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The coldz!

February 17, 2021

On Sunday, RM Ranch “received” a glorious 14.8 inches of the white stuff. Fortunately, it was composed of the tiny dry flakes rather than what my dad had called “great-big, fat, wet” flakes. The former are pretty easy to shovel. The latter, not so much. We got more, yesterday, and may get even more today. All of that is not really a big deal. I have lived and worked in snow country, before. However, as it turns out, Texas infrastructure is ill-suited for this sort of weather. We’ve had power outages, which lead to a loss of pressure and ultimate failure of the city’s water supply…and the fire department having to watch a house burn to the ground because there simply wasn’t enough water to adequately fight the fire. The first estimate was that water would be back online on Friday. It may come back sooner, though a boil notice is in effect. We have been far more fortunate than most. So far, we haven’t lost power. We heat and cook with gas. We have adequate food supplies for the duration of this winter wonderland. Which brings us to the topic of preparedness.

If you are just starting to incorporate preparedness into your lifestyle, what should be your initial focus? Food and water are the answer. To the greatest extent possible, I recommend you orient your pantry/food stores around things you and yours will actually eat. “I got a great deal on a crate of MREs” is meaningless if you think MREs taste so bad it’s all you can do to force yourself to swallow them (I actually like MREs, but there are, for us, better and less expensive options out there). As for water, I can assure you it will take more than you think. “One gallon per person per day” is both a minimum and a starting point. Stored water should be supplemented with filtering systems (by Sawyer of LifeStraw, for instance) as well as water purification tablets. Have an alternate way to cook. Have a way to flush your toilet(s) that doesn’t require using your stored potable water. We have a well on our property, but due to pump problems we’ve melted snow for toilet flushing. I’ll be building a manual pump for the well, along with a rain catchment system, once it’s warmer. One or more of those may not be options for you due to circumstances. (Water, for instance, is heavy and there are limits to what an apartment floor will support. You can’t melt snow if it’s 115 degrees.) The point is to do what you can before the inconvenient thing occurs.

For us, one benefit of the storm has been the way it has highlighted weaknesses in our general preparedness plan. It has also served to remind us that preparedness will reduce the suck, but not eliminate it completely. With a nod to my Ranger friends, the suck that remains must be embraced (though my plan is to continue improving my suck reduction efforts).

Stay safe. Stay warm.

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  1. Old NFO permalink

    So far, we’ve been lucky. Power and water have stayed on. Plenty of eats (yes, I was prepared). In the improvise, adapt, and overcome, our tiny town doesn’t have any plows, but they brought out the road grader this morning to plow the main streets, and I’ve seen a couple of folks on tractors clearing parking lots. We only got 4 inches last night, thankfully…

  2. I need to come visit this blog more often! Your content is amazing 🙂

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