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Old 09-11-2013, 18:11   #16
PSM
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Being 100% off-grid, the only natural disaster that I’m concerned about is a massive volcano that would reduce our ability to tap the Sun for energy. Even then, we have three gasoline generators, two of which can each power the whole house.

We go about 7 months between propane refills but could go 10 or 11 if necessary. This thread has reminded me that we need a propane-powered generator, also, so we would not have to store gasoline for the gennies (although that also gives us fuel for the Jeep and Tahoe [both 4WD]).

Fire is my next concern, but, since we are mostly surrounded by wild grasses and scattered mesquite, I doubt that the threat is very high. But we do have fire resistant gel that we can spray on the house if needed (discussed in the “Colorado is on Fire” thread). We cleared around the house and garage from 50 to 100 feet.

We have a 1550 gal water tank that we usually fill to 1250, but can fill full before a pending emergency.

We also have a small travel trailer that is kept, mostly, ready to go. All we would have to do is turn on the refrigerator and make sure that we have the proper clothing for the season.

Our “neighbors” are a pretty eclectic bunch, with the nearest couple living in a straw-bale house that they built themselves. Of those that I’ve met is a retired Army Ranger, a retired airline pilot with his A&P and AI licenses and 1 and a half serviceable aircraft (he still has to re-install the engine on one) and a runway, a doctor (OD) and his nurse wife, and one guy I haven’t met who has quite an amateur radio antenna array in his back yard.

Of course, there was that earthquake in 1887 that destroyed whole towns.

Pat
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Old 09-11-2013, 18:33   #17
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Originally Posted by craigepo View Post
A. Whether you have a way to keep swine or goats contained?
B. Whether you have a smokehouse or similar building?
C. Whether you have determined a way to operate your water well w/o electricity coming in?
D. Whether you have a home heat source that you can fuel with stuff from your land (wood)?
E. Do you have a root cellar or other structure to use for both storage and protection from dangerous weather?
I bought some farmland about two years ago and we're slowly turning Casa Mugwump into the family retreat. Some time I'll write about my foray into "gentleman farming" as I'd really like to get some advice on homestead security/defense from the hive-mind here. But that's for another day. I have looked into some of the issues above:

A. There is no way to keep goats contained. None. They can get through or over 5-wire barb, chicken wire, tanglefoot and toe-poppers, etc. They will then eat in like 5 minutes all of your new apple trees that you researched and sourced for local conditions and disease resistance and then spent two days planting. Or they'll escape and eat all the poison ivy in the lower pasture and then run over to you and act all affectionate while they smear you with toxic sap. The best solution other than selling the damn goats, and it's a poor second believe-you-me, is 5-wire barb with 2 strands of electrified wire on a solar powered energizer. Note: if you don't alternate pasturage like every 3 days, goats get wormy. Note: the coyotes will dig under the fence. They like goat. A lot. I know nothing about hogs but if they're anything like goats, good luck.

B/E. Nope, no smokehouse or root cellar on my land, and I've never seen one around the area. The farmers around here aren't Little House on the Prairie types. They seem to be more into getting their bacon on Wendy's Double Bacon Cheeseburgers, extra cheese, gimme three, they're small. Now the hippies around Madison, they're likely to have smokehouses and root cellars. And bees. And hemp.

C. If you have 4-6 inch casing that's more than enough room to get a manual pump head onto your well next to the electric pump. I have 6-inch casing and our water table is only 35 feet or so, so that was a pretty easy solution for me. The young couple who rent the house from us did the labor and said it was easy, but the guy is some kind of savant with that stuff so who knows. People have told me that newer wells use smaller diameter casing, though, so keep that in mind. I also pulled the 220V AC pump and replaced it with 24V DC pump fed by a solar system and two deep cycle batteries, but then you need to pressurize a holding tank (with a 12V pump/solar this time) so you get water pressure. That's obviously a more expensive option, especially factoring in the holding tank.

D. Yep, wood stoves and lots of hardwood trees in the woodlots that need thinning.
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Old 09-11-2013, 18:54   #18
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Hey, mugwump, why not an underground LP tank? Nothing to see, so who knows?

I know what you mean about neighbors. An hour after normalcy is restored, you will be back to being "the odd guy down the block." Frankly, I would assume worst case from the beginning and disregard any government provided estimates as pure propaganda.

TR
Not worth the hassle or liability to get an underground tank. Any improvements I make are at the Wisconsin farm property. Illinois is headed for a financial crash and my goal is to get out ASAP.

I keep a very low profile with the neighbors. You just get a feel for people over the years. One guy may be ready, the ex-AF airline pilot, but I'd be shocked if anyone else is.
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Old 09-11-2013, 18:59   #19
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Catching up this evening and I see a few people have hit on a critical that I missed in my initial post. As I was refilling my week-long pill dispenser last night, I realized that I had completely overlooked a critical issue. Prescription meds. Given that HH6 and I both have prescriptions that we get filled through the military pharmacy (and they're a real PITA about not filling prescriptions until you're within hours of running out), it occurred to me that I need a better plan for scenarios like this one. Looks like I've got some "pondering" to do.
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Old 09-11-2013, 19:10   #20
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The good thing about banks is that they are required to have a disaster plan in place as well for keeping things running as long as they can, and to get things back up and running as quickly as possible.

To avoid long lines at the ATMs, call in an order for the amount of cash you might want to make sure it is on hand. For a disaster they will plan on having extra anyway, and will have the ATMs stocked, but better to place an order so you are sure. They may need to direct you to a different branch or figure out a way to accommodate your request.

Another lesson learned in Katrina is that the safe boxes aren't always safe. Plan on keeping multiple copies of Deeds, Wills, passports, birth certs., powers of attorney, etc., in your safe box, but also with an attorney, a relative who lives in another region, another safe box at another bank in a different region, etc.
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Old 09-12-2013, 20:32   #21
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The good thing about banks is that they are required to have a disaster plan in place as well for keeping things running as long as they can, and to get things back up and running as quickly as possible.

To avoid long lines at the ATMs, call in an order for the amount of cash you might want to make sure it is on hand. For a disaster they will plan on having extra anyway, and will have the ATMs stocked, but better to place an order so you are sure. They may need to direct you to a different branch or figure out a way to accommodate your request.

Another lesson learned in Katrina is that the safe boxes aren't always safe. Plan on keeping multiple copies of Deeds, Wills, passports, birth certs., powers of attorney, etc., in your safe box, but also with an attorney, a relative who lives in another region, another safe box at another bank in a different region, etc.
Is locking the door and putting up a "Closed" sign a disaster plan?

Banks have and do impose withdrawal limits all of the time.

You let a disaster hit, and once the word gets out that the is a limit on withdrawals, the lines will wrap around the block and cash will quickly be exhausted.

A $500 withdrawal limit per customer would clean out our local branches in a little over an hour. Faster, if the initial withdrawals were larger, or the bank was slow to recognize the runs and institute the limits. Sure, they may bring in extra money when they decide to reopen. Eventually.

I have been made to wait for a cash delivery from other branches a number of times for cash withdrawals of less than $10,000. I think they have actually had the cash on hand maybe once in ten times.

Call me crazy, but if I had a good gun safe and more than a month's salary in a checking account, I would be withdrawing the excess every month until I had at least month's pay in small bills at home in the safe.

Just my .02, YMMV.

TR
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Old 09-13-2013, 03:12   #22
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Is locking the door and putting up a "Closed" sign a disaster plan?

Banks have and do impose withdrawal limits all of the time.

You let a disaster hit, and once the word gets out that the is a limit on withdrawals, the lines will wrap around the block and cash will quickly be exhausted.

A $500 withdrawal limit per customer would clean out our local branches in a little over an hour. Faster, if the initial withdrawals were larger, or the bank was slow to recognize the runs and institute the limits. Sure, they may bring in extra money when they decide to reopen. Eventually.

I have been made to wait for a cash delivery from other branches a number of times for cash withdrawals of less than $10,000. I think they have actually had the cash on hand maybe once in ten times.

Call me crazy, but if I had a good gun safe and more than a month's salary in a checking account, I would be withdrawing the excess every month until I had at least month's pay in small bills at home in the safe.

Just my .02, YMMV.

TR
It sounds like you have had a bad experience. The few banks I have worked for in my work history are open when nothing else is. Banks do limit the cash on hand for various reasons, which is why I suggested placing a specific order. But yes, if you have a safe place to keep it at home, periodically taking out some in small bills is workable.

And, definitely not putting a closed sign on the door. They should be better than that. They have your money, they work for you and the shareholders.
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Old 12-27-2013, 15:48   #23
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Most of the important things have already been covered extensively, I did want to add one bit of experience.
The grate in your fireplace, for those who are contemplating using the fireplace as a heat source in an emergency. If you have one of the std grates made of roughly 3/8 dia square or round metal bar? It will not hold up under sustained use, sustained use being the fireplace being used for more than 4-5 hours at a stretch. The heat will soften the grate & it will collapse leaving you with folded up useless metal. This will take less than a week to happen if you're using the fireplace daily. That and those heat-oriented distortions they call welds will fail quickly.
I built a new grate for my fireplace (I use my fireplace for home heat in the winter and it does work......for the most part) and it's comprised of 1" bar for the main sections and legs & 1/2" bar for the actual grates. Even the 1/2 grates will burn through eventually, mine lasted only 4 months although I initially set the height too low.
2 & 3/4 " from the grate to the floor of the fireplace is about the optimum height although I'm still experimenting with it, although so far that looks to be around the right height.
Just something someone might find useful.

ADD EDIT: this was probably more appropriate for the be prepared thread, which I just found after posting this.
My apologies if this is on the wrong thread or off the topic.

Last edited by atticus finch; 12-27-2013 at 15:55.
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Old 12-27-2013, 16:36   #24
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Droopy Grate

Quote:
Originally Posted by atticus finch View Post
... If you have one of the std grates made of roughly 3/8 dia square or round metal bar? It will not hold up under sustained use, sustained use being the fireplace being used for more than 4-5 hours at a stretch. The heat will soften the grate & it will collapse leaving you with folded up useless metal. .....
I've had that happen more than once. The first time it sagged in the middle.

When it cooled I put a couple of bricks (The ones with holes) side ways under the middle. The front was standing up a couple of inches.

Next time I fired it up the front dropped back to level.

But even then after a couple of winters or so the bars get real thin and the grate needs to be replaced.
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Old 01-07-2014, 17:11   #25
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As I was refilling my week-long pill dispenser last night, I realized that I had completely overlooked a critical issue. Prescription meds. Looks like I've got some "pondering" to do.


A good friend of mine is Diabetic and gets his meds in 6 month shipments. My recommendation is for him to get a decent propane cooler, plenty of 1 pound bottles and when he gets his next shipment, notify the company it was left on the steps and went "bad" in the heat, or that it disappeared.
Better top pay for another shipment and have a 6 month cushion then not.....
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Old 01-07-2014, 17:39   #26
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A good friend of mine is Diabetic and gets his meds in 6 month shipments. My recommendation is for him to get a decent propane cooler, plenty of 1 pound bottles and when he gets his next shipment, notify the company it was left on the steps and went "bad" in the heat, or that it disappeared.
Better top pay for another shipment and have a 6 month cushion then not.....
Saw a good article on diabetics and preparedness today.

If he wants larger quantities of insulin, the article advises to get pens instead of bottles.

You can supposedly buy straight insulin OTC, at Wal-Mart, it is allegedly $25 per 1000 units.

Unless you cannot store larger quantities of propane, I would be stocking 20 pound cylinders, as a minimum for an insulin storage fridge.

The article says that insulin (if properly stored and refrigerated) is fully potent well after its expiration date, but freezing it will destroy the effectiveness. It would appear that it can be flash frozen safely, with the proper procedures and equipment.

Finally, if your friend is storing food for an emergency, he needs to be storing food that is compatible with diabetes. Many preparedness food units have a lot of carbs and are light on protein for a diabetic.

http://www.survivalblog.com/2014/01/...disasters.html

http://www.survivalblog.com/2013/12/...-i-am-not.html

Remember, always have an alternate plan, if not also a contingency and emergency plan. Two is one, and one is none.

Best of luck.

TR
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Old 01-07-2014, 18:10   #27
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A good friend of mine is Diabetic and gets his meds in 6 month shipments. My recommendation is for him to get a decent propane cooler, plenty of 1 pound bottles and when he gets his next shipment, notify the company it was left on the steps and went "bad" in the heat, or that it disappeared.
Better top pay for another shipment and have a 6 month cushion then not.....
My sister is also diabetic. I suggested that she, at least, get an RV 3 power refrigerator (AC, DC, and propane). Assuming that AC is lost, she can balance the propane and DC using a deep cycle 12v battery and the 45w solar panels from Harbor Freight or a similar cheap set up.

I also sent her a ******* video about Zeer pots, just in case.

Pat
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Last edited by PSM; 01-08-2014 at 17:41.
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Old 01-08-2014, 11:05   #28
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Originally Posted by Peregrino View Post
Catching up this evening and I see a few people have hit on a critical that I missed in my initial post. As I was refilling my week-long pill dispenser last night, I realized that I had completely overlooked a critical issue. Prescription meds. Given that HH6 and I both have prescriptions that we get filled through the military pharmacy (and they're a real PITA about not filling prescriptions until you're within hours of running out), it occurred to me that I need a better plan for scenarios like this one. Looks like I've got some "pondering" to do.
Peregrino-
Have your doctor write you a paper prescription for at least a 90 day supply that can be filled at any pharmacy. Or keep a med list and get one of the Group Surgeons/docs to write a paper prescription that is your backup if the SHTF. Depending on the meds involved, you may have to worry about storage (cold required items, ie. insulin and the like) and shelf life.

Just an idea.

Glasses/contacts... remember the prescriptions for them, have at least 2-3 pair of glasses with prescriptions not too out of date, just in case - and have them with glare free polycarbonate lenses, for the safety and longevity factors.
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Last edited by x SF med; 01-08-2014 at 11:07.
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Old 01-08-2014, 13:51   #29
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Originally Posted by craigepo View Post
I'm curious about a couple of issues:
1. Whether anybody is set up with old-time rain barrels?
2. For the people that own land:
A. Whether you have a way to keep swine or goats contained?
B. Whether you have a smokehouse or similar building?
C. Whether you have determined a way to operate your water well w/o electricity coming in?
D. Whether you have a home heat source that you can fuel with stuff from your land (wood)?
E. Do you have a root cellar or other structure to use for both storage and protection from dangerous weather?
1. I use the rain barrels for my vegetable garden.
2. 35 acres in the woods in North GA mountains -- 6 acres are arable and fenced for livestock.
A. Yes
B. Yes -- smoker and a barn for storage and horses used at 40% capacity.
C. Yes a generator and extra fuel for it. Working on getting a solar system put in
D. Yes -- I have 2 wood based Tulikivi ovens that need 2-4 hours stoked for 24 hours radiant heat -- I can also cook in one of them (extra oven)
E. Yes
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Old 01-08-2014, 14:15   #30
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1. I use the rain barrels for my vegetable garden.
2. 35 acres in the woods in North GA mountains -- 6 acres are arable and fenced for livestock.
A. Yes
B. Yes -- smoker and a barn for storage and horses used at 40% capacity.
C. Yes a generator and extra fuel for it. Working on getting a solar system put in
D. Yes -- I have 2 wood based Tulikivi ovens that need 2-4 hours stoked for 24 hours radiant heat -- I can also cook in open of them (extra oven)
E. Yes
What a fantastic base for living off grid - or otherwise.

The N.GA mountain area is simply wonderful and your set up enviable.

Salud.
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