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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practice practice practice

As expensive as ammunition is, adding a laser pistol to your arsenal will set you back a pretty penny.  But this year, bit the bullet as they say, and added a Laserlyte with a couple of laser reactive targets to my routine.  Haven’t had a chance to get to the range for several months now, but even if I could, it is just static practice.

Santa brought me a couple of gong targets, but even they only do so much.

There was a choice between a Laserlyte and a SIRT laser gun.  both are weighted plastic guns that shoot laser light when the trigger is pulled.  The SIRT has more options, but are all pistol.  The Laserlyte also came as a revolver and since I’m a wheel gun woman, that’s what I wanted to work with.

The nice thing about these training guns is the ability to use them at home.  Practice draw and shoot. practice moving and shooting. practice in low light conditions. practice getting up from bed with your flashlight in the dark. practice from the hip shots, single hand shots, stop and aim shots.

They still lack certain aspects of live ammo – like noise, kick, and even the weight is a little light.  BUT, they are useful to develop muscle memory, stance, and just practice, practice, practice in places where you are most likely to need your self-defense skills.

2018

Find it hard to believe how fast time seems to pass as we get older.  Find it hard, sometimes, to comprehend how I got to be 68 years old and its already 2018!

Over the years, have seen the world dance close to the ‘edge’, and then dance back.  Right now we seem to be dancing closer than ever and as one problem gets solved, we’re facing so many more.  And so prepping continues as well as concerns for our personal health and well being.  The better we are individually, the better we can cope with what ever gets thrown at us.

Unfortunately, starting in 2016, began having some fairly serious arthritis flairs, and admit let that get to me.  And in doing that, let my exercise and diet guidelines go.  Now I face the future overweight and uncomfortable.  So one of my goals for this coming year is to bring that somewhat under control.  Am not crippled by my arthritis, but if I don’t lose 80 lbs, I might find that to be the case in the very near future!

The arthritis and my weight have also cramped my shooting; from how I can carry to how well I can hold and trigger my guns.  My practice has been using a laserlyte revolver – more on that in another post.

I wish you all an achievement of your goals in the coming year.  Health and happiness be yours.

thoughts

trikeHave had a busy month or so.

Had also joined a Facebook prepper forum to get more information and learn more about all the things we want to learn about.

and, as is to be expected I guess, despite the rhetoric of inclusiveness, they are pretty demeaning of those who are newbies.  People scared because of all the recent hurricane damage and want to get prepared.    Scared of the North Korea posturing, and what can they do to protect their families.   Scared of raging wildfires putting homes and families in harms way.  So they come asking those real newbie questions and get shot down.

Even those of us who have some knowledge, when sharing our experiences, can get ridiculed because they, in their experience and knowledge, disagree with what we are doing.  That is without knowledge on their part of what our economic, health, and needs and limitations might be.  Disappointing to say the least.

Meanwhile, am working on things like a bug out bag for us that will include some just in cases, but is mostly with the idea that if we have to bug out it is likely to be to a hotel / motel because where we are is subject to things like wildfires, or damage to the house because of falling tree limbs.  We are not in an area of blizzards, floods, tornadoes, hurricanes, or even Haboobs.  Power outages are rare.  BUT, if we are experiencing a need to get out, so likely will others, and with the dog, we might find ourselves camping for a few days and am planning accordingly with freeze dried meals, cook stove, water filter, etc., etc., etc.

Meanwhile, because there is always the possibility that the S will HTF, have finally gotten my electric Trike from Pedego.  Was not expecting to like their trike because it is underpowered and small for someone of my size and weight.  But since having it, have learned a lot about WHY that’s better.  since I do want to use it for running errands in town, over 2 miles away and all uphill, am also learning that it will require a lot more pedaling on my part than I originally intended, so have been working the neighborhood streets with as little power assist as I can.   added a rear view mirror for before hitting the busy main street, and am just about ready to venture beyond the immediate streets for more mileage.

recharged it today using my Yeti 1000 to get a feel for what kind of drain that will be, which is not much.

and if the battery goes dead dead, there are always legs to make it go.

 

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 . . .

working out at the range

Having recently gotten off my duff and joined (and am using) our local range, am having the opportunity to really shoot my hand guns, as well as my rifles.

And in doing so, am winnowing out some of my earlier choices.

Take for example my beloved side ported, compact 45 Springfield purchased some 20 years ago.  At the time, LOVED that gun.  Its still a great gun, but arthritis has made it not so user friendly anymore, so sold that about 5 years ago.

A couple of years ago had purchased a wonderful Ruger 1911 TALO edition.  LOVED it,  but again, arthritis made racking that slide tough.  The larger size gun and heavier weight made it easier to use than the Springfield because the weight countered the recoil.  But not being able to rack the slide with any consistency, especially when it hung up on the slide lock and I couldn’t reach round with my thumb to release it.  So sold the gun.

Just put new grips on my 40 year old Colt Cobra.  Makes it easier to hold on to, but that recoil on that small gun is tough to overcome, especially when shooting single handed.  The same is true for the original Ruger LCR I bought some 10 years ago.  So one is probably going to go.

And that leads to another thought; shoot the largest gun you can handle.  Some of you have small hands.  Some of you are buying for concealibility.  Well, you can camouflage a pretty big gun if necessary.  BUT the real reason I say this, is the larger and heavier the gun, the easier it will be to control recoil and get back on target.

This is not the old bigger is better argument, I don’t care if you’re shooting a .380!  I’ve seen those and they are barely bigger than my hand.  like the .38’s, they are tough to hold onto and control!  Ruger is making one almost the size of a compact 9mm and was really tempted!  But if I’m going to go that big, will just go for the compact 9mm!

Now THAT is the bigger is better argument!! 😉

But even those with smaller hands can go comfortably into the compact 9mm size without trouble, instead of playing it safe with one of those teeny .38’s that’s hardly bigger than a sneeze.

Because honestly, it will definitely have to be TEOTWAWKI before we will find ourselves in a running gun battle with multiple targets from 100 yards.  Any self defense situation we might encounter will be very up close and personal.  and pretty much anything is effective at close range if you are in a fight for your life.

So get what you will be physically comfortable with and practice, practice, practice.  Join a range where you can rent different guns and let your mental level come to the same level as your physical ability.  Try and then buy.

Wish I’d taken my own advice, I’d have saved thousands.  cause you don’t sell them used for anything near what you paid for them new.