How to Ride the Slide: Apocalypse Lite

20 thoughts on “How to Ride the Slide: Apocalypse Lite”

  1. since i am from the ‘old country’ i may have an advantage here; though the rest of my family back there may not be as ready as i..years in the desert have mentally and physically toughened me for an unpleasant eventuality. i routinely wash certain items by hand- save water- use non electric utensils etc- walk everywhere- and store dried foods- many from my edible landscape- even the flowers are herbal, and i catch water however i can, implement all possible insulating techniques–this is a lifestyle of rewarding consequence–i am so pleased to have found your writings..though i have a starving blog or two waiting for me to share my experiences..welcome to my consciousness, i needed this!

  2. I notice a lot of glass containers on shelves in your kitchen, which seems like a recipe for a dangerous mess if the earth shakes them onto the floor. I have a similar system, but use plastic jars that once held peanut butter. They have wide mouths, straight sides, little weight, and don’t break when dropped. Each holds about 1-1/2 lbs. of dry grain/seeds/fruit.

    1. Yes, I know. Glass will break. If this was all the food storage I had I’d be in big trouble. I experimented with other containers – including plastic jugs as you described – and I just like the glass jars and milk bottles best for everyday living. I’m willing to sacrifice whatever’s in them in a quake since it’s less than 5% of my food storage. I’ll sweep up the mess and get on with life from the stores in the big plastic buckets and #10 cans.

      Here’s my question to you. How do you do your food storage? How much overall food do you have on hand? Is it the kind you will actually enjoy eating? Do you have a few different ways to cook it? Do you have a generous supply of water? Where and how do you store it?

      Some people have thought this through and are set up with six month’s worth, or a year, or more. I want to learn from them. Other people have an empty jar of pickle juice in their fridge and tell me I’m doing it all wrong. Meh.

      1. We have enough pantry inventory to get through a couple of weeks, at best. Except for the glass containers, you’re miles ahead of us, mentally and materially. This year, I’ve tried pickling cabbage (sauerkraut), with pleasing results. (The rest of the family prefers the home-preserved applesauce. Can’t avoid the use of glass for that, so those are on the bottom shelves.) Here in Maryland, outdoor water storage would freeze and damage the containers, so the water heater tank would be our main source of emergency water in the winter (as well as a dozen or so gallons of pure bottled “inconvenience water”). In warmer months, three 55-gal rain barrels are usually full.

        We have a few small solar panels, mostly for emergency lighting and radio. (The 5 kW grid-tied PV system on the roof would require substantial modification to be useful in a grid-down emergency.) We have a variety of radio communication equipment on-hand, from cheap FRS walkie-talkies to licensed ham radio gear integrated into the Amateur Radio Emergency Service through periodic drills and exercises.

        My cold frames keep leaf lettuce, kale, and chives fresh through the winter, though none of them actually produce much new growth until spring when they get a quick start. I’ve tried sinking a 5-gal bucket into the garden, storing root vegetables and apples in it, then covering the cap with a “pillow” of bagged straw. That worked as a small root cellar, but the supply chain looks robust enough at the moment that I’m not doing that now.

        We grow and dry a few herbs (rosemary, sage, bay, oregano, thyme, and flat-leaf parsley) which should help keep the meals more interesting.

        There’s a little firewood kept dry in a shed, and a tree or two that could be cut back to yield more twigs and branches for a rocket-stove, as well as a few cans of Sterno (alcohol) and a can or two of Coleman fuel (hydrocarbon) for the camp stoves.

        I think you’re exactly right, when you say that owning gold or silver would only attract the wrong kind of attention from the wrong kind of people just when it might be useful.

        One other item: We have a big window full of plants blooming through these short gray days, and they bring us joy.

  3. When you have a house full of neighbors for a social meal, do you get some kind of compensation from them, or do they bring a dish to share, or how does the equation get balanced?

    1. There is no monetary equation. I cook. People come. We eat. End of story. People do occasionally bring wine, dessert, a covered dish… but that’s never the point. I’ve been doing this all my life. When I was young and poor I did it on a much tighter budget and the food was less interesting. I cook and socialize because I enjoy it. If there is some other “reward” it comes in a different form – and possibly at a later date.

      1. I wasn’t expecting money to change hands, but I think you have an opportunity to ask these folks to do something for you, if only to encourage them to think about what they can do to be better prepared. You might ask them to make a run to the bulk foods store for you, and maybe they’d pick up some supplies for themselves. You might ask someone to knit a pair of slippers for you, and they’d learn a new skill (and strengthen the home-knitting supply chain). I cooked a few meals for friends, when I was a college student, so I know that the pleasure of their companionship can be sufficient. And maybe you can influence your community to greater resilience as well.

        1. What I’d really like is for everyone to have some preparedness stuff so I can go to them if my house fails.

          Unfortunately most of the folks I hang with have little or no emergency supplies. Even when they understand in theory that it might be a good idea they generally say, “Oh, I’m coming to your house in a crisis.” I have a standard joke when the topic comes up at the dinner table. “Bring small bills, because I’m not making change.” Ha ha.

          I won’t necessarily ask for money, but I will expect people to work or supply something useful when they appear at my door. Nurses will be welcome. Data base administrators? Meh.

          1. “…supply something useful…” that’s a tough condition to meet, unless you’ve trained them to be useful in advance, or you have simple tools and materials stockpiled for them. I have a 1/4 acre suburban lot, and more garden tools than I need. So someone who came to me for help might be offered a shovel and shown where to dig. Or a bow saw, and a pile of fallen branches. If they live close by, “where to dig” might be in their own lawn. In an acute emergency, it’s just a way to balance the equation; in The Long Emergency / Catabolic Collapse, every local harvest will help.

            1. Oh, I’m thinking far more quotidian tasks like washing dishes and doing laundry by hand. By the fifth or sixth day with no power or running water these tasks will revert to great-grandma’s methods. And just having people stand guard at night might be useful if things get hairy.

  4. Yes, definitely more posts like these please! This is exactly the kind of solution people need: slow, flexible, easy to implement, and based on social rather than financial capital. Great job!

  5. I enjoy reading your articles and especially this one. My parents were from the “old” country and always grew a garden, butchered a cow and pig, had chickens, and made do with what they had. My father could fix or build anything and my mother would help him as well cook, can, take care of us, and made most of our clothing. My brothers and sister still try to live like they did. Thank you for writing such great articles and bringing back wonderful memories of self-reliance. Merry Christmas!

  6. Dedicated reader, first time writer here. Thank you for what you do. In a disaster scenario, there is a real possibility that piped natural gas won’t be available. The salmon you can eat straight from the can, but those grains are inedible without cooking them first. Do you have a plan for that?

    1. My first back up option is the propane barbecue on the back patio. I have eight propane canisters that I use and rotate. They won’t last forever, but they’ll buy some time.

      My second option is a solar oven which does a pretty good job with no fuel at all so long as the sun is shining. Not as fast or convenient as propane, but it works.

      My third option is a rocket stove which burns very hot on a tiny amount of twigs and scrap wood.

      When people ask questions like this I usually ask… so how will you manage if there’s some kind of disruption? Do you have any examples from your own life?

  7. Great article, well written as usual , more posts like this one would be welcome. As a co-founder of a Transition Town, we would call this building your resilience (to death or deprivation). I am also building up reserves of stuff and friends, to make it fun, I’ve named it my newest hobby!

  8. Johnny, I have two new goals. I want to have a neighbor like you, and I want to be a neighbor like you. Maybe a third, to do a really good job of holding up my end of the conversation.

    Thanks for your sharing here. Granola Shotgun gives me lots to think about.

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