Long ago families were much closer than we are today. They often lived close enough to visit. and If they did not they visited with neighbors and friends. Many of my older diaries spell out this information.
People took care of one another and also they took care of their homes and they had in their homes the tools to live without electricity and running water because they did not have it. They had the items needed to live a life not dependent on food stores just around the corner.
I cannot name the number of posts I have done on living a more prepared life before this past year happened. But I just cannot quit trying to get my message out that we all need to take responsibility for our families and have the items in our home that can get us through long term outages or unexpected situations. We have become dependent on what flows to us and we do not need to be this way.
This winter has been brutal for some people in the United States and now Spring is just around the corner and we know that Spring often brings storms.
We adults are responsible for our family and ourselves. We are to keep our family safe. We are to provide, we are to figure things out. Long ago it seems this was better understood.
A couple like Charles and I or someone that lives alone need to be responsible to make sure to have items to take care of themselves during an outage.
For some reason, many people that can afford to purchase a camping stove, flashlights, candles, oil lamps, water containers to store water and extra groceries just do not do this. They are completely dependent on the grid. Then when something happens others have to come to their rescue when it would have not been necessary if they had only been responsible.
Everyone needs to have the items in their home to be able to live comfortable or somewhat comfortable if the power and water stops, winter, spring, summer and fall.
Saying this, we cannot prepare for everything and some storms are so severe it can wipe everything out. But we must try do do what we can because that is our responsibility.
We have a beautiful park here in Dothan. It is called Landmark park, I have shown it before and wish all of you could visit it. It is not an especially large park but it has been growing with added historical buildings.
This picture above is an old homestead that shows us life before electricity and running water. I can just see how they would have sat out on this porch many evenings and hot summer days.
Their washing pots sit on the porch ready for washing day.
I feel that how we live today we lock ourselves in to a life of electric and water and sewer bills. It flows into us and out of our bank accounts. People just do not seem to connect the use with the large bills that come in.
This is what it looked like before running water. Many people were not so fortunate to have the well on the back porch. Others would have hauled water from a stream or a hand pump in the yard. Some water may have come from artesian wells or rain barrels.
But it did not flow to them, they still had to carry the water so there would have not been wasted water.
If we take a look at this house and think about living prepared for power and water outages today we have to think creative to get us through because most of us do not live like they did.
It seems to be difficult for us today to think simple or for me to get to simple. I understand what that means, it does not mean minimal because we still need things to help us live a simple life. It is a bit confusing to explain.
But giving a perspective that people lived without electricity and running water much longer than we have had electricity we can figure this out.
We need a way to light our home, cook meals, wash our dishes, bathe ourselves, keep warm and keep cool without electricity and running water. They did it and raised large families.
We can go further back in time and see that one can live without many things we have today if we lose our power and water. In that cabin they would need the same thing as we need today and the same as the farmhouse. Some lighting, a way to cook, clean up, water to drink and bathe. We need warmth when it is cold and a porch to sit on to keep cool. I would sit with a pan of water to soak my feet to get cool out on that porch..
So if we do not have a farm we have to figure it out.
Today Charles and I use a simple camping stove since we do not have anything close to a wood burning stove and it works very well. I love that little stove and we cook on it quite a bit. Charles has one in the bath house to heat his water for his bucket baths after working in the yard. We use Oil lamps as they did long ago or candles.
Our water is stored in water containers that are available today and food grade five gallon buckets. We need to know where we could get water if we need more. We need extra containers to haul water home.
Blankets, a lot of blankets to keep warm in the winter and cotton and linen clothes to keep cool in the summer. We used hand fans long ago and I still have some.
Times changed and then there were phones. People became more and more dependent.
Today at our house we have the things we need that we can continue on if the power goes out.
Besides our small cook stove on our porch we have a sterno fuel stove we can use if we could not go outside, we even have a small stainless steel wood burning cook stove. Besides our oil lamps and candles we have solar light bulbs.
This past week has really got me to thinking about cold weather. We do get freezing weather here but rarely get seriously cold. Even more rare is snow and ice but it does happen far and few between and when it does everything comes to a stand still because we do not have road graters and salt trucks for our roads in town. This past week was a bit unusual in many states so we Charles and I have to figure out how to keep warm for long term winter outage because we see that it can happen and it might if our weather continues to be a bit unusual.
We already have a heat source because a few years ago we bought a kerosene heater and we got so used to it because it is warm and quiet we have used it nearly all winter now. It does not heat the whole house but enough.
We have quilts as they did long ago and I can see where we should add a wool or heavy fleece blankets to the beds should the power go out. A friend of mine that just experienced an long term outage due to ice storm said she and her husband slept in hats and gloves.
We would most likely drain our pipes to keep them from bursting if it was to get unusually cold.
We are nearing the end of winter here where we live. We will still have cold weather but the warmer weather will be more often now. This will bring storms.
So we look very different than the old days, we look different than today for that matter but we are somewhere in the middle. We have gotten ourselves to where we can manage without electricity and running water if needed for a good bit of time but we are not independent or even close from being off grid. We have no intentions of being off grid but we do intend to be minimal use.
I have come to the conclusion that our homes today are built so that it is very difficult to not use the flow (electricity and water). Also accessories of today cause most all of the outlets to have something plugged in them. Long ago this was not the case. There were many outlets that were not being used.
We can still cook good food in an outage because we have prepared in case this happens. We would use up what is in our tiny fridge and tiny freezer and then start using our pantry items.
Here in the south, we should have at least one set of heavy winter clothing and a heavy coat and hat. If that is not affordable then some warm clothing items that could be layered to equal the heavy winter clothing. Some good long johns to go under clothing. I have three pairs of them because I do not like being cold.
Knowledge is power and learning about and understanding what to do in every situation we can think of is a very good thing to do because it can help to keep our family comfortable.
We should never depend on electricity to always be there and have some nice thick warm blankets. .
Weather events are no ones fault. It is weather and it is going to happen like it or not and it can be scary. But people blame most anything today if they are inconvenienced, even the weather.
Many people want the temperature in their home the same temperature all year around. This is very costly to do this and we can help to reduce this cost by how we dress and having extra blankets in the cold weather and cotton or linen clothes for the summer.
And have a pretty foot pan to soak our feet in the summer.... and a rocking chair.
I took a walk around the back garden this morning out in the sunshine. The old potting shed is bare, no hanging baskets or vines covering the arbor but I know that spring will be here soon. There are signs all around us.
The Woolly Lambs Ear has shed its older larger leaves and new baby leaves are springing up.
One apple and one Pear tree has put out blooms and young leaves.
I wish everyone would practice living a more prepared life to be able to live comfortable during outages, how to keep warm in the winter and cool in the summer and how to manage in the home in the evenings without power and water. It is much better to do this before a real outage and a very responsible thing to do.