13 Degrees Below – R U Ready

By Major Van Harl USAF Ret

Snow Gun
Snow Gun
AmmoLand Gun News
AmmoLand Gun News

Wisconsin –-(Ammoland.com)-  It is 6 Jan 2014 and it is 13 degrees below zero here in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

I will be having another birthday this week which will put me just that much closer to collecting (maybe) social security. Old bones and subzero weather does not really mix safely all that well.

We have known the bitter cold weather was coming for a week. There was time to prepare. We had a natural gas stove installed in the living room fireplace a couple of weeks ago. The number one requirement for the stove was it had to work even if the electricity went out. I want heat no matter what.

When your power is shut off the natural gas stills flows. Did you ever notice when your electricity went out you could still take a hot shower? This is (assuming you do) because you have a gas hot water heater and the gas just keeps flowing as long as you don’t have an earthquake that breaks up the gas lines buried in the ground.

We wired the house a couple of years ago so I could plug in an outside generator, by-pass the regular electricity and have electrical power to the keys usage points in the house. I can run my furnace, the sump-pump, the freezer, the kitchen refrigerator and a few lights. The problem is this back-up system is dependent on how much gasoline I can stock-pile in my back yard. It is fine if you live in the country and can install a 200 gallon (never enough) fuel barrel on your property but don’t try that if you live in town. Sadly a large fuel barrel is hard to hide and in time of crisis someone will try to take your fuel from you.

Our nation-wide food delivery system only has a 24 hour, maybe on a good crisis day a 48 hour supply of food. When it is gone in a panic, even the rich cannot buy anything, because there is nothing to be sold.

With the extreme cold you get the bursting of water lines. The Colonel and the daughter went out last night. Shortly after leaving she calls to give me a heads-up of a water main break just down the block from our house. Not knowing if the city was going to shut off our water (sometimes for up to 48 hours) while they fixed the break I stopped what I was doing and started filling five gallon water cans.

This weekend there was a run on the supermarkets and the shelves were a little bare. When the big name grocery stores announced they would be closed on Monday it really put the city into a buying (sort of) panic.

I have a wood burning stove sitting in my garage that I have never used. I have been moving it around for twenty plus years. I have the metal chimney piping, nesting inside the firebox of the stove. If worst comes to worst I will move the stove inside the house, vent the pipe through the fireplace and then proceed to burn my backyard privacy fence as a fuel supply. I have thousands of trees on my farm on the other side of the state that I could haul back home as firewood after a visit out west, but because we have the Emerald ash borer insect problem in this state I am not legally allowed to transport firewood.

Colorado has the same problem with the beetles that are killing the pine trees and Oklahoma has its fire ant problem when you try to move livestock hay/feed around the state. Nature is always trying to kill you and thwarting you in your attempts to fight back.

I replaced one of the 12 volt batteries on my sump pump, not because I was going to need the pump in these freezing temperatures but because the system is always trickle charging to keep the batteries ready. I have 12volt LED light systems set up to tap into that power system to provide light. Big promotional sales of batteries went on during the Christmas rush and I annually try to take advantage of that and stock up.

If the murdering terrorists out of hell ever wanted to cause optimal damage with little effort on the American public it would be during a double digit below zero situation, such as we have this week in Milwaukee. Do not expect if you have an extended power outage in your community (natural or man-made) that the “government” will rush in to save you.

Almost nothing in our modern American society works without electricity and that especially means our government. The Boy Scouts are always right–Be Prepared. Oh, and now my diesel truck will not start.

6 Jan 2014 / Major Van Harl USAF Ret. / [email protected]

About Major Van Harl USAF Ret.:Major Van E. Harl USAF Ret., a career Police Officer in the U.S. Air Force was born in Burlington, Iowa, USA, in 1955. He was the Deputy Chief of police at two Air Force Bases and the Commander of Law Enforcement Operations at another. He is a graduate of the U.S. Army Infantry School.  A retired Colorado Ranger and currently is an Auxiliary Police Officer with the Cudahy PD in Milwaukee County, WI.  His efforts now are directed at church campus safely and security training.  He believes “evil hates organization.”  [email protected]

  • 2 thoughts on “13 Degrees Below – R U Ready

    1. It was 23 below here in Crivitz yesterday, -16 this morning. We’ve been burning through the winter wood pile pretty quick, but I’m confident I won’t need to go get more. I have 5 wooded acres with 1000’s more surrounding us to gleam wood from. But at this point, a face cord for $45 sounds like a bargain.

      I’m here jaut a bit more than a year now and have not yet installed a generator but since I have natural gas, that is the fuel I’ll be using for back up. But in a world gone mad, the natural gas is also going to stop flowing. My plan is to purchase a propane conversion kit and install a 300 gallon propane tank.

      I have a question on the hot water heater. Mine, it needs electricity to run, the controls are electric. Is there a unit that does not require electric controls?

      For gasoline, you can find old storage tanks all over the place. Farms are prime for such finds, and craiglist has many ads for them. Me, I don’t mind that the 350 gallon tank needed to a good cleaning. It was free. And a lot better than a bunch of hard to secure 5 gallon jugs. It lives behind some thick bushes with a good line of fire from a defensive position.

    2. For $200, I purchased a kit that allowed me to convert my gasoline powered generator to natural gas.


      Since the author mentions installing a natural gas insert in his fireplace, this is another option for those who already have natural gas in their home. I paid a plumber $300 to extend the natural gas lines to the back of the house, where I had a plug in point for my generator. For a total of $500 my generator can run all day and night now on natural gas, and can still be switched back to gasoline power, if need be. Those who do not have natural gas available can purchase kits to allow conversion to propane, also easily and safely stored on your property.

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