Thursday, November 12, 2009

Two post Thursday

Since Debbie over at HappyDays asked about our storage and prep areas, I decided to make this a two-entry day.

Our basement is divided up rather strange. Origionally in the 1930's, our house was built as a basement home, not so different from what I grew up in, but a LOT smaller. The larger 16x22 foot room was the kitchen/dining/eating area and I can only assume also where they slept. The room next to it was laundry and storage, and the full bathroom was always there.(haf bath now since the tub wasn't re-plumbed with the rest of the house, I removed it in 2000) Sometime in the 40's, they added on another area, what is now the furnace room and our prep room. Neither of these rooms had doors on them when we moved in, and the prep room didn't even have a dividing wall, it was just open. I added a wall, built in desk & shelves, and put doors on both. For a short while it was Lisa's sewing room till she outgrew it, then it was our bedroom till the kids moved back home, then it was Adams room, and now its for prep and my own little space. I cut a door from inside that room into the rear of the furnace room and added another door and wall, this is more storage for prep items. The old living area is now Lisa's sewing & craft room.

The room is not really as organized as I would like it, but it does it's job. I have all my hunting and fishing gear in there, as well as camping gear and supplies. (I dont like taking chances of mice in the garage tearing at my tents or sleeping bags) My large 12 man tent is in an old navy footlocker, safe from critters or anything else. My 2 smaller dome tents are in sacks stored above it. Sleeping bags, pillows, and misc bedding items are in a large plastic tote right beside them. Inside the closet area are my lanterns, camp cookware, campstoves, heaters, white fuel, propane, oil lamps & lanterns, and lamp oil. In the same room, under the stairs are footlockers of misc camping/emergency gear and a closet bar of hunting and other camo clothing. This area stays dark and cool, so we also store our potatos and onions there.

Four desk shelves are lined with all of our books on survival, self sufficiency, gardening, hunting, fishing, map books, and almost every subject imaginable. The others are full of misc hunting and fishing gear. I have a tall metal cabinet along one wall that contains all of my knives, 1 good camp hatchet, knife sharpening tools/stones, batteries, rope, and larger first aid items that dont fit in my jammed-full industrial kit that hangs on the wall. Beside that is a simple 4 drawer filing cabinet full of notes, things copied from online, instruction manuals, and copies of magazines we get or have gotten in the past. Grit, Small Farm Journal, Mother Earth News, Backyard Poultry, Shooting Times, Countryside, and others that I can't remember at the moment, all full of great information that I refuse to throw away. I have a metal office desk in there too. It used to be where I had the old desktop computer, but now it's for me to sit and read or draw up plans for something or another.

In the center along one wall is a small fold up table. Its where I sit to clean guns or work on things too big for the desk, but it's also our wintertime hangout. We've spent many an evening there reading, talking, playing board games, planning next years garden, looking through wishbooks, or just enjoying the peace and quiet. Above this table is an oil cottage lamp hanging from the ceiling in case of power outage. We keep the house temp as low as possible to save on the gas bill, so we turn on a small electric heater, close the door, and enjoy a nice toasty warm place to get away. I keep the 2 camp cots open along the other wall for the dogs to have somewhere to lay, and also for me to crash on if I happen to stay up too late when I get into something.

I spend a lot of time in my little room, more so soon when the weather keeps me from doing things outside. I'll be re-organizing a lot of it soon, trying to utilize what little space I have left. My prep list and wish list never seem to end, so I have to do the best I can with what space I have and as our budget allows. Though the thought of it makes me feel somewhat silly, I want to have a BOB ready and hanging for each of us. Again, if I need it, it's there, and if I never do, it's not a big deal at all. Better safe than sorry, right??

The general plan for this room is actually beyond just my own space and a place for storage. I'm having this room together in case of emergency as a place to go. No, it's not one of the cold war era bomb shelters by far, or a "safe room" by any means, but merely a place to go. If we have a power outage in winter, I can fire up the generator, run a cord to the small heater, and have a place to keep warm. OR with use of well kept CO2 detectors, a camp heater. Even with using oil lamps or cookstoves in enclosed spaces, CO2 detectors are a must, as is a good fire extinquisher.

A few people we know think we're insane to prep for such things, some think it's laughable and look at us like "crazy survivalists", but we're far from it. Like I've said many times, neither of us are those SHTF scenerio kind of people, we're not preparing for WW3 or for the Cubans to drop in like Red Dawn, we're just preparing ourselves for emergencies. I like being prepared for the occasional storm or power outage, and going another direction, this economy scares me at times. IS it possible to see us in another depression? It's very possible. But...rather than dwell on that, I'll just say I like being prepared for a power outage or other emergency. (at least thats what I tell them) lol

I almost closed this entry at that, but decided to add just a little more. (if its possible for me to write a little)
Everything I store in that basement room is on a list. It took a lot of thinking and research to make my list, but I feel that it's fairly complete. At each area of storage, whether its at each food pantry or each prep storage area, I have a clipboard of graph paper. Each item is listed individually on a single line, and quantities are marked in the graph boxes with a /. As an item is used, the / is turned to a X.
10 packs of AA batteries would list like this-
aa batteries 4 pack //////////

Using 2 packs would show
aa batteries 4 pack ////////XX

If I use an entire line, (all of the squares across), I cross off the item and line with a highlighter and start a new line for it on another page or line. This method makes inventory and shopping lists extremely easy. I know I wrote about this method before, but it's been quite a while, and seemed fitting to add to this post.

OK I'm done now......maybe......I think so........I'm pretty sure.........yea........I am.....finally
Things around here have been a little dull lately. Lisa came down with a nasty cold last Sunday after the party, and of course I ended up with it. I fully admit it, I'm a big baby when I get a bad cold. I just want to sit around. I've kept up with what needed done and caught up on a bunch of reading, but thats been about it. Finally 2 days ago, I started feeling good enough to get some things done.

I finally decided to get out of the rabbit business until next year. While my buck fathered a few litters for my friend tammie, my does have had ONE litter in the year I've had them. With winter just around the corner, and the thought of frozen water bottles and feeding something that wasn't paying back, I figured it was time. All three are now in the freezer, along with 4 of the 7 roosters I got a few months ago. I planned to get to all 7, but I made my cleaning station a bit too low, and after 3 rabbits and 4 birds, my back was killing me from stooping over. I'll get to the other 3 either today or tomorrow, depending on weather. (yesterday was just too cold and horribly windy) The plan for all of them is 2-3 giant batches of chicken soup in the canner, though it's all pieced and in the freezer for now.

Tomorrow we are going out for groceries. Some will be for stock/storage, and others will be to make meals and things to freeze and can. A while back we tried canning meatloaf. Neither of us had ever canned meatloaf before, let alone ate any home-canned. It was delicious! So, we plan to make a good sized batch to can this weekend as well. Other plans are for casseroles to put together and freeze, along with some meatballs. It's nice having some things pre-prepared and ready for those days when neither of us really feel like cooking.

Already we're working on plans for next years garden. Since we grew so many onions and potato's, we've been eating more of each. Well.....thanks to that, we won't have enough to get us through till spring, which was the plan the whole time. Next year, I'll double each so this won't happen again. The same will go for carrots. I planted some just for the hell of it, we don't eat many carrots, but now that we've decided to can more soup to store, yea, we need more carrots, lol. Ah well, live and learn right?? We'll work on more of next years list this weekend while we're in the kitchen, then start picking through the seed catalogs soon after.

Every year our garden gets bigger, and next year will be no exception. Every year we make mistakes, major and minor, but we learn from them and re-plan for the following season. Again, next year will be no exception. We'll base more planting on more than just the basic things we usually can. (peppers, tomatos, beans, etc) and plan more on things for soups and such. (celery, carrots, etc) Each year as our garden and knowledge grows, so does our list of things we make for ourselves. As a perfect example, I'm EXTREMELY happy to say that we haven't had any store-bought canned soup in a very very long time. Between Lisa's chicken soup and my chili, we haven't had to. Yep, the garden '10 notebook will be chock full of new things and new items. (we also seriously plan on more meat birds next year, though where they will be is still up in the air)

Later today, I'll be working on cleaning and re-organizing my room downstairs. I need to rearrange all of my camping gear, and go through my checklist of things to keep on hand. More and more as I hear and read of things to come, I think about the things I keep there and want to make sure I have all that I need. No, I'm not one to prepare for WW3/SHTF or some other things that so many conspiracy people continuiosuly think about, but I do think of other things. Snowstorms, power outages, etc are my main concerns. A few days ago we had electrical problems at the main pole connection. The power was off not quite an hour while the worker re-wired and changed the connections. Some people I know would have been in a tissy, but we lit a couple oil lamps and grabbed a book. No big deal at all. We've dealt with an hour, we've dealt with a few hours, and a year ago we made it through a few days without a worry. I want to make sure we STAY that way.

There are a few things I want to work on in this small preparadness list though, mainly things we didn't think about before. We need water storage for sure. In case of emergency, we'll need water for cooking and for toilet flushing. (unless I get the camp toilet that I want) I'd love to have some 55 gallon drums of drinking water on hand, but we simply can't afford any right now. I think what I will end up doing is cutting the power line to the well pump and putting plugs at either end. This way in case of power outage, I can run a cord from the generator to the pump and we'll have water. I'll still want some sort of storage on hand though, maybe just 5 gallon "camp" containers for now. Hmm....I see my xmas list being mostly "survival" stuff, lol.

Other things I need to concentrate on checking stock are basic items I should be checking more regularly-first aid, meds, TP, batteries, lamp oil, gasoline, propane, spare flashlight bulbs, generator plugs, etc. My plan is to at first base the entire storage on a possible month-long power outage, then continue from there. Crazy? maybe. But I'll tell ya, I'd rather have these things and never use them, then need them and not have it. I know people that don't have something as simple as a basic flashlight in their homes. I don't want to be them.

As I've said, I don't sit around and worry about what *might* happen. I don't think of many things that I see on the internet. I don't want to be one of these people that constantly talk of the government taking over and forcing martial law. I don't want to be one of these people that talk about invasions and possible wars. And I'm surely not one of those guys with a basement full of guns and ammo waiting patiently for WW3 to break out or the police to knock on my door to take everything I own. (where do the get this stuff???) I just want to be prepared. I think about storms, power outages, and everything else I have said over and over. I refuse to be one of those people who packs up and leaves just because they can't watch television or turn on a light. I'll start the generator, light a few oil lamps, make some coffee on the campstove, and watch the people run like ants.

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