Archive for March, 2016

New Giveaway And A Prepper Reality

Monday, March 14th, 2016

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It is long past time for a giveaway. How about a ‘Baking Giveaway’? We have a set of two, brand new square cake pans that are nice and smooth and ready for somebody’s favorite cake recipe. This giveaway will go through March 31st. Just leave a comment in the comment section of this post and any upcoming posts and your name and email address will automatically go into the drawing. Only one comment per post will qualify for entry. So, enter away!!

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OK. Now, I have to tell you our tornado shelter story, for those of you prepared for any event. And just know, Mr. Fix-It was not happy.

Being the prepared one in the family, (I was a Girl Scout all the way through Senior Scouts, don’t you know?) I put together a backpack filled with “necessities” – you know, a change of clothes for each of us, medications, a first aid kit, toilet paper and etc. I also include a bag of M&Ms, dried fruit and nuts. Oh. And a deck of cards. You NEVER know when you might need a deck of cards. This big bag sits by the back door, ready to grab as we vamoose out the door to head to the shelter at the sound of the sirens during tornado season. .

Back in the fall, we had a new, larger shelter installed and we feel like regular gophers. It is a flat-top job that drops 8 feet underground and is big enough for several cots so that we can sleep down there during a long night. There are also folding chairs, a table, shelves and various and sundry emergency paraphernalia like lamps, a radio and paper towels. The door to the cellar is flush with the concrete top at ground level and lifts open to reveal a long set of narrow, metal steps to descend into our “fraidy hole” and they are quite a bit steeper than our old, small shelter. Since you already know about my lack of grace and poise, I’m still waiting for the outside handrail to be installed so that I don’t have to slide down each step on my butt. Heh! It’s a long, long jump to that concrete floor there, I’ll have you know!!

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The truck arrived with the shelter in two pieces – top and bottom

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We had already had the hole prepared ahead of time

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The bottom half was lowered in first, edges were covered with really goopy glue and the top half came down on top of it.

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The surface of the shelter is incorporated into the porch of our new building being built. Unlike the door to the old shelter, the door is flush against the surface of the porch.

Now, prior to getting the new shelter furnished, all of our emergency stuff was still in the old, small cellar. It isn’t as fancy as the new one and is drastically smaller.

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This is the old shelter. Drastically smaller, not as deep and slightly above ground.

Instead of the nice, large folding chairs we have in the new place, we’ve always had some buckets of grains (you know I grind the grains to make the flour to mix the bread that MB builds). The coolness of the shelter offered a nice place for storage. The buckets were handy for putting a board across to make a bench to sit on. When I needed to get grain, I just lifted up the board and pulled off a lid to whichever type I needed. Besides our bench sitting arrangement, we also had a portable fan, a blanket that zips into a cushion, a couple of small, wooden folding chairs for extra occupants, lanterns, LED lights and radios.

With tornado season having started March 1st, this past weekend we decided that we had better get everything out of the little cellar to move to the big cellar to prepare for this year’s possibilities. Soooooo, it appears, that stupid me forgot to bring up my famous emergency backpack last June after our last trip to the “fraidy hole”. It has been sitting down there all Summer, Fall and most of the Winter. And, evidently, some little field mice were tired of being bopped on the head by Little Bunny Fu-Fu, who lives under the deck, and, were hypnotically lured by the fragrance of hot, melted chocolate M&Ms (they may not melt in your hand, but there must be a caveat about backpacks in the summer). They chewed a hole through the screen on the cellar ventilation turbine and dropped their little vermin bodies onto the shelf that held our “emergency” equipment. They must have had a jolly time sliding down the metal posts of the shelving to the “bench” below to a feast of chocolate, dried fruit and mixed nuts. I bet you didn’t know that mice are crazier about chocolate than even you are!!

So, those uninvited critters must have had a blast because not only did they tear up the backpack and everything in it, but having full bellies, they then tore into the package of 8 rolls of paper towels. They chewed, burrowed and chewed some more to make nests in order to have babies and then to raise those little tikes to make more nests to make grandbabies and great-grandbabies. There must have been ten generations because the entire floor of the cellar was covered in mouse droppings and urine….all the way to the corners. EVERYTHING was covered. And they messed all over the shelving, the radios, the lanterns, the fan, the wooden plank and even the buckets.

As we stared at the total destruction before us, Mr. Fix-It muttered to me how insanely stupid it was to have an emergency backpack with M&Ms, dried fruit and nuts. He wanted to know exactly why I felt the need to have such a backpack. I meekly pointed out so many of our neighbors who, two years ago in the May 19th tornado, had their homes totally destroyed – nothing left, no clothes, no food, no meds, no nothing. We had been very fortunate. In a case like that, my backpack would at least keep us from being naked and, I smiled, we could always stay entertained with the cards. He was not amused.

Mr. Fix-It donned a mask so he wouldn’t catch Hantavirus Pulmonary Syndrome which I have no idea what it is or what it does. He put on tall, rubber boots and rubber gloves and headed down into the abandoned concrete mouse mansion. He dragged everything out, throwing away what could not be salvaged and stacking what I was to scrub with bleach water and soap. For hours I scrubbed items, sprayed them down, dried them off and then put them into the direct sun, while he continued carrying things up the stairs to me. What items I could throw into the washing machine, I did so in hot bleach water. The backpack was a total loss and was tossed in the trash – clothes and all. Evidently, the rodents had gotten tired of living in filth because we did not find one, single animal, although we gingerly pulled everything apart, fully expecting to be startled by an escaping mouse. Finally, Mr. Fix-It got the shop-vac and sucked up anything loose, tossing the filter when he finished. Next, the floor, walls and ceiling of the cellar were scrubbed with bleach water and soap. We left the door opened the rest of the day to dry the shelter out and crawled to the house, exhausted.

So, the old cellar, which is in like new condition (if nobody knows about its recent inhabitants) is now clean and ready to be dug out to hopefully go to the daughter’s family backyard. And I have my new, big cellar all ready to have a tornado party. Oh yes, and for that party, I AM putting together a new backpack with a change of clothes, a first aid kit, meds, a bag of M&Ms, dried fruits and mixed nuts…and a deck of cards. I might even add the game, Taboo. But I won’t be leaving it in the shelter, ever again. Heh heh.

Happy, Safe Tornado Season!

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