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Observer 11/24/14

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Home arrow Opinion arrow Jeff Petersen: ON SECOND THOUGHT arrow How to survive the first flake

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How to survive the first flake

Like most men, I am not a fan of shopping. But I am even less of a fan of buying. Being the child of Depression Babies, I find buying physically painful.

Still, there are things a person must buy: food, clothing, shelter, dark chocolate.

Last weekend I was busy putting together a winter driving survival kit for the Prius. I had to buy. I was in pain.

I had made the mistake of reading predictions of the coming LaNina, meaning “short Ice Age.”

Instead of the El Nino weather pattern of the last two “easy” winters, the geeks are predicting lots of snow, ice, snot and all else that makes living in a four-season paradise such a joy.

Then ODOT raised the ante. For one thing, their winter driving insert suggested buying flares to set along the roadway in case of accident.

ODOT might as well have said I needed to buy a couple sticks of dynamite.

Now I have cousins who can blow stumps out of the ground and over their very own homes in attempts to build firelines between their homes and the surrounding forest.

I am not so talented. Thingamajigs in toolboxes mystify me. Things that ignite are even more unnerving.

The insert also suggested I stock my car with enough winter survival items to fill not just a Prius but an old school bus.

The list is long. It includes blankets, snow shovel, spare clothes, boots, matches, windshield washer fluid, an ice scraper, sand, carpet scraps, chains and a big guy named Ed to put the chains on the car.

The list also mentioned food.

Now carrying food for an emergency is a great idea. I can imagine the car becoming stuck in a ditch somewhere on top of the Blue Mountains and getting a craving for a meat-lover’s pizza.

My problem is, most times when I put survival rations in the car they are devoured between work in La Grande and home in Cove. That’s 16 miles. Past Island City there isn’t even a convenience store, a McDonald’s or a Starbuck’s. It’s wilderness primeval. Only intensive farming keeps the deer, antelopes, badgers and wolverines at bay.

The solution, though, is simple. I needed to buy some food product that would keep me alive and yet be so unappealing I would leave it alone until an actual emergency.

A co-worker suggested MREs, or meal ready to eat, available at the military surplus store. But the store was closed, so I headed to a department store.

There I found some unsalted nuts — and beef that looked as if it had been jerked back in the Truman administration.

So far the rations have survived. I have too.

I might even survive once snow arrives and LaNina knocks loudly at the door.


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