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Sunday, July 31, 2011

How to build and install clothes lines that will last!

by Paul Stevens 
GO GREEN, Build A Solid Outdoors Clothes Line.

It’s taken us many years of moving and installing clothes lines, before we finally figured out the secrets of building and installing substantial clothes line post. We have helped a few friends do theirs as well. Here is what we have discovered along the way.

First check your deed restrictions if you live in a deed restricted community. Clothes lines were not very popular before the Green Movement, and some HOA, still views them as rather trashy.

Second, it takes substantial material, we prefer 4” steel pipe. Used pipe will be cheaper and if you don’t have a welder in the family, you may want to contract a professional welder. The main upright post will have to be notched to fit around the cross T for a solid weld. Once these are in the ground, they won’t be easy to repair if the weld breaks. Wood post just won’t last over time. We have tried a smaller size pipe and actually bent it at the ground level.

We weld a 5’ cross T out of 4” pipe on an 9’- 2” upright. This allows for 3’ in the ground and 6’-2” above the ground. For us, this is a perfect finished height for a comfortable reach and to keep long items off the ground, measure according to your needs. It is easier to drill the holes in the cross T before the welding process. A 3/8” hole spaced no less than 10” will allow for 6 lines. Drill the holes all the way through and be sure to keep them all in line. During this process decide if it is economical to have caps welded on the ends, or to later cut wood plugs to plug the ends of the cross T. You will want to plug these ends or birds will build nest, and then spend time on the clothes line dropping poop on your clean clothes. Paint the post, we like using a good metal primer, and then aluminum color paint as it seems to hold up longer. Any good outside enamel paint will work. If the pipe is used, it may need a power wire brushing.

Second the finished post will have to be set in substantial concrete at a depth of no less than 3’ deep. Just the tightening of the clothes lines themselves takes substantial stress on the post, not to mention a full load of clothes flapping in the wind. The side to side and back side of the hole is not as important as the front side, where the post will be pulled toward. We like to dig a hole at least 2’ wide 3’ deep. On the inside we like to dig a trench footing 2’ deep 12” wide out 3’ from the inside of each post. We drop the post center into the hole and add 6 rebar to both sides of the post out into the footing trench. The footing trench gives another underground leg to keep the post from pulling in towards each other. In setting the post we plumb it side to side but kick the post back about 1/8 bubble out of plumb. Even with all the concrete and footing the post will still pull in. Once it is all complete the post ends up being closer to actual plumb. Don’t skip on the concrete; it is very difficult to straighten up a post after the fact. Expect to pour 8-12 bags of concrete around each post. Keep the concrete about 3” from the surface so soil and grass can be planted to hide the trench. We like spacing the post right at 49’ or less. Most of the wire cable comes in 50’ or 100’ lengths. At 49’ this allows plenty of wire to connect to each post without having to splice. If you have a large family and need to have longer lines, consider placing a third post in the center. Also consider where the post will be placed, as they will be very permanent. It is not a good idea to place them under trees, or where birds will congregate. Think about where the tree branches might be in 15-30 years down the road. Also consider the wind patterns; you will want to be able to hang out pants so the wind blows them out like a wind sock for quick drying, sheets work best looped to two clothes lines.

Let the concrete set for at least 10 days. We like using galvanized stranded wire for the lines. It is available at almost any hardware store, Lowe’s, or Home Depot. Plastic coated lines just don’t hold up to the UV. Clean the lines with some vinegar water on a cloth before each use. We use ¼” eye bolts on each cross T, yes they work better in the 3/8” holes. Forget the turnbuckles; go to a good farm store, that sells electric fencing supplies, such as TSC, and Purchase the ratchet tightener used for electric wire fencing, you will need only one per line. We have found two types of these over the years, one has a nut on the side for a regular wrench, and the other needs a tool to tighten the ratchet. Obviously the tool will be needed for these and is usually sold next to the ratchets. Over time you will tighten these many times, much more than a few turns on a turnbuckle, so you will want to purchase the tool. The eye bolt on the ratchet side will have to be opened. Placing one side in a vise and using a pair of pliers to bend it to one side is sufficient enough to slide the ratchet housing into, and then bend the eye bolt back. On the other end, you can either wrap the wire around the eye bolt, or we prefer to use a cable sleeve and not leave the exposed ends of the stranded wire to be exposed. They tend to puncher hands during cleaning off the lines, these little strands really hurt. Be sure to use safety glasses as the wire can spring back quickly at eye level. Unroll the cable and not allow it to spool off the side of the roll, the cable will be nice and straight, less likely to kink. Fasten the fixed end and pull enough to make two complete rounds on the ratchet. Alternate from inside to out and back as you tighten the lines, if you tighten one side down first you will actually twist the post. The lines should have about a 1/2” pull down in the center once they are tightened to the correct tension. Over the first few weeks, they will need to be tightened further, again alternate the tightening.

We also like our all aluminum laundry basket cart to transport the laundry out to the clothes lines. It fits through a standard door, and is much easier on the back. We do carry these carts on our back-to-basics site, as well portable clothes lines and Amish folding clothes racks.

Good luck going green on this, it is a lot of work, but I can see the savings on the electric bill when we hang things outside.
Paul Stevens

Monday, March 7, 2011

Winterizing Rabbits

Getting your rabbits ready for winter

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Saturday, February 26, 2011

All 2000 Providence Public School Educators To Get Dismissal Notices

Well, we certainly didn’t see this type of government action coming.

Oh, wait, we did, way back in June of 2010 (and before) when we reported that we could Expect 2 MILLION Layoffs By State and Local Governments.

No magic crystal ball could have predicted it, but basic knowledge in a long-lost science known as arithmetic made it possible for those inquiring minds who read past green shoots headlines to see what was coming.

If taking away collective bargaining rights and forcing people to contribute to their own pensions caused protests in Wisconsin, then Providence, Rhode Island Mayor Angel Taveras’ recent actions might just start a mid-east style riot:

The school district plans to send out dismissal notices to every one of its 1,926 teachers, an unprecedented move that has union leaders up in arms.

In a letter sent to all teachers Tuesday, Supt. Tom Brady wrote that the Providence School Board on Thursday will vote on a resolution to dismiss every teacher, effective the last day of school.

In an e-mail sent to all teachers and School Department staff, Brady said, “We are forced to take this precautionary action by the March 1 deadline given the dire budget outline for the 2011-2012 school year in which we are projecting a near $40 million deficit for the district,” Brady wrote. “Since the full extent of the potential cuts to the school budget have yet to be determined, issuing a dismissal letter to all teachers was necessary to give the mayor, the School Board and the district maximum flexibility to consider every cost savings option, including reductions in staff.

School districts around the country are now having to make tough decisions, and this is just the beginning. The notices in Providence don’t necessarily mean everyone is getting fired, but the local government is keeping the door open in case they need to lay people off. But necessity will soon lead to real pink slips and tens of thousands of teachers (and other government employees) losing their jobs.

Union leaders, of course, are not taking the news very well:

“This is beyond insane,” Providence Teachers Union President Steve Smith said Tuesday night. “Let’s create the most chaos and the highest level of anxiety in a district where teachers are already under unbelievable stress. Now I know how the United States State Department felt on Dec. 7 , 1941.”

What’s beyond insane, Mr. Smith, is that our local, state and Federal governments have spent the time-energy-yield of multiple future generations in the form of credit and have yet to realize what the ramifications of such actions are and will be.

Simply put: We’re broke! There is no more money!

TWO MILLION people in government-funded jobs are going to lose them. There is simply no way out of this, save one, and that’s the printing of more money to bail out every level of government in the United States. It would take trillions of dollars of Fed generated cash infusion to even make a short-term dent. And we can be sure that any such bail out will be a short-term head fake at best. Though we don’t believe that such a bailout is likely, the Fed, Treasury and Obama administration has certainly taken unprecedented and foolish actions throughout this crisis, so it’s always a possibility.

While such actions, if taken, may “save jobs” and pensions for several months, the dollars printed to bail out the government bubble will lead to an even more severe and accelerated collapse trajectory than that which we’re already on.

It’s another Catch 22. Either government employees take the hit now and cut their wages, pensions and even lose their jobs, or, the band plays on until the whole system snaps without warning and sinks like the Titanic.

Author: Mac Slavo
Date: February 24th, 2011
Visit the Author's Website: http://www.SHTFplan.com/

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Thursday, February 3, 2011

Rubbing Alcohol Heater

I was scanning through some YouTube videos and came across someone that put together a rubbing alcohol heater. The purpose of this was to have a portable, ready-to-go device in case you need emergency heat in a situation such as a vehicle breakdown in the middle of winter. I really questioned how well this “rubbing alcohol heater” would work – as well as how safe it could be in a vehicle.

I decided to make one myself.

alcohol stove, emergency heat, survival heater, stove, winter survival

Components of alcohol heater

Step #1:Gather the needed components – 70% rubbing alcohol, small paint can, paint can opener.

Step #2: Remove toilet paper from the roll and stuff it in the paint can. Continue to do this until the can is completely full.

Step #3: Now – fill the can with the 70% rubbing alcohol a little at a time until the toilet paper is totally saturated.

Step #4: At this point the top can be put it place and the unit can be stored. The can opener with a lighter can be taped to the outside of the can. To trial the heater – I went to Step 5.

Getting ready to light

Step #5: Light the top with a match or a lighter.

Heater has been lit......

As you can see – the heater has been lit. First problem I found was that it was very susceptible to wind. Using this outdoors could prove problematic with any decent wind present.

Protection from the wind is necessary.

Above I placed the heater inside my grill to protect it from the wind. The flame was much higher than it appears in the picture.

OK – so what was my impression?

First – I would not use it in a vehicle unless it was truly a do-or-die situation. There were little fumes – which is a benefit of using alcohol.

Second – I could feel minimal heat outside from it. Again – the premise of it was to be able to use it in a vehicle. In some form of enclosed space – possibly a small shed or lean to – the heat generated could prove beneficial.

Third – This is just flat out dangerous! With the original suggested purpose of usage in a car – this thing could easily tip over and spill. Would not make for a good day. Also – using this in a vehicle could certainly spell disaster to the roof.

Summary – It could save someones life if they were stranded on the side of the road in frigid temperatures. Beyond a desperate emergency – I would look to other ways to provide heat. For alternatives – see here, here and here.



PS – Due to my needing my vehicle – I never actually tried it inside a car.

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Saturday, January 15, 2011

Survival Tool: The Flashlight

No doubt that when most preppers sit down and make a list of survival supplies to stock up on – a flashlight is one of the first things thought of.

I have made no secret that I have a serious flashlight fetish. I have flashlights scattered all of my house and in my cars. There is a flashlight in each of my kids rooms – and they all have batteries in them and work. The importance of a flashlight in an emergency cannot be overstated. Power out? So is your ability to see in the dark. If you are reading this blog – I do not have to go into detail why your should have several flashlights around.

If you are not familiar with LED technology in flashlights – let me enlighten you. LED flashlights have come along way in the past few years. Today – they are extremely bright, durable, and the batteries last much longer than common flashlights of the same brightness. The bulbs last nearly forever which is a big plus.

There are some very nice LED flashlights available at your local department store as well as from many of my sponsors.

LED flashlights should be purchased knowing how bright they are. Flashlight brightness is measured in lumen’s. A few years ago a LED flashlight was pretty good to be throwing out 8-10 lumen’s. Today’s high-tech LEDs can easily throw out over 100 lumen’s – and at pretty reasonable prices.

A few of my LED flashlights.

Here are a few choices available on Amazon – and possibly locally:

Rayovac 3 watt 80 Lumens - I own this one.

MAGLITE XL100 LED Flashlight, Black - about $35.00

Nu-Flare Ultrabright LED Aluminum Flashlight - - 210 Lumens!!!!

I am slowly but surely fading out “regular” flashlights and replacing them with LEDs. They are just far superior with the brightness and long battery life. In response to another recent post I did on flashlights – one reader mentioned about the vulnerability of LED lights to EMP. I had never considered this before. So – I did some research and here is what I have found:

  • No one knows for sure. Until the time comes that there is an actual EMP attack – opinions on the effects of a variety of electrical equipment including flashlights – are just that – opinions.
  • Small electronics such as AM/Fm radios and LED flashlights (both LED and regular) are not effected by EMP to a great level to to theirvery short conductors. EMP likes long wires such as power lines to capture the EMP.
  • LED flashlights will be dead after an EMP attack. There are those that state that pretty much any electronics will be toast. So – let’s hope there is no EMP attack.

Alright – enough about flashlights. If you do not have a bunch of them with extra batteries…….get them. Buy them cheap, buy them large, buy them small – but just buy them.

Oh yeah – don’t forget the extra batteries.

Rourke ModernSurvivalOnline

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