My goodness it has been a crazy couple of weeks. So much going on. Let's list them:
Communications lines down too!!!
How long was your power out? How about your communications lines (phone, email, cell phone)? Did you have a source of heat? A way to cook? A way to boil water? A water source? A generator and plenty of food?
During all this wonderful fun (and I don't mean that sarcastically, I love it when the power goes out.. honestly, ask my kids), I got to help hubby deliver oxygen tanks to powerless patients. Lots of them. It was crazy, having rehab and nursing facilites calling saying, we just lost power (on Friday!! days after we lost it). Generators that blew up.. it was nuts. Many people had to be moved to places with heat. I have not heard of any deaths from this storm we had, but of course, I had no communications so no tv, so I heard nothing.
Something else I got to do during the power outage was help move my clinic back to it's original site!! yeah, I love our new building.. Our first official day open we had so many patients we didn't have time to talk with the patients. Today I finally had a chance to ask patients how they did during the outage. It was heart breaking. A lot of people didn't have a heat or cooking source, so they ate crackers, and if they had it, cold campbell's soup (undiluted because they didn't have water). A few had pipes that burst in their houses from the cold. The farms were hit hard with orchards being devastated by the freezing rain and so main branches or even the whole tree fell.
How prepared were you? I know many say they are prepared or were fine. But honestly what could you have had or done that would have made things better? A generator is what I hear alot.. a wood stove or stove insert? More wood? Water? candles? certain tools (chain saw, hatchet, ax, tarps, ropes)...
BUT remember you have to store the fuel for a generator, and yes fuel does go bad. And you don't want to store a generator with fuel in it. Is the wood you have green (fresh) or is it seasoned? And just because you split it a year ago, did you keep it dry?
I actually went out on my back deck and filled my soap making pots with snow, and melted them by the fire, then heated them on the stove to wash dishes. I also melted snow by the fire so we could flush the toilet.
Light??? My goodness you don't really realize how early it gets dark until you don't have power and at 4:15pm you are in the dark! I have an aladdin lamp, but the smell of the lamp oil burning gives me a headache. I like the candles alot, but try finding candles here like you can in Utah.. for a decent price, get real.. not going to happen. Candles are pricey.. Have you heard of an oil lamp? Like the ones used in the bible? yes, they are easy to make and use, you just need some pomace oil (a type of olive oil) and some cotton string or fabric.
Entertainment: Well, with the freezing rain I was not about to let my kids go out, slip on the ice and need a hospital visit, so after I did the chickens, and the dogs were done, we played board games, hide and go seek, colored, figured out meals, and how we would cook them.
Food: Did you try to find something to make at home, or try to find a restaurant with power? We had fun cooking with the fire and with my Saratoga Jack Thermal cooker. We used the cold outside to keep fridge food cold. We ate what needed to be eaten first, and didn't make enough for leftovers because I didn't want to fuss with storing it.
If I didn't have a camp cookstove, a BBQ, a canning stove, or my gas range.. I would have had to only rely on my fireplace to cook food for my family. Well, I have decided I want to have a back up plan. What if the next thing to hit knocks out the gas lines? How will I cook? fire... well, yes, but it's a real pain to cook outside in the freezing temps with your dutch oven. It's even harder to keep it at the right temp. So what to do?? I have decided I am buying some Stove Tec rocket stoves. Actually, I am getting two. This way I have one for camping, and one for emergencies. And also this way I can boil water on one and cook something else on the other at the same time. Yes they are a little expensive, but you know what. It is small, light weight and easy to use.
By the way, my BBQ was out of propane, and I am not even sure where my coleman stove is. My canning stove take propane.. Glad I had my gas range, but using it meant I had to have windows open for ventilation.. I actually have a patient who never ever turns on his exhaust fan when using his gas stove, and never has! (Actually it kind of explains a lot about him..) but for safety sake, please ventilate when using your natural gas stove! One thing we found ironic is my sister gave us each an MRE with heat pak from the Army (courtesy of her hubby) as gag gifts (except Peaches, she got a game instead.. LUCKY!!). We decided to use them just before we found out about this storm. Yes you could survive on them, and you won't have to worry about a bathroom, because they plug you up for weeks!! bonus right?! HA HA, kids thought they were fun, but I remember them from my dad's navy days, yuck.. and I think it was even the same packaging from the navy camp out I remember from the 1970's !!!
Ok, I ask you again. If you couldn't use a generator.. What would you do with your freezer food? Obviously you'd have to figure out how to preserve the food another way, and quickly. What would you do? I would can the meat, dehydrate what I could, and an whatever else I could. I would also make meals around what thaws out first. Usually fish thaws first, then chicken and ground meats, then roasts.
What would you do with your freezer jam? fruit? veggies? beans? meats? breads? So much to think about.. ugh... information constipation.. but you can't let that happen! Just want you to think about it, and start making up a plan.
Ok, this was all just things running through my head this week. Seeing the less fortunate through work and hearing what they endured because they didn't have a plan.. it just killed me, and it could have been prevented!
So there it is, I am doing an order for some Stove Tec Rocket Stoves. If you'd like to order with me, write me back and let me know. I am ordering the Deluxe Metal 1 Door Stove (it has a metal liner so it lasts longer.) We can save on shipping if I order a large order and have it sent to one address.
Also, the thermal cooker will work great with the stove tec. I am excited to use them together.