Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Day 14

I love Gracie's comments (she has a new blog) in closing yesterday: "I'm sure we've forgotten a whole lot. But we'll get by, we always have." Really, that is the mentality that we must have. Today Gracie has posted about her Grandparents. I think the preparations may be as simple as looking toward how others have done it before us. We don't need the highest tech survival gear (OK, so maybe there is some good stuff out there) but going into a world of lower energy and fewer resources, we perhaps need to consider how our Grands and Great-Grands have done things. Talk to the oldest person you know about the ins and outs of the way things used to be, the frugality, the make do attitude, the ability to repurpose. In the 1970's you couldn't get my Grandparents to take an unnecessary trip in the car. When you went it was with a list and a (mental) map of everything that could be done along the way.

The topic of discussion today is sanitation. In some ways were are overly concerned with cleanliness in our society. Our anti-bacterial handsoaps don't help us out in the long run, and I've never really achieved the kind of focus you seen in ads where you should be able to to eat off the kitchen floor. However there are some things to know if services stop, or if due to hardship you lose your utilities.

Toileting: Mr. Greenjeans used to be a western river guide. In National Parks and permited back country areas one has to pack all human waste. That means making a toilet out of a bucket or an ammo can lined with a black plastic bag with a toilet seat on top. One only uses such a toilet for bowel movements. This must be dumped somewhere such as an RV dump or septic system and is a short term solution that has to be handled. Remember, urine is sterile and is full of plant nitrogen when diluted so that can go around your property. It is bowel movements that cause diseases such as cholera.

Growing up I lived with my Grandparents at a cabin high in the Rocky Mountains (over 10,000 altitude). edit: to clarify we stayed there in the summer but I lived with my parents. We had a wood cook stove like the one that Sharon described so beautifully yesterday. We also had an outhouse. The cabin and outhouse was situatied on top of a hill. The outhouse was a big hole in the ground with two 55 gal drum placed deeply inside and a two seater log outhouse built over the top (I never understood two seaters but that' beside the point). I always checked for spiders sitting down and certainly didn't linger. Grandma fiercly taught me never to walk too closely behind an outhouse incase the earth gave way over the pit. On cool nights they put a bucket with a toilet seat on the porch or even by the wood stove. Periodically they'd put lime or sawdust in the toilet and in theory they had it pumped but I was never there for that.

If one is investing in green technology and long term solutions, there are composting toilets which turns potentially harmful human waste into safe compost. These toilets can be purchased a variety of locations for a pretty good amount of money. However, I was surprised to find a very good article, including DIY composting toilets at Wikipedia. The most indepth discussion of human waste and safely converting it to something inocuous can be found in the book,The Humanure Handbook.

While we are on toilet talk, there is a blog challenge getting underway at Crunchy Chicken's for using cloth TP. The discussion is pretty detailed - I encourage you to go and learn. I switched to the Diva cup for menstration this summer and like it much better than any other product, commercial or otherwise. The girls arn't going there, but I may get a couple for them just incase purchasing power for disposables get severely curtailed. I'll be making cloth TP and setting up smaller buckets as part of my preparations. Really, for those who had had kids in cloth diapers, it's not so much of a stretch. I'm not pushing my family as they are ready to mutany over hitting the 3 month mark on the homemade laundry soap.

I bought the laundry soap suplies and used the recipe from the company, Soaps Gone Buy. I ordered bulk supplies and think I'm good for a year or more. We've made the powdered soap and the problem we are having is that the Fels Naptha was so hard to grate that we ended up using a cheese grater (one bought from a yard sale and dedicated to the purpose). The shreads are too large and don't disolve all the way but Chibi wasn't strong enough for the smaller grate. The family also thinks that things aren't getting clean enough and I've started adding oxyclean to the loads. Next we'll try making the liquid laundry soap and have saved our last bottle from Tide for putting the homemade stuff in. A good discussion on older to ancient soap making can be found here.

As far as garbage is concerned, if you are not buying many things and you are recycling, composting, and reusing things, your garbage is lessened. Paper and gets burned in the wood stove, cardboard composts or can be used in the garden, plastics get eliminated as purchacing goes down. I surely don't throw away my canning jars after opening the food!

I recently stocked up on toothbrushes. I didn't stock up on toothpaste as one can always make toothpowder from baking soda. Yes, toothbrushes can be invented too, but let's allow some time for that.

Remember that Grandparents used to take illness and injury more seriously. They lived in pre-antibiotic days where infection was a serious thing. If you don't want to seek medical care, take care of rashes and simple cuts, wash your hands and take care if you get sick.

It is getting popular to make and use green cleaning products with vinigar and lemon. Look at a few recipees and gather together the ingredients.


Gracie said...

Wow, thanks for the mention. Didn't expect it, but it was nice that you noticed.

Sanitation is one area that I'm really behind (no pun intended) in. I have extra TP put up, but it won't last forever. I've thought about cloth TP, and have old towels that I've been saving to cut up for that purpose. I agree that anyone who's had a child and used cloth diapers, should be able to do this, although it won't be fun.

I agree also, that we are so conditioned to hearing that we have to use antibacterial soap, etc., that many may have great problems with changes in sanitary conditions.

The book on humanuer is one I need to get ahold of, and will get one ordered now.

I'm past the age of worrying about menstrual supplies, but have a daughter, daughter in law, and two granddaughters that will have to have alternatives.

Thanks again, for this challenge, it has pointed out already areas that we are very weak in and need to work on.

LisaZ said...

It's a little early, but I stocked up on some nice cloth menstrual pads for my DD9. They are quite pretty and for now she seems very open to using them when the time comes (most likely a few years down the road). I know we'll be able to make some more at some point, too. I have some that are not lovely but I've been using for years and they are still sturdy cotton and working fine. To tell the truth, I wanted the pretty ones for myself but decided to put them aside for daughter!

Hey, this is a few days late but I organized my basement pantry items tonight and made a list of what else I can use and will fit on the shelves. I'm very happy I finally got to it as stuff was just sitting on the laundry machines in the grocery bags and even on the floor the last couple of weeks. Now I'm very organized!

I also washed out a container for placing used cloth toilet wipes in and DD9 and I are going to do Crunchy's challenge finally and start using them. I've had cut up old t-shirts ready for that purpose for a long time, just never had a bucket and system for using them. LOL.

Can't wait to check Gracie's blog some more!

Verde said...

Lisa, how do you prepare the wipes? What size do you cut? Did you hem them?

That's great DD9 is open to the cloth. I started too late with my girls and will have to wait until they come around on their own.

I was pretty traumatized when my Grandmother suggested rags - ha!

Gracie, I can't imagine what areas you have been weak on - you have so much together already!

Robj98168 said...

LOL I love outhouses! One of my favorate memories is the summer my parents renteed a log cabin on whidbey island- complete with an outhouse. My dad had to make a 5 Gallon bucket for my mom -She hated the outhouse...But dad and I used to walk across the driveway and use the outhouse, And the cabin had a wood stove! We never worried about hygene back then- We used tp but it was a quick trip down to the lake, jump in and wash yourself!

Crunchy Chicken said...

Thanks for the info on homemade laundry soap. I still haven't ventured into that one yet. I'll be curious to see how your liquid laundry soap forays turn out.

Jesus, Rob. Remind me never to go camping with you.

LisaZ said...

Okay, on the cloth t.p. wipes: I did nothing fancy and in fact should really do a better job of it. I cut up some old t-shirts. Some are definitely cut too small and I'll probably use them as one-time use household rags or something. The right size of t-shirt rag is more like 8x8 inches so you can fold it over for a nice square--I guess similar in size to a sq. of t.p.

With t-shirt material you can just cut it and no need to hem. They ain't pretty though! I hope to make some pretty hemmed flannel ones as others have done. Someday...

Anonymous said...

I cut uo towels with pinking shears. They unravel just a bit. The size you make them coresponds to the thickness of the material. I would make thin ones bigger. The really nice thing about thin ones, like a hanky, are that you can use it, rinse it in the sink, and hang it up to dry. It is usually dry by the time you need it again. This means less hanging small things on the line.
I switched to the diva cup over a year ago thanks to crunchy chicken. The cloth TP was thanks to her too. I've thought about getting another diva cup for an unexpected guest in need. My DD8 could need it in as little as 3 years I guess. But as food gets scarce and the amount of hormones in foods reduce, it could be delayed until she is 16+. Would anyone use a used diva cup if it were boiled?
We have a urine collecting bucket in our master bath. It is probably a 2-3 gallon pail with lid. It actually goes with a bedside comode. My husband and I both use it and empty it onto the compost pile, or dilute it and water plants. Even edibles. Yes urine is sterile, but only in the bladder. It can pick up germs on its way out of the body and from anything it comes into contact with. So if you have an STD maybe watering edibles is not a good idea. I don't think it would hurt roses though.

Cindy in FL

Hausfrau said...

I use baby washcloths for my P-clothes. They are the perfect size. And I wouldn't say they aren't fun ;)! That would be a good garage sale item to look for...

I also found that someone in my Oklahoma food co-op is making cloth pads. I have a few, but plan to order more in case of 2nd childbirth - then I know I would need a lot of them.

Carla said...

I also made some wipe from old t-shirts, as Lisaz did - couldn't have been easier. Since I didn't care if they were neat or pretty, I used all of the fabric except the neckband - so some of the pieces are a little irregular and some have a hem.

I have a bucket in my tub all the time to catch the initial & final shower water which I use for flushing, so I just keep water in it all the time & toss the cloths in there until laundry time.

I end up w/ lots of buckets because I buy cat litter in them. On my want list right now is a used toilet seat to make portable potty using another bucket so I can add that to my compost.