Discussions

I don’t know that the evacuation notification will hit us, but they’re skipping Level 2 in most cases and going straight to level 3.  The major fires are all a bit south of us. One consideration is risk assessment.  It’s been very hard for me to design a bug out “bag” because there isn’t a “bag” large enough to evacuate a small farm.  So I’ve put it off mostly because I haven’t set aside the time for the mental effort. My husband and I have agreed that the most likely reason for us to ever bug out would be fire.  But we have been thinking on the local level, as in house fire.  Why would we not consider wildfire, when we’re surrounded by forest?  Even the disaster mangement pros say that this event is without precedent.  So while I’ve been prepping to shelter in place, my first disaster is something that’s never happened in modern history in this area. We are in a volcanic area (lived through the Mt. St. Helens eruption), but we also consider that unlikely.  They usually have pretty good advance warning of an impending eruption. We are not prone to flood as we live on high ground.  Hurricane force winds have happened here but I don’t know how much advance warning we would have. Of course we’re regularly reminded to be prepared for The Big One, the predicted magnitude 9 earthquake.  That’s definitely a shelter in place event. Our preps aren’t that far along, so I’ve mostly concentrated on shelter-in-place scenarios. Some of the emerging coulda-shoulda-wouldas: Oddly, the first thing that comes to mind is we shoulda had a fire resistant safe by now.  We are not sentimental about anything we own, but we do not have copies of our important papers in a bug-out-binder.  Two expanding folders just went into a garbage bag and were put in a refrigerator in a small separate building, the pump house.  At least the fire probably wouldn’t be as hot in there, unless the huge pine tree next to it catches fire and falls on it. Not optimal. A destination:  We never had one until yesterday, when I groveled to a friend with a farm, asking to be able to camp out with the horses in her pasture.  It was silly of me to grovel, and we both established mutual shelter for human and animal. Speaking of destination, what if we had to cross the state line with our livestock?  I do not know the current requirements for traveling interstate with the animals.  We may have had to evacuate to the Clark County Fairgrounds just over the river in Washington state.  I’d have needed papers.  Our horses don’t get routine vaccinations because they aren’t exposed to other horses.  At a fairgrounds, they’d be exposed to hundreds.  So a visit with the vet will happen when this is over.  Unhappily, a fire just erupted right near the clinic, so I probably won’t be talking to them soon! More portable food:  My food storage is stocked with plenty of good things to help us through a shelter-in-place situation.  I packed enough food for about 3 days, because we will not be far from resources, but a lot of that food is in heavy jars and takes up a lot of space.  I want more dried food, and much of that in meal “kits”.  I’m collecting recipes for using dehydrated foods and they are fabulous.  We especially need dehydrated meat.  We’re gradually trying to draw down the freezers, but any high value foods I dehydrate will be vacuum sealed and put in the freezer for extra long life. Gear:  We’re more than well equipped to camp comfortably, but we haven’t used the gear in years and it was spread all over the farm in various buildings.  We had leisurely time to gather it up and pack it in the truck and horse trailer.  Leisure doesn’t usually attend crises, so at the END of fire season, the truck and trailer will be unpacked and everything possible will go into designated storage. Making that varmint proof will be a challenge. We’d talked about hooking the truck and trailer for “fire season” long before this event took place, but we never did.  We could have been groping around in the dark, then going out and looking for the horses in the paddock, critical delays.  Now, each fire season, we’ll have them hitched, and very possibly, packed. We’ve got enough decent camping gear to set up housekeeping if we came back from evacuation to charred remains. We parked the car, tractor and lawnmowers out in an open paddock with very short grass, away from buildings and trees.  If we had it to do over again, we would try to build defendable house and buildings. Those are some initial thoughts.  If we have to go, a whole lot more that we could never have anticipated will be revealed.

Ready for Our First Bug Out
21
18

We have a 3500 gallon rainwater tank, which we installed after seeing the extensive use of tanks in Australia.  If you search rainwater harvesting, there is a lot of information available about setting up a system.  Our system catches rain off our barn roof.  The roof is metal.  It flows into the gutter, thence into the collection system, which first begins with a “roof washer”.  It is a device that diverts the first ten gallons of water into a cylinder, which slowly drains out the bottom, thereby “washing” the first rainfall.  The tank is plumbed so that water enters at the bottom.  There is a float that keeps the outflow 4″ below the surface, where the water is cleanest.  A “biological filter” forms at the bottom of the tank.  Our water is withdrawn by means of a small electric pump (though it will siphon).  It first goes through a sediment filter (5 microns, I think). We use 5 gallon jugs which contain a tablespoon of chlorine bleach.  After the water has contacted the bleach for awhile, we put it through a tabletop gravity charcoal filter.  The brand is Berkey, which is a US brand.    We then consider it pure.  However I would never consider the water actually stagnant.  I’ve drunk the raw water from the hose many times, and we water the horses with it all winter.  But no point in taking chances. When we first set up the system, the information we had said not to clean the tank to avoid disturbing the biological filter.  However since that time, I’ve read advice to clean the tank annually.  So this year, just before our first big rain in the fall (we live in a typically high rainfall area), we will drain it down and pressure wash it.  It usually fills to overflowing within the first 3″ of rainfall.  (I’m not sure how many square feet of roof there are). A nice extra feature is that there is a remote sensor on top of the tank that transmits to a receiver in the barn that tells us the water level (I need to replace it).  Australia is a provider of many rainwater harvesting technologies. In some states in America, rainwater harvesting is illegal.  In other areas it may be subject to local codes.

Rich, We have a rainwater harvest system.  Gutter cleaning is ongoing.  The water first flows into a “roof washer”, which “wastes” the first ten gallons of rainfall, helping to rinse contaminants off the roof before they enter the tank.  That doesn’t keep everything out.  There is a float that holds the outflow 4″ below the surface of the water, which is the cleanest.  The inflow goes to the bottom.  We have a small pressure tank and pump  on the 3500 gallon storage tank.  Yes, the inside of the tank gets a little gross but the water comes out clear.  Before use, we treat the water with Clorox (1 tablespoon-5 gallons), then run the water through a Big Berkey tabletop filter.  We’ve recently installed a sediment pre-filter to keep the Berkey cartridges as clean as possible (they are very expensive).   Rainwater harvesting is illegal in some states, and frequently regulated by local codes.  Also, I don’t think it’s recommended to drink rainwater from a composition roof, but the Berkey would take contaminants out. There’s great information available about installing a good rainwater system. We’ve had the tank since 2009 and never cleaned it, but we are going to do so this year when the rainy season returns.  Our original information said that the biological filter that establishes at the bottom of the tank would generally keep the water clean, but we’ve since read we should be cleaning the tank annually. The weather never gets cold enough here to worry about freezing too much.  Your use for gardening would depend entirely on rainfall, and your irrigation methods.  We water the two horses with it all winter, but conserve it during the dry season for emergencies. We use it year round for coffee making and aquarium fish.  Have plans to install another tank this summer, but plan on filling with well water, though we could convert it to rain later.  Much cheaper than buying a bigger generator to operate our deep well pump. We had some remote property where we installed a 1500 gallon underground cistern, specifically made for burial.  Water was delivered by tanker truck.  Installed correctly, freezing was no concern at all.

Ready for Our First Bug Out
21
18

I don’t know that the evacuation notification will hit us, but they’re skipping Level 2 in most cases and going straight to level 3.  The major fires are all a bit south of us. One consideration is risk assessment.  It’s been very hard for me to design a bug out “bag” because there isn’t a “bag” large enough to evacuate a small farm.  So I’ve put it off mostly because I haven’t set aside the time for the mental effort. My husband and I have agreed that the most likely reason for us to ever bug out would be fire.  But we have been thinking on the local level, as in house fire.  Why would we not consider wildfire, when we’re surrounded by forest?  Even the disaster mangement pros say that this event is without precedent.  So while I’ve been prepping to shelter in place, my first disaster is something that’s never happened in modern history in this area. We are in a volcanic area (lived through the Mt. St. Helens eruption), but we also consider that unlikely.  They usually have pretty good advance warning of an impending eruption. We are not prone to flood as we live on high ground.  Hurricane force winds have happened here but I don’t know how much advance warning we would have. Of course we’re regularly reminded to be prepared for The Big One, the predicted magnitude 9 earthquake.  That’s definitely a shelter in place event. Our preps aren’t that far along, so I’ve mostly concentrated on shelter-in-place scenarios. Some of the emerging coulda-shoulda-wouldas: Oddly, the first thing that comes to mind is we shoulda had a fire resistant safe by now.  We are not sentimental about anything we own, but we do not have copies of our important papers in a bug-out-binder.  Two expanding folders just went into a garbage bag and were put in a refrigerator in a small separate building, the pump house.  At least the fire probably wouldn’t be as hot in there, unless the huge pine tree next to it catches fire and falls on it. Not optimal. A destination:  We never had one until yesterday, when I groveled to a friend with a farm, asking to be able to camp out with the horses in her pasture.  It was silly of me to grovel, and we both established mutual shelter for human and animal. Speaking of destination, what if we had to cross the state line with our livestock?  I do not know the current requirements for traveling interstate with the animals.  We may have had to evacuate to the Clark County Fairgrounds just over the river in Washington state.  I’d have needed papers.  Our horses don’t get routine vaccinations because they aren’t exposed to other horses.  At a fairgrounds, they’d be exposed to hundreds.  So a visit with the vet will happen when this is over.  Unhappily, a fire just erupted right near the clinic, so I probably won’t be talking to them soon! More portable food:  My food storage is stocked with plenty of good things to help us through a shelter-in-place situation.  I packed enough food for about 3 days, because we will not be far from resources, but a lot of that food is in heavy jars and takes up a lot of space.  I want more dried food, and much of that in meal “kits”.  I’m collecting recipes for using dehydrated foods and they are fabulous.  We especially need dehydrated meat.  We’re gradually trying to draw down the freezers, but any high value foods I dehydrate will be vacuum sealed and put in the freezer for extra long life. Gear:  We’re more than well equipped to camp comfortably, but we haven’t used the gear in years and it was spread all over the farm in various buildings.  We had leisurely time to gather it up and pack it in the truck and horse trailer.  Leisure doesn’t usually attend crises, so at the END of fire season, the truck and trailer will be unpacked and everything possible will go into designated storage. Making that varmint proof will be a challenge. We’d talked about hooking the truck and trailer for “fire season” long before this event took place, but we never did.  We could have been groping around in the dark, then going out and looking for the horses in the paddock, critical delays.  Now, each fire season, we’ll have them hitched, and very possibly, packed. We’ve got enough decent camping gear to set up housekeeping if we came back from evacuation to charred remains. We parked the car, tractor and lawnmowers out in an open paddock with very short grass, away from buildings and trees.  If we had it to do over again, we would try to build defendable house and buildings. Those are some initial thoughts.  If we have to go, a whole lot more that we could never have anticipated will be revealed.

We have a 3500 gallon rainwater tank, which we installed after seeing the extensive use of tanks in Australia.  If you search rainwater harvesting, there is a lot of information available about setting up a system.  Our system catches rain off our barn roof.  The roof is metal.  It flows into the gutter, thence into the collection system, which first begins with a “roof washer”.  It is a device that diverts the first ten gallons of water into a cylinder, which slowly drains out the bottom, thereby “washing” the first rainfall.  The tank is plumbed so that water enters at the bottom.  There is a float that keeps the outflow 4″ below the surface, where the water is cleanest.  A “biological filter” forms at the bottom of the tank.  Our water is withdrawn by means of a small electric pump (though it will siphon).  It first goes through a sediment filter (5 microns, I think). We use 5 gallon jugs which contain a tablespoon of chlorine bleach.  After the water has contacted the bleach for awhile, we put it through a tabletop gravity charcoal filter.  The brand is Berkey, which is a US brand.    We then consider it pure.  However I would never consider the water actually stagnant.  I’ve drunk the raw water from the hose many times, and we water the horses with it all winter.  But no point in taking chances. When we first set up the system, the information we had said not to clean the tank to avoid disturbing the biological filter.  However since that time, I’ve read advice to clean the tank annually.  So this year, just before our first big rain in the fall (we live in a typically high rainfall area), we will drain it down and pressure wash it.  It usually fills to overflowing within the first 3″ of rainfall.  (I’m not sure how many square feet of roof there are). A nice extra feature is that there is a remote sensor on top of the tank that transmits to a receiver in the barn that tells us the water level (I need to replace it).  Australia is a provider of many rainwater harvesting technologies. In some states in America, rainwater harvesting is illegal.  In other areas it may be subject to local codes.

Rich, We have a rainwater harvest system.  Gutter cleaning is ongoing.  The water first flows into a “roof washer”, which “wastes” the first ten gallons of rainfall, helping to rinse contaminants off the roof before they enter the tank.  That doesn’t keep everything out.  There is a float that holds the outflow 4″ below the surface of the water, which is the cleanest.  The inflow goes to the bottom.  We have a small pressure tank and pump  on the 3500 gallon storage tank.  Yes, the inside of the tank gets a little gross but the water comes out clear.  Before use, we treat the water with Clorox (1 tablespoon-5 gallons), then run the water through a Big Berkey tabletop filter.  We’ve recently installed a sediment pre-filter to keep the Berkey cartridges as clean as possible (they are very expensive).   Rainwater harvesting is illegal in some states, and frequently regulated by local codes.  Also, I don’t think it’s recommended to drink rainwater from a composition roof, but the Berkey would take contaminants out. There’s great information available about installing a good rainwater system. We’ve had the tank since 2009 and never cleaned it, but we are going to do so this year when the rainy season returns.  Our original information said that the biological filter that establishes at the bottom of the tank would generally keep the water clean, but we’ve since read we should be cleaning the tank annually. The weather never gets cold enough here to worry about freezing too much.  Your use for gardening would depend entirely on rainfall, and your irrigation methods.  We water the two horses with it all winter, but conserve it during the dry season for emergencies. We use it year round for coffee making and aquarium fish.  Have plans to install another tank this summer, but plan on filling with well water, though we could convert it to rain later.  Much cheaper than buying a bigger generator to operate our deep well pump. We had some remote property where we installed a 1500 gallon underground cistern, specifically made for burial.  Water was delivered by tanker truck.  Installed correctly, freezing was no concern at all.