short story as prepping tool

Have always wanted to be writer.  Specifically, wanted to be THE GREAT AMERICAN NOVELIST.

But as Mike Rowe points out, following your passion doesn’t work if you aren’t good at it, and I’m not.

Which doesn’t stop me from trying to write. At least I get out what ever frustration is rising to the surface and I write until its gone and that’s been good enough for the last 50 years.

My latest is attempt is a post apocalyptic novel.

Write what you know the experts say, so my characters are drawn from real life, the story takes place in my hometown.  This is a land of pollyannas; Reiki practitioners, Yoga instructors, Massage therapists, crystal healers.  Ex-hippies who did well in their in between lives have now retired, showing up at the Whole Foods store in town in their tie dye, birkenstocks,  and long grey hair. They buy organic foods, organic wine in great quantities and they belong to groups that seek to bring rainbow leaping unicorns into reality.

On the other hand, we have young idealists who live in campers, drive cars that say Save Mother Earth while belching out black oily smoke, and beg on the street corners or set up shop selling hemp macramé jewelry.

We also have a lot of homes that belong to rather wealthy people who are intent on saving the Earth and therefore are solar powered with giant arrays, and driving their Prius and Teslas if they really have boatloads of $$$$.  Town code prohibits Earth Ships like you see outside of Taos, sadly.

We even have a couple of Frank Lloyd Wright designed homes.

Average age of the population is 54. Lots of older retired folks in their 70s, 80s, and 90s.  Not actually the folks who are going to survive a great SHTF event.  Need to much medical care and on going prescription refills.

So it is within this setting that I’ve written about a woman and the loss of the national power grid on her 70th birthday.  and this is written looking back from her 75th birthday.

Amazingly, it has allowed me to go through a scenario with how well prepared am I?

There is a certain amount of Pollyanna in my story as I expect the capable in town, the solar power installers particularly, to come together to keep the water pumps going. That the local ranchers will work out a way to bring meat to the table. That the local farmers will also help supply food.  But distribution of the same is part of the story. Those who feel they deserve to have it because they are starving, but have no skills and no wish to even be a laboring body in exchange.  And those who are older and do not have the physical means to help. How do we cut out our neighbors?

But it does all fall back on what WE do at home.  We don’t live right in town, so some of the angst and chaos isn’t happening here.  We have to figure out how to heat our home (it takes place in January), how to get the garden up and running earlier,  how to cook, how to dispose of our waste – human and just plain old garbage, how to hunt and fish.  And how to do collect and bring home enough wood for all the above when it is our SOLE heating and cooking supply and we’re 70 years old!!

It turned out to be quite the eye opener and think I will do this again using different SHTF scenerios . . but first, am cooking up some beans and ham to can and dehydrate . . .

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merry and happy y’all!!

having been caught up in the end of the year push, haven’t been doing much posting at all.  So while I’m wishing you all a joyous holiday season, am using this opportunity to get something off my chest.

Had  joined a Prepping group on FB to try and pick up some ideas and tips on stuff.  After a few weeks, have realized I’m better off sort of talking to myself here.

It was a nice mix of folks, from all over the world, who had in common prepping. They purported to be strictly about SHTF scenerios, not disaster, EOTWAWKI scenerios.   Unfortunately, there was too much about BOBs, Get home bags (yes, important if you have to commute to work) and Inch (I’m never coming home) bags.  Lots of discussion about what makes up a good first aid bag – read full trauma set up.

Now, from my personal POV, a bug out bag is for leaving your house in an emergency, like fire, or to move from place to place.  Most of us do not have a remote, fully set up, bug out location, right?  So unless you are just going for short term or have a place to go, that BOB is setting you up for 3 days until you suffer badly.  Of course, in a SHTF scenario, the worst of the emergency should be over in 3 days and the authorities have either moved in or you are back at home.

Most of the contents of those BOB’s also had nothing to do with things like clothing and toiletries, it was things like fire starters, water purifiers, axes and knives, paracord, tents, etc.

Yes, I have a BOB set up because we live in an area that could see disasterous fire!  So have enough packed up to gives us clothing and such for three days, including some food for the dog.  Yes, there is a small camp stove, propane bottle, water filter and dehydrated food in there in case we have to camp because hotels are full or it will take awhile to get to one.  But its about temporary needs.  If we have to leave our house, we lose our preps, so then what?

When women began talking about stuff like birth control the guys got rude and crude.  In other words, not their problem and they didn’t like the alternatives that the women were coming up with.  Sorry dudes, but do you really think the condom makers will be in business if it gets that bad?

and we weren’t really allowed to talk about self-defense or guns.

and they really put down people who bought things like solar powered battery “generators” rather than build their own.

Now while I get that a lot of people (me included) like their gizmos and gadgets, this is not a case of who has the most toys wins, right?!  Its about making personal decisions and hoping you have all the right preps to support that life style.  If you are preparing for a major EOTWAWKI event, you will be fine through a temporary SHTF scenario.  and if the worst happens, you will hopefully be adequately prepared to make the transition from comfortable lifestyle to self-sufficient living.

But what really pushed me out was when the guy who ran the forum said that there hadn’t been a SHTF situation yet and it was unlikely to happen.  WHAT!!!  I’m sure that for the people who suffered from the record forest fires in the North West and CA this year would disagree with that. As would the hurricane survivors in Texas, LA, FL and Puerto Rico!  If the thinks the only SHTF situation that counts is one that is nation wide, then we quickly move from SHTF to EOTWAWKI.  Just a little breakdown in food delivery to the cities will see those cities burn to the ground!

All in all, it HAS made me aware that as I’ve gotten older, my choices and preps have to change.  We continue, as a race of people, to dance to the edge of the abyss and, fortunately have so far, then danced back.  Sadly, see we are now dancing at the edge with some madmen who really don’t see a danger of falling off that edge.  Or maybe they think that edge is stronger than it looks.   What ever, it makes me hope that we can hold off the events for a few decades longer, cause I’m not looking forward to having to spend my senior years living like a pioneer in the western wilderness!

 

Earth Abides

This is a title of a book by George Steward published in 1949.  I read it about 1963 at around 14 years of age.  It is the book that made me aware of how tenuous our civilization is.  How fragile our existence. It is the book that made me a prepper.

It was such a profound experience that I spent years looking for a copy for myself.  And I do mean YEARS!  Now, its probably on its fifth printing!  and my copy is on my Kindle Fire!

This is one of the first EOTWAWKI books written around real events, in real time.   And by 1963, there hadn’t been much change in technology or society, which increased the realism and my awareness.

Re-reading it now, we can see the technological strides we have made (good and bad), and the advantages modern preppers have.  At the same time, some of the challenges these folks faced were not as grave as what we would face now as they were dealing with more mechanically driven forces – like gravity fed water from the reservoirs instead of electronically monitored discharge and release.  some of the philosophical challenges have changed, others have not.

The hero is an academic, the survivors really know nothing about survival, yet they manage to start a new civilization.

It seems “quaint”, but it is still a powerful message, and highly recommended.

age and the prepping dream

Almost everyone has a dream for when they no longer have to work, or for when they have enough money, or , or, or.  They’re dreams right? for the future.

A lot of people step forward and begin living their dreams when they retire.  For those who have managed well, they get to retire in their 50’s.  Most don’t retire until their 60’s, mid to late.

For preppers, the dreams are things like bunkers full of food, a source of water, good soil for gardening, lots of ammo, etc.

Know someone who has just purchased his dream acreage in the high desert.  The only development to the land has been putting in a well, and electric to run the well.  The lots around him are so far undeveloped.  and he is 62.

Know he has plans for solar, greenhouse, chicken, some other livestock, barn, house of some sort, etc.

and I admit to some envy  -mostly because of his isolation.  People are really rubbing me wrong lately.

But began thinking of his plans.  How long will it take to get all this set up for full homesteading?  he’s 62.  If we works fast and throws a lot of money at it, less than 5 years to get a garden in, barns, chickens, livestock, manure piles, compost, root cellar, cisterns,  solar panels, batteries, wiring, some sort of grey water and composting toilet set up.  Then he’ll be 67.  He’s single right now, and while know he is looking for a partner on the land, he’s unlikely to find a hard working 40 year old  – unless its someone thinking the old man will croak and they’ll have this fine homestead . . . . . the preppers version of a sugar daddy . . . .

anyway, at 67, presuming he threw out a lot of money to get it done, how hard can he work this acreage? managing that livestock, turning those manure piles, moving the compost into his garden beds, harvesting, preserving, managing, etc.  And if he’s doing this mostly by his own sweat, rather than with beacoup $$$, really how hard can he keep going?

Five more years, how strong is he now?  how hard can he work?

and notice I’m not considering any health issues, presuming that fresh air, good food, and hard work will keep him healthy!

So my envy of his fulfilling his dream is countered by my being 68.  I’ve got arthritis and am losing strength in my hands.  Eye sight is going, cataracts are common for those living in the desert.  Husband is a year younger but he has stenosis of the spine, and his eyesight is also going.  hopefully, he’ll get his cataracts operated on this year.   both of us have noticed a loss of hearing (too much rock n roll!!)   We do not have beacoup $$ to spend on land and its development, even if we sold off what we do have now.  Even if we decided to go that way, I’d be at least 70 before we closed and moved on (it took mr. 62 about 2 years to sell his old property and then time to find the perfect new place).  70 years old to be starting to learn how to homestead, deal with livestock, plant and harvest and preserve.  Kill and skin and preserve.

What kind of strength will have? what kind of skills would be able to develop to counter our lack of strength and knowledge?  How long and far could we push our soft citified bodies?

So the dream is changed, reality sets limitations, and we move on in a different direction.   And lets be honest, with what’s going on in the world now, prepping does seem like it was a really good idea!

Think its time to check the inventory and see what holes I have in my stores . . .

goal zero at Costco

Seems Costco has gotten Goal Zero to make them an exclusive Goal Zero power pack – the Yeti 1000.  Lithium battery, 42lbs, hook up to Solar panels or house current,  and only $1000.  If you check out their pricing, the cheapest cost per watt/hour is their Yeti 400 with the lead acid battery and that’s still over $1/ watt hour.

Now, if only the solar input connection worked!!  Know its not the panel of the wires as it works just fine with my Yeti 400 and the new unit is charging happily from the house current.

SIGH

Know, though, that Goal Zero has pretty decent customer service as I’ve had to use them in the past.  Lets hope they are as good with the Costco exclusive.  Or back to Costco it goes!

and yes, I know its made in China. . . .

lifestyle insurance

This also came up when reading the LDS manual.

For those who have a problem with the idea of PREPPER, Lifestyle insurance.

Storm, illness, failure of the retirement fund, old age, job loss for any reason.  Lifestyle Insurance is the food, water, clothing, and hopefully fuel, stored for a rainy day.

And if you can’t get your brain around the fact that any of it could happen to you, think how you will feel when you can help someone else who has had it happen to them . . . because we all know it happens only to other people!