Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Simple Life – Analysis

Recently I spent a week at Bear Ridge surviving only on the supplies stored on site. After analyzing my notes I have come up with this list of items that need work.

Dried Fruit – Somehow I completely miss this. Dried fruit will not keep nearly as long as dried grains but it would be nice to have until a stable fresh supply can be established.

More Meat - Possibly those half cans of spam or bulk cans purchased from an online survival supply company. I will need to do a little more research on this. Meat is very expensive compared to dried grains. Most protein will be supplied through bean products but I like meat. This meat will eventually be provided through fishing and small game hunting.

Prescriptions – If the prescription is necessary for your comfort or life keep a supply on-hand. Prescriptions can be refilled online or at your local pharmacy during a supply run. Special trips to acquire medicines are wasteful and greatly cut into your monthly budget.

Fuel Efficient Vehicle – Traveling to work or simply to fetch supplies becomes very costly with a gas guzzling truck or SUV. Two trips and your monthly budget is shot. I will be looking for a very small fuel efficient compact vehicle to use for monthly trips for supplies and emergencies. An older model Ford Festiva or Geo Metro would work nicely. The big truck will still be necessary to haul water, gather fire wood from the local saw mills or haul lumber.

Hot Water – I need a method of warming water that does not require additional fuel. If you are utilizing dried goods for meals it is necessary to have hot water on hand. A great deal of time and fuel was spent heating water for meals and personal hygiene. In the winter a large water tank sitting on the wood stove would work. In the summer possibly a copper tube solar water heater or maybe a 30 gallon tank painted blank and mounted on the roof. Even with a propane hot water heater if would be prudent to have a free method of preheating the water thus reducing your overall fuel consumption.

Critical System Redundancy – I have a backup charge controller for my solar array. This is not a common item and must be ordered so I classified it as critical and have a backup available. On the other hand, I can pick up an inverter at Wal-Mart so this item was not viewed as critical, no spare was stockpiled. But when the store is almost forty miles away the distance creates an expensive barrier to acquiring the critical part especially if you are on a restricted budget. If the part is necessary for your survival and you can afford it, keep a backup on-hand. The extra can always be used as a trade item.


judyofthewoods said...

Nice to see you back blogging.
Here some ideas about tackling some of those points.
Dried fruit:
to extend the shelf life keep in vacuum sealed jars. Easier and cheaper than you might think. Have a look at my page on cold-vacuum sealing jars
try to go pharma-free with herbs, appropriate health/lifestyle changes, diet etc., and any other alternatives that may be appropriate. Pharma only treats symptoms (often to the detriment of something else, or inadequately) and doesn't get to the root of the problem.
Hot water:
one method of preheating smallish quantities of water is to have a black kettle (e.g. painted with mat black engine paint), put in sun, then use other heat source to bring to higher temperature if required.
A small rocket stove is very efficient in fuel use and can be made from a few large tin cans and be fueled by a few small twigs, or even paper and other waste fuel.

Anonymous said...

Good thinking on the Geo. They've become immensely popular around here all of a sudden, often filling parking spaces formerly occupied by full size pickup trucks/suvs.

As a side note, a 1992 Geo Metro gets better real-world gas mileage (51mpg) than a brand new Toyota Prius (48mgp), primarily because it weighs 1/2 as much and has half the hp, not to mention being much simpler in design and massively less expensive.

A classic case of diminishing return on added complexity.