Thank you all so much for contributing to the discussions - the contributions are really helpful. Sorry to have skipped a day. Doom will have to wait a day!
I'd like to discuss tools today. I'm covering the kinds of tools that live in the shop, not in the house. Of course tools are expensive and are things that people buy over a life time - not in 15 days and counting. Some are quite specialized and others are just good things that people have for a household. All that said, tools can often be picked up at moving sales and those old junk shops that buy up what folks are selling so if you are out scouring the yard sales of the uninformed, keep an eye out for useful tools.
There will be differing opinions, but I consider guns to be tools. I know how to handle, load, shoot, and clean a wide variety of guns. There is a world of debate about hand guns and assault rifles, and my simple opinion is that those things are for killing people and I'm simply not interested in going there. I think that if need be a person can defend home and property with a hunting rifle or shotgun. Guns as tools put meat on the table, and can put down livestock that is suffering with no vet available, and can be used to defend family and property when all other measures break down. There is a skunk roaming around the back of my chicken coop for the last couple of days and if I wasn't in the city, I wouldn't hesitate to shoot.....from a distance ;-)
As far as other tool go, over the years Mr. Greenjeans has saved us tremendous money, made money in tough times, and helped extended family and friends by having good tools, and the know-how to use them.
Lately I have been buying only hand tools for a power down society(with the exception of a power drill for smaller hands). I know that the tools we have used the most over the last 20 years have been the kind of things in a well stocked tool box: hammers of various sized, various pliers, socket sets, wire cutters, saws as well as a big bag of nails and screws. Other useful tools a long handled ax for splitting logs, shovels (flat and sharp pointed ones), saw horses, a hoe, a 15 lb mallet for breaking up wood, different sizes of ladders, a tamping pole, a crow bar, a clamp, and a fencing tool (to string wire).
One needs specialized tools for livestock, woodworking, gardening, mechanic work... In a power down society, we're going to have to fix things to keep them going. It doesn't mean that everyone has to be an expert in everything, but rather that we ought to be looking to have a backup skill as well as team up with someone who has specialized tools and know-how in an area that isn't our specialty. I can hardly change the tire on my car but I'm quite good at animal husbandry. It is likely that we will all become better at knowing how to fix and maintain things...if you have tools
As a kid I was fascinated with those little hand drills. So fascinated that once while the adults were downstairs having a cocktail party, I was busy drilling holes in the hardwood flooring upstairs of the host's house with one of these hand drills. In spite of the guilt I feel every time I see one of these, I still love this tool. Later my parents said that explained why they'd never heard from that family again...but I digress.
Some of the most beautiful hand tools I've seen lately were in the hardware store in Japan Center of San Francisco. They too were specialized building tools. I do always like the tool options in Leman's catalog
In addition to the hard tools, I'd recommend having on hand lots and lots of tape and glue, paint brushes and scrapers, rope and string of various kinds. I've used Duct tape for as many things as you can imagine, including holding medicated packing into the bottom of a hoof of an extroverted gelding that was as much of a pest as any goat ever thought of being.... and it held. Don't forget a spool of wire, gloves and safety masks. And remember sooner or later everything becomes a hammer.
So, what are your favorite hand tools? What gets a workout and what's on the wish list?