How much do you practice?

Hinotori

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k15n1 said:
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.
Use a small piece of fine a toothed saw to scrape the magnesium off. We have a burned out reciprocating blade on a string with with ours. Duct tape wrapped around the end to make a little handle. I've been on on the look out for one of those little mini hand spice graters, which I think would work better. I've seen them with a magnet on them as a fridge decoration.
 

~gd

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DianeS said:
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?
Well I have a nice modern Nuck power plant just 20 miles from here but some how they manage to let the lights go out at least once a month [they blame it on the pine trees] so I have all that unscheduled practice.
btw For that oil Lamp I use Fiberglass rather than cotton.[fiberglass might melt but not burn Then I loosely braid it with a ahort bit of wire [to hold up the wick out of the oil. I keep the already built lamps in small jelly jars, The clear glass lets the light out. I walk with a cane and my sister who is in a wheel chair sent me a small LED flashlight that clamps to the cane.
 

IW

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I live off the grid on solar power so the occasional "black out" does occur :lol: I have an oil lamp collection, mainly because I have always liked them but they come in real handy. Auctions are a good place to find them and even Walmart carries them and the oil.

Good LED flash lights and stick on lights are a must around here both for indoor black outs and to go outdoors after dark. You could also pick up some emergency candles or make your own to keep on hand.
 

Blaundee

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DianeS said:
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?
Except for the fact that I LOVE convenience, running water, texting on my phone, and watching tv, I think we're readyi
 

MiracleWik

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I always use dryer lint. I roll it up tight, then pinch some areas loose. It catches easier than cotton and burns long enough to get kindling going, even with just sparks from a flint.

-Ashley
 

ThrottleJockey

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MiracleWik said:
I always use dryer lint. I roll it up tight, then pinch some areas loose. It catches easier than cotton and burns long enough to get kindling going, even with just sparks from a flint.

-Ashley
If you are stuck with no lint, use a pocket knife and scrape it back and forth on your pants leg. This will provide enough to get a fire going!
 

robinhoodie

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Not enough :D I should have like a week every six months where I go off-grid, switch off my electricity and running water. Would be an interesting challenge. I do have a cabin that I go to for weekends though.
 

Britesea

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practicing ahead of time could save you a lot of grief, and maybe even save your life. Think of the people that buy a gun and one box of ammo, and stick it in their closet. They may not even know how to load the thing, but by G*d, they have their self-defense taken care of!

I remember reading something on another site about aluminum foil. Most prepper sites recommend carrying a folded up piece of foil in your survival pack- for cooking in, or carrying water. Well, the guy on this site had discovered, by practicing, that aluminum foil ain't what it used to be. He said every brand he tried, no matter how 'heavy duty' it was, developed leaks at any folds. That could cause some grief at a crucial moment, eh?

and the people that have their tins of beans and wheat and have no idea what to do with them (for instance, sprouting some of them to provide fresh veggies).

Having off-the-grid days or even full weekends will really help you deal with that later-- like knowing the best places to put your lamps for maximum light. We have a natural gas stove, so we have experimented with having gas but no electricity, and the placing of lamps can make a huge difference in cooking (I've informed my husband that a headlamp is on my wishlist now)
 

moolie

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DianeS said:
...
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?
We have most of our "survival skills" down pretty pat due to our annual camping and backpacking trips, we hit the alpine pretty regularly once the spring snow has mostly melted away. Longest trips I've done have been about a week, but once you are out there really the only limiting factor is food.

The only concern we'd have if we lost utilities is that we don't have an alternate source of heat during the winter months except for a wood burning fireplace that is more decorative than useful. We are close to water that is easily made potable by boiling or filtering with our backpacking filter, we are pretty well stocked with food year-round and have several ways to cook it, and we have our lighting and heating (in milder weather) pretty taken care of.

If anyone is interested in practicing "surprise" emergency drills, the website www.foodstoragemadeeasy.net runs a week of prep drills called the "7 Day Challenge" every September--I started a thread about it last year http://www.sufficientself.com/forum/viewtopic.php?id=13006
 
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