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Get Prepped Newsletter: March 30, 2012

Get Prepped in Ready Nutrition’s weekly newsletter helping those become better prepared and ultimately more self reliant in the face of disasters. This week’s topic is on alternative power sources.

 MESSAGE FROM TESS

Happy Friday Everyone,

Have you noticed that the longer we prepare, the more our priorities begin to shift? No longer are we concerned with the Joneses or the current trends of the moment, but now we are concerned with learning to live more simply, and ultimately, live in a more self reliant manner.

Last week, we discussed how vital communications will be in an extended or long-term disaster. As important as this preparedness layer is, we cannot operate these devices without an ample supply of power. Therefore, in our 39th week, we will weigh in on the topic of alternative power sources. Keep reading to learn more about what items you need to keep those communication devices and household appliances going in a long-term disaster, as well as how to incorporate different alternative energy forms into your home to harness free energy.

Next week, we will talk about staying warm in a long-term disaster.  This is essential to your health.  You will learn ways to insulate yourself and your home for further warmth, and to ensure that you have all you need to get through those cold months of winter.

We would love to hear your preparedness stories at Ready Nutrition. It only takes 60 seconds to make a difference and help our community become more resourceful and ultimately, more prepared. So, get those stories together – we can’t wait to hear from you!

We want to help get you and your family on the right track to preparedness. Using a food storage calculator, like the one at Ready Nutrition, can help you learn how much food you need stored for an emergency. Moreover, help out a friend and send the 52-Weeks to Preparedness series.

If you haven’t already, follow us on Twitter or Facebook. I love to interact with the preparedness community, because after all, we are all in this together!

Best Wishes,


Tess Pennington

Be the change you wish to see in the world.


 

PREP OF THE WEEK

 

Week 39 of 52: Alternative Power Sources

Those who are moving to retreat properties make it a point to look for land with its own source of fuel in order to accommodate future needs. Whether those sources are an ample wood supply, a natural gas well, or a surface coal seam, these resources will ensure that you can continue to power your home and your equipment.

Those of us who do not have these resources readily available to us on our own land may eventually run out of stored fuel sources. A way to avoid this future issue is to consider investing in devices that collect renewable energy to supply our homes and retreats with a continual supply of power. Therefore, consider the following, and keep in mind that all of these items would be ideal for barter situations:

Batteries – Most of our emergency devices require batteries, and having an abundance of them with the capability of being recharged is a good investment in your long-term livelihood. The best batteries on the market right now are NiMH (Nickle-Metal Hydride) that have a low self-discharge (LSD). To prolong the charge of your batteries, store them in a sealed bag in the back of your refrigerator. This prevents condensation and extends the life of the battery.

Also, consider purchasing lead-acid deep-cycle (DC) batteries (also called solar batteries). Solar batteries provide energy storage for solar, wind and other renewable energy systems. Different from a car battery, a deep cycle battery is capable of surviving prolonged, repeated and deep discharges which are typical in renewable energy systems that are “off grid”. Having multiple DC batteries hooked up and working together creates a battery bank and allows you to run more of your household appliances using solar energy. Deep cycle batteries can be a large expense for a sizeable off grid system, but with proper care and maintenance, they should last 5-10 years.

Solar Energy – Harnessing the sun’s magnificent power has become quite the craze lately. And why wouldn’t it be? In some states, having photovoltaic panels can make you eligible for a 30 percent federal tax credit!

A solar power system has three components: Solar panel(s) + Charge controller + Batteries. As the sun’s rays hit the solar cells on a photovoltaic (PV) panel, the power is transferred to a silicon semiconductor. The power is then changed into (DC) direct current electricity and passed through connecting wires to enter a storage battery.

  • Solar Panels come in all sizes ranging from enormous to small enough to fit on the hood of your car for charging small devices.  If you are considering purchasing some supplies for a solar power, consider starting out with a basic set and then add additional items to the existing set up. To learn more about the equipment required to create a solar paneling system, click here.
  • Solar Generators have many advantages. A few being, they don’t produce dangerous fumes, they run quietly, they are energy efficient and no fuel is required to run them. The best part is these generators can last 25 years or longer! Although the initial expense can be high, there is no additional cost to run the generator, so it’s a great investment. And for that matter, who says that a solar generator can only be used during disasters? Running your solar generator regularly will keep your electricity bills down.
  • Mobile Solar Power Systems would be ideal for bug out bags. Keep in mind that these systems can easily be stolen, hence the word  portable solar power systems. They should be placed in a secure, well guarded area.
  • Solar Battery Chargers use trickle charging, and can be somewhat time consuming. To expedite the process, many preppers buy two or three chargers to use simultaneously. However, there are solar chargers that can be connected to a photovoltaic panel and can make a huge difference in recharging batteries and providing power to small scale appliances. Those that live in humid or rainy environments may want to consider a charger that is weather resistant. Lastly, ensure your solar battery charger can charge a variety of battery sizes and has smart capability.

To learn more about the equipment required to create a solar paneling system, click here.

Here is an e-Book on passive solar energy and a checklist for you to determine how energy efficient your home is.

Inverters – An inverter is an electronic device that converts DC power into AC power. Ensure that you find a inverter that can handle your initial needs and anticipated needs. You can get the wattage by looking at the manufactures label on the appliance or if only the amps are there use the formula (amps x 115 volts= wattage) to convert to watts. To learn more about inverters, click here.

To see a video on how all of these items working in conjunction with one another, click here.

Natural Power Sources – The power from wind and water has been used for centuries and can easily be adopted to fit most self reliant lifestyles.

  • Wind energy can be harnessed by mounting wind turbines in high locations such as a rooftop. (Having a professional mount the turbine would be beneficial.) Many preppers do not recommend wind turbines because of their high maintenance and the risks associated with tower climbing. However, if you happen to live in an area that is very windy with lots of cloud coverage it could be a suitable option. To learn more about recommended wind turbines, click here.
  • Water energy has a lot of power – anyone who has seen Niagara Falls knows what I’m talking about! Steep parcels of land with large creeks running through them can be ideal spots for water turbines. A water turbine or hydro generator has the capacity to produce 10 amperes around the clock and matches the usable power generated by over 40 amps of solar modules. The power system itself is the same as solar, except that only diversion type charge controls can be used with hydro. Click here for more information.
There are many reasons to invest in alternate power sources. If the subject of peak oil isn’t enough, consider the fragility of the grid. As it stands, our country cannot exist without the electrical grid, and sometime in the not-so-distant future our lives could change drastically by a single event or disaster. While there is no way to predict when or if this will happen, we would be wise to prepare for the possibility.
Portions of this article were adapted from How to Survive the End of the World As We Know It by James W. Rawles

  Preps to Buy:

  • Rechargeable batteries in assorted sizes – in quantity
  • DC Batteries – in quantity
  • Solar Battery Chargers
  • Solar Photovoltaic Panel (5 watts or more)
  • Generator (Solar powered, diesel ran generators  are preferrable. Also, keep in mind that a typical size for a home backup generator is 4,500 watts continuous and 5,500 watts peak.)
  • Inverter
  • Seasoned Firewood
  • Extra parts for any alternative energy equipment and generators
  • Extra fuel sources you regularly use (propane, gasoline, diesel, etc.)
  • Fuel stabilizers if using gasoline (such as Sta-bil), or diesel fuel supplements to prevent gelling and a diesel antibacterial additive to prevent both growth and gelling.

Action Items:

  1. Make a spreadsheet of the total wattage the household uses.
  2. Purchase your alternative power supply devices and keep in mind if they are compatible to your needs.
  3. Purchase spare parts for your equipment.
  4. Ensure that your equipment is kept in a secure location and is unable to be stolen if in use. Hardened bolt-cutter-resistant security chains and a padlock can do wonders!
  5. When using any alternative power supply, monitor your supply to ensure that the power is not about to run out.

 WHAT WE’RE UP TO

In the Home:

My son has been complaining because I only make wheat bread for him. Typically, I shrug this off because I don’t want to get into how white flour is bleached and whole wheat is better for you. But, I decided to make it for him as a treat. So, this week I found a white bread recipe to try and share with all of you.

White Bread Recipe

  • 6 c. All-purpose flour
  • 1 tbls. Sugar
  • 2 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1 envelope of yeast
  • 2 c. warm water
  • 2 tbls. butter

Instructions:

  1. Mix all ingredients together and allow it to rest and rise for 45 minutes.
  2. Punch it and knead it.
  3. Allow dough to sit and rise.
  4. Bake at 400 degrees F for 25-30

Family Preps:

As much as I wanted to purchase some preparedness items this week, our finances didn’t allow it. Any extra money we had this month went into staying ahead of our debt. We are a few months ahead of our debt payments and are trying to put some extra money away for the move. So there are times, when the spending must come to a halt.

However, after doing the research for the above article, I can assure you that I will be purchasing NiMH rechargeable batteries. We already have a large quantity of batteries, but we can always use more, especially ones that are rechargeable.

In the Garden:

My front yard never looked better! It’s a shame that I’m moving, I am kind of looking forward to watching my front yard garden grow. A few months ago, my front yard was … well neglected to say the least. We cleared out weeds from the beds, planted a few azalea bushes, some caladiums, assorted flowers and added lots of mulch, and voila! Can you say instant curb appeal?


 RECENT ARTICLES

Testing Precious Metals for Long-Term Preparations

Solar Powered Equipment for Disaster Preparation

No Boys Allowed: Female SHTF Preparations


STATS AND FACTS

The environmental costs of energy are high — and getting higher. Take a look at some of the statistics for our energy usage:

  • 65% of global warming pollution is estimated to come from energy generation and use.
  • $25 billion paid by consumers every year for electricity estimated to be lost to inefficient transmission and distribution.
  • $150 billion lost every year to power outages and blackouts in the U.S.
  • $108 billion spent each year on energy bills for commercial buildings.
  • 30% of energy used by commercial buildings could be cut through investments in energy efficiency.

Source


 

LETTERS TO TESS

Do you have a preparedness question? One of the perks of my job at Ready Nutrition is to address questions and/or concerns that you may have with your prepping endeavors. Feel free to ask anything that is on your mind because no question is too big or small. You can email questions to: getprepped@readynutrition.com

This week’s question addresses uses for whey.

Tess,

I made your farm fresh cheese yesterday!  Very easy and simple.  I got about 1-1/2 cup of soft cheese, just wondering if this is about the norm? Seemed like a lot of whey was drained off. Is there something that I could have done with all of that? I added sun dried tomatoes, Italian herbs and garlic to the cheese and refrigerated over night.  It was fantastic on french bread the next day.

Thanks so much for the directions! I’ll definitely make again.

Pat

Answer:

I told you guys it was easy. Great job!

I drained a lot of whey off of my cheese batches too. It’s just part of the process. However, there are quite a few ways to reuse the whey drained off. Here’s a few off the top of my head:

  1. Being a Southern girl, I use it to make the best cornbread ever! Just substitute whey for buttermilk.
  2. You can also use it as an alternative for liquids in baking, making breads, added to soups as a thickener or while cooking rice.
  3. Also, I have used to to make amazing pancakes and cakes.
  4. Apparently, one reader told me that it can be given to chicken and makes the eggs they product tastier.

You can probably do an online search and find some more uses. But hopefully, these will put you on the right track.

I hope this helps!

Tess

This article was originally published at Ready Nutrition™ on March 30th, 2012

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