|The tea kettle is getting a lot of use this winter!|
I wasn't sure where to begin my post-storm writings this week. I told my daughter I was "waiting for the spirit to move" and all I could come up with was a title. Even then I changed it when I actually decided this morning (Saturday) what I wanted to
I have been interested in the subject of emergency preparedness since the 1980s and written about it online since the 1990s. But even then I was surprised at how unprepared we were for the extreme cold weather. It gets very very cold here in winter but -20 actual temps are not common at all. For instance, we didn't know severe cold could affect an automobile as it did (other than the usual gas line freeze-up protection and antifreeze).
So I decided I need to go back to school... so to speak. I've probably forgotten more than half of what I learned through the years about emergency prepping. When I first got started, there was little information available other than Survivalist and Mormon websites (and both would agree the info was limited at that time).
The possibility of a Y2k crash changed all that with excellent information becoming available. Some of the best was found from homesteading sources (those old enough may remember the "back to the land" movement of the 1970s and early 1980s). I was able to accumulate a file drawer full of printouts as well as a shelf of books.
Those who scoff at Y2k are not the people I came to know through the event. For information was learned and deep friendships were developed. Many of my friends called 1999 the best dress rehearsal they've known for emergency preparedness and for some... simpler living.
And while I am on my Y2k soapbox (so you know never to scoff in the comments, hehehe)... it was a nonevent only because there were a few years to put repairs in place where necessary. Do you know who made those repairs for the most part? Computer scientists who were at least middle aged and many brought in from retirement.
Because they were the only people who knew the computer language and had the necessary skills to work with old code.
Perhaps that is the biggest lesson learned a couple of weeks ago. One could be stocked up as much they can afford. One can own the latest and greatest preparedness equipment. But without knowledge... in a real crisis one can be doomed.
And the good thing about gaining knowledge is this... it can be found free on the Internet. I'm in the midst of doing more research on the subject again and I promise to share the good stuff I have found here.
I also highly suggest putting together a Pantry Lifestyle library. That is different from my old preparedness library for the very reason I call these Saturday posts Living the Pantry Lifestyle and not something like Extreme Prepping. It is not about preparing for an emergency, it is a lifestyle of learning and doing.
Below is a suggestion of a few books to begin with, and if you notice only one is about actual prepping. I included it because I love how it takes on the subject of "stocking up" in a humorous way while teaching a lot of good ideas. It is one of those books where I would love to sit down with the author and chat.
A couple are urban gardening idea books which contain lots and lots of great information. One of the best preparedness things we have ever done is to grow a small garden (and all these years later we are still learning!).
You see, a lot of people commented that it was a good thing my husband knew how to fix the plumbing. Well, ever since I've known him he has been insistent on learning household maintenance skills. Sometimes they worked out like on the old Tim Allen show, when one had to call an expert (at greater expense) to fix his "fix". But most of the time he grumbled through the learning curve and gained one small skill at a time.
He knows a lot about carpentry since that was his hobby even before getting a Master's Degree in Wood Science. He stays away from electrical after seeing his electrician father end up in the hospital recovering from a very bad shock... and my father-in-law was an expert electrical troubleshooter. Hubby doesn't know a whole lot about modern cars but enough to know we need a good mechanic since we choose to purchase used cars. ;)
So... here's what I am doing right now that doesn't cost much... or anything at all.
1) Continuing adding to my list of what (in a perfect world with plenty of income), I would want on my pantry shelves. It's surprising what was not on the list before I started adding items as I ran out.
2) Typing out a copy of my "topping off" list to put in my purse, those things that are a priority on a last minute run to the grocery store (hopefully before the shelves are cleared).
3) Looking through my pantry to see where the Mother Hubbard syndrome has set in. Being on a fixed income, I don't have a lot of extra funds for the pantry so when I do make a purchase... it needs to fill an important space on the shelves. As an example - I seem to always run out of canned tomatoes. I was able to stock up a little on baking items as they went on sale over the Holidays.
4) Purchasing a heavy duty flashlight with Amazon credit and researching other items to add eventually. I learned I need to buy an LED flashlight. My very favorite sturdy old flashlight was dropped on the cement floor of the garage (we won't say who but his initials are H.U.S.B.A.N.D.) so since it must be replaced, I have read LED is the way to go. ;)
5) Purchasing a very inexpensive battery operated radio for power outages. While the $75.00+ jobbies are nice as they have a lot of bells and whistles, all I need is to receive basic information. A more expensive radio with a NOAA weather station is on the Wish List.
6) Thinking about May and the garden already. I know I want to plant Swiss chard for the first time, as well as arugula and kale again. I've decided with such a small garden, one needs to concentrate on nutrient rich foods as well as those things I always plant like tomatoes and green beans.
7) I switched items around in my kitchen since I no longer do a lot of baking and needed more counter space. I'll put a picture on
8) Making lots of soups as well as lentil stew as they are frugal and perfect for this kind of weather. I'm also reading through my cookbooks and a few recipe blogs looking for more soup ideas.
9) Speaking of weather, I am looking into ways to stay warm should the power go out. We have another round of subzero temperatures moving in.
10) Perusing the following books... (and yes, these are Associate links and I earn a tiny percent if you make a purchase through the link or through the widget).
Food Security for the Faint of Heart: Keeping your Larder Full in Lean Times... here. This is a great book to give to someone you want to gently nudge into deepening their pantry. To show her humor, she has a chapter titled "Men Will Come with Guns and Take Your Food" followed by one titled "Women Will Come with Food and Take Your Guns". ;)
Grow Great Grub: Organic Food from Small Spaces... here. I have a large yard but little of it is in sunny spaces. So I absolutely love this book about growing food in a small space organically. Lots of pictures, easy instructions!
Little House in the Suburbs... here. Sometimes a great blog does not transfer well to a great book. But this one is wonderful. Just what you would expect from the skills learned while "homesteading" in the midst of a city! This book is different than the former in this... Grow Great Grub is more about growing our own food while Little House in the Suburbs contains total homesteading on a small lot info.
The Complete Tightwad Gazette... here. Simply the poster child for what a Pantry Lifestyle encompasses.
I'll return next week with more information about what I'm doing as part of our Pantry Lifestyle.