Top Five Ways to Winterize Pipes

Top Five Ways to Winterize Pipes Copyright Adrienne Z. Milligan
Top Five Ways to Winterize Pipes Copyright Adrienne Z. Milligan

Top Five Ways to Winterize Pipes

I do not want to with frozen pipes bursting during the winter.  Do you?

It can fall to below freezing where I live at times during our winter.  The damage it causes, the mess created, the money to repair and replace, plus the huge inconvenience to my family is just not worth it.

Part of being prepared is doing the little things which can prevent bigger issues.  Winterizing the pipes in your home (or business) is one of those little things.  Winterizing may sound expensive and time-consuming.  It is not.

As I am not an expert in plumbing, I consulted with Andy of Andy Jahn Plumbing & Rooter for his expert advice on this topic.  Thank you, Andy!

Here are Andy’s Top Five Ways to Winterize Pipes

  1. When getting ready for the winter, always make sure each outside hose has been disconnected from the hose faucet.  If forgotten, do it as soon as possible.  As the cold weather turns to freezing, it is especially important to already have completed this first step.  Do not wait until the weekend to take care of this if you can.  It may be too late.
  2. Be sure to cover your outside hose faucets to help prevent them from freezing.  Purchasing hard faucet covers for three or four dollars each is money well spent to avoid thousands in damage and repairs.
  3. Check to see if you have any water pipes which are located in non-heated areas.  These pipes could be in the garage, attic, or crawlspace.  If you find pipes in these spots, you will need to insulate them as best as you can.  When heading to the hardware store, remember there are different sizes for pipe insulation [1/2, 3/4, 1 CTS (Copper Tube Size) and IPS (Iron Pipe Size)].
  4. If there are vent holes to your crawlspace, do not block them during the winter.  When you find water pipes near the vent holes, be sure to put extra insulation around them.
  5. Do you have any plumbing on an outside wall?  Keep the cabinet doors open to allow the warm air from within the room to be nearer to the pipes.  This extra amount of heat may prevent the pipes from freezing.  Running a little bit of water (a small trickle) may also help the pipes.

Do You Have to Winterize Pipes Where You Live?

As I mentioned, the area I live does not always get below freezing. Therefore, we do not winterize our pipes until the temperature starts to drop.

The winter of 2016-2017 has proven to be “one of those winters” where we have had days of below-freezing temperatures, a couple feet of snow, and ice everywhere.  As I have been writing this, it has continued to snow…

I hope this helps you become better prepared for the winter months.

Please share your experiences.


Gluten Free Camping

Gluten Free Camping Copyright Adrienne Z. Milligan of Gluten Free Preppers
Gluten Free Camping Copyright Adrienne Z. Milligan of Gluten Free Preppers

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Gluten Free Camping 101

It can be challenging to live gluten free.  Some people may think gluten free camping to be an even bigger challenge.

Gluten free food is easy to take camping.  As a teenager living gluten free, I have some experience finding gluten free foods that can be taken on any camping trip.  I have been camping with my family several times.  I have been camping with my local Boy Scout Troop even more than with my family.


Before you leave for your gluten free camping experience, you might want to plan a menu.  I know how much a menu has helped my patrol in the troop.  My mother also plans a detailed menu before we go camping.  It helps her know what to buy before we leave and what she can buy locally when we get there.

Your menu should have what you want to eat for all breakfasts, lunches, dinners, plus snacks.  (Snacks can be super easy to take camping like string cheese and apples!)  Consider when planning your menu what meals you will be cooking at camp, any potlucks you may be attending, as well as if you plan to eat out for a meal or two.  If it is summer time, does the area you’re camping near have a farmer’s market open during your stay?  If so, you might be able to find local produce there for your meals thereby reducing the amount of food you need to purchase and pack before leaving home.

Say the food you plan to cook costs too much money or is not going to be tasty, you will not enjoy the food.  Why buy it and make it if you will not be happy with the outcome?  You will probably not look back fondly on the camping trip as a whole either.

What food do you want to eat while camping?  If you really want S’mores and you eat gluten free, you CAN have Gluten Free Smores!  I have had them.

Now that you are thinking about those yummy marshmallows getting golden brown over the fire…

Cornbread ready to go into Camp Oven Copyright Adrienne Z. Milligan of Gluten Free Preppers
Cornbread ready to go into Camp Oven Copyright Adrienne Z. Milligan of Gluten Free Preppers


How will you be cooking your meals?  Using a rack over the fire pit?  A propane camping stove?  A Dutch oven with charcoal coals?

When we have gone camping as a family, we have used our Coleman™ brand double-burner stove.  It serves as a heating source while set up, taken down it is a preparation table. We also have a ” target=”_blank” rel=”noopener noreferrer”>Camp-Chef™ brand double burner stove and oven, which we use to bake cornbread, brownies, and even cake!

When camping with my Boy Scout Troop, eating gluten free is harder, as not everyone understands exactly what I can and cannot eat. The main problem with this lack of understanding is cross-contamination.


Cross-contamination is when something gluten free comes into contact with something which contains or has touched gluten.  Yes, touched gluten.

As an example, my father was at a restaurant and ordered a salad.  It came with croutons (most commonly made of dried wheat bread), so he politely asked for a new salad without croutons.  They took the croutons off the salad instead of having the kitchen making him a new one.  He began reacting just as if he had eaten a slice of wheat pizza.

To avoid cross-contamination follow these three steps:

  1.  Use separate areas for cooking gluten free food.

This one is simple.  If the food without gluten does not come near the food with gluten, then you have nothing to worry about.  However, if this doesn’t work…

  1.  Prep and cook the gluten free food first.  Wash dishes being used for the gluten free food and eaters first.

This keeps the cooking surface free of crumbs that would have stuck to your gluten free food.  Washing your dishes first ensures that no crumbs end up on your clean dishes.

  1.  Serve the gluten free food with separate serving utensils and plates.

This one follows the same principle as the first, if the food with gluten doesn’t touch the food without gluten, then there is no problem.

I would love to hear about your gluten free camping experiences, recipe ideas, and other gluten free related stories.  I do hope that this post has helped you in some way.


~The Gluten Free Eagle~

Youth Preparedness is Important

Youth Preparedness is Important

Why is Youth Preparedness important?  What does being prepared have to do with kids?  Why should I be prepared?  These are all great questions that I hope to answer in this post.

I am a teenager living in Washington State.  As an Amateur Radio Operator and an Eagle Scout, it’s my duty to be prepared.  In fact, the Boy Scout motto is ‘Be Prepared’, so why not be?  I have also completed the Safe Sitter course sponsored by the local fire department to become a better babysitter.

Youth Preparedness is Important - Can you pitch a tent if needed? Copyright Adrienne Z. Milligan of Gluten Free Preppers
Youth Preparedness is Important – Can you pitch a tent if needed? Copyright Adrienne Z. Milligan of Gluten Free Preppers

Yes, Youth Can Learn How to “Be Prepared” for Emergencies!

Being prepared can be hard and takes some effort.  I believe it is always worth it in the end.  Many organizations offer a variety of courses in preparedness topics such as First Aid and CPR, C.E.R.T. (Community Emergency Response Team), and food storage.  Some of the courses and workshops are available for youth, not just the adults!  C.E.R.T. training is available for youth and adults.  C.E.R.T. teams are formed with adults and there are youth teams, too.

Youth Preparedness Helps Me in My Family

My family recently bought a duel-fuel generator which can be used to power certain appliances and other items in our home in the likely (especially in the Puget Sound area) and sadly unfortunate event there is a power outage.  We have bug out bags for all members of our family.  We have even purchased a bath liner for each of the bath tubs.  In an emergency event, like a volcanic eruption, we would put the bath liner into the tub and fill it up with water as soon as we could from the faucet.  This would give us <insert> number of gallons of water to use (after purifying for eating or bathing purposes) before our water supply becomes contaminated.

A big concern for us is ash fall contaminating our water supply from any one of the five volcanoes in the Pacific Northwest.  This area is also prone to earthquakes and floods, the latter being more common.

Natural Disasters Affect Youth Worldwide

In many places of the world, however, there are other things that can happen besides or in addition to a power outage, i.e. droughts, famine, tornadoes, tsunamis, and hurricanes.  Clean water and food storage are the most important items to already have stored and ready to use when needed.

As a youth, I help with organizing my family’s food and water storage.  I let my parents know what we need to stock up on and what is at goal level for our pantry.  Knowing what we have (and where it is stored) helps me be a part of my family’s emergency response plan.

Thousands of children suffer from disasters every year.  So preparing for them – and with them – is extremely important.  Admittedly it is sometimes tough to enlist the teenagers and toddlers in helping count food, stack cans, or prep food for canning.

Little Children Can Help the Family Become Better Prepared

Sure you may need to stock up on diapers often or buy new clothes every three months (for babies and those teenage boys), but it helps to have an extra set of hands (if they are old enough to help) to assist you in the aftermath of a disaster.  Have your child (assuming he or she is old enough) help with storage, buying food, and extra clothes. Have a bug out bag for each child and adult in your home (as age and ability allows).  Remember to store a bigger one for all of you in each vehicle.

Dare to Prepare Now!

I feel that youth everywhere have a need for Youth Preparedness so they are ready for themselves and their families for what may come in the future.  So they are better prepared when bad things happen.  When the world around them (as they know it) collapses they will wish they had been better prepared.

Dare to prepare now!  Be rewarded when disaster strikes by knowing that you were prepared for it before it even happened.

-The Gluten Free Eagle

Amateur Radio Operators are Hams

Amateur Radio Operators are Hams

Some People are Referred to as a “Ham”

Amateur Radio Operators are often called Hams.  To find out more about why the term “Ham” is used, see this explanation including this definition: “Ham: a poor operator; a ‘plug’ (G. M. Dodge; The Telegraph Instructor).”

Amateur Radio is across the Globe

Amateur Radio has a worldwide presence and has been for decades. It is for use in wartime and moments of peace. Amateur Radio allows communication between different time zones, countries, and continents.

Amateur Radio is a life long skill. The process is free to study, free to use (though there is a cost for equipment), and there is no charge to get the license from the FCC.  There is a license exam fee and the current cost is $14-17 in my area. This fee helps offset the cost of exam materials.

Amateur Radio can be a Family Activity

Amateur Radio is fun to do with my family. I have had my Technician license since June 2007. My husband obtained his Technician license in July 2007 and later upgraded to the General class license. His last upgrade was to the Extra class license on 18 October 2011.

Our oldest son took the exam for his Technician class license on October 31, 2009. My oldest and I are studying for the General exam. Our fifteen-year-old passed the Technician exam in 2018 (when he was 14). Our eight-year-old (when he was seven) also attended the class with the then fourteen-year-old. He did not take the exam as he was not ready). He is continuing to study for it as is our youngest, who is seven.

Jonathan on HF Rig Copyright Adrienne Z. Milligan Amateur Radio Operators are Hams
Jonathan on HF Rig Copyright Adrienne Z. Milligan Amateur Radio Operators are Hams

{The above photo is of my husband, Jonathan (KE7OLE), working on an HF rig at the Mt. Tahoma Technoree during Jamboree On The Air (J.O.T.A.) on October 15, 2011.}

Three Amateur Radio Licenses in the U.S.A.

Each license allows certain bandwidth privileges. Ham radio allows you to talk to a neighbor, a spouse driving on the way home from work during the evening commute, or to talk to others around the world.

Sometimes, Amateur Radio operators are able to talk with an astronaut on the International Space Station. This opportunity is available when the Space Station is overhead and an astronaut is on the radio waves.

Amateur Radio is a sought after way to communicate as Hams offer a way to instant, reliable, and constant form of communication after a disaster. Amateur Radio operators work with FEMA, American Red Cross, AREAS, RACES, and other organizations in the supporting role of providing communication abilities.

Communicating across the Ocean

Here is an example of how Amateur Radio allows communication between people miles apart or even over the ocean.

Recently, my husband was on his HF (High Frequency) rig (another term for radio equipment) and was tuning in to the 15 meters band. He came across an operator that was on the battleship USS Missouri ‘Mighty Mo’ (BB-63)! They were doing a Club event on the HF bandwidths.

Our boys thought it was cool how there were Hams on the USS Missouri. They were excited he was attempting to talk to a Ham operator who was aboard a ship.

When I heard an operator from the KH6BB USS Missouri Battleship Radio Room say, “here on Battleship Missouri in Pearl Harbor,” I was super excited! Why? Years ago, when the USS Missouri was in port at the Puget Sound Naval Shipyards, my family and I were able to go tour it. I have pictures (or my mother does) of me on the vessel as well as the polo shirt that I purchased while onboard.

Here is a close up of the polo showing the 50th Anniversary logo design:

U.S.S. Missouri BB-63 Polo Copyright Adrienne Z. Milligan Amateur Radio Operators are Hams
U.S.S. Missouri BB-63 Polo Copyright Adrienne Z. Milligan Amateur Radio Operators are Hams

When our family is able to go to Pearl Harbor, I will be sure to schedule with the “Mighty Mo so that my husband, myself, and our boys can visit the Radio Room and use the radio from the USS Missouri.

What’s Your Call Sign?

Do you have your Amateur Radio license? If so, what was your reason for obtaining it? If you have a Ham license from another country, please share. We love talking to Hams around the world!

This was originally on my site. As of March 15, 2016, this post now lives here on Gluten Free Preppers. This post was updated on April 20, 2019.

National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day

National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day
National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day

National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day

National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day is a safe, convenient, and responsible way to dispose of prescription drugs.  Potential abuse of medications education will be available at each collection site.  The next Take-Back Day is from 10 to 2pm on Saturday, September 26, 2015.

Take-Back Day is the safe way for drug disposal

Growing up, I remember we always flushed expired medicines down the toilet.  This method was used to avoid accidental ingestion by children finding pills in the garbage.  This disposal method is no longer recommended or encouraged.

Did you know expired medication can be harmful?

As explained to me by a pharmacist, an expired medication can become either less or more potent.  Either the drug will work less or potentially a lot more.

If you are no longer using medications, why are they in the medicine cabinet?  Unused medications are ones you no longer want or need to use.  Maybe you were on a medication and then your doctor told you to stop taking.  If that’s the case, is it still taking up room in your medicine cabinet?

What’s in your medicine cabinet?

To find a collection site near you, please visit DEA Diversion Control.  (If you live in Pennsylvania or Delaware, these two states have already done the program.)

For this program, expired and unused medications are both accepted.  There are some restrictions, so please check for specific place details.  (For example, pharmacies are unable to accept narcotics.  Some places cannot accept liquid medicine.)

I found more expired medications in my medicine cabinet than I anticipated.  The Take-Back Day is on my calendar so I can drop off what I no longer need.

Please let me know if you take part.  Where you surprised at what you found in your medicine cabinet?