This post comes from reading this article on the Yellowstone Volcano.
So I wake up to a booger-y infant who insists on going back to sleep on my chest and I'm stuck for a while. It's raining outside, I have to pee and I'm stuck just laying in bed. It would be great if I had a book within reach. The only thing within reach is my smart phone - used as an alarm so we don't forget about the chickens in our new baby sleep. So I pick it up and out of habit check facebook first. A habit I think about breaking and toy with deleting that app from my phone...
Anyways - A friend had posted the article linked above about the inevitable demise of the country due to our most popular national park. Here's the link again so you don't have to scroll up. My initial thought was "Great! So our government can't keep itself together so when we are completely crippled by a catastrophic natural disaster, who will come to our aid? Definitely not anyone on mainland Europe, the Middle East, or the Russians, or the Chinese. Someone may claim our country as there's but that's not the real trouble. I bet that's gonna happen at some point no matter what. Am I equipped to keep my family alive?"
I hope the rest of this doesn't freak you out. This is just how my brain reacts to big stuff: I plan my reaction. See, the eruption of a major volcano is worse than a tornado hitting the area, as the tornado would typically leave the agricultural communities within a few hours drive intact. Yellowstone would wipe out most of America's farm land. So I climbed in a hot bath and let my brain spin. It went something like this:
The first thing that would go would probably be the electricity. How would that affect us?
1. We'd lose our source of entertainment. No worries, we have tons of actual books, paint, musical instruments. We'll be good there.
2. the Lights would go out. We have candles and flashlights.
Project #1 - stock up on batteries, candles and matches.
3. The fridge would stop working. We live in Texas, so there really isn't any way to make ice without electricity. We would lose all frozen food fairly quickly. We would have to start eating the freezer foods first and then switch to eating fresh produce. Besides, I don't have a way to store enough ice for the summer time anyway...
Project #2 build an ice shed
But what if the electricity takes a while to come back on? It could be ages before generators are restored and power returns to the neighborhood.
Project #3 acquire a generator -OR- learn how to salt preserve meats
4. Cooking food. We have a gas stove, which has an electric igniter, but we can always just light with matches. We make most things from scratch anyway, so we're off to a good start, as long as the pantry is full. We may have to involuntarily go grain free, eventually but I'm ok with that. But when the gas runs out? Well, we have a BBQ, a smoker, a fire pit, and a propane camping stove.
Project #4 Learn how to use the smoker, really learn how to salt preserve meat, and buy WAY more matches. Possible acquire some flint. Stock up on propane, charcoal and safe wood for burning.
5. Sourcing food. Eventually our fridge will empty. How can we restock it and keep feeding ourselves? I know how to can. I have most of the gear for it. Stock pot, jar lifter, pressure cooker, books full of instructions. I may need more bands and jars.
Project #5 buy more canning jars and accessories (already have all the tools, so check there).
6. But what about what goes in the jars? I have a ton of seeds and printed instructions on how to save seeds. Which is good because a Google search or YouTube tutorial would be impossible at the end of days. And we have chickens, so we'll have eggs. However, we need a rooster if we are going to keep in eggs and meat. And we'll need a better housing set up for them.
Project #6 acquire a roo, redesign the chicken housing and prepare nesting boxes. Seriously start canning every year to get into practice and not be caught without food.
We breastfeed and cloth diaper so we're good there. And I know how to do laundry in the bath tub. Now to source laundry soap without having to buy borax...
7. Water source.
Project # 7 get a rain barrel or buy property on a creek ASAP!
8. Protection. Gonna have to do something to keep starving stealers from diong just that: stealing. I am totally cool with bartering and trading with the goods I have. For instance, I have no idea how to knit and wool socks and hats are gonna come in handy. I would gladly trade a dozen eggs for a pair of socks. But that won't keep the desperate folk (or the zombies) from raiding my provisions. Guess I should learn how to sword flight. Or get a gun. And a bigger, more intimidating dog.
Project #8 - balls it up around here.
9. Along those lines, we have a few years worth of handmedown clothes for the girls. Pete and I haven't changed shape in a while. Everyone has sweaters, a good pair of shoes, hats, mittens and whatnot. And if all else fails, I can hand sew and take the stuff we out grow and patch work it into something bigger. So I'm not stressed about this area. Hell, I have a dress I bought in 10th grade that still fits and doesn't show any wear. That was 15+ years ago! Its all in the craftsmanship.
10. Transportation. We can't just hole up here forever. We will go crazy and want to know about the surrounding area, our family and friends and all that. Plus this exact piece of property won't sustain us until the end of time. And it sucks to heat or keep cool without central air. We would have to move. I have multiple ways to carry the baby hands free. A few wheeled ways to transport the kids and gear. Think about it, when you go camping, how much do you really need? Not that much, until you set up shop permanently and need to sort out year round feeding sources. Between me and Pete, the wagon, the stroller and a handful of backpacks, harnesses and carriers we should be able to relocate. Slowly, since it'll be on foot, but we can take stuff with us. Like a tent.
11. Heat. Hmmml. This one is tricky.
And then I paused and realized once all these projects are completed my property would look exactly like the land of a Hollywood portrayed backwoods hermit. Yay, I am gonna look like Owen Wilson in 2012!
And now back to pretending Yellowstone will never erupt and life will continue until I die of old age, happily in my bed, after moving back to Portland which will continue to exist and not be covered in lava or fall into the ocean.