When I first moved off grid, I didn't have a lot of information to go on about such things as alternate sewage systems or PV power systems. I read as much as I could and tried several different versions and improvised and learned by wasting money. For instance, if you are trying to recharge a second battery ( for home use ) while driving, you'll never do that on just two six mile trips. Luckily that didn't cost me anything except some booster cables which I later reused moving batteries out of the RV side compartment to a ground level insulated box.
As another For Instance, I used the wrong batteries. I went with Wal-Mart Marine batteries, which are all fine and dandy for cheap storage. For about two years. Then they died because, one, they are from Wal-Mart and two, I'm told the sealed glass mat types last three plus times as long. They cost three times as much, so I wasn't out any money, really ( except losing the core charge when the crack heads stole all my collection of dead batts ), but when you live off grid without a car, NOT replacing those unexpectedly is a better way to go.
I also kept the batteries outside. Even though they were buried, I suspect they were still damaged somewhat by the extreme cold. They next time, I'd buy smaller units and carry from the panels after being charged to inside exactly where they were needed. If I had a battery for each appliance I'd also have back-ups AND they would last longer as they weren't being charged so often ( using three 35 amp batts instead of one 110 amp ). It is also better to have multiple smaller watt inverters, for the same reasons.
The sewage issue was far worse. I had of course read The Humanure Book, but that was about all that was available. At the time I wasn't too comfortable going compost. So, I started out trying that camping gel in a bag unit that is supposed to neutralize smell. Well, if you don't mind the cost, those are fine, because they do NOT last long at all if you want to seal the bag. And trying to seal a bag when you had an additional emergency use is not too fun. I gave up on those in just a few days. You can buy the chemical toilet liquid, but good luck transferring your treasures into town to dispose of. Foul and messy and smelling like you lived in Satan's ass.
As a result of the sewage failures, I did in my early blog years focus perhaps a bit much on alternate turd disposal. I was repeatedly chastised for such, every time I had a bright idea I wanted to share. I notice that to be less of the case now, probably because now the crap is getting real ( pun intended ) and people are actually having to plan for this for real ( it also helps I settled on the best method of a sawdust toilet with separate urination ). Of course, this assumes you don't want methane cooking gas, which complicates things once again.
Well, since the toilet issue is settled, I figure I'll go ahead and talk about turds from another angle, and hopefully piss off folks as much as I used to. Some people are still not comfortable with the need to poo, and I'm happy to push your poo phobia buttons. Today, let's talk about the extreme amount of fiber that is going to be your diet post-collapse, if you rely excessively on wheat. In short, dude!, that is a LOT of fiber.
Before, when folks mentioned a wheat heavy diet, they warned that your system would react violently to its introduction, if you weren't already used to it. Well, yeah, that's true. But they don't mention that even IF you are used to it, it is still way too much fiber in your diet. Back in the day working at the food bank, I was eating two cups of flour a day. Every day working. It was my heavy duty labor diet ( I was lifting massive amounts of weight ). But I also ate lots more, heavy on the oil and meat.
I kept eating wheat when I started a more sedentary lifestyle, but just a half cup a day. Well, after issues of cost and weakness from hunger ( I think low blood sugar, but am unsure ), I decided to up my wheat consumption again ( refer back to all our discussions on the new wheat grinder to supplement the Victoria ). I'm always anticipating disruptions, and I know I can't just spend like a Yuppie eating my fill of expensive meat and cheese.
I started eating much more wheat, a cup and a half. I felt better, more full longer and less weakness, and all was well for the next month. Which was about as long as I imagine it took to clean out my system. I had been having issues with constipation unless I ate my wheat, and an apple or cabbage, as well as drinking all my required water. But after a month, being thoroughly cleansed, I discovered I was eating too much fiber. I was on the toilet at least twice a day and sometimes three.
Then, let us just say that farting started to become dangerous, with far too many close calls. And all that wheat was making me very gassy. So you can imagine the problem. Now, if you were paying attention you remember I was eating two cups a day flour for seven years at my old job. Now I was only eating one and a half, yet having lots of intestinal distress. What was different? Well, I'm getting a lot older with geriatric problems ( heartburn, hemorrhoids, now I need reading glasses ).
But mostly, it is because I'm not eating OTHER foods in the same volume. I might have been eating 800 calories of whole wheat, but I was also eating another 3200 in meat and oil and sugar and refined carbs. Wheat was only 20% of my calories. Now, “only” eating 600 calories of wheat, I'm getting 30% of my total calories in wheat. To give you perspective, some really poor Turd World countries folks see up to 70% of their calories in wheat or other grains. That is considered excessive and unbalanced.
I modified my wheat intake back down to 400 calories, closer to the 20% mark, and all the issues cleared up within two days. I can now once again proudly toot with abundance and no longer feel as if I'm about to explode. You know how you feel when you have diarrhea, afraid to move suddenly as your bowels feel watery? Well, I wasn't too far removed from that condition ( the feeling, not the consistency of the delivered product ). NOT anything I'd recommend. Now, having experienced this, have I changed my apocalypse diet from mostly wheat?
Of course not! What, are you insane? Am I Rockefeller? I still believe in quantity over quality in food storage. I'm under ZERO illusions how fast the food supply will disappear. It is still all about food, and taste is for rich humpers. I won't be changing a thing. I'm just more aware of the price I'll have to pay for dirt cheap storage food. The phrases “I'm so happy I could crap” and “you scared the crap out of me” will just take on more literal meaning after the collapse.
( .Y. )
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Where do you get the wheat that you are eating?ReplyDelete
The feed store. $10 per fifty pounds. Non-vet med's, fit for human consumption. Whole kernel, not cracked.Delete
Nobody talks enough about motorcycle batteries being ideal to have for the apocalypse. They come "dry" and you add the electrolyte fluid to activate it. Pretty much permanent shelf-life until needed.ReplyDelete
As far as where to shit, I say a stealth outhouse is the best option. Put the "throne" in a corner of a 10x12 garden shed and cover it with a barrel when not in use. As long as there are things that are usually in a garden shed spread about, nobody would ever guess. A small scoop of lime on your newly dropped deuce will prevent odor but the pit will still need to be discreetly vented. Then keep a chemical camping toilet with a half used roll of toilet paper next to it to show to any authorities that would visit your homestead.
Most excellent stealth toilet recommendation. I was under the impression that dry batts needed to be first charged by a plug in AC battery charger. In other words, generator power rather than a solar panel. Seems problematic long term.Delete
The cycle batteries will indeed need to be charged of course via a slow trickle type after adding electrolyte. They don't have enough amperage or storage capability to be useful beyond listening to ipod music like Eli in Book Of Eli scenario. The glass mat or spiral wound versions would indeed be best, but yes more cost that would be worth it in general to leapfrog your service life of the unit farther out in time frames, and have a red wagon or cart for charging positioning or movement inside for security and weather protection. Also add ons later to increase your output and storage can be better integrated into existing system setups.Delete
Yes on the shed outhouse idea. Keep it small and lightweight constructed (4'×8' footprint?, it is just a concealment and weather mitigator only really, not a house) so it may be portable. Build it upon skids that can be concealed with skirt boards. Perhaps dog door on it as well for visual fakery to lookie loo snoopers. Use a big lever device like the ancients to lift and put rollers, (logs, pipes, etc) under it and move it as a rolling unit to a different location. Your fiber will fill even a deep pit hole pretty quick, annually maybe.Delete
For a motorcycle battery, a "trickle charge" after the electrolyte is added seems ideally suited for solar. The instructions call for a 1 or 2 amp charge, but I have used a 1/2 amp charger and it works just fine.Delete
A smaller building (on skids) for the stealth outhouse is a very good idea. Make it easily moveable. You would probably want to stack some concrete blocks inside for weight so it wouldn't tip over in a heavy wind.
Only on Bison's site would you have this kind of discussion. I'll mail you a fiver, or maybe $10. Gotta do the monthly accounting first. Godspeed to all who comment here.
Thanks in advance. Don't worry yourself, a buck or two and I'm happy. Glad to hear about the trickle charging aspect. Warm and fuzzy. Soon, even if living at the BPOD again I'll need to chain down everything. Wagon and small batts sounds like winning. Thanks to all for the input.Delete
Good discussion of subjects which occur regardless how the economy is doing. I'm hoping the UV Paqlites will cover the interior light issues, relying on LED lights and solar recharged batteries for personal use.ReplyDelete
Along with fiber, I'm thinking water consumption will be reduced due to extra effort to purify it. Would that reduce or magnify the effect of the fiber heavy diet ?
What about burning the crap ? Not as a source of food cooking 'buffalo chips', but literally burn it.
Why not just dry the turds? No aroma. Well, a heck of a lot less anyway.Delete
A friend of mine lives in Honduras and has had direct experience with neighbors of his friends burning toilet paper. Yes, instead of flushing the toilet paper with the crap. The smell is awful. I suppose burning the crap itself has the same issue. My experience with sawdust on top of crap (+ toilet paper) in a bucket, Humanure Handbook style, is that the sawdust *does* dependably block the smell.Delete
Be one weird azz clothesline . . . :^)Delete
Well, being serious for a second, they do say far better to air dry scat than bury it, in the desert. As for the sawdust toilet smell, I've had good luck myself. My piss bucket smelled worse, and that is after spritzing it with vinegar every night after emptying it, as well as diluting constantly with wash water. Hate using plastic for that but harder to figure a cheap durable alternative.Delete
Covert outhouse idea....dig a hole, move large doghouse over it, add tempermental pitbull.ReplyDelete
When the "urge" comes up (or out, I guess) move doghouse aside, do your thing (mean eyed dog conquers constipation), toss in a covering dirt, move doghouse back.
Run....dog is growling.
Ok, LOL! :)Delete
Yeah the whole voiding of human wastes post collapse, post infrastructure no flushy toilets is a very under broached topic. (Thanks Jim, your a braniac) Two variants to consider is the luxury of a low threat exterior facility (not enough water to spare to continue as was with indoor plumbing, or muni sewer system is backed up or had to be capped off as a result) that can be used 24/7 with just basic sidearm and roll of t.p. The other element is site security and threat environment in the collapsing interims. A provision for medium term interior or stealth throne sessions to limit exposure should be included in plans. I also get bubbly gut as is now in normal times just from the over chlorinated water and frankenfood additives that are nearly unavoidable in modern products. Battling zombie mutants with flir rifles knee deep in spent brass casings in the collapsing apocalypse will tighten the bung hole but will surely cause a lot of tummy troubles any way, no way around it. Softest paper and wet wipes in the storage larder:) .ReplyDelete
Stay fresh, and frosty.
That is what I like about the sawdust toilet. It can be -15 outside and I'm crapping in comfort inside, without plumbing issues. Even a dull saw still cuts soft wood, for fires and sawdust. I always save my old lumber saws for sage brush removal.Delete
Agree with Anonymous here - "... no flushy toilets is a very under broached topic". Humanure is a great starting point, but I think there is virgin territory to be explored.Delete
This and how to keep batteries going for a couple decade are both topics ripe for further consideration. All in all, today's post has been very thought provoking. Thanks!
Hmm, that is the ticket for interior usage. Maybe chopping cheat grass or low straw grass and having that self dry itself till crumbly in burlap or pillow case sacks and can be an absorbent substitute and/or filler material with sawdust.(the b-pod will be pleasantly sage scented as well) Gonna need quite a bit set aside for all those "Bison Chips" we'll be dropping, from dining in splender during hermitage.Delete
I can't quite sound off about Decades Batteries. I just don't know enough. Here is the new type I'll go with:Delete
But I have no experience with them. Nor with those stored dry and charged later. I can't comment past theory, which that if not abused these should have an eight year use and be good for a week or two of running a RV LED bulb before needing charged. You might even get more life if only charged twice a month. Several of these, much cheaper than an Edison batt.
One bag of sawdust lasts me a very long time in the toilet. It shouldn't take too much grass to substitute.
I second Nicus at 3:58 pm on the battery refurbishment question.Delete
Here's another issue I don't hear about: Making clothes. Does anyone among us have cotton seeds, a gin for cleaning the cotton, a spinning wheel to turn it into thread, and a loom?
I just found this demonstration of a gin in a video. https://www.cottonacres.com/cotton-gin/
I might be way off here. Flax? There are other clothing crops besides cotton ( don't forget hemp-it doesn't compete with food for the same soil ). Clothing is a cottage industry. It shouldn't be a huge deal-although not easy-to transition. I'd be a bit more concerned with shoes ( past the tire sandal or moccasin stage ). Not everyone can be a cobbler like they can spin and weave.Delete
Can’t speak for cotton or flax, but a while back I looked up spinning wool. While I won’t go as far as to say that it’s easy, to my surprise, it wasn’t as complicated as I had envisioned it being. I’d get some sheep, and go for making wool clothing. Wool’s going to be much better, unless you live in the tropics. I was going to suggest you could kill two birds with one stone, by getting alpacas (wool and riding them) but apparently, they’re too small to ride, unless of course you’re Billy Barty :D They can however pull a cart to some degree.Delete
Some people (such as my neighbor) have sheep, and do nothing with the wool. A wise fellow could offer to sheer them for free, with the condition that you keep the wool. You could have several bags of wool in storage for the apocalypse. This enables you to bypass the ownership of the sheep, but you would want a lot of wool stored away before you could safely do so.
I can easily see home craft wool clothing being viable BEFORE the collapse, with its retail price.Delete
Boy, you’re not kidding about that. Those $35 wool shirts of the 1980’s are only something that I can dream about today. I must have foolishly got rid of all of them for some strange reason, because I had none of the originals left, and I know that I didn’t wear them out. You can still get sweaters cheap, and thrift store wool pants, though they’re dress pants. Socks are reasonable. But the shirts were always higher priced for some reason or another. You used to be able to get those really thick military wool pants cheap at one time, but I don’t know about now.Delete
Not sure about % wool content but a buck fifty a pair for surplus Swiss pants!!!Delete
Bison - most people never see anywhere near "too much" fiber. USDA suggest 35-45 grams per day and the national average is only around 16. Two cups of red winter wheat have about 40g fiber so depending on what else you eat, you probably aren't too far above our benevolent governments recommended dose. Somewhere north of 70 they say a person starts encountering gas, diarrhea, constipation, etc., but I suspect that this may be due to too much of one particular food. Its important to have a mix of soluble fiber like that found in oatmeal, beans, apples, and berries as well as insoluble fiber found in wheat, leafy and cruciferous vegetables. Soluble leads to constipation and insoluble leads to diarrhea.ReplyDelete
Everyone's gut is different, but it is also flexible in that it adjusts to the food it is commonly fed. I consume about 80-90g fiber/day and it takes a lot of potatoes, beans, rice and wheat, plus a healthy bundle of vegetable to achieve that. Still I generally only have one, admittedly large, movement a day. Sometimes two, but who's counting? Up until about 1,000 years ago our ancestors consumed over 100g/day of fiber, as do some aboriginal groups still living today. Maybe the problem for us is accentuated by trying to live with a modern meat and fat rich diet side by side with a plant rich diet. The two are probably always in conflict within our bodies.
BTW - a high fiber diet can lead to mineral deficiencies since fiber binds minerals before absorption. This effect can be reduced by consuming extra vitamin C.
I don't think our bodies are designed for optimal food processing as much as varied and adaptable. Jack of all trades.Delete
I can't use an outhouse due to being in a rocky area, but I have a plan for a lightweight, low-profile outhouse if I ever move. Make it an A-frame, with corrugated metal or plastic roofing in earth tones (no sheathing underneath), and framed with steel studs (MUCH lighter than 2x4 wood studs). Sitting room only, with a vented ridge and ends. It would sit on 4x4 pressure treated studs with the ends cut at a 45 degree angle. It would then be lightweight and easy for two people to slide over a new hole. If you put wheels on one end, and handles on the other, you could tilt the outhouse up until it rests on the wheels and one person could move it.ReplyDelete
Not bad at all.Delete
A chicken tractor for people - ingenious ! Fill the old hole with the dug material from new hole. For extra fun, throw some old large pieces of steel into hole prior to filling so the BATF goes looking for it . . . :^)Delete
Your in the wrong business.ReplyDelete
Today's post would make a great standup comedic routine.
Couldn't stop laughing.
I'll have to lay off the beers before reading.
Coffee, while reading. You need a stimulant to nudge your grey matter.Delete
I'll admit, I'm not much further than "slit trench" for real SHTF . . and SHTSlitTrench. But there's an intermediate. My house is on a septic tank. And there's a lake down nearby.ReplyDelete
Sawdust toilet, solids no liquid. Full bucket to a larger buried trash can. Window glass over the can opening. Once full, leave it alone ( with glass covering ) for a year. Solar composting toilet.Delete