Sunday, August 26, 2012

A few prepping notes

I want to do a post on prepping - this ain't anything that hasn't been covered a million times before by people that are way more informed than me - but there are some things that to me haven't been given adequate coverage.
Now I know (and I hope you do too) that folks in different parts of the country prep for different disasters and this is perfectly understandable. You can't prep for everything and you damned sure don't want to because it won't give you time to enjoy life.
So people on the coast tend to prep for major storms and tidal waves, people in the midwest for tornadoes, northeasterners for winter weather, some Californians for earthquakes, etc.
Then you've got preps for civil unrest and for the real nutjobs such as myself, for total collapse of the electrical grid.
You have to be specific for your area. You know best what you need to survive for an indefinite period of time in your location.

As an example I'm going to give you my layout.
I live in Central California, elevation about 60 feet if you're on top of an overpass. It's a very flat arid valley about 300 miles long and 90 miles wide with large urban populations down the 2 main north/south corridors, Hwys 99 and I-5. When I say arid, I mean we average 12 inches of rain a year. Our farming is done with irrigation, from several huge reservoirs in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada and distributed by canals. The canals have basically turned this desert into a lush farmland, one of the richest in the Nation. We got fruit, we have hundreds if not thousands of acres of corn, wheat, legumes, tomatoes, nut orchards, lettuce, melons, you name it, we got it.
Our weather is moderate in the winter, rarely dropping below 25 degrees and fucking hot in the summer, occasionally going above 110 degrees. I can remember three days in a row of 115.
There are the Stanislaus and the Tuolumne rivers flowing into the San Joaquin which in turn flows into the Delta and eventually the San Francisco Bay.
I'm separated from the coast by the coastal range which are about 3000 feet high. Just on the other side of the beginning of the coast range and extending to the coast are millions of fucking city folks.
Don't sound too bad, does it? Prime land, lots of water, food to eat, decent weather and far enough inland that I don't even think about earthquakes. So why am I prepping? Read the previous paragraph again especially the part about millions of city folks just over the hills from me.

They do have earthquakes over there, they don't have a coast range to protect them from a tidal wave and San Francisco is a prime target for any kind of attack, terrorist or militarily because of the financial centers and that harbor.
Shit happens over there and makes it unlivable, they only have one direction to go: here. This fucking countryside is going to be picked clean. Folks naturally gravitate towards rivers so that means our rivers will be sewers. Our stores and homes will be looted and we'll have armed gangs in the streets looking for food. Okay, maybe that last part was a little much but it is possible.
Let's take it one step further - what if we have a solar flare like the one back in 1859? That one was so strong it fried telegraph lines. No big deal back then but if that happened today? It would set us back hundreds if not thousands of years. No power for anything. Back to hand farming. No irrigation because it takes electricity to operate all the locks and dams and ditches. Our rivers would quit flowing until the reservoirs crested their dams. No clean water for at least a year. Our lush farmland will turn back into desert within one year.

How do you prep for that shit?
Well, start out by laying in at least a year's supply of food while buying non-hybrid seeds for the year after. Stock up on lots of beans and rice for the protein (wild game and farm animals will become almost non-existant in a very short time), dried fruits and dehydrated vegetables. Learn to can your garden vegetables. The obvious shit, you know? Store it in food grade buckets. Buy combo cases of dehydrated eggs, shortening, milk and butter - comes in #10 cans and has a shelf life of 25 years.

Now everybody knows that you should stock up on ammo, right? How much? More than what you have is about the only answer I have for that. I go down to my local Big 5 Sporting Goods and buy at least 2 boxes of 223 per week. It's always on sale for 9 bucks a box, so I don't feel the pinch. You do that for a year and you have 2000+ rounds of ammo. 22LR is so fucking cheap that there's no excuse for not having at least 5000 rounds on hand right now. 500 rounds will run you a 20 Dollar bill. You don't have a 22? Buy it anyways, everybody else has 22s and you can use your ammo for trading material.

Another thing that I don't hear about buying in bulk - salt. Everybody needs salt. Not only does your body need salt but you use salt to preserve meats, to tan hides, to make your rice and beans taste better. I've been all over this valley and I don't know of a single natural source of salt. Buy a couple of hundred pounds of different grades of salt.

Soap is another thing. I knew a medic that served in Vietnam that used to go out on MedCaps ( sick calls at the local villes and hamlets - hearts and minds type of thing) and he told me that 99% of the diseases and ailments that he treated could've been prevented with soap. Buy soap - lots of soap. Good antibacterial soap without perfumes and shit if you can, but buy soap.

Now for the Big One - water. Gotta have water. Gotta have clean water. Go to ProBass and buy a couple of their 1,000,000 gallon water filters. They're gravity fed and all you need is a five gallon bucket. As far as finding that water, you're on your own. You know your area better than I do. But let me give you a quick tip. Go to Google Earth right now and take a screen shot of your neighborhood from a couple of thousand feet up and print it out. See all those swimming pools and koi ponds?
There will be sources of water - low spots in water mains beneath the ground, hot water heaters, cisterns, etc. You just have to find it. Hell, maybe you'll be lucky enough that your water table is only a few feet down. Dig a fucking well - but filter that water.

Oh, one more thing - those fucking 72 hour disaster kits you can buy at Walmart with 12 meals or whatever? Buy the shit yourself. Why spend money on a fucking kit with desserts when you can buy shit that'll keep you alive? You can put together a much better kit for less money. Besides that, why 72 hours? Is that when the government is going to come to the rescue? Fuck the government. Take care of yourself.

First aid kits are a must. Shit that I wouldn't pay attention to right now might pose a serious threat in an unclean environment. Buy heavy duty gear. Alcohol, lots of ace bandages, felony gloves, sterile gauze, tape, anti-inflammatories, pain killers, forceps, triangular bandages for slings, tourniquets, and especially Celox for blood loss. That is some wonderful stuff. Arterial bleeding? No sweat, dump Celox into it, apply direct pressure for 5-10 minutes and you're done until you can transport him/her to a trained medical professional. Just remember that Celox has a shelf life. Notice I didn't mention anything about suture kits? You do not want to be sewing up wounds. Leave that to the folks that know what the fuck they're doing - you'll end up stitching a fucking pine needle or bullet jacket up inside of you, not to mention billions and billions of germs that will kill you.
Take a first-aid course though your local fire department. Do you know what to do if somebody has a punctured lung? A sucking chest wound? An amputated limb? Do you know how to treat somebody for shock whose legs can't be elevated? How to perform CPR and mouth to mouth? Can you tie or clamp off a bleeding artery? You goddamned well better know how if you plan on doing any fighting or defending.

So, this isn't anything that hasn't been said before. I do want to point out though that near the bottom of my sidebar is a column for "Shit that might come in handy". That's where you'll find your prepper links.


Matt said...

Thanks for the google/water hint.

drjim said...

You got it nailed, Kenny!
I bought a bunch of salt last year, and my wife thought I was nuts. I bought two of the BassPro water filters you clued me in to, and she thought that was pretty cool.
I never thought about soap, though.
Time to go buy a bunch, and seal it up in some ziploc bags, or maybe vacuum bag it. Some of the components of it don't age well, at least the modern stuff. It tends to get dry, and the bars crack.
My Mom used to swear by Fels Naptha soap. She said that stuff would last forever, and when I was gathering up my stuff out of the basement in 1982 to move out here, I found half a dozen bars under the steps. The stuff hadn't been touched for about ten years, from right after she passed away, and it still looked, smelled, and cleaned like it was brand new.
I don't even know if they still make it, but I'm going to start looking for it!

Anonymous said...

I like Dr. Bronners liquid soap. Have used it exclusively for 45 years. It's a bit expensive but it's all natural and will stay good forever. I started using it when I lived in a cabin with no running water. A little bit goes a long way, it lathers up nicely cleans great, gentle enough for a baby and rinses off clean with little water. It doesn't leave a film on your skin either. I keep several gallons of scented soap, it comes in a variety of nice smalls, and a gallon of tea tree oil soap on hand. The tea tree oil soap is great for any skin issue on me, or any of my critters.

I also keep fels naptha bars just in case I ever have to do laundry by hand again. Yep they still make it. Nothing beats fels naptha and a good glass scrub board. I'm going to try making liquid laundry detergent with the fels naptha I have heard good things about it. If things do break bad staying clean and having clean clothes will be paramount to good health.

Erinyes said...

I'd add betadine to the first aid list. And crazy glue for small wound closure. Or Newskin.

Erinyes said...

Also, hang on to any unused antibiotics you may have. I found them to be useful two and a half years ago when my dog was attacked and received an abcessed neck wound. As we had no money to take him to the vet, I cleaned and dressed it myself twice a day and administered antibiotics in a reduced dosage. He made it through with flying colors. While I know one is supposed to take the full course when prescribed, it seems there's always a bottle or two laying around with a few in it that weren't consumed.

hiswiserangel said...

As a life-long major clutz who should not be allowed to handle anything sharper than a butter knife, wirecutter turned me towards Celox. I'm a redheaded bleeder and that stuff WORKS. I remember the Fels Naptha from summers with Granny and Grandad, but haven't seen any in decades. Going to search for that.

Bootmaker said...

US Army medic field manual.
one of the most prized volumes in my collection.
along with...
The poor mans james bond
The foxfire book
Homesteaders handbook
The alaskan bootleggers bible
Septic systems for dummies
Fieldguide for N. American plants and animals
Boy Scout handbook(get one of the old ones...the newer ones are useless)

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the blog! The prep stuff is VERY useful, and the boobage!! I must disagree with your end of civilization scenario... I think that SM Stirlings' "Dies The Fire" series pegs it. If civilization falls, the population densities in Cali, N York, etc. will eat EVERYTHING in the first weeks. Three days of food in this country means everything within a days' bicycle ride, perhaps a hundred miles, will be overrun in the first week. We'll end up with dead zones (after the cannibals burn out) around the major pop centers. East coast, west coast? Not much left. As long as the trucks roll, you are OK. I live between Dallas and Austin, so my bug-out plan has us traveling east or west.

SierraCheryl said...

If it gets that crazy, you and yours are welcome to get up here and escape the marauding hordes - if you can. We have enough preps to support you. We're mountain people - even the @#$ liberals have weapons -- so we're not too concerned with the vermin from Reno taking our stores. Walker River is very close by, lots of game, and a defensible space. We want to help out our III patriots all we can.

Anonymous said...

You are right on with the soap, here is another gold nugget. Go to home depot and buy a couple boxes of "Pool Shok" 60%, not the 40% (it has algecides and other crap in it) the 60% pool shok will make atleast 10,000 gallons of bleach per box. 14 bucks for 10,000 gallons of bleach and it does not cost you to feed or store the pool shok.

Thwe allegory

MissK said...

There's a show on the National Geographic Channel called DOOMSDAY PREPPERS. I seen a few episodes, pretty interesting stuff, and yes some very eccentric folks on there. My first thought was "OMG this is Kenny"

I'm kinda new to this world, well not totally, my mother use to pack the freezer with frozen water because she was "expecting the end of the world, any day now". yeah that, and candles. I know very limited preps.

Well anyways this show might have some interesting hints for some of you, or then again it might be really basic, to each his own. At the very least a good laugh if you consider roadkill dinning Mmmmm. And yes Wirecutter there is an episode about the total collapse of the electrical grid.

Here's some links if anybody's interested :

This is the Wiki page, it has episode information.

Happy Prepping ;-)

drjim said...

Thanks for the tip on the "Pool Shok". I'd read about that somewhere else, but forgot about it.
Fels Naptha is still widely available. According to wikkipedia they changed the formula some time ago to eliminate the Stoddard Solvent (mineral spirits) that used to be in it.
That brings to mind another couple of items to store if you have the space...lubricants and solvents. I'm sure we could start a whole 'nother thread about those!

hiswiserangel said...

Re your Shit that Might Come in Handy list. See Victoria's Secret is still there. ;-) Would love to see a post on how THAT shit could come in handy.
Sling shots, tourniquets, filters, restraints...

Erinyes said...

Something I have never seen discussed but which occurred to me a while back. If the SHTF truly, in a BIG way, what happens to every nuke site, university and research facility that no longer has anyone to maintain any radioactive components? That shit is all across the country. How does one avoid the areas that might go Chernobyl-like?

hiswiserangel said...

Erinyes, when we moved to Panhandle and I realized we were 14 miles from Pantex, where America's nuclear arms are either armed or disarmed depending on the current occupier of the White House, I asked the nice lady at City Hall what the evacuation plans were. You know, in case of a Chernobyl Oops.
She looked at me like I was "special" and said quietly, "Aw, honey, that's just so cute that you think there's a plan..."

Erinyes said...

HWA: Exactly. So when the SHTF, you have no idea if the area you just walked into and set up camp in is going to make you lose all your hair and vomit blood until you die.

Anonymous said...

multiples of EVERYTHING! how to make multiples of everything. mechanical advantage. kenny your'e gettin to be an old fart.member mechanical advantage ie anyhting that makes work easier peace bro! delr

Wrench said...

Thanks Kenny and other contributors for your great ideas and thoughts. I have been slowly planning and buying but not as diligent as I should have been. I saw the movie 2016 yesterday and if this guy steals this election, we are going to need a plan. Lots of luck to all and stay prepping.

Rpm2day said...

When my girl had surgery to remove a growth the vet gave her antibiotics of course. He told me that they're the same as human ones. Great guy, Country Vet, Elk Grove,CA. One man stand, cool dude. Oh and a shooter, it's under his hobbies on his website!

Anonymous said...

A lot of people say get a good knife, but forget about a knife sharpener.

Mike in Fullerton

drjim said...

Excellent comment on the knife SHARPENER.
I have one of those fancy Spyderco kits with the ceramic stones, but the other day when I was at Home Depot I bought a good "Arkansas Stone" and some honing oil. The Spyderco kit works OK, but the good old stone works better for a really dull knife.