Thursday, February 3, 2011

Winter brings on different planning

It's winter here (as with just about everywhere else in the US) and it's cold. And snowy. But mostly cold.

I almost didn't think winter was going to happen for us. Christmas found us with balmy weather as high as in the 50's. Just a couple of weeks ago we had a day in the 60's. It's insane.

And now it's REALLY cold. REALLY.

This kind of cold really helps me to focus on what kinds of preparations I need for cold weather days. The obvious, everyday things are hats, mittens and scarfs but I also think about food, movement of the house and entertainment.

We have been fortunate not to experience any kind of power outages associated with the cold weather but I imagine what my life would look like should society collapse suddenly and I needed to protect my family in the middle of winter.

To that end January saw me storing more food and also gathering experimenting with cooking for cold weather.

Christmas gifted me with a cast iron dutch oven (does my husband know me or what?) and I received as another gift a larger cast iron oven and skillet this month. I've been working on my chili recipe and hope to have a few other recipes perfected enough to try them outside. Well, outside when it's a little warmer.

As for food storage I ordered some more basics from Emergency Essentials. I have been using the food storage analyzer as a tool to help me keep track of what I already have and helping me order what’s missing. My next step is to actually start cooking with those items but it's intimidating to look at #10 cans and realize that once you open it you better start consuming because the clock is ticking.

My food storage is mostly basics like whole egg powder, milk, and rice, just to name a few. Basically things that I think I wont be able to grow or acquire quickly but that will certainly aid my family in times of hunger.

Another concern has been heat and this is where my mind tends to wander in terms of suburban survival. Hear me out.

I have a ranch house with a finished basement. It has a fireplace but its' downstairs, in the basement, and the chimney is currently not operational. The last time someone came out to look at it they quoted me $3000 to fix it and sadly I didn't have that kind of money laying around. That was 4 years ago.

The house is heated with a gas furnace and we are comfortable.

Now I could certainly save my pennies and do a couple of different things. I could a) fix the fireplace, b) rip the fireplace out and replace it with a wood stove, c) something else regarding wood heat and the house.

But I don't love this house. I don't plan to stay in this house forever, only another 4-5 years or so. So my motivation is not to upgrade this house until it's complete survival/non-grid ready but rather just get by until the dream house is acquired. And there is my dilemma. How much do I "prep" at this house, a house I dont plan to live in?

I'm still considering it.


Andrea said...

I am in your shoes exactly. How much more time/money/energy do we put into this house unsure whether we'll stay here. I hate to leave because the fruit trees are beginning to bear and the berry patches are finally fruitful. But we have no back-up heat. Our well is so darn deep we can't use a manual pump. And our little 1.18 acres is starting to feel small.

Wendy said...

I think the only way you're going to be able to really answer that question is to decide, for yourself, how serious you think the world's problems are. If you really believe, in your heart of hearts that we are headed into TEOTWAWKI, then you can't be "waiting until ...." You have to treat where you are as if it is where you will stay, regardless of how you feel about the house, and you need to be sure that you've provided for the basic essentials - shelter, food, water, and fuel (for heating and cooking).

On the other hand, if you look at the world and think you still have time to move, or if your situation is such that you're pretty sure you're moving soon, like you're putting your house on the market in the very near future and you've already found your dream house, then I say, don't put a dime into adapting your home's infrastructure to a lower energy lifestyle.

Like I said, it depends on where you feel we are in the issues of Peak Oil, energy depletion and climate change.

I will add one thing: I have a friend who is in the real estate market. My husband and I have been making and have plans to make some pretty radical changes to our house, and I asked my friend about some of the changes we want to make. The bottom line is that investing in things like a fireplace insert will only increase the appeal of your home and give you more leverage when/if you decide to sell.

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