Monday, October 29, 2012

More storm prep

We've been getting ready for Sandy in all kinds of ways (previous posts), and thought we should share some notes about the experience.

In house: we're setting up water supplies.  This includes filling up the tub with water, filling up a bunch of big plastic containers, and a raft of water bottles.  Bottles will end up in our cooler, while containers stand on the bathroom floor. Why water?  Drinking water, naturally, plus flushing the toilet.  We have our own well, but it needs an electrical pump to work (yes, we know, it's on the homesteading to-do list).

We're also maximizing electrical power while we have it.  Foremost is laundry, running our washer like mad, hanging the results up to dry all over the place.  The goal is to have empty laundry baskets and hampers by storm's start.  On the entertainment side, Bryan and Owain are enjoying a couple of long movies; they also have a killer Axis and Allies board game set up, ready to play offline.

Food: we're cooking up fresh, refrigerator-able foodstuffs, like meat (our chicken plus some store bird).  Owain and Gwynneth are snarfing down grapes and frozen peaches.  Meanwhile we ready a big cooler.  Ceredwyn is being encouraged to make a pie.

Electronics: we've charged up everything, from laptops to Kindle to phones.  Owain's crankable radio stands by.  Our UPS unit is ready to run for a while.  Outside, the car's charging capabilities await.  Inside, we're ready to switch our landline phone over to the old style, which may well work.  Naturally, this being Vermont, cell phones will be useless.

On the land: Bryan hs been fixing up our driveway's drainage ditch.  This means raking it free of leaves, digging out accumulated silt, and widening some possible choke points.  Also battening down the woodpiles to make sure their coverings don't blow away; we have about a cord of wood inside for heat, which will be plenty.
Ceredwyn filled up the outside animals' water supplies, while our power lasts.
The propane tank is in good shape.  That's what we use for heating house water.

Getting more supplies: we drove down to Middlebury town to obtain some items, such as:

  • Food: mostly non-refrigerator foodstuffs, like granola, nuts, fruit, drink mixes, crackers, cereal, oatmeal mix, chips.  Plus dog, cat, chicken, and duck food.  We already have a huge supply of eggs from our chickens.
  • Books: offline entertainment.  We've got plenty of books, but needed supplements.
  • Lighting: more candles (we were running low; ah, to start up an apiary!), more battery-powered lamps, more flashlights, and tons of batteries.  
  • Cash: we'll get a little since, if the power goes out for a while, over a wide area, debit/credit cards might not be very useful.
We're also raiding the town's general store for gasoline.  We'll fill up our one car's tank, plus a couple of gas cans.

How about you?  Are you preparing for the storm, up here in the northeast?  Or do you have suggestions for us?


Robert Wagner said...

Don't forget some of the human elements... a bottle or two of good wine, a few cigars... what do you have for romance?

You're ahead of me on the technical side; but as I've been learning from Carolyn Baker, what is the inner response to living in a State with finances on the edge of collapse, federal handouts drying up, and major storms that come and go with a State that's not there, and our Guard off fighting in Afghanistan?

Some days it sure feels like shovelling sand against the tide.

If you're up for some human contact, let us know.

Linda Burns said...

Having lived in Florida I kept a small plastic container of supplies. Biolite has a unique cooking thing that uses wood but also can be used to charge your phone. I got one for any future events.

I hope you and your family stay safe.

Linda (Rheingold U)

Alan said...

Ready as one can be? I appreciate the attention to activities to do w/o electric.

What do you have to cook with? I rely on my butane camp stoves -- and coffee!

Wishing you and the family safety in the next days, hoping to be able to get there soon!

Bryan Alexander said...

That's a good point, Robert. I haven't thought much about it, being too busy with work + homesteading.

Ceredwyn knows more. She and I often speak about our increased sense of self-reliance in the wake of the Irene disaster. Wife, would you like to say more?

Bryan Alexander said...

Thanks for the ideas and thoughts, Linda. How much does that Biolite cost?

Bryan Alexander said...

Alan, we can cook with the stovetop. It has plenty of propane, so all we need to do is ignite each burner manually.

And thanks. Travel safely, my friend.