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The Little Things

The Little Things, by D.M.L.


So, you think you're prepared? So did I. Until Hurricane Irene destroyed the infrastructure around here. The roads were blocked to all the local towns, all three routes out of here. If it wasn't trees down, it was flooded, or power lines and poles leaned over the road in the 'maybe' zone (maybe you would hit them and maybe not, but why take a chance on thousands of volts? If not those, it was pieces of somebody's house across the road. And this was only a Cat 1 storm? Sigh.

Before she hit, I, being confident that we were 'prepped up', started rummaging around to get out the generator and put it in the 'ready' position in the carport. It had been started LAST YEAR, and had fuel stabilizer in the gas, with the gas valve cut off and I had ran it 'bowl dry', so it should be no problem eh? Yeah right. We had an extra 6 gallon can that we had filled up that morning, no problem, we can run the generator an hour or so every 4 hours, to keep the freezer and fridge 'charged up', or so I thought. We had lots of canned food on top of the long term stuff, hadn't paid it any mind for a year or more and had been using it here and there, but as the economy gets worse, and our money got tighter, rotating the stuff became a battle, so it just sat there on the shelf in the pantry...going bad in the heat over the last couple years, since, we quit running the central air to save money. No problem, we have a thousand dollars worth of food in the chest type deep freezer. Uh huh.

We had a camp stove, and lots of fuel, but it hadn't been used in years, no problem right? I mean, what could go wrong with a camp stove, right? Uh huh.

We had kerosene lamps and lots of lamp oil, no problemo, Kimosabe? Uh huh.

We had batteries, for flashlights, had just bought 'em, didn't really matter that much.

Now, the S[chumer] as they say, hit the fan, literally, and civilization all went poof about 6 a.m. on Saturday morning amidst all the snap crackle pop of trees and power lines coming down all around us. But never fear; Prep Man is here! So I went out to crank up the genny in a driving hurricane. That's when the fun began.

The day before Irene hit, I asked did you remember to get some extra chicken food, and goat food? No? Oops, have to let the chickens out to forage on their own, the goats can eat grass. (Note; there are good reasons farm animals are kept in pens and behind electric fences.)

As well as the generator, we had a solar operated battery system with inverter; did you check the batteries lately? No? Good luck with that, especially if the batteries are a few years old. Did you happen to have any distilled water on hand? No? Uh huh. (Even though there was plenty of 'distilled' water pouring off the roof, there was no Sun, and it takes 8 hours at least to get it up to charge. In my opinion solar sucks, even before the hurricane. If you don't have lots of money for a full blown large scale system, with a wind generator for those sunless days, don't waste your money. Being an ex-engineer type, I think I have come up with a good solution, a system I call H.O.E.M. gas. We shall see. The point is, power available 24/7 or bust.

The first thing I noticed besides the sideways rain, was that the goats and chickens had taken up in the carport. Goats and chickens love to climb, and goats jump up and down on things. One of the things they decided was a fun toy was the generator sitting under the carport, ready to go. It was sitting next to the deep freezer, a tempting target for fun and games. It was also the only semi dry, out of the wind place around, also, the chickens thought it was a wonderful roost off the flooded ground...

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