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.
















homesteading · preparedness

Voompa, Voompa,Voompa, oh my achy back!

Part 1

It’s getting to be that time of year again with thoughts of winter just ahead. We have a little time before the snow blows up here in Michigan backwoods, but one needs only look up to see the hint of yellow and reds already waving hello from the Maples to know that it can be anytime now. It is quite the spectacle to see piles of cold white snow weighting down those beautiful orange and red covered branches. It sometimes happens late September or first part of October when everyone else is enjoying fall color tours. Our garden green bean plants have brown tips on their leaves already from a few very cold nights. Two more warm nights and the weather man says our summer is over. Hope the green beans can keep up. Oh, by the way, the onion skins are the thickest I have ever seen them. In case you are not familiar with the old wives tale, it suggests that the thicker the onion skins at harvest, the colder the winter will be.
I’m here to tell you, it looks to be heading toward very cold up here in Michigans U.P. This is now the time of year I begin to watch the wild things for signs, so when Rocky Raccoon and his gang demolished the sweet corn patch before the corn had even ripened it got my attention. And every bird known to mankind attacked the Elderberry, choke cherries and honeysuckle trees with a vengeance, leaving not one berry, ripe or otherwise anywhere. Chipmunks have been coming almost into the back door looking for vittles and Canadian geese have already been seen heading south. The bushy caterpillar is extremely bushy and the our dog seems to be extra thick so soon too. Could be nothing but old wives tales, or what if. . .

odda and ends 2015 032This all leads me to thinking about keeping our little cabin warm in the event we get another 50 below winter again this year. Makes things tough when the power goes out at those temperatures, too. Two years ago we went 6 weeks without propane because there was that shortage, if you remember in the mid-central U.S., and they jacked the price up to around the $8.00 a gallon mark. We have decided to get our ducks in a row and get ready for what ever mother nature throws at us this winter. Nope, no more procrastination. Time to drag out the earmuffs and hot water bottles.

Checking with the Old Farmers Almanac, they say we are supposed to be a bit warmer than usual, which is in direct conflict with what the guy over at Accweather has to say and all the animals around here. They are saying cold, cold and dry cold. Other weather people are saying that we have a strong el Nino out in the Pacific that could effect our weather dramatically. So here’s where the voompa, voompa comes into play, cutting enough firewood to keep ourselves warm for the entire season. Some years we use our woodstove for 9 months out of the year. Granted, some months it is used only for a short time during the day, like in the morning to take the chill out of the house before the sun works it’s magic. Or in the evening to warm us after dinner and before bed.

We are lucky to have a couple of chainsaws and a wonderful log splitter. Thanks to these modern gizmos the work is not so bad. As long as we have enough gas, bar and chain oil for the chainsaw and extra chains, more gas for the log splitter, hydraulic oil, and engine maintenance to keep things running on schedule. And of course, a truck to haul all the wood from the forest to be cut and then moved again to be stacked. Least we forget, to get all this work done we need a strong back or two, and a couple pairs of sturdy of gloves for each of us. Now the big question; what if one piece of those domino pieces fall down and for some reason we can no longer get, gas, oil or maintenance parts? Then what? blog photos 9-17-15 005

Alternative media along with those PSAs from FEMA to prepare. September being national preparedness month and all.

In part two of Voompa, voompa, voompa, oh my achy back, we’ll take up the issue of staying warm when the supply chains have come to a screeching halt. Some of this is covered in my book How to Survive and Thrive When the Power is Out.