February 14, 2013

What NOT to do to Survive

Welcome to another episode of “What NOT to do to Survive”!

In the spirit of sharing my mistakes in order that others might learn from them, here is a doozy.

It is February and I’m nearly out of wood.

I thought I would be in good shape by purchasing one more cord than was recommended by the owners of the cabin that I’m renting.  However, I guess we used more because of a few reasons.

1.)  We haven’t totally acclimated to the much colder temperatures.

2.)  For the first month, I left the door of the woodstove open (until a dear friend explained why I shouldn’t) causing me to burn through a substantial amount of extra wood.

3.)  The wood that we got wasn’t the best quality – according to a neighbor that got wood from the same source it is “too dry” and therefore burns too quickly.  I’d never heard of that being a possibility before and can’t confirm that it’s true, however, some of the wood we got, ash and birch, is extremely “brittle” feeling.

I ordered more a few weeks ago when I realized I was going to fall short, but the wood guy’s dump truck broke down so he has not been able to bring it by.  Last weekend he told me he’d have it to me this weekend, and this weekend he said he’d have it to me next weekend.

Today I brought in the very last bit of wood from my woodpile.

If I burn it as per normal use, and the weather stays in the 20s, I have enough for about 2 more weeks. If I burn it very very very stingily, it might last closer to a month.

If the SHTF already, I’d be in big trouble.

I decided today that I won’t burn wood until the new delivery arrives.  I can use my kerosene heater and my electric space heaters.  I am fortunate that there’s back-up.  In a disaster situation, I’d have enough kerosene for a few weeks, but no electricity.  We would be lucky to survive the winter if this happened after, say, an EMP.  The reason that I’m saving the wood is that in the event of a power outage, we’ll still have some left to burn.

There are approximately 6-7 weeks more that heat will be necessary to our survival.  I miscalculated my wood needs by approximately one cord of wood.  In reality, it’s a minor issue, but think about the ramifications of such a miscalculation in the future!

This is exactly what I’m talking about when I remind people that it is better to make your mistakes now, while help is as close as the nearest grocery store or electric plug-in.  It’s not fun to report these mistakes publicly, but it’s important to recognize how easily these things can happen and how serious they could be in a post disaster world.

Mistakes are bound to happen when you are new at living in rustic conditions.  It’s how you learn from those mistakes, how you prevent them in the future, and how you resolve them when they occur that are the real predictors of survival.  Have you ever had some issues that made you smack your forehead when you realized the ramifications on your survival had they occurred after SHTF?




Daisy Luther

Please feel free to share any information from this site in part or in full, leaving all links intact, giving credit to the author and including a link to this website and the following bio. Daisy Luther lives on a small organic homestead in Northern California.  She is the author of The Organic Canner,  The Pantry Primer: A Prepper's Guide to Whole Food on a Half-Price Budget, and The Prepper's Water Survival Guide: Harvest, Treat, and Store Your Most Vital Resource. On her website, The Organic Prepper, Daisy uses her background in alternative journalism to provide a unique perspective on health and preparedness, and offers a path of rational anarchy against a system that will leave us broke, unhealthy, and enslaved if we comply.  Daisy's articles are widely republished throughout alternative media. You can follow her on Facebook, Pinterest,  and Twitter,.

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