Tuesday, March 8, 2022

So, what am I doing to prepare for what's coming?


I've written a lot in recent weeks about how the emergency that a lot of preppers talk about is no longer remote - it's already here, staring us in the face.  Food and other commodities are in short supply and skyrocketing in price, and there doesn't look to be any short-term solution to the problem.

A number of readers have asked, in so many words:  "It's all very well to tell us to prepare, but what are you doing about it?  What additional steps are you taking?"  That's a fair question, and it deserves an answer.

As far as food supplies go, Miss D. and I have managed to put aside enough to see us through for about three months if necessary.  We might make it stretch further if we went into "diet mode" (which wouldn't be a bad thing for either of us!), but I suspect we'll also be helping friends, so I think a three-month window is about where we're at.  We don't have money or space to increase that much, but I'll probably put up some more rice and dried beans, just in case.  They may be deadly boring to eat every day, but one can survive on them.  I just hope and pray things never get bad enough that we're reduced to that for any length of time.

As far as fuel is concerned, we've tried to put aside enough gasoline to fill our two vehicles' tanks twice.  It's stored in jerrycans and a few Eagle cans, in a location outside our home (for obvious safety reasons).  We also have a few small tanks of propane, which we can use to run a two-burner cookstove or to refill Coleman gas bottles for use with a smaller camp stove or, in the winter, an indoor-safe heater.  In the light of increased fuel prices and likely problems with availability, I'm investing in a few more NATO-standard jerrycans to add to our gasoline supply.  They're ferociously expensive compared to those I bought just a few years ago (more than three times the price!!!), but they're still the most convenient and safest way to store backup supplies of gasoline that I know.  They're far safer and more leakproof than the cheaper plastic containers one finds in supermarkets and auto supply stores.

I've tried to extend our normal domestic consumable supply to at least some extent.  We have several months' worth of toilet rolls, paper towels, laundry and dishwashing detergent, and so on.  We've got a 90- to 180-day supply of all our prescription medications.  Over-the-counter pharmaceuticals such as cold & flu medicines, analgesics, etc. and personal hygiene items have also been stockpiled.  I'd say we're good for three to six months there, but I'll be double-checking to make sure of that.

We recently got paid a useful sum of money that's been owed to us for some time.  If we put it in the bank, the inflation rate would reduce its buying power by double digit percentages every year; so we're going to put it to work instead, by investing in major domestic improvements while we can afford them.  (I've been astonished to find that prices have almost doubled since I last got quotes for that, two years ago.)

  • Our HVAC system is very old, and has given trouble in recent years.  Our technician warned us that we should expect to replace it soon, so we're going to do that now.
  • We're also repairing and upgrading our garage door.
  • We'll replace our flimsy wood garden shed (home-built by a previous owner who had no idea what he was doing!) with something larger and stronger.
  • Finally, we'll get a more powerful generator for power outages, which we expect will probably become more frequent as our infrastructure continues to deteriorate.  We won't get one of the high-powered whole-house units (we wouldn't be able to store enough fuel to run it for long, anyway), but since we're having to upgrade our electrical panel to cater for the new HVAC unit, we'll add a plug and a switch to it, so we can run the generator over our house wiring if necessary.  We'll just turn off what we don't have enough power to run.  As long as we can keep our freezer and refrigerator cold, have light, heat water, and run a single window A/C unit in summer, I'll be happy.

Finally, I'm going to have to be ruthless with myself.  Coming as I do from a Third World environment, I've always tried to have emergency supplies sufficient to "bug out" if I had to, and if necessary camp out near the road while getting to a place of safety.  In our present state of health, neither Miss D. nor myself are likely to do much camping;  and we certainly aren't in shape to do a lot of physical activity, either.  (My mind may think it's still 21, but my fused-spine, nerve-damaged, post-heart-attack body begs to differ!)  Therefore, I'm going to go through our reserve supplies and get rid of anything we can't realistically use any longer.  I'll try to trade it for things we'll need, but if I can't, friends are in for a windfall.  Getting rid of stuff is almost as important as stockpiling it, because a needless accumulation of possessions you can't use simply ties you down.  It's a millstone around your neck.

That's what we're doing.  How about you, readers?  What additional precautions are you taking, and what added preparations are you making, in the light of current events?  Let us know in Comments, so we can learn from each other.



Country said...

We have been reprioritizing some things. We have been cleaning out and selling excess stuff we had accumulated and then using that money to buy more fencing and gardening supplies. We are set for about 6 months with food. We have always bought a 1/4 of beef or 1/2 a pig for meat. We haven't had chickens for several years so I am upgrading the coop and fencing to get some in the spring and planting a bigger garden this year. I enjoy your posts Peter, thank you for your insights.

Dragon Lady said...

Got a goodly stockpile of food, even if a lot of it is less than ideal for a diabetic. Whole house generator and 500 gallon propane tank were installed after Irma a few years back, and if power becomes iffy, we will turn stuff off to conserve. Same tank runs the gas oven and fireplace (for the 3 weeks a year that we'd need it in Florida). Small garden planted - ground here is crap for growing stuff, so we're trying raised beds. Got a chicken coop, but need chickens. Also need to convince my husband that chickens don't need to be replaced every year, because I am NOT eating a chicken that I raised. I'll trade it for something else. Tons of freezer space for a large hunk of butchered cow, but still trying to find aforementioned hunk.

Where we're screwed is meds. Most of my husband's are REALLY expensive (Janumet, as an example, is over $1000 a month) and even if we could afford that, Tricare won't send us a 90 day supply.

We're going to have to hope that it doesn't get too squirrelly here in Florida. We can survive tough, but apocalyptic is outside the budget and skillset.

Peteforester said...

I went the whole-house genny route running on natural gas. It can be converted over to propane with a quarter-turn of a screw on the carburetor, and I have the tank and plumbing to make the change if the gas utility fails. We had to do this after our 3rd World quality power company announced that it would arbitrarily turn off power if there was a wildfire danger in the area. We also have a 5K and 1K portable as backup. The whole-house unit is set to auto-start, but can be cycled manually for conservation purposes. We've got two "roll-around" A/C units to bring into play if we need to run on genny. No need to bog the girl down with the central air, but face it; with 100-110* temps from June to October, A/C borders on being an absolute necessity!

We saw the gas price thing coming and tanked up as much as possible on gas and diesel a while back. Gas prices have reached low-Earth orbit out here. I paid less than half of today's ...and I do mean today's... price to top off my stores. We're filling the vehicles at 3/4 tank. It does make a difference when the price per gallon goes up by forty cents in two days!

We're pretty much set for food for a while. We'd like to have more frozen meat on hand but that same 3rd World power company just hiked our rates by 69%!!! Thanks, Newsom! We do have plenty of rice, pinto beans, black beans, and pasta laid up, along with the dry and canned means to make them more appetizing.

We've been building the chicken flock over the last couple of months, so we're awash in eggs right now. Always plan for shortages caused by laying interruptions and die-offs among the birds though...

I've started some of this year's garden plants, thanks to the hoop house I cobbled together last year. Frost be damned! I also have 55-gallon drums of water for minimal irrigation.

I keep on doing what I can, and prepping as I think of things. What's happening right now may be nothing or it may be TEOTWAWKI. I'm more or less ready, either way... God bless you all!

tooldieguy said...

S-2 underground has a video about German iron rations in WW2. Cheap, reasonably tasty (if seasoned) and easy to make with a blender. "The war kitchen bread and iron"

riverrider said...

saw this coming a while ago. invested a few bucks in junk silver, filled the gas cans, got some eagle cans on sale last summer. hvac guy supposed to install that new unit too next week or so. topped off the lp, we use it to heat. added 10 each 20lb tanks. i have to get to cutting wood next week, use that as a backup and if lp gets too expensive. food is good for years, been stacking for years. the scary thing for us is taxes and insurance, both high and going up. the county wants to re-assess values so they can stick it to us, knowing values are about to crater again like 2008. that will send insurance up too and the combination is pushing the limits of our budget. i sold my new truck to avoid the costs and went back to driving my 20 y/o truck. i get another retirement in about a year, if the govt still exists then,meanwhile i'm trying to find a job that doesn't require the jab.

Bob said...

I live in an apartment a bit north of Dallas but still in the metroplex. One thing I am certain of is upcoming power outages. I am presently at a loss on what to do when these outings hit, but one thing I am not doing, is buying food reserves that require refrigeration or freezing. No gas in this building, all electricity. So I have purchased a small camp stove that runs on propane that I can use on my apartments porch to heat up my food, boil water etc. But such an activity may be considered a fire hazard and prohibited. I'll just have to wait and see. No way am I telling anybody I'm stocking up.... most of the residents here have their heads firmly up their asses when it comes to preparing for what is coming down the pike. I fear seriously bad times are coming, things we have never seen or experienced before. Scary. At 83 years old, I may not last long.

Andrew Smith said...

Quick note on the meds:

Doctors have a habit of prescribing medications to cover the latest side effects of other medications, or whatever the latest ailment is. Over the decades, a patient can accumulate a ton of meds that they are taking.

When they go into hospital for something, they are told to "bring everything". Nurses then do a "medication review" where they chuck out a ton of meds that simply aren't needed by the patient any longer.

For some reason our script writing machines they call 'doctors' never seem to get around to this.

For the readers out there, it might be a good thing to review your total meds situation with your doctor.

Jonathan H said...

My biggest concern is water, finding a way to pump our well if the power goes out. I'm looking at a couple of options for shallow well pumps, both 12 volt and manual.
I have 2 solar panels but need to get a controller and replace 2 dead deep cycle batteries.

Joseph said...

Dragon Lady,

The Janumet website has a discount that you may qualify for. That is, if you haven't gone that route already. If not...maybe some generic metaformin? That's better than nothing.

Will said...

Peter, rather than going the normal HVAC route, you might check into getting one or two of the latest RV air con systems to replace it. Bus Grease Monkey should have some data/videos on his site. He has a single system that cools a 35 foot old Greyhound bus that is parked on his new TN land. Runs it on batteries and solar panels. Doesn't even need to plug into the power he had run to the property. So, low power draw, although I can't remember what voltage. I think it is 120v. I would expect this system, even if you had to buy two for your house, would be noticeably cheaper than the standard house setup. IIRC, it's actually a heat-pump design.

jsmalone1 said...

I did something I am not onboard with but ended up using it regardless. I wanted to install a generator for my home but I continually questioned-- where will I get fuel? If things get seriously bad, a generator is loud? I decided to educate myself on solar panels and battery banks. I bought a pallet of solar panels and 2 large lithium iron phosphate battery banks. Anyway, we run our entire house on the system, less dryer and oven. Got my emergency generator!

Fredrick said...

Replaced the A/C a week ago. New stove in the spring. New tires/brakes/oil change and am checking all the hoses. Topping off the canned goods and rice&beans. Got to re-line all the fishing gear. And of course some 'freedom seeds', as well as actual seeds.

Bobo the Hobo said...

@Jonathan - pump water without electricity. https://youtu.be/SERwTNJki10

Aesop said...

Got sandbags?

Got gravel and sand??

Maniac said...

Several months of emergency food and water purification tabs. And a gun.


Maniac said...

I attended a Lutheran Church service this past Sunday and felt a calm that I haven't felt sunce I was born again way back in 1998. There are indeed trying times ahead, but there's a godly anticipation in my spirit as they approach.

John T. Block said...

Op Sec means you don't have to share bubkis about your preps. Being ready to bug out is OK, if ya got someplace to bug out TO. Do you still have your wife's plane? THAT would be a great way to go, with your main stuff pre-positioned...

John T. Block said...

And you Better not tell us!! 😁🤣😂

Michael Downing said...

I started prepping well over a decade ago and my wife and family viewed my activities the same way most folks look at the old eccentric uncle at the family gathering. I gave my wife a copy of Dr Forstchen's book, One Second After. She couldn't put the book down and was brought to tears several times as she read it. The story hit even closer to home as we lived at that time outside Morganton, NC where Broughton Hospital is located and the biker gang cannibal scene took place. After reading the book she told me she now understood why I insisted on becoming better prepared.

11 years ago my wife and I attended a weekend prepper's conference held in Black Mountain, NC not far from where One Second After took place and in fact Dr Forstchen was one of the speakers as he lives in that area. During the luncheon on the first full day of the conference we sat with several other couples none of whom we knew previously. The TV show The Walking Dead was in it's first year of production and became a topic of conversation. One gentleman at the table said, " Those zombies are your neighbors and all those who live around you. They won't be walking dead but they will be coming for anything and everything you have because most people don't have 3 days worth of food and essential supplies.

We relocated well into the mountains of NC over 5 years ago. We have few neighbors and know which ones we can trust explicitly. We are well settled in with food, supplies, a whole house generator with an ample propane supply, a true artesian well that will supply water even without power, two year round creeks and a pond and the ability to raise and grow food to supplement that which we have stored. Most importantly with the help of well trusted family and friends we have the means to protect our homestead and supplies.

We live well at the end of a mountain gravel road and most people do not even know the house is here but in the movies the zombies always make their way to where ever you are so you need to have a plan to protect what you have. I sure hope we can trust the regular UPS and FedEx drivers because over the last 5 years they have hauled in quite a few supplies. Perhaps all the boxes marked ORM-D with a striped diamond label will give them pause.

jsmalone1 said...

Look into lithium iron phosphate batteries. Big money once.