We had a small earthquake this morning. I slept through it.

Coincidentally enough, I’m releasing a new book that deals with a major earthquake. I felt, momentarily, as if Mother Nature was either giving me a little free publicity, or giving me a little shake, saying ‘don’t do it!’.


I did it anyway. E-book now available for Kindle; print coming soon.

But events like this always bring to mind preparedness and balancing the need to be prepared with being paranoid.

We choose to be prepared but are far from paranoid. We have bug-out bags in our cars. We have jugs of water in our freezer. Think about it – a jug of ice can be put in your fridge to help keep things cold when the power goes out. And when it thaws you have drinking water. We also have little bags hanging by our doors that have the basics inside so you can grab them as you run out the door and at least have a flashlight.

Mt Baring

The granite here doesn’t roll like ‘down below’. It slams around instead.

Of course a couple weeks ago we realized every single flashlight in our house and our vehicles had dead batteries. Having flashlights is being prepared. Having dead batteries is us not being paranoid.

I like a stocked up pantry, a full freezer, and shelves filled with home-canned goods. That’s being prepared.

We’ll be able to live on home-canned raspberry jam for years. That’s being not paranoid.


Old photo of the cabin, but we still have, and use, the lamps. Didn’t keep the cobwebs though.

Earthquakes are like any other natural disaster in that it’s always a gamble. Do you roll the dice believing it will never happen in your lifetime? Do you roll the dice hoping you’ll be prepared but when the quake hits it won’t be that bad? Or do you believe it’s just a matter of time, it’s going to be horrible, and you’re going to need to live without aid for a long time?

I used to create disaster recovery plans for local government. I can tell you most definitely that all that publicity about having food and water for three days is not true. Three days is nothing.

bridal veil falls

Natural water sources; the advantage of not living in cities.

A few years ago a bridge on Interstate 5 was damaged and the freeway was closed down. Fixing it, even with emergency assistance, took THREE WEEKS. So if you think help is coming within three days when you live any distance at all from major traffic corridors, you’re going to lose that roll of the dice.

I don’t want to be paranoid, to think about these things, or lay awake at night because of fear. But when these little tremors rattle you a bit, it’s time to pause and ask if you still believe that a natural disaster won’t happen in your lifetime.

After the tremor this morning I also have a new worry. My son asked if we felt it and said his apartment building was rolling. Which reminded me he lives over an hour away in cheaply built apartment buildings, and we wouldn’t be able to get to him in a hurry.

And I’m willing to roll the dice that he has dead batteries in the bug-out bag we gave him for Christmas a few years ago. He’s prepared like his parents.

But not paranoid.

Arthur Lookout Pt 4


12 thoughts on “Earthquakes

  1. yeah, I need to check my food and water supplies and update… and I am sure as worried as you are about that little cutie in your picture, you taught him well enough to figured things out for himself in case of emergency. I mean, if he has the time for that. But he is a smart cookie, he will find a way. ❤


  2. Your logic about “3 days” worth of supplies made me think “oh yeah that doesn’t make sense”. It’s not earthquakes I need to be prepared for, here its hurricanes and we have warning. Being prepared is easier than trying to rush out to the store with all the others who didn’t. I hope your son checks the batteries. Maybe you could send him some.😊


    • Oh man, hurricanes and tornadoes scare me to death! I’d rather deal with earthquakes. I have family that live in tornado areas and it blows me away that they don’t have cellars prepared, or even have cellars to begin with. That’s a gamble for sure, that a funnel won’t touch down where they are. A friend recently mentioned luci lanterns that are solar for hiking. I think I’ll get some for my kid.


    • Ah, can’t tell you how many times I organized sandbagging in my previous job. The north fork Skykomish floods frequently, and dramatically. Whole trees coming down and impaling houses. Seems like preparing for that is all related to fast evacuation, like you mention. Every time I think about fast evacuation I come up against the fear for an old outside cat that we have never been able to get to come inside. How would I even find him? And how could I leave him behind? As he ages though, he is slowing down and hanging around his outside box more, so in that sense, age is a good thing.


  3. 30% of us are prepared for a major event, 30% realize they should be but for many reasons never get around to it the remaining 30% see no threat. The Cascade fault caused a huge Tsunami recorded in Japan during the 1700’s and past down verbily by the people of the First Nation to be ignored by science. With the huge underwater cliffs 20 mile offshore one is sure to happen again, few people are prepared. I live under much the same conditions in the San Francisco Bay area with “The Big One” happening at any time.


    • Maybe it’s the ostrich effect. But yes, those plate tectonics are shifting and moving all the time, and one of these days they will break free. I don’t want to live in constant fear of something I have no control over, but I do like to at least take common sense precautions. Here, the majority of people don’t realize exactly how far inland a tsunami would go. They forget that there is a lot of low-lying farmland out there. And the oral history by the native peoples are extremely valuable and have been proven over and over again to have basis in fact. So ignoring that information is, again, putting your head in the sand.


  4. yes, the quake. it happened in my area, woke me right up. it was like a sonic boom, then our house quivered. I have lived in a few places, with typhoons, hurricanes, earthquakes, floods….none of them are good. And I have never been prepared. my husband knows about bug out bags, and keeping food and water. he was living off the grid when I came around, and well not so much now. lol. unfortunately. But there is like a million flashlights around here. that I constantly have to tell my husband where they are… 😛


    • I lived off grid for a few years, too. Generated our electricity from a homemade water wheel. And let your husband know that I’m a firm believer in flashlight gnomes, that sneak into the house in at night and steal flashlights to use in their gnome-homes.


      • Lol! I love gnomes. I will tell my husband to check the giant log out in front for his flash lights! :D. His dad built a whole system for living off grid. Massive solar panels and I think he did some type of water source power as well he was very industrious that guy. I never got to meet him though, died two years before I entered the family. But I hear lots of stories!

        Liked by 1 person

  5. I love the concept of a bug out bag. However, in a tornado they won’t help you when you’re belongings are in the next state. Still though, tornadoes wreak havoc with everyone’s electric and it’s good idea to have them. I live in a tornado alley – a newer version according to the Weather Channel. The gulf brings up moisture from the south and the colder winds are dropping from the upper plains and boom there you go, it’s a super cell. My first memory of being in a tornado was when I was 12 (there’s been many since). Our class was out at the 4H for end of school year festivities. I’ll never forget the sky and air was green. I later learned that is from the tornado ripping up all the vegetation and leaves off the trees and it’s swirling around. It seems everyplace has natural disasters. I also live on the New Madrid fault – yikes.


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