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Wednesday, October 7, 2009

The Wind is Blowing

As I sit here listening to the wind blow, at gusts over 65mph, I'm comfortable, not worried, why?
Well like most preppers I think of things that may happen and make a few adjustments to our lives.
I have a generator, ready to fire up a minute after the power goes off, so if a tree falls on the power lines or any other reason for a power outage here, I'm ready. I can sit read, watch tv, heat a cup of tea, take a hot shower, cook a dinner for the family.
Convincing my DH we needed one years ago was hard to do at first, till I came up with the idea, call him with the cell phone, everytime I lost power. Now in most areas, most people lose power occasionally. Here it happens frequently. The month I made the decision to make my DH calls, we lost power 10 times. Haven't had that happen since. I think I had Divine intervention. When I called DH all I said was ,power is out see you when you make it home.
Once it went out while he was home, both an odd occurance. (DH travels for work a lot.) It was Father's Day and we had just gotten dinner on the table. The kids complained about having to go to the bathroom with a candle, no cable, no internet, poor babies, (really young 20's at the time).
Amazingly DH had me order a generator to be hooked up as soon as they could get the one I wanted in.

Making a generator decision is complicated, you need to look at your needs and wants. How do you want it to work, which fuel do you want to use.
I live in suburbia, nothing irritated me more then hearing a neighbors generator from 3 blocks away turning on, not sure if it was because I could hear it or because I did hear it and I was jealous.
#1 - You have your fuel choices, gasoline, natural gas or propane.
#2 - Your needs and wants: what do you want to power up in your home. (& do you really need to power it up)
#3 - Do research, lots of research, both of the generators and the installers.
#4 - Really part of #2 but separate, how much do you really want to spend on it.

Remember a gasoline powered needs to be filled, so you need to keep a supply of gasoline handy. Also remember it needs to be started usually by a pull cord and does need to be hooked up and detacted at each use.
I in no way shape or form could pull start a generator, I couldn't start a lawn mower, so there was no way I was going to go over to a neighbor who didn't have a generator and beg him to come start mine.
My wants at the time exceeded my needs when I was looking. Don't go glossy eyed looking, be realistic, add up the wattage you need before going out shopping. My response was, I want it to run the house. Yes, that is easily possible, but also think of the cost of running it, if you can afford it, then by all means go for it, otherwise, be conservative.
I purchased an 11watt (quiet) natural gas powered generator. It can't run the central air, but in the winter it does run the heater, hot water tank, stove, frig and freezer, I have tv and lights. The kids still complain though. now it's because they have to listen to the noise the generator makes. it's quieter then the small gas generator my next door neighbor has and sits next to my bedroom and I can sleep through it, so it isn't that bad.
But in the last ice storm, for 3 days of usage and that was continuous it ran an extra $400 in natural gas and we kept usage down as much as we could.(But kids sometimes think they need something to complain about)
The propane generators run about the same as the natural gas. Power goes out, you generator turns on, all by itself, one minute after and when power returns, it shuts itself off.

I look at it now as another appliance in the house. One I would not like to have to live without. It's part of my preps but it is part of my life. Normal life runs smoother having it, no worries, no concerns. Just think, a lot of people that have generators wouldn't even consider themselves preppers, but are. If they only knew.

There is a large range of sizes and prices on generators out there. just please remember to do your research and have a licensed professional install it, someone that knows what they are doing.

My plumber had stories of people calling and saying their's wasn't working right, come to find out that company that installed it put the wrong size gas pipe in, then replaced it with the right size but left a paper towel stuffed in the pipe. Ask the installer if they have gone to classes on the installation of the units. Make certain they check the total of wattage used by it, how many of the breakers they hook up, did they ground it for lightening. Do your part and be safe. Be knowledgable before rushing into the purchase.

Now back to my cup of tea.

Friday, October 2, 2009

To stay or Not to stay

Hi, I'm Rubies,
I live in Upstate New York. You all know, it's known for it's winter weather, but I'm here to talk about being more concerned over needing to stay or leave my home due to unforseen or forseen events.
I have been prepping mildly to moderately for 37 years. But now in resent years I have been a suburbanite, not by choice but neccessity, for proximity to work for DH.
If we have an ice storm and no electric for a couple of weeks we can survive, I had a natural gas powered generator installed a few years ago and it has come in handy over the years, been in use at least 10 times per year. I'll tell you though, listening to it running for 3 days or more does give you a slight headache, so stock some tylenol. I have enough food to get by if roads are blocked. water is stockpiled, gasoline for snowblower, showels, salt, roof shovel, (don't want a roof to collapse from the weight of the snow and ice). Propane tanks in case I really need to heat in a different manner and cook on gas grill. So I feel pretty confident there, BUT!!
What if? Lets see if they hit the nuclear facility near me I'm a gonner. If civil unrest gets out of control, I need to leave, defending my home is not an option for me, me against a crowd of uncontrolled individuals just doesn't work for me. So I need a bug out plan. These are times I wish I had a pick up truck. Though I know my car can hold a lot, large trunk to say the least. They just don't make them like that any longer. I bought it with the purpose of shopping, really. You never know how much room you need.The car gets 28mpg on hywy to 30mpg, not bad for a big V8.
Also bought the car due to the V8, gets you moving out of the way quick. AND truthfully it cost me less then one of those 4 bangers on the road.
I've teased my kids that the trunk can hold 4 bodies, (I have 4 kids and 2 grandkids) it probably can, but I'm hoping never to find out.
I never let the gas tank go under 1/2 full. Lots of reasons for that. Weight in the winter. Plus when you have little money, filling a tank takes to much of it, so I have pretended for many a year that a 1/2 full tank is an empty tank, it cost me less to fill.
In winter the water condensation in your gas tank causes frozen fuel lines, car refusing to start,so more gas in tank, less room for condensation to build up in tank, less water problems, no freezing. I dump a bottle of additive in every month, if it needs it or not. I think of it as a little drink for my car, it deserves it for all it does, never heard of one alcoholic drink a month hurting.

It's Fall going into Winter fast. What to pack and what to leave.
Important papers, warm clothes, food we all know that. A local map, state, nearby state maps. Paper maps are a neccessity, not everyone has a GPS, I have none and happy to say that. No tracking of my vehicle. I have always stopped and picked up state maps wherever I have travelled to nice freebie. I have a folder of them in car and change them out every year by the state I travel in. I will admit my WV map is 6 years old though.

If you are going somewhere predetermined, which should already have been decided, you need a good map to get there and alternative routes, now where is that 4 wheel drive when you need it. That map should be in car at all times, ready for use.
If you live in Upstate NY you should already have a winter kit in your car, you know those things that move around in your truck while your driving through the potholes. A blanket, a change of warm clothes, mittens (not gloves, they don't keep your hands as warm) hat, scarf to protect your breathing, nothing like sucking in -10 degree air to freeze those lungs. Does get colder here. Shovel, snow brush, most know the routine but think there isn't a reason for it any longer with cell phones, so lets all pretend that little cell phone doesn't work any loner and pack that winter trunk.

I need to consider what I have that is most helpful to where I am going. What is most needed or helpful. FOOD, of course, but what else. Pressure canners, definitely, but have to remember to fill them with essentials, waste of good space otherwise, so fill them with lids for canning, bands or just more food. Toilet paper with inner tubes taken out and crushed for space conservation. Blankets to keep other warm, I have a load of those.

Books, yes there are always a few that have to travel along, medical, foraging, herbal, canning. don't forget to grab that cast iron fry pan. Any kitchen appliance that needs no power put together in a box, can opener, can you see the only one at the bug out location breaking. Pasta maker, you do want to eat, grain mill, well you get the idea, essentials to survival without power. Don't forget the knives. I almost forgot to pack the non-geneticly modified seeds, hard to find now a days.

Now how long do you need to be bugged out, no idea, right. You have your Winter bug out bag all packed and ready but now Spring is coming and you'll still in your heavy clothes, so remember no matter what season, pack a little for the others.

Medical Supplies, I have most of mine packed in 5 gallon buckets, an easy toss into the car. Also at home use they are in plastic drawers, also an easy toss. I've learned even if it isn't cold season and cold meds are on sale, buy them because when the season hits, everyone goes through them like water. One week I was stocked, by that weekend my kids had cleared me out. Bandaging, medical tape, gloves anything for a serious accident is together, don't forget to get a bottle of betadine, iodine. You want to be able to sterilize an area that needs attention. Sewing supplies come in handy here also.

I also want to say, if you plan on knocking on someone else's door, wouldn't it be nice now to ask what you can bring. They may be low on somthing you have or not have something you have that you can bring. You may not think it's an essential to bring but it is to them, and you need to do your part. Be helpful.

Remember before you do leave.
Learn where your main water line shut off it, turn all water lines off.
Turn natural gas line off to house, yes, get that wrench.
Turn main breaker off to house, check electric meter to make certain all is off.

I know I have missed a million and one things to do but i just want to get you started at least on thinking of " WHAT TO DO".
New York Preppers Network Est. Jan 17, 2009 All contributed articles owned and protected by their respective authors and protected by their copyright. New York Preppers Network is a trademark protected by American Preppers Network Inc. All rights reserved. No content or articles may be reproduced without explicit written permission.