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The following is an adapted excerpt from The Disaster-Ready Home: A Step-by-Step Emergency Preparedness Manual for Sheltering in Place by Creek Stewart. 

Let’s face it, disasters happen. If you’re not actively thinking about (and working toward) long-term food and water preparedness, you should be.  There are countless disasters, both natural and man-made, that can interrupt your food and water supply, at least for a short period of time. Having a buffer and plan for both, just in case, is a very smart idea.

In the water category, every home needs a renewable source of this resource, and I would recommend this source come via rain harvesting.

When most people think about rain harvesting, they think of expensive, hard-to-install, and unsightly pipes and tanks. This could not be further from the truth. If you have a roof of any kind with a gutter, I will teach you how to install an unobtrusive 55-gallon rain barrel in under an hour, and for less than $200 total. For every inch of rain that falls on a 1,000-square-foot roof, you can expect to be able to collect 600 gallons of rainwater! Now that is a serious return on investment.

Before you get started with rain harvesting, it is important to understand a few things:

Rain harvesting makes sense for almost everyone. Unless you live in an extremely arid climate that receives almost zero rainfall, installing a rain barrel is worth doing. For the small amount of time and money you will spend getting one installed, the reward is an almost effortless renewable source of emergency drinking water. This water can also be used for pets, gardening, washing, or bathing.Rainwater is safe to drink without filtering or purification. However, as it falls on your roof and makes its way into the rain barrel, it picks up debris. Because of this, rain barrel water should be considered wild water that needs to be properly filtered or purified to make it safe to drink. Every home should have a water filter to handle this. The one I recommend is the Big Berkey.Believe it or not, there are laws in some states that prohibit or restrict homeowners from harvesting rainwater from their own roofs. Some homeowners’ associations may also have rules in place that prohibit rain barrels. You will want to check to make sure before you install a rain barrel. Otherwise, a citation of some kind might make its way into your mailbox. (Or you can just move to a place with fewer restrictions on your personal freedoms.)
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If you have a gutter downspout, then you can install a rain harvester.

I have used numerous types of rain barrels over the years and have been most happy with a 55-gallon plastic drum conversion. They are not necessarily the most aesthetically pleasing of rain barrels, but I have found them to be durable, cost effective, and functional. New “food grade” 55-gallon plastic drums can be found on Amazon, some hardware stores, or ULINE.com.

These standard 55-gallon blue drums can be painted to match your home if desired. The key to doing so is prepping the surface of the drum by roughing it up with some sandpaper. The factory finish of these drums has an almost waxy residue that the sandpaper treatment removes. I suggest a spray paint that is made for outdoor use and that bonds to plastic. Plan on using at least two full cans to coat one 55-gallon drum.

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Roughing up the surface of a 55-gallon drum with sandpaper to ready for spray painting.

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Odds & Ends: July 19, 2024

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A vintage metal box labeled

The Knotty Death of the Necktie Adam Gopnik examines the decline in neckties, which began around 20 years ago. The rise of WFH due to the COVID-19 epidemic has accelerated this decline. Gopnik also uses this article as a way to reflect on the cultural significance of neckties throughout history and to explore what fashion tells us about culture in general and how we use our style to communicate our values and beliefs. Check out our article from 2021, in which we asked style experts if the necktie was obsolete.

The Courage to be Disliked by Ichiro Kishiimi and Fumitake Koga: How to Change Your Life and Achieve True Happiness. Recently, I listened to the book while walking in the morning. It was enjoyable. The authors explore Alfred Adler’s psychological theories through a fictional dialogue between a philosopher and student. The book taught me that all problems are inter-personal problems and many of these interpersonal problems result from us or others trying do other people’s life tasks.

Beulah. I discovered this band recently and enjoy listening to it on my car rides. Beulah was a regular on my 5-disc player in my 1992 Smurf blue Chevy Cavalier in 2000. Their unique indie sound includes horns, stringed instruments and a positive attitude. I love horns and strings in pop-rock. A great band to listen to in the summer.

Greyson Sweater polo from Marine Layer. Sweater polos have a moment at the moment. These shirts are a great option for smart casual summer wear. The Greyson sweater-polo by Marine Layer is a handsome addition to this category. When I wear it, I feel like Frank Sinatra at Palm Springs.

Quote of the week

Action is often the only way to save a man in danger. In order to dull emotions, a person must act; to be immobile or to stagnate, in body or mind, is to give up without conditions. Movement, any work, can help him to overcome those feelings that are a traitor to his better nature. The man in the balloon who had little else to do than sit in the middle a target was more likely to crash than the observer on an aeroplane. However, the observer’s vulnerability was greater than that of the pilot. It was harder to sit in a trench under heavy bombardment than it was to fight openly.

Lord Moran

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A Field Guide to Military Hand Signals

To maintain surprise and avoid enemy detection, soldiers often operate in silence.

They still have to communicate.

How do they communicate their message without giving away their position?

Hand signals are used to communicate.

In the last century, the military developed hand signals to allow their members to communicate while in stealth mode. Hand signals are also used to communicate when the noise level is too high for the comrades’ ears to hear.

During WWII, the U.S. Army developed its first uniform hand signals. The vocabulary of the visual language grew over time. The Army was the first to develop hand signals. Other branches followed suit. The latest hand signals of the U.S. Army can be found in TC 3-21.60. Many of them are used for different situations, such as patrol, convoy management, ground-to air communication, etc.

Harrison Anderson is a former Green Beret and fellow Okie who served 12 years in the Army. He is now a retired Colonel in the Army Reserves, and he’s finishing his business studies at OU. ).

Guide to Military Hand Signals

Even if you don’t find yourself trying to sneak by Charlie in Vietnam, knowing a few military signals can be helpful for civilians.

Harrison said, “Hand signs can be useful if you need to remain quiet while hunting.”

You can also use them if you are not a hunter. For example, when you play capture the flag or paintball with your brothers, or try to avoid being discovered by a horde baby-eating Barbarians in the event of the apocalypse. They’re also cool to have.

Here are some basic military hand signals.

Numbers

The Army developed a system that allows soldiers to use only one hand when indicating numbers.

The hand signals are simple, with each number being represented by one finger. When you reach 6-9 you extend the number of fingers that you are adding to 5. For example, two fingers is 5 + 2, or 7. Closed raised fist equals zero.

Useful patrol hand signals

Slow down. Slow down.

Halt. Raise your palm forward and raise your hand to signal someone to stop.

Freeze. Make a fist instead of the usual halt signal. Freeze is a signal that tells someone not to only stop but also to remain still to avoid being detected.

Stop, Look, Listen, Smell. Put your hand open behind your ear and tell your crew that they should pay attention to the environment.

Assemble. Raise your hand vertically, palm facing up, and create a circle. This is the signal to use when you want your friends to gather around you and talk about business.

Double time. This signal will tell your crew that they need to get moving. This is a fun thing to do. You can do it by pumping your fist as if you were trying to make a trucker blow his horn.

Did you miss our previous article…
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Toscano Master Aged 4: American/Italian Blend Cigar Review

Toscano Master Aged 4 Cigar Review

Toscano Master Aged 4 Cigar Review

My journey through Toscano’s Master Aged series culminates with this Master Aged 4, which, through this process, I’ve learned has a few secrets up its sleeves.

While researching this particular blend, I saw it advertised as an Italian wrapper with a 50/50 Italian and American filler, which sounded identical to the Master Aged 1. To get clarification, I contacted Michael Cappellini, the US Toscano brand ambassador.

He kindly informed me that the wrapper on the Master Aged 4 is micro-fermented. This particular treatment, conducted at higher temperatures, is designed to enhance flavor complexity without intensifying the strength.

This is rather intriguing, and I’m eager to put the Master Aged 4 through the Bespoke Unit Cigar Matrix:

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Download the Toscano Master Aged 4 Cigar Matrix as a PDF.

Toscano Master Aged 2 Cigar Review Formula JPG
Learn more about the Bespoke Unit Cigar Formula

Toscano Master Aged 4 Cigar Details

Brand: ToscanoRange: Master Aged 4Reviewed Vitolas: 6.3 x 40 “Double-Truncated Cone”Wrapper: Italian Micro-FermentedBinder: N/AFiller: 50% Italian / 50% Kentucky Fire-Cured TobaccoFactory: Lucca (Italy)Handmade: YesBody: FullEstimated Smoking Time: 90 MinutesPricing: $225 / Box of 30 [Buy On CigarPage]

Despite employing a sophisticated micro-fermentation process that enhances its flavor complexity, the Toscano Master Aged 4 remains competitively priced. It is available for $225 per box of 30, which breaks down to $7.5 per cigar. This keeps it aligned with the rest of the Master Aged cigar collection.

All Toscano Master Aged Cigars Together

Toscano Master Aged 4 Cigars

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