Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Stranded Overnight

If you haven't already checked it out, have a listen at Off Grid Survival about the big snow storm that hit Ontario and Michigan.  There's an interview there with one fellow who was stuck in his truck over 24 hours, all he had was a blanket, and he'd started his trip with only a quarter tank of gas in his truck.

I have two words for you:  Car Kit.  Brandon Junkin mentions in the interview that by midnight, he was unable to open his vehicle doors because the snow had drifted in so deep.  My friends, he is one lucky hombre to be able to tell his story.  But think how much better off he would have been with a survival mindset.  One thing I will bet on: Brandon is probably going to put together a car kit, and he'll probably listen to weather warnings in the future.

The one item that Off Grid Survival's recommended car kit list doesn't mention is personal sanitation.  If you can't open the vehicle doors, you can't step out for a potty break.  And for the ladies, a bottle is not going to do it.  For the car, when you can't step out, a plastic bed pan or a portable urinal may be just the ticket.

You may also want to consider some waterproof bed-pads if there are children with you.

This would also be useful if you have your dog with you.  If it's not safe for you to step out, it certainly is not safe for Rover to do so either.

Finally, if you have your car kit in the trunk of your car, you may want to think about putting it in the back seat if you set out on a trip and the weather is iffy.  Your kit won't be of any benefit if you can't get it out of the trunk because the snow is so high that you can't open the doors.

December 15, 2010:  Looks like 327 people were rescued altogether.  Reports indicate many were not dressed for the weather, and some were stranded for almost 24 hours.  Check it out:


Non-Electric Lifestyle

I was reading Wendy's post over at Surviving the Suburbs about giving up her dishwasher to save electricity and become more eco-friendly, and it struck me that we all have our little guilty electric pleasures that will be hard to give up.  I'm sitting here listening to my electric coffeemaker gurgling on the kitchen counter, and wondering how long I would need to pedal a bicycle generator to get my morning cup of joe.

There are so many things that we North Americans take for granted, and just never consider how difficult it would be if the lights went out for a very long time.  Growing up, we didn't have an electric coffeemaker.  Mom made it on top of the stove using a percolator; it went camping with us and made coffee just as happily on the camp stove as it did on the electric stove at home.

Many of my relatives had large kitchens with both electric and wood-burning cook stoves in them.  One of my aunts had an oil-burning cook stove for use in the winter.  One thing I remember vividly is watching my granny stick her hand into the over to gauge the heat and whether it was hot enough to stick a tray of cookies in.  I wouldn't have a clue what felt hot enough.  Mom's stove had a thermometer on the front of the oven door.

We've probably all seen those camping gadgets for making toast or popcorn, but these are not new inventions.  There was a time when these are what people used.  I remember sitting in front of the fire with a wire basket on a long handle full of popcorn kernels and watching them pop.  I grew up with all those non-electric tools, although I will admit that when dad came home with that first electric coffee maker when I was in high school, that produced genuine excitement.  With that baby in the house, my first major addiction was born.  Mmmm, coffee! 

Nevertheless, when I look at a lot of food storage sites, and prepper sites, even though we all talk (and write) about preparing for a time when there might not be electricity, we all have all kinds of electric gadgets for prepping with.  Now that's ironic.  M.D. Creekmore addressed the same issue in a recent post, 4 Unique Ways to Preserve Food.  Honestly, I read a post from someone who is using an electric pressure cooker to can small batches!

This has driven me to an obsessive search for all those old-fashioned non-electric tools that my mother used to use.   Amazon has an amazing selection of these products, and the prices are not bad at all: