Sunday, August 25, 2013
Old Mother Hubbard, went to the cupboard....
One nice thing about keeping vast quantities of items you actually use, is that you never have one of those moments where you realize you just used the last bottle, or bag, or roll, or widget. Keeping a full store room also enables you to avoid going to the store for long periods of time if you don't feel like going.
The longer you live this way, the less chance there is of suddenly needing something you have never needed before. You actually develop your own supply system, whether you use spreadsheets, or paper lists, or whatever system works for you.
It is perfectly true that if you wait until people have reason to suspect some unusual event is about to occur, you may wind up empty handed. Here in the mountains it's bread, milk, and kerosene. Kerosene heaters are a primary backup for people who use electric heat . Bread and milk seem to be obligatory though I have no idea why. If the weather radio says the magic word "ice" then it's every man (or woman) for themselves. News of an impending asteroid strike could hardly generate more panic.
There's a reason for it. Ice means no power. Most of our power lines are above ground, and they go pretty quickly when we have an ice storm. Ice also means no transportation. We have absolutely no way to clear the secondary roads, and for the main road in and out of the county there's only two ancient dump trucks which put salt on the highway. If we have salt. If the drivers can get to the county shed.
If you live up high, or if you live way back in the woods on a "possum trail" it can literally be two weeks before a bad ice storm finally melts off and lets you get out. I tried to go down the trail in my 4 wheel drive Jeep after one. The Jeep spent the next 9 days catercorner across the road, with the front end wedged up against a tree.
Late in the 1980's, there came a big blizzard that left three to four feet of snow here. That's a lot of snow. A few days after, before the snow melted, we had an ice storm that laid down 2 to 3 inches of ice over it. If the Science Fiction channel ever needs a plot for one of their cheesy disaster movies, they should look into that event. Nothing could move. Not even the farm tractors that are the last resort here. Finally, after much trial and travail, the National Guard got some M113 tracked vehicles up here but by then it was too late for some of the older people out in their little single wide trailers down windy twisty roads through the forest. The power went out, and then they ran out of kerosene, or wood, or whatever their heat source was. That particular episode was one of the things that got me off top dead center and made a believer out of me. I was not then very well equipped, made some basic decision making errors, and we had a really hard time. I had a wife and two small kids, and I told myself we'd never be caught totally unprepared again. Over the years I've refined my techniques and philosophy but the basic thread remains the same. If something happens, I'm going to sit it out safe and warm, sitting tight up here where I'm prepared.