Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Don't Worry, When You Die I Will Be Happy To Use All Your Stuff

One of my obsessions is watching Youtube videos of things that can help me in my quest to live off grid and have a sustainable homestead while still living comfortably. This morning I was poking around for a DIY on building a rocket stove. True to form, I got off on a tangent and found a guy who is a "Prepper" who decided to shut off all  his utilities and try to live "off grid" to simulate an emergency situation for one full week. I can see that this man makes a comfortable living. He has purchased/built a home solar system and also built a rainwater catchment system. I totally got sucked into his first video when I saw the beautiful gardens his wife manages to maintain that fill their backyard. Other than the ability to harvest immediately the plants that are edible, this guy is in serious trouble.

Where do I begin?

  • He has a nice solar power system that he doesn't understand how to operate and maintain. He ran out of power when supposedly he was not using much in his house.
  • He believes that his electronic alarm system is a safety system. 
  • He used 2/3 of one of his water tanks to water the garden just one time using a rain shower type nozzle on a garden hose using a pump he never even tried before. 
  • He allowed the batteries in his battery bank to run before even trying to hook up his solar panels. When he did finally get the solar panels hooked up, he had them in the shade. The next three days were overcast and rainy so he was forced to haul out his generator. 
  • He did not know how to hook up his generator to the battery bank to charge it. 
  • He used 4 gallons of water to take a shower. A cold shower mind you out of 5 gallon buckets.

 I could go on and on, but you get the picture.

This man reinforces why we must understand and break down all the systems in our homes, big and small, so that we may understand just what each does and how much it takes to run and maintain it. How will they interact together? How will I replace something that malfunctions or needs repair until I can hook it back up again? For example: Heater. How will I produce heat until I can fix the heater with the problem? What if the fuel I had stored to run the generator is spoiled or runs out? How will I make sure I have good drinking water?  What happens if I run out of fuel during a snow storm?

Creating your own "Emergency  Response" book in advance of these issues may help. In it you could document instructions for all of your equipment and include the original manuals so that you can access information at the drop of a hat. By all means, do a dry run like he has documenting successes and failures along with fixes and notes. Then when the time comes to actually depend on those systems, you will know them inside and out and have rest assured that everything should run smoothly and comfortably.

My tiny house is really an exercise in sustainable living, not prepping for the Zombie Apocalypse, but the two are not mutually exclusive. Many of the things preppers depend on in an emergency situation will be things I use everyday so learning from them is important. It is not fair of me to make fun of this man for his efforts, in fact,  I applaud them. It just shows him that he has so much more work to do than just buying fancy "prepper toys." However, should the Apocalypse occur, I will be happy to re-purpose some of that nice equipment off the ill prepared who don't make it.