM NOT ASSOCIATED WITH ANY OF THESE BUSINESSES IN ANY CAPACITY OTHER THAN THAT OF CUSTOMER. I OFFER THESE RECOMMENDATIONS BASED EITHER ON MY OWN PERSONAL EXPERIENCE WITH THE PRODUCTS OR MY HAVING RESEARCHED THEM EXHAUSTIVELY.