Friday, October 30, 2009

A little bit is better than none

Of course, when it comes to food storage itself, every little bit that you can get in will be helpful, a can, bottle, bag, or box at a time. In this particular case, though, I'm referring to information.

Yesterday I was ironing near the front door while one of my children was reading out loud. (Kind of an unusual situation, but hey, ironing boards are portable, and in this case it turns out that the emergency was all about location, location, location...) All of the sudden I heard a whooshing sound that sounded really close to the house. I asked one of my children to look out the front window and see what was making that sound. The answer was "the wind". However, when I looked out the window from my vantage point, I saw no movement in the trees. My second thought was that it was a street cleaner, because it sounded more like water.

Then I got smart and actually opened the front door.

Water was spurting everywhere from a water fixture right next to the front porch, and it wasn't pretty. And, though my technical expertise limits my description to calling it a "water fixture", you may recall our experience nearly a year ago when my expertise on water valves increased by necessity, though fortunately gushing water was not a part of the equation. Add to that the fact that a couple of months ago we had a family night where we talked about the water valve by the street and actually taught our children how to turn off the water in an emergency among other emergency information, and things turned out better than they would have otherwise. I sent a child out with the water key to turn it off (glad to see that a lesson learned was a lesson remembered :) and I was relieved to find that the water stopped immediately.

We went back in, and I was soon informed (read: immediately) that there was water leaking into the basement. I was soon outside emptying out a window well with a bucket. It did not turn out to be a big deal, since we were able to deal with it so quickly.

If I had not been in the front room, I would not have heard the water problem, and it would have been more time before we found out about the water in the basement as well. The way it turned out was a real blessing for us. After I was done bailing water, I called my husband and told him what had happened.

Turns out that the "water fixture" has something to do with the sprinkler system, and a line burst because it hadn't been cleared before freezing temperatures had set in. (This is an odd occurrence because my husband is very good at this sort of thing and has even cleared lines on other property for other people, but there it is.) So when he got home, he dealt with the sprinkler system and turned the water back on. That was nice.

If I had had more information, I could have dealt with the sprinkler system as quickly as my husband did. However, even though my information consisted of "water fixture", I did have enough information to deal with the immediate emergency and to tide me over until someone with more information could help me.

This reminds me of food storage as well, in that I don't have all of the knowledge that I need/would like to have when it comes to emergency situations, but when it comes to food, I do have some. I know how to make some "emergency meals" (which I try to work into my regular meal rotation occasionally) and how to do some basic breads, etc. I know how to use my basics to some extent--rice and beans, flour, oil, etc.--but need to learn more. The plan is to be even (much) better prepared before an emergency hits, but I have some information. You have to start somewhere, and sometimes I get worried that people don't start at all on their food storage because there is so much to learn. I hope people get some grains and/or other basics in, even if they don't know how to use them yet, so that they have something to work with before there's a food shortage. It's more ideal to be an expert with your food storage, obviously, but if you know how to make a few basic dishes with foods that can last long-term, you will be much better off than if you don't have anything at all. After all, you and your loved ones may be your only resource when an emergency first hits. Surviving on a few dishes may not be ideal, but it is surviving. And if there are people to help you after an emergency strikes, it will be a better situation if we have our own resources to share and/or learn with.

Oh, and the other thing this reminds me of is the necessity to clear those sprinkler lines before they freeze.... :)


Bellen said...

Great post! All different kinds of 'being prepared' are necessary.

Now for the food storage - back to the old adage of 'store what you eat and eat what you store'. I store and use dehydrated eggs, butter, milk on a daily basis. Truly can't think of a single day that I don't use something from my food storage. And, of course, replennish on my monthly storage shopping trip.

Besides just the food, practice what you will be cooking on. Almost daily we use a solar oven (works like a crock pot for us), at least once a month we use our one burner camping stove, and the grill - well I've done everything from breakfast bacon & eggs, to grilled cheese for lunch and dinner's a no-brainer. Just to be sure - it came in handy when we had no electricity after a major hurricane 5 years ago - we ate at home, neighbors had to drive 20-30 miles to a restaurant that was open.

Find one pot meals you like - chicken & dumplings from canned chix and homemade bisquick. Did you know you can bring spaghetti to a boil, turn off heat and cover and it will be done in about 15 min? Have done this on the grill and the camping stove - so you can make spaghetti with sauce, mac & cheese or tuna casserole.

With kids it can be an adventure - try some Scout recipes over a grill or open fire - toad in a hole or biscuit wrapped hot dogs (Spam or Vienna sausages if using storage food).

Good luck in your prepping!!

HermitJim said...

Everyday is a new adventure, isn't it? Things like this are what keeps us young and on our toes!

Glad it didn't turn out to be any worse for you...!

Marie said...

First, sorry for the delay in replying--seems like when I wanted to use the computer our internet service was on vacation....

Bellen--This is a great comment--would you mind if I used it as a post? You bring up a lot of good comments that deserve a wider reading audience. Thanks very much for your comment!

HermitJim--Can't argue about every day being an adventure--keeps life interesting for sure! :) Thanks, we really are glad that there were minimal problems associated with this particular adventure. Thanks so much for your comment!