But I don’t want to Bug Out!!
By Deborah in the UP
Ok, I’ll admit that. I really don’t want to Bug Out! I’m miles from the nearest major town, and I’m really at the end of the line. You get here, you turn around and go back, no traveling thru. I’ve spent a great deal of work and money and mental energy, making my place comfortable both on grid and off… and I Don’t. Want. To. Leave. First of all, all my stuff is here, I’m comfortable here, I’m even happy here. Second, where I am now is a great place to go to, it is a retreat: acreage, gardens, literally at the end of a dirt road, everything we keep talking about, everything we keep encouraging. What have I done to make it like it is? What is so different that it gives me the best of both worlds? I had to think outside the box, duplicate systems, and sacrifice. If you truly want to Bug In, Hunker Down, Shelter in Place, you are going to have to make some adjustments, and you might want to do that soon.
Cooking and heating: I started with putting on a small addition, an “L” shaped room that expanded my kitchen area. Once I did that, I installed a wood burning cook stove that I’ve had in storage for several years. (I also reinforced under the stove because of the weight.) This cook stove serves several functions: it heats my entire house with it’s strategic location; it is my stove top cooking surface; and it’s a baking oven. All of these functions are comfortable and easy to use. Many women survivalists have claimed to have “that covered”.. they can cook over an open fire; they can bake in a Dutch oven, or fry flatbreads over that same open fire. Or they have a grill that will suffice for cooking. Ok. Great even. What about when it rains? Or snows? Or it’s too windy? Or you run out of propane or charcoal? My duplicate system here is that I have a propane back up furnace, and a regular gas stove. I don’t use the woodstove 365, it would be too hot in the summer… but I can if I need to. I also secured a second cook stove that atshtf will be built into a summer kitchen, but I personally don’t see the need to do that just yet. I also live on ten acres of heavily wooded forest, so fuel is not an issue.
Water: Yes, I have a well, and it requires power to pump it. As long as I’m on the grid, no problem. Going off the grid though, not having water is a big problem, that’s why I have a generator that runs the entire house, and several drums of gas to go with it. What happens though when the gas runs out? I have a second well, with a hand pump. I also have a creek that runs all year 100’ from my back door, down the hill, no chance of it flooding. So there’s a back up system for the back up system. Backing those up is a Berkey filtering system…. No sense in having water that you can’t drink.
Right now the propane also heats my water for cleaning and showering and washing clothes. After? Back to the woodstove to heat the water. Showering? Water doesn’t have to come out of the faucet.. I showered out of a bucket for seven years when I lived completely off grid. I made a new shower bucket, installed a hook to hang it from in the shower stall, and it’s ready when needed. Amazing what a wonderful shower you can take in five gallons of water, especially if you haven’t had a shower in days….. Washing clothes? Washer and dryer now, two tubs, a wringer and a clothesline later.
Refrigeration: This could be a problem for most anyone… without power. Where I am, in the colder climate of the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, it won’t be an issue from September to May. Why try to keep something cold inside, when it’s cold outside?? The big outdoors becomes a walk in cooler, and in the freezing months an unheated pantry is perfect. During the hotter months, adjustment to how and what we eat will have to be considered. What do we keep cold? Usually leftovers. Cooking with no leftovers will become the norm.
Lighting: It’s so nice to walk into any room and just flip a switch for lights, isn’t it? Will be a different story when the grid goes down. I’m not an advocate of candles. Candles are open flames and that could be dangerous… plus, they burn away and you have nothing left. In the beginning, I would use the battery operated lanterns I have, but batteries wear out, even rechargeable ones. Propane lanterns give off wonderfully bright light, but how many of those little propane bottles can you store? Kerosene lamps are my choice. And yes, kerosene will eventually run out, but a couple of five gallon cans will last years and years IF it’s rationed. One lamp burning in a main area gives off plenty of light for me to move around, and if I have to move to another room, take it with me. In the cooler months the lamp will also provide a bit of heat.
During a time of strife, keeping a low visibility profile will be important and can be a life saver. If you’re going to stay where you are, window darkening covers will be a must to have. You don’t want the marauding hoards seeing your lamp light! Which brings up security. Personally, I have five exits from my house, plus a secret one. A variety of weapons staged through out the house is a good idea because while someone may be coming in one door, you will need to get out another, preferably with some sort of armament. Being a female, I have a lot of bases to cover, and I need to make use of every advantage I can. Having a crows-nest to shoot or just observe from is a definite bonus. But that wasn’t by accident, it was all planned. Everything here is planned… like the thorny roses under the windows.
You CAN Bug IN…. but…
There are circumstances that will dictate leaving. Fire is my biggest concern, but also being under siege from those marauding hoards. Bugging In is Plan A. Bugging Out is Plan B, Plans C, D and E, would be where you bug out to. Even with all I have here, I do have an escape plan. Every good survivalist does.