Every time we have a hurricane or blizzard I get to thinking even more about how wonderfully comfortable we are with central heat and air, freezers with garden fresh vegetables, running water and so many other things we enjoy.
In this country, most of us are set up to live with the power on and when it goes out for any length of time it’s not pleasant.
And yes, there are generators if—# 1 – you are fortunate enough to be able to afford one and # 2 – you have gas to run them. (In case you think you have sufficient supply of gas — keep in mind that disasters shut down things and also keep the delivery trucks from running. So you could have a hard time replenishing the gas you use.)
Our Story of a Blizzard
I remember a blizzard when we were at our previous residence (only 7 miles away.) We were 10 days without power. It was a much more “out of the way” area than where we live now – on a main highway. Everyone around us was having it really hard. The psychological hardship was even greater than the physical hardship. Many who could afford generators — didn’t have them because they had not anticipated needing them. (Believe me they remedied that right after things got back to normal.)
We had no money at the time and lived in what could be considered 3rd world conditions, but oddly enough we were able to encourage our neighbors. We shared kerosene and a heater with them and did little things that allowed them to get through what was very difficult for them.
Other than not having lights and an oven, it wasn’t much different for us than at any other time. We had no central heating. Only space heaters. We were always bundled up in the winter anyway and almost always cold. What food we had in the refrigerator we put outside in a cooler packed with snow. We just heated our water on the kerosene heater instead of the stove. We didn’t have to worry about pipes bursting because we didn’t have a hot water heater. We had no freezer packed with food to worry about either. And of course, we had no generator.
What Do You Consider Hardship?
I have various friends who sometimes tell me about having a hard time with finances. They say they can’t afford this or that or the other. They own a lovely home and property, have a steady income, have parties, go on vacations, and haven’t missed a meal — probably in their lifetime.
I guess most folks in this country have a different concept of hardship than I do.
Certain Standard has come to be Expected
Most people in our country have come to expect a certain standard and when they can’t afford what they feel they should — it’s looked on as a hardship. And things that are not necessities are thought to be necessities.
Learning through Poverty What’s Necessity and What’s Not
Although I certainly don’t advocate poverty — or want to see anyone go through it — I learned a lot from experiencing many years of it.
I learned first and foremost — if you don’t have the money for something — you don’t get it. And that includes food, clothing, medical supplies and any other real necessity that you might need.
I also learned that most clothes, parties, a lot of foods, eating in restaurants, extra phones, decorations for homes, vacations, and toys, etc. are not necessities. They are wants.
Meals also reflect our Abundance
I have a friend who plans her meals weekly and then buys what she needs at the grocery store. Although she has wonderful vegetables from the garden they don’t play a big role in planning for meals. And from what I read on various forums it seems the vast majority of gardeners are like this. What comes from the garden is usually considered extra — or a treat — rather than a necessity.
As most readers know, I started to garden so Bill and I could eat. I still plan my meals around what I have in my garden.
Enjoy the best. Plan a little for the Worse.
None of us want to do without if we don’t have to. But it might be a good idea to give some thought to what you would do if you couldn’t go the grocery store and/or if you didn’t have electricity etc or running water.
A combination of grains (in whole wheat bread for example) and legumes (peanut butter, beans, etc.) can give you the protein amino acids your body needs if you can’t afford (or choose not to eat) good quality meat. (If you ran out of grains in an emergency situation – potatoes from your garden would be comparable to grains in protein.)
If you don’t know how to make bread — you might want to learn. If you don’t have good quality dried beans on hand — or if you don’t grow them — you may want to think about it.
A good flash light, a fire extinguisher, a way to filter water, a way to heat food, and some ready cash are other things to consider.
The best time to consider and plan for hard times is when you’re doing ok.
If it seems overwhelming — just take that one small step. If you can keep your attitude good and know what to do when one of life’s storms is upon you, it can make a huge difference in how you weather them —- not to mention the example you’ll set for your children and others around you.
Organic gardening is easy, effective, efficient — and it’s a lot heathier.
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