Many folks shared memories of rain barrels, cisterns, hand pumps and drawing water with a well bucket as a child, usually on grandpa and grandma’s farm. It seems we have lost much practical knowledge in the last 50 or so years because we thought we’d never need it again. A tattered, 4-inch thick, 1909 book I happily secured for $8 in a thrift store reveals, among umpteen-thousand other every-day skills, how to make homemade water filters.
In early June last year, my husband surprised me with a 425-gallon water tank so I could water with nutritious rainwater, although it was August before any measure of water was in the tank. My copy of the 1,000-page book is stained and worn, I assume from many years of use in the house, barn and garden. A better way instead of having the spigot at the bottom is to have its outlet connect to a piece of hose or piping and have the actual out let up a ways on the barrel, this way the contents of the barrel always stay wet allowing beneficial bacteria to thrive and never die because they dried out.
With our modern acid rain how about an update and adding a layer of marble chips to the top? Another great idea is a back flush type of system where when the rain first starts, it fills a tube up prior to going into your rain barrel. Finally, you didn’t mention that you need to rinse the grave, sand and activated charcoal thoroughly, before building the filter, in order to clean out dirt an charcoal dust.
Just curious, but how long does this filtration system last, before you have to replace the materials? Anyone have any idea how long this or similar filtration systems will last before some or all of the materials have to be replaced? I have been searching for some method of using the food waste, decomposable organic material and kitchen waste efficiently, and came across information on producing bio-gas from organic waste.
The bio-gas produced from food waste, decomposable organic material and kitchen waste, consisting of methane and a little amount of carbon di oxide is an alternative fuel for cooking gas (LPG). The major components of the bio-gas plant are a digester tank, an inlet for feeding the kitchen waste, gas holder tank, an outlet for the digested slurry and the gas delivery system for taking out and utilizing the produced gas. I'm the original Survival Mom, and have been helping moms worry less and enjoy their homes and families more for 5 years. The Prepper Journal is almost exclusively focused on preparing to do what this movie demonstrates. In addition to the actual psychological will to live, the movie mentions other aspects of prepping such as bringing along appropriate supplies when you travel, knowing how to make a fire and build a shelter.
Creeks and ponds dried up (some never recovered) and the water table dropped, forcing a few neighbors to have their well pumps lowered or to even have deeper wells drilled.
I noticed during our 6-week dry spell (not a drop of rain) that I was only able to keep my vegetables alive with the garden hose – until our well, too, began sucking air. When the elusive rains finally paused briefly overhead, I was out in it with my 2-gallon watering can, running and sloshing the water like a crazy woman onto our neglected trees far up the hill.


Or it may be used in time of drought for filtering stagnant water, which would otherwise be unpalatable, for the use of stock. Even though I could read the bright, white online version, I treasure my rag-tag book and am hanging onto it.
Curtis’s Cookbook that covers everything from how to eradicate vermin, salt fish and build a 5-hole privy, visit Household Discoveries on Open Library.org. A former newspaper editor and reporter, Holliday blogs for Mother Earth News, sharing her skills in modern homesteading, organic gardening and human-powered devices.
You can get them but they aren’t cheap and most are probably treated with chemicals to keep pests out of the wood. In my other research on this topic, another issue that came up is toxic particulate matter that runoff the roof, be it from the tar shingles themselves, or pollutant dust that settles from general air conditions. This was the bird poop and loose asphalt goes into the tube and settles to the bottom which can be flushed with a cap onto the ground. It’s supposed to be gravel on the top, followed by a layer of sand and then the charcoal on the bottom. Activated charcoal has been treated to open up the pores in the charcoal, which are what make it work so well for trapping bacteria. However, it would imagine that you would have to make sure that was water is evenly distributed across the barrel, so water isn’t just pouring down the same path each time.
The ideas expressed on this site are solely the opinions of the author(s) and do not necessarily represent the opinions of anyone else. Also, the waste materials can be disposed off efficiently without any odor or flies and the digested slurry from the bio-gas unit can be used as an organic manure in the garden. A hack saw blade for cutting the cans & pipes and a sharp knife for cutting holes on the cans are all the tools we need. Come join me on my journey to becoming more prepared to handle everyday emergencies and worst case scenarios.
I don’t know the original source, but the title on this movie says it is FAA Aircrew Survival and it looks like a pretty cheesy film that could be used in training. We as preppers make plans to be able to survive regular and unplanned disasters like this, but storing away food and toilet paper isn’t all you need to do.
Curtis’s Cookbook” are quite basic as everyone had a rain barrel back then and presumably knew how to filter rainwater.
The pitiful potato, tomato and bean plants actually seemed petrified, like faded plastic decorations. I don’t think this system would discourage bacteria—it might even be making a better place for it to live than an empty barrel! I live on a self-sustaining sailboat with its roof adapted to catch rainwater and condensation.


I think the filter assuages my concerns about that, but you also mention that the filter shouldn’t be applied to gardening water, that its better for the plants to have unfiltered water, and while I’m certain that is fine for general landscaping plants, what about fruits and vegetables?
Straight from the sky would be best for your plants and vegetables, but if you are capturing from the roof filtering will be better for the plants to avoid the toxins you mention. The author may or may not have a financial interest in any company or advertiser referenced. The slurry flows in a straight path through the system; incoming slurry pushes the material through the digester.
The sound is grainy and the production isn’t stellar but I like the message they are trying to deliver.
As this movie illustrates, you have to have the will to survive when faced with an actual life or death situation. Then, after a 2-hour rain shower, the plants miraculously leapt to life – vibrant, green and THRIVING.
This canvas strainer can be removed and washed occasionally and the cask can be dumped out, pebbles cleansed and charcoal renewed every spring and fall, or once a year may be sufficient. You can do everything she mentions in the post above with a plastic barrel at a fraction of the price. I know the soil and plants themselves do a lot of work to clean the water, but is it enough? Any action taken as a result of information, analysis, or advertisement on this site is ultimately the responsibility of the reader. This design is usually constructed of flexible materials which are inexpensive, but not durable unless protected from the weather. Plastic wasn’t around back 100 years ago so that is why the Oak recommendation in the book I believe.
I don’t know, but the scenario is a man (a pilot?) who walked through the desert after a crash 150 miles to civilization and lived. Hopefully this movie, however hokey it might look will motivate you or shore up your resolve to keep at it.
The effect of this is best seen when tasting the water or baking bread with and without filtering the water first.



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