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Monday, December 13, 2010

Snow Day Prep

Admittedly, it's probably a little late to ask if you're ready for the snow. 

Mea Culpa. 

We'll categorize this post as 'Day Late, Dollar Short', and go forward with it anyway.  

So how much snow did you end up with?  We're somewhere in the 4-6 inch range, but it's difficult to say exactly because of the blowing and drifting.  Our schools are closed this morning and the road is only recognizeable due to it's proximity to the mail box.  That's to say if you didn't KNOW the road is there, you wouldn't be able to find it. 

I love snow days, but in our area, a little bit of snow can add up to big problems:

-The N/S roads drift shut regularly.
-Older trees overhanging electric lines come down.
-Power lines whip in the wind.
-Our roads are low-priority/secondary roads so they're the last to be treated by the plows and when they ARE treated, the lack of traffic slows the affect of the salt.

Though I love it here, I learned very quickly that wintertime preparedness is not something to put off til later.  In mid-October, we begin preparing for the inevitable.  And it IS inevitable.  We WILL be snowed in at some point.  We WILL lose power at some point.  We WILL need to prepare food without using the stove.  So what do we do? 

-Make sure the heating oil tank is full at all times.  If we DO have power, we'll need the fuel to keep the house warm.

-Make sure there's at least 10 gallons of kerosene, a full tank in the kerosene heater and a fresh wick to ensure a clean burn.  1 kerosene heater in the central area of the house can keep us warm and cozy until the power comes back on.   

-Keep a supply of flashlights, oil lamps and candles for light, plus the necessary oil, batteries and matches.

-Keep a supply of food that requires no/little heat.  Ramen noodles, sandwich fixings, instant/canned soups,  tea and hot cocoa mixes, MREs and freeze-dried meals are great to have on hand.  I know from experience they can be prepared with only the heat from a kerosene stove and on a cold wintry day, Ramen noodles are better than nothing!

-Store water.  No power means no well and no well means no water.  We COULD melt snow if need be, but a situation like this is EXACTLY why we store water.  You  DO store water, right? 

-Keep a closet full of fluffy comforters, warm quilts, thick blankets.  Never, ever get rid of blankets, quilts, comforters!  They're absolutely invaluable as draft-dodgers, window and door coverings, and extra layers for sleeping when the power is out.

-The obvious stuff: salt/sand for driveways and sidewalks, snow shovels, chains, a snowblade and gas for the lawn tractor.

-And most importantly---supplies for the car.  Never leave home without *at least* the bare basics: a blanket, boots, mittens, hats, a change of socks, candle and matches for heat and light, water and shelf-stable food.  Extras like a collapsible shovel, a flare, kitty litter, toilet paper and an emergency radio are also great to keep in the car.

-Stay on top of the situation.  Watch the weather channel, listen to an emergency radio, keep the cell phone charged and be aware of what's going on. 

-Stay home.  Bring out the board games, the classic movies, the footy-jammies, mugs of hot chocolate and be prepared to stay home.  If it isn't life and death (or job-related), you probably don't HAVE to go anywhere.  Hunker down and enjoy the time with your family.  


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Gen-IL Homesteader said...

VERY good post! (I need to do a winter on on the IL site, too!) Well, thankfully the big storm largely missed us. We got lots of rain and blowing wind. Eventually it turned to snow, but we probably got less than an inch (this time) and lots of rain froze. That's about it! But, listening to that wind whipping was making me nervous, and had my mind going...."Am I prepared enough?" "What if....?" It's good to prepare ahead for what WILL come, as you say!

Andrea said...

I can't believe you missed that storm! How did that happen?

Ed the Pilgrim said...

Lots of drifting up our way,and plenty of ice to go along with that! Might I suggest a Coleman stove to go along with all the other supplies? Great thing to have when the power goes out, that and a couple of good cast iron skillets/griddle (gotta have one of those) give things a real homey feeling!

Andrea said...

Thanks for the suggestion Ed. I've tossed around buying a Coleman stove but I wasn't sure if it would suit our needs. I've also looked into a Volcano stove from Emergency Essentials.

Ed the Pilgrim said...

I`d go for the Coleman. It`s easy to use. packable, and the fuel is still relatively cheap. If you get the dual fuel model that adds to it`s versatility. I`ve used one extensively and never had a failure, I always keep it at the ready when the weather gets bad!

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