Last updated on September 5, 2022
Updated January 2022 – See Bottom Section Below The Article
No, our stove in the house still works. In fact, it’s less than a week old. Yep, the gas and electricity are still on. So why would I go through the trouble of building a small fire and cooking lunch outside?
I’ve been moving toward a more self-reliant and independent lifestyle. Sure, I bought the stove and paid for the utilities, but what if I don’t have those for a period of time? If the electricity goes out, I do have a very nice generator. But that would run out of gas in just two or three days – and that’s if we were very conservative.
It can happen because it has!
Anyone remember the Northeast blackout of 2003? I do. We live in S.E. Michigan and were without electricity for close to a week. Hey, when I say “we”, I mean EVERYONE. I was lucky enough to have a generator and enough gas for a couple of days, but there was no getting more gas.
The gas stations were closed. The stores were closed. The local government declared a state of emergency and closed the roads to everyone other than emergency services.
Family and Community can help.
I had a generator and a little gas. Family members had plenty of food and a couple of neighbors pitched in with gas they had on hand. We powered the essentials for three houses and our family all pilled up at my father’s house.
Gas is a short-lived resource.
I had, and still have, a pick-up truck with duel gas tanks. I wasn’t in the habit of keeping them topped off back then, but I certainly do now. Still, it won’t last more than a week or so even if I pumped it out for the generator.
Quick Story: I hate to admit it, but I actually used up the little gas I had in one of my tanks trying to find gas before it was no longer available. I knew from the news that the situation was serious, widespread, and long term, but I was sure I’d find a gas station running a generator – probably charging a huge premium for the go juice.
Nope, nothing I could find. I had to head back home with what I had left in my tanks or hump it back home on foot.
Living week to week is stupid.
We were okay with food due to our family, mainly my father. I was the typical consumer living week to week and check to check. Every Friday we got paid and that’s when we ran low on groceries. Well, the power went out on Thursday and lasted well beyond the weekend. That was bad timing for such a risky lifestyle. What if it was out for 2 weeks? Two months?
Back on track
Okay, back to self-reliance and independence. I’ve been steadily accumulating camping and outdoor supplies, among other things. I imagine I’ll blog about some of this in the near future. Hey, I may even start another blog because I need another one. LOL
Cooking Soup In The Backyard
So, hopefully you understand the reasoning by now why I would go through the trouble. Having the equipment on hand doesn’t mean I can pull it off, right? It would be pretty risky to wait until the SHTF to see if that little fire starter works. Or if I can find enough dry tinder after it rained all night long.
As it turns out, I have a lot to learn. It took me half an hour to get a consistent smoke. Where there’s smoke, there’s fire, right? I wish that were true. I couldn’t get a fire started to save my life.
Note: I was trying to ignite cloth’s dryer lint. After a little YouTube watching, I should have layered some dry tinder as a base or floor and built the fire on that. The way I had it, the moisture from the cold damp ground was preventing a fire from starting.
I have fire-starter logs I’ve used to get my fire pit started in the past. Well, to get my soup cooked, I actually ended up grabbing one of those from the garage AND a stupid lighter. Even then, it took me a while. I was tempted to go in and grab my propane torch. LOL
Oh, the Ramen noodles were amazing despite the fire challenge. Stuff seems to taste better outdoors, am I right?
It’s all a fun lesson, and I’ll be back on YouTube looking for fire starting tips later today. Funny, we love to think we’re alright with things like building a fire, but take away our lighters and matches, and we’re in trouble. Can you start a fire with a couple of sticks? Build and use a Bow Drill Fire Starter? On wet ground? How about in the snow or rain?
I plan to become very familiar with everything I have when it comes to survival equipment. Not only is it irresponsible to wait for an emergency, it’s pretty fun learning when failure is just a quick way to learn – not a disaster.
Next weekend? I think I’ll make some bacon and eggs on a cast iron skillet with nothing more than what’s in my rucksack. Stay tuned. 🙂
Update – Almost 6½ Years Later – January 30, 2020
I DID start a new blog, Next Step Survival. I can start a fire in the middle of the night, with heavy rain pouring down on top of me, with the power of my mind alone.
Okay, slight exaggeration, but I have since spent many multi-day solo hikes out in the woods, have alternate methods of cooking, heating, cooling, energy, food preserving, and on and on. Check out the website, it’s all there.
I garden, home can, dehydrate, ferment, grow indoors, teach online, and have a prepper’s party that will easily feed my wife and me for well over two years.
This post seems to have been a start to a huge chapter in my life and I had no idea it would be back in September 2015, when I originally wrote this piece. I had caught the ‘prepping bug’ but didn’t quite understand what had a hold of me yet. I’m so glad I wrote this silly little article.
See ya, Brian
Brian D. Hawkins is a late-blooming thought leader in his mind. So please don't disturb his happy thoughts. It's all he has.
Brian D. Hawkins has been a blogger for over twenty years, having written thousands of public articles on dozens of websites. He currently blogs for NextStepSurvival.com and his personal blog at TheOpinionBlog.com.
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