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Letters to the Editor

Dear Editor,

Do you know of a hand pump or whatever that can be used to retrieve water from a well (top of water is 65′) if there is no electricity?

Dear Julie,
I’ve done a bit of research to answer your question, and have found several places that offer deep well hand pumps. One is Lehman’s, who carries a ton of stuff tailored to the Amish community, who as you know, are totally off-grid! Several others are Bison Pumps and Baker Manufacturing pumps. And one that I found that is highly recommended and cost efficient is an Oasis pump. If our readers have any more suggestions, we’d love to hear from you!

The Editor



Dear Editor,

I read with interest your email newsletters, particularly the info regarding surviving in place. I think that I am minimally prepared for some disasters…I live on the east coast of central Florida so hurricane preparedness is stressed here. Through your program and others, I have stock piled emergency food and water supplies.

I am a 71-year-old widow living alone in a small condo (my adult children are three states away). My problem and thus my questions to you are:

1. Other than having a wood-burning cook stove (which is disallowed in my condo) what are safe INDOOR cooking possibilities?

2. Other than walking around in a silver foil blanket, what are the possibilities for keeping warm? (Solar panels are disallowed in condo.)

3. Without electricity, what does one do with all the “left overs” from preparing those very large servings of emergency foods? Why are they not supplied in single serving sizes?

4. Is there a web site or paper catalogue for “NON ELECTRIC” household items?

Keep up the good work, and God bless you for all that you do!


Dear Linda,
Thank you for writing. You bring up some very good questions about preparing within your limitations where you live. Let’s take your questions one by one…

1.       There are several alternatives for cooking indoors. Of course, if you had a gas stove, you’d be in business, but I’m going to assume that you’re writing because you’re total electric in your condo. My suggestion would be to have some of these emergency stoves that use fuel cells. They’re safe indoors and each fuel cell can provide up to an hour or so of cooking time. One such emergency stove is Stove In A Can. You purchase additional fuel cells so you know you have plenty for your emergency needs.

2.       As far as staying warm, that gets a little trickier. Of course, you could bundle up until you look like the Michelin tire man, but then moving around would be a big problem! Is your condo equipped with any type of gas-log fireplace? Can you have a very small propane tank installed to run a gas space heater? I know as a young girl, my folks kept a portable kerosene heater around for just such emergencies, and they still make them. That would be another option for you.

3.       I didn’t answer your remarks about solar panels in question number two because using solar panels for heat is really not an efficient use of your solar energy, since anything with a heating element gobbles up juice. However, you could purchase a small, dorm-room style refrigerator (usually around $69 at Walmart) and have a portable solar generator, such as the PowerSource 1800 to keep any leftovers safe to eat later. I know you said solar panels aren’t allowed, but this unit stores inside your home until you need it. Then it’s just “plug and play,” so to speak. You could easily keep a refrigerator running with it, along with keeping a cell phone charged up and even running a lamp. Yes, you would have to roll the solar panel outside during the day to recharge the battery, but since it’s not a permanent attachment to the house (and not even attached to the house at all!), I’m wondering if the association would have a problem with it if used only for emergency needs. My thought is that, during a time of such an emergency, a portable solar panel on wheels, sitting on your patio, is going to be the least of their concerns.

4.       There are several sites that sell non-electric items. Those that target the Amish community (the ultimate off-gridders!) usually have some of the neatest stuff! Several that I like are Lehman’s and the Cumberland General Store.

Again, thanks so much for writing in!

The Editor

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