January 21, 2010

Storms and being prepared

Back in 1999 with all of the Y2K talk I prepared my family by buying 1 large can of Dinty Moore Beef stew and 1 liter of water.  That was my answer if the worse case scenario occurred.

Yesterday we were hit with an ice storm.  Fortunately we have power.  Many don't. 

We have had ice storms in the past and I don't believe this one is the worst.  It is just a hastle.  The sidewalks and streets are glazed with ice and even though we live a few blocks from the nearest grocery store there is no way I would want to walk that distance on ice.  My Kia Sportage is stuck in the garage as the branches on our birch tree have bent all the way to the ground under the weight of the ice.  One branch is hanging down on the driveway in front of the garage door.  When the ice melts the branch will return to its normal shape high above the ground. 

Thankfully my husband's truck was parked no where near the birch tree and we will be sharing that vehicle for a few days.  Actually when a woman drives a pickup truck in Iowa she gets a little more respect from other drivers.  It is a Midwest thing.

We are prepared in case of a power outage.  We have oil lanterns and plenty of batteries for flashlights.  We also have a lot of candles.  I have always had a plan B for power outages should they occur.  During an ice storm if the power goes out it can take the power company a few days to repair the damage. 

Our kitchen and diningroom have an open floorplan.  There is a small doorway off the diningroom to a hallway.  There is a large pocket door entryway on the other side of the dining room which faces the livingroom.  If we are going to be without heat for a long time I can pull the pocket doors shut, put a tension rod in the other doorway and hang a curtain.  This blocks off the kitchen and diningroom from the rest of the house. 

We have a gas stove and even though I cannot light the oven manually (prohibited by the owner's manual), I can manually light the top burners.  I would never turn on the burners and let them burn without anything on them.  Instead I have put kettles of water on the stove to boil slowly.  These kettles will heat these two rooms somewhat and give some also needed moisture. 

As to food.  I have found from prior experience that if I keep the door to my deepfreeze close, it will keep the food frozen for 48 hours.  That is the longest I have ever had to do this.  If it would be longer or if I am worried about the food remaining frozen, I can resort to the "outdoor" freezer. 

Yes, this is a large plastic bin that we store our lawn furniture cushions in during the summer months.  Since it is very cold outside I can put any frozen food in this container and the food will remain frozen.  This also holds true for refrigerated items.

I have a pantry stocked with basics such as flour, sugar, canned goods and so on.  We would not need to go to the grocery store for anything.  I have evaporated milk and dry milk on hand if we run out of milk.  I believe my family would prefer to drink water than dry milk reconstituted in water, but I have it if we need it.

Do not forget about the pets.  We have a dog and a cat.  Both eat special food and our dog has to take some medication daily.  I always make sure that we have both on hand at all times.  Although I am sure that our dog would love to eat a beef roast if we were out of her food and I know our cat would love eating tuna out of a can for a few days. 

My role as homemaker means I must be prepared for these types of situations.  The night before the storm, the grocery stores were packed with shoppers and the stores did run out of some items.  I didn't need anything.  Many times when we have been hit by a bad storm, trucks cannot make deliveries to grocery stores for a few days thereafter so there will be some shortages.

It's a good feeling to know that I have enough supplies on hand for us to weather any storm.  It could be a snow storm, ice storm, thunderstorm or for that matter a financial storm.  Yes, a financial storm.  I have plenty of food on hand (along with toilet paper and such) to last us a few months.  If something were to happen to us financially such as a job loss, major household expense or illness, I could direct the money I budget for food to that expense. 

My husband's answer to snow storms and ice storms is to move.  Yes, he is always talking about moving to South Carolina for some reason.  I did tell him that he would probably get out of snow removal if we lived there but I'm not so sure that I would want to weather a hurricane.  It is a tradeoff.

If you do not have a preparedness plan for your family, I would hope that you would consider one. I have just touched on a small chunk of what we do. We also have a weather radio, a supply of bottled water and medications along with a first aid kit.

I trust in God to help us get through physical storms and other storms in our lives.  I also use the common sense he gave me to be prepared for emergencies.


Kristina said...

Whoa! I am so envious of your pantry! I am just a few months into couponing and stocking, so my pantry's pretty meager, although I am quite proud of it! If you pop over to my blog, you'll see my latest post is about my pantry makeover.

I, however, don't think I'd have enough on hand to last for weeks if something were to happen, physically or financially. yes, we have things here and there, but not enough to make nutritious meals for a while. For instance, I need to stock up on flour and soup stock, etc. I'm working on it.

Maybe I can budget in some "emergency" items each week of grocery shopping... thanks for making me think about it. I am in NC, so I know hurricanes. I remember when I was in middle school we lost power for 9 days in the heat of summer. Thankfully, even when there's been a hurricane, you can still (mostly) drive to the store if need be.

Martha said...


I started with the Grocery Game last year in either February or March (see earlier posts under the label couponing). My stockpiling and couponing really took off in the summer and fall when there are an abundance of sales in our area.

Start small and build your pantry. Even $5 a week spent on a couple of items on sale is a good beginning.

BTW - I can't imagine 9 days in the heat of the summer without air conditioning. I would have never made a good pioneer.