Readiness is a State of Mind

We’re getting ready for the first frost of the season!  Have you converted your BoBs and GHBs for the cold?  Warm clothes, probably a lighter, some matches, maybe a candle-in-a-can for heat (for the car…).  It would be a good time to double-check the expiration dates on any foodstuffs, too.  If they’re close to done, eat them now (it’s good practice in using them) and replace.  Also, something we’re woefully lacking on–preps for our animals.  We’ve got three days of food, at least, but are lacking sufficient water…  (The water thing is a consistent ‘area of improvement’ for us.)

I saw an online tool recently which was supposedly designed to help you make “your ideal bug-out bag” (I misplaced the link; if I find it, I’ll post it to the comments).  While I’m all for using it to help design a starting point, I’m a bit leery of letting somebody else design my bag.  It’s almost certain to include an arsenal (which I think is unnecessary), and to be focused on getting you to your “bug-out location,” probably a cabin in the woods.  Really, they should be aimed at keeping you alive for 72 hours or so, or until you can get to help (or it can get to you) based on your local disasters.  (In my part of the world: flooding, hurricanes, house-fires, extreme snowfall.  Elsewhere: tornadoes, earthquakes, landslides, tsunami, etc.) As ever, in my opinion, it’s best to do your own thinking, and come up with your own bag…

I’ve also seen a couple of other prepper-blogger-types begin to think about more than “save myself!”, and move into “how can I help save the community?”  I believe this is a good trend, and very left-wing of them.  Granted, that’s not why they went there; no, they’ve realized that making a go of it by themselves, or with just their family, might be a bit rough; as a community, the chores can get divvied up a bit, and the load can be lightened for everybody. Heck, it might even be as simple as “my tomato crop failed, but I’ve got a bumper crop of squash; my neighbor up the road had the opposite–we can trade!”

Which brings me to trying to live a bit more seasonally.  We’ve been in a mad scramble over the last few weeks to get a few things built and/or repaired: we have a new wood-shed, which should hold most of what we need for our winter heat (our house only has wood stoves for heat; we’ve averaged about six cords of wood a winter, so far).  Our winter crops are in.  We have a suitable arrangement for the chickens for the winter–and are building a larger coop to fit all of them; that’s a large part of the agenda for this weekend.  The dogs don’t mind the cold (our Pyrenees dearly loves it), and the cats live inside…  I’ve got to double-check that we’ve winterized the pipes (turned off/drained the hose bibs, extra insulation to the pipes under the house), and we’re mostly there…

We’ve also befriended another local farmer, who runs a CSA and food co-op “in town”.  They’re doing the fruits-and-veggies thing, and have had chickens and goats and bees… I’ll certainly be picking their brains over the winter months, learning as much as I can.  (My beehives have been ordered; I’m researching a good source for bees locally–I’ve got a contact with the local beekeeping club, and need to ping them, shortly…)

How are your preps going?  Ready for the winter?


About leftwingsurvivalist

I'm a survivalist and prepper with a difference!
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One Response to Readiness is a State of Mind

  1. Ahh, snow and rain… Not for us on the West Coast…not yet. We are hunkering down for the worst El Niño of the Century. From what I have been able to learn, the scientists and researchers in Climatology are trying to make the best gestimates about what this winter will bring, but it does not look good.

    The garage has been trenched and the smaller outbuilding, with only a tarp for a roof for the last four years, will be dismantled rather than repaired. The monthly earthquake swarms keeps me motivated to continue securing furniture and putting baby latches and baby locks on cabinets ( it is how we keep things relatively secure when the earth moves). I am constantly updating my BoB binder and refining my evacuation supplies. I no longer prep for “roughing it.” Rather I prepare to keep my family safe and secure in place or prep for what the family and pets will need in an evacuation center. The recent fires in Lake and Butte Counties generated lots of good info on prepping for evacuation and living in evac centers or with friends or family. So now prep includes planning for the possibility of evacuees coming to stay in our home or community at some point.

    A new furnace will be installed this week. The old one gave out a year ago, but since then we haven’t needed one in all that time, we opted to hold off as long as possible. With this winter I think a central heat source would be wise, though it is currently midnight and the temperature is still a dry 70 degree F.

    For now wildfires are still the danger. Lots of dry grass, dry scrub needed tending and trees had to be cut back and checked for sudden oak death and drought stress. There are two large trees on the property that died from the drought, and they will need professionals to take them down, since both are near the street and power lines. My garden did well, considering that there was little water to spare for the plants. A grey water system was a must in this era of extreme rationing. Drip systems are worse than useless, as the birds and rodents destroy the lines to get to the water. I instead mulched heavily (two to four inches thick) and layered in newspapers at about 8″ under the topsoil to keep the surface moister from dispersing down. I also experimented more extensively on using plant communities rather than mono crop beds. It worked beautifully. Potatoes and carrots failed, but the tomatoes were amazing, as well as the peppers, lettuces, yacon, sunflowers, beans, corn, pumpkins, horse radishes, amaranth, spreen, lambs quarters, orach, chard, and and summer squash. The citrus blight has not reached this far north, yet, so the the summer lemons and limes did well and we can expect the winter persimmons and oranges to be plentiful. The huckleberries and blueberries produced like crazy, but got eaten by the family before I could can, freeze or dehydrate any. The opuntia and prickly pear cactus are doing excellent and like to be left alone. We are still trying to getting use to cooking and eating cactus.

    The onions and garlic just went in the ground. My winter kale, cabbage, and squash are doing well. The unusually warm temperatures have allowed a small colony of potter wasps, normally found only in Southern California, to establish themselves in the garden, and they are busily caring off all the catipillers from the cabbages. The dry has decimated the slugs and snails. The slugs I am glad to be rid of, but the big fat feral French escargot snails I normally cage and begin to prep for Thanksgiving about now, are nowhere to be found.

    California both hopes for and dreds the potentially super wet winter. I sincerely hope your weather stays relatively “normal.”

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