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Old 12-02-2013, 09:30 AM
Dakotan Dakotan is offline
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Default WINTER Darkness - Batteries & Light in extreme cold climates



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I'm wondering how many other Northerners we have here, who need to be able to cope with VERY VERY few light hours in the winter in combo with extreme cold temps (below freezing for months).

Are there any other in this forum who are working to resolve the "what will you do without electricity for lights" and other such issues?

Everyone figures they can use batteries, etc. But in my region light bulbs & batteries don't last even one winter due to extreme temps blowing them ... let alone batteries being drained in days!

So in extreme cold we have EXTREME survivalist issues. But most forums doesn't seem to divide up the needs of regions. Someone in Swamp country has different needs than someone in the Rockies or someone in the deserts fo the southwest or the high plains.

We can't depend on solar here because we don't get enough sun (even during the day). It can "supplement" maybe.

Gasoline isn't going to be readily available on the plains... or any where else if SHTF. Nor is lamp oils or karosene. Those such mass produced products will be scarce (and so will batteries). So what are people doing to prep for such long term problems?

A Gas powered generator works for a short term (until you run out of gas). Heat's not an issue since wood stoves are plausible (until the trees are all cut down). Perhaps one winter's worth in this region of prairie, if EVERYONE is heating with wood.

So I'm just curious how far out people are thinking when they are stockpiling and prepping?

I think of my food storage prepping & how dependant I am on canning jars (another mass produced product) and canning lids. I am lucky, in that I'm across the street from a potter who knows "old school" pottery making & can make crocks. But I never see anyone talking about CROCK canning or Root cellar storage as the PRIMARY storage format. Few speak about the varieties of veggies that WON"T store worth a hoot! (some cabbage, some apples, some pears, some carrots, some other root crops).. variety Matters & yet few nurseries actually give us the list of which ones have a old school shelf life for root cellar storage.

I'm wondering how many other Northerners we have here, who need to be able to cope with VERY VERY few light hours in the winter in combo with extreme cold temps (below freezing for months).

I've found two sites that seem to give a bit of help in varieties of seeds they carry that have "Storage life".

Just throwing this out there! Hope to talk with other ladies who may be addressing the storage aspects and PRODUCTION issues as well as working on their household winter-issues already.

I live in zone 4 so I'm in northern plains country. Far different than issues in southern plains or central plains (easter Colorado, Kansas, etc).

Looking forward to hearing back from you all.

And perhaps creating some forums relating to the REGIONAL issues...so people can really focus on their regional struggles.
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Old 12-02-2013, 10:45 AM
GrannyBertie GrannyBertie is offline
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I had to smile when reading your posting, Dakota. You sound very "city" trying out the wilderness seasons for the first time. It can be a difficult transition for some.

I think a major problem with many people are the romantic notions they hold about living off grid. Those notions don't quite jive with the harsh realities and the recognition that most people have not been trained for off grid living.

First of all, you must understand that you will require a trip to town for supplies. Some do this once a month, some every six months, some once a year. If you are relying on batteries, kerosene, or even grain stores, you will be going to town. You will also discover after a few months that electricity grids are not as expensive and awful as you might have thought, especially when you discover how much you spend on batteries and kerosene and all the buggar-bears associated with using them.

The best mix is both grid and backup battery and kerosene systems.

The other choice is a yurt.

In Tibet we discovered those people were completely off grid, their lighting was yak butter candles. The smell would be off putting to most Americans. As well, their main food source were the yaks.

Candles put an oily substance in the air, not good for those with breathing problems. Batteries and kerosene, well, get used to the fact you will be going to town for those.
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Old 12-02-2013, 11:15 AM
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I grew up in the Yukon. Although we did have electricity, etc., we walked to and returned from school in the dark for several months every year. On weekends, I saw 'daylight' rarely, perhaps a couple of hours of 'twilight' most of the winter. In summer however my mother covered our bedroom windows with layers of aluminum foil to keep out the light - since sunlight was around for 23 or so hours a day. I guess I got used to doing a lot of things in the dark. Electricity was expensive in the Yukon and my father was very big on using as little of it as possible so even in the evenings, few lights were allowed on. I guess I got used to that. Even today, I rarely put on the lights in the evening, and if I do, it is only to accomplish a specific task and then they go out. And, I think I am somewhat 'solar powered' now (as I often describe my dog being as well - he flops when the sun goes down). So, if there is not much light, I suspect my body begins to partially 'hibernate'. Doesn't bother me in the least so I don't think that having a light source or not, no matter where I am, will be much of an issue for me if the candles, batteries, kerosene, lamp oil, etc. run out some day. Alternative heat sources though are of tantamount importance.
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Old 12-02-2013, 11:38 AM
GrannyBertie GrannyBertie is offline
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Something unexpected we discovered when using kerosene lamps were two significant things. First they will warm a very cold room and secondly the lamps are a very gentle light.

They are such a gentle light, when we went back on grid using electric lights, the electric lights hurt our eyes and we were more aware of the noises associated with electric items in our home.

It made me remember a study at the University of the Lincoln family and Mrs. Lincoln developing eye problems from electric lights. As well, our Jewish family members also stated the only improvement to their health during the horrors of WWII was to their eyes. Their vision improved and many were able to give up wearing glasses only to find that something in modern living once again tampered with their eyes. Electricity perhaps??

Do you recall a sunlit room ever hurting your eyes when emerging from the long nights, Teslin? I know very bright sunlight is hard on the eyes but your posting and experiences are something we don't experience here in Texas and I'm wondering what you recall of the adjustments during those times.

Please tell us more of your experiences. It's very interesting.
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Old 12-02-2013, 12:14 PM
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Originally Posted by Dakotan View Post
I think of my food storage prepping & how dependant I am on canning jars (another mass produced product) and canning lids. I am lucky, in that I'm across the street from a potter who knows "old school" pottery making & can make crocks. But I never see anyone talking about CROCK canning or Root cellar storage as the PRIMARY storage format. Few speak about the varieties of veggies that WON"T store worth a hoot! (some cabbage, some apples, some pears, some carrots, some other root crops).. variety Matters & yet few nurseries actually give us the list of which ones have a old school shelf life for root cellar storage.
I can't really help with the cold thing.

A few things about crocks for food preservation. They have to be glazed to hold food. This is not hard. The potter just has to paint watery slip on the inside after the pot dries but before it's fired. This is sometimes done with chemicals or ground glass/sand added.

In addition pottery CAN NOT be pressure canned. It will bust. It can be waterbath canned or used for jelly/jam. You can use wax (beeswax?) or paraffin.

Crocks can be used for brining food. Things like sauerkraut, pickling, vinegar making, etc

I found a few links about "canning in crocks". http://www.granny-miller.com/how-to-crock-or-pot-meat/ I can admit that I've eaten sausage done this way. When the old folks slaughtered 5 pigs at once, we made sausage & covered them in lard. (This was in the late 1980's.) This is no longer recommended by the USDA so *blah blah Warning Blah blah at your own risk*.

I also found this... http://vikingfoodguy.com/wordpress/p...he-viking-age/
I had never heard of preserving food in soured whey! I am going to look into that! (Sadly most of my whey ends up in the compost or down the toilet. Hot Whey is really good for scrubbing toilets & sinks with.)
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Old 12-02-2013, 01:16 PM
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So I'm just curious how far out people are thinking when they are stockpiling and prepping?
It's so weird you mention root cellar. Just last week I asked DH to dig a root cellar next year when the ground thaws

Regarding how far out the prepping goes -
- There is probably enough wood cut for one winter. However, we use it to supplement our propane heat which leads me to.....
- Propane lasts forever. We have a gasoline generator, but next up is another propane tank and a propane fed generator. I'm also pricing propane freezers.
- DH is almost done with another storage building. Its lighting will be solar. Solar is way too expensive to do everything I want. Hence it will just be a backup to some things.
- I'm transitioning my garden from mostly annuals to perennials.
- The pump for our well is hard wired into the electrical panel. I want a hand pump as backup.

We're zone 5 FWIW.
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Old 12-02-2013, 02:43 PM
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Do you recall a sunlit room ever hurting your eyes when emerging from the long nights, Teslin? I know very bright sunlight is hard on the eyes but your posting and experiences are something we don't experience here in Texas and I'm wondering what you recall of the adjustments during those times.

Please tell us more of your experiences. It's very interesting.
Yes, my eyes are very light sensitive. Some days I am happy to wear sunglasses even indoors. However, I am not sure if that is a result of having spent 18 years in the very far north (and for those of you who don't know where the Yukon is, it is right next door to Alaska), though it may well be.

When the sun is bright up there in summer, or there is a glint of sun in late winter/early spring flashing off white snow, one definitely does need sunglasses. Snow blindness is a real thing, as all Eskimos/Inuit know (I am not one and frankly, there are no Eskimos/Inuit native to the Yukon - they are all west or east in Alaska and the 'northwest territories'). They use, even today I am sure, 'snow goggles' - traditionally fashioned from bone but which can be easily also made from bark (not much of that north of the Arctic Circle), carved from wood (again, scarce way up north) or animal hide (available), or even from a scarf with slits cut in it to protect the eyes from the intense light, much as a welder wears a mask with slits to protect his eyes. As kids, if we didn't have sunglasses, we would wrap scarves around our faces, leaving a narrow eye slit, not just to protect from the cold and sometimes biting wind, but to shield our eyes.

My eyes are also very quickly 'dark adapt', which may be due to my northern 'exposure' I suppose. Where there are few to no streetlights or other light 'interferences', one can see a lot more when it is dark out surprisingly. When I worked up north as a flight service specialist cum weather technologist (in both the eastern and western arctic), before every weather report we had to prepare, we had to turn off all lights for a while to dark adapt, or put on dark adapt goggles - which had a very, very dark lens - so we could see the weather conditions and instruments outside properly.

I guess I never really thought about the 'adjustments' we made living up north that much, other than I know I feel very lucky now to have had those experiences back in the day, because I think it has made me a better 'problem solver' perhaps, more adaptive than I ever would probably have been had I just grown up in a city in the relative south. If you were cold, you figured out a way to get warmer - with extra 'clothing' or with a new heat source of some kind. If you couldn't see because of brightness, you shielded your eyes somehow. If the sun was too bright in the middle of summer, you covered the windows to keep it at bay. If you were hungry, you learned what the land had to offer to help you out, and how to access it and cook it and store it. If you were tired, you built a shelter of some kind to sleep in. Etc. etc. etc. Even today, I probably don't know that much (technically speaking) really .. I just trust myself to 'wing it' in most, if not all situations. And I think having that confidence that 'you can do it' has carried me a long way in life. And, you also learned that, especially as you got older, that an 'ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure', and that 'being prepared' should not just be a girl scout (girl guide in Canadian-speak) motto.

My parents probably influenced me a lot too. My father was a lawyer from Wales, with only a single arm he could use,
and my mother was a Smith-educated (born in Cinncinati) 'housewife'. They took to the north with gusto (we moved there from Toronto when I was 12) and my mother used to dye wool using native plants, spin it and then weave or knit it (often with our Siberian husky's shed fur) into sweaters for us. We kids helped her pick wild berries and rose hips. My father was suddenly big on hunting (and fishing) so I learned to shoot rabbits and grouse (and clean them and cook them). He went moose hunting in the fall and we ate moose and rabbit much of the year. Later I shot my own moose and knew what to do with it. He built us dogsleds, and made snowshoes for everyone in the family. My mother also learned to tan the hides the traditional way and then made leather articles of clothing for us - I still have my father's jacket and it still smells of campfire smoke. Our house was always, it seems in retrospect, full of 'projects' of some sort or another. I guess a child raised like that learns both by teaching and just by being around when these things are going on. I imagine that kids raised on farms or just in rural settings have similar advantages.
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Old 12-02-2013, 03:09 PM
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Dakotan,
What do you have to do after dark, that can't be done earlier? Our bodies were made diurnal for a reason - I believe that in areas of long dark/ long light phases like the far north, it helps our bodies immunity to adjust our sleep patterns accordingly. It takes some of us longer to adjust to daylight savings time, especially in the fall, for instance.

Kerosine has the advantage of longer storage life, and outdoor kero lanterns can be used for any dark-time chores - early/late milkings for instance. Lamp oil lasts a long time too. Propane or nat gas shouldn't be a problem in your area, given the Bakken... so Road Warrette's ideas should work for you too. Why rough it until it's absolutely necessary? Compare the costs in your area of electric, propane and nat gas and see which combination will work for you. Batteries and battery operated items are short-term solutions for light/power everywhere; not everyday reliance.
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Old 12-02-2013, 05:20 PM
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Originally Posted by Dakotan View Post
I'm wondering how many other Northerners we have here, who need to be able to cope with VERY VERY few light hours in the winter in combo with extreme cold temps (below freezing for months).

Are there any other in this forum who are working to resolve the "what will you do without electricity for lights" and other such issues?

Everyone figures they can use batteries, etc. But in my region light bulbs & batteries don't last even one winter due to extreme temps blowing them ... let alone batteries being drained in days!

So in extreme cold we have EXTREME survivalist issues. But most forums doesn't seem to divide up the needs of regions. Someone in Swamp country has different needs than someone in the Rockies or someone in the deserts fo the southwest or the high plains.

We can't depend on solar here because we don't get enough sun (even during the day). It can "supplement" maybe.

Gasoline isn't going to be readily available on the plains... or any where else if SHTF. Nor is lamp oils or karosene. Those such mass produced products will be scarce (and so will batteries). So what are people doing to prep for such long term problems?

A Gas powered generator works for a short term (until you run out of gas). Heat's not an issue since wood stoves are plausible (until the trees are all cut down). Perhaps one winter's worth in this region of prairie, if EVERYONE is heating with wood.

So I'm just curious how far out people are thinking when they are stockpiling and prepping?

I think of my food storage prepping & how dependant I am on canning jars (another mass produced product) and canning lids. I am lucky, in that I'm across the street from a potter who knows "old school" pottery making & can make crocks. But I never see anyone talking about CROCK canning or Root cellar storage as the PRIMARY storage format. Few speak about the varieties of veggies that WON"T store worth a hoot! (some cabbage, some apples, some pears, some carrots, some other root crops).. variety Matters & yet few nurseries actually give us the list of which ones have a old school shelf life for root cellar storage.

I'm wondering how many other Northerners we have here, who need to be able to cope with VERY VERY few light hours in the winter in combo with extreme cold temps (below freezing for months).

I've found two sites that seem to give a bit of help in varieties of seeds they carry that have "Storage life".

Just throwing this out there! Hope to talk with other ladies who may be addressing the storage aspects and PRODUCTION issues as well as working on their household winter-issues already.

I live in zone 4 so I'm in northern plains country. Far different than issues in southern plains or central plains (easter Colorado, Kansas, etc).

Looking forward to hearing back from you all.

And perhaps creating some forums relating to the REGIONAL issues...so people can really focus on their regional struggles.
I do have a problem with the short days. It takes a long time to adjust. Thankfully, the shortest day of the year will be here soon, and the days will start to get longer again.

It is shocking that at noon we only have 4 hours till sunset. I adjust by getting up before it's light, have my coffee and get dressed by dawn, and get my chores done quickly in the morning. This makes the rest of the day seem longer. In the evening, the early sunset helps my birds want to get inside earlier, so I don't have to wait around while they decide if they're ready for bed.

I also get tired much earlier at night. When I'm ready to go to bed at 8pm I know my body has fully adjusted.

The rest of the questions are better suited to someone who lives off grid. I'm not really prepping to live a primitive lifestyle. Would at least like to maintain late 1800's early 1900's I think there will always be markets and products, perhaps with interruptions in the supply chain. I like to keep a good stock of the things I use so that I can weather such interruptions.

I am prepared for power outages with oil lamps, candles, battery-powered flashlights, and some solar torches. We have a woodstove that can heat the whole house. We've got between 1 and 2 cords of wood dry and ready if we need it. Our propane tank is huge and gets topped off twice a year. We could probably survive one winter without electric, but it would be rough.

Growing and preserving fruits and veggies is what we do during the summer. Besides canning, I freeze alot of stuff, and below zero weather is perfect for keeping frozen goods. The closest thing I have to a root cellar is my basement, where just now I am keeping three bushels of apples. They have been staying pretty good for over a month now, but I don't think our basement is as cold as a root cellar would be.

I think food preservation would be more difficult in the south than up north. But then I am one of them yankee girls I suppose
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Old 12-03-2013, 08:56 PM
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As far as cold, I keep a few blankets around and some thick sweaters and sweatshirts. I like having the blankets to layer in case of a power outage. As far as lights, I have a variety of candles and flashlights, just in case. Make sure you have enough matches stocked up for your candles, and batteries for your flashlights, if that's what you're planning on doing for light. I also keep some canned food on hand that can be eaten without cooking, just in case.

Oh, and don't forget your basic winter clothing. I know some people take that sort of thing for granted, but one should have at least one coat that is good for very cold temperatures, as in -20 or below. Yes, that is 20 below 0. Have some good wool socks, a nice lined pair of gloves, extra hats and scarves, and winter boots. I live in Minnesota. The lowest temperature ever recorded is -60 and that was in 1996. It's not common, but it's possible. We dress in layers during the winter whether that is in style or not.

If you can get a below 0-rated sleeping bag, that could be very useful during a power outage also, or at least for a winter car emergency kit.
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Old 12-05-2013, 09:00 PM
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Originally Posted by Dakotan View Post
I'm wondering how many other Northerners we have here, who need to be able to cope with VERY VERY few light hours in the winter in combo with extreme cold temps (below freezing for months).

Are there any other in this forum who are working to resolve the "what will you do without electricity for lights" and other such issues?

Everyone figures they can use batteries, etc. But in my region light bulbs & batteries don't last even one winter due to extreme temps blowing them ... let alone batteries being drained in days!

So in extreme cold we have EXTREME survivalist issues. But most forums doesn't seem to divide up the needs of regions. Someone in Swamp country has different needs than someone in the Rockies or someone in the deserts fo the southwest or the high plains.

We can't depend on solar here because we don't get enough sun (even during the day). It can "supplement" maybe.

Gasoline isn't going to be readily available on the plains... or any where else if SHTF. Nor is lamp oils or karosene. Those such mass produced products will be scarce (and so will batteries). So what are people doing to prep for such long term problems?

A Gas powered generator works for a short term (until you run out of gas). Heat's not an issue since wood stoves are plausible (until the trees are all cut down). Perhaps one winter's worth in this region of prairie, if EVERYONE is heating with wood.

So I'm just curious how far out people are thinking when they are stockpiling and prepping?

I think of my food storage prepping & how dependant I am on canning jars (another mass produced product) and canning lids. I am lucky, in that I'm across the street from a potter who knows "old school" pottery making & can make crocks. But I never see anyone talking about CROCK canning or Root cellar storage as the PRIMARY storage format. Few speak about the varieties of veggies that WON"T store worth a hoot! (some cabbage, some apples, some pears, some carrots, some other root crops).. variety Matters & yet few nurseries actually give us the list of which ones have a old school shelf life for root cellar storage.

I'm wondering how many other Northerners we have here, who need to be able to cope with VERY VERY few light hours in the winter in combo with extreme cold temps (below freezing for months).

I've found two sites that seem to give a bit of help in varieties of seeds they carry that have "Storage life".

Just throwing this out there! Hope to talk with other ladies who may be addressing the storage aspects and PRODUCTION issues as well as working on their household winter-issues already.

I live in zone 4 so I'm in northern plains country. Far different than issues in southern plains or central plains (easter Colorado, Kansas, etc).

Looking forward to hearing back from you all.

And perhaps creating some forums relating to the REGIONAL issues...so people can really focus on their regional struggles.
I'm from Wisconsin and am in a zone 4 with zone 5 on my south facing ridges.

I use solar and wind--solar can give you plenty of electricity for light even on some of the shortest days of the year. Now, if you're looking to run your washer, dryer, radio, toaster, AND lights, you would probably have a problem, but lights especially the LED lights are not a problem.

Having said that, I like it dark, so lighting is way down the list of priorities. The only time I use it is if something is damaged at night and I need to fix it right then.

I make my own tallow and beeswax fuel so in emergencies I can burn that for light. Other than that I do use the electricity created by my off grid system.

The root cellar, meat locker and springhouse are my primary food storage technics. As I often say, I am a vegetarian in the summer and a carnivore in the winter because that is the best way to store food. As a general rule--though not 100%--the longer it takes for the fruit or veggie to mature to harvest, the longer it stores in the cellar. Like early apples usually don't store worth a hoot, but the later apples can last until early April.

Still, if society were to totally break down (something I don't know will happen), we would have to eat a bit more seasonally, roots, cabbages, some fruits and meat in the winter, greens, stalks and some other fruits in the summer.

I do can but for convenience sake. If I've been out during lambing time for 36 hours straight and I'm cold, tired, and a wee bit grumpy I like to open a jar of something, heat it, eat it and pass out. By canning something it is pre-cooked and therefor easy and fast. It's also nice for when friends drop by unexpectantly at dinner time. I can just grab a few jars, dump them together and sit a few extra plates around the table. But canning is not my first choice in food storage. When I am harvesting food I often just don't have time to can, I need to get it in fast so I can move onto the next crop that is maturing as I'm working on the last crop. The root cellar is easier up front but more time consuming when it comes time to cook it for eating.
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Old 12-09-2013, 04:29 PM
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Quote:
I had to smile when reading your posting, Dakota. You sound very "city" trying out the wilderness seasons for the first time. It can be a difficult transition for some.

I think a major problem with many people are the romantic notions they hold about living off grid. Those notions don't quite jive with the harsh realities and the recognition that most people have not been trained for off grid living.

First of all, you must understand that you will require a trip to town for supplies. Some do this once a month, some every six months, some once a year. If you are relying on batteries, kerosene, or even grain stores, you will be going to town. You will also discover after a few months that electricity grids are not as expensive and awful as you might have thought, especially when you discover how much you spend on batteries and kerosene and all the buggar-bears associated with using them.

The best mix is both grid and backup battery and kerosene systems.

The other choice is a yurt.

In Tibet we discovered those people were completely off grid, their lighting was yak butter candles. The smell would be off putting to most Americans. As well, their main food source were the yaks.

Candles put an oily substance in the air, not good for those with breathing problems. Batteries and kerosene, well, get used to the fact you will be going to town for those.

Read more at https://www.survivalistboards.com/sho...edW3CCmMdcW.99
Sorry but I'm not CITY in any way. Have lived rural for over 45 years with only small earliest life being a mix of rural and suburban. I posted not out of NEED for info, but rather I was trying to get people to think. For example few think about toilet needs in winter and the fact is septic tanks aren't a end-all solution if SHTF since it requires it being pumped out every three years or so. Nor is the idea of using anti-bacterial soaps as they kill septic tank eco-systems in a very short time. Nor do most urbanized, modern day convenience people who are prepping think or talk about winter toilet use & COLD outhouse seats or chamber pots.

I live in an 1840s converted "hotel" which was originally a stage coach stop that was added onto so it could function as a prairie hotel. Its OLD school as in before electricity, etc. No "south facing" area worth speaking of that could be used for wind power. So that is out & so is solar since the trees of our neighbors block the southern direction. So heating our house is wood based, unless we can figure out some other solutions, if the SHTF.

I however am not worried about our wood for at least the first year. We have a stockpile. But we are on the PRAIRIE and if everyone depends on wood in these parts -- the tree-scape will disappear in one winter most likely.

So I'm thinking ahead. Those not living on the plains of South Dakota with the arctic winds, low light conditions lasting only from 8am to 4:30pm at the same time as temps being in the near zero temps (highs)... sorta makes things a challenge. Unfortunately too many Urban area Preppers are buying land in South Dakota, with no realization on how to survive here and how dangerous our weather patterns can be (just ask the cattle owners from last October) and you see the problem!

I want people to THINK about the worst case situations as we have them regularly in these parts. Winter is not a forgiving event if one isn't accustomed to it.

Now to point out -- I've lived in canvas "mountain man" type cabin tents in the dead of winter in South Dakota. I know how to survive it. But I also witnessed a Thawed turkey being COOKED on a fire, with fire-spit irons... only to be FROZEN solid at the end of the cooking (in the inside) while being fully cooked the first few inches on the surface. We had been having -50 temps & the bird froze via the cold working its way into the center of the bird via the spit! So its these sort of issues I think preppers need to understand.

If we don't talk about it, too many will suffer and die because the rural people chose instead to make jokes about posts instead of recognizing extreme cold makes extreme hazards especially if something doesn't work out like you hope when you really need it.
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Old 12-09-2013, 04:42 PM
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As far as cold, I keep a few blankets around and some thick sweaters and sweatshirts. I like having the blankets to layer in case of a power outage. As far as lights, I have a variety of candles and flashlights, just in case. Make sure you have enough matches stocked up for your candles, and batteries for your flashlights, if that's what you're planning on doing for light. I also keep some canned food on hand that can be eaten without cooking, just in case.

Oh, and don't forget your basic winter clothing. I know some people take that sort of thing for granted, but one should have at least one coat that is good for very cold temperatures, as in -20 or below. Yes, that is 20 below 0. Have some good wool socks, a nice lined pair of gloves, extra hats and scarves, and winter boots. I live in Minnesota. The lowest temperature ever recorded is -60 and that was in 1996. It's not common, but it's possible. We dress in layers during the winter whether that is in style or not.

If you can get a below 0-rated sleeping bag, that could be very useful during a power outage also, or at least for a winter car emergency kit.
Read more at https://www.survivalistboards.com/sho...OuB3OBYJFDd.99
Not sure you understood my post. I wasn't talking about power outages. SOrry I live those monthly, where I am. I'm talking the SHTF sort of ITs not coming back on sort of issue. Thus you no longer have water via a tap. You no longer of a toilet that flushes. You no longer have central heat. You no longer have a hot-water heater (if its electric). Few deal with these issues so they merely think of the sorts of things you mentioned here. But the fact is 6 months after Katrina, the govt didn't have the electricity back on for many of the rural areas of Mississippi. They stated it wasn't a priority. (I know because I was one of the disaster coordinators, going to those state/fed meetings). RURAL was left to fend for themselves. So, if something happens & you don't live in a city -- you won't even be on the govt's "recovery" map.

That's reality. So I'm hoping that with this post I can help others think about it. Will you depend on batteries that are rechargable> if so do you have a solar charger? If not, how do you plan on charging them once its no longer coming back on?

I have candles, oil lamps, strategically placed mirrors with shelves placed under then (to set lamps & candles on) for house lighting. We do this all the time when we have outages. So I'm accustomed to it. We also always have water in storage containers because power outages mean no water pump. But we also have started figuring out the design for our hand-pumping system that would be immediately placed at the top of our well. Hoping to get a kitchen hand pump in the next few months as well.

Warm clothing... lol... I live in layers already. After all I live in an 1840s house which has drafty conditions & I'm older. I also have "caps" I wear in my house & others I wear as night caps. Old school I know, but it works! I also have fingerless mitts for those cold days (inside) let alone what I have for outdoor wear. I don't by polyester junk as its just not warm enough. I believe in layering & from head-to-toe I do just that!
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Old 12-09-2013, 04:59 PM
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The closest thing I have to a root cellar is my basement, where just now I am keeping three bushels of apples. They have been staying pretty good for over a month now, but I don't think our basement is as cold as a root cellar would be.
My Mom & Dad taught me a technique for converting a section of a basement into a root cellar. My dad selected one end of the basement, which had an access door to a crawl space area. He took that section & built a false wall several feet out from the actual wall. Then he built mom the shelving for her storage area. By opening the crawl space door, it kept the temps in the range needed for the root cellar storage.

Mind you, I grew up on a ranch with a full fledged root cellar, so by the time we moved (when I was a late teen) to the 2nd home without a root cellar, I knew the drill.

I use currently, an indoor/outdoor thermostat to track my current temps in my root cellar. Its a dug hole that was made back in the 1850s, under the kitchen of the old building. Its got a dirt floor still (thank God) so it works great to keep all my storage.

Its quite roomy & we have cedar slat shelving for quite a bit of the produce/root storage area. The container storage shelving is old bifold doors (the plastic coated type) that you can get cheap at Habitat Restores. They are light weight & quite capable of holding the weight of the canned goods.

I also have mapped out my temperature zones within the root cellar, as well as studied the varieties of vegetables best suited for cold storage. Some apples store great, while others don't. Same goes for potatoes, cabbage, kholarbi, onions, pears, hubbard, buttercup, carrots, turnips, beats, butternut, pumpkin, etc

I'm wanting to make sure the seeds I am saving are the varieties that have good shelf life. No need for me to stockpile seeds that can't store well!
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Old 12-09-2013, 05:51 PM
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Something unexpected we discovered when using kerosene lamps were two significant things. First they will warm a very cold room and secondly the lamps are a very gentle light.

They are such a gentle light, when we went back on grid using electric lights, the electric lights hurt our eyes and we were more aware of the noises associated with electric items in our home.

It made me remember a study at the University of the Lincoln family and Mrs. Lincoln developing eye problems from electric lights. As well, our Jewish family members also stated the only improvement to their health during the horrors of WWII was to their eyes. Their vision improved and many were able to give up wearing glasses only to find that something in modern living once again tampered with their eyes. Electricity perhaps??

Do you recall a sunlit room ever hurting your eyes when emerging from the long nights, Teslin? I know very bright sunlight is hard on the eyes but your posting and experiences are something we don't experience here in Texas and I'm wondering what you recall of the adjustments during those times.

Please tell us more of your experiences. It's very interesting.
Read more at https://www.survivalistboards.com/sho...TupOyWTMSVZ.99
I think there is something about man-made light. I know for myself, I get headaches from it. Mind you I'm gray-blue eyed, so I'm more sensitive to light. I prefer low-light. Can't stand snow-brightness due to the fact it blinds me. I wear sunglasses in the winter months -- but rarely in the summer months.

My issue with reduced lighting isn't about human habits of ligthing up their homes like xmas trees. My concern is more about plants trying to be grown indoors and poultry needs. Chickens don't lay if they don't have enough light. Nor will it do any good to have hoop houses, greenhouses, etc if we don't have enough light being made to compensate during those cold winter months. I see a lot of talk about these alternative growing formats, but its sorta counter-productive if you are depending on Electricity that may not be there when you really need that food production working well for you.

So I'm curious how fellow northerners are addressing the SHTF situations of NO electricity for months or years? Not everyone is situated where wind power will work. I hear some say Solar works for them, but I wonder how much cloud cover their specific region is getting. Someone in Wyoming may be getting more light than someone in say, North Dakota or northern Minnesota. So I'm just wondering what people have learned.

I for one am looking at having no access to "town" supplies if SHTF. Supplies in 1996 winter proved how fragile the supply line was to our area. So I figure a SHTF situation would be far worse.
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Old 12-10-2013, 10:04 AM
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I'm wondering how many other Northerners we have here, who need to be able to cope with VERY VERY few light hours in the winter in combo with extreme cold temps (below freezing for months).

Are there any other in this forum who are working to resolve the "what will you do without electricity for lights" and other such issues?

Everyone figures they can use batteries, etc. But in my region light bulbs & batteries don't last even one winter due to extreme temps blowing them ... let alone batteries being drained in days!

So in extreme cold we have EXTREME survivalist issues. But most forums doesn't seem to divide up the needs of regions. Someone in Swamp country has different needs than someone in the Rockies or someone in the deserts fo the southwest or the high plains.

We can't depend on solar here because we don't get enough sun (even during the day). It can "supplement" maybe.

Gasoline isn't going to be readily available on the plains... or any where else if SHTF. Nor is lamp oils or karosene. Those such mass produced products will be scarce (and so will batteries). So what are people doing to prep for such long term problems?

A Gas powered generator works for a short term (until you run out of gas). Heat's not an issue since wood stoves are plausible (until the trees are all cut down). Perhaps one winter's worth in this region of prairie, if EVERYONE is heating with wood.

So I'm just curious how far out people are thinking when they are stockpiling and prepping?

I think of my food storage prepping & how dependant I am on canning jars (another mass produced product) and canning lids. I am lucky, in that I'm across the street from a potter who knows "old school" pottery making & can make crocks. But I never see anyone talking about CROCK canning or Root cellar storage as the PRIMARY storage format. Few speak about the varieties of veggies that WON"T store worth a hoot! (some cabbage, some apples, some pears, some carrots, some other root crops).. variety Matters & yet few nurseries actually give us the list of which ones have a old school shelf life for root cellar storage.

I'm wondering how many other Northerners we have here, who need to be able to cope with VERY VERY few light hours in the winter in combo with extreme cold temps (below freezing for months).

I've found two sites that seem to give a bit of help in varieties of seeds they carry that have "Storage life".

Just throwing this out there! Hope to talk with other ladies who may be addressing the storage aspects and PRODUCTION issues as well as working on their household winter-issues already.

I live in zone 4 so I'm in northern plains country. Far different than issues in southern plains or central plains (easter Colorado, Kansas, etc).

Looking forward to hearing back from you all.

And perhaps creating some forums relating to the REGIONAL issues...so people can really focus on their regional struggles.
I'm not a Northerner but do understand your concerns about prepping long-term. We're shooting for calories for six months for 10 people but I would very much like to extend it to a year.

Sharing a few things I've read about that may be helpful to you...

As for fuel. We purchased a Stovetec rocket stove that can burn for appx an hour with just a handful of small sticks or a small amount of other biomass. I'm betting small hay sticks twisted from your prairie grass like the Ingalls family burned in The Long Winter would keep you from having to use any of your wood stores for cooking. You can build larger masonry rocket stoves for heating that use 80% less fuel than conventional wood stoves.

http://www.examiner.com/article/rock...cent-less-fuel

For lighting, have you thought about LED rope lights that use only .4 watts per foot? We're planning to hook them around the tops of the walls. We use them for illuminating our campsite and they give out an amazing amount of light for the tiny bulbs ...just be sure you get the soft light ones ...the bright white ones are harsh on the eyes. You'll still need some sort of task lights, but these will definitely help dispel your winter gloom with very little energy expenditure.

Amazon (Thumbnails) cover
Amazon (Thumbnails)
For powering the lights, I'm looking into making a bicycle powered generator. They only power smaller items, but would keep these lights going easily.

For seed storage, I got the book below. That's one of my biggest worries. If we're looking at an event lasting more than a year, this is an area that can't be screwed up! I need to start actually putting seed storage into practice, but I have like a purple pinkie or whatever is opposite of a green thumb.

Amazon (Thumbnails) cover
Amazon (Thumbnails)
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Old 12-11-2013, 06:12 PM
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Well, let's just say that the colder it gets outside, the lower the indoor thermostat goes.

I'm wearing so much clothes that I don't want the house warmer than 60F or else it's too hot. Right now I got the furnace turned off 'cause DH has the woodburner going full blazes in the basement (his mancave) We're on logs 7-14 right now and that will probably be the last of it for tonight. My thermostat stays way down low even at night due to thick blankets on the bed, warm night clothes, cuddly animals, having adjusted to the cold, and a desire to conserve our gas supply.

Mornings can be quite brisk, but once I've got dressed in the morning I will overheat if I don't go outside. I wait till just before sun-up to get dressed so I don't have to sit around and wait too much. I keep an eye on the weather, sun and moon rising/setting, and the radar constantly. Far as the weather forecast, they are usually wrong, so I also use my eyes and intuition as much as I am able.

What seems most important in a cold climate is the temperature differential. If you go out and the windchill is -20F and come in to a house that is 55-60F it feels warm, and you feel warm.

We also indulge in more hot foods and drinks in the winter.
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