Saturday, September 15, 2012

Even A LITTLE Preparedness Helps

My regular readers know that we had a long power outage in my region this summer. They’ve seen me gripe and belly-ache and whine about my problems on my blog until they probably grew tired of it. Thankfully, I don’t believe that any of them stopped coming by for that reason, so for those of you who survived my rants and raves – thank you.

That being said, I look on every situation as being a learning opportunity, so I’ve tried to see what wisdom that I can gather from the experience. The first thing is that I WILL have some sort of generator by next summer. What I haven’t decided is whether to make it a natural gas model that kicks on the second the grid goes dark, an unpowered model to be run by my diesel tractor, or a small propane-powered one that is easily portable. Time will tell. I’ve also realized that there’s no need to have a deep-freeze (been thinking of buying one) unless you have a generator to run it. I also need to get my wood stove made operable again by rebuilding the chimney. The generator and the wood stove would solve the bulk of the problems we had. Even without enough juice to run the air-conditioner, enough fans would have made that heat-wave bearable, I think. That would have saved us the unexpected expense of living in a motel for a few days.

We did have a couple things going for us, though. The first was that I had three small plastic fruit jars of change saved up. For several months, I took the change from my pocket every Friday night and put it in one of the small jars in which I sometimes buy fruit at the grocery store. I think they’re metric and hold just a tad more than a pint, but I’m not sure. There was no effort made to save “silver” (HA!) rather than copper (HA again!). Still, even after paying Wally World’s machine 9% to sort it (I was in a hurry for cash.), they netted $210 for the three, or $70 each. Since the outage came between paychecks, and I was running close already, that $210 came in handy. I’m just now getting to where I can start refilling those jars, and will do so (and more).

The other thing was that we had about three weeks worth of food in the cupboard. Every fall, we stock up on edibles that can be stored for some time, in case we get snowed in for a while. Even if the grid goes down, we’ll still have some heat in one room from a gas heater and the gas stove-top on which to cook our meals. Every summer, we sort through our stuff and give some of it to food pantries and replace it with new. Occasionally, we dip into the stock ourselves. Also, if we personally know of anyone having it close, we can help them through a pinch any time of year. This spring, something told me not to part with any of the food just yet, so when we returned home to a ridded-out refrigerator after the power outage, we used pretty heavily on those food stocks until we could start getting our fridge restocked. I learned that I need to find more stuff my wife will eat easily. Her pickiness makes such times more difficult. Still, she does pretty well, all things considered, as long as I don’t try to get her to eat any more Ramon noodles.

So, it wasn’t fun, but we survived, and we learned a few things. If the next catastrophe doesn’t hit too soon, we should be better prepared for it. © 2012


Angela said...

I've probably told you before but I'll say it again. My husband bought me a generator for our anniversary a few years ago. The best present a girl could get! Especially when you live out in the country like we do. We bought ours before Katrina so the prices were still low at that time. We have the one that comes on after the power has been off for a few seconds. It runs on our free gas. I highly recommend this type of generator if you can get one because of how easy it is on us women of the house. If the power goes off when you aren't home it will kick right on and your wife won't have to do a thing. But when it comes down to it any generator is worth a million dollars when the electric goes off for long periods of time.

I'm hoping to stock up some more this week. I have a 5% off coupon at Target that I plan on using. I am going to print some coupons too.

If you have a Sams nearby you should try to find a chili that we absolutely love that comes in a can. It's called Stag.

Gorges Smythe said...

I think I've ruled out the little portable generator, Angela. Although I'd love to have one of each due to fuel availability. We have a Sam's card and a store only 6-7 miles away, I'll have to check on that chili!

Kathy Felsted Usher said...

Beans- if she likes them, they will sustain you and canned beans (for the cupboard) can be eaten cold or hot. Black beans, baked, three bean salad, chick peas, field peas, etc. That is just cupboard stock, keep dried beans in a tub. You can use the liquid from your canned goods to prepare the dried food, it doesn't have to be water, just liquid. As strange as it sounds, snacks. You need a little fun too so things that don't spoil.

Gorges Smythe said...

Beans we have, Kathy. Unfortunately, they tend to make my wife sick if eaten too frequently.