7 Things You Didn’t Know Were Invented by Kids
Check out brilliant everyday inventions that came from children
Anyone who’s gotten to know a child knows how incredible they can be. Sure, they blurt out embarrassing observations in public, but that’s because they don’t filter their thoughts. And yes, they occasionally ruin wallpaper with crayons or finger paint, but that’s because their creativity knows no bounds. Here are seven examples of children whose imagination and ingenuity produced something extraordinary.
In 1963, 6-year-old child inventor Robert Patch created a convertible toy truck. Patch had two goals for his truck: one, that it could easily be taken apart and put back together; two, that it could transform into all sorts of different vehicles. After drawing up a sketch, the boy got a patent for his idea, and the rest was playtime history. Photo by Shutterstock.
In 1930, when George Nissen was a 16-year-old high school gymnast, he began tinkering with an idea for a bouncing apparatus to train on. But it wasn’t until 1934 that Nissen and his University of Iowa tumbling
coach Larry Griswold built a device that actually worked. Then, in 1937, when Nissen was traveling the carnival circuit, he came across the Spanish word trampolin, which means “diving board.” Adding an “e” to the end, he trademarked the name for what was to become a backyard family favorite. Photo by Shutterstock.
In 1922, when Canadian Joseph-Armand Bombardier was 15 years old, he was tinkering around with his dad’s old Ford Model T motor and decided to attach it to a sled to see if the machine could power through
the snow. He enlisted the help of his brother to steer while he took control of the motor, and the first inklings of a powered snow machine were born. Fifteen years later his device, the B-7, was the first
snowmobile to hit stores. Photo by Shutterstock.
Just about everyone owns a TV, but did you ever dream that a teenager came up with the idea? In 1920, 14-year-old Philo Farnsworth first conceived of it, supposedly while he was plowing a potato field.
In 1926, he and his business partner founded Crocker Research Laboratories (later named Farnsworth
Radio and Television Corporation); only one year after that, the first-ever transmitted images were sent. Photo by Shutterstock.
In 1905, when Frank Epperson was 11 years old, he was trying to concoct his own version of soda pop. One particularly cold night, he left his beverage—a glass filled with soda water powder and water—outside on the porch by accident, with the mixing stick still in it. The ingredients froze overnight and Epperson
was inspired. In 1924, after the young inventor had some success in the real estate business, he applied for a patent, naming his creation the Epsicle. Later, it was changed it to the now well-known Popsicle. Photo by Michael Rosenfeld / Getty.
Chester Greenwood grew up ice skating in his native Maine. One day in 1873, the 15-year-old finally became so annoyed with how cold his ears became outdoors that he asked his grandmother to sew fur onto a two-loop wire he created. Soon he had a patented and approved model of what he originally called ear protectors. The state of Maine is so thankful for his invention that every December 21 is celebrated as
“Chester Greenwood Day.” Photo by iStockphoto.
Born in France in 1809, Louis Braille was blinded by an injury when he was only 3 years old. In 1824, while he was a 15-year-old student at the Royal Institute for Blind Youth in Paris, he created a type of reading that involved raised, imprinted dots organized in a pattern to facilitate learning. The first Braille book was released in 1829—and Louis Braille went on to become an instructor at the school where he had once been a student. Photo by Shutterstock.
It goes without saying that you can have a perfectly clean or immaculately decorated house (and even perfectly obedient children), and yet lack the home atmosphere that is joyful, loving, and welcoming to all who enter. People who visit your home are much more likely to respond to the home atmosphere than to the environment itself.
Creating a joyful home atmosphere is an area in which, by the grace of God, we have made much progress over the years. Even so, there are some days that are “one of those days,” in spite of our best efforts. We had one of those days just yesterday, and I pulled a quick trick out of my back pocket that we haven’t had to rely on in a while. But true-to-form, it worked to restore our home atmosphere and get everybody in the house back on track. It’s called “RE-BOOT.”
Just so I don’t have to re-invent the wheel, so to speak, I’m pasting in an adapted description of this technique straight from our book, The Values-Driven Family.
I hope it will help you gain control and glorify God in the atmosphere of your home when things seem determined to get the best of you!
Has this ever happened in your home?: The baby cried at 4 AM and you couldn’t go back to sleep; the dog got sick on the carpet; the toddler who was partially potty trained peed on the floor three times in a row, for the first time in over a week; the older siblings are perpetually whining and arguing. And as for getting any housework done…!
As a result, you are barking out commands to “behave” and “be quiet.” In response to your irritable orders, the children are in a crabby mood. You see that there is no end in sight. Yet, it’s only 9:45! You know you’re not going to make it through the day.
This is a very slight exaggeration of a true story—this was us one day! I (Marc) was busy working in my office and took it all in. My pregnant wife then went to the grocery store, children in tow. When she got home, she said that the kids exhibited the worst behavior she had ever experienced with them. I, of course (being the sensitive man that I am), responded, “I could have predicted that.”
You see, when everyone is worn thin and everybody is in a bad mood (frustrated, tired, or just plain irritable), things do not just change by themselves. In fact, you can expect the tone in the home to go from bad to worse, if left unchecked. After this incident, I talked to my wife, all the while thinking that the situation was somewhat what it feels like when my computer is acting up. It can be painfully slow or some features can simply stop working. So how do I respond (being as patient as I am with computers)? I click faster and harder and get frustrated that things just seem to slow down more—or, ultimately, the computer just seizes. How do I get things back to normal again? Reboot: Control—Alt—Delete!
Immediately I saw how the concept can also apply to the family.
First, control the situation. Recognize that the environment is not healthy and that the team can’t continue down this path. In our home, we stop everything and call a REBOOT. Everyone gathers in a room and sits down. I (or Cindy, if I am not there) tell the family that the mood is dismal and must change.
Next, ALTer the path. Ask the family if they want to have a blessed day. Ask them if they feel blessed now. Then tell them that we need to start over and decide to make choices that please God, so that we can experience His joy and peace that day.
Finally, delete the past. All misdeeds are forgiven. Every person (moody adults included) must give every other member of the family hugs and kisses and tell them they are sorry for being crabby or for doing whatever it was they had done to contribute to the mood crisis.
This method is exceptional! It really works. We have done this and have turned the tone 180 degrees in our home. Rebooting is a staple part of maintaining peace and joy in our home. It helps parents and children alike to recognize that peace, joy, and success are a choice. We as a family unit can set a joyful and loving tone in the home. Implementing this method encourages everyone in the family to come on board as a team and choose to take advantage of the new start offered.
This is a great reflection of the grace that God extends to us through Christ, offering a fresh start when we’ve chosen the wrong path and come to Him in repentance. We urge you to try this method in order to reduce the expression of negative emotions that threaten to wreak havoc in your home. The Bible says, “Better a dry crust with peace and quiet than a house full of feasting with strife” (Proverbs 17:1). This is so true! Little else matters in a home with a negative tone. Choose to REBOOT and restart your day on a better note.
(this is being written by my 8 year old son!)
I like being homeschooled by my mom and my dad. It is fun doing English and sometimes Literature. If you like Math, there is a fun website to practice your math skills. I use that website when my mom is watching to help me learn more of math.
When people ask me how I meet new people if I am at home, I tell them I meet people at church in Sunday school. It is fun at Sunday school. When I get to the gym, they have LEGO and other games like Kinnect 4 and some boys play along with me. They are different ages - like 10 or 7. After we play games and other stuff, we have Worship Service and we learn what is special about God and how can God see us.
Other than Sunday School, I go home and play with my friends across the street. They come to my place or I go to their house. I call them on the phone. They are Christians and they go to church on Sunday just like me.
I run around the block with my Dad every night at 7:00pm. And I always beat my Dad but it helps my Dad lose weight. When it's raining out and I can't go to the park, my Mom and Dad take me to McDonalds where there is a big playroom.
I am part of a Toronto Homeschool group also and they have a fencing class on Tuesdays. I am going to the fencing class next month, but I've been once already. And I loved it there.
I also have a penpal that I write to once a week. He is also a Christian and we like the same movies like Veggie Tales.
I think I am pretty busy with my school work and everything else. I'm not bored or lonely my mom is always with me and I like that.
How to Change Your Self-Destructive Behaviors
If you’ve ever engaged in all night drinking marathon the night before a big exam, procrastinated until the last minute to pay bills, filed your income tax forms after the deadline, waited until Christmas day to do all of your shopping or stopped at the Oberweiss drive-thru for a large chocolate shake with whipped cream and a cookie when you have been diligently following a healthy eating plan, you have engaged in self-handicapping behavior, also referred to as self-sabotaging behavior.
In a study by the Educational Psychology Review, self-handicapping is defined as “creating impediments to successful performance on tasks that the individual considers important.”
The focus of this particular study was on academic self-handicapping, where the subjects took a self-esteem protective strategy by withholding efforts on a task such as studying for an exam
in order to “save face” when they then got back poor grades.
The Three Major Causes of Self-Sabotaging Behaviors … and How to Overcome Them
Research shows that there are three major categories of self-sabotaging behaviors: procrastination, overindulging and fear of failure. Below are detailed descriptions of each of these behaviors
followed by what you can do to overcome them.
Self-Sabotaging through Procrastination
One of the quickest and most surefire ways to sabotage potential successes is through procrastination. The negative impacts of procrastination extend over to your health, finances, work and
In a Psychology Today article, leading experts on procrastination uncovered the below revealing characteristics of procrastinators.
Being raised under these circumstances usually results in the procrastinator turning to friends for support rather than their parents. The friends then perpetuate the procrastinator cycle by showing more
tolerance to their excuses than the parents would.
Experts have identified three specific types of procrastinators:
Arousal -- thrill-seekers who wait until the last minute to experience the euphoric rush
Avoiders -- attempt to avoid the fear of failure, care what others think of them and would prefer others thought they were lacking in effort, not necessarily ability
Decisional -- unable to make a decision, which they believe excuses them from responsibilities
The heavy costs of procrastination range from health problems such as compromised immune systems, more colds and flu, gastrointestinal problems and insomnia to other major areas of life such as the workplace and relationship troubles.
Don’t Put off Today … Tips on Overcoming Your Procrastinating Ways
If the thought of giving up your procrastinating ways elicits a physical resistance in your body, force yourself to put one foot in front of the other and start with these simple techniques:
Whatever your task is, start by breaking it up into segments and tackle one a day. You can even set a timer and tell yourself you need to complete your task before the timer goes off. Be specific with
writing down your tasks and be careful not to write them in a way that
sets you up for failure such as “Go on a diet.”
Put in as much detail as you can into the visualization and imagine how you see, hear and feel when you are doing it. By practicing these techniques you will be able to let go of needless worrying, start thinking positive thoughts and get your goals accomplished. It may help to do your visualizations along with a relaxation CD. At SixWise we love the Pure Relaxation: Guided Meditations for Body, Mind & Spirit CD by respected meditation expert Mary Maddux.
The guided meditations and music on this CD calm your mind, soothe your emotions and create a state of deep relaxation in your body.
Get a good night’s sleep: When we sleep, the stress hormone cortisol is lowered, but when we are sleep deprived, cortisol levels rise. Further, your energy levels will go down and you'll be less able to cope with any setbacks during your day. With guided sleep meditations by a leading meditation
expert, Mary Maddux, and music by a renowned meditation music composer with 20 years experience, the Sleep Easy CD will help you fall asleep fast, and find deep rest ... at an incredible price.
Sleep Easy CD users have reported:
Falling asleep faster
Waking up less throughout the night
Falling back to sleep faster when awakened during the night
Feeling more rested the next morning
Self-Sabotaging through Overindulging
Overindulgence most often happens as an unconscious response and people experience it when they’re unable or unwilling to face reality or to acknowledge the
implications of the situation.
For example, while strictly following a new way of healthy eating for over a month, you may find yourself dropping a bag of Reeses, frozen pizzas and peanut butter cookies in your grocery cart on your next shopping trip, justifying it by telling yourself it’s for your husband/wife or kids, knowing deep down that is not true.
Experts say that by engaging in this kind of behavior you are your own enemy and participating in a form of self-sabotage to your own goals.
Tell Yourself You Deserve a Healthy Body
The first step to take in dealing with diet sabotage and overindulging issues is to recognize that it is happening. If you find the times that you engage in overindulging you are feeling sorry for
yourself, ask yourself what the true, underlying emotions really are.
By doing this, you may find that you are eating to fill an emotional void such as boredom, sadness that your partner is out of town or loneliness because you are spending a Saturday evening alone.
Here are some tips to help you the next time you get the urge to overindulge:
Take part of your lunch break at work to go for a walk so you’re taking the focus off of food
Find a healthy eating partner either at home or at work and set common goals together
If you begin to engage in negative talk, stop yourself and ask what are you feeling at that moment
Make plans for a fun vacation once your goal is achieved
Be prepared to deal with stress in a healthy manner … before it drives you to overeat and gain weight. To keep the stress levels from driving you to overindulge, the staff at Sixwise.com encourages you to
try Staying Healthy in a Stressful World,
the highly praised CD by Dr. Peter Reznik, one of the most respected
mind/body integrative therapists of our time. The program will actually
help you to embark on a practice for transforming your stress into
Self-Sabotaging through Fears of Failure
Most people avoid feedback and criticism like the plague and this is especially true when it comes to performance review time at work or taking an exam at school. The thought of being criticized or failing
snowballs into seemingly insurmountable proportions and causes people to engage in self-destructive behaviors, such as denial and procrastination, with results that can negatively impact their work, health and organization.
You can take control of life and find out all of the possibilities and goodness that life has to offer once you let go of the fear of failure.
To get you on the path to following your dreams and accomplishing your goals, here are some practical techniques to overcome your fears:
Consider the high price of missed opportunities and delve into alternatives -- Without taking any risks in life, you’ll never know what opportunities lay in store for you. Fear of the unknown can cause a sense of paralysis in people struggling with pursuing their dreams. Once you’ve done your research and are informed of the possible consequences of a situation it lessens the fear of failure and makes it easier to move forward.
Understand the benefits of failure -- Put the worst-case scenario in perspective and ask yourself if you set out to do something and failed in the process, “What’s the worst thing that can happen?” Chances are the answer isn’t as nearly catastrophic as your thoughts had conjured up. As the saying goes, “As one door closes, another opens,” just as each failure represents another opportunity for growth.
Take action -- One of the best plans of action for reducing fear and building confidence is making the first step and going for it. After you accumulate all of your knowledge and research, you are ready to take your first step and each step after that you will feel more confident and your fears will become more manageable.
The greener we become, the more we have to scrutinize. I for one have cleaned up my home, my diet, my cleaning products and “” of utmost importance “” the products I put on my skin. I’m an avid ingredient reader and do the research “” after all, my skin is the largest organ in my body! Here’s a list of some common skin and hair care chemicals we all need to avoid.
Coal Tar: Coal tar is used to treat eczema, psoriasis and other skin disorders and can be found in anti-itch creams and scalp treatments. It’s also a known carcinogen.
Diethanolamine (DEA): A lathering agent in soaps and shampoos, DEA isn’t carcinogenic by itself, but can react with other chemicals in products to create a carcinogen readily absorbed into the skin. Look for DEA in many forms, such as Cocamide DEA, Oleamide DEA and Lauramide DEA.
Formaldehyde: A frighteningly common ingredient in a variety of beauty products. Formaldehyde can irritate your eyes, nose and throat, dry out and irritate your skin and even cause asthma and cancer with repeated exposure.
Parabens: Parabens have had a lot of press lately and I’m finding more and more products specifically labeled “paraben free.” This is because parabens, in their many forms (methylparaben, propylparaben, ethylparaben, or butylparaben) have been linked to breast cancer. The FDA claims that parabens aren’t dangerous at very low levels, but when you consider that 25,000 different cosmetics and skincare products contain these chemicals, it’s feasible to build up quite an exposure in a lifetime.
Phenylenediamine (PPD): An ingredient used in hair dyes (including eyelash dye), the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) has run studies that show a higher incidence of cancer among hairdressers and cosmetologists; they have the highest PPD exposure. Although PPD is not approved for products that come in contact with the skin, hair dye usually gets on your forehead or ears for up to 30 minutes. Why take the risk?
Phthalates: The subject of much controversy because of hormone-disrupting phthalates being found in plastic baby bottles and teethers, let’s not forget that they’re a common ingredient in cosmetics, too.
Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (SLS) and Sodium Laureth Sulfate (SLES): A foaming agent in soaps and shampoos, SLS and SLES are skin irritants and can enter the heart, brain and liver through the skin and accumulate in these organs.
Toluene: Found in nail polish and hair dye, this is a nasty one. Toluene is toxic to the nervous system, and breathing it in can cause dizziness and headaches. High exposures can lead to birth defects and miscarriage, so watch out if you work in a nail salon. Use toluene-free brands of nail polish instead.
Fragrance: Because of an FDA loophole, cosmetic companies can hide a whole slew of chemicals, many of which are phthalates, under the label “fragrance.” Read more about the dangers of fragrance, and avoid this ingredient like the plague.
Triethanolamine (TEA): TEA is used to balance PH and is a common ingredient in “gentle” cosmetic products, but unfortunately it’s been known to cause allergic reactions, is an eye irritant and can cause dry hair and skin. With consistent use, TEA is absorbed into the body and accumulates, where it can become toxic.
Hydroquinone: A skin-bleaching ingredient, hydroquinone is banned in Japan, the European Union, and Australia, but it’s still in use in the United States and other countries worldwide. Hydroquinone is found not only in Asian and African skin-lightening products, but in creams to lighten age-spots as well. There’s some evidence that hydroquinone is a carcinogen, and is linked to ochnronosis, a condition in which grayish brown spots and bumps occur on the skin.
When choosing cosmetics, read the ingredients, do your homework and go as simple and natural as possible. You really don’t need all that extra junk to be beautiful.
When people think about economic disasters and how to prepare for the worst, they usually think about the obvious first: food, water, guns/ammo. I’m afraid that often people forget how important it is to have a well established personal library comprised of different “how to” type books.
Today, I’d like to make some suggestions for books that would be very useful to have on hand in case the internet was lost and the only information you could access was what knowledge you’ve tucked away for a rainy day, and the books you have with you.
They say “Knowledge is power”, but in a survival situation it could mean more than that, it could mean life or death. The right kind of books can help you get through the hardest of times. Here are some titles you might consider putting on your Christmas list this year. I can only suggest books that are personally on my own bookshelf. I’d love to hear your recommendations if you don’t see one of your favorites on my list. There are so many good books out there, but here’s a good starting point:
I cannot start off this list in good conscience if I don’t begin with the Holy Bible. No, it won’t give you life saving tips. But what it will offer you is even more precious than that, the knowledge of how to save your very soul. And in the end, no matter what happens here on earth, where we go when all is said and done is all that will really matter. Whether you are a believer or not, if things get crazy you will be glad to have the Word of God to turn to. Personally, I like the New Living Translation.
I have yet to find that one “go to” book for gardening help. The trouble I’ve found is that there are so many different gardening methods, and so much conflicting advice. I guess I’d just have to recommend finding a book which covers your gardening method of choice, whether it be Lasagna Gardening, Square Foot Gardening, Organic Gardening, etc.
If I had to pick only one of my gardening books to take with me, I believe I’d choose this one from my bookshelf:
Reader’s Digest Illustrated Guide to Gardening
If your gardening book does not cover how to save seeds, you should get a book which covers this specific topic. I have “Seed to Seed” by Suzanne Ashworth.
Homesteading/Living Off The Land
Two really great books that cover almost every aspect of living off of the land that you could think of are:
The Encyclopedia of Country Living, by Carla Emery, and Reader’s Digest Back To Basics
With this book as a part of your library, you will never have to fear starvation as long as you have land to forage.
The Essential Wild Food Survival Guide, by Linda Runyon
What happens when you are faced with a medical emergency, and you have no way of getting to a doctor? It is incredibly important to have good resources on hand to help you make the best decisions possible in critical situations. Here are four highly recommended medical books which I have added to my library:
The Ship’s Medicine Chest and Medical Aid at Sea
The American Red Cross First Aid & Safety Handbook
Where There Is No Doctor, by David Werner
Where There Is No Dentist, by Murray Dickson
(Obviously, you would need medical supplies to accompany these books, but that’s another post.)
When conventional medicines are no longer within arms reach, you may be scrambling to find something to alleviate whatever ails you. This is my absolute favorite book on how to make your own herbal medicines from plants you can grow yourself or find in your very backyard.
The Complete Medicinal Herbal, by Penelope Ody
It’s important to have good canning recipes on hand, and with these books you’ll be able to can just about anything you can imagine. They also cover how to dehydrate foods, another great way to preserve the harvest. Again, these are my three favorites.
Ball Blue Book: Guide To Preserving
Growing and Canning your Own Food, by Jackie Clay
How To Dry Foods, by Deanna DeLong (My copy is pretty vintage, but she has an updated version available on Amazon.)
Not just any cookbooks though. In a survival situation, you probably aren’t gonna have gourmet spices and cheeses on hand. You need to have a few good cookbooks which use the most basic of ingredients to make delicious, wholesome meals your whole family will enjoy. Make sure you have a good collection of recipes for food storage items as well! Here are some I am glad to have on hand:
Clara’s Kitchen, by Clara Cannucciari- If you read the review I wrote on this book a while back you already know how much I love these Depression Era recipes!
Extending the Table, by Joetta Handrich Schlabach- A wonderful collection of recipes from around the world, made only from ingredients the tribal people could grow or gather themselves.
Cooking with Food Storage Made Easy, by Debbie G. Harman- A really good book full of recipes to make from your food storage ingredients.
Because you never know what life will throw at you. It’s good to know how to build your own shelter, and make traps for catching wild game. Here’s an excellent resource for everything you would need to know to survive in the wilderness:
SAS Survival Handbook, by John “Lofty” Wiseman
So, that’s what we’ve got on our bookshelf so far. I feel confident that we have built a good library of survival information. We can’t always count on having the internet to surf, or the public library to borrow from. If you don’t have a good stack of “how to” books like these, I’d highly suggest adding a few to your list of emergency preparedness necessities.
Taken from What Do I Need In Order To Survive An Economic Collapse? Part Two: Personal Library Essentials http://newlifeonahomestead.com/2010/11/what-do-i-need-in-order-to-survive-an-economic-collapse-part-two-personal-library-essentials/
What would happen if you woke up tomorrow to a home with no electricity? No lights. No running water. No heat or A/C. No stove to cook breakfast on. No coffee maker. No toaster. No microwave. Nothing. How inconvenienced would you be?
What if this lasted for a week? Two weeks. Months. And for whatever reason staying at somebody else’s place wasn’t an option. What if everyone lost power.
Would you be able to survive? Sure, you’d learn to improvise. You’d figure out how to cook in an empty aluminum can over an open flame. But wouldn’t it be better to begin preparing for this possibility before it happens?
Oh, that’s right. It’ll never happen to you. This is America, after all, not some third-world country. We might lose power for a couple of days at most, but the utility company will have it back on again in no time… right?
If that’s your thinking then you can go ahead and keep believing we are invincible, and above calamity. I’ll choose to live in the real world, and begin preparing now. Just in case. I prefer the “better safe, than sorry” approach. Especially when it comes to the well-being of my kids.
So, what do you need in order to live comfortably without electricity? I’m so glad you asked. (And I’ll assume you aren’t rigged with solar or wind.)
1. Heat Source
If you live in a region where winters are cold, you’ll need to think about this. Since it’s gonna be 7* F tonight for us, right now especially we realize that a source of heat for our home is extremely important. If we lost power for a long stretch of time, it wouldn’t take long for our house to get really, really cold. A non-electric source of heat is something that we are working on getting in place.
A generator would work for a while, but once you are out of fuel it won’t be any good to you. The same goes for kerosene and propane heaters.
Installing a wood burning stove is probably your best option, if at all possible. That’s what we are doing, anyways. Outdoor boilers, or water stoves as they are called, are great for heating your home without using the furnace, but they still require a small amount of electricity. If you do opt for the wood stove, try to get one that you could cook on as well.
If you do not have a fireplace to install a wood stove in (and even if you do), you’d be wise to at least have some warm clothing and blankets on hand. Long underwear, thick socks, gloves, hats (something comfortable enough to sleep in), warm outer clothing, and good sleeping bags and/or blankets for every member of the family are a must. I’d consider co-sleeping as a family during the coldest of nights as well. Nothing like body heat to warm you up!
2. Clean Water
We all know how vital it is to have a source of clean water available to us at all times. But when the power goes out, how can we access it?
A well with a hand pump would be ideal. Unfortunately, not all people live on land with a well, and even if you do, if you are like us and have a deep well you can’t afford to install a hand pump on it!
Until we are able to get a hand pump rigged, we are relying on a few other sources for water. Since we are fortunate enough to have running water on our property, that’s gonna be our main source. We invested money in building this homemade water filtration system, so if we do have to drink from the creek, at least we will know it’ll be safe. You can also buy water purification tablets to have on hand.
We also bought a 275 gallon water tank off of craigslist, which we’ve hooked up to our gutter system to catch rain water. Amazingly, it’ll fill up in one good downpour. We use it to water the animals and the garden, but it would be good for drinking and bathing water as well. If you can get at least one rain barrel installed, it’ll be a good start.
Without the use of a stove, microwave, or toaster oven, how do you plan on cooking when the power goes out? Even if your stove runs on propane, if you have no way of accessing more fuel when you run out it’ll be of no use to you.
A good thing to have in place is a way of cooking food using wood for fuel. I realize that not everybody has wood readily available to them. If this is the case, it might be a good idea to start piling up whatever wood you can get your hands on now. Or you could store up a good supply of charcoal. If used wisely, a little can last a very long time. Remember, in an emergency situation, you can burn a lot of other stuff in place of wood, too. It’s just important to have somewhere outdoors or in a well ventilated area to burn an open flame.
Here are a few ideas to think about:
Build a fire pit. Even if you only have a patio or balcony, you could have a small steel fire pit to burn in.
Burn wood in a charcoal grill.
Cook in an open fireplace.
We also have a water stove (outdoor boiler) that we could use to cook in.
There are some other great ideas here that you might like to check out as well.
Don’t forget that you’ll need cast iron cookware for cooking over an open flame. Frying pans, a bread pan, and a camp dutch oven are a must.
Also remember to have a good stash of matches and lighters kept in a waterproof container!
Without running water, bathing will take a little more effort. Hopefully you’ve set up a rain barrel or something to collect water in. If you have a way to heat your water, you’ll be able to boil enough to take a shallow hot bath in a tub. A nice large enamel pot would be good to have on hand for boiling large amounts of water in. Make sure you have a good bathtub plug too!
If you don’t have a bathtub, you might wanna keep your eyes out for a large galvanized washtub that you could fit in comfortably.
You could also build an outdoor solar shower. Here’s a really nice example of how one can be built out of an old hot water heater and some scrap privacy fencing. You can buy a solar shower for around $10-$30, or make one similar. I’ve also been thinking that a long, coiled up (preferably black) water hose left in the sunlight would create some very nice hot water to bathe with as well.
Whatever method you choose, plan on bathing a lot less frequently, and instead simply wiping down with a washcloth most days. Make sure you have a good supply of soap on hand!
Obviously, lots of candles would be extremely useful. You can often find used ones for free at yard sales. Save the wax from old candles and broken crayons to make new candles from.
Oil lamps are great to have too. I’ve been picking these up at yard sales for really cheap as well. The larger, outdoor style oil lanterns would be handy as well as the more decorative indoor lamps. That lamp oil is expensive; kerosene is cheaper and works just as well, although it may produce a little smoke. I’ve also read that you can burn olive oil in lamps… something I want to experiment with.
We plan on picking up some solar flashlights on top of these other things.
Use your daylight wisely. Go to bed soon after the sun goes down, and rise with the dawn. This way you won’t use up your resources “burning the midnight oil”.
Keep a supply of lamp and candle wicks, oil, and matches on hand.
6. Washing clothes.
Of course, if you have a creek nearby you can always wash your clothes in it, right? But what if you live in town?
My first back up plan was to make a “washing machine” out of a plunger and a 5-gallon bucket. But we were thrilled to find an antique, wooden hand-crank washing machine at a yard sale over the summer!
Though all you really need is a wash basin, scrub brush or scrub board, and a bar of soap!
If you leave the fridge and freezer doors closed, the food inside will stay good for about 3-4 days. But once frozen stuff starts to thaw out, you’ll need to either can it, dry it in a solar dehydrator, or eat it quickly.
Though most of us can live without it, a good refrigeration method would be nice to have to keep food and drinks cool through the hot months.
A while back I shared how you can make a Zeer Pot to keep your foods cooler and fresher for up to three weeks.
Again, if you have a nearby source for running water, you can use the cool stream to keep your foods from spoiling as quickly by submerging them until ready to use.
Unless you have a composting toilet, power outtages mean no flushing potties. If you are fortunate enough to live in a wooded area, then going to the bathroom won’t really be any trouble for you. But, if you live in the city or in town and can’t just dig a hole in your back yard, the build-up of sewage can become a very serious problem.
If going outdoors is not an option for you, I’d highly recommend that you stock up on trash bags. You can use smaller ones to line your toilet with, or you can use a 5-gallon bucket lined with a larger trash bag for very effective waste disposal. This will at least keep things from spilling over and stinking up the place, and creating major health hazards.
If some major catastrophe has occurred, and lights are out all over town, it would be of some comfort, I think, to have some means of communication with the outside world. A good solar/hand-crank emergency radio is important to have on hand.
You might also consider some good quality walkie-talkies. If you and your family members have to separate over a fairly short distance for any particular reason having a way of communicating with each other could be life-saving.
Don’t forget what we talked about in Part 2 of this series. When the internet is down, and your phone-a-friend lifeline is no longer available, you’ll really be glad to have life saving “how to” guides on hand. Refer back to my Personal Library Essentials post for suggested reading.
Look, I don’t know if we’ll ever need to use these suggestions or not. I pray, I PRAY we don’t. But like I said before, doesn’t it seem so much wiser to be prepared, just in case? What harm could come of having a back up plan? I am reminded of two quotes,
“By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.”
“The time to repair the roof is when the sun is shining.”
- John F. Kennedy
Although I’m not sure in which context these phrases were being used, I do believe it easily applies to survival preparedness. The more of us who are ready to take care of ourselves in a crisis, the less strain there will be on those who come to help. We all remember what happened when Katrina hit. It was a long time before any help did arrive, and those who depended upon it suffered horribly. I don’t want to see my children suffering, I don’t want to suffer… and I don’t want you and your family to suffer either.