8. A Steripen UV water purifier. More than just a “poor man’s Berkey.” A Steripen is a wonderful traveler’s companion and a fine emergency tool. Just be sure to stock lithium batteries in the right size. (Or choose a hand-cranked model.)
9. Or give a traditional gift that’s more subversive than most people know: fruitcake! (Those ones from the Collin Street Bakery are delicious. Yes, fruitcake that’s actually good! Which I know, thanks to that Texan friend who sent me several.) Why fruitcake on a preparedness gift list? Aside from the fact that the stuff does last pretty much forever, long-time readers of the Mental Militia Forums (formerly the Claire Files Forums) know why.
10. Finally, don’t forget that, this year, Amazon has special deals on gifts for the survivalist in its Tools and Hardware section.
There you go. That’s the last of the Amazon shopping lists for this year. If you hated them, thanks for your patience. If they helped you, then thanks again for using my Amazon links for your Christmas and year ’round shopping.
Attempting to use one of the devices in a uninsulated 8 x 10 room with big windows produced zero results. In fact, the temperature dropped half a degree while the “heater” was running despite outside temperatures not appreciably changing.
So today I tried again, moving the heater into a 7 x 7 windowless room with decent insulation. The room was 58 degrees when I started. And …
So that’s that. I’m not going to try Bear’s suggested experiment of candle-heater vs plain candle (in comments on the earlier post) because there’s nothing to compare. The engineers were right.
Also. During the first experiment I discovered that the roof was leaking. During the second a frozen pipe thawed and began spraying water all over the place. So I think Someone (Coyote, Loki, and Murphy are all suspects here) is trying to tell me Something. Like STOP doing this.
The only observable result — other than weather-and-house-related chaos — is that in the smaller, tighter room, I definitely felt the warmth of the heater while standing within 18 inches of it. If I were, say, tinkering at a work bench with the candle contraption next to me, I might say it worked. I might appreciate the extra warmth. But three feet away, where the thermometer sat — nada.
I’ve been using the three-pot version with the metal inside. I may still fiddle with the two-pot tea-light version. Later. Not until I’m sure that the house won’t fall down around my shoulders if I try.
2. If you or somebody on your Christmas list has all-electric heat (as we in the Northwest tend to), an indoor propane emergency heater is handy to have. I know from experience. The Mr. Heater Portable Buddy and Big Buddy are old reliables. Mr Heater makes something bigger, too. And there are other choices, (all assuming you or your giftee don’t live in one of the Big Nanny states where they can’t sell them). Good for camping or in a cold workshop, too.
3. hand-cranked radios make great prepper gifts. Their features are getting better all the time — as are their prices. And yes, they belong in the warmth-and-light category because nearly all have built-in lights. Sometimes even flashing lights and sirens — oh boy!
4. For enough warmth to cook up a pot of coffee or some nourishing soup when the power’s out, emergency stoves come in a wide range of prices, fuels, and styles, some for indoors, some for outside. (A few of these are inexpensive enough to make good stocking-stuffers.)
5. Flannel sheets … Mmmmm! One of you kind folks got me a set of these last Christmas and oh are they wonderful this time of year. Amazon has dozens of choices in a variety of prices. I’ve just linked to one pretty set; a search will find you lots more.
7. So fripperies like comforters, flannel sheets, and mattress warmers are too civilized for the person on your gift list? How ’bout sleeping bags?
8. Now I admit I’m cheating by putting this next thing in a “warmth and light” category. But some people would tell you there’s nothing more warming to the heart than tasty chocolate on a dark winter’s day.
9. Another good item to warm your innards (or gift to a prepper friend): emergency soup!
10. Emergency home lighting systems for power outages are becoming more and more popular. You can get ones that range from the more elaborate (but still moderately priced) to the pretty basic.
Happy shopping and thanks always for using my Amazon links! Remember that, even if you don’t see anything you like here, anything you buy when you enter Amazon through one of these links will still be credited to my Associates account.
Yesterday was … a day. It was a Monday that fell on a Tuesday and a Friday the 13th that fell on the 29th. Yeah, that kind.
Or maybe it wasn’t really so bad but my hermitty, deadlining writer self just doesn’t deal well with the particular type of chaos that involves people in and out of the house all day, asking questions, wanting to chat, making alarming saw, hammer, and cuss noises, and hauling mounds of deconstruction rubble through my living room.
All for one little ex-bathroom. But bathrooms are complicated, and therein lies where I got to look cool, calm, collected and smart without even trying.
Mid-afternoon, just when things seemed to be calming down, the guy gutting the bathroom went under the house to see if water pipes were still connected before moving the tub. Most of the pipes in that room weren’t (the room hasn’t been used in years), so I wasn’t surprised when he came to the front door a moment later and said, “There’s no pipe connected any more.”
I said, “No problem,” and he said, “No, you don’t understand. There is no pipe. There was a pipe and there was water running through it, but it just … disintegrated. It came apart in my hands! And now there’s water going all over the place!”
This guy is good at what he does, but tends to be defensive. He had already run a Sawz-All through a live electric wire about an hour earlier and not told me about it, so I think he was expecting to be in Big Trouble. The look on his face was TEOTWAWKI.
But stuff happens on construction sites and a plumber had previously Pronounced Dire Warnings about the ancient galvanized pipes under the house. So I just said, “Oh. Well, then. Here’s the meter key” (an uncommon tool I got to pull oh-so-coolly from behind a convenient door, as if every woman naturally keeps such things on hand). “You shut the water off while I call a plumber.” (Typical of older houses, this place has no master shut-off valve, in case you’re wondering why nobody just went and turned a handle.)
Once that was done, knowing that none of the local plumbers were likely to show up in the next few days, he asked, “Will you be okay without your water?”
Will I be okay. Ha. Will I be okay. “Of course. I’ve got at least a week’s supply on hand, and if I need running water, I’ll just go out and turn the meter back on for a few minutes then shut it off again.”
Now you and I know that this is just what people like us do. I’m not trying to sound like I’m hot stuff or anything. I know I’m not hot stuff.
But apparently I made an impression on him. Before he left he told me that I reminded him of some woman he knew in Alaska who split her own firewood and slaughtered her own hogs or whatever. (Baloney; if I were like that I’d be sawing through my own wiring and breaking my own plumbing pipes.) Then he thanked me for “understanding what happens on construction sites instead of going, ‘Eeeeeek! Eeeeek! Oh-no-panic!’”
The latter is a compliment I’ll accept, even though I know full well it has more to do with being of silver-haired age, having seen more than a few construction oopsies, and stocking a small number of supplies.
Still, having that meter key right behind the door did make me feel pretty damn slick. :-)
Okay, folks. My Amazon linkage has fallen off a cliff this month. Maybe you’ve all quit buying online because you don’t want the NSA seeing you buying 50 Shades of Gray. And I really couldn’t blame you.
This month I’ve got a dismal $30 in my Amazon “bank.” But NSA or no, I need to make at least $10 a day off those links to keep the puppies in kibble and keep up my best blogitude.
So I’m going to sales pitch you. This is a two-parter.
1. There’s a bounty on your head
That is, I get a bounty of $2 any time somebody uses a special link to sign up for a free 30-day trial of Amazon Prime. And for this month only, that bounty is tripled. That’s right: I get $6 if you sign up for a free Amazon Prime trial in October.
If you cancel within the 30 days, you pay nothing and I still get six bux. If you continue, it’s $79 per year, but for that you keep getting what you got during the trial: unlimited free two-day shipping plus those gazillions of streaming movies.
The only catch: You must use the above link. Merely using my generic Amazon link or a product link then signing up for Prime while you’re there won’t do it.
It seems to be part of humanity’s genetic memory to lay in supplies for the winter. And just because we no longer (blessedly) endure a subsistence economy that might leave us starving by March doesn’t mean we don’t have special autumn needs. In fact, we have some that our Medieval cousins didn’t.
Be back later with actual content. In the meantime, here’s a great giveaway and a little laugh.
The laugh (or cry, depending on your state of mind)