For Our Health

We thought we would give you an update on some of the ways we have tried to improve our health in the last year or so. We have intentionally eliminated a number of things from our bodies and feel we are much healthier because of those choices.

In March, 2014, I decided to stop using commercial hair care products. I am happy to report that I am still very satisfied with my routine of baking soda and water for shampoo, with apple cider vinegar and water for a rinse and conditioner 17 months later. 

We still use baking soda for toothpaste, and make our own simple lotion and lip balm. By the way, that small batch of lip balm we made one year ago today is not gone yet. We would have used many tubes of commercial lip balm by this time. It truly is amazing.

Lip balm

I still use the same reusable food wraps and panty liners we wrote about last year. There are so many simple things we can make for ourselves that are less expensive, last longer and eliminate more chemicals from our bodies.

We told you about Frank’s difficulty getting off of Zyrtec, and recently we weaned ourselves off of low dose aspirin as well. The more we learn about how synthetically made ingredients affect our bodies, the less likely we are to consume them.

 

We have added fermented vegetables like sauerkraut and peppers to our diet. We continue to make sourdough bread with our fresh ground whole wheat flour, but we have eliminated all white flour and sugar. Our diet consists of foods high in nutrients, low in carbohydrates along with quality protein and fats. We continue to

make and consume kefir everyday, even though Frank would tell you he could go the rest of his life without kefir. We feel the probiotics we get from the fermentation process in making sauerkraut, sourdough and kefir help our bodies absorb and use nutrients in a much more efficient and effective way.

A little over a year ago, Frank and I chose to change our lives by changing the way we eat. In doing so, we have now each lost over 50 pounds. We are definitely healthier and accomplish much more than we ever did while carrying around the equivalent of a sack of animal feed all the time.

Something we have not done yet, but will someday, hopefully soon, is make lye soap. We have everything we need, but have yet to carve out the time to do it. Our friend, Grace has made her first batch of soap, so now it is our turn.

The older we get, the more we learn about natural ways to care for our bodies. Our modern world has much to offer in the way of conveniences and comfort, but what it has to offer is not always the best thing for our health, in fact, some of what it has to offer is down right deadly. A new year has dawned, make the most of it. Take care of your health, for you will need it to be ready for what is coming.

Until next time – Fern

That’s Why They’re Called Chores

A long time ago, let’s see about 25 years ago, we were at a doctor’s office. Frank was talking to him about the things we were doing or needed to do around the homestead we lived at then. The doctor looked at him and said, “That’s why they’re called chores.” Chores are daily routine tasks. If we were all sitting together in a room tossing out ideas that come to mind we could make a big, long list of chores that lots of folks do every day, week or month. I was thinking about the idea of chores this morning as I, yes you guessed it, was completing some of the chores.

  • Make coffee and fix breakfast
  • Feed the cats, chickens, pigs, dog, goats
  • Milk the does
  • Strain and cool the milk

  • Clean up the chore related stuff, like buckets and such
  • Grind wheat and make a batch of sourdough bread; left to rise
  • Wash the dishes
  • Frank stripped the bed and started a load of laundry before he left this morning, so I put them in the dryer. Later the bed will need to be made and the clothes folded and put away.
  • Now for a different kind of chore, a project chore. Remove the barrels from the greenhouse, rinse out and hose off each one, let it drip dry, then towel dry. Sweep the floor and plywood pieces before replacing the barrels on a square of plywood and replacing the table top board. Repeat until all were finished.
  • Some of these chores are repeated throughout the day, like fixing meals
  • Evening animal chores include everything listed above, except add watering all the animals to it. This time Frank goes with me.
  • Wash the eggs, put the milk away

  • Strain and feed kefir
  • Bake bread and eat a sample. The eating isn’t much of a chore.
  • Get the coffee pot ready for tomorrow
  • Some days include gardening, mowing and all kinds of other things

Now take your daily routine and throw in the need to do everything yourself, with or without the help from others, for all of your daily needs. You knew I would be talking about this, didn’t you? It’s what we’re all trying

to prepare for. Our daily routines, once the collapse occurs, will be filled with chores from sunup to sundown. Chores that will be required if we expect to survive. Chores that will make us wistfully wish we had a few of the conveniences that we now enjoy, things that would make our lives much easier. Like turning on the faucet and having safe drinking water at our fingertips, or hot water at the turn of a knob. We live in the lap of luxury and yet many days we will hear complaints about doing chores. I think that’s what prompted the good doctor’s comment. “That’s why they’re called chores.”

Okay, so let’s use a little imagination and see if we can describe even a small portion of the chores or events that may happen in one day post TEOTWAWKI. Ready?

Wake up and get out of bed. Are you sleeping in a bed? Or were you on guard duty all night and find relief at the rising of the sun so you can go to bed?

How about a hot cup of coffee? Do you have any coffee left? Do you have a cup to drink it out of? Did you store enough to last a while, even with rationing? Okay, do you have the type of coffee pot that can withstand the heat of a fire or the top of a wood stove or rocket stove or whatever device and fuel you have that will produce heat? Did you bring in wood last night for the fire or do you need to gather it this morning? Okay, we have coffee and heat, now we need water. Did you haul and filter the water last night so it will be ready this morning? Does it need to be boiled before it can be made

into coffee? Where is your water coming from? Is it a public source? Do you need protection to go there and get it? How much can you haul at once? How are you going to haul it? Or are you able to reroute a water source through your existing plumbing and continue to use your kitchen faucet? That would be a luxury in a collapse situation.

By the way, when you got up this morning, assuming you weren’t on guard duty, where did you go to the bathroom? Have you been able to take care of a safe, sanitary toileting location? This isn’t something people talk about much, but let’s face it, everyone of us needs some hygienic way to take care of toileting. Yes, we still haven’t decided on the location of our outhouse, but we will soon.

Okay, toileting taken care of, water, coffee and heat. Now I’m hungry. What’s for breakfast? Are you going to cook? That brings a whole new set of thoughts and questions. Where did you get your food? Did you grow or raise it? Does it need any preparation? Are

you going to have a piece of bread and butter and call it good? Where did you get the bread? Did you make it or barter for it? Where did you get the wheat or flour, leavening, oil or fat and salt? Do you have an abundance of those things on hand? How did you bake the bread? Do you have a functioning oven, wood stove, cast iron dutch oven or something else to bake in? Do you have the fuel it requires? Do you have the pans you need? Now for the butter. Where did it come from? Are you milking an animal that is giving you enough cream to make butter? How are you keeping the milk, cream and butter cool enough to prevent spoilage? 

You want some eggs with that bread? Do you have chickens living under the right circumstances to provide you with enough eggs for breakfast? Again, how are you going to cook them? Serve them? Do you have plates and forks? Salt and pepper? A table to eat off of?

Now it’s time to clean up from breakfast. Do you have any soap or cleanser? A dishcloth and towel? A sink, basin or dishpan? Now we’re back to water again. Did you heat up enough water to wash dishes while you were making coffee and cooking the eggs? What are you going to do when you run out of soap or cleanser?

Okay. Now I’m tired and we have only talked about getting out of bed, making coffee, fixing breakfast and cleaning up the dishes. That is only the very beginning of the day. Now is when the real work begins, work that will entail the basics of daily living,

obtaining water, fuel, food and remaining safe. Everyday, day in and day out, chore after chore after chore. Like Frank said recently, there will be no commercials, no time outs, no vacations or mindless distraction staring at a big or a tiny screen. I really don’t think some people will be able to handle the drastic change of life as we know it and the expectation of having to work hard everyday just to stay alive. I feel sorry for the people that can’t, won’t or don’t give it any thought at all. There will be many people that are unable to cope with such changes. They just won’t and that is very sad.

Please spend some time reviewing the list of chores you will be required to do when the SHTF, and everyday after that. There will be many things we haven’t thought of, even though we feel like we have been preparing for this all of our lives. I know there will and have tried to prepare myself for that. Even if there are things we haven’t acquired or prepared for, we need to be prepared mentally for that shortfall and not let it devastate us or stop us in our tracks. We will do the best we can with what we have, that is all we can do. And it will be enough. 

Until next time – Fern

Homestead News, Volume 4

It seems lately our homestead has been a flurry of activity. I will see if I can give you a glimpse of our life on the homestead.

We told you about the new windows we had installed almost two weeks ago. Well, we have made a little progress on trimming them out, but they aren’t finished yet. Frank had a great idea of making the top board longer and angled. I think they look great. But since we aren’t finished with that project, the porches are still in disarray. It really doesn’t bother me much, life goes on with our daily routines even if things aren’t in their customary places.

You may be wondering why two weeks later, the windows still aren’t trimmed. Well, a day or so after the windows were installed, we began a large project on the barn, which is only about half complete at this stage. This project involves building lean-to shed roofs on the east and west sides of the barn, the full length of the building. After much planning and consulting with the two man crew we have hired to do the building, then acquiring the needed supplies, this project got under way.

The day after the barn supplies arrived the local electric cooperative came and set a new pole for us. We have long wanted power to the barn, but it is quite expensive. Well, this is the year. The pole is about 120 feet from the barn so we will still need to run the wire underground to connect there.

We expected to have a meter and power once the pole was set, but then we discovered that we needed to install a breaker box on the pole and connect it to the meter box. Enter Frank and his many abilities to fix and build things. While the work crew began their tasks using a generator, Frank worked on installing the breaker box and connections. In a couple of days, the cooperative was back out with the meter and we were in business. Then Frank got busy installing an outlet on the pole with a 20 amp fuse, so the guys could have power via heavy duty extension cords. This provided stronger, more consistent power for their tools which was great. It is truly a blessing to have a husband that can do or fix just about anything.

As we began the barn project one of the first things that we had to do was dismantle the pig pen. We had already allowed the pigs out into the larger pen that contained their small, initial pen. But the first day of construction, the pens were dismantled and the pigs were allowed out into their two acre pasture for the first time. Needless to say it was a little confusing to them. That was the day I became a pig herder, spending a lot of time with them showing them around the pasture.

Because of the floor leveling and window installation and rain, we hadn’t had the chance to brush hog the pigs entire pasture, so Frank made some wide trails for them to use. They lead to the one, lone tree in that pasture, down to the pond and provide three ‘lanes’ to the barn area. At first, I coaxed the pigs to the tree with food and water. I knew they needed shade, water and mud. So that day and for several days after, I carried many a bucket of water to the tree. After about two days, the pigs would go to the pond on their own, enjoying the mud for a wallow and whatever they found that was tasty at the pond’s edge. Now they comfortably wander around on their own and we don’t have the concern of lack of water or wallow to keep them cool.

 

So, how are the pigs? They are doing great. I have to say, I am really enjoying them. We can pet them and scratch their backs almost any time we go into the pasture. We even scratch their heads while they are anxiously awaiting the contents of the feed bucket in our hands. Every so often one will bump the backs of our legs when we are walking to the feed pan. This is when I remind them not to bite me. But 

really, I don’t think they would, it’s just a ‘Hey! Feed me!” kind of bump. They are really funny, and I’m getting used to their grunting and squealing sounds. We are planning a trip later this week to bring home another gilt. She will be much smaller than these guys we have now, but I hope she will work out well.

The pig side of the barn should be complete tomorrow, if we’re not rained out. Then we will reconstruct a pen and place their house under the shed roof. This will provide more shade and a place to pen them if need be. But for now, they have free range of their pasture. I will give you a more specific pig update in a few weeks.

The west side of the barn is next on the barn project docket. It includes our rain catchment system which we are very excited about. I will do an in-depth article with the whys and hows of that project as we get closer to completion.

 
Our cheese stash continues to slowly grow. We now have 24 wheels of cheddar aging. Well, make that 23. I have been wanting to see how it was doing for a while, so I have opened the first wheel. It is drier than I like, which means I pressed it too hard. It also has a bunch of small holes in it, which it is not supposed to have. Frank read an article recently about why swiss cheese has holes and it was because of the bacteria on hay dust that got into the milk before the cheese was made. This was back in the days before milking machines prevented any air contact with the milk. This made me wonder if something similar caused the holes in our cheddar. It doesn’t appear to affect the taste. This wheel has a very, very mild cheddar flavor since it was only allowed to age for two months. It’s good, though, and we are enjoying it.

We have begun to eat yellow squash from the garden. There is nothing like that first squash of the season. I hope to begin canning some before long.

We have also discovered that we like a dish of turnip greens, collards and beet greens. Not only is it tasty, but very nutritious. Since the turnip patch is almost overrun with crab grass, we plan to harvest the patch and see if there is enough to blanch and freeze the greens. We’ve already done this once and they taste just fine. Not quite as good as fresh, but most things aren’t. Now I need to learn to can them. That will come with the fall crop.

This is the first time we have grown collards and we are very pleased with it’s performance here. The chickens, pigs, goats and humans all like them. They appear to be very hardy and productive. I will be curious to see how they perform in our hot summer weather. The patch is very small, and I pick from it each morning for the animals, but it continues to grow very well. I think I will plant another patch [which I did today] and see how it does this time of year. Just to learn a little more about the plant.

The wild and tame blackberries are ripening now, but the tame berries are not sweet at all. I don’t know if the extended rainy period we had in April and May caused this or not. I do know that these berries need sunshine to sweeten up, but we’ve had a couple of weeks of sunny weather lately. I was hoping that would make a difference in the flavor, but it has not. I ate a few ripe wild berries this afternoon and they were much sweeter, so I hope to pick some in the next few weeks to help decrease our dependence on store bought berries.

The baby chicks and their adoptive mom are still doing very well. Before long they will be moved to the pen next door to make room for the next batch of chicks that will be hatching. Our chicken house will be getting very full of little cheepers, but that also means that in a few months our freezer and canning jars will be filling up as well, and that is good.

The kids we put in the ‘boys’ pasture to wean continue to nurse through the fence at times. We had to do some rearranging when the barn project started, and for now the does are in a pasture adjacent to the weaning kids. It has cut down on our take of the milk, but that’s okay. It just means we only make cheese about one to two days a week, and with the building project and the garden needing attention, that has worked out rather well. We will be breeding two of the does in July for December babies. This is something we tried last summer, but it didn’t work out. Our plan is to breed two in July and the other four in November. This will provide us with milk through the winter and a larger supply in the spring for next year’s cheese supply. We’ll see how it works out this time.

The beneficial insect class I took taught me to identify a few more bees and a few more plants, but didn’t really cover insects specific to gardening. I learned some new information, but it hasn’t really affected my gardening techniques. I did learn that 90% of bees are loners that nest in the ground. I thought that was interesting. 

We continue to prepare for Frank’s survival radio class which will be starting in a few weeks. There has been quite a bit of interest from our small communities, which is exciting. The possibility of creating a communication network in our area is very important to us. It could make all the difference in the world should a natural or man made disaster, emergency or collapse occur. We will let you know how it goes.

Life on the homestead is good. Very good. Busier than usual with projects underway, new animals, a different gardening season this year, and just normal daily chores and routines that come with living a life of producing all we can for ourselves. I know some of you have been wondering if we have made soap. Not yet. We have everything we need, and have talked about it a number of times, but it hasn’t happened yet. One day we will surprise you, and us, with that post. It is almost time to make another batch of lotion. I am really glad we make our own now. It’s quick, easy and not full of chemicals. 

We still have our aches and pains, and our bodies won’t keep up with our minds anymore, but with the exclusion of many chemicals and processed foods, we are healthier than we have been in a long time, maybe ever. That will be important in the coming days, weeks and months. Keep your head up and pay attention. More and more people are saying there is something out there, something in the wind that is unsettling, dark and ominous. Be prepared in all things, but especially in your heart and mind, for without them all of the ‘stuff’ you have will come to naught.

Until next time – Fern

Preparing to Make Soap

We have wanted to make soap for over 20 years. It appears that this dream will finally be coming true very soon, and we are both very excited. In preparation for this venture, we have done a lot of research. This research resulted in a list of things we needed to be able to successfully and safely make soap. Over the past several weeks we have gradually accumulated those things we need, and now it is just a matter of time, and I will admit, courage. 

In compiling information about making soap, I have read numerous websites and a couple of books. I want to link a few sites that provided some very useful information. Some of them deal with lye, and some outline the techniques used during the process.

One of the first things you will read on any site is how important it is to handle lye in a safe manner. And rightly so. Here is a video  that specifically deals with handling lye safely.

One of the difficulties I had in my research is finding a recipe and appropriate techniques that match the ingredients we are going to use. You see, our soap will only have three ingredients: goat milk, lard and lye. That’s it. There are a gazillion sites that make soap, but the vast, vast majority of them use other oils, liquids and fragrances. We’re not. Why? For a couple of reasons. One, if we are going to make soap, we want

it to be as pure and simple as possible. Two, if need be, we will be able to produce these three ingredients ourselves. We will be getting the milk from our goats. We plan to be able to render our own lard from the pigs that will be arriving here in the next few months. For now, we are using store bought lard. We can also make lye from wood ashes, but again, we are using purchased, food grade lye for now. And speaking of wood ashes and lye, I found this video to be really fascinating. We have read many things about making lye water, then using it to make soap, but my question has always been, how do you know how strong your lye is? I know you can float an egg or potato just right, but lye is a caustic and I’m not sure I would trust my skin to this technique. This video gave us a different option. Instead of lye water, make lye crystals.

I’m going to list some other videos and sites that I used to learn about the steps for making soap, even though none of them use the recipe we are going to try, I still learned a lot from them.

  • This is the first video I watched on actually making soap, and it is very informative. Becky uses water instead of milk, but this is a basic lard soap. She also uses the lard she rendered from her own pigs.

Once we completed all of this research, we realized there was some equipment we needed to get before we could dive in making soap. I had one book on making soap that I have probably had for more than 20 years, that’s how long we’ve had this in mind. I ended up ordering two more books, but they are mostly geared to recipes that don’t involve goat milk and do involve a lot of other ingredients we are not going to use. 

We already had some aprons and rubber gloves on hand. And I have a number of thermometers I have accumulated for making cheese. We decided to acquire what I call a point and shoot thermometer that can be used for soap or people.

We have a manual scale that is used to weigh out produce for canning. But the emphasis on being able to weigh out soap ingredients to the ounce, prompted us to invest in a digital scale that can be easily zeroed out after your bowl or container is placed upon it.

Then there was the question of mixing the oils, milk and lye until it comes to trace. Trace, a new vocabulary word for us. We’ll get into that much more throughout the process. Most folks I read or watched used a stick blender or mixer. Everyone had the admonition of not running the mixer too long so the motor wouldn’t overheat or burn out. Well, we don’t have a stick blender, and really didn’t see a need for one. Instead we searched for a while and found a mixer whip that would fit in the chuck of an electric hand drill, in this case battery operated. Sound funny? It probably is, but it is what we are going to use. I think it will be more durable, and we won’t worry about it overheating or burning out. And if the battery dies before the soap goes to trace, we have extras that we can use. We ordered a couple of different types of whisks, whips and beaters to try in the drill. I’m sure once we make the first batch of soap, we will figure out which one works the best. 

I have seen where some people use plastic to mix their ingredients and some use stainless steel. Most will tell you to only use soap equipment to make soap and nothing else. The first video I watched where the lye and water were mixed in an old butter tub surprised me. Especially when they discussed how hot the liquid will get when it interacts with the lye.

My question was, what keeps the chemicals in the plastic from leaching into the lye solution? If the temperature of the mixture gets really hot, won’t that release some of the chemicals of the plastic? And, since lye is a very caustic substance that will pit the surface of the plastic, won’t that release some of the chemicals of the plastic? I didn’t find any definitive answers to these questions, but they have lead us to use stainless steel. We had these two extra 13 quart bowls in storage waiting for something to come along, and think they will work fine. I had also purchased some silicone spatulas a while back to replace the rubber ones I’m using now when they wear out, so now they will be assigned soap making duties.

We debated and thought long and hard about soap molds. There are a million and one different molds out there people use. Specialty shops sell all kinds of molds, and some folks use cardboard boxes with a trash bag liner. Silicone seems to be a favorite of many folks, and we ordered one loaf pan just to see how it does. We’re also going to line a regular loaf pan and see how it works as well. I seldom use this loaf pans anymore since I started using cast iron loaf pans for bread, so this pan has been volunteered for the job.

There is also a wide variety of mechanisms used to cut the soap into bars. Some contraptions are quite sophisticated, some use a wide cutter blade specifically made for cutting soap, and some are as simple as a knife. We are going to try out this cleaver and see how it works.

As you can see, it has taken time and effort to research and acquire the needed materials and equipment for this project. We have already learned a tremendous amount and we haven’t even started making soap yet. I have the distinct feeling that the learning has just begun. And you know what? I’m glad. It’s great to learn something totally new and be so much closer to another dream come true. We don’t know anyone that has ever made soap from only goat milk, lard and lye. I can only think of one person I know that has ever made soap period. Just like most other things in our lives, what we know and do, we basically teach ourselves. This time we have the blessing of the internet which has allowed us to do a lot of research, and even watch videos of demonstrations. 

Our next soap post will be a demonstration of our first attempt. We will cover much more detail about the equipment we use, and especially the safety aspects involved in making soap. Never take safety for granted. I know there are a lot of folks out there that have been making soap for years. Any advice you can share before we get started will be greatly appreciated. Keep in mind, we are set on our ingredients. I know there are many other things that can be added to soap and for good reasons. But we want to make a soap that can be replicated in a sustainable fashion if we can never order or buy anything else besides what we can raise and make on our own. It is another giant step for our continued sustainable life style. And we’re excited!

Until next time – Fern
 

When There Is No Toilet Paper

Hello, Frank here.

I need to talk to you about something a little touchy. Okay, you’re

out in the woods, or at your retreat. You left your fiber pills at home, you haven’t gone in days, you’re all backed up, and you had chili with beans for supper. And it’s time. Then you discover that you did not pack any toilet paper. The closest convenience store is 10.8 miles away and it’s 2:00 am. Decision time. Here’s what I would recommend. Get yourself some……….

Okay, Frank has left the building, and the rest of this article has been left to me, Fern. He is a really funny guy isn’t he? We have been married over 30 years and I still laugh every day. I am a blessed woman. Now, back to our topic.

On the last post about reusable panty liners, Kymber, from Framboise Manor, had a very interesting comment asking what our practices or plans are for what she calls “family cloths” if there comes a time that the SHTF and we run out of toilet paper. So, here is a follow up to our conversation.

Buckland, Alaska

Back in 1990, Frank and I lived in a remote village on the coast of western Alaska, about 75 miles south of the arctic circle for nine months (the length of a school year, we were teachers) without running water. We had a school provided, very nice three bedroom, two bath mobile home with a dishwasher, washing machine and dryer. Just no water. The school and the washateria were the only sources of water in the village. Frank hauled

our water from the school in two collapsible five gallon containers. We kept our water supply in a 30 gallon Rubbermaid trash can in the kitchen. We used this to drink, cook, clean and wash dishes, and luckily, we were able to shower at the school. The dish water was heated on the stove and used in the regular sinks. The sinks were drained into a five gallon bucket under the sink that had to be emptied outside. Before freeze up we allowed the sink water to drain straight down the drain pipes onto the ground under the house, but once winter set in with 30 degrees below zero for several months, we switched over to the five gallon bucket. We learned very quickly to remember to check how full the bucket was before we drained the sink. That was one of those experiences where we learned the hard way by flooding the floor and cabinet under the sink.

We hauled our laundry over to the washateria in a duffel bag to wash. But since the mobile home had a dryer, we were able to dry them at home. The only time we had to make other arrangements for water was when the temperatures dropped to 60 below and all of the water sources at the washateria and school froze. Luckily there was a natural hot spring a couple of miles up river where we could dip up the water into our trashcans and haul them back with the snow machine and sled. Now that was an adventure.

So, how did we take care of our toileting needs at home with no running water? After some trial and error, we decided to use the bathroom farthest from the main living area for solid waste, while the bathroom in the master bedroom where we slept was used for liquid waste. We lined the toilets with trash bags and used them in the normal fashion. We put a little Pinesol in each one to help with the odor and kept the bathroom doors closed.

Most of the houses in the village did not have bathroom fixtures since there was no running water. Instead, their toilets consisted of a five gallon bucket with a toilet seat on it, like the ones you can get from Emergency Essentials like we have in our storm cellar. This system in the village was called honey buckets. Once your bucket, or in our case trash bag, was full, there were small

I actually found a picture of one.

dumpster type containers that were specifically used for this waste, placed all around the village. These containers were gathered up and taken a few miles out of town to the dump and emptied periodically. I guess one of the nice things about having 30 below temperatures is the lack of odor from the honey buckets. We decided early on that we liked the insurance of a double layer of trash bags. One of them was semi permanent and stayed in the toilet, just in case the primary bag leaked. We were always very careful when taking these trash bags out to the honey bucket.

We also found out quickly that women use a lot of toilet paper and the bathroom with the liquid waste tended to fill up with paper more than liquid. This was my first experience with using something other than toilet paper when I urinated. I tried not using anything, but that didn’t work. I developed something similar to diaper rash. Then I started using a dry washcloth. That worked fine. Fortunately, we had plenty of toilet paper, and continued to use it in the solid waste bathroom.

I give you all of these details to let you know there are many different ways to deal with life when their is no toilet paper or running water. We think there will come a time when we have no more toilet paper. Period. In preparation for that time we have stocked up on some thin, simple washcloths. There are even folks that make their own cloths to use in this situation. The difference this time is that we will need to deal with the solid waste issue, which will entail something besides washing the cloths like all the other laundry. Hygiene can either keep you alive, or kill you.

There is a lot of good information out on the web about how to handle cloth baby diapers, which would be very similar to how you would handle toileting cloths. Here are a couple of the sources I found.

Washing Cloth Diapers by Hand
How to Wash Your Cloth Diapers by Hand

A couple of things mentioned in these sources are to use soap, use hot water from the tap, and use your bath tub. Well, if it is an SHTF situation, what soap are you going to use? You won’t have hot water from the tap, so how are you going to heat it? And you probably won’t be using your bathtub, but I guess you could. The important information these articles give us is to pre-soak, or have a specific bucket or container for your soiled toileting cloths. Even if it’s only water, it keeps them from drying out when they are soiled making them harder to clean. It also contains the urine and feces in a safe place, decreasing the likelihood of contamination and illness due to poor hygiene. Diseases like dysentery are caused by poor hygiene and once started can spread to everyone in your family or group with devastating results.

Some of the projects and plans Frank and I have on our list include a covered outside kitchen/clothes washing area. We have not begun to put it together, it is only in the planning stage, so I cannot show you any of our progress, but we have acquired some of the needed items. This area will include a deep basin sink that can be used for dishes, washing produce

from the garden, and probably many other things. We have some galvanized washtubs and a wringer that will become our clothes washing station. We have a variety of buckets with lids that can hold and soak soiled toileting cloths until it is time to wash them. There will be a clothes line installed. We have a means of heating the water on a cast iron wood stove that we got for covered outdoor use. We have large stock pots. We also have a small supply of rubber gloves that will last for a while, but they too, will run out, just like the toilet paper. Soap? Another goal is to be able to make soap from our goat milk, lard from the pigs, and lye made from wood ashes. All of these things are part of one small task. Washing toileting cloths. Sound like a lot of work? I’m sure it will be. And don’t forget the outhouse. It is also waiting in the wings to be built. Seriously. It is on our list of things to do and has been for a while.

Personal hygiene when the SHTF happens will be important. Will it be given the attention and priority it is now, in this day and age? I doubt it. But the mental preparation to deal with something as simple as keeping your body fairly clean and free of toileting contaminants, will increase your health and well being when all else about you has changed. There are 

many, many conversations going around the internet covering a variety of things we need to prepare in the event a collapse or disaster occurs. This is one of those things that is seldom discussed or covered. It’s so much cooler to talk about the latest gun, or paracord, or ramming vehicle. But knowledge of and preparation for adequate, not sparkling spic and span clean, but adequate hygiene can save your life and the lives of your family. It’s something to think about and prepare for. So, please share your ideas and plans. Like Frank says, we’re all in this together, and two heads, or many web-wide heads, are better than one. We are grateful for the many experiences we have been blessed with in our lives. There is no doubt that they have come together to prepare us for the unbelievable future that is just around the corner. Are you ready?

Until next time – Fern