How to Connect with Life in the Face of Death: The Common Sense Guide To Surviving the CoronApocalypse

March 25, 2020
3,496 Views

Like most of you, I have been glued to the news feed watching the slow burn of the Covid-19 virus slowly spread across the planet. Although it hasn’t affected my life that much, I have spent the last 3 years in preparation for an event like this. I spend most of my time now in isolation with my wife and worrying about the welfare of my parents both of whom are over 80 and have a myriad of health issues. In the past, I have talked to people about stockpiling a year’s worth of food and been treated like a mentally ill paranoid freak (which I totally am). The reality is that as long as the food keeps growing and the Teamsters keep driving, things in this country won’t deteriorate. Once either one of those things gets affected this country will quickly spiral down into chaos. This article is about how to prepare for an uncertain future, and how to keep yourself sane in these totally insane times.

Nothing is more important than taking care of each other, sometimes it takes a Pandemic to remind ourselves of this

It’s all about food and potable water

As folks race to panic buy all the toilet paper I gotta say people need to examine their priorities. You can survive indefinitely without toilet paper, good luck surviving without food and water. Dried beans are amazingly inexpensive and can store for a long time and still be edible. There are lentils that were discovered in Egyptian tombs that still sprouted, that’s thousands of years. Spending lots of money on MRE’s or dehydrated food is pretty dumb when you get dried beans for less than $1/lb. I eat mostly dried beans and rice and lots of veggies for the last 10 years and I feel incredibly healthy all the time. You can buy a year’s worth of food for one person for ~$200 (conventional) or ~$400 if you want to go organic. If you don’t have a gravity-fed spring as we do then it makes sense to get a hand pump and mount it over your well so you can collect drinking water when the power is out.

Almost everything we eat comes from this garden jungle or our 700 sq foot unheated greenhouse

Start a garden, you really won’t regret it

The best thing my wife and I ever did was to start gardening 6 years ago. Nothing I’ve ever done has brought me as much pleasure as planting seeds and watching them grow. We now have 4 acres at her house under cultivation and I have 43 acres at my place full of nut and fruit trees that will produce tons of food with almost no inputs. In about 10 years we will be able to feed hundreds of people with that bounty. Investing in the stock market suddenly looks pretty dumb when you can plant a 30 cent chestnut seed and produce a tree that will conservatively produce $10,000 worth of nuts over a 50 year period. When things deteriorate like they inevitably will there are only 5 things that will have any real value: food, water, seeds, antibiotics, and ammunition. When the SHTF your stashed money and gold aren’t going to be worth much. You might be able to wipe your ass with those bills, toilet paper has been in short supply as of late.

It’s crazy to me that people will spend $50 for a disposable N95 face mask when for ~ $40 you can get an organic vapor/P100 mask that is far better

Washing your hands works way better than hand sanitizer

American’s obsession with Purell is beyond me, in my opinion, that stuff is incredibly nasty and there is no scientific proof that it really kills ‘99.99% of all germs’ as it claims (they are currently getting sued for this bogus claim). Here’s a thought experiment, if Purell works better than hand washing then why don’t surgeons just take a little squirt before they stick their hands inside of your body? Wash your hands, use soap that has no fragrance, scrub the back of your hands and your thumbs.

A size comparison of Covid-19

In public, I use a respirator, gloves, and safety glasses

I use a 3M P100/Organic Vapors respirator when I’m in public. This sends two messages, 1) that you’re not sick (it doesn’t stop the germs from getting out of the mask) and 2) you’re not taking masks away from health service workers who need them. Since these respirators have a one-way valve that dump your used air, they do not protect others if you are sick, they only protect you. P100 masks work far better than N95 masks, but they are not specifically designed for ‘liquid’ particles. When the masks are not in use I carefully put them in the sun so that the UV rays will kill the virus. This can take several days. For gloves, I find that Nitrile gloves are best and work for many days. If you wear gloves in public then you only need to wash your hands once when you get back home. From the moment I step out the door I put the gloves on and leave them on the whole time I am in public. I’m not doing all these things to protect myself, I’m doing them to protect everyone else. You can get 3M safety glasses for about $1-2 on ebay. The virus can totally infect you through your eyes so glasses are smart.

A study from the University of Edinburg tested mask efficiency against particles that were much smaller than the Coronavirus, and respirators work surprisingly well

Create a ‘safe zone’ in your home

Everything inside my home is considered ‘safe’. When we bring anything into the house including packages and groceries we put them aside and don’t touch them for 2-3 days. The virus can live on plastic and metal for 2-3 days. The gloves, respirator and glasses I leave in the car and I just don’t go into town more than once every 3 days so even if these items are covered in viruses when I come home, the next time I go out I know that they are ‘safe’. Lately, I’ve been trying to start a new fashion at home by wearing black winter thermals all day with tighty-whitey fruit of the looms over top of them. My wife says I look like Superman, but I think she really means Superdork. If you’re looking for the best birth control out there, wearing underwear on top of your thermals will work wonders.

This is a typical meal, if we had to buy all the food we eat at an organic food store it would probably cost us over $40,000 a year. We eat like kings.

Stop binging on Netflix and just read a book

I love reading, this crisis has given me a lot of time to sit and read. I find that if I watch over 2 hours of TV I always feel like crap. Read a book, or better yet get lost in an incredible series like The Expanse, the original Dune books, The Lord of the Rings or the Ender’s game series. There are few things as enjoyable in life as a good book. I am incredibly addicted to reading and have read literally thousands of books with my Kindle and Kindle Unlimited. My entire entertainment budget is my Kindle Unlimited subscription which is about $5/mth (normally $10/mth but goes on sale almost every year during Black Friday).

Perfect time of the year to do some trail work with the X-1 and my electric Ego chainsaw

Get outside and protect your mental health

Since the start of this Pandemic, my wife and I have spent many happy weeks at home planting things and making complex compost piles. She has decided to get certified with the Soil Food Web and now we spent a lot of time behind a microscope looking at soils. We are trying to create incredibly good soil that is full of fungi, bacteria, and predators. It’s incredibly fun and it occupies a lot of our time. The certification process cost us over $7,500 including materials, but it is worth every penny.

This compost pile cost is over $7500 to learn how to make, but having healthy soil is incredibly important for growing things

Stop worrying about the end and just go ride an ebike

The cities are empty and so are many of the parks. Don’t congregate and party on the beach with your friends, take off on your ebike and go exploring on your own. I think of the last several weeks of isolation as a welcome vacation, not as an end of the world scenario. Worrying that the world is going to collapse into chaos is not going to stop it so you might as well enjoy this ‘time off’.

We’re all going to die. The reality is that although we’d rather have it be later than sooner, we just can’t decide when it’s our time to go. Life is a gift that we should cherish every second of.

Enjoy the ride.

Ride On.

We recently invested $100 in 4lbs of Red Wigglers to help our composting out, they have become our very special pets that we fawn over daily

Karl Gesslein is a degenerate hooligan of the highest caliber living in upstate NY. His passion for e-bikes and all things sustainable causes him to be obsessed with climate change and finding solutions that will keep humanity from becoming extinct from our own hubris. His personal blogs include electricbike-blog.com, awaken-spirit.org & chestnutparadise.com.


3 Comments

  1. Awesome article, Karl! I am reminded of what happened in Cuba after the sponsorship by Russia ended in 1991. There was a renaissance of self-sufficiency, with the two most noticeable changes being that everyone started gardening (which was previously banned), and everyone began using bicycles more than ever. You know whats better than a pedal-bicycle? An electric bike!

  2. I appreciate your writing about this in context of recreation and particularly bikes.

    Out here in Washington state, all of the state parks and US Forest service trails are closed to avoid crowded trailhead parking lots since people are a): not working and b): trying to get out of the city. This was started due to concern in the local mountain communities which are remote and have limited first response capability in the best of times, about skiers and mountain bikers getting injured and requiring SAR and EMT services needed to handle covid cases. Mountain bikers are particularly criticized and shunned. How is this being addressed where you live?

    Everyone is trying to decide how to behave and reorder their ethics, health, physiological and emotional needs. It will be an important dialogue going forward. RBS ms again for your insights.

  3. Thank you for expressing how to free oneself from today’s chaos. I too ride the M2S. In a small town, Plattsburgh, NY. I have the roads almost to myself. I can hit 30mph really cool. A bicycle which I have 3, are boring now. I must convert my Diamondback with a mid drive for the trails. Thank you and stay a safe distance from your fellow human. Chou

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: