Episode-607- Survival Podcast Listener Calls for 2-16-11 — 27 Comments

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  2. Jack,

    Thanks for your thoughts on the Soil & Water Quality Ph.D. I also appreciate your comments on “action” vs. “think tanks.” I agree 100% with your philosophy that we can do more to influence change by changing ourselves (our food, our preparedness, and the production of our homes), rather than trying to persuade/change others. I think that’s why I struggled with this decision – Financially, this is a win-win. My wife is completely supportive and has encouraged me with nearly the same message as you did (Guys, listen to your wives!). My only hesitation was the fear of over-specialization and drawing away some of my focus from my preps. But getting this done and prepping don’t have to be mutually exclusive, so I am going for it. I actually made the decision awhile back, but your thoughts have motivated me and calmed some of my anxiety about it.

    Thanks again.

  3. Take 3 or 4 match stick and place them in the hole before you plant your plants.
    The Sulfur will make your peppers hotter. Careful to much sulfur and your peppers will be to hot to for most people to eat. ie:don’t toss a whole book of matches in the hole. (I know made this mistake)

  4. RationalHusker – do it man!!! In general, I think you find numerous comments against higher education on preparedness boards, etc. The common theme is one of “I’d take common sense of book sense any day”. Lots of jokes about ph.d. standing for “post hole digger” or “piled high & deep”. All joking aside, in certain disciplines it’s the way to go. I think you’ll find that you won’t be quite as specialized as you might think, especially in your chosen field. The bottom line is that you’ll learn to think more effectively as a soil scientist. You will learn how to learn additional, more complex concepts, more effectively. These in and of themselves are valuable skills. You will also be qualified, fair or not, for jobs solely b/c of the letters following your name. I walked into a fantastic job after graduate school – a large fraction of the work I engaged in did not really require a ph.d., but the role itself required one. I now work in a completely different field – the specialization argument wasn’t as critical as general problem-solving skills and effectiveness as an engineer. My own background is bs in mechanical engineering followed by ms and ph.d. in materials science. My dissertation involved growing and characterizing wide bandgap semiconductors. I now work for a major aerospace company (and love it) – quite different! I’m surrounded by other folks like me, but from different backgrounds and learn so much from them every day. This brings you back to one of Jack’s core axioms about engaging in something you truly enjoy or have a passion for – sounds like the ph.d. will allow you to do so, is paid for, will make you more marketable – how can you loose? You migth re-think this last statement as you sweat during your dissertation defense … but, really – it will be worth it.

    • @timfromohio:

      Thanks for the encouragement, Tim. You’re right about the comments (common sense vs. book smart, etc). Not so much from other people, but from my own head. I have so much to learn about food preps, permaculture, and homesteading skills…I just hate the idea of flattening that curve due to the focus and time spent on my research. But getting the Ph.D. is part of my preparation for when things don’t go bad – it will open some doors for me professionally. My challenge is to do what Jack said – make a difference in soil & water quality. Nice thing is that some of my coursework may actually make me better at gardening and permaculture.

  5. Talking about books, one thing I think people don’t think about so much which could be a real valuable resource is to get a book on something that you don’t know and while teaching yourself or having taught you, if there is an instructor, you document as much as you can in a good note book, not just the success but the failures and how you might correct it next time or how you corrected it. It not just reinforces your learning of the subject, it can be quite valuable to pass on to others, family or make a comprehensive e-book or physical book, for others who are attempting to learn these things. Far too many books out there talk about subjects in theory, as if the author has experience in it, when they might have no actual hands on experience of it. But if anything it will really cement the your experience by recounting it in your notes in a way that can be picked up by someone who might not know how to do something and learn via your experience. This is also good to do for subjects you already know very well, it will help yourself, your family, and potentially others.

  6. I have used 80w synthetic differential oil on a custom AR I built. I ran it in a couple of classes putting in excess of 1000 rounds without cleaning. Sure, it smells a litle but works great. When I finallly cleaned it it was a mess but showed no unusual wear and zero malfunctions.

    • synth oil has teflon or some other polymer I have always suspected it would be good for guns (esp. down the tube) but I would use a lighter grade for less mess, especially with the AR15 or variants as they like real clean actions. I use bearing grease on the bolt and follower assembly on my M14, and fine gun oil everywhere else.

  7. @RationalHusker:

    As someone who is currently Piling it Higher and Deeper in the ag field, I say run with it! Don’t worry about over-specialization. While you will be a specialist in a particular subject, more importantly you will be learning a skillset (as timfromohio pointed out)– learning how to teach yourself new skills; processing and critically evaluating information; problem solving; communication and maybe even teaching. All of that is applicable no matter where you find yourself post-PhD. Don’t worry about cutting into your preps either. School is demanding, but it only lasts a few years! And leave yourself open to the transformative process of the education too– you never know where this path will lead you.

    Good luck!

    • Thanks, Mandevu. Good luck with your “pile” as well. What kind of ag research are you doing?

      • I study agrodiversity and the dynamics of landscape change. PM me on the TSP forum and I’d be happy to tell you more and answer any questions you might have about the whole grad school thing…

  8. Regarding the question about sewage backing up. In a situation where you know the sewage treatment plant is down and there is a risk of sewage backing up into your house, I think I may have an idea which may eliminate the risk of this. Houses where I live (Austin, TX) have sewage drains that run from their house to the city sewage line. There are clean outs in the drain line which is essentially an access to the drain line (it’s what the Roto Rooter man uses to free any blockage in your line); these lines are typically 4″ or 5″ and there’s normallya clean out somewhere between the city line and the house. I don’t see why one couldn’t take the cap of the clean out access and place some kind of bladder down there and inflate it. The bladder should be relatively thick, obviously something like a simple balloon wouldn’t work. You could even pump one of these up with a bike pump to 60psi so no power is needed…in fact, a mountain bike tire tube may actually work quite well for this. They’re relatively thick and will expand a bit to be conformal to the drain line. When the sewage treatment plant is back up simply let the air out and pull it out. Obviously you couldn’t use your toilets, sinks, etc. when the drain line is blocked with the bladder/tube.

    I’m just thinking out loud here. Please feel free to debug this idea.

    • I work for the gas company and we use bladders to block low pressure lines. I don’t see why this couldn’t be done in a sewer clean out. Of course the cost of the equipment might be a turn off might have to DIY a bladder to make it affordable.

  9. On the subject of preventing sewage back up in a home when the pumping systems fail in time of disaster. Go to a plumbing supply and purchase pressure test plugs. They come in a couple of styles on is rubber and plastic in which you put it into a drain and tighten a wing nut in the middle that forces the rubber out sealing the drain pipe. For toilets you can use the style that is an inflateable bladder type. You put in the base if the toilet opening and inflate it with a bicycle hand pump. For sinks disconnect the trap and use a treaded cap on the end of the pipe coming from the wall/floor.

  10. I am a Plumbing Contractor in Oklahoma. In response to the question about sewage backups, a backwater valve would prevent any sewage from entering a home if the public sewage system should fail. The backwater valve is not hard to install and any licensed plumber should be able to install one in about 3-4 hours. Every installation is different, but usually it not a big job for an experenced plumber. Every city code is different, but I have never heard of a city not allowing home owners to install a backwater valve. There are several styles of backwater valves on the market. Here is a link to some of the different stlyes I have installed these backwater valves in client’s sewage systems that are located in low areas where a backup from the city sewage main would flood their home.

    One listener suggested putting a plug into the sewage line from the sewage cleanout. That could be done, but in a real SHTF moment you are not going to be able to run to Lowe’s or Home Depot to purchase this item. A backwater valve already installed would remedy this situation.

    An easy “solution” in a SHTF moment would be simply to remove the cleanout plug on your sewer line. The sewage would back up in your yard and possibly not overflow in your house. In either situation the backwater valve would be the best option.

  11. regarding sewer backup prevention – in the past 10 years, i’ve had 2 sewer backups after extraordinarily heavy rains, and last summer i had to install an overhead sewer. it’s another piece of equipment to maintain, but our town would not approve a sewer gate, as they say it’s not always effective and you must be home to close the gate. the overhead sewer is about $6K+, but in our town, the municipality shared half the cost up to $3K. now we’re equipped for heavy rain or other events as mentioned in the show today.

  12. I’m surprised no one mentioned it yet, but dexron ATF is one of the ingredients in Ed’s red gun cleaner (a modernization of the gun cleaner recipe in hatcher’s notebook). The ATF is actually what gives it its red color. The cleaner is made of equal parts dexron ATF, odorless mineral spirits, kerosene, and acetone. In one of Ed’s articles on his gun cleaner he recommends leaving out the acetone and using it as a gun oil.

  13. Thanks for the video on seed starting tub, Jack. I’ve been toying in my mind with building something like this, as I’m currently toting my seedlings around on just a flat tray – messy and no light, just outside (warm) or window (cold & night). Anyway, the video really jump started my thinking. Now wondering what might be the best way to rig a small heater so that the whole thing could stay outside on all but the coldest days/nights. Maybe some quick way to take the bars out so the lid could fully close, and a small heater mounted in the side? Just brainstorming here…

  14. Another thought on the sewer back up, after talking to one of our engineers a simple gate valve could be installed too. The back flow valves are probably the best choice, but two is one and one is none….

  15. Just a word of advice regarding sewage back ups. I am an insurance adjuster (some of us are good people I swear!). If you are on a public sewer system or you have a sump pump in your home, please, please, please look into getting a “Back Up Endorsement” on your insurance policy!!! I cannot tell you how often we see sewage back ups w/out the endorsement and are forced to deny the claim. Your basic insurance will not cover you for this type of loss, you need the endorsement.

    I understand this probably won’t matter in a SHTF scenario, this is more for the everyday SHYourF scenario.

    • @Britni,

      May I have your permission to use SHYF on the air and on the site elsewhere. I friken love that! Seems like an original thought though and I never heard it before so I don’t want to appear to be lifting it from another person.

      • Jack,
        You absolutely may use it in the show and on your site! I feel a little honored that you liked it. It seemed to apply since we were talking about sewage. Yuck.

      • Jack,
        Awesome hearing SHYF on the show the other day (awesome show too!)

        Britni is my first name, like Ms. Spears, only way cooler 😉

  16. I found this regarding microwave canning. Does anyone have more info?

    “Microwave Processing Microwave oven cannot be used for home canning. Microwaved food reaches 212 F but heating is not uniform. There is also a danger of explosion of the jars within the microwave oven or as food is being removed from the oven.”

  17. @Ken get the book and read it all of this is addressed. Remember anyone can say anything on the internet. The book has been out a long time I am sure if anyone died from a microwave canned peach by now they would have been sued into oblivion.

    If we never did anything someone on the internet said couldn’t be done safely we would all spend our days doing nothing. I even found a really solid blogger (otherwise) who insists that if you feed acorns to chickens it will kill them. Seriously and she is not open to mountains of examples where it has been done and considers the fact that wild poultry lives on acorns “hypothetical”.

    Just look and notice my comments and her responses

    This blogger is really a smart person and has some awesome posts but she read one report on tannins and won’t budge on this issue. Much of what the internet tells us goes into this category.

  18. Yes that is the catch 22 of the internet. Anyone can say anything, be it microwave canning is good or microwave canning is bad. That is why I was looking for more info rather than jumping to any conclusions. Uneven heating seems like a reasonable caution. Can you post what the book has to say about this issue? Thanks Ken