It was a busy day yesterday. The big news is that we are officially grandparents. My eldest daughter had a 6-pound 13-ounce baby girl. The poor little thing is in the infant ICU with underdeveloped lungs but seems to be doing OK. Maybe when this COVID mess is over, we’ll actually get to see them.
The weather has cleared up and we actually had a bright, sunny day, even if it was a bit chilly. We went hiking in our immediate area, exploring the land on both sides of the creek and up and down the road. We stayed mostly on our land and the road. I kept my eye out for fallen trees that would be easy to harvest and throw into the back of the truck to take back home. Fallen wood is good because it is already dry and seasoned and I am burning wood like it is going out of style. Plus, we prefer not to cut live tress unless we need them down for some other reason.
Looking at harvesting firewood up the mountain really drives home the need for a four-wheeler. The problem is that I can buy enough firewood to last seven years for the cost of a UTE side by side. Throw in maintenance, fuel, repairs, etc., and I can probably buy 10 years of firewood. Of course, buying firewood isn’t as self-sufficient, but then how long would a UTE and fuel last after a SHTF situation? I expect we would be better saving the gas for the chain saw and maybe an occasional generator run. Maybe I should get a sled and harvest when it snows.
Maybe I’ll keep my ears open for a used UTE.
Also, I need to come up with more places to store firewood. I have room to store three cords, but this is clearly not going to be enough to last the season.
James Wesley, Rawles, over at Survival Blog has always stressed operational security, or OpSec, which in laymen’s terms, means don’t blab about your preps or other personal business. We don’t talk about our preps, our guns, or our plans with just anyone, and the picture posted on this blog is not really me. Some people would consider this the gray man approach, which means stay under the radar, don’t put political or Second Amendment bumper stickers on your car, etc. I think the two are related, but complement each other, and try to practice both.
We got to see a good example of an OpSec failure this week.
A neighbor down the road stopped by and introduced himself. We knew of the family, but had not yet met. We had a nice long chat and I think we’ll get along well.
While talking about who we had and hadn’t met yet, the name of one neighbor came up. “Oh, did you know they are preppers?” he said. “They have enough food stored up for three years.”
I immediately wondered, if he told us on our very first meeting, how many other people he had told? And did our neighbors know someone was spreading this news about them?
Neither my wife nor I said anything like that would even hint that we were preppers, and the subject of prepping was dropped. Needless to say, it was a good reminder to keep quiet about the real reason we moved up here.
Regarding the neighbors, no, we hadn’t known they were preppers, but given a few things they said about why they moved up here, we aren’t terribly surprised. I’m actually happy to have some confirmation, but I’m not going to bring it up.
Snow in the Forecast; Change in the Air
Snow is forecast for tomorrow with temps down into the low 20s for a few days, so I brought in enough firewood for two or three days. I guess I better plan on indoor activities for the next day or two.
I’ve started looking for a barber. There are not many in the area, so my options are somewhat limited. I had been getting my hair cut at the same place since 2011, so this will be a change. These are the little inconveniences of moving that you don’t really think of until you’re here. Someone referred us to a dentist, so I’ll have to check that out. We don’t have local doctors yet, but since the new insurance cards have not shown up, we can’t go in any case!
I think the government shut down over the holidays. Either that or the post office is still recovering. It took two weeks for a package my daughter sent to her grandfather to arrive.
Watch out for Mutants
At first, there were different varieties of COVID-19. Then there were different strains, which sound a bit questionable, but not too bad. Now, the media is calling these new variations “mutant” viruses. What’s next, zombie viruses?
Viruses do mutate, of course, which is why we need a new flu shot every year. They evolve through mutation. But I think calling them “mutant” viruses is just a scare tactic. Technically, the coronavirus has been a mutation since day one. It became a novel, or new, virus because we had not seen it before. We had not seen it before because it mutated from something else, either naturally or with some help from a laboratory.
The original COVID-19 virus was just getting started a year ago, and it peaked in May. If a new mutation is spreading, it may be months before it mutates. Meanwhile, expect governors like Newsome and Cuomo to use this new mutation as an excuse to implement even stricter lockdowns, once again shutting down any business that might be considered non-essential.
Check your supplies and re-stock, just in case there’s another run on food and paper products.