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Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Flood Preps Part 2

"How high's the water, Momma?"
"She said it's four feet high an' rising'!"

Hopefully, not in your basement or living room or attic.
But it does happen to many people every year and I always have to wonder why. Like, why would a farmer build his house on the most fertile soil he has? Never did understand that. Or why locals who know it's gonna get wet insist on building as close to the river or lake as they possibly can. But they do it, and every year pay the price. In actuality, we all pay the price in higher insurance rates and disaster repairs, so no one really wins when a flood hits. Not even the fish. But that's not what we're discussing, is it?
We want to be safe when the disaster hits- not just flooding, but it's that time of year so we prepare for it best we can.
First, about our homes and what's in them. In basements that get only minimal flooding, let's get everything off the floor. Put blocks or some form of feet under everything. If it's paper stuff inside a dresser, how about getting small plastic tubs to keep the paperwork in? Family pictures are always heirlooms, as are slides and film- don't leave them stacked in drawers or cabinets that aren't waterproof. (We won't discuss how I know this.)
How about other important papers- birth certificates, marriage licenses (no, just cuz you lose it in a flood doesn't mean you're no longer married, so don't go there!), baptismal certifications- anything that's paper and subject to moisture should be packed away long before a flood decides to turn them to basic paper mush. That house deed you have tucked in back of the drawer won't look all that impressive if it's glued to ten other pieces of meaningless paper. Get it into something dry.
While we're taking care of all the important papers, how about photocopying them now, or taking digital pictures of them? Put the digital files onto your 'puter, make a disk and flash drive copy of them and store those someplace cool, dry and not susceptible to moisture. While we have the camera out, take pictures of your valuables as well: jewelry, guns, kitchen appliances (insurance will want the info, too- so have copies of receipts for everything), and take lots of pictures of Grandma's china collection. And that 1738 Stradivarius. How about the Original Fender Electric guitar you inherited? (Getting the idea?) If you'll ever want to claim some kind of remuneration for loss, you'll need all the proof you can find beyond "the neighbors know". Get it now if you haven't already.
For some reason, people seldom think of their basement getting wet or holding water. It has a drain, right? How come the water sits in it? Well... that little hole in the floor... How about finding- now, while the cost is probably the lowest of the year- some pumps and garden hose with which you can divert the incoming flow to the outdoors? Submersible pumps are not terribly expensive for what they do and what they can save you. Consider, even if it's only your basement that gets flooded, what happens to the furnace when the night temp drops to 20 degrees and you're trying to sleep? Keep that furnace dry and it'll do its job. A sump pump or two can quite possibly keep the heat on. Too, how does the water enter your basement? Do the windows leak seriously big time? Do the wells need drain tile to below frost line? Are the tile clogged with last fall's leaves? Is it leaching through the walls? Why? Would a coat of tar and plastic help? (Summer time job, and a big one, really.) Or does the water rise through the septic drain? Is there some way to block that floor opening if necessary? (Be sure to have sump pumps handy.)
If your basement is prone to serious flooding, get everything you want to keep in plastic tubs. Best bet: don't store damage-able items in the basement.
If your home is low to the ground and water can enter the living floors... how can you prevent it? Can you start packing the sandbags now? Will sandbags work? How about retaining walls? Can you build one (another summer project, and spendy.) Now is the time to get the supplies you'll need, and maybe even have the available help of friends and neighbors. Just think of how much fun it'll be to take the teasing now so you can relax later? (And everyone comes begging you to help them now because...)

About your POV/vehicle.
Is it 'flood ready'? How're the tires? Gas tank full, or no less than half full- enough to get you out of town to a safe area? Is the oil level up to snuff? Do you have a couple of maps in the cubby with several routes color pencil marked routes and alternate routes to safety? Is there a GO bag in the trunk with three days' food and water for each family member? Sleeping bags? A tent? Some form of self defense tools? (Of course, you have your carry piece, but what about the other family/group members? What? Guns for flooding? Yes, of course: we never know what or who we may run into during any kind of calamity.) Is there some form of radio communication in the trunk- with adequate batteries and spares? Some may even want a battery operated tv for news and keeping the kids entertained. Have batteries for it as well. (Perhaps a small Honda or Coleman gas operated generator would fit above the spare tire. OK: Thinking outside the box.) Whatever your plans for evacuation, be sure it's ready to go in minutes. No one wants to forget something because they were in too big a frenzy to think clearly or because the kids were screaming and crying and wanting Fido to sit on their lap.
Speaking of Fido and Fluffy- got some grub in the trunk for them, too? And add more water for them: a dog and cat will drink as much water as you will, sometimes more. Don't neglect them. What other kind of animals do you have to prepare for? Cows? Goats? Sheep? Chickens? Rabbits? (We're preppers, remember?) Spend some time thinking of their safety, too. You won't want to return home to find your cattle eighty miles down the road in Farmer Bill's freezer. (OK, maybe his name is Herman...) Or dead in their pen.
A few links that may benefit us all:

Get your prep on, Folks. Be alert, be safe.

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at 24 below...

...Probably the last thing on your mind is water floating your bed- with you in it- from the bedroom to the dining room. But ya know, it's something we should begin thinking about now.
OK, I gotta admit it was the first thought I had this morning, so you can color me 'strange'.
But seriously, with all the snow we've had this year, and more on the way, it's a sure bet the state powers are thinking about their beds floating away, and we should be as well. Up north we've surpassed our yearly 'average' in snow, and March is yet to arrive, and the time we get most of our year's supply. Flooding is going to be a really hot issue in a couple of months, or less, and time for preparing is not when all this snow decides to wash downstream.
With that in mind, I'd like to gather a bit of information into one place so your fingers don't have to do all the walking. Here goes...
...Flood Preparation, Part One... Safety
There are many low-cost measures you can take to protect yourself, your home, and your property from losses.
A FLOOD can take several hours to days to develop.
A FLOOD WATCH means a flood is possible in your area.
A FLOOD WARNING means flooding is already occurring or will occur soon in your area.· Know your area's flood risk - if unsure, call your local emergency management office. (Heck, you may alert them it's time for them to prepare, too!)
· If it has been raining hard for several hours, or steadily for several days, and all this snow starts melting fast, be alert to the possibility of a flood.
· Listen to local radio or TV stations for flood information. (If you know someone who lives in a flood zone, call them and get some intelligent intelligence on the situation in their area- they'll be light years ahead of FEMA or others.)
· Refer to your Family Disaster Plan and assemble a Disaster Supply Kit. (You DO have one, don't you? I know we talked about this before... tsk tsk...)
· Identify where you could go if told to evacuate. Choose several places: a friend's home in another area, a motel or an emergency shelter. (How about your BOL? Make it a training scenario that's real.)
When a FLOOD WATCH is issued:
.· Move your furniture and valuables to higher floors of your home. (Actually, the time to do this is long before any kind of 'watch' is issued: have it done now so you can relax instead of panic and forget something.)
· Fill your car gas tank, in case an evacuation notice is issued. And don't forget, check the oil and tires.
When a FLOOD WARNING is issued:
· Listen to local radio and TV stations for information and advice. If told to evacuate, do so as soon as possible.
FLASH FLOOD waves move at incredible speeds, can roll boulders, tear out trees, destroy buildings and bridges, and scour out new channels- and while they're at it, turn your car into a drifting pile of debris. Killing walls of water can reach heights of 10 to 20 feet. You won't always have warning that these deadly, sudden floods are coming. Flash floods can take only a few minutes to a few hours to develop. When a flash flood WATCH is issued be alert to signs of flash flooding and be ready to evacuate on a moment's notice.
When a flash flood WARNING is issued for your area or the moment you first realize that a flash flood is imminent, act quickly to save yourself. You may have only seconds.
Flash flood tips...
· Go to high ground immediately- Get out of areas subject to flooding. This includes dips, low spots, canyons, washes, etc.
· Avoid already flooded and high velocity flow areas. Do not attempt to cross a flowing stream on foot where water is above your knees. (Got a walking stick/staff with you? Honestly, though: unless you are absolutely positively certain you can cross even a shallow stream safely, don't do it! Wearing a PFD may not be a bad idea, either.)
· Do not drive through flooded areas. Shallow, swiftly flowing water can wash a car from a roadway. Also, the roadbed may not be intact under the water.
· If the vehicle stalls, abandon it immediately and seek higher ground - rapidly rising water may engulf the vehicle and its occupants and sweep them away· Be especially cautious at night when it is harder to recognize flood dangers.
· Do not camp or park your vehicle along streams and washes, particularly during threatening conditions.
Next up: Flooding, Part Two.
Be safe, All. Don't wanna lose you just yet, OK?

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Sunday, February 6, 2011

The skinning and gutting of an animal

by founderant

The skinning and gutting of an animal is not one of the things most people like to do or even think about.

We have been so desensitized to what has to be done in order to eat meat, that some kids and adults will eat a hamburger and have no clue about the process and yes... mess, that comes with eating your favorite meal.

This page has some links to videos showing the process, so unless you are going to be a vegetarian, you might want to know how it is done.
http://sites.google.com/site/americansn ... -an-animal

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