Collect Water from the Roof? How? Where?

My neighbor, Robinson, has been collecting water only from the roof of his garage for the last two years. He has given me a very big challenge, and at the same time, the challenge brings a heartache. I know I should do what he has done. But what part of my garden has to make way for the rain collection system? Do I really have to do this to 1) be safe in an emergency or 2) to rely less on fragile water services and more on myself? Do I really have to rip out that beautiful Japanese maple? … [Read more...]

How Will We Cook When the Lights Go Out?

Part of Rae’s Getting Prepared Series Remember that for Christmas 2014 we gave our sons and daughter’s families water barrels to store drinking water. We bought water pumps for each household and a lead free hose for the families to share. Meanwhile, we celebrated other family events with gifts of food storage and cook books. But when the earth rumbles or the east wind blows, we may not have power. How will you and I and our neighbors heat our food? Even though the Richens have lots of … [Read more...]

Are You Ready for Small Emergencies?

I bet you have stories that support my belief that citizen leadership springs up in emergency situations. I’d be glad to read your comments or accounts of similar situations you’ve been in. My thesis here is based on a sample of two situations. Situation One: On an afternoon last spring, Woody and I returned from our tree farm, driving on Oregon Highway 30, the highway that follows the Columbia River from Astoria on the Pacific Coast to Portland on the Willamette River. A car in the … [Read more...]

Eating Well After the Earthquake?

A Flashlight Aided Study (of My Food Pantry) Okay, gang, here’s a little perspective on long-range planning. What food would you want on your shelves if an emergency took out your electric stove, your refrigerator and your microwave? In my canning cupboard, deep in the basement, I pull out my battery-powered flashlight. Cans of pears, peaches and beans shine out at me, but also, I see rows of dishes that aren’t often used, and little figurines that once belonged to my mother. I know what I … [Read more...]

Eating Well After the Earthquake?

A Flashlight Aided Study (of My Food Pantry) Okay, gang, here’s a little perspective on long-range planning. What food would you want on your shelves if an emergency took out your electric stove, your refrigerator and your microwave? In my canning cupboard, deep in the basement, I pull out my battery-powered flashlight. Cans of pears, peaches and beans shine out at me, but also, I see rows of dishes that aren’t often used, and little figurines that once belonged to my mother. I know what I … [Read more...]

Why Survive the Apocalypse?

I’m looking at our world in a brand new way this year. Life is fragile, and we are part of that fragile fabric. Aware of the ephemeral, I decided to gift my family with the first step in a survival kit. Ever since, I’ve been watching the small habits and charming humor in the people around me. I’ve been smelling the morning, greeting the raccoon and the chickadees, really studying the texture, the light and the shadows in places that I often take for granted. I’ve had some readers comment … [Read more...]

Hold the Hose

Remember that fantastic water pump I told you about? The one that goes with our barrels of drinking water? Well, not so fantastic after all. I didn’t see that the pump had a huge drawback. It has to be lubricated. Meaning, it does a great job if what you want to pump is oil or petrol. But water? Bloody hard on the thing. So, you may remember that I tested my pump in the kitchen sink. The next time I got it out to try on the water barrel, it froze in mid crank. Urchhhhhh! Several unboltings … [Read more...]

The Truth about Garden Hoses

We’ve been talking about getting prepared for emergencies. We started with the most obvious need – water. So, if you haven’t been with us, look back through December 2014 and January 2015 to see how the Richens picked out a barrel safe for drinking water and a hand pump for each of the families on our Christmas list. Here we are in February and have you filled your barrel? No? I hope at least that you have decided to buy one and are setting it up. As we set up ours, we found a flat place out … [Read more...]

The Great Disaster Kit collection – Buying a Pump for your Water Barrel

Buying a Pump for your Water Barrel. Onward in our quest to outfit the family in case of water problems in Portland (like the e-coli scare of last year) or in case the Pacific Subduction Zone decides to make a move on us. As you may have read in our previous installment, Family Ready for the Big One?, we bought our water barrel from Alberto at Myers Containers. Next, we needed a pump to siphon the water out of the barrel when disaster arose. Woody and I have a mechanical pump of the old … [Read more...]

Family Ready for the Big One?

(And the small ones too) Our Pacific Northwest’s big earthquake hasn’t happened yet, but it could happen any time. Geologists have been expecting the big one and have been trying to warn us for quite long enough. We should all be aware of the Subduction Zone facts. Enough of passive information gathering. Want to get ready? Join me as I help my extended family, and you all, get ready for that predicted event, or any smaller events between now and the #9 earth moving that is predicted. … [Read more...]