Today’s non-fiction writing contest entry; “Being Elderly and Living A lone Doesn’t Mean You Can’t Be A Good Prepper! ” was written Teri H
As a woman in her middle sixties, I’ve always been frugal. We baby boomers were raised to be frugal by parents who were born and raised during the depression era. Our mothers taught us early how to cook with what we had, usually fresh from the farm. If we didn’t live on a farm, we had a relative who owned one and we visited them often, learning the ways of that kind of life style.
We were taught how to can the food we raised and we were taught how to make butter, milk cows, ring a chicken’s neck and prepare it for eating or freezing. We were taught how to plant gardens, how to control insects and what to eat for any illness that came our way.
Our mothers also taught us to sew and mend our clothing. They also taught us the value of wearing things until they couldn’t be mended anymore. Even then, we used them for rags for cleaning one thing or another or cut them up to make warm quilts. We were taught to reuse and repurpose just about everything we had.
As each new day brings another threat to our survival, I have begun to accept the possibility that we who are currently in our sixties could possibly live another twenty or twenty five years. Some of us will live even longer. With the threat of some kind of disaster taking place in our lifetime or in the future, we, as older adults can utilize what our mothers taught us all those years ago. It got me thinking about how much we really do know about survival.
Living within the city limits of a good sized city, I started thinking about what I could do to fortify my home. I started rethinking the value of having a backyard garden, even in these times of drought. I started thinking about food storage, safety, protection, rain collection and other varied survival techniques and I suddenly realized, I was already a prepper. I guess I really have been all of my life.
I started reading up on prepping and realized it was something we were taught to do as kids a long time ago.
With this in mind, I started looking around my house, the garage, and the back yard, looking for things I could reuse and repurpose within the new parameters of being an elderly woman living alone in my town.
The first thing I did was started buying a few extra things each time I went to the grocery store. An extra bag of beans, an extra bag of sugar and flour, an extra couple of cans of Vienna Sausage here and there, as well as extra cans of vegetables, especially when they are on sale and extra bottles of spices. I even learned to like Spam.
I started reusing my juice bottles to fill with water for storage. If I don’t drink it, I can wash with it or at least flush the toilet when I need to. I started saving the plastic bags to keep for liners for my Porta-potty if I need to use it instead of the toilet.
I had a friend who gave me a two hundred twenty five gallon storage tank to collect rain water in. The rain drains into my gutters which I reworked to run into the storage tank. I use that water for my garden now.
I had another one brought in for the front yard, catching the water that drains on that side of the house.
I gathered up excess, unused lumber to make inside shutters for all of my windows. Even though I had new double paned windows installed for energy conservation, I decided it wouldn’t hurt to have heavy duty shutters installed on the inside of my home for my security – just in case. I made them myself in the comfort of my garage and installed them by myself. They are made of two by four pieces of lumber and hung with heavy duty hinges much like the old inside shutters that hung inside homesteaders shelters with crosses in the middle for gun ports. I keep them open during the day for sunlight and close them at night for safety.
I brought cinder blocks inside from the back yard and laid two by twelve pieces of lumber on them to make study shelves for my food storage. It reminded me of being a teenager, building shelves for my cool stereo system in my first apartment. The shelves are sturdy and hold a lot of canned goods.
I made sure the Walther PPK my husband had when he was alive was clean and in good working condition and I made sure I knew how to use it. I also learned how to clean my husband’s twelve gauge shotgun. I knew I could use it and knew without a doubt, if I had to, I would use it.
I installed a set of heavy duty supports made from angle iron on each side of the door, both front door and back door. The supports hold a two by six piece of lumber that keeps each door barred closed. And of course each steel door has a dead bolt lock. I would venture to guess it will take quite a lot for someone to break in.
I got all of my husband’s old camping gear down from storage in the garage and made sure I knew how to use or operate each item. The camp stove, lanterns, fishing equipment, and other paraphernalia. I even had his old rusted machete cleaned and sharpened along with his axe and other tools.
I took a little bit of the money he left me and turned it into small bills and coins that I keep in a fireproof lock box. I don’t use the money for anything but I know it’s there in the event I can’t get to the bank if I need to.
With each thing I do to secure my safety and each step I take as a new found Prepper, even though I’m an old woman, I have to smile a little because I realize, I’m not just a scared little old woman who lives alone. I know I’m taking care of myself now, and will be able to do so in the event of an emergency. I’m full of piss and vinegar and will be able to survive for quite some time if need be. My daughter knows what I’ve done and how I believe. She actually feels better knowing I can take care of myself.
The point is – I used to sit and fret over what I would do when the time comes for me to have to do something. All I could think about is, “I’m alone and I’m scared.” I took that fear and reworked it, remembering the things my mother taught me and I put what I knew to good use.
Now, not only am I prepared for what might come my way, I’m not alone anymore and I’m for sure, not scared. I have made the home my husband built for me a real fortress. I am proud to say I am a real life prepper and I hope anybody who is elderly and lives alone and who reads this realizes the knowledge they already possess. I hope they too can put what their mother’s taught them to good use.
Elderly people who live alone don’t have to be afraid. There are things we can do to make our homes safe – to make us safe. There are things we can do, even as little old women who live alone, that will give us half a chance to live those extra twenty or twenty five years.
Prizes for this round (ends October 20th 2014 ) in our non fiction writing contest include…
- First place winner will receive – A $500 gift certificate off of any product or products at MRE Depot!
- Second place winner will receive – a gift a gift certificate for $150 off of Winchester ammo fromLuckyGunner and a Wonder Junior Deluxe grain mill courtesy of Kitchen Neads.
- Third place winner will receive – a Survival Puck courtesy of Innovation Industries and 20 Live Fire Sport – Emergency Fire Starters from LPC Survival.
- Fourth Place winner will receive – a copy of my book ”31 Days to Survival: A Complete Plan for Emergency Preparedness“ and “Dirt Cheap Survival Retreat” courtesy of TheSurvivalistBlog.net and copy of “The Survival Medicine Handbook” courtesy of www.doomandbloom.net.