Transition Ireland and Northern Ireland

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http://www.feasta.org/2011/12/03/preparing-your-home-for-a-currency...

Hi all

Just wanted to get some discussion going on the list in the link. 

Thanks in advance

Theresa

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This is the article in full -

What happens if the money in your pockets is worthless overnight? The future of the Euro is not looking too bright, nor is our relationship with it. Whether it crashes, we leave it or we are asked to leave – it is something worth preparing for. Are you ready for life without the Euro?

Unless you have another form of currency – gold or precious metals, it is not a good time to go shopping. The shops will be swamped with desperate people vying for whatever they can get. People consumed with fears for themselves and their families.

What happens if international trade stops because the credit upon which that trade depends is withdrawn? How will the shops be restocked? What happens if our energy supply cannot be purchased? What will power the electrical grid? Who will the government decide should get the emergency back-up – hospitals, prisons, government buildings, schools, water treatment plants, waste services, pumping stations, care homes? It will most likely be up to individuals to fend for themselves and their families as the authorities struggle to cope.

When faced with shops stripped of food, taps without water, cables without power and empty fuel pumps what could you have done to better prepare? The currency is in crisis, the government is scratching its head, panic trade is setting in. What can you do NOW to ensure that you can remain calm? How confident are you in “the system” to return to business as usual? How long do you think it would take – 3 day, 3 weeks, 3 months, 3 years?

To prepare you need to consider your family’s basic needs – food, water, heat, shelter, health, security. Here is a list of considerations, some you may have, some you may have inherited and need to root out. There is no definitive list – each to their own but there are definitely shared basics. How much you prepare depends on how much you trust the system as it stands.

Food

  • Staples – at least a months supply but anything up to a year is a good bet.

    • Tinned meats, fish, fruits, beans, peas etc
    • Grain, wheat, corn, spelt, oats etc
    • Nuts, dried fruits, lentils, soup mixes etc
    • Corn for popping
    • Powder or condensed milk
    • Honey, sugar
    • Rice, pasta and other dried carbohydrates, however if they require a water supply to reconstitute them don’t depend too heavily on them.

    Food requirement calculator for one year based on Latter Day Saints quotas.
    Balanced Diet guidelines and bear in mind our portion sizes tend to be bigger than our requirements.

  • Seeds – to grow your own food. Purchase organic seeds which allows for you to save your own seed the following year.
  • Salt, yeast, oil plus any other condiments you need or wish to use such as soy sauce, stock powders, soup base etc
  • Pots, pans and kettles suited to open flame or hot plate heat – cast iron
  • Knives, utensils and sharpening tools
  • Livestock with adequate feed. This depends greatly on your space. Hens are relatively easy. Goats and pigs may be worth it if you have the space and ability to feed them.
  • Gardening tools and reference books. Spades, forks, hoes, secateurs etc
  • Working boots and gloves in various sizes to fit everyone
  • Fishing rods and nets
    Manual preparation and preservation tools – grinder, miller, muslin, pulper, juicer, storage jars, bottles, lids, wax, brewing kits etc
  • For now you could invest in some organic seed with a good shelf life, a greenhouse of some sort if you can, start reading up on how to and practice grow your own food. It is the one skill your family will thank you for AND everyone CAN do it.

Grow It Yourself Ireland

Water

  • 1 Gallon per person per day
  • Bleach – plain unscented. 8 drops per gallon of water
  • Barrels
  • Manual pump
  • Install rain water barrels now if you can

Water treatment details

Heat

  • Seasoned firewood
  • Saw and hatchet
  • Thermal wear – hats, vests, tops, leggings and socks
  • Sub zero sleeping bags for added warmth
  • Blankets, scarves, warm coats, hats, gloves
  • Plant trees now for a sustainable supply
  • Matches
  • Take steps now to insulate your home

SEAI guide to home insulation

Shelter

  • Essential repair kits and replacement materials if required
  • Basic tool kit
  • Durable clothes and footwear
  • Scissors, sewing kit, fabric, wool etc
  • Insulation
  • Rainwear – rubber boots. coats, trousers
  • Keep all clothing and start collecting up sizes for your children from family, friends and charity shops
  • Likewise for shoes, boots and rain wear.

Health

  • Substantial first aid kit and reference manual.
  • Soap
  • Toothbrushes, toothpaste, mouthwash
  • Bottled water for babies
  • Soda, vinegar, natural hygiene and sterilising plant products
  • Medication
  • Washable sanitary protection
  • Reference book on natural, herbal remedies from everyday plants, lavender, geranium etc
  • Do a first aid course
  • Locate a natural remedy practitioner in your community and keep their details to hand

Link to first aid kit contents

Security

  • Dog and adequate supply of dog food
  • Blackberry or thorny gorse hedging
  • Wind up radio
  • Wind up torches
  • Surplus food – there will be plenty of hungry people looking for yours
  • Mouse and rat traps
  • You could start a community alert or neighbourhood watch in your area now.

Waste

  • Look at on-site toilet solutions such as a reed bed system or compost toilet
  • Aim to generate as little waste as possible as waste collection and landfill systems may be curtailed.
  • Compost as much as possible especially when growing your own food.

Here is a list of items you may also start gathering now that could make life a little easier if they become unavailable for any extended period and things that may be lying around which could be worth having to hand.

  • Water containers in case you need to source clean water
  • Camping stove and gas
  • Board games
  • Toilet paper
  • Flashlights
  • Batteries and solar charger
  • Candles and more matches
  • Bicycles, carts, trailers, sleds, spare wheels
  • Timber, nails, screws, tools, string, tape, nuts, bolts etc.
  • Tea, coffee, cocoa, chocolate
  • Solid bicycle tyres
  • Spare can of car or generator fuel
  • Fuses, light bulbs
  • Writing materials
  • Art materials
  • Craft tools
  • Bicycles and repair kits
  • Reading glasses
  • Musical instruments
  • Manual can opener
  • Shoe polish, laces
  • Fabric nappies
  • Tinfoil
  • Compass
  • Firelighters
  • Flint and learn to light a fire without matches
  • Self sufficiency reference library including books on growing food, crafts, repairs, electrics, cooking, making vinegar, growing yeast and self medication etc.
  • Children’s education – encyclopedias, geography, science etc

It is all well and good for you being prepared but the ideal would be that everyone have some level of preparation. As a community we have to depend upon each other in a crisis and this is no exception. Go to community meetings, become involved in local activities now and you will have a base for future communications. Get discussion going on crisis preparedness. Propose community resilience planning. There are many agencies, courses and groups supporting local initiatives. Contact Transition Ireland and Northern Ireland for information on communities taking steps toward resilience or for support in introducing resilience to your community.

For further browsing here is the US Department of Homeland Security website for disaster planningand here is a link to the Department of the Environment, Heritage and Local Governments disaster planning page.

Wow how do you reply to a post like that ? its scary stuff ,hard to take in the implications of a euro crash ,but its better to be prepared " just in case" the shit hits the fan.There was a guy on Vincent Brown the other night who says the euro crash has gone from a possibility to probability and when you hear this kind of stuff it does make you think how much do i trust the system .Thanks for that Theresa  

Thanks Derek. The "system" - makes you wonder!

Someone asked if anyone has costed everything on the list stating it is unrealistic to achieve. 

Definitely agree - it's just a list to do what you can, bit by bit. Some of the stuff you may have and can start to set aside. I doubt anyone would have it all.

I think the biggest step is deciding to do it, setting aside a space and build on it bit by bit. For example I have been keeping kids clothes for a few years now. I pick up boys stuff in charity shops and bag them ready to use from the attic. I have kept cloth nappies for my grandchildren.

Having to spend is the hardest part at the moment but start with essentials. Get in some unscented bleach for water.

Each week add something else to the trolley and stash it away. A jar of honey, a tin of fish, a soup mix, 4 tins of beans. It all adds up. 

One important step would be to buy some organic seeds with a long shelf life - put them in a tin box and forget about them. 

Make a start though - that's the main action.

I was totally overwhelmed with your excellent list, and went in my mind to our own supplies. It's actually frightening to realise how much will be left to eat if electricity goes. We have started to follow your approach of " adding a little  every week"

While having plenty buildings its difficult to find a space which is

1. Frostfree in winter and not hot in summer

2. Dry, so cardboard containers don't disintegrate

3. Vermin proof, a big problem on a farm

We found that an non-working freezer is quite good dealing with these requirements.

What also struck me when I saw our supplies piling up: What can one do in an apartment where space is very limited and most of the food supplies are stored in a fridge?

Yes, space will be a problem for many. The city is not the place to be to stockpile food etc.

Never thought of an unused freezer - that's a good one. I got a vermin proof press built by a family friend over Christmas - the structure is raised, glued plywood and the exterior is pine. The shelves hold large plastic boxes if I chose.

I have also saved loads of sweet tins for seed storage which I hope I improve at!

Are you aware that "consumer groups" can buy in bulk from certain wholesale suppliers? Some conditions have to be met, but thats no problem. Have to get details from my daughter who is involved and was looking after our order.Minimum orders are  required  and one drop-of point as far as I know.

This only proves, unfortunately, one has to HAVE money to save money...........Not fair, isn't it?

But, whats fair in this life.......

Hi Theresa,

Thanks for putting this up, even if it is a bit scary to think how reliant we are on the just-in-time supply system.

 A few comments.

Not all organic seed will give you seeds you can save. Much organic seed is hybridised, i.e. the first crop will produce either no viable seed, or seed that doesn't grow true to type. For more info and loads of seeds, see www.irishseedsavers.ie.

Bottled water for babies - there is an issue with babies drinking too much bottled water, due to the high mineral content of some spring waters (e.g. sodium - their little kidneys can't handle it). So maybe better to boil water for the baby. In any case, a baby that still needs sterile water is still at the milk stage and would be safer being breastfed, this would get around the issue of stockpiling formula milk.

Lastly - maybe I need to get a backup hand mill for my wheat! No point having all that grain and lovely electric mill not working!

I had a quick look for the government emergency booklet that we all got a few years back but I think I must have thrown it out. It was similar but I think not as comprenhensive as this list. And I don't think it emphasised community resilience.

Thanks Mieke

I don't believe it! Here I am buying organic seeds - avoiding all F1s and hybrids then find out they're not viable??? Aaaaaaaagh. I get most of my seeds from Irish Seedsavers - I must check what's not viable for next year - I have loads of beans - although I got some of them from the organic centre. There is so much we don't know that our grandparents took for granted :(

Hopefully breast is best will become more apparent as our relationship with nature is "forced" upon us :) Such a wonderful resource - totally wasted for so many years. I wonder how it would go down walking into a maternity hospital declaring "breast is best in a supply chain crisis" - he he he - now that would get you kicked out I reckon :)

I have that booklet - found it last week. I must read through it again too.

Theresa,

Its simple to see whether your seeds are germinating or not: count a number of seeds( I did 100 with grain) put them on tissue paper floating on water in a flat plate. Not much water is needed, only to keep it moist.You can cover them as well, some seeds need it dark.

Put the plate  in a warm place and in a few days you will see what sprouts. Count again, remember how many  you did put in in the  first place  and you have the germination percentage.  Try it now, you will be surprised............

Hi Theresa,

Sorry, didn't mean to cause a panic! I think I worded that one badly - it is the hybrids that are a problem for saving seed, so if you avoid F1 hybrid seeds, and if you do use seedsavers seeds, there should be no problem saving seed from your own plants. The issue then, is that seeds tend to become less viable the longer they are lying around (though this depends on which plant species you are dealing with). Seeds should be stored in a cool, dry, dark place. Seedsavers give info on seedsaving. The other issue is that some plants e.g. peas, are closed-pollinated, they pollinate themselves, and tend to stay true to their type. Other plants e.g. carrots, are open-pollinated and receive pollen from other closely-related species growing nearby (we have a lot of native carrot-family species growing wild) and the seed you get might not produce the nice fat orange carrots that you were expecting!

Seedsavers give a plant-by or viable until date on their packs, some things will last longer than this. The ideal is to be growing away every year and saving the seed from year to year - putting seed aside now for 5 years' time is a bit of a gamble.

I couldn't find background on why to save seeds on seedsavers' website, maybe i missed it, but searched 'why save seed?' and got this: http://www.primalseeds.org/whysaveseed.htm.

Hope that helps! And stay out of those maternity wards!

Mieke

First and foremost - I have no intention of ever seeing a maternity ward again until it's to visit grand children ;) No way, nada, never........... lol

I had great success with brusrel sprout seed the first year I grew them. They went to seed because we moved house so I took a chance on them and it worked. They were from seedsavers so I trusted them. Everyone in the kids school got a seedling! Beans were a disaster - I assumed they would last years but apparently they are not good for saving - 1 to 2 years max. 

I sent my seed orders off last week - there's something revitalising about planning the plot. Really looking forward to getting stuck in.

For a bit of light relief and an antidote to the scary "it could come crashing down any moment" feeling, see John Michael Greer's thoughts on the year ahead - not essential reading but worth a look if you've time: Waiting for the Great Pumpkin (any fans of Peanuts will get the title).

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