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It was a dark and stormy day...

October 13th, 2009 at 05:43 pm

Today we are experiencing the first severe storm of the season. I live in a part of CA that has relatively mild climate, so winter storms like this one are not too common. The weather reports have been heralding this storm that was supposed to arrive yesterday and deposit several inches of rain. I even stayed up late anticipating a spectacular storm, but as of the time I went to bed, nothing. Then this morning I woke to the sound of the rain pounding the roof and windows. There is nothing like a good rain to renew the landscape, not to mention how much I enjoy being cozy inside my house when the weather is stormy outside.

Downstairs, the house was chilly, so I turned on the gas fireplace. TC is in heaven because she loves to flop in front of the fire. It's funny because MC, my other cat, used to love to do that, too. There is something primordial about fire... it doesn't just provide warmth, it also seems to soothe the spirit. Today I started thinking about what we would do here in our townhouse if we were ever to have such severe weather that it knocked out the power for a good long while.

When my daughters were little we lived in the country and heated our house with a wood stove. Winter storms would cause us to lose our power at least 2-3 times each year. The stove not only heated the house, but it also enabled me to cook warm and nutritious meals of beans, soup, or stew and get us through the worst of the storm. One time, we were without power for three days. We cooked on the wood stove and flushed the toilets with buckets of water from the pool. My kids, toddlers at the time, stayed cozy, warm, and well-fed.

With the storm raging outside, I decided that today is a good day to inventory the pantry and assess exactly what's there and to make sure I'm rotating the items to keep up with expiration dates. I saw that Costco sells an emergency food kit for around $85. It has a shelf life of 10-20 years, depending on the storage temperature. I don't think I want to go that route but we have done some things that will help us get through a prolonged emergency.

First of all, we have an emergency box with candles, lighters, matches, flashlights, new batteries, a crank radio, and basic first aid. I keep 6 one-gallon jugs of frozen water in the garage freezer. In case of a power outage, these will help keep the food frozen longer and we can also drink it. I can boil water or cook a simple meal using my Cobb BBQ, making sure it is outside because it uses charcoal which must NEVER be burned indoors due to carbon monoxide emissions. But it heats up quickly with only 6-8 briquettes and will cook for hours.

And then there's the pantry. We keep a variety of packaged soups, canned chicken, tuna, tomatoes, corn, fruit, pasta sauce, pasta, brown rice, lots of dried beans, split peas, and lentils. We could easily eat for weeks with this bounty. So, off I go to take the inventory.

4 Responses to “It was a dark and stormy day...”

  1. creditcardfree Says:

    It's great that you have a bounty to inventory. I really not stocked up at all. I wonder if that's because SuperTarget is 3 minutes away?

  2. Ima saver Says:

    I live out in the boonies. Once our power was out for 6 days during the blizzard of 1993 and we were stuck at home. We put our frozen food outside in the snow and the cold stuff stayed in our bedroom.
    We heated with a buck stove in the living room and slept in there for 6 nights. We also used the water from the river to flush the toilet. I am kind of glad I didn't live back in the "old days"

  3. mjrube94 Says:

    Those are great tips. Never know when inconvenience will strike.

  4. homebody Says:

    You must live near me..... I was just talking to coworkers today (as the rain pounded the office trailer I work in) about getting our candles out, etc.

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