photo by Sheri Dixon

Friday, March 26, 2010

Being Prepared- It Wasn't Always Just the Domain of Leftwing Treehuggers and Rightwing Nutjobs

Remember your parents and grandparents advice to always have something set aside for a rainy day? That your passbook savings account should have at least a few months' worth of money in it to tide you over from some unforeseen event?

I was thinking about that the other day while watching a news show. The commentators were poking fun at Glenn Beck (hard target, hey?) and his pushing of the purchase of gold to his masses of followers.

Now, I'm not a follower of Glenn, in fact, I've been known to leave not only the room, but the entire building if he's on the screen- nothing personal, Glenn, but the sound of your voice makes me want to vomit, the sight of your face all scrunched up in patriotic fervor/fear brings out a physically violent side I never thought I had, and your lines of thought seem to be, well, not really lines at all- just some random dots here and there that aren't even factual most of the time- all pulled together and loosely knotted up like a hairball- just because you have a chalkboard doesn't mean you're making any damn sense at all.

Anyhoo. The show I was listening to was Morning Joe on MSNBC, a show I'm not that fond of, but the TV was still on from the night before and our actual favorite shows- Keith Olbermann and Rachel Maddow. The Morning Joe crowd was saying that Glenn must've depleted his audience as far as gold sales and was now moving on to...

...Survival Seeds.

I've seen the Survival Seed guy's website and he seems to be marketing to folks who've never done any gardening, but playing on fear of the future- like the gold guys. He sells huge amounts of seeds for even huger amounts of money all packaged up and hermetically sealed for use WTSHTF. While having seeds to plant and growing your own food is something I think is an excellent idea, the purchase of these Survival Kits lack in some fundamental ways. For instance-

-are the crops something that will grow in your area?
-are they something your family will even EAT?
-if TSHTF for real, will those planting these seeds be able to water and tend them, and will they survive the 45-120 days for their crops to mature?

A much more prudent option to me would be to start now, or continue if you're already gardening, and become adept at growing foods your family will eat- not hoard Survival Seeds and sit on them like Jack's Magic Beans.

So, the Morning Joe crew was making fun of the Survival Seeds- apparently Glenn and the Survival Seed Guy were even saying how, along with your already purchased hunks o' gold, seeds will become barter items in our dark future.

And here's what chapped my hiney- they went on laughingly about the possibility of some Event that would render it necessary for us all to go (imagine air quotes by the commentators) "Off Grid".

Just like that- with arrogant derisive air quotes.

Off Grid.

Now, I'm not a (total) treehuggin' liberal, nor am I a doomsday Mad Max is coming survivalist. But to me, the ability to go "Off Grid" is something we all need to be able to do, if even for a few days.

We recently had a snow storm here in Texas. An unusual event, and one that downed alot of power lines. My family has oil lamps, lots of oil, 2 fireplaces, a wood burning cookstove, and food in the house- not enough for YEARS, but enough for weeks of eating well, and non-perishable staples for a few months. We have a water filter that makes almost any water- even dipped straight out of Spring Peeper Pond, potable.
I can do laundry by hand, and we use a clothes line.

We were OK.

Here's what I'd like folks to think about- being prepared is not having a credit card that's not maxed out. It's not living close to a grocery store. It's not having a penlight attached to your keychain.

Every person, every family, every home should have the ability to take care of itself- warmth, food, water, light- for at least a week.

We aren't too many generations away from not having everything we want when we want it, and all the gasoline, electricity, public services, transportation systems are really very fragile and easily interrupted.

Most of the things we take for granted are really luxuries and it's only been recently in our history as humans that we've come to see it all as permanent, solid and what we need to have to live- not just comfortably, but at all.

We're coming on springtime- get a garden going- even a tiny one, and grow easy things that your family likes- tomatoes, peppers, beans, cucumbers. Do the spring cleaning, have a garage sale and buy non-electric things- not from the schmancy survival or off-grid places, but from the camping departments of the store- coffee pots, camp stoves, small propane tanks, lanterns.

Make sure you have a basic first aid kit- they sell pre-made ones for under $20 if you have no idea of what you may need.

Start a savings account at your locally owned bank- get to know your local merchants on a first name basis.

Be Prepared.

Not because Glenn Beck told you to, or because all those crazy Peak Oil/Climate Change weirdos told you to, and for sure not because some Crazy Lady on the Interwebs said so

But because it will make Grandma proud.

1 comment:

  1. I did a blog feature on Survival Seeds! Super nice people. But yeah, playing on the SHTF folks. I got a huge pack of free seeds. Used some, gave the rest away. Some I can't even use in my zone. And the hermetically sealed seeds are in really big packs - once you plant some of 'em, they're open. However, they are non-GMO and non-hybrid, which I appreciated.

    And btw - We're completely off-griddable. Could use some work in the food department, what with the three month growing season, but water and everything else is a done deal. You rock, Queen.