? be prepared

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? be prepared

Postby Serpent on March 7th, 2020, 12:21 am 

There have been quite a few extreme events in the world lately -
the usual stuff of nature: hurricanes, blizzards, floods, earthquakes, mudslides, wildfires
and some man-made: oil spills, burst mains, explosions, train-wrecks, airplane crashes...
...maybe I have should put epidemics and power outages in between.

Have you made any preparations for in case you are evacuated or housebound for an unspecified period?
If so, what?
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Re: ? be prepared

Postby doogles on March 7th, 2020, 5:16 pm 

It's interesting, Serpent, that you should mention such a thing at the moment, because here in Australia, we've had a bizarre run of panic-buying of toilet paper.

Our local supermarket shelves are bare. Apparently the run has extended to tissues, paper hand-towels, and paper napkins.

Our talk-back radio has been unable to ascertain any rational basis for the panic-buying. It seems to be a purely hysterical phenomenon, similar to the pied piper and the lemmings.

My wife and I may have enough to keep us going for a couple of weeks, and then I'm envisaging going back to my childhood days when we use to cut newspaper into squares and nail it to a wall stud in the dunny. But that took an effort on somebody's part, so we mostly finished up with a whole newspaper available and we just tore off our own pieces a required. .

I didn't realise it at the time, but on reflection now, handling newsprint results in black hands; so we must have all had black bums in those days without being aware of it. Which makes me wonder what stone-age people used. Any ideas?

They were also the days when families in our area had a bath once a week. The copper was boiled and a kerosene (USA paraffin?) tin (4 gallons) with a bit a fencing wire for a handle, was used to convey the hot water to the bath. When the temperature was right, the whole family would take turns in the order of mum, dad, and then eldest to youngest children. By the end of the week, we must have reeked like polecats; but we also must have become desensitised to our human body odours because nobody was ever aware of such a thing.

Apologies for going a bit off topic, but the image of stockpiling generated further trains of thought.
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Re: ? be prepared

Postby Serpent on March 7th, 2020, 6:22 pm 

In fact, cutting toilet paper squares was usually a task assigned to medium-sized children - 7-10 (younger, they're clumsy with scissors; older, they're bored and skive off). I was very conscientious: my oblongs were uniform and neatly stacked - which meant my careless cousin got stuck with slopping the hogs - hah!
While sitting, waiting, one would massage the sheets to relative softness
Only... nobody knew the newsprint contained lead and lots of people got bowel cancer.

One speculation as to why people always buy tp when there's a panic situation: they figure, after bottled water, it's the first commodity to run out -- and the relief effort will bring bottled water, but might consider tp a luxury. (Newspapers, too, but they don't think that far ahead. In this case, i suppose, so many trees burned up, they think the pulp industry will not be able to cope.)

As for bathing, it's a matter of what you're accustomed to. The hygiene of the modern what-calls-itself-first-world is probably pathological: people are obsessed with having their bodies smell like anything but human bodies. They're probably stripping off protective oils and beneficial bacteria and opening themselves to avoidable infections.
Some people are lucky enough to live near natural water and immerse themselves as often as they like, without chemical agents - that's probably healthiest. Some are content to take a full bath or shower as needed and spot-wash in between. Some have no water to spare, so they use a dry-towel rub most of the time and consider bathing a luxury - or a social occasion, if they have public baths. There isn't an only right way; there's just what circumstance and habit dictate.

We are lucky to have a pretty good well not-too-old pump and two pressure tanks, so we're fairly secure, water-wise. Own solar power to keep the well going. But our septic tank is old and the drains were not well designed - what am i saying? they were not designed at all; they just growed through the generations of owners, uses and renos - so we have to take the lid off a couple of times a year and ream the outflow.... such fun!
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Re: ? be prepared

Postby TheVat on March 8th, 2020, 10:17 am 

Some canned goods. They often get forgotten (you have to rotate new ones in, as canned stuff can start tasting weird) and I rush the older ones to the food bank before they hit their expiration date. We talked about going to freeze dried instead, for longer shelf life, but really we just don't worry about CV or the Yellowstone supervolcano exploding or that CME that takes down all electronic devices and civilization AWKI. The canned good reserves (and boxed pastas and crackers) are mainly because we live in blizzard country.

As for CV, just wash your hands if you've been in public places and don't touch your face until you do so. Masks are mostly useless, and they actually cause people to touch their faces MORE, as they aren't used to them and tend to unconsciously fiddle with them. If you're a medical professional, in close contact with CV patients, they do a bit of good as they will stop some aerosol particles.
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Re: ? be prepared

Postby TheVat on March 8th, 2020, 10:29 am 

Doogles - yeah, black bums is a great mental image of the simpler life. I think people who grew up in times, and/or places, that were less germ-obsessed and cleanliness-obsessed, had better immune systems the rest of their lives. I remember eating food that fell on the floor or ground, generally with unwashed hands, and various unhygienic habits as regarded our household menagerie (cats, dogs, rabbits, hamsters, et al).
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Re: ? be prepared

Postby Serpent on March 8th, 2020, 12:14 pm 

You can easily get a workshop/painter's mask, if you need to spend time in crowds coming off boats and planes. The plain hospital ones are useless.
We're not too worried about the virus: we're out in the country with little human contact, and the people we do meet are also relatively isolated from the cosmopolitan ebb and flow. I haven't noticed anyone shunning our nearest Kim's Convenience -- they can't, really, as it's the only licensed liquor outlet for 40 klicks in any direction -- but I don't think it would occur to most people anyway.

I imagine most of our neighbours are like us: have some home-made preserves at all times, food in the freezer and pantry. You can always melt snow -- but, gads, that's tedious! And we most of us have a wood stove and/or propane. Not many have domestic solar panels yet, though quite a few farmers went in for those massive, expensive arrays that feed into the grid. (bad idea!)

I notice, though, the majority of city people seem to place all their faith in the physical and societal infrastructure. That's why they're so pathetic when something does happen -- and something happens every day, somewhere. We're too deep in the habit of complacency.
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Re: ? be prepared

Postby doogles on March 8th, 2020, 4:51 pm 

Masks of all kinds have also sold out here in Australia.

It's an interesting phenomenon in a way. This panic-buying must be limited to a sort-of selfish minority who have no sense of proportion. I say this because last night 86,000 people turned up at the Melbourne Cricket Ground to watch the Women's 20/20 Cricket World Final.

I did not see any indication of face masks during the frequent flashes of the faces of the crowd during the game. And the crowd was quite vocal with their cheers and the usual rousing bursts of calypso song phrases.

Last Saturday week, we spent some time at a main Brisbane railway Station meeting a granddaughter who had 5 hours to spare between domestic flights. She caught the Airtrain from the airport. We saw only one person wearing a mask.

My wife also affirms that during a few visits to several supermarkets during the last few weeks, she has also not seen anybody wearing a mask.

This suggests that a minority of people have been bulk-buying them. Maybe there's a secondary market for the goods or else panic-buying is a manifestation of an obsessive/compulsive syndrome.
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Re: ? be prepared

Postby Serpent on March 8th, 2020, 5:35 pm 

That's really interesting.
I imagine some who are not afraid stockpiled for an anticipated general panic that hasn't set in - or not yet, while many others, who are actually afraid, have bought masks, discovered how uncomfortable and unreturnable they are, and simply stay home with their mask in a box.
PS - i just heard they're selling out, or sold out from most suppliers in Toronto, as well - but there seem to be lots on mail order sites.

Hm. 86,000 for women's cricket? Popular sport!
We watched some of the tennis, and the matches were far from sold out. ... Of course, it was, like 40 degrees in the shade, which there wasn't any.
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Re: ? be prepared

Postby doogles on March 13th, 2020, 4:38 pm 

Toilet paper was back on the shelf of our nearest supermarket yesterday. There was a ration of one pack per customer, but civilisation has returned to our district -- no more fighting in the aisles, or stealing the dunny rolls from public toilets.
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Re: ? be prepared

Postby bangstrom on March 13th, 2020, 8:30 pm 

People once used old Sears and Roebuck catalogs or corn cobs for TP. The catalogs are no more and the modern harvesting machines simultaneously shell the corn and grind the cobs for mulch. We are SOL without TP.
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Re: ? be prepared

Postby Serpent on March 13th, 2020, 8:39 pm 

Oh, I dunno! We get more junk mail every day than we could use. Not the laminated board stock, obviously, but there's plenty of pulp in grocery and farm supply store flyers.

Corn cobs?? Those were some tough people! The husks, maybe - the cobs, no frickin' way!
However, I had a great-uncle who could make terrific toys from corn cob. One of my cousins had a whole herd of cob horses, cattle, sheep and goats.

We just watched a program about Covid-19 preparedness. What to stock in case you need to isolate yourself for two weeks; what sanitizers and cleaning products work, etc.
They said the hospital masks are useless and unnecessary, but it occurs to me that wearing one might be a good idea anyway: to prevent touching your nose and mouth. We don't realize just how often we do that.
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Re: Thumbs up!

Postby Faradave on March 14th, 2020, 12:37 am 

doogles wrote:Which makes me wonder what stone-age people used. Any ideas?

As part of her post graduate work in linguistics (before going into medicine) my sister went to Zambia (as I recall) to study Swahili with a native tribe. She lived with them for several months adopting much of the culture - no electric, plumbing or even paper. In the dry season water, leaves and grass are scarce, coarse and sometimes dangerous.

What they taught her was to squat down in a designated area, defecate then use the back of the thumb nail of the hand you don't eat with to gently scrape the perianal area "clean" then dry wash that thumb in the sandy ground. All done! A good squat technique leaves very little residue. Certain stones are used to keep the thumb nail filed smooth.

It sounds pretty gross but she said you get used to it quickly. No one there is afraid of feces. The hut she lived in was made of sticks and grass mixed with cow manure. They use manure as fuel for cooking. They also handle the scat of prey animals on a hunt to asses its species & recency (moisture). The scent of herbivore manure (a result of fermentation) is of little consequence on a hunt but feces of carnivores (more toward putrification) was considered a potential warning to prey animals. So, it's better to smell like a cow than a lion. Thus, clean your thumb.

Hunting was fairly rare because they had cattle but old habits die hard.

Not unsurprisingly, her son is fluent in French and Mandarin Chinese.
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Re: ? be prepared

Postby Serpent on March 14th, 2020, 12:46 am 

In the Canadian woods, there is no shortage of hygiene products. Burdock leaves have several practical applications as they grow to a great size and remain pliable. Of course, there is usually water nearby, as well, so we're a bit spoiled.
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Re: ? be prepared

Postby doogles on March 14th, 2020, 6:31 pm 

Thank you Faradave, for that explanation. It was very informative and actually satisfied my curiosity. I think the act of squatting itself, as you say, results in a much cleaner evacuation. From the age of 11 to 16, I used to round up a couple of mates, borrow a tent and go camping during school holidays. Squatting came naturally during the act of defecation out in country areas. So there wasn't much to clean up with a bit of grass or leaves.

There's no way of course that we would have bothered to do the extra yards to a water hole to wash our hands, so we obviously shared our microbiota.
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Re: ? be prepared

Postby Serpent on March 14th, 2020, 6:39 pm 

We kept a spade next to the toilet hole - yes, we dug one; it meant having a shorter distance to walk at night and kept the flies down - and a bucket of water next to the campfire. Scout training sticks!
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Re: ? be prepared

Postby TheVat on March 16th, 2020, 2:11 pm 

There may be a "down under" double entendre coming soon.

We now have an oversupply of couscous, tri-color rotini, beans, crackers, hummus, sardines, Clif bars, Red potatoes and Larabars. The cashew/date Larabar is a delight. The spouse also mail-ordered a couple items, and that supply chain seems to be working so far. Everything is closed here, so I went to Target and they still had TP. Rapture! As for Canadian woods, the appeal of dropping trousers there seems season-dependent to me. Leaves would be hard to find, and stiff and cold.

Australia has Vegemite, which sounds intensely salty and potentially vile, but I won't knock till I've tried it. Tom Hanks reportedly tried some recently, during his quarantine.
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Re: ? be prepared

Postby Serpent on March 16th, 2020, 4:27 pm 

.... you can live on it ...

I can't recommend camping in the Canadian woods right now - though, for the hardy canuck, there is still clean snow under the trees. We're pretty snug in our wood-heated house. The down-side: I'm stuck in here with a borderline hypochondriac who has the news updates going on tv about 8 hours of every day - and they keep saying the same obvious stuff over and over and over and over. I might consider camping after all.
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Re: ? be prepared

Postby doogles on March 16th, 2020, 5:14 pm 

Serpent, you must have been 'posh' campers to have a spade and a bucket. We had to carry almost everything. Our limit was tin plates, a billy, frypan, knives and forks, and a tomahawk, canned food and bread. We made billy tea and passed around the billy in turns to drink. As the canned food was used, we converted the empty cans into a 'cup' for each of us. We had to catch fish and yabbies to supplement our supplies.

As you can see, we didn't have decent backpacks or hiking gear. We were in our normal clothes. We wore everything to avoid carrying them. And we slept in them.

This photograph was taken on a gravel road. We drove along it 60 years later and discovered it was 7 km from the railway station to our camping spot. We would have been 12 to 14 years old. It was 1945. None of our families had cars.

There was no sense of hardship or difficulty or anything like that. We just did it to get out of the suburbs for a while. I must have been carrying all the gear to last 4 days in that army knapsack on the right. We were barely 'prepared'.
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Re: ? be prepared

Postby Serpent on March 16th, 2020, 6:02 pm 

doogles » March 16th, 2020, 4:14 pm wrote:Serpent, you must have been 'posh' campers to have a spade and a bucket. We had to carry almost everything. Our limit was tin plates, a billy, frypan, knives and forks, and a tomahawk, canned food and bread. We made billy tea and passed around the billy in turns to drink. As the canned food was used, we converted the empty cans into a 'cup' for each of us. We had to catch fish and yabbies to supplement our supplies.

Not posh - regimented. Prepared, helpful, alert, clean, courteous and reverent. And very, very fire-conscious. We had to carry everything, too, in back-packs, with extra stuff lashed to the outside. One kid would have the little camping spade, another would bring a hatchet; one had the canvas bucket; one had the cook-pot; we each brought our own set of tin plate, cup and utensils, flashlight, matches, spare socks and shorts, dry packaged food (oatmeal, yech! Mac&cheese, yay!) bedroll on top. Scout knife on a lanyard. If there was an actual tent, the scoutmaster would carry it and help set it up.
I wasn't crazy about those weekends, really: too much drill. But later, when I went camping with family, the discipline resurfaced - I was a veritable bear on fire safety, including the unbreakable rule of a spade and an water next to the fire at all time; bank it up solid for the night, bury it completely and stomp on its grave when you leave.

As you can see, we didn't have decent backpacks or hiking gear.

We were lucky in that sense. Between the Army Surplus store and dear old Honest Ed's in Toronto, people of modest means - which we certainly were! - could outfit their kids pretty well.

This photograph was taken on a gravel road. We drove along it 60 years later and discovered it was 7 km from the railway station to our camping spot. We would have been 12 to 14 years old. It was 1945. None of our families had cars.

Ah! Different times. My scouting days didn't start till 1958 - prosperous times.

(You all look viable enough.)
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