Sunday, June 19, 2011

The Man

To me Arsenius the Hermit is the man. He is my friend and inspiration. I've been reading his blog for years, and waited with patience while he took a two year leave of absence from blogging. A long two years.

He writing style is graceful and intelligent. We both come from the old school of survival thinking; followers of Mel Tappen and Ragnar Benson, to name but two of the originals in the school of self-sufficiency. 

You can find a link to his blog on my sidebar, 'Living Out There.'  Do yourself a favor and visit.  Hang out a while and read his work, front to back.  You will learn, trust me.
Like I said, he's my friend, and good ones are very hard to find.  

Storm Season

I live in hurricane country and this is our storm season.

Today while driving home from work I noticed an estate sale sign posted on the street where I live. It's hard for me to resist an estate sale, so I didn't. I entered thru the garage of the home, a large two story Tudor. Most of the items had been picked over but there were a few tools, mostly older hand saws and wrenches. Items I'm sure an older man had found useful during his life, now just leftovers for the vultures like me.

I picked a few items and set them aside; a nice clean Latin machete, a rare 24 incher, a 'live' wire trap and two antique kerosene lamps. Here, most folks call them 'hurricane' lamps, however you refer to them they are an essential part of life during storm season. So when I noticed the lamps priced at five dollars each I didn't hesitate whipping out my cash. The lamps are old, probably 19th century. In antique shops you can expect to pay thirty dollars and up for such quality.

The vintage lamps are easy to spot. The burners will screw into the basin, not over the top like most of the newer or reproduction junk so prevalent today. The older lamps will last a lifetime if not abused. The insert into which the burner sits will be made of brass, the oil basin (lower section and stand) cast of thick glass. It isn't hard to find a nice hand blown example of which I own several. If you come across one in an antique shop or flea market and it isn't priced too dear, jump on it.

Many hate the odor, which I find quite pleasant, and insist on burning so called 'lamp oil' sold in those pretty little bottles shelved at the local box stores. It's nothing more than perfumed colored kerosene; a waste of money.

I own close to twenty kerosene lamps of various sizes from the extremely small to the old standard models. When I arrived home today with my new lamps it reminded me I hadn't as yet prepped my lamps for the hurricane season. I took each out and cleaned and topped off the tanks. I keep at least five gallons of kerosene on hand. Kerosene should last you at least five years. I have used twelve year old kerosene without problems, and as of this writing, many of my lamps still have oil in them from six seasons past.

I live by the rule of three, as should you, three ways to cook, three forms of communication, and three forms of light. You get the idea. As such I own both Coleman and kerosene lamps, various forms of flashlights and a gas generator. Never use a Coleman indoors by the way. I can't afford to burn my generator twenty-four hours a day, although I have, it's just too damn pricey. The oil lamps fit the bill.