This is a guest post and entry in our non-fiction writing contest by Deb H
I am new to prepping. Brand new, “just started” new. I’ve put a lot of time and energy into planning and researching, but renting a condo has not allowed me to really begin lying in supplies on a large-scale.
We just bought a house in central Ohio, in a town of about 18,000 people. We haven’t even moved in yet – can’t do that until mid-April. But I’m making plans, lots and lots of plans. I think any number of disasters can and will happen, but Pandemic is where my money is.
Let me say here It will be me, my husband and his adult son living in the house, with room for about 5-6 more people when necessary, and even more if we don’t mind being crowded. I’m the prepper; my husband and stepson humor me and help when I need it, but I’m the catalyst and the only one who will see that it gets done.
First thing will be having a well dug in the back yard & put up privacy fencing. I’ve started my heirloom vegetables from seeds, and will transplant to raised beds in my new yard; hope to have all of that done by May 1st. Then it’s build a solar water heater and install rain barrels. I’ll install a one way valve in the central sewer line, so stuff can only travel away from the house, not back into the house – pretty important since we plan on sheltering in place.
You see, we were living on Lido Key in Florida about 6-7 years ago, and we had to evacuate for a hurricane. We were kept off the island for 4 days, but no shelter would take us because we had dogs and a parrot. We lived in our car in the shelter parking lot, and only went in the shelter to use the bathrooms. It sucked BIG TIME. After that ordeal I decided I would never leave my home again – I will prepare the best I can and weather it out at home. What happens, happens. I’ve earned the right to stay in my home if that’s what I choose to do.
OK. Next, install an incinerating toilet in the basement, with a bicycle-driven generator to burn the waste. If you have to use the toilet, hop on the bike when you’re done. I think that’s fair, don’t you? We have a full basement (about 1000 sq ft), so there is room for the toilet. The root cellar will go in the windowless northeast corner of the basement. Shelf stable foods will go in the laundry area and in the huge pantry off the 1st floor kitchen. Installation of a wood burning stove in the living room fire-place will be done by the end of summer, and possibly another installed in the kitchen too – I need to do further research on that one.
Solar panels will be installed on the roof of the house, but I probably won’t be able to go completely off grid for another year or so due to the total cost. Need to lay in more lamp oil, matches and candles; I keep an oil lamp in every room in the house just in case. My stepson is going to build a solar food dehydrator so I’m not dependent on electricity to dry foods. I do have an electric dehydrator but would prefer to use solar whenever possible.
I’ve made my own bread for sometime now, and I finally bought a Country Living brand grain mill (http://countrylivinggrainmills.com/). I LOVE it! Sometimes they have models with cosmetic issues (such as paint finish) that still work fine and are covered by the warranty. I bought one of these and saved $70.00, so it was well worth the email I sent asking about 2nds. If you’ve considered buying one, DO IT. You won’t regret it.
My husband and I really enjoy reading for both knowledge and pleasure, and I’ve been working on increasing our library by hitting library sales, estate sales, etc. When we lose cable TV and the internet (I don’t doubt for a heartbeat we will lose these services) we will be able to read by lamplight in the evenings.
We also have a good supply of playing cards, poker chips and board games for entertainment. I sew and spend the winter months making quilts. They will never win a prize at the County Fair, but they will keep us warm! I use a treadle sewing machine whenever possible. I’ve accumulated more cast iron cookware, as it can be used over an open fire and holds heat for a long period. Don’t get me wrong – I love my copper pots and pans, but ANY food turns into comfort food when cooked in cast iron.
We will need to replace the back door to the house for security reasons; it’s a nice old wooden door with a great big window you could easily crawl thru after you break it. We have a double door front entry, so if you make it thru one door you still have to make it thru another, so no problem then. Maybe a razor wire bale to put between the doors when the SHTF? I want to install a security door at the top of the basement stairs, and window protection on the first floor.
I need to research beefing up the basement ceiling so if a tornado hits, the basement will still be livable. We also have a gas stove and sink in the basement which I will use as my “summer kitchen” for canning this year. I want to be able to live in the basement if we have to. Ideally I would like to be able to stay home continuously for at least 6 months, and hope to expand that to 12 months in the near future.
I haven’t mentioned weapons or defensive tools yet. We will arm up this summer (guns, knives, crossbows and body armor ) and do whatever is necessary to develop adequate skills. My husband & stepson are behind me 100% on this issue, which is fortunate – it can be a deal breaker otherwise.
I will discreetly put out feelers for like-minded neighbors after we move in; I do believe there is strength and safety in numbers. However, I am normally a somewhat guarded person and imagine that will only get worse under duress. We have extended family members who live between 600-1400 miles from us.
If they can get here, they will be welcome with open arms (after quarantine, of course). I’d love to hear about like-minded folks in the prepper community for ideas regarding sheltering in place in a small/medium sized town. BTW I am a 57 year old mom & grandma, and USAF Veteran. My husband, stepson and I work from home but are internet dependent for work.
This is an entry in our non-fiction writing contest where you could win:
First Prize) Winner will receive a Stealth Body Armor Level II vest courtesy of SafeGuard ARMOR™ LLC and a $150 gift certificate for Wolf Ammo courtesy of LuckyGunner.com A total prize value of over $600.
Third Prize) Winner will receive copies of both of my books “31 Days to Survival: A Complete Plan for Emergency Preparedness” and “Dirt-Cheap Survival Retreat: One Man’s Solution” A total prize value of $28.
Contest ends on June 5 2012.