Today as I was spring cleaning, my thoughts kept going to the people of Japan, and what they must be going through. I have prayed for these polite, kind people, for their safety, comfort, and healing. They have gone through so much tragedy and heartache over the last 5 days. I keep wondering what would happen if we had an earthquake of that magnitude. We live about 20 miles inland, so don't have to worry about a tsunami, but the whole West coast is vulnerable to earthquakes and tsunami's, and we have family along the coasts of Washington, Oregon, and California.
I remember the panicky feeling of the last 3 (big ones that you can feel) earthquakes that I've gone through here in the Northwest. We are part of the Pacific Rim, ring of fire, where earthquakes happen with some regularity...always when you least expect it. We all know we're due for one, the last big one we had here was 10 years ago, it wasn't a real bad earthquake, but we all remember it. We don't have tv to see all the images of Japan, but we can see them on the internet, and read about it all.
4 years ago, I began to think seriously about self sufficiency, and what we'd need to do to live off the land as much as possible. We've been working towards that goal steadily by building gardens, planting fruit trees and berry bushes, getting chickens and rabbits, and investing in a seed bank of heirloom seeds. I've bought many vegetable seeds over the last couple years through Baker Creek Heirlooms, and Territorial Seed company. I've also learned to collect some of my own seeds from year to year. The chickens and rabbits would need food, they could forage for some of it, but not all, in an emergency I'm not sure we'd be able to get to town to get their bags of feed, or even if the feed store would have it in stock. This is a dilemma I haven't figured out, other than to buy more bags of feed to store, rather than buy as we need it. I have dogs and cats, and need to plan for a 3 month supply of food for them too. Buying an extra bag of feed as often as I can, and rotating the feed, so it never gets too old is going to be my new plan.
Today as I worked, my mind kept going over things we'd need to survive for weeks or even months without power or running water. I hope we don't have an emergency, but we should all prepare, and think about what we'd need. A good goal is a 3-6 month supply of food and water, along with necessities like tp, female products, toothpaste, floss, soap, first aid supplies, and whatever else you want or need to have in reserves. We probably have a 3 month supply of food that could carry us into summer, not that we'd be eating like we are now, but we could survive.
For heat and water here's what we have. We have a woodstove and plenty of firewood, so we can cook and heat our home. We have a dug well that can pull up water by hand with a bucket, it's a deep, concrete lined, underground gravel filtered well. We could use this water for doing laundry, dishes, and watering the garden. Our main 500 ft. well requires power for it to bring up water. We also have metal roofs that can collect rainwater in tarps, if we needed to. We have a 30 gallon plastic barrel that we can use to store drinking water, and I will be filling that, we also have 10 glass gallon jars I am going to fill with drinking water. We will look for more large gallon glass containers for water storage.
For food this is our leanest time of the year, in the Fall we have an abundance from the garden and fruit trees. Currently in the pantry reserves we have glass gallon jars of beans, rice, lentils, wheat berries, oats, whole wheat flour, corn meal, baking soda, baking powder, canning supplies like salt and vinegar. We also have peanut butter, olive oil, easy soups like miso soup, beef bouillons, puddings, noodles, dry milk, and canned foods, along with many other smaller food items I've gathered. A couple years ago we invested in a hand powered grain mill from Lehman's, so we can grind wheat berries and grains into flour for bread.
I need to write up an emergency supply list. Here's what I'm going to do; take stock of the pantry, look at what I'm low on, put aside water, check my first aid kit, and refresh what I need, buy extra animal feed, and every time I go to the store buy a few extra things to stash away. I'll only buy things I regularly use, and will buy more wheat berries, grains, peanut butter, sugar, salt, nuts, tea, coffee, canned fish, and more powdered milk (I don't normally use, but for an emergency it's good to have). I will also begin my garden in earnest this weekend. Starting many seeds inside, and planting peas, radishes and greens outside.
Throwback at Trapper Creek's blog has some great articles she's written about preparing for self sufficiency you may want to check out too.