This is why we prep

Stories are now coming out about the many people who were stranded on the roads during the blizzard on the East Coast this past weekend.

No doubt there are many of you who will first think something like, “Hey, they were warning about the storm all week! It couldn’t have been that big of a surprise.” And, you’d be right.

Here’s the thing though. Before you castigate these people for being on the roads during the storm, let’s do a reality check. I’d bet the majority of those people were trying to get home from work. With the economy the way it is, many employees are sort of at the mercy of their employers when it comes to leaving early or closing up shop altogether. If the employee just says, “Screw this,” and leaves in an attempt to get ahead of the bad weather, he or she might be risking their job. Unfortunately, not all employers are known for watching out for employee safety, whether on the job or off.

I do wonder how many of those stranded motorists had the foresight to pack an emergency kit before heading out on the roads. While no deaths have yet been reported amongst those who were stranded, they are still searching stranded cars.

I did hear one report of a child dying from carbon monoxide poisoning when Dad had the car warming up while he cleaned it off. Apparently the tailpipe had been obstructed and fumes leaked into the car. Remember, if you are going to run your vehicle when stranded, make double damn sure the exhaust isn’t blocked!

I would encourage you to use the news reports to help encourage family and friends to get together their own vehicle emergency kits.

Ammo Shortages

Man, finding even a single brick of ammo is getting more and more difficult, isn’t it? I stopped by my local Walmart the other day to pick up a few things and out of curiosity, stopped by the ammo case. It was looking about as barren as a grocery store in Massachusetts right now.

A lot of this, in my opinion, is due to panic buying. After Sandy Hook and all the rumblings about gun control coming down the pike, folks went nuts and stocked up as much as they could, buying whatever they could find. I’m not saying it was a stupid move to do so either.

A good friend of mine has said for years now that if the powers that be really wanted to get serious about gun control, they’d focus more on ammo than on the firearms themselves. After all, without ammo, a shotgun is merely an interesting looking club.

I have two suggestions for you.

1) If while shopping you come across ammo for any of your firearms, snap it up. Better to have it and not need it, y’know?

2) If you don’t currently reload your ammo, consider learning that skill and picking up the necessary supplies. At the least, ask around to find local folks who do it and see if you can strike a deal with them.

I’ve a sneaking suspicion ammo shortages aren’t going to go away any time soon.

Homemade Pedialyte

Those preppers out there with young children need to be aware of the dangers of dehydration. Stomach upset can quickly lead to serious issues. Water alone will not replenish all that is lost during illness.

Here are a few different recipes for making a rehydration solution at home.

The first one comes from Food.com.

4 cups water
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon Jello gelatin, powder

This one comes from Rehydrate.org.

Give the child a drink made with 6 level teaspoons of sugar and 1/2 level teaspoon of salt dissolved in 1 liter of clean water.

Be very careful to mix the correct amounts. Too much sugar can make the diarrhea worse. Too much salt can be extremely harmful to the child.

Making the mixture a little too diluted (with more than 1 liter of clean water) is not harmful.

The third one comes from SurvivalWeekly.com‘s resident medical expert, Jane-Alexandra Krehbiel BS ES RN.

Take 4 cups of boiled filtered water.

Add ONE TEASPOON of normal household SALT (Sodium Chloride).

Add EIGHT TEASPOONS of normal household SUGAR.

Add ONE PINCH of Morton Lite Salt (Potassium Chloride).

You may wish to keep a packet of Orange Kool Aid without sugar, to add a small amount to make the rehydration solution more palatable to you and to children.

Whichever recipe you use, the solution should be discarded after 24 hours and a new batch made if needed. It should go without saying all water used should be absolutely pure.

Sprouting Seeds to Extend Growing Season

If you haven’t yet followed my earlier advice about garden planning, you need to get on the ball! In the next couple weeks, you should consider getting some seeds started. By starting them early, you’ll have good-sized sprouts to plant once the ground warms up.

If you, like most of us, live in an area with a limited growing season, anything you can to do extend that time frame is beneficial. Many years ago, I built a monster of a plant rack for my wife. Picture something like this, but made of 2x4s and plywood.

plant rack
Photo courtesy of FarNorthGarden.com.

Our rack has four shelves, each with the capability of using two grow lights each. I’m working on designing and building something that isn’t quite so huge and obtrusive, not to mention heavy!

You need not use the expensive special grow bulbs in your lights either. We’ve had great success just using the cheap standard fluorescent bulbs.

The point though is to start looking at which plants you can start now so they’ll be ready to plant this spring. This gives you a leg up and results in garden produce hitting your pantry several weeks early.