Episode-1557- The Responsibility of being Prepared — 53 Comments

  1. ‘What are you going to do if you can’t flush your toilet.’

    This is one area where having a pool comes in really handy. Where I live we get a multi-day power outage just about every year [and occasionally it’s a big one in excess of a week.] Just use the toilet as normal and then drop a bucket of water into the toilet bowl. [Interesting fact: it seems to take less water than the toilet’s tank holds by a fair margin.]

    Then again this doesn’t work in the case of a flood where the sewage system gets screwed.

    • In the event of SHTF the sewer will shut down and you can’t “flush” at all. You need to rethink how you will dispose of your human waste and it’s really not that hard. It wasn’t that many years ago that our parents were using outhouses, my mom grew up in Santa Monica with family in Topanga Canyon, California and they had outhouses. We’re talking up until the 1960’s. These outhouse spots are also great digs for old bottles and the soil is so fertile! Keep a empty 5 gallon bucket and start using it to pee into. I keep several in different locations and it’s wonderful nitrogen to feed to your garden plants. One part pee to 20 parts H2O is the dilution so you don’t burn your plants. In the case of a flood and you want to stay in your home, keeps several empty 5 gallon buckets (with a lid) to use until the flood recedes. If you have someone with disabilities you might want to use a potty chair with the bucket. I compost and I have developed a rotation system so my compost gets turned and rotated from pile to pile. The compost matter can be used after a year, it’s pure rich black soil, but I gotta tell ya, after a year there’s really not much left of anything but the worm population is huge!

      • Sheri… you raise a VERY good point with the sewer, and the back up of the sewer. Do you know that if your sewer reverse floods and puts fecal material and water into your basement, and mold grows and the entire house has to be torn down that your home owners insurance does NOT cover this. This is a good “RIDER” to get on your insurance policy. Its not that expensive, about $50 more per year.

        NOT EVERYone needs to worry about being backed up with sewer, if you are the highest spot of land, it won’t happen to you. In my subdivision I’m almost near the top of the highest point so its not a big concern with me, I can still flush if I have water….and let me tell you, flushing takes a LOT of water in comparison to what you drink in a regular day. So if you can still flush without it backing up, the suggestion is that you pee and pee and pee in the bowl and then only flush after a #2, or some people only flush after a day of #2, depending on the population of the house.

        About pissing in a bucket or a bottle and then putting it on your garden. YES… Sheri you are SO 100% ON THE MARK. Only it does not need to be diluted 20:1 but only 2:1. A female dog squats and pisses in one spot and it can leave ‘urine dead zones’ on the grass, the male dog lifts his leg and sprays (don’t most of us males), so its more diluted. So 2:1 or 4:1 water:urine and then put it on the garden will work just great.

        So… Rule #1. Piss in something and then put it outside when you desire. This can be diluted or none diluted. You won’t attract flies by putting urine out on the dirt, and if you want you can spread it out on the grass, especially if you don’t care about the grass, but it probably won’t do anything.

        So next you need is a plastic disposable cup. Like the red ones you use to drink out of at parties when you were “younger”. Now take the pastic cup, open the back of your toilet water tank, and use the cup to scoop out the water in the tank and put it in a clean bottle or other container, which, can be a clean plastic garbage sack in a bucket, in a pail, in a drawer, in something. The water in your toilet tank is CLEAN CLEAN CLEAN and this is DRINKING WATER !!!. Now take the same cup and start to scoop out the water in your toilet BOWL, and just throw this water outside. Then take a sponge when you can’t get any more water out with the cup and get the rest of the water out of the toilet bowl. If you want to wear rubber gloves for this, then it was a good thing you got about 500 of them for $9 before the disaster. So between the cup and the sponge you now have a DRY toilet bowl. Put into the bowl a trash bag ( a new one ) and then close the seat on the toilet. When you have to do #1, you PISS INTO A BOTTLE or a bucket or something and you put it outside. Now put a little bit of dirt from outside, or sand from the sand box, or kitty litter that you stored into the bottom of the bowl. When you have to do #2 you do it in the bowl which means your #2 is going on top of the soil that is on the bottom of the bag in the toilet. Then you cover this with a little bit of dirt and you close the seat and the lid. When someone else needs to do another #2 they do it in the same way and you put some more dirt on top of then. If you want to take a stick and stir it around and put some more dirt in it you can. This is YOUR HUMAN litter box. It works. It has been very very proven with direct experience and testing by my friend Jim Phillips. When you get a good amount of ‘dirty litter’ in the bag in the toilet, you go outside and dig a hole and you bury the bag and its contents and then you start over with a new trash bags. Good thing 100 or more of these cost just $10 or less. The 14 gallon kitchen bags work just great for this. a 33 gallon yard clean up bag is really too big for this.

        That is the dirt on doing a #2 in a disaster. This uses your existing toilet, but if you want to get a ‘luggable loo’ which is a VERY NICE toilet seat for 5 gallon bucket, and you want to do what I just described in a 5 gallon bucket, that will work even better than the toilet. The 5 gallon bucket holds more than the toilet and it has straight walls and people might find this more assuring doing their #2 into a 5 gallon litter box than doing it into a toilet, and pressing the handle subconsciously to flush… LOL…. The luggable loo is on and you can find it on amazon and sometimes at walmart and other camping supply places. The bucket you get at home depot or lowes for less than $5.

        Good question and answer Sheri.
        p.s. I want to add, you don’t have to get a ‘luggable loo’ you can use 2 pieces of 2×4 about 18″ long and in a V configuration on top of the bucket. its VERY comfortable. The smallest portion of the V is near the back of the ‘bucket’ and the open part of the V is towards your genitals and towards the front of the bucket. Its just 2 boards on top of the bucket, they do not need to be connected and they feel very ‘natural’ and ‘comfortable’ to someone who is not use to them as well. We don’t need to ‘buy’ everything we have in our preps, just the basics, other stuff can be improvised.

        • Fascinating option with the Human Litter, thanks for the info Steve.

          My one beef with it is burying plastic in the yard. I do not want that garbage in my ground.

          As for the forced flushing thing, that’s why I brought up the pool. Most people don’t think of a pool as drinking water [infact most people put rather nasty chemicals into their pool water] but it works great for the purpose mentioned, assuming

        • Fascinating option with the Human Litter, thanks for the info Steve.

          My one beef with it is burying plastic in the yard. I do not want that garbage in my ground.

          As for the forced flushing thing, that’s why I brought up the pool. Most people don’t think of a pool as drinking water [infact most people put rather nasty chemicals into their pool water] but it works great for the purpose mentioned, assuming

        • @Jack…. LOL… the Dark Helmet quote is perfect.
          @lukkas Candy thermometers are only about $2 at walmart and the only advantage to just holding the temp about 160F rather than pushing to a boil is that its more energy efficient. If you only had so many cylinders of propane that you stored this would take maximum use of it. If you want to hold in more heat, have a lid for the pot.

          *IF* you did have a nice new Jet Boil pot, that boiled water very quickly, and you did not have a candy thermometer or did not want to be bothered with one, just bring it to the start of a boil (bubbles just forming) then turn off the heat and let it sit for 5 to 10 minutes. It’ll stay above 160F and walla… you now have purified water.


        • It wasn’t the cost of the thermometer that I dislike, it’s having yet another piece of equipment to keep track of [and a pretty small fiddly one at that.] That’s not a task I relish.

          You are right about not needing as much energy to hold water at 160 than to bring it to a boil, but unless your situation is happening during summer [at which time a solar oven setup might do the task for you at no energy cost] the excess energy is going to be going into heating your house anyway.

        • To put it another way Steve and you will love this!

          Who the fuck drinks 200 degree water?

          Hot coffee is served at 160-180 degrees, most people can’t even begin sipping it at 180. Anyone worried about the Dark Helmet what if on rolling boil, can’t do math!

        • Oh and if you don’t have enough “fuel” to boil water for long enough to get through even a long grid down event, you are likely fucked anyway!

        • Steven, Good stuff, however consideration for the “gasses” must be taken into account when you remove the “seal ” the water in the trap of the toilet. They now vent into the inside air. It may be safer to leave the trap filled after removing most of the water, and double bag.

        • Steven, One thing you have to remember in the case of SHTF the local sewer plants that process the sewer waste will shut down. I’m not sure how long people would be able to flush into a non responsive system even if you at the top of the hill. I was watching a very interesting video, in Kenya the village set up a human compost system that captures the gas to be used in the village community kitchen. With our technology I’m surprised all homes don’t have their own systems for heating and cooking.

      • I’m sorry, I don’t mean to type this much, but I just thought of something else that I did with piss and crap that works. I did this when I traveled around the USA in a small camper and yes… even my wife to be found it so clean that she used it.

        I would do #1 and #2 into a 5 gallon bucket with the ‘luggable loo” on it, because it closes up. I started with about 1 or 2 quarts of water in the bottom of the bucket, and like I said, I’d pee and poo in the bucket, to the bucket of liquid, I’d add an entire bottle of ‘polar pure iodine water’. This is water saturated with dissolved iodine from iodine crystals. Polar Pure is NOW back on the market (long stupid story of DEA stupidity) but its now back and available and its on (and thus on Amazon) and you can find it at REI on the shelf and that’s about it.

        What makes the majority of stuff “STINK?” Its the byproduct of bacteria and the iodine in the bucket in the water just annihilates anything from growing. No virus, no bacteria, no spores, the iodine kills it all. So even after 3 days of use by 2 people the bucket would be in the main part of the camper and it just would NOT STINK. When its time to dispose of this, you go and dig a hole about 1 foot deep, pour in the contents of the bucket, rinse it out with some water, rinse it out with some more iodine water and put it back into service. You could also do this with a trash bag in the 5 gallon bucket to make the clean up a bit easier…. but it works. I did it myself over a significant period of time.

        Oh…another trick to keep the odor in especially if you don’t have iodine or chlorine to kill the bacterial, you can put a cap full of motor oil or cooking oil into the container, this will ‘float’ on TOP of all of the stinky stuff and keep the odor mostly in. The iodine from Polar Pure is a much better way of doing it.


        • A word of warning! When migrating around in your garden with your half full 5 gallon of piss, “Do Not” I repeat, “Do Not” run into an object with your bucket which will cause the contents of said 5 gallon bucket to projectile inside contents all over yourself.

        • The pee is easy, either do it spread out on the ground like dogs do EVERY day or do it in a straw pile where it makes great compost or just do it in a bucket, dilute 15 to 1 with water and use it as what it is, nitrogen fertilizer.

          I don’t care what anyone says when it comes to dealing with human waste follow the advice of the band The Offspring,

          Yep “you gotta keep em separated”. I advised the blue stuff because frankly new people to the concept will at least do it.

          The truth is all you need is a big ass bag of sawdust, one poo, three handfuls and keep doing that. When it is close to full, put a lid on it, set it out back for a year and go to another one. There will be almost no stink and the lid is used to keep that down until normal times return. During a long down turn you just may need a lot of buckets though!

          As to the outhouse comments, fine, I am totally fine with that, just you better dig that hole NOW not in the middle of well hate to say it but “the shit”.

          New Jackism, “where you’re in the middle of THE SHIT it is no time to be trying to figure out to do with YOUR SHIT”.

      • @Lukkas…. if the power is out, there is no water pressure, you have no sewer, no refrigerator, no freezer, no light, no heat, no AC and you are in survival mode I think you really have your priorities mixed up if you are worried about some silly little plastic bag being buried in your dirt. I don’t think you understand just how devastating and deadly bad sanitation can be to the human body. The plastic is intended so you don’t get close to having to handle the fecal body waste. You get some fecal oral contamination from trying to handle this without plastic bags and you can get yourself a prime case of dysentery and that can kill you in a day or two. Yeah… in a disaster, you are open to all of the diseases of the 3rd world. When you loose power, you are in the 3rd world. This is one of the reasons I work so hard to make sure you have power and energy during a disaster from a variety of sources.

        As to your comment about the ‘pool chemicals’ being very ‘nasty’ they are not. Those pool chemicals are a gift from God. Calcium Hypochlorate is the main chemical, which is just a chlorine donor to the water. This is made by the best USA mass manufacturing and sold at world record low prices to you on the shelf of walmart in the summer time. This chemical can be used to PURIFY your drinking water so its now safe to drink, it can be used to PURIFY your hand and washing water so you can clean up, get filth off of you and prevent hand to mouth, finger to eye and finger to nose contamination and stop you from getting sick. Someday I’ll do a whole thing on water and your “nasty” pool chemicals of Calcium Hypochlorate will be the front and center star for the method of purification that is cheapest, easiest and most available to the common person.


        • ‘if the power is out, there is no water pressure, you have no sewer, no refrigerator, no freezer, no light, no heat, no AC and you are in survival mode’

          I’ve never found myself in that position. Being a bit out in the back country, the only thing a power outage ever really meant was no entertainment except books [and those shut off after dark] and musical instruments, the Well Pump didn’t run so we were on stored water, we ate up the fridge as fast as we could while digging into the pantry as needed and nobody opened the freezer except when the outdoor temps were below freezing. My only life experience with sewage is a sceptic system on a notable slope,

          Your hard work to make sure people have power in emergencies is greatly appreciated Steve. A power outage has just never been an emergency in my family, and this includes the Ice Storm of 2011 when we were out of power for 3 weeks. Back when we had a wood stove with a cook surface we cooked on that, nowadays [with all the safety crap on the current wood stoves] we use a propane stove’s cooktop or the propane grill.

          You have a valid point about the safety chlorine provides. I know I’d sure as heck rather not be drinking it. I’m more comfortable drinking my ‘wild’ pool water I have now [refilled with fresh water and allowed to grow fish and frogs and such] after its been boiled than chlorinated water. Not that I wouldn’t drink chlorinated water if my life or health depended on it, its just not something I want in my body.

      • @lukkas. Sounds like you have everything in hand and taken care of for when the power fails. Your model would be a good model to follow and for others to learn from. Sometimes, simplicity is where its at. If you boil your pool water you don’t need to chlorinate it after that. In fact, all you really need to do is to get the water to 160F for 10 minutes. It does not have to be a rolling boil, but most people don’t even have a simple candy thermometer to measure the temp with so most people just end up boiling the water for 5 minutes to kill everything in it the mix. A simple bucket with sand, a sand filter, will remove all of the pond gunk from your pool / pond water and then the boiling will kill everything else. Time to make tea and coffee 🙂


        • The magic of boiling is that by the time the water reaches a rolling boil its been over 160 long enough to kill the bacteria without needing to hold the water at a boil for x minutes and without needing to keep track of another piece of equipment. [Granted if one actually makes candy it would be pretty unwise not to take advantage of the tool on hand.]

        • Lukkas is dead on the time necessary to boil water at a roll to make sure it is safe is 0 seconds. It is fundamentally impossible to get water to a boil without being above 160 long enough to pasteurize it.

          Some have challenged this with rapid boiling techniques and said, well it could happen. Well fuck, I guess Dark Helmet could also be your father’s uncle’s cousin’s former room mate too.

      • @ken… the trap is still full of water in the bottom of the toilet, just because the bowl is empty does not mean there is not water in the trap…. there is water in the trap, the gasses are sealed off.


        • Steven, At there is a simple graphic of a typical toilet bowl. If you sponge out the bottom of the bowl you have removed the water creating the seal, and there is no other trap between there and the sewer pipe. I have no data for how much “gassing” may occur in any given time period, or how much of a problem it would create, but the trap is ineffective when dried as suggested, as seen in the diagram.

      • @sheri. Its NOT composting that produces the gas. NOT at all. Its Anaerobic Digestion. It was the very 1st show I did on TSP. Its at http://www.Solar1234.ccom near the bottom.

        One family CANNOT make enough ‘biogas’ to cook on, let alone heat their house with. Its just crap coming out of your human body. That little bit coming out can’t heat a house and it can barely be used for cooking. The poop is not a light saber. If you have an entire village of people, let alone the tremendous amount you get from live stock, then you can make enough gas that a portion of the homes can use the gas for cooking… plus the byproduct is an incredibly disease free fertilizer with a very high nitrogen content, its even better than what you’d get from composting it, but the gas can never be used for heating. That is several orders of magnitude higher energy usage.

        Many waste water treatment plants do power themselves and heat their buildings from the gas they produce but that is the byproduct of an entire city providing the raw material to the waste water treatment plant.


        • Just how much methane does it take to fry up eggs and pancakes in the morning?

          It seems to me a simple biogas setup could totally be a positive contribution to a family’s cooking, there’s just a limit to the energy it produces.

          On the note of methane production, Steven do you know if anybody’s done any work on running a plant based on termites and capturing the methane they produce somehow? It’s something I’ve considered now and then as an idea for poultry feed production, IF there were a means of capturing their byproduct.

      • @lukkas.

        Its not a question of how much gas does it take to fry up eggs and pancakes its a question of how much shit does a person create in a day. Take your shit, dry it out, then burn it and see how much you get from 1 days worth. That amount of heat, and no more, is what you’ll get in methane, you’ll actually get a lot less. You guys keep on talking like you get some mountain of energy once you gasify it and you don’t. You need to start out with a big load of shit to start with.

        As far as the termites go…. the little bugs need to breath oxygen or air, so you can’t just keep them in an all methane environment. So what you get is a combustible / explosion amount of methane and air and you just can’t easily separate methane from the air to get pure methane. Again, the termite is not a light saber of energy production. If you want to make methane, chip the wood up and put it in an anaerobic digester with a bunch of crap to convert it to methane.

        Good thinking on the termites, not many people know that they fart methane. its one way that is used to detect the bugs in a house or the wood work.


  2. We have barn (converted to a cabin) in New York State where we stay when we ski. The toilets freeze solid for most of the winter (but, so does the spring that feeds our barn so, no water anyway!). This is where those toilet seats that fit over a bucket come in real handy. It’s cheap, it’s simple and, it needs no water!

  3. 216″ of snow for Prince Edward Island this winter. Four storms in ten days. And I did not leave my house in ten days at the peak of it. 22′ drifts, entire parts of the Island were socked in for three weeks.

    People were losing their minds because they could not get their cigarettes or their “Storm Chips”

    It barely made a dent in my supplies. This winter truly tested my preps and the only hole in my plans was the potential collapse of my wood shed roof, trapping my winter supply. I had that somewhat mitigated by storing 1/2 cord on my deck. But I may beef that up. And we still have about 48″ on the ground. Other thing I have to change is the location of my gardening supplies, which are buried in one greenhouse

    • You need to move the Pacific coast! Mary Jane is now legal in Washington State and Alaska. At least we can keep you stoned and happy! Or you can stock up from the B.C. hot houses. Visualize a long winter, a hot fire, getting stoned and playing backgammon!

      • I don’t think I could afford the West coast. I purchased my initial 1.8 acres for $7,200 CDN and the additional 1.5 for 12k. No mortage and no car payment. I can live on $800 a month if I had to 🙂

  4. Brent…what is a ‘storm chip’ ?? I don’t speak Canadian.

    …and the EPA just made the majority of our wood stoves in this country (USA) illegal. You can keep it if you have it, but you can’t replace it without a ‘new epa’ approved design. Also, you can’t sell your old stove, you can’t give it away. You must either destroy it or recycle it in a way its destroyed.


      • Ok… most of those will be illegal under the new EPA laws as well. I’ve never heard of an outdoor pizza being called a ‘storm chip.’. Interesting…. and I don’t know if you were referring to me..but I’ve never done an illegal drug in my life and don’t plan on it. 🙂


        • Steven, “Storm Chips” are potato chips but many on the north/west coast eat their “Chips” (french fries with skin on) with malt vinegar, we pour it on! The west coast is famous for growing red potatoes. Big huge 6 + inch reds! The fishermen here are a very interesting mix of Irish, Scotts, Norwegian and Croatian. They fish the local waters to the Bearing Sea. We also grow and process our own horseradish and slap it on everything!

    • It’s pretty obvious us wood burners are going to have to go underground with it. Thankfully there are ways to do so without putting out a smoke plume or high temperature exhaust plume.

    • Potato Chips Steven. BBQ, Salt and Vinegar, Ripple 🙂
      I prefer Storm Scotch myself. Talisker 15 yr old

  5. 216″ of snow up in Canada eh? …. We had half that from one storm before Thanksgiving here in western new York. We are the snow capital of the East Coast.

    • If I am correct, your snow was only a few miles from the lakes. Atlantic Canada got that much over three provinces…

  6. Finally a show that returns to the roots of this podcast and the reason I first tuned in! I thought you were going to have to rename it “The gardening and duck keeping podcast”.

  7. One thing that I think is overlooked here is physical fitness. We as preppers need to be physically fit. Great show Jack. Thanks for all you do.

  8. Jack,

    Thanks for the good kick in the ass. I have been slacking off since the beginning of the year on all my preps. This was a good reminder. Thanks again for everything you do.

  9. Jack,

    Great Show!!! It is about time to wake the flock up. I intend to share this with neighbours.

  10. Thanks again Jack for the reminder to keep prepping – for real life scenarios. I want to be prepared to live my life – whether the SHTF or not, that includes animals, permaculture and everything else. I like shows like this to keep me motivated for the “what if’s”, and I love the shows that teach me how to live a better life – on MY terms. We’re finally leaving So Cal on July 15th – walking our way to freedom. Because of your podcasts, like this one and ALL of the ones on permaculture, livestock, bees, hunting, fishing, and more I feel better prepared and have been motivated to learn so many things on my own. I joined MSB a few months ago as a way to say thank you for all of the years of hard work bring real, practical information to your listeners.

  11. has anyone every creating a water storage that is elevated so when the lights go out and you have no water you can flip a lever and you have pressurized water all using gravity.

    • Well first of all, if you want the water to be at the same pressure as it is in your house, you’d have to have the water up 120 FEET. If you put the water in your attic and ‘flipped a valve’ you’d not even have 1 psi of pressure. Its just easier to have power at your house, as I teach, and have an RV water pump and use that to push 60psi water into your house from ANY water storage.

      Plus… you don’t really want to put water in your attic, you really cannot do this, water is VERY heavy at 8.3lbs per gallon, so 55 gallons of water would weight 450 pounds and that is a lot of weight to put on a load bearing wall, and that’s IF people put it on a load bearing wall.


      • We are back to “it depends”. While you are not going to get the water to the same pressure as your home water pressure with gravity pressure, when it comes to water you have both gravity pressure and pure volumetric pressure.

        I have 3000 gallons of water in two poly tanks plumbed together, the pressure due to volume alone is IMPRESSIVE. While I could not take a full on shower pumped into my main of the house it would damn sure quickly fill a bath tub, and fast. All I need is a few hundred feet of hose.

        No it won’t put water on the second floor but it will put it anywhere on the first floor or anywhere on my property. The elevation of the tank is at 18 inches at the base and about 6 feet at the top.

        It is also plumed to a SurFlo (harris spec’d) pump that pushes water though a filter. That pump takes almost nothing to run, so a battery would put water on floor two if desired.

        That said the water going via the pump though the filter has LESS pressure at 4 feet than the volumetric pressure at even 60% of fill of the two tanks.

        Volume means a lot!

        A 5 gallon bucket 8 feet in the air, won’t touch the pressure of a 3000 gallon tank 1 foot off the ground.

        If you doubt it Steve, come stand in front of the hose. LOL just messing with you.

        • While Steve is right that it’s a bad idea to store a lot of water in your basement, it’s not at all difficult to build up and compact an earth mound somewhere outside of your home [slope the top surface slightly away from the home in case something goes wrong and the tank overflows or breaks] and put a tank ontop of it, elevated perhaps as much as 10 or 12 feet above grade.

      • I never said it was a bad idea to put water in your basement,I said the attic… .its a great idea to have stored water in your basement under your own control.