Getting bids, Doggie BOBs and local grocery store bought out.

February 19, 2016

I had to get a lead paint survey done for the roofing loan and the people that did the survey were very helpful suggesting cheap ways to mitigate any lead paint chips so my critters would not ingest lead. Casa de Chaos only has a a couple of potential bad spots and it will not affect the work I want to get done via the city loan. Getting bids and doing the research on good contractors takes a lot more effort than I had anticipated. Thank goodness for the internet and computers making emailing the “scope of work” from the city easy to copy and paste. Plus having client ratings for the electrical, plumbing and roofers I’m authorized to get bids on the jobs makes getting the first bids a bit easier to start.  A $10 grand limit loan seems like a lot of money, but anyone who has contracted construction jobs knows that $10 grand won’t get a lot of work done using contractors.

All you construction pros please don’t take that in a bad way. Most of you are professionals and take a lot of pride in your work. Making/repairing homes is hard work and takes time, energy and knowledge I don’t have. You should be paid well for that, I just have to limit the jobs to that little bit of money I can afford to pay.  One cool thing is I may help the city and a couple of local contractors “hook up” with the city doing this sort of repair jobs.  The gal running the program and the building inspector are looking for good contractors for this program.  Overall I think I got in with a good bunch at the City of Nampa as well as people that want work as well want to do a good-great job. This is a program that needs to work and so far the contractors I have contacted are more than willing to work with the city and give bids in order to get the work done. Hopefully everything will work out to everyone’s advantage. The city will get a list of good contractors, I get a low interest loan to take care of my older house’s structural/safety issues. While 100 years is not a lot of time. I like the idea of fixing up historical areas and using modern materials that reproduce an era.

From the water main fiasco I would recommend you ask to see all work permits from the city and refuse to pay the last bit of money to any contractor until the final inspection is done by the city code inspector.  I have no problem giving a contractor 1/3-1/2 of the money on a contract for materials once they get the permit and then paying the rest on city inspector’s okie dokie.  Sorry, construction guys the bad fly-by-night jerks make that a requirement for me. I can’t afford small claims court and the bad guys/ripoff artists will just set up business under a new name when sued. I have to say after getting job bids for my little project I have gained a lot of respect for general  contractors. Getting bids and lining up workers on a time line is not easy.

I’m building up the Doggie’s BOBs. I’m feeding Pedigree soft canned dog food but I’m adding Pedigree soft/wet food pouches to the doggie BOBs to save weight.  Changing any pet’s diet can cause stomach upset so it is best if you have at least a few days worth of their normal feed and a bit more to mix with the “new normal” feed if you have to bug out.  I have added brushes, combs and nail clippers along with some basic bandages and OTC meds to help keep the pets happy and healthy. Leashes and backup collars so the animals will not run off along with enough small kennels/carry boxes that will give the critters a safe place if I need to bug out. I added  a couple of  metal water bottles, I want to get a small Sawyer water filter just for the critters bug out bag.  I am still testing out a few ideas for water and food dishes. I’m looking for a compromise on weight, storage size and ease of cleaning.

Paul’s a local grocery store was just bought out by Albertson’s and I’m a little peeved. I try hard to support local business but I also know most grocery stores operate on razor thin profit margins.  I can’t really blame people going for the cheapest price when money is tight. But Paul’s was sort of like a poor man’s whole foods for buying local. Some good news, I saw a cashier from Paul’s in Nampa get hired by Albertson’s.  I know there will be some downsizing and consolidation but it is nice to know that Albertson’s is giving some of the workers from Paul’s a job.

Mom and and I must get out in the country and at best it will take the rest of 2016 just to get all the equipment and tools we need just to make the attempt of going country.  This is not our first rodeo, we know making a go in Owhyee county will take a lot of work. We are trying to get all of the tools on hand as cheaply as possible before we move. But with Mom’s divorce dragging out I suspect we will need to hang out here in the city for another 10-12 months.

Don’t worry about us as the Casa de Chaos is getting a new roof and a few electrical and plumbing jobs done.  Oh we may hate we that we are stuck here for a bit.  But I got the new hard side green house and a soft side on hand and ready to set up.  I’ll add a 300-500 gallon water tank next month.  While Mom is a bit frustrated about the divorce going into it’s 15th month.

I am working to get Casa de Chaos fixed up and set up for a perma-culture/food forest and ready for the real estate market.  Will it work? I don’t have a clue. but I know doing nothing, won’t work.  If you are  standing still, you are a target at best or tend to get run over at worse. As a wise person said ” Get busy living or get busy dying. Your choice!

 

 

 

 


Gosh I love people that are prepared!

August 17, 2015

There is a big fast moving fire in SW Idaho and while we got a lot of smoke here at Casa de Chaos, we are safe so far. I called S. Lynn to let her know we have a spot for her critters and family, right now she and her homestead are okay (no evacuation orders) she is  some distance from the fire plus the Snake River should act as a fire break.  S. Lynn told me she has the vehicle pre-packed with all important documents.  All she needs to load is all the critters  and have a place to land if the fire gets to close.  I am not worried about her because she is prepared and has a place to land if the fire starts getting close to her place. It was funny that she was more worried about the new fence rather than the house getting burnt down.

I can’t think of a major disaster that might happen in my area that would require me bugging out more than about 10 miles from the rail yards (chemical spill/explosions via a derailment). Most of the disaster that could happen are things like snow/wind storms that are more “bug in” type events rather than a bugout scenario such as a major earthquake, hurricane or your town is in the path of a tornado. I still have a bugout kits for myself and my vehicle that I can load quickly just in case I need to GOOD (Get Out Of Dodge) quickly.

You need to take in consideration your health and fitness level when bugging out. I still tend to think of myself as that “buff army chick that could ruck for 25 miles”. But, I’m almost 50 years old and disabled. I can walk about 3-5 miles with a walker in the morning and do about 1-2 hours physical work after my nap in the afternoon on a “good day”!  Everyone has limitations so you just do the best you can to mitigate any weakness and push hard on making the most of your positive attributes.

Most disasters tend to be short-term and local or regional. So your Bugout/Bug in plans should work if you get some time to implement it.  You just may or may not get all that much warning for your local disaster.  I don’t think all cities are “death traps” though many metro areas have weak points as far as survival. While I don’t think survival in a major Metro are will be easy. I don’t think going rural will all that easy either. I think the best option is have a city person with a bit of land for a quick landing in the event of a rural disaster and have a rural spot to land if cities get all crazy. I’m not saying a person doesn’t need a spot to land that is a a couple of hundred miles away. Just that having a bug out spot 5-20 miles away with friends or relatives is a good place to start!

The great thing about prepping to become self-reliant is your basic short term preparations feed into your long term goal of becoming self reliant. One of the most common disasters people face is a house fire. Grabbing your BOB and leaving your house works the same for a house fire or if a nasty riot happens on your street with cars burning!  A rain barrel that you use to water your plants can also be used as a backup water supply.


Odds and ends…

July 21, 2015

I did a bit of work on the bugout bag (BOB) and reduced the weight another 3 pounds emptied an exterior pocket for some supplies that might need quicker access rather than buried in the main cargo area. I’m sort of torn about using a 1 quart military canteen and the metal drink bottles as each have limitations.  Using multi-tasker and keeping the BOB as lightweight as possible is a bit of a balancing act that I have not managed yet!

I did a couple of tests on striking a spark on bars of flint and what I found works best is not a knife blade but the file “blade” on my “Leatherman” multi-tool.  I have no problem if a person wants a big fixed blade knife but I have always carried small pocket knives or muti-tools like Letherman/gerber or Swiss army knife and using a blade as the “steel” part of steel and flint always bothered me because that can ruin your knife’s edge and sharpness. I can sharpen a knife’s blade but why do that when the “file blade” creates more sparks on flint/sparker stick?

In the alley way beds the moss rose that got the latest wood mulch has really taken off adding growth and blooms. The sunchokes are also looking much better since I added the wood mulch.  As far as cleaning up the nasty weeds like goatheads/puncture vine, I’m digging them out using a shovel and I filled a 30 gallon trash can full of mostly goatheads.  I know I could kill the weeds at anytime but most of those products kill the soil as well as the weeds.  I’m trying to build some good soil and add plants that will crowd out the weeds not kill the soil.  The wood mulch has really done a great job choking out many weeds and giving the new plants a good growing medium. Most of the nasty weeds are happening along the borders and between property lines.  Mama nature does not recognize property lines and if I can dig up a few weeds with the help of a neighbor I will do it.  One neighbor killed the weeds and killed the soil so there is nothing to hold the dirt in place.  One thing I have learned about the alley way beds is you must block new weed growth and you must have new plants that work with Mama nature to start replacing those weeds.  I really think that weeds are mama nature’s paramedics for poor and neglected soil. make the soil healthier and you will stop having weeds you don’t like having around your yard.  It is a slow process and a lot of work building up your soil, but I prove it is doable with a bit of effort and adding just a bit of natural products as you can afford it.

I totally scored today as some on put a grill in the alley along with the trash.  I did not need a grill but I got another propane tank I can use. Perhaps many people think nothing of the cost of an empty propane tank in the store ($25.00-$35.00) or buying a tank from the local mega-mart ($46.00-$50.00) or empty tank replacement ($17.00-$20.00) I do think about those costs. I’m cooking nearly every meal this summer over a gas grill/outdoor kitchen and that takes propane or charcoal.  Even if the propane tank is old style, many places will replace it with a new “safety/government approved” type tank.

Some sad news Mom is having Bear the peke put down. He lasted a bit longer than the vet forecast last year but the guy is starting to go downhill fast and it is time. Mom will hold him until Bear’s final goodnight and he will be pain free. Mom is very strong that way.  The new pekes will help with minimizing the hurt and will build a new pack dynamic and both Brodie and Tucker are a hoot.  Those pekes have let me know they must go for a ride, so when I get gas this week they will get their ride into the country!

Life goes on, we live and we die, we win or we lose. Sometimes we get caught up in the ‘game” and a new dog who sees a backyard as a new playground can ignite in us what life is about. You are not your car, your house, or your stock portfolio. You are a human made by the grace of God and flawed by the choices you make via freewill. I don’t worry anymore about Presidents or politicians, Bankster or corporations. Oh I tried to change the system but I can’t do it so why try the impossible when I can do more good locally via my garden than an Congress critter pontificating in the media?  You can play the “game” and bang your head against the wall.  Or you can remove yourself from the game of wall, save yourself headache and stop annoying the wall.


Puttering around the yard, first use of the new wagon

June 21, 2015

Mom got the garden beds weeded, watered and I got most of the straw mulch laid out in the raised beds.  The Bok Choy and Napa cabbage “bolted” almost immediately after I planted it, so we are going to add a Mom’s tomato starts to that raised bed.  The front yard beds are going to be the spot for the root and leafy type vegetables. This year I’m trying a succession type gardening on some the leafy greens and root vegetables. This Tuesday Mom and I will stop by D&B and grab some leftover/sale flowers and plants for the beds.  Mom helped me finish up the second rose bed border and it looks pretty good, though I will need to add a little more wood mulch to finish off both rose beds.

I have to say the new wagon is a joy to use! Unlike the “cheap” wagon, this new one is much less prone to tipping over.  I think the Lock nut and washer setup is not a good set up for some one using the handle and hooking the wagon up to an ATV or Yard tractor, but a bolt/cotter pin or regular bolt and wing nut setup is an inexpensive and quick fix for the wagon handle.

Big Shopping week planned. Home depot has the battery powered fan/mister bucket set up for $79.99.  I don’t know how well a mister would work in areas with high humidity but where the air is dry like high desert they are great for cooling a person down.  What I like is the fan/mister combo runs on a Ryobi 18 volt battery and you can use a bucket of water or a hose for your water source. As long as you can charge the battery and replace the water you will have a good cooling system for summer.

Speaking of charging batteries, I ordered a fold-able 14 watt solar panel setup from Amazon that can charge both a “smart phone” and laptop at the same time! I’m a bit dubious about that claim but I figure I can charge some of the slim backup battery banks via the solar panel and then use the battery bank/backups to charge my electronics.  Apple products are very particular about direct charging power, as long as the power will charge up your external battery banks/backups  via solar panels, the backups should recharge your I gadgets. I don’t own any Apple products so I won’t be able to give a complete review on how the solar panel preforms.

Sales: Big 5 Sporting goods has Coleman cots for sale at $36.00 until the 25th of June. I’m sure many people plan on sleeping on the ground or using a foam mattress during a bugout or camping situation. For some of us older and disabled folks having a cot is not a luxury but a necessity.  I used to joke about those commercials “I’ve fallen and I can’t get up!” That was funny till it happened to me. I don’t like foam sleeping pads as most I used in the US army tend to sweat and make your sleeping bag damp.  A thin self- inflating air mattress worked as a better insulator for cold ground and it does not “sweat” like most foam mattresses.  Another thing I like about this Coleman cot is my Rubbermaid “roughneck” boxes will fit under the 17 inch cot height with an inch to spare.  Trust me on sharing a tent with other people, everyone must minimize their foot print on available floor space.  Cots and roughneck totes minimize floor space and the totes can work for make shift seats or chairs.  I was Tactical signal and had vehicles to carry my gear. I usually slept in a tent and had a cot. Grunts live a lot more austere when training and in war. I ain’t a grunt and I couldn’t handle that sort of physical effort before I was disabled.

Make a realistic assessment of what you can do daily! I don’t want you to give yourself a heart attack but do you train your body physically? Believe it or not, many 20 somethings kids can’t even walk 2 miles as they never had to do it in life.  I’m not knocking the younger generation as they rode the bus to school  be it 2 blocks or 2 miles there was no difference.  The  PTBs did not want healthy people, big pharma has lots of drugs for the unhealthy!  Start slow and walk around your block 5 days a week. Use tools that maximize your physical energy.  My electric rototiller can do in 30 minutes to an hour in one day what would take 8-16 hours physical energy spread over a week.

Cheat working hard and work smart! Don’t do things the hard way if you have a choice. There is a story about a guy that was given 8 hour to cut down a tree and he spent the first six hour sharpening his tools and the last two hours cutting down the tree.

It’s time to sharpen your tools.

 


Busy yard work day

June 15, 2015

Mom got out early to weed the garden beds and a couple of her plants to the “sunny” raised bed.  Mom sprayed down the plants with a mix of Dawn dish soap and water. The bugs are really bad this year, I think letting Mom’s chickens free-range has helped. . I usually cut my lawn for the last time around Thanksgiving. In 2014 we had very cold weather in early November and a relativly warm winter. Back in the early 1980’s, 10- 20 below zero F. was the norm in January.  It is weather and climate and these things move in cycles. I wonder what the PTBs think is a “perfect” temperature? While an average of 75- 80 degrees  F. works well for humans it is not great for all plants and animals.

I started installing the borders and got 1/2 of the  front yard Rose beds done. Added weed & feed to the front lawn  and watered the lawn. I’m not sure how I want to add the wildflowers in the front yard.  I can add the flowers along the fence line but I’m not a big fan of squares and rectangles. The rose and holly beds are established so I don’t have a lot of options on borders.  The wild flower bed is limited by my imagination, cost of borders and fence line.

Mixing up another batch of the essential oil pain relief salve.  I know many people won’t believe an essential oil salve can work almost as good as Oxycodone or Vicodine for pain relief without the side effects. It works for me and I have not used Hydrocodone/Vicodine for 24 months to control my pain.  Using the pain relief salve does not stop all pain and it does not work for all people, but for me it works good enough.

Mom’s little wood camp stove arrived and I got a start on burning off the cheap paint.  I forgot just how much heat that small stove can put out but it nice sitting in the back yard with the little stove burning even if it smoked a bit.  Mom got the wood stove and little water heater for the stove for $90.00 at Amazon which I thought was a pretty good deal. On the little kettle/hot water tank you get two washers, one flexible plastic/rubber and a metal washer for the tap. Place the Plastic washer in the nut on the tank and the metal washer between the tap and nut of the tank spigot.  I did not get a perfect seal and there is a very slow drip at the nut, but it was the best I could get without any instructions and breaking out my plumbing tools. I saw no leaks at the tank seams and I think better quality washers would stop all leaks at the tap!

Getting the stove got us thinking about doing some car/ tent camping plus do some testing our bugout setup this summer.  I have few more items I want to add to my setup. Amazon has a very nice folding 14 watt solar panel for $65.99 with lots of connectors for cell phones, tablets, laptops and a 12 volt battery. I want to add a couple of small power sticks to take advantage of that solar power to recharge my gadgets and those cost about $6.00-$30.00 depending on stored amperage.  Home depot has a neat little fan and mister that has a small pump and runs on Ryobi 18 volt Lithium batteries and cost $80.00.  The reports on both items are very positive though the solar panel is a little “iffy” charging Ipads. I figure if you can charge a small battery unit and then charge an Ipad you should be okay.  I don’t own an Ipad or Iphone but I have read they are very particular about using any sort of  backup power.

Out and about committing random acts of kindness and senseless beauty!  I picked up a few little plastic storage cups. Nothing fancy though you might store some dried herbs or small nut/bolts.  Any how I filled the small container with my essential pain salve and handed it out to a few neighbors that have been doing hard work and might need a bit of pain relief.  Now I bet a few folks think I am being a bit foolish giving stuff away for free. But all of these people are young and are willing to work to make their lives better. Those are the sort of people I want to have around me.

I get so pissed off at all congress critters and our so called elite wishing they could change the system yet find excuses not to do a damn thing.  My answer to them is “you are part of the PTBs” and you really don’t give a damn about the common people.  All Senators have the power to introduce all sorts of laws and you still pander to the corporations and other ruling elite. The Republicans told the Tea party give us the House and we will de-fund Obamacare, oh wait give us the senate and we can override any Obama veto.  Who is working with Obama with TISA and the TPP it is Republicans!

So all you Presidential hopefuls need to act now to get my vote. I don’t give a damn about what you will do as President. Other than Hillary and Perry you are are all in elected offices and may introduce bills at any time.  So you can introduce legislation to limit SSD/ EBT, revoke both the 1968 and 1934 acts against firearms.  If a female can invoke my body my choice for abortion why can’t a person invoke my body my choice for drugs?  Presidential hopefuls want to play it safe. I don’t want that,  I want some one that will take stand  and find a hill they will die on in the literal sense.  If you can not do those those things I will not vote for you! I’ll vote democrat and give them all they want and more so we crash the system and a folks may wake up.  I’m prepared for that are you?

 

 

 


Great start on my shopping this week

May 21, 2015

Sometimes I get lucky and the things I want to get go on sale at the right time. This was one of those lucky weeks, though I got a bit of sad news about Deb, my beer Lady at Nampa Brewers closing down her shop after a diagnosis of Leukemia.  She had a sign posted that she needs some quiet and privacy while she fights this disease so I got a couple of cards I will mail her and keep her in my prayers. I think she may have been overwhelmed with offers of help by neighbors as well as students and customers. One thing nice about snail mail it is quiet compared to all the electronic and phone ringing!  I am lucky that Nampa has another Brew shop I can get supplies at though cheaper, it is not quite as personal as going to Deb’s shop.

So onto the shopping, which is sort of tied into going to the new brew shop and picking up 50 pounds of 2 row malt.  There is a small second hand store next to the brew shop and they had a small camp chair I wanted for the BOV and it cost a whole $3.00!  Harbor Freight has a 4ft. x 6ft welding blanket rated for 1000 degree F. that I want for additional heat/fire protection with my little camp stove and it is only $17.99 with coupon.  I know the welding blanket is not a replacement for proper hearth but I figure it will give me more options in a Bug out situation.

I got a few bone less beef round steaks and a roast at Paul’s market for $2.88 and $2.68 per pound. I went to chicken and pork when beef got so expensive that eating hamburger seemed to be a treat. Overall pork prices stayed fairly low the last 12 months in this area except for bacon. Now even bacon is coming down in cost, Cash & Carry has 5 pounds of bacon for $11.95 for a per pound cost of $2.39.  Cash & Carry has a great buy on frozen chicken quarters for 50 cents a pound for 40 pounds. That is a lot of chicken but that amount should let me get through this “bird flu” thing hitting the mid west and avoid paying through the nose for chicken later this year.

Home depot and lowes have a good memorial day sale on lawn and garden stuff.  Lowe’s has a good wood  mulch $2.00 per 2 cubic foot bag and Home depot has the Scott’s earth grow mulch for $2.50 per 2 cubic foot bag.  I prefer the Scott’s Earthgro mulch as it seems to cover a bit more area per bag and I like the color of the Scott’s brown mulch. Personal preference on my part but I’m willing to pay an extra 50 cents per bag for the Scott’s earthgro mulch.  Home depot has a roll of 40 inch high and 25 foot long green plastic garden fence for $7.98 per roll. I’ll need about 4 rolls to keep Mom’s chickens out of my raised beds. But I think I can use a some of my scrap lumber to setup a the temporary fence around the beds.  Mom’s chickens are well fed and sort of lazy so a simple barrier fence should work. Home depot has concrete blocks for a $1.49 each and some rock I want to test in my alley 4 bags .5 cubic feet for  $10.00.

Unlike some people (non-preppers) who seem to think that prepping costs a lot of money. I find I save a lot of money as I buy items that are “loss leaders” on sale and I can adapt quickly to changes in food costs yet still maintain a good diet.  When you start doing something new there is usually an initial investment you must pay for up front,  but in the long run you can save a lot of money.  What I have found out about prepping food is once you have about 3-6 months of the basics you can start buying only the items that are on sale and you will need in the future.  There is an ebb and flow to prices based on supply and demand. The price of an item jumps up for some reason, a bunch of people want that price and start growing that item and then there is an over supply and the price drops. What you have to do is buy on those dips and have plenty on hand when the price spikes then reload on the dip in price.  I always start to worry when the PTBs say don’t worry. There will be plenty of turkey this November, though at a slightly higher cost. Well if turkey goes up to $2.00 – $4.00 per pound I can imagine there will be plenty of turkey available as most people won’t pay $40.00 + for a 15 pound frozen bird. I think if things work out as I suspect and the economy does not melt down this fall, we may see great sale prices on frozen turkey after the 1st of the year.

Prepping in many ways is similar to being in a small boat at sea. If a storm is coming you have two choices, get out of the way or run before the storm. Either way you are going to get wet!

Tuesday was my prepping day and I sort of dropped the ball as I wanted to do a local HAM radio net call and Spaced it. I did get out all radios and got them recharged.

D-day/Divorce court day for Mom is this Friday. So far I do not seemed to be required to go to court unless Mom’s lawyer tries and works on the judge’s sympathy of me being a disable vet.  What I have heard about will happen both will be less than happy with the settlement but over all I think it will be the best outcome for both of them.  I worry a bit about Mom as she seems bound and determined to move out as quickly as possible. I have no problem with her taking her time and finding the place she really wants rather than the first available that might work financially.  It is sort of funny that she raised me to value myself as a human being and she often does the opposite with herself. Oh don’t get me wrong, I’m way less than perfect and I work very hard to make up what I lack but I think I’m a fairly descent human being to be around. I sometimes think I’m the only person in Mom’s life that valued/accepted her as she is, simply because she is a darn good person. Just a human doing the very best they can in all situations. Perfect, no just human and the last perfect person was hung on a cross and I don’t need that in my life.

People are are just people, Goodness knows I bought into the debt and death paradigm.  I’ve “screwed the pooch” many times and I’m still learning stuff especially after I have screwed up.  God did not give me CIDP because he hated me, at best it is part of a flawed human condition at worst God made me wake up to my screwing up by the numbers.  Either way I have changed and have become a better person I hope! I certainly have less stress in my life.

 


Mini-van is loaded with the most of the basics and adding a prepping day each week!

May 18, 2015

I was pleasantly surprised by how my GHB (Get Home Bag) and the rest of my stuff fit in the mini-van.  The mini-van is a 2003 model and while it has a lot of little drawers and jockey boxes for small items, newer mini vans have even more storage under the floor. If you add a luggage rack, the amount of gear you can load up is darn impressive.  Speaking of luggage racks I saw a site online that added a tarp, a couple of telescoping poles, rope and carabiner clips to make a shelter with a tarp.  Using a tarp to add shade or to protect against rain/wind seems like a good idea for a BOV.  I added a small dome camping tent to the mini van for a good 3 season sleep shelter.  I hope I don’t have to Bugout as I will be at a big disadvantage being disabled.  But if a buguot is required I want have as much equipment within reason to give me a chance at survival.  I found a camper model of Katyden water filter and added it to my GHB.

I know that many people BOV’s  is a car and a daily commuter vehicle and you don’t have a lot of room for storing Bug Out gear/equipment in your vehicle.  You might look at the Tupperware “Roughneck” tote for storing and staging your camping/Bug Out  gear. These totes are lockable, weather-resistant and very rugged.   These totes are strong enough to work as a seat and the height is not bad for a work table though a bit short at 16 inches in height. Stage your Bug Out gear on shelves in your garage or shop.  While I have a solid Bug Out setup I have staged a big camping tote with the big tent and a propane stove, 3 sleeping bags, a portable wood stove, and fishing rods+ tackle box that I can toss into the minivan if I get 30 minutes notice of a disaster.

If you have a wood or propane stove and camping buy a Welding blanket on sale at Harbor Freight this month! For less than $50.00 you can buy a welding blanket that will give you great heat resistance and using tarps you can make a modified fire place.  Please do not use a wood stove in a tent unless it has a roof hole for a chimney.  But a welding blanket is rated for higher temps than most camp fire mats of 575 degrees F. Think about your tent/tarps in layers just like your clothes.  Trap air in layers of insulation and don’t kill yourself via oxygen depletion or carbon monoxide poisoning.

Update on the small Peak energy, 12 volt DC car cooler/ warmer. The insulation worked better than I expected this winter.  While it got into below zero temps. in November this winter was somewhat warm compared to the early 1980’s when we saw – 10 to-30 degrees F. for a couple of months.  None of my metal water jugs split, though I only fill them 2/3 to 3/4 full of water at most.  If you live a climate that is above 0 degrees for a short time or you need to add a layer of insulation and have a thermo-electric cooler/warmer at a good price I would add it to your preps.

I have been prepping for several years and I often get a wake up call and get all shook up about new knowledge and  stuff.  All a person can do is learn and do their best.  You might guess right or wrong but at least you are making progress and learning.  Be ready to learn and try new things. At worst you will find out what does not work!