Earth Changes · preparedness · self-reliance · Thinking ahead

Things that Disappear First After a Disaster

This bears repeating over and over. If you don’t own it before the disaster, you’ll pay hell getting it after the disaster.

I’ve told this story before but it is the way too many people see things yet today that warrants repeating.


Dearest daughter marries her college sweetheart. They put up a mobile home on our back forty. If you have followed my blog posts, you will remember that we live in the woods in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. Cold, dark, icy, wind-swept, winters, followed by mildly warm, breezy summers.

They moved in during the early summer months when the bad spring storms had given way to bug season. All went well for the newlyweds that first summer but when fall approached I knew that a sudden very wet, heavy snowfall was not out of the ordinary and it usually took out the power for a day or so when it hit.

“So,” I asked dearest son-in-law, “you kids got water and an auxiliary heat source set aside for winter incase the power goes out?”

Dearest son-in-law looks me square in the eye and says, “Yep, we’ll be ok, we have an electric blanket. And I think we have a bottle of water in the frige. Oh, wait, I think I drank that. Eeeh, we’ll be ok.”

Well, as luck would have it, we had one of those heavy, wet snow storms that took out the power that cold, dark, fall. The power had been out for about 3 hours when dearest son-in-law and daughter showed up at our place asking to use our landline telephone and warm themselves by the woodstove.

“I am goin to call the power company and demand that they turn our power back on.” He said adamantly, thinking the power company must have done this dastardly deed. And by now he was in a panic, “what about all the old people? Someone needs to do something about all the old people that don’t have heat too.”

Of course, I had to ask about the electric blankets. “How they workin’ for ya?” My bad!

It was the first crisis these kids had faced on their own. Up until their marriage someone else had taken care of their welfare. Dearest son-in-law had lived with his parents before attending college as well as our dearest daughter.

They now have a copy of my book, How to Survive and Thrive When the Power is Out. I wonder sometimes if I was  ever that slow on the uptake? Naaaaaa

The point here is if you know some people like this, young or old, make a copy of the following list, look them square in the eye and hand it to them.

Things that disappear first after a disaster. (Non-looted items.) Not in any particular order.

Food- bread, milk, eggs, peanut butter, tuna fish, Speghetti O’s, etc.

Beer, wine, liquor, cigarettes, instant coffee, soda and bottled water

Candles, flashlights, oil lamps, matches and lighters

Toilet paper and feminine products and condoms

Hand can opener

Sugar and Kool-Aid, kids juices

Coleman camp stove, propane cylinders and white gas

Baby supplies, diapers, wipes and formula

Charcoal and lighter- grills


Water hauling containers

Paper plates, cups, bowls and silverware

Trash bags

Water purifiers and filters

Insulated ice chests and bags of ice

Sleeping bags and blankets


Candy, popcorn, hot chocolate, tang etc.

Kids games, coloring books, crayons, reading books and card games

Radio, shortwave, walkie-talkies

Dish soap, bath soap, shampoo

First aid kit

And, you know, if a guy were smart, he’d have a few of these on hand ahead of time.

Believe it or not, the best survival item is your own brain. A few hard copy how-to books in a library wouldn’t hurt either, I’d say.

Excellent videos from 2013 is as important today as then. Brad and Kelly and their two young boys put these out. Like their videos to see more.

















Fat Guys in the Woods/ Ladies in Survival House

Fat Guys in the Woods

Hey, this has got to be right up my alley, I thought.

Well, yes, Creek Stewart has it going on. A real outdoor survival program for real fat guys, eh? Good work Creek and The Weather Channel, it’s a winner! (More after this video clip)

There have been several other reality survival programs featuring professional men survivalists on TV in the last few years that. . .
Well now, this gives ol’ Handy Granny an idea.

Ladies in Survival House

What if, and I’m just saying, what if, us fat gals do something on the line of the fat guys in the woods thing. Let’s say we can get 3 lady volunteers together with any where between 6 to 9 children all under the age of 14. We’ll put them in a middle class standard American three bedroom house in the middle of a suburbia. The clincher will be the house will have no electricity. This survival situation will revolve around a simulated nation wide unplanned power outage. There will be no running water in the house, but there will be a large quantity of only 4 different stored food items in which to cook and feed everyone. To help facilitate the realism of the situation, we’ll throw in one grumpy granny, 2 large dogs and a pregnant gerbil with the cast of volunteers for a full two weeks? No running water means no running toilet facilities, no bath and no washer and dryer. Just imagine no TV or computer, no cell phones, just you and the kids without power for a two full week. That is 336 hours! Now, let’s up the ante and make it real interesting. Let’s do this in the debt winter. What do you say? Think it would make for great TV viewing?


Moochers at the front door

Excerpt from “How to Survive and Thrive When the Power is Out”

Your sister, her husband and 6 kids–It’s not a vacation!

The crisis has hit and the power has been out for three days, your immediate household has resolved to stay the course and you are ready to handle what ever comes you way until. . .

Your sister, her husband, their 6 kids, two dogs and a car show up at your house expecting you to take them in because they are family. They also know you have an alternate source of heating for your house. Or because sometime in the past you bragged that you spend a chunk of cash from your paycheck each pay period on stocking the pantry and freezer. They decided you needed help eating all that bounty before it spoiled. Yes?

Or even worse, what if the knock on the door is your packrat mother-in-law (pick your favorite relative) with her 12 cats and a bad cigarette habit? Attached to dear mother-in-law is a lazy boyfriend who does nothing but watch television all day and order delivery pizza. He is so lazy, it’s even hard to get him up off the couch to shave or shower.

I think you get the picture. Have you given any thought about what you will do when those you love show up at your house? These dear family members explain to you that they are here for the duration of the power outage or disaster because their place is no longer suitable. But your ability to care for another family will be stretched thin. Your immediate household, your spouse and children are always first in importance, as it should be.

Below is something that can help in times like these. If your extended family or friends cannot live by your guidelines they will always be free to find another host. Please feel free to copy the guidelines and distribute to your house guests as necessary. Everyone will be much happier knowing where things stand. Rules will be much easier to enforce once everyone knows what is expected of them.

                                                                       Please read and sign;

this is what is expected of you should you plan to stay here. You need to bring things with you or retrieve them from your place.

1. Your children are your responsibility, no exceptions; bring what they need.

2. Pets are also your responsibility: bring what they need. Aggressive, dangerous, uncontrollable or unhealthy animals will be taken to the woods and dispatched. No exceptions. The groups’ safety is paramount

a) All Pets; with this many people in the house it will begin to feel really small. All pets, every single animal, will remain outside. Plan on it.

3. Clothing; sturdy work clothes, shoes and easy care clothing. You will need to wash these by hand and hang to dry.

4. Food; as much as possible. It will be shared by everyone.

5. Bedding; you will be responsible for bringing your own bedding or sleeping bags.

6. Cleaning supplies, toilet paper, trash bags etc; with this many people in means more cleaning to keep us healthy. Bleach if you have it will be greatly appreciated.

7. Soap, shampoo, toothpaste etc; you will need to keep yourself clean and sweet-smelling.

8. Weapons, ammo, hunting and fishing gear; until needed weapons and ammo will be locked away.

9. Your prescriptions and first aid supplies; you will need to bring you own meds, this needs no explanation. First aid supplies will be locked away and shared by all as needed.

Please take note; only your personal items, such as clothing, bedding, prescriptions and children items etc. will be free for your use. Everything else, along with our stuff, will be locked away in the storeroom and shared with the house.

You will be required to work for the house each day. The greater part of work will depend on the need at the time.

The following is a list of chores that you can expect. No chores, no food, no exceptions!

1. Daily chores; included in this section, but not limited to, cooking the meals and cleaning up after, sweeping the floors, cleaning the bathroom and removing waste to outdoor disposal site. Any other tasks that may be required to help the house survive.

2. Hauling water and purifying it; the creek is a half mile away and the water from it will need to be filtered and purified. A wagon will be provided.

3. Hunting and fishing; all the work involved from the harvest to the ready to cook stage will be your responsibility.

4. Gardening; this will include but not limited to, seed starting, tilling the ground, planting, weeding, watering, harvesting, canning and drying.

5.Foraging; this is the gathering of wild grown food such as raspberries, gooseberries, blueberries and elderberries etc. Also, various roots such as dandelions, burdock and cattails etc. Plus herbs and plants to assist and ensure flavorful meals.

6. Firewood; in the fall or as time permits, firewood needs to be gathered and cut, chopped, hauled and stacked. Everyone helps.

7. Babysitting; this will be designated as a chore. 1 or 2 people we be the days sitter so the others can work.

Childrens’ responsibility; when in a survival situation children under the age of 14 will be fed twice a day. The rest of the household may not be so lucky. Children 14 and older will be treated as an adult, with adult like responsibilities and all that entails. Children younger than 14 years old WILL be supervised at all times. There is no exceptions

This is a survival situation; it is not your or my vacation!!