Sunday, January 9, 2011

Thoughts on preparedness

When this winter started I thought we were prepared for the worst of it. Then about six weeks ago a piece of firewood that was cut to the long side of what would fit in the firebox found it's way into the stove in the middle of the night.  Not a problem if the person loading the stove is fully awake and remembers the longest dimension inside a rectangular box is from corner to corner, not front to back. The other unfortunate factor is our stoves door has a glass window in it. Worse yet it happened the night before a major cold front blew in. Now the bad part of the story. Pelenaka calls me at work the next day to tell me there is a big crack in the stoves window. She already called the local jotul dealer and they don't have one in stock and it will take a week to get one. No problem I tell her. call them back and see if they will sell us the one out of thier display stove. An hour later she calls me back to tell me they don't have a display of our stove, it was sold. My poor wife is now getting frantic. I have her call the dealer back and get the phone numbers for all the nearest jotul dealers. By the time she finds one, I'm out of work. I come home too exhausted to drive, just as it starts snowing. She hops in the car and drives seventy miles to the nearest dealer that will sell us the window from a display stove. By the time she gets home You can barely see the house three doors away, it's snowing so hard. Withing fifteen minutes the window was replaced and the stove fired up. Due to the temps outside being in the low teens, it took all night for the house to get to a comfortable temperature. We now have a spare window and set of gaskets stashed away in the attic. But, this all got me asking questions. What if the widow got broke during the brunt of a storm? During this incident, I could have walked over to the thermostat and just fired the furnace up. But, what if the power were out as often happens here during storms?

I took a walk through the house and started asking myself the What If? question as I went room to room. We no longer have a land line phone. My cell is older and is sometimes tempermental with battery life. What if somebody were hurt or the house was on fire during a storm and we couldn't call for help. I solved that problem. Pelenaka is a weather watcher to the extreme. She got a new Eaton weather radio for christmas. It features a USB charging port. Then I went and bought a universal phone charging kit that works off usb power. Now we can charge our phones or my stepdaughters ipods with the solar panel or crank on the radio. Last week one of my coworkers informed me, our store was closing out little power inverters that plug into a cars cigarette lighter. 90 watts of 120V AC current. Enough to charge the laptops, or even power small power tools or a sump pump. It too has a USB power port. I bought the last one for less than five bucks.

Yesterday at a local gun show, I picked up half a dozen P38 can openers. alot of what we store foodwise is in cans. It used to be, you bought a hand operated can opener and you were still using it ten years later. Now they are made in china and it seems we buy three or four a year. The P38's will be around in twenty if we don't lose them. That's the bad thing about thier size. Easy to lose. The good thing about thier size. There is one on every persons key ring that lives in this house.

My point to all this. We think to stockpile the firewood and the food. Shoot, we even have a full blown first aid kit we put together that even includes scalpels and sutures. However, we can't really call ourselves prepared until we've played out every possible scenario and prepared for those too. Tools aren't enough if we can't repair them when they fail. And they will fail right when we need them most.


Thursday, January 6, 2011

Help needed from fellow history buffs

Last spring I picked up a new computer and lost a folder of links I was saving. Part of what I lost was all my links to mid 19th century suttlers. One place had authentic wheel caps for really reasonable prices. If anyone has links to suttlers they have done business with and have been happy, I would apreciate a link.