Extreme Drought Hits Western U.S., Plus New Solar Ideas

Much of the Western U.S. is in a severe to exceptional drought and unless some serious snow falls in their mountains, we could see an impact on the food supply

Food Storage is one of the pillars of prepping. It’s a foundational, meaning something you should have before you stockpile things like extra tools, items for barter, or gold or silver. A supply of potable water for drinking, rehydrating food, and hygiene is even more critical as you will die of thirst far before you starve to death. This is why preppers group them together as food, water, and shelter.

As we head into 2021, an extreme drought in much of the Southwest is raising concerns about water shortages. (See the main image, above, which is part of a larger, more complete report available at https://droughtmonitor.unl.edu/.) Because water is required to grow vegetables, fruits and nuts in California and other states, a drought may negatively impact the food supply this coming year. Add to this the possibility that fingers of drought will continue to reach into the Midwest and plains states, and you can see how the grain might also be hurt.

Ironically, last year it rained so hard many farmers were not able to get corn in the ground in a timely manner. This just reinforces the point that our feed supply remains weather dependent.

Speaking of weather, let’s hope the West gets some heavy snow before winter is over; they need it to refill the snowpack and their reservoirs. And let’s not forget that drought conditions also can lead to an increased risk of wildfires.

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The Best Way Preppers Should Spend their Stimulus Check

As Congress creeps closer to yet another stimulus bill, Preppers may be in for a windfall. Here are our suggestions on how to spend it.

Yesterday, I suggested you use the coming (temporary) period of exuberance and excitement after the COVID-19 nightmare draws to a close to prep. Below are some suggestions in greater detail, but because we’ve talked about food and water before, we’re going to start with the bigger preps and work backwards:

Get Out of the Cities

I think the biggest priority for any serious prepper should be to move out of an urban or suburban location and to a rural one. I’m not talking “vacation country” where people go to spend two weeks a year, but hardcore country where just about everyone owns a chainsaw, a rifle and pickup truck.

Your stimulus check won’t buy your new property, but it can cover the travel and other expenses related to a property search.

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Picking the Best Solar Power Inverter

The inverter is both the heart and the brains of your solar power system, so you need to carefully consider what type you need, how much power it can handle, and what your budget can afford

Our Solar Power Journey, Part 3

In this section of our solar power coverage, which is part three in the series, we address the inverter.  For information on panels and batteries, see part two, or start at the beginning with part one.

We tend to think of the solar panels when we think of solar power, but the inverter is really the heart and the brain of any solar system. The inverter does the hard work, including:

  • Uses the DC current from the solar panels to charge your batteries, converting the voltage as necessary, thereby storing the solar power for future use.
  • Turns the DC current from the panels into AC current used by your home’s electrical system.
  • Sends excess AC power out to the grid, if you are in a grid-attached system.
  • Converts DC power stored in the batteries to AC and distributes it throughout your home.  For off grid systems, this happens whenever you flip a switch.
  • Accepts power from your generator and uses it to charge your batteries.
  • Monitors the health of your batteries and optimizes their charge.
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More Solar Power Considerations for Preppers

Selecting a solar power installation is not a simple choice. You need to consider the type of system, the best battery to use, and the size and type of solar panel

Our Solar Power Journey – Part 2

In Part One, we looked at our electrical demand and made some tough decisions about what we would power and what would probably not be powered using our future solar system.  We quickly realized that we will NOT be powering the entire house due to the high electrical draw of our electric stove top, oven, heat pump dryer, and hot water heater.

In this continuation, we are going to look at the different types of solar systems and battery types available and do some more planning for an eventual installation.  For those of you following along, at the end of this article, you should have a greater understanding of the available solar options and be in a position to make some decisions.

Let me make it very clear that I am a layman.  I am not an electrician, an engineer, or a solar power expert.  So do your own research, consult experts as necessary, and make your own decisions based on your individual situation.

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How to Decide if You Should Invest in Solar Power

Every prepper should consider solar power at some point in the prepper journey. We assess where we stand and start making some decisions.

Our Solar Power Journey – Part 1

I am seriously considering whether we can or should add solar power to Pete’s Prepper Property.  This is a question that I recommend all serious prepper consider at some point on their prepping journey because electric power is one of the things that helps keep our modern society going.  Without it, most people would be quickly be shivering in the dark, hungry, and unable to communicate over long distances. 

Electricity is the foundation of our way of life.  It pumps water and keeps our food cold.  It lights the way and cooks our food.  In the city, it keeps sewage system from backing up and ensures natural gas is flowing.  It powers the computers and associated systems that tell us how much money we have, let us buy things, and pump gas into our cars.

To increase our chances of survival after long term after a TEOTWAWKI-event, the answer is clearly yes, we need solar power.  I have a few small panels, each just strong enough to charge a USB device, but what about a much larger system?  Something where the output is measured in thousands of watts and the batteries can store enough to last for three days without sunlight?

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