911! Are you Ready for the Big One?

IMG_5093Whether the big one for you is an earthquake, tornado, hurricane or super storm, are you prepared for the worst? I’m not talking about stumbling to find your toddler’s Handy Manny flashlight or light up a few candles for a couple of hours while your local electric company patches up the lines. I’m talking serious destruction where back up food and water, and Mylar blankets will comfort you through the cold, dark times. I keep a couple of sealed plastic emergency bins in the nest and one in the trunk of my car. Items to consider under such duress are:

Extra underwear, socks, clothing, hats
Comfortable shoes that will allow you to walk at a distance or on top of debris
Gloves for cleaning up debris
Mylar blankets
Waterproof matches
Flashlight (rechargeable one that you periodically charge/extra batteries for battery operated one)
Light sticks
Pocket Knife
Can opener
Food preserves
Paper cups
Toilet paper
Safety pins
Candy or little toys or books young children can play with for distraction and to keep spirits up
Medical supplies: first aid book, scissors, tweezers, dressings, tape, T-shirt to use as a tourniquet, Diarrhea medicine, any prescriptions needed, hydrogen peroxide, antibiotic ointment, eye drops, instant cold packs, tea bags, hand sanitizer, and soap.Skyline 50Tools for Survival: Fire Extinguisher ax, shovel, broom, screwdriver, pliers, hammer, adjustable wrench, rope for towing or rescue, plastic sheeting and tape

Remember to have enough food for at least three days and to restock any expired food or water periodically. The much anticipated, Arkstorm, suggestive of Noah’s Ark and the 40 days and 40 nights of rain, did not happen this time in California. And since we egregiously ignore the severity of our drought condition, the area for the most part is a desert, how will it withstand such torrential downpours when the magnanimous storm does cyclone through here? Our problems with the lack of water are well documented; when will we turn things around? It’s no longer about winning, it’s about surviving—what will the “lawns” of California look like in the future? The problem isn’t remote…so much of it’s none existence is because of our landscaping designs. As beautiful as we may think our Kentucky blue grass lawns are, it’s awfully depressing at best to be the proud owners of these water guzzling blades of grass. The dismal water allegation has pressured me to capture my shower water in a bucket. Since in our nest we use sulfate-free soaps, the water that accumulates in the buckets is used for our potted garden. My change is small, but it’s a start. Imagine if everyone made one adjustment to his or her daily water routines in their nests; or if we managed what little water we have in reserves differently…the current grim water predicament could be transformative. Los Angeles Department of Water and Power’s “Cash For Your Lawns” campaign has been trying to spearhead the movement with their honorable incentive since 2009 where compensation is offered to one who converts to drought tolerant native vegetation. A generous $2 a square foot or simply stated, if you have 1,000 square feet of turf, the DWP would write you a check for $2,000 for the conversion…tempting isn’t it Angelenos? Unless you are growing pastureland for your cattle start implementing a plan for your nest and invoke a movement and maybe, just maybe we may see some relief from the devastating drought. Truth is, if it’s grim now, our parched Terra will plummet to an irreversible decline in the coming years. Without any reserves in the reservoirs, there will be no water to plant seeds. Without seeds, farmers cannot grow fruits, grains, and vegetables. If they can’t grow, they can’t be harvested, purchased, or placed bountifully on our plates. Will we take notice when spiked supermarket prices across the country will last more than one season?  We need to get it right with the spirit world or start thinking about our actions every time we turn on the faucet. Let’s choose for xeriscaping and witness thundering water flowing again in our dried up riverbanks instead of thundering mudslides when built up moisture from the clouds does resolve to yield into a downpour again. In the expansive Central Valley of California, Tulare Lake, once the biggest freshwater lake west of the Mississippi was drained long ago—now there is barely a trace of its existence. The San Joaquin River, the second longest within California and once among the best salmon-fishing rivers in the country, was dammed in the 1940’s and essentially drained for irrigation—sixty miles of a once-beautiful river run dry.

While a storm of Biblical proportions is not suited for our terrain, cyclical ones that slowly replenish our dried up basins would be a treat. Even though Californians were spared the recent four-day circular storm with most flooding and mudslides kept under control, will we be ready for the next Big One? According to what the oracle of the three rings states, a worst case scenario event with estimated return period of 500 to 1000 years is expected.

My fig tree withstood winter storm winds this time around, with just some bruising, I know it will overcome the brutal blows and I am hopeful it will even produce its sweet velvety fruit the end of the summer. I hope our rare visitor sojourns soon to ensure shower water in my nest to reuse for the revival of my fig tree in the summers to come. Let’s be mindful of our most precious resource and change how we manage it or else California will become a hard place to call home. Viva la agua!

4 thoughts on “911! Are you Ready for the Big One?

  1. You hit the nail on the head. My problem with all these big issue like climate change is that people who talk about it make it seem so enormous and doomsday-like that it leaves most people feeling like small little changes they make will have little to no effect; and it achieves the opposite effect – helplessness and apathy.

    I agree that the key is asking everyone to make one small and manageable change in their daily lives and routines, as a start, and telling them that these add up…


  2. Very well said, Cristine. It’s hard to understand how so many people really don’t seem to care, and even some of our cities continue to water street medians with automatic timers–they go off even when it isn’t warm at all! So wasteful! I’ve been using some buckets to gather water, too. In some parts of our house it takes too long for hot water to get to the spigot, so I collect the “cold” in buckets and take it outdoors. Yet we still have lots of room for improvement. I’m working on it! And a good reminder about the emergency supplies. We are very under-prepared. I can use the reminder.

    I love your photos! They’re beautiful!


    • Unfortunately, they (their children more likely) will eventually see it the hard way. Thanks for taking little steps in your nest Debra…one nest at a time and we can make things better, right? Thanks my photos of my “garden” our limited in my nest so I strolled about Laguna Beach to capture how creative nest owners can get with their landscaping. Yes, I have a few missing items in an emergency bin I need to take care of that have been on my mind thus the post to motivate me and others.


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