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14 Top Off-Grid Projects for Survival

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Whether you’re planning to move to the Alaskan frontiers or want to live in a cabin the Vermont mountains, these off-grid living conditions will disconnect you from water and power sources.

To live off the grid, you need to know how to generate your power, collect and filter water, and even live without a sewer or septic system.

The following off-grid projects are necessary for survival in the great outdoors:

1. Collect Rainwater

Collecting drinkable water is a vital survival skill. When living off the grid, this is one skill you must master very quickly. There are a few rainwater collection projects you can set up to gather drinking water. For instance, your collection system may include roof gutters, a large capacity stacked system, a rain barrel, or a large water tank that’s buried or above ground. The amount of rainwater you can collect will depend on the amount of rainfall in your area and the size of your roof.

2. Greywater Treatment System

A greywater treatment system can route wastewater to your yard and irrigate non-food plants. What are some sources of greywater? Greywater refers to any wastewater collected from washing machines, showers, tubs, and kitchen sinks. Most of this water will contain grease, food particles, dirt, some cleaning products, and hair. You can set up a grey water treatment in your yard to ‘treat’ these contaminants. There are several types of grey water systems. Generally, gravity-based systems that don’t require filters or pumps are easy to maintain and last the longest. In case you produce excess waste water than what is required for irrigation, set up an artificial wetlands on your property. This will absorb and filter the water naturally.

3. Root Cellar and Low-tech Fridge

A root cellar is an ancient way of conserving vegetables and fruits throughout the year. The earth has a stable temperature underneath the frost line which provides ‘natural refrigeration’. This temperature keeps items like onions, potatoes, and apples, fresh throughout the year. When you move off the grid, you can set up your own root cellar using reclaimed and recycled materials. Simply bury a trash can or chest freezer into the ground.

If you prefer to be without a fridge system altogether, consider zeer pots. These are also called pot-in-pot fridges. To build one, you need two basic terracotta pots, some water and sand. One pot must be smaller in size than the other. Contents placed inside a zeer pot are cooled by a damp sandy layer between two terracotta pots. As the moisture from the sand evaporates, the inner pot is cooled. You have to keep this sand moist at all times to keep the contents of the inner pot cool. This system can keep vegetables fresh for nearly a month. It’s also effective at deterring insects. You may also store cool water in a zeer pot.

4. Mini Wind Turbine

This off grid project may seem out of reach, but it’s actually not! A mini wind turbine is an effective solution when you want to supplement your solar power. With a mini wind turbine kit you can generate up to 250 watts of energy.

5. Solar & Outdoor wood-fired oven

In the summer, temperatures can soar when you’re living off the grid. It’s too hot and humid to cook indoors, so the best way to prevent extra heat build-up in your home by cooking outdoors. Although grills are superb, a solar cooker or a wood-fired oven will allow you to bake your favourite treats as well.

You can build your own solar cooker with a windshield sun reflector or some aluminium foil and a cardboard box. With a dash of sunlight, you can prepare your food. Cob ovens are another good outdoor cooking solution. These are built using straw and mud. They get very hot and are capable of churning out pizzas in three minutes.

6. Composting Toilets

Each day, billions of litres of drinkable water is flushed down the toilet. If properly maintained, a composting toilet can transform human waste water into healthy soil. Composting toilets are easier to care for that what you expect. When you move off the grid, you can easily purchase a commercial composting toilet. If you prefer to build one yourself, you need a bucket, some carbon-dense composting materials such as shredded oak leaves, cedar chips, and sawdust, and a toilet seat. This is emptied out into a special outdoor compost bin that’s separate from a regular compost bin which produces compost for your herb and vegetable gardens.

7. Solar-powered Gadgets and Appliances

There are several opportunities to separate from the grid. You may build your own solar charger or hand-cranked gadgets like blenders and gadget chargers. You can also build your mason jar solar lights, a solar food dryer, a parabolic hot water heater, and even a solar-powered Altoid tin.

8. Greenhouse

If you’re planning to live in a colder region where the winters can be long and harsh, it would help to have a greenhouse. This will provide you with food throughout the year. A greenhouse is a superb off-grid project because it can also generate power for your home. You can use this energy to power your drip irrigation unit or even heat your home.

9. Washing Machine

Washing clothes by hand is a tough job. There’s a lot of scrubbing, wringing, and soaking involved. If you plan to live off the grid, you’re going to have to build a washing machine to facilitate this task. You can easily build a washer with a net bag, a container, and a lever-driven shaft that’s held in position with a wooden frame. The net bag is the key component because it will squeeze, agitate, and hold the clothes. A DIY washing machine requires zero electricity and relies solely on hand-cranking. After your clothes are washed, simply wring them out and hang to dry.

10. Solar Power Charger

While living off the grid, you may face a situation where your home loses complete power. In such cases, it would help to have a solar power charger. You can easily build one using a solar panel and a rechargeable battery.

11. Portable Solar Generator

A moveable solar generator is a handy tool to have when you live off the grid. Not only is this a back source of energy, but you can use it anywhere on your property, i.e. the shed, garden, backyard, etc. To build a small scale portable solar generator, you need two, 8-watt panels, an inverter, and a marine deep cycle battery. The power generated by this simple system is enough to operate a television set, a few power tools, and even a laptop.

12. DIY Humidifier

When you’re living off the grid in a cool climate region, you can expect your home to feel dry. Over time, dry air will cause sore throats, coughs, and even the flu. You can also develop dry skin, teary eyes, and allergic reactions. This generally happens in the winter when temperatures drop below zero and you turn on the heat. Once the heat goes up, the moisture dries up.

To prevent this dryness, you need to introduce humidity. A humidifier is the best solution to add moisture. To do this, place numerous house plants in your home. You can also take a large car sponge and soak it. Put it in a large ziplock bag with holes. You can place this ziplock bag in any room. The sponge will release moisture into the room. You may also opt for a fish tank. The open fish tank will release humidity into the room and generate a cool atmosphere. In addition, you get a beautiful view not to mention adds character in your home.

13. Rooftop Garden

If you don’t have room to set up a garden on your lawn, consider a rooftop garden. The concept has been around for centuries, but it was popularized just a few decades ago in Germany. A rooftop garden is basically a living plant surface on a roof structure. In this garden, there is less than 1 foot of soil is applied to your roof along with some support structures. This will enable you to grow a variety of herbs, fruits, and vegetables on top of your garage, shed, or house.

14. Passive Window Solar Heater

This simple solar heater is an excellent source of heat during the cold winters. All you need to build this off-grid project is a few pieces of Styrofoam, a can of black spray paint, and some aluminum foil. You may cut the Styrofoam to fit the window or a bit smaller so that some light will still get through. The former option will give you more heat.

When the sun is shining, the black painted portion will absorb much of the sun’s heat. Hot air has a tendency of expanding and rising. Once the hot air rises, it will leave from the top vent of your heater. This prompts a vacuum action and pulls cold air into the bottom vent of the heater. The cooler air is warmed and continues to do so until sunset.

With these 14 off grid projects for survival, you can live comfortably in your new surroundings.

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How to Have Potable Water Anywhere

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Water is an essential source of life for everyone, and we cannot live without it, even if we try. Unfortunately, drinking water is pretty scarce nowadays, and finding new ways to produce and source drinking water is posing a challenge. Even while the ocean is said to be the biggest reservoir for water, that water is salted, and we cannot drink it. Freshwater bodies and underground water levels are fast depleting because of our careless use of water. So we need to find new ways to access drinking water anywhere, be it the desert, the ocean, or even a hotel.

In an emergency, apart from food, water is also essential and should be your top priority. Be sure that the water you find is safe to drink, otherwise, you may need to disinfect the water so it is potable. While it is true that the human body cannot survive without water for more than three days, you also do not want to fall ill and contract illnesses from drinking unclean water. Good news for you, there are many water sources that you can find like rivers, lakes, ponds, or small streams while you are backpacking, hiking, or are in an emergency scenario. There are multiple ways to make the water clean enough and safe enough for you to drink. 

  1. Finding water 

You have to find water before you start the disinfection process. Depending on where you are and what situation you are in, water can either be found with ease or with much difficulty. As mentioned above, there are freshwater resources like streams, ponds, rivers, and lakes from which you can fill your container or bottle. Rainwater can also be collected in case there are no water sources nearby. Snow can be melted for drinking and made to go through the filtration process. There are many ways to supply yourself with water. You just have to be creative enough to think like a survivalist. 

  1. The boiling method

Boiling water is often considered the best route to safe drinking water. This method kills all kinds of parasites, bacteria, and viruses that are in the water. Boiling water for a minimum of five minutes kills almost every bacteria but aim for boiling it for 10 – 15 minutes to be on the safe side. 

Boiling water can be a simple process if you have all the materials. It can be done over a campfire or on a gas stove in a metal or glass container. If no such container is available, heat small rocks over a fire and then place them in your makeshift container. 

  1. Survival straws

Survival straws have recently come into the market and they are already making waves. They are said to be the smallest, lightest water filtration tool that has been so efficient. These straws can be used as drinking straws and, since they are small and lightweight, are much preferred and recommended by hikers, travelers, and even survivalists who prepare for an emergency or survival scenarios. 

They filter out 99.99% of bacteria and they also have a built-in activated carbon filter element that, while filtering out bacteria and viruses, also removes strange flavors and smells from the water. 

  1. Water filters

Usage of portable water purification devices is another popular method people use to purify the water before drinking, especially if you know beforehand that you will not find a reliable source of drinking water where you are traveling. These water filters are made specifically to treat water while on hikes, expeditions, or in a survival situation. 

Many of these water filters, while handy and portable, do require pumping the water by hand which, in hindsight, can require a lot of exertion and energy loss. But these will give you much cleaner drinking water and hence, are preferred. 

  1. Using iodine

Iodine is used to treat water and is another method by which you can disinfect your water before drinking. To treat the water with iodine, first, purchase a bottle of iodine, and then use exactly eight drops per liter of water and wait half an hour before drinking the clean water. If the water you want to purify is dirtier, you might have to wait a little longer before drinking it, or you can also put more drops of iodine in it to make it safe. 

  1. Using chlorine

Using chlorine is a method to treat water before drinking. This process is much like the process of mixing iodine with water. First, procure unscented chlorine bleach from a store. The chlorine to water ratio should be, for every one liter of water, put two drops of the chlorine bleach. Then shake the bottle and wait for 30 minutes for the chlorine to act and purify it. And then drink it. If the water is cloudier and dirtier than usual, try putting more drops of chlorine in it. 

  1. Tablets

The chlorine and iodine liquid drops that were used in the above methods are also available in tablet form. These water purification tablets have become popular and the go-to for everyone because they are easy to carry, are widely available, and come with simple ready to use instructions. You just have to filter the water through a cloth, drop a tablet in 1- 2 liters of the unclean water, wait for approximately 30 minutes and there you go. Safe and clean drinking water. 

Because water is a necessity for all, we must exercise caution while drinking it and not drink water directly from a natural source because it will surely be contaminated. Hence, this is the reason why water purifiers, tablets, and items such as survival straws exist. They help in the process of decontaminating the water and making it safe for you to drink. 

These items are made for people and you must be aware of them and use them whenever you go out, like on a trek, hiking, or in extreme situations like in an emergency or scenarios where you have to survive in a jungle. 

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How to Grow Your Own Organic Garden Even in Small Spaces

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All of us at some time or another have wished to grow fruits and vegetables and eat those fresh homegrown foods as well. But if you live in an area or in a house where there is practically no space for you to have a small garden, don’t be sad. You can still grow an organic garden in your house by being smart and thinking creatively. If you do not have a balcony or are worried the plants won’t get enough space or sunlight to grow, there is no need to worry. Plants adjust according to space, and some plants require little to no sunlight. You just need to do a bit of homework and read this article to find suggestions on how to grow an organic garden in small spaces.

  1. Container gardens
Pot Garden

Your first choice is container gardens if you have a small space and if your space is outdoors, be it a balcony or a yard. Container gardens are good for fruits and vegetables, and they have the ability to grow any type of plant of many varieties. This garden can provide you with a healthy crop only if you have the right size container and can find adequate space. Container gardens are preferred by many because they are really efficient, consume less space, and will grow fruits and vegetables to their best ability. If the garden has good sun exposure and a water system, you can even grow small fruit trees or bushes and grow more variety of plants. 

  1. Vertical gardening

Vertical gardens are another good option since most plants tend to grow upwards or are creeper plants. You can take advantage of this by growing these types of plants in your vertical garden. Making space out of nothing is the key to productivity in an organic garden and only requires some creativity.  

How do you make a vertical garden? Cut strips of old stockings and tie your plants to them to give them an upwards structure and give them much-needed support. Plants, fruits, and vegetables such as tomatoes, peas, and beans will grow easily enough if the right support and nutrients are provided to them. 

  1. Community gardens
Alice Street Community Gardens: a nice little co-op garden

Don’t worry if you do not have a window, a balcony, or a yard or no space at all to grow an organic garden. Try to find a space in your community, gather all your neighbors together, and plant a community garden!

There might be a vacant garden that you can use for your project where you can start planting all the fruits and vegetables that your heart desires. Getting involved in community gardening can also help with learning and sharing tips, tricks, and resources while increasing your social skills as you talk and get to know other people as well. 

  1. Strategic choice of plants

Growing plants in your home and taking care of them is a monumental decision in itself. But an even bigger decision awaits: choosing the right kind of plants that will grow best in the right environment. Many plants require intensive care and water, sunlight for more than six hours, and shade too. Basically, they will cry for attention 24/7. And the space they require when they grow is also important to keep in mind. So you should think carefully and make educated decisions by researching and reading up on plants and gardening.

  1. Windowsill gardening 
https://stocksnap.io/photo/lantern-plants-RRHZANVQZM

Windowsill gardening is another great way to manage a small garden in an even lesser space. It is an easy option to go for. Growing plants and edibles on a windowsill are cute and are great at saving space at all. Herbs and lettuce are good options for planting in a windowsill garden. Potted plants are good for indoor gardening and do not need as much sunlight or water to be sustained. If there is enough sun you could even try to be ambitious and try growing fruits as well. 

  1. Plant a variety of only what you need 

Now that you have decided what you want to plant, it is now time to determine how much you want to plant. Group the plants by their water and food needs and plant them together to maximize the yield and production of your plants. Doing this will give you much variety of plants as well as extra space. Also, if you plan it, you can harvest different plants in different seasons and hence, get a variety that way. This will also reduce and ensure that no plant or your energy, time, and effort get wasted. 

If there are excess fruits and vegetables, you can always store them by using the preservation techniques of freezing, drying, canning, or pickling. You can then eat out-of-season fruits and vegetables when you crave them.

  1. Watering and feeding to ensure plant health in a small garden

Whenever planting the plants, be ready to devote an unreasonable amount of time and attention to them because they certainly need it and, even more so if it is a small space. Grouping them according to their feeding and watering needs, as mentioned above, should reduce the chance of over or under watering the plants. For example, certain plants, like tomatoes, do not need the same amount of water as lettuce does. Excess water can cause your tomatoes not to grow at all while lettuce needs more water and more feeding. So the requirements of the two will clash and one plant will go bad. To prevent that from happening, use the method discussed. 

So, whoever thought that growing an organic garden is pretty much impossible in small spaces thought wrong. This article tells you in detail about the various methods and ways you can start a garden in your home space. There are many other ways as well, but these are the easiest and the simplest and don’t require much work or preparation. 

Enjoy your fresh homegrown produce and save some for next year!

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What You Need to Know About Acid Burns

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Acid burns, also known as caustic burns, happen when the skin comes in contact with an acid, base or solvent. The chemicals can affect anywhere on the body and cause irreversible damage in many cases. 

When the acid comes in contact with the skin, it causes “coagulation necrosis, “ meaning cell death leads to the end of tissues. It is this which has the damaging effects often seen in acid burn survivors. Acid burns are capable of causing deformities of the skin for life. There are also psychological effects that a person goes through like, stress disorders or post-traumatic stress disorder.

Acid burns are caused by materials that are readily available in many places, and hence it is vital to know all you can about acid burns, the symptoms and how you can treat them. 

  1. People at greater risk

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Some people are at a higher risk than others of coming in contact with chemical materials, acidic ones. These people are infants, older people and people with disabilities. You might also be at an increased risk of burns if you work somewhere you are handling acids without proper guidance or equipment. Unfortunately, in the world we live in today, there’s no category for people who are genuinely at a greater risk of acid burns as it has become a popular crime to use acid as a terror weapon.

  1. Symptoms

The symptoms might change from person to person, but their basis remains the same, so it is relatively straightforward to identify a chemical burn.

The symptoms include pain, redness, burning where the acid reaches contact with the skin and irritation. You may experience vision loss or blurry vision if the acid comes in touch with your eyes and breathing difficulties if you inhale the acidic fumes. 

  1. Chemical burns categorization

There are three categorizations in chemical burns; first degree, second-degree and lastly, third-degree burns. The least harmful is a first-degree burn, and the most damaging, as you can then figure, is a third-degree burn which can cause extreme damage to the body and skin. 

  1. Know your acids and bases

Acids usually have a pH level of less than 7, which is water, and they get dangerous as they move closer to pH level 1. Whereas bases have a pH level of more than 7, they get dangerous as they get closer to the level of 14. Acid attacks have become quite common, and the type of acids used in these attacks are hydrochloric acid or sulfuric acid, and these are synonymous with physical damage. 

Products that have acidic properties in them include toilet cleaners, battery acid, bleach and other chemicals. Solid and liquid forms of acid can also cause harm depending on the strength of the acid and the amount of time it has been in contact with the skin. 

  1. Acid burns that can be rinsed with water and how to go about it

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You can significantly reduce the impact acid has on your body by running the burned area under a lot of water. Running the affected area under water within 1 minute of the burn can significantly reduce the risk of greater damage and scarring. Ask someone to aid you, to put on gloves and wipe the affected area. Also, take off any jewellery or accessories that you might be wearing as they could have trapped acid in or around them.

  1. Acid burns that should not be rinsed with water. 

Carbolic acid and hydrofluoric acid are some of the acids that do not mix with water. Use alcohol to get the acid off the skin and then rinse it with water. Sulfuric acid burns can be flushed/rinsed with a soapy solution if the burns are not severe. Hydrofluoric acid needs to be mixed with a calcium solution. Acids burn that have gotten in the eye should be immediately flushed out with copious amounts of water.

Remember to go to your primary healthcare doctor and get a professional inspection of the burns if they continue to irritate you and still burn. Based on the severity, the doctor will prescribe antibiotic creams such as anti-itch medications, skin grafting (if the burn is severe), and in some cases, IV fluids as well. 

  1. Emergency help

While consulting your primary healthcare doctor is always a good idea, you may not reach there in time, or the doctor may not be available. There are a lot of what-ifs and uncertainty around the situation. In times like these, do not hesitate to contact and call emergency services. 

It is their job to work under tight schedules and help you under any circumstance – I guess that’s why we called them ‘emergency’ services. When you call emergency services, give them the following information so that they are entirely aware of your problem before they get to you. This will save them time from working out how to help you when they get to you.

If you happen to know the name of the chemical you have been attacked with, give it to them immediately. This will help emergency services identify the dangers you’re in, and the process of removing the chemical will be more comfortable. 

Chemical and acid burns can be excruciating when experienced, but they can be treated with basic first aid and follow-up care with your doctor on the brighter side. Even that can be reduced if you act promptly when you come in contact with any acid or dangerous chemical product. 

Be careful when handling any type of chemical product and do not inhale it or touch your face before washing your hands properly. Wear protective gear while handling any kind of chemical.

Often, reading the warning label and being advised and made aware of the harmful effects and given proper instructions before using can prevent serious medical emergencies to a great extent.

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