Preparing for winter article

Please go check out the article I wrote on SurvivalBlog.com and leave me a comment here to let me know what you think!

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Comments 6

  • Erik,
    This is an interesting way to complement Jim’s site, allowing a discussion and coments here, and still entering his contests. I’m actually working on a paid article for another site;, and while I do visit Jim’s site on occasion, I prefer the interaction I get here and other places.

  • Erik,
    Not a bad article
    For Fuel we have propane and firewood, plus gasoline in the tanks of the vehicles and about 30 gallons or so, on hand for the gardening and lawn equipment.
    For Lawn Tractor/Mower and Summer Machines we typically run them dry of gasoline and park them; but, the ones with batteries also have a battery tender (trickle charger) connected. We mix a little gas with carburetor cleaner when we start things back up in the spring. I have equipment that’s only a few years old and some more than 30 and this always seems to work OK.

    The Right Choice in Prepping

    Fuel For the Prepper should I think read better as “FuelS,/strong>” For the Prepper.
    We use our vehicles regularly and have always used the motto: ½ is empty, so no one should wait for the fuel idiot light to come on, since keeping it above ½ is an easy habit, and in winter, you have less air space in the tank to collect condensation and cause a fuel line freeze up. We don’t keep much gasoline or any diesel, since even stabilized they can too easily go stale. We can pretty much run our entire house on propane with heating, cooking, hot water, and generator running off of a large tank farm. We also can provide additional heat with wood and also keep a supply of that on hand.

    Heating
    Our furnace sits idle most of the summer and is completely turned off. We do cycle it when the weather starts to turn cold; but, that is as much to burn out the dust in the vents and on the burner, as a test of the unit. I’m a retired engineer and one of my jobs in the past was to design programmable thermostats, and develop control systems for both furnaces and heat pumps, so maintenance isn’t all that hard.
    We also have two ventless propane heaters connected to the tank farm and portable heaters that use small propane canisters or a hose to a 20# tank. Since we cook with propane, a few Terra Cotta flower pots inverted over the gas burners can easily drive you out of the kitchen. An BTW, I know of no modern furnaces that still use a standing pilot light, although our old gas range and water heater does, and were special ordered for that reason.
    Examples of Heating Preps
    We do a summer fill and top off our propane tanks, so by heating season we’re sitting on about 3000 gallons, and enough to last at least 2 years in a real crunch. If you purchase and own your tanks, you can call around and get them filled for the best price in the June-August time frame. Our first furnace lasted for 30 years and we just replaced it with a new one about 18 months ago, so with proper minimal maintenance, it should outlive us.
    You mention beach time and football and we simply don’t have time for any of that nonsense, with animals and other ongoing projects. Being prepared often means your vacation is a seminar or time off work to finish projects at home.
    McGyver Tricks In Comments Section
    You did of course mean MacGyver and having a pile of scrap and extra material on hand can often come in handy, since a MacGyver trick has pulled me out of the fire on more than one occasion.

    One Last To Think About
    We only hook up our hoses when we need them and pack them up after drying when done. If you have the correct equipment you need not turn off water to the outside hydrant, since they are designed to work through the winter. If however, all you have is a hose bib sticking out the side of the house, then you do need to shut it off for the winter.
    For potable water, we have a well & pump and power to run it, rain catchment from our outbuildings, a clean creek and water purification bottles and both pressurized and gravity drip filters, homemade from clean food grade buckets. The kits are inexpensive and easy to build and a lot less expensive than a big Berkey, although you can use those same filters.
    The bottom line for preparedness is that when you adopt it as a lifestyle and change your mindset, you see preparedness and self reliance uses in many everyday items, and after doing this for around 50 years, it just seems unnatural to do it any other way.

  • Thanks for the comments OP.

    My actual submission had MacGyver spelled correctly, though was edited/spell checked apparently. 🙂 Though I will admit I looked it up when I typed it as I didn’t think it looked right without the “a”. When I saw it changed I cringed knowing I had actually made sure to spell it right. As long as that is the worst thing that happens all week, I am doing pretty good! 🙂

    I would love to have 3000 gallons of propane! Wow. We rarely (maybe ten days a year) use our propane furnace and have propane hot water. We maybe go through 300 gallons a year. the wood stove and wood fires outdoors in the summer do many things for us. I love wood heat in the winter and love cooking on it too.

    For the water, I also have a hydrant style as well as the bibs out of the house. The bibs just look like a problem waiting to happen every time I see them, so I use them sparingly and hopefully not at all if I can help it. Plumbing and I go together like oil and water.

    Thanks again, I appreciate the feedback!

  • Erik,

    My actual submission had MacGyver spelled correctly, though was edited/spell checked apparently. 🙂 Though I will admit I looked it up when I typed it as I didn’t think it looked right without the “a”. When I saw it changed I cringed knowing I had actually made sure to spell it right. As long as that is the worst thing that happens all week, I am doing pretty good!

    I only knew it was spelled incorrectly because there’s a new updated version of it now on CBS, Friday @ 8:00 PM Eastern. I watch it and a lot of other shows in my leisure time, primarily because our satellite system has built in DVR, so the receiver dutifully records shows I can watch on my own time and skip the commercials.

    I would love to have 3000 gallons of propane! Wow. We rarely (maybe ten days a year) use our propane furnace and have propane hot water. We maybe go through 300 gallons a year. the wood stove and wood fires outdoors in the summer do many things for us. I love wood heat in the winter and love cooking on it too.

    The 3000 gallons of propane didn’t come overnight. When we moved here as a rental in 1984, we heated almost exclusively with wood and an electric range and stovetop, that I hated. When we purchased the place in 1986, the bank wanted a furnace that they financed as part of our home loan, so we had a 250 gallon tank belonging to a local propane supplier, Meaning that only they can fill it and you are at their mercy for price. In 1997 we paid off the mortgage and started saving for our first 1000 gallon tank, that was installed in 1999. In 2001 we installed our second 1000 gallon tank, and since we generally use about 100-120 gallons per month, that would allow us to have a full year supply at the summer fill price. In 2015 we installed a 500 gallon tank that was on sale and also installed the whole house propane fueled Generac system. Finally in 2017, we installed the final 1000 gallon tank. Our normal fill for the year is generally 1200-1800 gallons, so keeping the 3000 is just like topping off your vehicle fuel tank. At age 67 and now retired, I like the convenience of propane for heating and cooking; but, we did get our chimney inspected and have a few cords of wood on hand as backup or supplemental. I also like outside fires and was burning some scrap wood and corrugated cardboard this afternoon. It was getting cold; but, tending a fire keeps you good & warm. As for outdoor cooking with wood, I love cast iron and especially the Dutch Oven.

    For the water, I also have a hydrant style as well as the bibs out of the house. The bibs just look like a problem waiting to happen every time I see them, so I use them sparingly and hopefully not at all if I can help it.

    We have only hydrants and don’t even consider bibs. We recently had one of the hydrants replaced; but, it was probably 50 years old. The new hydrants can be worked on without digging them up, so I suspect this new one will outlast us.

    Plumbing and I go together like oil and water.

    I have done nearly every skilled trade as a DIY person, including rough & finish carpentry, electrical, and plumbing, and plumbing is the one I dread the most, since it’s never as easy as you planned. I’ve also done enough roofing and drywall (sheetrock?) to know I should pay others to do those nasty jobs.

    Thanks again, I appreciate the feedback!

    No problem, I’ve been doing this along time & I’m glad to help. If you would like to chat offline sometime, you can reach me by email at op@theohioprepper.org. Just tell me your name and mention this blog / forum somewhere in the email.

  • Your sentence below is a very important one. Not just in prepping but in life in general and one not said and passed along as wisdom nearly enough to young people growing up.

    The 3000 gallons of propane didn’t come overnight.

    Too many people are rushing into debt by going faster than their means allow for. Or rushing past their skill/knowledge.

    Slowing down and doing things right, both financially and technically, saves you time and stress in the end.

    Drywall is right there with plumbing. 🙂 I can do both but prefer not to if I can afford it.

  • Erik,

    Your sentence below is a very important one. Not just in prepping but in life in general and one not said and passed along as wisdom nearly enough to young people growing up.

    We passed it along to our kids who are all doing quite well; but, it’s not only the youth having the problem.

    Too many people are rushing into debt by going faster than their means allow for. Or rushing past their skill/knowledge
    Slowing down and doing things right, both financially and technically, saves you time and stress in the end.

    I agree in principle; but, I see too many older folks who know better; but, feel trapped. They see events in the world like terrorism and the 7000 person caravan of people heading here to challenge our borders, and along with the preparedness shows an ads, feel that they are well behind the 8-ball, some in an almost panic mode. I grew up in what would today be a prepping family, with a garden, fruit trees, grapevines, a rhubarb patch, lots of canning and freezing in the fall to stock the pantry. Beef and pork were purchased cheap in bulk, as were breadstuffs from the local bakery outlet, and we generally prepared meals from the pantry and freezer, only shopping a few times per month. This lifestyle has been my lifestyle, more or less, all of my life. The problem in many cases is not with the youth; but, older folks who watch the news and finally realize that the world can be an unstable place. Even if you live where I do and are not susceptible to hurricanes and wildfires, a snow or ice storm can take down your electric power for hours to days, and people have either experienced such things or are finally realizing that these things can happen to them. I still know people who hit the local grocery on their way home from work, to pick up breakfast & lunch for the following day, and often eat dinner at some restaurant on the way home in the evening. They don’t worry about water that just magically comes out of their faucet, and running out of TP means a boring trip to the local store that’s open all night.
    Once they finally realize that they could be in trouble if a bad event happens, they start with Google or their favorites search engine and find sites like this one or the many other sites around, some of which I also haunt and when they see what needs to be done to be prepared, they panic. Terms like TEOTWAWKI, BOB, INCH, BOV, BOL, and the many ways to have backups for your food and energy sometimes only makes them feel worse, since these are things they don’t have and think they need NOW.
    I wrote an article nearly a year ago that I think should be a starting point for anyone of any age who is starting to embrace the preparedness lifestyle. I’m not trying to get people to leave your site; but, think this might be helpful for both beginning preppers as a guideline, and more established preppers as a reminder.
    The very second step for starting your prepping adventure -The Threat Matrix
    https://www.thesurvivalistblog.dream.press/how-to-start-prepping-for-non-preppers/

    While there have been some shows on the topic like Nat Geo’s “Doomsday Preppers”, I think that too many of these shows end up making fun of we crazy people. One show I highly recommend is The Weather Channels: “SOS: How to survive” where they show people in a disastrous event, what they did to cope, and in some cases, what they did wrong. Little maxims like NWS’s “Turn Around, Don’t Drown” are easy to remember; but, if taken to heart, can save your bacon.
    Between cable / satellite channels and the internet, we have educational resources available I couldn’t have dreamed of 40-50 years ago; but, today, with a bit of guidance, everyone can learn to do this correctly, and without breaking the bank.

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