Plan B: I haz one.

Or at least I always try to. When I get caught without a Plan B or when I reach for Plan B and it lets me down, I give serious thought to fixing that for next time. Because!


That’s why. No phone, no lights, no motor car you don’t provide for yourself. Ditto running water and cooking fuel. And when you build it yourself, with materials either scrounged or available on the consumer market, your chances of unexpectedly having to fix it under adverse conditions are – accept the word of one who knows – high. They’re high.

This morning’s case in point…


My kitchen propane regulator has suddenly decided that it doesn’t want to work when the weather gets frosty. Which it certainly did overnight. So I stumble into the main cabin, fill my teapot for all-important life-giving coffee, put it on the stove, light the flame, then take Tobie out for First Pee. Get back and find the pot, which should be whistling by now, standing over a cold inactive burner. I never CHECKED to see if the fire lit, I just assumed because I trusted the stove. It clicked happily away when I hit the igniter but no gas was coming out of the burners. It did nearly the same thing morning before last: The gas flow rate was very low until the sun warmed up the regulator. This morning it didn’t work at all.

Grumble! Curse! Also, where did I store my camping stove?


Before I moved here, when I did a lot of camping, I used the hell out of this thing. Now, the last time I remember using it was a memorable day in April 2015. It was a gross grody mess then, and that was going on nine years ago. I really ought to keep my gear clean.

Anyway, I only generally even knew where I left it. Also, the only little propane bottles that could run it were stored off-site. So I had to go get one and that wasn’t my greatest prepping moment, but what the hell.


I did eventually get my coffee and breakfast. Really ought to clean it before I re-store it. And get more of those little propane bottles. Oh, and I need a new kitchen regulator, dammit.

Meanwhile, speaking of Plan B…


It’s laundry day at Ian’s cave, which still doesn’t have a functioning electrical system. The problem here isn’t money but availability. There are still shipping issues four years after the apparent collapse of civilization caused by a bug, and my usual battery supplier is struggling to maintain supply. I’m just looking for some golf cart batteries, you wouldn’t think this would be so hard, but the big town about 50 miles away is largely a seasonal resort kind of thing and some businesses I really need to talk to right now are kind of closed for the winter. Fortunately Neighbor S is locally one of the big boys in the off-grid power biz, and some people who won’t give me the courtesy of a return phone call will come out and open their doors for him. So we’re going to take a trip together on Tuesday, when hopefully this will be resolved at last.

Meanwhile my wonderful donated Honda is keeping my scrawny ass wrapped in clean clothes, among other duties. I went without any generator at all for so long I just sort of learned to live without, but I’m really happy I don’t have to do that at the moment.

About Joel

You shouldn't ask these questions of a paranoid recluse, you know.
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5 Responses to Plan B: I haz one.

  1. Ben says:

    That regulator almost certainly has some moisture in it. Could you just bring it inside and lay it in the sunlight to bake out the water drops?

  2. Mike says:

    Since our moving from the city to a rural lifestyle, the “two is one” and “always have a plan B” sayings, have become our home mantra. 🙂

  3. Joel says:

    Ben, that’s what I plan to try. Need to dig around and find my Plan B regulator. I think I know where it is.

  4. Harvey says:

    At least 2/3, maybe 3/4, of prepping is knowing where the spare gizmo is, and the remainder is knowing where the 2nd spare is because you can’t find the first spare…..

  5. RCPete says:

    I’ve had problems with the switch-over regulators. Flame-King in particular ones last about a year for me before refusing to switch over. Looks like it’s a lubrication issue in the pressure sensor section. (The cabinet got hot in summer and damned cold in winter.) Haven’t tried to fix the regulator after the insufficiently damned Ashley heater crapped out. (It looks like there’s a block in the fresh air passage, but that area is sealed shut. I’m guessing wasps, possibly mud daubers.)

    OTOH, I have enough spare power in the electric system for a small heater in the well pumphouse. (Makes note to check this morning. We had 4 degrees at dawn. Living just east of the Cascades can get interesting.)

To the stake with the heretic!