Quick Start Guide for a Hemlocks’ hard times startup
1. If times get hard suddenly, and we have to get "things" running quickly, here's a proposed draft of how to try “start” it.
2. It is assumed (for worse case planning purposes) people will come here, vice the other way around. The Hemlocks’ place can get overwhelmed with refugees. Remember the local town of Monterey (rural east Tennessee, USA has great capacity, too. Interstate 40 and US 70 are the obvious conduits. The working assumption is the Hemlocks can handle 20+ adults and an equal amount of kids.
3. The priorities are water, food, waste water and sanitation, staying out of foul weather, fire safety, initial medical help for the ill, and “simple” security. The particular season, like the cold season or the warm season, will dictate a lot of actions.
4. The people priorities are Family and Friends, then refugees in general.
a) The Hemlocks expects not all will get here, mostly due to road blocks. Been there and done that, too. In my case, having a pistol on my lap in obvious view sure helped my cause. If you don’t have a pistol, use a kitchen knife, for example.
b) Family and Friends will have to use the two main cottages. Imagine a barracks style setup with more than one Family living in the same room.
c) All others are refugees, including their children. That is harsh, but this is a quick start guide. Said another way, one still has to try survive (until times get better or we transition to a more permanent way of existing) as best they can.
d) The refugees will have to use all the other many facilities, including the Cliff Field Pool area, which includes a fishing and washing pond (for the warm season) and an outhouse.
e) A "spare" primitive wood stove should be moved out to the Cliff Field Shelter (3 sided) for both cooking and heat during the cold season. A kit to exhaust the CO1 gas (carbon monoxide) outside comes with the stove if necessary. Plan B is to cook "camping style" if we have to. Think “Dutch Oven” or Scout type cooking, for example. We can do it if we have to. We have the “Dutch Ovens” and sample recipes to start with.
5. Food initially should be served "soup kitchen" style at both cottages and the Cliff Field Shelter. We can transition to a cafeteria or other styles later. Initial requests for soup kitchen help from Monterey will be honored as best we can. Food for cooking can be obtained from either cottage, and various cooking tools are all available. Some soup kitchen supplies are already stockpiled. Wood is the main source of cooking heat (we’ve got plenty of wood). The Dutch Ovens (3) and large cooking pots setup will probably be used. Cups and "sporks" and paper plates are the main eating means initially. Initially, use all the short shelf-life foods before they go bad.
6. Water comes from the local springs, and the ponds. Bathing is by water and baby wipes if we have them (we have an initial supply of 3,000 baby wipes). Sanitation is by the four toilets in the two cottages, the Cliff Field outhouse, and dug holes for urine and feces. Going to the bathroom just anywhere is forbidden. The garbage pits will still be used. Menstruation products will go to these pits, for example.
7. Fire safely is by ruthless checking and observing by all adults. We don’t want a house fire if we can avoid it. There are plenty of fire extinguishers around the various facilities. Know where they are.
8. Initial Hemlocks’ medical help is to keep the ill (either the individual or a group as in a pandemic) as warm and hydrated as possible. Use all the sleeping bags and sleeping pads and cots, too, plus local wood stove heat. Given I 40 and US 70, one can expect disease to follow any migration.
9. Initially security is to maintain good order and discipline while setting up something better and more long term. Patrolling is key. LED lights for after-dark are available. Protecting ourselves very well comes later. Protecting ourselves at a minimum level must come right away. Now is a good time to make your own peace about how you will deal with desperate and often marauding invaders as times may become real confusing to many.
10. One person will be the overall "boss". He or she will quickly appoint people to maintain the water, cook, maintain sanitation (mostly to avert cholera and typhoid), appoint an initial doc, and a security chief that even assigns where to go, like even where to live. Any frictions will be sorted out by the boss. For those that don't like this proposed setup, then they are welcome and expected to leave, like go back to Monterey or elsewhere, just go away. Those who don't go along can expect worse.
11. The water powered electric plant and solar powered electric plant are a lower priority to get the benefits from these existing energy sources. Said another way, if they work, fine. If they don’t work, fine (for the initial setup time). Initial electricity and artificial light during darkness will be from battery powered lights, and chemical lights like the hurricane lamps and the candles.
12. Transition to a more detailed way to exist should begin within one week as things settle down. Expect change during the transition. A draft detailed way to go forward already exists at the Hemlocks (it is on the kitchen refer door right now). I suggest to use it initially until it can be changed which most certainly will happen.
13. Initial heat for both cottages will be provided to the wood stoves by those living in the cottages (i.e. they cut and gather wood (and split it as necessary) for heating and cooking). Heat for the Cliff Field Shelter (and for cooking) will be always be provided by those living there, or living in the near vicinity. The tools to manually chop or cut (and split) wood are available. If public electricity is on (maybe using a rolling blackout method), then the electric heating bill will be paid for collectively by those in each cottage. Each cottage already has its own account at the local VEC (Volunteer Electric Co-Operative). There is no grid or off grid electricity at the Cliff Field Shelter. The barn and electric powered pump house are on the existing house accounts. If the public electricity goes out, then gravity power will still work and use existing PVC lines and garden hoses to deliver water (albeit more slowly) for human drinking, cooking, and waste water purposes. The Hemlocks has two kerosene stoves for heat, too. There is a very limited supply of kerosene, also. One should never use gasoline in these stoves, either. Gasoline will most likely explode and cause worse problems to solve.
13. Keep in mind the barn and 4 smaller storage sheds are also available for initial use (they will need better organizing and cleaning than exists today, like they could benefit by the old cars in storage there being put outside. None are hooked up to water pipes. The metal shed has some electrical hookups and a “motel type” heater and cooler. The barn does have some electrical hookups and an electric arc welder. This barn also does have a lay down freezer with human and animal type food in it (I figure good initial food for pets). It also has a very minimal "puppy house" that works OK for dogs. Those with cats will decide what to do with their pet cats, like don’t bring them to the Hemlocks (the yard dogs will probably get them (like kill them) if they do). The same goes for farm animals, and even guineas (a bird that tends to nest in trees above the ground).
14. There are ten gallons of clean and filtered water spring water in 5 one gallon BPA free jugs and one 5 gallon “jerry can” of spring water in the main house to initially help things along if needed.
15. There is an existing solar plant (with inverters) to recharge batteries intended to be used for powering security (24/7/365) and some light after dark. There are also some homemade candles burning paraffin wax (plus some commercial candles) intended to provide some light after dark until they run out. Matches to light them are in the kitchen. The cottage next door has magnifying lenses to start fires if the matches run out.
16. Initial burials will often be in mass graves. Just keep a record so the relatives know where their loved ones are buried.
I suspect and hope many readers will use this kind of post to modify for where they live. Said another way, I suspect and hope many will borrow some of these ideas and apply them to where they live if it makes sense to them. There are many existing and good communities around the world, too.