With that said, my parents did teach me a lot about being prepared to the best of our abilities for all sorts of circumstances. My parents have learned how to make much of what they need and live to a large degree a self-sustainable lifestyle. They are not off the grid but if that happened they would still have heat, food and would be fairly comfortable. This is something that I would really like as well but we are not quite to that point yet. We have been discussing it however and this year I hope to make some steps to being better prepared for possible emergencies. Here are some of the things I am thinking about:
In the area of Food Storage:
Having plenty of food on hand is something that I really like to do. A lot of it happens naturally as I buy whole foods in bulk since it is cheaper and more convenient- whether it be driving to a nearby town once or twice a year to get several hundred pounds of grain (My parents and I tend to kind of take turns with this trip), buying 1/2 a beef once a year or just buying 25- 50 lb bags of things from Azure Standard.
I also do a lot of stocking up by getting large quantities when things go on sale. This makes it so we may not have everything we like stocked up at a time but we do have a lot of food of some sort anyway.
With growing a garden, raising bees, collecting wild berries and herbs and helping my parents with butchering those things also help us to stock up on food.
Lately I have been trying to live of pretty much only what we have stocked up and it has been interesting to see what things we run out of, what from the store we seem to deem essential. With this little exercise I am learning that I want to have a larger supply of oil, butter, salt and cheese on hand at all times, I think it would make sense to buy it in larger quantities. So when I go to the store again I will stock up on those things. Meanwhile it has been a very interesting exercise to see how little of them we can use and still have a diet that we enjoy.
This area is probably one of my strong points in being prepared but I still hope to work to improve on it this year.
In the area of Emergency Preparedness:
This is an area that has been the focus of my thoughts lately. We are blessed to live in an area that doesn't have a lot of natural disasters (no hurricanes, no earthquakes, tornadoes are rare, we don't live in a flood area, etc.) but we do have cold weather. My biggest concern is that we are very dependant on electricity. Our house is heated primarily by a propane furnace which requires electricity to run, we also have electric baseboards as an alternative heat source- either way we have to have electricity. We don't have any other back up.
Ken and I were discussing this and the idea that he prefers is getting a generator preferably a propane generator as then it could use the fuel that we would already have on hand. I found this article with some information on Propane generators. These aren't cheap, I saw prices from around $400 up but I don't know if the smaller ones would work for what we need or not, so this is something we need to think on and work towards. I did also find a little stove that you can safely use indoors to heat the area and cook but it is a one time use that lasts for 4-6 hours and costs $20. That is obviously not cheap but I wonder if it might be a good idea to have for just in case. Here is an article that I found with more information on heating your home during a power outage. Do you have any suggestions or ideas?
Another idea that I had is just having a very small wood stove (like the type that they use for ice houses) and stovepipe handy so in the case of emergency we could install it with a pipe going out a window. I don't know if that would work very well or not but I know even a little stove can give off a fair amount of heat and we do have wood available on our property. Of course our other solution is going over to my parents to enjoy the heat of their wood stove during a power outage. But what if it was a blizzard and we couldn't drive 7 miles? Another thought is to just install a small stove permanently. That isn't the way we currently prefer to heat our home but if there was an emergency it sure would be nice! We would eventually like to put in a fireplace but that is not at all top priority right now.
Some things that we have been doing to prepare for emergencies are:
- Storing water. I have been doing some of this but I want to do more and I also want to check about the possibility of getting a hand pump that could be put on our well. I did also buy water purification tablets to keep on hand but would like to get a filter too.
- Learning! This past year the kids and I read through books on wilderness survival and identifying and eating wild plants. Lately we have been learning about first aid/ CPR and have also been reading about how people made it through the great depression.
I love this area. As time goes on we are learning more and more about how to use what we have and buy less from other places.
Somethings I have been doing lately in this area are:
- Getting my seed order figured out for this summer's garden.
- Signing Mara and I up for a beekeeping class next week.
- Working to figure out more ways to use things that I have on hand (like old jeans) to make something useful.
There are so many things that I want to work on in all of these areas. I will try to join Homestead Revival's Preparedness Challenge every month and keep you updated on what I am doing in these areas.