Prepared, RevolverGuy Style

I’m sitting on the couch, typing with my MacBook on its lowest possible screen brightness. It isn’t plugged in, and I’m not on Wi-Fi, because my power is out. This is probably causing some slight inconvenience and no small amount of anxiety for many of my neighbors, and meanwhile, I’m writing away happily. It’s the dead of winter, right at the tail-end of a brutal cold snap, and it’s around 9:30 PM. This really isn’t a huge deal for me. I’m prepared, RevolverGuy style.

I’m not what most would consider to be a prepper. I don’t have a year’s worth of freeze-dried food or a bunker in (under?) the backyard. I don’t own a huge SUV that I write off as a “bug-out vehicle.” I don’t expect a zombie apocalypse is going to break out anytime in my lifetime, nor am I particularly interested in discussing it with you. But, I’ve been around enough to know a little bit now. I know that things can sometimes happen that make life downright uncomfortable if you aren’t equipped to deal with them. I have the common sense to know that an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, and having a few things on hand against hard times isn’t a bad idea. Come to think of it, it’s not unlike carrying a sidearm, which is really nothing more than preparing in advance for a very unlikely but potentially dire event. Now that I think of it, maybe I am a “prepper” of sorts after all…

When the power first went out I assumed it was just a flicker. I was sitting in the floor, back against the couch, petting my German Shepherd. I gave it a full minute and realized this outage was going to be a bit more long-lived. No worries. I pulled the flashlight out of my pocket. It’s always there, because, as I’m frequently prompted to tell others who ask why I carry a flashlight, it gets dark every single day.

Right now I don’t need to pull on my coat and slip into my boots to bring in armloads of firewood because I already have. I’ve had wood in here since October. I’ve built a few fires since, but I’ve replenished everything as I used it. I’ve also got some kindling and a couple old newspapers – and a box of matches, don’t forget those! – laid by. I know the chimney was cleaned in late summer, so I’ve got no worries there. I put match to paper and a dozen minutes later have a warm, cheery little candy-roaster going. I close off all the doors into the living room (at least the ones I can) and it’s toasty in no time.

Ok, heat is taken care of…what else? I know I have water, plenty to keep me and the dog hydrated for at least ten days. After living in the well-irrigated desert that is Southern California, I’m a bit obsessive about having some water on hand. I’ve been buying a gallon or two every time I go to the grocery store for what, six months now? At $0.89 apiece it doesn’t add much to the grocery bill but that 25 gallons in the basement sure feels good to have right now. It’s funny something as simple as water can go from nearly-nothing to priceless, depending on the circumstances.

There’s an assortment of other stuff around the house, too. There’s a big first aid kit in the hall closet. There’s a drawer full of AA and AAA batteries, a couple more cheap LED flashlights, and a headlamp. I doubt I’ll need any of it tonight, but I’m glad it’s there just the same. Like most of the “preparedness” stuff I have it doesn’t really matter if I need it in an emergency or not – it’s stuff that will get used anyway.

I don’t expect this will last long enough that I really need food, but if it does, I’m good. I know I could start cooking stuff out of the freezer first. Since I have a gas stove I’d still be able to use real cookware. If the power is still out, and if I’m in a hurry in the morning, I can fire up the JetBoil (I always keep a few extra fuel canisters around) and make coffee and some instant oatmeal. If I really need it. If this goes for more than a few days and for some reason I can’t make it to the grocery store I’m still good; I’ve got “grandma’s pantry” going on here. Grandma was always had an extra everything, and was always ready if late afternoon company turned into dinner guests. And if she were still around, she wouldn’t be to worried about a power outage.

I don’t expect any trouble, at least not any more than I do on any other night. But if it comes, there’s a .357 Magnum on my belt. And, come to think of it, there’s also a bigger gun close by, too, this one with a half dozen rounds of Federal 00 Buck stuffed into it. That’s not peculiar to tonight – it’s just the way it always is. But on a night like tonight, when we are shown demonstrably how fragile our artificially-supported lives really are, the S&W revolver and the shotgun call attention to themselves just a bit more loudly. They’re a comforting presence in the midst of uncertainty.

In the morning, if the power is still out, I’ll bring in some more wood. I’ll make sure to fill up the car and hit the grocery store on the way to work – not after. Then I’ll come home and go on about my day. With power, or without. For now, though, I think I’ll close this computer. I’ll throw another stick of white oak on the fire, pour a couple of fingers of Woodford Reserve, and invite the dog up on the couch for the most peaceful evening I’ve had in a long while.

13 thoughts on “Prepared, RevolverGuy Style”

  1. Homesteaders like me are also default preppers. We heat with wood and keep food in the storeroom because one does that out in the country. A family member in DHS put it well, that after two weeks of disruption the agency has no contingency plans. Let that sink in, for a minute.

    My plans are to be ready for a hurricane or other natural disaster, not the end of the world. I honestly don’t even want to think about that. I do have long-term survival skills that would prove useful, such as farming, seed saving and propagation, wood working, plumbing, and reloading my own ammunition. When you consider how few people in cities or suburbs have any of these skills, it does make one a little uneasy.

    I always ask “so what can I do without going down the doomed rabbit hole?” Other than Justin’s advice here for food, water, heat, and protection I would add community and entertainment . Get to know your neighbors well, be on good terms with them, and participate in your community organizations, be those a Church, volunteer agency, or public library. Speaking of library, do you have off-the-grid things to do for fun, other than shooting or being online? Play music? Garden? Cook? Fish? Repair old tools? Ride horses?

    All good, and good luck to all of you in 2018.

  2. Well, here’s hoping the power comes on soon for ya, Justin. But glad to know – and not at all surprised – that you’re good-to-go if it decides to remain missing in action for awhile!

    Like you, I don’t consider myself a “prepper.” Then again, self-sufficiency seems to be a dwindling trait these days. Gun people seem to be the last bastion of those qualities that once were considered entirely normal. And it probably says something about both of us that I first learned of you, and your blog here, through Aaron’s IN THE RABBIT HOLE podcast (https://www.intherabbithole.com/urban-survival-podcast/ – and for those who haven’t heard it it’s worth noting that this week’s episode has you making an encore appearance).

    It’s hard to beat a nice fire. Even when you have power! It’s surprising how comforting it is to know that regardless what Mother Nature decides to do – and regardless of whether or not that electric outlet is giving you any joy – you’ll be warm and dry. Having covered that first tenet of survival, the rest don’t seem quite so hard. I grumble sometimes when I’m stacking the 1-2 year supply of firewood I keep on hand – not an insignificant quantity when a wood stove is your primary heat source. But then I remind myself what I have. There’s a sublime pleasure in knowing you’re not beholden to another man for something so important.

    Kinda like having that .357 close at hand. Knowing the unfortunate truth that few ever consider – that those good cops in your community aren’t really there to prevent crime. They’re there to pick up the pieces afterward.

    Keep buying those gallon-jugs of water…

  3. A lot of people forget that they may have a ton of water right outside the door in the form of snow. It’s not optimal, but I have melted it down and boiled it for drinking water before.

  4. I’d have to go outside for firewood (I don’t have an indoor fireplace, so I keep the wood out by the fire pit), and I would have to rely on the 40 gallons of water in my water heater instead of bottles or jugs, but I think I’d get by ok for a little bit. I might have to do some creative problem solving to have a fire in the house, but it wouldn’e be that hard. I’m certainly not stocked to handle a complete collapse, but a few days without modern conveniences wouldn’t be the end of the world. I should probably round out my supplies and equipment a bit more, though (right now I would have to cook over fire; a camp stove would be a lot nicer).

    I’m glad you are staying warm and having a relaxing evening without modern pressures.

    1. I’m definitely not prepared for a complete collapse. I guess I kind of subscribe to the “80/20 Prepping” school of thought – prep for 80% of things that could happen with 20% expense and effort. My stuff really doesn’t go too far beyond what I talked about in the article – I can heat myself and feed and water myself for a week, maybe 10 days without too much effort. Water is the only thing I have that I wouldn’t readily use anyway. Everything else – a deep pantry, extra batteries, first aid gear, fire extinguishers – are things that I would have, and that will probably get used anyhow.
      Heat is pretty important almost anywhere in the US. If making a fire is difficult you might consider a kerosene heater. If you can section off a small area to heat (~500 square feet), 10 gallons of fuel would go a long way.
      I’m really geeking out on inexpensive camp stoves lately – if you want I’m happy to review a few of those!

      1. Justin, I am a lifelong hiker and backpacker, with old Coleman two-burners that use whirl gas and one modern multifuel stove. I would enjoy an off-topic review of such gear.

        A good deal of our prepper stuff is dual use for camping (water filters, compasses, first aid) anyhow. We were without potable water and electric for 12 days in 2003, in the middle of a city after a hurricane. Came through fine, thanks to good gear.

      2. Good suggestion on the kerosene heater. I will have to look into getting one.

        I get the impression that we have enough interests that I would be happy to read any reviews you care to write. I’d love to hear your thoughts on inexpensive camp stoves.

        1. Well, since so many of you guys are interested I’ll get to work on it. It looks like my fears of feeling boxed in by having to write ONLY about revolvers were unfounded!

  5. Times such as those described are good for the soul. There is something about a soft warming fire (minus electricity) that unlocks the inner workings of our electronically dulled senses. Such times also require fine blued steel and oak barrel aged refinements. I always step away a better man.

  6. While we were able to flee from my native golden state, several quakes, and fires reinforced the needs for being prepared for disasters, rolling brownouts, and flat out grid down who-knows-what-happened events.(economic haircutting parties,etc)
    Water, food, means of repelling pirates, cook8ng are all things I truly enjoy reading about.

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