How much do you practice?

DianeS

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I thought I was pretty well set for most common "emergencies" that are likely to happen around here. I have my supplies, I've read up on how to use them, I felt pretty good.
So when the lights went out Christmas Day (after dark), I whipped out my stuff to put together olive oil lamps.

I got my dishes, put the cotton floss in it, added the olive oil, and lit the floss. And got almost nothing. Really? I did it by the directions! But the light was so pale it was hardly any use. Hardly any of the wick would stand up out of the oil. So the flame was really tiny. And the sides of the dish were taller than the flame.

To make a long story short, I kept adjusting it even after the lights came back on three hours later, and finally got it to work the way I had imagined. I needed to thickly braid the floss so there was more area to hold the flame. I needed to have something non-flammable in the oil to support the weight of the wick so it wouldn't sink into the oil. And I needed a different container with shallower sides (or a taller support for the wick and more oil).

So... I *knew* what to do and it technically worked, but I certainly needed some hands-on practice before it was actually useful. And that got me thinking - I bet it's going to be the same with everything else I have stored up. Like, I have the supplies to purify water, but how long does it really take, and what does it taste like? Will I need to do some flavoring for it to ensure that I drink it in a no-safe-water situation? And I know how to cook on my propane grill, but really all I've cooked on it is meat, so I ought to practice the other things we'll want to eat if the stove is unable to be used for a period of days. I don't want to serve burned vegetables or underdone potatoes when we're already dealing with so much else.

So that made me wonder - how much do all of you practice the things you're prepared for? Any tips for me on the best ways to practice, or how often you recommend practicing, or the like?
 

Denim Deb

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Some things I've done so long that I don't even think about it now, it's 2nd nature. And that's basically what you want it to be. Practice it when it doesn't matter-especially cooking and starting a fire w/out matches if need be. Find out what works for you, and what doesn't. For instance, I know a lot of people like those magnesium fire starters, I don't. I don't know if it was the knife I was using or what, but I could never get the magnesium off w/out ruining the knife. I had no trouble getting a spark, so I have just a plain fire starter and have worked w/that to get a fire going.
 

DianeS

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Denim deb, when you practice this stuff, do you practice individual skills or do you do everything for a set period of time. (Like, light a fire and blow it out, light a fire and blow it out, etc - vs - light a fire and cook dinner over it, and do that every so often.)
 

Denim Deb

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It depends. W/the fire, I practiced starting it w/various materials until I found the best way to light it. (Real cotton balls are great for starting a fire w/sparks!) Now, cooking over a fire is a bit different. It's kind of hard to start cooking it, then change your mind. :lol:
 

so lucky

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Maybe you could set aside one day a month to "pretend" you have no power or modern conveniences. The family might think it was fun if it didn't last forever.
 

Mattemma

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No I do not practice,and at the same time I nag dh to try the dinky gennie he always brings up when I talk about powe going out.

Shamefully my extent of *practice* is limited to staying home for days to weeks,and living off what we have. I then get to see how well I prepped,and how creative I can be. Utilities are never out long enough to even use anything.

I was actually planning to get a volcano 2 stove for the back porch(for cooking),but go figure it is out of stock till February....atleast at the cheapest site.Right now we just have a dinky grill and some charcol.

We have dealt with no heat for a week in the winter.Not gas for a week(cooking,heating,water heat),and no electric for a few hours. I think the no heat for a week in single digits was the worst.There are a few things I want to get like a water filter and a lol a toilet seat for a bucket.Had the septic give out once due to flooding,so that might be good to have.
 

k15n1

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Denim Deb said:
Some things I've done so long that I don't even think about it now, it's 2nd nature. And that's basically what you want it to be. Practice it when it doesn't matter-especially cooking and starting a fire w/out matches if need be. Find out what works for you, and what doesn't. For instance, I know a lot of people like those magnesium fire starters, I don't. I don't know if it was the knife I was using or what, but I could never get the magnesium off w/out ruining the knife. I had no trouble getting a spark, so I have just a plain fire starter and have worked w/that to get a fire going.
Had the same problem. Solution: better knife or use the squared-off edge on the back of the knife blade.
 

ThrottleJockey

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Many of our survival skills are practiced daily, it is sort of a way of life for us. What I don't do and should is use the bucksaw instead of the chainsaw when I cut wood, I don't carry water we still use our plumbing....

A good exercise is to throw the main breaker in your fuse panel every so often and make the family go a weekend without juice. Don't tell them it's a drill, just keep them busy with the mundane chores of life without electricity.
 

FarmerChick

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rub petroleum jelly into your cotton balls and then put them in a container (like used prescription bottles)

they burn SO MUCH LONGER it is insane. a regular cotton ball flares up in a second and gonzo. with petr. jelly on them they burn a while so you really can get a fire started easier with less use of your supplies.



I don't need to practice our 'ice storm power outage' stuff cause we do it alot come winter. 2-3 times at least and all my situations work well on that.
 

ThrottleJockey

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FarmerChick said:
rub petroleum jelly into your cotton balls and then put them in a container (like used prescription bottles)

they burn SO MUCH LONGER it is insane. a regular cotton ball flares up in a second and gonzo. with petr. jelly on them they burn a while so you really can get a fire started easier with less use of your supplies.



I don't need to practice our 'ice storm power outage' stuff cause we do it alot come winter. 2-3 times at least and all my situations work well on that.
cotton balls with vaseline don't ignite from a spark. They've gotta be dry to function as tinder so I suggest putting the ones with jelly on them in a baggie to keep the separate from the dry ones;)
 
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