One week, from 5-6-18 till 5-12- 18. I decide to go 3/4 SHTF. I stayed in my home, but used only it as shelter and slept in my own bed. OMG!! I got my eyes jerked wide open!!!
Food: I used only from my stores, No electricity, only wood cook stove. OMG that stove eats wood, like we eat m&ms. Over 1 hr a day, just to split and carry and stack wood. Funny thing is, I thought I knew how to cook the old fashion way. About the only thing I did not burn was, water. Every single meal, took as much as 20% longer to fix, including simple stuff, like oatmeal. I was only cooking for just 1, and not the 22 who live out here. Stews and casseroles took even longer. Fried anything was tough, because of heat variations. Because my asparagus is in full production, I was forced to pressure can 1 batch. 12lbs pressure for 30 min. That was the longest 30 min I’ve ever worked. Constant vigilance to keep the pressure correct. Just the work up, was very time consuming. Dish pans for cleaning and sorting, hauling water from the well, heating it on the wood stove. The outdoor kitchen got very,very hot. 92 degrees, even with cross ventilation. It takes at least 20min, starting the wood stove, to percolate 1 cup of coffee!
Doing dishes. 2 large dish pans, 6 changes of water, 1 and a half hours, just for 1 day of cooking. I used as little pots and pans as I could, but every thing still added up. I STRONGLY recommend rubber gloves, a good stainless steel scrubber, and elbows that don’t give out.! I have a galvanized tub that holds about 20gals for 1st washings, filling with hot water took over 30 mins each time. 2nd dish pans holds about 3 gals, for extra cleaning, with cleaner water than 1st tub. I used a 5 gal solar shower for rinsing, with cold water. then I used 2 wooden drying racks for the clean dishes. Just doing dishes, once a day required over 2 hrs work.
Laundry: Holy Sh@t!!! Now this was ALOT of work!!! I limited myself to 2 of each pieces of clothing we wear everyday. I have a 2 tub set up, with a wringer roller on the center stand. I bought these off of Ebay. A plunger and glass wash board, and 2 wooden clothes racks about 5ft high, with 7 or 8 cross dowels. Just heating the 15 gals of hot water took over an hour, 10 loads of wood in the stove, hauling from well to outdoor kitchen, for both wash and rinse tubs. I did not change the hot wash water and changed the rinse water only twice. First thing learned? It’s built to low, too much stooping over, back hurt right off, Hot water exposure, tends to dry out your hands quickly. Getting the soap out in the rinse tub was VERY time consuming, as leaving soap in your clothes WILL cause a rash, in the most tender spots on your body. Been there, Done that.! The wringer, it needs better support and a longer handle for leverage. This is NOT a cheap China import, made in USA.! This setup was over $400. Third, your back and elbows are gonna hurt.! It takes a long time for clothes to air dry, and they are stiff as a board when finished drying. Going to figure out a system, because there are 12 adults and 10 children, (5 under 8 yrs old), because laundry would be a FULL time job for at least 1 adult.
Personal Hygiene: I used a 20gal tub for a cramped sit down bath. Way to labor intensive. Took over 30mins just to heat the water. Water got dirty, FAST, so I didn’t really feel clean, like you would after a hot shower. Mostly I used a 1gal glass pitcher and small dish pan, to try and keep my hands clean. It wasn’t easy. next I used a 5 gal solar shower, HUGE improvement, got and felt CLEAN, with only 5 gals. I recommend this shower, highly. I used some “Towelettes”, Gov’t surplus, for cleaning up a small bit, in-between baths, they worked just fine. My feet suffered the most, just 2 baths, were not enough, and the baby wipes didn’t get them clean enough. After the week, 2 blisters, on heal and between big toes. I have an operating outhouse, and every thing about it’s use, turned out just as planned.
Using kerosene light, it’s not very bright, and the cheap shit from china, did not last the week. The little thing that rotates the wick upwards, just stopped working, on 2 lamps! only 1 week, and then only light use.! Only used flashlight to go to the outhouse, and Duracell batteries, new, lasted 7 days. 2 d cell. My home-made, bees wax candles, well, worked, but not well, burnt to fast. need to understand more on candle making. Some emergency candles lasted as advertised. The little tea candles lasted 4hrs each. Reading by candle light or kerosene light, it ain’t easy. try it.! I got a head ache. There is a difference between kerosene and lamp oil, lamp oil odor smells better, but kerosene goes farther. 7 days of kerosene lights was almost 2 gals of oil. Total of 6 lamps burning. That’s 100 gals for a year, for just 6 lamps.
I did not use any pumped water, refrigerator, toilet or shower, cell phone for personal (business only), did not start my pick-up, used only a wheel barrow and garden wagon for transporting wood and goods from storage, (one storage house is 1/2 mile away one direction). I used 1/2 cord of wood, mostly for heating water. Water is so essential! I have a secure supply of replenishing water, so volume used is not an issue. But for others, it could be a big problem. You will run out of stored water a hell of a lot faster then you think. I used only wood for heating and cooking, no propane.
I’m very surprised with my short comings. I’m a very accomplished outdoors man, trained in wilderness survival, and past Boy Scout outdoor survival teacher. But what I just learned, is I have not keep up on practicing SHTF scenarios. I got lazy, thinking I knew every thing. And this was just a practice run, with NO stress of a real emergency! There is a hell of a lot more I could write, but I think every one here at MSB, can see what I mean. Like a lot of us here on MSB, I’m no rookie, but I let my practicing slack off, it showed, bad.
Did I cheat? YUP. I still used my computer, but only for 2 sites, MSB and FOX News. But that’s all. As the week progressed I got more and more tired. Things started to NOT get done. I am amazed at the amount of physical work it took, just for 7 days. My family paid VERY close attention, they learned a lot, My 8 yr old Grand Daughter wants to try it with me, so , I’m gonna do it again with her (she’s home-schooled)
Things I learned: Keeping my hands clean was a chore. Water is very heavy when packing 4 gals at a time. Your back and elbows are gonna give you a fit.! Blisters on your toes, make walking painful. I need to practice more.! The cheap stuff is NOT worth it, spend the money for the GOOD stuff!!!! Wooden strike anywhere matches are worth their weight in gold. Lighters suck! I under-estimated my endurance, my mind says I’m 35, my body says I’m 60, believe your body. I just can’t get as much done as I use to.