Misc Preparation Ideas


http://www.carriage-driving.com/bkcharn.htm and http://www.oldtools.com/books.html

And if any of you would like to buy a carriage new or have one custom-made for you, then please see our "Alternative Transportation Internet Sites" page at: http://www.homestead.org/trannet.htm

INFORMATION: More Preparedness Books From


Stop in the Online Y2K Bookstore to see what were the best-selling books last week. Carla Emery's excellent "The Encyclopedia of Country Living" came in first for the second week in a row, followed closely by Readers Digest's "Back to Basics." We have over 300 books listed now.

Brian Shilhavy Brian@Shilhavy.com

INFORMATION: Out-Of-Print Books


The Backwoods Home Independent Energy Resource site has a wide selection of alternative power books http://www.backwoodshome.com/linkpage2.html

INFORMATION: Scrounge The Used Bookstores

Great day at the used bookstore! I found a pamphlet from our local propane dealer in 1945 on dehydrating food. The directions stated that you stretch cheese cloth over wood frames (attach it with staples or thumb tacks) put vegetables thinly sliced one layer thick on the cheese cloth and in their oven) the pilot light alone would provide enough heat to dehydrate many of the veggies in about 12 - 48 hours some more dense vegetables might require the warming setting.

And in the antique book section:

1935 Blue canning book. How to can frog legs and meat and make jelly without store bought additional pectin.

1916 Poultry book (I raise ducks and a few bantam chickens) It had pictures of recommended chicken coups, how to grow oats inside, and incubators with kerosene lamps attached to the side with detailed details.

1945 Mirro Pressure cooker book that had wonderful tips on using their new pressure cooker and included scads of recipes. We have a wood/propane stove and I will want to minimize especially in the summer extra cooking time and the pressure cooker will help do that and in the winter it will reduce the amount of propane needed to cook some things.

I also got how to used dried fruit and vegetables pamphlet - all the cook books came to less than $6.00 please start scrounging for materials written to help the housewives of America from both wars. The writing is endearing and was an obvious way to try to support women who were left on the home front. I was touched by the care and love that was written in a handout book or pamphlet and wondered if on the other side of this y2k mountain we will all be writing for new brides and other survivors the same way with as much care. I hope so.


BIG DOG. also: MAKING SURE ALL YOUR DOORS AND WINDOWS ARE VERY HEAVY AND SECURE SO WOULD-BE INTRUDERS CAN'T GET IN. We do have dogs: a St. Bernard, 130 pounds, a big WOOF and gentle as a lamb but people are afraid of big dogs; we have a 10 lb Jack Russell Terrier who thinks he weighs 130 lbs., and is rather aggressive and protective. I'd recommend a dog for an alarm ..maybe for warmth in the winter when it maybe so cold as described as "a three dog night. Another idea is Guinea Hens. They are natural "sirens" (they give LOUD warnings when someone enters the property), self sufficient, and eat LOTS of bugs! (That's important here in Texas!) :-) Guinea Hens are also good for eating ticks (which I just learned by visiting the Countryside magazine side someone referenced earlier: http://www.countrysidemag.com/

Also, peacocks have traditionally been kept by farmers for the same reasons: they are easily disturbed and make loud noises.

One possibility for passive defense is to plant prickly/thorny bushes (hollies, etc.) underneath your windows. Someone might still get in, but they would have to make a lot of noise getting through the bush.

Another idea is little booby traps designed to discourage intruders, ones that cause them enough pain so that they decide to flee. Planned escape routes for the family should someone be trying to break in. Places to hide inside the house if escape is not an option.

I ask myself what kind of an intruder/intruders might be expected, most likely, in this Y2K case? Hungry people looking for food? Small time looters? Gangs? I really don't know. Probably all of the above. The problem is that when someone is trying to break into your home, they do not let you know beforehand whether they are dangerous or not. Not knowing, you are forced to assume the worst.

I just thought I might comment that guns might be necessary for protection against other than humans. We live in a semi-rural retirement area, and there have upon occasion been several packs of large dogs which have been near our house. If things get really difficult, and folks cannot continue to feed their pets and/or inoculate them, we'll need protection against attack by hungry or rabid animals. Our kitties killed 31 snakes for us last summer as well as moles and other pests. If we had larger numbers of poisonous snakes, we'd rely on something other than our cats, especially if the snake is large and threatening. We also have deer, possum, raccoon, coyote, and bobcat right in the immediate area of our house, so we might need protection whether y2k happens or not.

There are home security consultants who suggest having one room in a house as a "strong-room", with (e.g.) extra strong walls, doors and locks where people could escape to in order to delay a confrontation with an intruder (delay while. . . e.g. police are called by telephone or radio, or family can escape through window or other exit). Some people who have valuables to hide purposely leave some of their stuff where it can be easily found, hoping that (e.g.) a burglar would grab whatever was easy and run, thus leaving the better-hidden stuff alone. Such "decoy and distract" can have a lot of utility if we are worried about breakdowns of law and order (which I'm not convinced is a Y2k hazard, but since I have been the object of burglaries about a dozen times or so in the past 20 years, such advice obviously has utility for life in general.)


I think you're very right about a dog. Man's best friend and protector. But dogs can be defeated by criminals in ways you never imagined. Home security is important and can be achieved in simple ways. I have placed hasp locks on the inside of my basement doors and drilled holes into the garage door roller tracks. These can later be fitted with pad locks which will force an intruder to have to break out the entire window section of the upper half of the entrance door causing a lot of noise. He would then have to pry or hack the lock off to exit the door, which takes time, or take only those items he can readily carry through the narrow window opening. As for other weapons besides guns, I wouldn't suggest things like stun guns or certain weapons which project electrical or mechanical elements. They usually turn out to be expensive and as difficult if not more, to learn how to use them and in some cases can provoke an intruder into an escalation of force if he gets enraged.

With young boys in the family my sense tells me that a very high level of training and instruction would be a must. And at that age the temptation to handle the weapons or show them to their friends is at a peak. Education, Training and Awareness are essential. If you're not willing to do all that is necessary then it would be safer to abandon the though of gun ownership. I'm not sure it would be safe or effective to install benign booby traps. It's illegal to install harmful ones. It all looks great in the movies because the burglar always get caught. But in real life, us or our family members or friendly visitors would probably be the ones to fall into them.


Countdown to 2000:
A planning guide

Take inventory: Where are you right now in terms of preparation? List all assets, including tools and skills. Set goals: Where do you want to be in 2000? Do you want to be ready to be totally self-sufficient, is it okay to merely have a stockpile of essentials, or will you just wait and see what happens?

Set your course to meet those goals: Subtract what you have from what you want to determine what you still need. Make your plan: Decide how you're going to get what you need in the next 18 months. Set priorities (triage). Concentrate on the most important or essential needs first. Set a timetable for yourself.


If you are in the city and you're totally convinced that is NOT where you'll want to be in December, 1999, get out now! If you wait, for any reason, it could be too late.

If you're in the country but don't have a working homestead, start building one now. In most parts of the country it's not too late to start or expand a garden: July/August is the best time to plant crops to be harvested in fall. (See list of fall crops on page 109.)

Construct rabbit and poultry facilities, and stock them.

Acquire the books you'll need for advice, now and later.

Plan to save seeds from open-pollinated crops. While getting seeds next spring might not be a problem, spring 2000 could be a different matter: you'll need the experience for next year's harvest.

Preserve food, from your own garden if you have one, or from farmers' markets if you aren't that far yet. Get the equipment and information you'll need. Better to have failures now (and learn from them) than when they could be critical.

If at all possible after all the above, get out of debt. In any event do NOT incur more.

If you are already comfortably situated on a working homestead with everything you need in place, check closely to see if you missed anything. Now is the time to start gathering less-essential goods that will add to your security and comfort.

Be sure to rotate stores to keep everything as fresh as possible.

Consider adding to your stores to help those in need.

Make any repairs, replacements or additions you might have been putting off: if you're going to need a new roof in a few years, get it now instead. If you've been meaning to get a tetanus shot, get it now. If you need dental work or new glasses, take care of it now. Don't put off what you can do today.

And if nothing happens...? So what? If you get your life in order and live it the way you say you want to, you'll have Y2K to thank!


Assure adequate supplies of the very basics. FOOD, WATER, HEAT, ELECTRICITY, MONEY.

1. We have begun a system of food storage and rotation in a basement pantry. Store what you eat and eat what you store. We will probably wait until Sept 1999 before maximizing the food stores due to expiration dates of regular grocery store items. I don't see any immediate rush to stockpile large quantities at this early date.

2. Water can and has in the past been accessed from the well with the generator to allow for a convenient uninterrupted life style, during short term disruptions. What if the generator goes down? Redundant planning is needed here. I've setup space for 150 gallons of water with provisions for expansion to 300 gallons by December 30, 1999. To insure freshness, I plan on rotating the supply every 3 months with a fresh refill on 12/25/1999. In the event of a broken generator or limited gasoline supply, 300 gallons of water can serve a family of 4 for well over a month.

3. Heat may be disrupted by breakdowns in production or delivery of propane. Redundant backup again is needed. Kerosene heater with 50 gallons of kerosene can keep at least portions of the house warm. I estimate the heater will use 3 gallons of kerosene per day allowing for about a 15 day auxiliary heat supply.

4. Electricity, of course is available through the generator if gasoline is available. I estimate 100 gallons of gasoline will run a generator for 15 days at 7 hours per day, or 30 days at 3 hrs/day. I have taken time and thought to setup a safe storage location for gasoline and have made one trip to the gas station for 20 gallons. I plan on building the store to 40 gallons, then using it for the cars before it sits too long. Again, a rotation system to insure regular usage and replenishment with a final refill some time in December of 1999.

5. Money is a tricky issue. It's embarrassing to take all your money out of a well performing stock market and lose 15 months of interest and dividends. But waiting until after the market corrects, could eat up a portion of your current value, probably equal to or greater than the interest you would have lost. It's a tough time critical decision! My current plan is to wait for the first market correction followed by a second decline or a leveling off. I'll transfer from stocks to money market. This may occur between March and July 1999. The next move would be from money market to regular passbook savings in the local bank. And ultimately from savings account to safe deposit box by Dec 1, 1999 with a months supply of cash in hand. I'm willing to forfeit a month or two of interest to protect the whole of my principle.

The moral of this story is then, Backup the backup!


Check out the web site at http://www.cybertrails.com/lcrcd/sp.htm There are instructions to make a Solar Dehydrator

SUPPLY SOURCES: Another Mennonite Company

Berlin Seeds is another company which has very good prices. It's a Mennonite company in Ohio. They also carry some handy non-electric kitchen stuff. They carry the Square Foot Gardening book for $16.95.

Berlin Seeds 5371 County Rd. 77 Millersburg, OH 44654-9104


1. Have chimneys cleaned.
2. Buy fire-safe candle holders.
3. Plan activities for children who have no TV.
4. Buy a cheap non-cordless phone, as cordless ones generally don't work in a power outage. You may still have phone service, but not power.
5. If you withdraw substantial sums of money from the bank, remember that it could make you a prime target for robbery.
6. Install battery operated alarm system on your basement and ground floor windows and doors.
7. Place important paper records (birth certificates, wills, durable power of attorney, trust information, passports, bank statements, insurance policies, etc.) in a fireproof safe. (If you don't have a safe, we've been told that papers stored in a refrigerator or freezer will be safe from fire). An important consideration, with so many fire hazards about (candles, lanterns, wood stoves, etc.),
8. Really cook with the new "appliances."
9. Short wave radio, CB
10. extra fire extinguishers

RV'S: Anchor Your RV

If you're going to be in an RV, you might want to pour a concrete pad to park it on and sink some metal loops into it to tie your RV down with. I've been in a 26' long 1981 Itasca RV during a serious storm in South OK/north TX, and the thing was rocking like a cradle, and we were fully loaded with 76 gallons of gas, two LP tanks, and a good sized water tank. The rain actually blew UP through the evaporation channels in the windows in the back.

Another reason you might want a poured pad is that air will leak out of those tires over time, and I remember how much fun you can have on the older RVs getting them level so the LP will run the fridge / heater. On the newer ones, I think you punch a button, and it auto-levels. Sure beats running around one of the things in the rain, and putting a block under one wheel, trying again, etc., but that might not work post Y2K, either.