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How to prep for new and emerging diseases

I just read a Canadian article in today’s news that got me thinking about new and emerging diseases and what we will need to learn or have in our preps in order to prepare for them.

Here’s the article I read today. It appears to be a new disease, so far more than 40 cases have been reported in the province of New Brunswick, which is situated on the Atlantic coast.

Quote from linked article begins: In an internal memo obtained by Radio-Canada, sent on March 5 by the office of the chief medical officer of health to the New Brunswick Medical Society and to associations of doctors and nurses, the department notes the existence of a cluster of 42 cases of a progressive neurological syndrome of unknown origin. End Quote

This internal memo was dated March 5, 2021. When were they planning on telling the public?

Read the article carefully. It is “not genetic and could be contracted from food, water or air.” There is concern that this could be a new disease.

New Brunswick monitoring 40+ cases of unknown neurological disease

This news reminded me of a January 2021 article which was part of a BBC News series called “Stopping the Next One” which refers to emerging infectious disease.

This link is to the BBC article from the series BBC Nipah Virus

New and emergent diseases are going to impact how we prep.

These infectious diseases will also impact travel and the work place as Covid-19 did. They could also impact what we eat, where we live, how we live and on a much larger scale our economies and the global economy.

Is it travel, climate or both causing these diseases to emerge?

How do we prep for this kind of scenario?

This is a level of prepping that will require an understanding and respect for how infectious disease spreads.

The stakes are very high considering the death rate for Nipah Virus, or the long term effects of the neurological disease described in the New Brunswick article.

I have seen too many people disregard health protocols during the current Covid-19 pandemic.

This is nothing new so it shouldn’t surprise any of us. Think back to the HIV/Aids epidemic. How many people played Russian roulette with their own life or someone else’s life instead of doing what they were told to prevent the spread of a virus that was killing people?

If we experience more of these kinds of events, then the message that these are deadly, infectious diseases needs to get hammered home. If people in remote villages in Africa can be taught the protocols for Ebola, what on Earth is wrong with us? How can we set ourselves up to die from stupidity?

Does prepping now include evasive techniques for protection against people who are not taking precautions to spread disease? 

The New Brunswick article stated the neurological disease could be contracted from food, water or air. How do we prep for that? Is livestock going to become a distant memory in the face of more diseases originating from this source?

Bats may be the transmitters in the case of Nipah and other viruses, but they are also an important part of how insect populations are controlled, including insects that spread disease.

How do we get ahead of the curve on this scenario?

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How to be prepared if you decide to apply for credit

In the mid 1990’s I wrote a manual as a technical communication course project based upon my experience as an Account Manager for a major Canadian bank.

The information does not in any way divulge or betray confidentiality with my former clients. I cannot share their stories, but I can share the lessons.

The Canadian and American banking systems are different. However, there is information about credit management that may help you to be better prepared in this area.

This thread is about applying for credit and how to do it sensibly.

We need to begin before you make an appointment to obtain a loan.

Why do you want the loan? 

Do you have your eye on a shiny new __________(fill in the blank)? 

Are you getting married and have decided to start off your married life indebted? Do you want a little extra for a nice honeymoon?

Or is it for the worst reason of all, do you want a loan to pay off a pile of other debt?

The reason behind why you want the loan may be the reason why obtaining a loan is a bad decision.

Traditionally, people took on debt to buy a home through a mortgage. Later, car loans became an accepted reason for debt. Now, people take loans for everything.

A home is generally considered an appreciable asset meaning an asset who value will increase over time. A vehicle is a depreciable asset meaning it will lose “book” value every year. There are exceptions for both examples but they are not applicable in this thread.

Both the home and the vehicle become the chattel or security for the mortgage or loan. If you default, you lose the home or the vehicle.

There are loans which do not build assets. These are “band-aid” loans that cover one of two consumer problems: no savings or overspending.

People who take these kind of loans will either pledge their existing assets to get the loan. In their desperation to make the deal, they will pledge assets which are far more than the value of the loan. Now they are in a situation where if they default, they lose assets.

The question is why were they so desperate for a loan in the first place? If preparation prevents panic, then could we not also consider that savings prevent making bad financial deals?

We can take that a step further and consider that sensible spending would also help prevent making unwise financial deals.

Unsecured credit, such as credit card debt usually involves spending and having nothing to show for it. There are exceptions where people use their credit card to buy an item with asset value, but they are not the rule.

Credit cards can be considered an extension of income by some consumers and that is a very dangerous way to think of credit. Credit is never an extension of your income. You shouldn’t need a credit card to make monthly expenses. 

A credit card balance should be paid in full per the terms of the contract each and every month. If you do that, you build a good credit bureau rating which will make a difference when you do buy a house. People with good credit bureaus get better deals because they are considered a good credit risk.

If you are taking a consolidation loan to pay off other debt, understand that this type of loan is both a green and red light to a bank. On the “go” side, they will give you that type of loan because they can charge more interest and get you to pledge assets right down to your household items.

On the “stop’ side, they will drop you like a hot rock if you walk in and try once too often to get another consolidation loan. On your credit bureau, these types of loans are considered a “whoops” the first time. You may drop points the first time. If you repeatedly need consolidations loans to cover overspending, then your credit bureau is adversely affected.

A consolidation loan is a rescue loan. Think of it as a non-swimmer who repeatedly goes into water over their head. The first time they need to be rescued, it’s forgiven. Imagine what lenders think the second, third, or fourth time. It can also be a red flag that someone has an addiction problem such as gambling.

There is a sensible way to prepare for credit. 

First make sure why you want the loan is for a good reason and not the result of an impulse decision to buy something. 

Next, if your reason is sound, then determine what you can afford for a payment each month. That’s right. I did say it: you determine what you can afford each month and how long you want to be indebted or the term of the loan.

The banks generally use a debt service ratio which means they say you can afford x% of your income each month for a mortgage or other debt.

They take a basic personal financial statement. What do you earn? They list and total your basic expenses: rent/mortgage, utilities, debt, insurance, etc.

The difference between the two is what they consider to be your disposable income.

The bank doesn’t live with you. They are using a formula approach which isn’t real life.

You need to determine what you can consistently and comfortably live with each month. In order to do that you need to track every cent of your disposable income that you spend each month. There are two steps to take to do this each done at the same time.

Take the amount that you currently think you can afford to repay a loan and set it aside in a separate savings account. Do this every month for 6 months minimum. Treat is as if it were a loan payment. Make notes of any times or months when it was hard to do. This is a test of what you can really live with each month.

At the end of that 6 month minimum, you should have a very good idea of whether x amount of money will be comfortable for you to repay before you commit to the actual loan.

The bonus is that you also have self-insured a minimum of 6 months of loan payments in case of crisis or income interruption.

You also have given yourself time to think and consider the expenditure and maybe even shop around for a better deal.

At the same time, set up a simple tracking method for how you spend your income.

Start with fixed expenses such as rent or mortgage, utilities, insurance, etc. and set them up on a budget sheet. Include savings set aside each month over and above the amount in the test loan amount. Be certain of your expenses and verify them if necessary.

On another sheet write down your disposable income expenses.

Write down the date, amount, what was purchased and how you paid for the item. For example:

If you use multiple accounts or credit card, list them on separate pages.

Jan 1  $126.40  Joe’s Hardware  Garden supplies  

You can also use the information to track a return, credit memo or R&M (repairs and maintenance) for vehicle and home expenses.

The amount saved for the “test” loan is also good for your credit bureau.

If there is interest, let me know and I will gladly go through some of the other areas in a future thread(s).

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Good first-aid kits make good neighbors

The other day I had an experience that made me feel great about building an Individual First-Aid Kit last year. That morning, my 76-year-old neighbor pulled up and told me he wanted help removing an old bathtub. I said sure and didn’t think much more about it.

That afternoon, my wife runs into my office and tells me his wife called, he had hurt himself and needed help. I grabbed my IFAK on my bug out bag and ran next door.

He had fallen into the old cast-iron tub and his forearm was bleeding profusely (he takes blood thinners). He had cut off a big section of the tub, so a slab of iron was in the floor between me and him in this tiny bathroom.

It took me a minute to think about how to go about this. I grabbed some gauze from the IFAK, wrapped his arm, moved the iron out of the way, and his wife and I pulled him out of the tub. He was still bleeding through the gauze a bit so I put an Israeli bandage over it and told his wife to remove it every so often and check on it.

Anyway, despite not really having a clue about what I was doing (medic training is near the top of the list when the pandemic is over) and my IFAK being an overstuffed mess (also on the to-do list), I was able to help my neighbor out. We often like to say that skills matter more than tools, but sometimes just having the tools makes the difference.

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When the best laid planters go wrong – a lesson in prepping and patience.

I am not an artist. I draw stick people. 

That lack of artistic skill doesn’t stop me from sketching my ideas or vision of the finished project.

I have sketches of interior projects and exterior plans. It is uncanny how they have come to fruition. Some of these plans were of long term visions of how I wanted my home and yard to look one day. 

Like everyone else, I work with a budget. It has come to represent both the blessing and the curse of limitations raining down on my creative parade.

It is a curse because it delays the joy of seeing the project finished. It is also a blessing for the same reason. There is also joy in the slow unfolding of a vision brought to reality.

And reality is what I bumped into in the last few days with an exterior project that began last year.

Last year the white vinyl raised bed planters I had ordered were delayed. It was understandable given the situation with Covid-19. 

Back then, you couldn’t find a bag of flour, yeast, cleaners or toilet paper. For people who hadn’t prepared, it was like striking gold if they were in the right store at the right time and found any of those items. Limit 2.

The planter situation required a rapid adjustment. Enter my husband. He means well, but when he gets involved everything becomes complicated. He didn’t have a project at the time, and was bored, so he decided to help me. 

I like to work independently. This is the point where he and I become two children squabbling over the tools. To keep the peace, he got to build the interim wood planters and enclosure to the raised beds while I laid baseboards and did sheet rock in the house.

The finished garden area was okay, but not what I wanted or even close to the sketch I had made. Like the original planters on order that didn’t arrive in time, you can’t always get what you want.

The square foot gardening technique I tried was not something I would do again. I found it too crowded even though I sowed the seed exactly as specified. The enclosure around the perimeter of the raised bed he built was a source of frustration and pain. The panels attached to the raised beds became hair-triggered doors that swung back on their zip tied hinges with just enough velocity to be a nuisance. 

The frame that they were attached to was just low enough to smack my head into when I worked in the garden. Every. Single. Time. The wire I wanted for those panels was nowhere to be found, so I settled for chicken wire. When those door panels smacked me, I had to watch that I wasn’t also attached to a stray end of chicken wire. Luckily, my tetanus shot is up to date.

Even my vegetables weren’t what I expected. There was a late cold snap, so I re-seeded and hoped for the best.

The Swiss chard, kale, peas and tomatoes turned out well. But the radishes and beets were a disappointment. They were “all hat, and no horse,” with stunted root development and massive greens on top. The Vidalia onions that I was looking forward to were sad little globes not much larger than what I planted at harvest. From what I could troubleshoot, I had too much nitrogen in the planting mix I made, but I am still not certain.

That was last year. This year I was prepared. Or so I thought.

Over the winter, I bought my husband a router and other tools to keep him busy on his projects and out of mine when Spring arrived.

I drafted new sketches of the planters that I wanted to position at various points around the perimeter of my property for privacy, security and extra food production.

Originally, I wanted white vinyl planters and trellis for appearance and ease of maintenance. The cost to do everything was prohibitive if I wanted to get all of it done this year. So I decided to use lumber and build them.

Everything was organized. Then I called for lumber prices and it all went off the rails. Maintenance free cedar was out of the question, coming in at more than $100.00 CAD for just one of the boards I needed, which left the option of treated wood and painting it white with food safe paint.

I checked into our treated lumber and it is not considered safe for vegetable production. The food safe paint reviews were depressing. I am not repainting every year. My design philosophy for everything in and around the home is to build in long term durability and ease of maintenance plus value added.

So, I approached the problem the same way I do other issues in prepping. I figure out what is most important or necessary to acquire first. Then cost is examined and how to slot the item(s) into my budget is determined. If I want the item faster, then the cost of that item must be reduced or triage of other items changed.

That was when I realized this experience was a good example of how you can’t always get what you want all at once. It takes time to prepare. It takes time to create something worthwhile. Sometimes, a compromise must be made in order to get what you want and how and when you acquire it.

The white vinyl raised beds delivered late last year that became a fixture in my den are as of yesterday arranged in two neat 4’x16′ rows.

I tore the chicken wire enclosure off the other two wood raised beds from last year and have positioned them behind the white vinyl planters. These four planters will become my main vegetable area.

At the very back will be my assortment of beneficial flowers and wildflowers, sown without the limitation of a planter bed. 

I ordered 7 white vinyl planters 15″ deep x 3′ wide x 4′ high (with trellis) for the one side of my front yard. They will provide the barrier and privacy I need to establish and come summer filled with flowers and edibles that don’t look like vegetables as part of another prepping experiment.

It only covers the one side, but in time the rest of it will come together, this year or the next. 

Preparation prevents panic. I had to remember that motto when my best laid plans went wrong. I don’t prepare and panic. I prepare to avoid panic. 

When something goes wrong with our best laid plans (or planters), that’s the time to stop and find another way to achieve our prepping goals. 

In this forum, I have read some excellent examples of how people began to prep using items on hand and then, as they were able to, began to change out those items for other items.

There are other people here who also experiment and use prepping as a type of ongoing classroom. I really enjoy the learning aspect of prepping.

Other people have bartered for what they wanted to get.

We all research, plan and prepare according to our best laid plans. Our plans may not come to fruition the way we expected. There may be problems along the way, but those experiences help us to learn how to adjust our plans and find another way. In doing that, it is possible to end up with a much better result and a level of preparedness that we hadn’t expected.       

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10-80-10 survival principle

Hey everyone!!

I recently learned from a church lesson about some people going through an earthquake and the speaker talked about the 10-80-10 principle. I had never heard of it and wanted to share it with you all and see what your thoughts were. 

In a disaster there will be three groups of people:

–10% of people will be just fine, be able to pull themselves together relatively quickly and take charge of the situation.

–80% of people will not know what to do, be in shock, and will wait for others to give them instructions.

–10% of people will go nuts, panic, and put themselves or others into greater danger. 

I’m sure this principle will apply to other areas as well, maybe like with a work assignment or something. Maybe there is a correlation between the old fight-flight-or freeze?

What are your thoughts on this? What group do you think you would be in? Are there friends or family members that you can place in each category? What can we do to put ourselves into that 10% that can handle a disaster well?

Mental and emotional prepping is at times even more important than having a first aid kit or solar panel. Even if you have all the preps in the world, if you aren’t able to cope with things you won’t survive.

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Antibiotic resistance: Prepping for a world without effective antibiotics

My Background: I have an undergraduate degree in Biology and Society with a concentration in Infectious Disease Biology and I worked as a researcher in a microbiology lab focusing on Vibrio cholerae, the causative agent of cholera. I’m a fellow of the Cornell Institute for Host-Microbe Interactions and Disease. I am currently a COVID-19 contact tracer and part of the COVID-19 vaccine effort in my hometown. I will be beginning my PhD in the emerging infectious disease field in August.


This thread arose as a continuation of a post I made in the ‘How to prep for new and emerging diseases’ thread. Here is an excerpt from my original post about why antibiotic resistance is something we should be concerned about: “We must focus on what we can truly prepare for. A concern I have that should be on preppers radars is how  bacteria pick up new genetic material (here’s a link explaining the process) which can confer antibiotic resistance to bacterial species. An estimated two million people are infected with antibiotic resistant infections annually in the United States alone. The World Health Organization has expressed concerns that the world is running out of effective antibiotics and this could present serious challenges to the standards of health we currently have in many countries. I stumbled upon an edition of The Economist’s July 2019 “The World If” series. Basically, it’s a fictional take on what happens if [insert event here]. This one focused on what would happen if we no longer had effective antibiotics. I stress that this is a link to FICTION (and everything else I’ve linked is to non-fiction), but it is chilling to read the authors take on what the world may look like with no access or severely reduced access to effective antibiotics. It definitely got me thinking about how and why to prep for a future without antibiotics.”


Legitimacy/Transparency: Most links are peer-reviewed publications from journals, universities, or from the World Health Organization, Centers for Disease Control and the United Nations. Feel free to not take my word for it and read the linked publications!


Reasons a Future Without Effective Antibiotics Is a Possibility: The problem is not so much a lack of supply of currently approved antibiotics, but the fact that current antibiotics are becoming obsolete due to overuse and we currently have a lack of incentives for companies to do research that brings new antimicrobials to market. Furthermore, the cost of bringing new antibiotics to market is a barrier and the profitability of antibiotics is lower than other drugs. Cancer drugs took precedence over bringing antibiotics to market, and this will likely come back to bite us: the United Nations antimicrobial resistance group estimates that 10 million drug-resistant related disease deaths will occur annually by 2050 if no action is taken to shift our current trajectory, which is “more than the number of people who currently die of cancer worldwide every year”. We have also stagnated on introducing new antibiotics to the market, as “the last entirely original class of antibiotic was discovered in the late 1980’s.” If this doesn’t shift soon it is not far-fetched to say we may end up in a world in the not-to -distant future with no access to effective antibiotics (potentially returning us to the ‘Pre-Antibiotic Age’). Medical care before antibiotics were first discovered and used, looked like lots of now-preventable deaths from infection, see this article from the CDC’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly for more information.


What Antibiotic Resistance Is: Antibiotic resistance naturally develops after use of an antibiotic  treatment in a population over time (and this is why there are so many types of antibiotics with different targets that exist in the first place) however we have accelerated the rate of resistance development to the antibiotics we have due to overuse. Many anti-microbial compounds were  isolated from bacterial species in our soil which live in close contact with each other, thus necessitating the development of something deadly with which to kill off their competition: antibiotics. The caveat being the antibiotic is only effective if it didn’t also kill off the bacterial species producing it. It makes sense then that “antibiotic resistance genes in soil are tightly linked to specific bacteria, suggesting little sharing between species, in infectious bacteria though, more frequent sharing of genes creates antibiotic-resistance portfolios that differ greatly among related bacteria.”


Current Prepping (Gathering Information, Pushing for Changes): Preparing now could look like questioning the trend of over-prescribing of antibiotics, encouraging better infection control practices in hospitals and in agriculture so antibiotic use could be avoided and encouraging lab testing that confirms an illness is treatable with antibiotics (if it’s not bacterial in nature, it should not be treated with antibiotics and even then different antibiotics are used for different infections). Talking about it and bringing awareness is also important, which is what I’m trying to do with this thread-put lots of information in the same place where it’s easily accessed. The Prepared had an article about the WHO’s 2019 Antibiotic Awareness Week with suggestions for reducing risk of infection so you don’t need antibiotics in the first place which is worth checking out. This article suggests how government entities could set us up for success in bringing new antibiotics to market. The authors wisely point out that: “Even a limited return to the pre-antibiotic age is a fate best avoided. It need not happen.” As with most emerging infectious disease issues, avoiding continuing on our current trajectory requires changes to our behavior and that of our communities, a difficult undertaking. A return to a pre-antibiotic age certainly need not happen, but it might anyway.


Five Major Sources of Bacterial Pathogens:

1.     Water

2.     Food

3.     Arthropods (like ticks)

4.     Wounds (bites, wounds contaminated with debris, surgeries that introduce foreign bodies etc.)

5.     Other Humans (respiratory/sexually-transmitted/enteric/etc.)


Potential Non-Antibiotic ‘Solutions’ (none of which are perfect):

1.     Vaccines: Often toxoid vaccines are used to prevent bacterial disease, the DTaP or diptheria & tetanus vaccine is a toxoid vaccine, it also contains subunits of pertussis. We can’t vaccinate for everything however. Vaccines are also not a magic-bullet. You can still get infected after being vaccinated, usually vaccines just lessen the severity and duration of the potential infection.

2.     Bacteriophage Cocktail Therapies: Bacteriophages are viruses that infect bacterial species. A bacteriophage cocktail is a clinical treatment that can theoretically be tailored to the exact infection (just takes money, lots of research and time, which can be in short supply…always) and thus far in the US this therapy has only been used in compassionate use cases as it is experimental. Phage therapy is fascinating but we still have a long way to go before it’s mainstream and effective. Bacteriophages have been described as bacteria’s natural predator, however interestingly enough, in some cases bacterial species can pick up antibiotic resistance genes from phages. 


How Life Could Change in a World With No Effective Antibiotics:

1.     Would we wear masks to protect ourselves from bacterial respiratory infections due to the health stakes of getting such an illness without access to effective antibiotics? Without antibiotics (and even now, with antibiotics, in the case of multi-drug or total-drug resistant tuberculosis) these infections could cause high mortality rates. The CDC estimated in 2018 that about 23% of the global population was infected with tuberculosis.


2.     Without effective antibiotics I doubt elective surgeries like knee and hip replacements (which we often use prophylactic antibiotics for), or even Cesarean sections would be common (or advisable) because of the potential for introducing infection that couldn’t be treated. This could impact quality of life for many people. Would we still remove our ‘wisdom’ teeth?


3.     Cleaning wounds regardless of severity, and caring for them in a way that minimizes infection risk would likely be more of a major concern than it already is if we didn’t have effective antibiotics available.


4.     There would likely be deep concerns about food safety and inspection processes and cooking to safe temperatures. I could see stricter requirements being enforced by food safety and inspection entities in order to quell fear about concerns over food being contaminated through irrigated water, poor packaging or unclean processing equipment. This publication on the Diagnosis and Management of Foodborne Illness suggests that annually, one in six Americans will experience a food borne illness. Not all food borne illnesses are deadly or require treatment with antibiotics. Not all food borne illnesses are bacterial in nature either, but some of note are including: Salmonella, E. coli, Campylobacter and Listeria.


5.     Tick checks, proper clothing and anti-tick products could be vital depending on where you live and what bacterial pathogens are endemic in the tick populations near you. Here is a list of tick-borne disease from the CDC. Again, not all diseases carried by ticks are bacterial in nature, but enough are to cause concern such as: the causative agents of Lyme disease, multiple spotted fevers and tularemia .


6.     Those without access to clean drinking water could suffer even more without access to effective antibiotics. Antibiotics are not considered a life-saving treatment for diseases like cholera, but antimicrobial resistance has developing in this water-borne pathogen which is concerning because without antibiotic treatment the “illness will persist for about twice as long, lengthening the hospital stay and increasing the resources used”. No effective antibiotics could be deadly in a real-world cholera epidemic scenario as  even “antibiotic resistance means higher costs, a greater need for supplies and more deaths.” For some reason the document these two quotes are from won’t link-if you want to look it up I found this information in a WHO publication titled  “Antimicrobial resistance in shigellosis, cholera and campylobacteriosis” by Sack, Lyke, McLaughlin and Suwanvanichchkij. 


7.     Any bacterial disease impacting humans, be it: Lyme, syphilis, cholera, E. coli, MRSA, diptheria, tuberculosis, Y. pestis (plague) or listeria would carry far higher risks of mortality and disability without effective antibiotics.

 How would consider prepping for a world in which there are no effective antibiotics?

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“It can’t happen to me” – A tale of two FEMA studies, statistics and Normalcy Bias

My notes from the early hours this morning:

2012 FEMA study – Almost 1/2 of all Americans don’t believe that a disaster will hurt their community.

2015 FEMA study – Less than 1/2 of American households had an Emergency Preparedness plan or discussed one with their family.

I remember thinking “denial ain’t just a river in Egypt, honey.”

But denial is also not normalcy bias. Normalcy bias aka Ostrich Effect is a cognitive bias that occurs when people facing imminent disaster are warned and either disbelieve the warning or minimize the threat.

We need to know about and factor in denial and normalcy bias into our preparedness, for ourselves and family members.

The time it takes to process denial and normalcy bias can put people in grave danger. I believe part of the solution is to be aware of the potential for a problem and formulate how you will deal with it before it happens.,and%20its%20potential%20adverse%20effects.

Begin Quote

The normalcy bias may be caused in part by the way the brain processes new data. Research suggests that even when the brain is calm, it takes 8–10 seconds to process new information. Stress slows the process, and when the brain cannot find an acceptable response to a situation, it fixates on a single and sometimes default solution that may or may not be correct. An evolutionary reason for this response could be that paralysis gives an animal a better chance of surviving an attack and predators are less likely to see prey that is not moving.”[10]


About 70% of people reportedly display normalcy bias in disasters.[3] Normalcy bias has been described as “one of the most dangerous biases we have”. The lack of preparation for disasters often leads to inadequate shelter, supplies, and evacuation plans. Even when all these things are in place, individuals with a normalcy bias often refuse to leave their homes.[17][better source needed]”

Normalcy bias can cause people to drastically underestimate the effects of the disaster. Therefore, people think that they will be safe even though information from the radio, television, or neighbors gives them reasons to believe there is a risk. The normalcy bias creates a cognitive dissonance that people then must work to eliminate. Some manage to eliminate it by refusing to believe new warnings coming in and refusing to evacuate (maintaining the normalcy bias), while others eliminate the dissonance by escaping the danger. The possibility that some people may refuse to evacuate causes significant problems in disaster planning.[18]

End Quote What the data indicates:

Begin quote:

The percentage of the adult population that have no intent to prepare (stage 1) has decreased substantially since 2013 (21% in 2013 to 9% in 2020).The percentage of the adult population that is not prepared but understands the importance of preparing and intends to do so within the next year (stages 2 and 3) has increased by 12 percentage points since 2013 (28% in 2013 to 40% in 2020) supporting the notion that there is an increased social awareness of the importance of preparing.”

“The percentage of the population that perceives themselves as prepared (stages 4 and 5) increased only slightly from 2013 (49% in 2013 to 51% in 2020), implying that the rate at which the adult population becomes prepared or maintains preparedness has stalled over the years, despite any year to year (e.g., 2020 versus 2019) fluctuations. This suggests a critical need to encourage, guide, and assist individuals and communities progress from intent-to-prepare to engagement in preparedness action and activities.”

And from same data:

“Overall, the estimated number of preparedness actions taken has increased from 2019.

68% of NHS respondents have taken 3 or more of the 6 basic preparedness actions; an increase of 6% from 2019.

For the second year in a row, the percentage of people reporting four of the six basic actions increased.

The number of people who indicated that they talked to others about getting prepared increased from 45% to 48%.

The number of people who indicated they participated in an emergency drill increased from 49% to 56%.”

NHS data shows that, when individuals indicate that they’ve taken one preparedness action, we can expect that they will take additional preparedness actions.

NHS data shows that preparedness actions can vary by stage of preparedness, hazard areas, and even demographics. As such, customizing preparedness messaging based on these factors will likely result in more effective messaging.

End Quote,in%20a%20safe%20place%20(31

Begin Quote

The good news is nearly three-quarters of Americans (73 percent) have taken at least one step to prepare for a natural disaster, most commonly assembling a disaster supplies kit (34 percent), creating an evacuation plan (32 percent), or backing up and storing personal medical and financial records in a safe place (31 percent). The bad news is only 15 percent have created a disaster plan to protect their finances. And concerningly, a little more than a quarter of Americans (27 percent) have not taken any steps at all to prepare for a natural disaster.

Steps Americans Have Taken to Prepare for Natural Disaster

34% Assembled a disaster supplies kit (first-aid kit, food, water, tools, etc.)

32% Created an evacuation plan

31% Backed up & stored personal, medical & financial records in a safe,          accessible place

27% Evaluated insurance needs to assure adequate coverage

26% Taken an inventory of assets & possessions for insurance purposes

24% Contributed to an emergency saving account

19% Created or updated an estate plan and/or will

19% Purchased additional insurance (e.g., flood insurance, hurricane          insurance, etc.)

15% Created a disaster plan to protect finances

2%  Other

27% I have not taken any steps to prepare for a natural disaster

End Quote

After I finished wading through the articles, I wondered how can we help others understand the need for emergency preparedness without jeopardizing our own preparedness? Is there a way to do improve these numbers?

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Does your prepping include a worst case scenario and if so, how?

This isn’t about worst case scenario bias in which people overreact to small deviations from normalcy and treat those incidents as signs of impending catastrophe.

This is about worst case scenario. No bias. It is about how our concept of worst case scenario can change because of life events and life cycles.

Yesterday, while working on the “Prepping around the world – how other cultures use their natural resources” thread, I realized the Dutch are doing everything possible to stay ahead of their worst case scenario which is being overtaken by rising sea levels.

One definition of scenario is a suggested sequence or development of events. Add “worst case” and the phrase means the worst possible sequence or development of events.

My preparedness is spread over the usual areas of disaster, but the idea of worst case scenario is one I hadn’t considered before.

I wondered, “Am I preparing for my worst case scenario and if so, what is it? What would be the worst case scenario for me?”

After sleeping on it, I still feel like I have never considered that issue, not consciously at least. My worst case scenario. What does that mean to me?

We lost our family farm to a fire. At the time I thought that was the worst thing that could ever happen. Then that concept shifted when other crises happened as my life unfolded.

My current geographic area could experience flash flooding, fires, power outages, blizzards, killing cold or any number of natural or man-made disasters. Yet none of them, including the pandemic happening now doesn’t feel like my worst case scenario. A problem, yes. My worst case, no.

Is it because I have prepared well, or is it because I have already been to the brink of my worst case scenario and the pandemic isn’t it for me? Or, could it be a bit of both?
Some people prepare to avoid discomfort or starvation. The aspects of preparedness that are foremost and sharpest in my mind are protecting myself against violence and crime.

It is borne of my history and experience. When your life hangs in the balance between the hope of rescue and another day of torture, between escaping while drugged and injured or dying where you were left, to be finished off later, or between the choice of submission to a blade over death, you choose survival every time if you want to live. 

At a baseline level, my focus is always on avoiding two-legged danger and staying alive. It is impossible to ignore and governs every aspect of how I live and prepare.

When I planned the changes to my garden, I factored site lines for the security cameras and construction methods to ensure that no one can hide behind the planters. I have ensured that the design is free of any elements or objects that could be used against me or employed as a tool to break in to my home.

When I bring in prep items, I have a transfer method that keeps them private from any prying eyes. Labels are removed from any shipments and shredded. There is nothing that would distinguish me as a prepper either in my garbage or recycling. 

Inside my home, anything that can be used to restrain or injure me is hidden away out of sight and easy access. You won’t find a knife block in my home. My knives are convenient for me to access, but out of sight. There are items throughout my home that can be deployed as improvised weapons if needed.

Every time I am in a vehicle my doors are locked. I scan each time I enter and exit my vehicle. I scan parking lots and vehicles around me. No one exits my vehicle in a parking lot until I give the go ahead to leave the vehicle.

The list goes on. I live and prep with every instinct and scrap of experience I have garnered. 

I don’t like the consequences of being vulnerable so there is no off switch for me. I wasn’t born to prep. I was made to prep.
The safety and security aspect of preparedness is where I become like the Dutch mentioned above.

I am doing everything possible to stay ahead of time, the enemy that steals physical strength, and chance, the variable that can trigger a dangerous event.

Time and chance happen to us all. I know my strength now, in this moment, and I can’t picture a future self where I am decrepit and vulnerable. Now my preparedness factors ageing and it’s associated imagined issues, as much as I loathe doing it. 

There are degrees of extremity within a particular worst case scenario and I have already experienced a broad range of severity that is possible for mine. 

I have not however, experienced the worst case scenario, which for me is, not to survive because I didn’t crawl until I could get up, didn’t keep going until I found a way out. The worst case scenario for me, regardless of the disaster, is to just give up and not survive.

The idea of the worst case scenario is different for each of us. Have you ever considered what your worst case scenario is? If so, how has it affected the way you prep? 

Has your worst case scenario changed as your life has unfolded? If so, has it also changed the way you prep?

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Emergency cash – where and how much to store?

How much cash do you stash for emergencies? Where do you stash it? What mix of small and big denominations of currency do you use?

TP tells us to store cash both at home and in our BOB. I do have a little cash at home, but not very much. It’s all in small bills. I also have a small amount of cash in small denominations tucked away in my car. Nothing in my BOB. I don’t really have a sense of how much is enough. Also, where to keep it is somewhat of a problem.

I live with housemates — one housemate at a time. Generally speaking they are honest, but I’ve had my share of losers. I hope that my judgment has gotten better in this regard, but early on a housemate learned that I had some cash in my emergency supplies and he stole it!

(Ridiculous aside: I didn’t know that he had stolen it until he told me about it after he moved out. He was “coming clean.” He said he wasn’t proud of stealing it, but he’d given it back to me. Since I didn’t remember getting any extra money from him I asked him when he’d given it back. He said he’d used it to pay part of his rent the following month! In his mind, because he had given me back the actual bills he’d taken from me, he’d returned the money. It didn’t do any good to explain to him that it was the amount of money that mattered, not the physical bills!)

Now I keep my money in less obvious places and I don’t tell my housemates, but my BOB is a pretty obvious presence in the living room.

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Berkey-like water filter that works with water softener?

I just read the great water filter review, but I had one question that wasn’t addressed there. One thing that has kept me from pulling the trigger on a Berkey purchase is reading that you can’t put water that’s been through a water softener in it. Can anyone suggest something similar that will work for us hard water folks?

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How to build community before and after a crisis

I woke up this morning thinking about my great-grandmother. She was a feisty woman, slight of physical stature and an Amazon warrior in attitude. She was a crack shot, could butcher a hog and negotiate with a Sioux war party, among many other attributes on her pioneers’ prairie resume.

It could be why my great-grandfather kept leaving their homestead to travel far across the prairies to another province breed his prize Clydesdale stallion and train horses. He didn’t have to worry about leaving her alone. Anyone who ran afoul of her would quickly beat a hasty retreat.

She was busy with six children, the homestead, and acting as the area’s only midwife. If you were a labouring woman in trouble, you knew you were in good hands when she launched herself through your doorway.

She was 92 when her last call for help came on a cold, winter night. She travelled by horse team and then delivered a baby boy. She died at 104, still vital and feisty to the end.

Part of the legacy she left were the children she helped enter this world. She had a role in the community, as did my great-grandfather.

People came together and created communities. The idea of surviving or thriving in isolation was unthinkable. One person can’t do everything. Even if one could, who would want to? It would be incredibly difficult and exhausting.

Sometimes, our need for community can come in the form of making pre-arrangements for our horses with other horse owners in case of disaster.

Community can be created online, and assistance provided during a disaster, provided that form of communication is still viable.

Community is borne out of necessity, defined by proximity and made viable by the respective skills and abilities of its members, as it has been through the ages.

How do we build community now as part of our prepping? 

What if electronic communication was inaccessible. How would we build community under those conditions?

If we were displaced out of our existing community, how do we go about building community in a new environment under disaster conditions?

Is community about compatibility or mutual need?

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The thrifty prepper – how to stretch the prepping budget

The thrifty prepper – how to stretch the prepping budget

I think most preppers are frugal folks deep down in their prepping hearts.

We are prepared and practical in our approach to life. We pour over our prepping lists and consider what items are best suited for our needs. If those items happen to be on sale, discounted or there is a coupon we can use to further reduce the price, we just achieved prepper nirvana.

I learned to be frugal from my parents. They were generous of spirit, but they loved building their savings. My Mom was a somewhat shy person, but get that woman shopping and I used to wonder where my mother went.

She knew her prices and could execute a grocery shopping trip with all the zeal of a five-star General storming an enemy stronghold. Those groceries were hers and they were landing in her shopping cart at the price she wanted to pay. No can of tuna was left behind!

My Dad and Mom together were a tour de force. They would descend upon an appliance store and compare every detail to ensure the best possible features. Then, the final moments as they circled a washing machine and shifted from an appraising to a critical eye. Aha! There was a dent!

I swear those two invented scratch and dent sales. But you know, it wasn’t such a bad way to shop. They were careful and informed shoppers.

They taught me to pay attention to what is referred to as “sale seasons.”

We know about Black Friday sales or Boxing Day sales, but throughout the year, there are items that traditionally go on sale each month and at certain times of the month. If you follow this sale calendar, you can save some money.

For example, there are the “white sales” of January each year when bed linens, pillows and towels go on sale. 

You don’t have to be a Dad to take advantage of the Father’s Day sales that happen every June. You can get great deals on all kinds of tools at hardware stores and big-box home stores.

There are different sale season calendars that can be sourced online. I’ve included the links for a couple that might help you familiarize yourself with them.


Aside from sale seasons, there are ways to negotiate on the best deals for that BOV you’ve been wanting.

I worked for two car dealerships and got an understanding of how people walked away with the best deals.

October, November and December are the best time of year to buy a car. 

Car dealerships must meet sales quotas, which typically break down into yearly, quarterly and monthly sales goals. These three goals dovetail together late in the year.

Of those months, I personally would choose December and walk in on the last business day before the sales cut off for commissioned sales reps. 

They will be eager to make a deal and then push for a successful negotiation with their Sales Manager. They want that sale included in their pay cheque.

The Sales Manager will push back on the negotiations because that’s what he does, but a savvy shopper says to the sale rep “Let me talk to your Sales Manager so we can get you that nice big commission check.”

You can do it politely, in a firm and business-like tone, but ask to speak with the Sales Manager drirectly. The sales rep has no power to approve the deal. It saves time and you won’t get caught up in a negotiation that could cost you more than you want to spend or waste your time if there is not a deal to be made there and you could have made a deal elsewhere.

Once you are in the Sales Manager’s office “Look, the car lots are slow because people are paying off their Christmas spending. I have cash in my account so it’s a cash deal. Easy money for you, if I get the deal that works for me. So far, our numbers are too far apart. Just give me your best and final offer. I’m buying a vehicle today, and for the right deal, it will be off your lot.” 

You have turned the table on the Sale Manager because now he has to present a number to you, his best and final, in order to make the deal work.

January is usually a good month for used cars. Did you know that most millionaires, multi-millionaires and even billionaires drive three year old cars?

That BOV of your dreams is a depreciable asset and it will depreciate at least $1000.00 the moment you drive it off the lot.

A three year old vehicle still has warranty. Any recall issues are usually addressed. There are also one year old Sale Reps Demo vehicles that can be had for a good deal also. Same principles apply re time of month shopping, always on day before for pay day cut off day.

Read the bill of sale carefully before paying and don’t pay for baloney charges like “airport tax.” When was the last time anyone saw a plane full of cars offloaded? “A doc fee” is another one. It is short for a document fee which is short for you are expected to contribute to their Finance & Insurance Manager’s commission cheque. Have these charges removed from the bill. They can pay their own people.

There are other ways of being a thrifty prepper. 

If you and a couple of friends are in the market for new deep freezers, coordinate your purchase, then approach the appliance department together, in the right sale month, at the right time of the month and say “There are three of us and we each want to buy that deep freezer, what’s the best price you can offer us?”

How about grocery shopping? Are you using coupons? How about case lots or bulk food purchasing? Have you tried sourcing directly from the producer or farmer? There is always gardening or a you pick fruit farm.

Have you ever bought a mis-matched mattress and box-spring set? It’s only the outer fabric that differs and that is covered up so no one sees the difference.

There are good deals to be had from government surplus sites. Another is the deals from boom cities that are winding down. Kelowna, BC, for example, had a huge amount of generators, tools and various building gear for sale online and in the local pawn shops. The people hired were desperate to sell and there were some very good deals available.

They are so many more ways to be a thrifty prepper. How about you? Do you practice thrifty prepping? What are some ways that you get thrifty?

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Do you raise rabbits for meat? Let’s hear your rabbit-raising tips!

Some farming friends of ours recently built new rabbit hutches and gave us their old ones. They need… work, but I think I can make them serviceable. I’ve been reading and watching everything I can about rabbits, but I was curious if anyone in our community raises rabbits for meat and could offer some lesser-known pointers?

A few things everyone should know about rabbits:

They’re a great source of meat. They breed like… well, rabbits, they’re easy to slaughter and easy to process. However, you can starve to death eating only rabbit meat, called rabbit starvation. It needs to be combined with a starch like potatoes. They don’t make much noise and they don’t take up much space. Never put a buck (male rabbit) in a doe’s cage. She will attack and might bite off his bunny maker. Always put the doe in the buck’s cage.

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How to help yourself or others with vision impairment during a disaster

It is possible that during a disaster or crisis, something could happen that would affect our ability to see clearly. All of the info that follows is worth reviewing and learning. Vision impairment could happen during a disaster to ourselves or family member. 

One of the main things we can do is keep our hands scrupulously clean when putting our hands near our eyes for any reason. This will help prevent infection.

Never break a sty. It will spread infection rapidly. It is okay per my physician to use a warm tea bag and apply it as a poultice to the eye. Let it sit and it will draw the sty out and reduce it naturally.

If you stock emergency eye ointment or drops or use any kind of eye medication, never use them past it’s best by date. This is from my pharmacist who stressed eye medications are “different” and that we must never go beyond the date indicated on the tube or container. He said that there are no exceptions to this rule. If we do this, we could create a much worse situation.

Prevent blindness has a nice two page sheets on eye safety during disaster.

We might sustain an eye injury to one or both eyes. Subsequently, we may have changed vision or very low to no vision. Safety goggles in our EDC and BOB can help protect our eyes from unexpected hazards.

The first thing I considered is how to prepare for that possibility or scenario.

There is a place for everything and everything in its place mentality in my home. This way the mental visual map that we have is intact in case of an emergency. Nothing is left out as a trip hazard and this also helps prevent falls.

I familiarized myself with the interior of my home so that I could move in the dark and with eyes closed for additional realism. 

I wanted to ensure that in case of a security breach that I could move with stealth in total darkness without stubbing my toe or banging into something and giving away my position or losing the element of surprise with an assailant(s).

There was a need to teach this to my husband who has two types of glaucoma. In the early days the prognosis for his vision was poor. It was then I began to think of ways we could adapt his orientation in the house while he still had vision. He also trained and learned to move in the dark.

He is now off the medication that impacted his vision and triggered the glaucoma, and after two surgeries his vision is stable. He won’t regain the peripheral and horizon vision he lost, but his condition is now stable.

His skill is there if his vision declines and in a security situation he can now move with the same stealth in the dark. He rarely turns a light on at night now.

It may not be a break in that triggers the need to move in the dark. Nothing is infallible. If my smoke detector fails, I could wake up to thick, acrid smoke burning my eyes and become vision impaired while there is an urgent need to escape a fire.

That actually happened to a person I know. She barely escaped with her cat by crawling on her knees. She was unable to see because the smoke caused her eyes to burn and tear very badly. She related to me how terrified she was and that she could hardly breathe. But, she stayed calm and focussed on remembering the mental map from her bedroom to the entrance door and she was able to escape.

Our glasses, including the spare pair in our home or BOB, may become damaged or lost. How do we cope then?

Here is a trailing technique from They also have other very good suggestions and tips for persons living with vision impairment.

Using the Trailing Technique

The blind guide also offers excellent disaster safety tips for blindness or visual impairment:

Disaster Safety for People with Disabilities: What to Do When Emergency Weather Strikes

If our vision is impaired by something, we can use a very rudimentary tool made by our hand. Remember when as kids you would curl your hand like a telescope or pirate spyglass? Well, there is a technique like that which can help for loss of vision or visual aids like glasses. I have used this many times when I went to a store and forgot my glasses. It really does work (and you get to look like a cool pirate while you’re doing it).

In an emergency, this is a good method to know.

Here’s a link showing how it’s done:

From Discovery Science – How to improve your vision using just your hands
I prefer to have multiple pairs of extra reading glasses spanning 2.0 through to 2.75. I use two different strengths and the extras are to offer to someone in need.

Rather than keep one extra pair, I keep 2 extra sets of the different strengths of glasses.

I also include several pairs of back up sunglasses, including yellow lenses for fog driving, in my prepping.

I also have several types of magnifying glasses and magnifying sheets to use for reading instructions or other important info in a crisis.

This is a type of magnifying eye wear that I plan to add to my preps that would allow for use for other crisis related tasks such as a cleaning wound properly:

I found an eye glass repair kit at a local hardware store. It is worth keeping several of these per eyeglass wearing person in your household.

This is similar to the small kit I found locally. There are larger kits available on Amazon.

Also how to repair glasses from 

Repair Guide: Fix Broken Glasses – Vint & York

We might also encounter someone who is vision impaired, with or without a guide dog. How can we best offer assistance to that person and, if accompanied by one, their service dog?

Here is some information on that subject from the fighting blindness website that teaches how to interact with someone who is vision impaired and offer assistance in the correct way:

Vision impairment can also affect hand/eye coordination skills. The following two websites offer drills and games to improve that function:

and also from this site:

If anyone can think of other ideas to help protect our eyes during a disaster or tools to help protect our vision and repair glasses, please fee free to add to the list.

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And when that ammo runs out?

I notice that new laws are coming in from some….. and more regulations on the books for restricting or proposed eliminating the 2nd amendment…… which would restrict supplies.

Currently I see that primers are in very short supply in some places and slowly and surely some are going to make it as difficult as possible in the future to obtain crucial items.

So what would you do as the ammo runs out? Reloading is an option….. but where will you get that Sulfur,, Shot, KNO3…. etc…..or is your bolt hole full enough to last an extended period?

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Armchair quarterback time: War zone in a condo post is about a different type of crisis and disaster. From a prepping perspective, this is the deterioration that becomes the crisis.

I wish I could tell you that the videos and related stories were part of a movie set and plot, but they are not.

First the news link which is 4 days old.

To better understand the back story, watch both videos and also read the first related story on that news page titled “Living in a war zone….”

If you look at the footage of the exterior of the condo building, I can see how someone would have purchased a condo there 12 years ago, as was the case for Geoff Wilkie who was interviewed in the related article “Living in a war zone…”

The panned shot of the neighborhood in one of the videos shows a fairly clean area and there appears to be a church on the corner. It looks like a glimpse of a neighborhood in a typical small prairie city, who like Dog River in the fictional tv program Corner Gas, doesn’t appear to have a whole lot going on.

There is always the risk of the neighborhood deteriorating into unsafe living conditions. Regardless of whether we live in a condo or a detached home, or whether we own or rent, we all face the same risk of change to our neighborhoods and communities.

I have rented apartments and houses, and I have owned homes, so this is not to slam renters. I relate what I have witnessed first hand in urban and rural areas and after living in several provinces.

Absentee landlords are a big problem because they have no interest in the community, other than through renting their house(s) and the profits they make. 

There are landlords with multiple rental properties who barely maintain them and who rent properties which are outright fire traps due to old and faulty wiring. 

The problem is further compounded by the “guarantee of rent” provided through govt.-sponsored income assistance. The landlord no longer has to worry that his tenant(s) will lose a job or be laid off. The rent is paid in full every month like clockwork by the income assistance program and not the tenant.

There are those tenant(s) who are responsible people or parents and who require this assistance through no fault of their own. For many of them, it is a temporary situation. They are a boon to the community.

Unfortunately, there are others in these programs who have no desire to better themselves or at the least attempt to parent their children more responsibly instead of being preoccupied with their drugs of choice.

Their children roam the streets and start packing up with older youth who are gang or “wannabe” gang members. The crime goes up and before you know it, you have a war zone situation like the people in that condo.

I have owned a home in a neighborhood where there was a nice mix of people – young, old, single working and couples with and without children. 

One day, I got off the bus and began my usual walk home. I glanced over and saw several young men that either should have been in school or working, who instead were hanging out in the front a house. This house was located several blocks away from where I lived.

After I saw them, I noted the deterioration on that first block. I hadn’t really noticed before, until I saw the loitering and attitude of the young men gathered at that one home. 

I paid attention on subsequent walks to and from the bus stop and noted the lack of work traffic from that block in the morning. I also noted the party atmosphere that had set into certain homes in the first block in the evenings.

I keep my house in ready to sell condition. The for sale sign went up and it sold before it could appear on the MLS listings. I was lucky to have noticed the change and got out before others began the stampede out of the neighborhood.

For the people in the above condo story, what could they have done differently? To me, it looks like they waited way too long. 

Fighting a condo board to change things when you already have let the raging bull into the barn is pointless. That condo building was supposed to be a owner occupied building only, no rentals. Rentals in a condo building and owners with multiple units don’t always bode well. As soon as the rentals started, Mr Wilkie should have baled. 

How would you know the difference between “a bit of trouble” happening in your neighborhood and “wait a minute, this is turning into SHTF and it’s time to get out of Dodge and find a new home?”

Do you think you would be able to get out fast enough if all your other neighbors have come to the same realization?

Are there any ways to avoid or reduce the risk of buying or renting in a problem neighborhood? 

What if, for some reason, you were unable to get out and find a new place to live? How would you survive in such a situation as portrayed in the video above?

I pay attention. Keep my home ready to sell. Review the MLS and private sales so I have a finger on the pulse of the real estate market at all times.

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Covid-19 variant briefing note in the news

I was going to wait until after the analysis was released this week, but the information is troubling and I wanted to give everyone a heads up. The data isn’t just Canadian. There is real concern by other countries over the severity of the B117 variant. It is affecting younger people as well. 
Excerpts quoted: 

“A briefing note prepared by table members for the province, which is expected to be made public early next week, is based on an analysis of Ontario hospitalization and death data between December and March.

The analysis is expected to show that variants substantially increase the risk of serious illness when compared to the initial strain of SARS-CoV-2, including:

60 per cent increased risk of hospitalization.
100 per cent increased risk of being admitted to an ICU.
60 per cent increased risk of death.

The data for the above report is expected to be released early this coming week.”

A further quote regarding data:

“The Ontario figures were also pooled with data from Denmark and the U.K., two countries hit hard by B117, several sources explained, with local data falling in line with those earlier international findings. 

“Clearly, these variants are … more transmissible — so you’re more likely to become infected if you’re exposed to the virus — and also, you’re more likely to be admitted to hospital and to potentially die from the infection,” said critical care physician Dr. Kali Barrett, a member of the COVID-19 Modelling Collaborative, a separate group that was not involved in the science table’s upcoming briefing note.

Those health impacts are regardless of your age or pre-existing medical issues, she said of the international research.”

The news out of other countries is also a concern with respect to the death rate, transmission and that it is infecting younger people. Brazil is recording record deaths.

There have been warnings about the third wave being much worse.

The variants are in the throat rather than the lung. There is greater ease of transmission because of this change. Particles leaving the throat and mouth do so with even more facility than virus particles leaving the chest after a cough. 

The virus particles can remain in the air for several hours.

I have also considered the additional droplets of the variant virus that are going to be landing on any and everything. 

What about people not practising good hygiene who put hand to mouth and nose and then touch items? That has been an issue from the beginning, but now it will make matters worse.
We had some of our restrictions loosened provincially and it couldn’t have come at a worse time. We already have almost 120 cases of the B117 in my province. Yet, this weekend local people were partying like Covid-19 or its variants didn’t exist. Their driveways were packed with cars, five or more to a home.

Think of your eyes as another way for the virus to enter your body.

When I first learned of the variants and how they were transmissible from the throat, I brought in two types of face shields. Both are full face but one is more fitted around the face and offers more protection.

Many people don’t wear their masks properly. In the current variant situation, that could spell disaster for them and others.

I have also changed our shopping schedule with a view to even further minimize contact. We already do “pick and pay” for any necessary groceries and throughly wipe down any groceries or other items that enter the house.

I am also ramping up certain preps and plan to initiate SIP other than walking dog or working on property (garden). 

Vaccine is happening April 2, but it takes time to develop and is only one of 2 shots. Also, it may lessen the effects caution is still required as one can still catch the virus.

Also, if anyone has considered this: where do the variants end? I am fully expecting that the more people spread this, the more copies of the virus are created and distributed, which in turn increases the chances of more variants. Our luck could run out if we’re not careful. What if one of these variants won’t respond to existing vaccines?

With this in mind, has anyone changed their protocols or added to their preps accordingly?

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How I am using this year’s garden as a way to add security to my home

I’ll begin by asking for feedback or suggestions to improve this idea before I explain it.

My lot is 50′ x 120′ and house is 28’x32′ with a 10’x12′ shed in the back yard to one side of the lot.

There are 2 x 4′ x 12′ and 2 x 4′ x 8′ existing raised beds in the back yard. I have a garden fence around the raised beds to protect from deer.

My original plan was to wrap a 6′ fence around the entire back yard, however, that has to wait until the garage is built. 

There have been recent changes in our community that warrant doing something sooner in addition to a long-standing problem with someone in close proximity to my home.

There will still be openings into the yard, but I am creating a chute to control the ease and routes that are available to “just walk in.”

I am getting creative about how to add layers of security around my home using cedar planters with trellis privacy backing. It will look something like this:

For the front yard, I am building 4 rectangle planters, each 2′ wide and 3′-4′ high with a trellis in back.

They will be situated in a row and bolted together for stability. They will be installed just inside the property line as a fence would (I don’t do shared fences that are installed on the property line – once was enough).

I plan to taper the first and last planter in the row so that each outside end is tapered down to 16″ from 24″. This is to keep the planter from looking too boxy and keeping it from getting to close to the deck that is pending.

There will be similar privacy planters going into the back yard, and on the other side of the front yard.

They will act as a type of “fence” or barrier. Right now everything is wide open and that has to change. This is the fastest way I can do that.

There is another planter of this type that is going to be positioned on a diagonal to block out the peeping tom I’ve had to deal with.

When I’m done this should provide more peace when I’m out working in the yard.

The additional planters will also provide the opportunity to try planting edible food in plain view, mixed with flowers or herbs. Silverbeet is one example or there is also Rainbow Swiss Chard or types of kale.

Okay, that’s the idea. Any thoughts or suggestions to make this better or add to it for security? I do have security cameras, but there are people around who know how to get past that by disguising themselves.

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The Prepared staff in the news with down to earth prepping philosophy

John Stokes, John Ramey and Tom Radar in news. The John Ramey philosophy is exacting: “modern preppers” = the older term “daily life”. 

Dr Sarah Avery is a “low impact” prepper. This means, from my inference, don’t spend time preparing to survive an overhead nuclear explosion.  Just work on the basic, daily life, stuff.

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Color-changing sutures detects infection

A high school student invented a suture that changes colors to detect infection. Article has some illustrations.

Current methods to determine infection require a smart phone.  Article explains.

I’m an avid practioner of the KISS doctrine – Keep It Simple, Stupid ! – Many do not have smart phone PLUS in realistic, worst case scenarios, phone service just not be available.

Am hoping she gets the needed patent.

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Maggot bucket, a source of unlimited and free protein for your chickens

In the the fictional Survivalist / Going Home book series the main character makes something called a maggot bucket to feed his chickens after an EMP goes off and sends everyone into a SHTF scenario.

The idea of a maggot bucket is that you drill holes in the bottom of a plastic bucket and suspend it in the air above your chicken coup. You then place your meat and other kitchen scraps in the bucket and it will attract flies who will plant their eggs in it. The eggs will hatch and maggots will be worming their way around in the scraps. Those maggots will eventually fall out of the holes of the plastic bucket and be laying on the ground for your chickens to come pick off. Voilà! Self feeding high protein chicken feed. This protein will then make it’s way to a more nutritious egg for us. That’s the idea… But does this work?

Have any of you with chickens made something like this before? Would this work?

I don’t think it would smell any worse or be more gross than a compost pile would be, but might not want it right out your back window.

The wife and I are hoping to have chickens someday and don’t want to buy all this grain feed for them, so we are thinking about what else we can do to feed the chickens and keep them healthy. This probably won’t replace their feed, but could supplement it.

Picture of chickens, just cause they’re cute.

UPDATE: I will not be doing this as a way to feed my future chickens. I’m sure glad I brought up the idea before implementing it. Read all of the great comments below for why.

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Do you have any winter clothing recommendations?

Colorado got dumped on this weekend. The above picture is what we got over night and are expecting about 7-8 more inches today. 

I spent an hour out there and came in soaked! I learned that my leather hiking boots need another layer of Otter Wax to waterproof them further, my Carhartt jacket just soaks in all the snow and is not water resistant at all, and my cheap-o ski gloves must have lost all of their factory DWR coating. 

This could be VERY dangerous if I had to bug out and relied on these clothes, so I’m grateful that I could learn this lesson now when times are good.

What winter clothing recommendations do you have? Boots, coat, gloves (especially gloves), pants, hat, etc…

Other things I learned:

I had learned somewhere that applying car wax to your shovel will make it slick and prevent snow and ice buildup in the scoop. This is something I’ll be doing as soon as things melt down, because I had to keep chipping away built up snow inside the shovel scoop and it was very inefficient. I’m also going to buy 1-2 more shovels as a backup. If my shovel were to break right now, I would be out of luck and it would be very difficult to dig out my car without one. Put your wiper blades up to prevent them from icing to the windshield Put gallon zipper bags on the side view mirrors. You just slip them off, don’t have any ice buildup and don’t have to scrape them risking damaging the little motor behind the glass. I have a large push broom that I use to brush off my car. I wrap it in a microfiber towel to prevent the plastic bristles from scratching the paint. I can clean a car in like 3 swipes compared to the little handheld brush that I keep in my car which would take forever.

-Be Prepared-

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How to read expiration dates

Since the pandemic started, I began to pay more attention to expiration dates. However, some items don’t have an expiration date but have recommended lifespans, like disinfecting wipes and motor oil. Also, some items like soap and shampoo may not have an expiration date, but I’d like to use the older product first. I’ve started looking at the date codes of the product. Most of the date codes are some form of Julian Date, which includes the year and a 3-digit number representing the day of the year. For example, for 20030, the first two digits ’20’ represent the year 2020 and the last three digits ‘030’ represent the 30th day of the year, which would be January 30. To simplify things, I’ve been using the Julian Date converter at and putting a sticker with the date on the items.

Has anyone else been rotating items with no expiration date?

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Fire and ice – Lessons learned through a wildfire evacuation and an epic ice storm

In less than six months we’ve had both.  It clarified a lot of questions about how to prepare for what scenario.  Last summer we were involved in a wildfire evacuation.  Fortunately we had plenty of time to pack (two people, two horses, a dog and a cat) before we got the call to leave, and we packed very well, I think.  I drew up an inventory of what we need to have “staged” in the event of another wildfire evacuation, but I need to seriously tweak that list before the coming fire season. 

They attempted to funnel virtually an entire large county onto two lane roads to go…somewhere. We burned a half tank of gas in the truck, idling at ONE stoplight.  Our Cars never go lower than half tank, and the truck has two tanks.  But we should have taken another can of gas because of the insane traffic jams.  And where to go?  To the West, mountains on fire, to the east, mountains on fire, north and south, very hard to know where to go with horses.  We stayed with friends who could have been called to evacuate themselves.  Fortunately we weren’t directly affected by the fire.  Many others lost everything when they were told to evacuate when the flames were licking at their doors.

The evacuation was historic, it’s never happened here before.  I think the authorities made horrible decisions.  The cops were racing up and down the jammed road, but there wasn’t a single cruiser directing traffic at the clogged stoplight.

Looting was rampant during the evacuation. A lot of people just decided to make a stand. We came home days before the all clear. Everything pointed to some unprecedented idiocy among the authorities.

In February we had an epic ice storm (Oregon, not Texas) that had about 250,000 power customers without electricity.  We were out for 8 days, and 12 days without phone or internet. THAT emergency we handled with flying colors.  But we learned a tremendous amount about streamlining our daily existence.

We learned that we could run most essentials on a gas sipping 2000 watt Honda Generator.  We learned that refrigerators are useless, because they warm up too quickly and cool down too slowly.  I was able to fill three ice chests with ice that fell from the trees, covered them with heavy horse blankets and they long outlasted the power failure.

The freezer remained solidly frozen (it’s in an unheated building), running the generator about 4 hours am and pm.  We used less than five gallons of gas during the 8 day outage. I took enough food out for three days’ meals at a time to avoid opening it unnecessarily.  We are going to put additional rigid insulation around the outside of the freezer.

Normally, our water comes from a 320 ft deep well.  We have never had a generator large enough to operate it, but we just bought one, based on recommendations from the blog here.  Of course, everyone’s out of stock so we have to wait for it.  But the biggest message was that we can run nearly everything that’s really essential with the small generator, while the big generator guzzles gas (or propane) at a much higher rate. Score for the small generator.

During this outage we relied on the 3000 gallon rainwater tank and the 120v pump that delivers the water.  This works great for an emergency outage in our rainy winter, but would only last about 100 days without rain.  Hence the big generator. Plus our expectation is that we will soon begin to experience California style deliberate blackouts as Oregon dismantles its energy producing infrastructure and becomes more susceptible to wildfire.

In 41 years of living here, we’ve never experienced either emergency scenario before.  It was enlightening, exhausting, and educational.  It has also eroded our sense of complacency, if we are guilty of that.

In terms of food, we’re trying to draw down the freezer and have more shelf stable food, but it’s a balancing act between what takes up space (canned) versus what takes up resources (as in water for rehydrating dried food, particularly pasta/rice/beans, and fuel for long cooking time of beans).  That’s a real balancing act I need to address.  We ate like normal people in both situations, not deprived, but canned goods take up a lot of space for evacuating (heh, how about hundred pound bales of hay!)

Anyway, I’m rambling, sorry.  It’s been an eventful six or so months!

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