Category Archives: the end of the world as we know it



I am taking a quick break from vacuuming the house to add something else I just thought of to my emergency preparedness. Decluttering.

I’m not advocating getting rid of every little thing. In the “old days” people kept every rubber band, piece of paper, pencil stub, you name it. My parents grew up with the Second World War in their childhood, and “Waste not, Want not” was their mantra. They experienced scarcity, hunger, need.

But many of our homes today are cluttered with stuff that we thought we needed, but really we were confusing ‘want’ with ‘need.’

These days I am holding on to glass jars, rather than sending them to the recycling depot. These could be extremely useful. However, holey clothing is going to the rag bag to be dropped off at the thrift store. At the same time, I am being mindful that some of the clothes I have, even though I may not have worn them in a while, could make good layering options if the house is unheated during the winter.

Plastic bags, if in good condition, are washed and reused. Rubber bands off lettuces and other produce are added to the growing ball in the kitchen.

If your home is so cluttered that you could not navigate it in the dark, if the hallways are blocked and would impede your exit in the event of a fire, if you are holding on to things that you don’t use and/or love, get rid of it.

Get the garbage out – because if for any reason the truck was unable to come and take it away every week, it would soon mount up and become a hazard.

more thoughts


After I posted this morning, I had a busy day of prepping dinner, taking the kids to their swimming lesson, visiting a sick friend and so on, but I jotted down some more thoughts concerning this whole topic.

1. I’m making sure that we’re all up to date on our dental and eye exams. (This annoyingly means that I am looking forward to a small filling next week, but at least I am not procrastinating about getting it done.)

2. I won’t be planning any long distance travel, particularly air travel, after my silver wedding retreat in early December.

3. I am making sure that all family members are kitted out with warm clothes in good condition. After years of wearing thrift store boots that don’t fit well and are not keeping my feet warm anymore, I have invested in some new snowboots that claim to keep me warm down to minus 50! Only $39 at Walmart.

4. If you want to see a really comprehensive survival list, google LDS or Latter Day Saints. These guys have been doing this stuff for years. It seems they like to plan for a year of self-sufficiency and they have lots of good advice (though I won’t be following the recommendations for guns and ammo!)

5. If the kids won’t have their video games and other electronic toys while the power’s out, it’s a good idea to have books, board games, playing cards around – remember those?!

6. A piece of advice from someone on a Ravelry thread before Hurricane Sandy hit – clean your house. After a week of not cleaning, the house stinks and you’ll be glad it started out clean. Also keep your laundry up to date.

7. And one from me. We have a propane campstove which I can use with my regular pans. But I found a small cast iron frying pan at the thrift store which I could use on an open fire without any worries of spoiling it. I also have plenty of sticks that the boys have amassed from our walks, which we could use to wrap bannock around and cook over an open fire.

8. Do any mending that requires a sewing machine sooner rather than later. I have a quilt that I have been patching by hand but the edging needs machining. It’s on my To Do list.



“survival list”


Yesterday, I started a new category on my blog – “The End of the World as We Know It.”

This is a topic I’d like to expand on over the next month, so today I have a couple of photos of my cold store that I actually meant to post yesterday (you can’t see the empty mason jars on the top shelves or the plethora of walnuts at the bottom). I’d like to receive comments and have a discussion on what people are doing for emergency preparedness – their “insurance” in case of an extended power cut or other disruptive event.

My list of things to stock up on or do before the winter sets in is below. This is far from being a comprehensive list, but I am not necessarily getting it all. I do not intend to buy a generator, though I know people who have. If I have left anything out which you think should be on the list, please leave me a comment.

  • Full tank of gas in vehicles. (It’s a good idea to not let your tank go below half full, just in case you need to evacuate in a hurry. Gas stations do not function without electricity.)
  • First aid kit including band aids. bandages. tea tree oil, echinacea, tweezers, Polysporin, painkillers
  • Batteries
  • Flashlights
  • Hand-cranked lights
  • Stored water (a guideline is 1 gallon per person per day for drinking, cooking and hygiene purposes. The average American uses 40 on a regular day.)
  • Water filtration system
  • Food – dried and canned, e.g. rice, flour, seeds, nuts, oil, salt, sugar, baking soda, canned tomatoes and beans, apples and potatoes and squash that keep for a while. Frozen foods are not to be relied upon as they would have to be used up really fast if the power went out.
  • Blankets
  • Can openers
  • Radio – hand-cranked/CB
  • Water purification tablets
  • Propane and camp stove
  • Paper and pencils
  • Candles and matches, possibly a flint-type fire starter
  • Firewood
  • Generator (these are expensive and run on gas, so may not be a practical option in the long term)
  • Soap, toothpaste
  • Bleach (this can be used to sterilise questionable water)
  • Multivitamins
  • Bicycles and spare parts in case driving is not an option
  • Cash (plastic will be useless in the event of no power, but stores may still continue to take cash)
  • Garbage bags (can be used for trash, instant raincoat, patching holes in buildings, etc)
  • Duct tape (of course)
  • Ziploc bags
  • Toilet paper
  • Canning lids
  • Coats, sweaters, boots, gloves, socks
  • If you use them, tampons and pads (a menstrual cup would be a better choice as it can be reused over and over)

Lee Valley ( is a good source for hand-cranked radios and lamps, and fire starters. Crown Berkey sells water filtration systems – we now have our new one set up in the kitchen. But most of what you need will be the regular day-to-day stuff that you normally rely on getting every week at the supermarket. If their shelves are empty, you need to have your own stocked in advance.

chicken little


OK, I’ll say ahead of time, you can call me Chicken Little if you want. But I’d rather be prepared for something, than ready for nothing.

A couple of months ago, we received word of a prediction from what we consider to be a reliable source. Word has it that we could all be facing a hard winter. By hard, I don’t mean a little bit of cold weather.

Now I know this coincides with all the talk about TEOTWAWKI (The End of the World as We Know It) on December 21st, but the fact is that catastrophic events happen. Just look at the hurricane that hit New York as an example. Earthquakes, tornados, solar flares. Apparently we are overdue for a big solar flare. A big enough blast could wipe out some or all of our electric power supply. Maybe for a long time.

As a homeschool exercise some years ago, the kids and I made a “survival list.” I think it may have been around the time of the “ice storm” in the east – many people were left without power at the coldest time of the year. Well, we never followed through. Now, I am.

Whether something major happens in December 2012, or in 2013, or never, I will feel calmer knowing that I have done something to prepare. Obviously if an asteroid hits the earth and we all die, then I won’t have to worry about clean air, drinkable water, or enough food to feed my family. However, if, say, we had a power cut for a week, I would like to be ready.

We have invested in a new water filter. A Crown Berkey. Google it – it filters just about any kind of water and makes it drinkable. We could walk down to the lake, lug it back, and stick it through, and we’d have potable water. (It arrived in the mail just today.)  I have been slowly stocking up the cold room. Flour, beans, lentils, canned tomatoes, plenty of walnuts from our trees. Sugar, salt, coconut oil, olive oil. I re-organised and tidied yesterday, and still have some empty shelves which I’d like to see filled. I bought extra lidded plastic containers this week – storing bags of food inside them will keep them safe from mice (which we’ve had trouble with before) and water damage.

We have a camping stove and some small tanks of propane. Firewood and old-fashioned fireplaces. Lots of blankets. Snowgear. Candles. Hand-cranked lights.

Tai Chi Man thinks I’m fretting about this a little too much. But it’s like insurance – better to have it and not need it, than need it and not have it.