Prep Monday—Things I’ve Learned Since the Big Move

Actually, I could entitle this “things I’ve learned since the weather turned cold.”

  1. It takes, to date, about an hour or so to get the fire in the furnace burning.
  2. It takes about another hour or so for the temp to reach 120, which is when the blower kicks on.
  3. With our new, warmer bedding set, we really don’t need to put another log on before we go to bed.
  4. When the sun shines in the front windows (south-facing), the temp in the office and bedroom goes up to around 82. No heat sources needed as long as the outside temp is above 40.
  5. In a small house, it’s really hard to find a place to hang up winter coats.

The first two only matter in the evening, say, between 6:00 and 9:00, at least so far. We’ve had some nights down in the 30s lately, and once I get chilled outside (like with a north wind), I stay pretty cold the rest of the day/evening.

Over the weekend, I unpacked, from barn storage, all the winter stuff: long underwear, really heavy coats, sweaters, and so forth. Yes, I’d already packed and put away the summer clothes. A few things might make it to the dropbox in town, if they’re still in fair condition, but as long as they fit, they’ll stay.


I might be able to find space for a few hooks on the walls, but wall space is at a premium here. In desperation, I took an older over-the-door rack and stuck it on the kitchen door, going outside. Hard to see out, but that’s okay. Now, if I could only find one to go over the front door too . . .

  1. Changing habits is hard.

Well, that’s kind of a no-brainer, right?

We’re currently having a big discussion here about the television. I’m not much of a TV watcher; I do like movies, and there are some series/shows I like, but if I miss them it’s no big deal. Sometimes a program will catch my interest for a few minutes.

My husband, on the other hand, is, yes, a TV junkie. He used to turn it on in the morning, which drove me nuts—too much noise way too early in the day—but he has since stopped that. He usually watches while he eats lunch, and for an hour or so afterward, and turns it on from 5:00 until around 10:00 or 11:00.

Now, before we moved, we talked about this. We had no TV at all down here for about eight months after we bought the place, and so in the evenings we’d sit outside and talk or play cards at the kitchen table.

Then he came down here by himself for a week.

So he brought our smaller TV along and bought a DVD player and a ton of old movie collections.

After a while, that got old, and a few months later we moved. Now, living and working here, I need Internet service, but we decided to go just with a TV antenna—which works great, and the old shows we mostly got on non-network channels provided a lot of laughs.

Roku, however, doesn’t work very well, and by the end of the month, when our LIMITED INTERNET is running out, it doesn’t work at all.

Seriously, who ever heard of LIMITED??

Today, DirecTV is coming out. I hate them. They’re hard to deal with. I do NOT want another dish or antenna or whatever junking up the place.

But at least he’ll have, what, 200+ channels to fall asleep to? 😉

Oh, yeah, I was talking about habits, right? Well, the TV is certainly one of them, but where I was originally going with this was my own daily routine. I used to spend a couple hours online, working and reading the news and emails, and then get dressed and moving and start the ACTUAL working, like editing and so forth, until lunchtime.

Now, particularly in winter—not to mention LIMITED INTERNET—the daylight hours are much shorter, so I have to get my butt in gear. Some days it’s easier than others, but I’m slowly moving toward an hour first thing in the morning, and then a few hours later in the day after all the outside chores are done.

Since, yes, I have a lot of habits, I’m having to readjust them all constantly—and it’s rather tiring!

I’m looking forward to no big outdoor projects this winter and doing more baking, some leatherworking, and maybe even figuring out how to get that second knitting stitch on the damn needles without dropping the first one.

When it comes to crafty stuff, I am a sloooow learner.

Prep Monday—The Walking Dead

While we’re all pretty sure that zombies aren’t real—nothing’s impossible, right?—a lot of people still like to watch the undead in movies or TV shows. Me, I’m not a fan of gore for its own sake; oh, I’ll watch horror movies, a lot of them, but I really don’t like a steady hour or so of gross.

Plus, I don’t believe in zombies.

I have a lot of friends who are very, very into watching The Walking Dead, but I’ve resisted until now. So, about six years, right? And now I’ve been paying the price, aka lack of sleep from playing catch-up. Honestly, I’m not a binge-watcher and the longest show I ever tried to catch up on was maybe two seasons’ worth.

And I’m too old for these late nights.

So first, I do like the show. I think it has to do with the characters, because the producers did a good job on that aspect; I think viewers come to relate to and care about these people, much like in a good book. I do want to see what happens and I’m becoming a bit immune to the gore.

Sort of.

Second, I’m a little confused on the timeline. Some events on the show suggest that perhaps a week has passed, but it could be a month; sometimes it’s a few days, I think. While I realize they aren’t going to show viewers every single detail, things like siphoning gas once or twice when they’re driving all over the place and not carrying extra cans is a little unbelievable.

Someone suggested I should watch it if only for the prepping aspect, and to that I have to say, well, sure, if it involves what NOT to do . . .

A brief recap:

Something happens. A group of folks are stuck on the highway. They band together to survive. One has an RV, so he has a few supplies; one is a cop and a cop’s wife and kid, so there are weapons; one is at least a marginal prepper with some supplies. There are a few others, of course, and additions along the way—as well as, um, deletions—but you get the gist: they aren’t necessarily going to be comfortable or completely safe, but they have a good start.


Take an episode we watched last night:

The group of ten or so is fleeing the imploded CDC in several vehicles and they come to a traffic jam across the highway. They scan the area, quickly and briefly, and everyone piles out and starts looking in abandoned cars for supplies. They post a guard, a single man on the roof of the RV. A gang of walkers shows up and they all scoot under cars to quietly hide. Most are successful because, as everyone knows, zombies aren’t too bright.

What’s wrong with all this?

First, as they’re driving and they arrive at the blockage, they drive in as far as possible before stopping. Any fast getaway would be severely impeded by abandoned vehicles. Second, they all spread out, willy-nilly, like they’re taking a nice stroll. Third, only one, maybe two, are actually looking for anything useful to scavenge. Fourth, the guard doesn’t see the walkers—who move fairly slowly—until they are within steps of our heroes.

Next, due to certain events, the group ends up at a farm where there are live people. These people have been partially shielded from all the chaos, and the owner seems at least somewhat savvy about how to protect his own family and friends from a dozen new faces. Of course, he thinks the walkers are merely sick, not dead.

We all know that Rick and his gang are the good guys, most of them, most of the time, but this dude has no clue one way or the other. He and his family tell everyone about the wells, the generator, and the size and scope of the farm. Sure, some things you can’t help if you’ve invited a bunch of folks to camp in your yard, but still . . .

Presumably, the group is at the farm for at least a week or so. Like I said, it’s hard to tell. They’re looking for a little girl who ran off during the highway incident and for one of them to fully recover from a gunshot wound. It seems as though the search is conducted willy-nilly, for an hour or so a day. When a map is finally produced, and a grid outlined and assigned, it’s been a while and is probably useless.

Again, they have one guard on the roof of the RV. Everyone else just wanders around, maybe doing chores, running off alone to sit in the middle of open areas and do whatever. At least they start gun and shooting practice, even if everyone seems amazingly capable and accurate.

And the driving—good grief, save your gasoline, whether it’s a mile or five. Not to mention the farm folks: they have lights on in the house all the time. Lots of lights. They’re running on a genny; maybe they have fuel stored somewhere, but I’m sure it’s not infinite.

So what should they have done differently at the beginning?

Arriving at the blockage on the highway, they should have scanned the area more thoroughly and posted two guards; this would ensure that there were no walkers in the area, or at least they’d have been spotted at a farther distance away.

They should have parked in such a manner that they had an escape route, stopping before the abandoned vehicles and angling toward an open path. Only two people should have left the vehicles at a time, certainly not the kids, and the cars closest to them should have been checked first—and anything potentially useful should have been taken. No wasting time on a red dress, for example. Ahem.

The search, it seems, should have been conducted for longer periods. I get that you wouldn’t want to be out after dark. And I don’t mean for “a” longer period; there are walkers eating people left and right—really, what chance does that little girl have? Zero to none. Sure, if it were my kid, I’d be combing the bushes until I found him, or evidence that he was dead; this mom, however, mostly wrings her hands and cries.

To be fair, so far they’ve mostly just been terrified of and dodging and killing walkers, and their original camp was set up like a summer outing with the family. So this mom has no skills, and no one has bothered to point this out or teach her anything. Neither has she shown any interest in learning.

Now, granted, I’m only near the end of season two, and some things are told in flashback, so I may not have the whole story; plus, I easily may have missed something along the way. I’m sure TWD fans will be quick to correct me!