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Saturday, January 31, 2009

Flick that light switch, will ya?

As we pass through the kitchen, we grab the remote and turn on the evening news.
The talking head is announcing more trouble for the storm stricken central states, a whiny voice comes on and squeaks about not having any power and the 'when is the government going to help us?' refrain is chanted by several in ten second sound bites.
We think about our preps as we continue to the garage, decide to make a check on what's out there.
Beside the house entry door is the fire extinguisher- we check the date, even though we know it was refreshed just last month. The blast of cold air hits our face as we walk in- air temp is nearly ten below because we don't heat the garage and the reason we don't store canned foods or water out here.
We flick the light switch and close the door, stop and look around. Beside the door we see the glow of the rechargeable flashlight hanging on the wall. A comforting tool on a dark night.
Is there any clutter that will trip us up or block passage if we need to move around at night? Are there any unusual smells- propane or natural gas, smoke, rotting meat (dead mice or a cat that strayed in and died), hot electrical wire smells? Is the door completely sealing or is there snow and ice holding it above the apron? Any way for someone to get a good sized lever under it?
In a small section to one side we have our dried food preps, sealed in air tight five gallon containers and hidden in the little room we built especially to hide from prying eyes and little fingers. Beans, peas, lentils, spaghetti and macaroni, sauce mixes, powdered milk, dehydrated fruits and veggies, soup mixes, jerky, egg powder (ISHKA! talk about overseas flights at night- horrid breakfasts of powdered eggs cooking fill the fuselage!)- you get the idea: nothing with liquid. Stacked neatly against the wall is our supply of toiletries: T.P., soaps, toothpaste, floss, laundry soaps, paper towels (a few rolls, anyway; I like shop towels best).
Our BugOutBags are packed and ready, easy to grab and run with or throw in the trunk. We check the straps, open one, insure it's been refilled from the last practice run when we camped out last fall.
Our gunsafe is still locked: open it and check a couple weapons for hints of moisture. Ammo, too. Any rust or mold on lead bullets, discoloration of the brass? Good- we know it's solid. Lock it up and continue our inspection.
Tucked under the workbench is our generator. When was the last time you checked it? Did it run well? Was there clean and proper amount of oil in the crankcase? Tank full? Battery charged? Was the pull-start rope in good condition? Give it a slow pull and check again. Are the extension cords with it? (We do not run our gennie in the garage: keep it ten feet or more from the house walls to prevent exhaust from filling a room or getting in through the soffitt vents.) A few minutes run time to test won't be drastic, but no more. And open the door to get fresh air.
A word on extension cords: don't get the cheapie 16 gauge wired ones. We need as little impedance as we can get, so go with larger wire, 12 or 10 gauge, especially the longer ones. On the gennie- get the best you can afford, but don't scrimp on Watt output. A 2500W gennie will barely run a skilsaw. Go at least 5500W capacity for any kind of multiple equipment use, such as fridge or freezer and some lighting, the TV and furnace. In gennies, diesel motors are king. They last longer, run more efficiently and the fuel doesn't deteriorate as rapidly as gasoline. But it will be expensive. Again, let your pocketbook and perceived needs be your guide. (A good source for gennies is http://www.northerntool.com/ and they ship world wide. Actually, they are a good source for many prepper items, so check them out.)
It's not recommended, but we have a few five gallon containers of gasoline at the juncture of wall and door and we shake them as we pass, insuring they're full. (Preferably, keep petroleum products in an old refrigerator or steel shed outside and away from the house/garage/shop. Yet I don't know anyone who doesn't have a full gas can sitting in their garage.)
Hanging on the wall on those cute little red hooks are our gardening and logging tools. No need to worry about them but we check for rust anyway.
Memories of pleasant summer evenings with the Clan gathered around laughing and chatting away fill our mind as we walk past the barbecue. We know how to use it, have plenty of briquettes and starter fluid (or LP tanks if that's your type), in case we really feel the need for a Super Bowl party Sunday. (Yep, I BBQ year round.) Not far away are a few armloads of firewood for the fireplace (or fire ring outdoors). Stacked against the back wall of the garage is that pile of wood we gathered from the blowdowns during last summer's windstorm.
Satisfied the house is secure, we return to the kitchen, open the fridge and grab a brew. As we twist the top off, we are glad we're set for nearly any incident that can befall our home. Our family is safe and snug as visions of touchdowns and party raucor fills our imagination.
The game goes on. Go Vikes.
Wait- they ain't playing this week end! Drat. Oh, well- nothing new.


  1. good article..thats my next big purchase when I can swing it will be a genny..not to hot on HF products as I have bought air compressors from them and they have failed..good ck list too

  2. Hey Shy, knew you'd have everything in order my friend, good job. I too need to buy a genny, maybe if Sugar Daddy sends us all a big stimulus check I use it to get one...not counting on that though...lol Got plans for one either way, gonna go diesel I think. Could maybe make me up some fo that veggie oil fuel I keep reading about. Be worth a try. Good post brother, Stay Safe and Warm, know ya will.

  3. BBQ year round? I hope I get an invite if I'm ever up your way! Unfortunately, I've never been north of I-94 in my 8 years of driving.


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