Friday, September 16, 2011

Survival Slam Dance - The 7 day challenge

The ladies at Food Storage Made Easy are doing a reprise of their ever-popular A Week Without Toilet 7 Day Survival Challenge. Everyday, they assault your inbox with a new scenario, then leave you to thrash out your survival scenario in near real-life situations using nothing more than your multi-tool and a stale box of saltines.

There are rules - no spending money, no sneaking out to beg, borrow or steal survival supplies, no hiring the neighbor's kid to play out the scenario for you. You're supposed to pretend whatever they say happened really happened and deal with it as best you and your most likely woefully inadequate survival preparations can. Then you can comment on their blog, or their Facebook page and share with everybody how you're doing.

I signed up for the challenge in my usual Day Late and A Dollar Short manner, which means that I didn't open the email for the first day (yesterday) until this morning. So I'll post every day and let y'all know how I did with the challenge.

Day 1: No Water

In this scenario something's happened that has knocked out power and water. The power has come back on but the water taps still aren't flowing. You guessed it - you have to use your stored water, or a nearby stream, to provide all your water and cooking needs for the day. You have to dispose of, to put this delicately, your daily waste, and it's been 4 days - you really need a shower.

Whew! This one is easy for me. Not that I'm actually spending a day without water. My family won't agree on what movie to rent without a fistfight, no way I'll convince them to pee in a bucket. My participation is all theoretical. But still useful.

I live in a desert and I grow an edible landscape. I'm acutely aware that Phoenix gets 7 inches of rainfall a year. I've watched enough Survivorman to know the end result of being stuck in the desert sans hydration. So I bought a bunch of ten dollar 55-gallon water drums off a guy on Craigslist, then force my family out at every rainfall to gather it by the bucketful. I hope someday to make the process a little more automated. Use of the rainwater in the garden requires I handpump it into a bucket and carry it to the beds.

Here's the point: Today, I have at least 10 55 gallon drums of stored water out there AND the means to gather more with the next rainfall. I'm not worried. Were I doing this challenge, I'd ration a couple of buckets for cooking and washing up duties and a bucket per person for personal hygiene duties. A solar shower is nice, but not required for bathing. I'd have everybody use the soapnut bar soap (Yes...soapnuts) so the wastewater could be dumped onto our little patch of grass for watering. We also use soapnut products for dishes and laundry. I purchase mine online from Naturoli which is a local company here in Phoenix. (Yay! Phoenix!!) Graywater from cooking and clotheswashing could go into the food beds - soapnuts are 100 percent compostible and biodegradable since they are a nut...from a tree.

I have a Nikken water filter for the drinking water, but could also filter larger yuckies out using coffee filters. Considering how long the rainwater has been out there, I'd purify with a few drops of bleach and let it stand before running it through the Nikken and drinking or cooking with it. The, um, bodily waste part I'd bury in the backyard.

Here's are some items I'm missing, a Rapid Washer to make handwashing of clothes a breeze. I don't know why I put off purchasing one.Also a metal tub for bathing and clothes washing.

Notes: Cooking isn't a problem because we have power. YAY! Not having a garbage disposal isn't a problem because the veggie waste goes into the compost. Meat waste into the regular garbage. The ladies didn't say anything about everyday services being cut off. Otherwise, I'd store it in the freezer until full services are restored.

I'm a wimp for not actually doing the challenge, but I've learned a lot from going through the motions and thinking about everything throughout the day. I also need a LOT more buckets.

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