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The photo is my son and myself. Now days you can get a photo made to look old like this one. This photo was taken when this was the new look.

Harry S Truman was president when I was born and world war II had ended. I grew up in a time when lunch was put in a brown paper bag and a sandwich was wrapped with wax paper. There was no such thing as pantyhose, we wore stockings that attached to the rubbery clippy things that attached to the girdle. Convenience stores were not common and when we took a trip we packed a picnic basket because many places did not have fast food. Highways had places to pull over and stop, some with picnic tables. Read more ....

Picking up the pieces

October 22, 2018

My last post was written just after our internet had been restored from damage due to Hurricane Michael.

Here at our house, damage was to the trees and garden and outdoor structures. We had a power outage, a kitchen ceiling water issue in our kitchen ceiling and which ended up not being a serious issue inside but a lot of work to do outside.

Even though we were very prepared I was mentally drained.   It had been frightening to me as I kept thinking if this wind gets only 5 or 10 more miles per hour we are in very serious trouble.  We could hear and feel the strength of the wind,  we could hear the trees cracking and the large thuds as whole trees went down and we could hear the electric transformers exploding.  

The next morning the house was silent because there was no electricity. This photo above is not after the storm, I had taken this one a few months ago after painting the kitchen but where you see the bananas sitting on the bar is where water was dripping into the house during the storm.

The next morning we searched for news on our cell phones and found that the damage was catastrophic just to our south and east.  Then I felt mentally scattered and a sense of grief for what people were going through.

Charles and I had joked with each other during the storm to lighten the seriousness while it was happening but after the storm I felt drained instead of relieved.  All my being prepared and I could only take baby steps.

In 1959 our house burned.  We lost most everything and I understand the feeling of being displaced.  We came close to dying in this fire but we did not and time has a way of moving us along. 

As we travel through life, each day changes and we never know what is ahead.  We can make plans and that is a good thing but we need to be flexible because this is life.  I just want people that are going through loss to know that it does get better, it may not feel like it at the moment but it does get better as time passes.  If it is a loss of a home, something we cherished or someone we loved we learn to live in a different way as we take the love with us while moving forward. 

The hurricane cleanup has really taken a toll on my already worn garden shoes.  As some of you know I have been holding out buying new garden shoes for a long time but I did purchase new garden shoes for next year which should make some of you happy :)  These above should make it until spring. :)

These did not cost much but I cannot think about going out into the garden in my new garden shoes, it may be similar to diving into ice water. :)

Our old fashioned life takes me to new gardening lessons.  I am trying to do better with cuttings and bringing more plants through the winter as my Grandmother did.  I do not know what will happen between now and next spring but I am already planning for the spring garden as I am working on the fall garden.

This is chocolate mint that I have made cuttings from and I removed the leaves except for the top leaves and have the stems sitting in jars to hopefully have roots soon.  I love chocolate mint and one year it never came back in the spring and I could not find it the next year.  We skipped a year and the garden center had it again so this year I am not taking any chances and will have some rooted to keep protected this winter (I hope).

After I posted the last picture I got up to check the mint and they are putting out roots.  The fine tread looking things in the water are new roots. :)

Many of the pots are put back in place.  It feels normal once again.  I know winter will be coming soon but I am trying to slip in a fall crop of a few things.

We started the repairs to our arbor and let me tell you, Charles and I have worked every muscle in our body the last 12 days since the hurricane hit.   I am happy that the temperatures have dropped now.  They have been in the lower 80s but today we woke to 44 degrees   Next week the highs should only be in the 70s and that will help us out even more.  We have only about 1 quarter of the yard left to repair.  Then the camper damage and that is another issue.

The fences are repaired and some things are nearing harvest such as the turmeric and ginger.

Charles and I have talked about the importance of living with minimal electricity so that it would be easier on us when there is no electricity.

After the storm we realized that when we become dependent on refrigeration then we have a burden to deal with when there is no electricity.  Keeping a generator running when there is a gas shortage in the area of the disaster is a big issue. 

During a power outage we only have about two days or less to eat the food that is in the freezer if the freezer is full.  Less than that if it is not full or if you open and close the door.

I realize we can go years with no problems and maybe never experience a long term outage but when it does happen it can wipe out a big part of our food supply.

If you have followed my blog I do home can part of our food for our pantry.  Times are changing, we are more dependent on electricity and electronics and it is my opinion that puts us in a serious situation if and when the grid goes down.

After this storm we have decided to do away with the freezer and do more canning.  We only have a small chest freezer but when the power goes out for several days a small freezer can still be a big loss.  This storm did not give us a lot of time to plan as it built up quickly.  Our antique ice box we use to store canned goods instead of using ice required no thought after the hurricane.  That was stable food that required no refrigeration unless we had leftover food after opening it.

 We only have a dorm size fridge because we got rid of our large refrigerator a year or two ago? We did this because we want to live more like long ago.  We could not figure out how to live completely without refrigeration so our answer was a small dorm size fridge.  The first month was an adjustment but we have learned how to shop and the things we need to keep cold.  We have learned to live without ice, we purchased ice before the hurricane and not sure why we did that but we realized that melted quickly. 

 I was purchasing ice when I was blanching food for dehydrating and such but this past year I have learned to just use cool tap water.   When you go from a large side by side refrigerator /freezer to a dorm fridge there is a lot of adjusting to do but we are proof that it can be done.  

Not a lot of people have a desire to live as our generations before us did but we do and we will continue on in this direction.

We live close enough to stores to purchase fresh food and eat our home canned food to keep it rotated but we are going to try to eat more seasonally so this will be one of our next learning experiences.

We have become far removed from the time our ancestors lived without electricity and running water. For us we have no desire to live a modern life as it is today because It is exhausting.  We do not have any desire for much of the things of today but of what made more sense in the past.  Having the right tools to be able to live more like our generations from the past lived to help us to be able to run a household without all the expenses of today is our goal.

If we practice how to cook without gas or electricity before a power outage we can have a better outcome.

Whoever is the keeper of the home has a lot of responsibilities.  We are to budget wisely and make sure our family has a clean and comfortable home. 

It means thinking ahead of what we need during emergencies to keep our family fed and clothed and sheltered.   We also need to simply have a comfortable home when there are no emergencies

In our home we live what we practice if that makes sense.  We try to live so there is not a lot of disruption when the power goes out.

For very serious situations we keep camping supplies with a tent and chairs, pop out kennels, and things we need in a storage room close to our cars in case we need to leave in a hurry and in case when we come home our home is damaged and we will have a way to shelter with our camping equipment.  I hope and pray this never happens.

Some people think these things are silly to think the worse can happen as this is living a negative life.  I prefer to not care what others think and get on with it. 

Charles and I would rather spend our money on the right tools and equipment that will make us a sustainable as we can be living in the city with only basic grid.

Even if a harvest is small, it is a start. We all have to start somewhere.  It is empowering when we have something growing that produces food in a garden, in a container on a patio or a window ledge.  

Winter is coming and it is a wonderful time to plan.  Winter is a wonderful time to sew and knit items for our home.  It is a wonderful time to mend our clothes and clean our tools, repair our garden equipment.

But most of all winter is a very good time to learn all about different ways to grow vegetables and fruit for the next year.

There is so much delight in making a house a home.  It is fun to have a whimsical home and not just generic.  The way to do this is to make it yourself and in today's world there is really no excuse because learning how to do something is as easy as going on youtube.

It is even better when we extend our home outside the walls.

 The Hurricane was bad but it brought us new things to work with as long as we stay open minded and creative. :) This above was from another storm and the wildlife love visiting this feeder.

They will be happy when we figure out what to make them with some of the wood that we have saved from Hurricane Michael.

More to come, Grandma Donna

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