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My Katrina

Prickly Pear in bloom. McMullen County, South Texas. April 2017

When asked what surprised him most about humanity, the Dalai Lama answered –

“Man. Because he sacrifices his health in order to make money. Then he sacrifices money to recuperate his health. And then he is so anxious about the future that he does not enjoy the present; the result being that he does not live in the present or the future; he lives as if he is never going to die, and then he dies having never really lived.”

A few weeks back I saw some reference to Hurricane Katrina which devastated the Gulf Coast almost 12 years ago  and it got me to thinking back on how that affected me.  Because it really didn’t  — at the time.

Move forward to 2011 and I found this first hand account and it did affect me.  Might be a good idea to go read it for yourself — it is a good piece of writing.

Katrina 2005 Revisited

The same patch in bloom. July 2017

When I posted that blog in 2011, it really marked a watershed turning point in my thought process.  I am no stranger to catastrophic events with a history of living through blizzards and hurricanes where services were interrupted for days and even weeks.   I had been gate guarding in the oil patch for over a year at that time. Remote locations, off the grid and more dependent on my resources than ever before so my daily mindset was changing to match my enironment.  When I read John’s account of his Katrina several things hit me with clarity like never before:

  • You cannot rely on the GOV to come to your rescue.  Their response was too little – too late and people died as a result. We saw it again with Hurricane Sandy.
  • Politics is a vicious game even when thousands of lives are on the line.  Governor Kathleen Blanco and Mayor Ray Nagin  withheld aid  and delayed efforts because they both wanted to be in the sole spotlight of national attention.  Their bickering was criminal… Nagin paid the price in a way…he was sentenced to 10 years in prison in 2014 for bribery, money laundering and other corruption that spanned his two terms as mayor — including the chaotic years after Hurricane Katrina hit in 2005.
  • People are animals and turn feral PDQ when TSHTF.  Big cities are death when the rule of law is removed.
  • Self sufficiency and preparations for future catastrophic events should be the order of the day for each of us.

I guess if you trace back through the blog, right about this time in 2011 is when I started thinking preparedness for any eventuality was the way to go.  I reckon it was about the same time I asked My Bro what his goal was up at the Secret Hideout.   Sure, he wanted electricity, water, a place to live and a shop but he also said he wanted to be as self-sufficient as possible because it was the prudent thing to do. Makes sense, don’t it? Tomorrow is a brand new day.  How often do we squander the promise it holds?

This is not about gate guarding or working,  it is about adjusting to a coming groundswell of change.  How much of our stupidity regarding basic human needs is orchestrated and according to some plan put in place by elitists that have no true regard for our well being? How long will our fragile way of life continue when the White Witch Janet Yellen said just this week it is is not sustainable?

“Sometimes those who don’t socialize much aren’t actually anti-social. They just have no tolerance for drama, stupidity, and fake people”

Everything happens for a reason and I feel so blessed that I fell into this oilfield gate guard gig.  The freedom and versatility it gives me suits me to a T; yes, it does.  It has allowed me to focus on the basic human needs and refine the process.  Every single one of us requires

  • Water
  • Food
  • Shelter

Prickly pear fruit – these are called tunas; don’t ask me why.

…….. and pretty much in that order of importance.  I know I nag on y’all incessantly that you can’t buy end of the world/catastrophic event type goods and then let them sit in the corner of the garage until something happens when your life might depend on them.  It will be an epic fail because you won’t have the knowledge and experience to use them.

How many folks do you know these days that could be called a jack of all trades?  Not many I wager and it is because once upon a time you had to know a little about lots of different things just to get by.  Our new and improved brand of living doesn’t require that anymore. Hell, BFF Cait orders two hunnert dollars of groceries online and then when she gets to the store the fella is waiting at the curb with her order and loads it right up in her Jeep.  I don’t blame her one bit– I would do it too if I had that opportunity!  But don’t all this convenience make you wonder what happens when it ain’t there no more – ala Katrina 2005 or Venezuela 2017?

Some of the stuff I get myself into is fairly bizarre by normal standards and I can do that sorta stuff because it is just me and a dog.  The nieces and nephews call me Crazy Uncle Andy with reason.  I spent 5 months at the Secret Hideout off grid during the heat of a Texas Summer in 2015. When it got so hot I couldn’t sleep,  I figured out a solution that cost me 2 gallons of gas a day. in 2016, I went over 110 days without going to the store settin’ right here on this gate gettin’ by with what I had on hand. I didn’t have to do either of these things but I did and it was a learning challenge.  You can’t let your stuff sit in the garage remember?

The new bad ass fridge in action

Back in the day, folks could not pull up at the the curb in air conditioned comfort and have a fella throw a weeks worth of groceries in their car.  Amazon didn’t deliver their latest purchase with a drone and a NYC robot didn’t bring them a pizza.  Not hardly.  They had gardens and chickens and pressure cookers and smoke houses –  and not because it was a chic, cool thing and not because they had time on their hands with nuthin’ to do.  They did it because that is how you fed yourself – and it was hard work – and it required knowledge.

When I read these first hand accounts from Katrina, Sandy and now Venezuela;  there are common elements in every story.  Problems with potable water, personal hygiene, food spoilage due to no refrigeration and food supply-period.  Then there is the shelter thing and during the suspension of normal and polite human behavior maybe I would better voice it as safe shelter is a requirement.  I had full intention this week to talk about additions to my livin’ life that got me further down that road of being increasingly self sufficient but I do believe I will save that until next week.  I got refrigerators and stoves and dehydrators and all manner of things to talk about.  Until then…..


End Note: Last of my Kind by Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit from The Nashville Sound cd.  Even though the title says so this is NOT Trashville music.  The whole cd is shit hot- give it a listen.


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