“There is no real ending. It’s just the place where you stop the story.”

― Frank Herbert

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

The Power Grid. Who needs it?

There's a drill coming up shortly to simulate a power grid failure.  Although there are a lot of articles on the news web pages about it, here's one that's representative from MSNBC.


Personally, if the power grid goes down I'm in pretty good shape. I have a back up generator, plenty of fuel for it,  LED lanterns and flashlights,  about a zillion years worth of big candles that I buy after every Christmas, Halloween, etc when they go on sale.  I've got beau coup propane to heat and cook with, and plenty of fire wood for the same purposes if it comes to that.   I've got battery powered short wave radios, satellite radios, and plenty of the old phones that are powered off the 20 hz signal on the phone line.  

I've got enough food to ride out the second flood, medical supplies, clothing, tools, arms, ammunition, and a diesel powered truck that runs off the same fuel the generator does. 

I might not be as comfortable without the grid, but to be honest I don't think it would be that horrific on my end.  Yes, I'd have to wash clothes in a tin tub with a scrub board, but I already have those. Plenty of soap, too.  I'd have to heat water on the stove, but I've got a big kettle for doing so if I need to go that route.

I've got kerosene lanterns, and 50 gallons of kerosene, not to mention cases of  "lamp oil" that I buy when it's on sale.  I recently stocked up on dog food, cat food, and ferret food. I can't remember what happened that made me go get additional supplies but something motivated me to do so. I have enough cracked corn to last the chickens til spring.

So, if it happens, it happens. At least I won't be bored.  But I will miss watching Defiance, The Americans, Hell on Wheels, Longmire, and The Bridge.

25 comments:

  1. I think on the pet food, the closer place ran out of ferret food and you ended up driving a ways to find it.

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    1. There are two towns up here that have a pet store with ferret food. Both are a good clip away. But I will drive whatever I have to in order to keep my ferrets supplied. Logistics is tough with so many different types of animals living here and ferrets are "exotics" which makes them harder to keep stocked up.

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    2. could you trap rabbits? My uncle, used to get scraps from the butchers and gave them raw eggs. He used to use them up on the moors to catch rabbits. he has kept them since he was a young boy in the war. that is how my family ate well. there wasn't much he couldn't get together with foraging and knowing his wild plant.

      Especially mushrooms. he was fantastic finding those. my nan used to barter them for other things.

      I love dried mushrooms, I use them as a meat substitute and when something is bland.

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  2. Sounds like you are set to settle in for a bit of need be.

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    1. I even have a lot of old timey popcorn that you pop in a pot. I'm good to go!
      :-)

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  3. Yep right there with ya. My little solar array can keep all my little gadgets going indefinitely (I haven't used electricity to charge them or my hand tools in years now) I can even run the wood furnace blower by switching batteries around if I run out of generator fuel.

    I have enough candles and lamps to last years as well.

    My biggest issue? Dealing with my son's internet withdrawals. Mine too truth be told.

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  4. I'd miss the net, guess I would have to rely on radio for news. I would wonder what happened to my blog friends. I expect most of those in cities would be devoured by cannibals in short order. You think?

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    1. I think within a very short time period it would be very scary. Cannibalism is a tough subject to accurately research really. There are scores of stories around but the real experts seem to think it is one of those things that is simply such an abomination that 99% of the actual instances of it happening are completely covered up and forgotten about.

      I read somewhere a few years back about a number of instances of it happening during the great depression. Not sure if it was true but you never hear about it in regular channels if it did.

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    2. You know, I used to write articles for Jim Benson back when he was publishing his webzine after American Survival Guide went under. The only one I wrote that he didn't publish had to do with cannibalism in collapse scenarios. There's a wealth of information on it, and it's a lot more prevalent than people think. I'm not talking about the Donner Party or the soccer team that ate the dead in the Andes mountains. What I was researching was incidents of large scale cannibalism associated with societal implosion. The most glaring example is the collapse of Anasazi civilization in the American Southwest. But there are a lot of others. Leningrad during World War II was haunted by cannibals and the NKVD executed large numbers of people there for the practice. Just before the Zulu Wars in South Africa, inter tribal warfare devastated the cattle herds that formed the basis of their society, and the fractured remnants broke into two camps. Some were cannibals, and some were not. When the society began to recover, the schism between the two groups effected tribal politics for years. Easter Islanders went that route when they exhausted available resources. It goes on and on. My conclusion was that in a situation where available food resources aren't sufficient to meet long term needs, cannibalism is going to inevitably occur. But it's a disturbing topic and I think most people prefer not to really give it much thought. One of the things that seemed consistent in all of these examples was that women and children were the preferred victims, and that adds an additional sense of "taboo breaking." The best book on the subject, though it deals exclusively with the Anasazi , is "Man Corn" by Turner.

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    3. Yep pretty much the same conclusion I came to. You can find little hints here and there and people describing circumstances ripe for the act but no one wants to go all the way and state that it happened.

      A very uncomfortable topic I guess.

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    4. I believe China also had some occurances of canaballism occurring during major famines. Families would trade their infants with theri neighbors so that consuming a family member was avoided.

      Yikes, it is an ugly situation to contemplate, gives me the willies just thinking about it.

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  5. Dude, when I grow up I wanna be just like you.
    Hows 'Walking Dead' coming?

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    1. I have to admit I haven't put the DVD on the machine yet. I am going to try to start watching it today.

      You don't want to be like me. I have a bad temper, people are leery of me, and they hate me at the courthouse because when I don't like something I go down there and raise hell. ;-)

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  6. I shutter thinking about all those folks who think folks like us are silly. They really don't have a clue what is going on and what could and will happen.
    Senior and i need to stock up on pet foods too.. thanks for the reminder !

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    1. It's the Grasshopper and the Ants scenario. I think more people are beginning to get the feeling that they need to do a little prior planning on their own behalf. CNN, not my favorite news channel, did a segment a few days ago in which they described very wealthy people who are now taking steps to insure their futures in the event of a societal dislocation. I noticed that when middle class people do this, CNN considers them "nuts" but when the wealthy do it, then it is good planning and a sign of forward thinking.

      I'm sensitive to pet food because in my early days up here, I was sometimes caught without enough of it and couldn't get into town through the snow to get more. In those days, I had dogs and cats, chickens and horses. We could usually come up with something for them to eat even if it was just boiled rice with tuna in it, or corn from our own food reserves. But the ferrets have to have special food, they can't live without it. Now I'm in the habit of stashing large quantities "just in case."

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  7. Harry I did a no tap water test last year and no tap water is a lot of work! If you can afford it get a couple of those big Igloo drink jugs in the 5 gallon range. Once you heat your water just prime the jug like you would a thermos with about a quart to a half gallon of hot water then fill with hot water. To hot to touch hot water lasted about 12 hours and it was perfect for washing dishes or a bath for about 24 hours. Having plenty of hot water in the AM is really nice and a huge time and physical energy saver during the day.

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    1. Jamie,
      I keep about 300 gallons of water on hand in containers at any given time. That's what I use to water the animals so it rotates naturally. I've got a well pump that can run off my generator. If I used up all my generator fuel, I can pull the pump and pipe out of the core, and I have a two gallon "well bucket" or "torpedo" that I can lower down into the well, and draw back up. I've bought the pulleys and brackets to install it permanently over the well if I have to. I also have an artesian well that bubbles up to the surface right near my house, and 300 feet down the slope there's a massive creek, about 20 feet across and 3 to 5 feet deep depending on the season. It comes out of the national forest so it's clean. Now I confess I have never done a lot of heating hot water for a long period and your idea of the big thermos jugs never occurred to me . I think that's a darn good thought, and I'm going to get a couple. Thanks for the idea.

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  8. You know that this test could cause the grid to crash. Remember the food stamp back up test.??

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    1. Let it. Then I'll sit back and listen to the chaos and have a smoke on the old pipe. I guess actually I'd be concerned about some of my blog friends that live in cities though.

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  9. Harry - get yourself a smartphone with a solar charger and you'll be able to fulfill your internet need to a degree.. . ;)

    Not the easiest to make comments with, as the "keyboard" is so bloody small, but it's better than nothing.

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    1. Alas, Dani. I live so far out that cell service here is limited to intermittent text at best. If the grid goes out, I think the servers and all that associated with my service provider would be the problem. They can't keep decent internet service going even in normal times.

      I have a Kindle, but I guess it wouldn't work very well either if we had a grid down situation.

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  10. if it wasn't so costly, on our next house I would add PV cells to the roof and make my own electricity. As there are only 2 of us, if we gave up the big freezer and heated water by solar also, it would be tight, but we would be able to cope with out the national grid. I did one of the tests that is linked to a blog called the Greening of Gavin. I really likee that blog. it is about being more self sufficient in an urban area.

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    1. I built a big back up power system out here with solar cells, generator, inverter, battery bank, the works. In the end, I actually felt better off with just the generator. I know Pioneer Preppy uses a small solar power system he built out in his shop, so it can be done. It was just a lot of work keeping all the equipment in my system up and running, and there was a lot of preventive maintenance.

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  11. Whilst I was staying over with Ian in the hospital they tested their emergency back up system around 2am one morning. It was quite scary being in the intensive care unit when it all went dark for about twenty seconds before the generators kicked in. They must have run them an hour or so as there was another very slight disruption, and a brightening of lighting, later when they switched back to normal power. Afterwards the staff were checking over all the equipment and testing defribrillators etc. The staff I spoke to were saying that they had stepped up the frequency and duration of their tests in the past six months, so it looks like there are lots of these sorts of things going on in government run places all over.

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    1. I've heard from a number of different people that rolling blackouts of indeterminate length are a possibility over there this winter. I wonder if that had some connection to the hospital crew testing their back up power system? I know our local hospital can run off two huge diesel generators, using fuel from a big tank out back, for 36 hours. After that, if the grid doesn't come back up and they are not resupplied with diesel, they are out of business.

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