I’ve developed a new interest over the past few months—prepping—although I’m not certain that most “real” preppers would consider me one. I leave zombie apocalypses to the movies and think of it more as simply being prepared, going back to my roots as it were. Hey, I used to be a Girl Scout. And my grandmother would never have considered going without a few months of food set aside, even when she lived in a mobile home. Okay, so it’s taken me a while to follow her example. But recent events have made me feel like it’s been the smart thing to do.
As regards food prepping, I’ve discovered that oven canning instant potato flakes actually makes them taste a LOT better (they end up being lightly toasted which makes them smell wonderful), that there’s such a thing as being rich in food and it feels really good, and that having a stash of freeze-dried meals can help you think clearly if you have to evacuate because of a forest fire.
And then there’s going without power.
California now has the dubious distinction of being an economic powerhouse with a third-world power grid. One windy day and we’re without power for yet another week. Oh, huzzah. And here I thought the comments about California couldn’t get any more condescending.
As an aside, there’s NO WAY any of this is getting me to leave. I’m a third generation native Californian, on both sides. This is my home. My family is here. It’s going to take more than incompetent politicians and a greedy bureaucracy to drive me away. Historically, California has seen waves of “get rich quick” types come and go, starting with the gold rush in 1849 before we were even a state. I figure those of us who really love this land will outlast them. We have before.
Anyway, for those preparing for power outages, the first thing I’d recommend is to buy a Coleman stove. Not only are they useful for cooking, but I’ve needed them for heating wash water as well. Amazon has one here: https://www.amazon.com/Coleman-2000020943NP-Classic-Propane-Stove/dp/B00005OU9D/, and you can also pick one up at any camping store. They’re great for camping, even if you think your lights are never going out. Although I will add that you should also make sure you have a carbon monoxide detector if you use it indoors. We’ve used our stove inside for years, long before having CO detectors was even a concern, but there’s no point in passing up any reasonable safety precautions. That would be the opposite of being prepared.
(Side note: any links here are just for your convenience. I’m not affiliated with Amazon or anyone else.)
The other thing I highly recommend is a stash of solar lights. Candles and oil lamps are lovely; I have a quite a few, and it’s always nice to have a good reason to use them. However, it’s not the safest move to leave them burning while you go to sleep. The biggest problem I’ve had with solar lights is that they’re great when they work, but so many of them are garbage. I’ve gone through many purchases and ended up simply tossing most of them. But you can benefit from this, since I have two that I can recommend. They stay on all night, usually until dawn.
For larger, more permanent lighting outside, this one works terrific: https://www.amazon.com/Large-Outdoor-Solar-Powered-SL-8405/dp/B00F6INLVG/. And for smaller lights, I’ve just picked up these: https://www.amazon.com/BABALI-Lantern-Waterproof-Lanterns-Decorative/dp/B07H9WJ5K4/. These also last until dawn, even the one I just leave on the windowsill. I don’t even have to take it outside and hang it in the sun. I particularly like the small ones because I can bring them inside at night and leave them on while I sleep.
I already heat my house with a wood stove, since I live in an oak wood, and every year we lose enough branches in storms to heat our home for the winter. If you don’t have an emergency heat source, that might be worth looking into.
As long as you’ve got light, a decent stash of food, a supply of clean water, and a way to heat your house and cook your food, then barring any medical considerations (which you should definitely plan for in advance), you’ll do okay. I miss internet access, (apologies to those who’ve waited for me to visit their blogs), but I’ve got lots of good books. I’m fortunate that I can just hunker down and ride it out.
I’ve been thinking about doing a whole series on being prepared, and I was wondering if anyone has any input on it. I can speak intelligently about emergency bags, camping gear, and food and water storage. I was also thinking about doing a few YouTube videos on these things, if anyone would be interested in seeing them. Please let me know in the comments if any of these things interest you.
Stay safe, everyone. And remember, no matter the state of affairs, a good book is always a great comfort. : )