Thursday, August 19, 2010


We have had a pretty busy summer with family get-togethers and such, and last week we thought we'd take out the tent and do some camping. Got some cookout appropriate food (i.e. hot dogs) and headed for a campsite sufficiently far away that it felt like we were out in the middle of somewhere, as opposed to the backyard...

It started well enough, except that I might add that Friday late afternoon/early evening is not the ideal time to go in search of camping supplies, unless you want plenty of company, and the accompanying longer lines at the store. By the time I returned home, it was starting to cloud over a little, but we hit the road anyway. What's a few clouds, right?

Having arrived at our destination, we got a fire going and while I took over the culinary responsibilities, my husband set up the tent and our children took off and climbed a tree, etc. It was interesting to me that in the bordering campsites there were mostly campers complete with electricity, dining rooms, and all the comforts of home, and few to no other tents. (I suppose I may have missed some if they were blocked by the larger campers.)

The clouds were darkening, but we managed to get through dinner for the most part before it started to rain. The problem was, the wind picked up as well. The children ran into the tent, but as my husband started to put the final cover over it, he said we might have to call it quits, not because of the rain, (we had our vehicle, and set-up on the tent was nearly complete) but because of the wind. The way things were going, it looked like there was a great possibility that the tent would end up being blown over, and that was not a pleasant prospect. So, to everyone's disappointment, while the children sat in the vehicle, my husband and I put out the fire, packed up the tent, and drove home pretty much drenched. The weather got better the closer we got to home, but what can you do?

We chose to return home because we had that option. If we hadn't, and the tent had blown over, we could have taken (likely uncomfortable) refuge in our vehicle, and ended up packing up either in the middle of the night or early the next morning. But here is my question to anyone who is willing to offer some advice--what could we have done to better weather out the "storm", and lessen the chances that the tent would blow over? Are there any practices that we don't know about that we could have utilized? It would not be pleasant to have no other options than a tent and not know how to make the best of the situation. Like HermitJim from Coffee with the Hermit commented on my last post, "knowledge is power!" So feel free to share... :)

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Let them drink milk

We went on a tour of a local dairy recently, and my children loved it. I am considering starting home delivery for milk, but the big thorn there is that a gallon is probably usually going to be about twice the amount we would pay at the store. Of course, it is delivered to our door, and there is the aspect of impulse buying, where you go out for milk and come back with $50 of additional purchases, but I'm not a big impulse buyer. (Please note that I said not a big impulse buyer--I have been known to indulge in the occasional non-necessary and totally extravagant small purchase(s). ) Hence, the impulse buyer aspect wouldn't necessarily make the milk pay for itself in our case. But the fact that we would have a local supplier if there was disruption in the milk supply/food transportation industry makes the home delivery option somewhat tempting, plus we like to support our local economy when possible....

Anyway, I was thinking, non-farmer that I am, that even in an emergency cows would have to be milked, so it should be available, given that you had the means to preserve it. Thing is, during a guide's informational talk, it came out that every cow provides 9 gallons of milk per day, and to do so, every cow drinks 60 gallons of water a day. As you may have noticed from my last post, I have been worrying about water storage lately, and this didn't really do anything to make me feel better about it.... If you have dry milk, you will still need water to drink it. If you think that you may get your hydration from fresh milk from a local supplier as part of your storage plan, it might be good to know that the cows need water too, and a bunch of it. Since they won't even let me raise a chicken where I live, I hadn't given much thought to the needs of larger livestock. Quite eye-opening, for me at least.

There are other options for milk--evaporated and condensed come to mind--but if part of your plan for your circle of responsibility is to "let them drink milk", please consider how much water must come into the equation to do so. I know I am...

Friday, August 6, 2010

I don't think you could ever have too much of that...

I recently attended a food storage presentation, but due to conflicts in schedule, I was very late and only caught part of it. When I came in, the speaker was asking about how many in attendance had toilet paper in their storage. I turned to the person next to me, and said, (yeah, you guessed it) "I don't think you could ever have too much of that in storage..."

This is true for me on at least a couple of levels--for one, even if you were to meet a goal of, say, a year's supply of toilet paper, it is the kind of resource that is in constant rotation, and it would be difficult to keep it at that level if/when an emergency hit. But there is also the fact (as I think I mentioned to my neighbor) that it has the potential to be a great barter item. In an idea that is not original to me, (thank you, whoever put this on their blog) you should never barter a supply that the person you are bartering with could use against you--a good example of which might be ammunition. So, in my opinion, it can never hurt to have a little (extra?) toilet paper around.

I was also reminded earlier this summer that it would be difficult indeed to store too much water, especially depending on weather conditions (except, of course, when it's raining... :). I was at an amusement park out of state, and we were doing the rounds of rides, when I went on one that didn't quite agree with me. Something to do with spinning around at relatively high speeds, most likely, but in any case, when I got off the ride, I was very overheated and not very happy about it. We had water and we had ice, but it didn't seem to help much. I did not feel very good, and after seeing myself in a mirror and my red-dark red-purplish hue, I was kind of concerned. A person who saw this (who herself looked like she had just arrived at the park fresh from an air-conditioned atmosphere) commented on the heat, and I said, "It looks like you are handling it better than I am." She replied that they (I'm assuming her family/group) had been hitting the water rides. I told her that was probably where we were going next. Then I had a better idea.

Somewhere near the middle of said amusement park, there are a bunch of fountains that spurt up at random times, and people stand in the middle to get a soaking. It appears that usually this activity is pretty much enjoyed by a younger crowd, (i.e. children) but I felt that getting soaked immediately would beat standing in line in the blazing sun some more before getting an unspecified amount of wet, so the square with the fountains was most definitely my best option. I talked to my husband, and off we went. As I said, the fountains appear to be random, but they're very effective, and I was soon pretty soaked. And as a result, I was soon pretty much feeling a lot better. (No matter that the majority of the other people enjoying the fountains seemed to be three and under, or something.... :)

Yeah, it's pretty much a no-brainer that getting wet will cool you off in hot weather, but what was striking to me was the fact that it took a lot more than drinking water and eating ice to cool off in this scenario. In an emergency situation, it seems likely that water would be monitored very carefully, and there wouldn't be fountains to cool off in. Any "extra" water that can be put aside to just cool off in this manner would be much appreciated in a hot-weather scenario, and might be needed even in places that are not known for being hot climates. So, yeah, using water to get soaked with might not be the first choice for use of the storage, but if it's needed, it would be hard to imagine a case where you felt like you had stored too much...

Food would obviously also be something that it would be hard to have too much of, considering that there will likely always be people that you could share it with if you didn't need it yourself, but what else comes to mind for you when you think of emergency preparedness? Is there anything you store or something else that comes to mind when you hear, "I don't think you could ever have too much of that..."? You never know how many people you may help with your ideas...
Hope you are enjoying your summer!