Over the past month, we have seen a huge run on prepping and bug-out gear thanks to the recent Ebola scare up in Dallas and the worries about the cruise ship Carnival Magic that came back to port after a week-long cruise during which time a lab worker had self-quarantined on the ship.

Turns out – at least so far – that the whole affair has turned up a number of things we already knew as Rural Pioneers.

1.  Air Travel is Dangerous.

Not so much because of the occasional airplane falling out of the sky due to weather or mechanical issues (or whatever the hell MH-whatever was down off Malaysia), but because of the bugs and such that can be moved around by modern transportation systems.

I was senior VP of a small international jet carrier in the Caribbean for a couple of years in the mid 1980’s and one of the big lessons there was “Bugs travel.”  So much so, that for a while, we were having our flight attendants walk through the cabin of our 727’s spraying insecticide.  No, we didn’t ask permission.  We just did it because it was required and the whole planet hasn’t completely “lawyered up” yet.  Today that wouldn’t (bad pun alert) fly.

2.  Proximity to other Humans is Dangerous.

We know this because in the case of Patient Zero, the people who subsequently came down with Ebola were those who were closest to the patient.  People down the hall weren’t getting the virus, and it was proximity that was the problem.

To be sure, we saw some misalignment between govspeak – the parlance of governmental offices – and people’s everyday use of words.  To the govspeak crowd, you could go near someone and not be assured of getting the disease, although a cough in the face might do it – but that wasn’t considered airborne.  The public, on the other hand, thought otherwise.

3.  Dependencies are Dangerous.

Nothing was more clear to the Rural Pioneer than the discovery that as much prepping as we had on hand, there were still a number of items that had not filtered up to the top of our “gotta buy me one of them” list.

First was a large enough stock of N-100 surgical masks.  Turns out we only had about 10 in our inventory…we’d used most of our stocks up during remodeling, mowing the pastures, sanding in the shop…the kind of uses that crop up all the time out here past the McDonald’s Line. 

(If you’re not familiar with the term “rural” think of it as more than 10-minutes driving time from a gas station.)

When you live that far out, where the pizza deliveries stopped 7-miles back, you begin to think differently.  Dependencies.  Trips to town.  How can I make do with what I have on hand, and not have to run into town?

Ebola for us was a wake-up call.  A reminder that what is important in life is Life, love, and enjoying things.  Not being on the tread mill and trying to get ahead in a game there may be no way to win.

So when you hear the next story about Ebola, D68, or whatever the next communicable disease is that comes down the pike, please remember to run through the Rural Pioneer’s checklist.

1.  Air travel is dangerous…but then so it a trip to the store.  If a disease pops up in your own back yard, are there ways to eliminate unnecessary trips to the store?  If you do have to go, do you have disposable gloves and are you wiping down the cart handle and things like that?

2.  Humans are dangerous, too.  So if you get the urge to hook up with friends, is this when Skype or a note on FB would work just as well?  Chat is safe, at least in terms of pandemic disease exposure.

3.  Add 30-days minimum of supplies on hand.  If you don’t have them, it’s time right now to be working on a plan to scale up the home food storage.  A check of my friend Gaye Levy’s book on Amazon Prepper’s Guide to Food Storage is a great starting point.  Especially if you’re new to the rural life, or are just dreaming about it.

Time to get back to chores…enough of this “rat killin” as we call it out in the woods.  Got real work to do…

The main thing to be thinking about is “Insulation.”  The more you can insulate yourself from society, the safer you might be in the long run.



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