Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Winter Storm Survival

It is that time of year again.
 The snow is falling as I speak.
With the last few snow storms have come various power outages in our area.
  We are not effected by such a crisis since we are off-grid. 
Checking in with our neighbors, they are all snug and cozy around a warm wood burning stove, 
or are comfortably watching TV because they have a backup generator.

However, outside our little redneck community, some folks might not be faring so well. 
I remember an ice storm many years ago that left most of the Northwest stranded 
without power for more than a week.

People died.

Truth is, a little preparation goes a long ways.

I have been thoroughly indoctrinated by my dear sweet friend, Enola Gay,
and thus, have a handle on some simple preparations that may make life possible and bearable
during a winter storm in which one loses power for great lengths of time.

First, one must have a non-electric heat source.
A few clicks, and I'm on the Lowe's web page,
where a person can get a very affordable (around $50.00) portable propane heater.  
This burner fixes onto a propane tank, of which can be refilled for about $14.
  We have one of these and we like it very much.

Secondly,  a wise woman would put away water. 
 Juice jugs and milk cartons work great. 
 One gallon per person, per day.
  A drop or two of bleach in each gallon will keep the water good for a great length of time.

I asked my friend, Jana, Who lives in Connecticut and has been dealing with storm after storm  this month, what she advises, here is her response:
  • "What we found that we CANNOT live without over the past 3 years is a generator. We have a well, and the pump is electric. We have lost power 4 times, for a week at a time, over the past 3 years. Living without water was the hardest part. Last year, during the freak ice-storm we had in October, my husband had enough and borrowed the money to buy a decent generator. That alone was worth it's weight in gold! These days we take for granted little things like washing your hands and flushing the toilet!
    We also now have a weather radio.....the only contact with the outside world when telephone service and internet is out. Sandy toppled many of our cell towers, so service was splotchy at best. We also stocked up on food items that didn't need refrigeration, just in case the generator was damaged. Even things like rice are terrific to bulk up a meal, and can be cooked so easily over a fire or on the grill!"

Third, put by a selection of food that can be eaten without cooking.
Keep it in a box or Rubbermaid tote and store it in an out of the way place,
so that it does not get used except for in the emergency. 
Canned tuna, canned chicken, pork and beans, and canned fruit, would be my choice staples.

Make sure you own a manual can opener.  

I would add to that, granola bars, (or the like), crackers, trail mix, peanut butter, 
and preferably, chocolate. :-).

  But better yet, a simple camp stove of some sort, readily available for $20 and up,
 would increase the capacity to stick out a long storm well.  
The same propane source can be used for the stove, 
or smaller propane bottles stored would be even better.

Then, you have hot food and drink, which can make all the difference in the world.

If such was the case, canned soups, tea, coffee, instant potatoes and gravy, 
 and all kinds of wonderful things could be put away in the emergency food box. 
Start with a nice variety of foods to last three days, and build up from there.

Lastly, gather a few other items to put in the box;
 a flashlight,
and don't forget the MATCHES!

These are the most basic of survival gear that I believe every household should contain.

A wise woman prepares.

She might also consider not only the ways of her own household,
but be ready to extend much needed hospitality to an unprepared neighbor.
My husband tells of a time growing up that his family and two other families came together
in one house for over a week during a winter storm. 
Because of one wise woman's thoughtful preparations,
the three families had a week long party that endeared them to each other to this day.

"She stretches out her hand to the poor, she reaches out her hand to the needy. 
She is not afraid of the snow for her household; for all her household is clothed in scarlet.  She looketh well to the ways of her household and eateth not the bread of idleness.
Her children rise up and call her blessed, her husband also, and he praises her."  
Prov. 31:20,21,27,28

My own recollections from childhood include those happy days
of no school due to bad weather and power outages.
 My mom,
(the beautiful petite white haired lady you often see here)
 would make the most of it.
At the first indication of a bad storm, she would fill the bathtub with water for flushing.
When the power went out, she would light candles and lanterns all about,
 creating a warm glowing room,
 of which I am especially fond of to this day.
We would then declare it a holiday and make forts in the living room and pop corn in the fireplace.
We didn't just survive,
she made it a beautiful experience.

The next time the power goes out,
and you bring out the propane heater and camp stove, 
warm up some soup and boil water for cocoa,
your children will rise up and praise you and your husband will kiss you,
and you will be happy that you made the effort. 

This post dedicated to all those in the East, especially my friend,
Jana Lynn,
 who has undergone massive power outages since Hurricane Sandy.
 Jana is a wise woman, therefore, her family has survived the storms comfortably.
Blessings to you, Jana!

For more preparedness information,
my friend, The Queen of prepping, Enola Gay and all her wisdom,
as well as some really cute kidlets and fantastic recipes,
 can be found here.


  1. Those are great tips, especially as winter is on its way. We just purchased a propane heater, like the one you have in the picture but it has two burners. Sandy hit here pretty hard. We were part of the 10% of Long Island that didn't lose power but we were able to help my husband's parents who were without power for 11 days. We also have a propane BBQ with a side burner that we can cook on :)

  2. Yikes! This a bit too, uhhh ominous? You're scaring me to death.

  3. Early in the morning, my son (14) and me enjoyed your blog. Here is a warm autumn day. Golden leaves whirl of the oak beside our house. The cold days are surely coming, but today we enjoy the sun.

    Thanks Julianne, for the tips.


  4. All your preparations are so spot-on, Julianne.
    Whilst not having such cold winters, we in SA do have power outages due to maintenance failures and thunderstorms in summer time.
    What you call propane we call handigas and it is a must.
    Only real crisis is fridges and freezes especially with temperatures well over 30ºC when an outage occur...
    Then I do feel the need for a generator. ;-)

  5. Are you able to use the propane heater in the house?

  6. Dearest Anonymous,
    Yes, certainly, we do all the time. Do be careful of anything getting too near the burner, of course. We use ours in our bathroom regularly.

  7. Julianne,
    I hope everything is going well!! I know you've had a lot on your plate with Thanksgiving and the wedding. You have been in my thoughts and prayers.....I hope you have wonderful memories during this time.
    Thinking of you,
    (I know this has nothing to do with "Winter Survival" so you may not want to post it!)

  8. (Excited to seeing wedding pictures--I keep checking for them! :D)

  9. Anxiously awaiting pictures and stories about the wedding. :-)

  10. Is it still snowing over there? I think you kids like my mill pics.


  11. I miss your posts! Hope you guys are doing okay!

  12. Miss your posts--hope you guys are doing okay!


Your comments and input are very much appreciate
- Blessings!

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