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From a friend in Alaska-

I lived without electricity for years. We had a cabin and
lived quite on the natural side. Here are some tips.

* Wood stoves heat, provide a means to cook and way to
heat water . With an air tight stove we store 1and a 1/2 to two
cords of wood per month needed.

* Oil drip stoves heat with oil and require no electricity.

* Propane of course can be used for cooking and lighting as
well as special appliances such as a fridge.

* We required 55 gallons of kerosene to light our small
house for the year.

* We used a CB radio for communication that ran off of a car
battery and rotated it with the one in the car.
(We also ran a small TV from it.)

* We used an out house and sometimes a chemical toilet. In a
regular home you can keep the toilet flushed with a bucket of water.

* For Showers instead of baths we used a "Sun Shower" It is a
black plastic jug and uses 5 gallons of water. If you are where it's
warm you just fill it with cold water and set it outside and the sun
heats it or for us we heated the water and filled it with warm.

* I've hauled water from a stream with jugs. Another way to
obtain water is to get a hand pump and you can pump directly from a

well. In a city I would store water and prepare a way to collect
rain water from roof gutters.

* Carpet care would be a pain. We had a wood floor with rugs.

* For food that required refrigeration we put it on the floor by
the front door in the winter and in the summer our ground was cold
enough that we put a Styrofoam cooler in the ground and made an
insulated lid to go over it. Other wise we stuck to canned and dried
foods. Also in winter here at least we could put out a box to store
frozen foods out of doors. (protected for animals)

* generators are helpful for short outages or with careful
planning can be used full time. 5 kw is good in a pinch and 10kw can
keep you in luxury. Diesel generators are more expensive but can run
off of your home fuel tank. Both can be hooked up to supply your
home with only an extension cord or two.

The Illguth's in Alaska

My own experiences:

During the past 30 years of my life we have also experienced many natural disasters. They have been from minor to major situations all requiring us to live without electricity for anywhere from a few hours to many weeks.

The most common areas of need are in bathroom facilities, food preparation which includes cooking and storage of food, body cleanliness, and laundering.

While it is always possible to add layers of clothing while we are unable to have heat, you cannot always keep them clean. We really need to prepare with some alternative heat source. If you have a wood burning stove or a pellet stove you have it made. If not, you may have to resort to a camp style heater. Be sure you know how the heater is meant to be used. Used improperly could cause adverse reactions even death.

When we first moved into the house we are in our water supply developed breaks in the system. We were without water of any sort for 3 weeks, and for the following 3 weeks had water that was drawn from the creek that runs nearby. It was not treated and was only good for laundry and flushing the toilets.

We managed quite well by getting water that was safe from alternate sources. We had 4 jugs that each held 5 gallons of water. We learned very quickly that using this water to flush toilets with was next to impossible, it took an average of 5 gallons each flush! With a family of 5, that was a lot of running for water.

We finally used a couple cleaned out garbage cans and removed the down spouts from each side of the carport. The garbage cans then fit below the spout allowing the cans to fill up with rain water that poured from the roof. This It was much easier to roll a 55 gallon can of water into the bathroom and have a bucket there to use for flushing. We also learned it was much more effective worked very well and we were able to retrieve a full 55 gallon can of fresh catch every half hour to 45 minutes from each side.

and took less water to flush if we poured the water into the toilet tank rather than into the bowl. We washed clothes and even boiled this water to wash dishes in. Boiling for 20 minutes will kill the germs and allow it to be used. We also used a tablespoon of bleach per sink full of wash water and 2 tablespoons per rinse water. The water was hot enough to warrant using tongues to pull the dishes from the sink.

We lived pretty well when it came to cooking as we had purchased an outdoor propane cooker when camping. We chose the professional kind used in catering as this one was not quite twice the price of the flimsy ones sold for general camping. We needed one that would last a long time. We were able to take this onto the porch and cook meals with ease. We already had our camp supplies so we had the propane lantern as well as the cast iron skillets.

One thing you need to be very careful of is your pasta, flour and other items that need to be kept dry. If you are not in a shelter, these items need to be made water tight. Our first major camping experience was very expensive! We felt we had a good supply of the things we liked to eat, including stocking up on some low cost pastas to take home with us later on.

We failed miserably in one department. Keeping things dry. We just moved from Utah where it is dry. We were now in the Pacific Northwest, where it was humid as well as very rainy! Since the items were sealed in original packaging, and remained in the plastic bags from the grocery store, we felt safe that they were staying dry. We even had a cooler we kept them in to protect them better.

We had driven in the hardest rainfall I had seen in many, many years, and had pulled into a campground for a peaceful stay. The kids helped to unwrap our well tied trailer. The blankets were sopped, the tent was sopped, our bag of clothing was dripping! Water had gotten into the trailer from the wheels underneath. It was NOT water proof! "At least the food will be gooo .....ahhh .... Mom! Dad! The cooler is more than half full of water!"

There you have it! You need to be sure your things are going to remain dry. The cooler was facing ourside to the back of the trailer. Water was kicked up under the trailer, as well as all around it. The lid did not fit snug! It was one of those that just sits in place. The force of the water and the rain alone were enough to lift the lid just enough to allow rain to get in. We abandoned our idea of camping, went into town for dinner and a warm night in a motel!

We did not purchase a porta-potty for our camping experiences, as we had looked at them and felt the price was totally unreasonable for nothing more than a glorified bucket with a plastic liner and a seat on it. I told my husband before I would buy a port potty for $129.00 on up, then still have to purchase the chemical and liners for it, we could buy a toilet seat and use one of our laundry buckets and make one to do the job. Those buckets are very sturdy and made to withstand a lot of weight. We had it all worked out to cut some blocks of wood to form a safety catch underneath the toilet seat preventing it from slipping. A very heavy duty liner can be placed inside the bucket to catch the waste. An additional liner can be made from a heavy fabric, either cloth or vinyl to place the bag in while transporting it to the dump station. These are long enough to fit snugly over the edge of the bucket under the seat which holds it firmly in place. After talking about the fact that it would work just as well, just not have that professional look to it, we saw the very thing we had discussed in an outdoors store for a whopping $50.00! How simple it is to make and save at least half that cost!

The price of the bucket is about $5.00,
the garbage liners about ........$5.00 for 25 or more bags.
the outer bag cost about ........$5.00 to make.
The toilet seat cost about .... $10.00.
Total is half the price!.....$25.00

You can also get information on making a solar cooker. It will bake bread, steam rice, roast a chicken, do just about anything you would do in a conventional oven. It gets to 275 degrees F, so is hot enough to kill germs in water as well!

The Fotheringham's from Oregon

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If you have a story to add to this list, please E-mail me! I would love to consider your story for this site as well!


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