Father George: Newbie Prepper

I feel like I’m speaking out of turn in writing such a post as this, what with so many refugees being on foot at this moment, exposed to the elements, having gone without food, dying of wounds from bombing. If we prep in these ways it’s just being prudent while hoping and praying that a nuclear winter might not come our way. The only reason I can imagine ever being a refugee is because of a radiation event that’s too close to home to survive, but even then, why should I run. Are there not those who would be dying and needed the last rites? But try to hunt them down, they might already be on the road.

I’ve not considered a “bug-out-bag” for what’s below. A but-out-bag is a whole different universe. And where would you go? To another area where there’s also been a nuclear event too close? The totally out of the way place that I’m already in is where people bug out to, not run away from.

For those already in terrible situations: Hail Mary…

  1. Religion: We’ve ordered some extra altar wine for Holy Mass. That would be particularly hard to come by. Another priest agreed with that bit of prudence. Altar breads can be made from regular unleavened wheat-flour (only) and water (only). And believe me, my parishioners have stated many times that, no matter what, they want to keep coming to Mass and receiving the Sacraments. Do you have a Rosary to pray in times of trouble and right now?
  2. Water: About ten years ago, when yours truly was at the hermitage, a 275 gallon IBC tote came my way. That’s pictured at the top of the post above. It was filled with rain water at the time. It’s been sitting dormant now for years. I sprayed it out, filled it with city (chlorinated water), and poured in about 1/3 cup of regular bleach (not scented, not non-splash, just plain). I didn’t screw the top cover on, wanting both the city and personally added bleach to evaporate (which it does quickly, in about 30 mins.), but meanwhile the bleach kills any microscopic beasties that might be hiding inside. It’s up on cinder blocks so that a five gallon bucket might slide under the spout at the front bottom edge. In case we’re without the grid for awhile, the gutters can be redirected to get rain water from the carport roof. This water will have to be re-purified (lots of bird dew on roofs), and for that my method is still bleach when it gets in the house (1/2 teaspoon per 8 gallons). The CDC has a great document on emergency purification of water. in emergency situations: hurricanes, tornadoes, earthquakes, Russian shutting down the grid…
  3. Food: It’s been a few months now that I’ve been starting to collect some foods with long-term shelf-life, rice, beans, and such. Even if you have no heat to cook these, they can be soaked (but you gotta use salt and change the water regularly). In talking with others about this I find out that pretty much everyone has been doing this as a matter of course for years. I’m like the only one who is imprudent. There is one person I know only has a supply for a week or so if the power goes down. Perishables will be lost within a day or so even from unopened fridges and freezers. I’m not going to bother with generators. Too much work. And too much of an advertisement to home-invaders, and their tribe would increase in difficult days.
  4. Heat: Some generous souls came to church one day with a very small portable propane heater and some camp-stove propane bottles, just for emergencies, they said, if we’re without power and it’s way below zero, and the grid goes down. I know how to deal with the extreme cold. I’m not afraid of it. When I was a kid up in northern Minnesota there was one time it got really cold, -74F below zero real temperature, -104F below zero wind chill. Loose layers for clothing and some well rated sleeping bags, one inside the other. Limit yourself to one smallish room. Pets like my Shadow-dog will provide extra body heat. Etc. But the little propane heater will be great for as long as it lasts, and I’m very thankful. I’d like to get a wood stove installed this summer, for which the bishop already gave his permission, and there’s an extra benefit of exercise during the summer procuring the wood cut just for that size stove. A flat-top wood stove that isn’t insulated with fire-brick on top (some are, which is crazy), provides heat for cooking, which is nice if ever there’s any meat or fish available. There would be hot water for washing, or just for some tea, or coffee. But if that turns out to be a no-go from the diocesan insurance-czars, a rocket stove might be just the thing, not for heat, but just for cooking, as that, obviously, has to be outside.
  5. Meds: Basically, all pharmaceuticals in the world are made in China, even those in India, which also gets everything from China. For me, I’d have to learn to wean myself off of some meds that I need to live, slowly. I have enough for that process right now. Not that it would work. But heaven is what we want, right?
  6. Defense! In any difficult situations, defense against unjust mortal aggression already being delivered against self or others might well see an uptick. People get nervous, get cabin fever, lose it. Look at the stats just in times of Covid oppression. If you’ve had the wherewithal to enjoy the Second Amendment to the US Constitution, you might want to spruce up Second Amendment tools. When’s the last time, for instance, that you’ve cleaned and oiled up what you hope and pray you never ever have to use? Have you done some target practice, at all? Do you have ammo? Perishable skills perish.
  7. Emergency radio: I used to have one of those windup ultra-super-cheapo type. I was using it a bit in the hermitage when tornadoes were passing over. I forgot to take the batteries out. Sigh. I had to throw it away a couple of years ago and never replaced it. Just wondering if anyone has any advice on such things. I’m not particularly enthused about becoming acquainted with the work (however advanced it is these days), of Hyman, Almy and Murray (H-A-M), early radio guys. But maybe a regular radio would be helpful. We do have a couple of static-ridden stations, with the signal always dropping depending where you are, or if you hold the radio out the window, or move your arms, or pretend you can add wires to whatever useless antenna. But maybe an emergency radio is important. I remember President Trump had a couple of emergency notifications sent to al private cell phones. The first one didn’t work, but the second one did. Dunno how helpful that is if your battery is dead. Batteries in radios last really a lot longer.
  8. Making friends: It’s so important to have good friends, trustworthy neighbors. If you needed some medical help, could you ask them to help? Are you ready to help them? In my neighborhood, about 90% of residents have changed occupancy recently or are doing so right now.
  9. Preparing for those who are unprepared: Let’s take care of the widows and orphans and elderly and sick and those in dire straits. That’s means we have to prepare for them as well.

I’m sure I’m missing a lot here. I’m just starting into this world of preparedness. Perhaps some of you have ideas that any of us might benefit from. Remember the whole of Chapter 31 of Proverbs? I like this verse especially:

  • “She is clothed with strength and dignity; she can laugh at the days to come.” (Proverbs 31:25)

17 Comments

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17 responses to “Father George: Newbie Prepper

  1. Gina Nakagawa

    I am trying to find a place closer to the parish we attend. It is in the mountains. I am already teaching there, but, so far, we have not found a suitable place. At any rate, my preparation has been to pray that, no matter what, I will remain faithful to the only One Who truly matters, and that I will help my husband, and our daughter to reach Paradise. God bless you and keep you, Father. Thank you for all you do for Him and for us.

  2. Liz

    Interesting about making friends. We have acreages on our road but we should do that better. I know some of our neighbors are military/pro police and so that’s good. Maybe we will make Easter cookies at Easter to visit with them. I have been stocking up and watching prices soar…shelves being emptied etc. I’m trying to get loved ones to listen. Also things are expiring sooner…much much sooner. Things I bought last summer don’t expire for years and years. Things I bought a few months ago are expiring now. Things at the store are due to expire in days. I purposely looked. I want to learn to can meat. We always grow a huge garden but this year I hope it’s bigger. Also, we have chickens and will try to buy chicks next week. We are overrun with eggs but we are trying to think of who to share them with…maybe neighbors! p.s. I got rid of our wind-up radio too! I heard that shoes will be hard to get. I’m trying to figure out what clothes to keep on hand. I would love to have cloth diapers for any babies that might need them.

  3. Aussie Mum

    During summer, if you have no electricity to power a refrigerator but have a rainwater tank set on the ground, digging out a small space in the soil under it for perishables will keep them cool. My parents did this with meat and found it worked well enough when necessary. We also used kerosene lamps for lighting at such times.

    • Father George David Byers

      I do have a shallow creek next to the rectory. I should check out the temperature of the water. To seal something and get it to stay down as the tricky part.

  4. pelerin

    Your friend who only has a week’s supply of food has 6 days’ supply more than I have!. I shop each day as I do not have a car and have shops nearby. The only time I get in a week’s food is if snow has been forecast. Snow rarely lasts longer where I live. Incidentally the wind-up radio was invented by an Englishman especially to be used in rural Africa. I have never actually seen one and do not know anyone who has one.

    • Father George David Byers

      20 pound bag of rice and another of beans and a heap of oatmeal will do you well…

      • pelerin

        Thank you for the tip Father. However my local shops do not sell anything in bulk like that so rely on tins. By coincidence it has just started snowing here which was not forecast for this region!

  5. Sandra

    If you are doing roof runoff harvesting – invest in some GOOD filters. There are a few free plans for this. Expedient filters include sand, powdered charcoal, layers of cloth (like cotton) or paper filters.

    • Father George David Byers

      Links?

      • Aussie Mum

        I don’t know where you will get filters, Father, but having such fitted is a very good idea, as is a cover for your rainwater tank or barrel that has no holes or gaps.
        The rainwater tanks we had when I was a child were not well covered because “wrigglers” (mosquito larvae) came out along with the water before my parents bought a fine sieve device for the tap outlet to strain water through. Drinking them down with your water won’t do any harm – well, it didn’t do us any harm anyway – but is not a pleasant experience.
        Thankfully, since there were no filters available then – or at least we had never heard of such – to install between roof and tank to stop roof detritus entering and decomposing in the stored water, I was blissfully unaware there was bird muck etc being collected with the water rushing into our tanks after rain. Fortunately, we came to no harm even though we drank and washed in this polluted water for 5 years. I only became aware of the risks when many years later and an adult with children of my own, and living once more in an isolated part of NSW without town water, our landlord explained the dangers in roof run-off harvesting and the pre-tank filters he had installed to ensure the water we would be using was as clean as possible.
        “Pre-Tank Filtration includes any rainwater strainers and filters from your rooftop, on your gutters, along your piping and into your tank inlet. These typically include downpipe/downspout diverters, first flush water diverters and tank straners or more sophisticated rainwater filter systems”. That definition plus pictured products and information about them at the link below may be helpful (but not the sales location as it is not in the US) so you know the sort of things needed.https://www.tankshop.com.au/products/pre-tank-rainwater-filtration/
        Other thoughts just occurred: few places in Australia experience freezing conditions; therefore information from Australian sources may require modification if you experience freezing conditions where you are. Additionally, it may be better in some case to not use pre-tank filtration but post-tank filtration instead as long as pollutants can be adequately removed after storage.

  6. sanfelipe007

    Well, maybe I won’t go on a diet after all, just in case I need all my fat to survive for awhile. Still, I do have a number of crisco tubs that I have prepared with candles to provide emergency heat, after nearly freezing to death during the Texas deep-freeze.

    Lemme tell, you no amount of sleeping bags, and piled on blankets are of any use if your body, itself, cannot/will not keep you warm. Canned foods with plenty of water in them is the way I like to prep – along with a good can opener! Fruits, veggies, single serving soups, stews, and chili. Forget the re-heating and cooking. Of course, beans can be planted – if the radiation has not compromised the soil, and sky.

    I just need to construct an emergency box in which to hunker down that is easily warmed by a single large candle. Need to include a separate air source/exhaust just for the fire.

    I can tolerate the heat, but not the cold.

    • Aussie Mum

      Reading your comment, 007, brought to mind that the “great reset” and “build back better” schemes may play out quite differently to what Schwab and Biden have in mind. If war goes global, survivors are more likely to be preppers living off the land rather than elites with the resources to bring their grand society to fruition.

      • sanfelipe007

        The meek Will inherit the Earth, Mum. Where have I heard that before? Ok, tomorrow is First Saturday #1, no foolin’!

  7. Aussie Mum

    “First Saturday # 1”, thank you 007, so very much.
    There is no reply button after your post but I hope you see this anyway. My spirits have been uplifted all day (it is Saturday evening here now) knowing you were taking me spiritually with you for First Saturdays’ reparatory devotions as I cannot do so in person at my own parish church. I have no biological brothers (no living siblings at all, actually) but you are my brother in Christ, which is even better. Our Lord is so good.

    • sanfelipe007

      There is a very good reason for your joy! We went to Mass, Confession (You waited outside!), and then we (you can do your part anytime and our Guardian Angels will unite them for us) said a Rosary and spent time with our Blessed Mother, contemplating the Sorrowful mysteries, I commended you to the Lord and His Immaculate Mother, by Name (well, as Aussie Mum – the Lord knows who you are), then I took you with me and we did the Stations of the cross. I think we covered all the bases for Saturday #1!

  8. sanfelipe007

    God bless you, too! We’ll talk about it in Heaven, please God.

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