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Put Down the Grapes

Aug
6


I often ponder the strange world in which we live wherein most of us have little familiarity with basic skills and no idea how to live off the land. We know how to program our cell phones, but not how to make soap, bake a loaf of bread, or milk a cow, much less how to find water from a spring and which berries and roots are safe to eat or even how to start a fire. If our need for self-sustainability were to become more extreme than making homemade Hamburger Helper, a lot of us would be in trouble.


I’m not one of those “doomsday preppers” and don’t intend to become one, but the recent derecho in our area was a small-scale example of how a natural disaster can nearly paralyze a region. Many people were out of power for the better part of two weeks (some less, some more), but power won’t be the worst of it if that type of disaster were to be prolonged. Many stores were closed because they had no power–in grocery stores, this meant all food that wasn’t shelf-stable went bad. Gas stations were closed–which meant gasoline to run generators was hard to come by. Gas stations that were open had long lines with people buying gas in a panic. If we can’t buy a frozen pizza and top off our gas tanks at will, we’re in a panic!

Of course, a power outage is always uncomfortable, to one degree or another, and this one was particularly uncomfortable because it occurred in the middle of a heat wave, but if we don’t constantly live in a state of assumption that convenience is an entitlement, we don’t have to fall into a panic. I bought a generator during the power outage, but I can’t always assume gasoline is going to be available to run it. I have access to free natural gas–and am going to explore converting my generator to natural gas–but I also can’t always assume that natural gas, free or otherwise, is going to be available. As wonderful as natural gas is for me here, it’s an “outside” supply. I can’t make it or control it.

My sole source of heat in the winter is natural gas. My fireplace is so small, you could maybe stick two logs in it. I doubt I can undertake this project before this coming winter, but on my list for next year is to replace the fireplace insert with a wood stove. If you can make your own heat, you’ll never freeze.

Preserving by canning and dehydrating has also risen to the top of my list as I lost much of what was in my freezers. Even if I’d had a generator on day one, I might have lost much of what was in my freezers due to the gas shortages in the first few days following the derecho. Even if you have a bottle of fuel stabilizer, there’s only so much gas you can keep on hand.

I referred to the derecho, which seriously impacted several states, as a small-scale disaster–and it actually was. A large-scale disaster would be an event that crippled half the country, or more, and it’s not impossible. We do have crazier weather all the time. A tornado, flood, wildfire, derecho, hurricane, and earthquake in some close proximity time-wise in various areas could certainly paralyze a large part of our country and scatter the focus of emergency assistance. And many people would be in a panic because we don’t know how to live without everything from our water and our heat to our sliced bread being hand-fed to us by machines.

Not that this is new. Since the kings of Babylonia in their hanging gardens, we’ve been sitting around eating grapes while letting some kind of infrastructure take care of us. We have a long-term historic communal learning disability in regard to self-sufficiency, and even those of us who do assiduously explore DIY (myself included) often take more of a Disney approach than a realistic one. Again, I’m not a doomsday prepper.

But it makes a lot of sense to learn more about serious tools for taking care of ourselves, without freezers, generators, gasoline, and grocery stores, in the case of an extended emergency.

Put down the grapes.

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Posted by Suzanne McMinn on August 6, 2012  

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  1. 8-6
    8:05
    am

    I couldn’t agree with you any more! We were without power for a week and luckily, a borrowed generator kept the freezers okay but it really made me want to preserve more of my meat through canning. (I already can my chicken and venison.) At first my daughter was a bit horrified that she had to “bathe” in the creek but with the intense heat – a cool dip in the creek proved that her mom (me) wasn’t so crazy after all. The storm caught our family off guard; we are normally better prepared for a short power outage but this time we weren’t prepared at all (and especially not for one that lasted a week). We made a list for ourselves to make sure we are better prepared for the next time.

  2. 8-6
    8:05
    am

    Amen! Last year we experienced severe localized flooding two times in one month. People panicked. They had no idea what to do. Many were without power for at least a week, some even longer. People called out offices begging us to fix their electricity. We’re a plumbing & heating company, not the electric company and they didn’t know the difference. We were fortunate that we only lost power at our house for 3 days but it really opened our eyes to the problems that could occur. In the fall, we had severe flooding again. The same response from the same people. I guess some lessons are harder to learn than others. The learning continues for us and we will be making changes to be more prepared.

  3. 8-6
    9:06
    am

    Like you, Suzanne, I grew up on So. Cal., no knowledge of being self-sufficient as a kid. My “wake up” call was the 2 week power outage we had in New England a few years back. DH & I figured out a systems – one where I could actually LIGHT the woodstove, another for bathing in a stew pot’s worth of hot water, etc.

    My latest, great cookbook is: Preserving Food Without Freezing or Canning by the Gardeners & Farmers of Terre Vivante (1-890132-10-1).

    Teacup

  4. 8-6
    10:03
    am

    This is a touchy subject for some people. But I’ll go ahead and say it. The Katrina fiasco was eye opening to me. I lived very near the Gulf Coast but not in New Orleans. When we heard it was coming we finished out preparations. We always had a hurricane box ready. Batteries,candles, canned good, etc. But we were fortunate and only lost power for a day or so. When I watched all the footage of New Orleans I was so sad that so many people died or lost everything.But I came away angry too. Why did so many people run out of water and diapers for their babies one day after the storm? So many of the people would have been safe for a while on the second floor of their home with proper planning. Food, water, diapers, formula, etc. Yes, there were true emergencies and tragic endings. But so much time was spent rescuing people who could have been okay for a few more days at least. When you live in a city below sea level it just seems like you should be prepared to leave or at least take care of yourself for awhile. There were so many people who did. They required nothing for days. So I opened my eyes to what I needed to do. Stay more informed. Plan for at least two weeks without government assistance so that time and money can be spent on those who can’t prepare as well. I’ll get off my soapbox now.

  5. 8-6
    10:14
    am

    I don’t consider myself a doomsday prepper either, but over the last couple of years I have felt a real push to be more self sufficient; ie: perfect my bread-baking skills, learn how to make myself the many conveniences that I regularly buy (thanks to this website) and, in general, try to revert to a more simple existence. Difficult to do, because I live in a city with a busy job and life and a non-believer husband who rolls his eyes at me. I do have 3 “city chickens” and can a little, mostly tomatoes (which no one but me likes), peach butter and a few jellies. Every now and again, a vegetable will go on a super sale, and I’ll buy a bunch of it and put it up. I first learned how to can as a new (first-time) bride from my first mother-in-law who was (and is) a farm wife who can do whatever needs to be done. She was a strong influence on me. I began canning again last year, even if it was store-bought or farmer’s market produce. I miss the big garden I had as a young, first-time wife and the sense of satisfaction I had making pickles or canning tomatoes, or salsa or whatever. My (now) husband has promised me that when we retire, we will move out of this city to some place in the country, where ever it may be. I hate city living and pine for some room where I can have my horses, maybe a few shortie cows, a couple of chickens and a garden. If I had my way, I’d have a couple of goats, dual-purpose dexter cows and make cheese, butter and yogurt, set aside a couple of acres for hay, and get back to the basics.

  6. 8-6
    10:14
    am

    YES!!! Preaching to the choir here Suzanne.
    My area, maybe 20 years ago was downed by an ice storm that shut off most of the power for the entire city for one to two weeks. Fortunately, dh and I had 6 months supply of staples (no, we are not LDS, but do believe in being prepared). We also had 3 other families move in with us. Being it was so cold, we could save their refrig/freezer items. Also had 3 RVs in our back yard. The downside? People who had not prepared realized what we had, and each night “convinced” a person or two that our locked gates, big dog and guards meant “NO!”
    You only have a day or two’s supply of food/diapers, you are a fool. Sorry, but you are. Items can be stockpiled under beds, in dressers/drawers/pantries/closets, anyplace at all.
    Also survived the city being in lockdown from Mt. St. Helen’s. We fed our neighbors who could not get out, for close to a week.
    I sound hard nosed, don’t I? I am. Due to late dh’s military career, we have lived in many OMG countries. Learned a lot.

  7. 8-6
    10:15
    am

    Suzanne, you’re absolutely right. Very few people are prepared for a prolonged disruption of all our conveniences. Even me, and I come from a family that’s lived off the land for a couple hundred years (read that proud WV hillbilly). I am prepared for a couple of weeks of a winter event, but not the heat wave plus no electric for two weeks. I have decided to take my preps seriously. Here’s what I am doing.
    1. reading the prepper/survival blogs to get an idea of potential disasters and how to prepare for each kind. It could be a big storm like we had or other types of natural disasters. It could even be an economic breakdown of our society.
    2. stocking up on food stores as I have the money, also water (we were without water for a couple of days). Also planning to get a good water filter in case the available water supply is iffy.
    3. for heating, I have a wood stove that will heat my whole mobile home. I’ve used it many times over the past winters. This will be a backup now for …..
    4. a whole house backup generator that runs on natural gas. The heat wave just about did me in, with no fans or AC, living in a trailer. I’m fortunate that I could take some money out of my retirement fund to get it. Decided I’m not going to take that money with me, and leaving this earth was a distinct possibility there for a while. I’d rather stick around and watch my great-grandaughter grow up.
    5. keep the gas tank and gas cans full.
    6. don’t fill the freezer indiscriminately-think about what can be canned instead. Canning is more work, but the food will keep.
    7. practice more with my guns. I’d like to know that I could shoot a deer if I need to. I got one a few years ago and if my family were hungry, I would shoot another.

    Suzanne, I know the doomsday preppers have gotten kind of a bad rep after that show, but there are some things to be learned there. Some of their preps were over the top, but maybe not all of them. We don’t know what’s going to happen in the future, and I think it’s just common sense to prepare for the unpredictable. And for more than a few days, too. Check out some of the prepper websites; they’ve got many good ideas.

  8. 8-6
    10:19
    am

    You are so right, Suzanne! My father always said, “There’s no reason to go hungry. We would grow vegetables on the top our our roof if we had to.” lol We lived in a suburban neighborhood! I live in South Florida where hurricanes are a major threat every summer. Hurricane Wilma was the tour de force a few years ago that taught us how nasty it can get. A pantry stocked with canned goods, hurricane lanterns, flash lights, candles, bottled water,a few good books, and good looking cowboy are on my list. My grandmother canned wonderful treats like pickled beets and cucumbers. There’s a chance I may start canning my own vegetables bought at a farmer’s market. Williams and Sonoma has a free pickling class next Sunday. Thank you for the inspiration.

    Lynda :)

  9. 8-6
    10:19
    am

    Thank you for that much appreciated reminder. My girls and I keep telling each other that we need to do that and that and never get around to it. I think it is high time we prepare ourselves. And of nothing happens, oh well, we are prepared for that too!

  10. 8-6
    10:29
    am

    Just another thought here. PaulaClark’s comment about planning for two weeks without government assistance was right on. Can we really count on government assistance in two weeks in the event of a national emergency? Something to think about. And I agree with lattelady – in a prolonged emergency, there will be people who have not prepared and who will think they can take, using force, from the people who have. Security measures for you and your family is another prep we should think about. That’s another reason to practice more with my guns. That and keep my 130 lb rottweiler well-fed. Wow, I’m sounding more like a doomsday prepper. And that’s OK by me.

  11. 8-6
    10:38
    am

    Suzanne, I forgot to tell you (was too busy spouting from my soap box) that I think this is one of the best articles you’ve ever written. Timely, well thought out – I imaagine this one took a while to write and edit. You can say more in fewer words than most writers can. Thanks again for a subject that’s relevant for all of us. Deanna

  12. 8-6
    11:04
    am

    My husband and I live very simply. We aren’t tied to electronics, don’t have cable, so we don’t seem to fare badly in a power outage. We just read more and go to bed earlier. The one issue I need to address is “making your own heat”. Here, it’s usually snowstorms that wipe out the power. Every snowstorm predicted here is doomsday! The stores are packed, the lines at the gas stations are backed up….it’s rediculous! My mother used to talk about living through the depression. People in the city were hit the hardest because they had nothing to fall back on. She said country and poorer people weren’t affected as much because they were used to making do and growing and canning their own food. We could take a lesson from them.

  13. 8-6
    11:10
    am

    I’ve always wanted to rig up some sort of stationary-bicycle-type power system for our well (our only water source) for power outages. We have a generator, too, but like you point out, using one depends on fuel. How much better to use the fuel that is one’s own muscles? But my husband, whose expertise I need for such a project, thinks the idea is silly and unnecessary….

  14. 8-6
    11:14
    am

    Great start to the week. We’re working on having an emergency shelf in the family room where we can all grab emergency kits, water, blankets, etc. quickly if we need to evacuate. But the nagging feeling that I need to learn self-sufficiency skills is peaking now. I’m going to get serious now. Thanks for the nudge friend. :}

  15. 8-6
    11:25
    am

    A very thoughtful post, and well-written. Thanks, Suzanne. I like the wood-stove addition!

  16. 8-6
    11:49
    am

    Suzanne,
    You are so right!!! I just had this discussion the other day, in one of my posts on “Adventures in Canning” I could not agree w/ all of you more: we are as a society quite spoiled: myself included! I take quite a bit for granted!!! & am slowly trying to be more and more self reliant> there are some great learning tools out there: via the internet, however what if we did not have the internet?? OMG: can you hear the screams of frustration!!! “No internet” “what will we do?” I hate to say it: but that day may come sooner than most of us believe!!!:: I aim to be better prepared, I was going over my winter supply lists, and I have a full 4 months of supplies stock piled::: now grant ya, that means if we have an issue: we will have grub for a while:: at least thru the colder months: Being prepared does not make me “die hard Prepper” lol, but by golly kudos to those that are!!! I so wish I could be more like them, trying to not be “Debbie Downer” but my family knows that if they can at least get to our house:: I’ve got food, warmth and water::: OH and the best thing in the world people if you have the means:: it has saved us I cant even tell you how much money:::: a wood burning stove!!!! We heat with it: and it has been the best blessing in the world! We if were lucky, might hear our furnace kick on twice a month!!!!I’m telling ya,,,, those people a hundred years ago! New how to save a buck!!!!! Great topic!!!

    Sandy, aka Coutry Doodle

  17. 8-6
    11:52
    am

    :hungry: I agree with you 100%. We live in a very rural area in Indiana. We have always tried to catch sales and stock up, but with the news of the day, we are fast becoming preppers. We started up our garden this again year, after 10 years of no garden. We are canning up everything we can. Even canning meat, turkeys (5), chicken, pork, bacon, beef. We are stocked up enough so that our kids can come home and pick up groceries if needed. Picked up an old fashioned wood stove for the house. Have everything ready to hook it up if necessary. Generators, both gas and propane are at the ready. We have been talking to neighbors and friends about starting to stock up. Most of them think that we are “nuts”, but when the kids come home to get some of the home canned stuff for their kitchens, all of a sudden we are not so “nutty”.
    Thanks for all the work you do with your website. It’s the first think I check every morning, – before breakfast even. :shimmy:

  18. 8-6
    12:34
    pm

    A very timely topic, Suzanne. I have enjoyed your many DIYs as I don’t like paying the inflated prices of so many commercial products that you have shown can be made simply at home from readily available and inexpensive components. My Significant Other is also of a mind to be prepared for “whatever” and encourages having a stockpile of necessary items. I used to can and dehydrate a number of years ago before the price of electricity tripled here but now perhaps it is making sense again. Two questions: Does meat need to be prssure-canned to be safe? What is your opinion on keeping freeze-dried foods on hand (the expensive packs sold in camping stores)?

  19. 8-6
    12:40
    pm

    Yes, meat MUST be pressure-canned to be safe. Be sure to get a good canning guide, such as the Ball Blue Book, for canning times and pressure levels. Re freeze-dried foods, I really don’t have much experience there, sorry! Re dehydrating, you CAN dehydrate the old-fashioned way without using electricity, by hanging herbs, for example, or spreading sliced vegetables (as in sun-dried tomatoes) in the sun, and so on. You have to be careful of dust, dirt, bugs, and well, cats and dogs and CHICKENS if you do that, but it can be done.

  20. 8-6
    1:12
    pm

    Amen, sister! Down here in GA we’ve been without power for days at a time due to ice storms, many times. The recent derecho up home in WV opened my eyes, that we need to be prepared for a power outage in the SUMMER too! I had never even thought about that!

    My DH and I are not the hard core conspiracy theory tin foil hat types, but we do have enough food and supplies on hand that we could get by for a little while without a trip to the store.

    I agree with the earlier poster who said that she is feeling the push to prep, because of the current state of our country and the world. Things don’t look good! It’s a great idea to be prepared for storms, political unrest, or whatever else may come. In this economy, preps would even help to keep your family afloat in case of a job loss, which is a real possibility these days.

    I also echo the poster who said that we also need to think about security for our homes, to ward off any looters. People who didn’t prepare and are hungry will do desperate things, and may try to steal from others. In fact, you can pretty much count on it, if word gets around that you have a stockpile of food. So be ready for anything! We don’t have a gun yet, but I’ve been feeling lately like it would be a good idea to get one, just in case.

    Put down the grapes, people! I love that, it’s going to be my new mantra.

  21. 8-6
    2:04
    pm

    Just a thought for all of us would-be self-sustainers… solar and/or wind power, depending on your area, might be not only a feasible alternative should the power go out, but could possibly decrease your monthly bills as well. There are lots of government grants available to help out with the initial costs of installation. Might as well get ’em while you still can, and make yourself more self-sufficient in the process!

    :sun:

  22. 8-6
    2:20
    pm

    I agree with all that has been written and am familiar with the concept. What I do not know is the term “put down the grapes”. Wow, am I so far out of the loop! Will someone define that term for me.

  23. 8-6
    2:43
    pm

    One of your best posts….Put down the grapes! I love it!

  24. 8-6
    3:02
    pm

    Your best post EVER! AMEN! (And you are so young, seriously thinking this way – I love you.)

  25. 8-6
    3:08
    pm

    I would like to add two things to your list: a supply of seasoned firewood and don’t forget food and supplies for your animals. I would like an old fashioned hand pump for water. Not sure if they make one you can add to an existing electric well so if necessary you can switch from one to the other.

  26. 8-6
    3:27
    pm

    :woof: Good for you, Suzanne! That is one of the reasons that I enjoy this blog so much. We are all learning so much about becoming more self sufficient. Not all of us will milk a cow or makr our own soap, but knowing that there is someplace you can go for instructions if needed is very calming. To me that is what self sufficiency is, a sense of peace. I want to be able to take care of my family in a peaceful way. And I imagine I will be handing out food as well…IF THEY LIKE BEANS AND HOMEMADE BREAD, THAT IS! (No Red Baron pizza here!)

    They say that happiness is not getting what you want, it is wanting what you have. We have to learn to want less and take care of our communities.

    Thanks for the wonderful post! (BTW, here in Arizona instead of Derechos we have “Haboobs”. People just love saying that word…)
    :heart:

  27. 8-6
    5:01
    pm

    Thank you for writing this well thought out and balanced “heads up”. I will be forwarding it on.

  28. 8-6
    5:02
    pm

    Excellent post! The derecho has made me re-think a lot of things. Keep my vehicle filled with gas, keep the pantry stocked (but NOT the freezer!), have bottled water at all times, plenty of batteries, CASH on hand, gas for the generator, etc. The list can be overwhelming to me when I try to think of everything. Luckily, we do have a small fire place and seasoned wood on hand….one thing about WV, you can always find plenty of fire wood, without even having to cut down a tree! We really have become so spoiled.

  29. 8-6
    5:32
    pm

    Excellent! While I was not affected by the derecho there have been several things that have made me stop and rethink some of what is around me. I did switch to canning and dehydrating several years ago because of a week long power outage. We do have a generator that we can hook our freezer to now, but also know how the gas and grocery supplies can be limited with power outages as we experienced that several years ago during a blizzard! While we would do fine for about a week without power that is likely the longest we can go without assistance and that is scary! I’m not a prepper but a person raised back when we were taught to save for a rainy day. That day may not be just rainy it may be hot or cold! We have propane as accessory heat and that is also a limited supply. These things make me rethink what I need to have on hand for a rainy day!

  30. 8-6
    5:46
    pm

    Excellent post Suzanne! I love your blog, but just registered so I could comment!
    I guess I have always been somewhat of a “prepper”. So many people think that is a bad word. Not me. We have lived so many places that are in the country and have water wells. When the electric goes out, not only is there not electric, but NO water. Also we have lived thru some ice storms with out electric for a week at a time. Not fun. So we sorta starting prepping for other scenerios. Then my dear hubby became very ill and could longer work. Boy let me tell ya, some of that extra “stocked” stuff in the pantry came in handy with less money to go around!
    Yes, people, put down the grapes and look at reality. Look at not only the storms, but the drought this year is horrific.
    When going to the grocery store, buy a few extra things here and there. Yes we have a wood fireplace, generators, gasoline, propane cooking stoves and grills, cast iron skillets, WATER & WATER! We have just started this year canning some meat and “butter” for when the freezers and refrigerators no longer work. We have games and cards for entertainment. We have several kerosene lanterns and kerosene & extra wicks. Alot of canned items, tuna, spam, veggies, fruit, peanut butter, etc. Yes we know how to make homemade bread and biscuits! Extra medical supplies are great! Prayerfully we would not be without modern supplies for over a week, but nowadays you just never know. I feel our family could survive several months if we have to. We are Not preparing for the doomsday apocalypse, we have our faith in God and diferent beliefs than some of those preppers. But we do keep a watch on the news, the weather, and our government.(Oops was I suppose to say that!) LOL
    Prepare people at least for a few weeks! Things around the world are getting serious.

  31. 8-6
    7:40
    pm

    I’m from Louisiana…not the New Orleans area but a rural area in the northern part of the state. Katrina proved many things to many people, not the least of which was to prepare for bad times because they come whether you are ready or not. Several years ago, during the winter, we had a power outage that lasted a little over two weeks. It was a nightmare, but we bought a generator and that made life a little easier. We are in a tornado zone too so there is always that fear. Generally, I try to keep a decent pantry full of staples. My husband, who IS from New Orleans, laughs at me, but I prefer to be prepared for mother nature or whatever else blows our way. Thinking of alternative ways to do the necessary things in life before you really need them and having all the details in place makes life much easier in times of tribulations!

  32. 8-6
    8:48
    pm

    At least here out in the boonies of New England, the sound of a generator (or 2) is VERY loud, making folks with generators easy to find. You may want to make sure you have big dogs too!

    We’d really like to go all solar, but decided a while ago that our first solar project will be to put solar panels to power our water pump. We have our own well, not city water, but when the power goes out, we can’t get water. Might as well be on city water at that point!

  33. 8-6
    10:07
    pm

    Excellent post, Suzanne! My husband and I joke about the Zombie Apocalypse, but in all seriousness, we have been working, ever so slowly, to learn how to become more self-sufficient. He likes the protection/defense part more than the stock-piling (read: he likes guns), but I come from a long line of city-folks who lost those skills needed for basic survival. Thank you for the dose of reality!

  34. 8-6
    10:16
    pm

    What a wonderful post, Suzanne!! With all of the negativity surrounding preppers being doomsday, no one talks about these things. I also believe, like others here, that you must know how to take care of yourself in these times and protect what you have. With your far reaches, maybe you will help people realize that it is okay to prep and practice also.

    I have been prepping, I guess for many years, but mine began as an experiment of sorts. I love history and grew up in a very historical area and it inspired me to want to know how they did things a hundred years ago. It all brought me towards being self-sustaining but that is not why I got started. Now that the world is concerning, I am realizing that I have some very useful knowledge. The journey has certainly had its challenges and I would miss refrigeration tremendously. Practice and live the life that you have been prepping for even in short bursts. Awhile ago, we built an outdoor kitchen, a very nice luxury and alot of fun, but it was done as another step towards all of this. It is equipped with a wood cook stove…several actually- one for food, one for heating water. I have spent many hours learning to do everything on them. Sometimes successfully. sometimes not so much. One weekend a month, we shut off the main power(not the fridges and freezers),and bungee cord the fridge to remind us that we don’t have it. Turn the water off. And live your weekend normally. You will find out what you only thought you knew in a hurry. This has taught us alot. For instance—I have this neat shoulder strap to help me carry water now.It’s padded and very comfy. Water buckets are very heavy and hard on tired old hands.

    Water- yes, Cheryl, you can have a pump on your existing well. You have to get fittings in place in times that are good though. Then it would just be a simple switchover. There are also options for people with artesian wells…its a special bucket.

    Again, thanks for this post. The obvious storing and stockpiling is only a part. Skills are so much a big part of all of this as well and I am so glad you are out there teaching so many. What began for me as a fun game of “what if I lived a hundred years ago” has taught me so many things and showed me the oops! that didn’t work things. Now with the world and weather and such… I am feeling very thankful that I took the time to “play”. Keep up the great job that you are doing. I tip my hat to you all of the time.

  35. 8-7
    3:20
    am

    http://www.richsoil.com/rocket-stove-mass-heater.jsp
    Rocket stove
    I’ve been looking into these. The stove uses far less wood. Burns very clean. No smoke in the house. There are many different designs. Some use a traditional stove. The key is you create a tremendous draft in the stove. Go on “you tube” and search “rocket stove”. It is probably not something you would put in your wonderful old house. I’m going to start with an outdoor pizza/bread oven.

  36. 8-7
    8:22
    am

    It really is incredible and SAD how little we know today about how to be self-sufficient. The girls I work with are amazed that I know how to sew. I’m no seamstress, but I can make a skirt or some curtains. One of them actually brought me a shirt one day and asked me to sew on a button for her. No one ever showed her how to do it. In today’s world of convenience, most of us have lost all of our “life skills.” For me, I want to learn basic canning. It would be a great relief to have food on hand that would be OK if there was an extended power outage and we lost the food from the fridge and freezer.

  37. 8-7
    11:31
    am

    Suzanne, THANK YOU for saying what I’ve been thinking for a very long time!! I’m not going to go on at length here, but it’s time to make some changes.

  38. 8-12
    9:47
    am

    Excellent post, Suzanne! It made me stop and think about what we would need here. We do have our propane camping stove, grill, heater, light, gas generator and other camping items which we just got done using. But when we lose power here we don’t have water. I’m going to look into having our well pump adapted so we can hook it up to our camping generator.
    And MAYBE I can learn to can so instead of the freezer I will have a cupboard full of jars of food!

  39. 8-12
    11:13
    am

    The storm/s have really been an eye opener for young and old. :pawprint:

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The Slanted Little House

"It was a cold wintry day when I brought my children to live in rural West Virginia. The farmhouse was one hundred years old, there was already snow on the ground, and the heat was sparse-—as was the insulation. The floors weren’t even, either. My then-twelve-year-old son walked in the door and said, “You’ve brought us to this slanted little house to die." Keep reading our story....



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