It’s nice to have a supply of rainwater for gardening purposes and, with that in mind, we put a rain barrel to collect water from off the roof of our shop. The usual rain barrel system has a single plastic drum placed under the downspout on the corner of a building. About 30,000 gallons of rainwater falls on the roof of the average home per year. So there is plenty of water to go around. Excess water overflows the barrel and is absorbed into the ground.
We do not want to use valuable stored drinking water for cleaning, washing and hygiene if we lose access to our regular water supply. We decided to expand the amount of rainwater storage by adding two additional water barrels next to our existing one. We used sturdy plastic trashcans we had on hand.
When installing any water catchment system it is necessary to make sure that each barrel is on a sturdy base and is level. As a base we used cinder blocks and 2×4 pressure treated lumber.
We drilled holes into the trash-can lids and installed garden hoses from one barrel to the next. To keep the hose ends from floating we placed a weight on the hose end. Before inserting the hose fully in place we charged each hose with water so that there would be a siphon-effect between the barrels.
When the water is used from one barrel the other barrels drain too. They also fill up the same way through the siphon-effect. As a final touch we placed a screen barrier at each hole so the mosquitos would not breed in the stored water. We treated the water by adding non-scented, not detergent bleach in the amount of 12 ounces per 50 gallon barrel. This prevents algae from growing in the water. We now have 150 gallons of rainwater storage capacity.
This month’s article includes:
Thanksgiving Day – An American Tradition a change of economic systems led to this holiday for expressing gratitude http://www.sunoven.com/archives/12222
A Winter “To Do” List http://www.sunoven.com/archives/12232 Don’t let cold weather catch you unprepared.
Use household items to make your own Gel packs for sprains and swollen joints. http://www.sunoven.com/archives/12238
Inviting pests to leave your home this winter, naturally. http://www.sunoven.com/archives/12260
Commit these ground to air emergency codes to memory. You may need them this winter. http://www.sunoven.com/archives/12243
Squash Chips – an alternate way to preserve summer squash without freezing. http://www.sunoven.com/archives/12272
French style Stew http://www.sunoven.com/archives/12032
We are often asked for suggestions about preparedness cooking on overcast days and would like to introduce you to the Cloudy Day Cube Stove, a simple, low-cost-solution. The Cloudy Day Cube Stove can cook your food with a wide variety of different fuels and weighs less than one pound.
Sun Ovens International has made a bulk purchase of the last of the American made Cube Stoves. They are now available at a reduced cost as a backup for your SUN OVEN®.
On days when rain or overcast weather hide the sun, the Cloudy Day Cube Stove is a great solution. The stove is designed for quick, convenient setup and use, and in addition to preparedness cooking, is ideal for camping or hiking. It has been engineered to maximize burning an assortment of different fuels including twigs sticks or wood, charcoal briquettes, Sterno cans, alcohol, solid fuel tablets or QuickStove Fuel Disks.
The Cloudy Day Cube Stove is made of durable aluminized steel. It can be used in 7 different positions to accommodate different needs, such as cooking fast or slow, or cooking in a large pot or small cup.
A Cloudy Day Cube Stove can be used in conjunction with your SUN OVEN®. A meal can be started on the Cube Stove and when it is half way through cooking, put into your SUN OVEN® to complete the cooking process as it would in a Wonder Box or retained heat cooker.
For a limited time, while supplies last, you can purchase a Cloudy Day Cube Stove Kit with two QuickStove Fuel Disks for less than $30.
There is a limit to how much water we can store. In addition to the small containers in our bug-out bags and car, we also set up a 55 gallon drum. At 8.3 lb. per gallon that 457 lb. container will be in place until it’s emptied. We recently rotated a water container that was set up seven years ago. When opened the water tasted sweet with a hint of chlorine, and was clear and sediment free. To empty the drum, we created a syphon by pulling a vacuum on a hose with our Shop Vac to start the flow. Once emptied, we washed the 55 gal. drum, then placed it on untreated wooden 2x4s to keep any chemicals in the cement floor from
leaching through the food-grade plastic container. Keep in mind that bleach now comes in two strengths, 5% and 8% sodium hypochlorite. We have 8%, so we added 12 oz. into the drum before filling it with water. Once filled to the top, we sealed and labeled the container “water” and included the date. To further protect the barrel, we placed a piece of finished wood on top to serve as a flat surface for storage.
Billie Nicholson, Editor
It is a simple thermometer designed as a transparent tube containing wax. It will float in a pot of water and melt when the water has reached 150º F (65ºC) for 6 minutes. This is the time required to destroy all microorganisms and dangerous pathogens that cause diseases from drinking contaminated water. At most altitudes, water boils at 212º F. It takes as much energy to bring water from 200º F to 212º F as it does to bring the water from the ambient temperature to 200º F. Pasteurizing water uses considerably less energy than boiling it and less than half the amount of time. Using the Sun Oven® to pasteurize water allows alternative fuel to be saved for other uses.
Many people keep a piece of cheese cloth with their emergency preparedness supplies. Pouring water through the cheesecloth will filter out solid impurities before it is pasteurized.
For many years we offered WAPIs which were attached to a nylon cord for use in the Sun Oven®. If you needed to pasteurize water and there was no sunshine, using this design with other forms of fuel often resulted in a melted nylon string. The Multi-Fuel WAPI design can be used successfully in a Sun Oven® or on a campfire, with charcoal, propane, or any other type of fuel.
WAPIs are resilient
It has a high temperature molded polypropylene case which serves as a carrying case for storage and as a float to enable the WAPI to be submerged in the water to be pasteurized. To use, remove the tube from the storage case and snap it into the hole provided in the bottom, with the wax end up. Place it into the pan or jar of water to be treated. When the wax has dropped to the bottom of the tube, the water, when cool, is safe to drink. The WAPI can be reused hundreds of times. Keep it with your emergency supplies. Our WAPIs are Made in the USA.
In an emergency, public water supplies may become disrupted or polluted, making it unsafe to drink. Since water is more essential to sustaining life than food, properly storing or purifying water will prove vital to getting your family through the effects of an emergency.
The general guideline for the amount of water to store is at least one gallon of water per person, per day – two quarts for drinking and two quarts for food preparation and sanitation. It hotter weather, everyone may require more water than this.
Another recommendation is to have a minimum two-week supply for your home. Three day’s worth of water should be included in your 72-hour kit.
Water should be stored in plastic, food grade containers such as water and beverage bottles. Glass and cartons should be avoided, as one can break and the other decomposes easily. If you have a water bed, that water should only be used for sanitation purposes. It is also important to remember to NEVER store water in old bottles of chlorine bleach or milk cartons, regardless of how well you cleaned them out.
Multiple ways to purify water for drinking:
1. Boil water vigorously for 3-5 minutes. However, a WAter Pasteurization Indicator (or WAPI) can help you use less fuel and energy to heat the water to a temperature that will eliminate pathogens and make it safer to drink. If you are using a Sun Oven, the WAPI will indicate when the water has been heated long enough for it to be pasteurized. See WAPI article on Page 3.
2. Add unscented household bleach (5.25% sodium hypochlorite) as per the chart below. Stir and let stand for 30 minutes. If the water does not have a slight bleach odor, repeat the dosage and let stand for 15 minutes. Use fresh bleach.
3. Water purification tablets (Halizone or potable agua). Different types of tablets are available at drug stores or sporting goods stores. Follow the manufacturer’s directions. Do not use tablets that are yellowish in color and/ or have a strong odor, and don’t use products that are past expiration dates.
4. Iodine: Use 2% tincture of iodine to purify small amounts of water. Add three drops per quart of clear water. Let stand for 30 minutes. NOTE: According to the Department of Environmental Quality, Division of Drinking Water, pregnant or nursing women or people with thyroid problems should not drink water with Iodine.
5. Water from swimming pools can be safely treated and used as drinking water. Let the pool water stand for at least 72 hours to reduce the chlorine level. Do not add chemicals to the pool during this time. Use a combination of ceramic and carbon filter purifying pump/filter to extract water from the pool. This type of filtration system is effective in removing organic contaminates and enough chlorine to render the water safe to drink. Most of these filter types can safely convert up to 13,000 gallons of water before the filtration system needs to be replaced.
Additional tips on water storage and purification
• Stored water goes flat. Aerate the water by pouring it between two containers.
• Immediately after a major disaster, prevent contamination of home water supply by shutting off the main incoming water valve. If water from the tap looks cloudy or has an unpleasant odor, don’t chance it – PURIFY IT.
• Clearly label and date all storage containers, especially those reused from other products.
• Consider canned soups, juice from canned fruits and vegetables, bottled soft drinks, bottled juice, etc., as sources of liquid.
• Use water stored in the hot water tank, ice cube trays and toilet tank (not bowl)
• Dirty water can be strained through paper towels or clean cloth to remove particulates. Boil and treat with chlorine bleach as directed.
• There is no effective way for home decontamination of water which contains radioactive or chemical contamination
September 2011, Every Needful Thing Jason M. Carlton
Changing Hearts and Minds
Careful research and experience has proven that the challenges of introducing solar cooking in the developing world are far more cultural than they are technical. The GLOBAL SUN OVEN® has been carefully designed to overcome many of the cultural barriers that have limited the success of solar cooking in the past.
While there are a number of cultural challenges that are unique to each people or group, which must be accounted for. The two major obstacles that have limited the success of the wide spread introduction of solar cooking have successfully been over come:
1. In most countries people work while the sun is out and eat their main meal of the day after the sun has set. Food that is cooked in most solar cooking devices must be consumed immediately or it will become cold. The GLOBAL SUN OVEN® is very well insulated, which allows food that is cooked in the afternoon sun to stay warm until it is ready to be consumed later in the evening.
2. In many countries a woman is working from very early in the morning until well after sundown. Many solar cooking devices do not get hot enough requiring the food to be cooked at a lower temperature for a longer period of time. Women are often far too busy to devote additional time to solar cooking. The time required to cook in a GLOBAL SUN OVEN® is comparable to cooking with a wood or charcoal fire, which makes it easier to gain the acceptance of the women who use it.
(NOTE: Each month, one article will highlight the international efforts of Sun Ovens Internation to benefit developing countries around the globe.)
July, 2011 Every Needful Thing
Water Has Healing Properties
Did it ever occur to you that if we make the best use of water, we could reduce the amount of sickness and death in the world? From microbes to soap, contaminated water is a major source of diarrhea. An important part of its prevention is to purify water used for drinking and preparing foods. Boiling and filtering water will help make it safe to use.
If cooking fuel is limited, pasteurization (using the WAPI kit in a Sun Oven®) will make water safe for consumption. Hand washing with soap and water before eating or preparing foods and after defecation is important.
Babies are especially susceptible to diarrhea. A common cause of death in babies and small children, is severe dehydration. By giving the infant or child plenty of water, this can be prevented, even if given a spoonful at a time.
Making a Rehydrating Drink
A rehydration drink made with half a teaspoon of salt and 8 teaspoons of sugar per liter (~32 oz.) combined with half a cup of fruit juice, coconut water, or mashed banana will replenish the electrolytes. This should be given often in small sips, every five minutes, until the person begins to urinate normally.
Additional uses of purified water include bathing skin infections, washing wounds, lowering high fevers, hot water vapors to loosen mucus and using hot and cold compresses. When water is used correctly, often medicines are not needed, and the body will heal itself. (“Where There is No Doctor,” Hesperian Health Guides.)
When You Lose Water Service
If you have no water service during an emergency, turn off all faucets, valves and outlets. This includes the valve at your toilet. This will prevent flooding when water service is restored. Turn off gas or electricity to your hot water heater. If it runs out of water and keeps heating, the heater will be ruined or might explode.
With no water service, you must find a way to safely dispose of human waste and garbage. If you don’t, you will soon be spending your time taking care of sick people, including yourself. The leading cause of illness and death during disasters is inadequate sanitation, poor hygiene, and contaminated water supplies.
There are three kinds of water
Potable water is drinkable and can be used for cooking and bathing. Gray water is leftover from cooking, washing and other hygienic purposes. It can be used for irrigation of plants or flushing toilets into a septic system or a functioning city sewer. The third kind is black water, sewage containing human waste. You will be responsible for disposing of black water if your septic/sewage system is not working.
A Luggable Loo or bucket toilet can be a good option to have along with your 72 hour kit. Keep basic supplies inside the bucket. They can include toilet paper, baby wipes, garbage bags, disinfectant wipes, feminine products, spray deodorizer and chlorine bleach or other sanitizing chemicals.
Setting Up Emergency Sanitation
To set up a bucket toilet for use, put a garbage bag inside the bucket. Mix one cup of liquid bleach to two quarts of gray water and pour into the lined bucket. Add a little more disinfectant after each use. Change the bag when it is one-third to one-half full. Carefully tie the top and place bag into a larger lined can. Close toilet lid after each use to control odors. There is a variety of commercial chemicals which will make your emergency toilet smell much better.
If you are able to shelter in place, make a permanent port-a-potty out of your toilet, assuming you do not have sewage backing up into your toilet. With advanced planning, you can have an automatic sewage back-up prevention valve installed on the sewer pipe which exits your house. This will be worth it’s weight in food or gold, if the sewer system fails. It will also prevent rats from crawling up an out of commission sewer pipe into your home.
To set up your in house toilet, make sure the water supply is off. Empty the toilet bowl. Insert a large rag into the exit hole to keep sewer gas from coming up and entering the house. Line the toilet bowl with a 13 gallon plastic trash bag. Duct tape the edges around the back and sides of the bowl completely. Then insert a second bag inside the first. Tape this bag lightly around the sides and lower the seat to hold it in place. Pour a small amount of disinfectant into the bag after each use to help prevent the spread of germs and disease. You may want to add sawdust or poo powder to solidify the liquids. The bag may be used several times before changing.
To change the bag, lift the seat and carefully remove the inside bag by loosening the taped edges. Twist the top edges together and seal the bag. To avoid accidental spills, place an empty bucket right next to the toilet and lift the bag into the bucket. Use this bucket to transport the black water waste outside. Put in a fresh bag, lightly tape and repeat as above. Cover the entire toilet with a 30 gallon trash bag to control odor.
How Much Waste Per Person?
Each person creates an average of five gallons of human waste each week. The waste, if not handled properly, will stink and make people sick. Never throw human waste on the open ground. If no other alternative is available, bury it in deep trenches and cover with two to three feet of soil, 100 feet away from your house or water supply to avoid contamination. (LDS Preparedness Manual)
October 2013, Every Needful Thing Billie A. Nicholson, editor
Many people consider a Sun Oven® an essential tool in their family emergency plans. A Sun Oven® will enable your family to be better prepared in the following ways:
- Water Purification – Pasteurize or boil drinking water.
- Food - Boil, bake or steam food. This is the most fuel efficient way to rehydrate freeze-dried and dehydrated foods.
- Food Storage - Create your own food storage by dehydrating fruits, vegetables, and meats.
- Fuel Storage - Decrease your need for fuel. It is difficult and dangerous to store a large amount of fuel for an extended period of time. Using the sun on sunny days and the Sun Oven® as a wonder box (or retained heat cooker) on cloudy days reduces the amount of fuel you need to store.
- First Aid - Heat water for cleaning wounds and personal hygiene & sterilize medical instruments.
The Sun Oven® in Action
September 2013, Every Needful Thing Billie A. Nicholson
Water is the most critical of basic needs
65% of the human body is water. It flows through the blood, carrying oxygen and nutrients to cells and flushing wastes out of the body. It cushions our joints and soft tissues. Without water intake, we cannot digest or absorb food. In hot conditions, dehydration will set in within an hour. Depending on our physical condition, we can survive for only 3–5 days without it.
Even though 780 million people in the world are without access to clean water, we expect it to flow from our taps when we turn the spigot. Any disaster that interrupts the electricity may interrupt water flow. It is better to store some water while you have access to a safe water supply. FEMA recommends storing a two weeks supply, at one gallon per person per day, that’s fourteen gallons. You can store this much water in two 7-gallon plastic “Aqua-Tainer” jugs per family member. They are designed for this purpose and are available at WalMart for about $11 each. With a molded handle and a recessed spout, they are stackable. When you fill the containers, rinse them first and then fill about half way. Add 7-8 drops per gallon (1/8 tsp) of detergent-free bleach. Shake it up to mix the bleach and then fill the container all the way to the top. Screw the cap on tight. Store more water than this if you live in a hot climate or plan to use dehydrated or freeze-dried foods. 55-gallon food grade plastic drums are also useful.
Should your water source run out, you will want to learn at least two ways to collect and disinfect water from other sources, like nearby ponds, a hot water tank, and rainwater collection barrels. The SunOven® is a excellent way to pasteurize filtered water using the WAPI kit. (See July, 2013 – Every Needful Thing). Coffee filters are a valuable item to take the sediment out of water.
September 2013, Every Needful Thing Billie A. Nicholson