AKA Covid-19, as the current potential emergency du jour. Which does NOT mean that I don’t take this seriously. Or, that other potential emergencies should be ignored.
EDITS (which will be made here in “burnt orange”) have been made today, March 18th.)
There’s a lot of paranoia and a lot of misinformation, and a lot of silly “Deep State” nonsense out there. Conspiracy theories out the wazoo. Serious Doctor Evil Plottings from China, or from here in America… We’re all gonna DIE… Or that this is just an inside job and there’s really no virus at all. Paid Actors. Which is just another style of conspiracy theory… Y’know when I first learned about the Internet in the 80s, I assumed this facility would have made us all brighter. Dear me. How wrong I was. Watch out for those “Directed Energy Weapons”, which have now apparently infiltrated/infected the world of viruses, and altogether too many “brain” cells.
The virus can be serious (and it is indeed), but it is best to approach dealing with it without falling into the extremes either of panic or of ignoring it.
I’ll note that China certainly took its time in informing both its own people and the rest of the world about this virus and its spread, and that they tried to (and did) shut down the medical voices that warned about the problem starting back in December. Take home message: don’t trust any sort of “authoritarianism” that shuts viewpoints down, whether from left or from right. It’s all the same, about control.
Your best first line of defense (for a virus) is to wash up early and often. With soap, generally, although alcohol based cleansers work too. Just don’t expect anti-bacterial products that aren’t largely alcohol to do diddly-squat. This is a VIRUS, not a BACTERIA. (Surf Google for the differences. I’m not here for basic biology today.)
Soaps crush fats and lipids, and apparently also crush this virus lipid shell. Get more diligent than you (and admittedly I) used to be. A good 20-30 seconds of serious soapy scrub-down.
I actually have a box of N-95 disposable masks I bought last fall (Harbor Freight) so as not to inhale the airborne stuff in the chicken coop on cleanout days. Since I go by the Deep Bedding Method, I still have most of them. Having worked in the pharmaceutical industry, I had to wear that brand I bought, back at work, so I know how to fit them properly to my face. And yes, we did have to be trained. Actually , we had to be re-verified each year, but now being retired, that last part is no longer possible here. But things facially really didn’t change from year to year. I have a pretty good idea if a mask fits me after years at work. But it’s not easy to describe to others, unfortunately.
I can’t tell you how to wear masks properly in a post (you need a hands-on session), but:
- If you wear glasses and they fog up when they’re on – you are wearing them wrong.
- If you don’t cover both your nose and your mouth with one, and if you don’t pinch them down over your nose, you are wearing them wrong. If you are wearing something that has NOTHING to pinch down over your nose, they’re useless as protection to begin with. They need to be close-fitting, and yes… ahem… annoying.
- If they just have one strap instead of two… they will certainly not attach securely to your facial frontage. If you USE just one of those straps (yes, I’ve seen it, even back in my working days), that’s also useless.
- These masks are best used in the medical profession for people not to contaminate others, rather than protecting themselves. Sorry. They’re really not as great for keeping viral particles from your lungs… Although I do have a friend on Facebook who noted when she wore hers at the grocery this past week in Pennsylvania, everyone around her vacated to other aisles. Just the visual safety thing, eh! [I will also note when I was at the supermarket about 8 or 9 days ago, the checker noticed one person in the distance wearing a mask, and noted, “I sure hope he doesn’t check out down my lane.”]
- You can put the mask on properly, but by grimacing, moving around vigorously, coughing (ahem) and so forth, your mask WILL shift on your face. Keep that in mind. THIS was one thing immediately imparted to us during our annual fit test renewal. But at least if YOU are coughing, most of that will remain within the mask.
- They’re disposable. This means one time use only. Keep that in mind. If you do luck into reusables, they’ll be plastic and have level or two of failsafe filtrations – but those will only work as well as you are able to follow instructions on the packaging. No, I’ve never had to wear those during my career; you DO have to check that packaging!
- Having worn a mask at work when I had a cold with a major snuffy nose with a severe sneezing component – let us just say that the results are… messy to say the least. If you suspect this specific virus.. STAY HOME. I am here to tell you a facemask full of snot is No Fun. Ahem.
Where did this virus come from? (Strange Encounters of the Viral Kind)
- Apparently it is still not known which species of animal Covid-19 was “born” in. Bats are still a prime thought – but from everything I read the Chinese people in Wuhan did NOT consume bats! That is a dish in Indonesia, which nation was not an early starter in this disease. More work needs to be done, as transmission from whatever animal to humans need not come about by having eaten them. At this point I’m not giving high credence to it being an escapee from some lab or another, but the jury is out on that one.
Should I go all-out Prepper? (Are Zombies Suceptible to Covid-19?)
Actually, I began putting food and necessaries aside after being hit in 2011 with: 1) a microburst storm that took out power for three days, 2) Hurricane Irene, taking out power for 6 days that August, 3) Snowmageddeon at Halloween – taking out power for a good 8 days. I’d done pretty well, as I had all sorts of batteries and camping supplies left over from a camping expedition a couple weeks before Irene. I had a grill (and I was able to shower at work, which may not be available in all situations).
The thing is, I don’t think one needs to get paranoid, but one should treat having supplies in your home in the same way that one decides to buy Home Owner’s Insurance. You don’t really expect ever to need it, but there it is; the cushion if and should you need to do so.
And, frankly, I DON’T buy supermarket bottled water. I fill whatever vessels I have at home in advance of anything that might relegate me water-less. Old wine bottles, whatever! As long as what was in the containers previously was edible/drinkable. And non potable containers can hold water for other purposes than drinking. Although I don’t recall hearing that Wutan went without civic water or power supplies, this is something I do indeed do for Winter issues around my own home. Unless you live in a place like Flint, Michigan – you can certainly be inventive in finding tap water-holding containers in your own home. (If your only issue with your tap water is that awful chlorine taste – leave the cap off overnight and most if not all of it will dissipate. Or boil it.)
Don’t rely on politicos or lay media telling you the virus will vanish come the warm months of summer. Politicians rarely have any real scientific background or backbone. We simply don’t KNOW yet. Not all viruses behave identically. And no, getting the regular flu shot won’t protect you from this (but could be a good idea anyway as the other one is still around). EDIT I really don’t want to discuss politics any more as this is a foodie / homesteading blog which has most value if all of us can find some commonality. But sometimes a couple things might be good to point out. Personally, I don’t really want to rely on any political or other dogmas.
Main Prepping Thoughts: (It’s serious, but it isn’t the 1918 Spanish Flu)
There may be quarantines, and hopefully we are all adult enough we can self-quarantine if needed. (If we can’t, nothing we stock up with for home consumption will be available if we get hauled away like those unfortunates in Wutan I saw in a few videos.)
Have a full stock of any meds you need to take, for a month. Have a good supply of any potential over the counter drugs you might potentially anticipate. Also, a stock of home toiletries. This is one of the few things I’ve purposefully bought for this potentially oncoming circumstance.
Since presumably, if you are reading something like this, you aren’t doing a last minute grab whatever is on the shelf thing – buy those non-perishiables you WANT to eat. If nothing comes to pass, you won’t be throwing the stuff out. I’m not stocking up on (what I feel are disgusting) Pop Tarts or dried dates or CheezeWhiz – no matter HOW I feel this can save me money. I’m only going to eat them if desparate (and yes, I’d eat my shoe leather if that desperate) but I’m doing this as INSURANCE. I might as well buy heathy things I’ll eat, as well as maybe a “treat” or so.
I know the joke for stocking up for a blizzard is to get loads of bread and milk and water. Indeed, those are the first things to vanish in the grocery aisles. (That and D batteries…) If you don’t normally consume bread and milk… spend your servings on food you DO eat. While I don’t expect power outages, you do want to have some foods you can eat as-is from the can or jar. Stock a variety of things from all the food groups. Even if you are keto, have some (of the healthier) carbs around. Even if you are fat-phobic, have some healthy fats – say, cooking oils or extra virgin olive oil, or sardines in oil – around. Onions and potatoes and winter squash have a long shelf life if properly stored. (Keep them apart from each other, and in a cool but not cold location, and especially for the potatoes, in the dark.)
I’m mentioning this because a lot of folks on the YouTube comment sections say just grab anything, you won’t care what you eat if the apocalypse comes. Yeah, true, if you stock up after everything gets removed from shelves and you have no choice left but those horrendous Pop Tarts. Simply Think Ahead. Y’know, insurance brights. And no, you don’t need to denude shelves. Plot for a variety of mostly healthy foods. Leave stuff for others. It’s not the end of the world. Seriously, it isn’t.
In this Homestead:
I already have enough food here for a month or two, although I’d get unhappy without fresh vegetables. I am starting my cool weather growing items, but they’ll take a while to grow to edible sizes. I raise my own eggs and much of my own chicken meat. I have a freezer of additional meat. stock, and frozen veggies. I have a charcoal grill – but I seriously need a couple more bags of charcoal, on the list for my next shopping venture. And I’m nearly out of salt. I’ve purposefully stocked up on TP (um… this was within reason!! – I was actually almost out) and paper towels – and I need to remember dish detergent and trash bags my next visit in. I’ll be checking my OTC cabinets for things I might remotely need. (I am on no prescription drugs at the moment.) Things for potential injuries need to be boosted. I may also want to boost the wine cabinet… Hey, why not? (And empty wine bottles are great for holding water should it come to that…) Since I live far from “civilization” I do want to keep a full tank of gas in the car.
EDIT: If you are concerned about food shortages, or an inability to get to the grocery, whether due to a lock down or being in a high risk group – you can grow both microgreens and sprouts of various sorts in your own living room (or whichever room works best for you.) I just ordered some off of Amazon, although broccoli seeds for sprouting are not available until mid April! They’re fast growing. Unless you order organic seeds for sprouts – do not just use general seed packets – most have been treated with pesticides/herbicides/fungicides. If you want to stock up on veggies, frozen is as healthy as fresh – or freeze your own (many will need blanching first to freeze best).
I have tried in the past to grow new onions from the tops of old onions… no success yet, but I do note that old ones grow scallions/green onions on their own.
On Tuesday March 24th I am posting a blog on home delivery services – which I had actually started to investigate before Coronavirus appeared on my radar!
EDIT: I wrote this up before I really learned about the apparent TP world crisis. Hold back and be reasonable. Okay? Manufacturers are not stopping making the stuff. It’s only out of your supermarket because, yes, PANIC racing ahead of supply and demand. Meanwhile, if you resort to leaves in nature, remember: Leaves of Three, Let them BE. That’s for those of us living in poison ivy country…
One of the easiest things to forget are pet supplies. Ie food, litter, their meds, whatever.
My stock of seeds for planting have arrived – ordered before I thought much about this virus. I won’t need a gym – the broadfork also arrived, and hiking around here, now that the weather is turning to spring, will help provide exercise.
I’ve thought about those wipes. It occurs to me that the most germ-ridden object most of us nowadays carries around is our… phone. An object not amenable to that soap and water treatment…
Writing this up has let me know where some things in my “kit” need a bit more help. Hopefully it will allow you to think about your own needs, without getting overwhelmed. Yes, I’ve use a bit of (semi-dark) humor in this post. For me, it’s a way to steady my thoughts and do what I most likely need to do.
At any rate, stay safe, stay healthy, and have an awesome Spring!
And as Douglas Adams says in his Hitchhikers’ Guide to the Galaxy…
Down the road I’ll have more specific topics for preparing for various potential eventualities. But do take stock of your (and your family’s) personal needs. I’m just one person (with friends as a support network), so I don’t have to consult with anyone but the cats and chickens… if you have a family, keep them in your decisions and discussions.
EDIT: Currently, a lot of things are shut down. Here in Massachusetts gatherings can not be larger than 25 people in a place, with exceptions being groceries, airports, hospital areas, and the like. I’ll post soon about what this means to me. I am glad that most of my major needs are things I purchased a while ago (those winter power failure desires). I am glad that when I went to supermarkets recently I had no desire to get “popular” foods, and that I have eggs I can supply to neighbors. I am going to order more chicken feed as soon I get off this post edit. I’m going to talk with friends and family via phone. And, with spring coming, I am certainly going to enjoy getting into the outdoors.
A good home disinfectant (with alcohol): If you can find Bacardi 141, this is 70% alcohol. There are other rums and vodkas at that level. Don’t dilute it – 70% is the optimal percentage of alcohol to kill just about any virus or bacteria around. If you find “Everclear”, dilute that down to 70%, preferably with a gel such as aloe vera. (It will proably be sold at 95%, ie 190 proof.) You won’t find 100% on the market because in order to purify alcohol to near total, they need to use toxic items such as benzene to accomplish that feat. Using higher strength than 70% actually is less efficient than the 70%. I wouldn’t go lower than 60%, either.
Similar rules go with isopropyl alcohol, aka rubbing alcohol (NOT REMOTELY DRINKABLE).
NOTES: BLEACH plus ammonia – toxic. (most people who clean their homes know this already.) BLEACH plus rubbing alcohol – also toxic. (admittedly a new one on me.)
This is another person’s take on the same pantry issues. And a video from yet another person. He’s wrong in that a coronavirus is NOT a flu virus, so we can’t rely on warm weather helping the situation (actually we don’t KNOW, as noted above), but otherwise I hold with his thoughts. Keep in mind they’re both homesteaders: It may be harder to be laid back if you are in a busy urban environment. Or if you are aging with pre-existing health conditions (or folk you know / interact with, are). EDIT: Oh, and share, help your neighbors out, even it you have to ring their bell with supplies, and then jump six or more feet away when they answer it! Or call them up to chat!
AND, for those looking for the link parties, we are participating in:
This post was featured at Full Plate Thursdays.