Dear Prudence


When people stock up on supplies the tendency is to plan to cover a specific period of time only and then not to re-stock until then.  In other words, there is a tendency towards a bit of brinksmanship.  We all like to think of that as efficient.

But you shouldn’t do that if you live remote.

When living, planning and stocking to live off-the-grid, you have to plan for ‘some extra’.  The hard part is figuring out how that ‘extra’ need or requirement might show up.

I buy 100 gallons of gasoline for about four months of running boats and small engines and so, as I work through the inventory to month three, I book the barge delivery for the next month.  The assumption, of course, is that the barge will be there for me.  Reasonable enough, wouldn’t you say?

I tend towards having the barge come three times a year when, in fact, I have the storage capacity for leaving it to two times.  But, for that kind of just-in-time management to happen, everything has to run out at the same time and so I tend to overlap a little.  Reasonable-but-leaning-towards-the-cautious side, wouldn’t you say?

Not enough, it seems.

The barge will not be there for me this month.  This time the barge is in drydock.  Like I said – I can stretch propane and diesel til they come back but, this time my gasoline supplies are too low.  And I found out about that when I phoned today.  We will be out of gasoline too soon!  Damn!

I am not really complaining. The barge will be back next month and we can cope till then.  I only have to ‘bridge’ that 30 day gap and I can do that with a few portable Jerry cans.  No big deal.  We did that for years.  Some people still do (full containers really stink up a car when you are traveling over bumpy roads.  It is something to be avoided if at all possible).

But, honestly, this is just another small example of being just a smidge behind the learning curve out here.  I really should have enough of all fuels on hand for five months and plan on calling the barge as month three is ending.  I really should have had that extra month in reserve.

Lesson learned.  Another storage container will be purchased.

As I plan and stockpile into my eighth year out here, I still wonder if I have the right assessment on things.  It is only natural.  I am still learning and not fully confident in my off-the-gridding competence.  I kinda know I’ll screw up a bit now and then but the comfort comes from knowing that I won’t likely make the same mistake twice.  The discomfort comes from knowing that there are always new ways to screw up.  And I will find them.  This time it was fuel.  And, like most screw-ups, the situation is made a bit more dire by it being winter.   Travel plans are always more ‘iffy’ in the winter.  There is a bit more urgency to it now………….

Is this worthy of a blog post?  Perhaps not.  We all run out of things now and then.  That’s life.  In fact, it is the very definition of life – we run out of it!  But running out of fuel when you live remote is a bit more vulnerable-making, a bit more ‘dicey’, don’t you think?  Well, I do.  I will address this issue a bit sooner rather than later.

It is the prudent thing to do.

2 thoughts on “Dear Prudence

  1. Turns out Nate Silver was able to buy a vowel and predict how well things would roll in the election. This continued American left turn bodes well for Canadian politics as what rolls in Washington State may be coming to a coffee house near you. Doobey, doobey, doobey, do.


  2. After lambasting Barack Obama for four years as a Socialist, Nazi, Muslim, terrorist Kenyan; calling him “retarded,” “lazy” and “stupid;” using racist innuendos to surreptitiously demean him, and making defeating him the Number One priority for four years, the Republican Party still couldn’t defeat Barack Obama. Tell the Ravens to head for the hills Republicans are getting set to chow down on some bird. Ravens beware!


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