thoughtful rambling part 2

Shelter, number one. Where will we weather the storm?  Sometimes we can’t stay in our homes, like floods, tornado.  Most of us don’t have plans for where to go and how to get there until the crisis is upon us, and honestly, we can only do the best we can.  Still, it’s important to know what can happen were we live, and make an effort to create options before we have none!

When I lived in NYC, had no way to get out of the city, so my mindset was on staying. But where would we get supplies? Certainly wasn’t going to be growing my own food in a studio apartment!  So, to be honest, the concept of a long range SHTF situation was shoved into a closet and the door was closed.  A power outage I could handle with my gas stove, some bottled water, and plenty of food in the pantry.  But should such a thing have happened then, and there was always talk about taking out NYC to destroy the country’s economy,  people would die horribly by the thousands!  Now, of course, there has been big strides towards bringing local agricultural into the urban environment with roof top and vacant lot gardens. Would not be enough to feed the millions, but would certainly help some survive.

Now, am out of the BIG city, and in a small one where I have my own house and enough land to at least grow some veggies. We’re close enough to major cities that in the event of something BIG, people here would flee for there, unlikely to see much of the other way around.  And as strange as it may seem, people unprepared in rural areas will try to make for “civilization”.  They will think of safety in numbers.  They will think that the government will send help to cities, be it National Guard, or whatever.  They’ll think food drops, supermarkets, Sams Clubs, They’ll think apartment buildings, and transportation.  Mentally, they are not prepared for the EOTWAWKI! Then again, are any of us? More on that later.

I’m old enough that there will be no “bugging out” for me. There could still be a reason to leave, but for most situations, here is where we will stay.

If you work outside your home, and have to travel, you need to add how to get from point A to point B into your plan, along with the tools to make the trip. Will you be on a business trip in Miami when the upper Mississippi will flood your town and strand your family?   Make sure your family knows the plan and has a way to exercise that plan and you know where to find them.

Am so glad that I’m rarely out and about!

So what kind of Prepper am I? OPTIMISTIC, which wasn’t on the list that started this whole rambling.  My supplies are not enough for a year, and depending on whether the SHTF in the spring or fall will measure if I win or lose.  In the spring, can supplement from the garden.  In the fall, definitely will fall short if it’s more than a few months long situation.

My skills are better, and have more tools. Water will be an issue here. Storage space is too. Money is always a consideration; how much to spend on things you might never need (speaking of tools more than food and water).

And those are issues for most of us, whether considering short term or longer self-sufficiency. Carrying food, water (without it freezing and exploding in your car), blankets, a pot to pee in (even in your apartment, do you want to have a week’s worth of unflushed toilet should water service break down).

Keep tossing back and forth if I should store bulk freeze dried foods (lots of food in small space), but then need LOTS of water. Or should I go for prepared foods that are heat and eat? Obviously, a mix of the two will be the best choice.  And should I buy, or should I make my own.  The latter idea is winning, but do I have the time (it’s April as I write this, and I’ve yet to take down my Christmas decorations!) and enough true skills?  In making my own, it will be to our taste and better able to keep in a true rotation (the hubs doesn’t like canned veggies at all!).  Lots of on line info on doing this, most of it under camping; Boy Scouts have a page or so devoted to the subject.

Bugging in also means neighbors. How much do I share?  First off, don’t share information about what we have!  If people don’t know, people won’t be looking for it.  Unfortunately, hubs can’t keep his mouth shut (and here I am putting it out to the Universe!).  At least, am no longer the only one in the neighborhood with a veggie garden!  Matter of fact, one neighbor (who has a back yard the size of my entire building lot) is creating a small farm!  No animals yet, but see that coming at some point.  They don’t have a clue about preserving their bounty though, they just grow and give it away.  I’m working on that, want them to be able to eat out of their own pantry if necessary!  When they give to me, I preserve it and return it.

Am acquiring tools too. While I have an electric meat grinder, also have a mechanical one.  Have a mechanical grain mill.  Water filters, yes more than one kind. Not enough medical supplies, more on that later. Have a backup power source, solar panels to charge it.  Its small, only 80W, and the solar panel is only 20W.  Both need upgrade, at least enough to power a small pump. Rocket stove and solar cookers. Nothing yet for washing clothes, do have wooden racks for drying.

Now, I love toys and gadgets. That’s a problem, as I’ll acquire useless stuff (like owning 15 different knives), and not enough water storage containers.  I’ll get gadgets and no idea how to use them, or if they will even be useful!  That puts me in the Dilettante category.   Do I have what I’ll need to make game traps and shares?  Hunting a deer for the year isn’t necessary practical if there are no freezers!  And even if I’m going to share the meat, can I actually kill and butcher a deer? Can I clean fish? Can I even catch a fish!  Should I build a real smoker?  Where do I store it in the meantime?  And how do I learn to use it just in case?   How will I get wood for the stove? Gasoline only stores for so long, so the chain saw might not be an option.  Can I learn to use a buck saw? Am I strong enough (and will I be strong enough when I’m 70 or 80) to use it!  Should I build a still or stick to my Berky Water filter?! Could make a post apocalyptic living selling distilled water down by the creek!

Dilettante that I am, seeking to add an electric tricycle to my prep so I can get around to carry water from the creek, or bring home wood. Electric motor that can be recharged from my solar panel or wind vane. and that is something that would get regular use. Would prefer that for going shopping rather than taking the gas burning vehicle!

Should I buy one of those little portable clothes washers (no, had one, pain in the butt to use and very small). Lehman’s sells a nice version of the washtub with Mangle (wringer) for nearly $1000!  Their mangle is nearly $300!  Can just get the old zinc plated tub, and one of those things that looks like a plunger, and saw a nice mangle on Etsy last night for $110.  Definitely MUST have the mangle, no way my arthritic fingers are going to take wringing out heavy clothes from the wash.  And where do I store this thing that I might never use?!

** Note: just found a mangle at the thrift for $7.99! At that price, I can buy it for just in case.  In researching it, it seems to run $140-$150 on Amazon.

And don’t discount the importance of being able to wash clothes if the SHTF. A couple of weeks you can take, a year’s worth of dirty clothes, especially undies, will start posing health issues.  Don’t see that kind of stuff often in those adventure filled Post Apocalyptic fiction novels.

We do have an advantage in this 21st century that our 18th, 19th, and even early 20th century ancestors did not, and that is technology.  We have solar power. We have wind turbines and the means to use that energy to keep our fridges and freezers going.  Saw on the TV show preppers, some guy built a wind turbine using some buckets to catch the wind and make it spin!  We do not have to descend into a world of our pioneering forefathers.  We can continue to keep our pumps going.  Keep hot water available (see Green Wizardry for info on that subject too!). Even with an EMP event, some people will be protected,  hopefully, enough of us.

We can make biodiesel and keep vehicles running, not have to resort to foot races, horse and carriage and sleigh to haul wood, or transport produce. We have Ham radio. We have libraries and a wealth of knowledge at our fingertips.  We can dig up all that information from the 60’s and 70’s about “appropriate technologies” and bring it into practice!

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