Letter Re: Observations on the Recent Oklahoma Ice Storm

Well, I just got back online. I had to go up to the roof and thaw the wireless [Internet] antenna with a heat gun. It seems the ice grounds out the antenna. It was an easy fix with my heat gun for heat shrink tubing. More precipitation is on the way but colder. It will probably just be snow. We never lost power but were ready anyway. I have friends with no power and they have been without power for days and no idea when it will be back on. The further out you live, the less chance of getting back on line. Power is also out at the feed mill so feed stores are short on feed and they say that they no idea when more will com. We bought extra and can always supplement with more hay or alfalfa. We could butcher the pigs early or sell some cattle if needed but all of our preparation this Fall is paying off. Think ahead! Wall-Mart is out of propane cylinders and no extra tanks around. We have plenty of tanks and are set to fill from the bulk tank here as needed. You always need an alternative means to do everything. Redundancy is the word for survival. I have some friends with no heat. They report 46 degrees in the house. Standard fireplaces put out very little heat. [JWR Adds: Yes, in fact they have been documented to put more heat up the chimney than into a room!] We have electric heat, woodstove, and propane heat. Redundancy means you will always be warm. We lost some branches and the storm knocked down my 160 Meter loop antenna but it works almost as well on the ground. (Thanks to the design and the antenna tuners we can just re-tune and are up and running.) Repair should take about 2 to 3 hours since the antenna is set to go up and down at each pole for maintenance. Hint: the design was well thought out and therefore easy to fix. Think ahead. Of course we have 4 or 5 ways to receive and transmit, plus the mobile radio. Again, redundancy. Our [photovoltaic] solar panels were covered with ice but still function, and we have more in the barn to use that are thawed. We continue to look for weak spots and all I came up with is the need for more batteries and more power. We have tow or three ways to do everything so if one system is down we just go to the next. Sure makes you feel good that instead of driving new vehicles we [instead] have heat, power, water, and food and backups for each. No worries about heat is a big relief. One of my friends has a generator, but no heat. Although he knows the items he needs to provide heat, there is nothing available. It is all sold out. Guess that is why I take those old propane heaters and put them in storage. Backup for the backup. We are looking forward to the snow–better than ice. We have wood to pick up today at the lumber mil. (We get the slabs from the mill, load on the trailer banded together and take them home. We cut it [for fuel] as we need it. More in the woods [hereon my property] but I will leave it for more backup. Keep preparing. Do one thing each day and it will all add up. Anyone got a good milk cow? We need a new one, since even livestock gets worn out and old. God Bless, – Alphie Omega