Saturday, April 28, 2012

Preparedness Challenge #34

The last Saturday of every month is the monthly Preparedness Challenge and the give-away sponsored by USA Emergency Supply. I hope that you're prepping and putting something aside each month! Now is the time to prepare for those unexpected events.

Today, everything may seem fine... food is on the shelves in every grocery store across the country, electricity comes on the minute you flip the switch, and water gushes from the faucet at your request.

That's all well and good. But what is your plan in the event that the store doesn't have what you need, the electricity is down due to an event such as a tornado, or the water is contaminated due to a sewer plant leak (or something like it)? Now imagine that scenario effecting your area for miles and miles so that it's not feasible to drive over to the next town and enjoy a weekend "waiting it out" in a nice hotel.

What if.. a national disaster such as 9/11 happened in your neck of the woods. Not likely? Perhaps not, but stranger things have happened. How will you take care of your family? How will you help your neighbor? What will you "cook" for dinner that night? And the next?

Let's just consider one of life's most basic needs... WATER. In the event of an earthquake, water lines can easily be severed. That means, zero water coming into your home for an extended period of time. You've got the garden planted... great! But how are you going to water it? You have some water in the hot water heater, but that will go pretty fast if you're washing dishes, cleaning clothes, etc. Have you considered water usage priorities? Additional water sources? Water purification?

This is the rainy season on our homestead and I can't help but think how I'm missing a great opportunity by not having a water catchment system in place! (Which is one of the reasons I selected Chrissy's post of The New Me for the Featured Homestead recently). I'm reading about this when I can and considering my options, but at some point, if I don't actually DO IT, all that research won't bring water into the house.

The more research I do, the more I realize that just one source of water is not reliable enough. It's best to have several ways to obtain water in an emergency, and one of those ways is to have some stored, ready to use. But how much is enough?

Vicki Tate at USA Emergency Supply, wrote a post on Emergency Water Storage. If this topic is new for you (and even if it isn't!), I suggest you take a minute and read what she has to say and check it against what you're doing to prepare in terms of having water for your family. And to help you get started, USA Emergency Supply is offering a 5 gallon water barrel to the winner of this month's link up!

Unlike the clear plastic containers that you purchase bottled water in or that you repurpose for water storage, this plastic will not break down after a year or so. And they are DOT and UN approved for safe drinking. The large containers are nice, but the smaller 5 gallon size is excellent for those on the go:

• camping
• at the office (cause you might be there when a disaster strikes!)
• in the back of the car

To help you out even further, USA Emergency Supply is throwing in a Drum Pump which allows you to extract water without all that lifting.

How I Met The Challenge!

Here's what I did this month in each category (see category definitions near bottom of the post)...

• Food Storage: I added extra baking powder and baking soda, apple cider vinegar, and molasses. We found bananas on sale cheap and my daughter dehydrated a bunch (hope they last - hard to keep nibblers from sneaking a bite!). And I butchered a rooster for future use. He attacked us one time too many. Enough said.

• Emergency Preparedness: I purchased two heavy duty brown tarps for outdoor uses which can vary wildly! Just an FYI... if you are camping and might WANT to be found, blue is one of the most visible colors from the air. Having a blue tarp as a signal is an excellent idea. On the other hand, if you DON'T want to be found, go with green or brown. They make these reversible... wouldn't it be nice if they would put blue on one side and brown or green on the other. I kept finding silver on the opposite side. I also added some more agriculture grade 4 ml plastic for covering plants during inclement weather at a HUGE discount! A local hardware store was going out of business and I picked up a roll for about 70% off! (Thanks, Heidi, for the tip on that!).

• Sustainable Living: Once again, I find myself excelling in this category... finished the coop run, added a new portable chicken tractor for weeding (with two more to come!), put money down on a new milk goat, started all my warm weather seeds indoors, bought some raspberry plants, two blueberry shrubs, and another fig tree (couldn't resist!). Oh, and installed two hives of bees. And skills I've racked up this month... proficiency at mouse trapping in the garden!

Now it's your turn to join the Preparedness Challenge..

Join the Challenge & Enter The Give Away

To be entered in the drawing, leave a comment on something you did this week to be more prepared in terms of food storage, emergencies, or sustainable living (or all three areas!) OR link up your Preparedness Challenge blog post (you only need to comment or postnot both). Posts not related to at least one of the three areas of preparedness will not be counted toward the give-away. Please be sure to clearly state in your comment or post what you did this month to be more prepared (see my example above as one easy way to do this). Again, the three areas we are focusing on include: 

• food storage for life's unexpected events whether related to long term effects from a disaster or a job loss and everything in between

• emergencies for times of power outages, natural disasters, and such

• sustainable living in order to be more independent, both physically and financially, and to live as close to the land as possible given each individual's situation 

Please be respectful of our challenge and only add a post on one of these three preparedness topics ONLY in order to retain the integrity of the link up event. If your post is just a general homesteading post, please save it for the Monday Homestead Barn Hop.

NOTE: This challenge and give-away ends Friday, May 4, at 11:59 p.m. PST.

Be sure to take the Preparedness Challenge picture and add it to your blog so others know you're participating and hopefully they'll join up, too! THANK YOU!!


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