Most of us have probably read Aesop’s The Ant & The Grasshopper. The fable is about two creatures that spend their summer very differently – an ant that works hard to put away food for the winter, and a grasshopper that lazes about doing only things for fun. Come winter time, the ant is cozy in his home and can finally relax – with enough to eat to see him through the lean months. The grasshopper wasn’t so lucky.
Kind of makes you think, doesn’t it?
Preparedness kind of gets a bad rap in our society for some reason. You mention “preppping” and people start looking at you sideways like you’re some kind of nut job just moments away from going off the grid and hunkering down for the newest version of Y2K. Which is odd, because we prepare for so many things openly – retirement, paying for college, charitable giving – if you measure how many tv commercials you see in a day for that stuff, it’s apparent that “prepping” in that sense is pretty mainstream.
The doomsdayers, zombie apocolypse nuts, and right winger end-of-days crowd certainly give emergency preparedness an air of foolishness. But what about a tornado or hurricane hitting your town? What about a snowstorm that knocks the power out for a week and makes the roads impassable? What if the primary breadwinner in your family loses their job with no notice? What if one of the many wars our country is fighting ends up on our doorstep? Wouldn’t it make sense to prepare for that kind of stuff? Yes, it probably would. At the very least, it wouldn’t hurt.
You’re probably not going to end up in a scenario where you have to run off to the woods, build fires by rubbing two sticks together and rebuild civilization with a packet of seeds and no birth control. Our life isn’t a Terminator movie. But if you could still eat the good meals your family enjoys while you’re snowed in for a week or the power goes out, you’re going to be able to stay healthy and happy when things don’t go exactly as planned. And I think that’s a very good thing.
Okay, so how do we do that? Finding trustworthy info that isn’t written from the nut job perspective wasn’t easy, I’ll admit that. But the first thing I do when I want to learn more about something is look for a good book, and I think I found not one, but a whole series, that are written by a guy who has some common sense and isn’t going to run you down the zombie apocolypse road. Check out the books by M. Anderson for Kindle. I was lucky enough to get mine while they were on free download for a day, but they’re worth the few dollars each that they’re priced at now. He tells you which simple supplies you need and why – what to have at home, what to have with you when you’re out and about, and what to do if you find you need to leave your home in an emergency situation. And it’s practical stuff we can all do, that fits into our ordinary lives. We don’t have to build an underground bunker in the backyard and stock it full of five thousand dollars worth of MREs and gas masks. Because that would be crazy. But keeping some extra shelf stable food and water in the house, knowing how to start a fire without turning a knob, and how to get home if an emergency strikes while you’re out and about (because I’m sure we all remember the thousands of people who had to leave Manhattan on foot one September not so long ago) are all good things to be prepared for. “Prepping” isn’t just for the crazies. It’s for the rest of us too.
But I won’t just leave you hanging with a homework assignment to go read an entire series of books. I’ll be posting a few more articles in The Ant & Grasshopper: Prepping for the Rest of Us series over the next few months, and we’ll cover some basics that I think are important – supplies to have at home, supplies to have in the car, supplies to have with you, skills you should know, etc.
So – I’m not going off the grid and running off to the backwoods of Montana every time there’s a thunderstorm or I hear police cars going down my street. You don’t need to jump ship and stop reading Apartment Farm just yet. I’ve just think it’s important to maintain a self sufficient home for my family, and this is just one small step in doing that. And hopefully the things I learn will be interesting and useful to you. If there are particular areas of “prepping” that you’re curious about, let me know in the comments and I’ll see about adding it the series. Stay tuned!