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Reindustrialization After The Fall- Part 2, By Redneck Granddaddy

Yesterday, we took inventory of the situation two years after the balloon went up after the fall, and we realized that things could be pretty challenging. However, with charcoal and a forge, the problems we mentioned wouldn’t be such a dilemma. Yesterday, I shared several options for how to make charcoal. Today, I will share how to make a forge and more tips for smithing. So, let’s get started.

Masonry Forge

Boy you are ambitious to look at a masonry forge! That’s okay. Depending on your particular situation, this might be easier and or better for you. A masonry forge cannot be moved, so it needs to be built in a barn or a purpose built smithy. Whatever kind of charcoal forge you build, the thing will have the same four parts– the stand, the pan, the blower, and the pipes.

First, you need a blower pipe. I use black … Continue reading

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100-Year-Old Way to Filter Rainwater in a Barrel

During our boiling, broiling, blistering summer, water was a topic of conversation wherever we went. Creeks and ponds dried up (some never recovered) and the water table dropped, forcing a few neighbors to have their well pumps lowered or to even have deeper wells drilled.

Many folks shared memories of rain barrels, cisterns, hand pumps and drawing water with a well bucket as a child, usually on grandpa and grandma’s farm. Some said they’d never want to rely again on those old-time methods of getting water. But, at least they knew how it was done.

It seems we have lost much practical knowledge in the last 50 or so years because we thought we’d never need it again. Now we are scrambling to relearn those simple know-hows.

A tattered, 4-inch thick, 1909 book I happily secured for $8 in a thrift store reveals, among umpteen-thousand other every-day skills, how to make homemade water filters. The instructions in “Household Discoveries and Mrs. Curtis’s Cookbook” are quite basic as everyone had a rain barrel back then and presumably knew how to filter rainwater. Now, 104 years later, I am thankful the authors had the foresight to preserve their knowledge for us, and pointed out that rainwater collected in barrels from a roof is a necessity in some locations, but also is best for laundry and “often more wholesome for drinking purposes than hard water.”

The “wholesome” observation applies to plants, too. I noticed during our 6-week dry spell (not a drop of rain) that I was only able to keep my vegetables alive with the garden hose – until our well, too, began sucking air. The pitiful potato, tomato and bean plants actually seemed petrified, like faded plastic decorations. Then, after a 2-hour rain shower, the plants miraculously leapt to life – vibrant, green and THRIVING. I did, too.

In early June last year, my husband surprised me with a 425-gallon water tank so I could water with nutritious rainwater, although it was August before any measure of water was in the tank. When the elusive rains finally paused briefly overhead, I was out in it with my 2-gallon watering can, running and sloshing the water like a crazy woman onto our neglected trees far up the hill.

100-year-old instructions

For gardening, rainwater is, naturally, best unfiltered. But, for household use, the vintage book says the following instructions yield a cheap and easy way to make a filter just as good as a patent filter costing 10 times as much:

“Take a new vinegar barrel or an oak tub that has never been used, either a full cask or half size. Stand it on end raised on brick or stone from the ground. Insert a faucet near the bottom. Make a tight false bottom 3 or 4 inches from the bottom of the cask. Perforate this with small gimlet holes, and cover it with a piece of clean white canvas.


“Place on this false bottom a layer of clean pebbles 3 or 4 inches in thickness; next, a layer of clean washed sand and gravel; then coarsely granulated charcoal about the size of small peas. Charcoal made from hard maple is the best.

“After putting in a half bushel or so, pound it down firmly. Then put in more until the tub is filled within 1 foot of the top. Add a 3-inch layer of pebbles; and throw over the top a piece of canvas as a strainer. This canvas strainer can be removed and washed occasionally and the cask can be dumped out, pebbles cleansed and charcoal renewed every spring and fall, or once a year may be sufficient.

“This filter may be set in the cellar and used only for drinking water. Or it may be used in time of drought for filtering stagnant water, which would otherwise be unpalatable, for the use of stock. This also makes a good cider filter for the purpose of making vinegar. The cider should first be passed through cheese cloth to remove all coarser particles.

“Or a small cheap filter may be made from a flower pot. A fine sponge may be inserted in the hole and the pot filled about as directed for the above filter. It may be placed in the top of a jar, which will receive the filtered water.”

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GOT CHARCOAL?

I think every prepper with a bug out bag should have at least 1 bottle of Activated Charcoal capsules, or powder for making tonic drinks.  For those who already have their homestead or Bug Out location, I advise MAKING charcoal and having as much as possible on hand (ground up) ready to use.

In the times ahead, I see lots of people eating lots of things that under “normal” circumstances they would not, or indulging in food a little too old.  You may even have to trade for food you are not 100% certain of quality or origin.  After the first sign of food poisoning or any poisoning/bowel distress, get the charcoal in you as fast as you can! It draws toxins like flies to honey saving you from hours or DAYS of serious distress, maybe even possibly save your life.

Uses for charcoal

Uses and benefits: upset stomach, colic, nausea, vomiting, acid indigestion, gas, and more.  Another great use for your quality homemade charcoal is as BIO CHAR. You would want to smash it into a chunky powder leaving no piece bigger than a golf ball.  Mix your charcoal with your compost and manure and let if sit.  Just as it absorbs poisons, it also provides the perfect home for beneficial bacteria for your garden.  Once the charcoal is infused with all the good stuff, TILL it into your soil with the compost and manure normally. The cool thing about  your little bio-char / bacteria  houses that you’ve mix up, is that they can release the beneficial nutrients for 100 years.  Thus turning poor soil into prime farm land and makes prime farmland even better. Try it!  You’ll thank me.

There are a lot of other uses for your charcoal such as homemade water filters that you can use to purify rainwater or whatever water source you want.  Some of you may also recall that episode of  ‘preppers’ where that guy was using charcoal between two filter masks.  He covered the inner layer with charcoal and then duct taped the two face masks together.  The charcoal will act as the filter in this method.  I have not tried it myself but the idea seems sound to me.

I also just learned that high-end speakers use activated charcoal to filter sound.  I know it does something as far as frequency in the soil, beneficially, but I just learned of this myself and don’t know enough to speak on it.  I’m including it here in hopes that someone out there smarter than me might comment as to what it’s all about or for those that want to research this on your own.

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How to Store Charcoal

Re-Blogged From thesurvivalmom.com

It’s summer! Summer means barbeques, and barbeques mean grills. And grills need fuel. Of the potential fuels for grills, charcoal is the easiest and safest for a prepper to store long-term. Add the fact that it’s cheap, lightweight, and regularly goes on sale in the summer and we have a real prepper winner! And the cherry on top? Unlike propane and many other fuels, you can make your own charcoal if a disaster goes on for long enough and charcoal is a much safer fuel to store.

However, Since it is still a fuel, it’s important to never be careless about how and where you store it. Here are some considerations to keep in mind.

Choosing a container

Charcoal briquettes are made from sawdust and wood scraps. As such, they need to be dry to light. A moisture proof container with a tight lid is key.

To keep charcoal dry, you can use metal or plastic containers, butmetal is generally recommended because it is fireproof and not as porous as plastic, which can allow some air and moisture in even when sealed. Since metal, unlike plastic, can rust out if left on a damp surface, it is important to elevate metal cans a few inches off the ground. One common method is putting several bricks underneath or a wooden pallet.

For truly long-term storage, you can use an airtight plastic bucket and seal it shut with caulk to keep the humidity out. For a metal container, use aluminum duct tape. To be extra-sure the charcoal is dry, toss in a handful of silica packs to absorb any stray moisture. Just know it will take a whole lot more of these desiccants than a five pound bag of flour does!

Choosing a storage spot

Store your charcoal out of the sunlight in an area that stays cool but not damp. If you have a basement that is either naturally dry or where you run a dehumidifier regularly, that’s a great choice.

Outdoor sheds can be a good place, but be sure the containers are well sealed, off the ground, and not near a window / direct sunlight. You will also need to be sure the shed doesn’t get excessively hot, especially if there is a heat wave.

Using charcoal for cooking

Using charcoal for fires and cooking is one way to pick up an off-grid living skill. One tool you may want to invest in, to make this easier, is a charcoal chimney. The handy tool is simply a metal container that you fill with charcoal, light, and then quickly heats up the briquettes for use.

If you’re planning to use your charcoal for Dutch oven cooking, experiment with the number of briquettes you place in the chimney. You may not need to fill it completely in order to have enough hot fuel to cook a Dutch oven meal.

Once you know how to store charcoal and stock up when the prices are low, you’ll be ready for outdoor cooking as well as a long-term power outage.

There may be links in the post above that are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission, which does not affect the price you pay for the product. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will add value to my readers.