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How we need to prepare


Moving into Spring

The daylight time in the days are getting longer. The weather is warmer but still a bit erratic, global warming you know and things are starting to move.

Firms are moving over to their summer ranges, sales are on for the winter stuff, garden center’s are selling the latest plans and seeds for your garden.

It is time for my annual seed buy. I buy all my seeds, plus a contingency set which I wrap up and put away. Not throwing away the previous sets because although they reduce viability you never know if that one seed may make the difference and they don’t take up much space. I have quite a few older sets now.

I’m also starting to get more work done on the land as the ground is easier to work on and with more daylight you can get more done. I always seem to be busy and don’t have time for everything I want to do.

Had an interesting time over the weekend. Brought home some collapsible crates from the woods and put them in the utility room to wash. next morning noticed this lethargic wasp at the window. Went over and killed it. Wondering how it got in. Ten minutes later noticed another and then got suspicious. Opened and checked the crates and there were about 100+ wasps in various stages of waking up in them. Killed them all but made me think that if I hadn’t been there by the time I had arrived there could have been 100+ active wasps in the kitchen. They kids might have been the ones to find them. That may not have been good. As it was there are 100+ big wasps now providing their input to the composting life cycle and no harm done to the kids. Dead wasps I see as a positive thing. I thought they were into nests but these were finding spaces in plastic to hibernate. You learn something every day.

Bees did not do well last year as I mentioned previously. One hive has survived through the winter although there is still time for it to fail. Big disappointment and this year I’m moving their base to a less sheltered area. Seems I protected them too much and they were not happy. Didn’t get any complaints so thought I was doing well.

Now sitting down and finalising my plans for the next three months. Basically expanding the chickens, getting some ducks, replacing the bees and building two sheds.

With that and the work I am doing at home I will be busy when I am not doing work to earn cash.

Grandma’s Cures

I’ve always been interested in Grandma’s cures from a prepping perspective. They have been handed down from a time where medicines were not available and people had to create their own medicines and cures using only what was available around them.

Modern medicine took that and expanded it significantly to make the medicines we have today due to technological advances that allowed refinement of the active ingredients and the capability of testing them under controlled situations. This advance allows us to live significantly longer than we used to and increased the survival rate for any injuries or illnesses we suffer from.

These advances continue to be made and it seems like every week there is some new discovery and hope for treating illnesses we are not yet able to cure. The progress being made increases our life span and cures more ills than ever before.

All that means nothing if we have an event. Most of our medicines are restricted by the government and will not last very long after the suppliers stocks are depleted. Even if you shot off the mark and raided a chemists the shelf life of some items are short even if you store them correctly. Insulin is one such medicine that needs careful storage and when medicines go off they do not perform their expected function and in some cases can even become poisonous. Not good. Not good at all.

So we will be forced to go back to our old cures. These did not have very good success rates compared to modern medicines and so you can expect our recovery rate for even minor injuries to plummet and our life span to do the same. People born after an event will have much shorter life spans than us with infant mortality rates shooting through the roof and what is not an issue today so that we don’t even think about it like a broken tooth or rib may very well become fatal injuries. We will need to be very careful even opening cans, building or even everyday jobs will have a new danger.

So we should be stocking up on what medicines we can and making sure they are stored correctly as well as knowing how long they will last and their actions on expiry.  This, like all prepping, is a stop gap measure to allow you to transition as no matter how much you store it will eventually run out or expire.

Which means we must also learn about how people treated injuries and disease before the age of modern medicines. Sure the survival rate may have been 2% or 3% and with Grandma’s tried and tested cures it may have gone up to 5% or 6% but that is still an improvement. These tales are passed down because every success was a victory against death and disease and through a lot of deaths these cures were discovered and passed on. Unfortunately, some are just rubbish and not worth the paper you will write them down on but there are quite a few that are recognised and used by modern medicine even now.

Nowadays of course we use modern medicines because they are available and only those who know what they are doing use home remedies for anything and certainly not for anything serious. Just look at Steve Jobs and his attempt at home treatments. However after an event all bets are off and instead of a 80% cure you are facing a 2% or 3% survival rate then that extra 2% or 3% is not to be ignored.

Start stocking up on meds and learning what you can about cures you would laugh at if someone suggested them now.

Storage Issues

One of the biggest issues I have had with my prepping is acquiring and storing the items I have put aside. There are several reasons for this and I have spent some time and money actually working out and implementing what I think is best for me and mine.

The hardest issue to work around is the financial issue. Actually affording to buy the items you want. There is very little you can do around this bar saving up but sometime you can look at the cost of the individual items that you are looking at. Sometimes good quality is not worth the extra cost and having several tools instead of one can be an advantage. If your very expensive lifetime tool is stolen or lost then a spare cheaper one would be handy. I have several times bought cheaper tools and when money came free bought the one tool I really wanted. For some things you just want to buy the best. You need to examine each item and make that call on finances and item usage.

Next up is items that are subject to legal restriction. Regardless to how stupid these restrictions are and in our mickey mouse country there are a lot of them you need to keep them in the back of your mind. Depending on the punishment then you can make decisions on these items on a one to one basis. Getting a firearm and risking jail for 10 years may be an issue but risking a fine for having illegal attachments to an off road vehicle may be acceptable to some. Your call, I have made my choices.

The next one, for me, is the actual storage of the items. Are they perishable? If so you need to have some way to check and replace as necessary. The items all need to be wrapped and made secure from vermin and protected from damage either by people rooting around or by the elements. I store most of mine in the 55L packing crates that are commonplace for moving within businesses. They are solid, stackable and pretty well vermin proof. Individual items within are stored in shrink wrapping and plastic wrap. Foodstuffs are stored in cooking oil pails. I don’t tend to replace all my foodstuff but will purchase anew retaining the only ones as well. Each item is catalogued in a spreadsheet and when the container is full I print off a copy for the file so I can access the lists off line. I store my books slightly differently as the ones that I use and look at I have on my bookshelves with the remainder are stored in those collapsible boxes. Again, all are catalogued. I’m anal like that.

Which brings me to my next issue. Storage of my storage boxes. It isn’t as simple as just sticking them under the bed as I have a lot of boxes. Some can go in the loft and I have a large amount of water, food, camping kit as well as other items I want at hand up there. I have several bug out bags ready to go but I have elected to bug in and so I need to store what I can close at hand. I’ve plenty of space in the loft but not as much as I need. I really need my own warehouse or large barn. I do have a few critical items stored at alternative sites like the woods but that is the exception for critical items if I have to bug out and everything there is duplicated at home. Storage of the items not under my personal protection has always been an issue with crime being what it is as well and the fact you can’t set traps for these thieving scum bags. Not yet anyway.

So currently I have a full loft, a large front room and a garage full of stuff with some off site duplication. Although by the middle of this year I will have cleared the front room and put it back to use as I’m building a workshop out the back and can move some of my stores, the tools, out there as well as the lathe and other sundry tools.

If I get any more I need to move to a barn. A converted barn should do me fine. Just need to win the lottery.

This means all my preps are close to hand and can be protected, well as well as you can here, and I can access them when I want although the way they are stored means it will involve heavy lugging if I’m looking for a crate packed away first. They are not meant to be used for general use and if I do need something I’d tend to buy one instead unless it is impractical. Preps are preps.

Doris Day

Not the TV star from yesteryear but the Day Of Storm Doris.

Went up to have a look and see the damage. Wasn’t as bad as expected with three big trees being blown over, funnily enough various size silver birches with not very solid roots. Must be a species thing. Two of them have blown over onto paths which makes getting in a bit difficult but besides that the result of Doris has been cosmetic. Lots of wood all over the place, some items have been blown around but nothing major.

Chickens are all unhurt and still laying fine. Cages all undamaged although there are a lot of small branches and twigs caught up in the mesh that needs tidying.

Bees are fine, well from Doris anyway, with the hives in the sheltered areas being untouched. Worryingly the hives in the new area had two that were moved by Doris. One had the roof blown off and the other had chambers that had been moved leaving gaps into the hive. As these hives were empty we had no issues but it is worrying for the future as open hives lead to massive heat loss and dead bees. I may need to set up some windbreaks around the hives for freak winds.

Everything else held together fine with no damage although tidying up the debris will take a while.

At home things are a going pretty well. Sorting is starting to bear fruit and I can now see an end to it.

Storm Doris did have an impact at home though as a power fluctuation blew up my router and brought my broadband down, I’m typing this from my daughters house as it won’t be replaced till next week, although everything else did well. Again, some tidying up is required but not much.

Plans are starting to come to fruition and it is looking good all around so should have more time for the sites. Already working on updating the sites and adding more files. Again, I’d like to call for anyone who has any files that can be shared to send them or contact me and we can discuss how I’ll download them.