Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Blizzard of 2013: Reflections

When I was walking out of Stop and Shop Thursday loaded up with gallons of spring water, cans of soup, pasta, and shelf stable soy milk, someone commented that I was taking this storm seriously.  Seriously?  

Have we learned nothing from the past year?  If Irene, the Halloween snowstorm of 2011 and Superstorm Sandy of 2012 did not teach us in the North East that we are not immune to the effects of severe weather, I guess nothing will. 

It is time that we stop relying on public services and prepare our homes and our families for an increased level of self-reliance.  In our current economic climate towns cannot provide us immediate relief no matter what your mill rate is.  Our infrastructure is aging.  Now a power outage is not a matter of hours, but a matter of days or even weeks.  

I don’t want to lose my “power” when we lose electricity.  I don’t want to be captive to town officials to “save” me from Mother Nature.  We used to be a nation of self-reliant people.  Why did we allow ourselves to become so weak? It is time to reclaim our power and prepare ourselves for self-sufficiency for at least a month.  

We have been doing this slowly.  

We are using our wood stove insert more efficiently.  This was a great investment in our home.  We choose a wood burning stove rather than a pellet stove because should the power go out, a wood stove still radiates heat even without a blower.  We purchased a heat induction fan which circulates the air into our dining room and we attached a small fan to our railing banister to help move the warm air up the stairs to the second floor.  We have wood stacked in the driveway and we moved some into the garage to keep it dry, although we have had an issue with termites in our garage so we will not keep the wood there long term.

We have been freezing food.  Not too much because if the electricity is cut, our deep freezer will only last so long, but we have fresh frozen corn and tomatoes.  I used of one of few packages of tomatoes left to make black bean soup this weekend after we spent hours and hours outside shoveling and snow blowing.  It was a little touch of summer in the dead of winter.

We are learning to can food.  Right now we have have canned tomato and salsa.  I bought Greg a pressure canner last year but it is not recommended for use on a glass top stove so we have added an outdoor cooker to our wish list for this summer.  

Now and then when water is on sale, we pick up a few gallons and store them in our basement.  The recommendation is two gallons per person per day, plus more for pets.  Trying to stock up on water the day before a storm when the shelves are empty is stressful and worry some.  We have city water so when we lose electricity we do not lose the ability to flush toilets and wash dishes but should the water treatment facility shut down or become contaminated, I would not want to search for water.  It is a good feeling knowing that we have what we need at any time.

All was quiet this weekend.  The roads were unplowed and we were forced to stay home.  Neighbors were seen outside, talking, laughing, sharing, assisting.  The feeling was positive and jovial.  It was really a great weekend. It was a tremendous amount of work and my body is feeling the effects of all that work but I don’t think of this storm as a hardship.  It taught me many lessons.

Be grateful for your health.
Be generous with your time.
Don’t take your resources for granted.
Be patient.
Be kind.

Storms like we have seen over the course of the last few months can bring out the best and the worst of humanity.   
It us up to you to choose.  


Anonymous said...

It's funny I guess I am fiscally conservative. After Sandy, when our town was handing out meals and water and blankets every day, I was annoyed. Who was paying for that? Us! Out of our taxes! After our family had stocked up on canned food and water. We were completely prepared to be self-reliant and never went to our town for anything, but I was annoyed that other people didn't do the same.

The other thing that irritated me was that the NJ radio station is usually very conservative, they definitely are always talking about how our country would be better if we had lower taxes, more money to spend, etc. AND they espouse the virtues of free market economics. BUT, when the storm hit they were setting up hotlines for price gouging. It's one thing if people are dumb enough to buy a generator from the back of a truck, it's another thing to get mad that a gas station is charging $7 for a gallon of water or bag of ice when there is a shortage of bottled water. That's why you stock up beforehand so you don't pay $7 a gallon. How are people going to learn if our government keeps bailing them out?

Anonymous said...

I was just looking at the Weather Channel to find out more about these two new storms...have you sent in any of your photos? I think they are great and just may get on there!

Jessica said...

Greg and I prepared and after the storm we worked our butts off to clean our property, our next door neighbor's property and even the neighbor next to them (who we don't even like all that much!) but we did it because they were trying and they needed help.

Our other neighbor who is our age and quite capable but also quite lazy left for the weekend. They returned home to a house that had not been touched since the storm began three days earlier. This neighbor who has been very nasty to two families on the street, inconsiderate and at times just rude had his walkway plowed by a man down the street and his driveway dug out by his brother. He did very little work in comparison to the rest of us. I got angry. I felt this is why people are lazy....sometimes it pays to be lazy and unprepared and unwilling to put in effort, roll up your sleeves and work. Then I realized I am judging. I may not like him very much but perhaps he has a condition I don't know of that makes him appear to be lazy (let's just give him the benefit of the doubt....) What matters is that we take care of our own and those close to us.

I totally agree with the price issues. It is supply and demand and it is basic. Make sure you have the supply so you are not demanding it later. FEMA is still accepting applications for Sandy and that was months ago. CT has been declared a disaster area once again and now more money will be sought after from the Government that can't pay its own bills, let alone the bills of the citizens. Something has to give. Change has to take place on a fundamental level and I feel we have to get back to the principles that this country was founded on.

Jessica said...

No I haven't. Which one do you like best?

Jen @ Forever, For Always... said...

You do have some great photos! I'm glad you were prepared for the storm, I can't imagine the feeling of not having the supplies that my family needed. This really is such a testament of where our country is headed. Next week I'm giving away a book that you would really like it very much hits on this topic, stay tuned! I'm glad you were all safe and I hope you are storm-free for a while.

Jessica said...

I will keep my eye out for it! Thank you for your thoughts and I share your hope of a storm free remainder to this winter. We'll have to see about that though....there is a possibility of more snow this weekend but I truly hope it misses us as we have plans I would really like to keep!

Susan Getty said...

I SO agree with your thinking: "It is time that we stop relying on public services and prepare our homes and our families for an increased level of self-reliance." This is what we're doing too. Thankfully, we haven't had any major negative effects from severe weather, but we are much more focused on getting ourselves prepared for self-reliance in times of need...whatever the causes of those needs.
Your photos are great!

melissa said...

I loved your photos in this post! We live in SW Florida and I am pretty sure it was in the 80's here today! I completely agree with your most recent post about the parents worrying over 5 days of missed school! At the least they could do a Storm study, or report...get creative!

My main purpose for commenting today is to ask you about your dog! Is he a Goldendoodle? We have two doodles named Harvey and Hatiie Mae.

Jessica said...

I have re-pinned many of your pins on Pinterest. I really want to make a rocket stove this summer. We have a camp stove and stocked up on a case of propane canisters but it would be nice to have a stove top that can be used without having to purchase supplies. Unfortunately our wood burning insert does not have a large top. We can heat up a small pot but it would be difficult to cook a meal on it.

Jessica said...

He is a goldendoodle! A smaller one - about 60 lbs. He is a giant goofball. Full of love, not full of smarts. He is my daughter's best friend and a loyal member of this family. We adopted him from a family that was giving away all their animals. He was just 4 months old and the cutest thing I ever saw. I am so glad we took him in.

Susan Getty said...

We also have a camp stove, but I agree about the need to have to purchase supplies. We recently bought a small (old!) wood stove that has a cook top that David found locally on Craigslist. We figured we can use it outside, if necessary, and the price was right. We do have a well, but the problem is that it has an electric pump...and it is so deep, that it has to have that electric pump (a hand pump wouldn't work). I think some sort of generator is the only way to deal with it in an extended power outage. Our house actually is set up so a generator from David's brother's farm can be plugged in if necessary.

melissa said...

Harvey is 8 and about 90lbs. Hattie Mae is a little over 1, and much smaller than Harvey. They are the best dogs!

Karen said...

I saw this but didn't comment. First of all, I can not imagine that much snow. I love how thoughtful you always are Jess...about everything. I LOVE the pictures of Grace and Jake. Keilee just told me, "The next dog we get will be a goldendoodle" :)

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