Things I have learned recently

Posted by: chaosmagnet

Things I have learned recently - 03/20/20 01:48 AM

  • Having a better plan to leave town would have been nice — I had an idea of a plot of land with access to water and an RV to park there for a month or two, but it didn’t pass the Budget Committee. While we’re safe and sound where we are now, I would have felt better knowing that we had another place that was ours.
  • If we had an RV we don’t have a place to put it without spending money on storage.
  • We did well in our preps in general, but if our water goes out we’ll need to move quickly to someplace where there is a good water supply.
  • We need to get our kids to bring home all their school things during Spring Break — it would have saved me a substantial road trip and not a little difficulty if that had been done.
  • Having two vehicles that are paid off, well-maintained and reliable is really nice. We’re keeping the gas tanks full.
  • This would be a bad time to need to buy a generator, or ammo, or toilet paper.
  • Many friends have asked me about firearms and related concerns during the crisis. During the crisis is too late to be trained and ready, and that’s a hard lesson for them to learn. Some friends in restrictive jurisdictions are surprised at the challenges they face.
Posted by: Phaedrus

Re: Things I have learned recently - 03/20/20 02:49 AM

I'm not unsympathetic but the time to build an ark is before the rain starts. With so many living paycheck to paycheck it can be challenging to build up stores of things you need but in many cases it's not the money as you've noted. Psychologically it's a stretch for a lot of folks to prepare for things that are, in their minds, 'black swans'. But having some preparation isn't just for the zombie apocalypse, it's handy for common emergencies (winter storms, layoffs, etc).

Who knows- maybe in a few months whoever survives and looks back at this thread will say I was pollyannaish but I don't think it's going to go to guns. Folks won't need an AR to repel boarders coming to take their TP. wink That said, I have my firearms and a good supply of the ammo calibers I use the most (9mm, 5.56, 12ga). Be prepared is the saying! grin
Posted by: KenK

Re: Things I have learned recently - 03/20/20 01:44 PM

It's funny. I don't consider myself much of a "prepper". My focus when joining Equipped.com was on outdoor activity preparation, getting found, and short-term survival. Still, we've always been quite self reliant, and this recent COVID19 event really hasn't had much impact on us, especially now that we're retired and living in a rural area. Certainly a contamination of our well would mess things up badly for us and our horses.

With that said, I will say I'm a bit worried about the availability of hospital services for us now that I hear we are also in peak flu season. Our goal is to be two of those people who never get it, and we'll work hard toward that goal by following CDC guidelines.
Posted by: Tyber

Re: Things I have learned recently - 03/20/20 03:56 PM

This reality check will make the most prepared not feel that way.

I was thinking about the gun situation.
and yes there are runs on gun purchases and runs on ammo, you can't find a single common round (9mm, 223, 45ACP) and Cheaper than Dirt has been accused of price gouging.

and while my first thoughts was that there was no need for such things that this would be mostly stay in place and just weather it out. But a little research shows that Grocery stores in the UK have asked for security, and some unrest has bean spoken of in Germany. but that is all just hearsay.

To be honest it s my hope and desire that this will all just be a stay in place and the biggest issue is that people will have cabin fever a lot.
Posted by: pforeman

Re: Things I have learned recently - 03/20/20 05:20 PM

Having retired mid-last year I've had time to indulge in new hobbies such as ham radio and it was because of many of the ideas from here and those ideas are keeping me busy. It's funny in that I sort of evolved into a "prepper" at some point. I originally found this site because I was always doing training (Criminal Justice/LEO environments) and way back in the past, a couple of decades ago I had to put together a "survival workshop". This site helps me stay current and up to date.

So back three decades ago or so, I found a Doug Ritter type consultant who helped build the course curriculum and deliver it to my audience. This was for South Dakota conditions and we were working on coping with winter and getting stranded - think Game Wardens, Troopers, Deputy Sheriffs and small town cop types and a huge number of the DOT plow operators. We spent the late summer and fall flying around the whole state doing these workshops and I learned a lot about what to do and not to do - both in life situations and in classroom presentations.

Fast foreword to today and I found this wonderful source of information, conversation and just good folks. While I don't have an Ark and will need to 'shelter' in-place for the most part - the original ideas from long ago are still being reinforced and expanded on by being a part of all this. Thanks to one and all!!

Paul -

Oh yeah - the fun/funny stuff and spirited discussions are great!
Posted by: Phaedrus

Re: Things I have learned recently - 03/20/20 10:20 PM

I'm an optimist on some levels which is funny because I'm a cynic on a day to day basis. grin What is the old saying? Be polite but have a plan to kill everyone you meet? smirk The media loves stories about people going all Mad Max but my experiences have shown folks pull together in a crisis. Of course, I've not see one quite like this.

I'm a self-described gun nut, and at age 50 I've seen this movie a few times. The ammo panics of the past have been self inflicted and this probably no different. But just since I've seen it before and because I like to shoot, I have ammo on hand, plenty in the calibers I use the most. While I don't anticipate any "Book of Eli" or "The Road" situations to pop up I am pretty well armed and stocked up.

One of my best friends is a hardcore prepper. I am not. As was noted above, I was drawn to ETS for the wilderness survival information. My being relatively prepared just stems from growing up in the country where this stuff was just common sense.
Posted by: MartinFocazio

Re: Things I have learned recently - 03/20/20 11:20 PM

First of all, hello again. It's been a while.
Glad to hear of your lessons learned.

I'd like to knock down a few of your concerns, in a positive fashion.

If we look to Italy as the "this is as bad as it's going to get" it's pretty ugly...BUT.

For most people, life is just...boring. The food supplies are fine. The medical equipment supply lines, not so much. But there are so many people wanting to help in some way. Are you sewing medical masks? Are you 3D printing ventilator valves? Are you STAYING OUT OF THE WAY?? That's what you need to do.

As far as energy, water and telecom, no, that's not a real risk. Same with logistics. The cows will get fed the milk will get supplied, etc. etc. America is a net food exporter.
Also, FWIW, you can wipe your ass with a washcloth and clean the cloth in soap and water. That's how cloth diapers work and you don't actually need TP if you have some washcloths.

Do you know what you need to worry about? A natural disaster overlay on this whole thing. A hurricane. An earthquake. Something like that. But the Pandemic itself - it's already ending in Asia, and it will end in Europe and it will end here.

I suggest you turn off the TV, get a good book and a nice glass of wine or something and take a break.
Posted by: MartinFocazio

Re: Things I have learned recently - 03/20/20 11:21 PM

Now that's the way to think! Great!
Posted by: Phaedrus

Re: Things I have learned recently - 03/21/20 12:43 AM

Good points! Nice to you around these parts again, MartinFocazio!
Posted by: Doug_Ritter

Re: Things I have learned recently - 03/21/20 01:30 AM

As we have plenty of TP and ammo, just because, my biggest concerns revolve around other things. The calls for "friends" who have suddenly decided they need to arm themselves are annoying, but...

I put "friends" in quotes because all my good friends already own firearms and most have trained to one degree or another.

Best story was a friend who is a serious collector, and occasional dealer, of NFA firearms. As in, he buys ammo by the pallet, if you get my drift? One of his neighbors who has previously shown his significant disdain for my friend's interests knocked on his door and asked whether he could buy a firearm from him. My friend told him he only had one to sell, an M1919A2 and it would be $25K CASH up front and he'd have to wait about 7-9 months to take delivery, assuming he passed the background check including fingerprints. He said the expression on the guy's face was priceless.

In any case, the point is, prepare ahead of time. A crisis is not the time to prep, it's the time to be glad you did. How many will heed this lesson they learned? Not that many if history is any guide, although I expect many will make sure they have a month's supply of TP on hand going forward. ;=)
Posted by: Phaedrus

Re: Things I have learned recently - 03/21/20 02:09 AM

Wow, Doug- that's not even a bad price! Even with the extra $200 for the tax stamp! grin
Posted by: gulliamo

Re: Things I have learned recently - 03/21/20 07:37 AM

"Having two vehicles that are paid off"
I feel like this is a significantly underrepresented subthread of being prepared! Financial preparedness buys me a lot more restful nights than the pallet of ammo would.
Posted by: LesSnyder

Re: Things I have learned recently - 03/21/20 01:25 PM

the current situation really focused me on the number of friends that have pretty serious underlying medical conditions....a lung transplant and another just finishing chemo and radiation...COPD...friend's wife with LUPUS etc...

keep safe
Posted by: nursemike

Re: Things I have learned recently - 03/21/20 03:29 PM

Originally Posted By: MartinFocazio


I suggest you turn off the TV, get a good book and a nice glass of wine or something and take a break.




Well said, sir.

I walk down aisles empty of paper products and bottled water, and turn into aisles fully stocked with beer, wine, and ice cream.

People have the strangest priorities.

And if I have no tp, I am ikely sitting next to bathtub: grab a shower. Way more effective than washing my hands, and it's not like I have lots else to do.
Posted by: chaosmagnet

Re: Things I have learned recently - 03/21/20 07:16 PM

I’ve started doing basic pistol familiarization via FaceTime for friends. While I’m certainly not loving that so many people I know are only now buying firearms, I am optimistic that I can train those who are coming to me on the three cardinal rules and prevent them from having an ND.
Posted by: LesSnyder

Re: Things I have learned recently - 03/21/20 10:04 PM

and if you didn't get nursemike's veiled suggestion a hand held shower wand on the stream setting makes a pretty good bidet...
Posted by: clearwater

Re: Things I have learned recently - 03/24/20 06:16 PM

Originally Posted By: chaosmagnet
  • Many friends have asked me about firearms and related concerns during the crisis. During the crisis is too late to be trained and ready, and that’s a hard lesson for them to learn. Some friends in restrictive jurisdictions are surprised at the challenges they face.


Black powder gun deliverd to your door?
Posted by: hikermor

Re: Things I have learned recently - 03/24/20 11:16 PM

Over time, I have used various expedients for TP. One of the best (and most exhilarating) is a nice big snowball. Frozen bidet??
Posted by: LesSnyder

Re: Things I have learned recently - 03/24/20 11:27 PM

hikermor... it is 7:26pm (est) and 78F.... snow is late this year smile
Posted by: hikermor

Re: Things I have learned recently - 03/25/20 12:00 AM

Just climb up intothe mountains. There's lots of snow there.

oh, wait!! Les, You are in Florida... No mountains there, Darn!!
Posted by: nursemike

Re: Things I have learned recently - 03/25/20 12:03 AM

Hikermor, I salute you. That is the most mountain man act since D. Crockett used a snowball for a pillow.
How long did it take you to unpucker?
Posted by: DaveL

Re: Things I have learned recently - 03/25/20 01:10 AM

Wine,guns,ammo what else does a guy need
Posted by: Herman30

Re: Things I have learned recently - 03/25/20 10:04 AM

Originally Posted By: DaveL
Wine,guns,ammo what else does a guy need

Bacon.
Posted by: M_a_x

Re: Things I have learned recently - 03/25/20 02:31 PM

Even if they are available and can be shipped to the door that would not resolve the trainig issue. Unforunately muzzle loaders require even more training than cartridge guns and they offer more options to make mistakes during loading. The sequence of components is important and caps not seated properly can cause failures to fire.
The blackpowder revolvers I could handle had really light and crisp triggers. For an untrained person that is begging for a negligent discharge. I would not recommend that.
Posted by: nursemike

Re: Things I have learned recently - 03/26/20 02:25 AM

Max, I agree with everything you have said regarding black powder weapons as firearms. But I think that the folks who have waited to this circumstance to seek a firearm aren't looking for a weapon, they are looking for a symbol. Like the folks who have no health care background want a mask without having any desire to acquire the training and discipline to use it successfully. Or like the cargo cult folks in the South Pacific who built replica airplanes and crates, believing that this would cause other planed to land and bring tradegoods.
Posted by: chaosmagnet

Re: Things I have learned recently - 03/26/20 02:54 PM

Originally Posted By: nursemike
Max, I agree with everything you have said regarding black powder weapons as firearms. But I think that the folks who have waited to this circumstance to seek a firearm aren't looking for a weapon, they are looking for a symbol. Like the folks who have no health care background want a mask without having any desire to acquire the training and discipline to use it successfully. Or like the cargo cult folks in the South Pacific who built replica airplanes and crates, believing that this would cause other planed to land and bring tradegoods.


You might be right for many. However, the people who have reached out to me for training were not interested in symbols, they were interested in having the appropriate tools to defend their families.
Posted by: MartinFocazio

Re: Things I have learned recently - 03/26/20 06:18 PM

I wish we had remembered to get enough Yeast.
Posted by: Russ

Re: Things I have learned recently - 03/26/20 06:40 PM

Yeast? You don’t need yeast... How To Make Sourdough Bread Masterclass
Flour, water and ... wild yeast is all around, the bacteria is in the air.
Posted by: MartinFocazio

Re: Things I have learned recently - 03/26/20 10:59 PM

Yeah, but I also like "classic" bread.
Posted by: Phaedrus

Re: Things I have learned recently - 03/27/20 12:52 AM

Is yeast seriously out of stock in your area? The local Costco here has plenty.
Posted by: gulliamo

Re: Things I have learned recently - 03/27/20 01:41 PM

Originally Posted By: Phaedrus
Is yeast seriously out of stock in your area? The local Costco here has plenty.
In Denver - yes.
Posted by: teacher

Re: Things I have learned recently - 03/30/20 10:38 PM

Masks might be a good idea for everybody.
Posted by: Phaedrus

Re: Things I have learned recently - 03/30/20 11:52 PM

If none appears I can pick some up at Costco and ship it, depending on how much of a hurry you're in, gulliamo.
Posted by: gulliamo

Re: Things I have learned recently - 04/01/20 08:02 PM

Originally Posted By: Phaedrus
If none appears I can pick some up at Costco and ship it, depending on how much of a hurry you're in, gulliamo.

That's so nice of you! We have enough for now and am going to try the sourdough starter route.

If that fails I'll hit you up. Thanks again!
Posted by: Phaedrus

Re: Things I have learned recently - 04/01/20 08:41 PM

Cool, just let me know. And of course, the offer is subject to change if the TP hoarders here expand their gluttony to yeast. wink grin
Posted by: MartinFocazio

Re: Things I have learned recently - 04/02/20 01:29 AM

seriously and absolutely and still is out of stock.
Posted by: Russ

Re: Things I have learned recently - 04/06/20 01:09 PM

How to make your own yeast for baking - The Verge
Quote:
...If baking is your way of taking this moment to learn something new or become more self-sufficient, coming up with your own yeast could be the next survival skill to hone.

Baker’s yeast is actually just a fungus that, like me, loves eating sugar. So whether or not it’s in stock in stores, in reality “there is never a shortage of yeast,” biological engineer Sudeep Agarwala tweeted. “Yeast is everywhere!” he adds.

There’s a good chance you’ve already got what you need at home to get started. ...
Posted by: nursemike

Re: Things I have learned recently - 04/06/20 01:20 PM

And then there are baking powder biscuits, quick breads, crackers, pita, naan, perhaps the apex of yeastless flour cuisine: sausage gravy.
Posted by: Russ

Re: Things I have learned recently - 04/06/20 02:51 PM

There’s a good video at: Cultivate Your Own Wild Yeast Starter Which explains how to get started making your own yeast. The video is just for making starter so you don’t need store-bought yeast. The bread you make depends on the flour and other ingredients which you choose for the bread — wheat, rye, whatever.

This won’t necessarily make bread with that San Francisco Sourdough flavor. If you want sourdough starter, he mentions how to get that flavor in the video. If you do want Sourdough bread, check out How To Make Sourdough Bread Masterclass

Then if you have starter you need to feed, take the part you’d throw away and dry it. Seach YouTube for drying sourdough — drying sourdough starter Then you’ll never run out.

YMMV
Posted by: M_a_x

Re: Things I have learned recently - 04/06/20 05:31 PM

You could try and contact a local brewers club. They could have something called barm. It is yeast with some aromas from the beer. That would be really classic bread.
Townsends has a Youtube channel where he explains some topics about cooking in the 17th and 18th century. I like the channel
Posted by: adam2

Re: Things I have learned recently - 05/29/20 11:48 PM

Here in the UK, TP was almost unobtainable in retail stores a few weeks ago, and is still in short supply.
It was however easy to purchase giant toilet rolls on UK fleabay, these are plentiful.

Dried pasta was in short supply, but is now easier to find.

Many canned goods are in short supply with most supermarkets limiting purchases.

Spot shortages of some fresh foods but no generalised shortage.

Shotgun ammo readily available, other firearms and ammo for same are almost unknown in the UK.

Some people are IMHO exaggerating food shortages in the UK. Many products are in short supply, but alternatives are readily available.
As an illustrative example, if baked beans are out of stock, there are almost certainly tinned tomatoes or tinned spaghetti available.
If dried spaghetti cant be found one week, then other types of dried pasta are probably available.

Likewise some brands of beer are unavailable, but alternatives are available. No general beer shortage.
Posted by: Phaedrus

Re: Things I have learned recently - 05/30/20 12:41 AM

How is the yeast situation for those of you that use it?
Posted by: M_a_x

Re: Things I have learned recently - 05/30/20 06:32 AM

Originally Posted By: Phaedrus
How is the yeast situation for those of you that use it?

Some stores have fresh yeast but limit to two cubes per purchase. Dry yeast is still not available on a regular basis.
I still have some dry yeast and prefer sourdough anyway.
Sourdough chocolate cake may sound weird but tastes really nice.
Posted by: M_a_x

Re: Things I have learned recently - 05/30/20 06:39 AM

Originally Posted By: adam2

Some people are IMHO exaggerating food shortages in the UK. Many products are in short supply, but alternatives are readily available.
As an illustrative example, if baked beans are out of stock, there are almost certainly tinned tomatoes or tinned spaghetti available.
If dried spaghetti cant be found one week, then other types of dried pasta are probably available.

Likewise some brands of beer are unavailable, but alternatives are available. No general beer shortage.


It is about the same in Germany. Dry pasta like spaghetti are the most popular variation. Cheap brands in pound packages were out (and sometimes still are) but premium brands and packages with 5 kg were always available.

Canned meat may become a little harder to get as some slaughterhouses got locked down because the workers there got sick. The worker lived in small quarters and distance could not be maintained. So before one got sick all had it.
Posted by: Phaedrus

Re: Things I have learned recently - 05/30/20 07:34 AM

Beef prices are astronomically high right now, higher than I've seen in my lifetime. But the supply seems adequate.
Posted by: nursemike

Re: Things I have learned recently - 06/01/20 02:47 PM

Had a neighbor in the adirondacks whose holding there was an off grid cabin full of preserved food that he visited occasionally but that he maintained primarily as a refuge from calamity.
He had grown up in Germany, and his dad was a milk man. As soon as WW2 became imminent, his dad butchered and canned the two draft horses that pulled the milk cart, and the family lived on it through the war. His grandfather had done something similar to survive WW1. Tof the he food and sanitary products hoarding is probably a positive evolution away from our grasshopper culture of the past few decades.
Posted by: TeacherRO

Re: Things I have learned recently - 06/10/20 11:58 PM

Cheap rechargeables are nearly useless...
Posted by: haertig

Re: Things I have learned recently - 06/14/20 04:55 PM

Originally Posted By: TeacherRO
Cheap rechargeables are nearly useless...

Are you talking about specific rechargeable devices with built-in batteries? Individual rechargeable batteries? LiION? NiMH? Chargers? Specific brands?
Posted by: TeacherRO

Re: Things I have learned recently - 06/16/20 06:55 PM

Rechargeable aa/aaa from china...off ebay and not much good at holding a chrage
Posted by: dougwalkabout

Re: Things I have learned recently - 06/16/20 11:11 PM

I assume NiMHs? Were they low self dicharge (LSD)? Sometimes a deal is not a deal, but that does not mean all is lost. I've run a lot of cheap NiMHs with acceptable results (relative to the cost).

I think we've discussed this before. Could be a poor forming charge, could be a long time in storage, could be one cell that isn't charging and dragging the performance of the others down.

The best solution is a diagnostic charger. The low-tech solution is charge them hard, burn them way down, and repeat several times. NiMHs need to be worked hard on occasion to take and keep a full charge.
Posted by: TeacherRO

Re: Things I have learned recently - 06/17/20 10:54 PM

thanks for the tips - I will experiment.