Saturday, May 10, 2008

Stimulus, Garden, and Water Softener

Since I have direct deposit for my IRS tax return, my stimulus rebate landed in my account on Friday. $900 of free money to spend as I see fit. Like many of you, I am going to put it into my preps plan to purchase the next bigger ticket items on my list. There are lots things that this money would be great for, but I must stick to the purchasing plan I have created.

My next project is a small scale photovoltaic system to keep 4 Crown 6 volt, 225 ah batteries charged up. This should be sufficient to keep my CPAP machine powered with some left over for other uses, such as 12v lights (LED?), 12v DC Fridge and my laptop computer.

So far my experiences with my garden have been going ok. I just transplanted most all the items from the peat pellets into small plastic pots. I also experimented with sprouting corn between 2 pieces of paper towel, moistened and placed in a 1 gallon zip lock freezer bag.

This worked out well, but they didn’t sprout as fast as the corn in the peat pellets did.

I have given up on the older cabbage, broccoli, cucumber and spinach seed and recognize them as no longer viable. It was interesting that the mustard, bok choy, lettuce, kale, onions and 2 kinds of radish from 1999 all sprouted. It gives me an idea of what items will need special care and those that are tolerant of nothing special in the way of care.

I picked up 80 lbs of water softener salt today (sodium chloride), $4.37 for 40lb bag. At this price, it is perhaps the cheapest and most important item to stock up on. In preparing for food storage after TSHTF, salt will play a key role. Buy some 5 gallon buckets with lids, some desiccants and some zip lock bags to prepare this for long term storage.

I bought another 60lbs of rice for $0.65 per lb, so the price has not gone up in the last week. I also picked up a 10 lb bag of large russet potatoes for $2.99. They may be cheaper elsewhere, but elsewhere is not close enough when gas is $3.82 a gallon for regular unleaded.

The poll shows that most of you will be stocking up on ammo and firearms, followed by food and savings. Gas and consumer goods tied with the TEOTWAWKI party being last. All I can say to you who are having the party is: Where and When? I love a good party and as long as your footing the bill, I’m in!
One of the Items I recommended earlier is the P3 Kill A Watt Electricity Load Meter and Monitor. This handy item will allow you to monitor the electrical usage of all your AC electrical items when you plug them into it. The best price I found was at NewEgg, for $23.98 including shipping (3 day UPS). Get one while they still have them. At this price they will probably go fast.


  1. Nothin like extra cash for preps!

  2. Ammo and arms are all well and good, but there is a point of diminishing returns. Food will always be king.

  3. Nice to see you building a solar power system. It's one of the most interesting projects I've done. I started with a small portable system that I used for backup power and to learn.

    I liked it so much and it worked so well I built a larger system and just went live with it last Sat.

    The first system consists of 530 watts of panels that I set up in the driveway and can put away at night. A PROSine 2.0 inverter/charger. An Outback MX-60 charge controller. And 4 Trojan L16H batteries wired for 12 volts series/parallel 840 amphours.

    The second system is 2400 watts of panels. Xantrex SW4048 inverter. Outback FLEXmax 80 charge controller. Outback 240v autotransformer. 8 Trojan T-125 6v batteries wired series for 240 amphours at 48 volts.

  4. Go Scout Go!

    I'm buying locally more nw. Gas is $3.89 as of Sunday.


  5. Bonus for me, I found a gift card I had gotten from my parents last Christmas to a local sporting goods store.
    Winchester hollow point 22 LR shells were on sale for $14.99 for 525 rounds.
    I also got some 22 shorts as I have an old semi auto that uses them. Spendy though, $3.99 for 50.
    Going to the Dollar store right by my place tonight to see what they have in the way of cheap canned goods. I am going to get some food grade buckets next week, I don't like my current storage capabilities at all.
    One step at a time.

  6. Maybe a silly question, but that never stopped be before (grin), about using water softener salt for seasoning food, I didn't know you could do that, is there anything I need to look for or stay away from? Are there additives in any of them? I've never had a water softener system, so I never even considered looking at the bags of salt. Is it the same as table salt? Heck, I thought I had considered most everything in stocking up, I didn't think about the lowly salt shaker...


  7. Wretha,
    The water softener salt must be Sodiun Chloride. Some comes in pellets, the stuff I got was a coarse salt like rock salt. It is most likely to coarse for sprinkling on food, but should be fine for cooking and preseving with.

    It has no Iodine so you will need to supplement it with iodized salt. You could also add it to a sea salt grinder and use in that manner. You could probably substitute a pepper grinder.