February 8, 2010

Be Prepared

Oh no, a picture of a snow drift - she's not going to blog AGAIN about their crummy weather! Nope, not gonna talk about the fact that we're having another snowstorm, or that my husband may have to once again stay in town overnight, or the fact that my darling aunt got stuck on this cursed little hill leading up to our house as she was kindly delivering hot soup to me with my laryngitis - nope, not going to blog about any of that because I'm sick of talking about it and you must be tired of all the whining by now!

So, instead we'll talk about the fact that today is the 100th anniversary of the founding of the Boy Scouts of America - yeah! I admire this organization very much since they have remained true to their principles over the years. And unless you've been living in a cave, you know that their famous motto is: Be Prepared! That seemed an appropriate topic given our rough winter and the rough economic atmosphere we're living in.

Of course we need to be prepared when we're on the road. We live a long way from Des Moines, and my husband commutes. For him we have to include a snow shovel in his car as well as a change of clothes, extra meds, and basic toiletries in case he gets stuck up there. We keep all of our cars stocked with heavy winter clothes, blankets, snow scrapers, extra wiper fluid, and a bag filled with water, food, and first aid supplies, and emergency flares.

Then for bigger problems, we also keep oil, fix-a-flat, jumper cables, and a fire extinguisher in each car.
It can be a slightly expensive venture to keep the cars outfitted this way, but considering that we live in a state that bans tow trucks from pulling cars out of ditches during really bad storms, you could be looking at quite a little wait in your car if you got yourself marooned in a ditch or down a little embankment. It's just sound thinking to be able to keep warm, and at least have a chance at getting yourself back on the road. If not, then you should be able to wait in some sort of comfort until help arrives. A car phone charger is another truly good investment!

Another kind of preparedness we practice is keeping a good stock of foods in our pantry and other "stashy" spots around our house. We are very blessed to have a large pantry to store some things, and we buy many foods in bulk from our food club - Azure Standard. Our group orders online, individually, and then the entire order is delivered to a drop point about 25 minutes from our house. The order comes once a month and we can get loads of organic products as well as bulk foods. It's been a challenge to get there a few times this winter, but overall it's incredibly convenient and a economically sound solution when you don't have access to organic markets. Here are some of our storage containers - some with such fancy labels huh?!

Other things we store in 5 gallon buckets with what's called a gamma-seal lid. The lid keeps out air better than a conventional lid, and is easier to get off when you need to refill your smaller storage container. We keep a stack of these buckets in our front coat closet, which has a deep back corner that isn't good for much else. This particular bucket holds organic, whole wheat pastry flour, which we bought in a 50lb. bag. I use this flour as a 1:1 substitute for all-purpose flour. I ordered buckets and lids recently from our food club, but we've also ordered them from Emergency Essentials, which is a company we have used very successfully for a number of years. They have loads of emergency products and foods. Don't forget to have a supply of common medicines and toiletries on hand too. Today for example, I was thrilled to find that I had extra cough syrup around, so that I didn't have to go out, or ask my DH to stop on his way home in this snow.

One of the simplest ways to get a store of foods started is by getting canned foods in quantity when they go on sale. This stack of cans fits nicely at the end of one of my pantry shelves. I have all sorts of beans, tomato paste and jams in this stack. The jam is the good all-fruit kind that was on close-out at our local grocery store. They have a date of 2012 on them and were on sale for .99 each- which is a tremendous bargain. So, I picked up a load of them and probably covered what we'll need for the foreseeable future. You just have to keep your eyes peeled and a rough list in your brain, or on your person, and you can take advantage of a good deal like this.

And last, but not least, get prepared by learning to do some basic things like growing vegetables or making your own bread. Not only will it come in handy if a true need arises, but the health and budget benefits are huge. Some of the back-to-basics books are readily available at your local library sales and more than worth the dollar or two you'd spend there.

There are lots of reasons to be prepared, both on the road and at home. We really believe that it's important to be as self-sufficient as possible, and not assume that someone else will be able to come immediately to our rescue. But we also don't live our lives in fear of what might be coming. We don't have to because God is sovereign and will provide our every need. Combining our God-given common sense and abilities with our faith in His providence, seems like an unbeatable formula to us!

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