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Building Prepper Infrastructure #175827
04/20/2021 09:48 AM
04/20/2021 09:48 AM
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Building Prepper Infrastructure – Part 1,

by 3AD Scout
SurvivalBlog Contributor April 20, 2021

Today’s modern society, for the most part, is dependent upon several intertwined and dependent infrastructures. We rely upon these intertwined and dependent systems for our 21st Century Western lives. As we have witnessed in the COVID-19 pandemic and the Texas Polar Vortex, these infrastructures can be very easy to interrupt and one disruption can start a domino effect. For many preppers, storing equipment and supplies back is the failsafe method for handling societal infrastructure disruptions. A family of four putting away a 55-gallon blue drum of water seems like a major achievement but in reality, that water will only last 3 to 7 days. Then what? As we prepare for when SHTF, we need to ensure we are building our own prepper infrastructure versus building a false sense of security by just storing things away.

Building prepper infrastructure is different than just storing away equipment and supplies. The concept of prepper infrastructure is that while stores of equipment and supplies are limited or finite, infrastructure allows you to continue to produce to meet your needs. For example, the concept of prepping equipment and supplies would have one store a hammer, nails, and perhaps some lumber away. The prepper infrastructure concept, on the other hand, concentrates on the means of production of hammers, nails, and lumber. We will interchange survival infrastructure for prepper infrastructure but the terms mean the same.

The advantage of building survival infrastructure is that you, your family, mutual assistance group (MAG) or community can continue to function when the supply chain dries up and your shelves are bare. Your survival infrastructure will probably not be as robust as our modern infrastructure but it will provide your basic needs. From a historical perspective, the average family farm of the early 1800s was, in a sense, its own independent self-supporting community. That isn’t to say that those 19th-Century farms were 100 percent self-sufficient. Being Capitalist, someone realized that there was an advantage to using the economies of scales concept and grist and sawmills, that harnessed the power of moving water, became cornerstones of many communities. The other cornerstones of these early communities were the “general store” and the Church. If a community was lucky, it may have attracted a doctor.

Many of our forefathers were generalists in that they had many skill sets, that allowed them to tackle many tasks to survive. Today, our whole society is comprised of specialists, who are trained and employed for one specific function. I think back to when I was younger and how many people would be seen outside on a Saturday afternoon with their car hood up in the air, working on their own vehicle. Now computers, fuel injection, specialized tools, and lack of room to turn a wrench makes repairing our own vehicles a task relegated to the “professionals”. We have developed a complex society, unfortunately, history has numerous examples of complex societies failing. We need to re-embrace the concept of being a “jack-of-all-trades, masters of none” to help us when our complex society fails, and it will at some point.

The Department of Homeland Security has mapped out our infrastructures and their codependences. This image illustrates codependence. Stockpiled supplies only provide us with a finite timeframe for surviving a disruption. Some of the more common periods are 3 days, 2 weeks, and a year. But what happens when we eat the last pouch of freeze-dried food, or open the last can of Spam? What happens when all our infrastructure stops working? The “Achilles Heel” of our modern society is electricity, stop the flow and all our other infrastructures stop. We need to be ready, willing, and able to survive and rebuild our society.

Having prepped for most of my life, I was always bothered by the fact that stored supplies at some point will run out–then what? The answer is we need to ensure that we have our own resilient and efficient micro-infrastructures in place. Don’t be lulled into believing that a two-week supply of “X” is all you need since after that things will return to “normal”. As we have seen recently sometimes normal is replaced by a “New” normal.

Knowledge is Key

The bottom line up-front is that our survival and re-building of society from a cataclysmic event will not be dependent up physical things but rather knowledge. Each generation has built their technology using the technology of the prior generation. Unfortunately, as time goes on the knowledge of older technologies is not around to be used to rebuild a collapsed society. The very best book that I have read and keep in my survival library is “The Knowledge, How to Rebuild Civilization in the Aftermath of a Cataclysm” by Lewis Dartnell.

When Mike Bloomberg was running for the Democratic Party nomination, he boiled down farming to simply digging a hole, throwing a seed in the hole, and watering. This is a great example of the lack of past knowledge that I’m talking about. For many of us, we have been raised in society where “Fast”, “Instant” and “Quick” have psychologically conditioned us to look for the Fast, quick, and instant ways to prepare for disaster. Take for example the 3-day bug-out bags being sold on the commercial market. How many people buy those and then think, “I’m prepared”? This simplistic type of thinking will not serve us well. Knowledge will be key but that isn’t to say that material items don’t play a role. For example, knowing how to blacksmith is great and one could build their own forge and blower but having a hand-cranked blower would say time and probably be more efficient than what was cobbled together post-SHTF.

As we start to build our micro survival infrastructures, we are probably going to do the same thing engineers have done with the macro systems and that is to create dependencies among the systems. For example, you may install a solar array to power your home and some of that power is used to run your well pump thus your water infrastructure is now dependent upon the energy infrastructure. This is probably unavoidable simply due to economics. However, unlike many infrastructure owners and operators, preppers subscribe to the “one is none and two is one” theorem. Thus, we should expect failures and plan accordingly. We should also limit as much dependence among systems as possible.

For example, instead of having one central solar array with several solar panels charging one main battery bank and providing your electrical needs through one inverter to all your systems, perhaps using several smaller solar panels and batteries sets, each dedicated to providing the power needs of one individual system would be better? It may cost a little more but if one system goes down, you could reposition one of the other systems to fill in. Moving solar panels and batteries around is not the optimum situation but losing your entire capacity for electrical generation isn’t a good situation to put yourself in a well.

(To be continued tomorrow,


"The time for war has not yet come, but it will come and that soon, and when it does come, my advice is to draw the sword and throw away the scabbard." Gen. T.J. Jackson, March 1861
Re: Building Prepper Infrastructure [Re: ConSigCor] #175830
04/21/2021 11:34 AM
04/21/2021 11:34 AM
Joined: Oct 2001
Posts: 19,812
A 059 Btn 16 FF MSC
ConSigCor Online content OP
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ConSigCor  Online Content OP
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Building Prepper Infrastructure – Part 2,

by 3AD Scout
SurvivalBlog Contributor April 21, 2021

Where do we Start?

Like everything we do in survival we have to look at vulnerability, that is: That which can hurt us the most and quickest. In my opinion safe and plentiful potable water is the highest priority. So, what can we do now to build our own water infrastructure so that when our blue 55-gallon drum is empty we don’t die of dehydration or cholera? Depending upon your living situation (urban/suburban/rural) this may be a simple process or a major challenge. The point however is to ensure that you have the infrastructure ready to fill the void. Again, depending upon your living arrangements, you may be able to plan, build and integrate your survival infrastructure right alongside your current infrastructure.

For an example of water infrastructure, someone living in a rural area with a well can easily add a hand-operated pitcher pump, a ram pump, a PV-powered pump, or make a bailer bucket to access water when commercial power goes down. A person in an urban/suburban area that has supplied water could add a rain catchment system. But they would also have to have a system for purifying that water for personal use. For some, their survival water infrastructure may be centered around traveling to a lake or stream to fetch containers of water to take back to their home for purifying. So perhaps this infrastructure would be a bicycle and trailer with cargo racks, 5-gallon jugs, and a water purifier. This plan would, however, create a dependence upon your post-SHTF transportation infrastructure for your water infrastructure.

Depending upon your situation your survival water infrastructure may also need to include how to water plants and livestock. For some, being able to set up and use systems like rain barrels may not be an option until SHTF. Perhaps your option might be to design your system, gather the equipment and supplies, put the system together, test it then take it down and store it. Think about routine maintenance that might need to be done to keep your systems operating. If your water system relies upon a bike do you have a patch kit, extra bike parts? Do you have a way to patch containers that might get a hole in them due to gunfire or due to an accident? Do you have spare parts for your pitcher pump?

Less dependence on canned foods

The other micro infrastructure that we need to consider is food production. Waiting to build this infrastructure until after SHTF will be a big challenge and is risky, especially if you take advice from Mike Bloomberg. Gardening is not easy and the more experience you gain when your life isn’t dependent on a successful garden, the better your chances of actually producing food when your life does depend upon it. Parts of your food infrastructure could include raised beds, cold frames, and greenhouses. Besides growing food in gardens consider establishing an orchard and planting things like grape vines or berry bushes. Can you raise animals? Can you raise fish in a pond? Many urban areas are now allowing residents to have a few chickens in their backyards. When I lived in the City, my daughter’s friend’s dad had beehives. Keeping bees not only pollinates your plants but also provides honey for a good source of carbohydrates and wax.

When considering raising animals for survival, can you produce enough animal feed in a grid-down scenario or when fuel is very scarce or expensive without going down to the feed mill? Depending upon your location water for animals and your plants may also be needed, thus your food infrastructure may depend upon your water infrastructure. There is more to building food infrastructure than merely growing and raising foodstuffs. You also must be able to process and store your food. Butchering a 170-pound deer is one thing, but butchering a 1,000-pound steer is another thing, especially grid down. Do you have space to safely keep a side of beef hung up for a few days? Can you freeze, can, dehydrate, or otherwise quickly preserves that much meat?

Do you have the supplies to pressure can roughly 400 pounds of beef? That could be around 200-quart jars and lids for just one animal. There are other things that will have to be overcome when trucks stop running and grocery store shelves are empty. Can you render fat for tallow? Can you process hooves for gelatin? Before the Industrial Revolution ladies spent most of their day preparing meals. Chores for the men and children were also centered around food, whether it was taking care of animals, planting, cutting wood, or picking up sticks for kindling and firewood. Having non-electric kitchen utensils will reduce the amount of time people spend in the kitchen post-SHTF. Ever try to make butter in a hand-cranked butter churn? Having a well-thought-out and built food infrastructure will help ensure you eat long after the last can of stored food is eaten.

Cleanliness is next to Godliness

Sanitation is another infrastructure that we need to build. Some of your sanitation infrastructure may depend upon your water infrastructure. In a prolonged grid-down environment there will probably not be too many flushing toilets. I have heard people say “I’m going to carry water from the pool/creek/pond/et cetera to flush the toilet if there is no running water”. That may work for you but you might want to try and figure out where you are in the “system”. We have all heard the age-old adage about how poop flows downhill. In our modern sewage systems, many areas are lower than where the sewage treatment plant is, therefore the system has many sewage lift stations that pump the sewage up. If these lift stations stop working then sewage could back up in some areas. Are you in one of those areas? Those living on rural septic systems already have a micro sewage infrastructure.

Preppers with septic tanks will be okay for a year or two until the tank needs pumped. Part of my plan is to ban toilet paper from going down the toilet to prolong the capacity of the tank. Composting toilets and outhouses are possible alternatives to modern sanitary systems. Besides getting rid of our human waste, how are we going to stay clean? Hand washing will become even more important in a prolonged grid-down society. Bathing or showering will still need to be done however it probably won’t be with the frequency that we are used to today. Many of us probably have the black vinyl solar shower bag tucked away and that may well work but in my experience the water never got very warm.

Like the food we have stored away, what do you do when the last bar of soap is used? Can you make more? Besides washing ourselves we need to build an infrastructure that can accommodate the effective and efficient cleaning of our clothes and cookware. As a society, we have become accustomed to disposable items to meet many of our sanitary needs. At some point in a long-term grid-down world, disposable items will be used up what are the alternatives? Cleanliness will be very important in a long-term SHTF scenario to maintain one’s health. Hot water will be a huge part of keeping things clean whether it be dishes, diapers, towels, dishcloths, linens, or ourselves. Sure, a pot over a fire will work but in the long-term is that the most efficient method? For a few bucks and a little time, you could build a number of water heating systems now.

Many of us will be “bugging-in”. Thus, we will remain in our current homes. Has anyone considered how to clean the carpets grid down? Wall-to-wall carpeting took off in the 1960s but before then, wood floors and area rugs were common. Area rugs were rolled up and taken outside and beat to get the dirt out. A dust mop was used to clean the wood floors. As we become more agrarian in our post-SHTF world we will track in more dirt which will help breed pests and pest carry diseases. Modern medicine will fail, like everything else, so the importance of prevention of injury and disease will become even more important.

Third World Healthcare

In a long-term grid-down scenario people are going to get hurt and get sick. Unfortunately, most of our modern medicine is dependent upon electricity to function. How many doctors’ offices use, let alone even have on hand, a non-electric blood pressure cuff? I suspect that much of today’s modern medicine is taught with the assumption that all the modern diagnostic testing equipment and results will be available. I wonder how many doctors who graduated medical school in the last few years could diagnosis someone with Rickets, Scurvy, or other diseases without a blood test. Would our modern-day doctors even be able to treat injuries and diseases without all the modern-day medical advancements? I’m sure there are some that can, like those that do missions work in Third World countries, inner cities, or in very poor rural areas.

How many of us have plans for a sickroom post-SHTF? Who is going to staff it? What are the plans to replace our modern-day medicines with herbs? My mom spent much of her life learning about medicinal herbs, she was a wealth of knowledge about which herb was good for various ailments. When she passed away all that knowledge went with her. My point in bringing this up is that books are great but having a person with years of hands-on experiences is priceless but that knowledge and experience has to be built and shared with others long before SHTF. Try not to rely upon one person for any of your infrastructure needs. Today, our society suffers from First World problems like obesity, heart disease, diabetes, and mental health issues. But Post-SHTF we will see more Third World issues.

When you look at the most dangerous professions you will see farmers, loggers, construction workers, and miners. In a post-SHTF world, we will see more people engaging in more of these types of activities thus equaling more injuries. A robust micro medical infrastructure will be very dependent upon people with special knowledge. We can haul and purify our own water, chop or gather our own wood, plant and nurture our own plants but when you are knocked unconscious and bleeding from an accident you cannot be your own medic.

I once read a book on the history of surgery. What I was surprised to learn is how many surgical tools haven’t really changed much over the years (compared to other technologies). I’m sure there are some medical types who will take issue with this statement but most of the surgical instruments used today are still of the basic design of the instruments used in the early 1800s. That isn’t to say that there haven’t been any advances like microscopic surgery or the gamma knife but the normal scalpel used today is very much the same design as those used 100 years ago.

Doctors and other medical professionals are smart people and they have a lot of knowledge. But when you look at the medicine from a historical point of view, barbers were also the town doctor/surgeon. My point in bringing this up is to say that today, we are probably better educated on the human body and its various systems than the average barber, 100 years ago. I still have a copy of “Grey’s Anatomy” on my bookshelf. Besides knowing more about the body and its systems we also understand much more about bacteria, viruses, and the need for sterilization. In my humble opinion, if you only learned one key thing medically, it would be to deliver a baby. Besides a plethora of diseases, childbirth was a very big cause of death, both for the child and the mother. Are we prepared and able to practice Third World ditch medicine?[b][/b]


"The time for war has not yet come, but it will come and that soon, and when it does come, my advice is to draw the sword and throw away the scabbard." Gen. T.J. Jackson, March 1861
Re: Building Prepper Infrastructure [Re: ConSigCor] #175831
04/21/2021 12:51 PM
04/21/2021 12:51 PM
Joined: Jan 2002
Posts: 24,032
Tulsa
airforce Online content
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airforce  Online Content
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This is good stuff. I have never even considered cleaning a carpet. It just goes to show, there's always something more to learn.

Onward and upward,
airforce

Re: Building Prepper Infrastructure [Re: ConSigCor] #175836
04/22/2021 09:21 PM
04/22/2021 09:21 PM
Joined: Oct 2001
Posts: 19,812
A 059 Btn 16 FF MSC
ConSigCor Online content OP
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ConSigCor  Online Content OP
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A 059 Btn 16 FF MSC
Building Prepper Infrastructure – Part 3,

by 3AD Scout
SurvivalBlog Contributor April 22, 2021

Can you hear me now?


How do you plan on communicating when your cellphone doesn’t work? There are numerous radio options available including FRS/GMRS, MURS, CB, Marine band, and ham bands. Having spare radios and accessories will be important and those spares should be stored in Faraday cages. The problem with radio communications is that they are not secure, meaning others can listen in on your conversations gathering information that might then be used against you. Some of those radios will require batteries too that may give out at some point and not be replaceable. It is also easy for people with a little bit of equipment and know-how to find out where you are transmitting from. Just do an internet search for “Amateur Radio Fox Hunt”.

Building a micro survival communications infrastructure will have to take into account what you need to communicate and with whom (how far away are they and what are their capabilities?). To me post-SHTF communication will fall into two main categories; emergency communications that relay critical information that is time-sensitive, and routine communications that isn’t immediately needed. So, think about how you would communicate information about an approaching threat. (Approaching, as in they are 10 minutes out.) Perhaps a warning system such as a bell could be used to signal the need to go to a higher security posture. Or what about the need to assemble a fire brigade? Don’t get caught up in the belief that communication has to be just radio. I have a number of field telephone and miles of wire to build a more secure communications system in our immediate neighborhood.

For non-voice communications, I look for carbon paper and buy it when I see it. I would really like an old printing press but it isn’t that high of a priority at this time. The carbon paper will allow me to write once but produce several copies at once. “Runners” on bicycles or even walking can also deliver messages. When I was in the Army, in the late 80s early 90s, they still employed “runners” at times. We also have put away a few “triangles” (dinner bells) and even an old WWI gas attack alert system- it is a “U” shaped steel pipe that has a piece of wood partially wrapped with the same pipe- you bang the “U” with the metal on the wood handle. Low-tech works, no matter what. Have a plan and build the capability now.

There’s a new Sheriff in Town

One of the other critical infrastructures identified by the Department of Homeland Security is emergency services. Depending upon where you live (rural, urban or suburban) you may already rely upon yourself for some of these services. Calling the police where we live for immediate assistance is a joke. We have a great volunteer fire department and spotty EMS coverage. In a long-term, post-SHTF world, new very localized (your neighborhood versus a town or city) security and fire protection will need to be organized. Fire protection may well revert back to the old bucket brigades. One of the main challenges for fire protection will be access to water as municipal water systems dependent upon electricity will not be functioning. Again, going back in history, look at how fires in populated areas spread with catastrophic results.

The San Francisco Fire of 1851 and the Great Chicago Fire of 1871 are just two better-known examples. Recently, when the electric and water systems were offline in Texas due to the winter storm, Firehouse magazine reported that in Fort Worth “An average day for that department might include between 300 and 350 runs. During February’s severe weather, the department was averaging between 2,100 to 2,200 runs.” In a grid-down scenario, many people will resort to using alternative sources for light, cooking, and heat. These sources and lack of experience will result in additional fires. Your post-SHTF community may consider instituting a “fire watch.” When I was in basic training, we always had one person up whose job it was to alert everyone in the barracks if a fire broke out while we were sleeping. This type of early warning system will be important since you will be more successful in fighting a smaller fire versus a larger one.

I won’t really touch on security since most of us realize that we will have to be our own security force post-SHTF. But I will say you can’t just shoot anyone that approaches your home or community. That line of thinking could play out like an episode of The Twilight Zone where you shoot someone who was really there to help you. Shoot first and ask questions later makes a great T-Shirt logo but as Sun Tzu in the “Art of War” states, “The greatest victory is that which requires no battle.” Sooner or later, if you engage in a battle every time you see someone, the law of averages will catch up with you.

Developing a community-based security system with rings of defense will be required. Without modern communications system to provide information on what is going on around you, communities will have to rely upon patrols that gather information on what is happening beyond your communities. Having security protocols in place will help as well. Make sure that any “visitors” that make it into the center of your community don’t see, hear, smell or taste your infrastructure/capabilities. Make sure people know not to talk to anyone outside of the community about infrastructure and capabilities.

Out of the Ashes

Immediately after the end of the world as we know it (TEOTWAWKI) event, what is left of society will be scrambling to meet their basic survival needs (food/water/shelter from the elements). At some point, society will find its “sea legs” and start to rebuild. The re-establishment of critical manufacturing will start. Thinking about, planning, and preparing for post-TEOTWAWKI critical manufacturing now will give you and your community/MAG an advantage. Think about the simple ability to mill grain into flour, sawing trees into lumber, forging iron into a plowshare, distilling spirits, or weaving linen. Think about how many hand-cranked grain mills, two-man crosscut saws, looms, and blacksmiths’ forges there are per 100,000 people in the United State right now. These items will go from antiques to being critical devices for manufacturing. But remember these chunks of metal and wood are nothing without the knowledge to use them.

One of my recent prepper goals is to establish a functional blacksmithing shop. The ability to manufacture (means of production) will be the best possible barterable asset you can have on hand. Stocking up on trade items from the dollar store will only go so far, but when you can make something for someone who needs it, that becomes truly priceless. This brings me to the last critical infrastructure that we need to think about which is the financial sector.

Barter Economy

A post-TEOTWAWKI world will rely upon a barter economy for some time. Many rely upon the thought that gold and silver will be valuable post-TEOTWAWKI. In my opinion in an economic collapse gold and silver will have value, however in a true, long-term, grid-down world, manufactured goods, food and specific skills like medical, chemistry, and physics will demand more value than gold and silver. As I write this article, gold is going for $1,709 an ounce. We also know what happens to any commodity when the supply is greater than the demand, the price plummets. In a post-TEOTWAWKI world, everyone (prepared and unprepared) will be trying to hock their gold and silver for anything to eat. What will be the value of an ounce of gold then? If, on the other hand, you took that same $1,709 and invested it into the means of production, what will be the value of that $1,709 investment post-TEOTWAWKI?

For example, I have been buying equipment and tools for my blacksmith’s shop. Let’s say that I invest $1,500 in the ability to shape and manufacture items. What do you think my return on investment would be manufacturing and selling plow blades, nails, or custom repair parts? The means of production have always been a better investment than commodities. Do you want to own the gold coin or the capability to mine the gold? By having the means of production, you will have a limitless source for barter and trade. Those communities that establish manufacturing and other infrastructures quickly will also become a magnet for those who did not prepare but have special skill sets and knowledge.

Looking at history again, we need to consider what happened when Nazi Germany fell and the Germans who worked on jet engines and rockets scurried to find a new home. The same thing happened after the fall of the Soviet Union when nuclear physics and chemical weapons designers were hired by North Korea and other un-friendly regimes around the world. So, the question is, will you, your MAG, and your community be a magnet for those which special skills or will you let those people be recruited by the likes of “Toe Cutter” and the “The Governor” or “Negan”? As we stated earlier in this article, our critical infrastructures are dependent upon one another. Our defense and security infrastructure will be dependent upon our survival critical manufacturing capability. Those with the best means of production will be able to provide the logistical capability to defend themselves.

Dreams into reality


As the old saying goes, preparedness is a journey. For many, the quest for disaster preparedness ultimately leads us down a path to homesteading. Why? For the very reasons that we have just discussed. Homesteading is about building survival infrastructures and to a smaller degree the means of production. But you don’t necessarily have to homestead to have prepper infrastructures and the means of production. However those that own land have sufficient space and resources, like dirt and water, to help with some of the means of production. Ten years ago, moving to the county and building our survival infrastructures was a dream. Now, a few short years later we have fruit trees and berry bushes planted, raised beds, gardens, chickens in the coop, a 1500-gallon rain catchment system and plans to continue to add and improve infrastructure based upon a yearly updated 3-year plan. Always dream big but remember dreams come true by actions.


"The time for war has not yet come, but it will come and that soon, and when it does come, my advice is to draw the sword and throw away the scabbard." Gen. T.J. Jackson, March 1861
Re: Building Prepper Infrastructure [Re: ConSigCor] #175837
04/22/2021 09:43 PM
04/22/2021 09:43 PM
Joined: Nov 2013
Posts: 1,581
Omaha Nebraska
Huskerpatriot Offline
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Huskerpatriot  Offline
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Omaha Nebraska
One thing that always interested me was the concept of a homestead “methane digester”. Thus would allow a standard flush toilet to be used, to feed a digester, as well as barnyard waste/soiled bedding... to produce methane to be used for either cooking or possible light power generation. It would also produce compost for gardening. I’ve seen third world village based examples of this. Very low tech and easy to build if you know what you are doing.

Win-win-win

Sewage treatment, low input cooking fuel, garden fertilizer


"Government at its best is a necessary evil, and at it�s worst, an intolerable one."
 Thomas Paine (from "Common Sense" 1776)

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