Episode-1436- Listener Feedback for 9-29-14 — 42 Comments

  1. Sanitation was not an issue since I am on a well and have septic. For morale, I would listen to every episode of TSP , or read the hundreds of cookbooks I have.

  2. We have pretty significant ice storms here in Portland, often layered with snow and more ice. It does bring down trees and power lines.
    As long as the pipes didn’t freeze (not likely since they are all interior), we’d have available water. If frozen or broken elsewhere, we have enough water stored for 4 weeks of very basic needs.
    We have redundant heating options with natural gas and propane. We have enough firewood stacked in an accessible sheltered area for morale building fires.
    Power and light would probably be the main issue and weakness. We’d use our generator to provide necessary power to appliances, but isn’t robust to power the house. If the fridge/freezer became an issue, you could always store some items out on the back deck or porch. Light would be daylight as much as possible and candles, oil lamps and lanterns as necessary.
    Cooking would be on our natural gas stove top with propane stoves as backup.
    Not to worried about sanitation as most things put outside will freeze and keep. Probably not much clothes washing and drying.
    Hot water would not be an issue with a natural gas water heater.
    Pets are an issue. I’d send them outdoors on the side yard where we have a large cedar tree by the door. It does protect a fairly large area from rain/ice.
    One good way I’ve found it assist in getting around is to use a solid photography tripod. Most of the sturdy models have spikes on each leg that screw out and provide a fairly solid base to assist with getting around if you have to.
    Morale boosting through lots of cribbage and reading. Probably a good time for some thorough cleaning of the gun safe contents.

  3. I can not resist guessing that the coming “big news” from you Jack will have something to do with education.

    By the way, my kids are homeschooled. I am the one that had to convince my wife.

    One memorable instance that always sticks out in my mind as a difference between the homeschool kids I have met and the public school kids took place at a “State Fair” our homeschool group had organized. The event was similar to a “Science Fair” except that instead of science projects the kids were presenting something that they had learned about a State (TX, CA, NY).

    The big differences I saw were that these homeschool kids were (1) happy and (2) that they could talk to adults. These kids looked me in the eyes, smiled and talked to me about their projects like they were adults themselves! Oh, but it is homeschooled kids that are “unsocialized.”

    Great show, Jack!

    • I am sure there will be a lot of learning going on but no to say it is an “education” thing would not be accurate.

  4. Good evening Jack,
    The Ice Storm of 2008 came across upstate NY Albany area, through Southern Vermont, Southern New Hampshire, and most of Mass. Whether you were hit hard by ice or the storm missed your home was dependent on your altitude as it crossed New England. Unfortunately for us, we were living half-way up a mountain and on a main highway, but it didn’t help at all.
    The 2008 ice storm came through New England during the night. We heat the house primarily with firewood in a wood stove placed in our kitchen. We woke up and immediately noticed how quiet the highway was. There was no traffic at all!

    I got the fire going and had to put our Westie out the back door to ‘take care of business.’ A thick layer of ice had coated the lawn and she wasn’t in the mood to comply with her master that morning. I made a pot of coffee and the wife and I sat back to enjoy the morning. I could see some trees that had fallen across the highway above us blocking one lane.

    Regarding our ‘situation’: we weren’t in any danger at all. We did not have any electricity, not even a generator. However, in our lifestyle we are not dependent on electricity except for TV and radio. Our water is gravity supplied from a shallow spring and feeds two small cisterns above us. We heat our hot water via propane. Propane also fuels our stove and oven. Unfortunately without electric we couldn’t use the oven during the aftermath of this storm. A minor problem as we have a propane grill that we can use as an oven.

    The storm had dropped trees all over the place onto the highway bringing down power lines and telephone lines. We were pretty well isolated in our town. There was no real way through the mess! Due to the geographic nature of the ice storm (hitting much of New England) storm crews were working throughout the area. As we are a small town we were not on anyone’s top priority list. 🙁

    As we had plenty of gasoline for the riding lawn mowers and chain saws and such we didn’t worry about driving the truck. Of course, there was no place to go as all the trees were down and the State Troopers were blocking anyone except the power crews and phone crews from getting in or out for our safety and theirs. We had plenty of propane, hot water, food, etc.

    I guess you could say that the only thing we were missing was the ability to travel to town to resupply, eat out at a restaurant, etc. I hooked up a 12-volt deep cycle battery through an 80-watt inverter to power the radio so we could get news on how things were going. Plus we had an old phone that did not require AC to run. The combination allowed us to stay connected to the world and let everyone know were were fine.

    We had a small garden and had canned quite a bit by the time this storm hit. We had plenty of food stored up in the freezer, in cans, and in the pantry. In short, due to good fortune we were not in dire straits at all. Following that storm the first thing we did was to buy a commercial grade generator and a larger backup inverter to power the TV and radio. In addition, we purchased a second older style telephone. It was nice to stay in touch with family in friends during this time.


    • That was the same storm that hit us in Prince Edward Island. I barely missed the grand daddy of ice storms in Ontario in 1998, I was sitting on the tarmac in Ottawa when it started, I barely made it out to PEI, which got a bit of it. Only to find out my sister eventually was 45 days without power. Ottawa and area received 100mm (4 inches) of ice accretion

    • That’s unfortunate. I was eager to go invisible in cyberspace. Is there a next best alternative? “Private browsing” or “incognito mode” seems to only prevent website information from being stored on the device in the event a nosey individual tries to snoop, but the data is still being sent out and collected by another party.

      • This is where things like encrypted network traffic and tor come in, if you’re concerned about those things.

        You are correct private browsing and incognito mode do not make database saves on your computer. However, I’ll point out that doesn’t change whether or not it is allowed to use virtual memory which is save d in your pagefile or swap space. But getting the data from those sources almost always requires targeted algorithm work.

      • Encryption is a strong as your weakest link. You can run PGP encryption on every email you send, you are still relying on the receiving party to take care of your email as if it was his. That’s an unacceptable risk.

        Even using TOR there is no such thing as being a ghost on the internet, if you are browsing from a fixed location consistently . How sure are you that HideMyAss, for example, doesn’t have a backdoor or that it really flushes its IP cache?

        I apply what Frank Sharpton says about safety to the internet: don’t go to stupid web sites and request stupid shit, or associate with stupid people on the net.

        • The thing is, most people in the TSP Nation are not trying to hide what they do, they just think it is NONE of the governments business and want to make it more difficult for this beast to do what it is doing. The more we encrypt the more we resist this modern police state.

      • TrueCrypt was just for encrypting local data. Invisibility in cyberspace is a complex request but not related to TrueCrypt.

        I have one reliable source of information on this topic and that is Steve Gibson, who is a genius and runs a great podcast called Security Now! and has a great website at Almost everything I’ve learned, I’ve learned from Steve.

        First part of security is email, which is so far impossible to send invisibly. Contents of email can be encrypted, using programs such as PGP, but the envelope (metadata) of the email cannot yet be encrypted as that would stop it being delivered. The good news if you are paranoid is you could set up dozens of free accounts like throw away phones if you are up to that level of tin foil.

        Much like email, the content of internet access is easy to encrypt, as you only want to use sites secured with SSL, which are easy to spot as they start with https:// instead of http://. This does not hide the sites you are accessing from your internet provider or DNS (Domain Name Service) provider. Think of DNS like a phone book, it turns the names you type into the real addresses behind all website. The first step you can take to hide that is to use a VPN (virtual private network). A VPN is a private tunnel to a specific location. So if you are in a coffee shop all anyone looking to the network sees is you making one connection. Anyone watching the outlet of the VPN wouldn’t know who was creating the traffic coming from the outlet of the tunnel. The next step is something like TOR (The Onion Router) which creates a VPN for you to get in and randomizes where your traffic comes out of from thousands of member computers. There are also services inside TOR so if you don’t leave, you can’t be detected.

        If you want to hide your identity from the site you are connecting to you have to worry about multiple “fingerprints” that you can leave. The biggest are “cookies”. Which are tiny files of data stored on your computer that were invented to identify you to the site and to remember your settings. You can turn off “cookies” with a browser setting, but you are still identifiable by a set of data your computer broadcasts when it connects to the site. Stuff like screen resolution, and other video choices like firmware versions and your IP address (basically like the phone number you access the internet from assigned to you from your internet provider). If you are using a VPN, this will be the IP of your VPN provider. Even without the IP, tests have shown that the other settings are a pretty good fingerprint, though without any other data that “fingerprint” is not “on file”. So they can see you are unique, but not who you are specifically.

        So if you want to be truly secure I think the best method is to make a virtual Linux machine and use that to access the internet thru TOR or at least a VPN service. You can Google around and find lots of instructions and it is free. The idea is you will be using a computer that can never change, get infected or anything because the image is static and the machine only exists while it is running. Even if you got infected then it would all be wiped when you closed the session. If you aren’t that nerdy or lack the interest in learning you can go on eBay and find a “thin-client” computer, which are basically hardware versions of the same idea. The VM is still more secure as I think you could scramble some of your other fingerprint data, but if you are looking for something to connect to your bank securely and don’t want to do the VM, it might not be a bad investment.

        The reason few do this is it is annoying. You have to enter all your passwords manually unless you trust LastPass.

  5. I loved hearing about the home school dance group. I’ve had a similar experience with contra dancing (think square dancing). It wasn’t a home school group but just a local community getting together once a month to have a dance. There’s a live band and a caller calling out the moves and you partner up but each dance is pretty much do a move with your partner then dance with the person next to your partner then the groups of partners switch.

    It’s so much fun to go a dance with guys and gals as old as 80 and as young as 8. It’s one of my favorite past times and it was actually my future wife and mine’s first date.

  6. We saw a little bit of this very scenario a few years back in North Carolina. An ice storm knocked out power to a wide area, including us. We were without power, fortunately only for four days. Although the gas furnace wouldn’t work without electricity, we also have a gas fireplace that kept one room downstairs, and the entire upstairs relatively worm. Preps weren’t really too much of an issue, since the streets were drivable after only a day or so. We did get a lot of use out of candles and flashlights. The lack of a generator was a bit of a pain, and we’ve since partially filled the lack with one of those inverters that hooks up to a car. One of my current preps includes slowly building up my backup fuel supply, and somewhere along the line I need to break down and buy at least a small generator (at least 5KW).

    Sanitation wasn’t a problem in this particular case. Water and sewer were never affected. If an event like a hurricane happened along, it is possible that either or both might be knocked out, in which case we would have to fall back on a field expedient potty (5 gallon bucket & trash bags, with a toilet seat). Water is a weak point in our preps… We could probably go a week on bottled water, and two more with water out of the water heater. I do have a 50 gallon rain barrel that is usually full, but I haven’t bought a good filter yet.

    Entertainment isn’t a problem for me anyway, since I have a few thousand books to keep me occupied. The SO and kid are a bit more addicted to electronic media, but we have a ready supply of card and board games. Not too worried about this one.

    I realize that cold weather tends to reduce the spread of viruses (excluding direct contact transmission), but I wonder what would happen if we had a combination disaster… like a pandemic described in last week’s scenario on top of an ice storm, hurricane, or earthquake. Although the later disasters are at worst regional, they would make it very difficult for outside resources to be brought in to fix such a problem.

  7. Ice storm, Rochester, NY, March 1991, living in ring of suburbs power out for 2 weeks – I’ll attempt to keep this short, but the event left a lasting impression.

    Very heavy saturating rain, temp drop, icing buildup then a blanket of snow which collapses branches. Many people woke up to no power, blockaded driveway, impassable roads and a flooded basement. We were lucky enough to have power on for a little longer than most, but tip number one, in advance, know how to siphon into sanitary sewer as a last resort. And have a double basement backup pump system like ‘Basement Watchdog’ or some such. Test it by dumping water in the crock with the main unit unplugged. Have a backup for your backup. Get to know who Steven Harris is.

    The public gas grid near a city is very solid. Luckily we had a ‘power pile thermostat’ that runs off electricity generated by the pilot light, which came in the vintage 1960 house as standard. True, your blower won’t work anyway, but if you remove furnace door, filter and open all the interior house doors you can still circulate the air by convection, slowly. It was still cold, but not enough to have to pack up our 3 month old, at the time. Later got a fireplace insert and we now store wood in the garage.

    The sound of snapping trees is as loud as a shotgun. Venturing out, meant first looking up to make sure nothing was over your head. The popping was constant in the morning. And these were obviously lethal heavy loads of wood and ice capable of ‘totaling’ houses. This area has a forest like density of trees, so driving wasn’t an option.

    We had an electrical stove at the time, now have gas. But at that time our only choice was outdoor cooking on a Weber charcoal grill, supplemented by plentiful dead branches. I happened to have plenty of charcoal, and you need it. Cooking in cold weather is ALOT different, requires more a lot more energy.

    Food was less of a problem. I will never, EVER forget going to the grocery store later that morning. Power out, candles lighting all the isles in long rows on the floor, no muzak. It was as quiet and dark as cathedral on Christmas Eve. It wasn’t crowded and the few people we talking in hushed tones. All the meat was going to spoil. I came out with about 15 pounds in my backpack and started to cook it all. The whole world was a refrigerator and ice was also pretty plentiful, but we all knew the power grid was shattered for a long time.

    Walking required constant vigilance above and below. But we had hot showers thanks to gas water heaters more common in those days, a MAJOR morale booster. No changes to sanitation. We were careful to finish up most of our daily activities by sunset. The descent of night became a major event and we prepared as much as we could in advance to conserve the batteries.

    We got to know our neighbors very well. We all had special skills that probably should have come to light earlier. But during the long hours away from the now defunct economic treadmill, socializing flowed naturally.

    We were lucky, no one anywhere near us died as a direct result that I knew of. People spent time photographing the ice, and we finally saw the stars at night as if we were all together in some crazy campsite. But we never again took utilities for granted as we did before.

    When the power came back on, it took almost as much getting used to as when it went off. If you can prevent it from being lethal or destructive, I have to say, it was a positive experience.

    Google photos ‘Rochester, NY ice storm 1991’ to see what this is like. It brought back a lot of memories. I’m going to look at some of the other cities/dates people are mentioning. It can happen almost anywhere in continental US. It can ruin your days, for weeks, big time. All depends.

    I’m going to look for dangerous branches tomorrow. Thanks for the show question Jack!

    • Thanks for posting this. Very interesting, and reminds me to check for dangerous branches in the two huge oak trees that were here before this house was even built.

  8. Living in rural SW Arkansas an ice storm like this is very real. We have oil lamps for lights at night. We have a propane heater for heat during the winter that is hooked up to a 500 Gal propane tank. The heater is the only thing hooked up to it Sanitation wouldn’t be a problem since we have city water and a septic tank. Hot water would be a project but we can build a fire outside in the fire pit and heat up 10 gallons at a time. The one thing that his a reality check is food for the animals. We have 6 chickens (about 2 months old) 2 dogs and a cat. They would basically starve. So we have decided today that we are going to make a month surplus in food for the animals. Now to human food. During the winter time we have a freezer full of deer since the zone we are in allows us to kill 6 deer. We would have a lot of bbq deer since our stove is electric. We have 2 boys 5 and 2, Keeping them busy during the time without power would be testing, but I think during the time my 5 year old wouldn’t be doing school work (hes homeschooled) we would be building a lot of indoor tents and playing with Lego’s and trains. One thing I didnt notice anyone saying was missing 3 weeks of work. For us our emergency fund that we have put back will make this time a little less stressful. One last little comment. We decided to homeschool our boys to keep them away from the stupidity of common core. When we can even figure out how to do a simple 3rd grade math question using common core, I just cant let my boys go through that.

  9. We had our ice storm here in Dallas last year, but that was minor and only four days. My husband and I just came across your podcast a few months ago and have started prepping by coming up with our plans. While we currently do not have everything in place yet, we came up with a plan at the beginning of the month for extended blackouts and have been working steadily to put it in place.

    However, with my novice situation on prepping, I won’t comment on experience or specifics to food storage or power generation. Yet, I do want to talk about our plan for morale.

    My husband and I have a very active lifestyle where we run, bike and basically do anything outside. With being stuck in the house for only four days last year, we were already going crazy. I was running circles in the house just to get nervous energy out. Based on this experience, a key component to forming our plan was how to keep up morale. We planned things like playing cards and have several decks on hand along with board games we like to play. We also like to create blanket forts like kids. We also have cooking challenges, using the ingredients we have to make creative meals. Because we like to work out, we plan to have “workout challenges” where we can see who can do the most pull ups, sit ups, etc. Plus, our dog likes tug of war and fetch. That can go on for hours.

    For someone who struggles with depression, I knew we would have to have some sort of structure for keeping ourselves busy while stuck at home for extended amounts of time. The key to what we came up with was to pick things we like to do in “normal life”, but don’t get to do as often as we like. It will get hard to be creative after 21 days of being at home, but if you choose to try to make it fun instead of grumble, it can be possible to actually enjoy the time at home.

    Thanks for this challenge and thanks for the podcast. Here’s another couple that have woken up and are working upstream to get prepared and live the life we want.

  10. Jack – you nailed the meaning of that quote IMO. I didn’t give my interpretation of the quote because I wanted to see what you would do with it.

    Mr. Seymour was a Brit and when I’m pretty certain when he said “give a man an acre of desert” he didn’t mean it in the transfer payment, government handout sense of the word and I’m glad you didn’t interpret it that way.

    My take, just FWIW was more in the literal way that smallholder agriculture is the way to go. Ownership and continuity are good-you will invest for the future as you hope to see the benefit.

    Thanks for fleshing it out with other angles!

    Oh and more on John Seymour here. Cool guy.

  11. LAST Monday’s scenario:
    I didn’t answer at all because the scenario brought to mind a particular nagging issue that I have in my life. That is, while I have done a reasonable job of getting food and water preps in order, and at least as far as food goes, have even set aside three months for a certain member of my family and their spouse and children, they have their heads firmly planted in the sand. Not only do they not entertain thoughts of prepping, they won’t even take the food I have for them. So, the food and a few other odds and ends sit in a large spare closet saved against the day they actually come face to face with circumstances that would demand they accept what I have for them. And in a situation such as described, I would be facing serious penalties trying to get supplies to them. Which doesn’t mean I wouldn’t try, but still.

    As for me, I live solo. Since I’m sure I wouldn’t get arrested being within the bounds of my own property: Food waste is composted. Burnable stuff would get burned. Plastic stuff gets stuck in outside trash cans. As for the toilet, well, I honestly don’t have bulletproof preps in place. I do have a composting toilet, and a LOT of free sawdust sitting in the corner of a basement, but really haven’t tried them. I have a bit of water catchment and filtration if that needs to become drinkable, plus a fair amount stored up (though not really enough for 30 days) so I’m PROBABLY/MAYBE okay on that front. When it comes to showering, well, it’s probably spitball baths (Google it if that’s too regional a term) for me for a while. As for entertainment, I’m one of those odd people who isn’t very old (31) and actually buys books rather than e-books most of the time. So I’ve got five books In my “to be read” pile that I’m working through right now for entertainment should all else fail. I have two dogs, but I buy two months worth of food for them at a time, so unless I just get totally screwed on the timing I’m most likely covered there. And yes my water storage is calculated with them in mind.

    THIS Monday scenario:

    Man, this one sucks for me. I live in Kansas, where unplesant winter storms are not theoretical. We pretty reliably get at least one storm that more or less shuts us down for at least a day or two. So this senario is not far fetched at all. And yet, given all that, my winter-related preps are kind of lacking. I have kerosene heaters with replacement wicks, and have actually tested them by going multiple days with just using them for heating whichever room I’m in in the depth of winter. But I never bother keeping more than a few days, MAYBE a weeks, worth on hand at a time. Aside fromt hat I have no wood stove, not even a fireplace or some electric heaters to run off my generator. Soo, if this happened tomorrow I guess it would be a lot of staying bundled up and under a makeshift shelter with my dogs and cursing my own stupidity and praying I didn’t freeze to death in my own home after the first week for me. I’d also be spending as much time as possible in the smallest room in the house with a single heater in use to stretch the supply. I’m on city gas, so cooking is most likely going to be taken care of for the first week or so. Depends on how long the pressure int he lines takes to drop too low, as I understand it. My stove at least works just fine if I have a flame on hand to light the gas from the burner, as long as the gas is still coming in. If the gas pressure drops before the power comes back on, well, it’s gonna be cold food and more unhappiness for this guy. No hot water, either, since the water heater is electrical ignition. Sanitation is the as above. Except access to water catchment is gonna be an issue, so honestly thats another weak spot.

    God I really have to get my winter-related crap together.

  12. I’ll 100% confirm they’ve got uhm, quite a number of photos of the guy. There isn’t an intel person who doesn’t have access to a camera. As far as dossier on every american citizen…. =) The only dossier that the US government uses is private information collected for credit report information. hahahah. That information is so much more jacked up than most realize.

    • While I agree with your analysis of the FBI thing, I’ll provide a bit more ground “truth” to the FBI director bringing up child porn. That is on of the biggest components to the FBI’s digital work particularly in Forensics. (My Field). The FBI has been the leading edge on child porn forensics stuff for quite some time, and if you’re around anything related to forensics and computers you’ll hear the word child porn again and again and again and again.

      The FBI really only handles 3 cases. A. Cross State Murder cases. B. Child Porn and C. Terrorism.

      If we want to point out that they’ve been directed to handles these cases specifically because they’re dramatic… well… I guess that could certainly make sense. But I’m just pointing out they’re a lot more than buzz words inside the agency. Unless buzzwords is tens of thousands of employees and contractors. haha.

  13. Great show and even better quote, but I disagree with you on Prism, Google and Android.

    Prism is quite literally what the name suggests, it is a splitting of the internet fiber links where major corporations connect, so it doesn’t need corporate buy in. For full details please Google Prism over at or just where Steve Gibson gave a very detailed explanation that makes perfect sense to me. It certainly could be wrong as Steve has no inside info, but I would consider it a theory that has produced predicted results. Recording all incoming and outgoing traffic produces nearly the same results, except it requires a separate data center. It is also easier in a way than having an internal bug as an internal bug would need to know database structures, but an external bug just has to decode standard packets. Why would they need the thing in Utah if they had Google’s data centers? They also went deeper which Google found out about from one of the later Snowden releases and that was to monitor one of Google’s private internal fiber runs. Once that got out Google ordered that even internal traffic be encrypted, and started pressing even harder for HTTPS everywhere. The increased encryption of Android is also a result. And no there aren’t any back doors in Android because each time the new software is released, so is the raw code. That code is poured through by amateurs, but also by professionals at Amazon who use it to revise their Fire OS, CyanogenMod who review each change for inclusion in their OS and the Chinese who I am sure spend some time before revising their own version for China. iOS is a different story as that software is close source. It is possible there is a back door in Android, but it is very unlikely.

    Google needs security, because if people loose faith, the whole company could collapse. They have far beyond a vested interest in cutting the NSA out. And i think employees at Google would turn on them in a second if they were shown to be complicit in the data mining. I wouldn’t disagree that Google does their own data mining and probably knows more than the government, but that is a different discussion.

    Looking forward to hearing about the new project.

  14. The Ice Storm; First there is a big hole this year and that is hubby has used up to much of his paid time off aka vacation and sick leave. We always try to bank / carry over time just in case. Weather, illness, injury, or extra pay check for lay offs. Next yr we will just have to suck it up to save the time. That way he can bank it should something happen. He can carry over vacation time and save 3-4 weeks. Should ice hit this yr before he gets his time back. The plan is to stay at a hotel with in walking distance of his job. Share a trailer that is parked in the parking lot at work. Or possibly he might be able to stay in his work shop.

    Takes me at least 3 months of not going any where before I start getting cabin fever. Hubby is practicing now. It use to be after being awake for 4 hours he was ready to go. Now he can stay home for an entire weekend. So practicing staying home is helping.

    I’d say for the most part my day to day would be the same. I still have to run the household look after the animals do domestics and such. I will just have to find a different way to do them. The biggest issue is Hubby’s life will be very different. His entire daily routine will be turned upside down. It is much harder to figure out the HOW to do if you don’t know the WHAT that needs doing. Sure the obvious of start the genny or build a fire but the day to day living. Like in a 3 week period how many times will you need to do laundry or wash your hair. Starting to cook meals earlier and planning ahead since all cooking will be done with fire. What & when bills may need to be paid and how you can pay them if power is out. Figuring out how to fill the days without the constant focus on what you can’t do. Then accepting that it’s time to dig in instead of pacing hoping it will be over in a few hours. Making that mind shift of acceptance or a realization of the situation. Here we are given a 3 wk period. In real life you never know if it’s going to be a day or 2 or weeks. constantly walking around worrying and wondering how long it will last that pacing drives me nuts. Just accept it and dig in make the best of it.

    I like to set a time frame that 2-3 days he will stay home from work no matter what. If it last longer or shorter than that we can revisit. Setting a time frame for looking at the situation and taking inventory so it’s not the constant never ending watching is it melting yet. He really needs to figure out who can cover for him at work.

    Food wouldn’t be a problem. Fire wood is in a wood shed also there is lumber in an enclosed lumber shed and we keep the large wood box full that is stored on the back porch. Always have rock salt to put on or in front of the wood shed and jenny shed. Shovel and grub ax to dig with if we have to. We also have gravel and or sand in a pile out side. I have taken some indoor out door carpet from unused areas and put it over the ice for the daily high use areas. Even trow rugs or area rugs have been put out. Falling and breaking a bone when you can’t get out not good. Extra care needs to be taken.

    Back porch cover with straw or in a pile out side. That way they do their business there & won’t have to walk on the ice. Salt not good for the pups paws. Porch also works for a back up if we have an animal that is getting ready to deliver. Can also walk the pups to the barn with a harness so they can do business there. We can hang tarps up on the front porch or 4×8 sheet ply wood. This would give us more places for animals closer to the house if it’s needed in an ER.

    Would lock all the animals in the barn so they can’t get out. Open up the hay barn to let animals honker down in there. Their body heat will help keep them all warm. May have to block off an area so that we can heat a metal drum filled with water. Heat with wood fire or propane. Walking across the deck and yard a rope tied up from house to barn helps to prevent falls. Breaking a path to the barn would be beneficial. Also would keep hubby busy.

    Keeping the animal water dishes from freezing is the hardest part. Since animals need more water when it is really cold outside. Keep large water barrels in the barn wrapped in insulation in the warmest part then stack bales around them to try to keep it from freezing. With no power running the generator not going to work running 24 /7 so humm there is a hole Need a battery bank to run bird bath heaters to help keep the animal water from freezing.
    (I have heard of people composting in the ground and then setting the water trough on that the heat from composting keeps the water from freezing. Haven’t tried that yet)

    We do keep pleanty of animal food on hand. Stored in metal trash cans (looking for an old cheep chest freezer they work great) I also store bags of feed in the pantry. I cook huge pots of soaked grain like a big batch of oat meal. Give that to the animals once / twice a day to help warm them up. Would also need a battery bank to run some small fan to help with the air circulation since we would not be able to clean 100% the poo. The stink, woo doggie bad. That could also make the animals sick. Vaseline on the chicken combs can help prevent frost bite.

    Sanitation run the generator to run the well to fill the bath tub for toilet flushing. Or we would just have to use a bucket & compost. The tub water would work for spit bath & washing out socks and skivvies as well as hair washing. Line dry in the house or out on the porch. Cold dry weather will dry out clothes just takes a bit longer. We don’t have enough water stored in the house for full baths & that sort of stuff. House clothes and then change into barn clothes to help save laundry. We also keep the hot tub full of water. It’s broke and we no longer use it other than water storage. It’s very well insulated. So would take quite a while to freeze. We do have baby wipes that helps a bit.

    Keeping spirits up. Preventing CABIN FEVER That is a very hard one. Hubby gets cabin fever very quickly. If ice is that bad there will be no TV or computer. DVDs and the radio will be entertainment. Odd jobs around the house. There are always small odd jobs that keep getting put off. Keep him busy so he wont get board. Cleaning organizing closets & drawers Sort out the file cabinet clean behind the stove and fridge card games puzzles reading through plant catalogs making plans for the next storm balancing the budget making jerky playing with the pups. Things that he can help me with. If he is helping or fixing a problem that is better than just busy work. He has to have a purpose. Teach the pups new tricks. heat stones on the wood stove for a nice hot stone massage, build bird & or bat houses. They are small enough to use hand tools. Baking sweets and things in the CI dutch oven. Goodies to make and eat will be so helpful. Something to really look forward to.

    This time I can tell ya we wont be caught without beer &/ or sprits! Depending maybe set the heater up in the shop so he can tinker out there. There is knitting crochet hand stitching patches on jeans & other clothes repair. Deep cleaning the house, reading, reloading, cleaning organizing the shop, cleaning the guns. All on top of the daily chores and the checking on the animals every hour or two.

    Maybe set up the tent and camping gear in the house for a good inventory. Did that all the time when the boys were young. Sit around the lantern whittle and sharpen knives or make stuff. Arts n crafts science projects. Bring the stuff in from the cars to inventory clean and sort.

    Setting aside alone time for me in a room with a door. Cuz the man will drive me nuts. I’m sure the pups will want to be getting outside. So they will add to the cabin fever stress. That is the time I will say time to rearrange the house to make big romp room for the pups. I can find so many things to do to keep myself busy. Keeping hubby and the pups busy that is going to be a challenge.

    Hubby will start to focus on and obsess on how can we get out of here by the end of the 3rd day. So big project setting up a grow spot to start seeds in the house. And write out a time table schedule with all the chores that need doing and when. Filling in the hours that he normally would be at work. That’s a good visual to see that no you are not just sitting doing nothing.

    Another big hole if it’s that cold out. Need battery bank for the well head to keep a light bulb going so the well pump does not freeze. We need to have all our barrels filled and set up in the green house.

    Keeping heat in the house to cut down on fire wood usage. Drapes hung up dividing the house off. Helps keep more heat in the living area. Plus would give us a place to get away from each other.

    Ice storms are the worst. Then when things start to thaw thats when you find what pipes have broke. You also have to keep the animals inside because huge chunks of ice are falling out of trees. Make sure the cars are not parked under any trees or things where ice can fall on them. After the thaw then there is major clean up out side and in the barn. With a scramble to get supplies built back up, fences mended, and ready for the next go round. Also a good time to check around trees for ground cracks and movement.

    I we do try to always keep a big hole dug in back something deep enough to bury an animal in. If something dies that we can’t eat we need to have a place to put it. The ground being frozen we wont be able to dig a hole. More than likely there will be a burn ban in a real bad cold spell. So to put the animals in the hole and then cover with wood wired and what ever we have. In ice it would not be possible to take the carcass out far enough to prevent predators from coming in. I don’t mind feeding wild life however I don’t want to do any thing that will make my animals more of a target and easy pickens. This reminds me I need to practice starting the genny and changing out propane bottles. I know HOW to do it. But with practice I can get faster at it. Which in the cold will be important.

    This reminds me I need to get stocked up on candles again. The bigger jar candles. They do help in a pinch. Put in a metal bucket of sand or gravel and hang them in the green house or small out buildings. They can put off enough heat to take the edge off.

    Keeping animal water flowing is going to be the biggest issue. Once things freeze that bad it’s a pain to keep the flow going. Especially if we loose the well pump.

  15. Scenario 1: Four weeks due to a quarantine.

    Food storage.
    Food for pets and poultry.
    Plenty to do on the land and in the house to keep ourselves occupied for a month. It would be more difficult psychologically in the winter, particularly if the roads stopped getting plowed – we would feel very cut-off. Still could ski and sled on the land.

    susceptible to electricity outage, were it to occur. Biggest weakness for us is lack of water, and lack of anywhere close where we could get water. We have no stream, no spring, on property or within walking distance. If the electricity went off we would be up the crick pretty quick due to the water situation. We’d have to count on collecting water from rooftops or snow, and storing it in 5 gallon buckets.
    Water for the poultry.

    Ice Storm:
    strengths: wood is stored in a wood shed and on our front porch. Natural gas heat as back up or primary.
    weaknesses: Same as above, but with special focus on the lack of water. If the ice was many inches thick we could cut chunks of it with an axe and melt that for drinking water. Also, could melt snow under the ice once we had cleared an area of ice. We would need to hope for sunny days and collecting melting water for poultry and household uses. We could most likely ski to a nearby town that had running water from water towers but it would be difficult to haul a useful amount of water home.

  16. Ok scenario time. Without a doubt my biggest hole at this point is heat. Northern Illinois is where I live. Last winter was miserable. Now as long as natural gas keeps running I would be alright, I have a whole house generator, but of course one is none, still looking for my two. I did secure 2 cords of wood for this season. I have a fireplace, but it sucks for putting off heat. I will invest in a wood burning stove, but my problem is where to put it in the house. Without getting into too much detail it would be a major issue, especially with the wife and decorating priorities, to have a wood burning stove somewhere. I already plan to do an insert in the fireplace, but lack the $3k.
    I am contemplating building a rocket mass heater, but they are not exactly easy to store. I am really curious what others have come up with for backup heat.

    Morale I am doing well, lots of games, puzzles, books, and projects to occupy time. As part of my battery bank setup I finally got done, thank you Steven Harris, I purchased one of those dvd tvs he recommended. I have been pounding the garage sales this summer for old movies.

    I made a big step forward this year in terms of preps but the heat is what bothers me the most.

    • I have gas heated hot air heat. If the power goes, I have a small battery bank that is recharged thru a dedicated cable to my car and an inverter that will run the furnace, some lights, charge the phones and tablets so we can play board games.

      Back up heat is a coal stove in the basement and two garbage bins full of lump coal which will heat the house for two weeks at a minimum. Bought the stove on eBay for $300 and the coal for $100, but this system would be hard to setup in anywhere but the northeast.

  17. On today’s scenario: our first concern would be we probably do not have enough almond milk for my son. We’ll deal with that but it might not be pretty. Food we have enough, water storage is kind of iffy since I have not put aside the amount of water we usually store since we moved to where we are right now.I do have some containers-and as a result of this exercise I will look to filling those up asap.
    Luckily we still have a ton of winter clothes from our last residence in NY. We would divide our home into a smaller habitable envelope to focus heat there. We would need to find a heat source…(and I am putting that on my checklist before winter comes)
    I think our main problem is power outage. Everything here is electric-even the stove. Which is why I have been planning to buy a propane tank since we got to this new house. That might be our biggest problem. If we do cook, I would have to figure out some way to grill in bulk outside with our stack of coal…storing the cooked food with some supplemental cold from outside would help afterwards.

    • Forgot to address the morale question…We do have some entertainment set aside (dvds and apps, backup power for those…toys and hobbies to work on) but I think it is important to get the spouse involved in running the house and using the preps we planned out. I want her to have a hand in the solutions and I want her to feel that what she does matters. The fact that she can act on, and is crucial to our well being during a crisis will be invaluable to us now and in the future.

  18. Ugh…I can’t believe you played that Pirro segment! I mean I’m glad you did so that people who don’t watch Fox see the bullshit they are spewing, but I didn’t really want to hear that segment again. That was the introduction to her show and I accidentally flipped on Fox news at that point and heard most of what she was saying but then had to change the channel before she finished and before I puked up my dinner. My jaw dropped to the floor hearing her say “Bomb! Bomb them everywhere! Bomb them again and again and again!”. My heart was breaking for the innocents that would be killed by her bombs. How can anyone think that bombing an ideology would work? You can’t kill an idea, but you can kill innocent civilians with families and lives and hopes and dreams. Then, she took it over the top when she threatened me with ISIS coming to America. Really, Jeanine? Are they really going to come and get me? How do you know? Do you know them personally and are delivering their threat on national media for them? OR….are you trying to scare me into doing what you want me to do? I am not stupid and I will not be swayed by fear mongering like that. The conviction and force in her voice made the segment that much worse for me. In my eyes, that Pirro woman (and anyone who had a decision to air this despicable kill, kill, kill segment) is no different than the ISIS radicals.

    Rant over….

  19. Power of fear.

    I was surprised to see a friend, usually a freedom loving person, posting on Facebook that maybe we should consider profiling all Muslims. Her reason, the beheading in OK.

    She posted a link which showed some of the guy’s Facebook posts. The link also said how maybe we should be happy to encourage NSA to check out social media, not to be so quick to condemn their spying on US citizens, that possibly this woman would be alive today if law enforcement picked him up after reading his Facebook posts.

    It was an horrific crime. Yes he deserves to be punished. But that does not mean all Muslims should be profiled, that all are radicals. Nor that social media should be closely monitored so people can be arrested before the crime is committed.

    Should all white people have been profiled because of the actions of the KKK years back? Or the actions of any radical group should condemn their whole race, religion or geographic region? Because of fear, my friend lost her normal common sense.

    One of my sons is engaged to a Muslim from India. They’ve been engaged almost a year. I’m surprised at how much prejudice we are running into. “I thought you were Christians, how can you let your son marry such a person”
    Many of the comments, almost word for word, are much like those my sister got years back when she married someone of another race.

    My future daughter-in-law has visited my home, cooked several meals for us. My son has visited her home in India. No one lost their heads nor acted hateful in any way. Her main concern was I hope you like me, that I can be like one of your daughters.

    But I see how fear can be easily used to create more of a police state.

  20. Hi Jack and TSP community,
    This will be my first Monday scenario so I am excited to give it a go. Looks like these will be a great learning experience. Well I am located in northern Washington (north of Spokane to be more exact) so the possibility of a ice storm that keeps you locked up for close to a month is a real possibility. My wife and I are just getting into the prepare mindset so I know I will have a lot of gaps and holes that need to be filled. First off my strengths. I grew up in the area and have experienced the harsh winter conditions. We have a wood stove and a decent amount of wood that is stored in a covered location. I could easily keep us warm for the full thirty days with the wood stove. The stove also provides a place to cook a meal. We are on a well system, so as long as we didn’t have pipes that froze we should be able to have some water if we could get power to the pump. We have plenty of winter gear (appropriate clothing, boots, shovels, etc.). As far as keeping moral up, we have a few card games/ board games plus plenty of books that we would love to have the time to sit down and read. Now on to the weaknesses…. we defiantly have enough food to last us the month, but not much beyond that. So more food is defiantly in order. We don’t have much water on hand either but in the winter that is mitigated a little simply because we could always collect some snow and boil it on the stove top. But it would better to have more on hand. Sanitation would be tough. As long as I could collect enough snow and melt it down we could continue to flush the toilets and wash our hands. I would defiantly like to store some more medications and some other items to help with sanitation such as Purell for your hands. Our only animal right now is a outdoor cat. If the conditions were harsh enough we would probably bring her in, which means we would probably want a cat box and some litter so she doesn’t make a mess somewhere else in the house. Thats about all I can think of now, I am sure I have a bunch more holes and things I haven’t yet considered. If anyone wants to offer advice it is always appreciated.

  21. Scenario… Well… as far as firewood and heating… I’m screwed.. Well kinda.. there are a few trees I can fell on my property that have been dead a year or two. I just got 900 lbs of feed for the quail, pheasant, turkeys, and chickens. So…. For morale… I am going to cull 4 pheasant roosters, bring the grill into the heated garage, leave door open for proper ventilation….. I am going to grill up some damn good pheasant. Once the trees are felled I am going to bring them into the garage to cut them up with my sawzall and skil saw. Before doing this, I am going to spread the half barrel of sand around the slick areas, so that my clumsy a** doesn’t break something. Nor my dog or fiance. Once the fireplaces are going I can cook with my cast iron wares (tried them this week to make sure.) Also just found a few whale oil lamps this week thank heavens. Because I have not built any sort of backup power (Doh!!) We do however have a large shop that runs off of solar, wind, 12 battery 120v back up system with a south facing solar array that heats anti-freeze and is pumped through the concrete floor to act as a thermal mass, which also includes a composting toilet.. So… if worse comes to worse we can head down there. Not as comfortable, and is kind of a cheat.. But it’s there…. Also for morale, we bought a few board games a while back.. Time to bring them back.. Sanitation, morale, boredom, animals… not really any power, but we can cope.. The biggest concern I have is the animals getting sick and no vets are able to come out. We did get some broad spectrum antibiotics, Tylan, and Liquamyacin… Hopefully these will do. We did also grab extra syringes. What say you Modern Survival.. What did I forget, and where should I improve?

  22. Back in 2008, our area of MA was nailed with an ice storm that left everybody I know without power. At that point I wasn’t awake to modern survivalism. It was this very storm that really started waking me up. Last year I wrote up a blog post on this very thing, on my site. I’ve since, fell off the blogs due to work and a busy life, but I wanted to share this post here. I feel it really hits home on this subject. Here’s the link guys…