Suburban Prepping

Every decade has something big that upsets how most people prefer to spend their time – many times it is a weather event – hurricanes, tornados, tsunami, or massive blizzards for instance.  All of these cause us to hunker down and find ways to survive with home, family and fortune intact.   This time it is Coronavirus.

I read in the news and on facebook how people were panicking about hand sanitizer,  toilet paper and drinking water and heaven knows what else.   These are the times when it is good to know how things were handled before plastic water bottles and Charmin.

It is also preferable to use common sense instead of blindly running with the herd.  I was lately guilty of that one.  The tap water we have is really very tasty and well filtered – it is county operated.  As I passed Sam’s Club earlier today and saw the extremely crowded parking lot I was remembering that drinking water is always one of the primary items needed in emergencies and for a brief…very stupid…moment I thought about fighting the crowd to get some plastic bottles.

Then the spirit of Grandma Kern reached down from heaven and slapped me upside the head with visions of the shelves full of empty half-gallon and quart canning jars in my pantry!  DUH!   I got home, pulled them down and washed them out before filling them with tap water and a couple drops of chlorine bleach apiece then lidded and put back on the shelves.  (NOTE: always keep jars of water out of direct sunlight).  I now have 8 half gallon jars and 30 quarts of drinking water squirreled away in case of need.

As for wash water, I always keep my gallon bleach bottles and fill them with water.  They are stacked under a shaded portico near my well head to prime the pump with.  (I use well water for my gardens).  This is my primary stock for wash water if needed and are usually filled with well water, though people could use city water as well.

As for toilet paper…really?  Yes I have a case of it, but then I always buy it by the case because it is the most comfortable option.   In the old days there were outhouses where people tore pages from newspapers and Sears catelogs or large leaves to wipe with, but those tend to clog up modern toilets. Other options that even city folks can use.  I have a basket full of old clothes that have holes in them or are just worn out.  Cut them up into small squares and use them.  You can rinse them out and reuse if washed with bleach.   Old T-Shirts and bed linens work great.  Just don’t be a dunderhead and try to flush them down a toilet!

Lastly, hand sanitizer.  You can make some that is just as easy on the skin as the commercial stuff.  Mix 2 parts rubbing alcohol to 1 part aloe gel.  Aloe gel is in the stores, or if you have a monster aloe plant in the house it is fairly easy to strip the gel out.

How?   Harvest the thick flesh leaves and slice the spiny edges off then cut into pieces and place in a blender or food processor with a little water.   Whir it up good.  Place a strainer over a big bowl and dump the resulting goo into the strainer then go do something else for a couple hours.  When you come back use the back of a metal spoon to push down a little and get the last drops out.  Throw the discard on the compost heap (plants love it) and mix the goo up with the alcohol for instant hand sanitizer.

 NOTE: It can have a few floaty plant parts in it – that doesn’t hurt anything – just proves it did not come from a factory.

My personal motto in life is this:  Get ready for the maybe, then let it go.

Don’t let panic dictate your actions.  Think about what each kind of disaster could mean to you and yours personally and look into options for how to deal with it in advance.   Be confident in yourself and read some of those great magazines like Countryside, Mother Earth News, and Sustainable Living.  Even if you don’t do all the things in them all the time at least the knowledge that they can be done will be nestled in the back of your brain.



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