Category: prepping fail

Sat. Dec. 24th, 2022 – Christmas Eve

Still cold.   Still damp.   Still windy.   26F when I went to bed, and likely still pretty close to that at the start of today.  It did get above freezing, at least in the sun, for a bit yesterday.

We had some frozen pipes.   Namely the cold water supply to the on-demand water heater, which we moved from inside the house, to outside when we replaced our tank water heater.  All the lines were insulated at install, but for whatever reason, 8 inches of galvanized pipe coming out of the house and a valve were not insulated.   The bypass valves at the heater unit were also not insulated.  Predictably, that is what froze.   It took a while to slowly thaw, using an incandescent light bulb applied to the big valve and cold water line, and then later adding a ceramic ‘personal’ heater under the pipes and the unit, but we escaped without damage to the pipes or the heater itself.

Some lessons were learned.  I forgot about the hot water heater.   I forgot it was hanging out in the wind on the side of the house, and I didn’t even check to see if the pipes were insulated.  When my wife thought of it, I was already in my jammies ready for bed, and didn’t go out to check in the 17F wind.  I decided to go to bed and let fate take its course.  LAZY!  Of course I woke up to no hot water.   I don’t know if the additional insulation would have kept the pipe from freezing.   I don’t know if the “skirt” I’d planned to build to enclose the lower half of the unit and cover the pipes would have been enough.   The combination probably would have been, especially if I put a lamp bulb in there to raise the ambient temp.

So ‘prepper fail’ for sure.   If the job of installing the heater had been properly finished, likely no issues.  If I’d checked, no issues.  We got lucky.   Now, I did have the propane fired on-demand water heater we’ve been using for the outdoor shower at the BOL I could have plumbed in if the heater got damaged.  Or I could have used one of the two used on-demand heaters I’ve got stored in the attic at my rent house, or even the used on-demand heater I’ve got stored at the BOL, because if the heater got damaged, there would likely be a lot of people with damaged heaters and zero in stock to buy.   That happened last time.   I didn’t want to be in that position, so I bought the used one at the BOL as a spare.  NOT breaking the heater would be the best option by far.  And I didn’t take the steps I should have taken.

I also have most of my plumbing supplies and tools at the BOL.   I would be hard pressed to do more than very basic stuff here, and probably wouldn’t have the fittings.  I certainly wouldn’t be in a position to help other neighbors like last year.  Now my neighbors at the BOL- them I could help, and I let two of them know where the stuff was and how to get to it if needed.  It’s clear  that managing stores and logistics for this house and the BOL, making decisions about what and how much to stack at each location, is going to involve duplication and some compromise.  I need to get more serious about equipping the BOL with its own set of tools and supplies.  Can’t compromise the place we live most of the time, and don’t want to be moving stuff back and forth all the time.

That goes for food, water, meds, household supplies, etc.   I really need to make a place for a lot more stuff to be transferred and stored up there.  That is why I bought the shelving units from the circus estate.  Need to execute on the plan…

The biggest difference between this cold snap and the last one is that we didn’t lose power.  That makes all the difference.   Also, it’s going to be a much shorter event.  Probably.   Touch wood.


Today I’ll be in last minute present wrapping and food preparing mode.    Then we’ll open most of the gifts tonight.   Some will be tomorrow morning.   We’ll eat Christmas dinner here, then head to the BOL later Christmas day (probably.)  Or we might just stay here, and mom will see the BOL next visit.   Don’t really know.   I might end up driving up by myself to unload my tower, and check on everything.   It’s all kinda fluid at the moment.

Enjoy the days.   I hope you get some good preps from the jolly fat man.

nick

Fri. Dec. 2, 2022 – just when I’m getting used to typing 2022 …

Cool and damp again, hopefully the clear will hold for another day or two.  We are in the rain zone in the national forecast today and tomorrow, but that will suck for driving to the BOL with a loaded truck. It was clear most of the day yesterday but a front came in very dramatically and it got dark early… no rain but SOLID cloud bank.

I did my errands, and a few other things.  Like starting to put out some decorations.  I got some more of the Halloween stuff put back in the attic too.   Didn’t make sense to put it away in front of the Christmas stuff.

Then in the evening I had a prepper fail.   Wife and kids will be at Girl Scout camp this weekend so she told me to fill up a couple of 1 pound propane bottles.  No problem.   Except that I have one full BBQ tank and 4 empties at the moment.   I’ve been moving tanks to the BOL, and only taking a couple at a time to get refilled.  And I got behind.   Compounding the issue, the full tank leaks when I put the transfer hose on it.  So that was a no-go.   The tank in the grill was almost out and didn’t have enough left to fill even one small bottle.  10 empty small bottles, two part full, no way to refill.   Yeah, I moved about a dozen to the BOL, but I should  have seen that I was leaving home short.

So I need to fill the BBQ bottles I have here.  Then determine if the refill hose is faulty.   Then fill or replace a bunch of 1 pound bottles so we can fuel the stoves and Mr Heater Lil Buddy heaters if needed.   And all in a hurry because I lost track of it.   In my defense, it seems that my wife used the hose to refill some small bottles at some point in the past, without letting me know.  I don’t know if the hose leaked at that point or if something  failed or is missing as a result of it being used.  I’m not happy about the whole mess.  I should probably bite the bullet and buy a case of 1 pounders just to be sure we have some.

Cut my hair and trimmed the beard.   That wahl trimmer kit has paid for itself in money, time, and convenience many times over.   It helps that I wear a crew cut and am comfortable with that.  It’s a straightforward clipper cut.  My barber is asking $20 per cut now.  He was $12 when I started with him in ’03.

All my running around is complicated by the freezer and dishwasher in the back of my  truck.  I might have to just run around town with them loaded to get everything done before heading up.

It’s always something.  Need to get some groceries too.  On the plus side, Costco had gas for $2.49/gal.  Filled the Expedition.  THAT ain’t cheap.

And since we’re on the topic of fuel, I need to start rotating my stored gasoline and cleaning up any that has gotten contaminated with water over the summer.   More joy.  I did pick up a new 5 gallon jug for storage.   The 5 gal. plastic Blitz cans have a definite lifespan.  The welded seam at the top of the handle always seems to fail eventually, so I need to start replacing cans too.  Commander Zero likes the nato style metal cans, but they are a bit spendy for my taste.  I’ll make due with plastic, and just replace them when they  fail.

I better get the kids out the door and get started on something.

Stack what you need.   Check your stacks.   Replace what has failed.

 

nick

Fri. Aug. 19, 2022 – so MUCH stuff to do…

Hot and humid, but definitely less so today after all the rain and the cool front yesterday.   We got a smattering in the early afternoon, like a snow flurry, only wet.  A little later the temperature dropped 20F, the sky darkened and the wind picked up.  Picked up stuff and flung it around!   And that was when the power went out.

Took  a little over 2 hours for power to be restored.  It was pretty dark with the storm clouds.   The FLASHLIGHTS and mini lanterns got used.  The rain crashed down.   One of the nearby monitoring stations got 1″ in 15 minutes.   Of course the rain put an end to me working in the yard.   I did manage to get one gas powered string trimmer running.   It needed new fuel lines, new primer bulb, and a good carb cleaning.   I put the string trimmer attachment on it and attacked the back yard.   It’s been a long time since I ran the trimmer in back, and I had some real bushwacking to do.   Trimmer ran great for a whole tank of gas.  The engine part had a $6 sticker on it.  Fuel rebuild kit was $12, and a can of carb cleaner was $3.  I don’t  remember but I think the string trimmer attachment was probably less than $12.  I don’t count the cost of the string since that’s an expendable.  It took time of course, but still pretty cheap over all.  I’ve got a pole saw attachment for trimming limbs, and a blower  attachment for sweeping leaves, as well as extra string trimmer attachments.   If I can get another one of the power units running, I’ll leave one as a trimmer and one as polesaw.

In hindsight, I should  have been working on the gennie, either the propane conversion for the Honda inverter, or cleaning the carb for the bigger Generac.   But I couldn’t find the conversion kit- it got ‘cleaned up’ and moved.  And I got focused on getting one of the trimmers running so I could cut the grass.    I did find the kit later in the evening so it will be going on the gennie this week.   I’ve decided to ask a neighbor for an extension cord to keep the freezers running while the electrical work is happening.  I’ll send the gennie with my wife next week just in case.   Thought I’d have more time before the next hurricane to get the Generac prepped…  Prepper fail.

Today I’ve got a ton of stuff to get together and load, scattered in a couple of different places.  I think I’ll be driving around most of the day, and then driving to the BOL, with a pickup or three on the way.  Wife and kids have more Girl Scout Mariner stuff this weekend, and I have to get some stuff done at the BOL before the electricians get there.

Subsequently I’ll be away from the keyboard most of the day.  Hope they can keep the world together a few more days…

I need to stack some more, and so do you!

nick

Sun. May 22, 2022 – 05225022 – meh, not a cool number

Hot hot hot too fricken hot… maybe some rain later.

And humid.   Soaked to the skin, and brains boiled working in the back yard yesterday.   I did find some shade under a market umbrella, and that saved me.  Did I mention it was hot?

After working on my gennie for a few hours, since I was soaked through anyway, I cut the grass.  It was overcast and a bit cooler anyway.   I still love that Toro battery mower.

We spent the evening celebrating D1 becoming a teen.   That will probably be the last time we’re happy about that, LOL.  Didn’t get time to play any games yesterday so we are supposed to play some today.  AFTER the clothes shopping.

I”m going to finish the gennies, if I can.   And go through the stored gas to see if any of the stuff in the cabinet also got ruined.  I did discover a point source failure, potentially.   I use a hand pump to move gas around.   It’s a cheap Harbor Freight thing, but it works really well and it lets you quickly transfer gas from a heavy can to your gennie, or suck all the old bad gas out.   I’m going to get 4 more, put two at the BOL and leave the others here.   I will dedicate one to water, and  have the other for gas.   It’s so much easier than holding 5 gallons in the air while attempting to control a pour into a small gas tank.  Recommended.

 

So USE some preps this week.  Find out if you have what you need to make it work, or not.  And stack it up.

 

n

Tues. Mar. 8, 2022 – busy day. Busy week.

Cold again.  Probably just cool and damp later, but cold this am.   We got drizzle yesterday, despite the weather liars at openweathermap.org assuring me that we would not.  The national forecast had us in the rain zone.   It wasn’t bad really, or long, and as I headed north I was back in sunglasses pretty quickly.

Gas prices are rising pretty quickly even here in Texas.  Markets are pretty distorted, and demand is all over the place.   I don’t see any reason for it to get better anytime soon, and lots of reasons for it to get worse.

In fact, that sums up my outlook on pretty much any subject at the moment.  I don’t think sanity and practicality are going to break out.   I see a doubling down on the insanity instead.  And I see it building to a head, and then coming apart kinetically.

Now some people around here have chided me (in the spirit of goodwill, I believe) that I was too negative-  “the end is nigh” ” the end is nigh-er”…   but I don’t think it’s “the end” that’s nigh, but a massive disruption, a massive change in pretty much everything, except human nature.  I did not know the mechanism, but pestilence, war, and famine are always good bets.    Current world events seem to be supportive of that belief, if not yet settling on the mechanism.  And don’t forget to embrace the power of ‘and’ when it comes to mechanism.

I find myself wondering if I was negative enough.  My recent lull in prepping and lack of enthusiasm in the face of everything would seem to indicate that I wasn’t taking it seriously.  Well, now we seem to be at the elbow of the curve for  a lot of things, food prices, gas prices, violence, and I’m feeling a bit anxious that I let too much time slip away.

If you are feeling that too, I think we need to shake it off, take the time we have and USE it.   Anything that improves our position is worth it, with any prep being better than none.   I’m still living by my requirement that nothing I do can be irrevocable, but I’m willing to burn a bridge or two if I have to now.  Nations are starting to do the same.  Several have now announced bans on export of food, or fertilizer, or fuel.  If shortages are coming, nations and people are acting to secure their own needs first.   I recommend doing the same.   DON’T be that guy, faced with empty shelves, crying “why didn’t you leave any for me?”

Unless you are someone’s minor child or legal ward, no one has any obligation to put your needs ahead of their own.  That is not the way many of us are used to thinking of the world, or even living our lives, but that is the base reality.   No one is coming to save you.  Plan to save yourself.  After that, if it’s what you want, plan to save others.

All of it is a lot easier with stacks of needful things.   Get busy.

n

Sun. Oct. 3, 2021 – maybe today will be a busy day

Humid. Very humid. Slightly less hot than summer, but humid. I don’t think it got above 80F yesterday but it was so humid I was dripping sweat just standing in the garage.

I slept late. I actually got up early but my back hurt, and I’d been up way too late, so I thought I’d lie down for another hour. Two hours later, I got up again. Back pain is weird, it’s more spread out than normal, is closer to the skin in some way, and sharper. Usually it’s very much down in the bones, and the tissues close to them. Weird.

Fed the kids breakfast (hash browns fried in bacon fat) and spent the day doing things that needed doing, but not getting out or to my secondary to work there. I’ll try again today. The auction pickups that would normally get me out the door didn’t happen because the auction host company has been down for 2 days so far as victim of a ransomware attack. All of their auction customers nationwide are affected, and so are THEIR customers. Lots of disruption to what are usually small, local businesses.

Cut the grass, restocked the house, did some ebay and auction stuff. Poked at the computer and kibitzed about the changes here as our unsung hero Rick bangs on the machinery trying to bend it to his will. He’s had some successes. The goal is increased reliability, which is worth some disruption. Chasing the internal server 500 errors was getting to be a big frustration for him and all of the commentors alike. We will likely continue seeing tweaks and changes for a while. Be kind. Assume positive intent. Remember it’s an unpaid and unloved job that he’s doing, and it’s not one I’m competent to do, nor do I have any desire to do it. It would be nice to have some backup for Rick so if you have the skills or interest, leave a note.

It would be nice to have some backup for ME, so if you have a comment that is going to be long and self contained, consider emailing it to me for use as a guest post. No promises, guarantees, warranties, or predictions, at my sole discretion. If I don’t want to use it as a separate post, you can still post the comment… and if you have something to say or contribute but would rather not say it yourself, email me and I’ll use it like Bob did when one of the prepper couples would email him. I’d love an update from anyone Bob featured that way too. Email is my first name at aol dot com.

Comms, networks, information, all important, and all bear some additional thought. Might be that dial up BBSs come back in vogue. Takes more legally to mess with actual phone lines… but of course WROL that’s not much of a consideration. Might be worth looking at data over ham radio to mailing lists or BBSs… possibly some combination with the ip based linking and conference repeaters…hmm. Shortwave with a data stream embedded? Weather fax single sheets like the broadsheets of old? SSTV on ham freqs? Time, probably past time, to start thinking about long term and worst cases, at least as thought experiments. Alex Jones is certainly glad he has his show on shortwave radio, after being shut out of all other media. Just saying.

In the absence of orders, keep stacking.

nick

Tues. Sept. 21, 2021 – some observations…

Hot and humid. One last hurrah for summer? Global warmening come to kill us all? You be the judge! In any case, it was hot and humid yesterday too, hovering around 100F in the afternoon (and in the sun.) It was still 83F at midnight, but there was a nice breeze and the giant fusion fire in the sky was roasting someone else, so it was quite pleasant waiting for the puppy to do his business before bed.

I spent the day mostly doing cleaning around the house and organizing ebay items. I did ship one book, and picked up d2 for our special time. That was cut short by last minute shopping for birthday gifts. This is the opposite of prepping btw, but I was super slack getting ready for the birthday. My wife came home and we went out for dinner with the kids. Had a nice meal and came home. It was almost like we weren’t in a pandemic at all, or about to kick off WWIII or CWII…

While shopping, we actually went to the mall. I tried. I went to a freestanding jeweler, but they stopped carrying what d2 wanted, and I couldn’t find the sunglasses my wife asked for. The jeweler (Jared) was buzzing people in individually and had removed display areas. They looked like they had a lot fewer items on display and at least one fewer area. The “kid cove” where they used to have a tv and couch was being used for storing cardboard boxes.

We hit the Macy’s at one end of the mall, and there were more staff than shoppers. I did find the sunglasses though, so that was a plus.

We drove around to the other side of the mall to find a Pandora store, and look at a gift shop d2 finds amusing. The mall was pretty empty. Some stores had a few people in them. The Pandora store was limiting the number of people in at one time. We only went in there, and a kitschy gift shop. Stock at the gift shop was THIN. One or two ‘faces’ for each item. LOTS of space between displays. One item per hook and still lots of space. Prices are nuts. $16 for a novelty wine bottle stopper? I don’t think so. Two employees working.

The Pandora store had 3 or 4 saleswomen and a manager working, and everyone was occupied when we walked up. (Pandora has nice inexpensive jewelry and especially charms for their charm bracelets. It’s an easy default gift to get another charm.) The store was looking SHABBY. There were boxes stacked in one corner. It’s designed with much the same aesthetic as a an apple store, so the wear and tear was a bit shocking. Lots of smudges and hand print dirt in wear areas.

The other stores we walked past had a lot of empty space in them and they weren’t overflowing with stock. Either they let stock run down, or they aren’t getting refreshed. Macy’s was stocking displays while we were there, but even they looked a bit sparse and spread out.

The restaurant, Pappadeaux’s Seafood, was pretty busy for a Monday night. There were empty tables but people were in groups of 4 and up, some with 8-12 people. It was maybe 2/3 occupied tables. LOTS of staff working. Food was great, but there were no off menu specials at all, and they were steering diners to one side order (green beans). They didn’t bring their signature bread until my wife thought to ask. There were only 4 lobsters in the tank, but three sold while we were there. Prices seemed high to me, even by my road warrior/per diem standards. It’s a nice comfortable, kinda dress up place, but $78 for a steak entree is nuts. NOT a white tablecloth place. Portions are large, you get a lot for your money, but dang. Two apps, 3 adult dinners and one child, 2 fake beers, two margs, and tax and tip had us over $230. For comparison, Jack in the Box for us 4, combo meals with add on shakes, was $78 iirc, so maybe $200+ for a nice date night dinner out isn’t so much out of line after all.

Frankly I don’t see how people can afford to eat fast food at all, and certainly not as a staple. And unless someone else (like your company) is paying, IDK how your “ordinary Joe” can afford a nice dinner out. We had a $75 gift card and it was still expensive.

Not the way I’d have chosen to spend the day and evening, but it wasn’t my birthday.

Things don’t look good out there. There is “stuff” but not as much or as much variety. Prices seem high, and headed higher. I’d say ‘do your holiday shopping NOW, just in case.’

And stack all the things (that you can get.)

nick

Sun. July 25, 2021 – hooray, pack is back together…

Hot and humid again. No rain in the forecast for today, although the edge of the zone isn’t that far away. Yesterday was over 100F in the sun and the humidity was high enough stuff didn’t dry outside. So of course I needed to be working in the heat. It was a little bit cooler at my secondary location, mainly because the sun was mostly hidden, and there was a bit of a breeze.

I just kept hammering away (or sawing and carrying) pulling a trade show exhibit out of its shipping containers and piling the pieces up for trash or recycle. Carry, cut, carry, cut, plod…. The end goal is worth the drudgery. The drudgery should have been done years ago, btw. Real Life ™ got in the way though. Danged Real Life ™, always making demands…

Before I could go do that work, I needed to be home to greet the kids on their return from camp. Lots of fun was had, some things were learned. Oldest didn’t quite make her ‘Mariner’ certificate. They try to fit a longer course into the week and it didn’t quite make it. Still, she now officially knows more about sailing small boats than I do.

I had two vehicle issues. My Ranger battery appears to have died. I’ll look at replacing that today or tomorrow. The heat here kills batteries and it’s been hot. I’m pretty sure I looked at the battery not too very long ago and decide it was near EOL. Poor timing, but not a tragedy as I have the other truck to backup the Ranger.

Took the backup truck to work, and on the way home the Expedition got a flat tire. There is some more detail in yesterday’s comments, but the 10,000 foot look is one of potential fail. I was all set to swap in the spare, which I had a high degree of confidence in, because I actually look at it fairly often, and thump it once in a while, and I’d done that when I bought the truck. It was fine, and I knew how to get it out from under the truck. I’d also checked that the jack and tools were there when I bought, and I added a couple of things to that compartment when I moved into the truck. I recognized that I’d run over something and was able to get to a safe and flat area- all set to be all self sufficient…

And then the lug wrench didn’t fit the lug nuts. Seriously? Upgraded ‘fancy’ wheels. They must use bigger nuts than stock and no one ever realized. Or whatever they did to compensate didn’t get transferred to me when the sale went through.

Here’s the prep part. I considered using the can of Slime Fix a Flat to just repair the tire and get home. Then I thought about the mess when actually fixing it and decide the situation didn’t call for it. I could have used my plug kit and 12v compressor to effect a repair, but it would have to be redone for ‘realz’ by my tire guy, and really, grid up. Only 6 miles from home. So I called AAA for help. I figured the tire tech would have the right sized lug wrench and it would only take a few minutes to change the tire. I was right, and was back on my way after about 45 minutes total.

Having a roadside service company is a prep. All the stuff in bins in the back of the truck is prepping. Prepping is really about having options. Prepping CREATES options. Absolute worst case I could have abandoned the vehicle and walked home. I’ve got a dozen different routes I’m familiar with between that point and home. I’ve got two cases of mountain house and water in the truck. I was wearing sturdy shoes, and armed sufficiently for most encounters. I had a wide continuum of choices because of my preps.

In the end, I didn’t use the stacks, I used the credit card… and my connections to society, because we’re still grid up, and it was the least disruptive choice as well as the second fastest. It also points out the importance of practicing and USING your preps. The spare tire is the prep for a flat, and as a system it failed when I needed it because I hadn’t tested it. New vehicle, should have been tested.

While I didn’t use the stacks this time, they were there if I had needed them. Stack some for yourselves…

n

Fri. April 2, 2021 – stuff to do, no rest for the wicked…

Cool and dry, hopefully. We’re supposed to get two nice days in a row. Yesterday was bright and sunny with cool breezes. And it got down to 51F by the time I actually went back to bed.

Spent yesterday mostly doing nothing. Drove to one pickup. Got the child from school. Went to the chiropractor and came home. Pain sucks. Chronic pain changes who you are and how you get through life. It colors everything and it’s possible to be in so much pain that you don’t even realize that you are in pain until it stops. That was the case with my lower back injury a dozen years ago. It had just crept up on me and poisoned my whole life. Fortunately I sort of accidentally got treatment, and suddenly knew what was going on. I’ve been pretty careful since then to not push it, or find myself without the means to manage the issue. Only a few months ago I found myself in that situation and vowed not to let it happen again. But it did. Ran out of my maintenance meds and suffered for it. This time I misunderstood the tele-doc and the pharmacy has not been as engaged as usual, and instead of toughing it out for a couple of days, I’m now going to be dealing with this for a week or more unless I get lucky.

What are the prepper lessons? The same old ones. Two is one and one is none. A stitch in time saves nine. Grid down will likely purely suck.

I’ve started the process to help insure that this won’t be happening again and that’s all I’ll say about that. The really frustrating part is that the meds which work very well for me aren’t abusable, aren’t even pain related, are well known and cheap, have minimal side effects, and are widely available as a vet med throughout the world. If the market was bigger, they’d be over the counter by now. There is no reason why I should have to beg anyone else for the ability to stop the pain and go about my life. And there is no reason to dole them out one month at a time. My condition is not going to improve. I won’t be needing less. I can manage my own stockpile and dosing. But I’m not allowed. The changes brought about by obama-no-care destroyed the family practice that was my primary care physician, and made my access to care more difficult, more expensive, and more time consuming.

Degradation of services that used to work well is a sign of a collapsing society. The current situation is exacerbated by the china flu and the response to it, but it was not CAUSED by it, the causes were already in place.

All of this is to say, if you have a medical condition that you are taking meds for, you MUST take steps to insure your continued access to them. Whatever the cause of any disruption, be it society wide, just a glitch in the supply chain, or your doctor is suddenly unavailable, there will be a disruption at some point. Lots of people online have discussed strategies and ways to do so for most conditions and we’ve talked about it here too. Some take more effort, some more time, and some just more money, but get started if you haven’t already. I used to have a cushion, I used it up, didn’t replace it, and now I’m paying the price.

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Today, if I can manage it, I’ve got to check on some issues with my client’s site. Stuff continues to fail piecemeal from the lightning strikes, and I continue to patch it up. We are developing a plan to rip and replace everything, but as you can imagine, that costs money, and people with means, who came to them honestly and through hard work, don’t just spend money wildly. They are often very conservative and contemplative when it comes to that.

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In any case, for the next little while, I’ll be focused on my physical issues and what to do about them, WHILE all the other things demand my attention too.

Don’t wait, start stacking stuff today.

n

Sat. Feb. 20, 2021 – 02202021 – another funny number on a not so funny day

Cold again.   This is really starting to get old, ya know?  I’d hate for this to be the beginning of the new normal.  A whole lotta people are gonna starve if the US can’t produce and export a whole lotta extra food.  Global warming has always been a more human friendly trend than global cooling.   I guess that’s why they hate it so much.

Spent yesterday getting ready to go to my rent house, then coming home.  Don’t know what I’ll be doing today but it’s probably going to revolve around drinking water.

I opened two aquatainers last night and both were contaminated.     One had the spigot crack, which let air and ‘stuff’ into the jug.    There is nasty looking stuff on the bottom of the jug, and the water smells of mold or mildew.

The other jug was stored with the spigot reversed and inside the jug (as I learned to do years ago) but the screw cap had loosened.    Faint ‘stale’ odor, and some sand or sediment at the bottom of the jug.    Prepper fail.

Both jugs spent the summer and fall sitting in the driveway, heating and cooling every day, eventually pumping air into the jug.   Previously I’ve had water in aquatainers, treated with bleach, that was perfectly drinkable after 7 years.   That jug was stored in the proverbial ‘cool dark place’ though.

I didn’t find out until around midnight, since we haven’t had to even crack the stored drinking water to that point.  My interim solution was to put a pot of tap water on the boil, so I could refill the brita filter and make coffee in the morning.    That’s why I think I’ll be looking more closely at our stored water today, in the daylight.

I trusted the aquatainers to perform as they had in the past without considering that conditions had changed.  Prepper fail.

The aquatainers are generally quite good and I recommend having some.  They are about as big as can be reasonably handled at 7 gallons.  They have a couple of weaknesses though.  The spigots are fragile.   To combat that, I take the cap off, unscrew the spigot and rescrew it into the cap from the inside.    That puts it inside the jug when stored, which is safer for it.   It must be sterile and spotlessly clean when you do that though.   You can also replace the spigot with a plumbing fitting.   The threads are standard, and a simple plug can be screwed in.   It’s also a good idea to order and stock some replacements for the spigots, and for the cap over the breather hole.  I’ve got several of each.

Like most plastics, they will become brittle and crack if left in the sun long enough- so don’t.   The biggest downside, as far as I’m concerned, is you can’t stack them, and you can’t lay them on their side and leave them like that either for storage, or for dispensing.

When I fill them, I use chlorinated tap water and add plain bleach.  There are a lot of official and semi-official recipes for bleach to water ratio, but they all boil down to– mix in bleach very thoroughly, adding more slowly until you can just barely smell it in the water.  (this is for already potable water, follow the recipe and rules for treating suspected bad or dirty water).

Doing this, and keeping the container sealed and stored well, I had no problem with 7 years of storage.  The water was clear, and only a bit ‘flat’.   To fix that you can aerate by pouring from container to container a couple of times, or I just pour it through a Brita filter pitcher.   It’s easier to use and chill that way anyway.

I use the same method for all the water I store.  Scrupulously clean bottle/jug/container/tank,  already chlorinated tap water, add plain bleach until you can smell it even after thorough mixing, seal well and protect from air, light, and heat.

Worst case, I might have to use the Sawyer filter on the stored water, or some other treatment option, or just use the contaminated water for flushing and washing while  using the uncontaminated OTHER containers for drinking.    That is one advantage of multiple smaller jugs, if one is contaminated the others are usually still fine.   That’s one reason why I prefer smaller containers to one big tank.   That and mobility issues.  A 55 gallon drum weighs a lot, ~450  pounds.  You aren’t putting a 55 gallon drum in the back of your BOV.


Water is your first need, and you should have plenty on hand.   I think a minimum of 2 gallons per person, per day, half that for pets, is a good number for planning purposes.   More is better.   Plus you need the means to treat the water to make it safe to drink.  Hiking filters are good, if they have small enough pores, and the chemical means should be on your shelf too-iodine tablets for your personal cup of water, gallons of bleach for bulk treatment.

 


 

More on water storage and redundancy later, for now, keep stacking.

 

nick

 

 

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