Preparedness Lessons Learned From Our Brush With SHTF (Covid)

Guest article by ” RWT “

Personally, I view this episode of our history as a great dry run that we could control. If “10” is a true blackout across the globe then this is a “1”.  My reasons are outlined below, and my lessons learned along the way. What about yours?

  • We controlled the situation. No one went hungry.  Most didn’t get exactly what they wanted when they wanted and how they wanted it, but I doubt more than a handful of people missed a meal.  Seriously, I’ll bet my next paycheck we all come out heavier than before we went into this.  
  • Water and Electricity still flowed making this more than tolerable.
  • We still had freedom of movement and travel as long as we took normal precautions.   Consider a flooded road, not a lot you can do but find another path to your destination. 
  • We were inconvenienced for our necessary needs more than anything.
  • At anytime we could venture out to a food store if we wished, order in, schedule a food pick up all while lazing on the couch.
  • This is the only event in recorded history where we could save all of mankind by laying on the couch and do nothing.   Let’s not screw that up.

Now, that being said, I slept better knowing I’ve been following this blog for a few years and I knew what to expect after reading “One Second After” (view book on amzn).   I consider myself between Kens’ level 3 and 4 on the preparedness scale

I have accumulated doubles of most items that I need to maintain a comfortable existence. Food for at least 6 months for the entire family, if not longer, without buying anything. Meds for 3+ months. More tools than a big Orange Store. A BOL with 7000lbs of beef on the hoof. A ½ acre tank stocked with fish.  Water treatment and containment for the entire family as long as we have average rain. Fuel for a month and solar as a back-up for smaller needs. An expandable garden, general knowledge of trying and failing with it and a solid seed bank with library.   

(All my personal defense items suffered a tragic boating accident years ago so I am relegated to pitch forks and torches.)

The Lessons I Learned

The lessons I learned from this event are numerous. 

I’ll outline a few and I am curious to hear those of the group. 

My family will adapt slowly.  The DW was happy I had prepared, however, still slow to conserve as she is a stickler for expiration dates.   She relented a little on the milk and bread; still she would not budge on meat or canned items. 

I still need many items in quantity. I have enough for this short event and can complete the majority of the tasks I want to.   Many tasks revolve around expanding the garden and solidifying the food supply longer term.

More lumber for building longer term projects such as a chicken coop or rabbit hutch. I can also go scrounge and scavenge the constriction sites if it was that bad. 

More wire for the garden, fruit trees, coops and hutches.   Fighting nature is a full-time job and every critter in the area wants what I have in my garden.   The 4×4 covered garden produced enough for our small family to augment our needs.  Now a 12×12 is required IMO.  

More tarps.  I never expected a hail storm so I had to cover the garden with what I had.  Plenty of tarps to complete the task, but they wont last more than 1 or 2 storms at best. 

More bug/ant poison.  Just keeping the ants down with all the spring rains is a chore.

More medical supplies. The non-digital thermometer I had as a back-up did not work and I had to break into the last bottle of Benadryl.   

Fresh produce will be the most difficult to come by.  I failed to plant the fall garden due to changing the entire program for the spring and we just started the spring garden when COVID hit.

I never realized how many paper towels we went through.  Luckily TP is not an issue as I listened to NRP.   Grey hair and experience are invaluable as I have lost the tops of many a hunting sock over the years so I stocked up. 

You can never have enough batteries; goodness knows why I ordered 144 more.  I told myself it was to keep the 7 game cameras operational.

Bread is a huge need.   The DW baked a loaf when we were short and couldn’t find any in the store.   Luckily, she had enough yeast.  I now see this as the Achilles heel of our bread situation.  How to store yeast or bake bread without it.   I need to find Kens article on it, print it and try it.

[ Read: How To Store Yeast ]

[ Read: How To Make Bread Without Yeast ]

Keeping a better library of articles on “how to” for items I am not familiar with. Baking bread without yeast is an example.  I can camp cook and make meals decent enough for me.  Try convincing a 10 yr. old when “food” doesn’t look like what they are used to.   I know the growling stomach will turn that around, but as a father I want to do everything in my power to not be in that situation.  Luckily, my 10 yr. old has as much of a brain as they can at this age.  They ate what was in front of them. 

Family and friends turned to me for advice. Some were more adaptable than others.  I also learned who not to trust during our conversations as they are running around town without a mask or being just clueless. I know who is not allowed at my home or the BOL and I already had the HARD conversation with them about how their selfishness has changed our relationship, regardless even if they are your own parent. 

This is just a short list of thoughts.  I’ll tighten up my preps and adjust my needs based on this event. 

Now let’s hear from you. Are there areas you have gained a new perspective on?