Wednesday, 23 December 2015

12:05 – We’re pretty much finished getting the downstairs finished area ready for use. Barbara is currently unboxing books and transferring them to the bookshelves. My office, the larger of the two downstairs bedrooms, is still cluttered with stacks of boxes, but we’re gradually getting those unpacked. Eventually, we’ll install bookshelves on the walls in here, and probably one of the 5×2-foot freestanding island shelving units to store more kit stuff. There’s a large closet, which is currently about a quarter full of long-term food storage, roughly a person-year’s worth. When we get time, we’ll transfer another six or eight cases of #10 cans of Augason LTS food into that closet as well.

Barbara thinks we already have plenty of stored food, and in one sense she’s right. As I’ve said many times, I don’t really expect a catastrophic SHTF situation, at least anytime soon. I expect a continuing slide into dystopia. But there’s a very real possibility that a trigger event like the power grid going down or severe widespread civil disorder will kick things over the edge, and supermarket shelves will quickly empty and stay empty. If that does happen–and I’d SWAG there’s maybe a 10% chance per year that it will happen–I want to be in a position to feed not just Barbara, Colin, and me for the long term, but also family, friends, and neighbors. Fortunately, we’re now living in an area that produces much, much more food than it consumes, and that production is very diverse. Everything from beef and dairy cattle to grains to vegetables to fruit to poultry. That production would no doubt be seriously impaired by a grid-down or other severe long-term emergency, but even in a worst-case scenario the area should be able to feed its current population.

It’s a drizzly, foggy day here, with thunderstorms predicted for tonight and tomorrow, so we’ll stay indoors other than running a couple of errands sometime today or tomorrow. Barbara also wants to make up a double batch of no-knead bread dough today, which we’ll bake tomorrow. A double batch will yield four standard loaves, which should carry us through the holiday. Longer, if it turns out that our guests don’t care for the moister loaf that the no-knead dough produces. But the bread freezes very well, so it’s not a problem either way.

Barbara has been doing it for years, and I finally decided to start keeping a list of books I’ve been reading and videos I’ve been watching. Most will focus on prepping, because I’m reading/watching a lot of titles that apply to the prepping book I’m (still) working on. Here’s the first entry. I’ll try to keep doing it.

  • Jericho (TV series) – By far the best of the post-apocalyptic TV series. The science isn’t perfect by any means, but the writers manage to hit all the high points and cover all the issues. There are only 29 episodes, but all are worth watching/re-watching. It’s currently available on Netflix streaming.
  • Lights Out (novel) – David Crawford’s post-EMP novel is large and heavy enough to use as a doorstop, but it’s one of the best PA novels I’ve read. Again, it manages to hit all the high points and cover all the issues.
  • Lights Out (non-fiction) – Ted Koppel’s book lays out the threats against our power grids, and the nightmare scenario that would follow a long-term grid-down event. Koppel focuses on the threat of cyberattack against the grids, but acknowledges in passing the threats from an EMP attack or a solar CME.
  • Food Storage for Self-Sufficiency and Survival (non-fiction) – Angela Paskett’s book is the best single volume I’ve found that covers long-term food storage. What few errors there are are minor, and she does an excellent job of covering the issues.
  • Survival Mom (non-fiction) – Where Paskett’s book is deep but not broad, Lisa Bedford’s book is the opposite. It’s a prepping primer that attempts to touch on all of the important issues while not burying the reader in detail.
  • 100-day Pantry: 100 Quick and Easy Gourmet Meals (non-fiction) – Jan Jackson’s book addresses an issue that gets too little attention: how to cook appetizing meals using all that LTS food you have stored. The “gourmet” part is an exaggeration, but Jackson does an excellent job. She assumes that you may be cooking from stored staples but with access to some fresh foods, but she also presents LTS alternatives for when you don’t have access to fresh dairy products, meats, herbs, and so on. We actually own two printed copies of this book. When I got the first one, Barbara flipped through it and said it looked interesting. Some time later, she asked me where it was because she wanted to try cooking some of the recipes. I couldn’t find it, so I ordered another copy. One of those copies will live in our kitchen as we try some of the recipes over the next few months.

Enough for now. More next time.

6 Comments and discussion on "Wednesday, 23 December 2015"

  1. Lynn says:

    Are you still thinking that one or more EMP blasts in LEO will not fry all the computers (PC, car engine, etc) in the USA? If so, that changes the “Lights Out” novel quite a bit since he writes that all car engine computers will get fried by an EMP. Still a great story though, I am giving four copies out for Christmas.

  2. Ray Thompson says:

    And this just in. Everyone should move out of Virginia and let the governor live by himself.

  3. Ray Thompson says:

    all car engine computers will get fried by an EMP

    The car computers are quite well protected. They are located inside the metal cage of the vehicle and the computers themselves are in a metal box. Pretty good shielding. The wires may be an ingress point but the wires in a car are not that long and many are behind metal body panels.

  4. brad says:

    “Another federal agency out of control. I’m sure the FAA has an “armed branch” forthcoming to enforce toy airplane users.”

    That’s it. Sufficient regulations are already in place – if nothing else, simple liability should suffice. The only reason for registration and (more) regulation is to expand the FAA. “The bureaucracy is expanding to meet the needs of the bureacracy.”

    After the Austrian ski crash, the news here interviewed a professional photo-drone operator. He said that they had already stopped flying drones over crowds or in other situations where they might crash onto people. The problem has already been recognized and solved on the professional level. On the level of reasonable individuals as well. And regulations aren’t going to stop the idiots, because they are…idiots.

    – – – – –

    Also interesting on the news – a special on Islam. First time I’ve heard someone on a mainstream news show assert that the problem is Islam is that it isn’t a religion, but a social and political system. He then pointed out that Islamic countries are essentially always dictatorships. This followed (preceded? don’t remember) by an interview with an Islamist in France who is demanding that France eliminate the separation between church and state.

    Slowly, slowly, the real issues are coming to the light of day…

  5. Miles_Teg says:

    “…an Islamist in France who is demanding that France eliminate the separation between church and state.”

    Since France isn’t (yet?) majority mooslem a unified church and state could impose Christian (or atheist) values on the nooslems. Like wimminz under 40 having to wear bikinis in public.

  6. DadCooks says:

    Oh là là

    However, be prepared for the “natural” look 😉

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