We woke up to snow today, which was unexpected. It started with small flakes, but as the air warmed they became larger. This is one of those snows we get because of our elevation but most of the area misses out on. If you are ever are driving around and you see a snow-topped mountain, think of us.
There was minimal accumulation, but I was happy enough to let this delay my planned outdoor activities and spend the day working indoors, mostly more unpacking, consolidating, and moving boxes from a giant pile to a more permanent storage location. I am down to less than a dozen boxes that remain unpacked.
We had carried firewood into the house the day before, not due to any advanced planning but simply because we were running low. I had also split enough kindling to last the better part of a week. We have almost completely killed the second of our woodpiles. That means that by the time we finish the stuff that is inside, we will have burned through two cords — and it is only mid-January!
This is why I want to start putting up wood in the spring and have six cords stacked and ready to go by summer. That will give everything enough time to season and should last us through a full winter.
I estimate that our exiting woodpile locations will accommodate about 3-1/2 cords. I am still working out exactly where to stack them that will be acceptable to my wife. Looks like I will also need to pick up an additional tarp or two.
Vehicle Survival Gear
This weekend, I updated, replenished, and optimized the survival supplies we keep in our vehicles. As our living situation has changed and we will no longer be bugging out anywhere, the update means gear to keep us warm and help us get home if we are out and about and get stuck, break down, or the world as we know it comes to an end. That means enough gear to survive a couple days if we end up stuck on the side of the road before things clear up or someone finds and digs us out. After all, we could get stuck behind an avalanche or a rock slide or find the only road home blocked by a vehicle accident.
My minimum load of warm gear includes two each of the following: thick wool socks, heavy-duty gloves with a leather palm and fingers in case they are needed for work, knit caps, a wool army blanket, and a Mylar survival blanket. I carry a nice military poncho, so this could also provide an additional insulating layer if necessary. In my wife’s car, these are sealed in a plastic bag and stuffed on top of the spare tire. I always grin thinking the cop who finds the bag and think he is making a big drug score. Won’t he be disappointed when it has clothes instead of illegal drugs?
Food and Water
Among my survival equipment, I include a mess kit and a small stove that can burn solid fuel tablets. These tablets will boil a cup of water to make instant oatmeal of a packet of soup, and they can also be used to start a fire. For food, I usually pack at least six Power Bars or similar snack or breakfast bars, a couple Snicker bars, some hard candy, the previously mentioned soup packets and oatmeal, and several MREs. We normally carry at least four 20-ounce bottles of water in each vehicle. In my truck, I have a sports bottle with a purification straw built in. Sucking water through the straw purifies it. I don’t have one for my wife’s car, but I may remove the one from my bugout bag and store it in her vehicle. It’s highly unlikely that we will be bugging out anywhere these days.
I also carry rope, a small knife, spare CR123 batteries, a compass, local and state-wide maps, and a first aid kit. Both cars also have jumper cables and a few repair-related items.
More Gear in my Truck
In my truck, which has far more storage space than her car due to the work box on the back, I include a hatchet, tow straps, bungie cords, ratchet straps, a small backpack, a large fixed blade knife, a headlamp, and a couple more full MRE meals.
For us, an important component of our emergency supplies is ammunition. I like to make sure there is at least one box of 50 rounds in the following calibers in each vehicle: .38Spl, 9mm, .40S&W, ,45ACP, 5.56, a couple boxes of 12 gauge, and a brick of .22LR. I like to put an empty Glock magazine in each car as well, since I am rarely without my Glock. The way I figure it, if things are bad enough that I’m tapping into the stored ammo, I might need an additional magazine. Also in my truck I add a bandoleer of .308 and some loaded AR-15 magazines.
Do I expect to need all of this ammo at once? Nope. But there is always the possibility that I will need one or two of the calibers. If my wife and I are both carrying, we could have guns for three different calibers. If we are traveling long distance, chances are that I will bring a rifle, especially if we are taking the truck. I also hate the idea of being at the range or out shooting with a friend and shooting up all our ammo and driving home with empty guns. More than once I have tapped in to my car ammo stash to replenish an empty firearm after shooting my carry ammo in an unexpected range session.
Our little grandchild was transferred to the local Children’s hospital last week but has been doing much better under their care. She is still in the NICU but her lungs appear to have matured and she no longer help breathing or supplemental oxygen.
Because her mother had COVID-19 three or four weeks before she was born, the doctors do not know if her breathing problems were under-developed lungs, which are not uncommon in an infant born three weeks early, or some unknown side effect of her mother having COVID. She was treated for pulmonary hypertension by the maternity hospital, but Children’s saw no sign of it and successfully treated her for pneumonia.
In any case, her parent say she is quite pistol and we expect her to be heading home this week.