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Water: Too Much, Too Little

May 31, 2011 – Hope everybody enjoyed their Memorial Day weekend. It was and is majorly hot and sticky here in southwest Ohio, so I spent a lot of time indoors reading over the weekend. Gardening has become an evening pastime, accompanied by a lot of perspiring and panting.
My reading included the latest issue of Permaculture Activist. I always look forward to receiving PA, because it’s absolutely packed with highly relevant information. They outdid themselves this time, however: Designing for Disaster was this issue’s theme. If food storage is something you’re still just considering, take my advice and purchase this issue ( There’s a lot you need to know about what, where, and how, and Matthew Stein’s article will give your confidence a huge boost. I intend to copy it, and post the copy on the basement closet door, close by my stocks. (Perhaps Stein’s most interesting suggestion? Don’t forget the mouse traps and rat poison!)
Peter Bane makes a suggestion in his article “Learning to Live with Drought” that I’ve given thought to from time to time: keep a log of the weather. My own thoughts would be: don’t be overly ambitious. Peter suggests high and low temperatures and amount of precipitation, if any. Even as I’m sitting here, I’m thinking ”yes, but wouldn’t it be equally useful to comment on the amount of wind, humidity, and anything especially striking about that day’s weather?” While all that might be useful, it might also wind up deterring me from making this type of recordkeeping a habit. Best to keep it simple.
This is the second time I’ve come across the recommendation to store unpasteurized, fermented foods. They are, apparently, an excellent source of probiotics. First and foremost among them, according to Rhonda Baird (as well as Sharon Astyk) is kim chi, a Korean food made from cabbage. Cabbage is rich in vitamin C, and fermented foods keep for a very long time. (Astyk includes recipes for kim chi in her book Independence Days.) Actually, Baird’s larger point, in her article “Self-Care in a Disastrous World,” is to not become so caught up in panicking about all the change we’re dealing with that we forget the basics: get enough sleep, drink enough water, eat nutritious foods, pray or meditate.
Peter Bane’s climate change article, “The Bathtub Effect,” introduces readers to terminology brought into use by our recent, disaster-ridden weather: global storming. (Bane is PA’s publisher.) He focuses on the pre-eminence of flooding in our climatically-changed world, brought about by the simple fact that warmer air holds more moisture than cooler air. While not all parts of the world will be affected by an overabundance of rain and snow-melt (interesting that his other article is “Learning to Live with Drought”), Bane rightly points out that already wet areas will become much wetter, and already dry areas will become much drier (Texas has been on fire since the beginning of the year).
The meat of the article begins with the words, What can we do about it? It should come as no surprise that Bane touts preparation as an essential element of coping with disaster. Have a supply of clean water, and store some food, batteries for a variety of uses, and a battery-less radio. Scott Horton, PA’s editor, reminds us in his introductory article that storing water can be as simple as filling the bathtub once you know trouble is on the way. A Coleman camp stove (and a store of kerosene) or a hibachi (and charcoal) might make eating a more palatable affair. Saltines smeared with pb&j can get old real fast.
The more you think ahead, the better off you’ll be.


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