Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Mother Nature is a fickle creature

A week ago, we had temps in the 60's, the girls were outside in shorts training the dogs, and we were thinking that spring was finally here.

Then yesterday, we got hit with an ice storm that has effectively shut down the state- highways are closed and over 20,000 homes are without power.

We were lucky down in our corner of the state- we didn't get hit as hard as other parts, and so far, we haven't had any trees down on our farm.  Pictures shown on the news have shown entire telephone poles tipped over and trees down everywhere.  We've had gates frozen shut and ice coated hay to pitch, but otherwise we have not had any damage, other than to have one meatbird chick freeze before I got them moved indoors.

And I thought I was going to plant potatoes today- Guess not!

Meanwhile, these little guys are growing quickly, being sheltered in our mudroom.

Don't hate me for my awesome canning shelf!!  I put the seedlings in front of it, hoping that the canned goods would inspire the seedlings!  I've planted tomatoes, sweet and hot peppers, brocolli, cabbage, brussel sprouts and pak choy so far.  Loren cultivated the garden last weekend, so we are ready to plant once Mother Nature cooperates and gives us some warm temps.

With so many of our neighbors out of power, it puts me in Survivalist Mode, and I have been taking inventory of what we need on our homestead for future calamities. 

We are fortunate to have a woodburning stove, which keeps us warm and can also double as a stovetop with a cooking surface on top. Keeping our woodhouse stocked takes some teamwork, but between the two farms we have enough dead wood to keep us warm for a few years yet.

Between our milk cow, laying hens, our freezers full of meat we have raised, and over 200 quart jars of canned vegys and sauces stored, we have at least tackled the problem of having some food available.  We have set aside an alcove in the basement as a cold storage room that we haven't quite finished yet, but will be used to store potatoes, squash, etc... from the garden next fall.

Now that we have our mudroom, I plan on having a section for stocking up on nonperishables such as canned goods and nonfood items like toilet paper.

To this, I would like to add a greenhouse onto the south side of the house for raising produce during the late fall/early spring to extend our growing season.  We would also need to have an adequate water supply stored- so far, we have about 10 gallons of water bottled in the basement, but know that we would need to increase that amount to have enough for all 8 of us for any length of time.  We've also talked about investigating into getting one of the old wells repaired for useage during the summer, and setting up a rainwater collection system on the house and buildings.

As for our energy needs, I would like to invest in a generator to keep our home running- at least for the freezers, refrig, and stove.  (Oh who am I kidding?  I want it for the tv!) 

  I like the solar lamps that I've seen for providing lights, and would like to increase our stash of flashlights and batteries.

I'm sure there are many other items that I haven't even begun to realize I would need, but these are the first ones I would address. ( Because if I can't keep this crew fed, it could get UGLY!! )

I realize that we are so far removed from true "surviving" these days, because everything we want is just a drive, or a call, or a click away.  We no longer have to rely on a set of skills, or on ourselves, to keep our family fed or safe.  However, the past few years we have had to watch families just like ours on the news facing major disasters, whether it's a hurricane or a grass fire, and they have had to use these techniques to survive and stay safe.

 It's in our best interest to know some of these skills and since we have two Eagle Scouts in the house, I know that I need to "BE PREPARED!"

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