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The first day of 2011 has come and gone and with it, a renewed energy to continue to focus on self sufficiency and personal independence here at our island cottage. Not that we are roughing it by any sense of the word. Instead, we actually live in a pretty nice, some would say posh, area surrounded by natural beauty and many conveniences just a short walk away.
Clearly, however, personal independence and the ability to take care of one’s needs without reliance on others is a mantra that can exist anywhere, including cities, rural communities, farmlands, and remote outposts. And so, for 2011, I plan to get serious about creating self-sufficiency here at my island abode.
It is time to take an inventory of my personal preparedness. What about you? Are you ready?
Taking a stroll around my tiny yard, I took in the available garden space. Not so good. Growing fresh vegetables should be a cornerstone of self-sufficiency. This has been a struggle for me from the get go since we are plagued with a miniscule amount of space, low light conditions, and a short growing season.
The good news is that my yard includes a fabulous, cast iron fire pit that is rated as a cooking device. In this area that means I can use my fire pit for heat and cooking even when there is a county wide burn ban – a frequent event in our neck of the woods. I also have a large barbeque, fueled by propane.
Moving on to the garage: food, paper goods, and toiletries. A mini Costco right here in the garage. As a matter of fact, since December 7th, I have been living off this stash with my only purchases being a box of apples, oranges, some broccoli and fresh milk. Still, I have no serious inventory system and no plan to insure I have the right food items to sustain us during an extended period. In the positive column, I had fishing gear of all sorts. The is not much salmon to harvest from the sea anymore but our lakes are full of trout.
Next comes the water. Three cases of bottled water set aside for emergencies. Oops, they are not dated so how will I know when they should be rotated? No water barrels but a large bottle of plain Clorox which can be used for purification. There is also a source of non-potable water but it is not operational.
Power. The heat in our home is fueled by propane. The power went out last week for a few hours which gave me an ideal opportunity to check on utilizing our gas supply without the benefit of electronic starters. The upstairs fireplace was no problem since the starter system is battery operated. No electricity required. Thumbs down on the other fireplace. No electricity = no go. The cook top in the kitchen was no problem once I took a match to the burner. So far so good. But wait, in my garage treasure hunt I found a half dozen cylinders of propane as well as two butane stoves and a dozen or so bottles of butane. Not bad.
Transportation. Two mountain bikes in good shape and hiking boots for walking. Also a motor scooter that uses very little fuel but no spare fuel. Getting around may be a problem but with the mountain bikes we are probably okay.
The Bug Out Bag, or, as I call it, my G.O.O.D.Y. (get our of dodge yesterday) bag. My bag is pathetic. Yes, I had some food and utensils. I had medications. But what about batteries, flashlights, first aid items, and copies of important documents? There is so much missing that if the big quake hit, I would be in very poor shape.
Cripes. This is depressing. My preparedness inventory has proven to me that I am not ready to become truly self-sufficient. Yeah, I have done a few things right here and there and surely I have enough food and water to eat and drink. But my food and water is not transportable nor is it well-thought out and organized.
So much can happen: our transportation system could disrupted, the long predicted big earthquake could hit, and yes, there is even a possibility of anarchy and civil unrest if our economic challenges slide further into a depression.
My work is cut out. Over the next months I will share my progress. What about you? Have you taken your own preparedness inventory?
Enjoy your next adventure, wherever it takes you!