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I am stealing a page from Mt. Rider's book...


It is 10:00pm on New Year's Eve, winter has set in a little early for someand it is bitter cold (yes even for you beach bums and desert dwellers well at least it is colder than normal) the weather has turned ugly you have decided to celebrate New Years at home because you do not want to get out in the weather. At 10:05 the lights blink by 10:30 you are in the dark. All the circuits are busy because everyone is calling to report the outage. You pull out your handy dandy emergency radio and hear the announcement that the power grid has gone down and they are stressing for everyone to stay where they are that they are working on the problem but it will take several days due to the weather and holidays.


What do you do?


12 Hours later?


36 Hours later?


72 Hours later?


2 weeks later?



Another post about the weather prediction for the winter made me stop and think. What would I do if the grid went down. How would it effect me and mine.

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Immediately after hearing the announcement:


Water! Fill any and all containers. City water towers generally hold around enough to supply all the normal use of water for the community for about a day. But without electricity to run the pumps and everything who knows how long you might have water. (remember the water heater is full of water too). Laying out tarps to catch snow would make it easier to get water if we're getting any snow.


We heat with wood anyway. Blower won't work (need to check on one of those fans that work from the heat.. not sure how well they work for the cost though).


Might consider since the heat wouldn't be pushed around so well, in closing off some of the house and moving things around to areas less likely to freeze depending on how well the heat moves through the house..


DH might have to be out helping with the fire department.


12 hours:

If stores were open I might run out and get more perishables than usual. Would likely even be able to write checks.


We'd be on school holiday.


36hrs and 72hrs: no change..


I have a wood stove in the camping gear.. would be worthwhile to look at setting it up with the stove pipe going out the window (need elbows).. it would give me a better cook surface and could be set up in the kitchen. Flip side it could be set up in a bedroom and help heat the house more evenly.


Might set up something outside to use the dutch ovens.. the only thing a fireplace would be better for than a woodstove. But stove top cooking would go on the wood stoves easily.


2 weeks... we'd be fine for that long as long as we have water..


Otherwise, homeschool could go on as usual.. well minus electronic helps. Layering clothes with lightweight tees under clothes would help with doing laundry by hand if there's enough water.. spot clean outer clothes and only wash the layer next to skin.. wiping down with a wet cloth rather than bath/shower.


We might have neighbors we'd open our home to. We can heat our home better than some.. though most have some sort of wood heat.

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Letseeeee..... I talk to my mom at that time every night. She's on a land line...not-cordless. We'd lose the call tho cuz I'd have to go grab and plug in my not-cordless. I would do that immediately because of our dropped call. Likely I'd get through...generator back-ups at the phone company {I hope}. I'd insist that they be ready to go to the hotel [hoping hotel has generator working] before it fills up. My dad would insist on staying there and trying to save the pipes from freezing. ....as tho glaring at them will help keep them thawed. :lol::sigh:


So I'd remind them of the down comforter I gave them [with this in mind, actually]. They have battery E-lights that come on when the power goes off. Remind them to get matches/candles before those E-lights run out. Remind them to dig out Christmas candles too. Remind them they can heat up some water for tea with TEA candles....which will warm them. AND since they're in town [and I read Suncat's post] remind them to start running water. Usually that's not much of a consideration....water companies have generators, etc. So they'll argue that city folks have water during usual power outages.....that the lights will come back on before that's a worry. I'll repeat repeat repeat what we know about the whole danged GRID being down. I'll convince them by saying it's winter and no one is gonna be able to dig an outhouse hole. That will get their 3 bathtubs full of water for flushing right quick. :thumbs:


I'd be getting severely antsy, knowing we might not get connected again by phone to my folks, and being reluctant to hang up. Yet, being STUCK TO THE WALL [non-cordless] and not be able to begin our own preparations ...that would be driving me bats. :sassing: I'd probably start setting up Plan A...Plan B before hanging up with folks. As in: The roads are still open and vehicles work. We can drive to each other but shouldn't waste gas. I'd INSIST that they cannot freeze to death while "saving the house". We have a kerosene heater ...... oops....


{Oh yeah....DH! Go to the village and fill up the gas cans with gas and a couple with kerosene! ....uh, no..I don't know if their pumps can work without power. Surely the gas station would have generator back-ups cuz we lose power a lot up here! Better try it cuz we don't have much kerosene.}


......OK, I'm back, mom. Remember we have that kerosene heater and the propane Buddy Heater. Mom....if worst comes to worst, pack up and ...make sure you stop here to let us know...but go to AZ to visit A&M. It will be warm there! Y'all are tooooo old to sit in a cold house for as long as this is realllly gonna take to get the GRID up and running. You know Dad will drain the water out of the pipes. If it wasn't WINTER in the Rockies, we could wait this out. But two days will have frozen pipes everywhere....which means they can't turn the water back ON until the pipes are repaired. Don't leave town without stopping by to let us know. OK, Love you both, bye.


{Wait, DH! Pick up more bottles of propane too, if you can!}


....... :imoksmiley: THINK!!!



OK I need to go to basement and run water into some of my bazillion empty juice bottles. I'll drain pipes from the laundry sink in the basement....lowest point in the house. Then open all the faucets upstairs to make sure the lines are empty...as much as possible. Would NOT do this except for that bit of information about it being the whole GRID! :o Makes this super-serious right from the start!


Empty hot water tank too....AND FLIP THAT CIRCUIT OFF....but will use that for non-drinking.


We have snow and creek and frozen pond. Have Katadyn filter. We'll be ok. Even better if I can FIND all the bottles of water I've stashed around her. :bev:


SHOOT! Those bottles are going to freeze...and break! The CANNED GOODS....in tin cans and glass bottles...are going to freeze and break. EVERYTHING in glass or plastic bottles that is too full will freeze and break. Note to self: Check ENTIRE house within the next 24 hrs. Poured out some of the water into other containers until there is room for expanding ice in every container. I've already done that for bottles I keep in the vehicles over winter. Save water as ice....melt as needed.



:runcirclsmiley2: STOP...SIT DOWN....THINK! :shakinghead::gaah::pray:



Decision #1 Should we stay here or go south with folks? Have horses, goats, ducks, DOG, cat. ...What about job? Can DH even open his office...prolly not. Everyone would like to visit their chiro but....who would while dealing with this? Can't transport all animals and those left behind will not survive...for so many reasons. Staying would seem best at least initially. Can keep water hole busted in creek ice if we're having really cold weather but usually there is open water somewhere for animals.....[us?]


Decision #2 We're not going to be able to heat upstairs in house AND down in garage/basement area....probably. Make the choice....which would be best to focus on? Where are there the most resources....which area can we heat? How many boxes/cases of jars/cans will we be moving?




Poured cement walls ....on 2 sides exposed and two sides underground. Old coal cookstove down there. Never have used it so pipe would be questionable. Would have to SERIOUSLY rearrange junk to make room for us to camp out down there. Possible. Would need to mostly board over the big garage door and cram space between with insulation stuff [newspapers, etc] to save the heat. Must leave enough ventilation for kerosene and/or propane Buddy Heater to run safely. NO windows. No toilet....have to run outside; up stairs; into cold to reach toilet....or use a bucket.


Upstairs House:


Old log cabin with failing cement chinking between logs. Single pane windows...most covered already with large-bubble bubblewrap. After dark, also routinely covered with layers of blankets for insulation. Would add more of that but would need some light in daytime. Especially if there is solar gain to be had from sunny side windows...open on sun side only; close when sun passes. More of our stuff is up there and already living space. Carpet not cement floors like basement. Bathroom upstairs....if bucket flushing will work and not freeze up. Not sure about that....but with a steep run from upstairs, the flush should run to the septic.



Would sleep upstairs in arctic down sleeping bags for that night. Have propane Buddy heater running in morning upstairs and kerosene downstairs to keep canned stuff, etc from freezing till we can deal with it...um, today!


12 hrs later


In the short term, we'd try to abide here but I'd walk up to the neighbors above us the next day to see if they have wood heat. Or generator. :shrug: Dunno. And to see if they need any advice.....or can give us ideas. Nice couple. They'd likely invite us to stay if they were not going to immigrate south. Almost positive they have some form of wood heat....99% do up here. Might spend nights up there???


Spend day tearing up everything to find that which will burst if frozen. Have plenty of camping stoves to fix meals. Freezer food not a problem. Warm rocks [heated with a fire :campfire: on the snow or heated while we cook on camp stove] inside a cooler will keep fresh foods UNfrozen till we eat them. [don't forget the taters in the dark cabinet in basement!


36 - 72 hrs later

If news is not good....we'll have to consider:


1) moving out

2) trying the coal cookstove in basement

3 ) tearing out the barrier to the fireplace chimney [caulked in there when the pellet stove insert was installed]. Have no idea what that would involve....except to expect a lot of soot/dirt/stuff. Move pellet stove insert to porch...heavy!


Note to self: Keep at least one large pot [big camp "coffee" pot with bail handle] with hot water for washing. Pour hot water into various thermos jugs and keep one near kitchen sink [with bucket under the sink- plumbing pipes removed] and same near laundry tub sink in basement. Remember to dump water from buckets under sinks frequently...before they freeze. Have many rags available for inevitable messes that having things out of sync will cause.



If one or the other [stove or fireplace] actually works safely, we'd likely stay put. Would move into whichever level had the working heat. Nearly endless supply of wood outside....much of it standing dead. [Ask if neighbor has chainsaw/experience later. Can take downed stuff first and bow saws/splitting maul] Coal for cookstove....buried in corner....big wood bin. Move lots of stuff. :faint3: No more coal when that's gone tho. Not sure if cookstove will also be safe to burn wood???


If both stove and fireplace work, we'd probably stay mostly upstairs, at least for a while. Depressing with no windows downstairs. Can cook with 2 Dutch ovens in fireplace...it's big fireplace, actually. I've no problem cooking over open flame either....long-time camper. DH also. NEED to bring up the old fireplace set of tools [brush, poker, ash shovel, etc]. Also have to do SOMEthing about the carpet right up to the hearth. Have no fireplace screen either. Can rig something for screen. Something fireproof over carpet in front of hearth. :scratchhead:


Would need to continue plugging cold air leaks....shutting off bedrooms. Insulating better with ANYthing to hand. Drape the loft shut...nothing there to freeze and heat shouldn't go there.


Rearrange furniture to sleep in living room. Organize the resulting MESS! I'm good at that sort of thing tho. Try not to lose the cat in the shuffle. Old cat...needs to be warm. Brick hearth would be her spot.


Need to improve lighting. Figure out safe places [considering cat/dog and two old clumsy humans banging around tiny cabin] to put fire-based lighting [candles, oil lamps, etc]. Find all NON-fire-based lighting options....especially solar/wind up/shake lights. Store at point-of-use.


Deal with washing up bodies soon. In front of roaring fireplace will be fine. My long hair....will be a while before I wash it. Will have to dry in front of fire and ....I will be wearing braids and a triangle scarf! Or a knit hat! :ph34r:



2 weeks later:


Depending on how things are going for us....and the general danger from others here....we'd probably be ok [if we got stove/fireplace going]. Undoubtedly EXHAUSTED. Do we need to post guard? Hope to join up with neighbors then. Otherwise put our ducks in the garage/basement. Still laying some eggs.....food!


Horses/goats on diet....hay won't last til spring grass. Hopefully, commerce in hay can happen but I wouldn't bet on it. Later, they will be grazing on whatever they can reach in the neighborhood....with supervision. Lots of unused land here with dried grasses/weeds. Hope for a low snow year tho.


Dog will have eggs/rice to stretch stored dogfood. Begin looking up alternate things for dog....squirrel? Frostbitten fish from freezer?



MtRider ....sheeeeesh, this is the one scenario that, living in this rented house, I can't really prep adequately for.... :sigh:

Edited by Mt_Rider
called away to phone/still needed to EDIT!
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My thought is that someone is going to figure out how very important water/sewer is to keeping people healthy for longer term and since we're talking only lack of electricity (not EMP) that at least for some time generator backups may be possible.. so I'd fill the containers with water and then not use them until we couldn't get water from the city.

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Well...if it's 'only' for 2 weeks then with what I have here, I'd be okay. :curtsey:



Then I read Mt.Riders post! Sigh. I personally would be miffed and stinky for 2 weeks but I could probably handle it here. I'd be in bed a lot though. But I forgot about pipes freezing and food containers bursting. I'd survive but not so sure my house and everything in it would. :yar:

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MtRider sneaks up with a great big hatpin and .........pops a big balloon! :balloons:



Um...ya gotta read the original scenario. That's why I kept doing CAPS on .....the whole danged GRID is down. Anything that causes that to happen..... :grinning-smiley-044: Well I'd really doubt it's going to be over in two weeks. Mommato3 just didn't ask for projections any further than two weeks.........






MtRider ......if it was only two weeks, I might not tear apart the fireplace. Bunk in with someone with a wood stove or generator. Drive home to care for animals. :balloons: **POP**

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There went my big ole happy balloon. I'm just going to move in with you and snuggle down with Koa!

Edited to clarify:
Oh yikes! To any guests reading this...Koa is her dog (really big dog) and not her husband! :0327:

Edited by Jeepers
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12 Hours later? Make a run to the firewood place near here. A station wagon load will do all the heating this house needs for two and a half weeks, but we no longer have the station wagon. Send the boys to collect deadfall and other dead/cured wood from the wooded lots between here and the cemetary before anyone else thinks of it. I will take loppers and collect wood from the area behind the house, while staying close enough to keep an eye on the place.

Cook with the big Fresnel lens. Make rice and Pasteurize water in solar cookers.

36 Hours later? Plant spinach, brussels sprouts, broccoli, collards. Cloth or cardboard duct taped to inessential parts of windows for insulation, and Mylar water-glued to the uncovered glass.

Double the quantity of sprouts growing on the kitchen counter.

Dig out hand grinder to grind the old beans and the corn the chickens are fed.

Pick up as many 50 lb bags of deer corn as I can get, preferably toxin-tested, and metal garbage cans to store the grain in.

Pick up an extra month's worth of cat food, if I haven't already, and any stable groceries that are available, though I assume most grocery stores were wiped bare already.

If it's not raining, focus the Fresnel lens on the two-foot hunk of iron until it's as hot as can be handled, then bring the hunk inside to radiate heat at people and help keep the indoors above freezing. While it cools inside, focus the Fresnel lens on the carbide cannon we don't have any other use for, and use it as a heat storage device too. Try to use them to keep the house at a tolerable level (assuming everyone's wearing plenty of layers) in the daytime so we only need to heat with wood at night.

I'm due back at work. If the power's on there, they'll let me know and I'll be happy to go where it's warm, at least once. But gas is going to be generally unobtainable until power's back on at the gas stations. I need to check on some people anyway, make sure they have things in place and are coping.

72 Hours later? Construct a "warm air fountain" handwarmer out of a solar trough. Run a clothes line. from the front porch post to the pecan tree, which will be bare in January. Maybe only underwear gets a full wash, but hanging clothes and linens in the sunlight and fresh, cold air will do some cleaning.

Use coolers on back porch as fridge.

Move deep freeze and extraneous furniture out of fireplace room and move mattresses in there for warmer sleeping.

Formalize security procedures. We have food and other things people will soon be willing to kill for, if things don't return to normal soon.

2 weeks later? All sprouted Irish potatoes get planted on the first semiwarm day between the 8th and the 23rd.

Although everyone in my neighborhood is on septic tanks instead of city sewage, some of the tanks (including mine) need pumps to raise the effluent to the drainfield. At least one house, possibly mine, will have a full septic tank. This is worth breaking out the generator for, and running the pump to avoid backflow.

Cook green wood in a metal trash can to make charcoal. Show a couple of neighbors how to do this.

Keep watch over the neighbors' trot lines and fish traps, since we're right by the pond. If people are not killing one another over a couple of barely pan-sized fish, run our own lines and traps.

There's room for a small community garden by the pond. My household will fully participate in any planting there, but I'm guessing the produce is likely to be stolen so often it will be more of a charitable work than an extension of the home food production. Then again, every raid on the garden might be a raid on an occupied house that doesn't happen, which would make the work a very good investment. Not much will grow before mid-February (the traditional time to plant Irish potatoes here) but I'm sure preliminary work will be starting after two weeks of no groceries or electricity.

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Mt. Rider, if the grid does goes down I don't expect it back up in 2 weeks either but I could bring myself to even thing 6 months down the road. But by then it will be June and I would need AC...hummm you know summer in Texas is just down right scary.

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Ok so here goes....I thought about this all day .


Immediately…fill everything I can find with water. That is the one area that this going to hurt us. We are on city water and do not have but 2 days stored (as of today). Make sure all openings under the house are closed and sealed off to help keep the pipes from freezing.


Pray the natural gas keeps working. If we should lose it we will have to pull out the little camping heater. We have a tiny house (700 sq ft) so if I could keep it above freezing we would be ok. We have very few trees were we are so when the sun goes down there is nothing to hold the heat in and that means there will be no after dark work. However, during the daylight even on the coldest days it gets warm because there are no trees to block the sun.


Pull out the candles and matches and have them in easy reach. Also set out the oil lamps and oil. Bring the dog in and secure the doors. Contact the kids and let them know I trip to see them has been put on hold until the gas stations have electricity again. We are in Texas and two of the boys are in NC. I figure since it is New Years the son and family that lives 8 hours south will be here. We celebrate Christmas on New Year’s so that they are home for Christmas and can spend it with the in laws. I get New Year’s.


If that is the case that will mean there will be 3 extra people in the house. Bigger drain on the water and sewer…not good.

Since it is now midnight and the new year has been rung in I will put on extra socks and go snuggle in bed with hubby.


12 hours…


Start whining because everything I start to do requires electricity. Meals would be anything in the refrigerator right now. I think I would drive around and see if any of the stores are open so I could pick up fresh stuff like fruit, veggies and maybe bottled water before people realize that the city water plant is about to issue a water warning. Also see if we could pick up more propane for the emergency heater. Double check the insulation of the windows. Hang blankets over the doors and windows to help stop the draft. Must find alternate way to grind coffee beans, hubby will be needing his caffeine fix. (note to self-try mashing beans with hammer and boiling. Oh honey, guess what kind of coffee you are getting in the morning LOL) IF there is snow we will start catching it for water.


36 hours…


Today is the day we start draining the water heater. We will also start a composting toilet. If the water system is down so is the sewer system. This is the one area many forget about when they live in town. The sewer lines will begin to back up soon because the pumps are not working. By now all the left overs will be gone so I will fill fire up the camp stove and the grill. We will need to start cooking what is in the freezer that has thawed. Saving all canned food for later


72 hours…


More of the same... Hopefully there is snow if not will have to find another water source. Talk about heading south but not sure if that would be wise. If we are without power how many others are without power. Gas pumps need power to work so we would be leery about hitting the road and running out of gas. The oldest is 8 hours south (unless of course they came up for New Years). It would be warmer down there that is for sure but getting from here to there would be the question. If the hospital is still open and running we will stay because it is hubby’s job to keep things going at the hospital. I have a feeling I will be on my own at home if something like this does happen because they will keep maintenance there 24/7. Thank goodness it is just 10 minutes away.


By now solar chargers will be up and running keeping the cell phones charged and the kindle and laptop batteries charged so that we can keep up on the news.


I would set up a washing system. You know the old fashion tubs and plunger. That way it would not use as much water. I would not worry too much about our outer clothes and just spot clean them. Maybe spray them with vinegar water and hang them out to air out. It would be the underclothes that I would make sure to keep clean, especially socks. Don’t need or want funky feet in a time like this. A bucket of Lysol water would be set up to put them in as we take them off then after a couple of days I would wash them out and hang them to dry. Right now hubby has enough socks and underwear that I could just wash once a week.


2 weeks…


Well life as we know it will be over. Hubby will still have to work since he works at a hospital. I on the other hand have no clue what my employer will do. I work for a local church and well I know they will open but I am not sure what I would do because I wouldn’t even be able to answer the phone. It is a multi line phone system and when the power goes down it won’t answer. We would have to figure out a way to set it so an old fashioned ringy dingy phone would work.


I would start finding ways to grow lettuce and spinach in the house. I would also try starting some fresh herbs and maybe even green onions. Would have to come up with a way to utilize the low lighting of winter months. Maybe put starter trays on a shelving unit and surround it by mirrors or foil so that the light would reflect on to the back side. I figure by now most will flee town and head towards family in larger cities. Bad idea but I am not telling them to stay that is for sure.


I would network with a couple of families from our church. One is the head of EMS here in town and has 6 kids plus a dil so there will be lots of young bodies for the heavy lifting. Another I would network with is a younger family they have 2 children but are preppers and get the whole concept. He is former army so we would need him. Of course we would pull in our state trooper friend and family. He would probably be on 24/7 and they have two small children. We would take them in just so we would know they are taken care of. That leaves one other family that we would consider networking with if they didn’t head to her mother’s and hour away. For general drama purposes we will assume son #1 and family are here so that will give a total of 22 people if Z&G don’t go to her mother’s. One of those is expecting (IRL) and is due 1/15. Thank goodness fil is the head of EMS. We would have 4 over the age of 50- 60 yr olds; 4 40-year olds; 4 30- year olds; 2 – 19&20 yr olds; 4 teenagers and 6- 10 and younger.

It would mean a lot of coordination and a lot of cooperation but I wouldn’t hesitate to contact any of them.


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There went my big ole happy balloon. I'm just going to move in with you and snuggle down with Koa!


Edited to clarify:

Oh yikes! To any guests reading this...Koa is her dog (really big dog) and not her husband! :0327:



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If it went down entirely , within 12 hrs I would be awake again, but at first would clear desk off and set up a couple candles and boxed matches. Then I would sort out clothing for the next few days and make sure I had outdoor stuff to hand too. Fill bottles or pots with spare water also .... building would hopefully be ok overnight. I will be danged if IM going under it in the dark and cold. Crawl space I have never been inside of . Ok.... crank radio for twenty minutes or so, listen and find out its the whole continent basically out of power. Oh, jolly times.... would set up sterno stove and have single burner coleman and propane cannister handy. Electric stoves suck when power outtages occur. I would probably make a few quart pans of stove top bread with an added egg and stick those in the ziploc bag. If I had some meat in the frig at the time I would make up a pot of stew with vegetables. Its filling and really does go a long ways with me , and I could have it for any neighbor to get a bowlful if that was really necessary ( then send him on his way to his nearest relatives, lol. )

Other than that I am not sharing. LOL.

Ok... get some sleep since i know I will need it. Wake up about that 12 hr mark anyway.... since I stay up late. ( power still out of course. ... )

Crank up radio while water is heating for some coffee. Listen to outside noises..... if they seem normal or not. Listen to radio. Discern what there is to know. Time to implement Plan B. Plan b is winter buggout because this place will freeze stiff in a week, and if the grid is down, so is my paycheck, so I would technically have a month to move out. ( I will use that time to build a place in the woods and set up a permanent camp and transfer stuff via pack and wagon..... this is gonna be funnnnn. Not. I can heat a shelter, I cannot heat an apartment that has no gas furnace set up. It requires electricity and the landlady doesnt know how to run a generator and wouldn't for the likes of us I am sure.


Ok, coffee time and time to write a letter that goes to Hawaii. Post Office may be the only way to get messages out. Oh, and one to dad in California and one to by big brother in TX. Ok, short and sweet then....... they already think IM insane. But we are all stuck thousands of miles apart in this matter. So.... we each would have to do what we could. In our own corners of the world.


Ok, maybe 45 minutes of writing. Addresses and envelopes and stamps...... walks down to post office after using a bit of water in a small bowl to wash up with and put on warm solid winter clothing for outside. Goes inside , since postmaster is actually there working, taking in peoples mail, because others have the same idea as me. There is a line, Everyone wants to know if he knows anything else than they heard so far. Not really. But he has a very serious look on his face. I know he isn't saying what he is thinking. Its my turn.

"" There is a lot of serious damage to the grid, right? " I ask, point blank.

" Yep. "


"Ok. Well , I appreciate you taking in mail today, it really is an emergency. I hope these letters make it to their destinations. Best wishes to you , sir. " I hand him my letters and depart to home. He has a sign up, he will be there once a week from now on, Monday afternoons until 3 pm. "


So, I mark that day and timeframe in my mind. It is January 1st, 2015. Thursday today....



K. Go home and strip down. The apartment is plenty warm and I am getting the hang of using the litttle sterno stove. But I never did get a lot of the cans for it. I eat some stew and heat up water for instant coffee. I take my meds and do my blood sugar, ( before i eat) since I had nothing in the coffee that does much to it, it was fine at 115. I get my map book out and look over things, thinking how it is in winter and what could happen very soon in this town of mine. I use the pink marker and slice out that page in the book that is my area with my gerber knife. I put on my reading glasses to see all the details clearly...... and mark the trails and look at the lay of the land and remember from drives.. and find a couple spots to go look at. I am good for now. Had enough sleep, resolved instead of cranky or super worried. I had been getting better about that type of emotional stuff in recent months and was thankful for it.
I got my day pack out and emptied it on the bed and cleared out dross and sorted what was useful and rebagged it more properly, the small stuff. I got out two changes of wool boot socks, underwear, long underwear, a clean shirt, an extra knit hat, my zero bag, my survival gear and two flashlights and the handful of chem lights and a couple plumbers candles and put strike anywhere matches in my match jar and screwed it tight ( water proof. ) I filled the second one and pocketed that one. The first went inside the pack. I put my leather mitts with my knitted ones and my good woolen knit hat, poncho, 6mil plastic, paracord bundles, in the pack and enough dehydrated food for four days and snack bars. I put my little mess kit in with tin cups, one being army surplus. I tied on my camo tent, insulation pad, hatchet, water bottles, zero bag. Clean wipes and brandy flask. toilet paper. Hand towel and wash cloth and camp soap. Eating utensils, cooking stuff, a pie tin and enamel bowl.


I sharpened my axe. my favorite knives. checked to make sure my little P38 canopener was on my key ring and pocketed my fire striker. I found my small first aid kit, put in my meds bottles, and tucked it into my pack, put a memo book in with pencils. Ink freezes in winter here. I folded the map page and double bagged it in ziploc bags. I put my compass in my front left pocket. My cell phone had a good charge so I tucked it into its dry container but turned it off completely to save the battery. It might be a help, or it might not. I didn't know but I was not leaving it. I got my big survival knife out and its sheath and put it on my belt after working on its sharpness a while. I put the knife sharpener in my pack too.


I put my favorite book in too and my large print bible. It sure was quiet without the noise of tv and stereos on around here. But the sky was clear and for all the polar vortex cold already , it wasn't too bad outside. Still, it was maybe 16F outside. I could feel the whole place starting to cool down.



I cranked the radio back up , darn thing was noisy as heck though and it made me nervous. I was listening though when some people walked over from the other apartments. They came in ours and knocked on the door. They wanted news , was all.


" The power grid is down completely. Nothing is going to be fixed for at least two weeks, they say. Just as they said last night once it started going dark." I did not open my locked door. " They just keep repeating that and tell folks to stay at home or go to where they can keep warm. Like relatives with wood stoves."


" Ok, thats what we thought about already, thanks. "

" you are welcome."



I drank my coffee and used the bathroom, putting a few toiletries in my pack as well. Instant coffee and sweetener and a bag of instant milk. One extra spoon for stirring it.


I heated up water to wash the dishes in the sink, in a big bowl to conserve water. Left them to dry, swept up and cleaned the bathroom and swept the carpet. Took the trash out and counted my trash bags and added two to my own pack. I set up a huge bowl of water for my cat and a big bowl of food and cleaned out her nearly new cat litter so she would be comfortable and straightened up things a bit more. I was able to fold up the sterno stove , now cool and put two cans of sterno with it in to my pack. That was about as much as my old back could carry. Luckily the weather forecast had no snow expected in the next several days.

I was dressed for outside again and walking up the river road to the mountain road. There was little traffic. But there was some and it was good to see. So it wasnt the emp situation, at least not here. Just Grid Down. We were still in the dark. Basic things had all just ground to a big halt.


I spent the next three hours walking , some on the plowed road and some on the snow at the side of it if traffic came by. Nobody stopped to give me a lift , but I made it to the trail head. NO fresh tracks except deer tracks and some other critter, maybe a marten had been up it. I made sure no one was on the road , in sight, and turned off and huffed it up into the trees. I managed about a mile and a half well into the mountain and knew I had to make a camp for the night. Well shielded by ridge and trees and thickets full of snow, I found a level place that rose up some so in case it melted, I wouldn't have run off soaking me by morning. NO dead looking trees or such things as might fall in the wind...... mostly sky in this one small spot. I set up my tent and rolled out my insulation pad, put my pack inside and set up a spot on a flat rock after clearing snow away about ten feet from the tent, to cook on. I collected down wood and grandma wood and made a nice fire. Birch bark is wonderful tender. It was actually pretty windless , which made for perfect fire starting . I set the fire only six feet from the tent entrance on some very damp logs to keep it out of the snow. Even a small fire throws out some heat though, but mostly I wanted it for light. I did set up a chem light in my tent, hanging it from the apex. It would burn for several hours. I could not ask for more ideal winter conditions, really. I prayed and cooked my supper and had a cup of coffee and went to my designated latrine spot afterwards. The fire died down and that was fine. It was more for morale than anything at this point. I put my sterno stuff, now cooled off in the tent when the fire went down to coals and I laid green wood over it and smoored it some . There might be a few coals in the morning, or not. The hike up the mountain had been thorough, and I was tired , still I watched about the camp as it grew totally dark, listened to the quiet mountain and woods sounds to get used to them a bit more, and watched the stars for a little while. It was good to just rest. Now, stuff was really happening and it was up to me to take care of myself. Miss Macy was probably really ticked by now that I wasn't home since it was dark, but once I located a place and built a shelter I could bring her out and get her settled too. Then she could have some outside adventures. I prayed for everyone I knew all over the country and other places too that depended on the US infrastructure, well , those that mattered to me, friends in other good countries. Who knew if they were affected already too?


I inspected my tired feet, and they were ok. I cleaned them and put on clean socks with my soft long underwear. Hung my jacket and knit goods to air out and used shirt. Zipped up the tent , satisified it was stalwart enough and things were feeling relatively safe for the environment. Most wild things are in their own dens at this time of year but it was two leggeds that now worried me. I was thankful for the chem light. OUTSIDE IT WAS DARK and TOTALLY NEW TERRITORY TO ME. Sound can carry and occasionally I heard wheels on the frost heaves of the route road. Thunk per thunk, thunk thunk....rattle , thunk, fading off...... no one stopped. Good , if they noticed footprints in the snow at night, they were looking for trouble. MY axe was beside me as was my knife.

I went to sleep.

By the time 36 hrs were up, I was packed up , fed and making my way gingerly down slippery snow on the trail to the Jolly Creek beyond the mountain. It was not real steep luckily, but it took alot of concentration and slow stepping so it took a while. Down below an old lookout that was no longer maintained there was a good spot of woods near the creek, about 100 feet up from it, and a slope down to the creek. I made it down ok and looked back up the trail I had made. Well, it was not great to leave prints in the snow but maybe I wouldn't be bothered here. If anything, people were regrouping in houses and going away from town semi permanently with relatives or friends if they left town at all. I probably would not be too noticeable. I hoped this was state land, it was designated wilderness, so maybe that also meant nobody really owned it. I absolutely did not mean to tick off a land owner.

I got into the treeline and set my stuff down on a big stump. It had been logged over a few decades back. Amazingly, though, the forest comes back. It had, and in the summer it would be thick as it gets these days. That was pretty thick. Still, stark in winter, except for the exact lay of the land, I could see how it would be , then. This was enough for my purposes until after the spring thaw. There were lots of sapling to small trees growing here. The creek looked substantial and might even be fairly deep in spots. I walked down closer to it but not so close I might fall through any thin ice and looked back up the slope. There was even a spot that might be ok for gardening. , I saw. There were downfalls in the area where I could gather wood if I chipped away frozen snow and dug into the pile if I could and plenty of birch and pine that will burn even green. I was making do. I could still cut some wood and season it some as time went on for later, if needed , I would then have that too. I made my way slowly up the slope and took my stuff over to a small glade I had spotted, with the treeline about 25 yards back from it. I could see down the creek line a ways. That was fine. I needed to see what might come at me and the building materials at least blended in with the season here pretty much. I gathered wood from the trees and set up a log base from a fallen birch I managed to chop through with my axe because it is brittle and the trunk was old and built up a fire on the log base. It was flat, so I cut some boughs of cedar and lined the area around the log base, a bit back but so I could sit cross legged up off the snow. I rigged up a twig table for my sterno stove and enough room for a plate and utensils with sticks and some paracord and made coffee and some quick soup of dehydrated chicken pieces and vegetables, and ate a half round of bread. I was burning up calories with all this exercise. I melted snow slowly with a bit of water in my cup and washed out the bowl and utensils and made coffee after I chopped a good hole through the ice at the creek, and used a ziploc bag for water carrying. After my meal had settled I took the axe and went to chop down saplings.


I spent a couple hours doing that slowly as I didn't know how fast I could move on strange ground yet and I didn't want to hurt myself or strain anything and I really knew it was a bad idea to work up a sweat. I leveled the tops of the saplings and staked them down together, laid next to one another on and area I leveled the snow down to the ground as much as possible and wove paracord through them and tied it tightly , flat side up. It had enough length for a porch area to keep me off the snow too. Sort of like rough planking. It was good and solid and I rocked in some stakes . They just won't go in the ground til it thawed. I packed small rocks I managed to knock loose out of a dry spot in the creek bank in one spot to help stabilize it but that is hard work in the cold. I set up the tent and collected more wood for a fire and thawed out the bread and more chicken stew and had a big cup of coffee , listening to the silence. I knew the world was starting to go amuck about now, almost three days into a total black out, but while I was concerned about my son and his wife in Hawaii, Dad, because he was helpless against rioters, and my brother in a vacant land, and maybe someone had broken into my own place by now, I felt I had found a Place. And it was ok. That was the peace from God. I heated up some water in my quart bowl by the fire and washed in my tent after I set it up and loaded it with dry frozen cattails for some padding over the roughly leveled wood. The tent was only temporary until I could build a wood shelter, but for now it made a decent camp. I secured it snugly and it should stay up even in a good wind now. I hoped. I needed to get that shelter built. Still, for now, in good weather, it was fine. If nobody bothered me. I had not seen a soul all day. while I was eating though, the deer came and drank where I cracked open the ice. They were unafraid. Nobody had hunted them. Amazing. Or they were just very thirsty. I sat still and watched. Four deer , a family group then.


When they had gone, I cranked up my radio wondering if I would even get any reception. I could , so I listened for a while. There was rioting and looting. Electronics of course. Food , water, gas, guns, all that stuff , medical stuff and drugs from pharmacies. I said a prayer for my family, friends and the country. We were in big trouble. It was getting dark and I was worn out from my efforts. I felt good though. I went to my latrine I had fashioned , unfortunately only as deep as the snow , was the pit. But I had made a bench and leveled the pieces and tied them together into a seat, and it offered some privacy behind a big rock and surrounded by trees that would fill in in the spring time. I would dig a proper latrine later and bury this one once the ground thawed again, actually it would be outfitted with a bucket when I returned. I threw in several handfuls of snow to cover the mess , it would freeze. I had forgotten my doodie bags system. I had also forgotten to bring sunglasses and lotion. I went to my sleeping bag. The tent kept me somewhat insulated but it actually felt 'balmy' and I fell asleep easy enough. That was good. I was good and tired out. I slept til dawn and woke up to it warming the inside of the tent. I made oatmeal and a tortilla and filled it with ham and cheese I needed to eat up.

I washed my face and hair after I did the dishes and heated more water. I combed it and put my hat on . I took my leather mitts out after sharpening my axe on my porch and went to work , cutting down small trees, delimbing them and rolling them down the slight slope to the glade until the sun was high. I had quite a few. Enough for framing and posts. Maybe to start the walls. I took a break and made up a sandwich with some of my bread and the rest of the ham and afew slices of the brick cheese. I set a little apple cobbler to bake on the edge of the fire in a greased pan with foil over it.


I am not a tall person and I had nobody to help me do the building. I also was not real strong anymore. So I had to improvise and I did not need to build a too big to heat place since I did not have wood already stored. Primitive building that actually could degrade back into the environment would be fine and appropriate because it took up less space anyway and less materials and was simple.

Basically I was going to fashion a trappers cabin like old French Louie may have made for a winter place a time or two. But I needed rocks too, and I was going to have to thaw out some frozen ground. One would never carry out what I was going to carry out in the next two days, in summer time, but it was cold and damp and frozen so I was going to build a big fire on the embankment. I just hoped it didn't bring others around me , here. Not yet. I had little to defend myself with.

Still, I hoped people were only on the roads. I had not seen any chimney smoke in the distance either . Maybe noone was near. I went and gathered the trimmings and set a fire in them over the slope of the embankment that had rocks sticking out of it. I built it about ten feet across and over a foot deep before I was done gathering wood. It was quite a fire. It was the warmest I had been in a couple days too. Ha. But it burned for hours and then I let it die out and I lit a candle in my jar and took out a split plank piece and began to dig away the mud with my mittens on. It was soft enough and I could lever out the rocks some . I needed both mud and rocks I built up a smaller fire there again for light and one on the log base near the tent and spot where I wanted my trapper cabin , and worked , walking between the fires, trodding down snow in my snow boots and getting my long underwear shirt pretty muddy. The work kept me warm and my hat kept my ears warm. But by 2am I had a hearth built and a cob fireplace with the beginnings of an oven built. It would provide for cooking and radiant heat when it was done. Washed up and washed out my shirt in the creek the best I could in the small bit of firelight and hung it on a birch branch in the moonlight to drip, freeze or dry as it would and went to my tent. I slept even as sore as I was. I woke up a bit late but let the coffee cup warm and loosen my hands up and I went to work, slowly adzing the small timber and levering it into place between stakes I set up onto rock pilings I made with more warmed up mud. Using a plumb line, I created pole and frame work I tied together with paracord. I had forgotten nails and a hammer. I had one window only. I had one doorway. I made the walls sixty six inches tall and built up the chimney so it was a good eight inches interior diameter and left it to cure with a tiny fire on the hearth to bring the temperature up and the humidity down.


I cut and squared some thick saplings and set them in cut away spots evenly along the fourteen foot long walls , with a good foot and a half outside the walls. I made a ladder and put up the six mil plastic over the arches I made , which was only temporary ,. Leaving the area over the hearth open as it would take a while to finish the chimney properly as it cured over the weeks ahead. Still it was steep arches . I just needed to roof it over. This was to keep snow fall out if it didn't come down to heavy. ( that was asking for a miracle but I had to go back to town and see to my cat and get more supplies. ) . I set a small fire to burn for a while at least in the hearth again before going to sleep in my tent. The next morning I cleaned out the ashes from the hearth. It was drying and there were no cracks. I chinked the walls with warmed mud mixed with moss I took from the trees. I split one birch into angled planks and let them dry alongside the cabin. , propped up against the side, on rocks to keep them out of the snow. I gathered more wood for fires and brought it into the cabin. I put my tent and stuff inside but took my zero bag with me and my pack and water bottle and mess kit stuff. I brought the hatchet with me but hid my axe in the trees and made sure all the fires were out before hiking back up to the road and heading back to my apartment. I got home in the late afternoon. Miss Macy gave me grief but was still ready to acknowledge I had come back for her when I walked in the door , inspecting things . Everything was the way I left it but it sure was quiet. It was also pretty cool inside. I cleaned out my day pack and restocked it. I got my wagon out and fit the box to it and loaded it up with goods, nails and hammer too. Five gallon bucket and cat carrier. Some pots and frying pans too. Smaller bucket for water. Cat food too and bowls for the cat. Bungee cords. Linens. camp cot mattress rolled and tied with cord. ropes, duct tape. candles , one lantern and three quarts of lantern oil. knitting supplies and a couple books that were useful, herbals and skills books. Important papers, a few chosen favorite photos. food that would do for a week or so. I would have to come back several times but I managed to pack all this up and could put the cat carrier buffered by an extra blanket on top, bungee corded down. It was going to be one big adventure getting Miss Macy up the mountain.

Sewing kit, linens and the half bolt of muslin. One window from the other back apartment. Deserted. I put up plastic with tacks and tape. Sport bag with extra clothes and laundry soap.

When it was all done i still had half an hour til dark. I played fetch the mouse with my cat and then put back on my some outdoor clothes and went down the street quietly and quickly to see my neighbor's M and L. M was there by herself. Puzzled, I came inside when she bid me enter.

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" They came and took him, and my dog. "

"Took him? "

"Yes, he had another bad stroke. I couldn't move him and I let a neighbor know. I couldn't find you. The EMS volunteers came with a truck and took him away. They said Burlington. I can't even get over there to see him. But I don't think there is need to now. They didn't have much hope for him."

"But without a phone you have to wait until someone notifies you or by mail, if it comes. "

" Exactly."

"Why would they take your dog?" "

" They said they would put her down. I am not allowed to feed her." " Where did you go?" " Nobody had a key to check on you they said. "

" Glad they didn't break the door down then." " I was up on a mountain. "

"Is that a good thing?"

"It might be better than freezing to death. I am making a place. I got a fireplace and walls so far.

" Word is , they won't be able to fix the Grid anytime this winter. "

I nodded. I had not thought so.

" People are leaving town. They may not even try and resupply very often. But if you go upstairs to the bedroom you will see some honeyville boxes. I ordered stuff each month since October. I thought it would come in handy. But I have no way to cook it unless I get wood and make a fire outside."

Well, I have that coleman stove, we can set it up here and it will help keep the chill off some. I need about a week to finish that place, enough to be able to bring you and more supplies up there too. Its a heck of a walk."

" How long do you think it would take me to walk up there?"

" In your condition, more than a day."

"I would still do it."

" I know, that's one of the reasons I like ya!"


Her eyes sparkled.

"Look. Astri said call her on Sunday nite if I saw you again. Her car is running. She said she would bring me any where in the area when I was ready. We could move alot of stuff to the trail head I bet, cause I figured you would go up some local trail."

"Call? You mean our cell phones will work? "

Yea, if yours still has a charge. Locally at least, they set it up for communications. "

" sheesh, yes it does. "

I will go get it and the stove for you. Let me bring down my stew stuff and we will have coffee and some stew and I can make stove top biscuit cake. Its not bad and you ate all your bread I can see.

" Sounds good." " Be careful, there is a curfew'.

Yea I figured.


I go back to my place, pet the cat and put a box of stuff together to take down to M's and my phone. Stepping back outside, it is full dark. I wait at the edge of the building in the stair well, listening for footsteps, voices, cars and trucks. Nada. I glance out on the street, nothing but Miss Kitty Cat and Midnight doing a starefight in the middle of the cold street. Dumb cats. I walk down the sidewalk back to M's place and we start coffee and then the stew. It gave me a chance to show her how to cook on the stove and how to fix dried foods into something edible.

We ate, I melted snow for dish water and for her toilet tank and we made cocoa for dessert and called Astri. Astri would pick us up at 830am and we were to have as much as her subaru station wagon could carry if we wanted, ready to grab and load. She would talk to someone about lumber for me. tar paper and such for roofing. She knew a contractor that always kept spare lumber and stuff in his garage for emergency repairs and building stuff. Gratis, he owned her and her husband for a loan. Astri was a wonderful angel as far as i was concerned. I had things she could use. We considered this and she called it even.

It was the best thing to do, she insisted, even if it would worry her. The soldiers would be here soon. Anyone who wasn't a 'productive' person would be taken.

"Yea, I noticed that. " I glanced at M. She nodded fiercely.

Genocide was being methodically expanded.

I was determined we would survive it.


Ok. we need to cut this short as they monitor if you stay on phones longer than 15 minutes, that is if you speak in English without accents."

o.0 :scratchhead:


ok, see you in the morning.


"Hey, duckie, is it a nice place? "


"Yea, rustic, but it will be nice. I surprised my self with how much I figured out and managed so far."


"Good! See you tomorrow."


"Its not that far but the hike will wear M out."


"No worries, I will just sleep better the first night."


Ha. We hung up the phone. ( click).



I took my phone home. I would have coffee in the morning with M.


How the heck could I get all this stuff and M down that icy trail? Ice trax! I got out my pair. and my hiking boots. We all had them. I hoped.


roofing materials would be a find for sure, and maybe help to put it on the roof. People meant well around here and if someone really needed help, they would help out.


Astri wouldn't send someone I couldn't trust.


I found my heirloom seeds and other hybrid stuff that might still grow come spring. I put them in the box on the wagon. Stuck all my toilet paper in my five gallon bucket.


I brushed my hair and trimmed it as neatly as I could. I was sore from all the work I had been doing but I managed. I brushed my teeth and washed my hands and face and washed out my socks in some cool soapy water and rinsed and hung them in the shower to dry. It was even colder inside the apartment, I put on sweats and went to bed. Miss Macy curled up with me. Well past the 72 hours now. Even though my thoughts were busy , i was out like a light and awake at 730am , about dawn in these climes. Up with the sun. I was starting to get used to it. I washed with a wet cloth and hung it to dry and was glad my socks had dried and put them in my pack. Dressed I went down to M's and helped her pack clothes. some linens, blankets and her pillows, and brought down the boxes of dehydrated food while she ziploc'd flour and sugar and stuff or put it in containers and sorted out a few cannisters and other food stuffs that would certainly keep in the cold. She had been freezing water outside in a tupper ware container and keeping her refrigerator cold. We had triscuits and cheese and burritos for breakfast. Coffee. We both liked our coffee in the morning.


Astri showed up on time, and had a cup of coffee with us, and we loaded her car. She had brought a small square sled too. And dog food and a dog, named Ben. Ben was a Bernese Mountain dog, about half grown.He was a rescue. Had all his shots and liked both M and me tremendously. He was well enough trained that he should be good company and was developing his instincts. He would be good warning and protection as he got a bit older, she insisted we take him. Wtih the seven foot leash, we managed to get him, the stuff in the sled and my wagon , dragging it through the snow, three trips with M and Ben staying put once we reached the half built cabin. Astri helped me rig a pole structure and tarp over the tent after I set it up , in case it snowed and for a wind break. M sat out on a folding chair by the log base fire though , and waited for us to finish, cooking up some chili soup with dehydrated meat in it and baking some bread in a pan. But by 330pm, I was seeing Astri back to her car and got back before dark. It had clouded up and looked like snow by morning. It had been a slick set of trips up and down the now packed trail, but the ice traxs had helped. We had managed it but were exhausted. When it was dark, we went to bed in the tent with cots set up for a bit more comfort.

Waking up at dawn, I walked the dog while M watched. I split wood that morning and built a rustic outhouse we set up so we could empty the bucket from twice a week. M worked on clearing paths down to the creek spot where I got water and helped me shave down split planks so we could make a shutter for the window, held it still while I sealed it in , and helped me hang the door with the hardware I had brought and handed me the tools. That afternoon, I felled more small timber and showed her how I squared them. We managed to finish framing the roof and I used the nails and we pulled the cord ties loose. We worked on the cob mix, finding still sticking up wild grasses and she cutting it up with my old pair of every day scissors so we could mix that in the mud. We finished chinking the cabin tht evening. Since the roof wasn't on, there was air above the fireplace so we built a fire in it and moved the cots in and Ben came in and lay by the hearth. The plastic still held in quite a lot of heat and we were able to sit in flannels and sweaters in relative comfort.

M said it reminded her of some of the survival shows. I laughed, very true. We got on well as friends and roomies. But we both realized we really had little choice if we were going to avoid being taken off to god knows where. Camps? or execution ? both?


I cranked up the radio and we listened, then curled up across the room from each other, like sisters sharing a room. I had managed a good wooden latch but it would be nice to install a lock on the door. But we now had a door. Grateful, I went to sleep., and awoke sometime in the night. The snow had not been much so far and it sounded like trying to forecast the weather was nearly impossible. The news was not good and it sounded like danger levels were all raised on various types of situations. I decided we must just concentrate on ourselves. With Astri's help, we had brought up most of the food and the linens we could deal with . Many small things added up. I had rebuilt my life a few times. But I had always had money of at least some amount to do it. There had been no news of where the President was or his cabinet or Congress. Everything was under martial law. Even the banks were closed.

But things must be paid for , or in the underground, as it were, bargained for.

We would have to get by. As honestly as we could. Miss Macy was asleep by my feet already. I went to sleep again.

Edited by sassenach
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Oh,my goodness Sassenach, I enjoyed your posts so much. You thought of everything, things I would never think of. If this ever happens , I hope I can have someone as able as you around. I'm the only one in my family who preps , no one else believes anything can happen.


OK when is the next chapter? Get busy writing now, I can read faster than you can write darn it.I gotta slow down and let you breathe huh?

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Lol, working on some knitting, knee highs of wool sock yarn right now! I will get back to it later today or tonight. That did take a while. Yes, I have a friend, M, who has a severely compromised stroke victim partner , and a situation like this would probably cause another stroke. She and I get along really well. She has osteoarthritis severely and walks with a walker and some other stuff but she copes well and has the drive to not give up under harsh circumstances. Even if it is at a shuffle. Still, she would be able to do household chores to an extent and maybe even help garden, and she is an intelligent friend and good companion. She says she really is game to try to make it out there if we ever really needed to. She is one of the few folks I know around here that I feel I can trust. We also have many kerosene powered cell towers around here, so that is how I decided they could be useful locally at least, in the story. She has survived many things, even from early childhood. I want that kind of attitude around me...... and of course we needed a good mountain dog.

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Wow.. that's a story. :cheer: Of course I'm not sure I'd be brave enough to wash up in a tent without a heater when it's less than 16* (since it was 16* before dark). I've been in a tent without a heater at not less than 20* and I was hard put to shed a layer to get into bed :frozen:

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If the grid went down at 10 pm, I would call my Mom to see if she's doing OK, DH or DS would build a fire in the living room wood stove and we would go to bed. We have a wood furnace in the basement that puts out heat through the duct work for our propane furnace that is now unhooked. We can keep a fire in the furnace but it just heats the basement. of course some heat comes up the open stairway. Mom has a small wood stove and keeps kindling in it ready to light.


The next day, I would call Mom first. We are very fortunate that we have gravity water so we would have all the water we need for drinking, cooking, bathing, flushing, etc. Our propane water heater is hooked up to the wood furnace so when there is a fire in it, it also heats the water. Mom has a spring and a pump. She has enough water coming in without the pump running to drink, cook, sponge bathe and flush the toilet occasionally. She can cook on her wood stove too.


Our local gas stations (one 2 miles away and another one 12 miles away) both have generators so DH or DS would go fill our gas cans asap. On the way home, they would drop off some ready to heat foods for Mom and see if her house is warm. She much prefers being by herself if possible. They would check her freezer too.


36 hours later and beyond. Once we find out the entire grid is down, it would be time to make some decision about Mom, probably bring her and her little dog to our house. I would need to prepare the library for DH and me to sleep in or maybe the den on the hide-a-bed and fix our room up for Mom. We would bring all her food, bedding and whatever she needed personally also. The men would have to drain her water pipes to they wouldn't freeze. By now we would have to be running the generator for the freezer. We have racks that DH made to go over our living room wood stove to dehydrate food on. We would be drying the fruits and vegetables from the freezer as quickly as possible. This rack system will hold a bushel of apples.


We have neighbors that would need to come here and get water or take showers. Some don't have any other heat source that doesn't require electricity. Being without the Internet would be quite an adjustment!

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Well...you get to the point where you must wash off all the grit and such. Sure, its a bit crisp but the tent blocked the wind and the rushes absorbed any drips. You wash up really fast with a cloth and hot water and soap and towel off and shrug back into good sleep clothes, really fast! lol. Or day clothes if its morning, of course and you have things you must be doing.


We woke up with the sun peeking over the ridges and into the valley and shining on the slope here by the creek. But clouds were beginning to gather and thicken. They had moved in over the dark hours. A storm from our southwest and the Ohio Valley. The temperature felt colder, but we had chores to do and I had to manage something better for the roof to guard against the snow fall. It was going to take up to two more weeks to finish the whole chimney. Unless I had had chimney parts that would work, but I had never purchased them. I had always thought I would be building in the warm months and had put it off. So many things had been put off. yet we had a good start on the cabin, and there was water to boil and purify, and we had quite a lot of stored food. As I went to the latrine and then washed before fetching more water , which I put in a five gallon bucket and a stock pot to boil up. I used a purple marker on that five gallon bucket to designate it for water waiting purification. M fed Ben and walked him outside while she looked around a bit, getting familiar, but they were not outside long because it was getting breezy and the clouds were partly blocking the winter sun now. She washed up and stirred up some pancake mix , milk and made stewed apples and peaches. I made coffee on the hearth. Miss Macy went outside and gingerly began to get used to walking in snow. She found a spot up on the log base where i burned the outside fire but it was out cold now. The key issue was it was free of snow. Ben looked woebegone when we insisted he would have to wait for scraps, and followed her outside and we shut the door to keep some of the hearth heat in. We ate and I washed up the pans and dishes and gave Ben a few scraps, but we saved all the whole pancakes as our bread portion since M had fried up a whole batch. M finished the task of boiling the water in the bucket and sanitizing another brand new bucket i had before filling it up and putting the lid on and stood it in the corner for us to use during the day, except for a basin of hot water for herself. She had not bathed and I was going out to chop wood anyway and see if I could find a bit more lumber to brace the other long tarp on the roof and would be outside for quite some time. I gathered up the axe, the hatchet, the nails and toe para cord and rope. First I chopped up some of the trimmed wood i had in the yard area from my lumber work prior to this morning, chopped up two buckets of kindling and brought in several arm loads of fragrant birch and pine boughs. I wished I had found this place in the summer. I would have stored cord wood to cure here, but we would manage. I brought in a bag of birch bark too and had her sit and shred it finely for tinder. I filled and hung two oil lanterns and checked that they would light and the globes were clean. I blew them out, they were only for night time use at this point. The cabin was not as dim however, because the plastic let in a lot of ambient light. But it would be once the roof was on. I was going to have to find a source of lamp oil. We did have twelve gallons of olive oil, but to me that was good food and I really didn't want to use it for lamps. It was good M got up early and now I did.


I went back out and walked down the path I had cleared through into the wooded area up from the house. Miss Macy didn't seem too inclined to move from her relatively dry place just yet and it was high enough she could eyeball the pup square on when he got too rambunctious , wanting to play. I let out a whistle and he came with me. I selected two tall cedar saplings and went to work. It really only took a few minutes each one , once my muscles warmed up....... and I was careful. But chopping trees seems to be in the blood. I just hoped some game warden didn't show up. Still, they were all smaller than eight inches in diameter and as long as you were selective, you usually didn't get hounded about it. I was trimming limbs , picking some out to bundle to the cabin for arrow making when I heard a screech on ice, wood groaning and some gruff words and a shout up behind me. Voices, more than one. Well, at least I had my knife and axe....


It was Astri's friends moving three sledges down the hiking trail, heaped high with tarped supplies, and six men or large teens . Ben went bounding up to them and slobbered and wrastled in the old snow with the boys before they made it down in a better group to the cabin' opening in the wood. Jim, Angus, Mort, Dave and Sam were some hearty men, I will say. I was amazed they had made it but the ropes to guide them had been sure and the men steady on their pins , they claimed. An amazing feet. They had had to come down the mountain trail afoot. Jim insisted he knew these trails though, since he was a boy and he assured me it was wild land but manageable and I had actually chosen a pretty good spot. The teen lads were Jesse and Parker. They were already untarping the first sledge and getting ready to carry in a multitude of boxes to the cabin, surprising M who hurried to make a pot of coffee when they handed her a box of enameled dishes, with a bright red pitcher and basin as she opened the door to receive our visitors.


Mort and Dave kindly helped me clean out the tent and put it away quickly so we could store and tarp the supplies for building on the deck I had made to keep it relatively out of the snow. There was folding and take down furniture for the cabin too and some foam mattresses and upholstery material of southwestern patterns so we could make ourselves a couch that could double as an extra bunk. Jim and Angus had me explain and show them how I had done things so quickly and where every thing was so far. Now that they had seen it, they gave me a bit more respect and that was high praise in the north country. With what I had had to work with, it wasn't too bad. Because I built it on the premise it wasn't permanent and could be removed, they just sort of shrugged and indicated I would probably need it for quite some time. Things were not going to be better again for a very long time.


If your lady friend in there, M, would see to making up some sandwiches with some of what we brought up and a pot of coffee , we can start on the roof and get it done well enough to manage the storms for now. We can install tin roofing on the side where your chimney will go with a vent area that will be protected, so you can warm the interior, that you can remove when you finish the chimney , and rearrange the tin to fit around it. We can just bolt that down for now and you can get to it easy enough with a ladder. This storm is not due in til midnight , but we need to get that flimsy plastic out of there. You might just want to chop these saplings up and as many more as you and the boys can manage to stock up on firewood since its green. This dry winter air though will cure it pretty fast. "



With those words of explanation, they all went to work, the boys had brought their own axes and a chainsaw and traipsed up the trail I had made into the wood. Actually they did most of the work. I just used the small sled Astri had left us to haul it to the cabin deck and stacked it as it was cut and chopped into cord wood right there in the wood. M made coffee and sandwiches and boiled up some potatoes from the 25lb sack that came with the boxes of food, wine, beer cases, 7 up, and case of brandy and half case of whiskey. There were smoked hams, haunches of venison, twenty pounds of cured smoked bacon, all home cured and smoked. Staples, pickles, saurkraut, dried peas, tuna, chili, soups, canned clams and canned milk, tomatoes and sauce, herbs, garlic, onions, bags of beets, yams and other stuff., a bag of oranges , medicine cabinet stuff, razors, combs, toiletries., a small box set up as first aid. a small case of rubbing alcohol with suture kit with lidocaine injection syringes and fishbiotics. Astri had acted like I worried too much, but she had prepped too and sent this up. Just in case we needed it. A box of hazardous care items in case of epidemics like ebola or bad flu. Vet supplies for the dog and cat. Even prescribed wormers and antibiotics for them if they got sick or hurt and liquid vitamins and more pet food and treats made in Canada ( not china) . A box of various sized and shapes of baskets and a box full of cannisters, tumblers and utensils and hot pads and dish towels. A case of vinegar , one of bleach and cleaning solutions. Half a case of toilet paper and a case of coffee and a box of instant coffee and instant cocoa and soups and boxes of tea bags. A box of waxed cheeses , a box of yogurt..... how was I going to store all this?


"We have planks too. we will build a food pantry here on this end of the cabin for you. There is room to cut a door and you made the decking just fine and wide enough . Outer walls can be sapling wood like the cabin is. ".


" We can even add skylights and more windows. Skylights today, other windows next time we come by. "


M and Ben came out of the cabin while the men dismantled my roofing framing. The plastic was rolled up carefully and brought down. They were going to redo it and make sure it was level and fix it so it would cover the pantry room and a door way. Once they had the framing corrected staunchly, they rigged the tin roofing, set up lighting rods and ground wire, then sheathed the rest with plywood and roofed over the area that would be a front porch and around the side , at slant so the snow and rain would drip off. They did install gutters with a pipe and put a water barrel under it to catch run off. Tar paper was applied rapidly but smoothly as was roofing. It was then sealed with warmed up sealant that dried even in freezing weather. M and I fixed up a stew and roasted yams and quick bread for a good supper before they left, dragging the heavy sledges behind them with the promise to return to help more and with more supplies and small livestock they could spare that would give us fresh goats milk, rabbits and chicken eggs. But that might take some time. They also had to gather feed for them.


The boys stacked cordwood , two cords worth up against the wall of the cabin where i had started too, we all ate and M cleaned up while they took off and I worked on the cushion for the couch and set up the plywood furniture and utility shelves by lamplight since it was dark already and kept the fire going. It took practice, with green wood and to not build it so hot it would crack the curing the fireplace cob work .


When Astri decided something , there was no real arguing allowed, but I would never be able to repay her for what she had arranged at her own cost. Somehow, I must pay it forward however, one day.

Sure enough, at about midnight, when I went out to get more wood for the fire, it was starting to spit snow on the wind. We now had a big plywood box for wood inside by the hearth and I filled it. Came in and bolted the door with Ben and Miss Macy curled up on the one area rug between the cots that now had foam mattresses and were made up with fresh linens the best we could do for now and three blankets each.


I tacked up a square of doubled plastic at the window and rolled up and old towel, tied it with twine and put it at the bottom of the door to break the draft. Within minutes the cabin warmed up quite a lot and I was comfortable just wearing long johns to bed. With wool socks. When the storm blew out, I was going to have to go down the mountain. But I needed to make sure M would be ok here alone. It would be a two day trip for me if they didn't plow the road. Unless I went the other route, one that we both could see might be possible. Still , it might not be good to try and follow the creek out. I would have to look around tomorrow but by then there would be at least a foot of snow and it made creeks incognito and there fore even more dangerous in winter time. I brushed my teeth and washed up in the warm basin of water and threw it out the door , turned off the lanterns and banked the fire for the night. It did radiate heat but it was about 62 degrees and I would be grateful when the roof could be totally closed up, still it was much better than a flimsy low tiny tent. It also kept the cabin slightly smoky, which would change once the chimney was totally done. Jim had praised my work. It was just book knowledge and I had been lucky so far. , that's how I felt.


Probably better than a long house though. I thought of the ancient ways of the Mohawks who had roamed this land not that long ago. I went to sleep hearing the wind in the pines , occasional cracks as the temperature dropped more and snow bits hit the window and roof. We were both tired and relieved with the amazing help, and slept in til Nine am when Ben insisted we get up by nosing us both in the eyeballs I guess. I went out to the latrine with my child sized snow shovel and cleared the path back . Ten inches of snow so far. A one inch thick piece of foam board was now cut to fit the top so we wouldn't freeze to the wood when we sat down. It did help. Still, it all took some getting used to. M took her turn then, bundling up well. She needed some better mittens and a scarf though. I had some nice thick brown wool yarn and my knitting stuff already here. I managed to get water from the creek by digging out the chopped hole and bashing loose the ice , which I covered with a small piece of the thick clear plastic and marked with a big stick stuck in the snow and cleared the path with the snow shovel. By the time I cleared the new steps , and went inside , M had the coffee perking away in its pot. Venison and ham frying in a pan on the hearth and biscuits baking in a pie tin in the hearth oven. I could just pull up the plastic over the hole , which was weighed down around the edge of the plastic with some river rocks I had left over and dug out of the fresh snow as I had been able to locate the lumpy pile . ( famous last words) .


Bowl of apples and oranges on the table and the dog put outside for a bit , we sat and ate quickly. I swept out sawdust and grit from the cabin and we spent time waxing the wooden furniture and making sure it was conveniently placed and put things on the shelves and stacked stuff on shelves in the pantry and hung all the meat with the meat hooks and railing that was provided , in the one corner and inspected them for any damage from transit. They looked and smelled fine. We closed the door to the pantry to keep it colder, in fact during this season it basically was a refrigerator. Ben came in and we settled for a restful day while snow continued to fall. It wasn't wise to go for walks in such a storm if one did not have to . Even then, it wasn't.


They had installed two skylights, one over the table area and one over the cot area. That and the window actually provided enough light for a while , so I measured M's hands and started a pair of brown and white mittens for her of the fingerless with cap pattern I had written in my notebook I kept for knitting and had brought along. They knitted up fast with thick yarn and they fit her fine when I was done and she tried them on. I was glad of it and we talked about when spring came and she sat down to plan out a large garden. I hoped like heck I had not built smack in the middle of poison ivy. It was rampant in these woods around here.

About two hours after noon I went outside and cleared the roof the best I could and shoveled snow clear of the deck and stairs and wood pile. I used the ladder and inspected the tin roofing and cover they had rigged up and bolted down that was its own venting system for the unfinished fireplace and cleared snow off the tin roofing, If it added up too much, it could collapse roofs. So, none of that. Came in and had coffee and took a nap. At dark I awoke and M had made some pea soup and cocoa. We had fruit and biscuits with it. Ben kept me busy that evening , walking him and then having to get Miss Macy inside when she went out for a bit too long. I had nailed up my little thermometer on the door frame at eye level and my flash light revealed it was thirteen below. I believed that. My face was stiff in mere minutes , walking Ben. Still he was happy to go inside once I had gotten Miss Macy inside.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Go check on my mom (she will be living with me) and make sure there are enough blankets to keep her warm with the down quilt on her bed (possibly move her into my room for extra warmth)


Call my sister and ask her how I turn on the new generator that is solar powered.


Crawl into bed, get warm and worry about everything tomorrow. Hopefully my sister and her hubby will be here by tomorrow and we can all work on stuff together. I'm the dumb bunny in the family. I could get my camp stove out and cook the food in the fridge so it doesn't go bad, then move the food from the freezer to coolers and put outside to keep it frozen until I can et it all cooked.



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