Friday, December 17, 2010

Batten down the hatches

California is getting hit with a series of storms this week.  We aren't expecting to see the sun shine for a while.  Around here we may get 3 to 4 inches of rain, which is a lot considering we get about 11 or 12 inches of rain in a year.  The mountains around here are expecting 10 feet of snow.  That's good.  It's not going to be too cold - in the 50s during the day and 40s during the night.
I listen to the talk about sandbagging.  I can't think of a worse time to start thinking about that than when the storms are going to come.  This is as silly as people who run to the store to buy plywood to cover their windows the day before a hurricane is supposed to hit. 
This got me to thinking about how we are preparing for the storms.  When we get storms what usually happens is the phone service goes out for a week.  We don't have a land-line any more so this isn't an issue (but still do have non-electric plug in the wall phones in case we need to dial 911 (not that we'd get any help)).  In the 14 years I've lived here the electricity hasn't gone out for more than three or four hours.  That's good because we don't own a generator nor do we have solar backup.  The main road to our house floods, but that's a mile and a half away.  By flooding I mean there is a foot or two of slowly moving water pooled over the road.  Any four-wheel drive vehicle can cross it.  If it ever got higher then there's always the back way around.  
The ground is pretty well saturated on our five acres.  A bit more may soak in otherwise it's going to pool up.  The house is about a foot higher than the yard.  We won't have flooding here.  It doesn't really seem like it when you drive up the road but the elevation changes about 30-40 feet from the corner, a mile and a half away, to our property.  Halfway between is a creek but we are a good 15-20 feet higher than it.  I've never seen it go over its banks. 
Here at the house the septic system is very well drained and hasn't ever gotten to a point of being so saturated that the liquid waste comes to the surface.  At my old property this happened almost every year.  The road would flood and the entire yard would be covered by a foot of water.  The backyard would be one big disgusting septic mess.  Glad we don't live there anymore.
I really don't have to prepare for the storms.  We are prepared for anything that's a temporary inconvenience.  I'm still not prepared for stores shutting down for 6 months or no electricity for a month.  The worst case from the storms would be having no electricity.  This would knock out the freezer.  There's one shelf of meat and if it looked like it was going to go bad it would get smoked.  That I know how to do.  The house is full of food.  No electricity would also knock out the well.  This would be the biggest issue if the storms lasted.  We do have lots of water stored, and with the rain I'd be able to keep the rain barrels (ok not barrels but animal water troughs strategically placed around the house) filled to flush toilets.  (Or I could send everyone outside to the outhouse)  The roof is cleared of leaves so no water will build up in the valley, the tiles are all in place.
The oil lamps are full.  There is a good supply of wood brought up to the back patio so we don't have to even get wet when we get wood for the woodstove.  The laundry is all done.  The cell phones and computers are fully charged.  The animals are in their pens.  The vehicles are full of gas.  The grandkids are on school vacation for the next three weeks.  Guess it's time to curl up with a good book. What could go wrong?  (always ready for a good test of our preparedness)

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