Lessons from the Pandemic – Part 1, by Don and Patrice Lewis

The year 2020 has been wacky, hasn’t it? When we celebrated Thanksgiving and Christmas in 2019, few of us anticipated what lay in store for the future.

But that’s the nature of crises – they’re unexpected. Despite being immersed in the preparedness movement for many years, the coronavirus pandemic was something we didn’t see coming. Now everyone is coping with the fiscal aftermath of what might turn into another Great Depression. To paraphrase Thomas Paine, these are the days to try men’s souls.

From a personal standpoint, our situation is additionally complicated because we’re in the process of selling our homestead and downsizing, which has created a huge element of uncertainty in our future. Where will we end up? We have no idea.

However nerve-wracking this year has been, it’s important to remember it’s nothing new. History is rife with pandemics, economic crashes, wars, violence, natural disasters, and every other challenge you can name. Every such event changed the way people lived. The Roaring Twenties was followed by the Great Depression, which was followed by World War II. These decades had an enormous impact on everyone who lived through them and forever changed the face of America. There’s no reason to think our current difficulties will be any different.

As of this writing, we’re three-quarters through the year annus horribilis. What have we learned? What have we done right? What have we done wrong? What could we have done differently? What can we do to in the future to face whatever may come?

Here are some thoughts from both us (the writers) and others (friends and blog readers) about things done right – and wrong – through the events of 2020.

Things Done Right
  • We are preppers. Unquestionably this is the single biggest factor that contributed to our peace of mind. Further, we’ve never tailored our prepping to any single imagined catastrophe, but instead have done our prepping as an integral part of our day-to-day lifestyle. We already had plenty of food, a thriving garden, a good collection of common over-the-counter medications, and other necessary supplies.
  • We were pre-positioned in a rural location that we had labored to turn into a self-sufficient homestead over many years. This gave us physical safety, like-minded neighbors, and food security. Over and over again, we heard from those living in rural areas that their lives hardly changed at all. Many rural people already have deep larders for the simple reason that it’s harder to get into town frequently.
  • We built community with our neighbors. Until the pandemic interrupted it, we’d been gathering for weekly potlucks for about 12 years. As a result, we have a tight-knit group of people always watching out and aiding each other. As a side benefit, this community is comfortable borrowing or lending tools or other essentials when necessary. This means individuals’ deficiencies are often covered.
  • We work from home and have multiple (modest) income streams. Some of those income streams dried up due to the coronavirus shutdowns, so we ramped up the other streams. By tightening our fiscal belts, we’ve gotten by without any financial difficulties.
  • We had already scaled back our living expenses. The importance of this can’t be underscored enough. We spent years whittling down our bills and learning to live on very little. As it turns out, this has been a very useful strategy.
  • We had already phased out everything disposable and transitioned to washable and reusable items, including paper towels, feminine hygiene, and facial tissue. We even have emergency washable toilet paper (inexpensive dedicated washcloths), though so far we haven’t been called upon to use them. We learned that reusable/washable products rule during shortages. For example, young parents who use cloth diapers for their babies were in a much better position during the pandemic than those using disposables. They never ran out, nor did they have to trample others and strip store shelves bare in a desperate bid to stock up.
  • We already have the tools we needed for a self-sufficient lifestyle. This included firearms and ammunition, a wood cookstove, pressure canner and canning accouterments, dehydrators, chest freezers, and endless other tools, both large and small.
  • We garden extensively, using non-hybrid seeds suited to our climate. With the exception of a new type of experimental hot pepper we wanted to try, we haven’t bought seeds in years.
  • We already had stashes of everything from sewing supplies to extra socks and underwear for all family members.
  • We routinely cook from scratch. Takeout food is almost unheard of in our rural area, so we’re used to just making our own meals. This means we had on hand all the basic ingredients we already used, and since many of those ingredients are things we grow or raise ourselves, they are infinitely renewable. We also have kitchen necessities – everything from pizza pans to cooking pots to a bread machine (an indulgence) to cast iron cookware.
  • We spent many years accumulating a wide variety of useful supplies. Interestingly, because we were preparing to sell our homestead and downsize to a smaller place, we had the opportunity to sort through many of these supplies and decide what was and wasn’t necessary. Among those questionable items were two large boxes of antibacterial hand wipes. We actually (and briefly) thought about giving them away, thinking “These are silly. When will we ever need them?” Thankfully we never followed through on this misguided notion. In fact, after the pandemic hit, many of our previously “silly” supplies took on a new light of importance. That said, most of us have lots of junk we can jettison to make room for more useful things.
  • We were in a position to help others. Many friends and readers expressed great relief they had stocked away extras of everything from sewing supplies to seeds they could share around. Several people told how they sent “care packages” of things they had in abundance (often things they made/ grew/ raised themselves) to friends and family who were less prepared.
  • We’re introverts. Obviously this is not something we can take credit for – it’s just how we are – but it’s paid off in spades during the lockdowns when we felt no deprivation from a lack of socialization.
  • We get along. Having spent 30 years living and working together 24/7, being in a lockdown situation didn’t affect our marital stability. We also have room to roam. Solitude as well as exercise in the form of a 20-acre property, nearby woods, and a long dirt road nearby.
  • We can entertain ourselves in low-tech ways (books, puzzles, board games). We have farm work, housework, and income-related work. Being locked down did not affect our day-to-day schedule in the slightest.
  • We homeschooled. Since our daughters are now adults, this is a moot point for us with the current pandemic; but all of our younger neighbors homeschool and are glad of it. For homeschooling families everywhere, being able to educate their children with no interruption was an enormous benefit. Not only did it offer stability and continuity for the children, but it eased stress on everyone in a household because the schedule hardly changed. It’s exciting to watch how many parents nationwide are now transitioning their children to permanent schooling at home.
  • With a lot of unexpected time on their hands, hobbies blossomed through the pandemic as people refreshed old skills and learned new ones. Many people also developed alternate income streams during this slowdown, either out of economic desperation or as a financial cushion. Some even combined these efforts and discovered how to make money from their hobbies, such as selling on Etsy or teaching classes remotely.
  • We used the extra time we had on our hands (from the loss of some of our income streams) to do some neglected chores and projects around our homestead. We built and repaired fences, cleaned up the property, and painted interior rooms and exterior outbuildings.
Things Done Wrong

For this section, we reached out to others – including friends, neighbors, and blog readers – to include their answers in some of the things done wrong. Their answers are blended with ours.

  • Many people allowed the Normalcy Bias (defined as a mental state which “causes people to underestimate both the possibility of a disaster occurring and its possible effects”) to blind them, so they didn’t stock up when prices were low and availability was high. Others couldn’t understand that their cities were no longer the vibrant, welcoming places they once knew and didn’t move out fast enough before suburban or rural property prices responded to increased demand. Yet others dismissed how much political hay governments the world over would harvest in the name of “safety.”
  • In anticipation of moving, we gave away our chickens and put our cows in the freezer. Oh how we wish for the security of livestock – though, mind you, having a couple of freezers full of beef is nice.
  • We weren’t as organized as we thought. As part of our moving strategy, we stacked away most of our preparedness supplies in the barn, which we thought would be a short-term solution. More than a year later, they’re still packed away. As a result, the pre-existing organization we had for our supplies went down the tubes. Among those supplies, for example, is a box of washable face masks we bought years ago. You think we can find them? NoooOOOOooo. Several readers expressed similar regrets with their disorganized state. Never underestimate the frustration of disorganization.
  • We got caught (almost) without toilet paper. Yes really. The irony is we had at least a year’s worth put aside. But in the year preceding the sale of our homestead, we went ahead and used up our TP stash, since it was so bulky and we didn’t want to move it. Literally just as we finished using our stash, the toilet paper shortage hit. Fortunately, we still had enough on hand to ride out the shortage and didn’t need to use those washcloths.
  • Many people with special-needs family members were impacted hard when services shut down or became more complicated. Everything from critical prescriptions to educational options was disrupted. Not everything can be prepared for in advance, so people had to cope with everything from autism to a terminal illness as best they could.
  • Not enough ammunition (for some people). One reader, in the process of moving cross-country just as the pandemic hit, said: “My husband sold a lot of ammo because we could not ship it. We will never sell ammo again. There is no such thing as too much ammo.” Another reader agreed: “Wish I’d bought more ammo. And this is coming from someone who counts his supply by the 1000-round case.”
  • Many people quickly realized the supplies they had stored – especially if they couldn’t be replenished – lasted a lot less time than anticipated. “What I did wrong was not making enough hay while the sun shone,” said a reader. Others ran low on hand sanitizer, pasta, rice, beans, paper products, other consumables. Lesson learned: Stock that larder a lot deeper than you think you’ll need. You never know who might have to move in with you.
  • We didn’t anticipate employment difficulties for our oldest daughter. The pandemic hit just as she was transitioning between jobs in early 2020, so between the lockdowns and social chaos, those “for sure” job prospects fizzled. She remained with us for nearly a year, saving money and cultivating her own multiple income streams.
  • A lot of people got caught short on pet and livestock food. “I was very low on dog food and didn’t anticipate that it wouldn’t be available,” a reader noted. “We didn’t run out, but it was close.” Don’t forget your furred, feathered, or hoofed dependents. Many readers began investigating alternatives in an effort to bypass commercial pet and livestock feeds.
  • Many people were frustrated when their encouragement for others to prepare fell on deaf ears. “The wife and I were ready,” related one man, “but I failed to get my sons on the same page. Several were impacted by job loss and layoffs. I understand you can lead a horse to water but not make him drink, but I still feel a sense of failure in not convincing my sons to be prepared for anything that comes.” Other readers who experienced similar frustrations were able to put aside some supplies to help their more stubborn family members and friends.
  • Another unexpected challenge for some people was how rapidly groups became pitted against each other, rather than banding together. This was particularly true for those in “essential” jobs who were required to deal with the public. “This year has been a tremendous education for us, both financially and in seeing how my fellow Americans have handled the situation,” said one reader. “Honestly, I’m more worried about people’s reactions than I am any financial issues because people have lost their minds.”
  • Many weren’t prepared for the psychological realities of a lockdown. If you’re used to socializing, dining out, working in an office, recreational shopping, or endless other activities in which people mingle, then adjusting to this absence was very difficult for many, particularly those of an extroverted disposition. Said one woman, “I had to disconnect in order to keep a positive outlook on life. There are things you can do, but at the same time you are things you can’t control.” Another woman noted how much more lonely she felt with her husband away at work and her social life nonexistent. She compensated by decluttering and reordering her home.
  • A lot of people regretted not obtaining food growing and preservation supplies before things went south. In a remarkably short time, seeds were impossible to find and pressure canners became unavailable. “Gardening is simple but mastering it probably takes a lifetime,” one reader advised. “Start now.”
  • Many people wished they’d put more money aside. Even those who were well prepared with supplies didn’t factor in fixed or variable expenses such as a mortgage, taxes, car repairs, and medical bills. In other words, a pile of cash can be just as important as a pile of beans.

(To be concluded tomorrow, in Part 2.)

Patrice Lewis is pleased to announce the availability of the complete collection of 52 Country Living Series ebooklets, representing over 17 years of homesteading experience. Subjects include preparedness, frugality, rural skills, food preservation, and more. Details on ordering them are available at her blog site.




35 Comments

    1. One lesson learned from Venezuela is even a pile of cash could be near worthless. I reckon I’d best convert some of that cash into food and a couple of boxes of nickels. My bank is very accommodating about that. The nickel part, not the food part. To quote one fine fellow, JWR, “Tangibles, repeat, tangibles.”

      Carry on

  1. Moving back to the east coast 4 years ago I had a lot of ammo, primers, and powder. I paid to move it back because if I put an ad on Craiglist, etc… who/what do you think would show up. Now I relish in my stock pile.

  2. * We full-time live-aboard in a 1997 Ford CF8000 commercial truck I converted to an ExpeditionVehicle in 2003.
    It received new tires and a range-extending 140-gallon auxiliary fuel tank, its AGM batteries should be good for another decade.

    * My 1996 Dodge 4×4 Cummins received new tires and batteries.
    * Our 1993 Chevy received new tires and battery.

    These three are reliable and versatile.
    These three are ‘keepers’.

    * My ancient BMW motorcycle is less fortunate; after a couple hundred thousand miles together, it may find a new home.
    (As I write this last, the lyrics of the Neil Young song LONG MAY YOU RUN are playing someplace out on the fringes of my consciousness.)

    I am humbled by European and European-heritage vehicle engineering.
    The vision of a team to work together, to design and craft such durable tools, is amazing!

  3. Last fall I fell and broke my implanted hip badly (82 pieces of bone). As a consequence Since I got home, in a wheel chair, in December I haven’t gone to town but once every 2 weeks. I am on a cane now but my trips to town have not changed. This was less than normal, but not much, so neither my wife or I felt lonely. I have no idea how city folks can stand all of the other people. I also thank god for sites like this and Rural Revolution for keeping me tethered to the world.

  4. A very good article with very good points. It definitely covered many of the issues that we encountered. It’s nice to know that we aren’t alone in this, even if we’re only connected by the internet.

    I know one of the things that I have done is made a list of things that I have forgotten, and when I do go to town, try to pick up a few things to fill in the shortcomings. One of the things mentioned here, and that is on my list, is sewing supplies. I know that I’m short on needles and thread. We haven’t hit a time yet where we need to start mending clothes, but that doesn’t mean that time isn’t coming.

    Another thing I’ve tried to do is go back through books that I own and look for gaps in my preps. The “List of Lists” has been a great help, as have “How to Survive the End of the World as We Know It,” and “Tools for Survival”

    The nice thing is that many of the items I’m looking for are not on anybody’s radar. When everybody else is looking for toilet paper and rice, I’m looking for a spare axe handle, and needles and thread. Having the basics covered ahead of time makes any crisis a lot less scary, and as we’ve seen during this pandemic, fear can be the biggest enemy.

  5. Excellent wake-up call, anxiously awaiting part 2.

    The Thomas Paine quote mentioned is one of my favorites and ends with “Tyranny, like hell, is not easily conquered; yet we have this consolation with us, that the harder the conflict, the more glorious the triumph.” The pamphlet it comes from is called The American Crisis and it’s just as important today as it was in 1776.

    Since I know how much people love broken records, I’ll mention it again: If we don’t try out our preps ahead of time, odds are we’ll learn the hard way when it’s no longer possible to prep. If we don’t try things now, alternate cooking methods, heating, etc, it’s going to be a very steep learning curve after the fact and the two most commoin words in our vocabulary will be, “If only…”

    Toilet paper – How many of us have tried something besides packaged TP? I hear lots of mention of using wash cloths but IMO there’s a better solution than that after the TP runs out. I lived in a Third World country where TP was a luxury and newspaper was the norm. There was a stack of used papers by the loo and while you were sitting there doing your duty, you could read the old news, then grab the pair of scissors hanging on a string and cut it into little squares. There was a box there to toss the used paper into since newspaper will clog the plumbing, to be burned later. One of the many benefits of a composting toilet is that you can toss newspaper into the loo. When the newspaper runs out, then switch to alternate methods. My local newspaper will give you free back issues and I currently have 20 cubic feet of newspapers stored in an outbuilding. They’re good for starting a fire in the wood stove and good for backup TP. If your plan is to use washcloths, they do that for a month to get a good idea of what it’s like, perhaps you’ll conclude that something else may be better before you have to go to washcloths. Test your preps while you have time. My high-school backpacking buddies and I used to call TP “mountain money” and it indeed will be after the SHTF.

    “…many of our previously “silly” supplies took on a new light of importance.” I had a similar experience while cleaning and organizing my shop a few weeks ago. I had a large cookie tin with about a gallon of old rusty and bent nails in it. It was obviously time to get rid of it and then it hit me, that’s the only kind of nails we ever had to build our tree forts with and what would that tin of nails be worth in a TEOTWAWKI situation? The year 2020 has changed my perspective on a lot of things. While organizing my garden shed last week, I used a lot of those nails, straightening out the best ones to use as hooks to hang things on. So now I ask before I toss anything, “What would these be worth after the SHTF?” Five years ago at an auction I bought out a neighbor’s food storage for $10. It was mostly beans and grains and I only wanted the 20 food storage buckets which were a good price at 50¢ each. I was going to toss all the beans into the compost pile since they were already old and would be impossible to soften up. At the last moment I decided to put it all in the root cellar and dump it as I needed the buckets. Now it seems like a gold mine and hard beans are better than no beans and a good item to hand out to my unprepared neighbors. Beans are also seeds and no matter how hard they get, they’ll still germinate for all my neighbors to plant.

    “Many people quickly realized the supplies they had stored – especially if they couldn’t be replenished – lasted a lot less time than anticipated.” I’ll bet dollars to doughnuts that very few of us have any idea how much toilet paper, rice, toothpaste, tomato sauce, peanut butter, oil, etc we use in a year. Now would be a good time to start keeping notes on that kinds of stuff. Write the date on the outside of a gallon of oil when you open it and note the date when it’s all gone. Do that with everything. Sharpies are great for this and what difference does it make it there’s a date in Sharpie on the tube of toothpaste, peanut butter lid, etc. Have a notebook or someplace to record all the data.

    “Stock that larder a lot deeper than you think you’ll need. You never know who might have to move in with you.” It occurred to me a while back that I’ve always considered the roving hordes as “outsiders,” when in fact they’re most likely going to be my unprepared neighbors long before outsiders can even get here. We all have lots of friends and acquaintances who will become our well-armed, torch-bearing enemies if we don’t give them food and TP after the SHTF. How long will our supplies last with an extra 20+ people demanding a share of the larder? There was an article earlier this year about whether we should share our preps or not. IMO we won’t have a choice unless we have a Patriots-style bunker with well-armed, well-trained militia living inside with enough people to man 24-hour lookout posts.

    ‘Nuff said. Just my 2¢

    1. I had some old hard beans. No matter how long I soaked them they wouldn’t soften. Welcome I my All American pressure canner. I pressure cooked this beans for about 45 minutes and was able to make some awesome bean soup. Pressure will soften those hard beans.

    2. Saint, Liked your comments…

      About the rusty, bent nails, I had a similar experience in childhood only without the can. My dad had a large used wood pile, and we were free to use it to build tree forts with, and we built a ton of them. First we had to hammer and/or pull out the nails. If they were bent, we hammered them straight. Nails in coffee cans were for my dad to use. My firefighter son has that, now vintage, hammer I used. Quality lasts. So many great childhood memories…

    3. Krissy and St. F, I sure like reading your posts.

      My firefighter son has that, now vintage, hammer I used. Quality lasts. –A lucky young man, sez I. I treasure tools from my mom and my dad.

      And “mountain money”. There’s a phrase to drop in a conversation. When I googled it I got this:

      mountain-money.com

      Mountain Money

      The main “currency” carried when outdoors or traveling to any remote location. Commonly mis-pronounced as ‘toilet paper’ Mountain Money is a vital part of any sticky situation. Pack it in. Pack it out.

      I got a chuckle from one of the photos on the website and from the packaging.

      Carry on

      1. Once a Marine, I feel the same way. I treasure tools from my dad.

        As kids, the only time my dad raised his voice at us was when we left his tools out in the pasture.

        As country bumpkin kids, my older brother and I were educated in outdoor ways by the older neighborhood kids. (we were the youngest of all) Obviously, they were ignorant of Mountain Money, so on long horseback rides miles from home, they taught us to dig a hole, use salal leaves, and then bury it.

        For years they told the story of one of their sisters’ who had wiped with nettle leaves. Poor thing. Glad I was able to learn from her mistake and never do likewise. To my knowledge, no one ever had mountain money or even thought there was a need for it because the forest was filled with supplies. Hahaha

        Blessings to you and your family this week, Krissy

  6. I previously submitted an article and JWR edited it with the term “gedankenexperiment”, which I must say was thought provoking. And he is correct (who would have thought he read Einstein?). Thus I am taking his indirect/direct advice, no simulations, this has caused me to rewrite my next submission.

    This submission is excellent and I’m slowly learning.

    Thank you, I too am looking forward to the 2nd part.

    Take care and God Bless you.

  7. If I may ask the question “what kinds?” without being to specific, of other income do y’all have coming in. This has been the one glaring issue for us in this. I work, my wife stays at home with the kids. While I didn’t lose my job my hours were cut which dropped all my weekly OT. Smartly we used the stimulus to pay off the cars but there were still times where there was too much week at the end of the paycheck and I’d really like to get out of this rut.

  8. Older members of my family were all Great Depression survivors and they used to pull old nails and straighten them out! As a kid I wondered why they didn’t just go to town and buy a box of new nails. Years later I well understand that every dollar I don’t have to spend is a dollar I can save or invest or tithe. Great article and look forward to part 2.

    1. The swimming comment reminded me of a time I was being hauled around as a rookie law enforcement officer with the Sheriff for a couple weeks, being broken in as they say. We received a call that a body had been found at the bottom of a slough east of town. Dispatch said they wanted us there ASAP. When we arrived on scene we immediately recognized the deceased, who was wrapped in approx. 40 feet of log chain, as a local trouble maker named Deek, known to be a wife beater, burglar…a felon of all sorts. The Sheriff was cussing and
      told me to write up the report. I said, “Sir, I’ve never worked a murder before.” The Sheriff replied, “Son, this ain’t no murder, write it up as a larceny and accidental drowning.“ “It’s plain to see old Deek stole more log chain than he could swim across the slough with.”

  9. I learned to ride a motorcycle and a horse. Never did buy either. Planted a garden using three sister. Hunt deer, squirrels and turkey field dressed and butchered. Volunteered to help build pole barns. There are skills you need to have even if you do not need them now. Retired now and still learning. Great article thanks for sharing

  10. Excellent article. One of the biggest changes my family made was to cook a big, hearty lunch and skip cooking dinner, just munching on cold leftovers instead. This more traditional approach saves time, energy and food.

  11. We were in pretty good shape going into this thing. We had holes in our larder, but they weren’t showstoppers. As soon as I started seeing the toilet paper lunacy, we hit the grocery aisles and filled the holes. By the time everyone else was saying “Om’gosh! What about FOOD!” we were there and gone, larder holes filled. We did have a “toilet paper gap,” but were able to fill it once the panic subsided. Worst case, we DID have the aforementioned wash rags…

    This year has been nothing short of God teaching us what we needed to know. We had limited access to stores. Even when accessed, the shelves were bare. The summer was hot. The rabbits were plentiful. The garden was decimated! Never underestimate the value of a good BB gun when the rabbits have a baby boom! The rabbits ate the garden… We ate the rabbits!… I could go on all day about this.
    We could almost HEAR God running us through the “ferinstances.” In “quakespeak,” was COVID “the big one,” or was it a “preshock?” We can never know. Therefore, we prep…

    My coworkers used to laugh at my “prepper” attitude. A couple of them came up to me later on and said “I’ll never laugh at you again!” This… is a good thing… for them more than me…

  12. Thank you for your wonderful article. Watching this year unfold has indeed had its ups and down. I venture I have seen it from a slightly different angle than some of you in that my work environment and my home environment are somewhat juxtapose. I am a progressive/critical care nurse in a major metropolitan hospital (Pause for the “what are you still doing there?” shouts to subside). I drive about 45 minutes to get to work so the area we live in is ‘small town’ but not quite rural. Away enough, though, that the differences I observed between the city and here were substantial. (not far enough in a long term shtf situation.) But during the past 6 months there has been a clear separation of the two areas. I have my foot, albeit temporarily, in two worlds.

    The somewhat southern/ mostly eastern city I work in is a fair mess. Some nights at the hospital I could hear the riots outside. Many colleagues are leftists who openly expressed why they felt all the behavior around us was justified. CNN plays constantly in the break room while several of my elderly patients would be watching Fox and mourning the state of things. As employees we all struggled with our own safety and true lack of supplies. I’m sure you’ve heard we’d get one mask for 12 hours. That’s real. We ran out of hand sanitizer for a while and sprayed our hands with some cleaning solution. Briefly, we had mandatory overtime for all critical care staff. And in the early days of shut down, I heard many young females at work stress over not being able to get basic supplies like soap because the stores were barren and or dangerous.

    Side note: I don’t work on a Covid unit. While any of us can be made to float to any area at any time, I’m almost exclusively with open heart surgery patients. (I’m so tired of the mainstream over fluffy ‘your a hero’ junk)

    At home, well, I’m fairly prepared. We’re on just under 3 acres. I have a decent pantry..which I bolsterd as I saw this thing heating up. We have chickens, which is probably my most sustainable thing. A small garden (confession..I suck at gardening…I’m trying! Modest improvements each year). Some fruit trees. Some figs. Lots of first aide/OTC medical supplies. Some firearms. Way too little ammo. And the town is just, well, not a city. People hardly wore masks at all for the first few months. Stores were out of a few items but shelves were never completely decimated. Some churches had food pantries and I noticed the lines were long, but no riots. Gun fire around here is common but Its always people on their own property target shooting and such. Overall, Its been a completely different scene.

    I’m curious (and sometimes scared) of what the next few months hold. My guess is the separation I’ve experienced (and enjoyed) will start to fade.

    1. I live in a southeastern city, and work in a Trauma I hospital. I, too, am so over the “not all heroes wear capes” BS. Our system eliminated all float pool positions and actually forced staff to use paid time off at the beginning when elective surgeries were cancelled. After eight weeks, the surgeries started back. We have been at capacity or higher since then, and our staff to patient ratios are at all-time dangerous levels. And now we have more staff out after contracting the virus.

      And yes, we still receive one mask for 12 hours. This includes going into the patient rooms where the COVID test results are still pending. And our trauma numbers are WAY UP. I’m talking gunshot wounds and stabbings. All the while the administrators are “working from home” and not being forced to use their vacation time to put meals on the table.

  13. Thank you so much for sharing your experiences with us! I look forward to part 2.

    The part that really hit home for me was what your friend said “People have lost their minds.” I always had a certain level of confidence that our smaller, rural town would pull together in any real emergency, but lately I question even that.

    I downloaded and am reading the book that Tunnel Rabbit suggested in a post a couple of days ago and I can highly recommend it to anyone who has not yet downloaded it to read: https://archive.org/details/TheSHTFAnthologySelco

    Blessings to all and stay safe and well.

    1. Jill, I’m reading it as well, and am halfway through.

      Spoiler alert. Stop here if you don’t want to know a small part.

      My favorite part is Selco’s example of how important humor and story telling are. This grampa guy would hear someone whine with worry that there was only one can of food for five people, “Oh what will we do?” The grampa would say something like: “You guys are wimps! Back in WW2, I had to eat my shoe for a whole week…” Then the folks started laughing.

      I love that grampa.
      He was awesome.
      I want to be like him.

      Blessings, Krissy

  14. Being prepped means I had plenty of TP put back when this Covid hit. Sort of funny how many were caught short like even my own 2 adult daughters who I supplied them until they could actually get some. They both then realized how wise I was to stash a surplus of TP over the years.

    On the ammo scene as a reloader I have plenty of brass ( every time I hit the range I left with 2-3 times as much brass as I fired off ) and bullets , powder, primers because every time there was a sale I bought extra just for times like this. .22 LR I have always bought it low and kept copious amounts. Now you can’t even find the stuff at any price. Sheesh.

  15. As most, this has been a learning experience for all. We found that we had plenty of what people were looking for, TP, food, etc. But missed that we did not have enough to share on primers, bullets, t-posts, fence clips, and wire. There are so many issues that need to be addressed it is easy to miss one or two. Good drill, and always good to read a post from Patrice Lewis, I have followed her for years.

  16. I’m still what I consider a semi-prepper. Many years ago I asked my wife to start buying extra toilet paper. When we had over 180 rolls I advised that I felt we had enough.

    Why toilet paper? Venezuela. Many many years ago just after Hugo Chavez passed away, I became intrigued with how their country would go. Toilet paper was the “canary in the mine” for them. After that I sssslllloooowwwwlllyyyy started prepping and it has been slow. When they took away everyone’s firearms I realized we were not special, it could happen here. So I slowly started building out our food supply and firearms/ammunition and medicines.

    With the advent of this “terrible virus”, my family is beginning to realize I’m not completely crazy.

    While we live in an HOA, I now have agreement to strengthen the house. I don’t think our house can be made a fortress but unseen by most we now have multiple layers of noise makers/blockers for potential home invaders.

    We now have a plan and several neighbors are on board in terms of fields of fire and communications.

    You all know it wont matter who wins the election, it is going to be sporty.

    We certainly appreciate all the advice you all have given us for free.

    Good luck and may He be with you always.

    I am now selling (legally) 12 firearms (don’t worry, I’ve wittled us down to 3 per caliber with spare parts just coming on board now (the last month or two).

    I’m glad I found this site a few years ago.

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