Monday, June 20, 2016

Things To Do Before The Collapse

Here are some suggestions of things you should do now, before any future collapse happens. Some of the suggestions for things most people know they should do, but for whatever reasons they simply put them off and don't do them. Other suggestions may be new ideas to you.

Buy guns for your children and grandchildren. When I was a kid, my grandfather gave me my first shotgun for Christmas. A few years later, he gave me my first rifle as a birthday gift. If you are thinking of doing something similar for your kids or grand kids, go ahead and do so. Frankly, the second amendment is hanging by a thread with the current vacancy on the Supreme Court. Even if the Second Amendment is never fully repealed, it is likely that serious restrictions will make buying guns much more difficult, and much more expensive, than it currently is. If your kids or grand kids are too young, go ahead and buy the guns now, so that you can give the guns to them when they are old enough. Of course, obey all guns laws, and make sure you instruct them in gun safety!

Get a metal roof on your house. They are more costly than regular roofs, but they have several benefits, including increased energy efficiency (thus lowering your power bills), fire resistance, and durability (life-expectancy of a metal roof is about 50 years).

Do any other home improvements that will either increase your homes energy efficiency, or reduce future maintenance needs. Ideas include increasing your home's insulation, installing a wood stove, installing energy-efficient windows, switching to LED lighting, and upgrading to more energy-efficient appliances, including hot water heaters, heat pumps, stoves, refrigerators, etc. This last may be especially true if your current appliances are over ten years old. NOTE: Some home improvements may b tax deductible. See your tax professional for advice.

Increase the food production capacity of your property. Prepare additional garden space, plant fruit and nut trees, or install a greenhouse. You're going to need food a lot more than you will need a pretty, well-manicured lawn in the future.

Turn your swimming pool into a water reserve, fish farm,  or even a greenhouse. Many years ago, a friend of mine bought a new house that had a swimming pool in the back yard. Since he and his wife didn't have kids, and cared nothing about having a swimming pool, they converted it into a greenhouse. I've heard of other people who turned their swimming pools into small fish farms. 

You and everyone in your family/group should get a complete physical exam within the next few months. It is much better to catch problems early, and deal with them now. I'm a bad example of what can happen  when you avoid the doctor too long, as I wrote about last year.

You and everyone in your family/group should get a dental exam and cleaning within the next months. Go ahead and get any dental work you need, sooner rather than later.

You and everyone in your family/group should get a professional eye exam this year.  Had I been getting regular eye exams, my health problems would have been caught much earlier, and I wouldn't have had to have eight procedures done on my eyes over the last year!

Double your planned food- and water-storage. Based on what is happening in Venezuela, where people have been reduced to dumpster diving and even eating family pets to survive, I recommend even more food storage than you (or I) were already planning. Consider at least doubling what you think you need. 

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Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Comments on my Post-Collapse Skill: Weather Forecasting article

A couple of weeks ago, I posted an article entitled Post-Collapse Skill: Weather Forecasting. In it, I pointed out how useful the ability to accurately forecast the weather would be in a post-collapse world, where we no longer have the national weather service, weather satellites, etc.  One o f my twitter followers, Cindy McCafferty (@CMcCafferty3), an amateur weather forecaster according to her twitter bio, sent me a series of tweets on the topic. Here are her suggestions**:

** "Acurite has a station battery and solar powered $100 Walmart, $200 internet recording on"  

** "Mine is the Acurite 1010 Pro several years old $80-100 at Walmart. Mine does not connect to internet/stats on Wunderground"

** " My old Acurite 1010 Professional indoor monitor panel buy the one with all the bells and whistle"  Her tweet included this pic:

Folks, here's the link to the Amazon listings for AcuRite weather stations. 

** "You can also use stats from other people's stations on Wunderground"

The website for Wunderground is https://www.wunderground.com. Its a really interesting website, which uses/posts stats from thousands of personal weather stations. You can easily pull up info from nearby weather stations.

** "And don't forget aneroid at hardware stores, garage sales set altitude"

McCafferty is referring to aneroid barometers, which are instruments for measuring pressure with a method that does not involve using a liquid. Remember to adjust them for your altitude.

In some other tweets, McCafferty also suggests being careful of where you place your weather station. Too near a building, for example, might interfere with wind speed measurement, etc.

Additionally, she says ** "The 1010 dies not connect to internet yo share data. Wish mine did. But you can take advantage if local station stats of other via Wunderground."

She also stresses the need for complete weather information for accurate weather forecasting, and that not all weather stations have all the information you really need, therefore: ** "Always buy the professional stations" if accurate forecasts are your goal. 

Thank You, Cindy, for you comments. I found them very useful, and will likely be getting my own AcuRite weather station in the next few weeks!


Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Post-Collapse Skill: Weather Forecasting

A post collapse skill that would be very useful is the ability to make accurate weather forecasts several days in advance, without depending on modern technology (weather satellites, doppler radar, etc.). Weather has a huge impact on our lives. It affects our crops, our animals, our ability to do work, our comfort, and even our very life. Weather can destroy our property, and even kill people.  A knowledge of weather, and the ability to forecast it at least a day or two in advance, helps immensely in planning what we need to do and when, and in warning us when we need to prepare for possible dangerous weather events.

All weatherman jokes aside, it is possible to predict, with a fair amount of accuracy, the weather several days in advance.  And you don't need modern technology to do so. A few basic instruments to monitor current conditions (temperature, humidity, wind direction & speed, and barometric pressure), along with the ability to recognize various types of cloud formations and good understanding of weather patterns, is really all you need. In fact, I've done this quite successfully.

My Meteorology Lab

Growing up I was a science geek (actually a "nerd" in those days). For Christmas during my seventh grade year, I got a Meteorology Lab as  present. It came with three main pieces: 1) an outside weather station to monitor wind direction & speed, temperature, humidity, and precipitation, 2) an inside station with a barometer to measure barometric (air) pressure, along with a set of cardboard wheels that could be dialed to the current specific weather conditions and give you a basic forecast, and 3) an instruction book and cloud chart (you would use the cloud types and cloud coverage % to refine the basic forecast), along with weekly cards for recording each day's weather conditions.

I actually kept about four years with of daily records, before my equipment started to wear out and I lost interest. I couldn't make forecasts more than a few days away. But, frankly, my forecasts for 1, 2, and 3 days away were at least as accurate as the local forecasts from professionals with way more expensive equipment.

My meteorology lab and records were thrown away many years ago, but I've developed a renewed interest in the subject, and really do think it will prove a very useful skill in any post-collapse scenario. I've recently pulled out my weather books (see the resources listed below), and am looking for a weather station similar to the one I used to have.

I plan on relearning my weather forecasting skills, and understand the microclimate of the area I'm living now by daily monitoring of my local weather. A fun hobby now, an important skill later... 

Resources (I have and can recommend these)

Golden Guide - Weather - This small book (4x6 inches, 160 pages) is a rather through introduction to the science of meteorology.  Filled with pictures and diagrams, it explains in an easy-to-understand way, the science of the weather and weather forecasting. Appropriate for middle-schoolers through adults.

Peterson Field Guide to the Atmosphere - An extensive guide to clouds and other weather  & atmospheric phenomenon, has over 400 photographs and illustrations, this book is currently out-of-print, but second-hand copies can still be readily found. A condensed version, Peterson's Clouds and Weather, is available new. 

Weather: A Folding Pocket Guide to to Clouds, Storms and Weather Patterns - is a well-done, laminated fold-out chart to clouds, storms and weather patterns. 

Weather Stations

There are a wide variety of weather stations and meteorology educational kits available, with a wide range of appropriate age levels, capabilities, and prices. I haven't yet found one similar to the one I had in school, and am still looking. If you have any suggestions, please leave it in the comments section!