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Sonlit Acres

Encouraging sustainable living

BEING PREPARRED.

Being prepared for emergencies doesn't have to break the bank. Normally weather is predicted and one can prepare to some degree ahead of time, other times things hit us unexpectedly. This past December we had a prediction of 8 to 12 inches of snow coming of coarse most everyone went along business as usual and we all went to bed thinking no big deal, this happens here all the time. However we woke up around 6 AM  and opened the door to let the dogs out and to our amazement we stared at three feet of snow, our cars are just big mounds of snow. When the storm was over we had four feet. Again and not making light of it because this too we have seen so many times in my lifetime. After all here in the North East we have the equipment to take care of things. On go the boots, coveralls, hat and gloves. I grab the snow shovel and dig my way to the tractor. Clean it off and start it to warm it up for the job ahead. Then the phone rings, our daughter is off the road just a few miles from here. I look toward the road and see it hasn't been plowed in a while, so it's off to the barn to get the snowmobile to go on a rescue. OK daughter rescued and is home safe and sound. 

By the time I get home the word is that the highways are bad and the State is saying if you don't have to be out to stay home because road crews can't keep up. Then the phone rings again. Dad, I'm in town and I can't get up the road at the mountain to get to work and I know I can't get home the highway has to much snow in it. OK, wait at the store until I get there, know that I am on the way. Now we clean the truck off. Start it and get ready to go, we ease it ahead and then back up then ease it ahead a little more opening a path out until we are on the road. We stop at the barn and get any empty gas cans we may have to fill since I'll be in town anyway. To make this short, I get to the store and pick up my son, we fill two of our 5 gas cans and head home, cars off the road everywhere and we stop at each one to be sure they are OK. Yes everyone had a tow truck coming and say they will be alright. An hour later we arrive home and my youngest is having at the driveway with the tractor. OK it isn't going well. I take over and teaspoon a spot to park the truck and park the tractor out of the way. I'll call a bucket loader for this one. Phone call made, he will come as soon as he can and I know the man is now up to his eyes in work. 

Well we settle in just as the power goes out. No big deal the solar system is keeping us in lights and the fridge will be fine until we clear the path to the generator house. Again it isn't a big deal if we don't start the generator, after all it's 22 degrees out and we could put everything into a cooler. So why not just pull out a board game after we haul in enough wood to go until morning and let the storm pass us by and allow the road crews to do their jobs without us getting in their way, after all they have plenty of cars to plow around already.

This storm is a very small piece of any kind of disruption, there are so many ways we can be put upon when it comes to a disruption, it could be storms of any magnitude, it could be extreme weather, political, maybe a terrorist attack, or the power grid going down for an extended period of time. Prepping for these things can seem overwhelming. And to make matters worse, there’s a lot of crazy “loud minority” garbage that pollutes rational preparedness with extremism, dangerous info, or silly internet debates that don’t actually matter. The whole point of preparing is to reduce the chances of major life disruptions and to better recover from disruptions when they do happen. That’s it! No huge expense or going out of your way to raid the local super market of all the things you should have had in stock already.  I'll almost bet you know someone that is prepping right now, but they aren't saying anything about it.

 Until recently, emergency preparedness guides typically recommended having 72 hours worth of supplies. The Department of Homeland Security’s Ready.gov site currently says, “Being prepared means having your own food, water, and other supplies to last for at least 72 hours.” They of course are wrong, yes 72 hours is better than nothing, but one should have their home ready in my personal opinion for a month or two of being self reliant and cut off from other forms of help. Let's face it, emergency services can and will be overwhelmed  and you may not be able to get help. Your well being is 100% up to you, it is your responsibility to see to the needs of your family and yourself. When I was growing up it was common place that most people had a years worth of food. The shelves in the cellar were full of canned goods and the freezers were full of meat. Today anyone with that much food is considered a hoarder or one of those crazy preppers / homesteaders. We as a society need to stop putting those kinds of labels on people! 

All in all we should all be preppers to some degree. We are almost into the 15 day flatten the covid 19 curve, this is another example of a disruption gone crazy. They could if they wanted close businesses up again and shut us down with thei5r new found power. Yes we need to keep an eye open for the newest variances of covid, and be ready for society to go mad if the vaccine they are giving now doesn't work for any of those. It will start all over again. All the more reason to make preparedness a priority. 

How do you prepare?  

One way is to be sure you stay as healthy as you can by keeping active.

Water is next, if you don't have a source you should have no less than a gallon per day per person. If you can your own food, why not fill those unused jars and can some water. 

Food, you need to be sure you have enough to prepare meals for that two week period. This is where someone homesteading should shine. If you grow your own can everything, yes can meat as well instead of freezing it all. If the power goes out you could loose a pile of meat in the freezer, unless you are prepared to can it before it goes bad.  If you don't preserve you own, then you need to have enough shelf stable food.

Fire is next, Bic lighters are good unless your in a sub zero environment because they won't light in extreme cold, Matches, fire starter.  Electric stove? Get yourself a camping stove, I prefer the two burner ones that use white gas and keep several gallons of fuel so you can cook, they will burn unleaded gasoline as long as you drain the fuel from it when you are done.

Light should be on your list, we use kerosene lamps when batteries are low. We have a 2 hours on 2 hours off policy here for the generator, in order to keep the fridge cold, during that time lights can be run and we have a battery charger hooked to the batteries to give them some charge while it's running. Candle work as well as battery powered lanterns. With battery lanterns, be sure you have plenty of batteries to keep them going. If the weather is cool enough we move our refrigerated items in coolers and set them outside and only use the generator to do laundry when it's time. Be sure you have plenty of batteries. 

Heat If you have no other heat source than a furnace, you will have to have a back up that is safe to have inside, I say wood or coal stoves if you can have them and a supply of wood or coal to keep them going for more than your two week plan. If those can't be installed where you live then you will have to do your homework. Myself, if I lived in a place that didn't allow them I would come up with a plan to have one stored and have a way to easily hook it up and keep my family warm.

 Medications, If you need life saving medications you should have your Dr. prescribe a 90 day supply and keep them filled. A good first aid kit is also a must and keep that supplied as well.

Hygiene is also a must, wipes work ok but maybe some spare water so one can take a wipe bath now and then. If a sever storm is predicted, fill the bath tub and any and all contains, large pots you won't need for cooking with water. 

 Communication, a weather radio, a CB radio or even a ham radio if you can afford one. You never know if your cell will have service, a CB radio is good for communicating locally which is what we have, but a Ham radio can talk around the world. 

One should have basic hand tools as well as an axe or hatchet ands a bow saw with spare blades. 

In order to keep one sane, board games or some of the games we have listed in Simple Family fun

You should also have copies of all important papers from your deeds, insurance as well as birth certificates Ect.

Protection is another thought, I don't know where you stand, firearm, axe, knife or what have you. Just be sure what you choose you know how to use it. 

The list could go on and on, you must sit  down and brainstorm for what your personal needs are. I would stick with canned and dry goods as well as some comfort food. 

Then there are the items you should have while on the road, I prefer my pack basket with a few things so I can walk home if need be. The pack basket is carried like a back pack and leaves my hands free for use. Have a blanket, saw or hatchet, a weapon, food for a few days, fire, first aid kit and spare clothes. Always have heavy winter clothes in your car during cold months. A five mile walk in sub freezing temperatures is deadly, never think I'm not going far I'll be ok.

With all that happened in Texas and other Southern States in February the idea that it couldn't happen to me is ignoring the fact that we aren't as self reliant as people were 100 years ago. So I say plan wisely and never be stuck in a situation where you need someone to depend on, because they are going to have enough to do to take care of themselves. As far as waiting on Government, they will be over whelmed, or slow to act and unable to help the majority.

Living on a working homestead isn't as crazy as many believe and those of us that have heard how crazy we are to live against the grain of society. But, when things go wrong and there is any kind of disruption that puts utilities down, believe me those very critics will come to you for help. Please if you can give aid, give it and you will be the better for it, I couldn't see myself turning someone away that was in real need. When we hear of people dying because they are un-prepared for the disaster at hand I find it disheartening. It is such a sad thing to see emergency services so overwhelmed that they can't respond. It is during these disasters we need to watch out for one another especially the elderly. 

 

 

The storm is half over and the road crews are un able to keep up. Four feet of snow fell before this storm was over.

 

Take the cold and snow that took place in Texas and start a list of what you would need to make it if something should cause a disruption or disaster, then talk to your neighbors and let them know what you are doing and encourage them to do the same, then think about any elderly that live close by and be prepared to help them if they need it.

Never put yourself in the position of not being prepared and having to wait for emergency services to come to the rescue, because they may not be able to get to you., The homestead is the perfect place to be stranded if you're going to be, you should already have food stores as well as other basic needs. 

 

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