So you've been prepping and increasing your resilience for some time. Perhaps since you stumbled upon the Crash Course, or maybe even longer than that. Maybe it was recently or maybe it was several years (or decades) ago. We've talked in various threads, forums, and groups about how far we have come, individually and within our communities. Perhaps you took the self-assessment long ago or examined your life in light of the frameworks Chris discusses in Chapter 20; revisiting those things now might help you see how far you've come and construct a list to get you even further in your preps.
This time of year (December in Vermont, for me personally) I'm feeling the natural urge to slow down, contemplate my life and needs, and provision my family for the winter and beyond. Winter is a great time for hibernation and contemplation. (With apologies to our friends down under, who are enjoying summer right now!)
Personally, I'd like to soon increase my skills (and habits) around food growing and preservation. I have a lot of "equipment" but don't put it into use nearly as often as I feel I should. I would also like to make a plan for water collection with rain barrels -- tricky as my new house has virtually no gutters and my home-improvement budget has been depleted (only temporarily, I hope). I'd like to explore more small-budget options for emergency backup power. And I'm eager to get to know the neighbors better and see if we can knit ourselves more closely together with regard to resource-sharing and emotional support -- without disturbing the regional expectation of privacy and personal space.
I'd really like to hear what all of you are currently prioritizing in your "preps" -- are there purchases you're planning to make, home improvements you're looking to implement, personal improvements you're seeking to adopt (in areas of health, exercise, eating habits, whathaveyou)?
Your ideas may inspire others who hadn't thought of the things you have. And it's good to check in and make a list every now and then. So, what's next on your Increasing Resiliency list?
I suspect most of us take clean water for granted. If, like most, you are on a municipal water system without a backup water well, your water source is vulnerable to disruption. I'm not a water expert, but I've seen how the delivery system works in our area, and if our area loses electrical power for a prolonged period of time, the storage tanks we see dotting the landscape will probably be empty in a relatively short time. The systems I've seen use electrically powered motor-driven pumps to move the treated water from the source to the storage tanks. From the tank the flow works with gravity. None of the pumping facilities I've seen have backup power for the pumps. Perhaps your municipal water system is different.
With the above in mind, water resiliency is our weak point. For us, we need water for personal needs, as well as for eliminating human waste--we're on a septic tank waste disposal system. We have 90 gallons of stored water: 40 gallons in 5-gallon containers, and 50 gallons in the water heater. So what do we do when the municipal tank goes dry?
In a prolonged water emergency, I would hope the local and state government, in conjunction with the state's National Guard, would be able to provide at least minimal drinking water. But I'm not counting on it.
Actually, before the municipal tank runs dry from a power outage, 3 bathtubs and a deep sink get filled--that's our short-term sanitation water. After the stored 90 gallons is consumed, assuming the municipal water system is still down, we resort to scavenging for water. Where's the water? If you aren't sure where the nearest bodies of water are to you, Google Earth may be your friend. A topographical map of your area may also reveal water sources—creeks, etc. that are not known to you. A map of our area shows a spring about one mile from the house that is only accessible via hiking or ATV (not yet verified). The nearest bodies of water to our house are private ponds serving livestock.
Obviously, one does not want to drink untreated water. For me, the best way to solve this treatment issue is with quality water filters. In our case, a countertop Big Berky filter (with a store of extra filters) and a high-end Katadyn backpacker's water filter that is good for about 13,000 gallons. So, back to scavenging: a couple of 5-gallon jugs, the Katadyn filter, and a short hike should work for us.
I started my solar project with the goal of powering my small storage shed/workshop for lighting and powering most of my power tools. (all this because it was not cheap or easy to run power from the house).
After reading the Crash Course the project turned more toward building resiliancy. We upped the capacity of the solar panels and added more battery storage to allow us to run a small freezer (no small feat in the Texas summer). We have charging capacity for recgargable batteries and have small generator and battery chargers for those days of minimal sun and/or maximum heat.
Currently we can run approximately 95% from the solar without resorting to the generator or long extension cords from the house to recharge the batteries. And we have a way to keep things frozen and produce ice independent of the grid. All told, solar panels, controllers, charger, inverters, batteries, cables, small generator and freezer comes to around $1,700.
As Chris points out it is A way to build resilancy. We have other resiliany projects we have done but thought this might interest some.
Good topic, Amanda.
In 2009 I was leaning toward prepping before I took The Crash Course. At that point, after taking the "red pill," I knew I needed a plan. For someone just starting our "What Should I Do?" would provide a proper framework. But that hadn't been written yet. Someone loaned me How to Survive the End of the World as We Know It by James Wesely, Rawles. I made an Excel spreadsheet and within that I took the chapters and used them to make a sheet on each topic: Water, Deep Larder, Fuel and Home Power, Gardens and Livestock, Medical Supplies and Training, Communications and Monitoring, Home Security and Self-Defense...and then I adapted it to my situation by inserting sheets for things like Pantry, Home Heating, Home Cooling, Cooking & Canning, Forest Garden, and Tools.
I'm still working off that original list. And you're right: winter is a good time to revisit that list and see what else needs to be done. And I have to tell you, last winter was the first time I looked at that list and realized we'd done a huge portion of it! Still, there's always more to do. Here's what's next on our list, by category.
Water: hubby asked for a Katadyn portable microfilter for his "get home" bag. That wll be a strech and will have to wait until we have a few extra bucks. For now he has water purification tablets.
Deep Larder: It seems I have a sensitivity to wheat. Anyone want to trade a few buckets of red hard wheat for barley, brown rice, oats or what have you? Message me, especially if you are within driving distance of, say, a day of SC. I will make you SUCH a deal.
Cooking & Canning: Our pressure canner gets too hot and would break our indoor glass top range . So I bought an outdoor "Turkey fryer" propane burner. Hubby still has to get the propane tank. Yes, we have other ways to cook outdoors (wood or charcoal on a grill) but this will be the most efficient for now.
Home Security: Oh God, may I live to see the day when we can finally get a dog. The impediments to this are almost too many to believe. The extensive garden means it has to be an indoor dog. But the house is cluttered with our adult children's things. My son is getting married and moving out in two months. My step-daughter has been given an ultimatum: clear the (in some places) waist-high crap, or move out wih it, or we will throw it out. She has a month left. After that we have to get rid of the ancient carpet anyhow: we need flooring that is not dependent on A/C to keep mold-free. We can put in heart-pine floors in for $800. Then we plan on getting a dog.
Garden: I asked hubby to build me the long-promised compost tumbler for my birthday.
Livestock: I want to stop talking about chickens and build that coop and get some. Ditto on the bees.
Community Building: We have neighbors who seem to be preppers, and have things like goats, huge amounts of solar panels, chickens and rabbits. We want to concentrate our Christmas cookie gift run this year on consolidating our relationships with those in the neighborhood who "get it" and expand that circle.
That ought to keep us busy for a while! :-)
years ago(in the '70's) we made a wood burner(imagine flat topped horizontal 55gal drum,one end for wood other stove pipe) irrespective of combustible material (burns pine) hold two large canners and heat is quickly regulated by inserting coat hanger under canner and slowly regulated by draft control of barrel. still use the stove for summer canning chores. The chief welder and engineer was born in 1908, married in 1929,farmed his whole life and was always prepped i repeat always prepped.
i miss my Grandpa, robie, husband,father,farmer,optometrist,not typist
In addition to the normal "natural" sources of water, there are also local sources that can be tapped for emergency uses with the use of a water filter. I live just off of the downtown core of a small city. Further out there are numerous lake and creeks I could access. But here in town, and on foot, there are a number of condos and hotels that have large waterscapes. I have plotted the locations of several that I can walk to in order to siphon off some water in a desperate situation. Every emergency kit should have a water filter. I bought a great one at a local backpacking store that is of the type used by Red Cross workers in the field. Under 200.00 and good for about 5000 gallons. Bought some spare filters and parts too. It can filter some pretty poor quality water, so it should get me through a bad scene.
As an added bonus, one of the waterscapes has big fat fish koi fish in it. You never know.... :)
Beyond the "minimal" physical preparations (rain barrels, expanding the pantry as much as possible, canning, jamming, trying to grow food in the garden (we'll starve quickly...), keeping bees), I've been working on my physical as well as mental state through yoga - I take 3/5 classes per week, and after 1 year, I feel strong in my body and much calmer in my head. I don't have anxiety panics any longer, although I still think that catastrophic climate change is going to eradicate humanity within a few decades (if not war or some epidemics before that). But now I can live with it relatively calmly.
Our prep won't take us very far in a real long emergency (we can't install solar panels or solar hot water because there are too many trees around our house, for example, and our city lot is too small and shaded to grow much food), but I think that if everything breaks-down for an extended period of time, it will turn violent or pandemic quickly and I actually hope to not survive that. I won't consider getting a gun (I have some bear spray instead) as I (for now at least) would prefer to be killed than to become a killer. We live in a large city with the risks of violence being higher than in a smaller town.
That said, I got a booster on my TD-polio shot earlier this year. I have not heard anything in that range so I thought it could be an interesting reminder for readers of this forum (you are always reminded to pile-up on your medication, but booster shots are never mentionned).
But I really recommend yoga to work on the acceptance of the atrocities that I can imagine coming our way. And if they don't, it's great exercise and I'm sure it will keep me healthy in the long run.
Good morning Rwrek,
I am interested in a small scale solar with battery backup also. Running power tools during daylight hours only and a freezer 24 hours/day are my main objectives, also. Could you share what panels you used, batteries, and controllers/inverters (?) cables and generator you used? Where did you buy them?
Do you know of a simple wiring diagram for hooking it all together?
Suggestions from anyone else with a small scale solar system would also be appreciated. (But I am not techically sophisticated, so a simple design is more helpful to me than discussions of the principles needed to design my own system.)
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