Thanks for patience and comments and encouragement while I was on hiatus. My lemon tree seemed to care. I’ve known her the longest of all my house plants, and she bloomed to cheer me up. My banana plants still can’t seem to quite get in the groove. They’re rather fickle but so know how to brighten a room. Everyone’s itching to get outside…assuming the weather soon will permit them.
Not too long ago, I wrote about being overwhelmed at all the information out there on preparing for the unexpected, and noted that I would consider paying someone for the service of pulling it altogether and giving me one statement of what was needed, where I could get it best/cheapest etc., to prepare my home for the unexpected (earthquakes, floods, terrorist attacks, zombie attacks, etc.). One fellow reveler, made the following comment, which I applaud and appreciate. I took his test, and have found that I’m not totally ready for “this,” with the “this” being any unknown number of disasters or difficulties that can strike at any time at all. In my household, we’re set on water and food but things like batteries and flashlights keep kind of disappearing when a non-urgent need arises. I’m therefore thinking of designating certain items “emergency only” – not to be used for replacing batteries in the remote control or kids toys. I also realize that I need to not only have a fire extinguisher but be pretty certain I know how to use it. Also next on my list of to-dos is to take a CPR/first aid class. It’s a couple hours out of the day and could save lives. There’s simply no good excuse for not having done so already.
Here it is — many thanks to Ralph!!
I’ve actually thought about this post a number of times since it went up and am finally putting a few ideas out there to ponder. The title caught my attention, ‘I would pay for that’. The Super Bowl- I don’t really follow sports. Syria- I may have some opinions on this one, but really don’t have enough factual information to even pretend to have a working solution. Survival- I’ve read and listened to both theoretical and real life based information. One quote I like is “Learn from the mistakes of others, you don’t have enough time to make them all yourself”. Some of the information out there is, well, out there. Some is valid, but doesn’t apply to everyone. Then there is some that applies to everyone. The latter is a good place to start, and after reading what follows you may think twice about paying for it. There’s lots of information out there, I’ve simply mashed a lot of it together.
The idea of survival is … to survive. Are you really prepared? Realistically think of the following and you’ll have pretty good idea if you are. You and whoever is normally in your household are all at home tonight. Without warning you are told nobody can leave the house for 3 days. No electricity, no last minute runs for groceries, or deliveries. You open the faucet and no water comes out. Can you get by for 3 days with nothing other than what is in your house right now?
Get a pad and pencil and start thinking about that question. Do you have at least one gallon of water per person for each of the three days? Extra credit for homeowners- if not, do you know where you can get more water without going out? Water is high on the list of must have items. Food- enough to keep everyone reasonably fed for 3 days? If that food is things like rice, pasta, beans or similar items don’t forget you need extra water to cook them. Enough flashlights (lanterns and candles count) and batteries? Do they all work? Have oil for any lanterns? If it were winter are there enough blankets to keep everyone warm? No electric probably means no heat. Homeowners, how would you keep pipes from freezing and bursting? Do you have three days of supplies for any pets? Ask yourself questions like those. Take a few days to really think and compile the list. Maybe have a second person make their own list and compare both when done.
A simple question, a lot to think about. Odds are there will be a few things on your list, maybe many. Now take some of that money you would have spent to pay someone to answer the above question, stimulate the economy by buying some or all of those missing items, and you will be more prepared.
Until recently my over wintering basil was so doing so badly I was tempted to try planting seeds to replace it. Not taking the time to apply a systematic approach I did a few things at once. I found the soil very compacted so I carefully took a thin stick and punched holes deep into the soil making small circles to help unpack the soil without doing too much root damage. To further help oxygen get to the roots in a rush, I tried something I heard about a couple times. I mixed a little hydrogen peroxide in water then watered the basil with it. The peroxide readily decomposes into water and oxygen gas putting oxygen into the soil. Well, I didn’t get blonde basil, but the plants gradually grew nice new healthy leaves. I know, hydrogen peroxide? I would never have thought of it, but after hearing about it I understood. Hydrogen peroxide is H2O2- water (H2O) with an extra oxygen atom. The bubbling it makes when put on a cut is the extra oxygen getting released. Too much peroxide in soil is probably a bad thing, not because it is a poison but because it kills microbes which are an essential part of healthy soil. Sometimes the needs of the many (microbes) outweigh the needs of the few, as most Star Trek fans know.
My bananas went through a spell of drooping leaves. The spot they are in is where they have thrived so I couldn’t figure out what to do. One day I stuck my finger into the soil. It felt a little cool so it wasn’t dry, but it wasn’t really wet. I gave them a good watering and they slowly looked happy again. I guess they missed the occasional deep watering I gave them when outside. I guess I wasn’t watering them enough.
I love this! Never heard of it before but definitely will give it a whirl. I think I need to get the banana plants out of their planters, shake loose their soil, and replant them. I gave one of them a good watering today and much of it ended up on the floor around it. So it is root bound, I’m sure. And not too happy, I imagine. When do you take yours out for the season?
Welcome back, and congrats on the list results. Keeping a place for supplies is a good idea. I have one tote container with two hinged half covers attached. They stack if needed, and are tall enough to keep water out if it’s not too deep. Inside I keep lots of AA and D size batteries which are the 2 sizes almost everything I have runs on. A few D sized MagLites are in there, a battery/ crank NOAA weather radio which can charge cell phones, and a second AM/ FM radio. Depending on what and how much you want to keep, a backpack may be a good choice. A good spot to keep it may be in a closet near a front door in case you need to leave the house.
If you look around and check prices, MagLites can be found at a pretty reasonable price (check Amazon too). You can buy a package with 2 or 3 different size lights. The real small ones can be kept in a pocket or on a key chain. I have mostly 2-AA and D sizes. The 2-AA size is handy and pretty bright- about the smallest I would put in a kit. The large D sizes throw a real bright light for quite a distance. Newer versions of these lights use LEDs instead of regular light bulbs (both are good). They are brighter, last almost forever, will tolerate dropping better, run longer on the same batteries- and cost more. For an emergency kit you want a light you can count on. There’s a reason police use them a lot (and the larger ones can be used as a weapon).
Most flashlights are useless without good batteries. Check the expiration dates, they should be good for around 5 years. I buy them in packages of around 20 or more for AA sizes and put the whole pack in my kit. Off brand batteries and rechargables should be avoided. I use Duracells almost exclusively in my kits. Keep at least 2 good quality lights in the kit and check them on a regular basis. Keep a few flashlights scattered around the house in key areas and make sure everyone knows where they are and how to use them. Less expensive ones are OK here but remember you may have to rely on these too. Night stands, kitchen counters, by basement stairs, and near the front door may be a few spots to keep them. If your lights go out you need to be able to move around the house without tripping or falling down stairs. Some plug in lights will go on automatically if power fails.
Thanks for the welcome back. And thanks for the points you make, good ones all. I do like to hear from others about when it’s worth paying a little extra for something. I do not mind plunking down a couple extra duckets if it’ll pay off in the long run. And I’m sure that little extra expense is not something you’ll be thinking about in a black out, or brown out, or flood, or etc. I think I’m going to pick up everything on my list all at once … get it out of the way. It’ll be a little peace of mind, a good box to check on the to-done list. From here on out, in fact, I think I’m going to approach it like my spring cleaning and taxes. Take care of it early on in the year, before diving into gardening and as we’re brushing off the last dusting of snowflakes (what little there was this year). I will keep you posted on the progress, and please keep your suggestions coming, everyone!
I don’t really have a specific time to put plants outside. I just go by the weather, sometimes just putting things outside for a couple hours while the sun is out. Earlier today I gently dug my fingers into the soil of my bamboo. I found quite a few small roots just below the surface, and like the bananas I don’t think it has been getting enough water. The bamboo being root bound is no big surprise. If you don’t mind some dirty hands you can try probing into the banana’s soil to see what’s going on, but you may just want to wait and when the weather warms up transplant them. ‘Big mama’ banana was very root bound when I first transplanted it. I gave it a good water a day before transplant. Next day I pulled it out of the pot and used a mild flow of water from the hose to gently wash away the soil so I could spread the roots. I did it over the garden so I wouldn’t make a mess- or waste all the water it took. You have to be a little careful when putting in the new soil (try saving some of the original soil to reuse) since there’s a lot of space between the roots that the soil has to get back into. I used the hose and added soil a little at a time, making a liquid mud so it would flow. I would avoid sun a couple days after since there will be some shock.
I don’t know why this surprised my, but I found that a slow gradual watering is better than just dumping it in. When dumped in, the water comes out the drains in a hurry without getting the soil very wet. The slow watering allows the soil to get wet before draining out. I should have known better, that’s the idea of drip irrigation.
It’s OK to buy all your supplies at once, but just think about them and do some price shopping before buying. One piece of advice I’ve heard about buying supplies for a kit is to remember that one day your life may depend on it’s contents. That’s not to say you need $100 flashlights, but you probably don’t want 2 for $1 dime store ones. Everyone should spend money wisely, especially in these times.
A good roll of duct tape should be in every house, it has too many uses to list. Check the internet, everything from repairing a leaking pipe to making clothing! The good stuff looks like a dull grey woven fabric with a lot of fibers. It’ll stick to any dry clean surface. A decent size tarp is handy. You can cover things in the yard to keep rain out, or use it to cover a broken window during a storm- they’re pretty cheap too.
Another reason to keep a few lights handy- the sun is getting angry!