I am not an alarmist when it comes to some impending crisis. We are already in a crisis – not enough food, fuel, water available where it is needed; it will get worse. But I am not expecting a Mad Max scenario tomorrow or later this year. I could be wrong. Still, here in Canada in government suggests that every household keep 72 hours worth of emergency supplies on hand for the routine crises – bad weather, power outages. There are government sites and publications to help you plan that.
Our emergencies, in the country, are more likely to be longer term. How do we cope with that?
1. Food for a month. I keep basic food ingredients – flour, yeast, sugar, beans, potatoes, squash and home canned food.
2. Heat and fuel. This will be easier once our woodstove is installed and we get a delivery of wood. In the meantime, I would have to rely on an oil lamp to keep one room warm, and cook outdoors. I suggested to a friend that even though they can’t afford the woodburning stove right now, they at least find plans and materials to build one in an extended emergency. Yeah, it won’t meet code, but no one is going to care if there is a complete breakdown of services.
3. Water. We live on a river, and I suspect that there are a number of springs within a short distance of the house. The river isn’t too good an option – we are way up a steep bank. We have metal roofs on the house and garage, so we could easily collect rain water. A camping type filter (such as Katadyn) can supply drinking water from collected rain.
4. Seeds and tools. Even the 20,000 year old sharp stick is a farming implement. Save seeds from non-hybrid tomatoes, squash and other vegetables. Sprouty potatoes could be next year’s crop. (I don’t recommend that unless you have no other choice – saving over sprouted table potatoes can endanger other crops if they harbor fungus.)
5. Money. Paper money would be useless if the government collapsed. And so will gold and silver. Why? You can’t eat them. Precious metals depend on a market to move them – and those markets depend on governments. The precious metals are terribly overpriced right now. Convert non-earning investments into real goods or debt repayment. “Invest” in life skills such as gardening, woodworking, sewing. What you will have to barter are your abilities and goods people need.
6. Neighbours. Get to know your neighbours and be on good terms with them. Help each other with home projects and maybe start a community garden. You will need the people closest to you if there is ever an extended crisis.