Life On and Off an Acreage

In-sights into moving from an Acreage back to Town, plus a few things I find of interest.

Two things that horses are scared about:

1. Things that move
2. Things that don't move

May 17, 2011

What Would You Take?

Here is the scenario. We were experiencing a power outage that was massive. It was reported by Fortis to extend from Onoway all the way to Edson, including Woodlands County plus 37 other counties. In other words, the high winds likely took down some transmission towers. We have 25,  9 day old chicks and 12, 9 day old turkeys that need heat.

What to do? Fire up the portable generator and the problem is solved! Not so! The dude would not start!

OK, over to the neighbours to borrow theirs. While I was pulling out of the driveway, a Department of Swamps and Marshes fellow in a half ton pulls up and says that there is a wild fire just over the hill and that we should be prepared to move out immediately with minutes notice.

OK, I went back to the house, told Elaine what was going on and started packing. We were done in about 15 minutes, and ready to go. I hooked up the generator and got heat on for the chicks, then put halters on the horses with name tags, owners name and phone numbers  duct taped inside a plastic bag to the halter. I figured that if the fire crested the hill, I would cut the neighbours fence and turn the horses loose. He has a quarter section with very few trees, short grass and lots of room.

The wind was from the south east  gusting to 65 km/h and the fire was climbing the hill into the wind. Our friend lived on the downwind side of the fire  and kept us posted on what was happening. I drove down and talked to the fire chief and looked at the situation. I figured the fire would climb the hill to the crest and then meet the wind front which would likely stop it dead in its tracks. The real hazard was in the direction of the wind, towards our friends place. Anyway, they had a helicopter spotter and 16 men plus 2 pumpers on the ground and they soon had it out. They took their time getting into the source because there was a tree across the line and wires on the ground. Even though the area had no live power, they had to wait until Fortis isolated that run of line.

OK, that is the overall scenario.

Now, what would you take in 15 minutes notice?

All we packed went into 2 large boxes and a couple of shopping bags.

Medicine, a change of clothes, camera, computer (it has 10,000 family photos on it), Tooth brush, ID, wallets, Bibles, Tax files and that was basically it!

Fortunately, there was no need to evacuate, but it really focused our minds on what was important. All the rest was "Stuff", and easily replaced.

Now, what would you take. I would be interested in knowing.

I can really appreciate what are neighbours to the north in Slave Lake  are going through. Approximately 40% of the town was burned down and about 7000 people evacuated. We were lucky!

The picture is not of our fire, or of Slave lake.


texwisgirl said...

oh my. terrifying scenario. the power outage would be bad enough with baby chicks, but fire?! i'd have a very very hard time leaving my animals. the dogs i could transport (difficult with 5 big ones but i'd manage some how). horses? i'd be crushed. i don't know what i'd do. you were smart to attach i.d. info to their halters... my heart's beating a bit just thinking about the possibility...

Phillip said...

What do you take? I suppose it depends on how much time and space you. Glad the fire was brought under control.

S. Etole said...

As I pondered your question I glanced at the sidebar and read your Jewish proverb: "A rich man is one who is content with what he has."

And then I re-pondered. I have a couple of carvings that my father did that would not be replaceable ... perhaps those along with medical essentials.

Gregg said...

First, what great thinking about marking and identifying the horses. We use to have horses, up to about 6 head and I don't think I would have thought of that. I would have let them loose and then tried to round them up later.

What would I take with 15 minutes notice: In this scenario I am assuming Irene is still OK, packing what she wants and will get out with me.

My bible
My laptop
My .50 cal flintlock muzzleloader and shotgun
My Institue of Basic Religon by Calvin
My Gruden Systematic Theology
My Shephard - Life of Christ
My Newman - Church History
My Terry - Hermenuetics
My Bruce - Canon of Scripture

With these basics I could continue to preach and teach and start my library over again.

My Tax files (which is in 4 large files)

My College Diploma
My Ordination certificate

These are all on shelves in my study and can be grabbed easily and thrown in the car

Hopefully, Irene has gotten bedding, pictures

If I had time and could still keep shoveling, I would keep throwing books into the trunk or back seat of my old Buick until we were forced out.

Oh yea, can't forget FiFi!

peihome said...

ahh, what a scary situation. The dog and cats would be first in the car! After that, I don't know! Good to think about these things.
I've not read the new lately - hadn't heard of those fires. Those poor folks.
So glad you're safe!

Texan said...

oh that must have been very scary! I am with TexWisgirl thinking on this is enough to raise your blood pressure! But you know what, its kinda like a mini fire drill and something I guess we all should think about once in a while.

mmm I think,
I would get the boxer boy first (dog), have honeyman take him to the truck with him while he went for the goat trailer. I would grab honeymans meds! Our Wallet/purse and our personal important paper file box its always packed its just a small carry box. If the place burned down having the insurance policy in that box would be handy. I would just buy a toothbrush etc. later and probably clothes too LOL.

I would then go help honeyman get the animals. Attaching the ID info to them if one couldn't take their animals is a good idea, that was smart! If we had 15 minutes we could get them on the goat trailer. Throw some alfalfa or goat rations on the trailer and they will stampede you getting on LOL. Ours would all fit on our trailer. I could cram the girls (chickens) only three of them in our little cage toss them in the back of the truck, IF they were in the mood to be caught quickly and if they were not, I would have to just turn them loose and hope for the best. :O(

Now lets just hope this never happens and this theory never gets tested! ...

Glad you guys place, animals and yall are okay!

Karen said...

Wow, that was a huge fire! 40% of the town? I'm glad you and yours is ok.

Farmchick said...

This sounds terrible. It sounds like you guys packed smartly. I would take meds, clothes, a laptop, kindle, and ????? Tough to think about that and glad things turned out okay for you.

Cathy M. said...

Very thought provoking... The Old Geezer posted a similar question recently. I'm impressed at how portable you and the Mrs. are!

RonJoeWhite 'aka' TheOldGeezer said...

Wow! I glad your OK. I would probably take the same type of stuff you did if I had a warning.

We were at our campground in October 2006 when the whole area became surrounded by a wild fire. I woke up at 4am and smelled smoke. I walked outside our trailer and ashes were falling on the ground. I woke my wife up and said get dressed and get in the truck and lets go! We left everything as is and beat it out of there pronto!

We left just before they closed the only road to exit our campground. Over 400 camper had to spend 2 days in the camp area until it was safe to leave. 5 firefighters lost their lives and hundreds of home were burned. If you want to read about it here is a link:

Maa said...

I have just commented on The old geezers blog about the same thing. He has kindly sent me the link to your post today.
I have an emergency box for these sort of things. Ready to pick up and take out of the door with me. That in one arm and my JR Lucy in the other. Maa.

xinex said...

That was scary. I am glad you are ok. And you must have a mind that is all together, being able to pack all that important stuff in 15 min....Christine

cindy said...

Great scenario, being a volunteer with the Red Cross we are to be prepared at all times. That is to head out to a disaster, however reading this made me think twice, thanks.
I think I would make a straight line, computer, camera, wouldn't need to grab the dog he is on my heel all the time. I remember when the kids were little we always had to plan an escape route when the smoky bear visited school, when your kids grow up and move away you sort of stop doing all those things.

diane b said...

I better hurry up and finish scanning all my photos into the computer.

Clint said...

Since the Old Geezer asked the question a few days ago, I have had plenty of time to ponder my answer. I originally thought the family photo albums and my wife's paintings would be my choice. But after a few days of thought, I finally decided that our lives and our faith in Him were all we needed.

Sandra said...

we have in our minds what to do if fire comes, i put two extra leashes with collars in the bedroom for our two dogs, hubby and me each take a dog and put them in the truck if possible. i have important papers in a silver box with a handle, it includes a cd of pictures of everything in our house. i have a 500 gig harddrive that fits in a pocket. I would take the laptop if time. grab clothes and if we had 15 minutes dog food and a little food to throw in the truck and water.
our plan is if the house is on fire, and that is
dogs and us
silver box of papers and hard drive and flash drive the rest we leave
if time what is said above.

The Bear's Blog said...


I received your link from The Old Gezzer, although I don't call him that.

To take - us, our pets, Bible, Prudence Clearwater (that's another story) and if time allowed a few other things. Camera, laptop, but only if time allowed.

So thankful that you and your family & pets are safe. That must be a wide eyed awaking. It is rewarding to hear that you have a definite plan for such emergencies. That should be a lesson to all of us. Thank you.


Barefoot from Heaven said...

Holy smokes .... what a scarry thing to go through. brrr.
I'll probably pack the same things you did among with my kiddo's hubby and dog....and fly out of the place. Really it's only stuff. And the most dear stuff I'm wearing on my wrist (my granddad's amulets).
Stay fine and out of any harm. Sending over prayers for all of you and the ones that lost everything in the fire.
Hugs Dagmar

Joey said...

First of all, I give thanks that all of you are safe. You've made me think.

1. Family and dogs
2. Computer, photos
3. Important docs (need to gather into one place
4. Clothes, meds, bibles and hymnals

God bless you and keep you.

Mina Joshi said...

Not a good situation to be in but it seems that you didn't panic and organised a way of getting out!! Really not sure how I would deal with it and you have got me thinking.

pilgrimscottage said...

I got goosebumps reading your post. You have a good head on your shoulders, even in an emergency. So happy you were spared. I would take the same things you did but, knowing me, I'd probably throw the chicks into the vehicle (in a box with warm towels) hoping for the best. I do feel for those who had to flee and lost their homes. You have much to thank the Lord for.

GrannyKaren said...

I am glad you guys were ok. I have not been through anything like that. I think I would take all my important papers, as many photos as I could grab, some water and food.

Starry Dawn said...

Hi Ian,
I agree with Pilgrimscottage. I got goosebumps
reading your post. You indeed, have got a good head on your shoulders. You are very clever, even in emergencies like this one. If something like that happen to us, I might take my dear family and pets with me, if that is God's will. I don't know about my personal belongings. Things could be replaced, but not our lives. I'll be sad to lose my things, but I would rather keep my own life where it belongs...
Thanks God nothing bad happened to none of you.
Praise the Lord for His mercy!!
I see many lovely pictures of your dear animals.
However, I miss Boots! I hope you post another new picture of your dear dog, Boots. Have you got new dogs?? I see new dogs in your photos.
Do you miss Boom, your dear horse??
It is so hard to lose our loved ones.
God bless you and keep you all safe, Ian!!
I have written new poems, if you wish to read.
Until we write again.
Poet Starry Dawn.

JohnD said...

Denny-the-Dog, he's my best mate and Rhonda's handbag, as almost everything we need is in there somewhere! LOL!