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Letters To The Editor

Dear Editor,

A letter from one of your readers today prompted me to write. The reader was recounting some of the problems he encountered during the recent hurricane Sandy. The one I would like to address here is the lack of gasoline for his generator.

In my family’s efforts to be prepared, we have built a wood degasifier to run our gas generator in times of gas shortages. My husband built the degasifier with free plans from the Internet. The FEMA plan has been around for many years and is simple enough for most to use. There is also one by a man named Keith that is supposed to be much more economical. We only have experience with the FEMA variety, but I can say without hesitation that IT WORKS. You can find it here:

The beauty of the degasifier in times when storms are knocking down trees and wrecking homes is that a person with a chain saw and/or an ax can find an abundance of fuel lying around.

Our degasifer built according to the FEMA plans will run our 6000/5500 watt generator with no problems at all. That is enough power to keep most of our house running in times of need. So, with all due respect, I suggest that those who have the ability to build a degasifier do so now, before the next power outage happens. Then you won’t be dependent on the power company in times of emergencies.

Thanks for your emails over the years.

W. G.


Dear W.G.,

Thank you very much for this information! I’m sure a lot of our readers can get some very useful information from this. I searched the Internet for more sites and came across this one:  Go to the “Build It” tab, and there are links in there for CAD drawings and instructions on different gasifiers as well. And if you’re not the mechanic or DIY type, there are options for buying these units as well.

Thanks for writing!

The Editor



Dear Editor,

I was just reading the tanning comments of a week or so ago, as well as the EMP commentary. I wish to suggest that your readers locate and buy/copy the “Firefox” series of soft bound books made a generation ago. This series of books were created as a high school project in Appalachia, to instill pride in the heritage, almost lost, of kids in the old coal mine area, now very poor and blighted. Their teacher had them go up the hills and visit old timers (now mostly gone) and relatives who still did or knew the old folk ways. This included old time hunting, black powder and muzzle loader making, tanning, soap, quilting, music, general life and memories and so on. It thus preserved a huge amount of info of a great pioneer culture that was about to disappear.

For a generation of Americans who think milk comes in plastic bottles and meat in cellophane, and have no idea how to survive in either the wild or rural areas apart from supermarket and shopping centers, this is a gold mine. When our ancestors (biological or cultural) spread across this nation, they made do, improvised, and built towns with an axe and a shovel and a gun. They learned from natives (many of our foods were adopted from them, as well as tracking, survival, etc.). For many of these old timers, Dan’l Boone was just the day before yesterday.

As an example of what can be found in these books, my Boy Scout Council, when I was in Illinois working as a radio systems engineer, copied a giant two stage bellows and forge for our Wisconsin scout camp and taught basic blacksmithing. It came from these books and was a serious professional forge like a big town blacksmith would have used. Incidentally, these same folks, from the Tennessee mountains back to the Chesapeake Bay area also preserved old English language, songs and stories, and in one case lost Shakespeare sonnets, which were sung in England to a shocked audience of experts by a lady named Jean Ritchie. She came from remote Kentucky mountains, playing the Appalachian dulcimer and singing songs handed down from hundreds of years, and was the co-founder (with Blind Doc Watson) of the folk revival in the 50s. Bob Dylan was one of her students.

Kids moved to the city for the big bucks and lost touch with their roots and folk knowledge handed down for centuries; this book series can bridge the gap and bring these skills and knowledge back.

Regards and Merry Christmas,


US Army (Ret)


Dear KS,

Thank you for this information! This series has inspired many to get off the grid and live lives more simply and independent of modern civilization. They come highly recommended by many in the off-grid community and I appreciate you lending your experience with the knowledge contained in these books.

Merry Christmas to you and your family, and as a citizen and former Army brat, thank you for your service to our country. God bless!

The Editor


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